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Of every thought? and wish of every hour?
And song of every joy? Surprising truth!
The beaten spaniel's fondness not so strange.
To wave the numerous ills that seize on life
As their own property, their lawful prey;
Ere man has measur'd half his weary stage,
His luxuries have left him no reserve,
No maiden relishes, unbroach'd delights;
On cold-serv'd repetitions, he subsists,
And in the tasteless present chews the past;
Disgusted chews, and scarce can swallow down.
Like lavish ancestors, his earlier years
Have disinherited his future hours,
Which starve on arts, and glean their former field.
Live ever here, Lorenzo!-shocking thought!
So shocking, they who wish, disown it, too;
Disown from shame, what they from folly crave.
Live ever in the womb, nor see the light?
For what live ever here?—With laboring step
To tread our former footsteps? Pace the round
Eternal? To climb life's worn, heavy wheel,
Which draws up nothing new? To beat, and beat
The beaten track? To bid each wretched day
The former mock? To surfeit on the same,
And yawn our joys? Or thank a misery
For change, though sad? To see what we have seen?
Hear, till unheard, the same old slabber'd tale?
To taste the tasted, and at each return
Less tasteful? O'er our palates to decant
Another vintage? Strain a fatter year,
Through loaded vessels, and a laxer tone?
Crazy machines to grind Earth's wasted fruits!
Ill-ground, and worse-concocted! Load, not life!
The rational foul kennels of excess!
Still-streaming thoroughfares of dull debauch!
Trembling each gulp, lest death should snatch the
Such of our fine-ones is the wish refin'd!
So would they have it: elegant desire!
Why not invite the bellowing stalls, and wilds?
But such examples might their riot awe.
Through want of virtue, that is, want of thought,
(Though on bright thought they father all their
To what are they reduc'd? To love, and hate
The same vain world; to censure, and espouse,
This painted shrew of life, who calls them fool
Each moment of each day; to flatter bad,
Which relish fruits unripen'd by the Sun,
Make their days various; various as the dyes
On the dove's neck, which wanton in his rays.
On minds of dove-like innocence possest,
On lighten'd minds, that bask in virtue's beams,
Nothing hangs tedious, nothing old revolves
In that, for which they long; for which they live
Their glorious efforts, wing'd with heavenly hope,
Each rising morning sees still higher rise;
Each bounteous dawn its novelty presents
To worth maturing, new strength, lustre, fame;
While Nature's circle, like a chariot-wheel
Rolling beneath their elevated aims,
Makes their fair prospect fairer every hour;
Advancing virtue, in a line to bliss;
Virtue, which Christian motives best inspire!
And bliss, which Christian schemes alone insure.
And shall we then, for Virtue's sake, commence
A postates; and turn infidels for joy?
A truth it is, few doubt, but fewer trust,
"He sins against this life, who slights the next."
What is this life? How few their favorite know!
Fond in the dark, and blind in our embrace,
By passionately loving life, we make
Lov'd life unlovely; hugging her to death.
We give to time eternity's regard;
And, dreaming, take our passage for our port.
Life has no value as an end, but means;
An end deplorable! a means divine!
When 'tis our all, 'tis nothing! worse than nought;
A nest of pains: when held as nothing, much:
Like some fair hum'rists, life is most enjoy'd
When courted least; most worth, when disesteem'd
Then 'tis the seat of comfort, rich in peace;
In prospect richer far; important! awful!
Not to be mention'd, but with shouts of praise!
Not to be thought on, but with tides of joy!
The mighty basis of eternal bliss!
Where now the barren rock? the painted shrew?
Where now, Lorenzo! life's eternal round?
Have I not made my triple promise good?
Vain is the world; but only to the vain.
To what compare we then this varying scene,
Whose worth ambiguous rises, and declines?
Waxes and wanes? (In all propitious, night
Assists me here) compare it to the Moon;
Dark in herself, and indigent; but rich
In borrow'd lustre from a higher sphere.
Through dread of worse; to cling to this rude rock, When gross guilt interposes, laboring Earth,
Barren, to them, of good, and sharp with ills,
And hourly blacken'd with impending storms,
And infamous for wrecks of human hope-
Scar'd at the gloomy gulf, that yawns beneath.
Such are their triumphs! such their pangs of joy!
"Tis time, high time, to shift this dismal scene,
This hugg'd, this hideous state, what art can cure?
One only; but that one, what all may reach;
Virtue-she, wonder-working goddess! charms
That rock to bloom; and tames the painted shrew;
And, what will more surprise, Lorenzo! gives
To life's sick, nauseous iteration, change;
And straitens Nature's circle to a line.
Believ'st thou this, Lorenzo? lend an ear,
A patient ear, thou 'lt blush to disbelieve.
A languid, leaden, iteration reigns,
And ever must, o'er those, whose joys are joys
Of sight, smell, taste: the cuckoo-seasons sing
The same dull note to such as nothing prize,
But what those seasons, from the teeming Earth,
To doting sense indulge. But nobler minds,
O'ershadow'd, mourns a deep eclipse of joy;
Her joys, at brightest, pallid, to that font
Of full effulgent glory, whence they flow.
Nor is that glory distant: Oh Lorenzo!
A good man, and an angel! these between
How thin the barrier! what divides their fate?
Perhaps a moment, or perhaps a year;
Or, if an age, it is a moment still;
A moment, or eternity's forgot.
Then be, what once they were, who now are gods;
Be what Philander was, and claim the skies.
Starts timid Nature at the gloomy pass?
The soft transition call it; and be cheer'd:
Such it is often, and why not to thee?
To hope the best, is pious, brave, and wise;
And may itself procure, what it presumes.
Life is much flatter'd, Death is much traduc'd;
Compare the rivals, and the kinder crown.
Strange competition !"-True, Lorenzo! strange! So little life can cast into the scale.
Life makes the soul dependent on the dust;
Death gives her wings to mount above the spheres.
Through chinks, styl'd organs, dim life peeps at
Death bursts th' involving cloud, and all is day;
All eye, all ear, the disembodied power.
Death has feign'd evils, Nature shall not feel;
Life, ill substantial, Wisdom cannot shun.
Is not the mighty Mind, that son of Heaven?
By tyrant Life dethron'd, imprison'd, pain'd?
By Death enlarg'd, ennobled, deified?
Death but entombs the body; life the soul.
"Is Death then guiltless? How he marks his way
With dreadful waste of what deserves to shine!
Art, genius, fortune, elevated power!
With various lustres these light up the world,
Which Death puts out, and darkens human race."
I grant, Lorenzo! this indictment just :
The sage, peer, potentate, king, conqueror!
Rich death, that realizes all my cares,
Toils, virtues, hopes; without it a chimera!
Death, of all pain the period, not of joy;
Joy's source, and subject, still subsists unhurt:
One, in my soul; and one, in her great Sire;
Though the four winds were warring for my dust.
Yes, and from winds, and waves, and central night,
Though prison'd there, my dust too I reclaim,
(To dust when drop proud Nature's proudest
And live entire. Death is the crown of life:
Were death denied, poor man would live in vain;
Were death denied, to live would not be life;
Were death denied, e'en fools would wish to die.
Death wounds to cure: we fall; we rise, we reign!
Spring from our fetters; fasten in the skies;
Where blooming Eden withers in our sight:
Death gives us more than was in Eden lost.
Death humbles these; more barbarous life, the man. This king of terrors is the prince of peace.
Life is the triumph of our mouldering clay;
Death, of the spirit infinite! divine!
Death has no dread, but what frail life imparts;
Nor life true joy, but what kind death improves.
No bliss has life to boast, till death can give
Far greater; life's a debtor to the grave,
Dark lattice! letting in eternal day.
Lorenzo! blush at fondness for a life,
Which sends celestial souls on errands vile,
To cater for the sense; and serve at boards,
Where every ranger of the wilds, perhaps
Each reptile, justly claims our upper hand.
Luxurious feast! a soul, a soul immortal,
In all the dainties of a brute bemir'd!
Lorenzo! blush at terror for a death,
Which gives thee to repose in festive bowers,
Where nectars sparkle, angels minister,
And more than angels share, and raise, and crown,
And eternize, the birth, bloom, bursts of bliss.
What need I more? O Death, the palm is thine.
Then welcome, Death! thy dreaded harbingers,
Age, and disease; disease, though long my guest;
That plucks my nerves, those tender strings of life;
Which. pluck'd a little more, will toll the bell,
That call my few friends to my funeral;
Where feeble Nature drops, perhaps, a tear,
While Reason and Religion, better taught,
Congratulate the dead, and crown his tomb
With wreath triumphant. Death is victory;
It binds in chains the raging ills of life:
Lust and ambition, wrath and avarice,
Dragg'd at his chariot-wheel, applaud his power.
That ills corrosive, cares importunate,
Are not immortal too, O Death! is thine.
Our day of dissolution!--name it right;
"Tis our great pay-day; 'tis our harvest, rich
And ripe. What though the sickle, sometimes
Just scars us as we reap the golden grain?
More than thy balm, O Gilead! heals the wound.
Birth's feeble cry, and Death's deep dismal groan,
Are slender tributes low-tax'd Nature pays
For mighty gain: the gain of each, of life!
But O! the last the former so transcends,
Life dies, compar'd; life lives beyond the grave.
And feel I, Death! no joy from thought of thee?
Death, the great counsellor, who man inspires
With every nobler thought, and fairer deed!
Death, the deliverer, who rescues man!
Death, the rewarder, who the rescued crowns!
Death, that absolves my birth; a curse without it!
When shall I die to vanity, pain, death?
When shall I die ?-When shall I live for ever?
Containing our only Cure for the Fear of Death; and proper Sentiments of that inestimable Blessing.
TO THE HONORABLE MR. YORKE.
A MUCH-INDEBTED Muse, O Yorke! intrudes.
Amid the smiles of fortune, and of youth,
Thine ear is patient of a serious song.-
How deep implanted in the breast of man
The dread of death! I sing its sovereign cure.
Why start at Death? Where is he? Death
Is past; not come or gone, he's never here.
Ere hope, sensation fails; black-boding man
Receives, not suffers, Death's tremendous blow.
The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave;
The deep damp vault, the darkness, and the worm;
These are the bugbears of a winter's eve,
The terrors of the living, not the dead.
Imagination's fool, and error's wretch.
Man makes a death, which Nature never made;
Then on the point of his own fancy falls;
And feels a thousand deaths, in fearing one.
But were Death frightful, what has age to fear?
If prudent, age should meet the friendly foe,
And shelter in his hospitable gloom.
I scarce can meet a monument, but holds
My younger; every date cries" Come away.”
And what recalls me? Look the world around,
And tell me what: the wisest cannot tell.
Should any born of woman give his thought
Full range on just dislike's unbounded field;
Of things, the vanity; of men, the flaws;
Flaws in the best; the many, flaw all o'er;
As leopards, spotted, or, as Ethiops, dark;
Vivacious ill; good dying immature;
(How immature, Narcissa's marble tells!)
And at his death bequeathing endless pain;
His heart, though bold, would sicken at the sight,
And spend itself in sighs, for future scenes.
But grant to life (and just it is to grant
To lucky life) some perquisites of joy;
A time there is, when, like a thrice-told tale,
Long-rifled life of sweet can yield no more,
But from our comment on the comedy,
Pleasing reflections on parts well sustain'd,
Or purpos'd emendations where we fail'd,
Or hopes of plaudits from our candid Judge,
When, on their exit, souls are bid unrobe,
Toss Fortune back her tinsel, and her plume,
And drop this mask of flesh behind the scene.
With me, that time is come; my world is dead; A new world rises, and new manners reign: Foreign comedians, a spruce band! arrive, To push me from the scene, or hiss me there. What a pert race starts up! the strangers gaze, And I at them; my neighbor is unknown; Nor that the worst: Ah me! the dire effect Of loitering here, of death defrauded long; Of old so gracious (and let that suffice,) My very master knows me not.—
Shall I dare say, peculiar is the fate?
I've been so long remember'd, I'm forgot.
An object ever pressing dims the sight,
And hides behind its ardor to be seen.
When in his courtiers' ears I pour my plaint,
They drink it as the nectar of the great;
And squeeze my hand, and beg me come to-morrow.
Refusal! canst thou wear a smoother form?
Indulge me, nor conceive I drop my theme:
Who cheapens life, abates the fear of death:
Twice told the period spent on stubborn Troy,
Court favor, yet untaken, I besiege;
Ambition's ill-judged effort to be rich.
Alas! ambition makes my little less;
Embittering the possest. Why wish for more?
Wishing, of all employments, is the worst;
Philosophy's reverse; and health's decay.
Were I as plump as stall'd theology,
Wishing would waste me to this shade again.
Were I as wealthy as a South-sea dream,
Wishing is an expedient to be poor.
Wishing, that constant hectic of a fool;
Caught at a court; purg'd off by purer air,
And simpler diet; gifts of rural life!
Blest be that hand divine, which gently laid
My heart at rest, beneath this humble shed.
The world's a stately bark, on dangerous seas,
With pleasure seen, but boarded at our peril;
Here, on a single plank, thrown safe ashore,
I hear the tumult of the distant throng,
As that of seas remote, or dying storms:
And meditate on scenes, more silent still;
Pursue my theme, and fight the fear of death.
Here, like a shepherd gazing from his hut,
Touching his reed, or leaning on his staff,
Eager ambition's fiery chase I see;
I see the circling hunt, of noisy men,
Burst law's inclosure, leap the mounds of right,
Pursuing, and pursued, each other's prey;
As wolves, for rapine; as the fox, for wiles;
Till Death, that mighty hunter, earths them all.
Why all this toil for triumphs of an hour?
What though we wade in wealth, or soar in fame?
Earth's highest station ends in, “Here he lies,"
And Dust to dust" concludes her noblest song.
If this song lives, posterity shall know
One, though in Britain born, with courtiers bred,
Who thought e'en gold might come a day too late;
Nor on his subtle death-bed plann'd his scheme
For future vacancies in church or state;
Some avocation deeming it-to die,
Unbit by rage canine of dying rich;
Guilt's blunder! and the loudest laugh of Hell.
my coevals! remnants of yourselves!
Poor human ruins, tottering o'er the grave!
Shall we, shall aged men, like aged trees,
Strike deeper their vile root, and closer cling,
Still more enamour'd of this wretched soil?
Shall our pale, wither'd hands, be still stretch'd out,
Trembling, at once, with eagerness and age?
With avarice and convulsions, grasping hard?
Grasping at air! for what has Earth beside?
Man wants but little; nor that little, long:
How soon must he resign his very dust,
Which frugal Nature lent him for an hour!
Years unexperienc'd rush on numerous ills;
And soon as man, expert from time, has found
The key of life, it opes the gates of death.
When in this vale of years I backward look,
And miss such numbers, numbers too of such
Firmer in health, and greener in their age,
And stricter on their guard, and fitter far
To play life's subtle game, I scarce believe
I still survive; and am I fond of life,
Who scarce can think it possible, I live?
Alive by miracle! or, what is next,
Alive by Mead! if I am still alive,
Who long have buried what gives life to live
Firmness of nerve, and energy of thought.
Life's lee is not more shallow than impure
And vapid; sense and reason show the door,
Call for my bier, and point me to the dust.
O thou great Arbiter of life and death!
Nature's immortal, immaterial Sun!
Whose all-prolific beam late call'd me forth
From darkness, teeming darkness, where I lay
The worm's inferior, and, in rank, beneath
The dust I tread on, high to bear my brow,
To drink the spirit of the golden day,
And triumph in existence; and could know
No motive, but my bliss; and hast ordain'd
A rise in blessing! with the patriarch's joy,
Thy call I follow to the land unknown;
I trust in thee, and know in whom I trust;
Or life, or death, is equal; neither weighs:
All weight in this-O let me live to thee!
Though Nature's terrors, thus, may be represt; Still frowns grim Death; guilt points the tyrant's
And whence all human guilt? From death forgot.
Ah me! too long I set at nought the swarm
Of friendly warnings, which around me flew;
And smil'd, unsmitten: small my cause to smile!
Death's admonitions, like shafts upward shot,
More dreadful by delay, the longer ere
They strike our hearts, the deeper is their wound;
O think how deep, Lorenzo! here it stings:
Who can appease its anguish? how it burns!
What hand the barb'd, envenom'd thought can draw?
What healing hand can pour the balm of peace,
And turn my sight undaunted on the tomb?
With joy-with grief, that healing hand I see ;
Ah! too conspicuous! it is fix'd on high.
On high ?What means my frenzy? I blaspheme;
Alas! how low! how far beneath the skies!
The skies it form'd; and now it bleeds for me-
But bleeds the balm I want-Yet still it bleeds;
Draw the dire steel-ah no! the dreadful blessing
What heart or can sustain, or dares forego!
There hangs all human hope; that nail supports
The falling universe: that gone, we drop;
Horror receives us, and the dismal wish
Creation had been smother'd in her birth-
Darkness his curtain, and his bed the dust;
When stars and Sun are dust beneath his throne!
In Heaven itself can such indulgence dwell?
O what a groan was there! a groan not his.
He seiz'd our dreadful right; the load sustain'd;
And heav'd the thountain from a guilty world.
A thousand worlds, so bought, were bought too dear;
Sensations new in angels' bosoms rise;
Suspend their song! and make a pause in bliss.
O for their song; to reach my lofty theme!
Inspire me, Night! with all thy tuneful spheres;
Whilst I with seraphs share seraphic themes!
And show to men the dignity of man;
Lest I blaspheme my subject with my song.
Shall Pagan pages glow celestial flame,
The Sun beheld it-no, the shocking scene
Drove back his chariot: midnight veil'd his face;
Not such as this; not such as Nature makes;
A midnight Nature shudder'd to behold;
A midnight new! a dread eclipse (without
Opposing spheres) from her Creator's frown!
Sun! didst thou fly thy Maker's pain? Or start
At that enormous load of human guilt,
Which bow'd his blessed head; o'erwhelm'd his cross;
Made groan the centre; burst Earth's marble womb.
With pangs, strange pangs! deliver'd of her dead?
Hell howl'd; and Heaven that hour let fall a tear;
Heaven wept, that men might smile! Heaven bled,
And is devotion virtue? "Tis compell'd.
What heart of stone but glows at thoughts like these?
And Christian languish? on our hearts, not heads, Such contemplations mount us; and should mount Falls the foul infamy: my heart! awake.
The mind still higher; nor ever glance on man Unraptur'd, uninflam'd.-Where roll my thoughts To rest from wonders? other wonders rise;
Feel the great truths, which burst the tenfold night And strike where'er they roll: my soul is caught: Of heathen error, with a golden flood
Of endless day to feel, is to be fir'd;
And to believe, Lorenzo! is to feel.
Thou most indulgent, most tremendous Power!
Still more tremendous, for thy wondrous love!
That arms, with awe more awful, thy commands;
And foul transgression dips in sevenfold night!
How our hearts tremble at thy love immense !
In love immense, inviolably just!
Thou, rather than thy justice should be stain'd,
Didst stain the cross; and work of wonders far
The greatest, that thy dearest far might bleed.
Heaven's sovereign blessings, clustering from the
Rush on her, in a throng, and ciose her round,
The prisoner of amaze!-in his blest life
I see the path, and in his death the price,
And in his great ascent the proof supreme
Of immortality.--And did he rise?
Hear, O ye nations! hear it, O ye dead!
He rose! he rose! he burst the bars of death.
Lift up your heads, ye everlasting gates!
And give the King of glory to come in.
Who is the King of glory? he who left
His throne of glory, for the pang of death!
Lift up your heads, ye everlasting gates!
Bold thought! shall I dare speak it, or repress?
Should man more execrate, or boast, the guilt
Which rous'd such vengeance? which such love in- And give the King of glory to come in.
Who is the King of glory? he who slew
O'er guilt (how mountainous!) with outstretch'd arms, The ravenous foe, that gorg'd all human race! Stern justice and soft-smiling love embrace,
Supporting, in full majesty, thy throne,
When seem'd its majesty to need support,
Or that, or man, inevitably lost;
What, but the fathomless of thought divine,
Could labor such expedient from despair,
And rescue both? both rescue! both exalt!
O how are both exalted by the deed!
The wondrous deed! or shall I call it more?
A wonder in Omnipotence itself!
A mystery no less to gods than men !
Not thus, our infidels the Eternal draw,
A God all o'er, consummate, absolute,
Full-orb'd, in his whole round of rays complete :
They set at odds Heaven's jarring attributes;
And, with one excellence, another wound;
Maim Heaven's perfection, break its equal beams,
Bid mercy triumph over-God himself,
Undeified by their opprobrious praise :
A God all mercy, is a God unjust.
Ye brainless wits! ye baptiz'd infidels!
Ye worse for mending! wash'd to fouler stains!
The ransom was paid down; the fund of Heaven,
Heaven's inexhaustible, exhausted fund,
Amazing, and amaz'd, pour'd forth the price,
All price beyond though curious to compute,
Archangels fail'd to cast the mighty sum:
Its value vast, ungrasp'd by minds create,
For ever hides, and glows, in the Supreme.
And was the ransom paid? it was and paid
(What can exalt the bounty more?) for you!
The King of glory, he, whose glory fill'd
Heaven with amazement at his love to man;
And with divine complacency beheld
Powers most illumin'd, wilder'd in the theme.
The theme, the joy, how then shall man sustain ? Oh the burst gates! crush'd sting! demolish'd throne! Last gasp! of vanquish'd Death. Shout Earth and Heaven!
This sum of good to man. Whose nature, then,
Took wing, and mounted with him from the tomb!
Then, then, I rose; then first humanity
Triumphant pass'd the crystal ports of light,
(Stupendous guest!) and seiz'd eternal youth,
Seiz'd in our name. E'er since, 'tis blasphemous
To call man mortal. Man's mortality
Was, then, transferr'd to death; and Heaven's du.
Unalienably seal'd to this frail frame,
This child of dust-Man, all immortal! hail;
Hail, Heaven! all lavish of strange gifts to man!
Thine all the glory; man's the boundless bliss.
Where am I rapt by this triumphant theme,
On Christian joy's exulting wing, above
Th' Aonian mount? Alas! small cause for joy!
What if to pain immortal? if extent
Of being, to preclude a close of woe?
Where, then, my boast of immortality?
I boast it still, though cover'd o'er with guilt;
For guilt, not innocence, his life he pour'd,
"Tis guilt alone can justify his death!
Nor that, unless his death can justify
Relenting guilt in Heaven's indulgent sight
If, sick of folly, I relent; he writes
My name in Heaven, with that inverted spear
(A spear deep-dipt in blood!) which pierc'd his side, And open'd there a font for all mankind,
O most adorable! most unador'd!
Where shall thy praise begin, which ne'er should end?
Where'er I turn, what claim on all applause!
Who strive, who combat crimes, to drink, and live: How is night's sable mantle labor'd o'er,
This, only this, subdues the fear of death.
And what is this?-Survey the wondrous cure:
And at each step, let higher wonder rise!
"Pardon for infinite offence! and pardon
Through means that speak its value infinite!
A pardon bought with blood! with blood divine!
With blood divine of him I made my foe!
Persisted to provoke! though woo'd, and aw'd,
Blest, and chastis'd, a flagrant rebel still!
A rebel, 'midst the thunders of his throne!
Nor I alone! a rebel universe!
My species up in arms! not one exempt!
Yet for the foulest of the foul he dies,
Most joy'd, for the redeem'd from deepest guilt!
As if our race were held of highest rank;
And Godhead dearer, as more kind to man!
Bound, every heart! and every bosom, burn!
O what a scale of miracles is here!
Its lowest round, high planted on the skies;
Its towering summit lost beyond the thought
Of man or angel! O that I could climb
The wonderful ascent, with equal praise!
Praise flow for ever (if astonishment
Will give thee leave:) my praise! for ever flow;
Praise ardent, cordial, constant, to high Heaven
More fragrant, than Arabia sacrific'd,
And all her spicy mountains in a flame.
So dear, so due to Heaven, shall praise descend,
With her soft plume (from plausive angel's wing
First pluck'd by man) to tickle mortal ears,
Thus diving in the pockets of the great?
Is praise the perquisite of every paw.
Though black as Hell, that grapples well for gold?
Oh love of gold! thou meanest of amours!
Shall praise her odors waste on virtues dead,
Embalm the base, perfume the stench of guilt,
Earn dirty bread by washing Ethiops fair,
Removing filth, or sinking it from sight,
A scavenger in scenes, where vacant posts,
Like gibbets yet untenanted, expect
Their future ornaments? From courts and thrones,
Return, apostate Praise! thou vagabond!
Thou prostitute! to thy first love return,
Thy first, thy greatest, once unrival'd theme.
There flow redundant; like Meander, flow
Back to thy fountain; to that Parent Power,
How richly wrought with attributes divine!
What wisdom shines! what love! this midnight pomp,
This gorgeous arch, with golden worlds inlaid!
Built with divine ambition! nought to thee;
For others this profusion: thou, apart,
Above! beyond! O tell me, mighty Mind!
Where art thou? Shall I dive into the deep?
Call to the Sun, or ask the roaring winds
For their Creator! Shall I question loud
The thunder, if in that th' Almighty dwells?
Or holds he furious storms in straiten'd reins,
And bids fierce whirlwinds wheel his rapid car?
What mean these questions? Trembling, I retract;
My prostrate soul adores the present God:
Praise I a distant deity? He tunes
My voice (if tun'd ;) the nerve, that writes, sustains:
Wrapt in his being, I resound his praise:
But though past all diffus'd, without a shore,
His essence; local is his throne, (as meet,)
To gather the disperst, (as standards call
The listed from afar :) to fix a point,
A central point, collective of his sons,
Since finite every nature but his own.
The nameless He, whose nod is Nature's birth;
And Nature's shield, the shadow of his hand;
Her dissolution, his suspended smile!
The great First-Last! pavilion'd high he sits,
In darkness from excessive splendor borne,
By gods unseen, unless through lustre lost.
His glory, to created glory, bright,
As that to central horrors; he looks down
On all that soars; and spans immensity.
Though night unnumber'd worlds unfolds to view
Boundless creation! what art thou? A beam
A mere effluvium of his majesty:
And shall an atom of this atom-world
Mutter, in dust and sin, the theme of Heaven?
Down to the centre should I send my thought
Through beds of glittering ore, and glowing gems,
Their beggar'd blaze wants lustre for my lay;
Goes out in darkness: if, on towering wing,
I send it through the boundless vault of stars!
The stars, though rich, what dross their gold to thee.
Great! good! wise! wonderful! eternal King!
If to those conscious stars thy throne around,
Praise ever-pouring, and imbibing bliss;
Who gives the tongue to sound, the thought to soar. And ask their strain; they want it, more they want, The soul to be. Men homage pay to men,
Poor their abundance, humble their sublime,
Thoughtless beneath whose dreadful eye they bow Languid their energy, their ardor cold,
In mutual awe profound of clay to clay,
Of guilt to guilt; and turn their back on thee,
Great Sire! whom thrones celestial ceaseless sing :|
To prostrate angels, an amazing scene!
O the presumption of man's awe for man!
Man's Author! End! Restorer! Law! and Judge!
Thine, all; day thine, and thine this gloom of night,
With all her wealth, with all her radiant worlds:
What, night eternal, but a frown from thee?
What, Heaven's meridian glory, but thy smile?
And shall not praise be thine, not human praise?
While Heaven's high host on hallelujahs live?
O may I breathe no longer than I breathe
My soul in praise to him, who gave my soul,
And all her infinite of prospect fair,
Indebted still, their highest rapture burns;
Short of its mark, defective, though divine.
Still more-This theme is man's, and man's alone
Their vast appointments reach it not: they see
On Earth a bounty not indulg'd on high;
And downward look for Heaven's superior praise!
First-born of ether! high in fields of light!
View man, to see the glory of your God!
Could angels envy, they had envied here;
And some did envy; and the rest, though gods,
Yet still gods unredeem'd, (there triumphs man,
Tempted to weigh the dust against the skies.)
They less would feel, though more adorn, my theme.
They sung Creation (for in that they shar'd »)
How rose in melody, that child of love!
Cut through the shades of Hell, great love! by thee, Creation's great superior, man! is thine;