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But when a poet, or when one like me,
Happy to rove among poetic flowers,
Though poor in skill to rear them, lights at last
On some fair theme, some theme divinely fair,
Such is the impulse and the spur he feels,
To give it praise proportion'd to its worth,
That not to attempt it, arduous as he deems
The labour, were a task more arduous still.

O scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,
Scenes of accomplished bliss ; which who can see,
Though but in distant prospect, and not feel
His soul refresh’d with foretaste of the joy ?
Rivers of gladness water all the earth,
And clothe all climes with beauty ; the reproach
Of barrenness is past. The fruitful field
Laughs with abundance ; and the land, once lean,
Or fertile only in its own disgrace,
Exults to see its thistly curse repeald.
The various seasons woven into one,
And that one season an eternal spring,
The garden fears no blight, and needs no fence,
For there is none to covet ; all are full.
The lion, and the libbard, and the bear,
Graze with the fearless flocks ; all bask at noon
Together, or all gambol in the shade
Of the same grove, and drink one common stream.
Antipathies are none.

No foe to man Lurks in the serpent now : the mother sees, And smiles to see, her infant's playful hand Stretch'd forth to dally with the crested worm, To stroke his azure neck, or to receive The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue. All creatures worship man, and all mankind One Lord, one Father. Error has no place : That creeping pestilence is driven away ; The breath of heaven has chased it. In the heart No passion touches a discordant string, But all is harmony and love. Disease Is not : the pure and uncontaminate blood Holds its due course, nor fears the frost of age.

One song employs all nations; and all cry,
“ Worthy the Lamb, for he was slain for us !”
The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks
Shout to each other, and the mountain-tops
From distant mountains catch the flying joy ;
Till, nation after nation taught the strain,
Earth rolls the rapturous Hosanna round.
Behold the measure of the promise filld;
See Salem built, the labour of a God !
Bright as a sun the sacred city shines ;
All kingdoms and all princes of the earth
Flock to that light; the glory of all lands
Flows into her ; unbounded is her joy,
And endless her increase. Thy rams are there,
Nebaioth, and the flocks of Kedar there ;
The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind,
And Saba's spicy groves, pay tribute there.
Praise is in all her gates ; upon her walls,
And in her streets, and in her spacious courts,
Is heard salvation. Eastern Java there
Kneels with the native of the farthest west;
And Æthiopia spreads abroad the hand,
And worships. Her report has travell’d forth
Into all lands. From every clime they come
To see thy beauty, and to share thy joy,
O Sion ! an assembly such as earth
Saw never, such as heaven stoops down to see.

The Task.


BARBAULD, 1746--1825. 'Tis past ! the sultry tyrant of the south Has spent his short-liv'd rage. More grateful hours Move silent on. The skies no more repel The dazzled sight; but, with mild maiden beams Of temper'd light, invite the cherish'd eye To wander o'er their sphere ; where, hung aloft,

Dian's bright crescent, like a silver bow
New strung in heav'n, lifts high its beamy horns,
Impatient for the night, and seems to push
Her brother down the sky. Fair Venus shines
E'en in the eye of day ; with sweetest beam
Propitious shines, and shakes a trembling flood
Of soften'd radiance from her dewy locks.
The shadows spread apace; while meeken'd eve,
Her cheek yet warm with blushes, slow retires
Thro' the Hesperian gardens of the west,
And shuts the gates of day. 'Tis now the hour
When contemplation, from her sunless haunts,
The cool damp grotto, or the lonely depth
Of unpierc'd woods, where, wrapt in silent shade,
She mus'd away the gaudy hours of noon,
And fed on thoughts unripen’d by the sun,
Moves forward ; and with radiant finger points

concave, swelld by breath divine,
Where, one by one, the living eyes of heav'n
Awake, quick kindling o'er the face of ether
One boundless blaze ; ten thousand trembling fires,
And dancing lustres, where th' unsteady eye,
Restless and dazzled, wanders unconfin'd
O’er all this field of glories : spacious field,
And worthy of the Master ! he whose hand,
With hieroglyphics elder than the Nile,
Inscrib'd the mystic tablet, hung on high
To public gaze ; and said, Adore, O man,
The finger of thy God! From what

wells Of milky light, what soft o’erflowing urn, Are all these lamps so fill’d ? these friendly lamps, For ever streaming o'er the azure deep, To point our path, and light us to our home. How soft they slide along their lucid spheres ! And, silent as the foot of time, fulfil Their destin'd courses. Nature's self is hush'd, And, but a scatter'd leaf, which rustles thro' The thick-wove foliage, not a sound is heard To break the midnight air ; tho' the rais'd ear, Intensely listning, drinks in ev'ry breath.


How deep the silence, yet how loud the praise !
But are they silent all? or is there not
A tongue in evry star that talks with man,
And woos him to be wise? nor woos in vain :
This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts þer zenith with the stars.
At this still hour the self-collected soul
Turns inward, and beholds a stranger there
Of high descent, and more than mortal rank ;
An embryo God ; a spark of fire divine,
Which must burn on for ages, when the sun
(Fair transitory creature of a day !)
Has closed his golden eye, and wrapt in shades,
Forgets his wonted journey thro' the east.

Ye citadels of light, and seats of bliss !
Perhaps my future home, from whence the soul,
Revolving periods past, may oft look back,
With recollected tenderness, on all
The various busy scenes she left below,
Its deep-laid projects, and its strange events,
As on some fond and doting tale that sooth'd
Her infant hours.- be it lawful now
To tread the hallow'd circle of your courts,
And, with mute wonder and delighted awe,
Approach your burning confines !—Seiz'd in thought,
On fancy's wild and roving wing I sail
From the green borders of the peopled earth,
And the pale moon, her duteous fair attendant ;
From solitary Mars ; from the vast orb
Of Jupiter, whose huge gigantic bulk
Dances in ether like the lightest leaf ;
To the dim verge, the suburbs of the system,
Where cheerless Saturn, 'midst his wat’ry moons,
Girt with a lucid zone, in gloomy pomp,
Sits like an exild monarch. Fearless, thence,
I launch into the trackless deeps of space,
Where, burning round, ten thousand suns appear,
Of elder beam ; which ask no leave to shine
Of our terrestrial star, nor borrow light
From the proud regent of our scanty day :

Sons of the morning, first-born of creation,
And only less than he who marks their track,
And guides their fiery wheels ! Here must I stop,
Or is there aught beyond ? What hand unseen
Impels me onward, thro' the glowing orbs
Of habitable nature, far remote,
To the dread confines of eternal night,
To solitudes of vast unpeopled space,
The deserts of creation, wide and wild,
Where embryo systems and unkindled suns
Sleep in the womb of chaos ? Fancy droops,
And thought astonish’d, stops her bold career.
But, oh, thou mighty MIND! whose pow'rful word
Said, Thus let all things be, and thus they were,
Where shall I seek thy presence ? how, unblam’d,
Invoke thy dread perfection ?-
Have the broad eyelids of the morn beheld thee?
Or does the beamy shoulder of Orion
Support thy throne ? O look with pity down
On erring, guilty man ! not in thy names
Of terror clad; not with those thunders arm’d,
That conscious Sinai felt, when fear appallid
The scatter'd tribes : thou hast a gentler voice,
That whispers comfort to the swelling heart,
Abash'd, yet longing to behold her Maker.

But now, my soul, unus'd to stretch her powers
In flight so daring, drops her weary wing,
And seeks again the known, accustom'd spot,

sun, and shade, and lawns, and streams;
A mansion fair, and spacious for its guest,
And full replete with wonders. Let me here,
Content and grateful, wait th' appointed time,
And ripen for the skies; the hour will come,
When all these splendours, bursting on my sight,
Shall stand unveild, and to my ravish'd sense
Unlock the glories of the world unknown.

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