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these three words of inscription ; serving both for his ep. itaph and elegy.
Ten times a day has Yorick's ghost the consolation to hear his monumental inscription read over with such a variety of plaintive tones, as denote a general pity and esteem for him :--a footway crossing the church-yard close by his grave,--not a passenger goes by without stopping to cast a look upon it,--and sighing as he
PITY the sorrows of a poor
Whose trembling limbs have born him to your door,
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span.
Oh! give relief' and Heaven will bless your store.
These tatter'd cloaths my poverty bespeak,
These hoary locks proclaim my lengthend years.;
And many a furrow in my grief-worn cheek
Has been the channel to a flood of tears.
Yon house, erected on the rising ground,
With tempting aspect' drew me from my road;
For Plenty there a residence has found,
And Grandeur a mag ificent abode.
Hard is the fate of the infirm and poor !
Here, as I crav'd a morsel of their bread,
A pamper'd menial drove me from the door
To seek a shelter in an humbler shed.
Oh! take me to your hospitable dome;
Keen blows the wind, and piercing is the cold !
Short is my passage to the friendly tomb,
For I am poor and miserably old.
Should I reveal the sources of my grief,
If soft humanity e'er touch'd your breast,
Your hands would not withhold the kind relief,
And tears of Pity would not be represt.
Heaven sends misfortunes : why should we repine ?
Tis Heaven has brought me to the state you see ;
And your condition may be soon like mine,
The child of Sorrow and of Misery.
A little farm was my paternal lot,
Then like the lark I sprightly hail'd the morn;
But ah ! oppression forc'd me from my cot,
My cattle dy'd and blighted was my corn.
My daughter, once the comfort of my age,
Lur'd by a villain from her native home,
Is cast abandôn’d on the world's wide stage,
And doom'd in scanty poverty to roam.
My tender wife, sweet soother of my care !
Struck with sad anguish at the stern decree,
Fell, ling'ring fell, a victim to despair,
And left the world to wretchedness and me.
Pity the sorrows of a poor old man,
Whose trembling limbs have born him to your door,
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span,
Oh! give relief, and Heaven will bless your store.
ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF AN UNFORTUNATE
WHAT beck’ning ghost, along the Moon-light shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ?
'Tis she !-but why that bleeding bosom gord,
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 burn a length of years
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres ;
Like Eastern Kings a lazy state they keep
And; close confind 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 hearses 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 steeld,
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 learn’d to gloiv
For others good, or melt at others 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 yearg.
And bear about the mockery of woe,
To midnight dances, and the public show;
What tho' 10 weeping Coves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face;
What tho' no sacred earth allow thee
room, Nor hailow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb; Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be drest, And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast : There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow, There the first rosts of the year shall blow; While Angels with their silver wings o’ershade The ground, now sacred by thy reliques made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame,
How lov'd, how honoured once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot ;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be !
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the gen'rous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart:
Life's idle business at one grasp
be o'er, The muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more !
THESE are thy glorious works, Parent of good!
Almighty! thine this universal frame,
Thus wond'rous fair! thyself how wond'rous then!
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heav'ns,
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowliest works ; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and pow'r divine,
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels ; for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heav'n.
On earth join all ye creatures to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,