Imatges de pÓgina

Sprang from the east, or'mid the vault of night
The moon suspended her serener lamp;

Ere mountains, woods, or streams adorn'd the globe

Or Wisdom taught the sons of men her lore;
Then liv'd the Almigty One: then deep retir'd
In his unfathom'd essence, view'd the forms,
The forms eternal of created things;

The radiant sun, the moon's nocturnal lamp,
The mountains, woods, and streams, the rolling


And Wisdom's mien celestial. From the first
Of days, on them his love divine he fix'd,
His admiration till in time complete,
What he admir'd and lov'd, his vital smile
Unfolded into being. Hence the breath
Of life informing each organic frame,
Hence the green earth, and wild resounding waves;
Hence light and shade alternate; warmth and cold;
And clear autumnal skies and vernal show'rs,
And all the fair variety of things.

But not alike to every mortal eye

Is this great scene unveil'd. For since the claims
Of social life, to diff'rent labours urge
The active powr's of man ; with wise intent
The hand of Nature on peculiar minds
Imprints a diff'rent biais, and to each.
Decrees its province in the common toil.
To some she taught the fabric of the sphere,
The changeful moon, the circuit of the stars,
The golden zones of heav'n : to some she gave
To weigh the moment of eternal things,
Of Time, and Space, and Fate's unbroken chain,
And Will's quick impulse: others by the hand
She led o'er vales and mountains, to explore
What healing virtue swells the tender veins
Of herbs and flow'rs; or what the beams of morn
Draw forth, distilling from the clifted rind
In balmy tears. But some to higher hopes
Were destin'd; some within a finer mould
She wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame.

To these the Sire Omnipotent unfolds
The world's harmonious volume, there to read
The transcript of himself. On every part
They trace the bright impressions of his hand :
In earth, or air, the meadow's purple stores.
The Moon's mild radiance, or the Virgin's form
Blooming with rosy smiles, they see pourtray'd
That uncreated beauty, which delights
The mind supreme. They also feel her charms,
Enamour'd they partake th' eternal joy.




SAY, why was man so eminently rais'd

Amid the vast creation! why ordain'd
Thro' life and death to dart his piercing eye,
With thoughts beyond the limits of his frame!
But that th' Omnipotent might send him forth
In sight of mortal and immortal pow'rs,
As on a boundless theatre, to run
The great career of justice; to exalt
His gen'rous aim to all diviner deeds;
To chase each partial purpose from his breast;
And thro' the mists of passion and of sense,
And thro' the tossing tide of chance and pain,
To hold his course unfault'ring, while the voice
Of Truth and Virtne, up the steep ascent
Of Nature, calls him to his high reward,
Th' applauding smile of Heav'n: Else wherefore

In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope

That breathes from day to day sublimer things,
And mocks possession? wherefore darts the mind,
With such resistless ardour to embrace
Majestic forms; impatient to be free,
Spurning the gross controul of wilful Might;
Proud of the strong contention of her toils ;
Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns

Book vij. To Heav'ns broad fire his unconstrained view, Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame? Who that, from Alpine heights, his lab'ring eye Shoots round the wild horizon, to survey Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave Thro' mountains, plains, thro' empires black with


And continents of sand! will turn his
To mark the windings of a scanty rill
That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul
Disdains to rest her heav'n-aspiring wing
Beneath its native quarry. Tir'd of earth
And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
Thro' fields of air; pursues the flying storm;
Rides on the volley'd lightning thro' the heavens;
Or yok'd with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars
The blue profound, and hovering round the sun
Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve

The fated rounds of Time. Thence far effus'd
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets; thro' its burning signs
Exulting measures the perennial wheel

Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invests the Orient. Now amaz'd she views
Th' empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave heav'n, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has traveli'd the profound six thousand years,
Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things.
Ev'n on the barriers of the world untir'd
She meditates th' eternal depth below;
Till, half-recoiling down the headlong steep
She plunges; soon o'erwhelm'd and swallow'd up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth
Of mortal man, the sovereign maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,

Not in the fading echoes of renown 9

Pow'r's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flow'ry lap, The soul shall find enjoyment: but from these Turning disdainful to an equal good

Thro' all th' ascent of things enlarge her view, Till every bound at length shall disappear, And infinite Perfection close the scene.




CALL now to mind what high capacious pow'rs

Lie folded up in man; how far beyond

The praise of mortals, may th' eternal growth
Of nature to perfection half divine,

Expand the blooming soul. What pity then
Should Sloth's unkindly fogs depress to earth
Her tender blossom, choak the streams of life,
And blast her spring! Far otherwise design'd
Almighty Wisdom; Nature's happy cares
Th' obedient heart far otherwise incline.
Witness the sprightly joy when aught unknown
Strikes the quick sense, and wakes each active


To brisker measures: witness the neglect
Of all familiar prospects, tho' beheld
With transport once: the fond attentive gaze
Of young Astonishment; the sober zeal
Of Age, commenting on prodigious things;
For such the bounteous providence of Heav'n,
In ev'ry breast implanting this desire

Of objects new and strange, to urge us on
With unremitted labour to pursue.

Those sacred stores that wait the ripening soul,
In Truth's exhaustless bosom. What need words
To paint its power? For this the daring youth,
Breaks from his weeping mother's anxious arms
In foreign climes to rove; the pensive sage,
Heedless of sleep, or midnight's harmless damp,

Hangs o'er the sickly taper; and untir'd
The virgin follows,
with enchanted step,
The mazes of some wise and wond'rous tale,
From morn to eve; unmindful of her form
Unmindful of the happy dress that stole
The wishes of the youth, when ev'ry maid
With envy pin'd. Hence finally by night
The village matron, round the blazing hearth,
Suspends the infant-audience with her tales,
Breathing astonishment! of witching rhymes,
And evil spirits; of the death-bed call
Of him who robb'd the widow, and devour'd
The orphan's portion; of unquiet souls
Ris'n from the grave to ease the heavy guilt
Of deeds in life conceal'd; of shapes that walk
At dead of night, and clank their chains, and wave
The torch of hell around the murd'rer's bed.
At ev'ry solemn pause the crowd recoil
Gazing each other speechless, and congeal'd
With shiv'ring sighs: till eager for th' event,
Around the belldame all erect they hang,
Each trembling heart with gratuful terrors quell'd.

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