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But thy spirit, brother, soars away
Among the faithful blest,
Where the wicked cease from troubling,
And the weary are at rest.
ON THE ETERNITY OF THE SUPREME BEING.
HAIL, wond'rous Being, who in power supreme
Exists from everlasting! whose great name
Deep in the human heart, and ev'ry atom
The Air, the Earth, or azure Main contains,
In undecypher'd characters is wrote-
Incomprehensible !—O what can words,
The weak interpreters of mortal thoughts,
Or what can thoughts (tho' wild of wing they rove
Thro' the vast concave of th' æthereal round)?
If to the Heav'n of Heav'ns they wing their way
Advent'rous, like the birds of night they're lost,
And delug'd in the flood of dazzling day.-
May then the youthful, uninspired Bard Presume to hymn th' Eternal? may he soar Where Seraph and where Cherubim on high Resound th' unceasing plaudits, and with them In the grand chorus mix his feeble voice?
He may-if thou, who from the witless babe Ordainest honour, glory, strength, and praise, Uplift th' unpinion'd Muse, and deign'st to assist, Great Poet of the Universe! his song.
Before this earthly Planet wound her course Round Light's perennial fountain; before Light Herself 'gan shine, and at th' inspiring word Shot to existence in a blaze of day;
Before the Morning-Stars together sang,
And hail'd Thee architect of countless worlds,
Thou art-All-glorious, All-beneficent,
All Wisdom and Omnipotence-Thou art.
But is the æra of Creation fix'd
At when these worlds began? Could aught retard
Goodness, that knows no bounds, from blessing ever;
Or keep th' immense Artificer in sloth?
Avaunt the dust-directed crawling thought,
That Puissance immeasurably vast,
And Bounty inconceivable, could rest
Content, exhausted with one week of action!
No-in th' exertion of thy righteous pow'r,
Ten thousand times more active than the Sun,
Thou reign'd and with a mighty hand compos'd
Systems innumerable, matchless all,
All stampt with thine uncounterfeited seal.
But yet (if still to more stupendous heights
The Muse unbalm'd her aching sense may strain)
Perhaps wrapt up in contemplation deep,
The best of Beings on the noblest theme
Might ruminate at leisure, scope immense !
Th' Eternal Pow'r and Godhead to explore,
And with itself th' Omniscient Mind replete.
This were enough to fill the boundless All,
This were a Sabbath worthy the Supreme!
Perhaps enthron'd amidst a choicer few
Of spirits inferior, he might greatly plan
The two prime Pillars of the Universe,
Creation and Redemption-and awhile
Pause with the grand presentiments of glory,
Perhaps but all's conjecture here below,
All ignorance, and self-plum'd vanity-
O Thou, whose ways to wonder at's distrust,
Whom to describe's presumption (all we can,
And all we may), be glorified, be prais'd.
A day shall come when all this earth shall perish,
Nor leave behind ev'n Chaos; it shall come,
When all the armies of the elements
Shall war against themselves, and mutual rage,
To make Perdition triumph; it shall come,
When the capacious atmosphere above
Shall in sulphureous thunders groan, and die,
And vanish into void; the earth beneath
Shall sever to the centre, and devour
Th' enormous blaze of the destructive flames.
Ye rocks that mock the ravings of the floods,
And proudly frown upon th' impatient deep,
Where is your grandeur now? Ye foaming waves,
That all along th' immense Atlantic roar,
In vain ye swell; with a few drops suffice
To quench the inextinguishable fire?
Ye mountains, on whose cloud-crown'd tops the
Are lessen'd into shrubs magnific piles, [cedars,
That prop the painted chamber of the heavens,
And fix the earth continual; Athos, where ?
Where, Teneriffe, 's thy stateliness to-day?
What, Etna, are thy flames to these? No more
Than the poor glow-worn to the golden sun.
Nor shall the verdant valleys then remain
Safe in their meek submission; they the debt
Of nature and of justice too must pay.
Yet I must weep for you, ye rival fair,
Arno and Andalusia; but for thee
More largely, and with filial tears must weep,
O Albion! O my country! Thou must join,
In vain dissevered from the rest, must join
The terrors of th' inevitable ruin.
Nor thou, illustrious monarch of the day;
Nor thou, fair queen of night; nor you, ye stars,
Tho' million leagues and million still remote,
Shall yet survive that day; ye must submit,
Sharers, not bright spectators of the scene.
But tho' the earth shall to the centre perish,
Nor leave behind ev'n Chaos; tho' the air
With all the elements must pass away,
Vain as an idiot's dream; tho' the huge rocks,
That brandish the tall cedars on their tops,
With humbler vales must to perdition yield;
Tho' the gilt sun, and silver-tressed moon,
With all her bright retinue must be lost :
Yet thou, Great Father of the world, surviv'st
Eternal, as thou wert. Yet still survives
The soul of man immortal, perfect now,
And candidate for unexpiring joys.
He comes! he comes! the awful trump I hear;
The flaming sword's intolerable blaze
I see! He comes! th' Archangel from above.
"Arise, ye tenants of the silent grave,
"Awake incorruptible, and arise:
From east to west, from the Antarctic pole
"To regions Hyperborean, all ye sons,
"Ye sons of Adam, and ye heirs of heaven-
"Arise, ye tenants of the silent grave,
"Awake incorruptible, and arise."
'Tis then, nor sooner, that the restless mind
Shall find itself at home; and like the ark,
Fix'd on the mountain top, shall look aloft
O'er the vague passage of precarious life;
And wings and waves, and rocks and tempests, past,
Enjoy the everlasting calm of Heaven:
'Tis then, nor sooner, that the deathless soul
Shall justly know its nature and its rise:
'Tis then the human tongue, new-tun'd, shall give
Praises more worthy the Eternal ear.
Yet what we can, we ought;-and therefore Thou,
Purge Thou my heart, Omnipotent and good!
Purge Thou my heart, with hyssop, lest, like Cain,
I offer fruitless sacrifice, and with gifts
Offend, and not propitiate the Ador'd.
Tho' Gratitude were blest with all the powers
Her bursting heart could long for; tho' the swift,
The fiery wing'd Imagination soar'd
Beyond Ambition's wish-yet all were vain
To speak him as he is, who is ineffable.
Yet still let Reason thro' the eye of Faith
View him with fearful love; let Truth pronounce,
And adoration on her bended knee,
With heav'n-directed hands, confess his reign,
And let the angelic, archangelic band,
With all the host of Heav'n, cherubic forms,
And forms seraphic, with their silver trump
And golden lyres attend :-" For thou art holy,
"For thou art one, th' Eternal, who alone
"Exerts all goodness, and transcends all praise!"
THE IGNORANCE OF MAN.
BEHOLD yon new-born infant griev'd
With hunger, thirst, and pain;
That asks to have the wants reliev'd,
It knows not to complain.
Aloud the speechless suppliant cries,
And utters, as it can,
The woes that in its bosom rise,
And speak its nature-man.
That infant, whose advancing hour
Life's various sorrows try;
(Sad proof of sin's transmissive pow'r)
That infant, Lord, am I.
A childhood yet my thoughts confess,
Though long in years mature;
Unknowing whence I feel distress,
And where, or what, its cure.