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THE CERTAINTY OF DEATH.

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Thick fly the shafts of Death, And lo ! the savage spoiler spreads

A thousand toils beneath.

In vain we trifle with our fate;

Try every art in vain ;
At best we but prolong the date,

And lengthen out our pain.
Fondly we think all danger fled,

For death is ever nigh ;
Outstrips our unavailing speed,

Or meets us as we fly.
Thus the wrecked mariner may strive

Some desert shore to gain,
Secure of life, if he survive

The fury of the main.
But there, to famine doomed a prey,

Finds the mistaken wretch,
He but escaped the troubled sea

To perish on the beach,
Since then in vain we strive to guard

Our frailty from the foe,
Lord, let me live not unprepared

To meet the fatal blow !

THE CASTAWAY.

BSCUREST night involved the sky,

When such a destined wretch as I,

Washed headlong from on board,
Of friends, of hope, of all berest,
His floating home for ever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast

Than he with whom he went,
Nor ever ship left Albion's coast

With warmer wishes sent.
He loved them both, but both in vain ;
Nor him beheld, nor her again,
Not long beneath the whelming brine,

Expert to swim, he lay;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline,

Or courage died away ;
But waged with death a lasting strife,
Supported by despair of life.
He shouted ; nor his friends had failed

To check the vessel's course,
But so the furious blast prevailed,

That pitiless perforce
They left their outcast mate behind,
And scudded still before the wind.

Some succour yet they could afford;

And, such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated cord,

Delayed not to bestow :
But he, they knew, nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.

Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he

Their haste himself condemn,
Aware that flight, in such a sea,

Alone could rescue them;
Yet bitter felt it still to die
Deserted, and his friends so nigh.
He long survives who lives an hour

In ocean, self-upheld :
And so long he, with unspent power,

His destiny repelled :
And ever as the minutes flew,
Entreated help, or cried—“Adieu !'
At length, his transient respite past,

His comrades, who before
Had heard his voice in every hlast,

Could catch the sound no more:
For then, by toil subdued, he drank
The stifling wave, and then he sank,
No poet wept him; but the page

Of narrative sincere,
That tells his name, his worth, his age,

Is wet with Anson's tear :
And tears by bards or heroes shed
Alike immortalise the dead.
I therefore purpose not, or dreain,

Descanting on his fate,
To give the melancholy theme

A more enduring date :
But misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another's case.
No voice divine the storm allayed,

No light propitious shone,

When, snatched from all effectual aid,

We perished, each alone :
But I, beneath a rougher sea,
And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.

Written March 20, 1799; being the last original poem of the author. It is founded on a story in Anson's Voyage, which Cowper had not looked into for nearly twenty years.

Translations of the Latin and Italian Poems

of Milton.

ON THE APPROACH OF SPRING.

WRITTEN IN THE AUTHOR'S TWENTIETH YEAR.

"IME, never wand'ring from his annual round,

the

ground; Bleak winter flies, new verdure clothes the plain, And earth assumes her transient youth again. Dream I, or also to the Spring belong Increase of genius and new pow'rs of song? Spring gives them, and, how strange soe'er it seems, Impels me now to some harmonious themes. Catalia's mountain and the forked hill, By day, by night, my raptured fancy fill ; My bosom burns and heaves, I hear within A sacred sound, that prompts me to begin. Lo ! Phæbus comes, with his bright hair he blends The radiant laurel wreath ; Phoebus descends ;

I mount, and, undepress'd by cumb'rous clay,
Through cloudy regions win my easy way ;
Rapt, through poetic shadowy haunts I fly:
The shrines all open to my dauntless eye,
My spirit searches all the realms of light,
And no Tartarean gulfs elude my sight.
By this ecstatic trance—this glorious storm
Of inspiration—what will it perform ?
Spring claims the verse, that with his influence glows,
And shall be paid with what himself bestows.

Thou, veiled with op'ning foliage, lead'st the throng
Of feather'd minstrels, Philomel 1 in song ;
Let us, in concert, to the season sing,
Civic and sylvan heralds of the Spring !

With notes triumphant Spring's approach declare ! To Spring, ye Muses, annual tribute bear ! The Orient left, and Æthiopia's plains, The Sun now northward turns his golden reins ; Night creeps not now; yet rules with gentle sway ; And drives her dusky horrors swift away ; Now less fatigued, on this ethereal plain Boötes follows his celestial wain : And now the radiant sentinels above, Less num'rous, watch around the courts of Jove, For, with the night, force, ambush, slaughter fly, And no gigantic guilt alarms the sky. Now haply says some shepherd, while he views, Recumbent on a rock, the redd’ning dews, This night, this surely, Phæbus miss'd the fair, Who stops his chariot by her am'rous care. Cynthia, delighted by the morning's glow, Speeds to the woodland, and resumes her bow; Resigns her beams, and, glad to disappear, Blesses his aid, who shortens her career. Come-Phæbus cries—Aurora come-too late

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