Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Sprang from the east, or’mid the vault of night
The moon suspended her serener lamp;
Ere mountains, woods, or streams adorn'd the

globe
Or Wisdom taught the sons of men her lore;
Then liv'd the Alnigty One : then deep retir'd
In his unfathom'd essence, view'd the forms,
The forms eternal of created things;
The radiant sun , the moon's nocturnal lamp,
The mountains, woods, and streams, the rolling

globe And Wisdom's mien celestial. From the first Of days, on them his love divine he fix'd , His admiration : till in time complete , What he adınir'd and lov'd, his vital smile Unifolded into being. Hence the breath of life informing each organic frame, Hence the green earth, and wild resounding waves; Hence light and shade alternate; warmth and cold; And clear autumnal skies and vernal show'rs, And all the fair variety of things.

But not alike to every mortal eye Is this great scene unveil'd. For since the claimas Of social life , to diff'rent labours urge The active powr's of man ; with wise intent The hand of Nature on peculiar minds Imprints a diff'rent biais, and to each Decrees its province in the common toil. To some she taught the fabric of the sphere , The changeful mocn, the circuit of the stars, The golden zones of heav'n : to sor she

gave To weigh the moment of eternal things, Of Time, and Space, and Fate's unbroken chain And Will's quick impulse : others by the hand She led o'er vales and mountains, to explore What healing virtue swells the tender veins Of herbs and flow'rs; or what the beams of morn Draw forth , distilling from the clifted rind In balmy tears. But some to higher hopes Were destin'd; some within a finer mould She wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame.

some

To these the Sire Omnipotent unfolds
The world's harmonious volume, there to read
The transcript of himself. On every part
They trace the bright impressions of his hand :
In earth, or air , the meadow's purple stores.
The Moon's milá radiance, or the Virgin's form
Blooming with rosy smiles, they see pourtray'd -
That uncreated beauty, which delights
The mind supreme. They also feel her charms ,
Enamour'd they partake th' eternal joy.

AKENSIDE.

CHAP. X X X.

Greatness.

[ocr errors]

AY, why was man so eminently rais'd Amid the vast creation ! why ordain'd Thro' life and death to dart his piercing eye ; With thoughts beyond the limits of his frame! But that th Omnipotent might send him forth In sight of mortal and immortal pow'rs, As on a boundless theatre, to run The great career of justice; to exalt His gen'rous aim to all diviner deeds ; To chase each partial purpose from his breast; And thro' the mists of passion and of sense And thro' the tossing tide of chance and pain, To hold his course unfault'ring, while the voice Of Truth and Virtne , up the steep ascent Of Nature , calls him to his high reward , Th’ applauding smile of Heav'n : Else wherefore

burns In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope , That breathes from day to day sublimer things, And mocks possession wherefore darts the mind, With such resistless ardour to embrace Majestic forms ; impatient to be free, Spurning

the gross controul of wilful Might; Proud of the strong contention of her toils ; Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns

To Ileav'ns broad fire his unconstrained view,
Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame?
Who that, from Alpine heights, his lab'ring eye
Shoots round the wild horizon , to survey
Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave
Thro’ mountains, plains, thro’empires black with

shade
And continents of sand ! will turn his

gaze To mark the windings of a scanty rill That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul Disdains to rest her heav'n-aspiring wing Beneath its native quarry:

Tird of earth And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft Thro' fields of air; pursues the flying storm; Rides on the volley'd lightning thro' the heavens ; Or yok'd with whirlwinds and the northern blast, Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars The blue profound, and hovering round the sun Beholds him pouring the redundant stream Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway Bend the reluctant planets to absolve The faled rounds of Time. Thence far effus'd She darts her swiftness up the long career Of devious comets ; thro’ its burning signs Exulting measures the perennial wheel Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars, Whose blended light, as with a miiky zone, Invests the Orient. Now amaz'd she views Th’empyreal waste , where happy spirits hold , Beyond this concave heav'n , their calm abode ; And fields of radiance , whose unfading light Has traveli'd the profound șix thousand years, Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things. Ev'n on the barriers of the world untir'd She meditates th' eternal depth below; Till , half-recoiling down the headlang steep She plunges; soon o’erwhelm'd and swallow'd up In that immense of being. There her hopes Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth Of mortal man , the sovereign maker said , That not in humble nor in brief delight,

Not in the fading echoes of renown,
Pow'r's purple robes , nor Pleasure's flow'ry lap,
The soul shall find enjoyment : but from these

Turning disdainful to an equal good
Thro' all th' ascent of things enlarge her view,
Till every bound at length shall disappear,
And infinite Perfection close the scene.

AKENSIDE.

( С на Р. xxxІ.

Novelty. Call now to mind what high capacious pow’rs Lie folded up in man; how far beyond The praise of mortals, may th' eternal growth Of nature to perfection half divine, Expand the blooming soul. What pity then Should Sloth's unkindly fogs depress to earth Her tender blossom , choak the streams of life, And blast her spring ! Far otherwise design'd Almighty Wisdom ; Nature's happy cares Th' obedient heart far otherwise incline. Witness the sprightly joy when aught unknown Strikes the quick sense, and wakes each active

pow'r To brisker measures : witness the neglect Of all familiar prospects , tho' beheld With transport once : the fond attentive gaze Of young Astonishment; the sober zeal Of Age, commenting on prodigious things ; For such the bounteous providence of Heav'n , In ev'ry breast implanting this desire Of objects new and strange, to urge us on With' unremitted labour to pursue. Those sacred stores that wait the ripening soul, In Truth's exhaustless bosom. What need words To paint its power ? For this the daring youth, Breaks from his weeping mother's anxious arms, In foreign climes to rove; the pensive sage, Heedless of sleep, or midnight's harmless damp,

Hangs o'er the sickly taper; and untir'd
The virgin follows, with enchanted step,
The mazes of some wise and wondrous tale,
From morn to eve ; unmindful of her form
Unmindful of the happy dress that stole
The wishes of the youth, when ev'ry paid
With envy pin’d. Hence finally by night
The village matron, round the blazing hearth ,
Suspends the infant-audience with her tales,
Breathing astonishment! of witching rhymes,
And evil spirits ; of the death-bed call
Of him who robb'd the widow, and devour'd
The orphan's portion ; of unquiet souls
Ris'n from the grave to ease the heavy guilt
Of deeds in life conceald ; of shapes that walk
At dead of night, and clank their chains, and wave
The torch of hell around the murd'rer's bed.
At ev'ry solemn pause the crowd recoil
Gazing each other speechless, and congeal'd
With shiv'ring sighs : till eager for th' event,
Around the belldame all erect they hang,
Each trembling heart with gratuful terrors quelld.

AKENSIDE.

« ZurückWeiter »