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So sweet, we know not we are listening to it,
Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with my thought,
Yea, with my life and life's own secret joy,
Till the dilating Soul, enrapt, transfused,
Into the mighty vision passing-there,
As in her natural form, swelled vast to Heaven!
Awake, my soul! not only passive praise
Thou owest! not alone these swelling tears,
Mute thanks and secret ecstasy! Awake,
Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake!
Green vales and icy cliffs, all join my Hymn.
Thou first and chief, sole sovran of the Vale!
Oh, struggling with the darkness all the night,
And visited all night by troops of stars,
Or when they climb the sky, or when they sink:
Companion of the morning star at dawn,
Thyself Earth's rosy star, and of the dawn
Co-herald: wake, oh wake, and utter praise!
Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in earth?
Who filled thy countenance with rosy light?
Who made thee parent of perpetual streams?
And you, ye five wild torrents, fiercely glad!
Who called you forth from night and utter death,
From dark and icy caverns called you forth,
Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks,
For ever shattered and the same for ever?
Who gave you your invulnerable life,
Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy,
Unceasing thunder and eternal foam?
And who commanded (and the silence came),
"Here let the billows stiffen and have rest?"
Ye ice-falls! ye that from the mountain's brow
Adown enormous ravines slope amain—
Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice,
And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge!
Motionless torrents! silent cataracts!
Who made you glorious as the gates of Heaven
Beneath the keen full moon? Who bade the sun
Clothe you with rainbows? Who with living flowers
Of loveliest blue, spread garlands at your feet?-
God! let the torrents, like a shout of nations,
Answer! and let the ice-plains echo, God!
God! sing, ye meadow streams, with gladsome voice!
Ye pine groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds!
And they too have a voice, yon piles of snow,
And in their perilous fall shall thunder, God!
Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost!
Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest!
Ye eagles, playmates of the mountain storm!
Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the clouds!
Ye signs and wonders of the element!
Utter forth God, and fill the hills with praise!
Once more, hoar Mount! with thy sky-pointing peaks,
Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard,
Shoots downward, glittering through the pure serene,
Into the depth of clouds that veil thy breast—
Thou too again, stupendous Mountain! thou
That as I raise my head, a while bowed low
In adoration, upward from thy base
Slow travelling with dim eyes suffused with tears,
Solemnly seemest like a vapoury cloud
To rise before me-Rise, oh, ever rise!
Rise like a cloud of incense from the Earth!
Thou kingly Spirit throned among the hills,
Thou dread ambassador from Earth to Heaven,
Great hierarch! tell thou the silent sky,
And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun,
Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God.
VII. TO THE COMET OF 1811.
STRANGER of heaven! I bid thee hail!
Shred from the pall of glory riven,
That flashest in celestial gale,
Broad pennon of the King of Heaven!
Art thou the flag of woe and death,
From angel's ensign-staff unfurled?
Art thou the standard of his wrath,
Waved o'er a sordid, sinful world?
No; from that pure, pellucid beam,
That erst o'er plains of Bethlehem shone,1
No latent evil we can deem,
Bright herald of the eternal throne!
Whate'er portends thy front of fire,
Thy streaming locks so lovely pale-
Or peace to man, or judgments dire,
Stranger of heaven, I bid thee hail!
Where hast thou roamed these thousand years?
Why sought these polar paths again,
From wilderness of glowing spheres,
To fling thy vesture o'er the wain?
And when thou scal'st the Milky Way,
And vanishest from human view,
A thousand worlds shall hail thy ray
Through wilds of yon empyreal blue!
Oh, on thy rapid prow to glide!
To sail the boundless skies with thee,
And plough the twinkling stars aside,
Like foam-bells on a tranquil sea!
To brush the embers from the sun,
The icicles from off the pole;
Then far to other systems run,
Where other moons and planets roll!
Stranger of heaven! oh, let thine eye
Smile on a rapt enthusiast's dream;
Eccentric as thy course on high,
And airy as thine ambient beam!
And long, long may thy silver ray
Our northern arch at eve adorn;
Then, wheeling to the east away,
Light the grey portals of the morn!
This was by some considered the same comet which appeared at the birth of Christ.
Philip James Bailey, author of Festus, The Mystic, &c., was born in Nottingham, in 1816.
THYSELF, thy race, thy love,
The faithless and the full of faith in God;
Thy race's destiny, thy sacred love.
Every believer is God's miracle.
Nothing will stand whose staple is not love;
The love of God, or man, or lovely woman:
The first is scarcely touched, the next scarce felt,
The third is desecrated; lift it up,
Redeem it, hallow it, blend the three in one
Great holy work. It shall be read in Heaven
By all the saved of sinners of all time.
Preachers shall point to it, and tell their wards
It is a handful of eternal truth.
Make ye a heartful of it; men shall will
That it be buried with them in their hands.
The young, the gay, the innocent, the brave,
The fair, with soul and body both all love,
Shall run to it with joy; and the old man,
Still hearty in decline, whose happy life
Hath blossomed downwards, like the purple bell-
Closing the book, shall utter lowlily,
Death, thou art infinite, it is life is little.
Believe thou art inspired, and thou art.
Look at the bard and others; never heed
The petty hints of envy. If a fault
It be in bard to deem himself inspired,
'Tis one which hath had many followers
Before him. He is wont to make, unite,
Believe; the world to part, and doubt, and narrow.
That he believes, he utters. What the world
Utters, it trusts not. But the time may come
When all, along with those who seek to raise
Men's minds, and have enough of pain, without
Suffering from envy, may be God-inspired
To utter truth, and feel like love for men.
Poets are henceforth the world's teachers.
The world is all in sects, which makes one loathe it.
HARNESS me down with your iron bands,
Be sure of your curb and rein,
For I scorn the power of your puny hands,
As the tempest scorns a chain.
How I laughed, as I lay concealed from sight
For many a countless hour,
At the childish boast of human might,
And the pride of human power!
When I saw an army upon the land,
A navy upon the seas,
Creeping along, a snail-like band,
Or waiting the wayward breeze;
When I marked the peasant faintly reel
With the toil which he daily bore,
As he feebly turned at the tardy wheel,
Or tugged at the weary oar;
When I measured the panting courser's speed,
The flight of the carrier dove,
As they bore the law a king decreed,
Or the lines of impatient love;
I could not but think how the world would feel,
As these were outstripped afar,
When I should be bound to the rushing keel,
Or chained to the flying car.
Ha ha ha! they found me at last;
They invited me forth at length,