The rain pours down, the city looks forlorn,
And gloomy subjects suit the howling morn;
Close by my fire, with door and window fast,
And safely shelter'd from the driving blast,
To gayer thoughts I bid a day's adieu,
To spend a scene of solitude with you.
So oft has black revenge engross'd the care
Of all the leisure hours man finds to spare;
So oft has guilt, in all her thousand dens,
Call'd for the vengeance of chastising pens;
That while I fain would ease my heart on you,
No thought is left untold, no passion new.
From flight to flight the mental path appears,
Worn with the steps of near six thousand years,
And fill'd throughout with every scene of pain,
From George the murderer down to murderous Cain
Alike in cruelty, alike in hate,
In guilt alike, but more alike in fate,
Cursed supremely for the blood they drew,
Each from the rising world, while each was new.
Go, man of blood! true likeness of the first,
And strew your blasted head with homely dust:
In ashes sit-in wretched sackcloth weep,
And with unpitied sorrows cease to sleep.
Go haunt the tombs, and single out the place
Where earth itself shall suffer a disgrace.
Go spell the letters on some moldering urn,
And ask if he who sleeps there can return.
Go count the numbers that in silence lie,
And learn by study what it is to die;
For sure your heart, if any heart you own,
Conceits that man expires without a groan;
That he who lives receives from you a grace,
Or death is nothing but a change of place:
That peace is dull, that joy from sorrow springs
And war the most desirable of things.
Else why these scenes that wound the feeling mind,
This sport of death-this cockpit of mankind!
Why sobs the widow in perpetual pain?
Why cries the orphan, "Oh! my father's slain!"
Why hangs the sire his paralytic head,
And nods with manly grief-"My son is dead!"
Why drops the tear from off the sister's cheek,
And sweetly tells the misery she would speak?
Or why in sorrow sunk, does pensive John
To all the neighbors tell, "Poor master's gone!"
Oh I could I paint the passion that I feel,
Or point a horror that would wound like steel,
To thy unfeeling, unrelenting mind,
I'd send destruction and relieve mankind.
You that are husbands, fathers, brothers, all
The tender names which kindred learn to call;
Yet like an image carved in massy stone,
You bear the shape, but sentiment have none;
Allied by dust and figure, not with mind,
You only herd, but live not with mankind,
Since then no hopes to civilize remain,
And mild philosophy has preached in vain,
One prayer is left, which dreads no proud reply,
That he who made you breathe will make you die.
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