To DEATH [1] 

Oh! thou most terrible, most dreaded power,
In whatsoever form thou meet'st the eye!
Whether thou bid'st thy sudden arrow fly
In the dread silence of the midnight hour;
Or whether hovering o'er the lingering wretch5
Thy sad, cold javelin hangs suspended long,
While round the couch the weeping kindred throng,
With hope, and fear alternately on stretch.
Oh! say for me what horrors are prepared?
Am I now doom'd to meet thy fatal arm?10
Or wilt thou first from life steal every charm,
And bear away each good my soul would guard,
That thus depriv'd of all it lov'd, my heart
From life itself contentedly may part.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "To Death" is printed in Psyche, with Other Poems (undated) and in Mary, where it is dated Cheltenham Aug 1795. BACK