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Without whose power, the whole of mortal things
Were dull, inert, an unharmonious band;
Silent as are the harp's untuned strings
Without the touches of the poet's hand.
A sacred spark, created by His breath,
The' immortal mind of man his image bears;
A spirit living midst the forms of death,
Oppress'd but not subdued by mortal cares—
A germ, preparing in the winter's frost,
To rise and bud and blossom in the spring; An unfledged eagle by the tempest toss'd, Unconscious of his future strength of wing:The child of trial, to mortality
And all its changeful influences given :
On the green earth decreed to move and die;
And yet by such a fate prepared for heaven.-
Soon as it breathes, to feel the mother's form
Of orbed beauty through its organs thrill;
To press the limbs of life with rapture warm,
And drink of transport from a living rill:
To view the skies with morning radiance bright,
Majestic mingling with the ocean blue,
Or bounded by green hills, or mountains white;
Or peopled plains of rich and varied hue:
The nobler charms astonish'd to behold
Of living loveliness, to see it move,
Cast in Expression's rich and varied mould,
Awakening sympathy, compelling love:—
The heavenly balm of mutual hope to taste,
Soother of life; affection's bliss to share,
Sweet as the stream amidst the desert waste,
As the first blush of arctic daylight fair :
To mingle with its kindred, to descry
The path of power-in public life to shine; To gain the voice of popularity;
The idol of to-day, the man divine :—
To govern others by an influence strong [main; As that high law which moves the murmuring Raising and carrying all its waves along,
Beneath the full-orb'd Moon's meridian reign: To scan how transient is the breath of praise; A Winter's Zephyr trembling on the snow, Chill'd as it moves; or as the northern rays, First fading in the centre, whence they flow:To live in forests mingled with the whole Of natural forms, whose generations rise In lovely change, in happy order roll
On land, in ocean, in the glittering skies:Their harmony to trace-The' Eternal Cause To know in love, in reverence to adoreTo bend beneath the inevitable laws,
Sinking in death; its human strength no more :Then, as awakening from a dream of pain, With joy its mortal feelings to resign; Yet all its living essence to retain,
The' undying energy of strength divine:
To quit the burdens of its earthly days,
To give to Nature all her borrow'd powers;
Ethereal fire to feed the solar rays,
Ethereal dew to glad the earth in showers.
FROM THE POEM OF PRUDENTIUS AGAINST
"Tis mine to give imperishable joy
Which not the lapse of ages can destroy.'
Such are the promises of God: declare,
Can one endow'd to suffer and to dare,
Capacious of unbounded virtue, slight
For brief existence ages of delight?
Or can the wise in joys corporeal find
A bliss superior to the living mind?
'Twixt men and brutes what severing distance lies?
The weal of brutes is present to their eyes.
My hopes beyond the bounds of vision soar
Where joy endures, when time shall be no more.
If with these limbs the whole of me expire,
Nor aught of me survive the funeral fire,
Why should my thoughts regard a God on high,
Framer of earth, and ruler of the sky?
Or why that majesty of power revere
Which now with trembling awe we justly fear?
No-let me rush, by glowing impulse led,
Trample on shame, and stain the marriage bed:
The trust, by witnesses unseen, deny :
My wants of avarice bid the poor supply:
I fear not ill the cheated laws are blind;
Armed Justice sits, but dives not in the mind.
Is the crime blazon'd? but a bribe of gold
Corrupts the judge, and clemency is sold.
Not the just punishment of guilt I dread,
The axe falls seldom on the guilty head.
How rove my thoughts! I hear a God from high
Reclaim my soul in threatening majesty.
'No-not the monuments of deeds unjust
With breath shall perish or shall mix with dust.
He shall not die, the man that lives within;
The soul for ages rues the body's sin.
My voice could instant bid the liquid flame
Enwrap suspended nature's earthly frame;
Through ether's buoyant breath the fabric bear,
Wing'd like the wind and circumfused with air:
Father of spirits, incorporeal soul,
I yet could wrap this vast material whole
In elemental fire: my power the same
Can plunge the sinful body into flame.
My organizing wisdom can restore
To human dust the form it held before.
Who of my power despairs? the word, that gave
Existence birth, can call it from the grave.
Look forth in Nature's page the' examples read;
Life springs anew from each decaying seed;
Dried is its vital juice: earth's furrow'd bed
Becomes its grave, thus arid, shrunk, and dead:
Yet from its sepulchre of clay the grain
Sprouts with reviving germ and lives again.
Hast thou not known, nor hath conjecture told
What careful artist form'd the teeming mould;
Or whence the secret force, that work'd unseen,
And from corruption rear'd the bursting green?
Beware, oh wretched men! the seeming wise
Who search in physics with their molelike eyes:
In me the generative source survey;
The flux of things and mutable decay
"Tis I restore my vivifying power
Wakes the dried leaf and clothes the wither'd
Man too shall feel my energy the same;
When all the structure of his moulder'd frame
Shall start from ashes: whether torments just
Requite for crimes the animated dust;
Or throned in light its virtue shine on high;
Whate'er its lot, predestined ne'er to die.
Ere soul and body part, remember, man!
The living author whence thy life began.
Revere thy Maker with a lowly heart,
Adore the hand that form'd thee what thou art;
No other fashion'd thee: but I, the same,
Infused thy breathing soul, and knit thy frame:
No numerous gods this life's rich blessings gave?
No other bade the spiky harvest wave :
With swelling must the vine's ripe fruitage glow,
And purple juice from bending clusters flow.
The Greeks their Pallas feign; but I am He
That with green berry clothed the olive tree:
I am the same whose tutelary power [hour:
Succours the springing babe, and rules Lucina's
From me the sexes blend the soft embrace,
Create and cherish the created race:
While with loose loves ye violate the flame,
And veil the sin with Venus' shadowy name.
"Tis I alone the elements uphold,
Nor faint, nor weary, as of fragile mould:
I dwell in one immensity of height;
Before me deathless ages wheel their flight.
My being unapproach'd, ere Time began,
In depth of ancient days confounds the thought of
Worlds and their motions I alone sustain, [man.
And ask no aid nor partner in my reign.
The' angelic legions, whom my hand has made,
To my omniscient wisdom stand display'd: