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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 aloudSoon 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.
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.
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,
FOR THE YEAR 1792.
Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
Happy the mortal, who has trac'd effects
THANKLESS for favours from on high,
Man thinks he fades too soon; Though 'tis his privilege to die, Would be improve the boon.
But he, not wise enough to scan
His blest concerns aright,
To ages, if he might.
To ages in a world of pain,
To ages, where he goes
And hopeless of repose.
Strange fondness of the human heart,
Enamour'd of it's harm! Strange world, that costs it so much smart,
And still has pow'r to charm.
Whence has the world her magic 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:
And dread of death ensues.
Then anxious to be longer spar'd
Man mourns his fleeting breath: All evils then seem light, compar'd
With the approach of Death.