Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Of herbs and flow'rs; or what the beams of morn
Draw forth, diftilling from the clifted rind
In balmy tears. But some, to higher hopes
Were destin'd; some within a finer mould
She wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame.
To these the Sire Omnipotent unfolds
The world's harmonious volume, there to read
The transcript of himself. On every part
They trace the bright impressions of his hand:
In earth, or air, the meadow's purple stores,
The moon's mild radiance, or the virgin's form
Blooming with rosy smiles, they see pourtray'd
That uncreated beauty, which delights
The Mind supreme. They also feel her charms,
Enamour'd; they partaks th' eternal joy.

AKENSIDE.

[blocks in formation]

SA

AY, why was man so eminently rais'd

Amid the vast creation; why ordain'd
Thro' life and death to dart his piercing eye,
With thoughts beyond the limit of his frame;
But that th' Omnipotent might send him forth
In fight of mortal and immortal pow'rs,
As on a boundless theatre, to run
The great career of justice; to exalt
His gen'rous aim to all diviner deeds;
To chafe each partial purpose from his breast 3
And thro' the mifts of passion and of sense,
And thro' the tossing tide of chance and pain,

To

[ocr errors]

To hold his course unfault'ring, while the voice
Of truth and virtue; up the steep afcent
Of nature, calls him to his high reward,
Th'applauding smile of Heav'n: Else wherefore burns
In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope,
That breathes from day to day sublimer things,
And mocks poffeffion? Wherefore darts the mind,
With such refiftlefs ardour to embrace
Majestic forms; impatient to be free,
Spurning the gross controul of wilful might;
Proud of the strong contention of her toils;
Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns

3
To Heav'n's broad fire his unconstrained view,
Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame?
Who that, from Alpine heights, his lab'ring eye
Shoots round the wild horizon, to survey
Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave
Thro'mountains, plains, thro' empires black with thade,
And continents of sand! will turn his gaze
To mark the windings of a scanty rill
That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul
Disdains to rest her heav'n-aspiring wing
Beneath its native quarry. Tir'd of earth
And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
Thro' fields of air; pursues the flying form ;
Rides on the volley'd lightning thro' the heav'ns ;
Or yok'd with whirlwinds and the northern blaft,
Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she foars
The blue profound, and hovering round the sun
Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve

Tho

[ocr errors]

The fated rounds of time. Thence far effus'd
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets; thro' its burning signs
Exulting measures the perennial wheel
Of nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invests the orient. Now amaz'd the views
Th’empyreal wafte, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave heav'n, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has travell'd the profound fix thousand years,
Nor yet arrives in fight of mortal things.
Ev'n on the barriers of the world untir'd
She meditates th' eternal depth below;
Till, half recoiling, down the headlong fteep
She plunges; soon o’erwhelm’d and swallow'd up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Reft at the fated goal. For from the birth
Cf mortal man, the fovereign Maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Not in the fading echoes of renown,
Pow'r's purple robes, nor pleasure's flow'ry lap,
The foul lhould find enjoyment: but from these
Turning disdainful to an equal good,
Thro' all th' afcent of things enlarge her view,
Till every bound at length hould disappear,
And infinite perfection close the fcene.

AKENSIDE.

CHAP

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

ALL now to mind what high capacious pow'rs

Lie folded up in man ; how far beyond
The praise of mortals, may th' eternal growth
Of nature to perfection half divine,
Expand the blooming soul. What pity then
Should sloth's unkindly fogs depress to earth
Her tender blossom ; choak the streams of life,
And blast her spring! Far otherwise design'd
Almighty wisdom ; nature's happy cares
Th' obedient heart far otherwise incline.
Witness the sprightly joy when ought unknown
Strikes the quick sense, and wakes each active pow'r
To brisker measures : witness the neglect
Of all familiar prospects, tho' beheld
With transport once; the fond attentive gaze
Of young astonishment; the sober zeal
Of age, commenting on prodigious things.
For such the bounteous providence of teav'n,
In every breast implanting this, defire
Of objects new and strange, to urge us on
With unremitted labour to pursue
Those facred stores that wait the ripening foul,
In truth's exhaustless bosom. What need words
To paint its pow'r? For this, the daring youth
Breaks from his weeping mother's anxious arms,
In foreign climes to rove; the pensive fage,
Heedless of sleep, or midnight's harmful damp,
(Hangs o'er the fickly taper; and untird

Y 3

The

[ocr errors]

The virgin follows, with inchanted step,
The mazes of some wise and wond'rous tale,
From morn to eve; unmindful of her form,
Unmindful of the happy dress that stole
The wishes of the youth, when every maid
With envy pin’d. Hence finally by night
The village-matron, round the blazing hearth,
Suspends the infant-audience with her tales,
Breathing aftonishment of witching rhimes, :
And evil spirits; of the death-bed call
Of him who robb’d the widow, and devour'd
The orphan's portion ; of unquiet fouls
Ris'n from the grave to ease the heavy guilt
Of deeds in life conceal'd; of shapes that walk
At dead of night, and clank their chains, and wave
The torch of hell around the murd'rer's bed.
At every solemn pause the croud recoil
Gazing each other speechless, and congeald
With thiv'ring fighs: till eager for th' event,
Around the beldame all erect they hang,
Each trembling heart with grateful terrors quell'd.

AKENSIDE

BOOK

« AnteriorContinuar »