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And health and peace proclaim'd, bade Nature's
Point to the scenes of dim futurity.
He on a world, in Gentile darkness lost,
Pitying looked down: He to bewilder'd man
Bade Spring, with annual admonition, hold
Her emblematic taper; not with light
Potent each shade of doubt and fear to chase,
Yet friendly through the gloom to guide his way,
Till the dawn crimson'd, and the impatient East,
Shouting for joy, the daystar's advent hail'd.
That star has risen, and with a glow that shames The sun's meridian splendour, has illumined, Eternity! thy wonders: and as hills,
Far seen, by telescopic power draw nigh;
Regions of bliss and realms of penal doom,
More clear, more sure than earth to mortal ken,
Beyond the shades of Death to Faith reveals!
Yet may this silvan wild, from winter's grasp
Now rescued, bid the soul on loftiest hopes
Musing elate, anticipate the hour
When, at the archangel's voice, the slumbering dust
Shall wake, nor earth nor sea withhold her dead :
When starting at the crash of bursting tombs,
Of mausoleums rent, and pyramids
Heaved from their base, the tyrant of the grave,
Propp'd on his broken sceptre, while the crown
Falls from his head, beholds his prison-house
Emptied of all its habitants; beholds
Mortal in immortality absorb'd,
Corruptible in incorruption lost.
VANITY OF METAPHYSICAL REA
THOU nameless rivulet, who, from the side
Of Lewesdon softly welling forth, dost trip
Adown the valley, wandering sportively—
Alas, how soon thy little course will end!
How soon thy infant stream shall lose itself
In the salt mass of waters, ere it grow
To name or greatness! Yet it flows along
Untainted with the commerce of the world,
Nor passing by the noisy haunts of men;
But through sequester'd meads, a little space,
Winds secretly, and in its wanton path
May cheer some drooping flower, or minister
Of its cool water to the thirsty lamb;
Then falls into the ravenous sea, as pure
As when it issued from its native hill.
So to thine early grave didst thou run on,
Spotless Francesca, so, after short course,
Thine innocent and playful infancy
Was swallow'd up in death, and thy pure spirit
In that illimitable gulf which bounds
Our mortal continent. But not there lost,
Not there extinguish'd, as some falsely teach,
Who can talk much and learnedly of life,
Who know our frame and fashion, who can tell
The substance and the properties of man,
As they had seen him made,-ay, and stood by
Spies on Heaven's work. They also can discourse
Wisely, to prove that what must be must be,
And show how thoughts are jogged out of the brain
By a mechanical impulse, pushing on
The minds of us, poor unaccountables,
To fatal resolution. Know they not,
That in this mortal life, whate'er it be,
We take the path that leads to good or evil,
And therein find our bliss or misery?
And this includes all reasonable ends
Of knowledge or of being; farther to go
Is toil unprofitable, and the' effect
Most perilous wandering. Yet of this be sure,
Where freedom is not, there no virtue is:
If there be none, this world is all a cheat,
And the divine stability of heaven
(That assured seat for good men after death)
Is but a transient cloud, display'd so fair
To cherish virtuous hope, but at our need
Eludes the sense, and fools our honest faith,
Vanishing in a lie. If this be so,
Were it not better to be born a beast,
Only to feel what is, and thus to scape
The aguish fear that shakes the' afflicted breast
With sore anxiety of what shall be—
And all for nought? Since our most wicked act
Is not our sin, and our religious awe
Delusion, if that strong Necessity
Chains up our will. But that the mind is free,
The Mind herself, best judge of her own state,
Is feelingly convinced; nor to be moved
By subtle words that may perplex the head,
But ne'er persuade the heart. Vain argument,
That with false weapons of Philosophy
Fights against Hope, and Sense, and Nature's strength!
THE LESSONS TAUGHT BY NATURE.
THROUGH Winter's silvan realms in devious course
Thus rove our steps. We linger, pleased to note
His mien peculiar. Deem we then the face
Of changeful seasons varied but to charm
The gazing eye, and soothe the vacant mind?
Say, is not Nature's ample tome display'd,
Even to the careless wanderer in the field,
With loftier purpose? Wisdom's dictates pure,
Themes of momentous import, character'd
By more than human finger, every page
Discloses. He, who form'd this beauteous globe
So fair, amid her brightest scenes hath hung
Fit emblems of a perishable world;
And graved on tablets' He that runs may read'
Your fickle date, ye sublunary joys.
The buds doth Spring unfold, and thick as dew
Spangling the grass the purple bloom diffuse ?
Comes a chill blight, and bids the sanguine youth
Read in its ravages a lore that tells
Of frustrate plans, and hope indulged in vain.
Do Summer suns the mead with herbage load,
And tinge the ripening year? With sudden rage
The thunderstorm descends; the river swells
Impatient, leaps the mound; and, while the waves
Devour the promised harvest, calls on thee,
O man, to tremble for thy daily bread.
The faded leaves doth Autumn scatter wide;
Or Winter rend the desolated boughs,
And lay the fathers of the forest low?
Child of the dust, attend! To thee they cry,
Each from his whirlwind, Earth is not thy home.'
They bid thee seek, sojourner of a day,
While strength Divine thy conscious weakness aids, A more enduring dwellingplace; the joys Unutterable, which nor eye hath seen,
Nor ear hath heard, nor heart of man* conceived; Joys which in worlds to holy peace consign'd, Empyreal realms, Omnipotence prepares
For those who love their God: joys then to ope
Their stores, when from the Judge's face, as dew
Shrinks from the sun, this earth, these heavens
are fled +,
And all the palm-crown'd sons of holiness,
With garments wash'd in their Redeemer's blood,
Shout their hosannas round his throne; and, join'd
With angels, and to angels equal made,
Bathe in the font of ever during bliss.
Do Seasons teach in vain? Doth Nature's voice Sound in dull ears? Has Truth, disclosed from heaven,
With fruitless beams on Nature's volume pour'd
New radiance; and her sacred shafts beheld
Bound unimpressive from the callous heart?
Tremble, insensate triflers! Tremble, mourn,
O race obdurate! Ye that slight the love,
That mock the vengeance of Eternal Power:
Love, on whose wonders raptured angels gaze;
Vengeance, in flames to shuddering fiends reveal'd!
What yet remains? The hour, that ends the joys
And wakes the throbs of guilt; the hour that cries
'Trial is pass'd and judgment reigns;' the hour
That bids accusing Memory barb her darts,
That brings the fruitless sigh, the conscious pang