Page images


How vain the wish of long-continuing joy,

Form'd on the transient pleasures of a day! How weak, that man should serious toil employ, To rest his thoughts on clouds which fleet away!

As well from hence he may attempt to rise
On eddying winds aloft, and proudly dare
To bid the fiery meteor in the skies

Arrest its motion through the liquid aiṛ.

Scarce hath swift Time his laughing circle drawn,
Of gay delusive years, to twenty-one,
Ere all the light-blown bubbles of our dawn
Vanish, like dew drops from the morning sun.

In manhood's course, how artfully are thrown
Succeeding lures of life, from stage to stage!
More firm in prospect, but, when truly known,
Frail as the playthings of our infant age!

Of human ties that bind us most to earth,
However various, 'tis by all agreed,
If sunk with sadness, or if cheer'd by mirth,

In either period friendship takes the lead.

Happy their lot, whose ever-seeking minds
In this vain world can gain a small supply?
Supremely so the man who hourly finds,

At home, its radiance beam from ev'ry eye!

Thus my past life hath prov'd and yet may prove Save that my Harriet is no longer giv'n!

Her soul of frienship and her looks of love, Fled to their source, have found a home in heay'n.

Alas! reflection now alternate guides

The mind, infeebled, to each different theme: As bury'd joy, or living hope presides,

Till balmy slumbers give this lenient dream :

Methinks I see, with sympathetic woe,

Pale sorrow moving from that hallow'd tomb, In sighs as mild as Summer zephyrs blow

To breathe these accents thro' the midnight gloom :

Mourner, approach! yon moon will light thy


O'er fun ral hillocks in the cypress glade; These flowing eyes shall catch her waning ray, And show the flow'ry turf where Harriet's laid!

Esger I haste, with dying voice, to speak
This one memorial, as a truth sincere:

Her life ne'er caus'd a blush upon her cheek,
Nor drew, till gone, from this fond heart a tear.

When Faith, descending on a seraph's wing, Points out my progress to a happier shore; There the bright saint, she said, can welcome bring,

And hail with rapture, “we shall part no more."


What beck'ning ghost, along the moon-light shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
'Tis she!—but why that bleeding bosom gor'd,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in heav'n, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a Lover's or a Roman's part?

Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die!
Why bade ye else, ye Pow'rs! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of Angels and of Gods:
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of Kings and Heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen pris'ners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that beam a length of years
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern Kings, a lazy state they keep,
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep,
From these perhaps (ere nature bade her die)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,

And sep'rate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,

Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.

But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood! See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, These cheeks, now fading at the blast of death; Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before, And those love-darting eyes must roll no more, Thus if eternal Justice rules the ball,

Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:

On all the line a sudden vengeance waits, And frequent herses shall besiege your gates; There passengers shall stand, and pointing say, (While the long fun'rals blacken all the way) Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,

And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,

The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learnt to glow
For other's good or melt at other's woe.
What can atone (oh ever injur'd shade !)
Thy fate unpity'd and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful

bier :

By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What tho' no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe

To midnight dances, and the public show?
What tho' no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What tho' no sacred earth allow thee room,

Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?

« PreviousContinue »