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Traitor to all existence, to all life!
A tongue, that ever said, Man! think of God! Soul-suicide! determined foe of being !
Think of thyself! think of eternity! Intended murderer of God, most High!
Fear God, the thunders said, Fear God, the waves. Strange road, most strange! to seek for happiness! Fear God, the lightning of the storm replied. Hell's mad-houses are full of such, too fierce, Fear God, deep loudly answered back to deep: Too furiously insane, and desperate,
And, in the temples of the Holy One, To range unbound 'mong evil spirits damned. Messiah's messengers, the faithful few,
Fertile was earth in many things, not least Faithful ’mong many false, the Bible opened, In fools, who mercy both and judgment scorned, And cried, Repent! repent ye sons of men ! Scorned love, experience scorned, and onward Believe, be saved; and reasoned awfully rushed
Of temperance, righteousness, and judgment soon To swift destruction, giving all reproof,
To come, of ever-during life and death: And all instruction, to the winds; and much And chosen bards from age to age awoke Of both they had, and much despised of both. The sacred lyre, and full on Folly's ear,
Wisdom took up her harp, and stood in place Numbers of righteous indignation poured: Of frequent concourse, stood in every gate, And God, omnipotent, when mercy failed, By every way, and walked in every street; Made bare his holy arm, and with the stroke And, lifting up her voice, proclaimed: "Be wise, of vengeance smote; the fountains of the deep Ye fools! be of an understanding heart; Broke up, heaven's windows opened, and sent on Forsake the wicked, come not near his house, Pass by, make haste, depart and turn away. A flood of wrath, sent plague and famine forth; Me follow, me, whose ways are pleasantness, With earthquake rocked the world beneath, with Whose paths are peace, whose end is perfect joy." The Seasons came and went, and went and came, Above laid cities waste, and turned fat lands To teach men gratitude; and as they passed, To barrenness, and with the sword of war Gave warning of the lapse of Time, that else In fury marched, and gave them blood to drink. Had stolen unheeded by. The gentle Flowers, Angels remonstrated, Mercy beseeched, Retired, and, stooping o'er the wilderness, Heaven smiled and frowned, Hell groaned, Time Talked of humility, and peace, and love.
fled, Death shook The Dews came down unseen at evening-tide, His dart, and threatened to make repentance vain, And silently their bounties shed, to teach Incredible assertion! men rushed on Mankind unostentatious charity.
Determinedly to ruin; shut their ears, With arm in arm the forest rose on high, Their eyes, to all advice, to all reproof; And lesson gave of brotherly regard.
O'er mercy and o'er judgment, downward rushed And, on the rugged mountain-brow exposed, To misery; and,-most incredible Bearing the blast alone, the ancient oak Of all!-to misery rushed along the way Stood, lifting high his mighty arm, and still Of disappointment and remorse, where still To courage in distress exhorted loud.
At every step, adders, in pleasure's form, The flocks, the herds, the birds, the streams, the Stung mortally; and Joys,—whose bloomy cheeks breeze,
Seemed glowing high with immortality, Attuned the heart to melody and love.
Whose bosoms prophesied superfluous bliss, Mercy stood in the cloud, with eye that wept While in the arms received, and locked in close Essential love; and, from her glorious bow, And riotous embrace, turned pale, and cold, Bending to kiss the earth in token of peace, And died, and smelled of putrefaction rank; With her own lips, her gracious lips, which God Turned, in the very moment of delight, Of sweetest accent made, she whispered still, A loathsome, heavy corpse, that with the clear She whispered to Revenge, Forgive, forgive. And hollow eyes of death, stared horribly. The Sun, rejoicing round the earth, announced All tribes, all generations of the earth, Daily the wisdorn, power, and love of God. Thus wantonly to ruin drove alike. The Moon awoke, and from her maiden face, We heard indeed of gold and silver days, Shedding her cloudy locks, looked meekly forth, And of primeval innocence unstained: And with her virgin Stars walked in the heavens, A pagan tale! but by baptized bards, Walked nightly there, conversing as she walked, Philosophers, and statesmen, who were still Of purity, and holiness, and God.
Held wise and cunning men, talked of so much, In dreams and visions, sleep instructed much. That most believed it so, and asked not why. Day uttered speech to day, and night to night The pair, the family first made, were ill; Taught knowledge. Silence had a tongue; the And for their great peculiar sin, incurred grave,
The Curse, and left it due to all their race; The darkness, and the lonely waste, had cach And bold example gave of every crime,
Hate, murder, unbelief, reproach, revenge. Of spirit, noble, glorious, lofty soul !
And poured contempt on all who praised his name. Rewarded worthlessness, rejected worth,
But false as this account of wisdom was, Assassinations, robberies, thefts, and wars, The world's I mean, it was its best, the creed Disastrous accidents, life thrown away,
Of sober, grave, and philosophic men, Divinity insulted, Heaven despised,
With much research and cogitation framed, Religion scorned, -and not been sick at night, Of men, who with the vulgar scorned to sit. And sad, had gathered greater store of mirth, The popular belief seemed rather worse, Than ever wise man in the world could find. When heard replying to the voice of truth. One cause of folly, one especial cause,
The wise man, said the Bible, walks with God; Was this: Few knew what wisdom was, though Surveys, far on, the endless line of life; well
Values bis soul, thinks of eternity, Defined in God's own words, and printed large, Both worlds considers, and provides for both; On heaven and earth in characters of light, With reason's eye his passions guards; abstains And sounded in the ear by every wind. From evil, lives on hope, on hope, the fruit
Wisdom is humble, said the voice of God. Of faith; looks upward, purifies his soul, 'Tis proud, the world replied. Wisdom, said God, Expands his wings, and mounts into the sky; Forgives, forbears, and suffers, not for fear Passes the sun, and gains his father's house, Of man, but God. Wisdom revenges, said And drinks with angels from the fount of bliss. The world, is quick and deadly of resentment, The multitude aloud replied, -replied Thrusts at the very shadow of affront,
By practice, for they were not bookish men, And hastes, by death, to wipe its honour clean. Nor apt to form their principles in words, – Wisdom, said God, loves enemies, entreats, The wise man, first of all, eradicates, Solicits, begs for peace. Wisdom, replied As much as possible, from out his mind, The world, hates enemies, will not ask peace, All thought of death, God, and eternity; Conditions spurns, and triumphs in their fall. Admires the world, and thinks of Time alone; Wisdom mistrusts itself, and leans on Heaven, Avoids the Bible, all reproof avoids; Said God. It trusts and leans upon itself, Rocks Conscience, if he can, asleep; puts out The world replied. Wisdom retires, said God, The eye of Reason, prisons, tortures, binds, And counts it bravery to bear reproach,
And makes her thus, by violence and force, And shame, and lowly poverty, upright; Give wicked evidence against herself; And weeps with all who have just cause to weep. Lets passion loose, the substance leaves, pursiles Wisdom, replied the world, struts forth to gaze, The shadow vehemently, but ne'er o'ertakes; Treads the broad stage of life with clamorous foot, Puts by the cup of holiness and joy; Attracts all praises, counts it bravery
And drinks, carouses deeply, in the bow! Alone to wield the sword, and rush on death; Of death; grovels in dust, pollutes, destroys, And never weeps, but for its own disgrace. His soul! is miserable to acquire Wisdom, said God, is highest, when it stoops More misery; deceives to be deceived ; Lowest before the Holy Throne; throws down Strives, labours, to the last, to shun the truth; Its crown, abased; forgets itself, admires, Strives, labours, to the last, to damn himself; And breathes adoring praise. There Wisdom Turns desperate, shudders, groans, blasphemes, stoops,
and dies, Indeed, the world replied, there stoops, because And sinks—where could he else?-to endless wo; It must, but stoops with dignity; and thinks And drinks the wine of God's eternal wrath. And meditates the while of inward worth.
The learned thus, and thus the unlearned world, Thus did Almighty God, and thus the world, Wisdom defined. In sound they disagreed; Wisdom define: and most the world believed, In substance, in effect, in end, the same; And boldly called the truth of God a lie. And equally to God and truth opposed, Hence, he that to the worldly wisdom shaped Opposed as darkness to the light of heaven. His character, became the favourite
Yet were there some, that seemed well-meaning Of men, was honourable termed, a man
Who systems planned, expressed in supple words, Saw, as he passed, a shepherd only, here
Of childhcod fled away,
those rainbow dreams, Could Holiness embrace the harlot Sin? So innocent and fair, that withered Age, Could life wed death? Could God with Mammon Even at the grave, cleared up his dusty eye, dwell?
And, passing all between, looked fondly back Oh, foolish men! oh, men for ever lost!
To see them once again, ere he departed : In spite of mercy lost, in spite of wrath! These fled away, and anxious thought, that wished In spite of Disappointment and Remorse, To go, yet whither knew not well to go, Which made the way to ruin, ruinous! Possessed his soul, and held it still awhile.
Hear what they were: The progeny of Sin, He listened, and heard from far the voice of fame, Alike, and oft combined; but differing much Heard and was charmed; and deep and sudden In mode of giving pain. As felt the gross, Material part, when in the furnace cast,
Of resolution, made to be renowned; So felt the soul, the victim of Remorse.
And deeper vowed again to keep his vow.
Hope grew from inward faith, and promised fair. Severer and severer yet to come;
And out before him opened many a path And as he writhed and quivered, scorched within, Ascending, where the laurel highest waved The Fury round his torrid temples flapped Her branch of endless green. He stood admiring, Her fiery wings, and breathed upon his lips But stood, admired, not long. The harp he seized, And parched tongue the withered blasts of hell. The harp he loved, loved better than his life, It was the suffering begun, thou sawst
The harp which uttered deepest notes, and held In symbol of the Worm that never dies. The ear of thought a captive to its song.
The other, Disappointment, rather seemed He searched and meditated much, and whiles, Negation of delight. It was a thing
With rapturous hand, in secret, touched the lyre, Sluggish and torpid, tending towards death. Aiming at glorious strains; and searched again Its breath was cold, and made the sportive blood, For theme deserving of immortal verse; Stagnant, and dull, and heavy, round the wheels Chose now, and now refused, unsatisfied; Of life. The roots of that whereon it blew, Pleased, then displeased, and hesitating still. Decayed, and with the genial soil no more Thus stood his mind, when round him came a Held sympathy; the leaves, the branches drooped, cloud, And mouldered slowly down to formless dust; Slowly and heavily it came, a cloud Not tossed and driven by violence of winds, Of ills, we mention not. Enough to say, But withering where they sprung, and rotting 'Twas cold, and dead, impenetrable gloom. there
He saw its dark approach, and saw his hopes, Long disappointed, disappointed still,
One after one, put out, as nearer still The hopeless man, hopeless in his main wish, It drew his soul; but fainted not at first, As if returning back to nothing, felt;
Fainted not soon. He knew the lot of man In strange vacuity of being hung,
Was trouble, and prepared to bear the worst; And rolled and rolled his eye on emptiness, Endure whate'er should come, without a sigh That seemed to grow more empty every hour. Endure, and drink, even to the very dregs,
One of this mood I remember well. The bitterest cup that Time could measure out; We name him not,—what now are earthly And, having done, look up, and ask for more. names ?
He called philosophy, and with his heart În humble dwelling born, retired, remote; Reasoned. He called religion too, but called In rural quietude, 'mong hills, and streams, Reluctantly, and therefore was not heard. And melancholy deserts, where the Sun Ashamed to be o'ermatched by earthly woes,
He sought, and sought, with eye that dimmed apace, And oft united both, as friends severe,
One place, one only place, there was on earth,
And to the sons of men, by one well known The vigorous, weak became, the clear obscure. On earth for lofty verse and lofty sense. Memoty gave up her charge, Decision reeled, Much hast thou seen, fair youth, much heard; And from her flight, Fancy returned, returned but thou Because she found no nourishment abroad. Hast never seen a death-bed, never heard The blue heavens withered, and the moon, and A dying groan. Men saw it often. 'Twas sad, sun,
To all most sorrowful and sad; to guilt, And all the stars, and the green earth, and morn 'Twas anguish, terror, darkness, without bow. And evening, withered; and the eyes, and smiles, But, oh! it had a most convincing tongue, And faces, of all men and women withered; A potent oratory, that secured Withered to him; and all the universe, Most mute attention; and it spoke the truth Like something which had been, appeared; but So boldly, plainly, perfectly distinct, now
That none the meaning could mistake, or doubt; Was dead and mouldering fast away. He tried And had withal a disenchanting power, No more to hope, wished to forget his vow, A most omnipotent and wondrous power, Wished to forget his harp; then ceased to wish. Which in a moment broke, for ever broke, That was his last. Enjoyment now was done. And utterly dissolved, the charms, and spells, He had no hope, no wish, and scarce a fear. And cunning sorceries of earth and hell. Of being sensible, and sensible
And thus it spoke to him who ghastly lay, Of loss, he as some atom seemed, which God And struggled for another breath: Earth's cup Had made superfluously, and needed not Is poisoned; her renown, most infamous; To build creation with; but back again Her gold, seem as it may, is really dust; To nothing threw, and left it in the void, Her titles, slanderous names; her praise, reproach; With everlasting sense that once it was. Her strength, an idiot's boast; her wisdom blind; Oh! who can tell what days, what nights, he Her gain, eternal loss; her hope, a dream; spent,
Her love, her friendship, enmity with God; Of tideless, waveless, sailless, shoreless wo! Her promises, a lie; her smile, a harlot's; And who can tell how many, glorious once, Her beauty, paint, and rotten within; her please To others and themselves of promise full,
ures, Conducted to this pass of human thought, Deadly assassins masked; her laughter grief; This wilderness of intellectual death,
Her breasts, the sting of Death; her total sum,
Her lovers mad, insane most grievously,
Thus did the mighty reasoner, Death declare, As leaf of Autumn, which the wolfish winds, And volumes more; and in one word confirmed Selecting from its falling sisters, chase,
The Bible whole, Eternity is all.
Who staid behind. The wisest, best of men, Eternally, God passed in mercy by, —
Believed not to the letter full; but turned, His praise be ever new !-and on him breathed, And on the world looked forth, as if they thought And bade him live, and put into his hands The well-trimmed hypocrite had something still A holy harp, into his lips a song,
Of inward worth. The dying man alone, That rolled its numbers down the tide of Time. Gave faithful audience, and the words of Death, Ambitious now but little, to be praised
To the last jot, believed, believed and felt; Of men alone; ambitious most, to be
But oft, alas! believed and felt too late. Approved of God, the Judge of all; and have And had Earth, then, no joys, no native sweets His name recorded in the book of life.
No happiness, that one, who spoke the truth, Such things were Disappointment and Re- Might call her own? She had ; true, native sweets,
Indigenous delights, which up the tree
Of holiness, embracing as they grew,
And men who noticed not the suicide, Ascended, and bore fruit of heavenly taste; Stood wondering much, why earth from age to age, In pleasant memory held, and talked of oft, Was still enslaved; and erring causes gave. By yonder Saints, who walk the golden streets This was earth's liberty, its nature this, Of New Jerusalem, and compass round
However named, in whomsoever found, -
To make them do, undo, eat, drink, stand, move,
Hence the eternal strife of brotherhoods,
Of individuals, families, commonwealths.
And bad the fruit it bore. Then wonder not,
And, marvellous though it seem, this monster, That ill her ignorance liked to own, through dark when And dangerous paths of speculation wild. It took the name of slavery, as oft Some striking features, as we pass, we mark, It did, had advocates to plead its cause; In order such as memory suggests.
Beings that walked erect, and spoke like men; One passion prominent appears, the lust Of Christian parentage descended, too, Of power, which oft-times took the fairer name And dipped in the baptismal font, as sign Of liberty, and hung the popular flag
Of dedication to the prince who bowed Of freedom out. Many, indeed, its names. To death, to set the sin-bound prisoner free. When on the throne it sat, and round the neck Unchristian thought! on what pretence soe'er Of millions riveted its iron chain,
Of right; inherited, or else acquired; And on the shoulders of the people laid
Of loss, or profit, or what plea you name, Burdens unmerciful, it title took
To buy and sell, to barter, whip, and hold Of tyranny, oppression, despotism;
In chains, a being of celestial make; And every tongue was weary cursing it.
Of kindred form, of kindred faculties, When in the multitude it gathered strength, Of kindred feelings, passions, thoughts, desires; And, like an ocean bursting from its bounds, Born free, and heir of an immortal hope; Long beat in vain, went forth resistlessly, Thought villanous, absurd, detestable ! It bore the stamp and designation, then,
Unworthy to be harboured in a fiend ! Of popular fury, anarchy, rebellion ;
And only overreached in wickedness
By that, birth, too, of earthly liberty,
By legislation think, and by the sword The wise despised; streams, red with human Believe. This was that liberty renowned, blood;
Those equal rights of Greece and Rome, where Harvests beneath the frantic foot trod down;
men, Lands, desolate; and famine at the door. All, but a few, were bought, and sold, and scourged,
These are a part; but other names it had, And killed, as interest or caprice enjoined; Innumerous as the shapes and robes it wore. In after times talked of, written of, so much, But under every name, in nature still
That most, by sound and custom led away, Invariably the same, and always bad.
Believed the essence answered to the name.
In lofty swelling phrase called it perfection.
As memory brought it up; their lips were touched
To whom the Bible taught this precious verse, That very moment dead, that one prevailed. “He is the freeman whom the truth makes free," Conflicting cruelly against itself,
By fashion, though by fashion little swayed, By its own hand it fell; part slaying part, Scarce kept his harp from pagan freedom's praise.