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Far other firmament than e'er was seen,
Than e'er was thought by man! far other stars!
Stars animate, that govern these of fire;
Far other sun!-a Sun, O how unlike
The Babe at Bethlehem! how unlike the Man
That groan'd on Calvary !—yet He it is;
That Man of sorrows! O how changed! what pomp
In grandeur terrible all Heaven descends!
And gods, ambitious, triumph in his train.
A swift archangel, with his golden wing,
As blots and clouds that darken and disgrace
The scene divine, sweeps stars and suns aside.
And now, all dross removed, Heaven's own pure day,
Full on the confines of our ether flames,
While (dreadful contrast!) far, how far beneath!
Hell, bursting, belches forth her blazing seas
And storms sulphureous; her voracious jaws
Expanding wide, and roaring for her prey.
Lorenzo! welcome to this scene; the last
In Nature's course, the first in Wisdom's thought.
This strikes, if aught can strike thee; this awakes 190
The most supine; this snatches man from death.
Rouse, rouse, Lorenzo' then, and follow me,
Where truth, the most momentous man can hear,
Loud calls my soul, and ardour wings her flight.
I find my inspiration in my theme:
The grandeur of my subject is my Muse.
At midnight, when mankind is wrapp'd in peace, And worldly Fancy feeds on golden dreams, To give more dread to man's most dreadful hour; At midnight, 'tis presumed, this pomp will burst 200 From tenfold darkness, sudden as the spark From smitten steel; from nitrous grain the blaze. Man, starting from his couch, shall sleep no more! The day is broke, which never more shall close! Above, around, beneath, amazement all ' Terror and glory join'd in their extremes! Our God in grandeur, and our world on fire '
All Nature struggling in the pangs of death!
Dost thou not hear her? dost thou not deplore
Her strong convulsions, and her final groan?
Where are we now? Ah me! the ground is gone
On which we stood, Lorenzo! while thou mayst,
Provide more firm support, or sink for ever!
Where? how? from whence? Vain hope! it is too late '
Where, where, for shelter, shall the guilty fly,
When consternation turns the good man pale !
Great day! for which all other days were madə, For which earth rose from Chaos, man from earth, And an eternity, the date of gods, Descended on poor earth-created man! Great day of dread, decision, and despair! At thought of thee each sublunary wish Lets go its eager grasp, and drops the world, And catches at each reed of hope in Heaven. At thought of thee !-and art thou absent then? Lorenzo no; 'tis here ;--it is begun :Already is begun the grand assize, In thee, in all deputed Conscience scales The dread tribunal, and forestals our doom; Forestals, and, by forestalling, proves it sure. Why on himself should man void judgment pass? Is idle Nature laughing at her sons: Who Conscience sent, her sentence will support, And God above assert that God in man.
Thrice happy they! that enter now the court Heaven opens in their bosoms: but how rare, Ah me! that magnanimity, how rare! What hero, like the man who stands himself; Who dares to meet his naked heart alone; Who hears intrepid the full charge it brings, Resolved to silence future murmurs there! The coward flies, and, flying, is undone. (Art thou a coward? no :) the coward flies; Thinks, but thinks slightly; asks, but fears to know: Asks What is truth?' with Pilate, and retires;
Dissolves the court, and mingles with the throng.
Asylum sad! from Reason, Hope, and Heaven.
Shall all but man look out with ardent eye
For that great day which was ordain'd for man?
O day of consummation! mark supreme
(If men are wise) of human thought! nor least
Or in the sight of angels, or their King!
Angels, whose radiant circles, height o'er height,
Order o'er order rising, blaze o'er blaze,
As in a theatre, surround this scene,
Intent on man, and anxious for his fate.
Angels look out for thee; for thee, their Lord,
To vindicate his glory; and for thee
Creation universal calls aloud
I see the judge enthroned! the flaming guard!
The volume open'd! open'd every heart!
A sunbeam pointing out each secret thought '
No patron intercessor none : now pass'd
The sweet, the clement, mediatorial hour!
For guilt no plea! to pain no pause! no bound!
Inexorable all! and all extreme!
To disinvolve the moral world, and give
To Nature's renovation brighter charms.
Shall man alone, whose fate, whose final fate,
Hangs on that hour, exclude it from his thought?
I think of nothing else; I see! I feel it!
All Nature, like an earthquake, trembling round! 265
All deities, like summer's swarms, on wing'
All basking in the full meridian blaze!
Nor man alone; the foe of God and man,
From his dark den, blaspheming, drags his chain,
And rears his brazen front, with thunder scarr'd,
Receives his sentence, and begins his hell.
All vengeance past, now, seems abundant grace.
Like meteors in a stormy sky, how roll
His baleful eyes! he curses whom he dreads,
And deems it the first moment of his fall.
'Tis present to my thought and yet where is it?
Angels can't tell me; angels cannot guess
The period, from created beings lock'd
In darkness; but the process and the place
Are less obscure; for these may man inquire.
Say, thou great close of human hopes and fears!
Great key of hearts! great finisher of fates!
Great end! and great beginning! say, where art thou?
Art thou in time, or in eternity?
Nor in eternity nor time I find thee :
These, as two monarchs, on their borders meet,
(Monarchs of all elapsed or unarrived!)
As in debate, how best their powers allicd
May swell the grandeur, or discharge the wrath
Of him, whom both their monarchies obey.
Time, this vast fabric for him built (and dooin'd
With him to fall) now bursting o'er his head,
His lamp, the Sun, extinguish'd, from beneath
The frown of hideous darkness calls his sons
From their long slumber, from earth's heaving womb,
To second birth contemporary throng!
Roused at one call, upstarted from one bed,
Fress'd in one crowd, appall'd with one amaze
He turns them o'er, Eternity! to thee:
Then (as a king deposed diedains to live)
He falls on his own scythe, nor falls alone;
His greatest foe falls with him; Time, and he
Who murder'd all Time's offspring, Death, expire 310
Time was! Eternity now reigns alone!
Awful Eternity! offended queen!
And her resentment to mankind how just!
With kind intent, soliciting access,
How often has she knock'd at human hearts!
Rich to repay their hospitality,
How often call'd! and with the voice of God!
Yet bore repulse, excluded as a cheat!
A dream! while foulest foes found welcome there!
A dream, a cheat, now all things but her smile. 320
For, lo! her twice ten thousand gates thrown wide,
As thrice from Indus to the frozen pole,
With banners streaming as the comet's blaze,
And clarions louder than the deep in storms,
Sonorous as immortal breath can blow,
Pour forth their myriads, potentates, and powers,
Of light, of darkness, in a midle field,
Wide as creation! populous as wide!
A neutral region! there to mark the' event
Of that great drama, whose preceding scenes
Detain'd them close spectators, through a length
Of ages, ripening to this grand result;
Ages as yet unnumber'd but by God,
Who now, pronouncing sentence, vindicates
The rights of virtue, and his own renown.
Eternity, the various sentence pass'd,
Assigns the sever'd throng distinct abodes,
Sulphureous or ambrosial. What ensues?
The deed predominant! the deed of deeds!
Which makes a hell of hell, a heaven of heaven.
The goddess, with determined aspect, turns
Her adamantine key's enormous size
Through Destiny's inextricable wards,
Deep driving every bolt on both their fates;
Then, from the crystal battlements of heaven.
Down, down she hurls it through the dark profound,
Ten thousand thousand fathom, there to rust,
And ne'er unlock her resolution more.
O how unlike those shouts of joy, that shake
The whole ethereal! how the concave rings !
Nor strange! when deities their voice exalt;
And louder far than when Creation rose,
To see Creation's godlike aim and end,
So well accomplish'd! so divinely closed!
To see the mighty Dramatist's last act
(As meet) in glory rising o'er the rest.
The deep resounds, and hell, through all her glooms, Returns, in groans, the melancholy roar.
O how unlike the chorus of the skies!