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NIGHT THE NINTH AND LAST,
CONTAINING, AMONG OTHER THINGS, I. A Moral Survey of the NoctURNAL Heavens. II, A NIGHT-ADDRESS to the DEITY.
HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE,
ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S PRINCIPAL SECRETARIES OF STATE.
" --Fatis contraria fata rependens.”
S when a traveller, a long day past
In painful search of what he cannot find, At night's approach, content with the next cot, There ruininates, a while, his labour loft; Then chears his heart with what his fate affords, 5 And chaunts his sonnet to deceive the time, Till the due season calls him to repose : Thus I, long-travel'd in the ways
men, And dancing, with the rest, the giddy maze, Where disappointment smiles at hope's career ; Warn’d by the languor of life's evening ray, At length have hous'd me in an humble thed; Where, future wandering banish'd from my thoughts And waiting, patient, the sweet hour of rest, VOL. III.
I chace the moments with a serious fong.
Song fooths our pains; and age has pains to footh.
When age, care, crime, and friends embrac'd at heart,
Torn from my bleeding breast, and death's dark shade,
Which hovers o'er me, quench th' ethereal fire;
Canst thou, O Night! indulge one labour more ?
One labour more indulge ! then sleep, my strain !
Till, haply, wak'd by Raphael's golden lyre,
Where night, death, age, care, crime, and sorrow, cease;
To bear a part in everlasting lays ;
Though far, far higher set, in aim, I trust, 25
Symphonious to this humble prelude bere.
Has not the Muse asserted pleasures pure,
Like those above; exploding other joys ?
Weigh what was urg'd, Lorenzo! fairly weigh ;
And tell me, hast thou cause to triumph still ?
I think, thou wilt forbear a boast so bold.
But if, beneath the favour of mistake,
Thy smile's sincere ; not more sincere can be
Lorenzo's smile, than my compassion for him.
The fick in body call for aid; the fick
In mind are covetous of more disease ;
And when at worst, they dream themselves quite well.
To know ourselves diseas'd, is half our cure.
When nature's blush by custom is wip'd off,
And conscience, deaden'd by repeated strokes,
Has into manners naturaliz'd our crimes;
The curse of curses is, our curse to love;
To triumph in the blackness of our guilt
(As Indians glory in the deepest jet),
And throw aside our senses with our peace.. 45
But grant no guilt, no shame, no least alloy ; Grant joy and glory quite unsuliy'd fhone ; Yet, still, it ill deserves Lorenzo's heart. No joy, no glory, glitters in thy fight, But, through the thin partition of an hour, 50 I see its fables wove by destiny ; And that in forrow bury'd; this, in Thame; While howling furies ring the doleful knell; And conscience, now so soft thou scarce canst hear Her whisper, echoes her eternal peal.
Where, the prime actors of the last year's scene ;
Their port so proud, their buskin, and their plume ?
How many sleep, who kept the world awake
With lustre, and with noise ! has death proclaim'd
A truce, and hung his fated lance on high? 60
'Tis brandith'd still; nor fail the present year
Be more tenacious of her human leaf,
Or spread of feeble life a thinner fall,
But needless monuments to wake the thought;
Life's gayest scenes speak man's mortality;
Though in a style more florid, full as plain,
As mausoleums, pyramids, and tombs.
What are our noblest ornaments, but deaths
Turn'd Aatterers of life, in paint, or marble,
The well-stain'd canvas, or the featur'd stone!
Our fathers grace, or rather haunt, the scene,
Joy peoples her pavilion from the dead.
“ Profesi diversions ! cannot these escape ?"Far from it: these present us with a shroud;
And talk of death, like garlands o'er a grave. 75
As some bold plunderers, for bury'd wealth,
We ransack tombs for paftime; from the dust
Call up the deeping hero; bid him tread
The scene for our amusement: how like gods
We fit; and, wrapt in immortality,
80 Shed generous tears on wretches born to die ; Their fate deploring, to forget our own!
What all the pomps and triumphs of our lives,
But legacies in blossom? Our lean soil,
Luxuriant grown, and rank in vanities,
From friends interr'd beneath ; a rich manure !
Like other worms, we banquet on the dead ;
Like other worms, shall we crawl on, nor know
Our present frailties, or approaching fate?
Lorenzo ! such the glories of the world! 90
What is the world itself? Thy world—a grave.
Where is the dust that has not been alive?
The spade, the plough, disturb our ancestors ;
From human mould we reap our daily bread.
The globe around earth's hollow surface shakes, 95
And is the cięling of her sleeping fons.
O’er devastation we blind revels keep;
Whole bury'd towns support the dancer’s heel.
The moist of human frame the sun exhales;
Winds scatter through the mighty void the dry;
Earth repossesses part of what she gave,
And the freed fpirit mounts on wings of fire;
Each element partakes our scatter'd spoils ;
As nature, wide, our ruins spread : 'man's death