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Back to its heavenly scource thy being goes,
Swift as the comét wheels to whence he rose;
Doom'd on his airy path a while to burn,
And doom'd, like thee, to travel, and return.- .
Hark! from the world's exploding centre driven,
With sounds that shook the firmament of Heaven,
Careers the fiery giant, fast and far,
On bickering wheels, and adamantine car;
From planet whirl’d to planet more remote,
He visits realms beyond the reach of thought;
But, wheeling homeward, when his course is run,
Curbs the red yoke, and mingles with the sun!
And o’er the path by mortal never trod,
Sprung to her source, the bosom of her God!
Oh! lives there, Heaven! beneath thy dread expanse,
One hopeless, dark idolater of Chance,
Content to feed, with pleasures unrefined,
The lukewarm passions of a lowly mind;
Who, mouldering earthward, 'reft of every trust,
In joyless union wedded to the dust,
Could all his parting energy dismiss,
And call this barren world sufficient bliss ?
There live, alas ! of heaven-directed mien,
Of cultured soul, and sapient eye serene,
Who hail thee, man ! the pilgrim of a day,
Spouse of the worm, and brother of the clay,
Frail as the leaf in Autumn's yellow bower,
Dust in the wind, or dew upon the flower ;
A friendless slave, a child without a sire,
Whose mortal life, and momentary fire,
Lights to the grave his chance-created form,
As ocean-wrecks illuminate the storm;
And, when the gun's tremendous flash is o'er,
To night and silence sink for ever more !...
Are these the pompous tidings ye proclaim,
Lights of the world, and demi-gods of Fame ?
Is this your triumph--this your proud applause, Children of Truth, and champions of her cause?
For this hath Science search'd, on weary wing,
By shore and sea- each mute and living thing?
Launch'd with Iberia's pilot from the steep,
To worlds unknown, and isles beyond the deep?
Or round the cope her living chariot driven,
And wheel'd in triumph through the signs of Heaven?
Oh! star-eyed Science, hast thou wander'd there,
To waft us home the message of despair ?
Then bind the palm, thy sage's brow to suit,
Of blasted leaf, and death-distilling fruit !
Ah me! the laurell'd wreath that Murder rears,
Blood-nursed, and water'd by the widow's tears,
Seems not so foul, so tainted, and so dread,
As waves the night-shade round the sceptic head.
What is the bigot's torch, the tyrant's chain ?
I smile on death, if Heaven-ward Hope remain !
But, if the warring winds of Nature's strife
Be all the faithless charter of my life,
If Chance awaked, inexorable power,
This frail and feverish being of an hour ;
Doom'd o'er the world's precarious scene to sweep,
Swift as the tempest travels on the deep,
* To know Delight but by her parting smile,
And toil, and wish, and weep, a little while ;
Then melt, ye elements, that form'd in vain
This troubled pulse, and visionary brain !
Fade, ye wild flowers, memorials of my doom,
And sink, ye stars, that light me to the tomb !
Truth, ever lovely—since the world began,
The foe of tyrants, and the friend of man--
How can thy words from balmy slumber start,
Reposing Virtue, pillow'd on the heart !
Yet, if thy voice the note of thunder roll’d,
And that were true which Nature never told,