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See on the mountain's southern side,
Where the prospect opens wide,
Where the evening gilds the tide ;
How close and small the hedges lie!
What streaks of meadows cross the eye!
A step, methinks, may pass the stream,
So little distant dangers seem ;
So we mistake the future's face,
Eyed through Hope's deluding glass;
As yon summit, soft and fair,
Clad in colours of the air,
Which to those who journey near,
Barren, brown, and rough appear;
Still we tread the same coarse way,
The present's still a cloudy day.
Oh may I with myself agree,
And never covet what I see!
Content me with an humble shade,
My passions tamed, my wishes laid;
For, while our wishes wildly roll,
We banish quiet from the soul :
'Tis thus the busy beat the air,
And misers gather wealth and care.
now, my joys run high,
As on the mountain-turf I lie ;
While the wanton Zephyr sings,
And in the vale perfumes his wings;
While the waters murmur deep;
While the shepherd charms his sheep:
While the birds unbounded fly,
And with music fill the sky,
Now, ev’n now, my joys run high.
Be full, ye courts; be great who will ; Search for Peace with all your
Open wide the lofty door,
Seek her on the marble floor.
In vain you search, she is not there;
In vain you search the domes of Care !
Grass and flowers Quiet treads,
On the meads and mountain-heads;
Along with Pleasure, close allied,
Ever by each others' side;
And often, by the murmuring rill,
Hears the thrush, while all is still,
Within the groves of Grongar Hill.
UNCERTAINTY OF HUMAN HAPPINESS.
TIRED Nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep! He, like the world, his ready visit pays Where Fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes; Swift on his downy pinion flies from wo, And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.
From short (as usual) and disturb'd repose, I wake: How happy they who wake no more! Yet that were vain, if dreams infest the grave. I wake, emerging from a sea of dreams Tumultuous; where my wreck'd, desponding thought From wave to wave of fancied misery, At random drove, her helm of reason lost. Though now restored, 'tis only change of pain (A bitter change!), severer for severe. The day too short for my distress; and night, Ev'n in the zenith of her dark domain, Is sunshine to the colour of my fate.
Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne, In rayless majesty now stretches forth Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumbering world. Silence, how dead! and darkness, how profound! Nor eye nor listening ear an object finds; Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the general pulse Of life stood still, and nature made a pause; An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
And let her prophecy be soon fulfill'd;
Fate! drop the curtain ; I can lose no more.
Silence and darkness! solemn sisters! twins
From ancient night, who nurse the tender thought!
To reason, and on reason build resolve
(l'hat column of true majesty in man),
Assist me: I will thank you in the grave:
The grave, your kingdom: there this frame shall fall
A victim sacred to your dreary shrine.
But what are ye?
Thou, who didst put to flight Primeval silence, when the morning stars, Exulting, shouted o'er the rising ball; Oh thou, whose word from solid darkness struck That spark, the sun; strike wisdom from my soul ; My soul, which flies to thee, her trust, her treasure, As misers to their gold, while others rest.
Through this opaque of nature and of soul, This double night, transmit one pitying ray To lighten and to cheer. Oh lead my mind (A mind that fain would wander from its wo), Lead it through various scenes of life and death; And from each scene the noblest truths inspire. Nor less inspire my conduct than my song ; Teach my best reason reason; my best will Teach rectitude ; and fix my firm resolve Wisdom to wed, and pay her long arrear: Nor let the vial of thy vengeance, pour'd On this devoted head, be pour’d in vain.
The bell strikes one. We take no note of time But from its loss. To give it then a tongue Is wise in man. As if an angel spoke, I feel the solemn sound. If heard aright, It is the knell of my departed hours : Where are they? With the years beyond the flood. It is the signal that demands despatch: How much is to be done? My hopes and fears Start up alarm’d, and o'er life's narrow verge Look down on what? a fathomless abyss,
A dread eternity! how surely mine!
And can eternity belong to me,
Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour?
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful is man!
How passing wonder he who made him such!
Who centred in our make such strange extremes !
From different natures mavellously mix'd,
Connexion exquisite of distant worlds !
Distinguish'd link in being's endless chain!
Midway from nothing to the Deity!
A beam ethereal, sullied and absorb'd!
Though sullied and dishonour'd, still divine !
Dim miniature of greatness absolute !
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
Helpless immortal! insect infinite !
A worm! a god !-I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost! at home a stranger,
Thought wanders up and down, surprised, aghast,
And wondering at her own: How reason reels !
Oh what a miracle to man is man,
Triumphantly distress'd! what joy, what dread!
Alternately transported and alarm'd!
What can preserve my life, or what destroy ?
An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;
Legions of angels can't confine me there.
'Tis past conjecture; all things rise in proof:
While o'er my limbs Sleep's soft dominion spread,
What though my soul fantastic measures trod
O'er fairy fields; or mourn'd along the gloom
Of pathless woods; or down the craggy steep
Hurl'd headlong, swam with pain the mantled pool;
Or scaled the cliff; or danced on hollow winds,
With antic shapes, wild natives of the brain?
Her ceaseless flight, though devious, speaks her
Of subtler essence than the trodden clod;
Active, aërial, towering, unconfined,
Unfetter'd with her gross companions' fall.
Ev'n silent night proclaims my soul immortal ;
Ev'n silent night proclaims eternal day.
For human weal Heaven husbands all events;
Dull sleep instrucis, nor sport vain dreams in vain.
Why, then, their loss deplore that are not lost ?
Why wanders wretched thought their tombs around
In infidel distress? Are angels there?
Slumbers, raked up in dust, ethereal fire ?
They live! they greatly live a life on earth
Unkindled, unconceived; and from an eye
Of tenderness let heavenly pity fall
On me, more justly numbered with the dead.
This is the desert, this the solitude :
How populous, how vital is the grave !
This is creation's melancholy vault,
The vale funereal, the sad cypress gloom;
The land of apparitions, empty shades !
All, all on earth is shadow, all beyond
Is substance; the reverse is folly's creed :
How solid all, where change shall be no more!
This is the bud of being, the dim dawn,
The twilight of our day, the vestibule ;
Life's theatre as yet is shut, and death,
Strong death, alone can heave the massy bar,
This gross impediment of clay remove,
And make us embryos of existence free.
From real life, but little more remote
Is he, not yet a candidate for light,
The future embryo, slumbering in his sire.
Einbryos we must be till we burst the shell,
Yon ambient azure shell, and spring to life,
The life of gods, oh transport ! and of man.
Yet man, fool man! here buries all his thoughts ;
Inters celestial hopes without one sigh.
Prisoner of earth, and pent beneath the moon,
Here pinions all his wishes; wing'd by Heaven
To fly at infinite; and reach it there,
Where seraphs gather immortality,
On life's fair tree, fast by the throne of God.