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WHEN gathering clouds around I view,
And days are dark, and friends are few;
On Him I lean, who not in vain,
Experienced every human pain.
He sees my griefs, allays my fears,
And counts and treasures up my tears.
If aught should tempt my soul to stray
From heavenly wisdom's narrow way:
To fly the good I would pursue,
Or do the thing I would not do:
Still He who felt temptation's power,
Shall guard me in that dangerous hour.
If wounded love my bosom swell,
Despised by those I prized too well;
He shall his pitying aid bestow,
Who felt on earth severer woe;
At once betrayed, denied, or fled,
By those who shared his daily bread.
When vexing thoughts within me rise,
And, sore dismayed, my spirit dies;
Yet He who once vouchsafed to bear
The sickening anguish of despair,
Shall sweetly soothe, shall gently dry
The throbbing heart, the streaming eye.
When mourning o'er some stone I bend
Which covers all that was a friend;
And from his voice, his hand, his smile,
Divides me for a little while;
Thou, Saviour, mark'st the tears I shed,
For thou didst weep o'er Lazarus dead.
And O! when I have safely past
Through every conflict but the last;
Still, still unchanging, watch beside
My painful bed-for thou hast died;
Then point to realms of cloudless day,
And wipe the latest tear away.
By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o'er :
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.
How deep yon azure dyes the sky!
Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lie,
While thro' their ranks in silver pride
The nether crescent seems to glide.
The slum'bring breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,
Where once again the spangled show
Descends to meet our eyes below.
The grounds, which on the right aspire,
In dimness from the view retire:
The left presents a place of graves,
Whose wall the silent water laves.
That steeple guides thy doubtful sight
Among the livid gleams of night.
There pass with melancholy state,
By all the solemn heaps of fate,
And think, as softly-sad you tread
Above the venerable dead,
Time was, like thee, they life possest,
And time shall be, that thou shalt rest.
Those graves, with bending osier bound, That nameless heave the crumbled ground, Quick to the glancing thought disclose, Where Toil and Poverty repose.
The flat smooth stones that bear a name, The chissel's slender help to fame, (Which ere our set of friends decay Their frequent step may wear away) A Middle Race of mortals own, Men, half ambitious, all unknown.
The marble tombs that rise on high, Whose dead in vaulted arches lie, Whose pillars swell with sculptur'd stones, Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones, These (all the poor remains of state) Adorn the Rich or praise the Great; Who, while on earth in fame they live, Are senseless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades;
All slow, and wan, and wrapp'd with shrouds,
They rise in visionary crowds,
And all with sober accent cry,
Think, mortal, what it is to die.
Now from yon black and fun'ral yew,
That bathes the charnel-house with dew,
Methinks I hear a voice begin;
(Ye ravens, cease your croaking din, Ye tolling clocks, no time resound
O'er the long lake and midnight ground)
It sends a peal of hollow groans,
Thus speaking from among the bones.
When men my scythe and darts supply,
How great a King of Fears am I!
They view me like the last of things:
They make, and then they dread my stings.
Fools! if you less provok'd your fears,
No more my spectre-form appears.
Death's but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God:
A port of calms, a state of ease
From the rough rage of swelling seas.
Why then thy flowing sable stoles,
Deep pendant cypress, mourning poles,
Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long palls, drawn hearses, cover'd steeds,
And plumes of black that, as they tread,
Nod o'er the 'scutcheons of the dead?
Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the soul, these forms of woe:
As men who long in prison dwell,
With lamps that glimmer round the cell,
Whene'er their suff'ring years are run,
Spring forth to greet the glitt'ring sun :
Such joy, though far transcending sense,
Have pious souls at parting hence.
On earth, and in the body plac'd,
A few and evil years they waste :
But when their chains are cast aside,
See the glad scene unfolding wide,
Clap the glad wing, and tow'r away,
And mingle with the blaze of day.
THE scene was more beautiful far, to my eye,
Than if day in its pride had array'd it;
The land-breeze blew mild, and the azure-arch'd sky
Look'd pure as the spirit that made it.
hur arose, as I silently gaz'd
On the shadowy waves' playful motion;
From the dim distant isle till the beacon-fire blaz’d,
Like a star in the midst of the ocean.
No longer the joy of the sailor-boy's breast
Was heard in his wildly breath'd numbers;
The sea-bird has flown to her wave-girdled nest
The fisherman sunk to his slumbers.
I sigh'd as I look'd from the hills' gentle slope;
All hush'd was the billows' commotion;
And I thought that the beacon look'd lovely as hope,
That star of life's tremulous ocean.
The time is long past, and the scene is afar,
Yet, when my head rests on its pillow,
Will memory sometimes rekindle the star
That blaz'd on the breast of the billow.
In life's closing hour, when the trembling soul flies
And death stills the soul's last emotion,
O then may the seraph of mercy arise,
Like a star on eternity's ocean!
THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUL
VITAL spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, oh quit, this mortal frame !
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
Oh the pain, the bliss, of dying!