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My Absalom! the voice of Nature cried!
Oh! that for thee thy father could have died!
For bloody was the deed, and rashly done,
That slew my Absalom!....my son!....my son!
Unfading Hope! when life's last embers burn,
When soul to soul, and dust to dust return!
Heav'n to thy charge resigns the awful hour!
Oh! then, thy kingdom comes! Immortal Power!
What though each spark of earth-born rapture fly
The quivering lip, pale cheek, and closing eye!
Bright to the soul thy seraph hands convey
The morning dream of life's eternal day.... '
Then, then, the triumph and the trance begin!
And all the Phoenix spirit burns within!
Oh! deep-enchanting prelude to repose,
The dawn of bliss, the twilight of our woes!
Yet half I hear the parting spirit sigh,
It is a dread and awful thing to die!
Mysterious worlds, untravell'd by the sun!
Where Time's far-wand'ring tide has never run,
From your unfathom❜d shades, and viewless spheres,
A warning comes, unheard by other ears.
'Tis Heav'n's commanding trumpet, long and loud, Like Sinai's thunder, pealing from the cloud!
While Nature hears, with terror-mingled trust,
The shock that hurls her fabric to the 'dust;
And, like the trembling Hebrew, when he trod
The roaring waves, and call'd upon his God,
With mortal terrors clouds immortal bliss,
And shrieks, and hovers o'er the dark abyss!
X Daughter of Faith, awake, arise, illume
The dread unknown, the chaos of the tomb;
Melt, and dispel, ye spectre-doubts, that roll
Cimmerian darkness the parting soul!
Fly, like the moon-ey'd herald of dismay,
Chas'd on his night-steed by the star of day!
The strife is o'er....the pangs of Nature close,
And life's last rapture triumphs o'er her woes.
Hark! as the spirit eyes, with eagle gaze,
The noon of Heav'n undazzled by the blaze,
On Heav'nly winds that waft her to the sky,
Float the sweet tones of star-born melody;
Wild as that hallow'd anthem sent to hail
Bethlehem's shepherds in the lonely vale,
When Jordan hush'd his waves, and midnight still
Watch'd on the holy tow'rs of Zion hill!
Soul of the just! companion of the dead!
Where is thy home, and whither art thou fled?
Back to its heav'nly source thy being goes,
Swift as the comet wheels to whence he rose;
Doom'd on his airy path awhile to burn,
And doom'd, like thee, to travel, and return....
Hark! from the world's exploding centre driv'n,
With sounds that shook the firmament of Heav'n,
Careers the fiery giant, fast and far,
On bick'ring wheels, and adamantine car;
From planet whirl'd to planet more remote,
He visits realms beyond the reach of thought;
But wheeling homeward, when his course is run,
Curbs the red yoke, and mingles with the sun!
So hath the traveller of earth unfurl'd
Her trembling wings, emerging from the world;
And o'er the path by mortal never trod,
Sprung to her source, the bosom of her God!
+ Oh! lives there, Heav'n! beneath thy dread expanse,
One hopeless, dark Idolater of Chance,
Content to feed, with pleasures unrefin'd,
The lukewarm passions of a lowly mind;
Who, mould'ring earthward, 'reft of every trust,
In joyless union wedded to the dust,
Could all his parting energy dismiss,
And call this barren world sufficient bliss?+
There, live, alas! of Heav'n-directed mien,
Of cultur❜d soul, and sapient eye serene,
Who hail thee Man! the pilgrim of a day,
Spouse of the worm, and brother of the clay!
Frail as the leaf in Autumn's yellow bower,
Dust in the wind, or dew upon the flower;'
A friendless slave, a child without a sire,
Whose mortal life, and momentary fire,
Lights to the grave his chance-created form,
As ocean-wrecks illuminate the storm;
And, when the gun's tremendous flash is o'er,
To Night and Silence sink for evermore!....
Are these the pompous tidings ye proclaim,
Lights of the world, and demi-gods of Fame?
Is this your triumph....this your proud applause,
Children of Truth, and champions of her cause?
For this hath Science search'd, on weary wing,
By shore and sea....each mute and living thing?
Launch'd with Iberia's pilot from the steep,
To worlds unknown, and isles beyond the deep?
Or round the cope her living chariot driv'n'
And wheel'd in triumph through the signs of Heav'n?
Oh! star-ey'd Science, hast thou wander'd there,
To waft us home the message of despair?
Then bind the palm, thy sage's brow to suit,
Of blasted leaf, and death distilling fruit!
Ah me! the laurel'd wreath that murder rears,
Blood-nurs'd, and water'd by the widow's tears,
Seems not so foul, so tainted, and so dread,
As waves the night-shade round the sceptic head. x
What is the bigot's torch, the tyrant's chain?
I smile on death, if Heav'n-ward Hope remain!
But, if the warring winds of Nature's strife
Be all the faithless charter of my life,
If Chance awak'd, inexorable pow'r!
This frail and fev'rish being of an hour,
Doom'd o'er the world's precarious scene to sweep,
Swift as the tempest travels on the deep,
To know Delight but by her parting smile,
And toil, and wish, and weep, a little while;
Then melt, ye elements, that form'd in vain
This troubled pulse, and visionary brain!
Fade, ye wild flowers, memorials of my doom;
And sink, ye stars, that light me to the tomb!
Truth, ever lovely, since the world began,
The foe of tyrants, and the friend of man,....
How can thy words from balmy slumber start
Reposing Virtue, pillow'd on the heart!