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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

On Life

By David Humphreys (1752–1818)

ERE we can think of time, the moment’s past,

And straight another since that thought began:

So swift each instant mingles with the last,

The flying now exists no more for man.

With consciousness suspended even by sleep,

To what this phantom, life, then likest seems?

Say, thou, whose doubtful being (lost in dreams)

Allows the ’wildered but to wake and weep,

So thoughtless hurried to the eternal deep!

’Tis like a moonlight vision’s airy shade,

A bubble driving down the deep beneath—

Then, ere the bubble burst, the vision fade,

Dissolved in air this evanescent breath!

Let man, not mortal, learn true life begins at death.