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Thy thoughts to nobler meditations give,
And how short-liv'd those glories are,
And break our hearts with care ! In dust we no distinction see, Such Helen is; such, Myra, thou must be. How short is life! why will vain courtiers toil, And crowd a vainer monarch, for a smile ? What is that monarch, but a mortal man, His crown a pageant, and his life a span ? With all his guards, and his dominions, he Must sicken too, and die as well as we. Those boasted names of conquerors and kings Are swallow'd, and become forgotten things; One destin'd period men in common have, The great, the base, the coward, and the brave, Allfood alike for worms, companions in the grave: The prince and parasite together lie, No fortune can exalt, but death will climb as high.
A NIGHT-PIECE, ON DEATH.
| I'll seek a readier path, and go
How deep yon azure dyes the sky!
tread Above the venerable dead, "Time was, like thee, they life possess'd; And time shall be when thou shalt rest.'
Those, with bending osier bound, That nameless heave the crumbled ground, Quick to the glancing thought disclose Where toil and poverty repose.
The flat smooth stones that bear a name,
The marble tombs that rise on high,
Whose pillars swell with sculptur'd stones,
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
Now from yon black and funeral yew, That bathes the charnel-house with dew, Methinks I hear a voice begin; . (Ye ravens, cease your croaking din, Ye tolling clocks, no time resound O'er the long lake and midnight ground) It sends a peal of hollow groans, Thus speaking from among the bones :"When men my scythe and darts supply, How great a King of Fears am I? They view me like the last of things; They make, and then they dread my stings. Fools! if you less provok'd your fears, No more my sceptred form appears. Death's but a path that must be trod, If man would ever pass to God : A port of calms, a state of ease, From the rough rage of swelling seas.
Why then thy flowing sable stoles, Deep pendent cypress, mourning poles, Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds, Long palls, drawn hearses, cover'd steeds,
And plumes of black, that, as they tread,
Nor can the parted body know,
DEATH AND ETERNITY. My thoughts, that often mount the skies,
Go, search the world beneath Where Nature all in ruin lies,
And owns her sovereign, Death.
The tyrant, how he triumphs here !
His trophies spread around !
Through all the hollow ground.
These skulls, what ghastly figures now!
How loathsome to the eyes ! These are the heads we lately knewy So beauteous and so wise.
But where the souls, those deathless things,
That left this dying clay?
And trace eternity.
Those deeps without a shore !
Or fiery billows roar.
Thus must we leave the banks of life,
And try this doubtful sea ;
To gain a moment's stay.
There we shall swim in heavenly bliss,
Or sink in flaming waves,
Amongst the silent graves.
On our dry bones, and say,
Thus shall our mouldering members teach
What now our senses learn: For dust and ashes loudest preach Man's infinite concern.