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TRIUMPHAL arch, that fill'st the sky

When storms prepare to part,

I ask not proud philosophy

To teach me what thou art

Still seem as to my

childhood's sight,

A midway station given

For happy spirits to alight

Betwixt the earth and heaven.

Can all that optics teach, unfold

Thy form to please me so,

As when I dreamt of gems and gold

Hid in thy radiant bow?

When Science from Creation's face
Enchantment's veil withdraws,

What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!

And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
But words of the Most High,
Have told why first thy robe of beams
Was woven in the sky.

When o'er the green undeluged earth

Heaven's covenant thou didst shine, How came the world's grey fathers forth To watch thy sacred sign.

And when its yellow lustre smiled

O'er mountains yet untrod, Each mother held aloft her child To bless the bow of God.

Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,

The first-made anthem rang On earth deliver'd from the deep,

And the first poet sang.

Nor ever shall the Muse's eye

Unraptured greet thy beam: Theme of primeval prophecy, Be still the poet's theme!

The earth to thee her incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
When glittering in the freshen'd fields
The snowy mushroom springs.

How glorious is thy girdle cast

O'er mountain, tower, and town, Or mirror'd in the ocean vast,

A thousand fathoms down!

As fresh in yon horizon dark,

As young thy beauties seem,

As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam.

For, faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span,
Nor lets the type grow pale with

That first spoke peace to man.


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