« PreviousContinue »
Come labor, when the worn-out frame requires Perpetual sabbath ; come disease and want,
25 And sad exclusion through decay of sense; But leave me unabated trust in Thee; And let Thy favor, to the end of life, Inspire me with ability to seek Repose and hope among eternal things, –
30 Father of heaven and earth! and I am rich, And will possess my portion in content.
And what are things eternal ? — Powers depart,
Possessions vanish, and opinions change,
And passions hold a fluctuating seat:
But by the storms of circumstance unshaken,
And subject neither to eclipse nor wane,
Duty exists ;-immutably survive,
For our support, the measures and the forms,
Which an abstract Intelligence supplies ;
40 Whose kingdom is where time and space are not: Of other converse, which mind, soul, and heart, Do, with united urgency, require, What more, that may not perish? Thou, dread Source, Prime, self-existing Cause and End of all,
45 That, in the scale of being, fill their place, Above all human region, or below, Set and sustained ;— Thou, — who didst wrap the cloud Of infancy around us, that Thyself, Therein, with our simplicity awhile,
50 Might'st hold, on earth, communion undisturbed, Who, from the anarchy of dreaming sleep, Or from its death-like void, with punctual care, And touch as gentle as the morning light, Restorest us, daily, to the powers of sense,
55 And reason's steadfast rule, — Thou, Thou alone, Art everlasting.
This universe shall pass away,
Glorious ! because the shadow of Thy might,-
A step, or link, for intercourse with Thee.
Ah! if the time must come, in which my feet
No more shall stray where meditation leads,
By flowing stream, through wood, or craggy wild,
Loved haunts like these, the unimprisoned mind
May yet have scope to range among her own,
Her thoughts, her images, her high desires.
If the dear faculty of sight should fail,
be allowed me to remember
What visionary powers of eye and soul,
In youth, were mine; when stationed on the top
Of some huge hill, expectant, I beheld
The sun rise
from distant climes returned,
Darkness to chase, and sleep, and bring the day,
His bounteous gift! or saw him, towards the deep
Sink, with a retinue of flaming clouds
Attended! Then my spirit was entranced
With joy exalted to beatitude;
The measure of my soul was filled with bliss,
And holiest love; as earth, sea, air, with light,
With pomp, with glory, with magnificence! !
Happiness sought in Wealth.–POLLOK.
Gold many hunted, sweat and bled for gold;
Waked all the night, and labored all the day.
And what was this allurement dost thou ask ?
A dust dug from the bowels of the earth,
Which, being cast into the fire, came out
A shining thing that fools admired, and called
A god; and in devout and humble plight
Before it kneeled, the greater to the less ;
And on its altar sacrificed ease, peace,
Truth, faith, integrity ; good conscience, friends,
Love, charity, benevolence, and all
The sweet and tender sympathies of life ;
And, to complete the horrid, murderous rite,
And signalize their folly, offered up
Their souls and an eternity of bliss,
To gain them — what? -
an hour of dreaming joy,
A feverish hour that hasted to be done,
And ended in the bitterness of woe.
Most, for the luxuries it bought, the pomp,
The praise, the glitter, fashion, and renown,
This yellow phantom followed and adored.
But there was one in folly further gone,
With eye awry, incurable, and wild,
The laughing-stock of devils and of men,
And by his guardian angel quite given up, —
The miser, who with dust inanimate
Held wedded intercourse. Ill-guided wretch!
Thou mightst have seen him at the midnight hour,
When good men slept, and in light winged dreams
Ascended up to God, — in wasteful hall,
With vigilance and fasting worn to skin
And bone, and wrapped in most debasing rags,
Thou mightst have seen him bending o'er his heaps,
And holding strange communion with his gold;
And as his thievish fancy seemed to hear
The night-man's foot approach, starting alarmed,
And in his old decrepit, withered hand,
That palsy shook, grasping this yellow earth
To make it sure. Of all God made upright,
And in their nostrils breathed a living soul,
Most fallen, most prone, most earthy, most debased ;
Of all that sold Eternity for Time,
None bargained on so easy terms with Death.
Tlustrious fool ! nay, most inhuman wretch!
He sat among his bags, and, with a look
Which hell might be ashamed of, drove the poor
Away unalmsed, and midst abundance died,
Sorest of evils ! died of utter want.
Anticipations of the Millenium.—COWPER.
of Nature in this nether world,
Which Heaven has heard for ages, have an end.
Foretold by prophets and by poets sung,
Whose fire was kindled at the prophet's lamp,
The time of rest, the promised Sabbath, comes.
Six thousand years of sorrow have well-nigh
Fulfilled their tardy and disastrous course
Over a sinful world; and what remains
Of this tempestuous state of human things,
Is merely as the working of the sea
Before a calm, that rocks itself to rest :
For He whose car the winds are, and the clouds
The dust that wait upon his sultry march,
When sin hath moved him, and his wrath is hot,
Shall visit earth in mercy; shall descend
Propitious in his chariot paved with love;
And what his storms have blasted and defaced
For man's revolt, shall with a smile repair.
Sweet is the harp of prophecy; too sweet
Not to be wronged by' a mere mortal touch :
Nor can the wonders it records be sung
To meaner music, and not suffer loss.
But when a poet, or when one like me,
Happy to rove among poetic flowers,
Though poor in skill to rear them, lights at last
On some fair theme, some theme divinely fair,
Such is the impulse and the spur he feels
To give it praise proportioned to its worth,
That not to attempt it, arduous as he deems
The labor, were a task more arduous still.
O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true!
Scenes of accomplished bliss ! which who can see,
Though but in distant prospect, and not feel
His soul refreshed with foretaste of the joy ?
Rivers of gladness water all the Earth,
And clothe all climes with beauty; the reproach
Of barrenness is past. The fruitful field
Laughs with abundance; and the land, once lean,
Or fertile only in its own disgrace,
Exults to see its thistly curse repealed.
The various seasons woven into one,
And that one season an eternal spring,
The garden fears no blight, and needs no fence,
For there is none to covet, all are full.
The lion, and the libbard, and the bear,
Graze with the fearless flocks; all bask at noon
Together, or all gambol in the shade
Of the same grove, and drink one common stream.
Antipathies are none. No foe to man
Lurks in the serpent now; the mother sees,
And smiles to see, her infant's playful hand
Stretched forth to dally with the crested worm,
To stroke his azure neck, or to receive
The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue.
All creatures worship man, and all mankind
One Lord, one Father. Error has no place: