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Judge before friendship; then confide 'till death. Well for thy friend, but nobler far for thee; How gallant danger for earth's highest prize! A friend is worth all hazards we can run. « Poor is the friendless master of a world; “ A world in purchase for a friend is gain.”
The death-bed of the just is yet undrawn
By mortal hand; it merits a divine;
Angels should paint it, angels ever there;
There on a post of honour, and of joy-
The chamber where the good man meets his fate,
Is privileg'd beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge
Fly, ye profane ! If not, draw near with awe ;
Receive the blessing and adore the chance,
That threw in this Bethesda your disease ;
If unrestor'd by this, despair your cure,
For here resistless demonstration dwells.
A death-bed's a detector of the heart :
Here tir'd Dissimulation drops her mask,
Thro’ life's grimace, that mistress of the scene!
Here real and apparent are the same.
You see the man; you see his hold on heav'n;
If sound his virtue, as Philander's sound,
Heav'n waits not the last moment, owns her friends
On this side death, and points them out to men;
A lecture, silent, but of sovereign pow'r!
To vice, confusion ; and to virtue, peace.
Whatever farce the boastful hero plays,
Virtue alone has majesty in death;
And greater still, the more the tyrant frowns.
Philander! he severely frown'd on thee:
No warning giv'n! unceremonious fate!
A sudden rush from life's meridian joys !
A wrench from all we love! from all we are !
A restless bed of pain ! a plunge opaque
Beyond conjecture! feeble Nature's dread!
Strong reason's shudder at the dark unknown!
A sun extinguish'd! a just opening grave!
And oh! the last, last-what? (can words express ?.
Thought reach it?) the last-silence of a friend!
Where are those horrors, that amazement, where,
This hideous group of ills, which singly shock,
Demand from man?-I thought him man ’till now.
Thro Nature's wreck, thro' vanquish'd agonies,
(Like the stars struggling thro'this midnight gloum)
What gleams of joy? what more than human
Where the frail mortal ? the poor abject worm ?
No, not in death the mortal to be found.
His conduct is a legacy for all ;
Richer than Mammon's for his single heir.
His comforters he comforts ; great in ruin,
With unreluctant grandeur, gives, not yields
His soul sublime ; and closes with his fate.
How our hearts burnt within us at the scene !
Whence, this brave bound o'er limits fix'd to man!
His God sustains him in his final hour!
His final hour brings glory to his God!
Man's glory Heav'n vouchsafes to call her own.
We gaze; we weep : mixt tears of grief and joy!
Amazement strikes ! Devotion bursts to flame!
Christians adore! and Infidels believe.
As some tall tow'r, or lofty mountain's brow,
Detains the sun, illustrious from its height;
While rising vapours, and descending shades,
With damps and darkness, drown the spacious vale;
Undampt by doubt, undarken'd by despair,
Philander thus augustly rears his head,
At that black hour, which gen’ral horror sheds
On the low level of th' inglorious throng :
Sweet peace, and heav'nly hope, and humble joy,
Divinely beam on his exalted soul,
Destruction gild, and crown him for the skies,
With incommunicable lustre bright.
When by the bed of languishment we sit,
(The seat of Wisdom ! if our choice, not fate)
Or, o'er our dying friends, in anguish hang,
Wipe the cold dew or stay the sinking head,
Number their moments, and, in ev'ry clock,
Start at the voice of an eternity;
See the dim lamp of life just feebly lift
An agonizing beam, at us to gaze,
Then sink again, and quiver into death,
That most pathetic herald of our own :
How read we such sad scenes ? As sent to man
In perfect vengeance ? No, in pity sent,
To melt him down, like wax, and then impress,
Indelible, Death's image on his heart;
Bleeding for others, trembling for himself.
We bleed, we tremble, we forget, we smile.
The mind turns fool, before the cheek is dry.
Our quick-returning folly cancels all;
As the tide rushing rases what is writ
In yielding sands, and smooths the letter'd shore.
Men homage pay to men, Thoughtless beneath whose dreadful eye they bow In mutual awe profound, of clay to clay, Of guilt to guilt, and turn their backs on Thee, Great SIRE! whom thrones celestial ceaseless sing; To prostrate angels, an amazing scene! O the presumption of man's awe for man ! Man's Author! End! Restorer ! Law! and Judge! Thine, all.; Day Thine; and Thine this gloom of
Night, With all her wealth, with all her radiant worlds; What, night eternal, but a frown from Thee? What, heav'n's meridian glory, but Thy smile? And shall not praise be Thine? not human praise ? While heav'n's high host on hallelujahs live?
Man! know thyself. All wisdom centres there ;
To none man seems ignoble, but to man;
Angels that grandeur, men o'erlook, admire :
How long shall human nature be their book,
Degen'rate mortal! and unread by thee?
The bean dim reason sheds shews wonders there;
What high contents ! illustrious faculties !
But the grand comment, which displays at full
Our human height, scarce sever'd from divine,
By Heav'n compos'd, was publish'd on the cross.
Religion ! thou the soul of happiness;
And, groaning Calvary, of thee! There shine
The noblest truths; there strongest motives sting;
There sacred violence assaults the soul;
There, nothing but compulsion is forborn.
Can love allure us? or can terror awe?
He weeps !--the falling drop puts out the sun;
He sighs--the sigh earth's deep foundation shakes.
If, in His love, so terrible, what then
His wrath inflam'd ? His tenderness on fire ?
Like soft smooth oil, outblazing other fires ?
Can pray'r, can praise avert it ?- Thou, my
My theme ! my inspiration! and my crown!
My strength in age! my rise in low estate !
My soul's ambition, pleasure, wealth!—my world!
My light in darkness ! and my life in death!
My boast thro' time! bliss thro'eternity!
Eternity, too short to speak Thy praise !
Or fathom Thy profound of love to man!
To man of men the meanest, ev'n to me;
My Sacrifice! my God!-what things are these!