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...moments, he forebodes Ages of hopeless misery; future death, And death still future; not a hasty stroke, Like that which sends him to the dusty grave, But unrepealable enduring death. Scripture is still a trumpet to his fears: What none can prove a forgery, may be true; What none but bad men wish exploded, must. That scruple checks him. Riot is not loud Nor drunk enough to drown it. In the midst Of laughter his compunctions are sincere, And he abhors the jest by which he shines.Remorse begets reform.His master-lust Falls first before his resolute rebuke, And seems dethroned and vanquished. Peace ensues, But spurious and short-lived, the puny child Of self-congratulating Pride, begot On fancied Innocence. Again he falls, And fights again; but finds his best essay, A presage ominous, portending still Its own dishonour by a worse relapse, Till Nature, unavailing Nature, foiled So oft, and wearied in the vain attempt, Scoffs at her own performance. Reason now Takes part with... Cowper, William
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