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“His verses are formed by no certain model; he is no more like himself in his different productions than he is like others. He seems never to have stue died prosody, nor to have any direction, but from his own ear. But with all his defects, he was * man of genius, and a poet."
P. S. The materials of the above Life are taker. from the article referring to our author in Johnson's Now Lives of the Poets, written by Mr. Herbert Croft with the Critique of Dr. Johnson, compared with the Biographia Britannica, and other respectableflow authorities.
Now let the Atheist tremble, thou alone Canst bid his conscious heart the Godhead own. Whom shalt thou not reform ? O thou hast seen How God descends to judge the souls of men. Thou heard'st the sentence how the guilty mourn, Driv'n out from God, and never to return.
Yet more, behold ten thousand thunders fall, And sudden vengeance wrap the flaming ball. When Nature sunk, when every bolt was hurl'd, Thou saw'st the boundless ruins of the world.
When guilty Sodom felt the burning rain,
And sulphur fell on the devoted plain,
The Patriarch thus, the fiery tempest past,
With pious horror view'd the desart waste ;
The restless smoke still wav'd its curls around,
For ever rising from the glowing ground.
But tell me, oh! what heav'nly pleasure, tell,
To think so greatly, and describe so well!
How wast thou pleas'd the wondrous theme to try,
And find the theme of man could rise so high?
Beyond this world the labour to pursue,
And open all eternity to view ?
But thon art best delighted to rehearse Ieaven's holy dictates in exalted verse.
thou hast power the harden'd heart to warm, to grieve, to raise, to terrify, to charm;
To fix the soul on God; to teach the mind
To know the dignity of humankind;
By stricter rules well-govern'd life to scan,
And practise o'er the angel in the man.
ON LIFE, DEATH, AND IMMORTALITY.
To the Right Honourable Arthur Onslow, Esq. Speaker of
the House of Commons.
TIR'd Nature's sweet restorer, balmy SLEEP!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays,
Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes :
Swift on his downy pinions flies from woe,
And lights on lids unsully'd with a tear.
From short (as usual) and disturb'd repose,
I wake: how happy they, who wake no more!
Yet that were vain, if dreams infest the grave.
I wake, emerging from a sea of dreams
Tumult'ous ; where my wreck'd, desponding thought,
From wave to wave of fancy'd misery,
At random drove, her helm of reason lost :
Though now restord, 'tis only change of pain,
(A bitter change!) severer for severe :
The Day too short for my distress! and Night,
Ev'n in the zenith of her dark domain,
Is sunshine to the colour of my fate.
Night, sable goddess ! from her ebon throne,
In rayless majesty now stretches forth
Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumb'ring world.
Silence, how dead ! and darkness, how profound !
Nor eye, nor listning ear, an object finds :
Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the gen’ral pulse
Of life stood still, and Nature made a pause ;
An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
And let her prophecy be soon fulfill'd ;
Fate! drop the curtain ; I can lose no more.
Silence and Darkness! solemn sisters ! twins
From ancient Night, who nurse the tender thought
To Reason, and on Reason build Resolve,
(That column of true majesty in man)
Assist me: I will thank you in the grave ;
The grave, your kingdom : there this frame shall fall
A victim sacred to your dreary shrine.
But what are ye?
Thou! who didst put to flight
Primæval Silence, when the morning-stars,
Exulting shouted o'er the rising ball;
O Thou ! whose word from solid Darkness struck
That spark, the sun ; strike wisdom from my soul ;
My soul, which flies to thee, her trust, her treasure,
As misers to their gold, while others rest.
Through this opaque of nature and of soul,
This double night, transmit one pitying ray,
To lighten, and to cheer. O lead my mind,
(A mind that fain would wander from its woe)
Lead it through various scenes of life and death ;
And from each scene, the noblest truths inspire.