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No present health can health ensure
And O! that humble as my lot,
And scorned as in my strain,
Sad waste! for which no after-thrift atones,
Learn then, ye living! by the mouths be taught
These truths, though known, too much forgot, That, soon or late, death also is your lot.
I may not teach in vain.
So prays your clerk with all his heart,
And ere he quits the pen,
Begs you for once to take his part,
And answer all-Amen!
And the next opening grave may yawn for you.
Improve the present hour, for all beside
COULD I, from heaven inspired, as sure presage
How each would trembling wait the mournful
On which the press might stamp him next to die;
Time then would seem more precious than the
In which he sports away the treasure now;
Then doubtless many a trifler on the brink
Ah self-deceived! Could I prophetic say
Observe the dappled foresters, how light
Had we their wisdom, should we, often warned,
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.
FOR THE YEAR 1789.
-Placidaque ibi demum morte quievit.-Virg.
"O MOST delightful hour by man
The hour that terminates his span,
"Worlds should not bribe me back to tread
Again life's dreary waste,
To see again my days o'erspread
"My home henceforth is in the skies,
I have no sight for you."
So spake Aspasio, firm possessed
He was a man among the few
Sincere on virtue's side;
And all his strength from Scripture drew
That rule he prized, by that he feared,
He hated, hoped, and loved;
For he was frail as thou or I,
And evil felt within:
But, when he felt it, heaved a sigh,
And loathed the thought of sin.
Such lived Aspasio; and at last
Called up from earth to heaven,
His joys be mine, each reader cries,
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.
FOR THE YEAR 1790.
Ne commonentem recta sperne.-Buchanan.
HE who sits from day to day,
Where the prisoned lark is hung, Heedless of his loudest lay,
Hardly knows that he has sung.
Where the watchman in his round
Duly at my time I come,
Publishing to all aloud—
Soon the grave must be your home,
But the monitory strain,
Oft repeated in your ears, Seems to sound too much in vain, Wins no notice, wakes no fears.
Can a truth, by all confessed
Of such magnitude and weight Grow, by being oft impressed,
Trivial as a parrot's prate? Pleasure's call attention wins, Hear it often as we may; New as ever seem our sins,
Though committed every day.
Death and Judgment, Heaven and Hell-
No more move us than the bell,
O then, ere the turf or tomb
Cover us from every eye, Spirit of instruction come,
Make us learn, that we must die.
Though 'tis his privilege to die,
Would he improve the boon.
But he, not wise enough to scan
To ages in a world of pain,
To ages, where he goes
Galled by affliction's heavy chain,
Strange fondness of the human heart,
Strange world, that costs it so much smart,
Whence has the world her magic power?
Recoil from weary life's best hour,
The cause is Conscience-Conscience oft
Then anxious to be longer spared,
Man mourns his fleeting breath: All evils then seem light, compared With the approach of Death.
'Tis judgment shakes him; there's the fear, That prompts the wish to stay;
He has incurred a long arrear,
Pay!-follow Christ, and all is paid:
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.
FOR THE YEAR 1793.
De sacris autem hæc sit una sententia, ut conserventur. Cic. de Leg.
But let us all concur in this one sentiment, that things sacred be inviolate.
He lives, who lives to God alone,
To live to God is to requite
His love as best we may;
But life, within a narrow ring
Is falsely named, and no such thing, But rather death disguised.
Can life in them deserve the name,
Who only live to prove
For what poor toys they can disclaim An endless life above?
Who, much diseased, yet nothing feel,
Much menaced, nothing dread; Have wounds, which only God can heal, Yet never ask his aid?
Who deem his house a useless place,
Faith, want of common sense;
Who trample order; and the day,
If scorn of God's commands, impressed
Such want it, and that want, uncured
Sad period to a pleasant course!
Yet so will God repay
Sabbaths profaned without remorse,
FOR THE TOMB OF MR. HAMILTON.
PAUSE here, and think; a monitory rhyme
Consult life's silent clock, thy bounding vein;
And many a tomb, like Hamilton's, aloud
EPITAPH ON A HARE.
HERE lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue,
Old Tiney, surliest of his kind, Who nursed with tender care, And to domestic bounds confined, Was still a wild Jack-hare.
Though duly from my hand he took
And, when he could, would bite.
His diet was of wheaten bread,
And milk and oats, and straw; Thistles, or lettuces instead,
With sand to scour his maw.
On twigs of hawthorn he regaled,
Sliced carrot pleased him well.
And swing his rump around.
His frisking was at evening hours,
But most before approaching showers,
Eight years and five round rolling moons
Dozing out all his idle noons,
I kept him for his humour's sake,
For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts that made it ache, And force me to a smile.
But now beneath his walnut shade
He finds his long last home, And waits, in snug concealment laid, Till gentler Puss shall come.
He, still more aged, feels the shocks, From which no care can save, And, partner once of Tiney's box, Must soon partake his grave.
Hic etiam jacet,
Qui totum novennium vixit, Puss.
Siste paulisper, Qui præteriturus es, Et tecum sic reputaHunc neque canis venaticus, Nec plumbum missile, Nec laqueus,
Nec imbres nimii,
Tamen mortuus est-
ON THE FIRST PUBLICATION OF SIR CHARLES
To rescue from the tyrant's sword
From lawless insult to defend
These, these distinguish from the crowd,
The guardians of mankind;.
Then ask ye, from what cause on earth
Derived from heaven alone,
To call the blessing down.
Such is that heart-but while the Muse
She can not reach, and would not wrong,
The hero, and the saint!
ADDRESS TO MISS
ON READING THE PRAYER FOR INDIFFERENCE.
AND dwells there in a female heart,
By bounteous heaven designed
Dwells there a wish in such a breast
To smother in ignoble rest
At once both bliss and wo?
Far be the thought, and far the strain,
From generous sympathy what joys
In justice to the various powers
Of pleasing, which you share, Join me, amid your silent hours, To form the better prayer.
With lenient balm, may Ob'ron hence To fairy-land be driven;
With every herb that blunts the sense Mankind received from heaven.
"Oh! if my Sovereign Author please, Far be it from my fate, To live, unblest in torpid ease
And slumber on in state.
"Each tender tie of life defied
Whence social pleasures spring,
Some alpine mountain, wrapt in snow,
In vain warm suns their influence shed
What though in scaly armour drest, Indifference may repel
The shafts of wo-in such a breast No joy can ever dwell.
'Tis woven in the world's great plan, And fixed by heaven's decree, That all the true delights of man Should spring from Sympathy.
'Tis nature bids, and whilst the laws Of nature we retain,
Our self-approving bosom draws
Thus grief itself has comforts dear,
For, when it streams from that pure source,
Peace to the phlegm of sullen elves,
Who, if from labour eased, Extend no care beyond themselves, Unpleasing and unpleased.
Let no low thought suggest the prayer,
Where'er the heavenly nymph is seen,
With lustre-beaming eye,
A train, attendant on their queen
The jocund Loves in Hymen's band,
And generous Friendship hand in hand,
The gentler virtues too are joined,
The arts come smiling in the close,
The marble breathes, the canvass glows,
"Still may my melting bosom cleave
To sufferings not my own,
"So Pity shall take Virtue's part,
And fashioning my softened heart,
This artless vow may heaven receive,
So may the rosy fingered hours
Lead on the various year,
And every joy, which now is yours,
And suns to come, as round they wheel,
Or lively fancy guess.
FOUNDED ON A FACT WHICH HAPPENED IN JANUARY,
WHERE Humber pours his rich commercial stream, There dwelt a wretch, who breathed but to blaspheme.
In subterraneous caves his life he led,
Black as the mine in which he wrought for bread.
To buy a cock-whose blood might win him more;
As if the noblest of the feathered kind
For all plead well who plead the cause of grace:
Now farewell oaths, and blasphemies, and lies!
Was nigh, when he would swear as fast as they.
Now take me to that Heaven I once defied,
TO THE REV. MR. NEWTON,
ON HIS RETURN FROM RAMSGATE.
THAT Ocean you have late surveyed,
You from the flood-controlling steep
To me, the waves that ceaseless broke
Your sea of troubles you have past,
I, tempest-tossed, and wrecked at last,