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Yet is there nothing men can do,
When chilling Age comes creeping on?
Cannot we yet some good pursue?
Are talents buried? genius gone?
If passions slumber in the breast,
If follies from the heart be fled;
Of laurels let us go in quest,
And place them on the poet's head.
Yes, we'll redeem the wasted time,
And to neglected studies flee;
We'll bu ld again the lofty rhyme,
Or live, Philosophy, with thee;
For reasoning clear, for flight sublime,
Eternal fame reward shall be;
And to what glorious heights we'll climb,
Th' admiring crowd shall envying see.
Begin the song! begin the theme!-
Alas! and is Invention dead?
Dream we no more the golden dream?
Is Mem'ry with her treasures fled?
Yes, 'tis too late, now Reason guides
The mind, sole judge in all debate;
And thus th' important point decides,
For laurels, 'tis, alas! too late.
What is possess'd we may retain,
But for new conquests strive in vain.
Beware then, Age, that what was won,
If life's past labours, studies, views,
Be lost not, now the labour's done,
When all thy part is,-not to lose:
When thou canst toil or gain no more,
Destroy not what was gain'd before.
For, all that's gain'd of all that's good,
When time shall his weak frame de-
(Their use then rightly understood)
Shall man, in happier state, enjoy.
Oh! argument for truth divine,
For study's cares, for virtue's strife;
To know th' enjoyment will be thine,
In that renew'd, that endless life!
See! I am calm as infant-love,
A very child, but one of wo,
Whom you should pity, not reprove:-I
But men at ease, who never strove
With passions wild, will calmly show
How soon we may their ills remove,
And masters of their madness grow.
Some twenty years I think are gone,—
(Time flies, I know not how, away,)
The sun upon no happier shone,
Nor prouder man, than Eustace Grey.
Ask where you would, and all would say,
The man admired and praised of all,
By rich and poor, by grave and gay,
Was the young lord of Greyling Hall.
Yes! I had youth and rosy health;
Was nobly form'd, as man might be;
For sickness then, of all my wealth,
I never gave a single fee:
The ladies fair, the maidens free,
Were all accustom'd then to say,
Who would a handsome figure see
Should look upon Sir Eustace Grey.
He had a frank and pleasant look,
A cheerful eye and accent bland ;
His very speech and manner spoke
The generous heart, the open hand;
About him all was gay or grand,
He had the praise of great and small;
He bought, improved, projected, plann'd;
And reign'd a prince at Greyling Hall.
My lady! she was all we love;
All praise (to speak her worth) is faint;
Her manners show'd the yielding dove,
Her morals the seraphic saint:
She never breathed nor look'd complaint:
No equal upon earth had she:-
Now, what is this fair thing I paint?
Alas! as all that live shall be.
There was, beside, a gallant youth,
And him, my bosom's friend, I had :-
Oh! I was rich in very truth,
But I deserved; for all that time,
When I was loved, admired, caress'd,
There was within, each secret crime,
Unfelt, uncancell'd, unconfess'd:
never then my God address'd,
In grateful praise or humble prayer;
And if His Word was not my jest,
(Dread thought!) it never was my care.
I doubted:-fool I was to doubt!
If that all-piercing eye could see,-
If He who looks all worlds throughout,
Would so minute and careful be,
As to perceive and punish me:—
With man I would be great and high,
But with my God so lost, that He,
In his large view, should pass me by.
Thus blest with children, friend, and wife,
Blest far beyond the vulgar lot;
Of all that gladdens human life,
Where was the good, that I had not?
But my vile heart had sinful spot,
And Heaven beheld its deep'ning stain,
Eternal Justice I forgot,
And mercy sought not to obtain.
Come near,-I'll softly speak the rest!-
Alas! 'tis known to all the crowd,
Her guilty love was all confess'd;
And his, who so much truth avow'd,
My faithless friend's. In pleasure proud
I sat, when these cursed tidings came;
Their guilt, their flight was told aloud,
And Envy smiled to hear my shame;
I call'd on Vengeance; at the word
She came :-Can I the deed forget?
I held the sword, th' accursed sword,
The blood of his false heart made wet;
And that fair victim paid her debt,
She pined, she died, she loath'd to live;—
I saw her dying-see her yet:
Fair fallen thing! my rage forgive!
Those cherubs still, my life to bless,
Were left; could I my fears remove,
Sad fears that check'd each fond caress,
And poison'd all parental love?
It made me proud-it made me mad!-Yet that with jealous feelings strove,
Yes, I was lost-but there was cause!-
Where stood my tale?—I cannot find
But I had all mankind's applause,
And all the smiles of womankind.
There were two cherub-things beside,
A gracious girl, a glorious boy;
Yet more to swell my full-blown pride,
To varnish higher my fading joy,
Pleasures were ours without alloy,
Nay, Paradise, till my frail Eve
Our bliss was tempted to destroy;
Deceived and fated to deceive.
And would at last have won my will, Had I not, wretch! been doom'd to prove Th' extremes of mortal good and ill.
In youth! health! joy! in beauty's pride!
They droop'd: as flowers when blighted
The dire infection came:-They died,
And I was cursed-as I am now-
Nay, frown not, angry friend, allow
That I was deeply, sorely tried;
Hear then, and you must wonder how
I would such storms and strifes abide.
Storms!-not that clouds embattled make, | And gave a mild and sober glow,
When they afflict this earthly globe; But such as with their terrors shake Man's breast, and to the bottom probe; They make the hypocrite disrobe,
They try us all, if false or true; For this, one devil had pow'r on Job; And I was long the slave of two.
Peace, peace, my friend; these subjects fly ;
Collect thy thoughts-go calmly on.-
And shall I then the fact deny?
I was, thou knowst,-I was begone, Like him who fill'd the eastern throne, To whom the Watcher cried aloud; That royal wretch of Babylon,
Who was so guilty and so proud.
Like him, with haughty, stubborn mind,
I, in my state, my comforts sought;
Delight and praise I hoped to find,
In what I builded, planted, bought!
Oh! arrogance! by misery taught-
Soon came a voice! I felt it come:
Full be his cup, with evil fraught,
Demons his guides, and death his doom!
Then was I cast from out my state;
Two fiends of darkness led my way; They waked me early, watch'd me late, My dread by night, my plague by day! Oh! I was made their sport, their play, Through many a stormy troubled year; And how they used their passive prey
Is sad to tell:—but you shall hear.
And first, before they sent me forth,
Through this unpitying world to run,
They robb'd Sir Eustace of his worth,
Lands, manors, lordships, every one;
So was that gracious man undone,
Was spurn'd as vile, was scorn'd as poor,
Whom every former friend would shun,
And menials drove from every door.
Then those ill-favour'd Ones, whom none
But my unhappy eyes could view,
Led me, with wild emotion, on,
And, with resistless terror, drew.
Through lands we fled, o'er seas we flew,
And halted on a boundless plain;
Where nothing fed, nor breathed, nor grew,
But silence ruled the still domain.
Upon that boundless plain, below,
The setting sun's last rays were shed,
Where all were still, asleep, or dead;
Vast ruins in the midst were spread,
Pillars and pediments sublime,
Where the gray moss had form'd a bed,
And clothed the crumbling spoils of time.
There was I fix'd, I know not how,
Condemn'd for untold years to stay:
Yet years were not;-one dreadful Now
Endured no change of night or day;
The same mild evening's sleeping ray
Shone softly-solemn and serene,
And all that time 1 gazed away,
The setting sun's sad rays were seen.