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THE GRAVE.

The house appointed for all living. Job. WAILST some affect the sun, and some the shade, Some flee the city, some the hermitage ; Their aims as various as the roads they take In journeying through life ;—the task be mine To paint the gloomy horrors of the tomb; Th' appointed place of rendezvous, where all These travellers meet.--Thy succours I implore, Eternal King! whose potent arm sustains The keys of Hell and Death.--The Grave, dread

thing! Men shudder when thou'rt nam'd: nature appallid Shakes off her wonted firmness.-Ah! how dark Thy long extended realms, and rueful wastes ! Where nought but silence reigns, and night, dark Dark as was chaos, ere the infant Sun (night, Was rollid together, or had tried his beams Athwart the gloom profound.The sickly taper, By glimmering through thy low-brow'd misty

vaults, (Furr'd round with mouldy damps and ropy slime) Lets fall a supernumerary horror, And only serves to make thy night more irksome. Well do I know thee by thy trusty yew, Cheerless, unsocial plant! that loves to dwell Midst sculls and collins, epitaphs and worms : Where light-heel'd ghosts, and visionary shades, Beneath the wan cold Moon (as fame reports) Embodied, thick, perform their mystic rounds. No other merriment, dull tree! is thine.

See yonder hallow'd fane--the pious work

Of names once fam'd, now dubious or forgot,
And buried midst the wreck of things which were;
There lie interr'd the more illustrious dead.
The wind is up: hark ! how it howls! Methinks
Till now I never heard a sound so dreary:
Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul

bird, Rook'd in the spire, screams loud: the gloomy aisles, Black-plaster'd, and hung round with shreds of

'scutcheons And tatter'd coats of arms, send back the sound, Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults, The mansions of the dead.-Rous'd from their

slumbers, In grim array the grisly spectres rise, Grin horrible, and, obstinately sullen, Pass and repass, hush'd as the foot of night. Again the screech-owl shrieks : ungracious sound! I'll hear no more ; it makes one's blood run chill. · Quite round the pile, a row of reverend elms, (Coeval near with that) all ragged show, Long lash'd by the rude winds. Some rift half down Their branchless trunks; others so thin a-top, That scarce two crows could lodge in the same tree. Strange things, the neighbours say, have happen'd

here: Wild shrieks have issued from the hollow tombs; Dead men have come again, and walk'd about; And the great bell has toll’d, unrung, untouch'd. (Such tales their cheer, at wake or gossiping, When it draws near the witching time of night.)

Oft in the lone church-yard at night I've seen, By glimpse of moonshine chequering through the

trees,

The school-boy, with his satchel in his hand,
Whistling aloud to bear his courage up,
And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones,
(With nettles skirted, and with moss o'ergrown,
That tell in homely phrase who lie below.
Sudden he starts, and hears, or thinks he hears,
The sound of something purring at his heels;
Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him,
Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows;
Who gather round, and wonder at the tale
Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly,
That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand
O'er some new-open'd grave; and (strange to tell!)
Evanishes at crowing of the cock.

The new-made widow, too, I've sometimes spied,
Sad sight! slow moving o'er the prostrate dead :
Listless, she crawls along in doleful black,
Whilst bursts of sorrow gush from either eye,
Fast falling down her now untasted cheek.
Prone on the lowly grave of the dear man
She drops; whilst busy, meddling memory,
In barbarous succession musters up
The past endearments of their softer hours,
Tenacious of its theme. Still, still she thinks
She sees him, and, indulging the fond thought,
Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf,
Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way.

Invidious Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one! A tie more stubborn far than Nature's band. Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul, Sweetner of life, and solder of society, I owe thee much. Thou hast deserv'd from me Far, far beyond what I can ever pay.

Oft have I prov'd the labours of thy love,
And the warm efforts of thy gentle heart,
Anxious to please.-Oh! when my friend and I
In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on
Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down
Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank,
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along
In grateful errors through the under-wood,
Sweet murmuring; methought the shrill-tongued

thrush
Mended his song of love : the sooty blackbird
Mellow'd his pipe, and softened every note :
The eglantine smell'd sweeter, and the rose
Assum'd a dye more deep; whilst every flower
Vied with his fellow-plant in luxury
Of dress.-Oh! then the longest summer's day
Seem'd too, too much in haste: still the full heart
Had not imparted half : 'twas happiness
Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed,
Not to return, how painful the remembrance !
Dull Grave-thou spoil'st the dance of youthful

blood, Strik'st out the dimple from the cheek of mirth, And every smirking feature from the face : Branding our laughter with the name of madness. Where are the jesters now? the men of health Complexionally pleasant? Where's the droll, Whose every look and gesture was a joke To clapping theatres and shouting crowds, And made ev'n thick-lip'd, musing Melancholy. To gather up her face into a smile Before she was aware ? Ah ! sullen now, And dumb as the green turf that covers them.

Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?

The Roman Cæsars, and the Grecian chiefs, The boast of story? Where the hot-brain's youth, Who the tiara at his pleasure tore From kings of all the then discover'd globe; And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hamper'd And had not room enough to do its work ? Alas! how slim, dishonourably slim, And cram'd into a space we blush to name ! Proud Royalty! how alter'd in thy looks! How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue! Son of the morning! whither art thou gone! Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head, And the majestic menace of thine eyes Felt from afar ? Pliant and powerless now, Like new-born infant wound up in his swathes, Or victim tumbled flat upon its back, That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife. Mute, must thou bear the strife of little tongues, And coward insults of the base-born crowd ; That grudge a privilege thou never hadst, But only hop'd for in the peaceful grave, Of being unmolested and alone. Arabia's gums and odoriferous drugs, And honours by the herald duly paid In mode and form, ev'n to a very scruple ; Oh, cruel irony! these come too late ; And only mock, whom they were meant to honour, Surely there's not a dungeon-slave that's bury'd In the highway, unshrouded and uncoffin'd, But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he. Sorry pre-eminence of high descent, Above the vulgar born, to rot in state.

Butsee! the well-plum'd hearse comes noddingon, Stately and slow ; and properly attended

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