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Come then, my friend, I'll change my style,
And couch instruction with a smile:
But promise, ere I tell my tale,
The serious moral shall prevail.
Vanbruin died-his son, we're told,
Succeeded to his father's gold.
Flush'd with his wealth, the thoughtless blade
Despised frugality and trade;

Left Amsterdam with eager haste,

Dress and the Hague engross'd his taste.
Ere long his passion changed its shape,
He grew enamour'd with the grape:
Frequented much a house of cheer,
Just like our fools of fortune here;
With sots and harlots fond to join,
And revel o'er his midnight wine.

Once on a time the bowls had flow'd,
Quite till the morning cock had crow'd,
When Death, at every hour awake,
Enter'd the room, and claim'd the rake.
The youth's complexion spoke his fears;
Soft stole adown his cheek the tears.
At length the anguish of his breast
With faltering tongue he thus express'd-
Thou king of terrors, hear my prayer,
And condescend for once to spare.
Let me thy clemency engage,
New to the world, and green in age.
When life no pleasures can dispense,
Or pleasures pall upon the sense;
When the eye feels departing sight,
And rolls its orb in vain for light;
When music's joys no longer cheer
The sickening heart, or heavy ear;

Or when my aching limbs forbear,
In sprightly balls to join the fair;
I'll not repeat my suit to Death,
But cheerfully resign my breath.

Done; (says the monarch) be it so;
Observe-you promise then to go!'

What favour such protracted date
From the stern minister of fate!
Your wonder will be greater soon,
To hear the wretch perverts the boon:
Who, during years beyond a score,
Ne'er thought upon his promise more!

But were these terms by Death forgot?
Ah! no-again he seeks the sot.
The wretch was in the tavern found,
With a few gouty friends around.
Dropsy had seized his legs and thighs,
Palsy his hands, and rheum his eyes:
When thus the king- Intemperate elf,
Thus, by debauch, to dupe yourself.
What! are my terrors spurn'd by thee?
Thou fool! to trifle thus with me!
You ask'd before for length of days,
Only to riot various ways.
What were thy pleas but then a sneer?
I'll now retort with jest severe.

'Read this small print;' the monarch cries—
'You mock me, sir (the man replies);
I scarce could read when in my prime,
And now my sight's impair'd by time.
Sure you consider not my age-
I can't discern a single page.
And when my friends the bottle pass,
I scarce can see to fill my glass.'

Here, take this nut, observe it well-
'Tis my command you crack the shell.'
How can such orders be obey'd?
My grinders, sir, are quite decay'd.
My teeth can scarce divide my bread,
And not a sound one in my head.'

6

But Death, who more sarcastic grew, Disclosed a violin to view; Then loud he call'd, Old boy, advance, Stretch out your legs, and lead the dance.' The man rejoin'd- When age surrounds, How can the ear distinguish sounds? Are not my limbs unwieldy grown? Are not my feet as cold as stone? Dear sir, take pity on my state— My legs can scarce support my weight!' Death drops the quaint insulting joke, And meditates the fatal stroke: Assuming all his terrors now, He speaks with anger on his brow. Is thus my lenity abused;

And dare you hope to stand excused? You've spent your time, that pearl of price! To the detested ends of vice:

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Purchased your shortlived pleasures dear,
And seal'd your own destruction here:
Inflamed your reckoning too above,
By midnight bowls, and lawless love.
Warning, you know, I gave betimes-
Now go, and answer for your crimes.'
'Oh! my good lord, repress the blow-
I am not yet prepared to go:
And let it, sir, be further told,
That not a neighbour thinks me old.

My hairs are now but turning gray,
I am not sixty, sir, till May.
Grant me the common date of men,
I ask but threescore years and ten.'

Darest thou, prevaricating knave,
Insult the monarch of the grave?
I claim thy solemn contract pass'd-
Wherefore, this moment is thy last.'

Thus having said, he speeds his dart, And cleaves the hoary dotard's heart.

IX.

THE OWL.

It seems, an Owl, in days of yore,
Had turn'd a thousand volumes o'er :
His fame for literature extends,
And strikes the ears of partial friends.
They weigh'd the learning of the fowl,
And thought him a prodigious Owl!
From such applause what could betide?
It only cocker'd him in pride.

Extoll'd for sciences and arts,
His bosom burn'd to show his parts
(No wonder that an Owl of spirit
Mistook his vanity for merit);
He shows insatiate thirst of praise,
Ambitious of the poet's bays:
Perch'd on Parnassus all night long,
He hoots a sonnet or a song;
And while the village hear his note,
They curse the screaming whoreson's throat,

Amidst the darkness of the night, Our feather'd poet wings his flight; And, as capricious fate ordains, A chimney's treacherous summit gains; Which much impair'd by wind and weather, Down fall the bricks and bird together.

The Owl expands his azure eyes,
And sees a Non-con's study rise:
The walls were deck'd with hallow'd bands
Of worthies, by the' engraver's hands;
All champions for the good old cause!
Whose conscience interfered with laws;
But yet no foes to king or people,
Though mortal foes to church and steeple.
Baxter, with apostolic grace,
Display'd his mezzotinto face;

While here and there some luckier saint
Attain'd to dignity of paint.

Ranged in proportion to their size,
The books by due gradations rise.
Here the good Fathers lodged their trust;
There zealous Calvin slept in dust:
Here Poole his learned treasures keeps;
There Fox o'er dying martyrs weeps;
While reams on reams insatiate drink
Whole deluges of Henry's ink.

Columns of sermons piled on high
Attract the bird's admiring eye.
Those works a good old age acquired,
Which had in manuscript expired;
For manuscripts, of fleeting date,
Seldom survive their infant state.
The healthiest live not half their days,
But die a thousand various ways;

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