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Pigmies are pigmies still, though perched on Alps;
And pyramids are pyramids in vales.
Each man makes his own stature, builds himself:
Virtue alone outbuilds the pyramids :
Her monuments shall last, when Egypt's fall.
Of these sure truths dost thou demand the cause ?
The cause is lodged in immortality.
Hear and assent. Thy bosom burns for power;
What station charms thee? I'll install thee there ;
'T is thine. And art thou greater than before ?
Then thou before wast something less than man.
Has thy new post betrayed thee into pride ?
That treacherous pride betrays thy dignity;
That pride defames humanity, and calls
The being mean which staffs or strings can raise :
That pride, like hooded hawks, in darkness soars,
From blindness bold, and towering to the skies.
'T is born of Ignorance, which knows not man:
An angel's second, nor his second long.
A Nero, quitting his imperial throne,
And courting glory from the tinkling string,
But faintly shadows an immortal soul,
With empire's self, to pride or rapture fired.
If nobler motives minister no cure,
Even vanity forbids thee to be vain.
High worth is elevated place : 't is more ;
It makes the post stand candidate for thee;
Makes more than monarchs, makes an honest man;
Though no exchequer it commands, 't is wealth ;
And, though it wears no ribbon, 't is renown;
Renown that would not quit thee, though disgraced,
Nor leave thee pendent on a master's smile.
Other ambition Nature interdicts;
Nature proclaims it most absurd in man,
By pointing at his origin and end;
Milk and a swathe, at first, his whole demand ;
His whole domain, at last, a turf or stone;
To whom, between, a world may seem too small.
Tis moral grandeur makes the mighty man;
How little they, who think aught great below!
All our ambitions Death defeats, but one,
And that it crowns,
Contemplation of the Starry Heavens.—DR. YOUNG.
Stars teach, as well as shine.
This prospect vast, --what is it? — Weighed aright, ,
'Tis Nature's system of divinity,
And every student of the night inspires :
'T is elder Scripture, writ by God's own hand.
Why from yon arch,
that infinite of space,
With infinite of lucid orbs replete,
Which set the living firmament on fire, –
At the first glance, in such an overwhelm
Of wonderful, on man’s astonished sight
Rushes Omnipotence? To curb our pride,
Our reason rouse, and lead it to that.Power
Whose love lets down these silver chains of light,
To draw up man's ambition to Himself,
And bind our chaste affections to His throne.
And see! Day's amiable sister sends
Her invitation, in the softest rays
Of mitigated lustre; — courts thy sight,
Which suffers from her tyrant brother's blaze.
Night grants thee the full freedom of the skies,
Nor rudely reprimands thy lifted eye:
With gain and joy, she bribes thee to be wise.
Night opes the noblest scenes, and sheds an awe
Which gives those venerable scenes full weight,
And deep reception, in the entendered heart.
This theatre ! — what eye can take it in ?
By what divine enchantment was it raised,
For minds of the first magnitude to launch
In endless speculations, and adore ?
One sun by day, by night ten thousand shine,
And light us deep into the Deity;
How boundless in magnificence and might !
Oh! what a confluence of ethereal fires,
From urns unnumbered, down the steep of heaven,
Streams to a point, and centres in my sight!
Nor tarries there; I feel it in my heart:
My heart, at once, it humbles and exalts ;
Lays it in dust, and calls it to the skies !
Who sees it unexalted or unawed ?
Who sees it, and can stop at what is seen ?
Material offspring of Omnipotence !
Inanimate, all-animating birth!
Work worthy Him who made it ! — worthy praise !
All praise ! - praise more than human! nor denied
Thy praise divine !
But though man, drowned in sleep,
Withholds his homage,'not alone I wake;
Bright legions swarm unseen, and sing, unheard
By mortal ear, the glorious Architect,
In this His universal temple, hung
With lustres, — with innumerable lights,
That shed religion on the soul; at once
The temple and the preacher! Oh! how loud
It calls Devotion !-genuine growth of Night!
To him who, in the love of Nature, holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile,
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And gentle sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart; -
Go forth under the open sky, and list
To Nature's teachings, while from all around
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air
Comes a still voice — Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again ;
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock,
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
Yet not to thy eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, - nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world, — with kings,
The powerful of the earth, — the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun, -- the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between ;-
The venerable woods, - rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and poured round all,
Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste, –
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man.
The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings
Of morning, and the Barcan desert pierce,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings, — yet — the dead are there;
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep, - the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest; — and what if thou shalt fall
Unnoticed by the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure ? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one, as before, will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come