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THE

COMPLAINT:

Night-Thoughts.

PREFACE.

AS the occasion of this poem was real, not fictitious ; so the method 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 short morals. Here, on the contrary, the narrative is short, and the morality arising from it makes the bulk of the Poem, The reason of it is, That the facts mentioned did naturally pour these moral reflections on the thought of the writer.

THE

COMPL A IN T.

NIGHT THE FIRST:

ON
LIFE, DEATH, AND IMMORTALITY.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE ARTHUR ONSLOW, ES2.

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

I IR'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 pinion flies from woe,
And lights on lids unsully'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 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 lost.
Tho' now restor’d, 'tis only change of pain,
(A bitter change!) severer 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 my fate.

Night, sable 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 list’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 prophesy be soon fulfilld;
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 Resolve, (That column of true majesty in man) Assist me: I will thank you in the grave; The grave, your kingdom: There this frame shall fall A victim sacred 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 soul; My soul, which flies to Thee, her trust, 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 noblest truths inspire.
Nor less inspire my Conduct, 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 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 loss. 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 pensioner on the bounties of an hour?

How poor, how rich, how abject, how august, How complicate, how wonderful, is man! How passing wonder HE, who made him such! Who centred in our make such strange extremes ! From diff'rent natures marvelously mixt, Connerion exquisite of distant worlds! Distinguish'd link in being's endless chain! Midway from Nothing to the Deity!

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