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THE BOROUGH.

LETTER II.

THE CHURCH.

Festinat enim decurrere velox
Flosculus angustæ miseræque brevissima vitæ
Portio ! dum bibimus, dum serta, unguenta, puellas
Poscimus, obrepit non intellecta senectus.

Juvenal. Satir. ix. lin. 126.

And when at last thy love shall die,

Wilt thou receive his parting breath ? Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh, And cheer with smiles the bed of death ?

Percy.

Several Meanings of the word Church- The Building so called,

here intended—Its Antiquity and Grandeur-Columns and Ailes—The Tower: the Stains made by Time compared with the mock Antiquity of the Artist-Progress of Vegetation on such Buildings Bells—Tombs: one in decay—Mural Monuments, and the Nature of their Inscriptions—An Instance in a departed Burgess—Churchyard GravesMourners for the Dead—A Story of a betrothed Pair in humble Life, and Effects of Grief in the Survivor.

THE BOROUGH,

LETTER II.

THE CHURCH.

“ What is a Church ?”—Let Truth and Reason speak, They would reply, “ The faithful, pure, and meek ; 6 From Christian folds, the one selected race, “Of all professions, and in every place."

" What is a Church?”—“A flock," our vicar cries, 66 Whom bishops govern and whom priests advise ;

Wherein are various states and due degrees, “The bench for honour, and the stall for ease; "That ease be mine, which, after all his cares, “ The pious, peaceful prebendary shares,"

What is a Church ?”–Our honest sexton tells, 'Tis a tall building, with a tower and bells; o Where priest and clerk with joint exertion strive « To keep the ardour of their flock alive;

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“ That, by his periods eloquent and grave;
" This, by responses, and a well-set stave:
“ These for the living; but when life be fled,
“ I toll myself the requiem for the dead."

'Tis to this Church I call thee, and that place
Where slept our fathers when they'd run their race: -
We too shall rest, and then our children keep
Their road in life, and then, forgotten, sleep;
Meanwhile the building slowly falls away,
And, like the builders, will in time decay.
The old foundation,

but it is not clear When it was laid—you care not for the year ; On this, as parts decay'd by time and storms, Arose these various disproportion'd forms; Yet Gothic, all the learn’d who visit us (And our small wonders) have decided thus: “ Yon noble Gothic arch,” “ That Gothic door;" So have they said; of proof you'll need no more.

Here large plain columns rise in solemn style, You'd love the gloom they make in either aile; When the sun's rays, enfeebled as they pass (And shorn of splendour) through the storied glass, Faintly display the figures on the floor, Which pleased distinctly in their place before.

But ere you enter, yon bold tower survey, Tall and entire, and venerably gray,

For ever

For time has soften'd what was harsh when new,
And now the stains are all of sober hue;
The living stains which Nature's hand alone,
Profuse of life, pours forth upon the stone;

growing; where the common eye
Can but the bare and rocky bed descry:
There Science loves to trace her tribes minute,
The juiceless foliage, and the tasteless fruit ;
There she perceives them round the surface creep,
And while they meet, their due distinction keep;
Mix'd but not blended; each its name retains,
And these are Nature's ever-during stains.

And wouldst thou, artist! with thy tints and brush,
Form shades like these? Pretender, where thy blush ?
In three short hours shall thy presuming hand
Th' effect of three slow centuries command ? (1)
Thou may'st thy various greens and grays contrive,

are not lichens, nor like aught alive;

yet proceed, and when thy tints are lost, Fled in the shower, or crumbled by the frost; When all thy work is done away as clean As if thou never spread'st thy gray and green; Then may'st thou see how Nature's work is done, How slowly true she lays her colours on; When her least speck upon the hardest flint Has mark and form and is a living tint;

They But

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