WHILE bending o'er my golden lyre,
While waving light my wing of fire ;
Creation's regions to explore,
To gaze, to wonder, to adore:
While faithful to th' eternal will,
My task of glory I fulfil;
To rule the comet's dread career,
To guide the planets on their sphere;
While from this pure, empyreal sky,
I dart my truth-enlighten'd eye;
What mists involve yon changeful scene,
How dark thy views, thou orb terrene!
E'en now compassion clouds awhile
Bright ecstasy's immortal smile!
I see the flames of war consume
Fair scenes that smil'd in glowing bloom;
O'er ev'ry nation, ev'ry land,
I see destruction wave his hand;
How dark thy billows, ocean-flood!
Lo! man has dy'd thy waves in blood!
Nature! how chang'd thy vivid grace!
Vengeance and war thy charms deface.
Oh! scene of doubt, of care, of anguish!
Oh! scene, where virtue's doom'd to languish!
Oh! scene, where death triumphant rides,
The spear, the sword, the javelin guides!
And canst thou be that earth, declare,
That earth so pure, so good, so fair,
O'er which, a new-created globe,
Thy Father spread Perfection's robe?
Oh, Heav'n, how chang'd, how pale, how dim!
Since first arose the choral hymn,
That hail'd, at thy auspicious birth,
A dawning Paradise on earth!
On that sublime, creative morn,
That saw the infant-planet born,
How swell'd the harp, the lyre, the voice,
To bless, to triumph, to rejoice!
How kneeling rapture led the song,
How glow'd th' exulting cherub-throng!
When the fair orb, arising bright,
Sprang into glory, life, and light!
—Oh! Heav'n, how chang'd, a thorny waste,
With shadows dimm'd, with clouds o'ercast!
See passions desolate the ball,
See kingdoms, thrones, and empires fall!
See mad Ambition's whirlwind sweep,
Resistless as the wintry deep!
See, waving thro' the troubled sky,
His crimson banner glare on high!
Blush, Anger! blush, and hide thy sword;
Weep, Conquest! weep, imperious lord!
And mourn, to view thy sullied name
Inscrib'd in blood—emblaz'd in flame!
And are those cries, which rend the air,
Of death, of torture, of despair,
Hymns that should mount on wings above,
To him, the GOD OF PEACE AND LOVE!
And is yon flame of ruthless war,
That spreads destruction's reign afar,
The incense taught by man to blaze,
For him, who dwells in mercy's rays?
Mortals! if angels grief might know,
From angels if a tear might flow,
In yon celestial woes might rise,
And pity dim a seraph's eyes;
Yet, mortals! oft, thro' mists and tears,
Your bright original appears,
Gleams thro' the veil, with radiant smile,
A sun-beam on a ruin'd pile!
Exulting, oft the forms I trace,
Of moral grandeur, beauty, grace;
That speak your pow'rs for glory giv'n,
That still reveal the Heir of Heav'n!
Not yet extinct your heav'nly fire,
For cherubs oft its beams admire!
I see fair virtue nobly rise,
Child, fav'rite, darling, of the skies!
Smile on the pangs that round her wait,
And brave, and bear, the storms of fate!
I see her lift th' adoring eye,
Forbid the tear, suppress the sigh;
Still on her high career proceeding,
Sublime! august!—tho' suff'ring—bleeding!
The thorn, tho' sharp, the blast, tho' rude,
Shake not her lofty fortitude!
Oh! graceful dignity serene,
Faith, glory, triumph on thy mien!
Still, virtue! still the strife maintain,
The smile, the frown of fate, disdain!
Think on that hour, when freed from clay,
Thy soul shall rise to life and day;
Still mount to heav'n—on sorrow's car;
There shine a fix'd unclouded star,
Like me to range, like me to soar,
Suns, planets, worlds of light explore!
Then angel-forms around shall throng,
And greet thee in triumphal song;
'Mount, spirit! mount, thy woes are o'er,
Pain, sickness, trials, now no more!
Hail, sister! hail, thy task is done,
Rise, cherub, rise!—thy crown is won!'
Oh, favor'd mortals! best belov'd,
Ye in stern perils fiercely prov'd;
When faith and truth, with pure control,
Refine, inspire, exalt, your soul;
When firm in brightest, noblest aims,
Your bosoms glow with hallow'd flames;
When still the narrow path you tread,
Nor scorn, nor grief, nor dangers dread;
Tho' fate with ev'ry dart assail,
To pierce your heart's heav'n-temper'd mail;
Nor shrink, tho' death his jav'lin hurl'd,
Scorn'd, yet untainted, by the world!
Then think, ye brave, ye constant few,
To faith, to hope, to virtue, true!
Then think, that seraphs from above,
Behold your deeds, admire, and love!
That those, who heav'n's commands perform,
Who still the wave, who ride the storm;
Who point the lightning's fiery wing,
Or shed the genial dews of spring;
Who fill with balm the zephyr's breath,
Or taint th' avenging winds with death;
That those, who guide the planets' course,
Who bend at light's transcendent source;
Oh! think that those your toil survey,
Your struggling mind, your rugged way!
Oh! think that those, e'en now prepare,
A bow'r of bliss, for you to share!
E'en now, th' immortal wreath entwine,
Around your sainted brows to shine;
E'en now, their golden harps attune,
To greet you in the blaze of noon!
Soon shall your captive souls be free,
To bless, to hymn, to soar, like me!
The fair, the perfect, and the bright,
Shall beam unclouded on your sight;
Soon shall the silver lutes be strung,
Soon shall the Pæan lays be sung;
'Hail, sister, hail! thy task is done;
Rise, cherub, rise! thy palm is won!!'
WHILE bending o'er my golden lyre,