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If they continue rational, as made,
Resorbs them all into himself again ;
His throne their centre, and his smile their crown.
Why doubt we, then, the glorious truth to sing,
Though yet unsung, as deem'd, perhaps, too bold ?
Angels are men of a superior kind;
Angels are men in lighter habit clad,
High o'er celestial mountains wing'd in flight;
And men are angels loaded for an hour,
Who wade this miry vale, and climb with pain,
And slippery step, the bottom of the steep.
Angels their farlings, mortals have their praise ;
While here, of corps ethereal, such enroll’d,
And summon’d to the glorious standard soon,
Which flames eternal crimson through the skies.
Nor are our brothers thoughtless of their kin,
Yet absent; but not absent from their love.
Michael has fought our battles ; Raphael sung
Our triumphs ; Gabriel on our errands flown,
Sent by the Sovereign : and are these, O man!
Thy friends, thy warm allies? and thou (shame burn
The cheek to cinder!) rival to the brute ?
Religion 's All. Descending from the skies To wretched man, the goddess, in her left, Holds out this world, and, in her right, the next; Religion ! the sole voucher man is man; Supporter sole of man above himself ; E'en in this night of frailty, change, and death, She gives the soul a soul that acts a god. Religion! Providence ! an after-state ! Here is firm footing; here is solid rock! This can support us; all is sea besides ;.
Sinks under us; bestorms, and then devours.
His hand the good man fastens on the skies,
And bids Earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl.
As when a wretch, from thick, polluted air,
Darkness and stench, and suffocation-damps,
And dungeon-horrours, by kind fate, discharg'd,
Climbs some fair eminence, where ether pure
Surrounds him, and Elysian prospects rise,
His heart exults, his spirits cast their load:
As if new-born, he triumphs in the change;
So joys the soul, when, from inglorious aims,
And sordid sweets, from feculence and froth
Of ties terrestrial, set at large, she mounts
To reason's region, her own element,
Breathes hopes immortal, and affects the skies,
Religion ! thou the soul of happiness ; And, groaning Calvary, of thee! There shine The noblest truths; there strongest motives sting; There sacred violence assaults the soul; There, nothing but compulsion is forborne. Can love allure us? or cau terrour awe? He weeps ! - the falling drop puts out the Sun; He sighs — the sigh Earth's deep foundation shakes. If in his love so terrible, what then His wrath inflam'd ? his tenderness on fire ? Like soft, smooth oil, outblazing other fires ? Can prayer, can praise, avert it? — Thou, my All ! My theme! my inspiration ! and my crown! My strength in age ! my rise in low estate! My soul's ambition, pleasure, wealth !--my world My light in darkness! and my life in death! My boast through time! bliss through eternity!
Eternity, too short to speak thy praise !
Or fathom thy profound of love to man !
To man, of men the meanest, e'en to me;
My sacrifice! my God! what things are these !
What then art thou ? by what name shall I call
Knew I the name devout archangels use,
Devout archangels should the name enjoy,
By me unrivall’d; thousands more sublime,
None half so dear, as that, which, though unspoke,
Still glows at heart: O how omnipotence
Is lost in love! Thou great philanthropist !
Father of angels! but the friend of man!
Like Jacob, fondest of the younger born!
Thou, who didst save him, snatch the smoking brand
From out the flames, and quench it in thy blood !
How art thou pleas'd, by bounty to distress !
To make us groan beneath our gratitude,
Too big for birth! to favour, and confound!
To challenge, and to distance all return !
Of lavish love stupendous heights to soar,
And leave praise panting in the distant vale !
Thy right, too great, defrauds thee of thy due ;
And sacrilegious our sublimest song.
But since the naked will obtains thy smile,
Beneath this monument of praise unpaid,
And future life symphonious to my strain,
(That noblest hymn to Heaven !) for ever lie
Intomb'd my fear of death! and every fear,
The dread of every evil, but thy frown.
Whom see I, yonder, so demurely smile ? Laughter a labour, and might break their rest.
Ye quietists, in homage to the skies!
Serene! of soft address! who mildly make
An unobtrusive tender of your hearts,
Abhorring violence; who halt indeed;
But, for the blessing, wrestle not with Heaven!
Think you my song too turbulent ? too warm ?
Are passions, then, the pagans of the soul ?
Reason alone baptiz'd? alone ordain'd
To touch things sacred ? Oh for warmer still!
Guilt chills my zeal, and age benumbs my powers :
Oh for an humbler heart ! and prouder song!
Thou, my much-injur'd theme ! with that soft eye
Which melted o'er doom'd Salem, deign to look
Compassion to the coldness of my breast;
And pardon to the winter in my strain.
Oh ye cold-hearted, frozen, formalists !
On such a theme, 't is impious to be calm;
Passion is reason, transport temper, here.
Shall Heaven, which gave us ardour, and has shown
Her own for man so strongly, not disdain
What smooth emollients in theology,
Recumbent virtue's downy doctors, preach;
That prose of piety, a lukewarm praise?
Rise odours sweet from incense uninflam'd ?
Devotion, when lukewarm, is undevout;
But when it glows, its heat is struck to Heaven;
To human hearts her golden harps are strung ;
High Heaven's orchestra chaunts amen to man.
Hear I, or dream I hear, their distant strain, Sweet to the soul, and tasting strong of Heaven, Soft-wafted on celestial pity's plume, Through the rast spaces of the universe,
To cheer me in this melancholy gloom ?
Oh when will Death (now stingless), like a friend,
Admit me of their choir ? O when will Death
This mouldering, old, partition-wall throw down?
Give beings, one in nature, one abode ?
Oh Death divine! that giv'st us to the skies !
Great future ! glorious patron of the past, '
And present ! when shall I thy shrine adore ?
From Nature's continent, immensely wide,
Immensely blest, this little isle of life,
This dark, incarcerated colony,
Happy day! that breaks our chain; That manumits; that calls from exile home; That leads to Nature's great metropolis, And re-admits us, through the guardian hand Of elder brothers, to our Father's throne ; Who hears our Advocate, and, through his wounds Beholding man, allows that tender name. 'T is this makes Christian triumph a command : 'T is this makes joy a duty to the wise ; 'T is impious in a good man to be sad.
See thou, Lorenzo! where hangs all our hope ? Touch'd by the cross, we live; or, more than die; That touch which touch'd not angels; more divine Than that which touch'd confusion into form, And darkness into glory : partial touch! Ineffably pre-eminent regard ! Sacred to man, and sovereign through the whole Long golden chain of miracles, which hangs From Heaven through all duration, and supports In one illustrious and amazing plan, Thy welfare, Nature, and thy God's renown;