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All fears of famine for the passing day;
March 20, 1799
Obscurest night involved the sky,
When such a destined wretch as I,
Of friends, of hope, of all bereft,
His floating home for ever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast
Nor ever ship left Albion's coast
He loved them both, but both in vain,
Nor him beheld, nor her again.
Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay;
Or courage die away;
He shouted: nor his friends had failed
But so the furious blast prevailed,
They left their outcast mate behind,
And scudded still before the wind.
Some succour yet they could afford;
And, such as storms allow,
Delayed not to bestow.
Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Aware that flight, in such a sea,
Yet bitter felt it still to die
Deserted, and his friends so nigh.
He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld;
His destiny repelled;
At length, his transient respite past,
Had heard his voice in every blast,
For then, by toil subdued, he drank
The stifling wave, and then he sank.
No poet wept him ; but the page
Of narrative sincere,
Is wet with Anson's tear:
I therefore purpose not, or dream,
Descanting on his fate,
A more enduring date:
No voice divine the storm allayed,
When, snatched from all effectual aid,
But I beneath a rougher sea,
And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.
MONUMENTAL INSCRIPTION TO WILLIAM NORTHCOT.
Hie sepultus est
later suorum lacrymas
GULIELMI et MARL^E filius
Unicus, unice dilectus,
Qui floris ritu succisus est semihiantis,
Aprilis die septimo,
1780, ALt. 10.
Care, vale! Sed non Eeternum, care, valeto!
Namque iterum tecum, sim modo dignus, ero.
Nee tu marcesces, nee lacrymabor ego.
Farewell !" But not for ever," Hope replies,
I AM just two and two, I am warm, I am cold,
A Riddle by Cowper
Made me swear like a trooper;
For remembering the bliss
Of beauty's soft Kiss,
IN SEDITIONEM HORRENDAM,
CORKUPTELIS GALLICIS UT FERTUR, LONDINI NUPER EXORTAM.
Perfida, crudelis, victa et lymphata furore,
Non armis, laurum Gallia fraude petit. Venalem pretio plebem conducit, et urit
Undique privatas patriciasque domos.
Posse tamen nostra nos superare manu.
Nam mites timidis supplicibusque sumus.
False, cruel, disappointed, stung to the heart,
Cowper had sinned with some excuse,
If, bound in rhyming tethers,
Of changing ewes for wethers ;1
1 I have heard about my wether mutton from various quarters. It was a blunder hardly pardonable in a man who has lived amid fields and meadows, grazed by sheep, almost these thirty years. I have accordingly satirised myself in two stanzas which I composed last night, while I lay awake, tormented with pain, and well dosed with laudanum. If you find them not-very brilliant, therefore, you will know how to account for it.—Letter to JoseM- Hill, April 15, I792.
But, male for female is a trope,
That would have startled even Pope,
t'BJOINED TO THE YEARLY BILL OP MORTALITY OF THE PARISH OP ALL-SAINTS, NORTHAMPTON.*
Anno Domini 1787.
Pallida Mors iequo pulsat pede paupgrum tabemas,
Regumque turres. Horace.
Pale Death with equal foot strikes wide the door
While thirteen moons saw smoothly run
The Nen's barge-laden wave,
Have found their home, the grave.
Was man (frail always) made more frail
Than in foregoing years?
That so much death appears?
No; these were vigorous as their sires,
Nor plague nor famine came;
And never waives his claim.
Like crowded forest-trees we stand,
And some are marked to fall;
And soon shall smite us all.
Green as the bay tree, ever green,
With its new foliage on,
I passed,—and they were gone.
Read, ye that run, the awful truth
A worm is in the bud of youth,
No present health can health insure
For yet an hour to come;
Can always balk the tomb.
And oh! that humble as my lot,
And scorned as is my strain,
I may not teach in vain.
1 Composed for John Cox, parish clerk of Northampton.
So prays your Clerk with all his heart,
And, ere he quits the pen,
And answer all—Amen!
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,
For the Year 1788.
Quod adest, memento
Improve the present hour, for all beside
Could I, from Heaven inspired, as sure presage
As I can number in my punctual page,
How each would trembling wait the mournful sheet
And, reading here his sentence, how replete
With anxious meaning, heavenward turn his eye J
Time then would seem more precious than the joys
And prayer more seasonable than the noise
Then doubtless many a trifler, on the brink
Forced to a pause, would feel it good to think,
Ah self-deceived! Could I prophetic say
The rest might then seem privileged to play;
Observe the dappled foresters, how light
One falls—the rest, wide scattered with affright,
Had we their wisdom, should we, often warned,
A thousand awful admonitions scorned,
Sad waste! for which no after-thrift atones!
The grave admits no cure for guilt or sin; Dewdrops may deck the turf that hides the bones,
But tears of godly grief ne'er flow within.