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One burst of filial duty and condolence,
O'er all the ample desarts death hath spread!
This chaos of mankind. Ogreat man-eater !
Whose ev'ry day is carnival, not fated yet!
Unheard of epicure! without a fellow!
The verieft gluttons do not always cram;
Some intervals of abftinence are fought
To edge the appetite: thou seekest none.
Methinks the countless swarms thou hast devour'd,
And thousands that each hour thou gobblest up,
This, less than this, might gorge thee to the full:
But, ahl rapacious still, thou gap'ft for more;
Like one whole days defrauded of his meals,
On whom lank hunger lays his skinny hand,
And whets to keenest eagerness his cravings,
(As if diseafes, massacres, and poison,
Famine and war, were not thy caterers !)
But know, that thou must render up thy dead, And with high int'rest too! They are not thine, But only in thy keeping for a season,
Till the great promis' day of restitution !
When loud diffusive sounds from brazen trump
Of strong-lung'd cherubs shall alarm thy captives,
And rouse the long, long tleepers into life.
Then must thy gates fly open, and reveal
The mines that long lay forming underground,
In their dark cells immur'd; but now full ripe,
And pure as silver from the crucible,
That twice has stood the torture of the fire
And inquisition of the forge. We know
Th'illustrious deliv'rer of mankind,
The Son of God, once vanquish'd thee. His pow'r
Thou could'tt not stand : self-vigorous he rose,
And, shaking off thy fetters, foon retook
Those spoils his voluntary yielding lent.
(Sure pledge of our releasement from thy thrall;)
Twice twenty days he fojourn d here on earth,
And thew'd himself alive to chosen witnesses,
By proofs so strong, that the most now allenting
Had not a scruple left. This having done,
He mounted up to heav'n. Methinks I see him
Climb the aërial heights, and glide along
Across the severing clouds : but the faint eye,
Thrown backwards in the chase, soon drops its hold,
Disabled quite, and jaded with pursuing.
Heaven's portals wide expand to let him in;
Nor are his friends shut out: as some great prince
Not for himself alone procures admission,
But for his train; it was his royal will,
That where he is, there should his followers be.
Death only lies between ;-a gloomy path!
Made yet more gloomy by our coward fears !
But not untrod, nor tedious: the fatigue
Will foon go off. Besides, there's no by-road
To bliss. Then why, like ill-condition'd children,
Start we at transient hardships, in the way
That leads to purer air and softer 1kies,
And a ne'er-setting sun? Fools that we are !
We wish to be where sweets unfading bloom ;
But straight our wish revoke, and will not go.
So have I seen upon a summer's eve,
Close by the riv'let's brink, a youngster play:
How withfully he looks to stem the tide,
This moment resolute, next unresoly'd :
At last he dips his foot; but, as he dips,
His fears redouble, and he runs away
From th' inoffensive stream, unmindful now
Of all the flow'rs that paint the further bank,
And smild so sweet of late. Thrice welcome death!
That after many a painful bleeding step
Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe
On the long with’d-for shore. Prodigious change!
Our bane turn’d to a blesling ! Death disarm’d
Loses his fellness quite. All thanks to him
Who scourg'd the venom out. Sure the last end
Of the good man is peace. How calm his exit !
The night-dews fall not gentlier to the ground,
Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him in the ev’ning-tide of life,-
A life well spent, whose early care it was
His riper years should not upbraid his youth:
By unperceiv'd degrees he wears away ;
Yet like the sun seems larger at his setting !
High in his faith and hopes, look how he strives
To gain the prize in view! and, like a bird
That's hamperd, struggles hard to get away!
Whilst the glad gates of fight are wide expanded
To let new glories in, the first fair fruits
Of the first coming harvest. Then; oh then!
Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears,
Shrunk to a thing of nought. Oh! how he longs
To have his passport sign'd, and be dismissd!
'Tis done :-and now he's happy :-the glad soul
Has not a with uncrown'd. Ev’n the lag flesh
Rests too in hope of meeting once again
Its better half, never to funder more.
Nor shall it hope in vain : the time draws on
When not a single spot of burial earth,
Whether on land, or in the spacious sea,
But must give back its long committed duft