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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,
WHILE thirteen moons saw smoothly run
The Nen's barge-laden wave,
Have found their home, the grave.
Than in foregoing years?
That so much death appears?
No; these were vigorous as their sires,
Nor plague nor famine came;
And never waves his claim.
Like crowded forest-trees we stand,
And some are mark'd to fall;
And soon shall smite us all.
Composed for John Cox, parish clerk of Northampton.
Green as the bay tree, ever green,
With its new foliage on,
I pass'd-and they were gone.
Read, ye that run, the awful 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 ensure
For yet an hour to come;
Can always balk the tomb.
And O! that, humble as my lot,
And scorn’d as is my strain, 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,
And answer all-Amen!
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,
FOR THE YEAR 1788.
Quod adest, memento
Could I, from Heaven inspired, as sure presage
To whom the rising year shall prove his last, As I can number in my punctual page,
And item down the victims of the past;
How each would trembling wait the mourpful
sheet, On which the press might stamp him next to die; And, reading here his sentence, how replete With anxious meaning, heavenward turn his
Time then would seem more precious than the joys
In which he sports away the treasure now; And prayer more seasonable than the noise
Of drunkards or the music-drawing bow.
Then doubtless many a trifler, on the brink
Of this world's hazardous and headlong shore, Forced to a pause, would feel it good to think,
Told that his setting sun must rise no more. VOL. II.
Ah self-deceived! Could I prophetic say
Who next is fated, and who next to fall, The rest might then seem privileged 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-accused of life run all to waste?
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.
Learn then, ye living! by the mouths be taught
Of all these sepulchres, instructors true, That, soon or late, death also is your lot,
And the next opening grave may yawn for you, ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,
FOR THE YEAR 1789.
-Placidaque ibi demum morte quievit.
O most delightful hour by man
Experienced here below,
His folly, and his woe! • Worlds should not bribe me back to tread
Again life's dreary waste,
With all the gloomy past.
Earth, seas, and sun, adieu!
I have no sight for you!
Of faith's supporting rod,
The bosom of his God.
Sincere on virtue's side;
To hourly use applied.
He hated, hoped, and loved;
But when his heart had roved.