« PreviousContinue »
This Poem was originally published without any fuccefs: it lay dormant for fome time, till it was taken notice of by FIELDING and HARVEY: fince that, it has been efteemed as it merits.The moft friking paffages are bere felected.
HRO' the unmeasurable tracts of space,
Go Muse divine! and prefent Godhead trace! Should't thou above the heav'n of heav'ns afcend, Could't thou below the depth of depths defcend; Could thy fond flight beyond the flarry sphere, The radiant morning's lucid pinions bear!
There should his brighter prefence fhine confefs'd,
There his almighty arm thy course arrest !
Could't thou the thickest veil of night affume,
Or think to hide thee in the central gloom!
Yet there, all patient to his piercing fight,
Darkness itself would kindle into light:
Not the black manfions of the filent
Nor darker hell from his perception fave;
What pow'r, alas! thy footsteps can convey
Beyond the reach of omniprefent day?
In his wide grafp, and comprehenfive eye,
Immediate, worlds on worlds unnumber'd lie:
Systems inclos'd in his Idea roll,
Whofe all-informing mind directs the whole:
Lodg'd in his view, their certain ways they know;
Plac'd in that fight from whence can nothing go.
On earth his footstool fix'd, in heav'n his feat;
Enthron'd he dictates-and his word is Fate.
Nor want his fhining images below,
In ftreams that murmur, or in winds that blow;
His fpirit broods along the boundless flood;
Smiles in the plain, and whispers in the wood;
Warms in the genial fun's enliv'ning ray,
Breathes in the air, and beautifies the day!
Steals on our footsteps wherefoe'er we go,
And yields the pureft joys' we tafte below.
Should man his great immenfity deny,
Man might as well ufurp the vacant sky :
For were he limited in date, or view,
Thence were his attributes imperfect too;
His knowledge, pow'r, his goodness all confin'd,
And loft the notion of a ruling Mind!
Feeble the truft, and comfortless the sense,
Of a defective partial Providence!
Boldly might then his arm injuftice brave,
Or innocence in vain his mercy crave;
Dejected virtue lift its hopeless eye!
And deep distress pour out the heartless figh!
An abfent God no abler to defend,"
Protect, or punish, than an abfent friend;
Diflant alike our wants or griefs to know,
To ease the anguish, or prevent the blow!
If he, fupreme director, were not near,
Vain were our hope, and empty were our fear;
Unpunish'd vice would o'er the world prevail,
And unrewarded virtue toil-to fail!
The moral world a fecond chaos turn,
And nature for her great Supporter mourn!
Even the weak embryo, ere to life it breaks,
From his high pow'r its flender texture takes;
While in his book the various parts inroll'd,
Increasing, own eternal Wifdom's tnold.
Nor views he only the material whole,
But pierces thought, and penetrates the foul!
Ere from the lips the vocal accents part,
Or the faint purpose dawns within the heart!
His fteady eye the mental birth perceives,
Ere yet to us the new idea lives!
Knows what we fay-ere yet the words proceed,
And ere we form th' intention, marks the deed!
But Confcience, fair vicegerent-light within,
Afferts its author, and restores the scene!
Points out the beauty of the govern'd plan,
"And vindicates the ways of God to man."
Then facred Mufe, by the vast prospect fir'd,
From heav'n defcended, as by heav'n infpir'd;
His all-enlight'ning Omniprefence own,
Whence first thou feel'ft thy dwindling prefence known;
His wide Omnifcience, juftly grateful fing,
Whence thy weak fcience prunes its callow wing!
And blefs th' eternal-all-informing foul,
Whofe fight pervades, whofe knowledge fills the whole!
As the Eternal and Omniscient Mind, By laws not limited, nor bounds confin'd; Is always independent, always free,
Hence fhines confefs'd Immutability!
Change, whether the fpontaneous child of will,
Or birth of force,-is imperfection fill.
But he, all-perfect, in himself contains
Pow'r self-deriv'd, for from himself he reigns!
If, alter'd by conflraint, we could fuppofe,
That God his fix'd ftability fhould lofe;
How ftartles reafon at a thought so strange!
What pow'r can force Omnipotence to change?
If from his own divine productive thought,
Were the yet-stranger alteration wrought;
Could excellence fupreme, new rays acquire?
Or ftrong perfection raise its glories higher!
Abfurd!-his high meridian brightness glows,
Never decreases, never overflows!
Knows no addition, yields to no decay,
The facred blaze of inexhaustless day!
Below, thro' different forms does matter range,
And life fubfifts from elemental change,
Liquids condenfing fhapes terreftrial wear,
Earth mounts in fire, and fire diffolves in air;
While we, enquiring phantoms of a day,
Inconftant as the fhadows we furvey!
With them, along Time's rapid current pass,
And hafte to mingle with the parent mass;
But Thou, Eternal Lord of life divine!
In youth immortal fhalt for ever shine!