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James Montgomery
1771 - 1854


The flash at midnight, --- 'twas a light

That gave the blind a moment's sight,

Then sunk in tenfold gloom;

Loud, deep, and long, the thunder broke,

The deaf ear instantly awoke,

Then closed as in the tomb;

An angel might have pass'd my bed,

Sounded the trump of God, and fled.

So Life appears:  a sudden birth,

A glance revealing heaven and earth;

It is,  and it is not !

So Fame the poet's hope deceives,

Who sings for after-time, and leaves

A name --- to be forgot.

Life is a lightning-flash of breath;

Fame but a thunder-clap at death.


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