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XXIV. THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUL.-Pope.
VITAL spark of heavenly flame, quit, oh, quit this mortal frame!-trembling, hoping, lingering, flying; oh, the pain, the bliss of dying! Cease, fond nature! cease thy strife, and let me languish into life!Hark, they whisper! Angels say, "Sister spirit, come away!" What is this absorbs me quite, steals my senses, shuts my sight, drowns my spirit, draws my breath? Tell me, my soul-can this be death? The world recedes!-it disappears! heaven opens on my eyes!-my ears with sounds seraphic ring! Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!O grave! where is thy victory? O death! where is thy sting?
XXV.—THE FLIGHT OF IMAGINATION.-Akenside.
THE high-born soul disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing beneath its native quarry. Tired of earth and this diurnal scene, she springs aloft through fields of air; pursues the flying storm; rides on the volleyed lightning through the heavens; or, yoked with whirlwinds and the northern blast, sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars the blue profound, and, hovering round the sun, beholds him pouring the redundant stream of light; beholds his unrelenting sway bend the reluctant planets, to absolve the fated rounds of Time. Thence far effused, she darts her swiftness up the long career of devious comets; through its burning signs, exulting measures the perennial wheel of nature, and looks back on all the stars,— whose blended light, as with a milky zone, invests the orient. Now, amazed, she views the empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold, beyond this concave heaven, their calm abode; and fields of radiance, whose unfading light has travelled the profound six thousand years, nor yet arrived in sight of mortal things. Even on the barriers of the world, untired, she meditates the eternal depth below; till, half recoiling, down the headlong steep she plunges: soon o'erwhelmed, and swallowed up, in that immense of being. There her hopes rest, at the fated goal. For, from the birth of mortal man, the Sovereign Maker said, that not in humble or in brief delight, not in the fading echoes of renown, Power's purple robes, or Pleasure's flowery lap, the soul should find enjoyment; but from these turning disdainful to an equal good, through all the ascent of things enlarge her view-till every bound at length should disappear, and infinite perfection close the scene.
XXVI.—INSTABILITY OF HUMAN GLORY.-Henry Kirke White. O HOW weak is mortal man! how trifling-how confined his scope of vision! Puffed with confidence, his phrase grows big with immortality; and he, poor insect of a summer's day! dreams of eternal honours to his name, of endless glory and perennial bays. He idly reasons of eternity, as of the train of ages,-when, alas! ten thousand thousand of his centuries are, in comparison, a little point too trivial for account. O, it is strange, 'tis passing strange, to mark his fallacies; behold him proudly view some pompous pile, whose high dome swells to emulate the skies, and smile, and say, "My name shall live with this, till Time shall be no more;" while, at his feet, yea, at his very feet, the crumbling dust of the fallen fabric of the other day preaches the solemn lesson.-He should know that Time must conquer; that the loudest blast that ever filled Renown's obstreperous trump fades in the lapse of ages, and expires. Who lies inhumed in the terrific gloom of the gigantic pyramid? or who reared its huge walls? Oblivion laughs and says, "The prey is mine."-They sleep, and never more their names shall strike upon the ear of man-their memory burst its fetters.
THERE is a bird, that, by his coat, and by the hoarseness of his note, might be supposed a crow; a great frequenter of the church, where, bishop-like, he finds a perch and dormitory too. Above the steeple shines a plate that turns and turns, to indicate from what point blows the weather: look upyour brains begin to swim; 'tis in the clouds-that pleases him; he chooses it the rather. Fond of the speculative height, thither he wings his airy flight; and thence securely sees the bustle and the raree-show that occupy mankind below-secure and at his ease. You think, no doubt, he sits and muses on future broken bones and bruises, if he should chance to fall: no, not a single thought like that employs his philosophic pate, or troubles it at all. He sees that this great round-about, the world, with all its motley rout, church, army, physic, law, its customs and its businesses, are no concern at all of his, and says-what says he?-Caw. Thrice happy bird! I, too, have seen much of the vanities of men; and, sick of having seen them, would cheerfully these limbs resign, for such a pair of wings as thine, and-such a head between them.
XXVIII. -UNIVERSAL ADORATION.-
THE turf shall be my fragrant shrine; my temple, Lord, that arch of Thine; my censer's breath the mountain airs, and silent thoughts my only prayers. My choir shall be the moonlit waves, when murmuring homeward to their caves; or when the stillness of the sea, even more than music, breathes of Thee. I'll seek, by day, some glade unknown, all light and silence, like Thy throne; and the pale stars shall be, at night, the only eyes that watch my rite. Thy heaven, on which 'tis bliss to look, shall be my pure and shining book; where I shall read, in words of flame, the glories of Thy wondrous name. I'll read Thy anger, in the rack that clouds awhile the day-beam's track; Thy mercy, in the azure hue of sunny brightness breaking through!There's nothing bright, above, below, from flowers that bloom to stars that glow, but in its light my soul can see some feature of Thy Deity! There's nothing dark, below, above, but in its gloom I trace Thy love; and meekly wait that moment, when Thy touch shall turn all bright again!
XXIX.-JEPHTHA'S DAUGHTER TO HER FATHER.-Byron. SINCE our country, our God, O my sire, demand that thy daughter expire; since thy triumph was bought by thy vow, strike the bosom that's bared for thee now!-and the voice of my mourning is o'er, and the mountains behold me no more. If the hand that I love lay me low, there cannot be pain in the blow: and of this, O my father, be sure, that the blood of thy child is as pure as the blessing I beg ere it flow, and the last thought that soothes me below. Though the virgins of Salem lament, be the judge and the hero unbent: I have won the great battle for thee, and my father and country are free! When this blood of thy giving hath gushed, when the voice that thou lovest is hushed; let my memory still be thy pride, and forget not I smiled—as I died.
XXX. THE TREASURES OF THE DEEP.-Mrs. Hemans.
WHAT hid'st thou in thy treasure-caves and cells, thou hollowsounding and mysterious Main ?-pale glistening pearls, and rainbow-coloured shells, bright things which gleam unrecked of, and in vain. Keep, keep thy riches, melancholy sea! we ask not such from thee.-Yet more, the Depths have more! What wealth untold, far down and shining through their
stillness lies! Thou hast the starry gems, the burning gold, won from ten thousand royal argosies. Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful main; earth claims not these again!Yet more, the Depths have more! Thy waves have rolled above the cities of a world gone by! Sand hath filled up the palaces of old, sea-weed o'ergrown the halls of revelry! Dash o'er them, Ocean! in thy scornful play : man yields them to decay!- -Yet more! the Billows and the Depths have more! High hearts and brave are gathered to thy breast! They hear not now the booming waters roar, the battle-thunders will not break their rest: keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave-give back the true and brave!
Give back the lost and lovely! those for whom the place was kept at board and hearth so long; the prayer went up through midnight's breathless gloom, and the vain yearning woke 'midst festal song! Hold fast thy buried isles, thy towers o'erthrown, but all is not thine own!- -To thee the love of woman hath gone down; dark flow thy tides o'er manhood's noble head, o'er youth's bright locks and beauty's flowery crown; yet must thou hear a voice-"Restore the Dead !" Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee: "Restore the Dead, thou Sea!"
XXXI. THE COMMON LOT.-James Montgomery.
ONCE, in the flight of ages past, there lived a man; and who was he? Mortal! howe'er thy lot be cast, that man resembled thee. Unknown the region of his birth; the land in which he died, unknown: his name has perished from the earth: this truth survives alone;-that joy, and grief, and hope, and fear, alternate triumphed in his breast: his bliss, and woe-a smile, a tear: oblivion hides the rest. The bounding pulse, the languid limb, the changing spirit's rise and fall; we know that these were felt by him, for these are felt by all. He suffered-but his pangs are o'er; enjoyed-but his delights are fled; had friends-his friends are now no more; had foeshis foes are dead. He loved-but whom he loved, the grave hath lost in its unconscious womb: 0, she was fair! but nought could save her beauty from the tomb. He sawwhatever thou hast seen; encountered-all that troubles thee he was whatever thou hast been; he is-what thou shalt be! The rolling seasons, day and night, sun, moon, and stars, the earth and main,-erewhile his portion,-life and light; to him exist in vain. The clouds and sunbeams, o'er his eye
that once their shades and glory threw, have left, in yonder silent sky, no vestige where they flew. The annals of the human race, their ruins since the world began, of him afford no other trace than this,-THERE LIVED A MAN!
XXXII.-A VIEW OF DEATH.-Bryant.
To him who, in the love of Nature, holds communion with her visible forms, she speaks a various language: for his gayer hours, she has a voice of gladness, and a smile, and eloquence of beauty; and she glides into his darker musings, with a mild and gentle sympathy, that steals away their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts of the last bitter hour come like a blight over thy spirit; and sad images of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, and breathless darkness, and the narrow house, make thee to shudder and grow sick at heart; go forth under the open sky, and list to Nature's teachings: while from all around,-earth, and her waters, and the depths of air,-comes a still voice:
"Yet a few days, and thee the all-beholding sun shall see no more in all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, where thy pale form was laid with many tears, nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim thy growth to be resolved to earth again; and, lost each human trace, surrendering up thine individual being, thou shalt go to mix for ever with the elements; to be a brother to the insensible rock; and to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain turns with his share and treads upon. The oak shall send his roots abroad and pierce thy mould.
"Yet not to thine eternal resting-place, shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down with patriarchs of the infant world—with kings-the powerful of the earth-the wise-the good-fair forms-and hoary seers of ages past;-all in one mighty sepulchre. The hills, rock-ribbed, and ancient as the sun; the vales, stretching in pensive quietness between; the venerable woods; rivers, that move in majesty; and the complaining brooks, that make the meadows green; and, poured round all, old ocean's gray and melancholy waste, are but the solemn decorations all of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, the planets, all the infinite host of heaven, are shining on the sad abodes of Death, through the still lapse of ages. All that tread the globe are but a handful, to the tribes that slumber in its bosom. Take the wings of morning, and