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ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.
FOR THE YEAR 1790.
Ne commonentem recta sperne.
HE who sits from day to day,
Where the prison d lark is hung,
Hardly knows that he has sung.
Where the watchman in his round
Nightly lifts his voice on high,
Wakes the sooner for his cry.
So your verse-man I, and clerk,
Yearly in my song proclaim
And the foe's unerring aim.
Duly at my time I come,
Publishing to all aloud
And your only suit, a shroud.
But the monitory strain,
Oft repeated in your ears, Seems to sound too much in vain,
Wins no notice, wakes no fears.
Can a truth, by all confess'd
Of such magnitude and weight, Grow, by being oft impress'd,
Trivial as a parrot’s prate ?
Pleasure's call attention wins,
Hear it often as we may ; New as ever seem our sins,
Though committed ev'ry day.
Death and Judgment, Heav'n and Hell
These alone, so often heard, No more move us than the bell,,
When some stranger is interr’d.
O then, ere the turf or tomb
Cover us from ev'ry eye, Spirit of instruction come,
Make us learn, that we must die.
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,
FOR THE YEAR 1992.
Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
THANKLESS for favours from on high,
Man thinks he fades too soon;
Would be improve the boon.
But he, not wise enough to scan
His blest concerns aright,
To ages, if he might.
To ages in a world of pain,
To ages, where he goes
And hopeless of repose.
Strange fondness of the human heart,
Enamour'd of its harm!
Strange world, that costs it so much smart,
And still has pow'r to charm.
Whence has the world her magick pow'r ?
Why deem we death a foe? Recoil from weary life's best hour,
And covet longer wo?
The cause is Conscience-Conscience oft
Her tale of guilt renews :
And dread of death ensues.
Then anxious to be longer spar'd
Man mourns his fleeting breath : All evils then seem light, compar'd
With the approach of Death.
'Tis judgment shakes him ; there's the fear,
That prompts the wish to stay; He has incurr'd a long arrear,
And must despair to pay.
Pay!—follow Christ, and all is paid :
His death your peace ensures; Think on the grave where he was laid,
And calm descend to yours.
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.
FOR THE YEAR 1793.
De sacris autem hac sit una sententia, ut conserventur.-Cic. DE LEG.
But let us all concur in this one sentiment, that things sacred be inviolate.
HE lives, who lives to God alone,
And all are dead beside ;
Whence life can be supplied.
To live to God is to requite
His love as best we may;
His promises our stay.
But life, within a narrow ring
Of giddy joys compris’d,
But rather death disguis’d.
Can life in them deserve the name,
Who only live to prove
An endless life above?