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FOUNTAIN of light! from whom yon rising sun
First drew his splendour; source of life and love!
Whose smile awakes o’er earth's rekindling face
The boundless blush of spring; O first and best!
Thy essence, though from human sight and search,
Though from the climb of all created thought,
Ineffably removed; yet man himself,
Thy humble child of reason, man may read
The Maker's hand, intelligence supreme,
Unbounded power, on all his works imprest,
In characters coëval with the sun,
And with the sun to last; from world to world,
From age to age, through every clime reveal’d.
Hail Universal Goodness! in full stream
For ever flowing
Through earth, air, sea, to all things that have life;
From all that live on earth, in air, and sea,
The great community of nature's sons,
To thee, first Father, ceaseless praise ascend,
And in the general hymn my grateful voice
Be duly heard, among thy works, not least,
Nor lowest; with intelligence inform’d,
To know thee and adore: with freedom crown'd,
Where virtue leads, to follow and be blest.
Oh, whether, by thy prime decree ordain'd
To days of future life, or whether now
The mortal hour is instant, still vouchsafe,
Parent and friend! to guide me blameless on
Through this dark scene of error and of ill,
Thy truth to light me, and thy peace to cheer.
All else, of me unask'd, thy will supreme
Withhold or grant; and let that will be done.
ON HIS OWN BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide;
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?"
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “ God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
EVE'S LAMENT ON HER EXPULSION FROM PARADISE.
O UNEXPECTED stroke, worse than of death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise ? thus leave
Thee, native soil! these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of gods? where I had hoped to spend,
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O flowers,
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
At eve, which I bred up with tender hand,
From the first op'ning bud, and gave ye names !
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial* fount?
Thee lastly, nuptial bower! by me adorned
With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world, to this obscure
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?.
SHORTNESS OF LIFE AND UNCERTAINTY OF RICHES.
BORN, 1618; Died, 1667.
THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE AND UNCERTAINTY OF
Why dost thou heap up wealth, which thou must quit,
Or, what is worse, be left by it ?
Why dost thou load thyself when thou’rt to fly,
O man! ordain'd to die?
Why dost thou build up stately rooms on high,
Thou who art under ground to lie ?
Thou sow'st and plant'st, but no fruit must see,
For death, alas! is reaping thee.
Suppose thou fortune couldst to tameness bring,
And clip or pinion her wing;
Suppose thou couldst on fate so far prevail,
As not to cut off thy entail ;
Yet death at all that subtlety will laugh;
Death will that foolish gard'ner mock,
Who does a slight and annual plant ingraff
Upon a lasting stock. -
Thou dost thyself wise and industrious deem;
A mighty husband thou wouldst seem;
Fond man! like a bought slave, thou all the while
Dost but for others sweat and toil.
Officious fool! that needs must meddling be
In business that concerns not thee;
For when to future years thou extend'st thy cares,
Thou deal'st in other men's affairs.
Ev'n aged men, as if they truly were
Children again, for age prepare ;
Provisions for long travel they design,
In the last point of their short line.
Wisely the ant against poor winter hoards
The stock which summer's wealth affords;
In grasshoppers, that must at autumn die,
How vain were such an industry!
The wise example of the heav'nly lark,
Thy fellow-poet, Cowley! mark;
Above the clouds let thy proud music sound;
Thy humble nest build on the ground.
SIR EDWARD SHERBURNE.
BORN, 1618; DIED, 1702.
TO THE ETERNAL WISDOM. O THOU eternal Mind! whose wisdom sees And rules our changes by unchanged decrees; As with delight on thy grave works we look, Say, art thou too with our light follies took ? For when thy bounteous hand, in liberal showers, Each way diffused thy various blessings pours, We catch at them with strife, as vain to sight, As children when for nuts they scrambling fight. This snatching at a sceptre breaks it; he That broken does ere he can grasp it see; The poor world seeming like a ball, that lights Betwixt the hands of powerful opposites : Which, while they cantonize in their bold pride, They but an immaterial point divide. Oh! whilst for wealthy spoils these fight, let me, Though poor, enjoy a happy peace with thee.
Born, 1620; DIED, 1678.
THE EMIGRANT'S SACRED SONG.
WHERE the remote Bermudas ride,
In th’ ocean's bosom unespy'd,
From a small boat that row'd along,
The list’ning winds receiv'd their song.
“What should we do, but sing His praise
That led us through the wat’ry maze,
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own.
“Where He the huge sea-monsters racks,
That lift the deep upon their backs;
He lands us on a grassy stage,
Safe from the storms and prelates' rage.
"He gave us this eternal spring
Which here enamels every thing,
And sends the fowls to us in care,
On daily visits through the air.
“He hangs in shades the orange bright,
Like golden lamps in a green night,
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple where to sound his name.
“Oh! let our voice his praise exalt
Till it arrive at Heaven's vault,
Which then perhaps rebounding may
Echo beyond the Mexique bay."
Thus sang they in the English boat,
A holy and a cheerful note,
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.
BORN, 1621 ; DIED, 1695.
EARLY RISING AND PRAYER. When first thy eyes unveil, give thy soul leave To do the like; our bodies but forerun The spirit's duty: true hearts spread and heave Unto their God as flowers do to the sun; Give Him thy first thoughts then, so shalt thou keep Him
company all day, and in him sleep.