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Ah self-deceiv'd! Could I prophetick say
Who next is fated, and who next to fall, The rest might then seem privileg'd to play ;
But naming none, the voice now speaks to ALL.
Observe the dappled foresters, how light
They bound and airy o'er the sunny gladeOne falls—the rest, wide scatter'd with affright,
Vanish at once into the darkest shade.
Had we their wisdom, should we, often warn'd,
Still need repeated warnings, and at last, A thousand awful admonitions scorn'd,
Die self-accus'd of life run all to waste ?
Sad waste! for which no after-thrift atones,
admits no cure for guilt or sin ; Dew-drops may deck the turf that hides the bones,
But tears of godly grief ne'er flow within.
Learn then ye’living ! by the mouths be taught
Of all these sepulchres, instructers true, That, soon or late, death also is your lot,
And the next op’ning grave may yawn for you.
....Placidaque ibi demum morte quievit. VIRG. There calm at length he breath'd his soul away.
“O MOST delightful hour by man
Experienc'd here below,
His folly, and his wo!
Worlds should not bribe me back to tread
Again life's dreary waste,
With all the gloomy past.
My home henceforth is in the skies,
Earth, seas, and sun, adieu ! All Heav'n unfolded to my eyes,
I have no sight for you.”
So spake Aspasio, firm possess'd
Of faith's supporting rod,
The bosom of his God.
He was a man among the few
Sincere on virtue's side;
To hourly use applied.
That rule he priz’d, by that he fear'd,
He hated, hop'd, and lov'd;
But when his heart had rov'd.
For he was frail as thou or I,
And evil felt within ;
And loath'd the thought of sin.
Such liv'd Aspasio ; and at last
Call’d up from Earth to Heav'n,
By gales of blessing driv'n.
When my last hour arrives :
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,
So your verseman I and clerk,
Yearly in my song proclaim
And the foes 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,
Wins no notice, wakes no fears.
Can'a truth, by all confess'd
Of such magnitude and weight,
Trivial as a parrot's prate ?
Pleasure's call attention wins,
Hear it often as we may ;
Though committed every day.
Death and Judgment, Heaven and Hell
These alone, so often heard,
When some stranger is interr’d.
O then, ere the turf or tomb
Cover us from every eye,
Make us learn, that we must die.
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,
FOR THE YEAR 1792.
Felix, 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 best 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!
And still has pow'r to charm.