448. On the Death of a particular Friend

James Thomson. 1700-1748

AS those we love decay, we die in part,
String after string is sever'd from the heart;
Till loosen'd life, at last but breathing clay,
Without one pang is glad to fall away.

Unhappy he who latest feels the blow!
Whose eyes have wept o'er every friend laid low,
Dragg'd ling'ring on from partial death to death,
Till, dying, all he can resign is--breath.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition