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Of ruin self-induced and mercy lost
For ever, the blank horrors of despair!
So, warn'd of God, from cities long grown deaf To sacred exhortation, to the depth
Of mountain woods his sons the Patriarch led;
There with long-drawn and wide-extended line
He stretch'd the mighty keel and curved the ribs
Of that capacious vessel, doom'd to save
The wrecks of nature. Oft would gathering crowds
With stupid gaze the growing fabric watch,
Or point the taunting finger. He meanwhile,
Year after year, untired, the task pursued;
Till wonder ceased to mark his toil, nor scorn
Deign'd to deride him more. One morn, the
[steps Grew dark with wings; earth with unnumber'd Sounded; bird, beast in long procession sought Their destined refuge. With his kindred train The builder first ascended. From the gloom Of congregating clouds put forth, a Hand * The entrance closed. The darkness cover'd all, Deathlike, unsunn'd, as though primeval night Resumed her empire. Torrents from the skies Plunged prone in solid downfall. Earth her depths Burst. Thronging on the summits of the hills, As seamen crowded on the mainmast's top While at each billow deeper sinks the ship And deeper, nations their despairing eyes Roll'd round; from every surge in lessening orb Shrunk; their wild arms uplifted; stretch'd their necks
Above the rising waves, and shriek’d their last.
"They went in unto Noah into the ark, and the Lord shut him in." Gen. vii. 15, 16.
Father of earth and heaven, Almighty Lord, Whose span confines infinitude*, whose eye Surveys eternal ages at a glance;
How long, in crowding millions round thy throne
On balanced wings, while spirits pure thy nod
Await, in bliss most blessed when Thou deignest
To speak thy mandate, and their service use;
How long shall man with cold reluctant heart
Ponder the truths thy word, thy works declare?
Yet here, even here, in this apostate vale
Still Thou hast many servants.
From thy abode the vain, the selfish throng
On Folly's glittering stream securely floats,
Or toils through storms for honour, power, or gold.
Thou art not in their thoughts, nor in their ways;
This to his pleasure turns, this to his farm,
That to his merchandise. The globe rolls round;
And still another and another spring
Beholds the chasers urge the blind pursuit,
Nearer, yet nearer, to the gloom that hangs
In misty volumes on the horizon's verge,
And hides the gulf wide-yawning for its prey.
Meanwhile they feast, they dance; the jocund harp
Rings at their board; the viol, tabret, horn,
And lute symphonious to the choral lay
Pour the full tide of harmony: but Thee
They slight, nor mark the wonders of thy hand;
Yet name they not their God?-What name they
Thy holy name the town, the country hears
In ceaseless repetition; day and night,
Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined.
Business and leisure, indigence and wealth,
All hours, all places hear thy holy name.
Strange to the heart, why dwells it on the tongue?
To sound a period with sonorous close;
To court the fool's applause by daring Thee;
To tell the passing impulse of surprise;
To vent the fumes of disappointed hope;
To silence doubt, that scans the' uncertain tale;
To swell the evening roar of impious mirth,
When wine unchains the proud blasphemer's joy;
To arm the curse that for a word, a look,
To realms of endless woe a brother hurls,
Stamped with thine image, nurtured by thy love.
Father of all, yet spare! Thine arm extend
In mercy, not in judgment: loose the bonds
Thou only canst unlock, bonds firm as links
Of adamant, that gird the slaves of guilt.
Pierce the deaf ear, the sightless eyeball cleanse,
The dull mind quicken, melt the obdurate heart,
Teach the awakened soul with kindling joy,
In all that air and earth and sea display,
Through each returning season to behold
Thee the great Author: mid the changing scenes
And varying cares of life, bid her on Thee
Fix her supreme regard, thy will explore,
Revere thy counsels, thy behests obey!
At winter's midnight how intense the grace
Which thy pure globe displays! The sullen sun,
How fled he discontent, a little curve
His hasty march describing, a few hours
Quenching his feeble beam! but thy clear orb
Delights to linger o'er a frozen world.
.How sweetly rose it o'er yon woody hill,
How gaily smiled upon the tranquil flood,
Seen from the bridge that overstrides the vale,
And now how glows it in the midst of heaven!
Methinks, I feel thy beam. My heart at least
Is warm'd, is melted by thy sovereign ray.
And oh! like thee, that every friend we own
Were most indulgent in an hour like this.
Beautiful art thou; and if thou art fair,
How fair is He whose wonder-working hand
Thy beauty framed! If to thy lovely orb
I almost bow and hail thee as divine,
What adoration would my soul o'erflow,
Might I the cloud that curtains Him around
Withdraw, and see him beauteous as he is!
Fountain of elegance, unseen thyself,
What limit owns Thy beauty, when thy works
Seem to possess, to faculties like mine,
Perfection infinite? The merest speck
Of animated matter, to the eye
That studiously surveys the wise design,
Is a full volume of abundant art.
If to the spot invisible we strain
Our aching sight, and with microptic tube
Bring it at last within our feeble ken,
What beauty owns it not? what crowded grace?
No point to THEE So delicately fine
Can reason fancy, where thy curious hand
May not have couched innumerable charms,
Could we down stretch our slender faculty,
Our visual ray so feeulent and dull,
And read the wonders microscopic eye
Has taught us never, and shall never learn.
LOVE OF WOODLAND SCENES.
O, COULD I wake the lyre
Like him*, who, lingering on the banks of Ouse,
To nature faithful, and to nature's King,
Pursues the noblest of poetic aims,
That only aim which gives the poet's lay
A title to the meed of genuine praise;
Who, blending in his song with honest art
The faithful monitor's and poet's care,
Seeks to delight that he may mend mankind,
And while he captivates exalt the soul!
He sweeps the lyre: one hand excites the strings,
Whence starts each glowing image that presents
Perfect as life the charms that deck the face
Of earth; the other, with symphonious touch,
Rouses the hallowed chords that swell the heart,
And lift it to its God. O, were my notes,
Ye woodlands, with his sacred fervour warmed,
Sweet as his music; to the slave whom pride