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Thine eye the future eloquence can read,
Yet unarray'd with speech. Thou, mighty Lord!.
Hast moulded man from his congenial dust,
And spoke him into being; while the clay,
Beneath thy forming hand, leap'd forth, inspir'd,
And started into life: through every part,
At thy command, the wheels of motion play'd.
But such exalted knowledge leaves below,
And drops poor man from its superior spbere.
In vain, with reason's ballast, would he try
To stem th' unfathomable depth : his bark
O'ersets and founders in the vast abyss.
Then whither shall the rapid fancy run,
Though in its full career, to speed my flight
From thy unbounded presence? which, alone,
Fills all the regions and extended space
Beyond the bounds of nature! Whither, Lord!
Shall my unrein'd imagination rove,
To leave behind thy Spirit, and out-fly [spread,
Its influence, which, with brooding wings out-
Hatch'd unfledg'd Nature from the dark profound!
If mounted on my tow'ring thoughts I climb
Into the Heaven of Heavens, I there behold
The blaze of try unclouded majesty!
In the pure empyrean thee I view,
High thron'd above all height, thy radiant shrine
Throng’d with the prostrate seraphs, who receive
Beatitude past utterance! If I plunge
Down to the gloom of Tartarus profound,
There too I find thee, in the lowest bounds
Of Erebus, and read thee in the scenes
Of complicated wrath: I see thee clad
In all the majesty of darkness there.
H, on the ruddy morning's purple wings
Upborne, with indefatigable course
I seek the glowing borders of the east,
Where the bright sun, emerging from the deeps,
With his first glories gilds the sparkling seas,
And trembles o'er the waves; ev'n there thy hand
Shall through the wat’ry desert guide my course,
And o'er the broken surges pave my way,
While on the dreadful whirls I hang secure,
And mock the warring ocean. If, with hopes
As fond as false, the darkness I expect
To hide, and wrap me in its mantling shade,
Vain were the thought; for thy unbounded ken
Darts through the thick’ning gloom, and pries
The palpable obscure. Before thy eyes
The vanquish'd night throws off her dusky shroud,
And kindles into day: the shade and light
To man still various, but the same to thee:
On thee is all the structure of my frame
Dependant. Lock'd within the silent womb
Sleeping I lay, and rip’ning to my birth ;
Yet, Lord, thy out-stretch'darm preserv'd me there,
Before I mov'd to entity, and trod
The verge of being. To thy hallow'd name
pay due honours; for thy mighty hand
Built this corporeal fabric, when it laid
The ground-work of existence. Hence I read
The wonders of thy art. This frame I view
With terror and delight; and, wrapt in both,
I startie at myself. My bones, unform'd
As yet, nor hardening from the viscous parts,
But blended with th' unanimated mass,
Thy eye distinctly view'd ; and, while I lay
Within the earth, imperfect, nor perceiv'd
The first faint dawn of life, with ease survey'd
The vital glimmerings of the active seeds,
Just kindling to existence, and beheld
My substance scarce material. In thy book
Was the fair model of this structure drawn,
Where every part, in just connexion join'd,
Compos’d and perfected th' harmonious piece,
Ere the dim speck of being learn'd to stretch
Its ductile form, or entity had known
and wanton in an ampler space,
How dear, how rooted in my inmost soul,
Are all thy counsels, and the various ways
Of thy eternal providence! the sum
So boundless and immense, it leaves behind
The low account of numbers ; and outflies
All that imagination e'er conceived :
Less numerous arethe sands that crowd the shores,
The barriers of the ocean. When I rise
From my soft bed, and softer joys of sleep,
I rise to thee. Yet lo! the impious slight
Thy mighty wonders. Shall the sons of vice
Elude the vengeance of thy wrathful hand,
And mock thy ling’ring thunder, which withholds
Its forky terrors from their guilty heads ?
Thou great tremendous GoD-Avaunt, and fly
All ye who thirst for blood !-for, swoln with pride,
Each haughty wretch blasphemes thy sacred name,
And bellows his approaches to affront
Thy glorious Majesty. Thy foes I hate
Worse than my own. O Lord ! explore my soul!
See if a flaw or stain of sin infects
My guilty thoughts; then, lead me in the way
That guides my feet to thy own Heaven and thee.
A SUMMER EVENING'S MEDITATION. "Tis past! the sultry tyrant of the south Has spent his short-lived rage: more grateful hours Move silent on: the skies no more repel The dazzled sight; but, with mild maiden beams Of temper'd light, invite the cherish'd eye To wander o'er their sphere; where, hung aloft, Dian's bright crescent, like a silver bow New strung in Heaven, lifts high its beamy horns, Impatient for the night, and seems to push Her brother down the sky. Fair Venus shines, Ev'n in the eye of day; with sweetest beam Propitious shines, and shakes a trembling flood Of soften'd radiance from her dewy locks. The shadows spread apace; while meekend Eve, Her cheek yet warm with blushes, slow retires Through the Hesperian gardens of the west, And shuts the gates of day. 'Tis now the hour When Contemplation, from her sunless haunts, The cool damp grotto, or the lonely depth Of unpierc'd woods, where, wrapt in silent shade, She mus'd away the gaudy hours of noon, And fed on thoughts unripen’d by the Sun, Moves forward; and with radiant finger points To yon blue concave swell’d by breath divine, Where, one by one, the living eyes of Heaven
wake, quick kindling o'er the face of ether One boundless blaze, ten thousand trembling fires And dancing lustres, where th’ unsteady eye, Restless and dazzled, wanders unconfin'd O'er all this field of glories: spacious field, And worthy of the master: he whose hand With hieroglyphics elder than the Nile,
Inscrib'd the mystic tablet; hung on high
To public grace; and said, "Adore, O man,
The finger of thy God!' From what pure wells
Of milky light, what soft o'erflowing urn,
Are all these lamps so fillid? these friendly lamps,
For ever streaming o'er the azure deep
To point our path and light us to our home.
How soft they slide along their lucid spheres!
And, silent as the foot of time, fulfil
Their destin'd courses: Nature's self is hush'de
And, but a scatter'd leaf which rustles through
The thick-wove foliage, not a sound is heard
To break the midnight air; though the rais'd ear,
Intensely listning, drinks in ev'ry breath.
How deep the silence, yet how loud the praise!
But are they silent all? or is there not
A tongue in ev'ry star that talks with man,
And woos him to be wise ? nor woos in vain.
This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
At this still hour the self collected soul
Turns inward and beholds a stranger there
Of high descent, and more than mortal rank;
An embryo God; a spark of fire divine,
Which must burn on for ages, when the sun
(Fair transitory creature of a day)
Has clos'd his golden eye, and, wrapt in shades,
Forgets his wonted journey through the east.
Ye citadels of light, and seats of gods!
Perhaps my future home, from whence the soul.
Revolving periods past, may oft look back,
With recollected tenderness, on all
The various busy scenes she left below,
Its deep-laid projects and its strange events,