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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 the 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^nfused 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 employ'd,
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 cam
Instruction, and inventing to ourselves
Gods such as guilt makes welcome; gods that
Or disregard our follies, or that sit [sleep,

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 blest 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, 0 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.

THE TASK. BOOK YL THE WINTER WALK AT NOON

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