Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO URBAN, by ROBERT SOUTHEY



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TO URBAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Lo! Where the livid lightning flies
Last Line: To slumber in the tomb.
Subject(s): Death; Friendship; Health; Life; Maturity; Passion; Dead, The


Lo! where the livid lightning flies
With transient furious force,
A moment's splendour streaks the skies,
Where ruin marks its course:
Then see how mild the font of day
Expands the stream of light;
Whilst living by the genial ray,
All nature smiles delight.

So boisterous riot, on his course
Uncurb'd by reason, flies;
And lightning-like its fatal force,
Soon lightning-like it dies:
Whilst sober Temperance, still the same,
Shall shun the scene of strife;
And, like the sun's enlivening flame,
Shall beam the lamp of life.

Let noise and folly seek the reign
Where senseless riot rules;
Let them enjoy the pleasures vain
Enjoy'd alone by fools.
Urban! those better joys be ours,
Which virtuous science knows,
To pass in milder bliss the hours,
Nor fear the future woes.

So when stern time their frames shall seize,
When sorrows pay for sin;
When every nerve shall feel disease,
And conscience shrink within;
Shall health's best blessings all be ours,
The soul serene at ease,
Whilst science gilds the passing hours,
And every hour shall please.

Even now from solitude they fly,
To drown each thought in noise;
Even now they shun Reflection's eye,
Depriv'd of man's best joys.
So, when Time's unrelenting doom
Shall bring the season's course,
The busy monitor shall come
With aggravated force.

Friendship is ours: best friend, who knows,
Each varied hour to employ;
To share the lighted load of woes,
And double every joy;
And science too shall lend her aid,
The friend that never flies,
But shines amid misfortune's shade
As stars in midnight skies.

Each joy domestic bliss can know
Shall deck the future hour;
Or if we taste the cup of woe,
The cup has lost its power;
Thus may we live, till death's keen spear,
Unwish'd, unfear'd, shall come;
Then sink, without one guilty fear,
To slumber in the tomb.





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