ePub 版

When, like a parchment-scroll shrunk up by flames, It folds Lorenzo's lesson from his sight.

Lesson how various! Not the God alone,

I see his ministers: I see, diffus'd

In radiant orders, essences sublime,
Of various offices, of various plume,
In heavenly liveries distinctly clad,
Azure, green, purple, pearl, or downy gold,

Or all commix'd; they stand, with wings outspread,
Listening to catch the master's least command,
And fly through Nature, ere the moment ends;
Numbers innumerable! — Well conceiv'd
By Pagan, and by Christian! O'er each sphere
Presides an angel, to direct its course,
And feed, or fan, its flames; or to discharge
Other high trusts unknown. For who can see
Such pomp of matter, and imagine, mind,
For which alone inanimate was made,
More sparingly dispens'd? That nobler son,
Far liker the great Sire!-'T is thus the skies
Inform us of superiors numberless,

As much in excellence, above mankind,
As above Earth, in magnitude, the spheres.
These, as a cloud of witnesses, hang o'er us;
In a throng'd theatre are all our deeds;
Perhaps, a thousand demigods descend
On every beam we see, to walk with men.
Aweful reflection! Strong restraint from ill!

Yet, here, our virtue finds still stronger aid
From these ethereal glories sense surveys.
Something, like magic, strikes from this blue vault;
With just attention is it view'd? We feel

A sudden succour, unimplor'd, unthought;
Nature herself does half the work of man.
Seas, rivers, mountains, forests, deserts, rocks,
The promontory's height, the depth profound
Of subterranean, excavated grots,

[ocr errors]

Black brow'd, and vaulted high, and yawning wide
From Nature's structure, or the scoop of Time,
If ample of dimension, vast of size,
E'en these an aggrandizing impulse give;
Of solemn thought enthusiastic heights
E'en these infuse. But what of vast in these?
;—or we must own the skies forgot.
Much less in art! Vain art! Thou pigmy power!
How dost thou swell and strut, with human pride,
To show thy littleness! What childish toys,
Thy watery columns squirted to the clouds!
Thy bason'd rivers, and imprison'd seas!
Thy mountains moulded into forms of men!
Thy hundred-gated capitals! or those
Where three days' travel left us much to ride;
Gazing on miracles by mortals wrought,
Arches triumphal, theatres immense,
Or nodding gardens pendent in mid-air!
Or temples proud to meet their Gods half-way!
Yet these affect us in no common kind.
What then the force of such superior scenes?
Enter a temple, it will strike an awe:
What awe from this the Deity has built!
A good man seen, though silent, counsel gives:
The touch'd spectator wishes to be wise:
In a bright mirror his own hands have made,
Here we see something like the face of God.
Seems it not then enough, to say, Lorenzo!
To man abandon'd, "Hast thou seen the skies?"
And yet, so thwarted Nature's kind design
By daring man, he makes her sacred awe
(That guard from ill) his shelter, his temptation
To more than common guilt, and quite inverts

The trembling stars


Celestial art's intent.
See crimes gigantic, stalking through the gloom
With front erect, that hide their head by day,
And making night still darker by their deeds.
Slumbering in covert, till the shades descend,
Rapine and murder, link'd, now prowl for prey.
The miser earths his treasure; and the thief,
Watching the mole, half-beggars him ere morn.
Now plots, and foul conspiracies, awake;
And, muffling up their horrours from the Moon,
Havock and devastation they prepare,
And kingdoms tottering in the field of blood.
Now sons of riot in mid-revel rage.
What shall I do? - Suppress it? or proclaim?-
Why sleeps the thunder? Now, Lorenzo! now,
His best friend's couch the rank adulterer
Ascends secure; and laughs at gods and men.
Preposterous madmen, void of fear or shame,
Lay their crimes bare to these chaste eyes of Heaven;
Yet shrink, and shudder, at a mortal's sight.
Were Moon and stars for villains only made?
To guide, yet screen them, with tenebrious light?
No, they were made to fashion the sublime
Of human hearts, and wiser make the wise.
Those ends were answer'd once; when mortals
Of stronger wing, of aquiline ascent
In theory sublime. O how unlike
Those vermin of the night, this moment sung,
Who crawl on Earth, and on her venom feed!
Those ancient sages, human stars! they met
Their brothers of the skies, at midnight hour;
Their counsel ask'd; and, what they ask'd, obey'd.
The Stagirite, and Plato, he who drank
The poison'd bowl, and he of Tusculum,
With him of Corduba (immortal names!)
In these unbounded, and Elysian, walks,
An area fit for gods, and godlike men,
They took their nightly round, through radiant
By seraphs trod; instructed, chiefly, thus,
To tread in their bright footsteps here below;
To walk in worth still brighter than the skies.
There they contracted their contempt of Earth;
Of hopes eternal kindled, there, the fire;
There, as in near approach, they glow'd, and grew
(Great visitants!) more intimate with God,
More worth to men, more joyous to themselves.
Through various virtues, they, with ardour, ran
The zodiac of their learn'd illustrious lives.


In Christian hearts, O for a Pagan zeal! A needful, but opprobrious prayer! as much Our ardour less, as greater is our light. How monstrous this in mortals! Scarce more strange Would this phenomenon in Nature strike, A sun, that froze her, or a star, that warm'd. What taught these heroes of the moral world? To these thou giv'st thy praise, give credit too. These doctors ne'er were pension'd to deceive tnee; And Pagan tutors are thy taste. They taught, That narrow views betray to misery: That wise it is to comprehend the whole : That virtue rose from Nature, ponder'd well, The single base of virtue built to Heaven: That God and Nature our attention claim: That Nature is the glass reflecting God, As, by the sea, reflected is the Sun, Too glorious to be gaz'd on in his sphere. That mind immortal loves immortal aims: That boundless mind affects a boundless space : That vast surveys, and the sublime of things, The soul assimilate, and make her great:

That, therefore, Heaven her glories, as a fund
Of inspiration, thus spreads out to man.
Such are their doctrines; such the night inspir'd.
And what more true? What truth of greater

The soul of man was made to walk the skies;
Delightful outlet of her prison here!

There, disencumber'd from her chains, the ties
Of toys terrestrial, she can rove at large;
There, freely can respire, dilate, extend,
In full proportion let loose all her powers;
And, undeluded, grasp at something great.
Nor, as a stranger, does she wander there;
But, wonderful herself, through wonder strays;
Contemplating their grandeur, finds her own;
Dives deep in their economy divine,
Sits high in judgment on their various laws,
And, like a master, judges not amiss.
Hence greatly pleas'd, and justly proud, the soul
Grows conscious of her birth celestial; breathes
More life, more vigour, in her native air;
And feels herself at home amongst the stars;
And, feeling, emulates our country's praise.

What call we, then, the firmament, Lorenzo?
As earth the body, since the skies sustain
The soul with food, that gives immortal life,
Call it, the noble pasture of the mind;
Which there expatiates, strengthens, and exults,
And riots through the luxuries of thought.
Call it, the garden of the Deity,

Blossom'd with stars, redundant in the growth
Of fruit ambrosial; moral fruit to man.
Call it, the breast-plate of the true High-Priest,
Ardent with gems oracular, that give,
In points of highest moment, right response;
And ill neglected, if we prize our peace.

Thus have we found a true astrology;
Thus have we found a new, and noble sense,
In which alone stars govern human fates.
O that the stars (as some have feign'd) let fall
Bloodshed, and havock, on embattled realms,
And rescued monarchs from so black a guilt!
Bourbon! this wish how generous in a foe! [God,
Wouldst thou be great, wouldst thou become a
And stick thy deathless name among the stars,
For mighty conquests on a needle's point?
Instead of forging chains for foreigners,
Bastile thy tutor : grandeur all thy aim?
As yet thou know'st not what it is: how great,
How glorious, then, appears the mind of man,
When in it all the stars, and planets, roll!
And what it seems, it is great objects make
Great minds, enlarging as their views enlarge;
Those still more godlike, as these more divine.
And more divine than these, thou canst not see.
Dazzled, o'er-power'd, with the delicious draught
Of miscellaneous splendours, how I reel
From thought to thought, inebriate, without end!
An Eden, this! a Paradise unlost!

I meet the Deity in every view,

And tremble at my nakedness before him!
O that I could but reach the tree of life!
For here it grows, unguarded from our taste;
No flaming sword denies our entrance here;
Would man but gather, he might live for ever.

Lorenzo! much of moral hast thou seen.
Of curious arts art thou more fond? Then mark
The mathematic glories of the skies,
In number, weight, and measure, all ordain'd.
Lorenzo's boasted builders, chance, and fute,


Are left to finish his aërial towers;
Wisdom and choice, their well-known characters
Here deep impress; and claim it for their own.
Though splendid all, no splendour void of use;
Use rivals beauty; art contends with power;
No wanton waste, amid effuse expense;
The great economist adjusting all
To prudent pomp, magnificently wise.
How rich the prospect! and for ever new!
And newest to the man that views it most
For newer still in infinite succeeds.
Then, these aërial racers, O how swift!
How the shaft loiters from the strongest string!
Spirit alone can distance the career.
Orb above orb ascending without end!
Circle in circle, without end, enclos'd!
Wheel, within wheel; Ezekiel! like to thine!
Like thine, it seems a vision or a dream;
Though seen, we labour to believe it true!
What involution! what extent! what swartos
Of worlds, that laugh at Earth! immensely great!
Immensely distant from each other's spheres!
What, then, the wondrous space through which they

At once it quite ingulfs all human thought;
'T is comprehension's absolute defeat.

Nor think thou seest a wild disorder here;
Through this illustrious chaos to the sight,
Arrangement neat, and chastest order, reign.
The path prescrib'd, inviolably kept,
Upbraids the lawless sallies of mankind.
Worlds, ever thwarting, never interfere;

What knots are ty'd! How soon are they dissolv'd,
And set the seeming marry'd planets free!
They rove for ever, without errour rove;
Confusion unconfus'd! nor less admire
This tumult untumultuous; all on wing!
In motion, all! yet what profound repose!
What fervid action, yet no noise! as aw'd
To silence by the presence of their Lord;
Or hush'd by his command in love to man,
And bid let fall soft beams on human rest,
Restless themselves. On yon cerulean plain
In exultation to their God, and thine,
They dance, they sing eternal jubilee,
Eternal celebration of his praise.

But, since their song arrives not at our ear,
Their dance perplex'd exhibits to the sight
Fair hieroglyphic of his peerless power.
Mark, how the labyrinthian turns they take,
The circles intricate, and mystic maze,
Weave the grand cypher of Omnipotence ;
To Gods, how great! how legible to man !

Leaves so much wonder greater wonder still?
Where are the pillars that support the skies?
What more than Atlantean shoulder props
Th' incumbent load? what magic, what strange art,
In fluid air these ponderous orbs sustains?
Who would not think them hung in golden chains?
And so they are; in the high will of Heaven,
Which fixes all; makes adamant of air,
Or air of adamant; makes all of nought,
Or nought of all; if such the dread decree.

Imagine from their deep foundations torn
The most gigantic sons of Earth, the broad
And towering Alps, all tost into the sea;
And, light as down, or volatile as air,
Their bulks enormous, dancing on the waves,
In time, and measure, exquisite; while all
The winds, in emulation of the spheres,

Tune their sonorous instruments aloft;
The concert swell, and animate the ball.
Would this appear amazing? What, then, worlds,
In a far thinner element sustain'd,
And acting the same part, with greater skill,
More rapid movement, and for noblest ends?
More obvious ends to pass, are not these stars
The seats majestic, proud imperial thrones,
On which angelic delegates of Heaven,
At certain periods, as the Sovereign nods,
Discharge high trusts of vengeance, or of love;
To clothe, in outward grandeur, grand design,
And acts most solemn still more solemnize?
Ye citizens of air! what ardent thanks,
What full effusion of the grateful heart,
Is due from man indulg'd in such a sight!
A sight so noble! and a sight so kind!
It drops new truths at every new survey!
Feels not Lorenzo something stir within,
That sweeps away all period? As these spheres
Measure duration, they no less inspire
The godlike hope of ages without end.
The boundless space, through which these rovers
Their restless roam, suggests the sister-thought
Of boundless time. Thus, by kind Nature's skill,
To man unlabour'd, that important guest,
Eternity, finds entrance at the sight:
And an eternity, for man ordain'd,
Or these his destin'd midnight counsellors,
The stars, had never whisper'd it to man.
Nature informs, but ne'er insults, her sons.
Could she then kindle the most ardent wish
To disappoint it?-That is blasphemy.
Thus, of thy creed a second article,
Momentous, as the existence of a God,
Is found (as I conceive) where rarely sought:
And thou mayst read thy soul immortal, here.


Here, then, Lorenzo! on these glories dwell; Nor want the guilt-illuminated roof, That calls the wretched gay to dark delights. Assemblies?- This is one divinely bright; Here, unendanger'd in health, wealth, or fame, Range through the fairest, and the Sultan scorn. He, wise as thou, no crescent holds so fair, As that, which on his turban awes a world; And thinks the Moon is proud to copy him. Look on her, and gain more than worlds can give, A mind superior to the charms of power. Thou muffled in delusions of this life! Can yonder Moon turn ocean in his bed, From side to side, in constant ebb and flow, And purify from stench his watery realms? And fails her moral influence? wants she power To turn Lorenzo's stubborn tide of thought From stagnating on Earth's infected shore, And purge from nuisance his corrupted heart? Fails her attraction when it draws to Heaven? Nay, and to what thou valuest more, Earth's joy? Minds elevate, and panting for unseen, And defecate from sense, alone obtain Full relish of existence un deflower'd, The life of life, the zest of worldly bliss:

All else on Earth amounts-to what? To this: "Bad to be suffer'd; blessings to be left :" Earth's richest inventory boasts no more.

Of higher scenes be, then, the call obey'd. O let me gaze!-Of gazing there's no end. O let me think!- Thought too is wilder'd here; In mid-way flight imagination tires; Yet soon re-prunes her wing to soar anew,

Her point unable to forbear, or gain;
So great the pleasure, so profound the plan!
A banquet, this, where men and angels meet,
Eat the same manna, mingle Earth and Heaven.
How distant some of the nocturnal suns!
So distant (says the sage), 't were not absurd
To doubt, if beams, set out at Nature's birth,
Are yet arriv'd at this so foreign world;
Though nothing half so rapid as their flight.
An eye of awe and wonder let me roll,
And roll for ever: who can satiate sight
In such a scene? in such an ocean wide

Of deep astonishment? where depth, height, breadth,
Are lost in their extremes; and where to count
The thick-sown glories in this field of fire,
Perhaps a seraph's computation fails.
Now, go, Ambition! boast thy boundless might
In conquest o'er the tenth part of a grain.
And yet Lorenzo calls for miracles,
To give his tottering faith a solid base.
Why call for less than is already thine?
Thou art no novice in theology;
What is a miracle?—'T is a reproach,
'T is an implicit satire, on mankind;
And while it satisfies, it censures too.

To common sense, great Nature's course proclaims
A Deity: when mankind falls asleep,
A miracle is sent, as an alarm;

To wake the world, and prove him o'er again,
By recent argument, but not more strong.
Say, which imports more plenitude of power,
Or Nature's laws to fir, or to repeal?
To make a sun, or stop his mid career?
To countermand his orders, and send back
The flaming courier to the freighted East,
Warm'd, and astonish'd, at his evening ray;
Or bid the Moon, as with her journey tir'd,
In Ajalon's soft, flowery vale repose?
Great things are these; still greater, to create.
From Adam's bower look down through the whole

Of miracles; -resistless is their power?
They do not, can not, more amaze the mind,
Than this, call'd un-miraculous survey,
If duly weigh'd, if rationally seen,

If seen with human eyes. The brute, indeed,
Sees nought but spangles here; the fool, no more.
Say'st thou," The course of Nature governs all ?"
The course of Nature is the art of God.
The miracles thou call'st for, this attests;
For say, Could Nature Nature's course control?
But miracles apart, who sees him not,
Nature's Controller, Author, Guide, and End!
Who turns his eye on Nature's midnight face,
But must inquire" What hand behind the scene,
What arm Almighty, put these wheeling globes
In motion, and wound up the vast machine?
Who rounded in his palm these spacious orbs?
Who bow'd them flaming through the dark profound,
Numerous as glittering gems of morning-dew,
Or sparks from populous cities in a blaze,
And set the bosom of old night on fire?
Peopled her desert, and made horrour smile?"
Or, if the military style delights thee,
(For stars have fought their battles, leagu'd with
"Who marshals this bright host? enrols their


Appoints their post, their marches, and returns Punctual at stated periods? Who disbands These veteran troops, their final duty done,

If e'er disbanded?"- He, whose potent word,
Like the loud trumpet, levy'd first their powers
In night's inglorious empire, where they slept
In beds of darkness: arm'd them with fierce flames,
Arrang'd, and disciplin'd, and cloth'd in gold;
And call'd them out of chaos to the field,
Where now they war with vice and unbelief.
O let us join this army! joining these,
Will give us hearts intrepid, at that hour,
When brighter flames shall cut a darker night;
When these strong demonstrations of a God
Shall hide their heads, or tumble from their spheres,
And one eternal curtain cover all!

Struck at that thought, as new awak'd, I lift
A more enlighten'd eye, and read the stars
To man still more propitious; and their aid
(Though guiltless of idolatry) implore;
Nor longer rob them of their noblest name.
O ye dividers of my time! Ye bright
Accomptants of my days, and months, and years,
In your fair calendar distinctly marked!
Since that authentic, radiant register,

Though man inspects it not, stands good against him; Since you and years roll on, though man stands still;

Teach me my days to number, and apply
My trembling heart to wisdom; now beyond
All shadow of excuse for fooling on.
Age smooths our path to prudence! sweeps aside
The snares keen appetite and passion spread
To catch stray souls; and woe to that gray head,
Whose folly would undo what age has done!
Aid then, aid, all ye stars! - Much rather, thou,
Great Artist! thou, whose finger set aright
This exquisite machine, with all its wheels,
Though intervolv'd, exact; and pointing out
Life's rapid and irrevocable flight,
With such an index fair as none can miss,
Who lifts an eye, nor sleeps till it is clos'd;
Open mine eye, dread Deity! to read
The tacit doctrine of thy works; to see
Things as they are, un-alter'd through the glass
Of worldly wishes. Time, eternity!
('T is these, mis-measured, ruin all mankind)
Set them before me; let me lay them both
In equal scale, and learn their various weight.
Let time appear a moment, as it is;
And let eternity's full orb, at once,
Turn on my soul, and strike it into Heaven.
When shall I see far more than charms me now?
Gaze on creation's model in thy breast
Unveil'd, nor wonder at the transcript more?
When this vile, foreign dust, which smothers all
That travel Earth's deep vale, shall I shake off?
When shall my soul her incarnation quit,
And, re-adopted to thy blest embrace,
Obtain her apotheosis in thee?

Dost think, Lorenzo, this is wandering wide ?
No, 't is directly striking at the mark;
To wake thy dead devotion* was my point;
And how I bless night's consecrating shades,
Which to a temple turn an universe;
Fill us with great ideas, full of Heaven,
And antidote the pestilential Earth!
In every storm, that either. frowns, or falls,
What an asylum has the soul in prayer!
And what a fane is this, in which to pray!
And what a God must dwell in such a fane!
Page 596.

O what a genius must inform the skies!
And is Lorenzo's salamander heart

Cold, and untouch'd, amid the sacred fires?
O ye nocturnal sparks! ye glowing embers,
On Heaven's broad hearth! who burn, or burn no


Who blaze, or die, as great Jehovah's breath
Or blows you, or forbears: assist my song;
Pour your whole influence; exorcise his heart,
So long possest; and bring him back to man.
And is Lorenzo a demurrer still?
Pride in thy parts provokes thee to contest
Truths, which, contested, put thy parts to shame.
Nor shame they more Lorenzo's head than heart,
A faithless heart, how despicably small!
Too strait aught great, or generous, to receive!
Fill'd with an atom! fill'd, and foul'd, with self!
And self-mistaken! self, that lasts an hour!
Instincts and passions, of the nobler kind,
Lie suffocated there; or they alone,
Reason apart, would wake high hope; and open,
To ravish'd thought, that intellectual sphere,
Where order, wisdom, goodness, providence,
Their endless miracles of love display,
And promise all the truly-great desire.
The mind that would be happy, must be great;
Great, in its wishes; great, in its surveys;
Extended views a narrow mind extend;
Push out its corrugate, expansive make,
Which, ere long, more than planets shall embrace.
A man of compass makes a man of worth;
Divine contemplate, and become divine.

As man was made for glory, and for bliss,
All littleness is in approach to woe;
Open thy bosom, set thy wishes wide,
And let in manhood; let in happiness;
Admit the boundless theatre of thought
From nothing, up to God; which makes a man.
Take God from Nature, nothing great is left!
Man's mind is in a pit, and nothing sees;
Man's heart is in a jakes, and loves the mire.
Emerge from thy profound; erect thine eye;
See thy distress! how close art thou besieg`d!
Besieg'd by Nature, the proud sceptic's foe!
Enclos'd by these innumerable worlds,
Sparkling conviction on the darkest mind,
As in a golden net of Providence.
How art thou caught, sure captive of belief!
From this thy blêst captivity, what art,
What blasphemy to reason, sets thee free!
This scene is Heaven's indulgent violence :
Canst thou bear up against this tide of glory?
What is earth bosom'd in these ambient orbs,
But, faith in God impos'd, and press'd on man?
Dar'st thou still litigate thy desperate cause,
Spite of these numerous, aweful witnesses,
And doubt the deposition of the skies?
O how laborious is thy way to ruin!

Laborious! 't is impracticable quite;
To sink beyond a doubt, in this debate,
With all his weight of wisdom and of will,
And crime flagitious, I defy a fool.
Some wish they did; but no man disbelieves.
God is a spirit; spirit cannot strike
organs; God by man
As much is seen, as man a God can see,
In these astonishing exploits of power.
What order, beauty, motion, distance, size!
Conception of design, how exquisite!
How complicate, in their divine police!

gross, material

Apt means! great ends! consent to general good! | If in the last, how many knots beside,
Each attribute of these material gods,

So long (and that with specious pleas) ador'd,
A separate conquest gains o'er rebel thought;
And leads in triumph the whole mind of man.
Lorenzo! this may seem harangue to thee;
Such all is apt to seem, that thwarts our will.
And dost thou, then, demand a simple proof
Of this great master-moral of the skies,
Unskill'd, or dis-inclin'd, to read it there?
Since 't is the basis, and all drops without it,
Take it, in one compact, unbroken chain.
Such proof insists on an attentive ear;
'T will not make one amid a mob of thoughts,
And, for thy notice, struggle with the world.
Retire;-the world shut out;-thy thoughts call
home ;-

[ocr errors]

Imagination's airy wing repress ;-
Lock up thy senses; let no passion stir ; -
Wake all to reason;-let her reign alone;
Then, in thy soul's deep silence, and the depth
Of Nature's silence, midnight, thus inquire,
As I have done; and shall inquire no more.
In Nature's channel, thus the questions run:
"What am I? and from whence?-I nothing

[ocr errors]

Indissoluble all ?- Why choose it there,

Where, chosen, still subsist ten thousand more?
Reject it, where, that chosen, all the rest
Dispers'd, leave reason's whole horizon clear;
This is not reason's dictate; reason says, [scale;'
Close with the side where one grain turns the
What vast preponderance is here! can reason
With louder voice exclaim - Believe a God?'
And reason heard, is the sole mark of man.
What things impossible must man think true,
On any other system! and how strange
To disbelieve, through mere credulity!"
If, in this chain, Lorenzo finds no flaw,
Let it for ever bind him to belief.

And where the link, in which a flaw he finds?
And, if a God there is, that God how great!
How great that power, whose providential care
Through these bright orbs' dark centres darts a ray!
Of Nature universal threads the whole!
And hangs creation, like a precious gem,
Though little, on the footstool of his throne!

That little gem, how large! a weight let fall
From a fix'd star, in ages can it reach
This distant Earth? Say, then, Lorenzo! where,
Where ends this mighty building? Where, begin
The suburbs of Creation? Where, the wall
Whose battlements look o'er into the vale
Of non-existence? Nothing's strange abode !
Say, at what point of space Jehovah dropp'd
His slacken'd line, and laid his balance by;
Weigh'd worlds, and measur'd infinite, no more?
Where, rears his terminating pillar high
Its extra-mundane head? and says, to gods,
In characters illustrious as the Sun,
[too?" I stand, the plan's proud period; I pronounce
The work accomplish'd; the creation clos'd:
Shout, all ye gods! nor shout, ye gods alone;
Of all that lives, or, if devoid of life,

But that I am; and, since I am, conclude
Something eternal: had there e'er been nought,
Nought still had been; eternal there must be..
But what eternal? Why not human race?
And Adam's ancestors without an end?.
That's hard to be conceiv'd, since every link
Of that long-chain'd succession is so frail.
Can every part depend, and not the whole?
Yet grant it true; new difficulties rise;
I'm still quite out at sea; nor see the shore.
Whence Earth, and these bright orbs? - Eternal
Grant matter was eternal; still these orbs
Would want some other father;- much design
Is seen in all their motions, all their makes;
Design implies intelligence, and art;
That can't be from themselves - -or man: that art
Man scarce can comprehend, could man bestow?
And nothing greater yet allow'd than man.-
Who, motion, foreign to the smallest grain,
Shot through vast masses of enormous weight?
Who bid brute matter's restive lump assume
Such various forms, and gave it wings to fly?
Has matter innate motion? then each atom,
Asserting its indisputable right

To dance, would form an universe of dust:
Has matter none? Then whence these glorious forms
And boundless flights, from shapeless, and repos'd?
Has matter more than motion? has it thought,
Judgment, and genius? is it deeply learn'd
In mathematics? Has it fram'd such laws,
Which but to guess, a Newton made immortal?
If so, how each sage atom laughs at me,
Who think a clod inferior to a man!
If art, to form; and counsel, to conduct;
And that with greater far than human skill,
Resides not in each block; -a Godhead reigns.
Grant, then, invisible, eternal, Mind;

That granted, all is solv'd-But, granting that,
Draw I not o'er me a still darker cloud?
Grant I not that which I can ne'er conceive?

A being without origin, or end! -
Hail, human, liberty! There is no God-

Yet, why? On either scheme that knot subsists;
Subsist it must, in God, or human race:

[blocks in formation]

Hard are those questions ;-answer harder still.
Is this the sole exploit, the single birth,
The solitary son of power divine?
Or has th' Almighty Father, with a breath,
Impregnated the womb of distant space?
Has he not bid, in various provinces,
Brother-creations the dark bowels burst
Of night primeval; barren, now, no more?
And he the central sun, transpiercing all
Those giant-generations, which disport,
And dance, as motes, in his meridian ray;
That ray withdrawn, benighted, or absorb'd,
In that abyss of horrour, whence they sprung;
While Chaos triumphs, repossest of all
Rival creation ravish'd from his throne?
Chaos! of Nature both the womb, and grave!
Think'st thou my scheme, Lorenzo, spreads too

Is this extravagant?-No; this is just;
Just in conjecture, though 't were false in fact.
If 't is an errour, 't is an errour sprung
From noble root, high thought of the Most-High.
But wherefore errour? who can prove it such?-
He that can set Omnipotence a bound.
Can man conceive beyond what God can do?
Nothing but quite fmpossible is hard.
He summons into ng, with like ease,
A whole creation, ingle grain.

« 上一頁繼續 »