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TO Dr. SHERLOCK, ON HIS PRACTICAL DISCOURSE Concerning Death.

1 Forgive the Muse, who in unhallow'd Strains
2 The Saint one Moment from his GOD detains:
3 For sure, whate'er You do, where-e'er You are,
4 'Tis all but one good Work, one constant Pray'r:
5 Forgive Her; and intreat That GOD, to Whom
6 Thy favour'd Vows with kind Acceptance come,
7 To raise her Notes to that sublime Degree,
8 Which suits a Song of Piety and Thee.
9 Wond'rous good Man! whose Labours may repel
10 The Force of Sin, may stop the Rage of Hell:
11 Thou, like the Baptist, from thy GOD wast sent
12 The crying Voice, to bid the World repent.
13 Thee Youth shall study; and no more engage
14 Their flatt'ring Wishes for uncertain Age;
15 No more with fruitless Care, and cheated Strife
16 Chace fleeting Pleasure thro' this Maze of Life;
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17 Finding the wretched All They here can have,
18 But present Food, and but a future Grave:
19 Each, great as Philip's Victor Son, shall view
20 This abject World, and weeping, ask a New.
21 Decrepit Age shall read Thee, and confess,
22 Thy Labours can asswage, where Med'cines cease:
23 Shall bless thy Words, their wounded Souls Relief,
24 The Drops that sweeten their last Dregs of Life:
25 Shall look to Heav'n, and laugh at all beneath;
26 Own Riches gather'd, Trouble; Fame, a Breath;
27 And Life an Ill, whose only Cure is Death.
28 Thy even Thoughts with so much Plainness flow;
29 Their Sense untutor'd Infancy may know:
30 Yet to such height is all That Plainness wrought;
31 Wit may admire, and letter'd Pride be taught:
32 Easie in Words thy Style, in Sense sublime:
33 On it's blest Steps each Age and Sex may rise:
34 'Tis like the Ladder in the Patriarch's Dream,
35 It's Foot on Earth, it's Height above the Skies.
36 Diffus'd it's Virtue, boundless is it's Pow'r:
37 'Tis Publick Health, and Universal Cure:
38 Of Heav'nly Manna, 'tis a second Feast,
39 A Nation's Food, and all to ev'ry Taste.
40 To it's last Height mad Britain's Guilt was rear'd:
41 And various Death for various Crimes She fear'd:
42 With your kind Work her drooping Hopes revive:
43 You bid Her read, repent, adore, and live:
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44 You wrest the Bolt from Heav'ns avenging Hand;
45 Stop ready Death, and save a sinking Land.
46 O! save Us still; still bless Us with thy Stay:
47 O! want thy Heav'n, 'till We have learnt the Way:
48 Refuse to leave thy destin'd Charge too soon:
49 And for the Church's Good, defer thy own.
50 O! live; and let thy Works urge our Belief;
51 Live to explain thy Doctrine by thy Life;
52 'Till future Infancy, baptiz'd by Thee,
53 Grow ripe in Years, and old in Piety;
54 'Till Christians, yet unborn, be taught to die.
55 Then in full Age, and hoary Holiness
56 Retire, great Teacher, to thy promis'd Bliss:
57 Untouch'd thy Tomb, uninjur'd be thy Dust,
58 As thy own Fame among the future Just;
59 'Till in last Sounds the dreadful Trumpet speaks:
60 'Till Judgment calls; and quick'ned Nature wakes:
61 'Till thro' the utmost Earth, and deepest Sea
62 Our scatter'd Atoms find their destin'd Way,
63 In haste to cloath their Kindred Souls again;
64 Perfect our State, and build immortal Man:
65 Then fearless Thou, who well sustain'dst the Fight,
66 To Paths of Joy, and Tracts of endless Light
67 Lead up all those who heard Thee, and believ'd:
68 'Midst thy own Flock, great Shepherd, be receiv'd;
69 And glad all Heav'n with Millions Thou hast sav'd.

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Title (in Source Edition): TO Dr. SHERLOCK, ON HIS PRACTICAL DISCOURSE Concerning Death.
Author: Matthew Prior
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Genres: address

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Source edition

Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. 130-132. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Matthew Prior