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But more will wonder at so short an age,
To find a blank beyond the thirtieth page;
And with a pious fear begin to doubt
The piece imperfect, and the rest torn out.
But 'twas her Saviour's time;t and, could there be
A copy near the original, 'twas she.
As precious gums are not for lasting fire,
They but perfume the temple, and expire;
So was she soon exhaled, and vanished hence;
A short sweet odour, of a vast expence.
She vanished, we can scarcely say she died;
For but a now did heaven and earth divide:
She passed serenely with a single breath;
This moment perfect health, the next was death:
One sigh did her eternal bliss assure;
So little penance needs, when souls are almost pure.
As gentle dreams our waking thoughts pursue,
Or, one dream passed, we slide into a new;
So close they follow, such wild order keep,
We think ourselves awake, and are asleep ;
So softly death succeeded life in her,
She did but dream of heaven, and she was there.
No pains she suffered, nor expired with noise; Her soul was whispered out with God's still voice; As an old friend is beckoned to a feast, And treated like a long-familiar guest. He took her as he found, but found her so, As one in hourly readiness to go; E'en on that day, in all her trim prepared, I As early notice she from heaven had heard, And some descending courier from above Had given her timely warning to remove;
+ Lady Abingdon died in her thirty-third year; at which age Jesus Christ was crucified,
She died in a ball-room in her own house.
Or counselled her to dress the nuptial room,
For on that night the bridegroom was to come.
He kept his hour, and found her where she lay,
Clothed all in white, the livery of the day: t
Scarce had she sinned in thought, or word, or act,
Unless omissions were to pass for fact;
That hardly death a consequence could draw,
To make her liable to nature's law.
And, that she died, we only have to shew
The mortal part of her she left below;
The rest, so smooth, so suddenly she went,
Looked like translation through the firmament,
Or like the fiery car on the third errand sent.
O happy soul ! if thou canst view from high,
Where thou art all intelligence, all eye,
If looking up to God, or down to us,
Thou find'st, that any way be pervious,
Survey the ruins of thy house, and see
Thy widowed and thy orphan family;
Look on thy tender pledges left behind;
And, if thou canst a vacant minute find
From heavenly joys, that interval afford
To thy sad children, and thy mourning lord.
See how they grieve, mistaken in their love,
And shed a beam of comfort from above;
Give them, as much as mortal eyes can bear,
A transient view of thy full glories there;
That they with moderate sorrow may sustain,
And mollify their losses in thy gain.
Or else divide the grief; for such thou wert,
That should not all relations bear a part,
It were enough to break a single heart.
Let this suffice: nor thou, great saint, refuse
This humble tribute of no vulgar muse;
Who, not by cares, or wants, or age deprest,
Stems a wild deluge with a dauntless breast;
And dares to sing thy praises in a clime
Where vice triumphs, and virtue is a crime;
Where e’en to draw the picture of thy mind,
Is satire on the most of human kind:
Take it, while yet ’tis praise ; before my rage,
Unsafely just, break loose on this bad age;
So bad, that thou thyself hadst no defence
From vice, but barely by departing hence.
Be what, and where thou art; to wish thy place,
Were, in the best, presumption more than grace.
Thy relics, (such thy works of mercy are)
Have, in this poem, been my holy care.
As earth thy body keeps, thy soul the sky,
So shall this verse preserve thy memory;
For thou shalt make it live, because it sings of thee.
'Twas on a joyless and a gloomy morn,
Wet was the grass, and hung with pearls the thorn,
When Damon, who designed to pass the day
With hounds and horns, and chace the flying prey,
Rose early from his bed ; but soon he found
The welkin pitched with sullen clouds around,
An eastern wind, and dew upon the ground.
Thus while he stood, and sighing did survey
The fields, and curst the ill omens of the day,
He saw Menalcas come with heavy pace :
Wet were his eyes, and cheerless was his face :
He wrung his hands, distracted with his care,
And sent his voice before him from afar.
“ Return,” he cried, “ return, unhappy swain,
The spungy clouds are filled with gathering rain :
The promise of the day not only crossed,
But even the spring, the spring itself is lost.
Amyntas--oh !”—he could not speak the rest,
Nor needed, for presaging Damon guessed.
Equal with heaven young Damon loved the boy,
The boast of nature, both his parents' joy.
His graceful form revolving in his mind
So great a genius, and a soul so kind,
Gave sad assurance that his fears were true;
Too well the envy of the gods he knew :
For when their gifts too lavishly are placed,
Soon they repent, and will not make them last.
For sure it was too bountiful a dole,
The mother's features, and the father's soul.
Then thus he cried :—“The morn bespoke the news;
The morning did her cheerful light diffuse;
But see how suddenly she changed her face,
And brought on clouds and rain, the day's disgrace;
Just such, Amyntas, was thy promised race.
Whatcharms adorned thy youth, where nature smiled,
And more than man was given us in a child !
His infancy was ripe ; a soul sublime
In years so tender that prevented time :
Heaven gave him all at once; then snatched away,
Ere mortals all his beauties could survey;
Just like the flower that buds and withers in a day.)
The mother, lovely, though with grief opprest, Reclined his dying head upon her breast. The mournful family stood all around; One groan was heard, one universal sound : All were in floods of tears and endless sorrow
drowned. So dire a sadness sat on every look, Even death repented he had given the stroke. He grieved his fatal work had been ordained, But promised length of life to those who yet re
mained, The mother's and her eldest daughter's grace, It seems, had bribed him to prolong their space. The father bore it with undaunted soul, Like one who durst his destiny controul ;