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S the Occasion of this Poem was
Real, not Fictitious ; so the Me-
thod pursued in it, was rather imposed by what spontaneously arose in the Author's Mind, on that 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 Faits mentioned did naturally pour these moral Reflections on the Thought of the Writer.
It is evident from the first Night, where three Deaths are mentioned, that the Plan is not yet compleated; for two only of those three have yet been fung. But since the Fourth Night finishes one principal and important Theme, naturally arising from all Three, viz. the Subduing our Fear of DEATH, it will be a proper Pausing-place
for the Reader, and the Writer too. And
it is uncertain, whether Providence, or In-
clination, will permit him to go any farther.
I say, Inclination; for This Thing was
entered on purely as a Refuge under Unecfi-
ness, when more proper Studies wanted suf-
ficient Relish to detain the Writer's Atten-
tion to them. And that Reofon (thanks be
to Heaven) ceasing, the Writer has no fur-
ther Occasion, I fou'd rather say Excuse,
for giving in so much to the Amusements,
amid the Duties, of Life.
IR'D nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep!!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where Fortune smiles; the wretched he:
Swift on his downy pinion fies from Woe,
And lights on lids unfully'd with a Tear.
From short (as usual) and difturb'd Repose,
I wake: How happy they, who wake no more!
Yet that were vain, if Dreams infest the Grave.
I wake, emerging from a sea of Dreams
Tumultuous ; where my wreck’d, desponding thought
From wave to wave of fancy'd Misery,
At random drove, her helm of Reason loft ;
Tho' now restor'd, 'tis only Change of pain,
A bitter change; severer for severe :
The Day too short for my distress! and Night,
Even in the Zenith of her dark Domain,
Is Sunshine, to the colour of my Fate.
Night, fable Goddess ! from her Ebon throne,
In rayless Majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden Sceptre o'er a flumb'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 ftill, and Nature made a Pause ;
An aweful pause! prophetic of her End,
And let her prophecy be soon fulfilld ;
Fate! drop the Curtain; I can lose no more.
Silence, and Darkness! folemn Sisters ! Twins
From antient Night, who nurse the tender Thought
To Reafon, and on Reason build Refolve,
(That column of true Majesty in Man)
Aflift 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 didft 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 soul;
My soul which flies to Thee, her Trust, her Treasure:
As misers to their Gold, while others reft.
Thro' this Opaque of Nature, and of Soul,
This double Night, transmit one pitying ray,
To lighten, and to chear : Olnad my Mind,
A Mind that fain would with om its Woe,)
Lead it thro' various scenes of Life and Death,
And from each scene the noblest Truths inspire :
Nor less inspire my Conduet, than my Song ;
Teach my best Reason, Reason; my best Will
Teach Rectitude; and fix my firm Resolve
Wisdom to wed, and pay her long Arrear.
Nor let the Vial 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 Loss. To give it then a Tongue,
Is wife 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 Pensioner on the bounties of an Hour?
How poor? how rich ? how abject ? how auguft ? How complicatei how wonderful is man? How pafling wonder He, who made him such? Who center'd in our make such strauge Extremes, From different Natures, marvelously mixt, Connection exquisite of distant Worlds ! Distinguish'd 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, still Divine ! Dim Miniature of Greatness absolute ! An Heir of Glory! a frail Child of Duft! Helpless Immortal! Insect infinite! A Worm! a God! I tremble at myself, And in myself am loft! At home a Stranger,