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NIGHT THE NINTH AND LAST.
Containing, among other Things,
I. A MORAL SURVEY OF THE NOCTURNAL HEAVENS.
II. A NIGHT-ADDRESS TO THE DEITY.
· HUMBLY INSCRIBED TO HIS GRACE
One of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State.
... Fatis contraria fata rependens.
As when a traveller, a long day past In painful search of what he cannot find, At night's approach content with the next cot, There ruminates, a while, his labour lost: Then chears his heart with what his fate affords, And chants his sonnet tu deceive the time, Till the due season calls him to repose: Thus I, long-travell’d in the ways of men, And dancing, with the rest, the giddy maze, Where disappointment smiles at hope's career; Warn'd by the languor of life's evening ray,
At length have hous'd me in an humble shed;
Where, future wand'ring banish'd from my thought,
And waiting, patient, the sweet hour of rest,
I chase the moments with a serious song.
Song sooths our pains ; and age has pains to sooth.
When age, care, crime, and friends embrac'd at
Torn from my bleeding breast, and death's dark shade,
Which hovers o'er me, quench th' ethereal fire ;
Canst thou, O Night! indulge one labour more ?
One labour more indulge ! then sleep, my strain !
Till, haply, wak'd by RAPHAEL's golden lyre,
Where night, death, age, care, crime, and sorrow
To bear a part in everlasting lays ;
Though far, far higher set, in aim, I trust,
Symphonious to this humble prelude here.
Has not the muse asserted pleasures pure,
Like those above ; exploding other joys?
Weigh what was urg'd, LORENZO! fairly weigh;
And tell me, hast thou cause to triumph still?
I think, thou wilt forbear a boast so bold.
But if, beneath the favour of mistake,
Thy smile's sincere ; not more sincere can be
LORENZO's smile, than my compassion for him.
The sick in body call for aid ; the sick
In mind are covetous of more disease ;
And when at worst, they dream themselves quite well,
To know ourselves diseas’d, is half our cure.
When nature's blush by custom is wip'd off,
And conscience, deaden’d by repeated strokes,
Has into manners naturaliz'd our crimes ;
The curse of curses is, our curse to love ;
To triumph in the blackness of our guilt
(As Indians glory in the deepest jet),
And throw aside our senses with our peace
But grant no guilt, no shame, no least alloy ;
Grant joy and glory quite unsully'd shone;
Yet, still, it ill deserves Lorenzo's heart.
No joy, no glory, glitters in thy sight,
But, through the thin partition of an hour,
I see its sables wove by destiny;
And that in sorrow bury'd ; this, in shame;
While howling furies ring the doleful knell;
And conscience, now so soft thou scarce canst hear
Her whisper, echoes her eternal peal.
Where, the prime actors of the last year's scene ;
Their port so proud, their buskin, and their plume?
How many sleep, who kept the world awake
With lustre, and with noise! has death proclaim'd
A truce, and hung his sated lance on high?
'Tis brandish'd still; nor shall the present year
Be more tenacious of her human leaf,
Or spread of feeble life a thinner fall.
But needless monuments to wake the thought;
Life's gayest scenes speak man's mortality;
Though in a style more florid, full as plain,
As mausoleums, pyramids, and tombs.
What are our noblest ornaments, but deaths
Turn'd flatterers of life, in paint, or marble,