Page images

terior part: the body becomes extremely lean; the strength fails; the decrepid wretch is unable to support himself; he is obliged to reinain on a seat, or stretched in his bed; the bladder becomes paralytic; the intestines lose their spring; the circulation of the blood becomes slower; the strokes of the pulse no longer amount to the number of eighty in a minute as in the vigour of life, but ate reduced to twenty-four and sometimes fewer; respiration is slower; the body loses its beat; the circulation of the blood ceases; death follows; and the dream of life is no more.

The separation of the soul from the body has been called, by poets, in the flight of their imagination, by the following fanciful


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Last benefit of nature,
Life's last extinguisher.
Nature's rude serjeant.
Birth-day to eternity.
The tamer.
Last of comforts.
Opiate of the soul,
Endless night.
Last of ills.
Great counsellor.
Period of all pain.
Feeble nature's dread.
Best gift of Heaven.
Great proprietor of all.
Common inn of rest.
Debt of nature.
Grisly monarch
Period of human action.
Sole, universal monarch.
Universal shade.
The mighty hunter
The great slayer.
Nature's pale-faced bailiff.

St. Pierre,

Glover. Ditto. Ditto, Swift. Dryden.

Pope. . Virgil. Cowley. Young. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.

lik, g'a


Ditto. Spenser.

Lee. Mrs. Roue.

Ditto. Tucker.

Pope. Hervey. Cowley.


ܕ ܀


uch, a

le medie

3 Teplice

at the

Grisly tyrant.

Hervey. Insatiate archer.

Ditto. The separating stroke

Ditto, Last, leaden sleep.

Rowe, The thing that ends all other deeds,

Shakspeare. Infallible cure of all.

Montaigne. Dissolution of our nature.

, Dryden. Law of nature, fix'd by fate.

Duck. Extinguisher of all properly,

Addison. A step from the grave to eternity

Trusler. Gentle end of human sorrows

Rowe. The long-join'd lovers' sad divorce

Ditto. The first statute of Magna Charta.

Sterne. An everlasting Act of Parliament

Ditto. An eternal sleep, without a dream.

Dryden, Eternal sleep. . .


. Fate of all mankind.

Ditto. Freed from the prison of their clay.

Spenser. Wrapt in the cold embraces of the grave.

Ditto. What is death? A sort of sleep.

What is death ?
Blood only stopp’d, and interrupted breath;
The utmost limit of a narrow span,
An end of motion, which with life began.

The grand sortie ;
That welcome, dreadful cordial to the soul,
The fool's resort, the refuge of the mad,
The lover's cure, the tyrant's surest friend,
The coward's triumph, and the gamester's end.

On his pale steed erect the monarch stands,
His dirk and javelin glittering in his hands. CUMBERLAND.
· Death, with most grim and grisly visage seen,

Yet is he nought but parting of the breath ;
Ne aught to see, but like a shade to ween,
Pnbodied, unsoul'd, unheard, unseen.


The other shape,
(If shape it may be call'd, that shape had none
Distinguishable, in member, joint, or limb)
Or substance, that might be call'd that shadow seem'd,
For each seem'd either ; black he stood as night,
Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell.


What art thou, O thou great mysterious terror?
The way to thee we know : diseases, famine,
Sword, fire, and all thy ever-open gates,
That day and night stand ready to receive us.
But what's beyond them? Who will draw this veil ?
Yet death's not there ; no, 'tis a point of time,
The verge 'twixt mortal and immortal being-
It mocks our thought ! Hughes’ SIEGE OF DAMASCUS.

'Tis what the guilty fear, the pious crave,
fought by the wretch, and vanquish'd by the brave;
It eases lovers, sets the captive free,
And though a tyrant, offers liberty !


O harmless Death! whom still the valiant brave,
The wise expect, the sorrowful invite,
And all the good embrace, who know the grave
A short, dark passage to eternal life. Sir W. DAVENANT.

Death we should prize as the first gift of nature ;
As a safe inn, where weary travellers,
When they haye journey'd through a world of cares,
May put off life, and be at rest for ever. SOUTHERN.

Whate'er death is, Some dreadful thing, no doubt: for well thou know'st God hath pronounc'd it death to eat that tree. Milton.

To-day man's drest in gold and silver bright,
Wrapt in a shroud before to-morrow's night;
To-day he's feeding on delicious food,
To-morrow dead, unable to do good;
To-day he's nice, and scorns to feed on crumbs,
To-morrow he's himself a dish for worms.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

To-day he's honour'd, and in vast esteem,
To-morrow not a beggar values him;
To-day he rises from a velvet bed,
To-morrow lies in one that's made of lead ;
To-day his house, tho' large, he thinks but small,
To-morrow no command, no house at all ;
To-day has forty servants at his gate,
To-morrow scorn’d, not one of them will wait;
To-day perfum'd as sweet as any rose,
To-morrow stinks to every body's nose ;
To-day he's grand, majestic, all delight,
Ghastly and pale before to-morrow's night;
True, as the scripture says, man's life's a span;



The present moment is the life of man. Death generally comes without being called, and gives us go respite. He

goes his rounds, day and night, and yet we live in as much security as if we thought he never would come near us.

Pliny. Had we eyes sharp enough, we should see the arrows of death flying in all directions, and account it a wonder that our friends escape them but a single day.

Cowper. , He that would live a little longer this day, would be as loth to die a thousand years heuce. Go we must at last ; no matter how soon. It is the work of the Almighty to make us live long, but it is our business to make a short life safficient; for people waste it, either in doing nothing, or doing that which does not belong to them.

Bulstrode's Essays. It is the will of God and nature, that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life. This is but an embryo state, a preparation for living. A man is not completely born, till he is dead. Why, then, should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy society? We are spirits, and bodies are lent us to aid us in doing good; it is a kind of benevolent acl of God. When the reverse takes place, and the body is an inconvenience, a way is provided, by which we may get rid of it. Deatle is that way.

B. Franklyn.


Tod the

Death is the king of terrors, and the terror of kings ; 'tis the most terrible of all terribles. Wherever this horrid monster comes, he stagnates the movements of the blood, drives the breath out of the lungs, destroys all sensation in the nerves, puts an entire stop to all voluntary motion, tears the soul and body asunder, commands the man to leave the world and all his friends and sweetest enjoyments, turns the body to rottenness and asbes, summons the soul to appear before the great God in an invisible world, declares the good or bad qualities of the heart, seals up the character of all men, and bids us enter into a vast eternity, with the exercise of all our thinking powers, in a new way of perception and sensation, never beo fore known or heard of in the whole history of man.

Ryland on the Beauties of Creation.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

People form the most singular conception of the last struggle, the separation of the soul froin the body; but this is all void of foundation. No man, certainly, ever felt what death is; and as insensibly as we enter into life, equally, insensibly do we leave it. To die, means nothing more than to lose the vital power, by which the soul communicates sensation to the body; when that power Ceases, man can have no sensation, of course no pain.

In proportion as this power decreases, we lose the power of sensation and of consciousness; and we cannot lose life, without at the same time, or before, losing our vital sensation, which requires the assistance of the tenderest organs. Experience tells us, that all those who ever passed through the first stage of death, felt nothing of dying; but sank at once into a state of insensibility. It is a mistake, to suppose that the convulsive throbs, the rattling in the throat, and the apparent pangs of death are painful; they are so; doubtless, to spectators; but the dying are not sensible of them.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »