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Green as the bay-tree, ever green,

With its new foliage on,

The gay, the thoughtless, I have seen---
I passed---and they were gone.

Read, ye that run, the solemn 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 insure
For yet an hour to come;
No medicine, though it often cure,
Can always baulk the tomb.

And Oh! that, humble as my lot,
And scorned 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,

Begs you for once to take his part,

And answer all---Amen!

ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,

FOR THE YEAR 1788.

Quod adest, memento

Componere æquus. Cætera fluminis

Ritu feruntur.

Improve the present hour, for all beside

Is a mere feather on a torrent's tide.

Hor.

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 mournful sheet, On which the press might stamp him next to die? And, reading here his sentence, how replete

With anxious meaning, heaven-ward turn his eye!

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.

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 glade--One falls---the rest, wide scattered with affright, Vanish at once into the darkest shade,

Had we their wisdom, should we, often warned,
Still need repeated warnings, and at last,
A thousand awful admonitions scorned,
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;
Dew-drops 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.

·Placidâque ibi demum morte quievit Virg. There calm at length he breathed his soul away.

"OH most delightful hour by man
"Experienced here below,
"The hour that terminates his span,

"His folly, and his woe!

"Worlds should not bribe me back to tread

"Again life's dreary waste,

"To see again my day o'erspread "With all the gloomy past.

"My home henceforth is in the skies;

"Earth, seas, and sun adieu,

"All heaven unfolded to my eyes, "I have no sight for you."

So spoke Aspasio, firm possest
Of faith's supporting rod,

Then breathed his soul into its rest,

The bosom of his God.

He was a man among the few,

Sincere on virtue's side;

And all his strength from scripture drew,

To hourly use applied.

That rule he prized, by that he feared,

He hated, hoped, and loved;

Nor ever frowned, or sad appeared,

But when his heart had roved.

For he was frail as thou or I,
And evil felt within;

But, when he felt it, heaved a sigh,
And loathed the thought of sin.

Such lived Aspasio; and at last
Called up from Earth to Heaven,
The gulf of death triumphant passed,
By gales of blessing driven.

His joys be mine, each reader cries,
When my last hour arrives:

They shall be your's, my verse replies,
Such only be your lives.

ON A SIMILAR OCCASION,

FOR THE YEAR 1790.

Ne commonentem recta sperne.

Despise not my good counsel.

HE who sits from day to day,
Where the prisoned lark is hung,
Heedless of his loudest lay,

Hardly knows that he has sung.

Where the watchman in his round
Nightly lifts his voice on high,
None accustomed to the sound,
Wakes the sooner for his cry.

So your verse-man I, and clerk,
Yearly in my song proclaim
Death at hand---yourselves his mark-
And the foe's unerring aim.

Buchanan.

Duly at my time I come
Publishing to all aloud---

Soon the grave must be your home,
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 confessed
Of such magnitude and weight,
Grow, by being oft expressed,
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 every day.

Death and Judgment, Heaven and Hell--These alone, so often heard,

No more move us than the bell

When some stranger is interred.

Oh then, ere the turf or tomb
Cover us from every eye,

Spirit of instruction come,

Make us learn that we must die.

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