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Is then extinct, nor spark of heav'nly fire,
divine, shall warm the sacred fane
Where wisdom, virtue, and religion pure,
Dwelt in celestial concord.—Whence the end
That man receiv'd his being; why endow'd
With such high pow'rs, and by his Maker form'd
In his own beauteous image, and in state
A little lower than th' angelic host?
Were there no certain hope of future bliss,
What would inspire the virtuous and the brave
To meet the face of danger without fear,
And smile on death? What makes the dying saint,
When writhing nature, agonis'd with pain,
Struggles to be reliev'd, with holy joy
View the dark silent vale he soon must pass,
Nor tremble at the sight? 'Tis the blest hope
Of Immortality that cheers the soul,
And fits her for the awful, trying hour
Of Death. Heard ye a deep and hollow groan
That breath'd despair? Mark truly whence it came.
See, on his dying bed the Atheist lies,
He, who in Life's gay pageantry and pride,
Ne'er let the thought of heav'n, the dread of hell,
Mar the light moments of his jovial day :
But now, diseases fell, and loathsome ills
Torture his joints, and anguish fills his mind.
Where can he look for succour? Where! to heav'n?
Alas! what hope is there? A dreadful doubt
O’erwhelms his soul, his eyeballs roll in vain
To find some friend to calm his anxious fears,
And ease him of his load: no kindred friend,
Companion of his vices ! dare approach
The bed of death, where ribald scorn might learn
A deep memento—Mem’ry, draw a veil
In pity o'er the rest-0 God, forgive !
Yes, I will trust, and triumph in the hope
Of immortality, tho' fools may jeer.
If in no future world the soul shall wake,
They never can accuse me of the cheat :-
So let me die in the delightful dream,
And sweet delusion, of a world to come.
'Tis midnight now: the busy world is still; Some, rack'd with torture, wake the peaceful hour With horrid groans, and
pray for coming morn; While some, disturbid in mind, as conscience brings To busy recollection, deeds of ill, Bedew their pillow with repenting tears, And weep till day. Remorse, and hidden guilt Point all their sharpest arrows.
Black despair Forth from his murky cavern stalks along With hurried stride, to where the pris'ner lies In lonely dungeon, and the knell of death Rings in his ears; the sleepy bird of night
Screams to the howling blast her piteous moan;
The raven claps his wing, the sullen bat
Flits thro' the air, and if report be true,
Departed spirits have appear'd to men,
And little fairies tripp'd it o'er the green,
Beneath the moonlight shade.—Ah! turn a thought
To where the sinking mariner forlorn,
Whom winds and waves o’erpow'r, struggles for
To stem the boiling torrent:-vain his hope
To reach yon wish'd for shore,- another surge,
More dreadful than the last, o'erwhelms him soon.-
A mournful sight the morrow will disclose,
His lifeless body stiff'ning in the blast.
O! what a dismal sound salutes my ears, That rung the knell of some departed soul. It comes from yonder tow'r, where Pontiff pride, And bigot cruelty together hold Their midnight orgies— 'Twas Narcissa's knell ! Peace to thy gentle shade ! where'er it roves, By fairy-circled plain, or moonlight stream, Or cloisters pale, to tell thy tale of woe !
Religion, in her best and purest state,
Unhurt by superstition-unenthrall’d
By odious customs, cruelty, and death,
Is beautiful! the attribute of heav'n,
Meek, patient, chaste the messenger of peace
To all who will receive ; she throws new light
On what was dim before-and thro' her glass
Things which were once unheeded, please us now,
In her the Gospel's deep and solemn truths
Shine with celestial splendour; there the soul
May contemplate the themes that once inspir'd
The prophet's eloquence, the seraph's song.
Not the religion, horrible the name,
Of crafty monks, and bacchanals impure.
Unhallow'd mock'ry !-- 'Tis the sacred flame
That warms the heart with gratitude and love
For that Eternal Pow'r in whom we live,
That constitutes religion's sacred name-
That makes poor helpless man a friend to man,
And brings the heart to triumph in the good,
Not of itself, but all. Curs’d is the wretch
Who makes his wealth his god ! no other hope
Shall cheer his dying hour—no pitying tear
Shall wash his stains away, nor mournful sigh
Welcome his soul to bliss. Unhappy man!
Thy god shall leave thee when thou need'stone most!
Affliction ! thou art physic to the soul, And wholesome too—thou mak'st the patient weak, To cool the fever of his blood-thy hand,
Oft rude and harsh by erring mortals deem'd,
Is always merciful—thou never strik'st
But where thou mean'st to raise, and chast'nest not,
But in thy tend'rest Love.-
Guilt through the world may flaunt in rich array,
And honesty in rags;-knaves may feast high,
While virtue starves :—but God, still just and good,
Has stores unknown and happiness for all-
Some have their portion here, and some in heav'n.
When on the bed of pain oppress'd I lay,
My trust was in the Lord, and not in vain-
His mercy was a pillow to my head,
A balsam to my heart—the shades of death
Were gather'd round me, but my soul rejoic'd
In his salvation, and my hope was sure.
What, tho' thou sitt'st in majesty supreme
Amid the heav'n of heav'ns! and with thy rays
Giv'st glory to ten thousand burning suns
Encircling thy throne: tho' angels stand
With golden harps attun'd, and voices rais'd
In heav'nly concert, thou art still my God,
And thou wilt hear me, tho' with feeble breath
I pour the grateful song, and trembling bend
Before the holy altar of thy Grace !
O let me never prostitute the Muse,