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Of elements, as ancient sages dreamed;
God and his creatures one. Beyond the scope
Of sense the incommunicable mind
Dwelleth; and they, who with corporeal eye
Adoring nature's beauteous forms, discern
Intelligence in colours and in shades;
In sunlight and the glimmer of the moon;
Who deem their worship holy, when they hear
A God in empty winds, and in the sounds
Of waters—they have bow'd the' idolatrous knee
Before material atoms! these are his
But not himself: suspended by his breath
They are, and at his voice may cease to be.
Away from us these mystic vanities,
This heathen's wisdom, and this poet's creed:
Away from us the morbid sympathy
That blends itself with rocks and trees; that stoops
To fellowship with brutes; that finds a soul
In every bird that flits along the sky,
A life in every leaf and every flower.
Be thine the adoration; thine the praise
And love and wonder, Thou, whose name is One!
And be thy Sabbath holy to thyself.
A SUNDAY MORNING'S WALK. On that bless'd day, when weekly labour ends, When Trade unchains her slaves, her whip susI left the stifled city's smoky bounds, (pends, Where Pity bleeds from never closing wounds;
Where Beauty, doom'd by Poverty to die,
Bends o'er the hated task her languid eye;
Where Childhood, early victim to despair,
In sad maturity of thoughtful care,
All the long day immured in dusky cells,
Breathing disease, with pain and sorrow dwells.
On such dark thoughts, with downward looks
Forth to the fields my wandering steps I bent;
Pensive and slow I walk’d; but now the gale,
Brushing the hawthorn blossoms from the vale,
Breathed sweet around and on my temples stray'd;
The landscape smiled, in purest green array’d;
Each insect, bird, and beast in gambols play'd.
The general pleasure seized me as I stood,
My thoughts, on evil fix'd, return’d to good.
I bless'd the unseen hand that soothed my care,
And shed a healing balsam in the air;
That made each sympathetic joy we prove
A spring of kindness, and a bond of love.
Yet shall we say, that with impartial skill Nature has poised the scales of good and ill? Behold the man, whom hourly tumults leave No space for joy, and hardly time to grieve, In love with solitude, yet forced all day To elbow through the crowd his breathless way; Still harass'd with new cares from sun to sun, Fancy's fair dreams cut short ere well begun; Despising lucre, yet for lucre's sake Condemn’d to labour till his fingers ache; With slavish pen to drudge in ceaseless toil, And waste on sordid thoughts the midnight oil. Unhappier yet, in secret doom'd to feel The glow of shame, or blushing to reveal;
Of moral pride to bow the lofty head,
Oh! guilt inglorious! not for wealth, but bread;
Obliged to dun, and fawn, and lie, and swear,
And count an oath a trifle light as air ;
To such a man, what boon has Nature given,
What recompense, to make the balance even?
Yet here, even here is Nature's bounty shown;
The wrong is Fortune's, the redress her own.
Full well she knew the baseness of mankind,
What various woes assail the tender mind,
That, like a wild-flower mid the ripening corn,
By peasant hands is rudely pluck’d and torn;
And formed the country with mysterious art
One great asylum for the human heart.
The sufferer, here released from city strife,
Imbibes new patience for the ills of life;
Nobly erect beneath the frown of fate,
He views the world with sorrow, not with hate;
And calmly weighing luxury with health,
The pride of feeling with the pomp of wealth,
Returns appeased, nor writhing calls again
The power of dulness to protect from pain.
Yet think, my friend, how vain were Nature's
care, Her waving groves and blossom-scented air, Her fields with verdure green, or gay with flowers, Did not Religion make these blessings ours ? What boots it to the wretch, who, sunk in mines Of central depth, in midnight darkness pines, That o'er his head the glancing sunbeams play, Or long remember'd moonlight's softer ray? Did no sweet interval of rest and peace, No stated breathing time and short release Break the sad dulness of this irksome scene, And cheer with hope the tedious time between,
Nature might give her embryos to the waves,
And leave the sleeping flowerets in their graves;
No eye undimm'd with tears nor heart at ease,
For rural grace and simple charms to please.
Have you not seen a youth, whose liberal mind
For brighter hopes and higher aims design’d,
Was snatch'd from science, by a hapless doom,
To plod with Traffic in his dungeon gloom?
Waked from the sullen lethargy of grief,
That seeks entire despair, and spurns relief,
Alarm’d he sees the wings of Dulness spread
To wrap for ever his devoted head;
And dead to Hope, yet still alive to Shame,
Defrauds of needful rest his weary frame,
Struggling with sleep and whelming cares to save
Some wrecks of knowledge from Oblivion's wave.
In vain! in vain! no efforts can control
The creeping torpor that subdues his soul.
As some lost mariner who strives to hail,
Stretch'd on the billowy deep, a passing sail ;
While swift before the wind the vessel flies,
Unseen his signals, and unheard his cries ;
And oft despairs, but still renews the strife,
Upheld by buoyant hope and love of life ;
At length he sinks, no friendly succour near,
The knell of death resounding in his ear-
So sinks the mind with noblest ardour fraught,
When labour presses down the spring of thought.
Around his couch no wonted visions smile;
Deep are the slumbers of the sons of toil.
Imagination, that in happier days,
Still as declining Reason veil'd his rays,
Rose like the queen of heaven with brow serene,
And threw a trembling radiance o'er the scene,
No more shines forth amid the clouds of night, Or sheds a broken melancholy light.
Welcome then, Sunday! to the wretched given; A boon to misery, most worthy Heaven! A resting-place beside life's weary road, To ease the groaning pilgrim of his load; To raise his drooping head, surcharged with years, And give him time to wipe away his tears. By labour brutalized, the people then Start up, and reassume the shape of men; To social bliss unlock the feeling heart, And for a time perform a human part. The soul athirst for knowledge takes her fill, And drinks from Learning's antique vase at will. The banish'd worshipper at nature's shrine, Again admitted, views her face divine; And hears her soothing, soft, maternal voice. Bid him go forth, and in her smile rejoice; Glad he obeys, and wandering far and wide Follows some wooded stream's descending tide ; Or climbs where yon clear ridgy summits rise, With sharp blue edge, along the northern skies, To some bold peak, superior and alone, To swiftest wing and wildest foot unknown; Whence the strain'deye with wonder stoops to trace The insect dwellings of the human race.