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He was a man among the few
Sincere on virtue's side ; And all his strength from Scripture drew,
To hourly use applied.
That rule he prized, by that he fear’d,
He hated, hoped, and loved ; Nor ever frown'd, or sad appear'd,
But when his heart had roved.
For he was frail as thou or I,
And evil felt within ;
And loathed the thought of sin.
Such lived Aspasio ; and at last
Call’d up from earth to heaven,
By gales of blessing driven.
His joys be mine, each reader cries,
When my last hour arrives : ,
when my They shall be yours, my verse replies,
Such only be your lives.
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,
FOR THE YEAR 1790,
Ne commonentem recta sperne.
He who sits from day to day
Where the prison'd lark is hung, Heedless of his loudest lay,
Hardly knows that he has sung.
Where the watchman in his round
Nightly lifts his voice on high, None, accustom’d to the sound,
Wakes the sooner for his cry.
So your verse-man I, and clerk,
Yearly in my song proclaim
And the foe's unerring aim.
Duly at my time I come, .
Publishing to all aloud-
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 every day.
Death and judgment, heaven 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 every eye, Spirit of instruction, come,
Make us learn that we must die.
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,
FOR THE YEAR 1792.
Felis, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
THANKLESS for favours from on high,
Man thinks he fades too soon; Though 'tis his privilege to die, Would he 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 its harm ! Strange world, that costs it so much smart,
And still has power to charm.
Whence has the world her magic power ?
Why deem we death a foe ? Recoil from weary life's best hour,
And covet longer woe?
The cause is Conscience-Conscience oft
Her tale of guilt renews:
And dread of death ensues.
Then anxious to be longer spared
Man mourns his fleeting breath: All evils then seem light, compared
With the approach of death.
'Tis judgment shakes him : there's the fear
That prompts the wish to stay: He has incurr'd a long arrear,
And must despair to pay.
Pay!--- follow Christ, and all is paid;
His death your peace ensures ; Think on the grave where he was laid,
And calm descend to yours.