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VERSES TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE JOSEPH BROWNE, OF LOTHERSDALE,
ONE OF THE PEOPLE CALLED QUAKERS,
Who, with seven others of his religious community, had suffered a long confinement in the Castle of York, and loss of all his worldly property, for conscience sake, in the years 1795 and 1796. He was a thoughtful, humble-minded man, and occasionally solaced himself with "Prison Amusements" in verse, at the time when the author of these stanzas, in a neighboring room, was whiling away the hours of a shorter captivity in the same manner.
"SPIRIT, leave thine house of clay;
Thus thy GUARDIAN ANGEL spoke,
"Prisoner, long detain❜d below;
Thus thy GUARDIAN ANGEL sang,
- Ye that mourn a FATHER's loss, Ye that weep a FRIEND no more, Call to mind the CHRISTIAN cross,
Which your FRIEND, your FATHER, bore.
Grief, and penury, and pain
Still attended on his way;
And Oppression's scourge and chain,
More unmerciful than they.
Yet while travelling in distress
('T was the eldest curse of sin)
Through the world's waste wilderness,
And along that vale of tears,
Which his humble footsteps trod,
Still a shining path appears,
Where the MOURNER walk'd with GOD.
Till his MASTER, from above,
When the promised hour was come,
Sent the chariot of his love
To convey the WANDERER home.
Saw ye not the wheels of fire,
not his soul aspire,
When his mantle dropp'd behind?
Ye who caught it as it fell,
Bind that mantle round your breast;
Yet rejoicing in his lot,
Still shall Memory love to weep
Where his dear cold relics sleep.
Grave! the guardian of his dust,
Grave! the treasury of the skies,
Every atom of thy trust
Rests in hope again to rise.
Hark! the judgment-trumpet calls — "Soul, rebuild thine house of clay : IMMORTALITY thy walls,
And ETERNITY thy day!"
O FOR Evening's brownest shade!
Round the hermitage of HEALTH: While the noon-bright mountains blaze In the sun's tormenting rays.
O'er the sick and sultry plains,
And the wanness of despair:
Now, in deep and dreadful gloom, Clouds on clouds portentous spread, Black as if the day of doom
Hung o'er NATURE'S shrinking head: Lo! the lightning breaks from high, -God is Coming!-God is nigh!
NATURE, startled NATURE reels,
Ocean, Earth, and Sky,
Tremble! God is passing by!
Darkness, wild with horror, forms
All the universe would die.
Brighter, broader lightnings flash,
GOD OF VENGEANCE, from above
O remember thou art LOVE!
Welcome in the eastern cloud,
"Peace on Earth, to Man good-will."