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THE

COURSE OF TIME,

A POEM, IN TEN BOOKS.

BY ROBERT POLLOK, A. M.

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THE

COURSE OF TIME.

A poem.

BOOK 1.

Seen far remote, as country, which has left
The traveller's speedy step, retiring back

From morn till even; and long Eternity /
ETERNAL SPIRIT! God of Truth! to whom Had rolled his mighty years, and with his years:
All things seem as they are; Thou, who of old Men had grownold. The saints, all home returned
The prophet's eye unscaled, that nightly saw, From pilgrimage, and war, and weeping, long
While heavy sleep fell down on other men, Had rested in the bowers of peace, that skirt
In holy vision tranced, the future pass

The stream of life; and long-alas, how long
Before him, and to Judah's harp attuned To them it seemed !-the wicked, who refused
Burdens which made the pagan mountains shake, To be redeemed, had wandered in the dark
And Zion's cedars bow,-inspire my song; Of hell's despair, and drunk the burning cup
My eye unscale; me what is substance teach, Their sins had filled with everlasting wo.
And shadow what, while I of things to come, Thus far the years had rolled, which none but
As past, rehearsing, sing the Course of Time, God
The second birth, and final doom of man. Doth number, when two sons, two youthful sons

The muse, that soft and sickly wooes the ear Of Paradise, in conversation sweet,-
Of love, or chanting loud in windy rhyme For thus the heavenly muse instructs me, wooed
Of fabled hero, raves through gaudy tale At midnight hour with offering sincere
Not overfraught with sense, I ask not: such Of all the heart, poured out in holy prayer,-
A strain befits not argument so high.

High on the hills of immortality,
Me thought, and phrase severely sitting out Whence goodliest prospect looks beyond the walls
The whole idea, grant, uttering as 'tis

Of heaven, walked, casting oft their eye far through The essential truth-time gone, the righteous The pure serene, observant if, returned saved,

From errand duly finished, any came, The wicked damned, and providence approved. Or any, first in virtue now complete,

Hold my right hand, Almighty! and me teach From other worlds arrived, confirmed in good. To strike the lyre, but seldom struck, to notes Thus viewing, one they saw, on hasty wing Harmonious with the morning stars, and puro Directing towards heaven his course; and now As those by sainted bards and angels sung, His flight ascending near the battlements Which wake the echoes of Eternity;

And lofty hills on which they walked, approached. That fools may hear and tremble, and the wise, For round and round, in spacious circuit wide, Instructed, listen, of ages yet to come.

Mountains of tallest stature circumscribe Long was the day, so long expected, past The plains of Paradise, whose tops, arrayed Of the eternal doom, that gave to each

In uncreated radiance, seem so pure, Of all the human race his due reward.

That naught but angel's foot, or saint's, elect The sun, earth's son, and moon, and stars, had Of God, may venture there to walk. Here oft ceased

The sons of bliss take morn or evening pastime, To number seasons, days, and months, and years Delighted to behold ten thousand worlds To mortal man. Hope was forgotten, and fear: Around their suns revolving in the vast And time, with all its chance, and change, and External space, or listen the harmonies smiles,

That each to other in its motion sings. And frequent tears, and deeds of villany, And hence, in middle heaven remote, is seen Or righteousness, once talked of much, as things The mount of God in awful glory bright. of great renown, was now but ill remembered; Within, no orb create of moon, or star, In dim and shadowy vision of the past

Or sun, gives light; for God's own countenance, Beaming eternally, gives light to all.

Virtue in me was ripe. I speak not this But farther than these sacred hills, his will In boast; for what I am to God I owe, Forbids it flow, too bright for eyes beyond. Entirely owe, and of myself am naught. This is the last ascent of Virtue; here

Equipped and bent for heaven, I left yon world, All trial ends, and hope; here perfect joy, My native seat, which scarce your eye can reach, With perfect righteousness, which to these heights Rolling around her central sun, far out Alone can rise, begins, above all fall.

On utmost verge of light. But first, to see And now, on wing of holy ardour strong, What lay beyond the visible creation, Hither ascends the stranger, borne upright, - Strong curiosity my flight impelled. For stranger he did seem, with curious eye Long was my way, and strange. I passed the Of nice inspection round surveying all,

bounds And at the feet alights of those that stood Which God doth set to light, and life and love; His coming, who the hand of welcome gave, Where darkness meets with day, where order meets And the embrace sincere of holy love;

Disorder, dreadful, waste, and wild; and down And thus, with comely greeting kind, began. The dark, eternal, uncreated night

Hail, brother! hail, thou son of happiness, Ventured alone. Long, long on rapid wing, Thou son beloved of God, welcome to heaven, I sailed through empty, nameless regions vast, To bliss that never fades ! thy day is past Where utter Nothing dwells, unformed and void. Of trial, and of fear to fall. Well done, There neither eye, nor ear, nor any sense Thou good and faithful servant; enter now Of being most acute, finds object; there Into the joy eternal of thy Lord.

For aught external still you search in vain. Come with us, and behold far higher sight Try touch, or sight, or smell; try what you will, Than e'er thy heart desired, or hope conceived. You strangely find naught but yourself alone. See, yonder is the glorious hill of God,

But why should I in words attempt to tell 'Bove angel's gaze in brightness rising high. What that is like, which is, and yet is not ? Come, join our wing, and we will guide thy flight This passed, my path descending led me still To mysteries of everlasting bliss,

O'er unclaimed continents of desert gloom The tree, and fount of life, the eternal throne, Immense, where gravitation shifting turns And presence-chamber of the King of kings. The other way; and to some dread, unknown, But what concern hangs on thy countenance, Infernal centre downward weighs: and now,Unwont within this place? Perhaps thou deemst Far travelled from the edge of darkness, far Thyself unworthy to be brought before

As from that glorious mount of God to light's The always Ancient One? So are we too Remotest limb,—dire sights I saw, dire sounds Unworthy; but our God is all in all,

I heard ; and suddenly before my eye And gives us boldness to approach his throne. A wall of fiery adamant sprung up,

Sons of the Highest ! citizens of heaven! Wall mountainous, tremendous, flaming high Began the new arrived, right have ye judged: Above all flight of hope. I paused, and looked; Unworthy, most unworthy is your servant, And saw, where'er I looked upon that mound, To stand in presence of the King, or hold Sad figures traced in fire, not motionless, Most distant and most humble place in this But imitating life. One I remarked Abode of excellent glory unrevealed.

Attentively; but how shall I describe But God Almighty be for ever praised,

What naught resembles else my eye hath seen ?) Who, of his fulness, fills me with all grace Of worm or serpent kind it something looked, And ornament, to make me in his sight But monstrous, with a thousand snaky heads, Well pleasing, and accepted in his court. Eyed each with double orbs of glaring wrath; But, if your leisure waits, short narrative And with as many tails, that twisted out Will tell, why strange concern thus overhangs In horrid revolution, tipped with stings; My face, ill seeming here; and haply, too, And all its mouths, that wide and darkly gaped, Your elder knowledge can instruct my youth, And breathed most poisonous breath, had each a Of what seems dark and doubtful, unexplained. sting, Our leisure waits thee. Speak; and what we Forked, and long, and venomous, and sharp; can,

And, in its writhings infinite, it grasped Delighted most to give delight, we will;

Malignantly what seemed a heart, swollen, black, Though much of mystery yet to us remains. And quivering with torture most intense;

Virtue, I need not tell, when proved, and full And still the heart, with anguish throbbing high, Matured, inclines us up to God and heaven, Made effort to escape, but could not; for, By law of sweet compulsion strong and sure; Howe'er it turned, and oft it vainly turned, As gravitation to the larger orb

These complicated foldings held it fast.. The less attracts, through matter's whole domain.' And still the monstrous beast with sting of head

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