Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Extracts from Night Thoughts: The Death of Friends, from Night III
By Edward Young (1681–1765)
 
OUR dying friends come o’er us like a cloud,
To damp our brainless ardours; and abate
That glare of life which often blinds the wise.
Our dying friends are pioneers, to smooth
Our rugged pass to death; to break those bars        5
Of terror and abhorrence Nature throws
’Cross our obstructed way; and thus to make
Welcome as safe, our port from every storm.
Each friend by fate snatched from us is a plume,
Pluck’d from the wing of human vanity,        10
Which makes us stoop from our aërial heights
And, damp’d with omen of our own decease,
On drooping pinions of ambition lower’d,
Just skim Earth’s surface, ere we break it up,
O’er putrid earth to scratch a little dust        15
And save the world a nuisance. Smitten friends
Are angels sent on errands full of love;
For us they languish and for us they die,
And shall they languish, shall they die, in vain?
Ungrateful, shall we grieve their hovering shades        20
Which wait the revolution in our hearts?
Shall we disdain their silent soft address,
Their posthumous advice and pious prayer?
Senseless as herds that graze their hallow’d graves,
Tread under-foot their agonies and groans,        25
Frustrate their anguish and destroy their deaths?
 
 
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