« EelmineJätka »
And blotted from the year; nor fears to crave
Death, instant death; impatient for the grave,
That seat of peace, that mansion of repose,
Where rest and mortals are no longer foes;
Where counsellors are hush'd, and mighty kings
(Oh happy turn!) no more are wretched things.
His words were daring, and displeas'd his friends;
His conduct they reprove, and he defends;
And now they kindled into warm debate,
And sentiments oppos'd with equal heat;
Fix'd in opinion, both refuse to yield,
And summon all their reason to the field:
So high at length their arguments were wrought,
They reach'd the last extent of human thought:
A pause ensued-When, lo! Heaven interpos'd,
And awfully the long contention clos'd.
Full o'er their heads, with terrible surprise,
A sudden whirlwind blacken'd all the skies:
(They saw, and trembled!) from the darkness broke
A dreadful voice, and thus th' Almighty spoke :
"Who gives his tongue a loose so bold and vain, Censures my conduct, and reproves my reign; Lifts up his thought against me from the dust, And tells the World's Creator what is just? Of late so brave, now lift a dauntless eye, Face my demand, and give it a reply:Where didst thou dwell at Nature's early birth? Who laid foundations for the spacious Earth? Who on its surface did extend the line, Its form determine, and its bulk confine? Who fix'd the corner-stone? What hand, declare, Hung it on nought, and fasten'd it on air; When the bright morning stars in concert sung, When Heaven's high arch with loud hosannas rung, When shouting sons of God the triumph crown'd, And the wide concave thunder'd with the sound? Earth's numerous kingdoms, hast thou view'd them all?
"Hast thou explor'd the secrets of the deep, Where, shut from use, unnumber'd treasures sleep? Where, down a thousand fathoms from the day, Springs the great fountain, mother of the sea? Those gloomy paths did thy bold foot e'er tread, Whole worlds of waters rolling o'er thy head?
Hath the cleft centre open'd wide to thee? Death's inmost chambers didst thou ever see E'er knock at his tremendous gate, and wade To the black portal through th' incumbent shade? Deep are those shades; but shades still deeper hide My counsels from the ken of human pride.
Where dwells the light? In what refulgent dome? And where has darkness made her dismal home? Thou know'st, no doubt, since thy large heart is fraught
With ripen'd wisdom, through long ages brought; Since Nature was call'd forth when thou wast by, And into beng rose beneath thine eye!
"Are mists begotten? Who their father knew? From whom descend the pearly drops of dew? To bind the stream by night, what hand can boast, Or whiten morning with the hoary frost? Whose powerful breath, from northern regions blown, Touches the sea, and turns it into stone: A sudden desert spreads o'er realms defac'd, And lays one-half of the creation waste?
'Thou know'st me not; thy blindness cannot see How vast a distance parts thy God from thee. Canst thou in whirlwinds mount aloft? Canst thou In clouds and darkness wrap thy awful brow? And, when day triumphs in meridian light, Put forth thy hand, and shade the world with night? "Who lanch'd the clouds in air, and bid them roll
Suspended scas aloft, from pole to pole?
Who can refresh the burning sandy plain,
And quench the summer with a waste of rain?
Who, in rough deserts far from human toil,
Made rocks bring forth, and desolation smile?
There blooms the rose, where human face ne'er shone,
And spreads its beauties to the Sun alone.
"To check the shower, who lifts his hand on high,
And shuts the sluices of th' exhausted sky,
When Earth no longer mourns her gaping veins,
Her naked mountains, and her russet plains;
But, new in life, a cheerful prospect yields
Of shining rivers, and of verdant fields;
When groves and forests lavish all their bloom,
And Earth and Heaven are fill'd with rich perfume?
"Hast thou e'er scal'd my wintry skies, and seen
Of hail and snows my northern magazine?
These the dread treasures of mine anger are,
My funds of vengeance for the day of war,
When clouds rain death, and storms at my command
Rage through the world, or waste a guilty land.
"Who taught the rapid winds to fly so fast, Or shakes the centre with his eastern blast? Who from the skies can a whole deluge pour? Who strikes through Nature with the solemn roar Of dreadful thunder, points it where to fall, And in fierce lightning wraps the flying ball? Not he who trembles at the darted fires, Falls at the sound, and in the flash expires.
Who drew the comet out to such a size,
And pour'd his flaming train o'er half the skies?
Did thy resentment hang him out? Does he
Glare on the nation, and denounce, from thee?
Who on low Earth can moderate the rein,
That guides the stars along th' ethereal plain?
Appoint their seasons, and direct their course,
Their lustre brighten, and supply their force?
Canst thou the skies' benevolence restrain,
And cause the Pleiades to shine in vain?
Or, when Orion sparkles from his sphere,
Thaw the cold season, and unbind the year?
Bid Mazzaroth his destin'd station know,
And teach the bright Arcturus where to glow?
Mine is the night, with all her stars; I pour
Myriads, and myriads I reserve in store.
"Dost thou pronounce where day-light shall be And draw the purple curtain of the morn; Awake the Sun, and bid him come away, And glad thy world with his obsequious ray? Hast thou, enthron'd in flaming glory, driven Triumphant round the spacious ring of Heaven? That pomp of light, what hand so far displays, That distant Earth lies basking in the blaze?
Who did the soul with her rich powers invest, Did thy command her yellow pinion lift
And light up reason in the human breast?
To shine, with fresh increase of lustre bright,
When stars and Sun are set in endless right?
To these my various questions make reply."
Th' Almighty spoke; and, speaking, shook the sky.
What then, Chaldæan sire, was thy surprise!
Thus thou, with trembling heart and downcast
"Come forth, in beauty's excellence array'd;
And be the grandeur of thy power display'd;
Put on omnipotence, and, frowning, make
The spacious round of the creation shake;
Dispatch thy vengeance, bid it overthrow
Triumphant vice, lay lofty tyrants low,
And crumble them to dust. When this is done,
I grant thy safety lodg'd in thee alone;
Of thee thou art, and may'st undaunted stand
Behind the buckler of thine own right-hand.
"Fond man! the vision of a moment made! Dream of a dream! and shadow of a shade! What worlds hast thou produc'd, what creatures fram'd;
What insects cherish'd, that thy God is blam'd?
When pain'd with hunger, the wild raven's brood
Loud calls on God, importunate for food:
Who hears their cry, who grants their hoarse request,
And stills the clamor of the craving nest?
"Who in the stupid ostrich has subdued
A parent's care, and fond inquietude?
While far she flies, her scatter'd eggs are found,
Without an owner, on the sandy ground;
Cast out on fortune, they at mercy lie,
And borrow life from an indulgent sky:
Adopted by the Sun, in blaze of day,
They ripen under his prolific ray.
Unmindful she, that some unhappy tread
May crush her young in their neglected bcd.
What time she skims along the field with speed,
She scorns the rider, and pursuing steed.
Survey the warlike horse! didst thou invest
With thunder his robust distended chest?
No sense of fear his dauntless soul allays;
'Tis dreadful to behold his nostrils blaze;
To paw the vale he proudly takes delight,
And triumphs in the fullness of his might;
High-rais'd he snuffs the battle from afar,
And burns to plunge amid the raging war;
And mocks at death, and throws his foam around
And in a storm of fury shakes the ground.
How does his firm, his rising heart advance
Full on the brandish'd sword, and shaken lance:
While his fix'd eyeballs meet the dazzling shield,
Gaze, and return the lightning of the field!
He sinks the sense of pain in generous pride,
Nor feels the shaft that trembles in his side;
But neighs to the shrill trumpet's dreadful blast
"How rich the peacock! what bright glories run Till death; and when he groans, he groans his last
From plume to plume, and vary in the Sun!
He proudly spreads them to the golden ray,
Gives all his colors, and adorns the day;
With conscious state the spacious round displays,
And slowly moves amid the waving blaze.
"Who taught the hawk to find, in seasons wise, Perpetual summer, and a change of skies? When clouds deform the year, she mounts the wind, Shoots to the south, nor fears the storm behind; The Sun returning, she returns again, Lives in his beams, and leaves ill days to men. "Though strong the hawk, though practis'd well to fly,
An eagle drops her in a lower sky;
An eagle, when, deserting human sight,
She seeks the Sun in her unwearied flight:
So high in air, and set her on the clift,
Where far above thy world she dwells alone,
And proudly makes the strength of rocks her own
Thence wide o'er Nature takes her dread survey,
And with a glance predestinates her prey?
She feasts her young with blood; and, hovering o'er
Th' unslaughter'd host, enjoys the promis'd gore.
"Know'st thou how many moons, by me assign'd,
Roll o'er the mountain goat, and forest hind,
While pregnant they a mother's load sustain ?
They bend in anguish, and cast forth their pain.
Hale are their young, from human frailties freed;
Walk unsustain'd, and unassisted feed;
They live at once; forsake the dam's warm side;
Take the wide world, with Nature for their guide,
Bound o'er the lawn, or seek the distant glade;
And find a home in each delightful shade.
"Will the tall reem, which knows no Lord but me,
Low at the crib, and ask an alms of thee?
Submit his unworn shoulder to the yoke,
Break the stiff clod, and o'er thy furrow smoke?
Since great his strength, go trust him, void of care;
Lay on his neck the toil of all the year;
Bid him bring home the seasons to thy doors,
And cast his load among thy gather'd stores.
"Didst thou from service the wild ass discharge,
And break his bonds, and bid him live at large,
Through the wide waste, his ample mansion, roam
And lose himself in his unbounded home?
By Nature's hand magnificently fed,
His meal is on the range of mountains spread;
As in pure air aloft he bounds along,
He sees in distant smoke the city throng;
Conscious of freedom, scorns the smother'd train,
The threatening driver, and the servile rein.
"But, fiercer still, the lordly lion stalks,
Grimly majestic in his lonely walks ;
When round he glares, all living creatures fly;
He clears the desert with his rolling eye.
Say, mortal, does he rouse at thy command,
And roar to thee, and live upon thy hand?
Dost thou for him in forests bend thy bow,
And to his gloomy den the morsel throw,
Where bent on death lie hid his tawny brood,
And, couch'd in dreadful ambush, pant for blood;
Or, stretch'd on broken limbs, consume the day,
In darkness wrapt, and slumber o'er their prey
By the pale Moon they take their destin'd round,
And lash their sides, and furious tear the ground.
Now shrieks and dying groans the desert fill;
They rage, they rend; their ravenous jaws distil
With crimson foam; and, when the banquet's o'er,
They stride away, and paint their steps with gore;
In flight alone the shepherd puts his trust,
And shudders at the talon in the dust.
"Mild is my behemoth, though large his frame;
Smooth is his temper, and represt his flame,
While unprovok'd. This native of the flood
Lifts his broad foot, and puts ashore for food;
Earth sinks beneath him, as he moves along
To seek the herbs, and mingle with the throng.
See with what strength his harden'd loins are bound,
All over proof, and shut against a wound.
How like a mountain cedar moves his tail!
Nor can his complicated sinews fail.
Built high and wide, his solid bones surpass
The bars of steel; his ribs are ribs of brass;
His port majestic and his armed jaw
Give the wide forest, and the mountain, law.
The mountains feed him; there the beasts admire
The mighty stranger, and in dread retire;
At length his greatness nearer they survey,
Graze in his shadow, and his eye obey.
The fens and marshes are his cool retreat,
His noontide shelter from the burning heat;
Their sedgy bosoms his wide couch are made,
And groves of willows give him all their shade.
"His eye drinks Jordan up, when fir'd with drought
He trusts to turn its current down his throat;
In lessen'd waves it creeps along the plain :
He sinks a river, and he thirsts again.
"Go to the Nile, and, from its fruitful side,
Cast forth thy line into the swelling tide :
With slender hair leviathan command,
And stretch his vastness on the loaded strand.
Will he become thy servant? Will he own
Thy lordly nod, and tremble at thy frown?
Or with his sport amuse thy leisure day,
And, bound in silk, with thy soft maidens play?
"Shall pompous banquets swell with such a prize?
And the bowl journey round his ample size?
Or the debating merchants share the prey,
And various limbs to various marts convey?
Through his firm skull what steel its way can win?
What forceful engine can subdue his skin?
Fly far, and live; tempt not his matchless might:
The bravest shrink to cowards in his sight;
The rashest dare not rouse him up: Who then
Shall turn on me, among the sons of men?
"Am I a debtor? Hast thou ever heard Whence come the gifts that are on me conferr'd? My lavish fruit a thousand valleys fills, And mine the herds that graze a thousand hills: Earth, sea, and air, all Nature is my own; And stars and Sun are dust beneath my throne. And dar'st thou with the World's great Father vie, Thou, who dost tremble at my creature's eye?
"At full my large leviathan shall rise, Boast all his strength, and spread his wondrous size. Who, great in arms, e'er stripp'd his shining mail,
Or crown'd his triumph with a single scale?
Whose heart sustains him to draw near? Behold,
Destruction yawns; his spacious jaws unfold,
And marshal'd round the wide expanse, disclose
Teeth edg'd with death, and crowding rows on rows:
What hideous fangs on either side arise!
And what a deep abyss between them lies!
Mete with thy lance, and with thy plummet sound,
The one how long, the other how profound.
His bulk is charg'd with such a furious soul,
That clouds of smoke from his spread nostrils roll,
As from a furnace; and, when rous'd his ire,
Fate issues from his jaws in streams of fire.
The rage of tempests, and the roar of seas,
Thy terror, this thy great superior please;
Strength on his ample shoulder sits in state;
His well-join'd limbs are dreadfully complete ;
His flakes of solid flesh are slow to part;
As steel his nerves; as adamant his heart.
"When, late awak'd, he rears him from the floods,
And, stretching forth his stature to the clouds,
Writhes in the Sun aloft his scaly height,
And strikes the distant hills with transient light,
Far round are fatal damps of terror spread,
The mighty fear, nor blush to own their dread.
"Large is his front; and, when his burnish'd eyes Lift their broad lids, the morning seems to rise.
"In vain may death in various shapes invade, The swift-wing'd arrow, the descending blade; His naked breast their impotence defies; The dart rebounds, the brittle falchion flies. Shut in himself, the war without he hears, Safe in the tempest of their rattling spears; The cumber'd strand their wasted volleys strow; His sport, the rage and labor of the foe.
His pastimes like a caldron boil the flood, And blacken ocean with the rising mud; The billows feel him, as he works his way; His hoary footsteps shine along the sea; The foam high-wrought with white divides the green. And distant sailors point where Death has been.
His like Earth bears not on her spacious face; Alone in Nature stands his dauntless race, For utter ignorance of fear renown'd, In wrath he rolls his baleful eye around; Makes every swoln, disdainful heart subside, And holds dominion o'er the sons of pride." Then the Chaldæan eas'd his laboring breast, With full conviction of his crime opprest.
"Thou canst accomplish all things, Lord of Might!
This double night, transmit one pitying ray,
To lighten, and to cheer. O lead my mind,
(A mind that fain would wander from its woe.)
Lead it through various scenes of life and death,
And from each scene, the noblest truths inspire.
Nor less inspire my conduct, than my song;
Teach my best reason, reason; my best will
Teach rectitude; and fix my firm resolve
Wisdom to wed, and pay her long arrear:
Nor let the phial of thy vengeance, pour'd
On this devoted head, be pour'd in vain.
As the occasion of this poem was real, not fictitious;
so the method pursued in it was rather imposed,
by what spontaneously arose in the author's mind
on that occasion, than meditated or designed; which
will appear very probable from the nature of it.
For it differs from the common mode of poetry,
which is, from long narrations to draw short morals. Is wise in man.
Here, on the contrary, the narrative is short, and I feel the solemn sound.
the morality arising from it makes the bulk of the It is the knell of my departed hours:
poem. The reason of it is, that the facts men- Where are they? With the years beyond the flood.
tioned did naturally pour these moral reflections
on the thought of the writer.
The bell strikes one. We take no note of time
But from its loss. To give it then a tongue,
As if an angel spoke,
If heard aright,
NIGHT THE FIRST.
LIFE, DEATH, AND IMMORTALITY.
TO THE RIGHT HON. ARTHUR ONSLOW, SPEAKER
OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
It is the signal that demands dispatch;
How much is to be done? My hopes and fears
Start up alarm'd, and o'er life's narrow verge
Look down-On what? a fathomless abyss!
A dread eternity! how surely mine!
And can eternity belong to me,
Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour?
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful, is man!
How passing wonder He, who made him such!
Who center'd in our make such strange extremes
From different natures marvellously mixt,
Connexion exquisite of distant worlds!
Distinguish'd link in being's endless chain!
Midway from nothing to the Deity!
A beam ethereal, sullied and absorpt!
Though sullied and dishonor'd, still divine!
Dim miniature of greatness absolute!
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
TIR'D Nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes;
Swift on his downy pinion flies from woe,
And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.
From short (as usual) and disturb'd repose,
I wake: How happy they, who wake no more!
Yet that were vain, if dreams infest the grave.
I wake, emerging from a sea of dreams
Tumultuous; where my wreck'd desponding thought, Helpless immortal! insect infinite!
From wave to wave of fancied misery,
At random drove, her helm of reason lost.
Though now restor'd, 'tis only change of pain,
(A bitter change!) severer for severe.
The Day too short for my distress; and Night,
E'en in the zenith of her dark domain,
Is sun-shine to the color of my fate.
A worm! a god!-I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost! at home a stranger,
Thought wanders up and down, surpris'd, aghast,
And wondering at her own: How Reason reels!
O what a miracle to man is man,
Triumphantly distress'd! what joy, what dread!
Alternately transported, and alarm'd!
What can preserve my life? or what destroy?
An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;
Legions of angels can't confine me there.
Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne,
In rayless majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumbering world.
Silence, how dead! and darkness, how profound!
Nor eye, nor listening ear, an object finds;
Creation sleeps. Tis, as the general pulse
Of life stood still, and Nature made a pause;
An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
And let her prophecy be soon fulfill'd;
Fate drop the curtain; I can lose no more.
"Tis past conjecture; all things rise in proof:
While o'er my limbs sleep's soft dominion spread,
What though my soul fantastic measures trod
O'er fairy fields; or mourn'd along the gloom
Of pathless woods; or, down the craggy steep
Hurl'd headlong, swam with pain the mantled pool;
Or scal'd the cliff; or danc'd on hollow winds,
With antic shapes, wild natives of the brain?
Her ceaseless flight, though devious, speaks her naturə
Of subtler essence than the trodden clod;
Active, aerial, towering, unconfin'd,
Unfetter'd with her gross companion's fall.
Silence and Darkness! solemn sisters! twins
From ancient Night, who nurse the tender thought
To reason, and on reason build resolve,
(That column of true majesty in man,)
Assist me I will thank you in the grave;
The grave, your kingdom: there this frame shall fall E'en silent night proclaims my soul immortal :
A victim sacred to your dreary shrine.
But what are ye?-
E'en silent night proclaims eternal day.
Thou, who didst put to flight
Primeval Silence, when the morning stars,
Exulting, shouted o'er the rising ball!
For human weal, Heaven husbands all events;
Dull sleep instructs, nor sport vain dreams in vain.
Why then their loss deplore, that are not lost?
Why wanders wretched thought their tombs around,
In infidel distress? Are angels there?
Slumbers, rak'd up in dust, ethereal fire?
O thou, whose word from solid darkness struck
That spark, the Sun; strike wisdom from my soul;
My soul, which flies to thee, her trust, her treasure,
As misers to their gold, while others rest.
They live! they greatly live a life on Earth
Unkindled, unconceiv'd; and from an eye
Of tenderness let heavenly pity fall
Through this opaque of Nature, and of soul,
2 V 2
On me, more justly number'd with the dead.
This is the desert, this the solitude:
How populous, how vital, is the grave!
This is creation's melancholy vault,
The vale funereal, the sad cypress gloom;
The land of apparitions, empty shades!
All, all on Earth, is shadow, all beyond
Is substance; the reverse is folly's creed :
How solid all, where change shall be no more!
Night-visions may befriend (as sung above :)
Our waking dreams are fatal. How I dreamt
Of things impossible! (Could sleep do more ?)
Of joys perpetual in perpetual change!
Of stable pleasures on the tossing wave!
Eternal sun-shine in the storms of life!
How richly were my noon-tide trances hung
With gorgeous tapestries of pictur'd joys!
Joy behind joy, in endless perspective!
Till at Death's toll, whose restless iron tongue
Calls daily for his millions at a meal,
Starting I woke, and found myself undone.
Where now my frenzy's pompous furniture?
The cobweb'd cottage, with its ragged wall
Of mouldering mud, royalty to me!
The spider's most attenuated thread
Is cord, is cable, to man's tender tie
On earthly bliss! it breaks at every breeze.
O ye blest scenes of permanent delight!
Full, above measure! lasting, beyond bound!
A perpetuity of bliss is bliss.
This is the bud of being, the dim dawn,
The twilight of our day, the vestibule :
Life's theatre as yet is shut, and Death,
Strong Death, alone can heave the massy bar,
This gross impediment of clay remove,
And make us embryoes of existence free.
From real life, but little more remote
Is he, not yet a candidate for light,
The future embryo, slumbering in his sire.
Embryoes we must be, till we burst the shell,
Yon ambient azure shell, and spring to life,
The life of gods, O transport! and of man.
Yet man, fool man! here buries all his thoughts;
Inters celestial hopes without one sigh.
Prisoner of Earth, and pent beneath the Moon,
Here pinions all his wishes; wing'd by Heaven
To fly at infinite; and reach it there,
Where seraphs gather immortality,
On life's fair tree, fast by the throne of God.
What golden joys ambrosial clustering glow,
In his full beam, and ripen for the just,
Where momentary ages are no more!
Where Time, and Pain, and Chance, and Death expire! O Cynthia! why so pale? Dost thou lament
Thy shaft flew thrice; and thrice my peace was slain
And thrice, ere thrice yon Moon had fill'd her horn
And is it in the flight of threescore years,
To push eternity from human thought,
And smother souls immortal in the dust?
A soul immortal, spending all her fires,
Wasting her strength in strenuous idleness,
Thrown into tumult, raptur'd or alarm'd,
At aught this scene can threaten or indulge,
Resembles ocean into tempest wrought,
To waft a feather, or to drown a fly.
Thy wretched neighbor? Grieve to see thy wheel
Of ceaseless change outwhirl'd in human life?
How wanes my borrow'd bliss! from fortune's smile
Precarious courtesy! not virtue's sure,
Self-given, solar ray of sound delight.
Where falls this censure? It o'erwhelms myself;
How was my heart incrusted by the world!
O how self-fetter'd was my grovelling soul!
How, like a worm, was I wrapt round and round
In silken thought, which reptile Fancy spun,
Till darken'd Reason lay quite clouded o'er
With soft conceit of endless comfort here,
Nor yet put forth her wings to reach the skies!
In every varied posture, place, and hour,
How widow'd every thought of every joy!
Thought, busy thought! too busy for my peace!
Through the dark postern of time long elaps'd,
Led softly, by the stillness of the night,
Led, like a murderer, (and such it proves!)
Strays (wretched rover!) o'er the pleasing past;
In quest of wretchedness perversely strays,
And finds all desert now; and meets the ghosts
Of my departed joys; a numerous train!
rue the riches of my former fate;
Sweet comfort's blasted clusters I lament;
tremble at the blessings once so dear;
And every pleasure pains me to the heart.
Yet why complain? or why complain for one?
Hangs out the Sun his lustre but for me,
The single man? Are angels all beside?
I mourn for millions: 'tis the common lot;
In this shape, or in that, has Fate entail'd
The mother's throes on all of woman born,
Not more the children, than sure heirs, of pain.
War, Famine, Pest, Volcano, Storm, and Fire,
Intestine broils, Oppression, with her heart
Wrapt up in triple brass, besiege mankind.
God's image disinherited of day,
Here, plung'd in mines, forgets a Sun was made.
There, beings deathless as their haughty lord,
Are hammer'd to the galling oar for life;
And plow the winter's wave, and reap despair.
Some, for hard masters, broken under arms,
In battle lopt away, with half their limbs,
Beg bitter bread through realms their valor sav'd.
If so the tyrant, or his minion, doom.
Could you, so rich in rapture, fear an end,
That ghastly thought would drink up all your joy,
And quite unparadise the realms of light.
Safe are you lodg'd above these rolling spheres ;
The baleful influence of whose giddy dance
Sheds sad vicissitude on all beneath.
Here teems with revolutions every hour;
And rarely for the better; or the best,
More mortal than the common births of fate.
Each moment has its sickle, emulous
Of Time's enormous scythe, whose ample sweep
Strikes empires from the root; each moment plays
His little weapon in the narrower sphere
Of sweet domestic comfort, and cuts down
The fairest bloom of sublunary bliss.
Bliss! sublunary bliss!-proud words, and vain!
Implicit treason to divine decree!
A bold invasion of the rights of Heaven!
I clasp'd the phantoms, and I found them air.
O had I weigh'd it ere my fond embrace!
What darts of agony had miss'd my heart!
Death! great proprietor of all! 'tis thine
To tread out empire, and to quench the stars.
The Sun himself by thy permission shines;
And, one day, thou shalt pluck him from his sphere
Amid such mighty plunder, why exhaust
Thy partial quiver on a mark so mean?
Why thy peculiar rancor wreak'd on me?
Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?