« PreviousContinue »
Her raiment, glittering, seem'd a silver white,
And all her sweet companions sons of light.
Straight as I gazed, my fear and wonder grew,
Fear barr'd my voice, and wonder fix'd my view;
When lo! a cherub of the shining crowd,
That sail'd as guardian in her azure cloud,
Fann'd the soft air, and downward seem'd to glide,
And to my lips a living coal applied.
Then while the warmth o'er all my pulses ran,
Diffusing comfort, thus the maid began :
“Where glorious mansions are prepared above, The seats of music and the seats of love, Thence I descend, and Piety my name, To warm thy bosom with celestial flame; To teach thee praises mix'd with humble prayers, And tune thy soul to sing seraphic airs. Be thou my bard.” A vial here she caught (An angel's hand the crystal vial brought); And, as with awful sound the word was said, She pour'd a sacred unction on my head; Then thus proceeded : “Be thy muse thy zeal, Dare to be good, and all my joys reveal. While other pencils flattering forms create, And paint the gaudy plumes that deck the great; While other pens exalt the vain delight, Whose wasteful revel wakes the depth of night; Or others softly sing in idle lines How Damon courts, or Amaryllis shines; More wisely thou select a theme divine, Fame is their recompense, 'tis heaven is thine. Despise the raptures of discorded fire, Where wine, or passion, or applause inspire Low, restless life, and ravings born of earth, Whose meaner subjects speak their humble birth, Like working seas, that, when loud winters blow, Not made for rising, only rage below. Mine is a warm and yet a lambent heat, More lasting still as more intensely great;
Produced where pray'r, and praise, and pleasure
And ever mounting whence it shot beneath.
Unpaint the love, that, hovering over beds,
From glittering pinions guilty pleasure sheds ;
Restore the colour to the golden mines
With which behind the feather'd idol shines ;
To flowering greens give back their native care,
The rose and lily, never his to wear;
To sweet Arabia send the balmy breath;
Strip the fair flesh, and call the phantom death:
His bow he sabled o'er, his shafts the same,
And fork and point them with eternal flame.
“But urge thy powers, thine utmost voice advance,
Make the loud strings against thy fingers dance:
'Tis love that angels praise and men adore,
'Tis love divine that asks it all and more.
Fling back the gates of ever-blazing day,
Pour floods of liquid light to gild the way ;
And all in glory wrapp'd, through paths untrod,
Pursue the great unseen descent of God.
Hail the meek virgin, bid the child appear,
The child is God, and call him Jesus here.
He comes, but where to rest? A manger's nigh,
Make the great Being in a manger lie;
Fill the wide sky with angels on the wing,
Make thousands gaze, and make ten thousand sing;
Let men afflict him, men he came to save,
And still afflict him till he reach the grave;
Make him, resign'd, his loads of sorrow meet,
And me, like Mary, weep beneath his feet;
I'll bathe my tresses there, my prayers rehearse,
And glide in flames of love along my verse.
“Ah! while I speak, I feel my bosom swell, My raptures smother what I long to tell. 'Tis God! a present God! through cleaving air I see the throne, and see the Jesus there Placed on the right. He shows the wounds he bore (My fervours oft have won him thus before):
How pleased he looks! my words have reach'd his He bids the gates unbar, and calls me near. [ear;
She ceased. The cloud on which she seem'd to Its curls unfolded, and around her spread; [tread Bright angels waft their wings to raise the cloud, And sweep their ivory lutes, and sing aloud; The scene moves off, while all its ambient sky Is turn'd to wondrous music as they fly; And soft the swelling sounds of music grow, And faint their softness, till they fail below.
My downy sleep the warmth of Phobus broke, And while my thoughts were settling, thus I spoke. Thou beauteous vision! on the soul impress’d, When most my reason would appear to rest, 'Twas sure with pencils dipp'd in various lights, Some curious angel limn'd thy sacred sights ; From blazing suns his radiant gold he drew, While moons the silver gave, and air the blue. I'll mount the roving winds' exp nded wing, And seek the sacred hill, and light to sing ; ('Tis known in Jewry well) I'll make my lays, Obedient to thy summons, sound with praise.
But still I fear, unwarm’d with holy Aame, I take for truth the flatteries of a dream; And barely wish the wondrous gift I boast, And faintly practise what deserves it most.
Indulgent Lord! whose gracious love displays Joy in the light, and fills the dark with ease! Be this, to bless my days, no dream of bliss ; Or be, to bless the nights, my dreams like this.
Lovely, lasting peace of mind!
Sweet delight of human kind!
Heavenly born, and bred on high,
To crown the favourites of the sky
With more of happiness below
Than victors in a triumph know!
Whither, oh whither art thou fled,
To lay thy meek, contented head;
What happy region dost thou please
To make the seat of calms and ease!
Ambition searches all its sphere
Of pomp and state, to meet thee there.
Increasing avarice would find
Thy presence in its gold enshrined.
The bold adventurer ploughs his way
Through rocks amidst the foaming sea,
To gain thy love; and then perceives
Thou wert not in the rocks and waves.
The silent heart, which grief assails,
Treads soft and lonesome o'er the vales;
Sees daisies open, rivers run,
And seeks (as I have vainly done)
Amusing thought; but learns to know
That solitude's the nurse of wo.
No real happiness is found
In trailing purple o'er the ground:
Or in a soul exalted high,
To range the circuit of the sky,
Converse with stars above, and know
All nature in its forms below;
The rest it seeks, in seeking dies,
And doubts at last, for knowledge, rise.
Lovely, lasting peace, appear; This world itself, if thou art here, Is once again with Eden ble s'd, And man contains it in his breast.
'Twas thus, as under shade I stood, I sung my wishes to the wood, And, lost in thought, no more perceived The branches whisper as they waved : It seem'd as all the quiet place Confess'd the presence of his grace.
When thus she spoke : Go rule thy will,
Bid thy wild passions all be still;
Know God, and bring thy heart to know
The joys which from religion flow :
Then every grace shall prove its guest,
And I'll be there to crown the rest.
Oh! by yonder mossy seat,
In my hours of sweet retreat,
Might I thus my soul employ,
With sense of gratitude and joy:
Raised as ancient prophets were,
In heavenly vision, praise, and prayer;
Pleasing all men, hurting none,
Pleased and bless'd with God alone :
Then while the gardens take my sight,
With all the colours of delight;
While silver waters glide along,
To please my ear and court my song ;
I'll lift my voice and tune my string,
And thee, great source of nature, sing.
The sun that walks his airy way,
To light the world and give the day;
The moon that shines with borrow'd light,
The stars that gild the gloomy night;
The seas that roll unumber'd waves,
The wood that spreads its shady leaves ;
The field whose ears conceal the grain,
The yellow treasure of the plain;
All of these, and all I see,
Should be sung, and sung by me:
They speak their Maker as they can,
But want and ask the tongue of inan.
Go search among your idle dreams,
Your busy or your vain extremes ;
And find a life of equal bliss,
Or own the next begun in this.