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They whose bosoms once could joy
In the vain world's vainest toy-
They whose hearts could sometime feel
E’en the slightest touch of ill-
From the world by sorrow riven,
Gone already half to heaven-
Look with calmness on a scene,
Scarcely now within their ken.
Deem not that the heart is chill’d,
Which, though once with anguish fillid,
Such emotions all forgot,
Can smile and say, 'It matters not.'
Grace does not steel the faithful heart,
That it should know no ill;
We learn to kiss the chastning rod,
And feel its sharpness still.
But how unlike the Christian's tears,
To those the world must shed !
His sighs are tranquil and resign'd
As the heart from which they sped. The saint may be compellid to meet
Misfortune's saddest blow;
His bosom is alive to feel
But, ever as the wound is giv'n,
There is a hand unseen,
Hasting to wipe away the scar,
And hide where it has been.
The Christian would not have his lot
Be other than it is :
For, while his Father rules the world,
He knows that world is his.
He knows that he who gave the best,
Will give him all beside;
Assur'd each seeming good he asks
Is evil, if denied.
When clouds of sorrow gather round,
His bosom owns no fear;
He knows, where'er his portion be,
His God will still be there.
And when the threaten'd storm has burst,
Whate'er the trial may be, Something yet whispers him within,
“ Be still, for it is He !”
Poor nature, ever weak, will shrink
From the afflictive stroke ;
But faith disclaims the hasty plaint
Impatient nature spoke.
His grateful bosom quickly learns
Its sorrow to disown;
Yields to His pleasure, and forgets
The choice was not his own.
The grave is not a place of rest,
As unbelievers teach,
Where grief can never win a tear,
Nor sorrow never reach.
The eye that shed the tear is closed,
The heaving breast is cold;
But that which suffers and enjoys,
No narrow grave can hold.
The mould'ring earth and hungry worm
The dust they lent may claim;
But the enduring spirit lives
Eternally the same.
So many years I've seen the sun,
And called these hands and eyes my own, A thousand little acts I've done,
And childhood have, and manhood known: O what is life! and this dull round To tread, why was a spirit bound? So many airy draughts and lines,
And vain excursions of the mind, Have fill’d my soul with great designs,
While practice grovell’d far behind : O what is thought! and where withdraw The glories which my fancy saw ?
So many tender joys and woes
Have on my quivering soul had power ;
Plain life with heightening passions rose,
The boast or burden of their hour :
O what is all we feel ! why fled
Those pains and pleasures o'er my head ?
So many human souls divine
So at one interview display'd,
Some oft and freely mixt with mine,
In lasting bands
my heart have laid :
( what is friendship! why imprest
On my weak, wretched, dying breast?
So many wondrous gleams of light,
And gentle ardours from above,
Have made me sit, like seraph bright,
Some moments on a throne of love:
O what is virtue! why had I,
Who am so low, a taste so high?
Ere long when sovereign wisdom wills,
My soul an unknown path shall tread,
And strangely leave, which strangely fills
This frame, and waft me to the dead :
O what is death! 'tis life's last shore,
Where vanities are vain no more;
Where all pursuits their goal obtain,
And life is all retouch'd again;
Where in their bright result shall rise
Thoughts, virtues, friendships, griefs, and joys.
When gath’ring clouds around I view,
And days are dark, and friends are few ;
On him I lean, who, not in vain,
Experienced every human pain.
He sees my griefs, allays my fears,
And counts and treasures up my tears.
If aught should tempt my soul to stray,
From heavenly wisdom's narrow way
To fly the good I would pursue,
Or do the thing I would not do;
Still he who felt temptation's power,
Will guard me in that dangerous hour.
If wounded love my bosom swell,
Despised by those I prized too well;
He shall his pitying aid bestow,
Who felt on earth severer woe;
At once betrayed, denied, or fed,
By those who shared his daily bread.
When vexing thoughts within me rise,
And, sore dismayed, my spirit dies;
Yet, He, who once vouchsafed to bear
The sickening anguish of despair,
Shall sweetly soothe, shall gently dry,
The throbbing heart, the streaming eye.