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Touches the secret spring that opes the cell Where Conscience lurks, and slumbering horrors


Lo! as the wretch his careless path pursues,
Struck by his foot a rusted knife he views.
In thought the blade conceal'd from mortal eyes
Beneath the lake his troubled soul descries.
In wild dismay his clouded senses swim ;
Cold streams of terror bathe each shivering limb;
Then with new fires in every nerve he burns;
To earth, to heaven, his flashing eyeballs turns ;
Buries with frantic hand the' avenging knife
Deep in his breast, and renders life for life.



As vapours from the marsh's miry bed
Ascend, and, gathering on the mountain head,
Spread their long train in splendid pomp on high;
Now o'er the vales in awful grandeur lour,
Now flashing, thundering down the trembling sky,
Rive the rough oak, or dash the' aspiring tower;
Then melting down in rain

Drop to their base original again;

Thus earth-born heroes, the proud sons of praise, Awhile on Fortune's airy summit blaze,

The world's fair peace confound,

And deal dismay and death and ruin round, Then back to earth these idols of an hour Sink on a sudden, and are known no more. Where is each boasted favourite of Fame, Whose wide expanded name

Fill'd the loud echoes of the world around,
While shore to shore return'd the lengthen'd

The warriors where, who, in triumphal pride,
With weeping Freedom to the chariot tied,
To Glory's Capitolian temple rode?
In undistinguish'd dust together trod,
Victors and vanquish'd mingle in the grave;
Worms prey upon the mouldering god,
Nor know a Cæsar from his slave;
In empty air their mighty deeds exhale,
A schoolboy's wonder, or an evening tale.

In vain with various arts they strive
To keep their little names alive;

Bid to the skies the' ambitious tower ascend;
The cirque its vast majestic length extend;
Bid arcs of triumph swell their graceful round;
Or mausoleums load the' encumber'd ground;
Or sculpture speak in animated stone

Of vanquish'd monarchs tumbled from the throne;
The rolling tide of years,

Rushing with strong and steady current, bears
The pompous piles with all their fame away,
To black Oblivion's sea;

Deep in whose dread abyss the glory lies
Of empires, ages, never more to rise!

Where's now imperial Rome,

Who erst to subject kings denounced their doom, And shook the sceptre o'er a trembling world? From her proud height by force barbarian hurl'd! Now, on some broken capital reclined,

The sage of classic mind

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Her awful relics views with pitying eye,
And o'er departed grandeur heaves a sigh;
Or fancies, wandering in his moonlight walk
The prostrate fanes, and mouldering domes

He sees the mighty ghosts of heroes stalk
In melancholy majesty along;

Or pensive hover o'er the ruins round,
Their pallid brows with faded laurel bound;
While Cato's shade seems scornful to survey
A race of slaves, and sternly strides away.
Where old Euphrates winds his storied flood,
The curious traveller explores in vain
The barren shores and solitary plain,
Where erst majestic Babel's turret stood;
All vanish'd from the view her proud abodes,
Her walls, and brazen gates, and palaces of gods!
A shapeless heap o'erspreads the dreary space,
Of mingled piles an undistinguish'd mass;
There the wild tenants of the desert dwell;
The serpent's hiss is heard, the dragon's yell;
And doleful howlings o'er the waste affright
And drive afar the wanderers of the night.

Yet, 'tis Divinity's implanted fire

Which bids the soul to glorious heights aspire;
Enlarge her wishes, and extend her sight
Beyond this little life's contracted round,

And wing her eagle flight

To grandeur, fame, and bliss beyond a bound.
Ambition's ardent hopes, and golden dreams,
Her towering madness, and her wild extremes
Unfold this sacred truth to Reason's eye,
That 'Man was made for Immortality.'

Yes, friend! let noble deeds and noble aims
To distant ages consecrate our names,
That when these tenements of crumbling clay
Are dropp'd to dust away,

Some worthy monument may still declare
To future times, we were!'

Not such as mad Ambition's votaries raise
Upon the driving sand of vulgar praise;
But with its firm foundation laid

On Virtue's adamantine rock,

That to the skies shall lift its towering head
Superior to the surge's shock.

Plann'd like a Memphian pyramid sublime,
Rising majestic on its ample base,

By just degrees, and with a daring grace,
Erect, unmoved amid the storms of time!

Of time! no, that's a period too confined
To fill the unbounded mind,

Which o'er the barrier leaps of added years,
Of ages, eras, and revolving spheres,
And leaves the flight of numbers still behind.
When the loud clarion's dreadful roll
Shall rend the globe from pole to pole;
When worlds and systems sink in fire,
And Nature, Time, and Death expire;
In the bright records of the sky

Shall virtue see her honours shine;
Shall see them blazing round the sacred shrine
Of bless'd Eternity.



Go, soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand!
Fear not to touch the best,

The truth shall be thy warrant;


Go, since I needs must die,

And give the world the lie.

Go, tell the court it glows,
And shines like rotten wood;
Go, tell the church it shows
What's good, and doth no good:
If church and court reply,
Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates they live
Acting by others actions,
Not loved unless they give,

Not strong but by their factions:
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,
That rule affairs of state,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate;
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who in their greatest cost

Seek nothing but commending;
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.

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