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Should I reveal the sources of my grief,
If soft humanity e'er touch'd your breast,
Your hands would not withhold the kind relief,
And tears of pity would not be repress'd.
Heav'n sends misfortunes, why should we repine? "Tis Heav'n has brought me to the state you see; And your condition may be soon like mine, The child of sorrow and of misery.
A little farm was my paternal lot,
Then, like the lark, I sprightly hail'd the morn;
But ah! oppression forc'd me from my cot,
My cattle died, and blighted was my corn.
My daughter, once the comfort of my age, Lur'd by a villain from her native home,
Is cast abandon'd on the world's wide stage, And doom'd in scanty poverty to roam.
My tender wife, sweet soother of my care! Struck with sad anguish at the stern decree, Fell, ling'ring fell, a victim to despair, And left the world to wretchedness and me.
Pity the sorrows of a poor old man,
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door,
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span,
Oh! give relief! and Heav'n will bless your store.
IV. THE GRAVE OF ANNA.
I WISH I was where Anna lies,
For I am sick of ling'ring here;
And ev'ry hour affection cries,
Go and partake her humble bier.
I wish I could! For when she died,
I lost my all; and life has proved
Since that sad hour a dreary void—
A waste unlovely and unloved.
But who, when I am turned to clay,
Shall duly to her grave repair,
And pluck the ragged moss away,
And weeds that have "no business there?"
And who with pious hands shall bring
The flowers she cherished, snowdrops cold,
And violets that unheeded spring,
To scatter o'er her hallowed mould?
And who, while memory loves to dwell
Upon her name for ever dear,
Shall feel his heart with passion swell,
And pour the bitter, bitter tear?
I did it; and would fate allow,
Should visit still, should still deplore-
But health and strength have left me now
And I, alas! can weep no more.
Take then, sweet maid! this simple strain,
The last I offer at thy shrine,
Thy grave must then undecked remain,
And all thy memory fade with mine.
And can thy soft persuasive look,
Thy voice that might with music vie,
Thy air that every gazer took,
Thy matchless eloquence of eye;
Thy spirits frolicsome as good,
Thy courage by no ills dismayed,
Thy patience by no wrongs subdued,
Thy gay good-humour, can they fade?
V. HOPE BEYOND THE GRAVE.
Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more:
I mourn; but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you; For morn is approaching, your charms to restore, Perfum'd with fresh fragrance, and glitt'ring with dew.
Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
Kind nature the embryo blossom will save;
But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn!
Oh, when shall day dawn on the night of the grave!
'Twas thus by the glare of false science betray'd,
That leads, to bewilder; and dazzles, to blind; My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to shade, Destruction before me, and sorrow behind.
Oh, pity, great Father of light, then I cried,
Thy creature who fain would not wander from thee! Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride.
From doubt and from darkness thou only canst free.
And darkness and doubt are now flying away;
No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn :
So breaks on the traveller, faint and astray,
The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn. See Truth, Love, and Mercy, in triumph descending. And nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom! On the cold cheek of Death smiles and roses are blending, And Beauty immortal awakes from the tomb.
VI. ON THE MISERIES OF HUMAN LIFE.
AH! little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, pow'r, and affluence surround;
They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah! little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death,
And all the sad variety of pain:
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame. How many bleed,
By shameful variance betwixt man and man.
How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms,
Shut from the common air, and common use
Of their own limbs. How many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds,
How many shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty. How many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse;
Whence, tumbling headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic Muse.
Ev'n in the vale, where Wisdom loves to dwell,
With Friendship, Peace, and Contemplation join'd,
How many rack'd with honest passions droop
In deep retir'd distress. How many stand
Around the deathbed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish. Thought, fond man,
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle render life,
One scene of toil, of suff'ring, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appall'd,
And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think;
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;
The social tear would rise, the social sigh;
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
VII. ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
WHAT beck'ning ghost along the moonlight shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
'Tis she! but why that bleeding bosom gor'd?
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
See on those ruby lips the trembling breath,
Those cheeks now fading at the blast of death:
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before, And those love-darting eyes must roll no more. Thus, if Eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates.
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long fun'rals blacken all the way,)
Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breasts ne'er learn'd to głow
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
What can atone (oh, ever-injur'd shade!)
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear,
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier.
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year;
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be dress'd,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow:
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground, now sacred by thy relics made.