ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

of poesy, a bloom of such a hue,

What are our joys but dreams ? and what our hopes Ho sober, as may not unseemly suit

But goodly shadows in the summer cloud ? Vith Truth's severer brow; and one withal There's not a wind that blows, but bears with it to hardy as shall brave the passing wind

Some rainbow promise :-not a moment flies, Df many winters, rearing its meek head

But puts its sickle in the fields of life n loveliness, when he who gather'd it

And mows its thousands, with their joys and cares. 's number'd with the generations gone.

"Tis but as yesterday, since on yon stars, Yet not to me hath God's good providence

Which now I view, the Chaldee shepherd' gazed Given studious leisure,' or unbroken thought, In his mid-watch observant, and disposed Such as he owns,-a meditative man,

The twinkling hosts as fancy gave them shape. Who from the blush of morn to quiet eve

Yet in the interim what mighty shocks Ponders, or turns the page of wisdom o'er,

Have buffeted mankind whole nations razedFar from the busy crowd's tumultuous din: Cities made desolate,-the polish'd sunk From noise and wrangling far, and undisturb'd To barbarism, and once barbaric states With Mirth's unholy shouts. For me the day Swaying the wand of science and of arts; Hath duties which require the vigorous hand Illustrious deeds and memorable names Of stedfast application, but which leave

Blotted from record, and upon the tongue No deep improving trace upon the mind.

Of grey Tradition voluble no more. But be the day another's ;-let it pass ! The night's my own—They cannot steal my night! Where are the heroes of the ages past? When evening lights her Yolding star on high, Where the brave chieftains, where the mighty ones I live and breathe, and in the sacred hours Who flourish'd in the infancy of days ? Of quiet and repose, my spirit fies,

All to the grave gone down. On their fallen fame Free as the morning, o'er the realms of space, Exultant, mocking at the pride of man, And mounts the skies, and imps her wing for heaven. Sits grim Forgetfulness. The warrior's arm

Lies nerveless on the pillow of its shame; Hence do I love the sober-suited maid ;

Hush'd is his stormy voice, and quench'd the blaze Hence Night's my friend, my mistress, and my theme, of his red eye-ball.—Yesterday his name And she shall aid me now to magnify

Was mighty on the earth—To-day-'t is what?
The night of ages,—now when the pale ray The meteor of the night of distant years,
Of star-light penetrates the studious gloom,

That flash'd unnoticed, save by wrinkled eld,
And, at my window seated, while mankind Musing at midnight upon prophecies,
Are lock'd in sleep, I feel the freshening breeze Who at her lonely lattice saw the gleam
of stillness blow, while, in her saddest stole, Point to the mist-poised shroud, then quietly
Thought, like a wakeful vestal at her shrine, Closed her pale lips, and lock'd the secret up
Assumes her wonted sway.

Safe in the charnel's treasures,
Behold the world

O how weak
Rests, and her tired inhabitants have paused Is mortal man! how trifling-how confined
From trouble and turmoil. The widow now

His scope of vision! Puft”d with confidence,
Has ceased to weep, and her twin-orphans lie His phrase grows big with immortality,
Lock'd in each arm, partakers of her rest.

And he, poor insect of a summer's day!
The man of sorrow has forgot his woes;

Dreams of eternal honors to his name;
The outcast that his head is shelterless,

Of endless glory and perennial bays,
His griefs unshared.--The mother tends no more He idly reasons of eternity,
Her daughter's dying slumbers, but surprised As of the train of ages,when, alas!
With heaviness, and sunk upon her couch,

Ten thousand thousand of his centuries
Dreams of her bridals. Even the hectic, lull'd Are, in comparison, a little point
On Death's lean arm to rest, in visions wrapt, Too trivial for accompt.- 0, it is strange,
Crowning with Hope's bland wreath his shuddering T is passing strange, to mark his fallacies !
nurse,

Behold him proudly view some pompous pile, Poor victim! smiles.-Silence and deep repose Whose high dome swells to emulate the skies, Reign o'er the nations: and the warning voice And smile, and say, My name shall live with this Of Nature'utters audibly within

Till time shall be no more; while at his feet, The general moral ;-tells us that repose,

Yea, at his very feet, the crumbling dust Deathlike as this, but of far longer span,

Of the fallen fabric of the other day Is coming on us—that the weary crowds,

Preaches the solemn lesson. He should know Who now enjoy a temporary calm,

That time must conquer ; that the loudest blast Shall soon tuste lasting quiet, wrapt around

That ever fill'd Renown's obstreperous trump With grave-clothes; and their aching restless heads Fades in the lapse of ages, and expires. Mouldering in holes and corners unobserved Who lies inhumed in the terrific gloom Till the last trump shall break their sullen sleep. Of the gigantic pyramid ? or who

Rear'd its huge walls ? Oblivion laughs, and says, Who needs a teacher to admonish him

The prey is mine.—They sleep, and never more That flesh is grass, that earthly things are mist? Their names shall strike upon the ear of man,

1 The author was then in an attorney's office.

1 Alluding to the first astronomical observations made by the Chaldean shepherds.

Their memory burst its fetters.

Hid in the mighty cavern of the past,

Where is Rome? They rise upon us only to appal,
She lives but in the tale of other times; . By indistinct and half-glimpsed images,
Her proud pavilions are the hermit's home, Misty, gigantic, huge, obscure, remote.
And her long colonnades, her public walks,
Now faintly echo to the pilgrim's feet,

Oh, it is fearful, on the midnight couch,
Who comes to muse in solitude, and trace,

When the rude rushing winds forget to rave, Through the rank moss reveal'd, her honor'd dust. And the pale moon, that through the casement high But not to Rome alone has fate confined

Surveys the sleepless muser, stamps the hour The doom of ruin ; cities numberless,

Of utier silence —it is fearful then Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Babylon and Troy,

To steer the mind, in deadly solitude, And rich Phænicia-they are blotted out,

Up the vague stream of probability; Half-razed from memory, and their very name To wind the mighty secrets of the past, And being in dispute.- Has Athens fallen? And turn the key of Time!-Oh! who can strive Is polish'd Greece become the savage seat

To comprehend the vast, the awful truth, of ignorance and sloth ? and shall we dare of the eternity that hath gone by,

And not recoil from the dismaying sense
of human impotence? The life of man

Is summ'd in birth-days and in sepulchres:
And empire seeks another hemisphere.

But the Eternal God had no beginning; Where now is Britain ?-Where her laurellid names, He hath no'end. Time had been with him Her palaces and halls ? Dash'd in the dust,

For everlasting, ere the dædal world Some second Vandal hath reduced her pride, Rose from the gulf in loveliness.—Like him And with one big recoil hath thrown her back It knew no source, like him 't was uncreate. To primitive barbarity.--Again, Through her depopulated vales, the scream

What is it then? The past Eternity! Of bloody Superstition hollow rings,

We comprehend a future without end; And the scared native to the tempest howls

We feel it possible that even yon sun The yell of deprecation. O'er her marts,

May roll for ever : but we shrink amazed Her crowded ports, broods Silence; and the cry We stand aghast, when we reflect that Time Of the low curlew, and the pensive dash

Knew no commencement;that heap age on age, Of distant billows, breaks alone the void.

And million upon million, without end, Even as the savage sits upon the stone

And we shall never span the void of days
That marks where stood her capitols, and hears

That were, and are not but in retrospect.
The bittern booming in the weeds, he shrinks The Past is an unfathomable depth,
From the dismaying solitude.--Iler bards

Beyond the span of thought; 't is an elapse
Sing in a language that hath perish'd ;

Which hath no mensuration, but hath been And their wild harps, suspended o'er their graves,

For ever and for ever. Sigh to the desert winds a dying strain.

Change of days

To us is sensible; and each revolve
Meanwhile the Arts, in second infancy,

or the recording sun conducts us on
Rise in some distant clime, and then, perchance Further in life, and nearer to our goal.
Some bold adventurer, fill'd with golden dreams, Not so with Time,-mysterious chronicler,
Steering his bark through trackless solitudes, He knoweth not mutation ;-centuries
Where, to his wandering thoughts, no daring prow Are to his being as a day, and days
Hath ever plow'd before,-espies the cliffs

As centuries.-Time past, and Time to come,
Of fallen Albion.-To the land unknown

Are always equal ; when the world began,
He journeys joyful; and perhaps descries

God had existed from eternity.
Some vestige of her ancient stateliness ;
Then he, with vain conjecture, fills his mind
Of the unheard-of race, which had arrived

• Now look on man At silence in that solitary nook,

Myriads of ages hence.—Hath time elapsed!
Far from the civil world ; and sagely sighs, Is he not standing in the self-same place
And moralizes on the state of man.

Where once we stood ?- The same eternity

Hath gone before him, and is yet to come ; Süll on its march, unnoticed and unfelt,

His past is not of longer span than ours,
Moves on our being. We do live and breathe, Though myriads of ages intervened ;
And we are gone. The spoiler heeds us not. For who can add to what has neither sum,
We have our spring-time and our rottenness; Nor bound, nor source, nor estimate, nor end !
And as we fall, another race succeeds,

Oh, who can compass the Almighty mind?
To perish likewise.—Meanwhile Nature smiles Who can unlock the secrets of the High !
The seasons run their round.—The sun fulfils In speculations of an altitude
His annual course—and Heaven and earth remain Sublime as this, our reason stands confest
Still changing, yet unchanged-still doom'd to feel Foolish, and insignificant, and mean.
Endless mutation in perpetual rest.

Who can apply the futile argument
Where are conceal'd the days which have elapsed ? Of finite beings to infinity ?

He might as well compress the universe

A weary journey, to the furthest verge Into the hollow compass of a gourd,

Of the big world, to kiss that good man's hand, Scoop'd out by human art; or bid the whale Who, in the blaze of wisdom and of art, Drink up the sea it swims in !--Can the less Preserves a lowly mind; and to his God, Contain the greater? or the dark obscure

Feeling the sense of his own littleness, Infold the glories of meridian day?

Is as a child in meek simplicity! What does Philosophy impart to man

What is the pomp of learning ? the parade
But undiscover'd wonders ?-Let her soar

Of letters and of tongues? E'en as the mists
Even to her proudest heights--to where she caught of the grey morn before the rising sun,
The soul of Newton and of Socrates,

That pass away and perish.
She but extends the scope of wild amaze

Earthly things And admiration. All her lessons end

Are but the transient pageants of an hour; In wider views of God's unfathom'd depths. And earthly pride is like the passing flower,

That springs to fall, and blossoms but to die. Lo! the unletter'd hind, who never knew

"T is as the tower erected on a cloud, To raise his mind excursive to the heights

Baseless and silly as the school-boy's dream. Of abstract contemplation, as he sits

Ages and epochs that destroy our pride, On the green hillock by the hedge-row side, And then record its downfall, what are they VVhat time the insect swarms are murmuring, But the poor creatures of man's teeming brain ? And marks, in silent thought, the broken clouds Hath Heaven its ages ? or doth Heaven preserve That fringe with loveliest hues the evening sky, Its stated eras? Doth the Omnipotent Feels in his soul the hand of Nature rouse

Hear of to-morrows or of yesterdays? The thrill of gratitude, to him who form'd

There is to God nor future nor a past; The goodly prospect; he beholds the God

Throned in his might, all times to him are present; Throned in the west, and his reposing ear

He hath no lapse, no past, no time to come; Hears sounds angelic in the fitful breeze

He sees before him one eternal now. That floals through neighboring copse or fairy brake, Time moveth not!--our being 't is that moves : Or lingers playful on the haunted stream.

And we, swift gliding down life's rapid stream, Go with the cotter to his winter fire,

Dream of swift ages and revolving years, Where o'er the moors the loud blast whistles shrill, Ordain'd to chronicle our passing days : And the hoarse ban-dog bays the icy moon; So the young sailor in the gallant bark, Mark with what awe he lists the wild uproar, Scudding before the wind, beholds the coast Silent, and big with thought; and hear him bless Receding from his eyes, and thinks the while, The God that rides on the tempestuous clouds Struck with amaze, that he is motionless, For his snug hearth, and all his little joys :

And that the land is sailing.
Hear him compare his happier lot with his

Such, alas!
Who bends his way across the wintry wolds, Are the illusions of this Proteus life;
A poor night-traveller, while the dismal snow | All, all is false : through every phasis still
Beats in his face, and, dubious of his path,

'Tis shadowy and deceitful. It assumes
He stops, and thinks, in every lengthening blast, The semblances of things and specious shapes;
He hears some village-mastiff's distant howl, But the lost traveller might as soon rely
And sees, far streaming, some lone cottage light; On the evasive spirit of the marsh,
Then, undeceived, upturns his streaming eyes, Whose lantern beams, and vanishes, and fits,
And clasps his shivering hands; or, overpower'd, O'er bog, and rock, and pit, and hollow way,
Sinks on the frozen ground, weigh'd down with sleep, As we on its appearances.
From which the hapless wretch shall never wake.

On earth
Thus the poor rustic warms his heart with praise | There is nor certainty nor stable hope.
And glowing gratitude,-he turns to bless,

As well the weary mariner, whose bark
With honest warmth, his Maker and his God! Is toss'd beyond Cimmerian Bosphorus,
And shall it e'er be said, that a poor hind,

Where storm and darkness hold their drear domain, Nursed in the lap of Ignorance, and bred

And sunbeams never penetrate, might trust In want and labor, glows with nobler zeal

To expectation of serener skies, To laud his Maker's attributes, while he

And linger in the very jaws of death, Whom starry science in her cradle rock'd,

Because some peevish cloud were opening, And Castaly enchasten'd with its dews,

Or the loud storm had bated in its rage; Closes his eyes upon the holy word,

As we look forward in this vale of tears And, blind to all but arrogance and pride,

To permanent delight-from some slight glimpse Dares to declare his infidelity,

Of shadowy unsubstantial happiness. And openly contemn the Lord of Hosta?

The good man's hope is laid far, far beyond What is philosophy, if it impart

The sway of tempests, or the furious sweep Irreverence for the Deity, or teach

of mortai desolation. He beholds, A mortal man to set his judgment up

Unapprehensive, the gigantic stride Against his Maker's will ?_The Polygar,

Of rampant ruin, or the unstable waves Who kneels to sun or moon, compared with him of dark vicissitude.—Even in death, Who thus perverts the talents he enjoys,

In that dread hour, when with a giant pang, Is the most bless'd of men 0! I would walk | Tearing the tender fibres of the heart,

The immortal spirit struggles to be free,

He gave the Nubian lion but to live,
Then, even then, that hope forsakes him not, To rage its hour, and perish; but on man
For it exists beyond the narrow verge

He lavish'd immortality, and Heaven. of the cold sepulchre - The petty joys

The eagle falls from her aërial tower, Of fleeting life indignantly it spurnd,

And mingles with irrevocable dust : And rested on the bosom of its God.

But man from death springs joyful,
This is man's only reasonable hope ;

Springs up to life and to eternity.
And 't is a hope which, cherish'd in the breast, Oh that, insensate of the favouring boon,
Shall not be disappointed.--Even he,

The great exclusive privilege bestow'd
The Holy OneAlmighty_who elanced

On us unworthy trifiers, men should dare The rolling world along its airy way,

To treat with slight regard the proffer'd Heaven, Even He will deign to smile upon the good, And urge the lenient, but All-Just, to swear And welcome him to these celestial seats,

In wrath, " They shall not enter in my rest .!** Where joy and gladness hold their changeless reign. Might I address the supplicative strain, Thou, proud man! look upon yon starry vault, To thy high foot-slool, I would pray that thou Survey the countless gems which richly stud Wouldst pity the deluded wanderers, The Night's imperial chariot ;-telescopes

And fold them, ere they perish, in thy flock. Will show thee myriads more innumerous

Yea, I would bid thee pity then, through Him Than the sea-sand ;-each of those little lamps Thy well-beloved, who, upon the cross, Is the great source of light, the central sun

Bled a dead sacrifice for human sin, Round which some other mighty sisterhood And paid, with bitter agony, the debt Of planets travel, every planet stock'd

of primitive transgression. With living beings impotent as thee.

Oh! I shrink, Now, proud man now, where is thy greatness fled? My very soul doth shrink, when I reflect What art thou in the scale of universe ?

That the time hastens, when in vengeance clothed, Less, less than nothing !-Yet of thee the God Thou shalt come down to stamp the seal of fate Who built this wondrous frame of worlds is careful, On erring mortal man. Thy chariot wheels As well as of the mendicant who begs

Then shall rebound to earth's remotest cares, The leavings of thy table. And shalt thou

And stormy ocean from his bed shall start Lift up thy thankless spirit, and contemn

At the appalling summons. Oh! how dread, His heavenly providence? Deluded fool!

On the dark eye of miserable man, Even now the thunderbolt is wing'd with death, Chasing his sins in secrecy and gloom, Even now thou totterest on the brink of hell. Will burst the effulgence of the opening Heaven; How insignificant is mortal man,

When to the brazen trumpet's deafening roar, Bound to the hasty pinions of an hour;

Thou and thy dazzling cohorts shall descend. How poor, how trivial in the vast conceit

Proclaiming the fulfilment of the word! Of infinite duration, boundless space!

The dead shall start astonish'd from their sleep! God of the universe! Almighty one!

The sepulchres shall groan and yield their prey, Thou who dost walk upon the winged winds, The bellowing floods shall disembogue their charge Or with the storm, thy rugged charioteer,

Of human victims.-From the farthest nook Swift and impetuous as the northern blast,

of the wide world shall troop their risen souls, Ridest from pole to pole; Thou who dost hold From him whose bones are bleaching in the waste The forked lightnings in thine awful grasp, of polar solitudes, or him whose corpse, And reinest-in the earthquake, when thy wrath Whelm'd in the loud Atlantic's vered tides, Goes down towards erring man, I would address Is wash'd on some Caribbean prominence, To Thee my parting pæan: for of Thee,

To the lone tenant of some secret cell Great beyond comprehension, who thyself

In the Pacific's vast * * * realm, Art Time and Space, sublime Infinitude,

Where never plummet's sound was heard to part Of Thee has been my song--With awe I kneel The wilderness of water; they shall come Trembling before the footstool of thy state,

To greet the solemn advent of the Judge. My God! my Father! I will sing to Thee! Thou first shalt summon the elected saints A hymn of land, a solemn canticle,

To their apportion'd Heaven! and thy Son, Ere on the cypress wreath, which overshades At thy right hand, shall smile with conscious joy The throne of Death, I hang my mournful lyre, On all his past distresses, when for them And give its wild strings to the desert gale. He bore humanity's severest pangs. Rise, Son of Salem! rise, and join the strain! Then shalt thou seize the avenging cimeter, Sweep to accordant tones thy tuneful harp,

And, with a roar so loud and horrible And, leaving vain laments, arouse thy soul

As the stern earthquake's monitory voice, To exultation. Sing, hosanna sing,

The wicked shall be driven to their abode,
And hallelujah, for the Lord is great

Down the immitigable gulf, to wail
And full of mercy! He has thought of man; And gnash their teeth in endless agony.
Yea, compass'd round with countless worlds, has
thought

Rear thou aloft thy standard, Spirit, rear
Or we poor worms, that batten in the dews

Thy flag on high Invincible and throned Of mom, and perish ere the noonday sun.

In unparticipated might. Behold Sing to the Lord, for he is merciful :

Earth's proudest boasts, beneath thy silent swey,

« 前へ次へ »