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Hence life acknowledges its glorious cause,
And matter owns its great Disposer's laws;
Hence in a thousand different models wrought,
Now fix'd to quiet, now allied to thought ;
Hence flow the forms and properties of things,
Hence rises harmony, and order springs;
Else, had the mass a shapeless chaos lay,
Nor ever felt the dawn of Wisdom's day.
See how, associate, round their central Sun
Their faithful rings the circling planets run ;
Still equi-distant, never yet too near,
Exactly tracting their appointed sphere.
Mark how the Moon our flying orb pursues,
While from the Sun her monthly light renews,
Breathes her wide influence on the world below,
And bids the tides alternate ebb and flow.
View how in course the constant seasons rise,
Deform the earth, or beautify the skies :
First, Spring advancing, with her flow'ry train;
Next, Summer's hand, that spreads the silvan scene;
Then, Autumn, with her yellow harvests crown'de
And trembling Winter close the annual round.
The vegetable tribes observant trace,
From the tall cedar to the creeping grass :
The chain of animated beings scale,
From the small reptile to th’ enormous whale ;
From the strong eagle stooping through the skies,
To the low insect that escapes thy eyes;
And see, if see thou canst, in ev'ry frame,
Eternal Wisdom shine confess'd the same :
As proper organs to the least assign'd,
As proper means to propagate the kind,
As just the structure, and as wise the plan, ..
As in this lord of all-debating man!
Hence, reas'ning creature, thy distinction find,
Nor longer to the ways of Heav'n be blind.
Wisdom in outward beauty strikes the mind,
But outward beauty points a charın behind.
What gives the earth, the ambient air, or seas,
The plain, the river, or the wood to please?
Oh say, in whom does beauty's self reside,
The beautifier, or the beautified ?
There dwells the Godhead in the bright disguise,
Beyond the ken of all created eyes ;
His works our love and our attention steal ;
His works (surprising thought) the Maker veil ;
Too weak our sight to pierce the radiant cloud,
Where Wisdom shines, in all her charms arow'd.
O gracious God, omnipotent and wise,
Unerring Lord, and Ruler of the skies !
All-condescending, to my feeble heart
One beam of thy celestial light impart.
I seek not sordid wealth, or glittring pow'r:
O grant me wisdom--and I ask no more !
As from some level country's shelter'd ground,
With towns replete, with green enclosures hound,
Where the eye, kept within the verdant maze,
But gets a transient vista as it strays;
The pilgrim to some rising summit tends,
Whence open all the scenes as he ascends :
So Providence the friendly height supplies,
Where all the charms of Deity surprise ;
Here Goodness, Power, and Wisdom, all unite,
And dazzling glories whelm the ravish'd sight.
Almighty Cause ! 'tis thy preserving care That keeps thy works for ever fresh and fair ; VOL. I.
The sun, from thy superior radiance bright,
Eternal sheds his delegated light;
Lends to his sister orb inferior day,
And paints the silver Moon's alternate ray :
Thy hand the waste of eating Time renews :
Thou shedd'st the tepid morning's balmy dews:
When raging winds the blackend deep deform,
Thy spirit rides commission'd in the storm;
Bids at thy will the slack’ning tempest cease,
While the calm ocean smooths its ruffled face.
When lightnings through the air tremendous fly,
Or the blue plague is loosen'd to destroy,
Thy hand directs, or turns aside the stroke ;
Thy word the fiend's commission can revoke.
When subterraneous fires the surface heave,
And towns are buried in the yawning grave,
Thou suffer'st not the mischief to prevail ;
Thy sov'reign touch the recent wound can heal.
To Zembla's rock thou send'st the cheerful gleam;
O'er Lybia's sands thou pour'st the cooling stream;
Thy watchful providence o'er all intends ;
Thy works obey their great Creator's ends.
When man too long the paths of vice pursu'd,
Thy hand prepar'd the universal flood;
Gracious, to Noah gave the timely sign,
To save a remnant from the wrath divine.
One shining waste the globe terrestrial lay,
And the ark heav'd along the troubled sea; . .
Thou bad'st the deep his ancient bed explore,
The clouds their watry deluge pour'd no more.
The skies were clear'd—the mountain tops were
The dove pacific brought the olive green. [seen,
On Ararat the happy patriarch tost,
Found the recoverd world his hopes had lost;
There his fond eyes review'd the pleasing scene,
The earth all verdant, and the air serene :
Its precious freight the guardian ark display'd,
While Noah grateful adoration paid,
Beholding in the many-tinctur'd bow
The promise of a safer world below.
When wild ambition rear'd its impious head, And rising Babel Heav'n with pride survey'd ; Thy word the mighty labour could confound, And leave the mass to moulder with the ground.
From thee all human actions take their springs, The rise of empires, and the fall of kings. See the vast theatre of time display'd, While o'er the scene succeeding heroes tread: With pomp the shining images succeed, What leaders triumph! and what monarchs bleed! Perform the parts thy providence assign'd, Their pride, their passions, to thy ends inclin'd : Awhile they glitter in the face of day, Then at thy nod the phantoms pass away ; No traces left of all the busy scene, But that remembrance says— The things have
been !' • But,' questions Doubt, whence sickly nature feels The ague-fits her face so oft reveals ? Whence earthquakes heave the Earth's astonish'd
breast ? Whence tempests rage? or yellow plagues infest ? Whence draws rank Afric her empoison'd store ? Or liquid fires explosive Ætna pour ?' Go, sceptic mole! demand th' eternal Cause, The secret of his all-preserving laws ? The depths of wisdom infinite explore, And ask thy Maker-why he knows no more »
Thy error still in moral things as great,
As vain to cavil at the laws of fate.
To ask why prosperous vice so oft succeeds,
Why suffers innocence, or virtue bleeds ?
Why monsters, nature must with blushes own,
By crimes grow powerful, and disgrace a throne ?
Why saints and sages, mark'd in every age,
Perish the victims of tyrannic rage ?
Why Socrates for truth and freedom fell,
Or Nero reign'd, the delegate of hell ?
In vain by reason is the maze pursued,
Of ill triumphant, and afflicted good :
Fix'd to the hold, so might the sailor aim
To judge the pilot, and the steerage blame ;
As we direct to God what should belong,
Or say that sovereign wisdom governs wrong.
Nor always vice does uncorrected go,
Nor virtue unrewarded pass below :
Oft sacred Justice lifts her awful head,
And dooms the tyrant and th' usurper dead ;
Oft Providence, more friendly than severe,
Arrests the hero in his wild career,
Directs the fever, poniard, or the ball,
By which an Ammon, Charles, or Cæsar fall ;
Or when the cursed Borgias brew the cup
For merit, bids the monsters drink it up.
On violence oft retorts the cruel spear,
Or fetters cunning in its crafty snare;
Relieves the innocent, exalts the just,
And lays the proud oppressor in the dust.
But fast as Time's swift pinions can convey,
Hastens the pomp of that tremendous day,
When to the view of all-created eyes
God's high tribunal shall majestic rise;