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The Mystery of Life

By the Rev. John Gambold.33See his Works, (Bath,) 1789, p. 263.

So many years I’ve seen the sun,

And call’d these eyes and hands my own,

A thousand little acts I’ve done,

And childhood have and manhood known:

O what is Life! and this dull round

To tread, why was a spirit bound?

So many airy draughts and lines,

And warm excursions of the mind,

Have fill’d my soul with great designs,

While practice grovell’d far behind:

O what is Thought! and where withdraw

The glories which my fancy saw?

So many tender joys and woes

Have on my quivering soul had power;

Plain life with heightening passions rose,

The boast or burden of their hour:

O what is all we feel! why fled

Those pains and pleasures o’er my head?

So many human souls divine,

Some at one interview display’d,

Some oft and freely mix’d with mine,

In lasting bonds my heart have laid:

O what is Friendship! why imprest

On my weak, wretched, dying breast?

So many wondrous gleams of light,

And gentle ardours from above,

Have made me sit, like seraph bright,

Some moments on a throne of love:

O what is Virtue! why had I,

Who am so low, a taste so high?

Ere long, when Sovereign Wisdom wills,

My soul an unknown path shall tread,

And strangely leave, who strangely fills

This frame, and waft me to the dead:

O what is Death?—’tis life’s last shore,

Where vanities are vain no more;

Where all pursuits their goal obtain,

And life is all retouch’d again;

Where in their bright result shall rise

Thoughts, virtues, friendships, griefs, and joys.

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