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O think, if then the power to thee were given
Wouldst thou call back the warbler from its state of existence; and assuredly I regard death with very different feelings from that I should have done, if none of my affections were fixed beyond the grave. To dwell upon the circumstances which, in this case, lessen the evil of separation would be idle; at present you acknowledge, and in time you will feel Southey.
To be again the tenant of a cage?
Only that thou mightst cherish it again,
Wouldst thou the object of thy love recall To mortal life, and chance, and change, and pain,
And death, which must be suffer'd once by all?
Oh, no! thou sayest: oh, surely not, not so!
Leaves in the heart no room for selfishness.
Such love of all our virtues is the gem:
We bring with us the immortal seed at birth: Of heaven it is, and heavenly: woe to them
Who make it wholly earthly and of earth!
What we love perfectly, for its own sake
We love, and not our own; being ready thus, Whate'er self-sacrifice is ask'd, to make:
That which is best for it, is best for us.
O Lucy! treasure up that pious thought;
It hath a balm for sorrow's deadliest darts, And with true comfort thou wilt find it fraught, If grief should reach thee in thy heart of Southey.
Take them, O Death! and bear away
Take them, O Grave! and let them lie
Take them, O great Eternity!
have been removed. I have brothers, sisters, friends, father, mother, and child, in another
DEATH-Desolation caused by.
This is the first heavy loss which you have ever experienced; hereafter the bitterness of the cup will have passed away, and you will then perceive its wholesomeness. This world is all to us till we suffer some such loss, and every such loss is a transfer of so much of our hearts and hopes to the next; and they who live long enough to see most of their friends go before them, feel that they have more to recover by death than to lose by it. This is not the mere speculation of a mind at ease. Almost all who were about me in my childhood 'Tis but expanding thought, and life is nothing.
I was born to die:
I alone am left on earth!
DEATH-the Destiny of all.
Ages and generations pass away,
It is as natural to die as to be born; and to little child, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit, is like one that is wounded in hot blood, who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt and therefore, a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good, doth avert the dolours of death. But, above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is "Nunc dimittis," when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. Death hath this also that it openeth the gate of fame, and extinguisheth envy.
Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes. The ashes of an oak in a chimney are no epitaph of that, to tell me bow high, or how large, that was; it tells me not what flocks it sheltered while it stood, nor what men it hurt when it fell. The dust of great persons' graves is speechless too; it says nothing, it distinguishes nothing. As soon the dust of a wretch whom thou wouldst not, as of a prince whom thou couldst not look apon, will trouble thine eyes if the wind blow it thither; and when a whirlwind hath blown the dust of the churchyard into the church, and the man sweeps out the dust of the church into the churchyard, who will undertake to sift those dusts again, and to pronounce, "This is the patrician, this is the noble flower, and this the yeoman, this the plebeian bran?" Donne.
Thus star by star declines,
Till all are pass'd away,
To pure and perfect day;
She is gone! No longer shrinking from the winter wind, or lifting her calm pure forehead to the summer's kiss; no longer gazing with her blue and glorious eyes into a far-off sky; no longer yearning with a holy heart for heaven; no longer toiling painfully along the path, upward and upward, to the everlasting rock on which are based the walls of the city of the Most High; no longer here; she is there; gazing, seeing, knowing, loving, as the blessed only see, and know, and love.
Earth has one angel less, and heaven one more, since yesterday. Already, kneeling at the throne, she has received her welcome, and is resting on the bosom of her Saviour. If human love have power to penetrate the veil (and hath it not?), then there are yet living here a few who have the blessedness of knowing that an angel loves them.
DEATH-a quiet Haven.
Men in general do not live as if they looked to die; and therefore do not die as if they looked to live. Manton.
Death, thou art he that will not flatter princes,
Oh! just and mighty Death! What none have dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world have flattered, thou alone hast cast out of the world, and despised: thou hast drawn together all the far-fetched greatness, all the cruelty and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow word, Hic jacet. Raleigh.
Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath,
And stars to set; but all
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death! 'Mrs. Hemans.
be! how unlike all he was! how extreme to all he is! I bend over thee, and mark thy wasted, pallid frame:-I look up, and there is ascending above me an angel's form! I stoop to thee, and just can catch thy feeble, gasping whisper-I listen, and there floats around me a seraph's song! I take thy hand, tremulous and cold-it is waving to me from yonder skies! I wipe thy brow, damp and furrowed:-it is enwreathed with the garland of victory! I slake thy lip, bloodless and parched:-it is drinking the living fountains, the overflowing springs of heaven!
Dr. Richard Winter Hamilton.
Dear, beauteous Death, the jewel of the just,
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,
He that hath found some fledged bird's nest
At first sight if the bird be flown;
But what fair field or grove he sings in now-
And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams
And into glory peep.
O Death! thou strange, mysterious power, seen every day, yet never understood but by the incommunicative dead, what art thou?
Passing through nature to eternity.
Our dying friends are pioneers to smoothe
He who hath bent him o'er the dead,
And mark'd the mild angelic air,
What is it that sometimes speaks in the soul so calmly, so clearly, that its earthly time is short? Shakspeare. Is it the secret instinct of decaying nature, or the soul's impulsive throb, it rested in the heart-a calm, sweet, prophetic as immortality draws on? Be it what it may, certainty that heaven was near; calm as the light of sunset, sweet as the bright stillness of autumn. There her little heart reposed, only troubled by sorrow for those who loved her so dearly. Mrs. Stowe.
The first symptom of approaching death with some is the strong presentiment that they are about to die.
Ozanam, the mathematician, while in apparent health, rejected pupils, from the feeling that he was on the eve of resting from his labours; and he expired soon after, of an apopletic stroke.
Fletcher, the divine, had a dream which shadowed out his impending dissolution, and believing it to be the merciful warning of
Heaven, he sent for a sculptor and ordered his tomb. "Begin your work forthwith," he said, at parting; " there is no time to lose.' And unless the artist had obeyed the admonition, death would have proved the quicker workman of the two.
Mozart wrote his Requiem under the conviction that the monument he was raising to his genius, would, by the power of association, prove a universal monument to his remains. When life was fleeting very fast, he called for the score, and musing over it, said, "Did I not tell you truly that it was for myself that I composed this death-chant?''
reached the point at which any sharp agitation would bring on the crisis.
Circumstances, which at another time would excite no attention, are accepted for an omen The order for the when health is failing. requiem with Mozart, the dream with Fletcher, turned the current of their thoughts to the grave.
Another great artist, in a different depart ment, convinced that his hand was about to lose its cunning, chose a subject emblematical of the coming event. His friends inquired the nature of his next design, and Hogarth replied, "The end of all things." "In that case," rejoined one, "there will be an end of the painter." What was uttered in jest was answered in earnest, with a solemn look and a heavy sigh: "There will," he said; "and the sooner my work is done the better." He commenced next day, laboured upon it with unremitting diligence, and when he had given it the last touch, seized his pallet, broke it in pieces, and said: "I have finished." The print was published in March, under the title of "Finis;" and in October the curious eyes which saw the manners in the face, were closed in the dust. Our ancestors, who were prone to look in the air for causes which were to be found upon the earth, attributed these intimations to various supernatural agencies.
John Hunter has solved the mystery, if mystery it can be called, in a single sentence. "We sometimes," he says, "feel within our selves that we shall not live; for the living powers become weak, and the nerves communicate the intelligence to the brain."
His own case has often been quoted among the marvels of which he offered this rational explanation. He intimated, on leaving home, that if a discussion which awaited him at the hospital took an angry turn, it would prove his death. A colleague gave him the lie; the coarse word verified the prophecy, and he expired almost immediately in an adjoining room. There was everything to lament in the circumstance, but nothing at which to wonder, except that any individual could show such disrespect to the great genius, a single year of whose existence was worth the united lives of his opponents. Hunter, in uttering the prediction, had only to take counsel in his own experience, without the intervention of invisible spirits. He had long laboured under a disease of the heart, and he felt the disorder had
Foote, prior to his departure for the continent, stood contemplating the picture of a brother author, and exclaimed, his eyes full of tears, "Poor Weston!" In the same dejected tone he added, after a pause: "Soon others shall say, 'Poor Foote !" and, to the surprise of his friends, a few days proved the justice of his prognostication. The expectation of the event had a share in producing it; for a slight shock completes the destruction of prostrate energies.
The case of Wolsey was singular. The morning before he died he asked Cavendish the hour, and was answered "Past eight." Eight of the clock!" replied Wolsey, "that cannot be;-eight of the clock, nay, nay, it cannot be eight of the clock, for by eight of the clock shall you lose your master."" The day he miscalculated, the hour came true. On the following morning, as the clock struck eight, his troubled spirit passed from life. Cavendish and the bystanders thought he must have had a revelation of the time of his death; and from the way in which the fact had taken possession of his mind, we suspect that he relied on astrological prediction, which had the credit of a revelation in his own esteem.
Persons in health have died from the expectation of dying. It was once common for those who perished by violence to summon their destroyers to appear, within a stated time, before the tribunal of their God and we have many perfectly attested instances in which, through fear and remorse, the perpetrators withered under the curse, and died. Pestilence does not kill with the rapidity of terror.
The profligate abbess of a convent, the Princess Gonzaga of Cleves, and Guize, the profligate Archbishop of Rheims, took it into their heads, for a jest, to visit one of the nuns by night, and exhort her as a person who was visibly dying. While in the performance of their heartless scheme they whispered to each other, "She is just departing," she departed in earnest. Her vigour, instead of detecting the trick, sank beneath the alarm; and the profane pair discovered, in the midst of their sport, that they were making merry with a corpse. Wakley.
No one can fear death less than I do, neither am I much attached to life; but I have never