Page images


Speech of Moloch.--MILTON.





My sentence is for open war: of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not; them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need, not now.
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend, sit lingering here
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark, opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny who reigns
By our delay ? No! let us rather choose,
Armed with hell-flames and fury, all at once
O’er heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine he shall hear
Infernal thunder; and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror, shot with equal rage
Among his angels; and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire,
His own invented torments. — But perhaps
The way seems difficult and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe.
Let such bethink them, (if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,)
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat: descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight





when the scourge


We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy then;
The event is feared; should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
To our destruction; (if there be in hell
Fear to be worse destroyed.) What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned
In this abhorred deep to utter woe;
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end,
The vassals of his

Inexorable, and the torturing hour,
Calls us to penance ? More destroyed than thus,
We should be quite abolished, and expire.
What fear we then ? - what doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential; happier far,
Than miserable to have eternal being:
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel

sufficient to disturb his heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne;
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.





To the Ursa Major.-H. WARE, JR.

With what a stately and majestic step
That glorious Constellation of the North
Treads its eternal circle! going forth
Its princely way amongst the stars in slow

And silent brightness. Mighty one! all hail !

5 I joy to see thee, on thy glowing path Walk, like some stout and girded giant--stern, Unwearied, resolute, whose toiling foot Disdains to loiter on its destined way.

The other tribes forsake their midnight traek, 10 And rest their weary orbs beneath the wave; But thou dost never close thy burning eye, Nor stay thy steadfast step. But on,


on, While systems change, and suns retire, and worlds Slumber and wake, thy ceaseless march proceeds. 15 The near horizon tempts to rest in vain. Thou, faithful Sentinel, dost never quit Thy long-appointed watch; but, sleepless still, Dost guard the fixed light of the universe, And bid the North for ever know its place.

20 Ages have witnessed thy devoted trust, Unchanged, unchanging. When the sons of God Sent forth that shout of joy, which rang through heaven, And echoed from the outer spheres that bound The illimitable universe, – thy voice

25 Joined the high chorus ; from thy radiant orbs The glad cry sounded, swelling to His praise, Who thus had cast another sparkling gem, Little, but beautiful, amid the crowd Of splendors that enrich his firmament.

30 As thou art now, so wast thou then, the same.

Ages have rolled their course, and Time grown gray;
The earth has gathered to her womb again,
And yet again, the myriads, that were born
Of her,
uncounted, unremembered tribes.

The seas have changed their beds, the solid continents
Have left their banks, – and man's imperial works,
The toil, pride, strength of kingdoms, which had fung
Their haughty honors in the face of heaven,

[ocr errors]

As if immortal, - have been swept away,

40 Shattered and mouldering, buried and forgot. But time has shed no dimness on thy front, Nor touched the firmness of thy tread; youth, strength, And beauty, still are thine,- as clear, as bright, As when the Almighty Former sent thee forth,

45 Beautiful offspring of his curious skill, To watch earth's northern beacon, and proclaim The eternal chorus of Eternal Love.

I wonder as I gaze. That stream of light, Undimmed, unquenched, — just as I see it now, 50 Has issued from those dazzling points, through years That


back far into eternity.
Exhaustless flood l for ever spent, renewed
For ever! Yea, and those refulgent drops,
Which now descend upon my lifted eye,

Left their far fountain twice three years ago.
While those winged particles - whose speed outstrips
The flight of thought — were on their way, the earth
Compassed its tedious circuit round and round,
And, in the extremes of annual change, beheld

60 Six autumns fade, six springs renew their bloom. So far from earth those mighty orbs revolve ! So vast the void through which their beams descend !

Yea, glorious lamps of God! He may have quenched Your ancient flames, and bid eternal night

65 Rest on your spheres; and yet no tidings reach This distant planet. Messengers still come Laden with your far fire, and we may seem To see your light still burning; while their blaze But hides the black wreck of extinguished realms, 70 Where anarchy and darkness long have reigned.

Yet what is this, which to the astonished mind Seems measureless, and which the baffled thought Confounds ? A span, a point, in those domains

Which the keen eye can traverse. Seven stars

75 Dwell in that brilliant cluster, and the sight Embraces all at once ; yet each from each Recedes as far as each of them from earth; And every star from every other burns No less remote. From the profound of heaven,

80 Untravelled even in thought, keen, piercing rays Dart through the void, revealing to the sense Systems and worlds unnumbered. Take the glass And search the skies. The opening skies pour

down Upon your gaze thick showers of sparkling fire, - 85 Stars, crowded, thronged, in regions so remote, That their swift beams — the swiftest things that beHave travelled centuries on their flight to earth. Earth, Sun, and nearer Constellations! what Are ye, amid this infinite extent

90 And multitude of God's most infinite works?

And these are suns !-- vast, central, living fires,
Lords of dependent systems, kings of worlds
That wait as satellites

And flourish in their smile. Awake, my soul,

95 And meditate the wonder! Countless suns Blaze round thee, leading forth their countless worlds ! Worlds, — in whose bosoms living things rejoice, And drink the bliss of being from the fount Of all-pervading Love. What mind can know, 100 What tongue can utter, all their multitudes, Thus numberless in numberless abodes, Known but to Thee, blest Father? Thine they are, Thy children, and thy care, — and none o'erlooked Of Thee! — No, not the humblest soul that dwells 105 Upon the humblest globe, which wheels its course Amid the giant glories of the sky, Like the mean mote that dances in the beam Among the thousand mirrored lamps, which fling

upon their

« PreviousContinue »