A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800

By Ronald S. Crane | Go to book overview

Who constrain the outward Fashion,
Close the Lips, and watch the Eyes.

Shapeless Sigh! we ne'er can show thee,
Fram'd but to assault the Ear:

Yet, ere to their Cost they know thee, 15
Every Nymph may read thee--Here.


EDWARD YOUNG

(1683-1713-1765)

The Complaint: Or Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality Night the First1

TIR'D Nature's sweet Restorer, balmy Sleep!
He, like the World, his ready Visit pays
Where Fortune smiles; the Wretched he forsakes:
Swift on his downy Pinion flies from Woe,

And lights on Lids unsully'd with a Tear. 5

From short (as usual) and disturb'd Repose, I wake: How happy they, who wake no more!
Yet that were vain, if Dreams infest the Grave.
I wake, emerging from a Sea of Dreams

Tumultuous; where my wreck'd, desponding Thought 10
From Wave to Wave of fansy'd Misery,
At random drove, her Helm of Reason lost.
Tho' now restor'd, 'tis only Change of Pain,
(A bitter Change!) severer for severe.
The Day too short for my Distress! and Night, 15

Even in the Zenith of her dark Domain,
Is Sunshine, to the Colour of my Fate.

Night, sable Goddess! from her Ebon Throne,
In rayless Majesty, now stretches forth

Her leaden Sceptre o'er a slumb'ring World. 20
Silence, how dead! and Darkness, how profound!
Nor Eye, nor list'ning Ear an Object finds;
Creation sleeps. 'Tis, as the gen'ral Pulse
Of Life stood still, and Nature made a Pause;
An aweful Pause! prophetic of her End. 25

____________________
1
Published in 1742. Text of the edition of 1750.

-542-

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