O pluck me quick the raven's quill,
And I will set me down,
My destin'd purpose to fulfil,
But with this interrupted skill,
5 Of thought and grief profound.
How to begin, and how depart,
From this sad fav'rite theme,
The man of sorrow in my heart,
I at my own ideas start,
10As dread as Daniel's dream,
As soon as born the infant cries,
For well his spirit knows,
A little while, and then he dies,
A little while, and down he lies,
15To take a stern repose.
But man's own death is not th'event,
For which most tears are due;
Wife, children, to the grave are sent,
Or friends, to make the heart repent
20That it such blessings knew.
O thou, which on the mountain's brow,
By night didst pray alone;
In the cold night didst pay thy vow
And in humiliation bow,
25To thrones and pow'rs thine own.
Tell us, for thou the best can tell,
What Melancholy means?
A guise in them that wear it well,
That goes to music to dispel
30Dark thoughts and gloomier scenes.
Say, didst thou solitude desire,
Or wert thou driv'n away,
By rank desertion to retire,
Without or bed, or food, or fire,
35For all thy foes to pray.
Yet thou didst preach of future bliss,
Peace permanent above,
Of truth and mercy's holy kiss,
Those joys, which none that love thee miss,
40O give us grace to love.