Page images

Drink up the spirit and the dim regards
Self-centre. Lo they vanish! or acquire
New names, new features-by supernal grace
Enrob'd with Light, and naturaliz'd in Heaven.
As when a Shepherd on a vernal morn
Thro' some thick fog creeps tim’rous with slow foot,
Darkling he fixes on th' immediate road
His downward eye: all else of fairest kind
Hid or deform’d. But lo! the bursting Sun!
Touch'd by th' enchantment of that sudden beam,
Strait the black vapor melteth, and in globes
Of dewy glitter gems each plant and tree;
On every leaf, on every blade it hangs !
Dance glad the new-born intermingling rays,
And wide around the landscape streams with glory!

There is one Mind, one omnipresent Mind,
Omnific. His most holy name is Love.
Truth of subliming import! with the which
Who feeds and saturates his constant soul,
He from his small particular orbit flies
With bless'd outstarting! From Himself he flies,
Stands in the Sun, and with no partial gaze
Views all creation; and he loves it all,
And blesses it, and calls it very good!
This is indeed to dwell with the most High!
Cherubs and rapture-trembling Seraphim
Can press no nearer to th' Almighty's Throne.
But that we roam unconscious, or with hearts

cent, and may be made to animate our virtue-in the same manner as the thick mist melted by the Sun, increases the light which it had before excluded. In the preceding paragraph, agreeably to this truth, we had allegorically narrated the transfiguration of fear into holy awe.

Unfeeling of our universal Sire,
And that in his vast family no Cain
Injures uninjur'd (in her best-aim'd blow
Viotorious Murder a blind Suicide)
Haply for this some younger Angel now
Looks down on Human Nature : and, behold !
A sea of blood bestrew'd with wrecks, where mad
Embattling Interests on each other rush
With unhelm'd Rage !

'Tis the sublime of man,
Our noontide Majesty, to know ourselves
Parts and proportions of one wond'rous whole !
This fraternizes man, this constitutes
Our charities and bearings. But 'tis God
Diffus'd thro' all, that doth make all one whole ;
This the worst superstition, him except*
Aught to desire, Supreme Reality!
The plenitude and permanence of bliss !
O Fiends of Superstition ! not that oft
The erring Priest hath stain'd with Brother's blood
Your grisly idols, not for this may Wrath
Thunder against you from the Holy One!
But o'er some plain that streameth to the Sun,
Peopled with Death; or where more hideous Trade
Loud-laughing packs his bales of human anguish;
I will rise up a mourning, O ye Fiends !

* If to make aught but the Supreme Reality, the object of final pursuit, be Superstition; if the attributing of sublime properties to things or persons, which those things, or persons, neither do nor can possess, be Superstition-then Avarice and Ambition are Superstitions; and he, who wishes to estimate the evils of Superstition, should transport himself, not to the temple of the Mexican Deities, but to the plains of Flanders, or the coast of Africa. --Such is the sentiment conveyed in this and the subsequent lines.

And curse your spells, that film the eye of Faith,
Hiding the present God; whose presence lost,
The moral world's cohesion, we become
An Anarchy of Spirits ! Toy-bewitch'd,
Made blind by lusts, disherited of soul,
No common centre Man, no common sire
Knoweth! A sordid solitary thing,
Mid countless brethren with a lonely heart
Thro' courts and cities the smooth Savage roams
Feeling himself, his own low Self the whole;
When he by sacred sympathy might make
The whole one self! self, that no alien knows !
Self, far diffus'd as Fancy's wing can travel!
Self, spreading still! Oblivious of its own,
Yet all of all possessing! This is Faith!
This the Messiah's destin'd victory!

But first offences needs must come! Even now *
(Black Hell laughs horrible--to hear the seoff!)
Thee to defend, meek Galilæan ! Thee
And thy mild laws of Love unutterable,
Mistrust and Enmity have burst the bands

* January 21, 1794, in the debate on the Address to his Majesty, on the speech from the Throne, the Earl of Guildford moved an amendment to the following effect; “That the House hoped his Majesty would seize the earliest opportunity to conclude a peace with France, &c.” This motion was opposed by the Duke of Portland, who " considered the war to be merely grounded on one principle-the preservation of the Christian Religion.” May 30, 1794, the Duke of Bedford moved a number of resolutions, with a view to the establishment of a peace with France. He was opposed (among others) by Lord Abingdon in these remarkable words; “The best road to peace, my Lords, is war! and war carried on in the same manner in which we are taught to worship our Creator, namely, with all our souls, and with all our minds, and with all our hearts, and with all our strength."

Of social Peace! and list’ning Treachery lurks
With pious fraud to snare a brother's life;
And childless widows o'er the groaning land
Wail numberless; and orphans weep for bread!
Thee to defend, dear Saviour of Mankind !
Thee, Lamb of God! Thee, blameless Prince of Peace!
From all sides rush the thirsty brood of War;
Austria, and that foul Woman of the North,
The lustful Murd'ress of her wedded Lord !
And he, connatural Mind! whom (in their songs,
So bards of elder time had haply feign'd)
Some Fury fondled in her hate to man,
Bidding her serpent hair in mazy surge
Lick his young face, and at his mouth inbreathe
Horrible sympathy! And leagued with these
Each petty German princeling, nursd in gore !
Soul-harden'd barterers of human blood !
Death's prime Slave-merchants! Scorpion-whips of Fate !
Nor least in savagery of holy zeal,
Apt for the yoke, the race degenerate,
Whom Britain erst had blush'd to call her sons !
Thee to defend the Moloch Priest prefers
The prayer of hate, and bellows to the herd
That Deity, accomplice Deity
In the fierce jealousy of waken'd wrath
Will go forth with our armies and our fleets
To scatter the red ruin on their foes !
O blasphemy! to mingle fiendish deeds
With blessedness!

Lord of unsleeping Love,* From everlasting Thou! We shall not die.

* “Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord, mine Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for Judgment,”

These, even these, in mercy didst thou form,
Teachers of Good thro' Evil, by brief wrong
Making Truth lovely, and her future might
Magnetic o'er the fix'd untrembling heart.

In the primeval age a dateless while
The vacant Shepherd wander'd with his flock
Pitching his tent where'er the green grass wav'd.
But soon Imagination conjur'd up
A host of new desires : with busy aim,
Each for himself, Earth's eager children toil'd.
So Property began, twy-streaming fount,
Whence Vice and Virtue flow, honey and gall.
Hence the soft couch, and many-colour'd robe,
The timbrel, and arch'd dome and costly feast,
With all th' inventive arts, that nurs'd the soul
To forms of beauty, and by sensual wants
Unsensualiz'd the mind, which in the means
Learnt to forget the grossness of the end,
Best pleasur'd with its own activity.
And hence Disease that withers manhood's arm,
The dagger'd Envy, spirit-quenching Want,
Warriors, and Lords, and Priests-all the sore ills
That vex and desolate our mortal life.
Wide-wasting ills! yet each th’immediate source
Of mightier good. Their keen necessities
To ceaseless action goading human thought
Have made Earth's reasoning animal her Lord;

&c.—Habakkuk, i. 12. In this paragraph the author recalls himself from his indignation against the instruments of Evil, to contemplate the uses of these evils in the great process of Divine benevolence. In the first age, men were innocent from ignorance of vice; they fell, that by the knowledge of consequences, they might attain intellectual security, i. e. Virtue, which is a wise and strong-nerved Innocence.

« PreviousContinue »