Appendix Two - 2
My cherished friend, in every changing scene
Dost thou enquire how I can feel repose,
Like that of lake, glassed in serenity;
In whose fair bosom glows the azure heavens,
While the strong blasts of wintry poverty
Are bursting on my spirit? - Dost enquire
How I can soar, as if on eagle-wing,
With rapture to the wond'rous dizzy heights,
Where Fancy raises her cerulean domes,
While grim disease is hovering o'er the ascent,
Inflicting withering and loathed embrace?
Then I will tell thee my philosophy,
And point thee to the sources whence it flows.
When Spring, with voice of music, thrills the earth,
Bidding the forms within its deathlike womb,
Awake from sleep of darkness into life
And beauty, fragrance and variety:-
When Summer revels in a cheering blaze
Of radiance; while hill, and verdant vale,
And limpid stream, and murmuring rivulet,
And flowers of every hue, and trees of might,
Whose golden foliage quivers in the breeze,
Arrayed in robes of splendour, charm the eye
And hold communion with the musing soul:-
When Autumn, wreathed in glory, gilds the scene,
Calling on festive joy and social bliss;
Yet oft times breathing forth a mournful gust,
Which sweeps the sere leaves from the groaning trees,
And dashes them upon the troubled stream:-
When Winter, in the terror of his power,
Bids the hoarse winds rave o'er the dark'ning earth,
And pours his desolating torrents down;
While forests howl in their strong agony,
And Ocean wild disports his mountain waves,
In solemn, wonder-working melody:-
In every season of the rolling year,
Whether the varying landscape calm repose,
In depth of beauty and of luxury;
Or frown in dreadful aspect, waste and wild,
I view the almightiness and fervent love
Of Him who gave to Nature all her laws.
And, while I muse, the fire of gratitude
Is kindled up, and burns with healthy glow.
Who spread abroad yon blue and mystic vault,
And painted all its gorgeous drapery?
Who throned the sun in glory? - bid him roll
In majesty and vivifying power?
Who gave the moon her chastened radiance,
That reigns serenely ‘mid the spangled host
Of wheeling worlds, all splendour, life and joy?
Who calls for adoration in all modes
Of beauty, terror, loveliness, and awe?
God! Let the universe with all its harps
Awake to him the loud undying song;
And let its solemn pauses echo - "God!"
But not to his material shrine alone
Do I confine my vision. Lo, the page
Of history its treasures wide unfolds.
Molech has furious driven his crimson car
O'er myriads of beings dark and vile!
And, though he crushed their bones, and drank their blood,
They hailed him with enthusiastic shout,
And worshipped him as God! Mammon has rode
Upon the ocean's wave, and travelled o'er
Deserts of perilous and dreadful shade,
In search of free-born savages, and dragged
The unskilled wretches from their cherished homes;
And urged them on, with whips of scorpion power,
To toil of agony - to chains and death!
Intoxication, with her charmed cup,
Has called upon mankind to drink and live;
And they, unheedful of her evil eye,
Her palsied limbs, foul breath, and rotting bones,
Have quaffed with eagerness each deadly draught,
Till reverence, chastity, and truth have bled;
While malice, lewdness, and profanity,
‘Mid wild and madd'ning revelry have reared
The brazen pillars of their infamy!
These vices, on gigantic scale, advanced
Till kingdoms that were rich in wisdom, strength, -
In grandeur, symmetry, and magnitude,
Felt that the moral granite of their base
Was crumbling into dust! ‘Twas even so;
For now the sad and solemn traveller,
Lit by the melancholy queen of night,
Sits down, to spend a solitary hour
Amid their ruins; sternly desolate,
O'ergrown with weeds, and vocal with the sound
Of monsters growling over mangled bones, -
The warm blood dripping from their rav'nous jaws.
But who, ‘mid moral revolutions, held
The golden chain on which his angels walked,
Uniting man with God, and earth with heaven,
And time with fathomless eternity?
Who sent fair Truth and heavenly Charity,
Unto select, sequestered spots of earth,
Where beauty rioted in earth below,
And music quivered in the air above;
While Friendship rose in salient power, and Peace
From placid fount her soothing waters rolled?
Who purged away the film from Reason's eye,
Until she read the myst'ries of the stars,
Grasping the key-stone of their harmonies?
Or, darting downward into earth's abyss,
Revealed the secrets of antiquity,
Forcing Oblivion to relax his gripe?
Or, centring inward, analyzed the powers,
Which give to man his rank in nature's scale -
Exquisite temple of divinity?
Who, robed in light, did radiate athwart
The dark and dreadful gulf, where nations lay
Bound to the earth in chill and massive chains?
Calling on patriots to wake and live
As if they knew their glorious origin,
And felt the grandeur of their destiny;
While justice held aloft her burning scales,
And despots, from their dens of cruelty,
Beheld and trembled; - while the thrilling hymn
Of liberated men arose sublime -
Murmur'd in joy by every flowing stream,
And breathed in pathos by each balmy gale!
Who, in all chequered scenes, in every age,
Has placed his arms around the faithful few
That reverenced his name, and loved his laws -
Giving them hopes and energies that fixed
Their feet upon the everlasting hills? -
God! - Let the seraphim that ever burn
In holy ecstacies around his throne,
With trembling rapture strike their golden lyres;
And let the angels of his providence,
Who showered his penal fires on guilty states,
And breathed his blessings to the pure in heart,
Prolong the glorious anthem to his name,
While heaven's vast solitudes all echo - God!
But, lo! a nobler volume opens wide;-
Fair and enchanting are the varied scenes
In which we pilgrims tabernacle here -
August and wonderful the mighty plan
By which the King eternal overrules
Events of earth, educing good from ill;
From discord, harmony ; from darkness, light;-
But more august, and wonderful, and fair,
And robed in deeper beauty, is the love
Serenely beaming from the book I hold.
The splendours of the living fount of light
Are centred in the cross of Jesus Christ,
Who taught, and bled, and rose again in power,
That he might be our Prophet, Priest, and King;
Who looked on men in silence and despair,
In harrowing gloom uncheered by ray of hope;
And, while they groped in impotence, disclosed
The path to life and immortality, -
Beseeching all with tenderness benign,
To grasp that pardon, peace, and purity,
Which flow through Him who offered up himself,
That men might hold communion with God,
And feel themselves the citizens of heaven? -
God! - But what strains from earth, or heaven, or hell,
By men or angels chanted, can explore
The heights, and depths, of love unsearchable,
Unparalleled! Let the whole universe,
And highest heaven, and deepest hell, be hushed
To silence; and that silence do thou fill
With the rapt melodies of thy great name!
Thus, friend, I strive to climb each mount of truth,
In search of moral health and energy.
It glows in every flower that scents the gale -
It radiates from each star that gleams on high -
It gushes from each fount of purity -
It sparkles in the morning's lambent eye,
And flows in melody at eventide.
Thus I can conquer pain and poverty,
Enraptured with those ceaseless melodies
Which ever warble in the atmosphere
Of him, whose aspirations heavenward rise.
Some years ago, full of hilarity,
When I could laugh or weep, uncertain why,
Yet pine not by the fitful moods of mind,
I rambled forth in autumn's mellow reign,
To feast mine eyes and heart at Nature's board.
Wildly magnificent the scenes I trod; -
Their lordly owner in his travelling rage,
Suffered his broad domains to mourn unheard.
Beauty sigh'd plaintively with tattered locks;
Luxuriance wailed within Corruption's arms;
And Might groaned in the sinews of Decay.
Heedless of evening's falling shades I mused,
‘Till suddenly old Night, with rapid bound,
Sprung to his ebon throne; and, holding up
His wand of terror, called the raving winds,
And charmed the waters from the pendant clouds.
Solemn and stern the music of this scene;
For trees, whose roots had bored the sunken rocks,
Whose heads were high above the bursting storm,
Sung the deep bass in fearful symphony.