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Who, while on earth, in fame they live,
Are senseless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades,
The bursting earth unveils the shades !
All now, and wan, and wrapt with shrouds,
They rise in visionary crowds ;
And all with sober accent cry,
Think, mortal, what it is to die.
Now from yon black and fun’ral yew,
That bathes the charnel-house with dew,
Methinks, I hear a voice begin;
(Ye ravens, cease your croaking din,
Ye tolling clocks, no time refound
O’er the long lake and midnight ground.)
It sends a peal of hollow groans,
Thus speaking from among the bones.
When men my scythe and darts fupply,
How great a king of fears am I!
They view me like the last of things;
They make, and then they dread my ftings;
Fools ! if you less provok'd your fears,
No more my spectre-form appears.
Death's but a path that must be trod,
If man would ever pass to God:
A port of calms, a state of ease
From the rough rage of swelling feas.
Why then thy flowing fable stoles,
Deep pendent cypress, niourning poles,
Loose scarfs to fall athwart thy weeds,
Long pails, drawn herses, cover'd steeds,
And plumes of black, that as they tread,
Nod o'er the 'scutcheons of the dead?
Nor can the parted body know,
Nor wants the soul, these forms of woe :
As men who long in prison dwell,
With lamps that glimmer round the cell,
When-e'er their suff'ring years are run,
Spring forth to greet the glitt'ring fun :
Such joy, tho' far transcending sense,
Have pious souls at parting hence.
On earth, and in the body plac'd,
A few, and evil, years they waite :
But when their chains are cast aside,
See the glad scene unfolding wide,
Clap the glad wing, and tow'r away,
And mingle with the blaze of day.
E said, and past with sad presaging heart
To seek his spouse, his soul's far dearer part ; At home he fought her, but he fought in vain : She, with one maid of all her menial train, Had thence retir’d; and with her second joy, The young Aftyanax, the hope of Troy, Pensive she stood on Ilion's tow'ry height, Beheld the war, and ficken'd at the sight;
There her fad eyes in vain her Lord explore,
Or weep the wounds her bleeding country bore.
But he who found not whom his foul desir’d,
Whose virtue charm’d him as her beauty fir’d,
Stood in the gates, and ask'd what way she bent
Her parting step? If to the fane she went,
Where late the mourning matrons made resort ;
Or fought her sisters in the Trojan court?
Not to the court, (reply'd th' attendant train)
Nor mix'd with matrons to Minerva's fane :
To Ilion's steepy tow'r she bent her way,
To mark the fortunes of the doubtful day.
Troy fled, the heard, before the Grecian sword;
She heard, and trembled for her absent Lord;
Distracted with surprise, she seem'd to fly,
Fear on her cheek, and sorrow in her eye.
The nurse attended with her infant boy,
The young Aftyanax, the hope of Troy.
Hector, this beard, return'd without delay;
Swift thro' the town he trod his former way,
'Thro’ streets of palaces, and walks of state ;
And met the moarner at the Scæan gate.
With haite to meet him sprung the joyful fair,
His blameless wife, Aëtion's wealthy heir :
(Cilician Thebè great Aëtion sway'd,
And Hippoplacus' wide extended shade)
The nurse stood near, in whose embraces preft,
His only hope hung smiling at her breast,