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Fain would he trifle time with idle talk,
And parley with his fate. But 'tis in vain,
Not all the lavish odours of the place,
Offer'd in incense, can procure his pardon,
Or mitigate his doom. A mighty angel,
With flaming sword, forbids his longer stay,
And drives the loiterer forth ; nor must he take
One last and farewell round. At once he lost
His glory, and his God. If mortal now,
And sorely maim'd, no wonder.---Man has sinn'd.
Sick of his bliss, and bent on new adventures,
Evil he would needs try : nor try'd in vain.
(Dreadful experiment ! destructive measure !
Where the worst thing could happen, is success.)
Alas ! too well he sped !---the good he scorn'd;
Stalk'd off reluctant, like an ill-us'd ghost,
Not to return ;---or if it did, its visits,
Like those of angels, short and far between :
Whilst the black demon, with his hell-'scap'd train,
Admitted once into its better room,
Grew loud and mutinous, nor would be gone ;
Lording it o'er the man : who now too late
Saw the rash error, which he could not mend ;
An error fatal not to him alone,
But to his future sons, his fortune's heirs.
Inglorious bondage !---Human nature groans
Beneath a vassalage so vile and cruel,
And its vast body bleeds through ev'ry vein.
What havock hast thou made, foul monster, sin !
Greatest and first of ills.---The fruitful parent
Of woes of all dimensions !---But for thee
Sorrow had never been.---All noxious things
Of vilest nature !---Other sorts of evils
Are kindly circumscrib’d, and have their bounds.
The fierce volcano, from its burning entrails,
That belches molten stone and globes of fire,
Involv'd in pitchy clouds of smoke and stench,
Mars the adjacent fields for some leagues round,
And there it stops.The big-swoln inundation,
Of mischief more diffusive, raving loud,
Buries whole tracks of country, threat'ning more ;
But that too has its shore it cannot pass.
More dreadful far than these ! sin has laid waste,
Not here and there a country, but a world :
Dispatching at a wide-extended blow
Entire mankind; and, for their sakes, defacing
A whole creation's beauty with rude hands ;
Blasting the foodful grain, the loaded branches,
And marking all along its way with ruin.
Accursed thing !-Oh! where shall fancy find
A proper name to call thee by, expressive
of all thy horrors --Pregnant womb of ills !
Of temper so transcendently malign,
That toads and serpents, of most deadly kind,
Compar'd to thee, are harmless. --Sicknesses
Of every size and symptom, racking pains,
And bluest plagues are thine. See how the fiend
Profusely scatters the contagion round !
Wbilst deep-mouth'd slaughter, bellowing at her heels,
Wades deep in blood new spilt ; yet for to-morrow
Shapes out new work of great uncommon daring,
And inly pines till the dread blow is struck.
But hold, I've gone too far; too much discover'd
My father's nakedness, and nature's shame.
Here let me pause, and drop an honest tear,
One burst of filial duty and condolence,
O'er all those ample deserts death has spread,
This chaos of mankind..--O great man-eater !
Whose ev'ry day is carnival, not sated yet!
Unheard of epicure! without a fellow !
The veriest gluttons do not always cram;
Some intervals of abstinence are sought ..
To edge the appetite : thou seekest none.
Methinks the countless swarms thou hast devour'd,
And thousands that each hour thou gobblest up,
This, less than this, might gorge thee to the full.
But ah ! rapacious still, thou gap’st for more:
Like one, whole days defrauded of his meals,
On whom lank hunger lays his skinny hand,
And whets to keenest eagerness his cravings,
As if diseases, massacres, and poison,
Famine, and war, were not thy caterers.
But know, that thou must render up thy dead,
And with high int’rest too.They are not thine,
But only in thy keeping for a season,
Till the great promis'd day of restitution ;
When loud diffusive sound from brazen trump
Of strong-lung'd cherub, shall alarm thy captives,
And rouse the long, long sleepers into life,
Day-light and liberty.
Then must thy gates fly open, and reveal
The mines that lay long forming under ground,
In their dark cells immur'd; but now full ripe,
And pure as silver from the crucible,
That twice has stood the torture of the fire,
And inquisition of the forge. We know
Th’illustrious Deliverer of mankind,
The Son of God, thee foil'd.-Him in thy power
Thou couldst not hold : --self-vigorous he rose,
And, shaking off thy fetters, soon retook
Those spoils his voluntary yielding lent :
(Sure pledge of our releasement from thy thrall !)
Twice twenty days he sojourn'd here on earth,
And show'd himself alive to chosen witnesses,
By proofs so strong, that the most slow assenting
Had not a scruple left.--This having done,
He mounted up to heaven. Methinks I see him
Climb the aërial heights, and glide along
Athwart the severing clouds : but the faint eye,
Flung backward in the chase, soon drops its hold ;
Disabled quite, and jaded with pursuing.
Heaven's portals wide expand to let him in ;
Nor are bis friends shut out : as some great prince
Not for himself alone procures admission,
But for his train. It was his royal will,
That where he is, there should his followers be,
Death only lies between.--A gloomy path !
Made yet more gloomy by our coward fears :
But nor untrod, nor tedious: the fatigue
Will soon go off. Besides, there's no by-road
To bliss.---Then, why, like ill-condition'd children,
Start we at transient hardships in the way
That leads to purer air, and softer skies,
And a ne'er setting sun ?---Fools that we are ! .
We wish to be, where sweets unwith’ring bloom ;
But straight our wish revoke, and will not go.
So have I seen, upon a summer's ev’n,
Fast by a riv'let's brink, a youngster play :
How wishfully he looks to stem the tide!
This moment resolute, next unresolv'd :
At last he dips his foot ; but as he dips,
His fears redouble, and he runs away
From th' inoffensive stream, unmindful now
Of all the flow'rs that paint the further bank,
And smil'd so sweet of late.---Thrice welcome
That after many a painful bleeding step
Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe
On the long-wish’d-for shore.-Prodigious change!
Our bane turn'd to a blessing !-Death disarmid,
Loses its fellness quite. All thanks to him
Who scourg'd the venom out. Sure the last end
Of the good man is peace !-How calm his exit !
Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground,
Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him in the evening tide of life,
A life well spent, whose early care it was
His riper years should not upbraid his green :
By unperceiv'd degrees he wears away ;
Yet, like the sun, seems larger at bis setting.
(High in his faith and hopes) look how he reaches · After the prize in view ! and, like a bird
That's bamper’d, struggles hard to get away :'
Whilst the glad gates of sight are wide expanded
To let new glories in, the first fair fruits
Of the fast coming harvest.--Then, oh then !
Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears,
Shrunk to a thing of nought.-0! how he longs
To have his passport sign’d, and be dismiss'd!
'Tis done! and now he's happy the glad soul
Has not a wish uncrown'd.-Ev’n the lag flesh
Rests too in hope of meeting once again
Its better half, never to sunder more.
Nor shall it hope in vain :--The time draws on
When not a single spot of burial earth,
Whether on land, or in the spacious sea,
But must give back its long-committed dust
Inviolate :-and faithfully shall these
Make up the full account; not the least atom
Embezzi'd, or mislaid, of the whole tale.
Each soul shall have a body ready furnish'd ;
And each shall have his own.--Hence, ye profane !
Ask not how this can be --Sure the same pow'r
That reard the piece at first, and took it down,
Can re-assemble the loose scatter'd parts,
And put them as they were.--Almighty God
Has done much more : nor is his arm impair'd
Through length of days : and what he can, he will:
His faithfulness stands bound to see it done.
When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumb’ring dust,
(Not unattentive to the call) shall wake :
And ev'ry joint possess its proper place,
With a new elegance of form, unknown
To its first state.---Nor shall the conscious soul
Mistake its partner, but amidst the crowd,
Singling its other half, into its arms
Shall rush with all th' impatience of a man
That's new come home, and, having long been
With haste runs over ev'ry different room,