Page images
PDF
EPUB

Puff up with vain conceit: ne'er didst thou smile
To see the sinner as a verdant tree
Spread his luxuriant branches o'er the stream ;
While like some blasted trunk the righteous fall,
Prostrate, forlorn. When prophecies shall fail,
When tongues shall cease, when knowledge is no

more,
And this great Day is come; thou by the throne
Shalt sit triumphant. Thither, lovely maid,
Bear me, O bear me on thy soaring wing,
And through the adamantine gates of heav'n
Conduct my steps, safe from the fiery gulph
And dark abyss, where Sin and Satan reign!
But can the Muse, her numbers all too weak,
Tell how that restless element of fire
Shall wage with seas and earth intestine war,
And deluge all creation? Whether (so
Some think) the comet, as through fields of air
Lawless he wanders, shall rush headlong on,
Thwarting th' ecliptic where th' unconscious Earth
Rolls in her wonted course; whether the sun,
With force centripetal, into his orb
Attract her long reluctant; or the caves,
Those dread volcanos where engend'ring lie
Sulphureous minerals, from their dark abyss,
Pour streams of liquid fire; while from above,
As erst on Sodom, Heaven's avenging hand
Rains fierce combustion. Where are now the works
Of art, the toil of ages ?-Where are now
Th' imperial cities, sepulchres, and domes,
Trophies and pillars ? - Where is Egypt's boast,
Those lofty pyramids which high in air
Reared their aspiring heads, to distant times
Of Memphian pride a lasting monument?-
Tell me where Athens raised her towers ?-_Where

Thebes
Open'd her hundred portals?-Tell me where
Stood sea-girt Albion ?-Where imperial Rome,

[ocr errors]

Propt by seven hills, sat like a sceptred queen,
And awed the tributary world to peace?
Shew me the rampart, which o'er many a hill,
Through many a valley stretched its wide extent,
Raised by that mighty monarch, to repel
The roving Tartar, when with insalt rude
'Gainst Pekin's tow'rs he bent th' unerring bow.
But what is mimic art ? Even Nature's works,
Seas, meadows, pastures, the meand'ring streams,
And everlasting hills shall be no more.
No more shall Teneriff cloud-piercing height
O'er-hang th’ Atlantic surge. Nor that fam'd cliff
Through which the Persian steered with many a sail,
Throw to the Lemnian iale its ev'ning shade
O'er half the wide Ægaan. Where are now
The Alps, that confined with unnumber'd realms,
And from the Black Sea to the ocean stream
Stretched their extended arms ?- Where's Ararat,
That hill on which the faithful patriarch's ark,
Which seven long months had voyaged o'er its top,
First rested: when the Earth with all her sons,
As now by streaming cataracts of fire,
Was whelmed by mighty waters? All at once
Are vanished and dissolved; no trace remains,
No mark of vain distinction: heaven itself,
That azure vault, with all those radiant orbs,
Sinks in the universal ruin lost.
No more shall planets round their central sun
Move in harmonious dance; no more the moon
Hang out her silver lamp; and those fix'd stars
Spangling the golden canopy of night,
Which oft the Tuscan, with his optic glass,
Callid from their wond'rous height, to read their

names

And magnitude, some winged minister
Shall quench; and (surest sign that all on earth
Is lost) shall rend from heaven the mystic bow.

Such is that awful, that tremendous Day,
Whose coming who shall tell? For, as a thief,
Unheard, unseen, it steals with silent

pace
Through night's dark gloom. Perhaps as here I sit
And rudely carol these incondite lays,
Soon shalt the hand be checked, and dumb the

mouth That lisps the fault'ring strain. O! may it ne'er Intrude unwelcome on an ill-spent hour; But find me wrapt in meditations high, Hymning my great CREATOR!

« Power supreme ! “O everlasting King ! to Thee I kneel, “ To Thee I left my voice. With fervent heat, “ Melt all ye elements! And thou, high heav'n, * Shrink like a shrivelled scroll! But think, O

LORD, “ Think on the best, the noblest of Thy works ; “ Think on Thine own bright Image! Think on

Him, " Who died to save us from Thy righteous wrath, “ And 'midst the wreck of worlds remember man!"

BISHOP PORTEUS.

DEATH.Latter Part. Live then, while Heaven in pity lends thee life, And think it all too short to wash away, By penitential tears and deep contrition, The scarlet of thy crimes. So shalt thou find Rest to thy soul, so unappallid shalt meet Death when he comes, not wantonly invite His ling’ring stroke. Be it thy sole concern With innocence to live, with patience wait Th' appointed hour : too soon that hour will come, Though nature run her course; but Nature's God, If need require, by thousand various ways, Without thy aid, can shorten that short span,

And quench the lamp of life.-0 when He comes,
Roused by the cry. of wickedness extreme,
To heaven ascending from some guilty land
Now ripe for vengeance; when He comes array'd
In all the terrors of Almighty wrath,
Forth from His bosom plucks His ling'ring arm,
And on the miscreants pours destruction down!
Who can abide His coming ? Who can bear
His whole displeasure? In no common form
Death then appears, but starting into size
Enormous, measures with gigantic stride
Th' astonished earth, and from his looks throws

round
Unutterable horror and dismay.
All Nature lends her aid. Each element
Arms in his cause. Ope fly the doors of heaven;
The fountains of the deep their barriers break;
Above, below, the rival torrents pour,
And drown creation ; or, in floods of fire,
Descends a livid cataract, and consumes
An impious race.—Sometimes, when all seems

peace, Wakes the grim whirlwind, and, with rude embrace, Sweeps nations to their grave, or in the deep Whelms the proud wooden world ; full many a

youth Floats on his wat'ry bier, or lies unwept On some sad desert shore ; at dead of night, In sullen silence stalks forth Pestilence; Contagion, close behind, taints all her steps With poisonous dew; no smiting hand is seen, No sound, is heard; but soon her secret path Is marked with desolation; heaps on heaps Promiscuous drop: no friend, no refuge near ; All, all is false and treach'rous around, All that they touch, or taste, or breathe, is death. But ah! what means that ruinous roar? Why fail These tott'ring feet? Earth to its centre feels

The Godhead's pow'r, and trembling at His touch,
Through all its pillars, and in ev'ry pore,
Hurls to the ground with one convulsive heave,
Precipitating domes, and towns, and tow’rs,
The work of ages. Crushed beneath the weight
Of general devastation, thousands find
One common grave; not ev'n a widow left
To wail her sons : the house, that should protect,
Entombs its master, and the faithless plain,
If there he flies for help, with sudden yawn
Starts from beneath him.-Shield 'me, gracious

Heav'n!
O snatch me from destruction! If this globe,
This solid globe, which Thine own hand hath made
So firm and sure, if this my steps betray;
If my own mother Earth, from whence I sprung,
Rise

up

with rage unnatural to devour Her wretched offspring, whither shall I fly? Where look for succour? Where, but up to Thee, ALMIGHTY FATHER? Save, O save Thy suppliant From horrors such as these! At Thy good time Let Death approach ; I reck not-let him but come In genuine form, not with thy vengeance arm’d, Too much for man'to bear. O rather lend Thy kindly aid to mitigate his stroke, And at that hour, when all aghast I stand, (A trembling candidate for Thy compassion) On this world's brink, and look into the next; When my soul, starting from the dark unknown, Casts back a wishful look, and fondly clings To her frail prop, unwilling to be wrench'd From this fair scene, from all her 'custom'd joys' And all the lovely relatives of life, Then shed Thy comforts o'er me; then put on The gentlest of Thy looks. Let no dark crimes, In all their hideous forms then starting up, Plant themselves round my couch in grim array, And stab my bleeding heart with two-edged torture, Sense of past guilt and dread of future woe.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »