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< 5. Death (ii) >

Alexander Pope

< The Dying Christian to His Soul 


Marble bust of the Emperor Hadrian

Miscellany (1730, 42)
composed 1711 (23)


Vital spark of heavínly flame, 
Quit, oh, quit, this mortal frame! 
Trembling, hoping, lingíring, flying, 
Oh, the pain, the bliss of dying! 
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife, 
And let me languish into life! 

Hark! they whisper; Angels say, 
Sister Spirit, come away. 
What is this absorbs me quite, 
Steals my senses, shuts my sight, 
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath? 
Tell me, my Soul! can this be Death? 

The world recedes; it disappears; 
Heavín opens on my eyes; my ears 
With sounds seraphic ring: 
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly! 
O Grave! where is thy Victory? 
O Death! where is thy Sting?

 

You have it, as Cowley calls it, warm from the brain, it came to me the first moment I waked this morning: yet you'll see, it was not so absolutely inspiration, but that I had in my head not only the verses of Hadrian, but the fine fragment of Sappho.

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