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Such tales theirxcheer, at wake or gossiping,
When it draws near to witching time of night.
Oft' in the lone church-yard at night I've seen
By glimpse of moon-shine, checqu'ring through the trees,
The school-boy, with his satchel in his hands
Whistling aloud to bear his courage up,
And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones
(With nettles skirted, and with moss o'ergrown)
That tell in homely phrase who lie below;
Sudden he starts! and hears, or thinks he hears,
The sound of something purring at his heels:
Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him,
Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows;
Who gather round, and wonder at the tale
Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly,
Who walks at dead of night, or takes his stand
O'er some newopen'd grave; and, strange to tellf
Evanishes at crowing of the cock.
The new made widow too I've sometimes spied,
Sad sight! slow moving o'er the prostrate dead:
Listless she crawls along in doleful black,
While bursts of sorrow gush from either eye,
Fast falling down her now untasted cheek.
Prone on the lonely grave of the dear man
She drops; whilst busy meddling memory,
In barbarous succession, musters up
The past endearments of their softer hours,
Tenacious of its theme. Still, still she thinks
She sees him, and indulging.the fond thought,
Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf,
Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way.
Invidious grave! how dost thou rend in Sunder Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one! A tie more stubborn far than nature's band. Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul! Swcet'ner of life! and solder of society! I owe thee much. Thou hast deserv'd from me Far, far beyond what I can ever pay. Oft' have I prov'd the labours of thy love, And the warm efforts of the gentle heart Anxious to please. O! when my friend and I In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on. Hid from the vulgar eye; and sat us down Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank, Where the pure limpid stream has slid along In grateful errors through the under-wood Sweet murm'rinf*; methought, the shrill-tongu'd thrush Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird Mellow'd his pipe, and soften'd ev'ry note; The eglantine smeli'd sweeter, and the rose Assum'd a dye more deep; whilst ev'ry flower Vied with its fellow-plant in luxury Of dress. O! then the longest summer's day Seem'd too, too much in haste; still the full heart Had not imparted half: 'tvvas happiness Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed, Not to return, how painful the remembrance!
Culi grave! thou spoil'st the canee of youthful blood, 'Stnk'st qut the dimple from the cheek of mirth, And ev'ry smirking feature from the face; .Branding our laughter with the name of madness. Where are the jesters now? the men of health Complexionally pleasant? where the droll,
Whose cv'ry look and gesture was a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds,
And made ev'n thick lipp'd musing malancholy
To gather up her face into a smile
Before she was aware? Ah! sullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them!
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war,
The Roman Cnssars and the Grascian chiefs,
The boast of story? whcie the hot-brain'd youth,
Who the tiara at his pleasure tore
From kings of all the then discover'd globe;
And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hamper'd;
And had not room enough to do its work? *£f
Alas! how slim, dishonorably slim! 'jr
And cramm'd into a space we blush to name» .
Proud1 royalty! how alter'd in thy looks!
How Blank thy features, and how wan thy huei
Son ot the morning! whither art thou gone?
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar? pliant and pow'rless now;
Like new-born infant bound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife;
Mute must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base-born crowd, .
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst, v
But only hop'd.for in the peaceful Grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Araby's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And honors by the heralds duly paid
In mode and form, cv'n to a very scruple;
O cruel irony! these. come too late;
And only mock whom they were meant to honor.
Surely there's not a dungeon-slave that's burisd
In the highway, unshrouded and uncoifin'd,
Eut lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.
Sorry pre-eminence of high descent
Above the vulgar, born to rot in state!
But see! the well plum'd hearse comes nodding on
Stately and slow; and properly attended
By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch
The sick man's door and live upon the dead,
By letting out their persons by the hour
To mimic sorrow when the heart's not sad,
How rich the trappings, now they 're all unfurl'd
And glitt'ring in the Sun! triumphant entries
Of conquerors and coronation pomp?,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard the unweildy shew; whilst from the casements,
And houses* tops. ranks behind ranks close wedg'd
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste?
Why this ado in earthing up a carcase
i hat's fallen into disgrace, and in the nostril
Smells horrible? Ye untertakers! tell us,
'Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Why is the principal conceal'd, for which
You make this mighty stir? 'Tis wisely done;
What woirld offend the eye in a good picture*
The Painter casts discreetly into shades.
Proud lineage now how little thou appear'st'
Felow the envy of the private man!
Honor, that meddlesome officious ill,
Pursues thee ev'n to death; nor there slops shorn
Strange persecution! when the Grave itself
Is no protection from rude sufferance
Absurd! to think to over-reach the Grave,
And from the wreck of names to rescue ours!
The best concerted schemes men lay for fame
Die fast away: only themselves die faster.
The far-fam'd sculptor, and the laurel'd bard,
Those bold insurers of eternal fame,'
Supply their little feeble aids in vain.
The tap'ring pyramid; th. Egyptian's pride,
And wander of the world!. whose spiky top
Has w ounded the thick cloud, and long out-liv'J
The angry shaking of the winter's storm;
Yet spent at last by th' injuries of heav'n,
Shatter'd with age, and furrow'd o'er with yearsj
The mystic cone with hieroglyphics crusted
Gives way. O lamentable sight! at once
The labour of whole ages lumbers down,
A hideous and mis-shapen length of ruins.
Sepulchral columns wrestle but in vain
With all-subduing Time; her can'krihg hand
With calm deliberate malice wasteth them:
Worn on the edge o£ days, the brass consumes.
The busto.moulders, and the deep cut marble,
Unsteady to the steel, gives up its charge-
Ambition, half convicted of her folly,
Hangs down the head, and reddens at the tale*
Here all the mighty troublers of the earth, Who swam to sov'reign rule thro. seas of bloody Th' oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains*