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Heaven's cheerful face to lower, then vapors choak'd
The troubled air, and form'd a veil of clouds
To hide the willing Sun. The earth convuls'd
With painful throes threw forth a bristly crop
Of thorns, and briars; and insect, bird, and beast,
That wont before with admiration fond
To gaze at man, and fearless crowd around him,
Now fled before his face, shunning in haste
The infection of his misery. He alone
Who justly might, the offended Lord of Man,
Turn'd not away his face; he, full of pity,
Forsook not in this uttermost distress
His best-lov'd work. That comfort still remain'd
(That best, that greatest comfort in affliction)
The countenance of God, and thro' the gloom
Shot forth some kindly gleams, to cheer and warm
The offender's sinking soul. Hope sent from Heaven
Uprais'd his drooping head, and shew'd afar
A happier scene of things; the Promis'd Seed
Trampling upon the Serpent's humbled crest;
Death of his sting disarm'd; and the dark grave,
Made pervious to the realms of endless day,
No more the limit but the gate of life.

Cheer'd with the view, Man went to till the ground,
From whence he rose; sentenc'd indeed to toil
As to a punishment, yet (ev'n in wrath,
So merciful is Heaven) this toil became
The solace of his woes, the sweet employ
Of many a live-long hour, and surest guard
Against Disease and Death. Death, tho' denounc'd,
Was yet a distant ill, by feeble arm
Of Age, his sole support, led slowly on.
Not then, as since, the short-liv'd sons of men
Flock'd to his realms in countless multitudes;
Scarce in the course of twice five hundred years,
One solitary ghost went shivering down
To his unpeopled shore. In sober state,
Thro' the sequester'd vale of rural life,
The venerable Patriarch guileless held
The tenor of his way; Labor prepar'd

His simple fare, and Temperance ruld his board,
Tir'd with his daily toil, at early eve
He sunk to sudden rest; gentle and pure
As breath of evening Zephyr, and as sweet
Were all his slumbers; with the Sun he rose,
Alert and vigorous as He to run
His destin'd course. Thus nerv'd with giant strength
He stemm'd the tide of time, and stood the shock
Of ages rolling harmless o'er his head.
At life's meridian point arriv'd, he stood,
And looking round, saw all the vallies fill'd
With nations from his loins; full well content
To leave his race thus scatter'd o'er the earth,
Along the gentle slope of life's decline
He bent his gradual way, till full of years
He dropt like mellow fruit into his grave.

Such in the infancy of Time was Man;
So calm was life, so impotent was Death!
O had he but preserv'd these few remains,
The shatter'd fragments of lost happiness,
Snatch'd by the hand of Heaven from the sad wreck
Of innocence primæval; still had he liv'd
In ruin great; tho' fallen, yet not forlorn;
Tho' mortal, yet not every where beset
With Death in every shape! But he, impatient
To be completely wretched, hastes to fill up
The measure of his woes :-'Twas Man himself
Brought Death into the world; and Man himself
Gave keenness to his darts, quicken'd his pace,
And multiply'd destruction on mankind.

First Envy, eldest-born of Hell, embru'd Her hands in blood, and taught the Sons of Men To make a Death which Nature never made, And God abhorr'd; with violence rude to break The thread of life ere half its length was run, And rob a wretched brother of his being. With joy Ambition saw, and soon improv'd The execrable deed. 'Twas not enough By subtle fraud to snatch a single life; Puny impiety! whole kingdoms fell

To sate the last of power: more horrid still,
The foulest stain and scandal of our nature,
Became its boast. One murder made a villain ;
Milliors a hero. Princes were privileg'd
To kill, and numbers sanctified the crime.
Ah! why will Kings forget that they are Men ?
And Men that they are brethren ? Why delight
In human sacrifice ? Why burst the ties
Of Nature, that should knit their souls together
In one soft bond of amity and love ?
Yet still they breathe destruction, still go on
Inhumanly ingenious to find out
New pains for life, new terrors for the grave,
Artificers of Death ! Still Monarchs dream
Of universal empire growing up
From universal ruin. Blast the design,
Great God of Hosts, nor let thy creatures fall
Unpitied victims at Ambition's shrine !

Yet say, should Tyrants learn at last to feel,
And the loud din of battle cease to bray;
Should dove-ey'd Peace o'er all the earth extend
Her olive-branch, and give the world repose,
Would Death be foil'd? Would health, and strength,

and youth Defy his power? Has he no arts in store, No other shafts save those of War ? Alas! Evin in the smile of Peace, that smile which sheds A heavenly sunshine o'er the soul, there basks That serpent Luxury. War its thousands slays ; Peace its ten thousands. In the embattled plain, Tho' Death exults, and claps his raven wings, Yet reigns he not ev'n there so absolute, So merciless, as in yon frantic scenes Of midnight revel and tumultuous mirth, Where in the intoxicating draught conceal'd, Or couch'd beneath the glance of lawless love, He shares the simple youth, who nought suspecting, Means to be blest-but finds himself undone.

Down the smooth stream of life the stripling darts, Gay as the morn; bright glows the vernal sky,

Hope swells his sails, and Passion steers his course.
Safe glides his little bark along the shore
Where Virtue takes her stand; but if too far
He launches forth beyond Discretion's mark,
Sudden the tempest scowls, the surges roar,
Blot his fair day, and plunge him in the deep.
O sad but sure mischance! O happier far
To lie like gallant Howe 'midst Indian wilds
A breathless corse, cut off by savage hands
In earliest prime, a generous sacrifice
To freedom's holy cause, than so to fall,
Torn immature from life's meridian joys,
A prey to Vice, Intemperance, and Disease.

Yet die ev'n thus, thus rather perish still,
Ye Sons of Pleasure, by the Almighty stricken,
Than ever dare (tho oft, alas ! ye dare)
To lift against yourselves the murderous steel,
To wrest from God's own hand the sword of Justice,
And be your own avengers ! Hold, rash Man,
Tho' with anticipating speed thou'st rang'd
Thro' every region of delight, nor left
One joy to gild the evening of thy days;
Tho' life seem one uncomfortable void,
Guilt at thy heels, before thy face Despair ;
Yet gay this scene, and light this load of woe,
Compar'd with thy hereafter. Think, O think,
And, ere thou plunge into the vast abyss,
Pause on the verge awhile; look down and see
Thy future mansion. Why that start of horror ?
From thy slack hand why drops the uplifted steel?
Didst thou not think such vengeance must await
The wretch, that with his crimes all fresh about him
Rushes irreverent, unprepar'd, uncallid,
Into his Maker's presence, throwing back
With insolent disdain his choicest gift?

Live then, while Heaven in pity lends thee life, And think it all too short to wash away, By penitential tears and deep contrition, The scarlet of thy crimes. So shalt thou find Rest to thy soul; so unappali'd shalt meet

Death when he comes, not wantonly invite
His lingering stroke. Be it thy sole concern
With innocence to live : with patience wait
The appointed hour: too soon that hour will come,
Tho' Nature run her course. But Nature's God,
If need require, by thousand various ways,
Without thy aid, can shorten that short span,
And quench the lamp of life. O when he comes,
Rous'd by the cry of wickedness extreme,
To Heaven ascending from some guilty land,
Now ripe for vengeance; when he comes array'd
In all the terrors of Almighty wrath,
Forth from his bosom plucks his lingering arm,
And on the miscreants pours destruction down ;
Who can abide his coming? Who can bear
His whole displeasure ? In no common form
Death then appears, but starting into size
Enormous, measures with gigantic stride
The astonish'd Earth, and from his looks throws round
Unutterable horror and dismay ;
All Nature lends her aid. Each Element
Arms in his cause. Ope fly the doors of Heaven;
The fountains of the deep their barriers break;
Above, below, the rival torrents pour,
And drown Creation; or in floods of fire
Descends a livid cataract, and consumes
An impious race. Sometimes, when all seems peace,
Wakes the grim whirlwind, and with rude embrace
Sweeps nations to their grave, or in the deep
Whelms the proud wooden world; full many a youth
Floats on his watery bier, or lies unwept
On some sad desert shore! At dead of night,
In sullen silence stalks forth Pestilence:
Contagion close behind taints all her steps
With poisonous dew; no smiting hand is seen,
No sound is heard ; but soon her secret path
Is mark'd with desolation ; heaps on heaps
Promiscuous drop. No friend, no refuge, near ;
All, all, is false and treacherous around;
All that they touch, or taste, or breathe, is Death.

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