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Beauty—thou pretty plaything, dear deceit, That steals so softly o'er the stripling's heart, And gives it a new pulse, unknown before, The grave discredits thee: thy charms expunged, Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soil'd, What hast thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers Flock round thee now, to gaze and do thee homage ? Methinks I see thee with thy head low laid, Whilst surfeited upon thy damask cheek The high fed worm, in lazy volumes rollid, Riots unscared.--For this was all thy caution? For this thy painful labours at thy glass? T' improve those charms, and keep them in repair, For which the spoiler thanks thee not. Foul feeder, Coarse fare and carrion please thee full as well, And leave as keen a relish on the sense. Look how the fair one weeps ! the conscious tears Stand thick as dewdrops on the bells of flow’rs : Honest effusion! the swoll'n heart in vain Works hard to put a gloss on its distress.
Sure 'tis a serious thing to die! My soul, What a strange moment must it be, when, near Thy journey's end, thou hast the gulf in view! That awful gulf no mortal e'er repass'd To tell what's doing on the other side. Nature runs back, and shudders at the sight, And every life-string bleeds at thoughts of parting ; For part they must: body and soul must part; Fond couple ! link'd more close than wedded pair, This wings its way to its almighty source, The witness of its actions, now its judge ; That drops into the dark and noisome grave, Like a disabled pitcher of no use.
Tell us, ye dead, will none of you, in pity
To those you left behind, disclose the secret ;
Poor man! how happy once in thy first state!
When yet but warm from thy great Maker's hand,
Sure the last end Of the good man is peace! How calm his exit! Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground, Nor weary, worn-out winds expire so soft. Behold him in the evening-tide of life, A life well-spent, whose early care it was His riper years should not upbraid his green ; By unperceived degrees he wears away; Yet, like the sun, seems larger at his setting. (High in his faith and hopes), look how he reaches After the prize in view! and, like a bird That's hamperd, struggles hard to get away: Whilst the glad gates of sight are wide expanded To let new glories in, the first fair fruits Of the fast-coming harvest.-Then, oh then! Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears, Shrunk to a thing of naught.-Oh! how he longs To have his passport sign'd, and be dismiss'd! 'Tis done! and now he's happy!The glad soul Has not a wish uncrown'd.-Ev'n the lag flesh Rests too in hope of meeting once again Its better half, never to sunder more. Nor shall it hope in vain.—The time draws on When not a single spot of burial earth, Whether on land or in the spacious sea, But must give back its long-committed dust Inviolate : and faithfully shall these Make up the full account; not the least atom Embezzled or mislaid of the whole tale. Each soul shall have a body ready furnish'd ; And each shall have his own. Hence, ye profane ! Ask not how this can be.-Sure the same pow'r That reard the piece at first, and took it down, Can reassemble the loose scatter'd parts, And put them as they were. Almighty God Has done much more ; nor is his arm impaired Through length of days: and what he can, he will : His faithfulness stands bound to see it done. When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumb’ring dust
(Not unattentive to the call) shall wake:
JAMES THOMSON. 1700-1748.
THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.
Oн mortal man, who livest here by toil, Do not complain of this thy hard estate; That like an emmet thou must ever moil, Is a sad sentence of an ancient date; And, certes, there is for it reason great; [wail, For, though sometimes it makes thee weep and And curse thy star, and early drudge and late, Withouten that would come an heavier bale, Loose life, unruly passion, and diseases pale.
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
Than whom a fiend more fell is nowhere found.