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Thrown on her iron lap, the infant lies,
Nor moves her pity by his piercing cries ;
Reason is drowned in passions wailing voice,
We sin by impulse ere we sin by choice;
No soft provisions woven in her plan
For poor, abandoned, weak, degraded man :
For him, the Fates collected ills prepare,
Joy and deception-wisdom and despair.
Yet still the lonely mind looks round for aid, Asks-hopes-distrusts-believes-is much afraid; Whatever doubts our reason may descry,
Some startled feeling gives those doubts the lie;
Even I, the wretch, that here concluding stand,
Myself the product of no heavenly hand,
Even I, the icy space so bravely passed,
Take every step, but tremble at the last.
Suspecting then the heart-its powerful throes Suppressed, and sinking into soft repose; Willing without one cloud the truth to see, Howe'er it humbles, or distresses me; The awful theme let me review once more, And justify my reasoning, or deplore.
If from thy breast thou bid the cloud withdraw,
Within is found a clear, commanding law;
It gives to moral life its noblest shape,
And from its sanctions none, who think, escape;
It binds our feelings with dominion strong;
It speaks of life's great end-of right and wrong;
It is a crowning garland or a rod,
It soothes or punishes-a secret God;
And all the power, that truth revealed can bring,
Meets this deep law and strikes this inward string.
Then, O thou sun of knowledge, hid in shade,
Hear the first prayer thy suppliant ever made;
If, midst the streams of joy that round thee shine,
Thine ear can listen to a voice like mine;
If, midst the rolling orbs that rule the sky,
A floating atom can arrest thine eye;
If Infinite can look on folly weak;
If dust and ashes may presume to speak:
Impart that light, which spirits ransomed see,
And make me know-THIS LAW-myself and thee.
Behold the skies; amidst her starry train
The Queen of Heaven looks down on hill and plain!
Eternal harmony is found above,
And every planet seems to twinkle love;
Deeper and deeper in the blue profound,
New suns arise; new systems circle round;
Worlds behind worlds, in vast profusion spread,
Where not a tear perhaps was ever shed ;—
The scene with glorious proofs is sprinkled o'er—
A God-a God is there-let worlds adore.
Behold our earth-how wonderfully made!
Sweet interchange appears of light and shade!
Here the tall cliff collects the ærial rain;
There the full river pours it through the plain;
Here the high cedar spreads its nobler arms;
There the low lily hides its humbler charms;
Fairest Spring, in garments green, leads on the year,
Then russet Summer's ripening fruits appear;—
What sights and sounds of bliss are poured around!
The quail's wild note, the robin's morning sound,
The mock-bird copying every tuneful bill,
And the low dirges of the whippowil!
The hayman haply when his toil is done,
The insect cohorts wheeling in the sun;—
Even Autumn's faded leaf, and Winter loud,
Present the beauties to the storm and cloud:
We witness changing greens, and snows embossed,
And hardly own that Paradise is lost.
Yet, thus endowed, with all desire can crave,
Man holds the throne, a sufferer and a slave';
In vain the flowers their richest sweets prepare ;
He wanders through his Eden in despair:
The table spread, he hungers yet; the burst
Of water meets him, and he dies with thirst.
In this condition, where afflictions roll,
Religion is an impulse of the soul;
'Tis closely grafted on chastised desire;
Our wants impress it-even our sins inspire;
And skeptic reasoning is a vain employ,
Like reasoning down cur sorrow, or our joy.
Here then I rest; this dark, divided mind
From all its wandering here repose may find:
As when Columbus left the orient shore,
To plough the waters never ploughed before;
Still as the day to night her throne resigned,
A deeper darkness rested on his mind;
More angry tempests drove the midnight clouds,
And strange-voiced demons shrieked around his
Far darker billows seemed, in ranks, to roll,
And even the lying needle left the pole ;
Oft, oft looked out the eye, and nothing ken❜d,
And none could gather where the voyage could end;
Till just as watery ruin threatened there,
And Hope deferred was changing to despair,
One rising morning a new scene unfurled,
And joy, successful, hailed another world ;—
Thus every doubt and every billow past,
My wounded spirit rests in God at last.
Eternal Father, whose pervading breath
Awakes the blossoms from the dust of death,
Whose influence trembles in the morning beam,
Rolls on the cloud and murmurs in the stream;
All objects speak thy power-below-above,
Power ruled by wisdom and combined with love;
When winter drives his angry car along,
Thy praise is uttered in the dreadful song;
When Spring returning, decks her grassy shrine,
Her flowers, her breezes, and her blooms are thine;
Whatever glories in the heavens we trace,
Are faint reflections of thy brighter face;
Could these illumined eyes, more vigorous grown,
Pierce through the veil of heaven and see thy throne,
Could I, replenished with a saint's delight,
Behold the object, not of faith, but sight;
Not more conviction would be then impressed,
Than now possesses this believing breast;
Nor is thy goodness less than being proved,
Goodness by noblest angels most beloved;
Thy laws with silent influence wide extend,
The bad afflicting and the good befriend;
In every region, brightened by the sun,
The outlines of thy kingdom are begun;
Unchanging Wisdom shall complete the plan,
And all be perfect in immortal man.
When wretched man on ruin's waves was tossed,
When innocence and Eden both were lost;
When, exiled from his God, he wandered round,
Where thorns and thistles sprinkled all the ground;
In pity to a wretch, by choice undone,
Thou sendest deliverance by thy sacred Son.
Then, if thou findest Religion's path obscure,
If passions blind thee, or if vice allure;
If angel-voices call in vain to save,
And all thy visions darken o'er the grave;
Still one sweet truth unshaken must remain-
-Ask thine own heart and nothing is so plain.*
O precious system! blessed, bleeding tree!
Red with the balm compassion shed for me!
In mercy to an animated clod,
God sinks to man, that man may soar to God.
Guilt wears the robe of innocence; the tear,
Once wholly hopeless, turns to rapture here;
The wretched share a part; and round the bed,
Where life retires, immortal hopes are shed;