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Where look for fuccour? Where, but up to thee, | Lets fall a fupernumerary horror,
Almighty Father? Save, O fave, thy fuppliant
From horrors fuch as thefe! 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 ftroke;
And at that hour when all aghast 1 ftand
(A trembling candidate for thy compaffion)
On this World's brink, and lock into the next;
When my foul starting from the dark unknown
Cafts back a wishful look, and fondly clings
To her frail prop, unwilling to be wrench'd
From this fair feene, from all her cuftom'd joys,
And all the lovely relatives of life;
Then fhed thy comforts o'er me, then put on
The gentleft of thy looks. Let no dark crimes,
In all their hideous forms then starting up,
Plant themfelves round my couch in grim array,
And ftab my bleeding heart with two-edg'd
And only ferves to make thy night more irksome,
Well do I know thee by thy trufty yew,
Cheerless, unfocial plant! that loves to dwell
'Midft fcalls and coffins, epitaphs and worms;
Where light-heel'd ghofts, and vifionary fhades,
Beneath the wan cold moon (as fame reports)
Embodied thick, perform their myftic rounds.
No other merriment, dull tree ! is thine.
Senfe of paft guilt, and dread of future woe.
Far be the ghaftly crew? And in their stead
Let cheerful Memory, from her pureft cells,
Lead forth a goodly train of Virtues fair,
Cherifh'd in carlieft youth, now paying back
With tenfold ufury the pious care,
And pouring o'er my wounds the heav'nly balm
Of conscious innocence. But chiefly Thou,
Whom foft-eyed Pityonce led down from Heav'n
To bleed for man, to teach him how to live,
And, oh! ftill harder leffon! how to die;
Difdain not Thou to fmooth the reftlefs bed
Of Sickness and of Pain. Forgive the tear
That feeble Nature drops, calm all her fears,
Wake all her hopes, and animate her faith,
Till my rapt Soul, anticipating Heav'n,
Burfts from the thraldom of incumb'ring clay,
And on the wing of Extafy upborne,
Springs into Liberty, and Light, and Life.
$56. The Grave. ROBT. BLAIR.
The house appointed for all living. JOE.
THILST fome affect the fun, and some the
Some flee the city, fome the hermitage
(Their aims as various as the roads they take
In journeying through life) the talk be mine
To paint the gloomy horrors of the tomb;
Th'appointed place of rendezvous, where all
Thefe trav'llers meet. Thy fuccours I implore,
Eternal King! whofe potent arm fuftains
The keys of hell and death. The Grave, dread
Men fhiver when thou'rt nam'd: Nature appal'd
Shakes off her wonted firmnefs. Ah how dark
Thy long-extended realms and rueful waftes, -
Where nought but filence reigns, and night, dark
Dark as was Chaos ere the infant fun [night,
Was roll'd together, or had tried its beams
Athwart the gloom profound! The fickly taper,
By glimm'ring thro' thy low-brow'd mifty vaults,
Furr'd round with mouldy damps, and ropy flime,
See yonder hallow'd fane! the pious work
Of names once fam'd, now dubious or forgot,
And buried 'midft the wreck of things which were;
There lie interr'd the more illustrious dead.
The wind is up: hark how it howls! Methinks,
Till now, I never heard a found fo dreary: [bird
Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul
Rook'd in the fpire screams loud; the gloomy iles
Black plafter'd, and hung round with shreds of
And tatter'd coats of arms, fend back the found
Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults,
The manfions of the dead. Rous'd from their
In grim array the grizly fpectres rife, [flumbers,
Gri horrible, and obftinately fullen
Pafs and repafs, hufh'd as the foot of night.
Again! the fcreech-owl fhricks: ungracious found!
I'll hear no more; it makes one's blood run chill.
Quite round the pile, a row of rev'rend elms,
Coeval near with that all ragged fhew,
Long lafh'd by the rude winds: fome rift half down
Their branchlefs trunks: others fo thin a-top,
That scarce two crows could lodge in the fame
Strange things, the neighbours fay, have hap
Wild thrieks have iffued from the hollow tombs:
Dead men have come again, and walk'd about;
And the great bell has toll'd, unrung, untouch'd.
Such tales their cheer, at wake or goffiping,
When it draws near to witching-time of night.
Oft in the lone church-yard at night I've feen,
By glimpse of moon-thine, chequ'ring thro' the
The fchool-boy, with his fatchel in his hand,
Whiftling aloud to bear his courage up,
And lightly tripping o'er the long flat ftones
(With nettles skirted, and with mofs o'ergrown)
That tell in homely-phrafe who lie below;
Sudden he starts! and hears, or thinks he hears,
The found of fomething purring at his heels:
Full faft he flies, and dares not look behind him,
Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows;
Who gather round and wonder at the tale
Of horrid apparition, tall and ghaftly,
That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand
O'erfone new-open'd grave; and, ftrange to tell!
Evanishes at crowing of the cock.
The new-made widow too P've fometimes fpied,
Sad fight flow moving o'er the proftrate dead i
Littlefs the crawls along in doleful black,
While burfts of forrow gufh from either eye,
Faft falling down her now untasted cheek.
Prone on the lonely grave of the dear man
She drops; whilft bufy meddling memory,
In barbarous fucceffion, mufters up
The part endearments of their fofter hours,
Tenacious of its theme. Still, ftill the thinks
She fees him, and indulging the fond thought,
Clings yet more clofely to the fenfelefs turf,
Nor heeds the paffenger who looks that way.
Invidious Grave! how doft thou rend in funder
Whom love has knit, and fympathy made one!
A tie more ftubborn far than nature's band.
Friendship! myfterious cement of the foul!
Sweet'ner of life, and folder of fociety!
I owe thee much. Thou haft deferv'd from me
Far, far beyond what I can ever pay.
Oft have I prov'd the labours of thy love,
And the warm efforts of thy gentle heart,
Anxious to pleafe. O when my friend and I
In fome thick wood have wander'd heedlefs on,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and fat us down
Upon the floping cowflip-cover'd bank,
Where the pure limpid ftream has flid along
In grateful errors thro' the under-wood [thrufh
Sweet murm'ring, methought, the thrill-tongu'd
Mended his fong of love; the footy blackbird
Mellow'd his pipe, and foften'd ev'ry note;
The eglantine fmell'd fweeter, and the rofe
Affum'd a dye more deep; whilft ev'ry flower
Vied with his fellow-plant in luxury
Of drefs. O then the longeft fummer's day
Seem'd too, too much in haste; still the full heart
Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness
Too exquifite to laft. Of joys departed,
Not to return, how painful the remembrance!
And houfe tops, ranks behind ranks close wedg'd,
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste?
Why this ado in earthing up a carcafe
That's fall'n into difgrace, and in the noftril
Smells horrible? Ye undertakers! tell us,
'Midft all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Dull Grave! thou fpoil'ft the dance of youth-Why is the principal conceal'd, for which
Strik'it out the dimple from the cheek of mirth,
And ev'ry finirking feature from the face;
Branding our laughter with the name of madness.
Where are the jefters now? the man of health
Complexionally pleafant? where the droll,
Whole ev'ry look and gefture was a joke
To clapping theatres and fhouting crowds,
And made ev'n thick-lipp'd mufing Melancholy
To gather up her face into a finile
Before the was aware? Ah! fullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them!
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war,
The Roman Cæfars and the Græcian chiefs,
The boaft of ftory? Where the hot-brain'd youth,
Who the tiara at his pleature tore
From kings of all the then difcover'd globe;
And cried, forfooth, becaufe his arm was ham
And had not room enough to do his work? [per'd,
Alas! how flim, difhonorably flim!
And cramm'd into a fpace we blush to name.
Proud royalty! how alter'd in thy looks!
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue!
Son of the morning! whither art thou gone?
Where haft thou hid thy many-fplangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar? pliant and pow'rlefs now;
Like new-born infant bound up in his fwathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath the facrificer's knife;
Mute muft thou bear the ftrife of little tongues,
And coward infults of the bafe-born crowd,
Ambition, half convicted of her folly,
Hangs down the head, and reddens at the tale.
Here all the mighty troublers of the earth,
Who fwam to fov’reign rule thro' feas of blood;
Th'oppreffive, sturdy, man-destroying villains,
Who ravag'd kingdoms, and laid empires wafte,
And in a cruel wantonnefs of pow'r
Thinn'd ftates of half their people, and gave up
To want the reft, now, like a storm that's spent,
Lie huth'd, and meanly fneak behind thy covert,
Vain thought, to hide them from the gen'ral fcorn,
That haunts and dogs them like an injur'd ghost
Implacable. Here too, the petty tyrant,
Whole fcant domains geographer ne'er notic'd,
And well for neighb'ring grounds of arm as short;
Who fix'd his iron talons on the poor,
And grip'd them like fome lordly beaft of prey,
Deaf to the forceful cries of gnawing hunger,
And piteous plaintive voice of mifery
(As if a flave was not a shred of nature,
Of the fame common nature with his lord)
Now tame and humble, like a child that's whipp'd,
Shakes hands with duft, and calls the worm his
Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Under ground
Precedency's a jeft; vaffal and lord,
Grofsly familiar, fide by fide confume.
When felf-cftcem, or others adulation,
Would cunningly perfuade us we were fomething
Above the common level of our kind, [flatt'ry,
The grave gainfays the fmooth-complexion'd
And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are.
Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear deccit!
That steals fo foftly o'er the ftripling's heart,
And gives it a new pulfe unknown before!
The Grave difcredits thee: thy charms expung'd,
Thy rofes faded, and thy lilies foil'd,
What haft thou more to boast of? Will thy lovers
Fiock round thee now, to gaze anddo thee homage?
Methinks I fee thee with thy head low laid;
Whilft furfeited upon thy damafk check,
The high-fed worm in lazy volumes roll'd,
Riots unfcar'd. For this was all thy caution?
For this thy painful labours at thy glass,
T'improve thofe charms, and keep them in repair,
For which the spoiler thanks thee not? Foul feeder!
Courfe fare and carrion pleafe thee full as well,
And leave as keen a relish on the fenfe.
Look how the fair one weeps the conicious tears St and thick as dew-drops on the bells of flow'rs: Honeft effufion! the fwoln heart in vain Works hard to put a glofs on its diftrefs. Strength too! thou furly, and lefs gentle boaft Of thote that laugh loud at the village ring! A fit of common ficknefs pulls thee down With greater cafe than e'er thou didft the ftripling That rafhly dar'd thee to th'unequal fight. What groan was that I heard? deep groan indeed! With anguish heavy laden let me trace it: From yonder bed it comes, where the ftrong man By ftronger arm belabour'd, gafps for breath Like a hard hunted beat. How his great heart Beats thick his roomy cheft by far too fcant To give the lungs full play! what now avail
The ftrong-built finewy limbs and well-spread fhoulders?
See how he tugs for life, and lays about him,
Mad with his pain! eager he catches hold
Of what comes next to hand, and grafps it hard,
Juft like a creature drowning! hideous fight!
O! how his eyes ftand out, and ftare full ghaftly!
Whilft the diftemper's rank, and deadly venom
Shoots like a burning arrow crofs his bowels,
And drinks his marrow up. Heard you that groan?
It was his laft. See how the great Goliah,
Juft like a child that brawl'd itself to reft, [boafter?
Lies ftill. What mean'ft thou then, O mighty
To vaunt of nerves of thine? What means the bull,
Unconscious of his ftrength, to play the coward,
And flee before a feeble thing like man;
That knowing well the flackness of his arm,
Trufts only in the well-invented knife!
With ftudy pale, and midnight vigils fpent,
The ftar-furveying fage clofe to his eye
Applies the fight-invigorating tube;
And trav'lling thro' the boundlefs length of space,
Marks well the courses of the far-feen orbs
That roll with regular confufion there,
In extacy of thought. But ah! proud man'
Great heights are hazardous to the weak head:
Soon, very foon, thy firmeft footing fails;
And down thou dropp'ft into that dark fome place,
Where nor device nor knowledge ever came.
Here the tongue-warrior lies! difabled now, Difarm'd, dishonor'd, like a wretch that's gagg ́d, And cannot tell his ail to paffers-by. [change, Great man of language whence this mighty This dumb defpair, and drooping of the head? Though ftrong perfuafion hung upon thy lip, And ily Infinuation's fofter arts
In ambush lay about thy flowing tongue,
Alas! how chop-fall'n now! thick mifts and filence
Reft, like a weary cloud, upon thy breast
Unceafing. Ah! where is the lifted arm,
The ftrength of action, and the force of words,
The well-turn'd period, and the well-tun'd voice,
With all the lefler ornaments of phrafe?
Ah! fled for ever, as they ne'er had been !
Raz'd from the book of fame: or, more provoking,
Perhaps fome hackney hunger-bitten fcribbler
Infults thy memory, and blots thy tomb
With long flat narrative, or duller rhimes
With heavy halting pace that drawl along;
Enough to rouze a dead man into rage,
And warm with red refentment the wan cheek.
Here the great mafters of the healing art,
Thefe mighty mock-defrauders of the tomb!
Spite of their juleps and catholicons,
Refign to fate. Proud Æfculapius' fon,
Where are thy boafted implements of art,
And all thy well-cramm'd magazines of health?
Nor hill, nor vale, as far as fhip could go,
Nor margin of the gravel-bottom'd brook,
Efcap'd thy rifling hand! from ftubborn fhrubs
Thou wrung'ft their thy retiring virtues out,
And vex'd them in the fire; nor fly, nor infect
Nor writhy inake, efcap'd thy deep research.
But why this apparatus? why this coft?
The ill-pleas'd gueft to fit out his full time,
Or blame him if he goes? Sure he does well
That helps himfelf as timely as he can,
When able. But if there is an hereafter
(And that there is, confcience, uninfluenc'd
And fuffer'd to fpeak out, tells ev'y man)
Then muft it be an awful thing to die;
More horrid yet to die by one's own hand.
Self-murder! name it not; our island's fhame,
That makes her the reproach of neighb'ring ftates.
Shall nature, fwerving from her earliest dictate,
Self-prefervation, fall by her own a&t ?
Forbid it, Heav'n! let not upon difguft
The fhameless hand be foully crimton'd o'er
With blood of its own lord. Dreadful attempt!
Juft reeking from felf-flaughter, in a rage,
To rush into the prefence of our Judge!
As if we challeng'd him to do his worft,
And matter'd not his wrath. Unheard-of tortures
Must be referv'd for fuch: thefe herd together;
The common damn'd fhun their fociety,
And look upon themselves as fiends lefs foul.
Our time is fix'd! and all our days are number'd !
How long, how fhort, we know not: this we know,
Duty requires we calmly wait the fummons,
Nor dare to ftir till Heav'n fhall give permiffion:
Like centries that must keep their deftin'd ftand,
And wait th'appointed hour, till they're reliev'd.
Thofe only are the brave who keep their ground,
And keep it to the laft. To run away
Is but a coward's trick: to run away
From this world's ills, that at the very worst
Will foon blow o'er, thinking to mend ourselves
By boldly vent'ring on a world unknown,
And plunging headlong in the dark! 'tis mad:
No frenzy half fo defperate as this.
Tell us, ye dead! will none of you in pity
To thofe you left behind difclofe the fecret?
O! that fome cour.cous ghoft would blab it out,
What 'tis you are, and we muft thortly be.
I've heard, that fouls departed have fometimes
Forewarn'd men of their death: 'twas kindly done
To knock and give th'alarum. But what ineans
This ftinted charity? 'tis but lame kindness
That does its work by halves. Why might you not
Tell us what 'tis to die? Do the ftrict laws
Of your fociety forbid your speaking
Upon a point fo nice I'll afk no more;
Sullen, like lamps in fepulchres, your shine
Enlightens but yourfelves: well-'tis no matter:
A very little time will clear up all,
And make us learn'd as you a re, and as close.
Death's fhafts fly, thick! Here falls the vil-
And there his pamper'd lord! The cup goes
And who fo artful as to put it by?
'Tis long fince Death had the majority;
Yet, ftrange! the living lay it not to heart.
See yonder maker of the dead man's bed,
The fexton, hoary-headed chronicle!
Of hard unmeaning face, down which ne'er stole
A gentle tear; with mattock in his hand
Digs thro' whole rows of kindred and acquaintance
By far his juniors! Scarce a fcull's caft up,
But well he knew its owner, and can tell
Some paffage of his life. Thus, hand in hand,
The fot has walk'd with death twice twenty years;
And yet ne'er younker on the green laughs louder,
Or clubs a fmuttier tale; when drunkards meet,
None fings a merrier catch, or lends a hand
More willing to his cup. Poor wretch! he minds
That foon fome trufty brother of the trade [not
Shall do for him what he has done for thoufands.
On this fide, and on that, men fee their friends
Drop off, like leaves in Autumn; yet launch out
Into fantastic schemes, which the long livers
In the world's hale and undegen'rate days
Could scarce have leifure for; fools that we are!
Never to think of death and of ourselves
At the fame time as if to learn to die
Were no concern of ours. O more than fottish!
For creatures of a day, in gamesome mood
To frolic on eternity's dread brink
Unapprehenfive; when for aught we know
The very firft fwoln furge fhall fweep us in.
Think we, or think we not, time hurries on
With a refiftless unremitting ftream,
Yet treads more foft than e'er did midnight thief,
That slides his hand under the mifer's pillow,
And carries off his prize. What is this world?
What but a fpacious burial-field unwall'd,
Strew'd with death's fpoils, the fpoils of animals,
Savage and tame, and full of dead mens bones!
The very turf on which we tread once liv'd;
And we that live muft lend our carcafes
To cover our own offspring: in their turns
They too must cover theirs. 'Tis here all meet!
The fhiv'ring Icelander, and fun-burnt Moor;
Men of all climes, that never met before,
And of all creeds, the Jew, the Turk, theChriftian.
Here the proud prince, and favorite yet prouder,
His fov'reign's keeper, and the people's fcourge,
Are huddled out of fight. Here lie abash'd
The great negociators of the earth,
And celebrated mafters of the balance,
Deep read in ftratagems and wiles of courts:
How vain their treaty-fkill! Death fcorns to treat.
Here the o'erloaded flave flings down his burthen
From his gall'd shoulders; and when the cruel
With all his guards and tools of pow'r about him,
Is meditating new unheard-of hardships,
Mocks his fhort arm, and quick as thought escapes,
Where tyrants vex not, and the weary reft.
Here the warm lover, leaving the cool fhade,
The tell-tale echo, and the bubbling stream,
Time out of mind the fav'rite feats of love,
Faft by his gentle iniftrefs lays him down
Unblafted by foul tongue. Here friends and foes
Lie clofe, unmindful of their former feuds.
The lawn rob'd prelate and plain prefbyter,
Ere while that flood aloof, as shy to meet,
Familiar mingle here, like fister-ftreams
That fome rude interpofing rock had split.
Here is the large-limb'd peafant; here the child
Of a span long, that never saw the fun,
Nor prefs'd the nipple, strangled in life's porch;
Here is the mother with her fons and daughters;
The barren wife; the long-demurring maid,
Whofe lonely unappropriated sweets
Smil'd like yon knot of cowflips on the cliff,
Not to be come at by the willing hand.
Here are the prude fevere, and gay coquette,
The fober widow, and the young green virgin,
Cropp'd like a rofe, before 'tis fully blown,
Or half its worth disclos'd. Strange medley here!
Here garrulous old age winds up his tale;
And jovial youth, of lightfome vacant heart,
Whole ev'ry day was made of melody, [fhrew,
Hears not the voice of mirth: the thrill-tongu'd
Meek as the turtle-dove, forgets her chiding.
Here are the wife, the gen'rous, and the brave;
The juft, the good, the worthlefs, the profane,
The downright clown, and perfectly well-bred;
The fool, the churl, the fcoundrel, and the mean,
The fupple ftatefman, and the patriot ftern;
The wrecks of nations, and the fpoils of time,
With all the lumber of fix thousand years.
Poor man! how happy once in thy firft state!
When yet but warm from thy great Maker's hand,
He ftamp'd thee with his image, and well pleas'd,
Smil'd on his laft fair work! Then all was well:
Sound was the body, and the foul ferene;
Like two fweet inftruments ne'er out of tune,
That play their feveral parts. Nor head, nor heart,
Offer'd to ache; nor was there cause they should,
For all was pure within: no fell remorse,
Nor anxious caftings up of what may be,
Alarm'd his peaceful bofom: fummer feas
Shew not more smooth when kifs'd by southern
Just ready to expire. Scarce importun'd, [winds,
The gen'rous foil with a luxuriant hand
Offer'd the various produce of the year,
And ev'ry thing moft perfect in its kind.
Blessed, thrice bleffed days! but ah, how short!
Blefs'd as the pleafing dreams of holy men,
But fugitive, like thofe, and quickly gone.
O flipp'ry state of things! What sudden turns,
What ftrange viciffitudes, in the first leaf
Of man's fad hiftory! to-day moft happy,
And ere to-morrow's fun has fet, most abject!
How fcant the fpace between thefe vaft extremes!
Thus far'd it with our Sire; Not long he enjoy'd
His paradife! fcarce had the happy tenant
Of the fair fpot due time to prove its fweets,
Or fum them up, when straight he must be gone,
Ne'er to return again. And must he go?
Can nought compound for the first dire offence
Of erring man? Like one that is condemn'd,
Fain would he trifle time with idle talk,
And parley with his fate. But 'tis in vain.
Not all the lavifh odours of the place,
Offer'd in incenfe, can procure his pardon,
Or mitigate his doom. A mighty angel
With flaming fword forbids his longer stay,
And drives the loit'rer forth; nor muft he take
One laft and farewell round. At once he loft
His glory and his God. If mortal now,
And forely maim'd, no wonder! Man has finn'd.
Sick of his blifs, and bent on new adventures,
Evil he would needs try: nor try'd in vain.
Dreadful experiment! deftructive meafure!
Where the worst thing could happen, is fuccefs.
Alas! too well he fped: the good he fcorn'd
Stalk'd off reluctant, like an ill-us'd ghoft,