صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

That shocking science, parent of despair !
Avert thy mirror; if I see, I die.
Know my Creator ? climb his blest abode,
By painful speculation pierce the veil,
Dive in his nature, read his attributes,
And gaze in admiration--on a foe
Obtruding life, withholding happiness?
From the full rivers that surround his throne
Nor letting fall one drop of joy on man;
Man gasping for one drop, that he might cease
To curse his birth, nor envy reptiles more!
Ye sable clouds! ye darkest shades of night,
Hide Him, forever hide Him, from my thought,
Once all my comfort; source and soul of joy!
Know his achievements ! study his renown!
Contemplate this amazing universe,
Dropped from his hand with miracles replete !
For what? 'mid miracles of nobler name
To find one miracle of misery!
To find the being which alone can know
And praise his works, a blemish on his praise?
Through Nature's ample range in thought to stray,
And start at man, the single mourner there,
Breathing high hope chained down to pangs and death.
Knowing is suffering, and shall virtue share
The sigh of knowledge ? Virtue shares the sigh
By straining up the steep of excellent;
By battles fought, and from temptation won,
What gains she but the pang of seeing worth,
Angelic worth, soon shuffled in the dark
With every vice, and swept to brutal dust?


Think'st thou Omnipotence a naked root,
Each blossom fair of Deity destroyed ?
Nothing is dead; nay, nothing sleeps; each soul

That ever animated human clay
Now wakes ; is on the wing; and when the call
Of that loud trump collects us round heaven's throne
Conglobed, we bask in everlasting day.
How bright this prospect shines! how gloomy thine !
A trembling world, and a devouring God!
Earth, but the shambles of Omnipotence!
Heaven's face all stained with causeless massacres ;
Of countless millions born to feel the pang
Of being lost. Lorenzo, can it be?
This bids us shudder at the thoughts of life.
Who would be born to such a phantom world,
Where naught substantial but our misery ?
A world where dark mysterious vanity
Of good and ill the distant colors blends,
Confounds all reason, and all hope destroys;
A world so far from great (and yet how great
It shines to thee !) there's nothing real in it;
Being a shadow! consciousness a dream!
A dream, how dreadful; universal blank !
Before it and behind! poor man a spark-
From non-existence struck by wrath divine,
Glittering a moment, nor that moment sure,
'Midst upper, nether, and surrounding night,
His sad, sure, sudden, and eternal tomb.

[blocks in formation]

What am I ? and from whence ? I nothing
But that I am; and since I am, conclude
Something eternal: had there e'er been naught,
Naught still had been : eternal there must be:
But what eternal ? Why not human race,
And Adam's ancestors, without an end ?
That's hard to be conceived; since every link
Of that long chained succession is so frail ;
Can every part depend and not the whole ?

Yet grant it true; new difficulties rise;
Whence earth and these bright orbs ?—Eternal too?
Grant matter was eternal; still these orbs
Would want some other father: much design
Is seen in all their motions, all their makes;
Design implies intelligence and art ;
That can't be from themselves, or man: that art
Man scarce can comprehend, could man bestow ?
And nothing greater yet allowed than man.
Who motion, foreign to the smallest grain,
Shot through vast masses of enormous weight?
Who bid brute matter's restive lump assume
Such various forms, and gave it wings to fly?
Has matter innate motion ? Then each atom,
Asserting its indisputable right
To dance, would form a universe of dust.
Has matter none ? Then whence these glorious forms
And boundless lights from shapeless and reposed ?
Has matter more than motion ? Has it thought,
Judgment, and genius? Is it deeply learned
In mathematics ? Has it framed such laws,
Which but to guess a Newton made immortal ?
If so, how each sage alone laughs at me,
Who thinks a clod inferior to a man!
If art to form and counsel to conduct,
And that with greater far than human skill,
Resides not in each block,—a Godhead reigns.
Grant then invisible, eternal Mind;
That granted, all is solved-But granting that,
Draw I not o'er me still a darker cloud ?
Grant I not that which I can ne'er conceive ?
A being without origin or end !
Hail, human liberty! there is no God.
Yet why? on either scheme the knot subsists:
Subsist it must in God, or human race.
If in the last, how many knots besides,
Indissoluble all ?

Why choose it there,
Where, chosen, still subsist ten thousand more?

Reject it; where that chosen, all the rest
Dispersed, leave reason's whole horizon clear?
What vast preponderance is here! can reason
With louder voice exclaim, Believe a God ?
What things impossible must man think true,

any other system ? and how strange To disbelieve through mere credulity.





Yet why drown fancy in such depths as these?
Return, presumptuous rover! and confess
The bounds of man, nor blame them as too small.
Enjoy we not full scope in what is seen?
Full ample the dominions of the sun!
Full glorious to behold! how far, how wide,
The matchless monarch, from his flaming throne,
Lavish of lustre, throws his beams about him,
Farther and faster than a thought can fly,
And feeds his planets with eternal fires !
Beyond this city why strays human thought?
One wonderful enough for man to know !
One firmament enough for man to read!
Nor is instruction here our only gain :
There dwells a noble pathos in the skies,
Which warms our passions, proselytes our hearts.
How eloquently shines the glowing pole!
With what authority it gives its charge,
Remonstrating great truths in style sublime,
Though silent, loud! heard earth around, above
The planets heard ; and not unheard in hell ;
Hell has its wonder, though too proud to praise.

Divine Instructor! thy first volume this,
For man's perusal; all in capitals !
In moon and stars (heaven's golden alphabet!)
Emblazed to seize the sight; who runs may read,
Who reads can understand : 'tis unconfined


To Christian land, or Jewry; fairly writ
In language universal, to mankind :
A language lofty to the learned, yet plain
To those that feed the flock, or guide the plough,
Or, from its husk, strike out the bounding grain.
A language worthy the great Mind that speaks !
Preface, and comment, to the sacred page !
Stupendous book of wisdom to the wise !
Stupendous book, and opened, Night! by thee.
By thee much opened, I confess, O Night!
Yet more I wish ; say, gentle Night, whose beams
Give us a new creation, and
The world's great picture, softened to the sight;
Say thou, whose mild dominion's silver key
Unlocks our hemisphere, and sets to view
Worlds beyond number; worlds concealed by day
Behind the proud and envious star of noon !
Canst thou not draw a deeper scene ?—and show
The mighty Potentate, to whom belong
These rich regalia, pompously displayed ?
Oh! for a glimpse of Him my soul adores !
As the chased hart, amid the desert waste,
Pants for the living stream ; for Him who made her
So pants the thirsty soul, amid the blank
Of sublunary joys; say, goddess, where ?
Where blazes his bright court? where burns his throne ?
Thou know'st, for thou art near Him ; by thee, round
His grand pavilion, sacred fame reports,
The sable curtains drawn : if not, can none
Of thy fair daughter-train, so swift of wing,
Who travel far, discover where He dwells ?
A star his dwelling pointed out below:
Say ye, who guide the wildered in the waves,
On which hand must I bend my course to find Him ?
These courtiers keep the secret of their King ;
I wake whole nights, in vain, to steal it from them.
In ardent contemplation's rapid car,
From earth, as from my barrier, I set out;

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