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To dis-involve the moral world, and give
To Nature's renovation brighter charms.
Shall man alone, whose fate, whose final fate,
Hangs on that hour, exclude it from his thought?
I think of nothing else; I see! I feel it!
All Nature, like an earthquake, trembling round!
All deities, like summer's swarms, on wing!
All basking in the full meridian blaze!
I see the Judge enthron'd! the flaming guard!
The volume open'd! open'd every heart!
A sun-beam pointing out each secret thought;
No patron! intercessor none! now past
The sweet, the clement, mediatorial hour!
For guilt no plea! to pain, no pause! no bound!
Inexorable, all! and all, extreme!
Nor man alone; the foe of God and man,
From his dark den, blaspheming, drags his chain,
And rears his brazen front, with thunder scarr'd:
Receives his sentence, and begins his hell.
All vengeance past, now, seems abundant grace:
Like meteors in a stormy sky, how roll
His baleful eyes; he curses whom he dreads;
And deems it the first moment of his fall.
'T is present to my thought! — and yet where is it? Angels can't tell me; angels cannot guess The period; from created beings lock'd In darkness. But the process, and the place, Are less obscure; for these may man inquire. Say, thou great close of human hopes and fears! Great key of hearts! great finisher of fates! Great end! and great beginning! say, Where art thou?
Art thou in time, or in eternity?
Nor in eternity, nor time, I find thee.
These, as two monarchs, on their borders meet,
(Monarchs of all elaps'd, or unarriv'd!)
As in debate, how best their powers ally'd,
May swell the grandeur, or discharge the wrath,
Of him, whom both their monarchies obey.
Time, this vast fabric for him built (and doom'd With him to fall) now bursting o'er his head; His lamp, the Sun, extinguish'd; from beneath The frown of hideous darkness, calls his sons From their long slumber! from Earth's heaving
To second birth! contemporary throng!
Rous'd at one call, upstarted from one bed,
Prest in one crowd, appall'd with one amaze,
He turns them o'er, Eternity! to thee.
Then (as a king depos'd disdains to live)
He falls on his own scythe; nor falls alone;
His greatest foe falls with him; Time, and he
Who murder'd all Time's offspring, Death, expire.
Time was! Eternity now reigns alone!
Aweful eternity! offended queen!
And her resentment to mankind, how just!
With kind intent, soliciting access,
How often has she knock'd at human hearts!
Rich to repay their hospitality,
How often call'd! and with the voice of God!
Yet bore repulse, excluded as a cheat!
A dream! while foulest foes found welcome there!
A dream, a cheat, now, all things, but her smile. For, lo! her twice ten thousand gates thrown wide,
As thrice from Indus to the frozen Pole,
With banners streaming as the comet's blaze,
And clarions, louder than the deep in storms,
Sonorous as immortal breath can blow,
Pour forth their myriads, potentates, and powers,
Of light, of darkness; in a middle field,
Wide, as creation! populous, as wide!
A neutral region! there to mark th' event
Of that great drama, whose preceding scenes
Detain'd them close spectators, through a length
Of ages, ripening to this grand result;
Ages, as yet unnumber'd, but by God;
Who now pronouncing sentence, vindicates
The rights of virtue, and his own renown.
Eternity, the various sentence past, Assigns the sever'd throng distinct abodes, Sulphureous, or ambrosial: what ensues? The deed predominant! the deed of deeds! Which makes a Hell of Hell, a Heaven of Heaven. The goddess, with determin'd aspect, turns Her adamantine key's enormous size Through destiny's inextricable wards, Deep driving every bolt, on both their fates. Then, from the crystal battlements of Heaven, Down, down, she hurls it through the dark profound, Ten thousand thousand fathom; there to rust, And ne'er unlock her resolution more.
The deep resounds; and Hell, through all her
Returns, in groans, the melancholy roar.
O how unlike the chorus of the skies!
O how unlike those shouts of joy, that shake
The whole ethereal! How the concave rings!
Nor strange! when deities their voice exait;
And louder far, than when creation rose.
To see creation's godlike aim, and end,
So well accomplish'd! so divinely clos'd!
To see the mighty dramatist's last act
(As meet) in glory rising o'er the rest.
No fancy'd god, a god indeed, descends,
To solve all knots; to strike the moral home;
To throw full day on darkest scenes of time;
To clear, commend, exalt, and crown the whole.
Hence, in one peal of loud, eternal praise,
The charm'd spectators thunder their applause!
And the vast void beyond, applause resounds.
What then am I?-
Amidst applauding worlds,
And worlds celestial, is there found on Earth,
A peevish, dissonant, rebellious string,
Which jars on the grand chorus, and complains?
Censure on thee, Lorenzo! I suspend,
And turn it on myself; how greatly due!
All, all is right, by God ordain'd or done;
And who, but God, resum'd the friends he gave?
And have I been complaining, then, so long?
Complaining of his favours, pain, and death?
Who, without pain's advice, would e'er be good?
Who, without death, but would be good in vain?
Pain is to save from pain; all punishment,
To make for peace; and death to save from death; And second death, to guard immortal life;
To rouse the careless, the presumptuous awe,
And turn the tide of souls another way;
By the same tenderness divine ordain'd,
That planted Eden, and high-bloom'd for man
A fairer Eden, endless, in the skies.
Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene;
Resumes them, to prepare us for the next.
All evils natural are moral goods;
All discipline, indulgence, on the whole.
None are unhappy all have cause to smile,
But such as to themselves that cause deny.
Our faults are at the bottom of our pains ;
Errour, in acts, or judgment, is the source
Of endless sighs: we sin, or we mistake ;
And Nature tax, when false opinion stings.
Let impious grief be banish'd, joy indulg'd;
But chiefly then, when grief puts in her claim,
Joy from the joyous, frequently betrays,
Oft lives in vanity, and dies in woe.
Joy, amidst ills, corroborates, exalts;
'T is joy, and conquest; joy, and virtue too. A noble fortitude in ills, delights
Heaven, Earth, ourselves; 't is duty, glory, peace,
Affliction is the good man's shining scene;
Prosperity conceals his brightest ray;
As night to stars, woe lustre gives to man.
Heroes in battle, pilots in the storm,
And virtue in calamities, admire;
The crown of manhood is a winter-joy;
An evergreen, that stands the northern blast,
And blossoms in the rigour of our fate.
'T is a prime part of happiness, to know How much unhappiness must prove our lot; A part which few possess! I'll pay life's tax,