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On the sudden Death of a CLERGYMAN.


1 IF, like th' Orphean lyre, my song could charm,
2 And light to life the ashes in the urn,
3 Fate of his iron dart I would disarm,
4 Sudden as thy decease should'st thou return,
5 Recall'd with mandates of despotic sounds,
6 And arbitrary grief, that will not hear of bounds.
7 But, ah! such wishes, artless muse, forbear;
8 'Tis impotence of frantic love,
9 Th' enthusiastic flight of wild despair,
10 To hope the Thracian's magic power to prove.
11 Alas! thy slender vein,
12 Nor mighty is to move, nor forgetive to feign,
13 Impatient of a rein,
14 Thou canst not in due bounds the struggling measures keep,
15 But thou, alas! canst weep
16 Thou canst and o'er the melancholy bier
17 Canst lend the sad solemnity a tear.
18 Hail! to that wretched corse, untenanted and cold,
19 And hail the peaceful shade loos'd from its irksome hold.
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20 Now let me say thou'rt free,
21 For sure thou paid'st an heavy tax for life,
22 While combating for thee,
23 Nature and mortality
24 Maintain'd a daily strife.
25 High, on a slender thread thy vital lamp was plac'd,
26 Upon the mountain's bleakest brow,
27 To give a nobler light superior was it rais'd,
28 But more expos'd by eminence it blaz'd;
29 For not a whistling wind that blew,
30 Nor the drop-descending dew,
31 Nor a bat that idly flew,
32 But half extinguish'd its fair flame but now
33 See hear the storms tempestuous sweep
34 Precipitate it falls it falls falls lifeless in the deep.
35 Cease, cease, ye weeping youth,
36 Sincerity's soft sighs, and all the tears of truth.
37 And you, his kindred throng, forbear
38 Marble memorials to prepare,
39 And sculptur'd in your breasts his busto wear.
40 'Twas thus when Israel's legislator dy'd,
41 No fragile mortal honours were supply'd,
42 But even a grave denied.
43 Better than what the pencil's daub can give,
44 Better than all that Phidias ever wrought,
45 Is this that what he taught shall live,
46 And what he liv'd for ever shall be taught.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): On the sudden Death of a CLERGYMAN. ODE IV.
Themes: death
Genres: ode

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Source edition

Poems on several occasions: By Christopher Smart, A. M. Fellow of Pembroke-Hall, Cambridge. London: printed for the author, by W. Strahan; and sold by J. Newbery, at the Bible and Sun, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, MDCCLII., 1752, pp. 14-15. [16],230p.,plates; 4⁰. (ESTC T42626; OTA K041581.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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