« PreviousContinue »
A mind superior to the charms of power.
Thou muffled in delusions of this life!
Can yonder Moon turn ocean in his bed,
From side to side, in constant ebb and flow,
And purify from stench his watery realms?
And fails her moral influence? wants she power
To turn Lorenzo's stubborn tide of thought
From stagnating on Earth's infected shore,
And purge from nuisance his corrupted heart?
Fails her attraction when it draws to Heaven?
Nay, and to what thou valuest more, Earth's joy?
Minds elevate, and panting for unseen,
And defecate from sense, alone obtain
Full relish of existence un-deflower'd,
The life of life, the zest of worldly bliss:
All else on Earth amounts-to what? To this:
"Bad to be suffer'd; blessings to be left :"
Earth's richest inventory boasts no more.
Of higher scenes be, then, the call obey'd.
O let me gaze!—Of gazing there's no end.
O let me think! - Thought too is wilder'd here;
In mid-way flight imagination tires;
Yet soon re-prunes her wing to soar anew,
Her point unable to forbear, or gain;
So great the pleasure, so profound the plan!
A banquet, this, where men and angels meet,
Eat the same manna, mingle Earth and Heaven.
How distant some of the nocturnal suns!
So distant (says the sage), 't were not absurd
To doubt, if beams, set out at Nature's birth,
Are yet arriv'd at this so foreign world;
Though nothing half so rapid as their flight.
An eye of awe and wonder let me roll,
And roll for ever: who can satiate sight
In such a scene? in such an ocean wide
Of deep astonishment? where depth, height, breadth,
Are lost in their extremes; and where to count
The thick-sown glories in this field of fire,
Perhaps a seraph's computation fails.
Now, go, Ambition! boast thy boundless might
In conquest o'er the tenth part of a grain.
And yet Lorenzo calls for miracles,
To give his tottering faith a solid base.
Why call for less than is already thine?
Thou art no novice in theology;
What is a miracle?· -'T is a reproach,
'T is an implicit satire, on mankind;
And while it satisfies, it censures too.
Of miracles; — resistless is their power ?
They do not, can not, more amaze the mind,
Than this, call’d un-miraculous survey,
If duly weigh’d, if rationally seen,
If seen with human eyes. The brute, indeed,
Sees nought but spangles here; the fool, no more.
Say'st thou, “ The course of Nature governs all ?”
The course of Nature is the art of God.
The miracles thou call'st for, this attests;
For say, Could Nature Nature's course control ?
But miracles apart, who sees him not,
Nature's Controller, Author, Guide, and End!
Who turns his eye on Nature's midnight face,
But must inquire — “ What hand behind the scene,
What arm Almighty, put these wheeling globes
In motion, and wound up the vast machine ?
Who rounded in his palm these spacious orbs ?
Who bow'd them flaming through the dark profound,
Numerous as glittering gems of morning-dew,
Or sparks from populous cities in a blaze,
And set the bosom of old night on fire ?
Peopled her desert, and made horfour smile ?"
Or, if the military style delights thee, (man)
(For stars have fought their battles, leagu'd with
“ Who marshals this bright host ? enrols their
Appoints their post, their marches, and returns
Punctual at stated periods? Who disbands
These veteran troops, their final duty done,
If e'er disbanded ?" — He, whose potent word,
Like the loud trumpet, levy'd first their powers
In night's inglorious empire, where they slept
In beds of darkness : arm'd them with fierce flames,
Arrang’d, and disciplin'd, and cloth'd in gold ;
And call'd them out of chaos to the field,
Where now they war with vice and unbelief.
O let us join this army! joining these,
Will give us hearts intrepid, at that hour,
When brighter flames shall cut a darker night;
When these strong demonstrations of a God
Shall hide their heads, or tumble from their spheres,
And one eternal curtain cover all !
Struck at that thought, as new awak'd, I lift
A more enlighten’d eye, and read the stars
To man still more propitious; and their aid
(Though guiltless of idolatry) implore ;
Nor longer rob them of their noblest name.
O ye dividers of my time! Ye bright
Accomptants of my days, and months, and years,
In your fair calendar distinctly marked !
Since that authentic, radiant register,
Though man inspects it not, stands good against him;
Since you and years roll on, though man stands
Teach me my days to number, and apply
My trembling heart to wisdom ; now beyond
All shadow of excuse for fooling on.
Age smooths our path to prudence ! sweeps aside
The snares keen appetite and passion spread
To catch stray souls; and woe to that gray head,
Whose folly would undo what age has done !
Aid then, aid, all ye stars ! - Much rather, thou,
Great Artist ! thou, whose finger set aright
This exquisite machine, with all its wheels,
Though intervolv'd, exact; and pointing out
Life's rapid and irrevocable flight,
With such an index fair as none can miss,
Who lifts an eye, nor sleeps till it is clos'd;
Open mine eye, dread Deity! to read
The tacit doctrine of thy works; to see
Things as they are, un-alter'd through the glass
Of worldly wishes. Time, eternity!
('T is these, mis-measured, ruin all mankind)
Set them before me; let me lay them both
In equal scale, and learn their various weight
Let time appear a moment, as it is ;
And let eternity's full orb, at once,
Turn on my soul, and strike it into Heaven.
When shall I see far more than charms me now?
Gaze on creation's model in thy breast
Unveil'd, nor wonder at the transcript-more?
When this vile, foreign dust, which smothers all
That travel Earth's deep vale, shall I shake off?
When shall my soul her incarnation quit,
And, re-adopted to thy blest embrace,
Obtain her apotheosis in thee ?
Dost think, Lorenzo, this is wandering wide ?
No, 't is directly striking at the mark;
To wake thy dead devotion* was my point;
And how bless night's consecrating shades,
Which to a temple turn an universe ;
Fill us with great ideas, full of Heaven,
And antidote the pestilential Earth!
In every storm, that either frowns, or falls,