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An Ode.

Oppress'd with grief, oppress’d with care,
A burden more than I can bear,

I set me down and sigh;
O life! thou art a galling load,
Along a rough, a weary road,

To wretches, such as I!
Dim-backward as I cast my view,

What sick’ning scenes appear !
What sorrows yet may pierce me thro',
Too justly I may fear!
Still caring, despairing,

Must be my bitter doom;
My woes here shall close ne'er ;

But with the closing tomb !

Happy ye sons of busy-life,
Who, equal to the bustling strife,

No other view regard !
Ev'n when the wished end 's deny'd,
Yet while the busy means are ply'd,

They bring their own reward:

Whilst I, a hope-abandon’d wight,

Unfitted with an aim,
Meet ev'ry sad returning night,
And joyless morn the same,
You bustling, and justling,

Forget each grief and pain ;
I listless, yet restless,

Find ev'ry prospect vain.

How blest the solitary's lot,
Who, all-forgetting, all-forgot,

Within his humble cell,
The cavern wild with tangling roots,
Sits o'er his newly-gather'd fruits,

Beside his chrystal well !
Or haply, to his ev'ning thought,

By unfrequented stream,
The ways of men are distant brought,
A faint collected dream:
While praising, and raising

His thoughts to heav'n on high, As wand'ring, meand'ring,

He views the solemn sky.

Than I, no lonely hermit plac’d
Where never human footstep trac'd,

Less fit to play the part;
The lucky moment to improve,
And just to stop, and just to move,

With self-respecting art:

But ah! those pleasures, loves, and joys,

Which I too keenly taste,
The solitary can despise,
Can want, and yet be blest !
He needs not, he heeds not,

Or human love or hate,
Whilst I here must cty here,

At perfidy ingrate!

Oh! enviable, early days,
When dancing thoughtless pleasure's mazes

To care, to guilt unknown!
How ill exchang'd for riper times,
To feel the follies, or the crimes,

Of others, or my own!
Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,

Like linnets in the bush,
Ye little know the ills ye court,
When manhood is your wish!
The losses, the crosses,

That active man engage!
The fears all, the tears all,

Of dim-declining Age!


Plac'd on the verge of youtlı, my mind

Life's opening scene survey'd : I view'd its ills of various kind,

Afflicted and afraid.

But chief my fear the dangers mov’d,

That virtue's path inclose :
My heart the wise pursuit approv’d;

But O, what toils oppose !

For see, ah! see, while yet her ways

With doubtful step I tread,
A hostile world its terrors raise, ,

lis snares delusive spread.

0! how shall I, with heart preparid,

Those terrors learn to meet? llow from the thousand snares to guare!

My unexperienc'd feet?

As thus I mus’d oppressive sleep

Soft o'er my temples drew Oblivion's veil. The watry deep,

An ohject strange and new.

Before me rose : on the wide shore

Observant as I stood,
The gathering storms around me roar,

And heave the boiling flood.

Near and more near the billows rise;

Ev'n now my steps they lave ; And death to my affrighted eyes

Approach'd in every wave.

What hope, or whither to retreat?

Each nerve at once unstrung, Chill fear had fetter'd fast my feet,

And chain'd my speechless tongue.

I feel my heart within me die;

When sudden to my ear,
A voice descending from on high

Reprov'd my erring fear:

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“ What tho' the swelling surge thou see

Impatient to devour? “ Rest, mortal, rest on God's decree,

“ And thankful own his pow'r.

«« Know, when be bade the deep appear,

“ Thus far," th' Almighty said, “ Thus far, nor farther, rage; and here

“ Let thy proud waves be stay'd.”

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