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PRINTED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE YEARLY BILL OF MORTALITY
OF THE TOWN OF NORTHAMPTON.
Dec. 21, 1787.
WHILE thirteen moons saw smoothly run
The Nen's barge-laden wave,
Was man (frail always) made more frail
Than in foregoing years?
That so much death appears?
Nor plague nor famine came;
And never waves his claim.
Like crowded forest trees we stand,
And some are mark'd to fall ;. VOL. II. 2d v
The axe will smite at God's command,
And soon shall smite us all.
With its new foliage on,
I pass'd—and they were gone.
With which I charge my page ; A worm is in the bud of youth,
And at the root of age.
No present health can health insure
For yet an hour to come ;
Can always balk the tomb.
And oh! that (humble as my lot,
And scorn'd as is my strain*)
I may not teach in vain.
And, ere he quits the pen,
And answer all-Amen!
* John Cox, Parish Clerk of Northampton.
. ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.
November 5, 1793.
Happy the mortal, who has trac'd effects
THANKLESS for favours from on high,
Man thinks he fades too soon ; Though 'tis his privilege to die,
Would he improve the boon:
His best concerns aright,
To ages, if he might
To ages, where he goes
And hopeless of repose.
Strange fondness of the human heart,
Enamour'd of its harm ! Strange world, that costs it so much smart,
And still has pow'r to charm !
Whence has the world her magic powr?
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 :
And dread of death ensues.
Man mourns his fleeting breath :
With the approach of DEATH. "Tis judgment shakes him; there's the fear
That prompts his wish to stay :
And must despair to pay.
His death your peace ensures :
And calm descend to yours.
ON A SIMILAR OCCASION.
FOR THE YEAR
Improve the present hour, for all beside
COULD I, from Heav'n inspir'd, as sure presage
To whom the rising year shall prove the last As I can number in my punctual page,
And item down the victims of the past ;
How each would trembling wait the mournful sheet,
On which the press might stamp him next to die; And, reading here his sentence, how replete
With anxious meaning, heav'nward cast his eye.
Time then would seem more precious than the joys
In which he sports away the treasure now, And prayer more seasonable than the noise
Of drunkards or the music-drawing bow,
Then, doubtless, many a trifler, on the brink
Of this world's hazardous and headlong shore, Forc'd to a pause, would feel it good to think,
Told that his setting sun would rise no more. Ah! self-deceiv'd! could I prophetic say
Who next is fated, and who next shall fall, The rest might then seem privileg'd to play ;
But, naming none, the voice now speaks to all. Observe the dappled foresters, how light
They bound, and airy, o'er the sunny glade : One falls—the rest, wide scatter'd with affright,
Vanish at once into the thickest shade.
Had we their wisdom, should we, often warn'd,
Still need repeated warnings ; and at last, A thousand awful admonitions scorn'd,
Die self-accus'd of life all run to waste ?
Sad waste! for which no after thrift atones, · The grave admits no cure of guilt or sin;