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Pours on their sight its soul-refreshing stream,
To me extinct in everlasting shades:
Yet heaven-taught music, at whose powerful voice
Corrosive care and anguish, charm'd to peace,
Forsake the heart, and yield it all to joy,
Ne'er soothes their pangs. To their insensate view
Knowledge in vain her fairest treasure spreads.
To them the noblest gift of bounteous Heaven,
Sweet conversation, whose enlivening force
Elates, distends, and, with unfading strength,
Inspires the soul, remains forever lost.
The sacred sympathy of social hearts;
Benevolence, supreme delight of heaven;
Th' extensive wish, which in one wide embrace
All beings circles, when the swelling soul
Partakes the joys of God, ne'er warms their breasts.
As yet, my soul ne'er felt th' oppressive weight
Of indigence unaided; swift redress,
Beyond the daring flight of hope, approached,
And every wish of nature amply bless'd,
Though, o'er the future series of my fate,
Ill omens seem to brood, and stars malign
To blend their baneful fire: while the sun
Darts boundless glory through th' expanse of heaven,
A gloom of congregated vapors rise,
Than night more dreadful in her blackest shroud,
And o'er the face of things incumbent hang,
Protruding tempest; till the source of day
Again asserts the empire of the sky,
And o'er the blotted scene of nature, throws
A keener splendor. So, perhaps, that care,
Through all creation felt, but most by man,
Which hears with kind regard the tender sigh
Of modest want, may dissipate my fears,
And bid my hours a happier flight assume.
Perhaps, enlivening hope! perhaps my soul
May drink at Wisdom's fountains, and allay
Her unextinguish'd ardor in the stream:
Wisdom, the constant magnet, where each wish,
Set by the hand of Nature, ever points,
Restless and faithful, as the attractive force
By which all bodies to the center tend.
What then! because th' indulgent sire all
Has, in the plan of things, prescrib'd my sphere;
Because consummate Wisdom thought not fit,
In affluence and pomp, to bid me shine;
Shall I regret my destiny, and curse
That state, by Heaven's paternal care design'd
To train me up for scenes, with which compar'd,
These ages, measured by the orbs of heaven,
In blank annihilation fade away?
For scenes, where, finish'd by th' Almighty art,
Beauty and order open to the sight
In vivid glory; where the faintest rays
Out-flash the splendor of our midday sun?
Say, shall the Source of all, who first assign'd
To each constituent of this wondrous frame
Its proper powers, its place and action due,
With due degrees of weakness, where results
Concord ineffable; shall he reverse
Or disconcert the universal scheme,
The general good, to flatter selfish pride
And blind desire?-Before th' Almighty voice
From non-existence call'd me into life,
What claim had I to being? What to shine
In this high rank of creatures, form'd to climb
The steep ascent of virtue unrelax'd,
Till infinite perfection crown their toil?
Who, conscious of their origin divine,
Eternal order, beauty, truth, and good,
Perceive, like their great Parent, and admire.
Hush! then, my heart, with pious cares suppress
This timid pride, and impotence of soul:
Learn, now, why all those multitudes which crowd
This spacious theater, and gaze on heaven,
Invincibly averse to meet their fate,
Avoid each danger; know this sacred truth,
All-perfect Wisdom, on each living soul,
Engrav'd this mandate, to preserve their frame,
And hold entire the general orb of being.
Then, with becoming reverence, let each pow'r,
In deep attention, hear the voice of God;
That awful voice, which, speaking to the soul,
Commands its resignation to his law!
For this, has Heaven to virtue's glorious stage
Call'd me, and placed the garland in my view,
The wreath of conquest; basely to desert
The part assigned me, and with dastard fear,
From present pain, the cause of future bliss,
To shrink into the bosom of the grave?
How, then, is gratitude's vast debt repaid?
Where all the tender offices of love
Due to fraternal man, in which the heart
Each blessing it communicates, enjoys?
How then shall I obey the first great law
Of nature's legislator, deep impress'd
With double sanction, restless fear of death,
And fondness still to breathe this vital air?
Nor is th' injunction hard; who would not sink
Awhile in tears and sorrow, then emerge
With ten-fold luster, triumph o'er his pain,
And with unfading glory, shine in heaven?
Come, then, my little guardian genius! Cloth'd
In that familiar form, my Phylax, come!
Let me caress thee, hug thee to my heart,
Which beats with joy of life preserved by thee.
Had not thy interposing fondness stay'd
My blind precipitation, now, e'en now,
My soul, by nature's sharpest pangs expell'd
Had left this frame; had pass'd the dreadful bounds,
Which life from death divides, divides this scene
From vast eternity, whose deep'ning shades,
Impervious to the sharpest mortal sight,
Elude our honest search.-But still I err.
Howe'er thy grateful, undesigning heart,
In ills foreseen, with promptitude might aid;
Yet this, beyond thy utmost reach of thought,
Not e'en remotely distant couldst thou view.
Secure thy steps the fragile board could press,
Nor feel the least alarm, where I had sunk;
Nor couldst thou judge the awful depth below
Which, from its watery bottom, to receive
My fall, tremendous yawn'd. Thy utmost skill,
Thy deepest penetration here had stopt
Short of its aim; and in the strong embrace
Of ruin struggling, left me to expire.
No-Heaven's high sovereign, provident of all,
Thy passive organs moving, taught thee first
To check my heedless course, and hence I live.
Eternal Providence! whose equal sway
Weighs each event, whose ever wakeful care,
Connecting high with low, minute with great,
Attunes the wondrous whole, and bids each part
In one unbroken harmony conspire;
Hail! sacred Source of happiness and life!
Substantial Good, bright, intellectual Sun!
To whom my soul, by sympathy innate,
Unwearied tends; and finds in thee, alone,
Security, enjoyment, and repose.
By thee, O God! by thy paternal arm,
Through every period of my infant state,
Sustain'd, I live to yield thee praises due.
O! could my lays with heavenly raptures warm,
High as thy throne, reëcho to the songs
Of angels; thence, O! could my prayer obtain One beam of inspiration, to inflame
And animate my numbers; Heaven's full choir,
In loftier strains, th' inspiring God might sing;
Yet not more ardent, more sincere than mine.
But, though my voice, beneath the seraph's note,
Must check its feeble accents, low depress'd
By dull mortality: to thee, great Soul
Of heaven and earth! to thee my hallow'd strain
Of gratitude and praise shall still ascend.
LIFE OF HUBER.
IT has been observed by writers, that there is no misfortune to which mankind is exposed, that so effectually shuts from us the book of nature and knowledge, as that of physical blindness. Yet, when we take into consideration the scores of blind persons, (many of them so from birth or early in life,) in almost every age and country, whose names are registered high on the scroll of fame, for their attainments in literature and the arts, and their important service in the development of science, since its early dawn upon mankind, we are at an utter loss to determine from what strange oracle these writers have received such disparaging impressions, or what mode of reasoning they have adopted, to arrive at such conclusions.
It is a well known matter of fact, as well as history, that there is scarcely a single branch of natural science yet developed, requiring the minutest calculation or profoundest thought, in which blind persons have not been celebrated proficients. The most intricate problems of mathematics they have demonstrated with ease; to the beautiful science of chemistry they have added many valuable experiments; hydrostatics, hydraulics, acoustics, and optics, have