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Maria claims it from that sable bier,
Where cold and wan the slumberer rests her head;
In still small whispers to reflection's ear
She breathes the solemn dictates of the dead.
O catch the awful notes, and lift them loud!
Proclaim the theme by sage, by fool, rever'd;
For say, than Coventry's propitious star,
Early to lose! While, borne on busy wing,
Think of her fate! revere the heavenly hand
That led her hence, tho' soon by steps so slow; Long at her couch Death took his patient stand, And menac'd oft, and oft withheld the blow:
To give reflection time, with lenient art
Each fond delusion from her soul to steal;
Teach her from folly peaceably to part,
And wean her from a world she lov'd so well
Say, are ye sure his mercy shall extend
To you so long a span? Alas, ye sigh!
Make then, while yet ye may, your God your friend,
Nor think the Muse, whose sober voice ye hear,
Or shades with horrors what with smiles should glow
No-she would warm you with seraphic fire,
Heirs as ye are of heaven's eternal day;
Know, ye were form'd to range yon azure field,
Is this the bigot's rant? Away, ye vain,
Your hopes, your fears, in doubt in dulness steep; Go sooth your souls, in sickness, grief, or pain, With the sad solace of eternal sleep!
Yet will I praise you, triflers as ye are,
More than those preachers of your fav'rite creed,
Nor wish for more; who conquer but to die.
The breeze of bliss that fills your silken sail!
On pleasure's glittering stream ye gaily steer
Is it for glory? That just fate denies;
Long must the warrior moulder in his shroud, Ere from her trump the heaven-breath'd accents rise, That lift the hero from the fighting crowd!
Is it his grasp of empire to extend?
'Tis but a kingdom thou canst win or lose.
And why must murder'd myriads lose their all,
That thou may'st flame the meteor of an hour?
Go, wiser ye, that flutter life away,
Crown with the mantling juice the goblet high! Weave the light dance with festive freedom gay, And live your moment, since the next ye die !
Yet know, vain sceptics! know, the Almighty Mind
Nor shall the pile of hope his mercy rear'd
Shall be by all or suffer'd or enjoy'd !
Note. In a book of French verses, intitled, Oeuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci, and lately reprinted at Berlin by authority, under the title of Poesies Diverses, may be found an Epistle to Marshal Keith, written professedly against the immortality of the soul. By way of specimen of the whole, take the following lines:
De l'avenir, cher Keith, jugeons par le passe :
Par un meme destin il ne pensera plus!
Non, rien n'est plus certain, soyons en convaincu.
It is to this Epistle that the latter part of the Elegy alludes.
FROM PSALM 148.
BEGIN, my soul, the exalted lay!
Let each enraptured thought obey, And praise the Almighty's name. Lo heaven and earth, and seas and skies, In one melodious concert rise,
To swell the inspiring theme.
Ye fields of light, celestial plains,
Your Maker's wondrous power proclaim!
Ye angels, catch the thrilling sound!
Let every listening saint above
Join, ye loud spheres, the vocal choir;
The mighty chorus aid:
Soon as grey evening gilds the plain, Thou, moon, protract the melting strain And praise him in the shade.
Thou heaven, of heavens, his vast abode, Ye clouds, proclaim your forming God,
Who call'd yon worlds from night: "Ye shades, dispel !"-th' Eternal said; At once th' involving darkness fled, And nature sprung to light.
Whate'er a blooming world contains,
Ye dragons, sound his awful name
Let every element rejoice:
Ye thunders, burst with awful voice
To him, ye graceful cedars, bow;
Tell, when affrighted nature shook,
And trembled at his frown.
Ye flocks, that haunt the humble vale,
Wake, all ye mounting tribes, and sing; Ye blooming warblers of the spring, Harmonious anthems raise
To him who shap'd your finer mould, Who tipt your glittering wings with gold, And tun'd your voice to praise.