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If, in proportion, it be just and meet,
Yet through this weakness of the general heart
Is it enabled to maintain its hold
In that excess which conscience disapproves.
For who could sink and settle to that point
Of selfishness, so senseless who could be,
As long and perseveringly to mourn
For any object of his love removed
From this unstable world, if he could fix
A satisfying view upon that state
Of pure, imperishable blessedness
Which reason promises, and Holy Writ
Insures to all believers ? Yet mistrust
Is of such incapacity, methinks,
No natural branch; despondency far less;
And least of all is absolute despair.

“ And if there be whose tender frames have drooped Even to the dust, apparently through weight Of anguish unrelieved, and lack of power An agonizing sorrow to transmute, Deem not that proof is here of hope withheld When wanted most, -- a confidence impaired So pitiably, that, having ceased to see With bodily eyes, they are borne down by love Of what is lost, and perish through regret. Oh, no! the innocent sufferer often sees Too clearly, feels too vividly, and longs To realize, the vision with intense And over-constant yearning: there, there lies The excess by which the balance is destroyed. Too, too contracted are these walls of flesh, This vital warmth too cold, these visual orbs, Though inconceivably endowed, too dim, For any passion of the soul that leads To ecstasy; and, all the crooked paths Of time and change disdaining, takes its course Along the line of limitless desires. I, speaking now, from such disorder free, Nor rapt nor craving, but in settled peace, I can not doubt that they whom you deplore Are glorified, or, if they sleep, shall wake From sleep, and dwell with God in endless love. Hope below this consists not with belief In mercy carried infinite degrees Beyond the tenderness of human hearts; Hope below this consists not with belief In perfect wisdom, guiding mightiest power, That finds no limits but her own pure will.

“Here, then, we rest, not fearing for our creed The worst that human reasoning can achieve

To unsettle or perplex it; yet with pain
Acknowledging, and grievous self-reproach,
That, though immovably convinced, we want
Zeal, and the virtue to exist by faith,
As soldiers live by courage; as, by strength
Of heart, the sailor fights with roaring seas.
Alas! the endowment of immortal power
Is matched unequally with custom, time,
And domineering faculties of sense
In all; in most, with superadded foes, —
Idle temptations, open vanities,
Ephemeral offspring of the unblushing world,
And, in the private regions of the mind,
Ill-governed passions, ranklings of despite,
Immoderate wishes, pining discontent,
Distress, and care. What then remains ? To seek
Those helps for his occasions ever near
Who lacks not will to use them, — vows renewed
On the first motion of a holy thought;
Vigils of contemplation, praise, and prayer, —
A stream, which, from the fountain of the heart
Issuing, however feebly, nowhere flows
Without access of unexpected strength.
But, above all

, the victory is most sure
For him, who, seeking faith by virtue, strives
To yield entire submission to the law
Of conscience, - conscience reverenced and obeyed
As God's most intimate presence in the soul,
And his most perfect image in the world.
Endeavor thus to live, these rules regard,
These helps solicit, and a steadfast seat
Shall then be yours among the happy few
Who dwell on earth, yet breathe empyreal air,
Sons of the morning. For your nobler part,
Ere disencumbered of her mortal chains,
Doubt shall be quelled, and trouble chased away,
With only such degree of sadness left
As may support longings of pure desire,
And strengthen love, rejoicing secretly
In the sublime attractions of the grave.”

While in this strain the venerable sage
Poured forth his aspirations, and announced
His judgments, near that lonely house we paced
A plot of greensward, seemingly preserved
By Nature's care from wreck of scattered stones,
And from encroachment of encircling hearth:
Small space! but, for reiterated steps,
Smooth and commodious as a stately deck
Which to and fro the mariner is used
To tread for pastime, talking with his mates,
Or haply thinking of far-distant friends,

as no cause

While the ship glides before a steady breeze.
Stillness prevailed around us; and the voice
That spake was capable to lift the soul
Toward regions yet more tranquil. But methought
That he whose fixed despondency had given
Impulse and inotive to that strong discourse
Was less upraised in spirit than abashed;
Shrinking from admonition like a man
Who feels that to exhort is to reproach.
Yet, not to be diverted from his aim,
The sage continued :-

“For that other loss,
The loss of confidence in social man,
By the unexpected transports of our age
Carried so high, that every thought which looked
Beyond the temporal destiny of the kind
To many seemed superfluous,
Could e'er for such exalted confidence
Exist, so none is now for fixed despair.
The two extremes are equally disowned
By reason : if, with sharp recoil, from one
You have been driven far as its opposite,
Between them seek the point whereon to build
Sound expectations. So doth he advise
Who shared at first the illusion, but was soon
Cast from the pedestal of pride by shocks
Which Nature gently gave in woods and fields,
Nor unreproved by Providence, thus speaking
To the inattentive children of the world :
Vainglorious generation! what new powers
On you have been conferred, what gifts withheld
From your progenitors have ye received,

recompense of new desert, what claim
Are ye prepared to urge, that my decrees
For you should undergo a sudden change,
And, the weak functions of one busy day
Reclaiming and extirpating, perform
What all the slowly-moving years of time,
With their united force, have left undone ?
By Nature's gradual processes be taught ;
By story be confounded. Ye aspire
Rashly, to fall once more; and that false fruit,
Which to your overweening spirits yields
Hope of a flight celestial, will produce
Misery and shame. But Wisdom of her sons
Shall not the less, though late, be justified.'

“ Such timely warning,” said the wanderer,
“ Gave that visionary voice: and at this day,
When a Tartarean darkness overspreads
The groaning nations ; when the impious rule,
By will or by established ordinance,

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Their own dire agents, and constrain the good
To acts which they abhor, - though I bewail
This triumph, yet the pity of my lieart
Prevents me not from owning that the law
By which mankind now suffers is most just.
For by superior energies, more strict
Afhance in each other, faith more firm
In their unhallowed principles, the bad
Have fairly earned a victory o'er the weak,
The vacillating, inconsistent good.

“ Therefore, not unconsoled, I wait in hope
To see the moment when the righteous cause
Shall gain defenders zealous and devout
As they who have opposed her; in which Virtue
Will to her efforts tolerate no bounds
That are not lofty as her rights, aspiring
By impulse of her own ethereal zeal.
That spirit only can redeem mankind;
And when that sacred spirit shall appear,
Then shall our triumph be complete as theirs.
Yet, should this confidence prove vain, the wise
Have still the keeping of their proper peace;
Are guardians of their own tranquillity.
They act or they recede, observe, and feel;
Knowing the heart of man is set to be
The center of this world, about the which
These revolutions of disturbances
Still roll; where all the aspects of misery
Predominate ; whose strong effects are such
As he must bear, being powerless to redress;
And that, unless above himself he can
Erect himself, how poor a thing is man!!

“ Happy is he who lives to understand Not human nature only, but explores All natures, to the end that he may find The law that governs each, and where begins The union, the partition where, that makes Kind and degree among all visible beings; The constitutions, powers, and faculties Which they inherit, can not step beyond, And can not fall beneath; that do assign To every class its station and its office, Through all the mighty commonwealth of things, Up from the creeping plant to sovereign man. Such converse, it directed by a meek, Sincere, and humble spirit, teaches love: For knowledge is delight, and such delight Breeds love; yet, suited as it rather is To thought and to the climbing intellect, It teaches less to love than to adore, If that be not indeed the highest love.”


Oh, how oft In darkness, and amid the many shapes Of joyless daylight, when the fretful stir Unprofitable, and the fever of the world, Have hung upon the beatings of my heart, – How oft in spirit have I turned to thee, O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer through the woods, How often has my spirit turned to thee! And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought, With many recognitions dim and faint, And somewhat of a sad perplexity, The picture of the mind revives again While here I stand, not only with the sense Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts That in this moment there is life and food For future years. And so I dare to hope, Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first I came among these hills; when, like a roe, I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams, Wherever Nature led, more like a man Flying from something that he dreads than one Who sought the thing he loved. For Nature thenThe coarser pleasures of my boyish days And their glad animal movements all gone by – To me was all in all. I can not paint What then I was. The sounding cataract Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock, The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, Their colors and their forms, were then to me An appetite, - a feeling and a love That had no need of a remoter charm By thought supplied, or any interest Unborrowed from the eye. That time is past; And all its aching joys are now no more, And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this Faint I, nor mourn, nor murmur : other gifts Have followed, — for such loss, I would believe, Abundant recompensé. For I have learned To look on Nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes The still sad music of humanity, Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power To chasten and subdue. And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts, a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean, and the living air,

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