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No friends .with soft discourse his pain beguile,
waiTTEN IN THE
PROSPECT OF DEATH,
Sad solitary Thought, who keeps thy vigils,
Thy solemn vigils, in the sick man's mind;
Communing lonely with his sinking soul,
And musing on the dubious glooms that lie
In dim obscurity before him,—thee,
Wrapt in thy dark magnificence, I call
At this still midnight hour, this awful season,
When on my bed, in wakeful restlessness,
I turn me wearisome; while all around,
All, all, save me, sink in forgetfulness;
I only wake to watch the sickly taper
Which lights me to my tomb.—Yea, 'tis the hand
Of death I feel press heavy on my vitals,
Slow sapping the warm current of existence.
My moments now are few—the sand of life
Ebbs fastly to its finish Yet a little,
And the last fleeting particle will fall,
Silent, unseen, unnoticed, unlamented.
Come then, sad Thought, and let us meditate
While meditate we may.—We have now
But a small portion of what men call time
To hold communion; for even now the knife,
The separating knife, I feel divide
The tender bond that binds my soul to earth.
Yes, I must die—I feel that I must die;
And though to me has life been dark and dreary,
Though hope for me has smiled but to deceive,
And disappointment still pursued her blandishments,
Yet do I feel my soul recoil within me
As I contemplate the dim gulf of death,
The shuddering void, the awful blank—futurity.
Ay, I had planned full many a sanguine scheme
Of earthly happiness—romantic schemes,
And fraught with loveliness; and it is hard
To feel the hand of death arrest one's steps,
Throw a chill blight o'er all one's budding hopes,
And hurl one's soul untimely to the shades,
Lost in the gaping gulf of blank oblivion.
Fifty years hence, and who will hear of Henry?
Oh! none ;—another busy brood of beings
Will shoot up in the interim, and none
Will hold him in remembrance. I shall sink,
As sinks a stranger in the crowded streets
In man or woman, but far most in man,
Object of my implacable disgust.
What!—will a man play tricks, will he indulge
A silly fond conceit of his fair form
And just proportion, fashionable mein
And pretty face, in presence of his God?
Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes,
As with the diamond on his lily hand,
And play his brilliant parts before my eyes,
Wihen I am hungry for the bread of life?
He mocks his Maker, prostitutes and shames
His noble office, and, instead of truth,
Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock.
Therefore avaunt all attitude, and stare,
And start theatric, practised at the glass!
I seek divine simplicity in him,
Who handles things divine; and all besides,
Though learned with labour, and tho' much admired
By curious eyes and judgments ill informed,
To me is odious as the nasal twang
Heard at conventicle, where worthy men,
Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the pressed nostril, spectacle-bestrid.
COMPLAINT OF SOLITUDE.
It is not that my lot is low,
In woods and glens I love to roam,
Yet when the silent evening sighs
The Autumn leaf is sear and dead,
The woods and winds, with sudden wail,