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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 55

The Dying Infidel's Address to Death

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The Dying Infidel's Address to Death.

Hail to thee O Death!
My most profound and reverential hail!
Omnipresent thou, with life coeval,
Its mighty rival, and superior foe.
Immortal—feeding on mortality;
Dread Potentate—unto thy blasting breath—
All Kings do turn to dust, all Gods to air,
And e'en the fiery Suns do cool to Earths,
And Earths in turn refrigerate to nought,
Yea every constellation of the heavens—
Doth wicken under throes of agony:
Nor strikest thou alone at might, and pride—
In single blows spread thinly ever time,
Bat goaded by a constant appetite—
Thou dost not step for solid—hearty meal,
So ever on the watch thy time is filled—
With a cesselass labour : so dost thou search—
Air, land, and sea for prey,—still not contest,
Pursuest thou the stones as they course—
To build the things we see, and feel, and are;
A prey to ravening hunger yet,
Thou strecthest forth thy mighty hand to strike—
Outside of tatter—in a larger realm:
So doth the fruitful mother of all things—
Our constant, kind, imponderable nuts
Who baths and ever feeds her heavy charge
Itself at last stop the swift coarse to die;
Requisite subtilty availeth not—
Against thy skill,—but falls it with the rest—
A lifeless,—cold,—aad stiffen'd [unclear: Corso]:
Thy hand is on the universe of things,
All—all—in turn falls easy prey to thee,
Nothing too small to catch thy searching eye.
Nothing so great it frightens thee away,
But with an equal force, an equal care—
Parukest thou of all life's offerings.
Such thou art—staggering under victory
And surfeited with cast-off pomp of Kings,
Thy ample belt hang thick with scalps of Gods,
Yet stoopest thou thus hungrily for me!
So great,—so dread,—almost do I fear thee;
I would have met thee in becoming garb,
Upstanding—the healthy bloom or manhood—
On my cheek—to do thee rightful honour,
And give thee corse all worthy of thy shrine,
But thou hast chosen thus oar interview,
So must take or leave as yea hero shall find.
The choice of time I have with duo respect.
page break And thought for all my friends, left unto thee:
Excuse me that I rite not to thy honour,
For here all motionless I'm chained down—
With bonds invisible, but Oh so tight,
That I am faster bound unto this rack—
Than skill of old inquisitor could work;
All that is free to mere in ay last strait—
Is thought,—and this to suit the solemn hour—
Broods o'er man's greatness and his littleness:
The essence of my life seems condene'd now,
And thick'ning as the moments fly to thee.

And new that we at last stand face to face,
I would scan thee closely as I may.
Portray'd by man in fear a very ghoul—
Whose fitting symbol that grim frame-work
Bearing indeed most beauteous drapery,
Out as divested of these ample folds,
In it's repulsive [unclear: repulsive narkdess] reveal'd;
Forms [unclear: too the] the cheerless emblems of the grave
To represnt the hidden [unclear: havoc] there;
But if this solid remnant of the man,—
This bleached wrack—thy true presentment?
Ah this I'd know;—so I would beg of shee—
Just half a turn unto the light,—aye so;
Ah—what see I? surely my senses fail!
After long years of honesty they cheat,
And with this pleasant phantasy:—but no,
There all palpable to surest right
In place of bony horror arm'd with steel,
Gruining every inch malign, and odieus.
Where jointed nooks spread for the foul embrace,
A charming figure stands,—majestic,—kind,
Full flesh'd, and rounded off in beauty,
With such winning air one can ne'er refuse,—
For so it is—as man's last friend you come—
To keep this too prolific earth in bounds
And mitigate the ugliness she rears;
To lull those pains, those sorrows which oft towor—
So high above the rest—they need thy hand,—
Thy master-hand;—with kindness human-like,
In mercy, and in love thou comest here,
So ever beautiful, and bright to me :
Then hail again O Death. Now sit thee down—
Here by my side, and I will pour into thine ear—
What moves me sweetly this last hour of life,
And then all peacefully I'll yield thy due.
Almost I fear'd thou hadst forgotten me,
So long—so long—thou hast delay'd,
And now arriv'd—contrary fear doth sieze,
Thus would I beg a little further life—
Not to prepare for thee, but to prolong—
This strange, this sweetly thrilling ecstasy—
Which now so gently spreads throughout my frame
To stimulate a dying love for Earth :
For now it seems all lull'd the pain i move—
On wings of happy lightsome thought away—
To live among my sweet remembrances;
page break Then leave me here—this little heaven awhile,
To close my days in fair won Paradise,
And scan from off this crowning point of life—
My past career—my feelings,—aad my thoughts.
But—Ah—in this last retrospect of life,
Joys to the fore do crush its sorrows out,
Thus seemeth all my past one breakless heaven;
So new—as on life's further edge I lay,—
And backward think, almost I do repine:
Oh ! seems it passing hard to feel, to know,—
For me life's cup is draiu'd,—for ever draiu'd;
No more the eye to fill with beauty's lime;
No more the ear entranc'd with melody;
No more the heart responsive unto love;
No more the mind to search for heavenly truth,
And grasp a something of the God around;
But every sense so numb,—so fast asleep,
That all the tears bereaved love may shed,
Cannot so much as stir Ah ! it is not—
Dread of thee O Death—but such thoughts as these
Which fill me with this clinging unto life,
This fear of downward plunge to hungry earth—
For hungrier worms—now in wailing there.
But turn—Oh turn my thoughts from this away—

Lost sorrow kill at last;——the pain is o'er,
And calmer now—anew I seek thy face,
So lest I back again upon old joys
I'd urge thee to thy loving task——but stay—
One little word with thee about thyself.
Though strong as life thou art;—nor yet to age
Hast lost a single jot of pristine force;
Dost know that even thy tremendous strength—
Falls shortt of that inputed thee?—for oft—
In my doughty battles fierce, and long—
With pious ignorance anent the creeds—
Which it has rear'd to keep the God outside,
As I did leave my foe defenceless,—bare,
He'd wander off to lug thou in the fight,
To urge that thou will settle it with me;
That at thy near approach—belief shall change
That by some magic of thy face,—thy voice,
In weakest hour of life such strength will come—
Miracle shall transcend itself so far,
That with some higher,—stronger eight I'd see,
And then undo what's took my life to build,
Abjectly cower before their chosen God,
Forswear, and bring mine own to foul contempt;
But Death,—I find thy strength goes not this way,
Thou dost not trick my brain with phantasies,
Tis rather thine to wear down all belief,
Than turn us right-about in fashion thus;
All powerless thou to move,—for long ago—
Borne by resistless flood.of early strength—
From out the stagnant pool of stagnant faith,
I land'd high, and dry, upon this mount,
So nought but greater strength can hurl me baek,
And this at life's fag end—may never come.
page break And now our last our truest friend,—my thanks,
That here thou hast denied thyself so long;
Now for thy kindly hand or pain renews;
Ay so,—gently so; . . . darkness falls—
Each sense grows numb—I feel thee—feel thee—
At thy secret work—still quite painless I—
As in some kind some gently soothing dream,
I seem to float—to float—away—away—
All willess to a sweet perplexity;
As waves high-borne to culminating point—
In haste fall prone to sob their life away—
Athwart soft bosom of entombing sea,
And leave their substance for succeeding waves,
Their room, and shape, e'en as their elders did;
So fall I now—. O mighty Universe—
Recieve this batter'd wreck of erstwhile life—
With that duo reverence it needs of thee
And use as thy great wisdom doth approve;
While if thou be the Power I fain believe,
The Very God,—God of Gods,—the All in All;
Grand total of this whirling motion here,
And if for me a future is in store,
I being dead—yet marvellously live,
Oh I do trust thee for this future strange;
Then cheerful leave O Earth I take of thee;
Whether for fixed rest,—inanimate,
Or some eternal round of life, and death,
It matters nought,—life whether high, or low,
Through all the shining heavens, or darken'd orbs,
Must have its pains, and joys, exactly [unclear: Pois'd],
As find we here:—so come along kind Death,
I neither hope, or fear,—thy duty do,
I or other duty—close this interview.