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Life, Death, and Immortality.
Humbly Inscribed To the Right HONOUR ABLE ARTHUR ONSLOW, Esq;
SPEAK Ék of the House of COMMONS.
IR’D Nature's sweet Restorer, balmy Sleep!
He, like the World, his ready Visit pays...
Where Fortune smiless the Wretched, he forsakes:
Swift on his downy Pinions flies from Woe,
And lights on Lids unsülly'd with a Tear.
From short (as usual) and disturbid Repose,
I wake: How happy they who wake no more!
Yet that were vain, if Dreams infeft the Grave.
I wake, emerging from a Sea of Dreams
Tumultuous; where my
wreck'd desponding Thought;
From Wave to Wave of fanfy'd Misery,
At random drove, her Helm of Reason loft.
Tho' now restor'd, 'tis only Change of Pain,
(À bitter Change !) feverer for severe.
The Day too short for my Distress! and Night,
Even in the Zenith of her dark Domain,
Is Sunshine; to the Colour of
Night, fable Goddess ! from her Ebon Throne,
In rayless Majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden Steptte o'er a flumb'ring World.
Silence, how dead! and Darkness, how profound.!
Nor Eye, nor liftning Ear, an Object finds;
Creation Neeps. 'Tis as the gen’ral Pulse
Of Life stood still, and Naturë made a Pause,
An aweful Pause! prophetic of her End.
And let her Prophecy be foon fulfill'd ;
Fate! drop the Curtain ; I can lose no more.
Silence and Darkness! folemn Sisters ! Twins
From antient Night, who nurse the tender Thought
To Reason, and on Reason build Resolve,
(That Column of true Majesty in Man)
Aflift me: I will thank you in the Grave;
The Grave, your Kingdom: There this Frame fhalt fall
A Victim sacred to your dreary Shrine.
But what are ye?
THOU, who didst put to Flight
Primæval Silence, when the Morning Stars,
Exulting shouted o'er the rising Ball;
O THOU, whose Word from folid Darkness struck
That Spark, the Sun; strike Wisdom from my Soul;
My Soul, which flies to thee, her Trust, her Treasure,
As Misers to their Gold, while others rest.
Thro' this Opaque of Nature, and of Soul,
This double Night, transmit one pitying Ray,
To lighten, and to chear. O lead my Mind,
(A Mind that fain would wander from its Woe)
Lead it thro' various Scenes of Life and Death;
And from each Scene, the noblest Truths inspire.
Nor less inspire my Conduet, than my Song ;
my best Reason, Reason ; my best Will
Teach Rectitude ; and fix my firm Resolve
Wisdom to wed, and pay her long Arrear :
Nor let the Phial of thy Vengeance, pour'd
On this devoted Head, be pour'd in vain.
The Bell strikes One. We take no Note of Time, But from its Lofs. To give it then a Tongue, Is wise in Man. As if an Angel spoke, I feel the solemn Sound. If heard aright, It is the Knell of my departed Hours : Where are they? With the Years beyond the Flood. It is the signal that demands Dispatch:
How much is to be done? My Hopes and Fears
Start up alarm’d, and o'er Life's narrow Verge
Look down-On what? A fathomless Abyss.;
A dread Eternity! how furely mine!
And can Eternity belong to me,
Poor Pensioner on the Bounties of an Hour?
how rich, how abject, how augusts
How complicate, how wonderful, is Man?
How passing Wonder HE, who made him such?
Who centred in our Make such strange Extremes ?
From diff'rent Natures marvellously mixt,
Connexion exquisite of distant Worlds !
Distinguisht Link in Being's endless Chain!
Midway from Nothing to the Deity!
A Beam ethereal, fully'd, and absorpt!
Tho' sully'd, and dishonour'd, still Divine !
Dim Miniature of Greatness absolute!
An Heir of Glory! A frail Child of Dust!
Helpless immortal! Insect infinite !
A Worm! a God! I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost! At home a Stranger,
Thought wanders up and down, furpris'd, aghaft,
And wond'ring at her own : How Reason reels !
O what a Miracle to Man is Man,
Triumphantly distress’d! what Joy, what Dread!
Alternately Transported, and Alarm'd!