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COMPOSED FOR A MEMORIAL OF ASHLEY COWPER, ESQ.,
IMMEDIATELY AFTER HIS DEATH.
endued with all that could
All hearts to love thee, both in youth and age !
In prime of life, for sprightliness enrollid
Among the gay, yet virtuous as the old ;
In life's last stage (O blessings rarely found !).
Pleasant as youth with all its blossoms crown'd;
Through every period of this changeful state
Unchanged thyself—wise, good, affectionate !
Marble may flatter, and lest this should seem
O’ercharged with praises on so dear a theme,
Although thy worth be more than half supprest,
Love shall be satisfied, and veil the rest.
FOUNDED ON A FACT WHICH HAPPENED IN 1779.
HERE Humber pours his rich commercial
There dwelt a wretch, who breathed but to blaspheme.
In subterraneous caves his life he led,
Black as the mine, in which he wrought for bread.
When on a day, emerging from the deep,
A Sabbath-day (such Sabbaths thousands keep !)
The wages of his weekly toil he bore
To buy a cock—whose blood might win him more ;
As if the noblest of the feather'd kind
Were but for battle and for death design'd;
As if the consecrated hours were meant
For sport, to minds on cruelty intent;
It chanced (such chances Providence obey)
He met a fellow-lab'rer on the way,
Whose heart the same desires had once inflam'd ;
But now the savage temper was reclaim'd.
Persuasion on his lips had taken place ;
For all plead well who plead the cause of grace.
His iron-heart with Scripture he assail'd,
Woo'd him to hear a sermon, and prevail'd.
His faithful bow the mighty preacher drew,
Swift, as the light'ning-glimpse, the arrow flew.
He wept; le trembled ; cast his eyes around,
To finil a worse than he ; but none he found.
He felt his sins, and wonder'd he should feel ;
Grace made the wound, and grace alone could heal.
Now farewell oaths, and blasphemies, and lies,
He quits the sinner's for the martyr's prize.
That holy day was wash'd with many a tear,
Gilded with hope, yet shaded too by fear.
The next, his swarthy brethren of the mine
Learn’d by his alter'd speech—the change divine !
Laugh'd when they should have wept, and swore the
Was nigh, when he would swear as fast as they.
“No” (said the penitent): "such words shall share
This breath no more ; devoted now to pray'r.
0! if Thou seest (Thine eye the future sees)
That I shall yet again blaspheme, like these ;
Now strike me to the ground, on which I kneel,
Ere yet this heart relapses into steel ;
Now take me to that Heaven I once defied,
Thy presence, Thy embrace !” He spoke, and died !
SUBJOINED TO THE YEARLY BILL OF MORTALITY OF
THE PARISH OF ALL-SAINTS, NORTHAMPTON, ANNO
“ Pallida Mors æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas,
“Pale Death with equal foot strikes wide the door
Of royal halls and hovels of the poor.”
HILE thirteen moons saw smoothly run
The Nen's barge-laden wave,
All these, life's rambling journey done,
Have found their home, the grave.
Was man (frail always) made more frail
Than in foregoing years ?
Did famine or did plague prevail,
That so much death appears ?
No; these were vigorous as their sires,
Nor plague nor famine came;
This annual tribute Death requires,
And never waives his claim.
Like crowded forest-trees we stand,
And some are marked to fall;
The axe will smite at God's command,
And soon shall smite us all.
Green as the bay-tree, ever green,
With its new foliage on,
The gay, the thoughtless, have I seen,
I passed—and they were gone.
Read, ye that run, the awful truth
With which I charge my page ! A worm is in the bud of youth,
And at the root of age.
No present health can health insure,
Nor yet an hour to come ;
No medicine, though it oft can cure,
Can always balk the tomb.
And oh ! that humble as my lot,
And scorned as is my strain, These truths, though known, too much forgot,
I may not teach in vain.
So prays your Clerk with all his heart,
And, ere he quits the pen,
Begs you for once to take his part,
And answer all-Amen !
THE POET'S NEW YEAR'S GIFT.
For thee wished many a time, Both sad and in a cheerful mood,
But never yet in rhyme.
To wish thee fairer is no need,
More prudent or more sprightly, Or more ingenuous, or more freed
From temper-flaws unsightly.
What favour then not yet possessed
Can I for thee require,
In wedded love already blessed,
To thy whole heart's desire ?
None here is happy but in part ;
Full bliss is bliss divine ;
There dwells some wish in every heart,
And doubtless one in thine.
That wish, on some fair future day
Which fate shall brightly gild
('Tis blameless, be it what it may),
I wish it all fulfilled.
Afric's coast I left forlorn,
To increase a stranger's treasures,
O'er the raging billows borne.
Men from England bought and sold me,
Paid my price in paltry gold ;
But, though slave they have enrolled me,
Minds are never to be sold.
Still in thought as free as ever,
What are England's rights, I ask, Me from my delights to sever,
Me to torture, me to task ? Fleecy locks and black complexion
Cannot forfeit Nature's claim ; Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.