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fully informed as to the attributes of the Supreme Being. He is imperfectly answered by the rabbins and doctors; blames his own curiosity; and concludes, that, as to human science, All is vanity.
YE sons of men, with just regard attend,
Observe the preacher, and believe the friend,
Whose serious Muse inspires him to explain,
That all we act, and all we think, is vain;
That, in this pilgrimage of seventy years,
O'er rocks of perils, and through vales of tears,
Destin'd to march, our doubtful steps we tend,
Tir'd with the toil, yet fearful of its end:
That from the womb we take our fatal shares
Of follies, passions, labors, tumults, cares;
And, at approach of Death, shall only know
The truth, which from these pensive numbers flow,
That we pursue false joy, and suffer real woe.
Happiness, object of that waking dream, Which we call life, mistaking: fugitive theme Of my pursuing verse, ideal shade, Notional good, by fancy only made, And by tradition nurs'd, fallacious fire, Whose dancing beams mislead our fond desire, Cause of our care, and error of our mind; Oh! hadst thou ever been by Heaven design'd To Adam, and his mortal race; the boon Entire had been reserv'd for Solomon: On me the partial lot had been bestow'd, And in my cup the golden draught had flow'd.
But O! ere yet original man was made, Ere the foundations of this Earth were laid, It was, opponent to our search, ordain'd That joy, still sought, should never be attain'd. This sad experience cites me to reveal, And what I dictate is from what I feel.
Born, as I was, great David's favorite son, Dear to my people, on the Hebrew throne, Sublime my court, with Ophir's treasures blest, My name extended to the farthest east, My body cloth'd with every outward grace, Strength in my limbs, and beauty in my face, My shining thought with fruitful notions crown'd, Quick my invention, and my judgment sound: Arise," I commun'd with myself, “arise; Think, to be happy; to be great, be wise: Content of spirit must from science flow, For 'tis a godlike attribute to know."
I said; and sent my edict through the land: Around my throne the letter'd rabbins stand; Historic leaves revolve, long volumes spread, The old discoursing as the younger read: Attent I heard, propos'd my doubts, and said: "The vegetable world, each plant and tree, Its seed, its name, its nature, its degree, I am allow'd, as Fame reports, to know From the fair cedar on the craggy brow Of Lebanon, nodding supremely tall, To creeping moss and hyssop on the wall: Yet, just and conscious to myself, I find A thousand doubts oppose the searching mind.
"I know not why the beech delights the glade With boughs extended, and a rounder shade; Whilst towering firs in conic forms arise, And with a pointed spear divide the skies: Nor why again the changing oak should shed The yearly honor of his stately head; Whilst the distinguish'd yew is ever seen, Unchang'd his branch, and permanent his green.
Wanting the Sun, why does the caltha fade?
Why does the cypress flourish in the shade?
The fig and date, why love they to remain
In middle station, and an even plain :
While in the lower marsh the gourd is found,
And while the hill with olive shade is crown d?
Why does one climate and one soil endue
The blushing poppy with a crimson hue,
Yet leave the lily pale, and tinge the violet blue?
Why does the fond carnation love to shoot
A various color from one parent root;
While the fantastic tulip strives to break
In twofold beauty, and a parted streak?
The twining jasmine and the blushing rose,
With lavish grace, their morning scents disclose :
The smelling tuberose and jonquil declare
The stronger impulse of an evening air.
Whence has the tree (resolve me), or the flower,
A various instinct, or a different power?
Why should one earth, one clime, one stream, one breath,
Raise this to strength, and sicken that to death? "Whence does it happen, that the plant, which well
We name the Sensitive, should move and feel? Whence know her leaves to answer her command, And with quick horror fly the neighboring hand?
"Along the sunny bank, or watery mead, Ten thousand stalks the various blossoms spread Peaceful and lowly in their native soil, They neither know to spin, nor care to toil; Yet with confess'd magnificence deride Our vile attire, and impotence of pride. The cowslip smiles, in brighter yellow dress'd Than that which veils the nubile virgin's breast: A fairer red stands blushing in the rose Than that which on the bridegroom's vestment flows.
Take but the humblest lily of the field,
And, if our pride will to our reason yield,
It must, by sure comparison, be shown
That on the regal seat great David's son,
Array'd in all his robes and types of power,
Shines with less glory than that simple flower.
"Of fishes next, my friends, I would inquire.
How the mute race engender, or respire,
From the small fry that glide on Jordan's stream,
Unmark'd, a multitude without a name,
To that Leviathan, who o'er the seas
Immense rolls onward his impetuous ways,
And mocks the wind, and in the tempest plays?
How they in warlike bands march greatly forth
From freezing waters and the colder north,
To southern climes directing their career,
Their station changing with th' inverted year?
How all with careful knowledge are endued,
To choose their proper bed, and wave, and food;
To guard their spawn, and educate their brood?
"Of birds, how each, according to her kind, Proper materials for her nest can find, And build a frame, which deepest thought in man Would or amend or imitate in vain?
How in small flights they know to try their young,
And teach the callow child her parent's song?
Why these frequent the plain, and those the wood?
Why every land has her specific brood?
Where the tall crane, or winding swallow, goes,
Fearful of gathering winds and falling snows;
If into rocks, or hollow trees, they creep,
In temporary death confin'd to sleep;
Or, conscious of the coming evil, fly
To milder regions, and a southern sky?
"Of beasts and creeping insects shall we trace
The wondrous nature, and the various race;
Or wild or tame, or friend to man or foe,
Of us what they, or what of them we know?
"Tell me, ye studious, who pretend to see
Far into Nature's bosom, whence the bee
Was first inform'd her venturous flight to steer
Through trackless paths, and an abyss of air?
Whence she avoids the slimy marsh, and knows
The fertile hills, where sweeter herbage grows,
And honey-making flowers their opening buds dis-
How from the thicken'd mist, and setting sun,
Finds she the labor of her day is done?
Who taught her against winds and rains to strive,
To bring her burthen to the certain hive;
And through the liquid fields again to pass,
Duteous, and hearkening to the sounding brass?
"And, O thou sluggard, tell me why the ant,
'Midst summer's plenty, thinks of winter's want,
By constant journeys careful to prepare
Her stores; and, bringing home the corny ear,
By what instruction does she bite the grain,
Lest, hid in earth, and taking root again,
It might elude the foresight of her care?
Distinct in either insect's deed appear
"Untam'd and fierce the tiger still remains, He tires his life in biting on his chains :
For the kind gifts of water and of food
Ungrateful, and returning ill for good,
He seeks his keeper's flesh, and thirsts his blood:
While the strong camel, and the generous horse,
Restrain'd and aw'd by man's inferior force,
Do to the rider's will their rage submit,
And answer to the spur, and own the bit;
Stretch their glad mouths to meet the feeder's hand,
Pleas'd with his weight, and proud of his command
Again: the lonely fox roams far abroad,
On secret rapine bent, and midnight fraud;
Now haunts the cliff, now traverses the lawn,
And flies the hated neighborhood of man:
While the kind spaniel and the faithful hound,
Likest that fox in shape and species found,
Refuses through these cliffs and lawns to roam,
Pursues the noted path, and covets home,
Does with kind joy domestic faces meet,
Takes what the glutted child denies to eat,
And, dying, licks his long-lov'd master's feet.
"By what immediate cause they are inclin'd,
In many acts, 'tis hard, I own, to find.
I see in others, or I think I see,
That strict their principles and ours agree.
Evil like us they shun, and covet good;
Abhor the poison, and receive the food.
Like us they love or hate; like us they know
To joy the friend, or grapple with the foe.
The marks of thought, contrivance, hope, and fear. With seeming thought their action they intend;
And use the means proportion'd to the end.
Then vainly the philosopher avers,
That reason guides our deed, and instinct theirs.
How can we justly different causes frame,
When the effects entirely are the same?
Instinct and reason how can we divide?
"Tis the fool's ignorance, and the pedant's pride.
"With the same folly, sure, man vaunts his sway
If the brute beast refuses to obey.
For tell me, when the empty boaster's word
Proclaims himself the universal lord,
Does he not tremble, lest the lion's paw
"Fix thy corporeal and internal eye
On the young gnat, or new-engender'd fly;
On the vile worm that yesterday began
To crawl; thy fellow-creatures, abject man!
Like thee they breathe, they move, they taste, they
They show their passions by their acts, like thee:
Darting their stings, they previously declare
Design'd revenge, and fierce intent of war:
Laying their eggs, they evidently prove
The genial power, and full effect of love.
Each then has organs to digest his food,
One to beget, and one receive the brood;
Has limbs and sinews, blood and heart, and brain, Should join his plea against the fancied law?
Life and her proper functions to sustain,
Though the whole fabric smaller than a grain.
What more can our penurious reason grant
To the large whale, or castled elephant;
To those enormous terrors of the Nile,
The crested snake, and long-tail'd crocodile :
Than that all differ but in shape and name,
Each destin'd to a less or larger frame?
Would not the learned coward leave the chair,
If in the schools or porches should appear
The fierce hyena, or the foaming bear?
"The combatant too late the field declines,
When now the sword is girded to his loins.
When the swift vessel flies before the wind,
Too late the sailor views the land behind.
And 'tis too late now back again to bring
Inquiry, rais'd and towering on the wing:
Forward she strives, averse to be withheld
From nobler objects, and a larger field.
"For potent Nature loves a various act,
Prone to enlarge, or studious to contract;
Now forms her work too small, now too immense,
And scorns the measures of our feeble sense.
The object, spread too far, or rais'd too high,
Denies its real image to the eye;
Too little, it eludes the dazzled sight,
Becomes mixt blackness, or unparted light.
Water and air the varied form confound;
The straight looks crooked, and the square grows
"Consider with me this ethereal space,
Yielding to earth and sea the middle place.
Anxious I ask you, how the pensile ball
Should never strive to rise, nor fear to fall?
When I reflect how the revolving Sun
Does round our globe his crooked journeys run,
I doubt of many lands, if they contain
Or herd of beast, or colony of man;
If any nation pass their destin'd days
Beneath the neighboring Sun's directer rays;
If any suffer on the polar coast
The rage of Arctos and eternal frost.
"Thus, while with fruitless hope and weary pain,
We seek great Nature's power, but seek in vain,
Safe sits the goddess in her dark retreat;
Around her myriads of ideas wait,
And endless shapes, which the mysterious queen
Can take or quit, can alter or retain,
As from our lost pursuit she wills, to hide
Her close decrees, and chasten human pride.
"May not the pleasure of Omnipotence
To each of these some secret good dispense?
Those who amidst the torrid regions live,
May they not gales unknown to us receive?
See daily showers rejoice the thirsty earth,
And bless the flowery buds' succeeding birth?
Or could they think the new-discover'd isle
Pleas'd to receive a pregnant crocodile?
May they not pity us, condemn'd to bear
The various heaven of an obliquer sphere;
While by fix'd laws, and with a just return,
They feel twelve hours that shade, for twelve that From Noah sav'd, and his distinguish'd race;
How should their fathers happen to forget
"And, since the savage lineage we must trace
And praise the neighboring Sun, whose constant The arts which Noah taught, the rules he set,
To sow the glebe, to plant the generous vine,
And load with grateful flames the holy shrine;
While the great sire's unhappy sons are found,
Unpress'd their vintage, and untill'd their ground,
Straggling o'er dale and hill in quest of food,
And rude of arts, of virtue, and of God?
Enlightens them with seasons still the same?
And may not those, whose distant lot is cast
North beyond Tartary's extended waste;
Where through the plains of one continual day
Six shining months pursue their even way,
And six succeeding urge their dusky flight,
Obscur'd with vapors, and o'erwhelm'd in night?
May not, I ask, the natives of these climes
(As annals may inform succeeding times)
To our quotidian change of heaven prefer
Their own vicissitude, and equal share
Of day and night, disparted through the year?
May they not scorn our Sun's repeated race,
To narrow bounds prescrib'd, and little space,
Hastening from horn, and headlong driven from
Half of our daily toil yet scarcely done?
May they not justly to our climes upbraid
Shortness of night, and penury of shade;
That, ere our wearied limbs are justly blest
With wholesome sleep, and necessary rest,
Another Sun demands return of care,
The remnant toil of yesterday to bear?
Whilst, when the solar beams salute their sight,
Bold and secure in half a year of light,
Uninterrupted voyages they take
To the remotest wood, and farthest lake;
Manage the fishing, and pursue the course
With more extended nerves, and more continued
And, when declining day forsakes their sky,
When gathering clouds speak gloomy winter nigh;
With plenty for the coming season blest,
Six solid months (an age) they live, releas'd
From all the labor, process, clamor, woe,
Which our sad scenes of daily action know:
They light the shining lamp, prepare the feast,
And with full mirth receive the welcome guest;
Or tell their tender loves (the only care
Which now they suffer) to the listening fair;
And, rais'd in pleasure, or repos'd in ease,
(Grateful alternate of substantial peace)
They bless the long nocturnal influence shed
On the crown'd goblet, and the genial bed.
"In foreign isles, which our discoverers find,
Far from this length of continent disjoin'd,
The rugged bear's, or spotted lynx's brood,
Frighten the valleys, and infest the wood;
The hungry crocodile, and hissing snake,
Lurk in the troubled stream and fenny brake;
And man, untaught and ravenous as the beast,
Does valley, wood, and brake, and stream, infest:
Deriv'd these men and animals their birth
From trunk of oak, or pregnant womb of Earth?
Whence then the old belief, that all began
In Eden's shade, and one created man?
Or, grant this progeny was wafted o'er,
By coasting boats, from next adjacent shore;
Would those, from whom we will suppose they
Slaughter to harmless lands and poison bring?
Would they on board or bears or lynxes take,
Feed the she-adder, and the brooding snake?
"How shall we next o'er earth and seas pursue
The varied forms of every thing we view;
That all is chang'd, though all is still the same,
Fluid the parts, yet durable the frame?
Of those materials, which have been confess'd
The pristine springs and parents of the rest,
Each becomes other. Water stopp'd gives birth
To grass and plants, and thickens into earth:
Diffus'd, it rises in a higher sphere,
Dilates its drops, and softens into air:
Those finer parts of air again aspire,
Move into warmth, and brighten into fire:
The fire, once more by thicker air o'ercome,
And downward forc'd, in Earth's capacious womb
Alters its particles; is fire no more,
But lies resplendent dust, and shining ore;
Or, running through the mighty mother's veins,
Changes its shape, puts off its old remains;
With watery parts its lessen'd force divides,
Flows into waves, and rises into tides.
"Disparted streams shall from their channels fly,
And, deep surcharg'd, by sandy mountains lie,
Obscurely sepulchred. By beating rain,
And furious wind, down to the distant plain,
The hill, that hides his head above the skies,
Shall fall; the plain, by slow degrees, shall rise
Higher than erst had stood the summit-hill;
For Time must Nature's great behest fulfil.
Thus, by a length of years and change of fate,
All things are light or heavy, small or great:
Thus Jordan's waves shall future clouds appear,
And Egypt's pyramids refine to air:
Thus later age shall ask for Pison's flood,
And travellers inquire where Babel stood.
Now where we see these changes often fall
Sedate we pass them by as natural;
Where to our eye more rarely they appear,
The pompous name of prodigy they bear.
Let active thought these close meanders trace;
Let human wit their dubious boundaries place :
Are all things miracle, or nothing such?
And prove we not too little, or too much?
"For, that a branch cut off, a wither'd rod,
Should, at a word pronounc'd, revive and bud;
Is this more strange, than that the mountain's brow,
Stripp'd by December's frost, and white with snow,
Should push in spring ten thousand thousand buds,
And boast returning leaves, and blooming woods?
That each successive night, from opening Heaven,
The food of angels should to man be given;
Is this more strange, than that with common bread
Our fainting bodies every day are fed?
Than that each grain and seed, consum'd in earth,
Raises its store, and multiplies its birth,
And from the handful, which the tiller sows,
The labor'd fields rejoice, and future harvest flows.
Then, from whate'er we can to sense produce,
Common and plain, or wondrous and abstruse,
From Nature's constant or eccentric laws,
The thoughtful soul this general inference draws,
That an effect must presuppose a cause:
And, while she does her upward flight sustain,
Touching each link of the continued chain,
At length she is oblig'd and forc'd to see
A First, a Source, a Life, a Deity,
What has for ever been, and must for ever be.
This great Existence, thus by reason found,
Blest by all power, with all perfection crown'd;
How can we bind or limit his decree,
By what our ear has heard, or eye may see?
Say then, is all in heaps of water lost,
Beyond the islands, and the midland coast?
Or has that God, who gave our world its birth,
Sever'd those waters by some other earth,
Countries by future plowshares to be torn,
And cities rais'd by nations yet unborn!
Ere the progressive course of restless age
Performs three thousand times its annual stage,
May not our power and learning be supprest,
And arts and empire learn to travel west?
"Where, by the strength of this idea charm'd;
Lighten'd with glory, and with rapture warm'd,
Ascends my soul? what sees she white and great
Amidst subjected seas? An isle, the seat
Of power and plenty; her imperial throne,
For justice and for mercy sought and known;
Virtues sublime, great attributes of Heaven,
From thence to this distinguish'd nation given.
Yet farther west the western Isle extends
Her happy fame; her armed fleet she sends
To climates folded yet from human eye,
And lands, which we imagine wave and sky.
From pole to pole she hears her acts resound,
And rules an empire by no ocean bound;
Knows her ships anchor'd, and her sails unfurl'd,
In other Indies, and a second world.
"But we expect the morning-red in vain: "Tis hid in vapors, or obscur'd by rain. The noontide yellow we in vain require: 'Tis black in storm, or red in lightning fire. Pitchy and dark the night sometimes appears, Friend to our woe, and parent of our fears: Our joy and wonder sometimes she excites, With stars unnumber'd, and eternal lights. Send forth, ye wise, send forth your laboring
thought; Let it return with empty notions fraught,
Of airy columns every moment broke,
Of circling whirlpools, and of spheres of smoke :
Yet this solution but once more affords
(Poor rules, with which our bounded mind is fill'd,
When we would plant, or cultivate, or build,)
But shining with such vast, such various light,
As speaks the hand, that form'd them, infinite.
How mean the order and perfection sought,
In the best product of the human thought,
Compar'd to the great harmony that reigns
In what the Spirit of the world ordains!
Now if the Sun to Earth transmits his ray,
'Long shall Britannia (that must be her name) Yet does not scorch us with too fierce a day!
Be first in conquest, and preside in fame:
Long shall her favor'd monarchy engage
The teeth of Envy, and the force of Age:
Rever'd and happy she shall long remain,
Of human things least changeable, least vain.
Yet all must with the general doom comply,
And this great glorious power, tho' last, must die.
Now let us leave this Earth, and lift our eye
To the large convex of yon azure sky:
Behold it like an ample curtain spread,
Now streak'd and glowing with the morning red;
Anon at noon in flaming yellow bright,
And choosing sable for the peaceful night.
Ask Reason now, whence light and shade were given,
And whence this great variety of Heaven.
Reason, our guide, what can she more reply,
Than that the Sun illuminates the sky;
Than that night rises from his absent ray,
And his returning lustre kindles day?
How small a portion of his power is given
To orbs more distant, and remoter Heaven?
And of those stars, which our imperfect eye
Has doom'd and fix'd to one eternal sky,
Each, by a native stock of honor great,
May dart strong influence, and diffuse kind heat,
(Itself a sun) and with transmissive light
Enliven worlds denied to human sight.
Around the circles of their ambient skies
New moons may grow or wane, may set or rise,
And other stars may to those suns be earths,
Give their own elements their proper births,
Divide their climes, or elevate their pole,
See their lands flourish, and their oceans roll:
Yet these great orbs, thus radically bright,
Primitive founts, and origins of light,
New change of terms, and scaffolding of words.
In other garb my question I receive,
And take the doubt the very same I gave.
"Lo! as a giant strong, the lusty Sun
Multiplied rounds in one great round does run
Twofold his course, yet constant his career,
Changing the day, and finishing the year.
Again, when his descending orb retires,
And Earth perceives the absence of his fires;
The Moon affords us her alternate ray,
And with kind beams distributes fainter day,
Yet keeps the stages of her monthly race;
Various her beams, and changeable her face.
Each planet, shining in his proper sphere,
Does with just speed his radiant voyage steer;
Each sees his lamp with different lustre crown'd;
Each knows his course with different periods bound;
And, in his passage through the liquid space,
Nor hastens, nor retards, his neighbor's race.
Now, shine these planets with substantial rays?
Does innate lustre gild their measur'd days?
Or do they (as your schemes, I think, have shown)
Dart furtive beams and glory not their own,
All servants to that source of light, the Sun?
Again I see ten thousand thousand stars,
Nor cast in lines, in circles, nor in squares,
May each to other (as their different sphere
Makes or their distance or their light appear)
Be seen a nobler or inferior star,
And, in that space which we call air and sky,
Myriads of earths, and moons, and suns, may lie
Unmeasur'd and unknown by human eye.
"In vain we measure this amazing sphere,
And find and fix its centre here or there;
Whilst its circumference, scorning to be brought
Ev'n into fancied space, eludes our vanquish'd
"Where then are all the radiant monsters driven, With which your guesses fill'd the frighten'd Heaven?
Where will their fictious images remain ?
In paper-schemes, and the Chaldean's brain.
"This problem yet, this offspring of a guess,
Let us for once a child of truth confess,
That these fair stars, these objects of delight
And terror to our searching dazzled sight,
Are worlds immense, unnumber'd, infinite.
But do these worlds display their beams, or guide
Their orbs, to serve thy use, to please thy pride?
Thyself but dust, thy stature but a span,
A moment thy duration, foolish man!
As well may the minutest emmet say,
That Caucasus was rais'd to pave his way;
The snail, that Lebanon's extended wood
Was destin'd only for his walk and food;
The vilest cockle, gaping on the coast
That rounds the ample seas, as well may boast,
The craggy rock projects above the sky,
That he in safety at its foot may lie;
And the whole ocean's confluent waters swell, [shell.
Only to quench his thirst, or move and blanch his
"A higher flight the venturous goddess tries,
Leaving material worlds and local skies;
Inquires what are the beings, where the space,
That form'd and held the angels' ancient race.
For rebel Lucifer with Michael fought,
(I offer only what tradition taught,)
Embattled cherub against cherub rose,
Did shield to shield, and power to power oppose;
Heaven rung with triumph, Hell was fill'd with
"Now are they air condens'd, or gather'd rays? How guide they then our prayer, or keep our ways By stronger blasts still subject to be tost,
By tempests scatter'd, and in whirlwinds lost?
Have they again (as sacred song proclaims) Substances real, and existing frames? How comes it, since with them we jointly share The great effect of one Creator's care, That, whilst our bodies sicken and decay, Theirs are for ever healthy, young, and gay? Why, whilst we struggle in this vale beneath With want and sorrow, with disease and death, Do they, more bless'd, perpetual life employ On songs of pleasure, and in scenes of joy?
'Now when my mind has all this world survey'd, And found, that nothing by itself was made; When thought has rais'd itself, by just degrees, From valleys crown'd with flowers, and hills with trees;
What were these forms of which your volumes tell,
How some fought great, and others recreant fell?
These bound to bear an everlasting load,
Durance of chain, and banishment of God;
By fatal turns their wretched strength to tire,
To swim in sulphurous lakes, or land on solid fire:
While those, exalted to primeval light,
Excess of blessing, and supreme delight,
Only perceive some little pause of joys
In those great moments when their God employs
Their ministry, to pour his threaten'd hate
On the proud king, or the rebellious state;
Or to reverse Jehovah's high command,
And speak the thunder falling from his hand,
When to his duty the proud king returns,
And the rebellious state in ashes mourns;
How can good angels be in Heaven confin'd,
Or view that presence, which no space can bind?
Is God above, beneath, or yon, or here?
He who made all, is he not everywhere?
Oh, how can wicked angels find a night
So dark, to hide them from that piercing light,
Which form'd the eye, and gave the power of sight?
"What mean I now of angel, when I hear
Firm body, spirit pure, or fluid air?
Spirits, to action spiritual confin'd,
Friends to our thought, and kindred to our mind,
Should only act and prompt us from within,
Nor by external eye be ever seen.
Was it not, therefore, to our fathers known,
That these had appetite, and limb, and bone?
Else how could Abraham wash their wearied feet?
Or Sarah please their taste with savory meat?
Whence should they fear? or why did Lot engage
To save their bodies from abusive rage?
And how could Jacob, in a real fight,
Feel or resist the wrestling angel's might?
How could a form in strength with matter try?
Or how a spirit touch a mortal's thigh?
From smoking mineral, and from rising streams;
From fattening Nilus, or victorious Thames;
From all the living, that four-footed move
Along the shore, the meadow, or the grove;
From all that can with fins or feathers fly
Through the aërial or the watery sky;
From the poor reptile with a reasoning soul,
That miserable master of the whole;
From this great object of the body's eye,
This fair half-round, this ample azure sky,
Terribly large, and wonderfully bright,
With stars unnumber'd, and unmeasur'd light;
From essences unseen, celestial names,
Enlightening spirits, ministerial flames,
Angels, dominions, potentates, and thrones,
All that in each degree the name of creature owns
Lift we our reason to that sovereign Cause,
Who blest the whole with life, and bounded it with
Who forth from nothing call'd this comely frame,
His will and act, his word and work the same;
To whom a thousand years are but a day;
Who bade the Light her genial beams display,
And set the Moon, and taught the Sun its way;
Who, waking Time, his creature, from the source
Primeval, order'd his predestin'd course;
Himself, as in the hollow of his hand,
Holding, obedient to his high command,
The deep abyss, the long-continued store,
Where months, and days, and hours, and minutes
Their floating parts, and thenceforth are no more:
This Alpha and Omega, first and last,
Who like the potter in a mould has cast
The world's great frame, commanding it to be
Such as the eyes of Sense and Reason see;
Yet, if he wills, may change or spoil the whole;
May take yon beauteous, mystic, starry roll,
And burn it like an useless parchment scroll;
May from its basis in one moment pour
This melted earth-
Like liquid metal, and like burning ore;
Who, sole in power, at the beginning said,
Let Sea, and Air, and Earth, and Heaven be made,
And it was so;-and, when he shall ordain
In other sort, has but to speak again,
And they shall be no more: of this great theme,
This glorious, hollow'd, everlasting name,
This GOD, I would discourse."-
The learned elders sat appall'd, amaz'd,
And each with mutual look on other gaz'd;