Mather Byles

To a Friend, on the Death of a Relative.

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While Death his awful Triumphs spreads around,
And crowded Nations fill the vaulted Ground;
While ev'ry Rank, and State, and Sex, and Age,
Feel his keen Shafts, and sink beneath his Rage.
Mortals, prepare to try the doubtful State,
To yield the Battle, and resign to Fate.
Late has the Monarch, with despotick sway,
Resistless snatch'd thy favourite Fair away.
Gone, gone for ever from thy fond Caress,
No more her much-lov'd Form thy Eyes shall bless,
Her Absence still thy rising Sighs deplore,
And in her Converse you delight no more;
Touch'd by your Woe, the Muse her Tribute brings
And with grave Airs, in soothing Numbers, sings.
But sacred is the Muse; by Heav'n she's led
T' instruct the Living, not to blanch the Dead.
Ye Living, hear her tuneful Lips rehearse
No trifling Themes, nor in ignoble Verse.
And chief, be wise, ye blooming Young and Fair,
See your sad Picture, and your Period here.
How soon the Beauties vanish from your Forms,
Fall into Dust, and mingle with the Worms!
Beneath the Honours of a lonely Tomb,
In pensive Silence and a solemn Gloom,
Sleeps that fair Form in Death's relentless Arms,
Whose living Face once blush'd with endless Charms.
But, Ah! No more her Cheeks the Roses wear,
Nor on her lovely Lips the Smiles appear;
Fix'd are those Eyes which once divinely roll'd,
The Limbs all stiffen'd, and the Veins all cold;
That Voice is fled which charm'd Mankind before,
And that soft snowy Breast must pant no more,
So from your Lips the transient Breath shall fly,
Pale the fresh Cheek, and fix'd the rolling Eye;
The charming Face and beauteous Shape be laid,
All Pale and Breathless in the awful Shade.
To deck your Grave the Turff shall bloom around,
And the green Grass enamel all the Ground:
And still the flow'ry Emblem shall display,
The youthful Flourish and the swift Decay.
Ah, trust no more, ye Fair, your fading Face,
Let bright Religion court your warm Embrace,
To her soft Beauties be your Love inclin'd,
The deathless Beauties of th' immortal Mind.
So to new Charms your waking Dust shall rise,
And gay in Glory glitter up the Skies,
In heav'nly Tunes, with fresh Delights, shall sing,
And bloom and blossom in eternal Spring.
But thou, fond Mourner, give thy Tears away,
See the Gloom end in everlasting Day;
See the fair Soul on Wings of Angels rise,
Above the starry Concave of the Skies:
Now here, now there she rolls her dazz'led Sight;
Struck at the Prospect with immense Delight.
Her down-cast Eyes the fulged Streets behold.
And view a Pavement rich with gleemy Gold:
Aloft, the Roof, fram'd by th' almighty Hands,
Glorious, on Adamantine Pillars stands.
Here splendid Thrones confound the aching Sight,
And pour abroad unsufferable Light;
There in high Crowns a beamy Lustre plays,
And twinkling Jewels shoot a trembling Blaze,
The flowing Robes wave on like lambent Flames,
And flash and sparkle with celestial Gems.
Abroad, the Fields display their flow'ry Pride,
In whose fair Bosoms living Waters glide.
Here the glad Saint in mazy Rapture roves
Through Bow'rs of Bliss, and gay immortal Groves.
Here Jesus shines unutterably bright,
And Storms of Glory beat upon the Sight;
To these high Scenes thy ravish'd Views be giv'n
And bow consenting to the Will of Heav'n.

Hymn at Sea.

Great GOD, thy Works our Wonder raise,
To thee our swelling Notes belong;
While Skies, and Winds, and Rocks, and Seas,
Around shall echo to our Song.

Thy Pow'r produc'd this mighty Frame,
Aloud to thee the Tempests rore,
Or softer Breezes tune thy Name
Gently along the shelly Shore.

Round thee the scaly Nation roves,
Thy op'ning Hands their Joys bestow,
Thro' all the blushing coral Groves,
These silent, gay Retreats below.

See the broad Sun forsake the Skies,
Glow on the Waves, and downward slide!
Anon, Heav'n opens all its Eyes,
And Star-Beams tremble o'er the Tyde:

Each various Scene, or Day or Night,
Lord, points to thee our ravish'd Soul;
Thy Glories fix our whole Delight:
So the touch'd Needle courts the Pole.

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Mather Byles