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Poems Referring To The Period Of Old Age.
UPON THE PUNISHMENT OF DEATH.
SUGGESTED BY THE VIEW OF LANCASTER CASTLE
This Spot—at once unfolding sight so fair
Towers, A prison's crown, along this way they past 10 For lingering durance or quick death with
shame, From this bare eminence thereon have cast Their first look—blinded as tears fell in
showers Shed on their chains; and hence that doleful
Tenderly do we feel by Nature's law
For worst offenders: though the heart will heave
With indignation, deeply moved we grieve,
In after thought, for Him who stood in awe
Neither of Grod nor man, and only saw, 5
Lost wretch, a horrible device enthroned
On proud temptations, till the victim groaned
Under the steel his hand had dared to draw.
But 0, restrain conrpassion, if its course,
As oft befalls, prevent or turn aside 10
Judgments and aims and acts whose higher
source Is sympathy with the unforewarned, who died Blameless—with them that shuddered o'er his
grave, And all who from the law firm safety crave.
The Roman Consul doomed his sons to die Who had betrayed their country. The stern
He rested not; its depths his mind explored;
Is Death, when evil against good has fought
Nor only palpable restraints unbind,
Not to the object specially designed,
Howe'er momentous in itself it be,
G-ood to promote or curb depravity,
Is the wise Legislator's view confined.
His Spirit, when most severe, is oft most kind; 5
As all Authority in earth depends
On Love and Fear, their several powers he
blends, Copying with awe the one Paternal mind. Uncaught by processes in show humane, He feels how far the act would derogate 10 From even the humblest functions of the
State; If she, self-shorn of Majesty, ordain That never more shall hang upon her breath The last alternative of Life or Death.