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A ray of heavenly light, gilding all forms
Terrestrial in the vast and the minute;
The unambiguous footsteps of the God,
Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing,
And wheels his throne upon the rolling worlds.
Much conversant with Heaven, she often holds
With those fair ministers of light to man,
That fill the skies nightly with silent pomp,
Sweet conference. Inquires what strains were they
With which Heaven rang, when every star in haste
To gratulate the new-created Earth,
Sent forth a voice, and all the sons of God
Shouted for joy,- Tell me, ye shining hosts,
That navigate a sea that knows no storms,
'Beneath a vault unsullied with a cloud,
'If from your elevation, whence ye view
'Distinctly scenes invisible to man,
And systems, of whose birth no tidings yet Have reach'd this nether world, ye spy a race 'Favour'd as ours; transgressors from the womb, And hasting to a grave, yet doom'd to rise, And to possess a brighter heaven than yours? As one, who, long detain'd on foreign shores, • Pants to return, and when he sees afar 'His country's weather-bleach'd and batter'd rocks, From the green wave emerging, darts an eye Radiant with joy towards the happy land; So I with animated hopes behold,
And many an aching wish, your beamy fires, That show like beacons in the blue abyss, 'Ordain'd to guide th' embodied spirit home • From toilsome life to never-ending rest. Love kindles as I gaze. I feel desires, That give assurance of their own success, And that, infused from Heaven, must thither tend.' So reads he nature, whom the lamp of truth Illuminates. Thy lamp, mysterious Word! Which whoso sees no longer wanders lost, With intellects bemazed in endless doubt, But runs the road of wisdom. Thou hast built
With means, that were not till by thee employed,
Worlds, that had never been hadst thou in strength
Been less, or less benevolent than strong.
They are thy witnesses, who speak thy power
And goodness infinite, but speak in ears
That hear not, or receive not their report.
In vain thy creatures testify of thee,
Till thou proclaim thyself. Theirs is indeed
A teaching voice; but 'tis the praise of thine,
That whom it teaches it makes prompt to learn,
And with the boon gives talents for its use.
Till thou art heard, imaginations vain
Possess the heart, and fables false as Hell;
Yet, deem'd oracular, lure down to death
The uninform'd and heedless souls of men.
We give to chance, blind chance, ourselves as blind,
The glory of thy work; which yet appears
Perfect and unimpeachable of blame,
Challenging human scrutiny, and proved
Then skilful most when most severely judged.
But chance is not; or is not where thou reign'st:
Thy providence forbids that fickle power
(If power she be, that works but to confound)
To mix her wild vagaries with thy laws.
Yet thus we dote, refusing while we can
Instruction, and inventing to ourselves
Gods such as guilt makes welcome; gods that sleep,
Or disregard our follies, or that sit
Amused spectators of this bustling stage.
Thee we reject, unable to abide
Thy purity, till pure as thou art pure,
Made such by thee, we love thee for that cause,
For which we shunn'd and hated thee before.
Then we are free. Then liberty, like day,
Breaks on the soul, and by a flash from Heaven
Fires all the faculties with glorious joy.
A voice is heard, that mortal ears hear not,
Till thou hast touch'd them; 'tis the voice of song,
A loud Hosanna sent from all thy works;
Which he that hears it with a shout repeats,
And adds his rapture to the general praise.
In that bless'd moment Nature, throwing wide
Her veil opaque, discloses with a smile
The author of her beauties, who, retired
Behind his own creation, works unseen
By the impure, and hears his power denied.
Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
Their only point of rest, eternal Word!
From thee departing they are lost, and rove
At random without honour, hope, or peace.
From thee is all, that soothes the life of man,
His high endeavour, and his glad success,
His strength to suffer, and his will to serve.
But O thou bounteous Giver of all good,
Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown!
Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor;
And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away.
Argument of the Sixth Book.
Bells at a distance-Their effect-A fine noon in winter-A sheltered walk-Meditation better than books-Our familiarity with the course of nature makes it appear less wonderful than it is--The transformation that spring effects in a shrubbery described-A mistake concern. ing the course of nature corrected-God mantains it by an unremitted act-The amusements fashionable at this hour of the day reprovedAnimals happy, a delightful sight-Origin of cruelty to animalsThat it is a great crime proved from Scripture-That proof illustrat ed by a tale-A line drawn between the lawful and unlawful destruction of them-Their good and useful properties insisted on-Apology for the encomiums bestowed by the author on animals-Instances of man's extravagant praise of man-The groans of the creation shall have an end-A view taken of the restoration of all things-An invocation and an invitation of Him, who shall bring it to pass-The retired man vindicated from the charge of uselessness Conclusion.
THERE is in souls a sympathy with sounds,
And as the mind is pitch'd the ear is pleased
With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies.
How soft the music of those village bells,
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet, now dying all away,
Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the cells
Where Mem❜ry slept. Wherever I have hear
A kindred melody, the scene recurs,
And with it all its pleasures and its pains.
Such comprehensive views the spirit takes,
That in a few short moments I retrace
(As in a map the voyager his course)
The windings of my way through many years.
Short as in retrospect the journey seems,
It seem'd not always short; the rugged path,
And prospect oft so dreary and forlorn,
Moved many a sigh at its disheartening length.
Yet feeling present evils, while the past
Faintly impress the mind, or not at all,
How readily we wish time spent revoked,
That we might try the ground again, where once
(Through inexperience, as we now perceive)
We miss'd that happiness we might have found!
Some friend is gone, perhaps his son's best friend,
A father, whose authority, in show
When most severe, and mustering all its force,
Was but the graver countenance of love;
Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might low'r,
And utter now and then an awful voice,
But had a blessing in its darkest frown,
Threatening at once and nourishing the plant.
We loved, but not enough, the gentle hand
That rear'd us. At a thoughtless age, allured
By every gilded folly, we renounced
His sheltering side, and wilfully forewent
That converse, which we now in vain regret.
How gladly would the man recall to life
The boy's neglected sire! a mother too,
That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still,
Might he demand them at the gates of death.
Sorrow has, since they went, subdued and tamed
The playful humour; he could now endure,
(Himself grown sober in the vale of tears)
And feel a parent's presence no restraint.
But not to understand a treasure's worth,
Till time has stolen away the slighted good,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the World the wilderness it is.
The few that pray at all pray oft amiss,
And, seeking grace t' improve the prize they hold,
Would urge a wiser suit than asking more.