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STANZAS

Subjoined to the Yearly Bill of Mortality of the
Parish of

ALL-SAINTS, NORTHAMPTON,

Anno Domini 1787.

Pallida Mors æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas,

Regumque turres.

HORACE.

Pale death with equal foot ftrikes wide the door

Of royal halls, and hovels of the poor.

WHILE thirteen moons faw fmoothly run
The Nen's barge-laden wave,

All thefe, life's rambling journey done,
Have found their home, the grave.

Was man (frail always) made more frail
Than in foregoing years?

Did famine or did plague prevail,

That so much death appears?

No; these were vigorous as their fires,

Nor plague nor famine came;

This annual tribute death requires,

And never waves his claim.

Like crowded foreft-trees we ftand,
And fome are marked to fall;
The axe will fmite at God's command,
And foon fhall fmite us all.

Green as the bay-tree, ever green,
With its new foliage on,

The gay, the thoughtless, I have feen,
I paffed-and they were gone.

Read, ye that run, the folemn truth,
With which I charge my page;
A worm is in the bud of youth,
And at the root of age.

No present health can health insure
For yet an hour to come;

No medicine, though it often cure,
Can always baulk the tomb.

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And Oh! that humble as my lot,

And fcorned as is my ftrain,

These truths, though known, too much forgot,
I may not teach in vain.

So prays your clerk with all his heart,

And ere he quits the pen,

Begs you for once to take his part

And anfwer all-Amen!

ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,

FOR THE YEAR 1788.

Quod adest, memento

Componere æquus. Cætera fluminis

Ritu feruntur.

Improve the prefent hour, for all befide
Is a mere feather on a torrent's tide.

COULD I, from heaven infpired, as fure prefage
To whom the rifing year fhall prove his last,
As I can number in my punctual page,

And item down the victims of the past;

HOR.

How each would trembling wait the mournful sheet,
On which the press might stamp him next to die;
And, reading here his fentence, how replete
With anxious meaning, heaven-ward turn his eye!

Time then would feem more precious than the joys,
In which he sports away the treasure now;
And prayer more feasonable than the noise
Of drunkards, or the mufic-drawing bow.

Then doubtless many a trifler, on the brink
Of this world's hazardous and headlong fhore,
Forced to a paufe, would feel it good to think,
Told that his fetting fun muft rise no more.

Ah felf-deceived! Could I prophetic fay
Who next is fated, and who next to fall,
The reft might then feem privileged to play;
But, naming none, the Voice now fpeaks to ALL.

Obferve the dappled forefters, how light

They bound, and airy o'er the funny glade-
One falls the reft, wide-fcattered with affright,
Vanish at once into the darkeft fhade.

Had we their wifdom, fhould we often warned,
Still need repeated warnings, and at last,
A thoufand awful admonitions fcorned,
Die felf-accufed of life run all to wafte?

Sad wafte! for which no after-thrift atones.
The grave admits no cure for guilt or fin;
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 fepulchres, inftru&tors true,
That, foon or late, death alfo is your lot,

And the next opening grave may yawn for you.

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