« PreviousContinue »
As the Occafion of this Poem was real, not
fictitious; fo the method pursued in it, was rather imposed, by what spontaneously arose in the author's mind, on tbat occasion, than meditated, or designed. Which will appear very probable from the nature of it. For it differs from the common mode of Poetry, which is from long narrations to draw fort morals. Here, on the contrary, the narrative is fort, and the morality arising from it makes the bulk of the Poem. The reason of it is, That the faets mentioned did naturally pour these moral reflections on the thought of the writer.
ARTHUR Onslow, Elai SPEAKER of the HOUSE of COMMONS.
TIR’D Nature's sweet Restorer, balmy Sleep!
He, like the World, his ready Visit pays
Where Fortune smiles; the Wretched he forsakes: Swift on his downy Pinions flies from Woe, And lights on Lids unfully'd with a Tear.
From short (as usual) and disturb'd Repose, I wake; How happy they, who wake no more! Yet that were vain, if Dreams infelt the Grave. I wake, emerging from a Sea of Dreams Tumultuous; where my wreck'd defponding Thought, From Wave to Wave of fansy'd Misery, At Random drove, her Helm of Reason loft : Tho' now restor's, 'tis only Change of Pain,
(A bitter Change!) feverer for severe.
The Day too short for my Distress; and Night,
Ev'n in the Zenith of her dark Domain,
Is Sunshine, to the Colour of
Night, fable Goddess ! from her Ebon Throne,
In rayless Majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden Sceptre o'er a slumb’ring World.
Silence, how dead! and Darkness, how profound !
Nor Eye, nor lift'ning Ear, an Object finds;
Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the gen’ral Pulse
Of Life stood still, and Nature made a Pause;
An awful Pause! prophetic of her End.
And let her Prophecy be foon fulfill'd :
Fate! drop the Curtain ; I can lose no more.
Silence and Darkness! solemn Sisters! Twins
From ancient Night, who nurse the tender Thought
To Reason, and on Reason build Refolve,
(That Column of true Majesty in Man)
Allift me: I will thank you in the Grave;
The Grave, your Kingdom : There this Frame shall fall
A Victim facred to your dreary Shrine.
But what are Ye?
THOU, who didst put to Flight
Primæval Silence, when the Morning Stars,
Exulting, shouted o'er the rising Ball;
O THOU, whose Word from solid Darkness struck
That Spark, the Sun, strike Wisdom from my
My Soul, which flies to Thee, her Truft, her Treasure,
As Misers to their Gold, while others rest.
Thro' this Opaque of Nature, and of Soul,
This double Night, transmit one pitying Ray,
To lighten, and to chear. O lead my Mind,
(A Mind that fain would wander from its Woe)
Lead it thro' various Scenes of Life and Death;
And from each Scene, the nobleft Truths inspire.
Nor less inspire my Conduct, than-my Song ;
beft Reason, Reason ; my best Will
Teach Rectitude ; and fix my firm Resolve
Wisdom to wed, and pay her long Arrear :
Nor let the Phial of thy Vengeance, pour'd
On this devoted Head, be pour'd in vain.
The Bell strikes One. We take no Note of Time,
But from its Lofs. To give it then a Tongue,
Is wise in Man. As if an. Angel spoke,
I feel the solemn Sound. If heard aright,
It is the Knell of my departed Hours :
Where are they?' With the Years beyond the Flood.
It is the signal that demands Dispatch :
How much is to be done? My Hopes and Fears
Start up alarm’d, and o'er Life's narrow Verge
Look down-On what? A fathomless Abyss ;
A dread Eternity! how surely mine!
And can Eternity belong to me,
Poor Penfioner on the Bounties of an Hour ?
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful, is Man!
How paffing Wonder HE, who made him fuch!
Whọ centred in our Make fuch strange Extremes !
From diff'rent Natures marvelously mixt,
Connexion exquisite of distant Worlds !
Distinguisht Link in Being's endless Chain !
Midway from Nothing to the Deity!
A Beam ethereal, fully'd, and absorpt!
Tho' fully'd, and dishonour'd, ftill Divine !
Dim Miniature of Greatness absolute !
An Heir of Glory! A frail Child of Dust!
Helpless Immortal! Infect infinite !
A Worm ! a God !-- -I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost! At home, a Stranger,
Thought wanders up and down, furpriz'd, aghaft,