Page images



THE Wanderer said:

"One adequate support

For the calamities of mortal life
Exists-one only; an assured belief
That the procession of our fate, howe'er
Sad or disturbed, is ordered by a Being
Of infinite benevolence and power;
Whose everlasting purposes embrace
All accidents, converting them to good.
The darts of anguish fix not where the seat
Of suffering hath been thoroughly fortified
By acquiescence in the Will supreme
For time and for eternity; by faith,
Faith absolute in God, including hope,
And the defence that lies in boundless love
Of his perfections; with habitual dread
Of aught unworthily conceived, endured
Impatiently, ill-done, or left undone,
To the dishonour of his holy name.

Soul of our souls, and safeguard of the world!
Sustain, thou only canst, the sick of heart;
Restore their languid spirits, and recall
Their lost affections unto thee and thine!"

Then, as we issued from that covert nook,
He thus continued, lifting up his eyes
To heaven: "How beautiful this dome of sky;
And the vast hills, in fluctuation fixed

At thy command, how awful! Shall the soul,
Human and rational, report of thee

Even less than these! Be mute who will, who can,
Yet I will praise thee with impassioned voice:
My lips, that may forget thee in the crowd,
Cannot forget thee here; where thou hast built,

For thy own glory, in the wilderness!
Me didst thou constitute a priest of thine,
In such a temple as we now behold

Reared for thy presence; therefore am I bound
To worship, here and everywhere, as one
Not doomed to ignorance, though forced to tread
From childhood up, the ways of poverty;
From unreflecting ignorance preserved,
And from debasement rescued. By thy grace
The particle divine remained unquenched;
And, 'mid the wild weeds of a rugged soil,
Thy bounty caused to flourish deathless flowers,
From Paradise transplanted: wintry age
Impends; the frost will gather round my heart;
If the flowers wither, I am worse than dead!
Come, labour, when the worn-out frame requires
Perpetual sabbath; come, disease and want;
And sad exclusion through decay of sense;
But leave me unabated trust in thee,
And let thy favour, to the end of life,
Inspire me with ability to seek

Repose and hope among eternal things—
Father of heaven and earth! and I am rich,
And will possess my portion in content!

“And what are things eternal? powers depart," The grey-haired Wanderer steadfastly replied, Answering the question which himself had asked, "Possessions vanish, and opinions change, And passions hold a fluctuating seat:

But, by the storms of circumstance unshaken,
And subject neither to eclipse nor wane,
Duty exists; immutably survive,

For our support, the measures and the forms,
Which an abstract intelligence supplies;

Whose kingdom is, where time and space are not.
Of other converse which mind, soul, and heart,
Do, with united urgency, require,

What more that may not perish? Thou, dread source,

Prime, self-existing cause and end of all
That in the scale of being fill their place;
Above our human region, or below,

Set and sustained; thou, who didst wrap the cloud
Of infancy around us, that thyself,
Therein, with our simplicity awhile

Might'st hold, on earth, communion undisturbed;
Who from the anarchy of dreaming sleep,
Or from its death-like void, with punctual care,
And touch as gentle as the morning light,
Restor'st us, daily, to the powers of sense
And reason's steadfast rule, thou, thou alone
Art everlasting, and the blessèd spirits,
Which thou includest, as the sea her waves:
For adoration thou endur'st; endure
For consciousness the motions of thy will;
For apprehension those transcendent truths
Of the pure intellect, that stand as laws
(Submission constituting strength and power)
Even to thy Being's infinite majesty !
This universe shall pass away, a work
Glorious! because the shadow of thy might,
A step, or link, for intercourse with thee.
Ah! if the time must come, in which my feet
No more shall stray where meditation leads,
By flowing stream, through wood, or craggy wild,
Loved haunts like these; the unimprisoned mind
May yet have scope to range among her own,
Her thoughts, her images, her high desires.
If the dear faculty of sight should fail,
Still, it may be allowed me to remember
What visionary powers of eye and soul

In youth were mine; when, stationed on the top
Of some huge hill, expectant, I beheld
The sun rise up, from distant climes returned
Darkness to chase, and sleep; and bring the day
His bounteous gift! or saw him toward the deep
Sink, with a retinue of flaming clouds
Attended; then, my spirit was entranced
With joy exalted to beatitude;

The measure of my soul was filled with bliss,
And holiest love; as earth, sea, air, with light,
With pomp, with glory, with magnificence !

"Those fervent raptures are for ever flown; And, since their date, my soul hath undergone Change manifold, for better or for worse: Yet cease I not to struggle, and aspire Heavenward; and chide the part of me that flags, Through sinful choice; or dread necessity On human nature from above imposed. 'Tis, by comparison, an easy task

Earth to despise; but, to converse with heaven,
This is not easy to relinquish all

We have, or hope, of happiness and joy,
And stand in freedom loosened from this world,
I deem not arduous; but must needs confess
That 'tis a thing impossible to frame
Conceptions equal to the soul's desires;
And the most difficult of tasks to keep
Heights which the soul is competent to gain.
Man is of dust: ethereal hopes are his,

Which, when they should sustain themselves aloft
Want due consistence; like a pillar of smoke,
That with majestic energy from earth
Rises; but, having reached the thinner air,
Melts, and dissolves, and is no longer seen.

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.

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.
Endeavour 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."

Ambition reigns

In the waste wilderness: the soul ascends
Drawn towards her native firmament of heaven,
When the fresh eagle, in the month of May,
Upborne, at evening, on replenished wing,
This shaded valley leaves; and leaves the dark

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »