« EdellinenJatka »
By stealing out of being when he pleas'd,
That bielps himself as timely as he can, When able.---But if there's an hereafter, And that there is, conscience, unipfluenc'd And soffer'd to speak out, tells ev'ry man, Then must it be an awful thing to die : More horrid yet to die by one's own hand. Self-murder !---name it not : our island's shame, That makes her the reproach of neighbouring states. Shall nature, swerving from her earliest dictate, Self-preservation, fall by her own act? Forbid it, Heaven !---Let not, upon disgust, The shameless band be fully crimson'd o'er With blood ofits own lord.... Dreadful attempt ! Just reeking from self-slaughter, in a rage, To rush into the presence of our Judge ; As if we challeng'd him to do his worst, And matter'd not his wrath !---Unheard of tortures Must be reserv'd for such : these herd together ; The common damn'd shun their society, And look upon themselves as fiends less foul. Our time is fix'd, and all our days are number'd : How long, bow short, we know not :---this we know, Duty requires we calmly wait the summons, Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission : Like sentries that must keep their destin'd stand, And wait th' appointed hour, till they're reliev'd, Those only are the brave who keep their ground, And keep it to the last. To run away Is but a coward's trick : to run away From this world's ills, that at the very worst Will soon blow o’er, thinking to mend ourselves, By boldly vent'ring on a world unknown,
Avd plunging headlong in the dark ;-'tis mad ;
Tell us, ye dead ! will none of you, in pity
swain, And there his pamper'd lord.-The cup goes round, And who so artful as to put it by ? 'Tis long since death had the majority ; Yet strange! the living lay it not to heart. See yonder maker of the dead man's bed, The sexton, hoary-headed chronicle, Of hard unmeaning face, down which ne'er stole A gentle tear ; with mattock in his hand Digs through whole rows of kindred and acquain
tance, By far his juniors.-- Scarce a skull's cast up, But well he knew its owner, and can tell Some passage of bis life.-Thus hand in hand The sot has walk'd with death twice twenty years.; And yet ne'er yonker on the green laughs louder, Or clubs a smuttier tale :-When drunkards meet, None sings a merrier catch, or lends a hand
More willing to his cup.-Poor wretch ! he minds
not, That soon some trusty brother of the trade Shall do for him what he has done for thousands.
On this side, and on that, men see their friends Drop off, like leaves in autumn ; yet launch out Into fantastic schemes, which the long livers In the world's hale and undegen’rate days Could scarce have leisure for.- Fools that we are, Never to think of death and of ourselves At the same time : as if to learn to die w Were no concern of ours.-Oh! more than sottish, For creatures of a day, in gamesome mood To frolic on eternity's dread brink Unapprehensive ; when, for ought we know, The very first swoln surge shall sweep us in. Think we or think we not, time hurries on, With a resistless unremitting stream, Yet treads more soft than e'er did midnight thief, That slides his hand under the miser's pillow, And carries off bis prize. What is this world ? What, but a spacious burial-field unwall’d, Strew'd with death's spoils, the spoils of animals, Savage and tame, and full of dead men's bones. The very turf on which we tread once liv'd; ' And we that live must lend our carcasses , To cover our own offspring : in their turns They too must cover theirs._'Tis here all meet, The shiv’ring Icelander, and sunburnt Moor ; Men of all climes, that never met before ; And of all creeds, the Jew, the Turk, the Christian. Here the proud prince, and favourite yet prouder, His sov’reign's keeper, and the people's scourge, Are huddled out of sight.--Here lie abash'd The great negociators of the earth, And celebrated masters of the balance, Deep read in stratagems, and wiles of courts.
Now vain their treaty-skill :--Death scorns to
treat ; Here the o'erloaded slave flings down his burden From his gallid shoulders ;-and when the stern ty
, rant, With all his guards and tools of power about him, Is meditating new unheard-of hardships, Mocks his short arm--and quick as thought escapes Where tyrants vex not, and the weary rest. Here the warm lover, leaving the cool shade, The tell-tale echo, and the bubbling stream, (Time out of mind the fav’rite seats of love) Fast by his gentle mistress lays him down, Unblasted by foul tongue.--Here friends and foes Lie close, unmindful of their former feuds. The lawn-rob'd prelate and plain presbyter, Ere while that stood aloof, as shy to meet, Familiar mingle here, like sister streams That some rude interposing rock has split. Here is the large limb'd peasant :-Here the child Of a span long, that never saw the sun, Nor press'd the nipple, strangled in life's porch. Here is the mother, with her sons and daughters : The barren wife, the long demurring maid, Whose lonely unappropriated sweets Smil'd like yon knot of cowslips on the cliff, Not to be come at by the willing hand. Here are the prude, severe, and gay coquette, The sober widow, and the young green virgin, Cropp'd like a rose before 'tis fully blown, Or half its worth disclos'd. Strange medley here!
Here garrulous old age winds up his tale; And jovial youth, of lightsome vacant heart, Whose ev'ry day was made of melody, Hears not the voice of mirth. The shrill-tongu'd
shrew, Meek as the turtle-dove, forgets her chiding. Here are the wise, the generous, and the brave;
The just, the good, the worthless, the profane,
Poor man !-how happy once in thy first state !
winds Just ready to expire-scarce importun'd, The generous soil, with a luxuriant hand, Offer'd the various produce of the year, And ev'ry thing most perfect in its kind. Blessed ! 'thrice blessed days l_But ah ! how short ! Bless'd as the pleasing dreams of holy men ; But fugitive like those, and quickly gone. Oh! slipp'ry state of things. What sudden turns ! What strange vicissitudes in the first leaf Of man's sad history!- To-day most happy, And ere to-morrow's sun has set, most abject. How scant the space between these vast extremes ! Thus far'd it with our sire :-Not long h’ enjoy'd His paradise.-Scarce had the happy tenant Of the fair spot due time to prove its sweets, Or sum them up, when straight he must be gone, Ne'er to return again. And must he go? Can nought compound for the first dire offence Of erring inapima Like one that is condemn'd