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Thus every beauteous object that I view
Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
'Though battle call me from thy arms,
Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Though cannons roar, yet, safe from harms,
William shall to his dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye.'
The boatswain gave the dreadful word;
The sails their swelling bosom spread; No longer must she stay aboard:
They kissed-she sighed—he hung his head. Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land; 'Adieu !' she cries, and waved her lily hand.
Life is a jest, and all things show it:
I thought so once, but now I know it.
Pensive beneath a spreading oak I stood
That veiled the hollow channel of the flood:
Along whose shelving bank the violet blue
And primrose pale in lovely mixture grew.
High overarched the bloomy woodbine hung,
The gaudy goldfinch from the maple sung;
The little warbling minstrel of the shade
To the gay morn her due devotion paid
Next, the soft linnet echoing to the thrush
With carols filled the smelling briar-bush;
While Philomel attuned her artless throat,
And from the hawthorn breathed a trilling note.
Indulgent Nature smiled in every part,
And filled with joy unknown my ravished heart:
Attent I listened while the feathered throng
Alternate finished and renewed their song.
FROM ON THE DEATH OF MR. ADDISON
Can I forget the dismal night that gave
My soul's best part forever to the grave ?
How silent did his old companions tread,
By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead,
Through breathing statues, then unheeded things,
Through rows of warriors, and through walks of kings!
What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;
The pealing organ, and the pausing choir;
The duties by the lawn-robed prelate paid;
And the last words, that dust to dust conveyed !
While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend,
Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend.
Oh, gone forever! take this long adieu ;
And sleep in peace next thy loved Montague!
To strew fresh laurels, let the task be mine,
A frequent pilgrim at thy sacred shrine;
Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,
And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
If e'er from me thy loved memorial part,
May shame afflict this alienated heart;
Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
My lyre be broken, and untuned my tongue,
My griefs be doubled from thy image free,
And mirth a torment, unchastised by thee!
Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone,
(Sad luxury to vulgar minds unknown)
Along the walls where speaking marbles show
What worthies form the hallowed mould below;
Proud names, who once the reins of empire held;
In arms who triumphed, or in arts excelled;
Chiefs graced with scars and prodigal of blood;
Stern patriots who for sacred freedom stood;
Just men by whom impartial laws were given;
And saints who taught and led the way to Heaven.
Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation came a nobler guest;
Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed
A fairer spirit or more welcome shade.
That awful form (which, so ye Heavens decree,
Must still be loved and still deplored by me,)
In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
Or, roused by fancy, meets my waking eyes.
If business calls or crowded courts invite,
Th’ unblemished statesman seems to strike my sight;
If in the stage I seek to soothe my care,
I meet his soul which breathes in Cato there;
If pensive to the rural shades I rove,
His shape o’ertakes me in the lonely grove;
'Twas there of just and good he reasoned strong,
Cleared some great truth, or raised some serious song:
There patient showed us the wise course to steer,
A candid censor, and a friend severe;
There taught us how to live, and (oh! too high
The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.
FROM A NIGHT-PIECE ON DEATH
By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o’er;
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.
How deep yon azure dyes the sky,
Where orbs of gold unnumbered lie,
While through their ranks in silver pride
The nether crescent seems to glide!
The slumbering breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,
Where once again the spangled show
Descends to meet our eyes below.
The grounds which on the right aspire,
In dimness from the view retire:
The left presents a place of graves,
Whose wall the silent water laves.
That steeple guides thy doubtful sight
Among the livid gleams of night.
There pass, with melancholy state,
By all the solemn heaps of fate,
And think, as softly-sad you tread
Above the venerable dead,
‘Time was, like thee they life possessed,
And time shall be, that thou shalt rest.'
Those graves, with bending osier bound,
That nameless heave the crumbled ground,
Quick to the glancing thought disclose,
Where toil and poverty repose.
The flat smooth stones that bear a name,
The chisel's slender help to fame,
(Which ere our set of friends decay
Their frequent steps may wear away;)
A middle race of mortals own,
Men, half ambitious, all unknown.
The marble tombs that rise on high,
Whose dead in vaulted arches lie,
Whose pillars swell with sculptured stones,
Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones;
These, all the poor remains of state,
Adorn the rich, or praise the great;
Who while on earth in fame they live,
Are senseless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades!
All slow, and wan, and wrapped with shrouds
They rise in visionary crowds,
And all with sober accent cry,
Think, mortal, what it is to die.'
Now from yon black and funeral yew
That bathes the charnel house with dew
Methinks I hear a voice begin:
(Ye ravens, cease your croaking din;
Ye tolling clocks, no time resound
O’er the long lake and midnight ground)
It sends a peal of hollow groans
Thus speaking from among the bones :
'When men my scythe and darts supply,
How great a king of fears am I!
They view me like the last of things:
They make, and then they dread, my stings.
Fools! if you less provoked your fears,
No more my spectre-form appears.
Death's but a path that must be trod
If man would ever pass to God,
A port of calms, a state of ease
From the rough rage of swelling seas.'
Lovely, lasting peace of mind!
Sweet delight of humankind!
Heavenly-born, and bred on high,
To crown the favourites of the sky
With more of happiness below
Than victors in a triumph know!
Whither, ( whither art thou fled,
To lay thy meek, contented head?
What happy region dost thou please
To make the seat of calms and ease?
Ambition searches all its sphere
Of pomp and state, to meet thee there.
Increasing Avarice would find
Thy presence in its gold enshrined.