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His guide to happiness on high. And see!
"Tis come, the glorious morn; the second birth
Of heaven, and earth! awakening Nature hears
The new-creating word, and starts to life,
In every heighten'd form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous ! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Power
And Wisdom oft arraign'd: see now the cause,
Why unassuming worth in secret liv'd,
And died, neglected: why the good man's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
Why the lone widow and her orphans pin'd
In starving solitude ; while luxury,
In palaces, lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants: why heaven-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of superstition's scourge: why licens'd pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom'd foe,
Embitter'd all our bliss. Ye good distress'd!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet hear up a while,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd evil is no more:
The storms of wintry time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded Spring encircle all.
A CONTEMPLATION ON NIGHT.
WHETHER amid the gloom of night I stray,
Or my glad eyes enjoy revolving day,
Still nature's various face informs my sense
Of an all-wise, all-powerful Providence.
When thegay Sun first breaks the shades of nigt,
And strikes the distant eastern hills with light,
Colour returns, the plains their livery wear,
And a bright verdure clothes the smiling year;
The blooming flowers with opening beauties glow,
And grazing flocks their milky fleeces show;
The barren cliffs with chalky fronts arise,
And a pure azure arches o'er the skies.
But when the gloomy reign of Night returns,
Stript of her fading pride, all Nature mourns :
The trees no more their wonted verdure boast,
But weep in dewy tears their beauty lost:
No distant landscapes draw our curious eyes,
Wrapt in Night's robe the whole creation lies :
Yet still, ev'n now, while darkness clothes the land,
We view the traces of th' Almighty hand;
Millions of stars in Heaven's wide vault appear,
And with new glories hang the boundless sphere:
The silver Moon her western couch forsakes,
And o'er the skies her nightly circle makes;
Her solid globe beats back the sunny rays,
And to the world her borrow'd light repays.
Whether those stars that twinkling lustre send Are suns, and rolling worlds those suns attend, Man
may conjecture, and new schemes declare,
Yet all his systems but conjectures are ;
But this we know, that Heaven's eternal King,
Who bade this universe from nothing springs
Can at his word bid numerous worlds appear,
And rising worlds th' all-powerful word shall hear,
When to the western main the Sun descends,
To other lands a rising day he lends :
The spreading dawn another shepherd spies,
The wakeful flocks from their warm folds arise ;
Refresh'd, the peasant seeks his early toil,
And bids the plough correet the fallow soil.
While we in Sleep's embraces waste the night,
The climes oppos'd enjoy meridian light;
And when these lands the busy Sun forsakes,
With us again the rosy Morning wakes :
In lazy sleep the night rolls swift away,
And neither clime laments his absent ray.
When the pure soul is from the body flown, No more shall Night's alternate reign be known; The Sun no more shall rolling light bestow, But from th’ Almighty streams of glory flow. Oh! may some nobler thought my soul employ, Than empty, transient, sublunary joy : The stars shall drop, the Sun shall lose his flame, But thou, O God! for ever shine the same.
A THOUGHT ON ETERNITY. ERE the foundations of the world were laid, Ere kindling light the Almighty word obey'd, Thou wert, and when the subterraneous flame Shall burst its prison, and devour this frame, From angry Heaven when the keen lightning flies, When fervent heat dissolves the melting skies, Thou still shalt be ; still as thou wert before, And know no change, when time shall be no more:
O endless thought ! divine Eternity!
Th’immortal soul shares but a part of thee ;
For thou wert present when our life began,
When the warm dust shot up in breathing man.
Ah! what is life? with ills encompass'd round ;
Amidst our hopes Fate strikes the sudden wound:
To-day the statesman of new honour dreams,
To-morrow death destroys his airy schemes.
Is mouldy treasure in thy chest confin'd ?
Think all that treasure thou must leave behind;
Thy breir with smiles shall view thy blazon'd hearse,
And all thy hoards with lavish hand disperse.
Should certain Fate th’impending blow delay,
Thy mirth will sicken, and thy bloom decay ;
Then feeble age will all thy nerves disarm,
No more thy blood its narrow channels warm.
Who then would wish to stretch this narrow span,
To suffer life beyond the date of man?
The virtuous soul pursues a nobler aim, And life regards but as a fleeting dream: She longs to wake, and wishes to get free, To launch from earth into eternity : For while the boundless theme extends our thought, Ten thousand thousand rolling years are nought.
Friend to the wretch, whom every friend forsakes,
I woo thee, Death! In fancy's fairy paths
Let the gay songster rove, and gently trill
The strain of empty joy.-Life
and its joys
I leave to those that prize them.-At this hour,
This solemn hour, when silence rules the world,
And wearied nature makes a general pause !
Wrapt in night's sable robe, through cloisters drear,
And charnels pale, tenanted by a throng
Of meagre phantoms shooting cross my path
With silent glance, I seek the shadowy vale
Of Death !-Deep in a murky cave's recess,
Lav'd by Oblivion's listless stream, and fenc'd
By shelving rocks, and intermingled horrors
Of yew' and cypress' shade, from all intrusion
of busy noontide beam, the monarch sits
In unsubstantial majesty enthron'd.
At his right hand, nearest himself in place,
And frightfulness of form, his parent, Sin,
With fatal industry and cruel care,
Busies herself in pointing all his stings,
And tipping every shaft with venom drawn
From her infernal store; around him rang'd
In terrible array, and strange diversity
Of uncouth shapes, stand his dread ministers.
Foremost Old Age, his natural ally
And firmest friend: next him, diseases thick,
A motley train; Fever with cheek of fire;
Consumption wan; Palsy, half warm with life,
And half a clay-clod lump; joint-torturing Gout,
And ever-gnawing Rheum; Convulsion wild ;
Swoln Dropsy; panting Asthma ; Apoplex
Full-gorg'd.-There too the Pestilence that walks
In darkness, and the Sickness that destroys
At broad noon-day. These, and a thousand more,
Horrid to tell, attentive wait; and, when
By Heaven's command,Death waves his ebonwand,
Sudden rush forth to execute his purpose,
And scatter desolation o'er the earth.
Ill-fated man, for whom such various forms