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CXXXIV

AN ELEGY

Thou that know'st for whom I mourn,

And why these tears appear,

That keep'st account till he return

Of all his dust left here;

As easily Thou might'st prevent

As now produce, these tears,

And add unto that day he went

A fair supply of years.

But 'twas my sin that forced Thy hand

To cull this primrose out,

That by Thy early choice forewarn'd

My soul might look about.

O what a vanity is Man!

How like the eye's quick wink

His cottage fails; whose narrow span

Begins e'en at the brink!

Nine months Thy hands are fashioning us,

And many years--alas!--

Ere we can lisp, or aught discuss

Concerning Thee, must pass;

Yet have I known Thy slightest things,

A feather, or a shell,

A stick, or rod, which some chance brings,

The best of us excel;--

Yea, I have known these shreds outlast

A fair compacted frame,

And for one twenty we have past155155See Note

Almost outlive our name.

Yet had our pilgrimage been free,

And smooth without a thorn,

Pleasures had foil'd156156Or, soil'd: the first letter dubious Eternity,

And tares had choked the corn.

Thus by the Cross Salvation runs;

Affliction is a mother,

Whose painful throes yield many sons,

Each fairer than the other.

107

A silent tear can pierce Thy throne,

When loud joys want a wing;

And sweeter airs stream from a groan,

Than any arted157157arted, p1ayed on skilfully string.

Thus, LORD, I see my gain is great,

My loss but little to it,

Yet something more I must entreat,

And only Thou canst do it.

O let me--like him--know my end!

And be as glad to find it:

And whatsoe'er Thou shalt commend

Still let Thy servant mind it!

Then make my soul white as his own,

My faith as pure and steady,

And deck me, LORD with the same crown

That has crown'd him already!


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