« PreviousContinue »
When all creation started into birth,
The infant elements receiv'd a law
From which they swerv'd not since. That under force
Of that controlling ordinance they move,
And need not his immediate hand who first
Prescrib'd their course, to regulate it now.
Thus dream they, and contrive to save a God 205
Th’incumbrance of his own concerns, and spare
The great artificer of all that moves
The stress of a continual act, the pain
Of unremitted vigilance and care,
As too laborious and severe a task.
So man, the moth, is not afraid, it seems,
To span Omnipotence, and measure might
That knows no measure, by the scanty rule
And standard of his own, that is to-day,
And is not ere to-morrow's sun goes down.
But how should matter occupy a charge,
Dull as it is, and satisfy a law
So vast in its demands, unless impellid .
To ceaseless service by a ceaseless force,
And under pressure of some conscious cause?
The Lord of all, himself through all diffus'd,
Sustains, and is the life of all that lives.
Nature is but a name for an effect,
Whose cause is God. He feeds the secret fire,
By which the mighty process is maintain's, 225
Who sleeps not, is not weary; in whose sight
Slow circling ages are as transient days;
Whose work is without labour; whose designs
No flaw deforms, no difficulty thwarts;
And whose benificence no charge exhausts.
230 Him blind antiquity profan’d, not serv'd. With self-taught niglats, and under various names, ?
Female and male, Pomona, Pales, Pan, 1- And Flora, and Nertumnus; peopling earth With tutelary goddesses and gods,
235 That were not; and commending as they would
To each some province, garden, field, or grove.
But all are under one. One spirit-His
Who wore the platted thorns with bleeding brows
Rules universal nature. Not a flower
But shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain,
Of his unrivall’d pencil. He inspires
Their balmy odours, and imparts their hues,
And bathes their eyes with nectar, and includes,
In grains as countless as the seaside sands, 245
The forms with which he sprinkles all the earth.
Happy who walks with him! whom what he finds
of flavour or of scent in fruit or flower,
of what he views of beautiful or grand
In nature, from the broad majestick oak
To the green blade that twinkles in the sun,
Prompts with remembrance of a present God.
His presence, who made all so fair, perceiv’d,
Makes all still fairer. As with him no scene
Is dreary, so with him all seasons please.
Though winter had been none, had man been true
And earth be punish'd for its tenant's sake,
Yet not in vengeance; as this smiling sky,
So soon succeeding such an angry night,
And these dissolving snows, and this clear stream 260
Recov'ring fast its liquid musick, prove.
Who, then, that has a mind well strung and tunid
To contemplation, and within his reach
A scene so friendly to his fav’rite task,
Would waste attention at the checker'd board. 265
His host of wooden warriours to and fro
Marching and countermarching, with an eye
As fix'd as marble, with a forehead ridg'd
And furrow'd into storms, and with a hand
Trembling, as if eternity were hung
In balance on his conduct of a pin?
Nor envies hę aught more their idle sport,
Who pant with application misapplied
To trivial toys, and, pushing iv'ry balls
Across a velvet level, feel a joy ..
275 Akin to rapture, when the bauble finds Its destin'd goal of difficult access. Nor deems he wiser him, who gives his noon To miss, the mercer's plague from shop to shop Wand'ring, and littring with unfolded silks 280 The polish'd counter, and approving none, Or promising with smiles to call again. Nor him, who by his vanity seduc'd, And sooth'd to a dream, that he discerns The diff'rence of a Guido from a daub,
285 Frequents the crowded auction: station'd there As duly as the Langford of the show, With glass at eye, and cataloge in hand, ! And tongue accomplish'd in the fulsome cant And pedantry that coxcombs learn with ease: 290 Oft as the price-deciding hammer falls, He notes it in his book, then raps his box, Swears 'tis a bargain, rails at his hard fate, That he has let it pass—but never bids! , Here unmolested, through whatever sign
295 The sun proceeds, I wander. Neither mist, Nor freezing sky nor sultry, checking me, Nor stranger intermeddling with my joy. E’en in the spring and playtime of the year, That calls the unwonted villager abroad
300 With all her little ones, a sportive train, To gather kingcups in the yellow mead, And prink their hair with daisies, or to pick A cheap but wholesome salad from the brook These shades are all my own. The tim’rous háre, Grown so familiar with her frequent guest,
306 Scarce shuns me; and the stock-dove, unalarm’d, Sits cooing in the pinetree, nor suspends His long love ditty for my near approach.
310 That age or injury has hallow'd deep, Where, on his bed of wool and matted leaves,
He has outslept the winter, ventures forth,
To frisk awhile, and bask in the warm sun,
The squirrel, flippant, pert and full of play; 315
He sees me, and at once, swift as a bird,
Ascends the neighb’ring beech; there whisks his brush,
And perks his ears, and stamps, and cries aloud,
With all the prettiness of feign'd alarm,
And anger insignificantly fierce.
The heart is hard in nature, and unfit
For human fellowship, as being void
Of sympathy, and therefore dead alike
To love and friendship both, that is not pleas'd
With sights of animals enjoying life, : 325
Nor feels their happiness augment his own.
The bounding fawn, that darts across the glade
When none pursues, through mere delight of heart
And spirits buoyant with excess of glee;
The horse as wanton, and almost as fleet,
330. That skims the spacious meadow at full speed, Then stops, and snorts, and, throwing high his heels, Starts to the voluntary race again; The very kine that gambol at high noon, The total herd receiving first from one,
335 That leads the dance, a summons to be gay, Though wild their strange vagaries, and uncouth Their efforts, yet resolv'd with one consent, To give such an act and utt'rance as they may To ecstacy too big to be suppress’dThese, and a thousand images of bliss, With which kind nature graces ev'ry scene, , , Where cruel man defeats not her design, Impart to the benevolent, who wish All that are capable of pleasure pleas’d,
345 A far superiour happiness to theirs, . The comfort of a reasonable joy.
Man scarce had ris'n, obedient to his call Who form'd him from the dust, his future grave, When he was crown'd as never king was since. 350
God set the diadem upon his head,
And angel choirs attended. Wond'ring stood
The new made monarch, while before him pass'd,
All happy, and all perfect in their kind,
The creatures summon’d from their various haunts,
To see their sov’reign, and confess his sway.
Vast was his empire, absolute his pow'r,
Or bounded only by a law, whose force
'Twas his sublimest privilege to feel ..
And own—the law of universal love.
He rul'd with meekness, they obey'd with joy;
No cruel purpose lurk'd within his heart,
And no distrust of his intent in theirs.
So Eden was a scene of harmless sport,
Where kindness on his part who rul'd the whole, 365
Begat a tranquil confidence in all,
And fear as yet was not, nor cause for fear.
That source of evils not exhausted yet,
Was punish'd with revolt of his from him. 370
Garden of God, how terrible the change
Thy groves and lawns then witness'd! Ev'ry heart,
Each animal, of ev'ry name conceiv'd
A jealousy and an instinctive fear,
And, conscious of some danger, either fled : 375
Precipitate the loath'd abode of man,
Or growl'd defiance in such angry sort,
As taught him too to tremble in his turn.
Thus harmony and family accord
Were driv’n from Paradise; and in that hour
The seeds of cruelty that since have swellid
To such gigantick and enormous growth,
Were sown in human nature's soil.
Hence date the persecution and the pain,
That man inflicts on all inferiour kinds,
Regardless of their plaints. To make him sport,
To gratify the frenzy of his wrath,
Or his base gluttony, are causes good