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How shall I then attempt to sing of Him! Who, Light Himself, in uncreated light Invested deep, dwells awfully retir'd From mortal eye, or angel's purer ken ; Whose single smile has, from the first of time, Fill'd, overflowing, all those lamps of Heaven, That beam for ever through the boundless sky : But, should he hide his face, the astonish'd sun, And all th' extinguish'd stars would loosening reel Wide from their spheres, and Chaos come again. And yet was every faltering tongue of Man, Almighty Father! silent in thy praise, Thy works themselves would raise a general voice ; Even in the depth of solitary woods, By human foot untrod, proclaim thy power, And to the choir celestial Thee resound, The eternal cause, support, and end of all !
The Wisdom of God.
LET no presuming impious railer tax
Creative Wisdom, as if aught were form'd
In vain, or not for admirable ends.
Shall little haughty ignorance pronounce
His works unwise, of which the smallest part
Exceeds the narrow vision of her mind?
As if upon a full proportion'd dome,
On swelling columns heav'd the pride of art!
A critic-fly whose feeble-ray scarce spreads
An inch around, with blind presumption bold,
Should dare to tax the structure of the whole.
And lives the man whose universal eye
Has swept at once th' unbounded scheme of things,
Mark'd their dependance so and firm accord
As with unfaltering accent to conclude
That this availeth nought? Has any seen
The mighty chain of beings lessening down
From Infinite Perfection to the brink
Of dreary nothing, desolate abyss!
From which astonish'd thought, recoiling turns?
Till then alone, let zealous praise ascend,
And hymns of holy wonder, to that Power,
Whose wisdom shines as lovely on our minds,
As on our smiling eyes his servant sun.
THE sun has lost his rage: his downward orb Shoots nothing now but animating warmth,
And vital lustre : that, with various ray,
Lights up the clouds, those beauteous robes of heaven,
Incessant roll'd into romantic shapes,
The dream of waking fancy! Broad below,
Cover'd with ripening fruits, and swelling fast
Into the perfect year, the pregnant earth,
And all her tribes rejoice. Now the soft hour
Of walking comes: for him who lonely loves
To seek the distant hills, and there converse
With Nature; there to harmonize his heart,
And in pathetic song to breathe around
The harmony to others. Social friends,
Attun'd to happy unison of soul;
To whose exalting eye a fairer world,
Of which the vulgar never had a glimpse,
Displays its charms; whose minds are richly fraught
With philosophic stores, superior light;
And in whose breast, enthusiastic, burns
Virtue, the sons of interest deem romance;
Now call'd abroad enjoy the falling day :
Now to the verdant Portico of woods,
To Nature's vast Lyceum, forth they walk;
By that kind School where no proud master reigns,
The full free converse of the friendly heart,
Improving and improv'd.
WITH thee, serene Philosophy, with thee,
And thy bright garland, let me crown my song!
Effusive source of evidence, and truth!
A lustre shedding o'er the ennobled mind,
Stronger than summer noon; and pure as that,
Whose mild vibrations sooth the parted soul,
New to the dawning of celestial day.
Hence through her nourish'd powers, enlarg'd by thee,
She springs aloft, with elevated pride,
Above the tangling mass of low desires,
That bind the fluttering crowd; and, angel-wing'd,
The heights of science and of virtue gains,
Where all is calm and clear with Nature round,
Or in the starry regions, or the abyss,
To Reason's and to Fancy's eye display'd:
The First up-tracing, from the dreary void,
The chain of causes and effects to Him,
The world-producing Essence, who alone
Possesses being; while the Last receives
The whole magnificence of heaven and earth,
And every beauty delicate or bold,
Obvious or more remote, with livelier sense,
Diffusive painted on the rapid mind.
Tutor'd by thee, hence Poetry exalts
Her voice to ages; and informs the page
With music, image, sentiment, and thought,
Never to die! the treasure of mankind!
Their highest honour, and their truest joy!
Without thee, what were unenlightened Man ?
A savage roaming through the woods and wilds,
In quest of prey; and with the unfashioned fur
Rough-clad; devoid of every finer art,
And elegance of life. Nor happiness
Domestic, mix'd of tenderness and care,
Nor moral excellence, nor social bliss,
Nor guardian law were his nor various skill
To turn the furrow, or to guide the tool
Mechanic; nor the heaven-conducted prow
Of navigation bold, that fearless braves
The burning line, or dares the wint❜ry pole ;
Mother severe of infinite delights!
Nothing, save rapine, indolence, and guile,
And woes on woes, a still-revolving train !
Whose horrid circle had made human life
Than non-existence worse; but taught by thee,
Ours are the plans of policy, and peace;
To live like brothers, and conjunctive all
Embellish life. While thus laborious crowds
Ply the tough oar, Philosophy directs
The ruling helm; or like the liberal breath
Of potent Heaven, invisible, the sail
Swells out and bears the inferior world along.
Nor to this evanescent speck of earth,
Poorly confin'd, the radiant tracts on high
Are her exalted range; intent to gaze
Creation through; and from that full complex
Of never-ending wonders, to conceive
Of the Sole Being right, who spoke the word,
And Nature mov'd complete. With inward view,
Thence on the ideal kingdom swift she turns
Her eye; and instant, at her powerful glance,
The obedient phantoms vanish or appear ;
Compound, divide, and into order shift,
Each to his rank, from plain perception up
To the fair forms of fancy's fleeting train :
To reason, then, deducing truth from truth;
And notion quite abstract; where first begins
The world of spirits, action all, and life
Unfetter'd, and unmix'd. But here the cloud,
So wills Eternal Providence, sits deep,
Enough for us to know that this dark state,
In wayward passions lost, and vain pursuits,
This infancy of being, cannot prove
The final issue of the works of God,
By boundless Love and perfect Wisdom form'd, And ever rising with the rising mind.
O KNEW he but his happiness, of men The happiest he; who, far from public rage, Deep in the vale, with a choice few retir'd, Drinks the pure pleasures of the Rural Life.