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ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.

FOR THE YEAR 1790.

BUCHANAN.

Ne commonentem recta sperne.
Despise not my good counsel.

HE who sits from day to day,

Where the prison d lark is hung,
Heedless of his loudest lay,

Hardly knows that he has sung.

Where the watchman in his round

Nightly lifts his voice on high,
None, accustom'd to the sound,

Wakes the sooner for his cry.

So your verse-man I, and clerk,

Yearly in my song proclaim
Death at hand-yourselves his mark-

And the foe's unerring aim.

Duly at my time I come,

Publishing to all aloud-
Soon the grave must be your home,

And your only suit, a shroud.

But the monitory strain,

Oft repeated in your ears, Seems to sound too much in vain,

Wins no notice, wakes no fears.

i

Can a truth, by all confess'd

Of such magnitude and weight, Grow, by being oft impress’d,

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 ev'ry day.

Death and Judgment, Heav'n and Hell

These alone, so often heard, No more move us than the bell,

When some stranger is interr'd.

O then, ere the turf or tomb

Cover us from ev'ry eye, Spirit of instruction come,

Make us learn, that we must die.

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ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,

FOR THE YEAR 1792.

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari!

VIRG.
Happy the mortal, who has trac'd effects
To their first cause, cast fear beneath his feet,
And Death and roaring Hell's voracious fires !

THANKLESS for favours from on high,

Man thinks he fades too soon;
Though 'tis his privilege to die,

Would he improve the boon.

But he, not wise enough to scan

His blest concerns aright,
Would gladly stretch life's little span

To ages, if he might.

To

ages in a world of pain,
To ages, where he goes
Gall'd by affliction's heavy chain,

And hopeless of repose.

Strange fondness of the human heart,

Enamour'd of its harm!

Strange world, that costs it so much smart,

And still has pow'r to charm.

Whence has the world her magick pow'r?

Why deem we death a foe? Recoil from weary life's best hour,

And covet longer wo?

The cause is Conscience-Conscience oft

Her tale of guilt renews :
Her voice is terrible though soft,

And dread of death ensues.

Then anxious to be longer spard

Man mourns his fleeting breath : All evils then seem light, compar'd

With the approach of Death.

'Tis judgment shakes him; there's the fear,

That prompts the wish to stay; He has incurr'd a long arrear,

And must despair to pay.

Pay !-follow Christ, and all is paid :

His death your peace ensures; Think on the grave where he was laid,

And calma descend to yours.

ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.

FOR THE YEAR 1793.

De sacris autem hac 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,

And all are dead beside ;
For other source than God is none

Whence life can be supplied.

To live to God is to requite

His love as best we may;
To make his precepts our delight,

His promises our stay.

But life, within a narrow ring

Of giddy joys compris’d,
Is falsely nam'd, and no such thing,

But rather death disguis’d.

Can life in them deserve the name,

Who only live to prove
For what poor toys they can disclaim
An endless life above?

25

VOL. II.

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