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Nor are his friends shut out: as a great prince
Not for himself alone procures admission,
But for his train.--It was his royal will,
That where he is, there should his followers be;
Death only lies between.-A gloomy path!
Made yet more gloomy by our coward fears :
But not untrod, nor tedious: the fatigue
Will soon go off.—Besides, there's no by-road
To bliss.— Then why, like ill-condition'd children,
Start we at transient hardships in the way
That leads to purer air, and softer skies,
And a ne'er-setting sun ?-Fools that we are !
We wish to be, where sweets unwithering bloom;
But straight our wish revoke, and will not go.
So have I seen, upon a summer's even,
Fast by the rivulet's brink, a youngster play:
How wishfully he looks to stem the tide!
This moment resolute, next unresolv'd :
At last he dips his foot; but, as he dips,
His fears redouble, and he runs away
From th' inoffensive stream, unmindful now
Of all the flowers that paint the further bank,
And smil'd so sweet of late.-Thrice welcome
That after many a painful bleeding step
Conducts us to our home, and lands us safe
On the long wish'd-for shore.—Prodigious change;
Our bane turn’d to a blessing “Death disarm'd,
Loses its fellness quite.—All thanks to Him
Who scourg'd the venom out.-Sure the last end
Of the good man is peace !-How calm his exit!
Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground,
Nor weary worn-out winds expire so soft.
Behold him in the evening tide of life,
A life well-spent, whose early care it was
His riper years should not upbraid his green:
By unperceiv'd degrees he wears away ;
Yet, like the Sun, seems larger at his setting.
High in his faith and hopes, look how he reaches
After the prize in view! and, like a bird
That's hamperd, struggles hard to get away :
Whilst the glad gates of sight are wide expanded
To let new glories in, the first fair fruits
Of the fast coming harvest.-Then, oh then!
Each earth-born joy grows vile, or disappears,
Shrunk to a thing of nought.-Oh! how he longs
To have his passport sign'd, and be dismiss'd !
'Tis done! and now he's happy—the glad soul
Has not a wish uncrown'd.-Ev’n the lag flesh
Rests too in hope of meeting once again
Its better half, never to sunder more.
Nor shall it hope in vain :--the time draws on
When not a single spot of burial earth,
Whether on land, or in the spacious sea,
But must give back its long-committed dust
Inviolate and faithfully shall these
Make up the full account; not the least atom
Embezzled, or mislaid, of the whole tale.
Each soul shall have a body ready furnish’d;
And each shall have his own.--Hence, ye profane!
Ask not, how this can be ?-Sure the same pow'r
That rear'd the piece at first, and took it down,
Can reassemble the loose scatter'd parts,
And put them as they were.- Almighty God
Has done much more: nor is his arm impaird
Through length of days: and what he can, he will:
His faithfulness stands bound to see it done.
When the dread trumpet sounds, the slumbering
(Not unattentive to the call) shall wake:
And every joint possess its proper place,
With a new elegance of form, unknown
To its first state.-Nor shall the conscious soul
Mistake its partner, but amidst the crowd
Singling its other half, into the arms
Shall rush with all th' impatience of a man
That's new-come home, and, having long been ab-
With haste runs over every different room,
In pain to see the whole. Thrice happy meeting!
Nor time, nor death, shall ever part them more.
'Tis but a night, a long and moonless night;
We make the grave our bed, and then are gone.
Thus at the shut of even, the weary bird
Leaves the wide air, and in some lonely brake
Cowers down, and dozes till the dawn of day;
Then claps his well-fledgʻd wings, and bears away.
MESSIAH, A SACRED ECLOGUE.
Ye nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains, and the silvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus, and th’ Aonian maids,
Delight no more-0 thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire!
Rapt into future times the bard begun:
A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a Son!
From Jesse's root behold a Branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies :
Th’ ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic dove.
Ye heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail !
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from Heav'n descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn!
O spring to light, auspicious babe be born!
See, Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring ;
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance :
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies !
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers;
• Prepare the way! a God, a God appears !'
'A God, a God! the vocal hills reply;
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo, Earth receives him from the bending skies !
Sink down, ye mountains, and ye valleys, rise !
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay !
Be smooth, ye rocks! ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes, by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him, ye deaf; and, all ye blind, behold !
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eye-ball pour the day:
'Tis he th' obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm th’ unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear,
face he wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
And Hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air,
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects ;
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms;
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promis'd father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end.
Then palaces shall rise ; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-liv'd sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'd shall reap the field.
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise ;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn;
To leafless shrubs the flowering palm succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead ;
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.