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ODE ON THE DEATH OF A LADY,
WHO LIVED ONE HUNDRED YEARS, AND DIED ON
HER BIRTHDAY, 1728.
ANCIENT dame, how wide and vast,
To a race like ours appears, Rounded to an orb at last,
All thy multitude of years ! , We, the herd of humankind,
Frailer and of feebler powers; We, to narrow bounds confined,
Soon exhaust the sum of ours. Death's delicious banquet-we
Perish even from the womb, Swifter than a shadow flee,
Nourish'd but to feed the tomb. Seeds of merciless disease
Lurk in all that we enjoy; Some that waste us by degrees,
Some that suddenly destroy. And if life o'erleap the bourn,
Common to the sons of men, What remains, but that we mourn,
Dream, and dote, and drivel then ? Fast as moons can wax and wane,
Sorrow comes; and, while we groan, Pant with anguish, and complain,
Half our years are fled and gone. VOL. II.
If a few (to few 'tis given),
Lingering on this earthly stage, Creep and halt, with steps uneven,
To the period of an age,
Wherefore live they, but to see
Cunning, arrogance, and force, Sights lamented much by thee,
Holding their accustom'd course?
Oft was seen, in ages past,
All that we with wonder view; Often shall be to the last;
Earth produces nothing new.
Thee we gratulate; content,
Should propitious Heaven design Life for us, as calmly spent,
Though but half the length of thine.
The pleadings swell. Words still suffice; · No single word but has its price:
No term but yields some fair pretence
Defendant thus becomes a name,
THE SILKWORM. "
The beams of April, ere it goes,
And though a worm, when he was lost,
THE INNOCENT THIEF.
Not a flower can be found in the fields,
Or the spot that we till for our pleasure, From the largest to least, but it yields
The Bee, never wearied, a treasure.
Scarce any she quits unexplored,
With a diligence truly exact;
Leaves evidence none of the fact.
Her lucrative task she pursues,
And pilfers with so much address That none of their odour they lose,
Nor charm by their beauty the less,
Not thus inoffensively preys
The canker-worm, indwelling foe!
The sparrow, the finch, or the crow.
T'he pride of the garden devours;
Still less to be spared than the flowers.
But she, with such delicate skill,
Her pillage so fits for her use
Would labour the like to produce.
Then grudge not her temperate meals,
Nor a benefit blame as a theft;
Neither honey nor wax would be left.
DENNER'S OLD WOMAN. In this mimic form of a matron in years, How plainly the pencil of Denner appears ! The matron herself, in whose old age we see Not a trace of decline, what a wonder is she! No dimness of eye, and no cheek hanging low, No wrinkle or deep-furrow'd frown on the brow! Her forehead indeed is here circled around With locks like the riband with which they are bound;