Page images



Ne commonentem recta sperne.-BUCHANAN.
Despise not my good counsel.

He who sits from day to day
Where the prison'd lark is hung,
Heedless of his loudest lay,

Hardly knows that he has sung.

Where the watchman in his round
Nightly lifts his voice on high,
None, accustom'd to the sound,
Wakes the sooner for his cry.

So your verse-man I, and clerk,
Yearly in my song proclaim
Death at hand-yourselves his mark
And the foe's unerring aim.

Duly at my time I come,
Publishing to all aloud—
Soon the grave must be your home,
And your only suit, a shroud.

But the monitory strain,

Oft repeated in your ears,
Seems to sound too much in vain,
Wins no notice, wakes no fears.

Can a truth, by all confess'd

Of such magnitude and weight, Grow, by being oft impress'd,

Trivial as a parrot's prate.

Pleasure's call attention wins,
Hear it often as we may;

New as ever seem our sins,
Though committed every day.

Death and judgment, heaven and hell-
These alone, so often heard,
No more move us than the bell
When some stranger is interr'd.

O then, ere the turf or tomb
Cover us from every eye,
Spirit of instruction, come,
Make us learn that we must die.



Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari!

Happy the mortal who has traced effects
To their first cause, cast fear beneath his feet,
And death and roaring hell's voracious fires!

THANKLESS for favors from on high,
Man thinks he fades too soon:
Though 'tis his privilege to die,

Would he improve the boon.

But he, not wise enough to scan
His blest concerns aright,
Would gladly stretch life's little span
To ages, if he might.

To ages in a world of pain,
To ages where he goes
Gall'd by affliction's heavy chain,
And hopeless of repose.

Strange fondness of the human heart,
Enamor'd of its harm!

Strange world, that costs it so much smart,
And still has power to charm.

Whence has the world her magic power?
Why deem we death a foe?

Recoil from weary life's best hour,

And covet longer woe?

The cause is Conscience-Conscience oft
Her tale of guilt renews:
Her voice is terrible though soft,
And dread of death ensues.

Then anxious to be longer spared

Man mourns his fleeting breath: All evils then seem light, compared With the approach of death.

'Tis judgment shakes him: there's the fear That promps the wish to stay:

He has incurr'd a long arrear,
And must despair to pay.

Pay! follow Christ, and all is paid;
His death your peace ensures ;
Think on the grave where he was laid,
And calm descend to yours.



De sacris autem hæc sit una sententia, ut conserventur, CIC. DE LEG.

But let us all concur in this one sentiment, that things sacred be inviolate.

He lives who lives to God alone,

And all are dead beside;

For other source than God is none
Whence life can be supplied.

To live to God is to requite

His love as best we may:
To make his precepts our delight,
His promises our stay.

But life, within a narrow ring
Of giddy joys comprised,
Is falsely named, and no such thing,
But rather death disguised.

Can life in them deserve the name,
Who only live to prove

For what poor toys they can disclaim
An endless life above?

Who, much diseased, yet nothing feel;
Much menaced, nothing dread;
Have wounds, which only God can heal,
Yet never ask his aid?

Who deem his house a useless place,

Faith, want of common sense; And ardor in the Christian race, A hypocrite's pretence?

Who trample order; and the day
Which God asserts his own
Dishonor with unhallow'd play,
And worship chance alone?

If scorn of God's commands, impress'd
On word and deed, imply
The better part of man unbless'd
With life that cannot die;

Such want it, and that want uncured
Till man resigns his breath,

Speaks him a criminal, assured
Of everlasting death.

Sad period to a pleasant course!
Yet so will God repay
Sabbaths profaned without remorse,
And mercy cast away.



TIME was when I was free as air,
The thistle's downy seed my fare,

My drink the morning dew;.
I perch'd at will on every spray,
My form genteel, my plumage gay,

My strains forever new.

But gaudy plumage, sprightly strain,
And form genteel were all in vain,
And of a transient date;

For, caught and caged, and starved to death, In dying sighs my little breath

Soon pass'd the wiry grate.

Thanks, gentle swain, for all my woes,
And thanks for this effectual close
And cure of every ill!

More cruelty could none express;
And I, if you had shown me less,
Had been your prisoner still.


THE pine-apples, in triple row,
Were basking hot, and all in blow;

« PreviousContinue »