The strictest vows have me injoin'd
Those rules(1) which I'm obliged to mind;
Now Death says, thou shalt spurn them all,
And shortly quit this earthly ball,
I'm ready to attend his call.
A happy exit sure is this,
If monkish vows be crown'd with bliss.
Ye citizens, forbear to weep,
Because ye cannot longer keep
Your chief; behold, fair heaven's decree,
From which no mortal man can flee,
Has call'd him from this judgement seat,
Where he appear'd so good and great,
To praise his name for evermore,
The Lord supreme whom all adore.
My heart has been devoted to
My country, ever just and true;
Promoted all the public good,
To serve my friends did all I could;
Receive me, heav'n, adieu to care,
trust I'll be a freeman there.
Come, this is no abiding-place,
This sinful world, so void of grace;
Be comforted, if heaven's thy lot;
Ah happy man ! for who would not
Barter this globe, and all therein,
The meanest place in heav'n to win ?
What art thou, bauble world now past,
A vale of misery at last?
Thoughtless and vain as mortals are;
In mercy, Lord, our souls prepare;
In pity, God, then set me free,
Since all my hopes are fixt in thee.
How vain thy boasts of hunting, friend,
Or hawking ! why dost thou pretend
To be a sportsman ? when alas !
With all your skill you cannot pass
my fatal arrow ; far more true
Than any that belong to you:
Then think on this, and yield thy breath,
No sportsmen are so sure as Death.
The English translations are those of Thomas Nugent.
Footnotes: (1) (2)
This fish story extraordinary is told in Jonas 2:2, "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." and in 2:11, "And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.".
Incredibly, the omniscient Jesus Christ believed in this hard-to-swallow yarn and alluded to it: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40).