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Invidious Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder
Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one!
A tye more stubborn far than nature's band.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweet'ner of life, and solder of society!

I owe thee much. Thou hast deserv'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 the gentle heart
Anxious to please. O! when my friend and I
In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down
Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank,
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along
In grateful errors through the underwood

Sweet murm'ring; methought the shrill-tongu'd thrush
Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird
Mellow'd his pipe, and softened every note;
The eglantine smell'd sweeter, and the rose
Assum'd a dye more deep; whilst every flower
Vied with his fellow plant in luxury

Of dress. Oh! then the longest summer's day
Seem'd too, too much in haste: still the full heart
Had not imparted half: 'tis happiness

Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed,

Not to return, how painful the remembrance!

Dull Grave! thou spoil'st the dance of youthful blood,

Strick'st out the dimple from the cheek of mirth,
And every smirking feature from the face;
Branding our laughter with the name of madness.
Where are the jesters now? the man of health

Complexionally pleasant? where the droll?
Whose every look and gesture was a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds,
And made ev'n thick-lipp'd musing Melancholy
To gather up her face into a smile
Before she was aware? Ah! sullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them!
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?

The Roman Cæsars and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story? Where the hot-brain'd youth,
Who the tiara at his pleasure tore

From kings of all the then discover'd globe,

And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hamper'd,
And had not room enough to do its work?
Alas! how slim, dishonourably slim !

And cramm'd into a space 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 hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar? Pliant and powerless now,
Like new-born infant bound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife:
Mute must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base-born crowd,
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hop'd for in the peaceful Grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Araby's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And honours by the heralds duly paid

In mode and form, ev'n to a very scruple;

O cruel irony! these come too late;

And only mock whom they were meant to honour.
Surely, there's not a dungeon-slave that's buried
In the highway, unshrouded and uncoffin'd,
But lies as soft, ond sleeps as sound as he.
Sorry pre-eminence of high descent

Above the vulgar-born, to rot in state!

But see! the well-plum'd hearse comes nodding on,
Stately and slow; and properly attended
By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch
The sick man's door, and live upon the dead,
By letting out their persons by the hour
To mimic sorrow, when the heart's not sad!
How rich the trappings, now they're all unfurl'd
And glittering in the sun! Triumphant entries
Of conquerors, and coronation pomps,

In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard the unwieldy show; whilst from the casements
And houses' tops, ranks behind ranks close wedg'd,
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste?
Why this ado in earthing up a carcass

That's fall'n into disgrace, and in the nostril
Smells horrible? Ve undertakers! tell us,

'Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Why is the principal conceal'd, for which
You make this mighty stir? 'Tis wisely done:
What would offend the eye in a good picture,
The Painter casts discreetly into shades.

Proud lineage, now how little thou appear'st!
Below the envy of the private man!
Honour, that meddlesome officious ill,

Pursues thee even to death; nor there stops short.
Strange persecution! when the grave itself
Is no protection from rude sufferance.

Absurd! to think to over-reach the grave,
And from the wreck of names to rescue ours!
The best concerted schemes men lay for fame
Die fast away: only themselves die faster.
The far-fam'd sculptor, and the laurell'd bard,
Those bold ensurers of eternal fame,
Supply their little feeble aids in vain.

The tapering pyramid, the Egyptian's pride,
And wonder of the world! whose spiky top
Has wounded the thick cloud, and long outliv'd
The angry shaking of the winter's storm;
Yet spent at last by th' injuries of heaven,
Shatter'd with age, and furrow'd o'er with years,
The mystic cone, with hieroglyphics crusted,
Gives way. O lamentable sight! at once
The labour of whole ages lumbers down,
A hideous and mis-shapen length of ruins.
Sepulchral columns wrestle but in vain
With all-subduing Time; his cankering hand
With calm deliberate malice wasteth them:
Worn on the edge of days, the brass consumes,
The busto moulders, and the deep-cut marble,
Unsteady to the steel, gives up its charge.
Ambition, half-convicted of her folly,

Hangs down the head, and reddens at the tale.
Here all the mighty troublers of the earth,
Who swam to sovereign rule through seas of blood;
The oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains,
Who ravag'd kingdoms, and laid empires waste,


And in a cruel wantonness of power

Thinn'd states of half their people, and gave up
To want the rest; now, like a storm that's spent,
Lie hush'd, and meanly sneak behind thy covert.
Vain thought! to hide them from the general scorn
That haunts and dogs them like an injured ghost
Implacable. Here too the petty tyrant,
Whose scant 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 some lordly beast of prey,
Deaf to the forceful cries of gnawing hunger,
And piteous plaintive voice of misery,
(As if a slave was not a shred of nature,
Of the same common nature with his lord ;)
Now tame and humble, like a child that's whipp'd,
Shakes hands with dust, and calls the worm his kinsman;
Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Under ground
Precedency's a jest: vassal and lord,
Grossly familiar, side by side consume.

When self-esteem, or others' adulation,
Would cunningly persuade us we were something
Above the common level of our kind;

The grave gainsays the smooth-complexioned flattery,
And with blunt truth acquaints us what we are.
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 expung'd,
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?

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