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They are thy witnesses, who speak thy pow'r
And goodness infinite, but speak in ears
That hear not, or receive not their report.
In vain thy creatures testify of thee,
Till thou proclaim thyself. Theirs is indeed
A teaching voice; but 'tis the praise of thine,
That whom it teaches it makes prompt to learn,
And with the boon gives talents for it's use.
Till thou art heard, imaginations vain
Possess the heart, and fables false as Hell,
Yet deem'd oracular, lure down to death
The uniform’d and heedless souls of men.
We give to chance, blind chance, ourselves as blind,
The glory of thy work; which yet appears
Perfect and unimpeachable of blame,
Challenging human scrutiny, and prov'd
Then skilful most, when most severely judg’d.
But chance is not; or is not where thou reign'st:
Thy providence forbids that fickle pow'r
(If pow'r she be, that works but to confound)
To mix her wild vagaries with thy laws.
Yet thus we dote, refusing while we can
Instruction, and inventing to ourselves
Gods such as guilt makes welcome.; gods that sleep,
Or disregard our follies, or that sit
Amus'd spectators of this bustling stage.
Thee we reject, unable to abide
Thy purity, till pure as thou art pure,
Made such by thee, we love thee for that cause,
For which we shunn'd and hated thee before.
Then we are free. Then liberty, like day,
Breaks on the soul, and by a flash from Heav'n
Fires all the faculties with glorious joy.
A voice is heard, that mortal ears hear not,
Till thou hast touch'd them; 'tis the voice of song,
A loud Hosanna sent from all thy works;
Which he that hears it with a shout repeats,
And adds his rapture to the gen'ral praise.
In that blest moment Nature, throwing wide
Her veil opaque, discloses with a smile
The author of her beauties, who, retir'd
Behind his own creation, works unseen
By the impure, and hears his pow'r denied.
Thou art the source and centre of all minds,
Their only point of rest, eternal Word!
From thee departing they are lost, and rove
At random without honour, hope, or peace.
From thee is all, that sooths the life of man,

His high endeavour, and his glad success,
His strength to suffer, and his will to serve.
But 0, thou bounteous giver of all good,
Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown!
Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor;
And with thee rich, take what thou wilt

away.

,

THE TASK.

BOOK VI.

ARGUMENT OF THE SIXTH BOOK.

Bells at a distance.-Their effect.-A fine noon in

winter.– A sheltered walk.-Meditation better than books.-Our familiarity with the course of nature makes it appear less wonderful than it is.The transformation that spring effects in a shrubbery described.- Amistake concerning the course of nature corrected.God maintains it by an unremitted act.-The amusements fashionable at this hour of the day reproved.— Animals happy, a delightful sight.- Origin of cruelty to animals. —That it is a great crime proved from Scripture. - That proof illustrated by a tale.— A line drawn between the lawful and unlawful destruction of them. Their good and useful properties insisted on.- Apology for the encomiums bestowed by the author on animals. - Instances of man's extravagant praise of man.The groans of the creation shall have an end.- A view taken of the restoration of all things. -- An invocation and an invitation of Him who shall bring it to pass.-The retired man vindicated from the charge of uselessness.-Conclusion.

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