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THE

COMPLAINT.

NIGHT SECOND.

ON TIME, DEATH, AND FRIENDSHIP.

To the Right Honourable the Earl of Wilmington.

"WHEN the cock crew, he wept,"-smote by

that eye

Which looks on me, on all; that pow'r who bids
This midnight-centinel with clarion shrill,
(Emblem of that which shall awake the dead,)
Rouse souls from slumber, into thoughts of heav'n,
Shall I, too, weep? where then is fortitude?
And fortitude abandon'd, where is man?
I know the terms on which he sees the light :
He that is born, is listed: life is war;
Eternal war with woe: who bears it best,
Deserves it least.-On other themes I'll dwell.
LORENZO ! let me turn my thoughts on thee,
And thine on themes may profit; profit there,
Where most thy need: themes, too, the genuine

growth

Of dear PHILANDER's dust. He, thus, tho' dead, May still befriend. What themes? Time's wond'rous price,

Death, Friendship, and PHILANDER's final scene:
[Themes meet for man! and met at ev'ry hour,
But most at this, at midnight, ever clad
In Death's own sables; silent as his realms;
And prone to weep; profuse of dewy tears
O'er Nature, in her temporary tomb.]

So could I touch these themes, as might obtain
Thine ear, nor leave thy heart quite disengag'd,
The good deed would delight me; half impress
On my dark cloud an Iris; and from grief,
Call glory.-Dost tho mourn PHILANDER's fate?
I know thou say'st it: says thy life the same?
He mourns the dead, who lives as they desire.
Where is that thrift, that avarice of TIME,
(0 glorious avarice!) thought of death inspires,
As rumour'd robberies endear our gold!
O Time! than gold more sacred; more a load
Than lead, to fools and fools reputed wise.
What moment granted man without account?
What years are squand'red! wisdom's debt unpaid!
Our wealth in days all due to that discharge.
Haste, haste, he lies in wait, he's at the door,
Insidious Death! should his strong hand arrest,
No composition sets the pris'ner free:
Eternity's inexorable chain

Fast binds; and vengeance claims the full arrear.
How late I shudder'd on the brink? how late
Life call'd for her last refuge in despair!
That Time is mine, O MEAD! to thee I owe;
Fain would I pay thee with eternity:

But ill my genius answers my desire,
My sickly song is mortal, past thy cure.
Accept the will; that dies not with my strain.
For what calls thy disease, LORENZO ? not
For Esculapian, but for moral aid.
Thou think'st it folly to be wise too soon.
Youth is not rich in time; it may be, poor:
Part with it as with money, sparing; pay
No moment, but in purchase of its worth:
And what its worth, ask deathbeds; they can tell.
Part with it as with life, reluctant; big
With holy hope of nobler time to come:
Time higher-aim'd, still nearer the great mark
Of men and angels; virtue more divine.

Is this our duty, wisdom, glory, gain?
(These heav'n benign in vital union binds)
And sport we like the natives of the bough,
When vernal suns inspire! Amusement reigns
Man's great demand: to trifle is to live:
And is it then a trifle, too, to die?
Thou say'st I preach: LORENZO! 'tis confess'd.
What if, for once, I preach thee quite awake?
Who wants amusement in the flame of battle!
Is it not treason to the soul immortal,
Her foes in arms, eternity the prize?
Will toys amuse, when med'cines cannot cure?
When spirits ebb, when life's enchanting scenes
Their lustre lose, and lessen in our sight,
As lands, and cities with their glitt❜ring spires,
To the poor shatter'd bark, by sudden storm
Thrown off to sea, and soon to perish there;
Will toys amuse?No: thrones will then be toys,
And earth and skies seem dust upon the scale.

Redeem we time?-its loss we dearly buy.
What pleads LORENZO for his high-priz'd sports?
He pleads Time's num❜rous blanks; he loudly pleads
The straw-like trifles on life's common stream.
From whom those blanks and trifles, but from thee?
No blank, no trifle, Nature made, or meant.
Virtue, or purpos'd virtue, still be thine :
This cancels thy complaint at one; this leaves
In act no trifle, and no blank in time:
This greatens, fills, immortalizes all;
This, the bless'd art of turning all to gold;
This, the good heart's prerogative to raise
A royal tribute from the poorest hours:
Immense revenue! ev'ry moment pays.
If nothing more than purpose in thy pow'r,
Thy purpose firm, is equal to the deed:
Who does the best his circumstance allows,
Does well, acts nobly; angels could no more.
Our outward act, indeed, admits restraint;
'Tis not in things o'er thought to domineer.
Guard well thy thought; our thoughts are heard in
heav'n.

On all-important Time, through ev'ry age,

Though much, and warm, the wise have urg'd; the

man

Is yet unborn, who duly weighs an hour.
"I've lost a day"-the prince who nobly cry'd,
Had been an emperor without his crown;

Of Rome? say, rather, lord of human race;
He spoke, as if deputed by mankind.

So should all speak: so Reason speaks in all.
From the soft whispers of that god in man,
Why fly to folly, why to frenzy fly

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For rescue from the blessings we possess?
Time, the supreme! Time is eternity;
Pregnant with all eternity can give ;
Pregnant with all that makes archangels smile;
Who murders Time, he crushes in the birth
A pow'r ethereal, only not ador'd.

Ah! how unjust to Nature, and himself,
Is thoughtless, thankless, inconsistent man!
Like children babbling nonsense in their sports,
We censure Nature for a span too short;
That span too short, we tax as tedious too;
Torture invention, all expedients tire,
To lash the ling'ring moments into speed,
And whirl us (happy riddance!) from ourselves.
Art, brainless Art! our furious charioteer
(For Nature's voice unstifled would recal)
Drives headlong tow'rds the precipice of death;
Death, most our dread; death thus more dreadful
made.

O what a riddle of absurdity!

Leisure is pain; takes off our chariot-wheels;
How heavily we drag the load of life!
Bless'd leisure is our curse: like that of Cain,
It makes us wander; wander earth around
To fly that tyrant, Thought. As Atlas groan'd
The world beneath, we groan beneath an hour.
We cry for mercy to the next amusement;
The next amusement mortgages our fields;
Slight inconvenience! prisons hardly frown,
From hateful Time, if prisons set us free.
Yet when Death kindly tenders us relief,
We call him cruel; years to moments shrink,
Ages to years. The telescope is turn'd

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