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To DEATH.

An IRREGULAR ODE.

I.
1 HAIL, formidable KING!
2 My Muse thy dreaded Fame shall sing.
3 Why should old HOMER's pompous Lays
4 Immortalize ACHILLES' Praise?
5 Or why should ADDISON's harmonious Verse
6 Our MARLBRO's nobler Deeds rehearse?
7 Alas! no more these Heroes shine;
8 Their Pow'r is all subdu'd by Thine.
9 Where are these mighty Leaders now,
10 Great POMPEY, CAESAR, and Young AMMON too,
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11 Who thought he drew immortal Breath?
12 These bold ambitious Sons of MARS,
13 Who dy'd the Globe with bloody Wars,
14 Are vanquish'd all by thee, victorious DEATH!
II.
15 EV'N while they liv'd, their Martial Hate
16 But firmer fix'd thy Throne;
17 Nor, tho' it hasten'd others Fate,
18 Could it delay their own.
19 Nor didst thou want their Rage to kill;
20 Thy own can execute thy Will:
21 Whene'er thou dost exert thy Pow'r,
22 A thousand morbid Troops thy Call obey;
23 Sometimes thy wasting Plagues devour,
24 And sweep whole Realms away.
25 Now with contagious Biles the City mourns,
26 And now thy scorching Fever burns,
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27 Or trembling Quartan chills;
28 Of Heat and Cold the dire Extremes
29 Now freeze, now fire the Blood with Flames,
30 Till various Torment kills.
III.
31 CONSUMPTIONS, and Rheumatic Pain,
32 And Apoplectic Fits, that rack the Brain;
33 Soul-panting Asthmas, Dropsy, and Catarrh,
34 Gout, Palsy, Lunacy, and black Despair;
35 Pangs, that neglected Lovers feel;
36 Corroding Jealousy, their earthly Hell,
37 Which makes the injur'd Woman wild;
38 And pow'rful Spleen, that gets the Man with Child;
39 Physicians, Surgeons, Bawds, and Whores, and Wine,
40 Are all obsequious Ministers of Thine;
41 Nay, and RELIGION too,
42 When Hypocrites their Interest pursue,
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43 Or frantic Zeal inspires,
44 It calls for Racks, and Wheels, and Fires:
45 Then all our mystic Articles of Faith,
46 Instead of saving Life, become the Cause of DEATH.
IV.
47 GREAT MONARCH! how secure must be thy Crown,
48 When all these Things conspire to prop thy Throne?
49 Yet, in thy universal Reign,
50 Thou dost not use tyrannic Sway.
51 Whate'er the Weak and Tim'rous say,
52 Who tremble at thy Frown;
53 Thou art propitious to our Pain,
54 And break'st the groaning Pris'ner's Chain,
55 Which Tyranny put on.
56 In Thee the Lover quits his Care,
57 Nor longer courts the cruel Fair,
58 Her Coldness mourns no more:
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59 In Thee Ambition ends its Race,
60 And finds, at length, the destin'd Place,
61 It ne'er could find before:
62 The Merchant too, who plows the Main,
63 In greedy Quest of Gain,
64 By Thee to happier Climes is brought,
65 Than those his wild, insatiate Av'rice sought.
V.
66 PROPITIOUS Succourer of the Distrest,
67 Who often, by the Dead, dost make the Living blest!
68 How could profusive Heirs attend
69 Their Mistress, Bottle, Ball, and Play,
70 If timely Thou wert-not their Friend,
71 To snatch the scraping Sire away?
72 How would dull Poets weary Time
73 With their insipid Rhyme,
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74 And teaze and tire the Readers Ears
75 With Party Feuds, and Paper Wars,
76 If Thou, great Critic! didst not use
77 Thy Pow'r, to point a Period for their Muse?
78 The Bard, at thy decisive Will,
79 Discards his mercenary Quill;
80 Then all his mighty Volumes lie
81 Hid in the peaceful Tomb of vast Obscurity.
VI.
82 I, like the rest, advance my Lays;
83 With uncouth Numbers, rumble forth a Song,
84 Sedately dull, to celebrate thy Praise;
85 And lash, and spur the heavy lab'ring Muse along:
86 But soon the fatal Time must come,
87 (Ordain'd by Heav'n's unerring Doom)
88 When Thou shalt cut the vital Thread,
89 And shove the verbal Embryos from my Head.
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90 Then, since I'm sure to meet my Fate,
91 How vain would Hope appear?
92 Since Fear cannot protract the Date,
93 How foolish 'twere to fear?
94 I'll strive, at least, to stand prepar'd,
95 Thy Summons to obey;
96 Nor would I think thy Sentence hard,
97 Nor wish, nor fear the Day;
98 But live in conscious Peace, and die without Dismay.
VII.
99 FALLACIOUS Reas'ners wrong Thee, when
100 They call thy Laws severe;
101 Severe! to whom? To wicked Men;
102 Then let the Wicked fear.
103 Thou judgest all with equal Laws,
104 No venal Witness backs thy Cause,
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105 No Bribes to Thee are known;
106 If thy impartial Hand but strike,
107 The Prince and Peasant fall alike,
108 The Courtier, and the Clown.
109 What tho' a-while the Beggar groans,
110 While Kings enjoy their gilded Thrones?
111 What are Distinctions, Pomp, and Regal Train,
112 And Honours, got with Care, and kept with Pain?
113 One friendly Stroke of thine sets level all again.
114 All earthly Grandeur must decline;
115 Nay, ev'n Great GEORGE's Pow'r submit to thine:
116 But thy Dominion shall endure,
117 Till PHOEBUS measures Time no more:
118 Then all shall be in dark Oblivion cast,
119 And ev'ry mortal Kingdom fall; but thine shall fall the last.

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Title (in Source Edition): To DEATH. An IRREGULAR ODE.
Author: Stephen Duck
Themes: death
Genres: ode

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Source edition

Poems on several occasions: By Stephen Duck. London: printed for the author, 1736, pp. 140-147. xl,334,[2]p. ; 4⁰. (ESTC T90234; OTA K073280.000)

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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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