« PreviousContinue »
That creeping pestilence is driven away;
The breath of Heaven has chased it. In the heart
No passion touches a discordant string,
But all is harmony and love. Disease
Is not; the pure and uncontaminate blood
Holds its due course, nor fears the frost of age
One song employs all nations; and all cry,
“Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain for us !”
The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks
Shout to each other, and the mountain tops
From distant mountains catch the flying joy;
Till, nation after nation taught the strain,
Earth rolls the rapturous Hosanna round.
Behold the measure of the promise filled;
See Salem built, the labor of a God !
Bright as a sun the sacred city shines;
All kingdoms and all princes of the Earth
Flock to that light; the glory of all lands
Flows into her; unbounded is her joy,
And endless her increase. Thy rams are there,
Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kedar there :
The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind,
And Saba's spicy groves, pay tribute there.
Praise is in all her gates; upon her walls,
And in her streets, and in her spacious courts,
Is heard salvation. Eastern Java there
Kneels with the native of the farthest West;
And Æthiopia spreads abroad the hand,
And worships. Her report has travelled forth
Into all lands. From every clime they come
To see thy beauty, and to share thy joy,
O Sion ! an assembly such as Earth
Saw never, such as Heaven stoops down to see.
Of all the phantoms fleeting in the mist
Of Time, though meagre all, and ghostly thin,
Most unsubstantial, unessential shade,
Was earthly Fame. She was a voice alone,
And dwelt upon the noisy tongues of men.
She never thought, but gabbled ever on;
Applauding most what least deserved applause :
The motive, the result, was nought to her:
The deed alone, though dyed in human gore,
And steeped in widows' tears, if it stood out
To prominent display, she talked of much,
And roared around it with a thousand tongues.
As changed the wind her organ, so she changed
Perpetually; and whom she praised to-day,
Vexing his ear with acclamations loud,
To-morrow blamed, and hissed him out of sight.
Such was her nature, and her practice sach.
But, oh! her voice was sweet to mortal ears,
And touched so pleasantly the strings of pride
And vanity, which in the heart of man
Were ever strung harmonious to her note,
That many thought, to live without her song
Was rather death than life. To live unknown,
Unnoticed, unrenowned ! to die unpraised,
Unepitaphed! to go down to the pit,
And moulder into dust among vile worms,
And leave no whispering of a name on earth!
Such thought was cold about the heart, and chilled
The blood. Who could endure it? who could choose,
Without a struggle, to be swept away
From all remembrance, and have part no more
With living men ? Philosophy failed here,
And self-approving Pride. Hence it became
The aim of most, and main pursuit, to win
A name, to leave some vestige as they passed,
That following ages might discern they once
Had been on earth, and acted something there.
Many the roads they took, the plans they tried.
The man of science to the shade retired,
And laid his head upon his hand, in mood
Of awful thoughtfulness, and dived, and dived
Again, deeper and deeper still, to sound
The cause remote; resolved, before he died,
To make some grand discovery, by which
He should be known to all posterity.
And in the silent vigils of the night,
When uninspired men reposed, the bard,
Ghastly of countenance, and from his eye
Oft streaming wild unearthly fire, sat up,
And sent imagination forth, and searched
The far and near, heaven, earth, and gloomy hell,
For fiction new, for thought, unthought before ;
And when some curious, rare idea peered
Upon his mind, he dipped his hasty pen,
And by the glimmering lamp, or moonlight beam,
That through his lattice peeped, wrote fondly down
What seemed in truth imperishable song.
And sometimes too, the reverend divine,
In meditation deep of holy things,
And vanities of Time, heard Fame's sweet voice
Approach his ear, and hung another flower,
Of earthly sort, about the sacred truth;
And ventured whiles to mix the bitter text;
With relish suited to the sinner's taste.
Many the roads they took, the plans they tried,
And awful oft the wickedness they wrought.
To be observed, some scrambled up to thrones,
And sat in vestures dripping wet with gore.
The warrior dipped his sword in blood, and wrote
His name on lands and cities desolate.
The rich bought fields, and houses built, and raised
The monumental piles up to the clouds,
And called them by their names: and, strange to tell !
Rather than be unknown, and pass away
Obscurely to the grave, some, small of soul,
75 That else had perished unobserved, acquired Considerable renown by oaths profane; By jesting boldly with all sacred things ; And uttering fearlessly whate'er occurred; Wild, blasphemous, perditionable thoughts,
80 That Satan in them moved; by wiser men Suppressed, and quickly banished from the mind.
Many the roads they took, the plans they tried. But all in vain. Who grasped at earthly fame, Grasped wind; nay worse, a serpent grasped, that through His hands slid smoothly, and was gone; but left 86 A sting behind which wrought him endless pain : For oft her voice was old Abaddon's lure, By which he charmed the foolish soul to death.
Influence of the Love of Nature.—WORDSWORTH.
If I were not thus taught, should I the, more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay;
For thou art with me,
Of this fair river; thou, my dearest friend,
My dear, dear friend, and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear sister! And this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 't is her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstacies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations ! Nor perchance,
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence, wilt thou then forget