The Dying Villager.

Approach the bed—the doors wide open throw1
Give air, and light—give all thou canst bestow ;—2
The chamber clear of every cottage breath,3
And watch the features of approaching death.4
Does age expire, whilst o’er the placid eye5
The shades of death in softened twilight lie ?6
Thro’ all the youthful frame does fever hold7
His fitful revelry of heat and cold ?8
Alas ! the sufferer’s years forbid decay9
Insulted reason still maintains her sway ;10
’Tis “ Conscience” holds her grasp, and thrusts her dart, 11
In grinning triumph to the sinner’s heart.12
How many Sabbaths—ah, how many tell,13
Did I my time and better reason sell14
In worse than folly—worse than madness live,15
Forgive, oh God of mercy, yet forgive.16
The hour of pardon past—all hope is fled17
My sentence sealed—the messenger has sped !18
Before my aching eyes I see him stand,—19
My condemnation waving in his hand.20
My wife—my dearest wife—withstand his power21
Oh children, shield me in this fearful hour.22
My God protect, They may not—cannot come,23
I am, oh fearful thought, I am undone.24
Deserted—dragged to never-ending night,25
Unseemly darkness ever on my sight.26
I know—I hear—I feel the vengeance due,27
And hell unfolds her horrors to my view.28
Expectant shapes attend in dread array,29
To bear me in their closing fangs away.30
No longer can I breathe, no longer live.31
Forgive, oh God of mercy—yet forgive.”32