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Sure 'tis a serious thing to die! my soul!
If death was nothing, and nought after death; -
Then must it be an awful thing to die;
Tell us, ye dead! will none of you in pity .
O! that some courteous ghost would blab it out*
What 'tis yotf are, and we must shortly be.
I've heard, that souls departed have sometimes
Forewarn'd men of their death: 'twas kindly done
To knock and give th* alarum. But what means
This stinted charity? 'tis but lame kindness
That does its work by halves. Why might jgu not
Tell us what 'tis to die? Do the strict laws
Of your society forbid your speaking
Upon a point so nicer I'll ask no more;
Sullen, like lamps in sepulchres, your shine
Enlightens but yourselves: well:—'tis no matter:
A very little time will clear up alJJ
And make us learn'd as you are, and as close.
Death's shafts fly thick! Here falls the village swain,. And there his pamper'd lord! The cup goes round, And who so artful as to put it by? 'T is long since death had the majority; Yet, strange I the living lay it not to heartw See yonder maker of.the dead man's bed, The Sexton, hoary-headed chronicle! Of'hard unmeaning face, down which ne'er stole A gentle tear; with mattock in his hand Digs thro' whole rows of kindred and. acquaintance By far bis juniors? scarce a scull's cast up, But well he knew its owner, and can tell Some passage of his life. Thus hand in hand The sot has walk'd with death twice twenty years; And yet ne'er younker on the green laughs louder, Or clubs a smuttier tale; when drunkards meet, None sings a merrier catch, or lends a hand More willing to his cup. Poor wretch! he minds. not,.
That soon some trusty brother of the trade
On this side, and on that, men see their friends
The great negociators of the earth,
And celebrated masters of the balance,
Deep read in stratagems, and wiles of courts:
Now vain their treaty-skill! Death scorns to treat.
Here the o'erloaded slave flings down his burthen
From his gall'd shoulders; and when the cruel tyrant..
With all his guards and tools of pow'r about him,
Is meditating new unheard-of hardships,
Mocks his short arm, and quick as thought escapes,
Where tyrants vex not, and the weary rest.
Here the warm lover, leaving the cool shade,
The tell-tale echo and the bubbling stream,
Time out of mind the favourite seats of love,
Fast by his gentle mistress lays him down
Unblasted by foul tongue. Here friends and foes
Lie close, unmindful of their former feuds.
The lawn-rob'd prelate, and plain presbyter,
Ere while that stood aloof, as shy to meet,
Familiar mingle here, like sister streams
That some rude interposing rock had split.
Here is the large-limb'd peasant: here the child
Of a span long, that never saw the sun,
Nor press'd the nipple, strangl'd in life's porch;
Here is the mother with her sons and daughters;
The barren wife; the long demuring maid
Whose lonely unappropriated sweets
Smil'd like yon knot of cowslips on the cliff,
Not to be come at by the willing hand.
Here are the prude severe, and gay coquette,
The sober widow, and the young green virgin,
Cropp'd like a rose before 'tis fully blown,
Or half its worth disclos'd. Strange medley here