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The sweets of liberty and equal laws;
But martyrs struggle for a brighter prize,
And win it with more pain. Their blood is shed
In confirmation of the noblest claim,
Our claim to feed upon immortal truth,
To walk with God, to be divinely free,
To soar, and to anticipate the skies.
Yet few remember them. They lived unknown
Till persecution dragged them into fame,
725 And chased them up to Heaven. Their ashes flew
No marble tells us whither. With their names No bard embalms and sanctifies his song; And history, so warm on meaner themes, Is cold on this. She execrates indeed
730 The tyranny that doomed them to the fire, But gives the glorious sufferers little praise.°
He is the freeman whom the truth makes free, And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain That hellish foes, confederate for his harm, 735 Can wind around him, but he casts it off With as much ease as Samson his green withes.° He looks abroad into the varied field Of nature, and though poor, perhaps, compared With those whose mansions glitter in his sight, 740 Calls the delightful scenery all his own. His are the mountains, and the valleys his, And the resplendent rivers. His to enjoy With a propriety that none can feel, But who, with filial confidence inspired,
Can lift to heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say — “My Father made them all!”
Are they not his by a peculiar right,
And by an emphasis of interest his,
Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy,
Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love
. That planned, and built, and still upholds a world,
So clothed with beauty for rebellious man?
ye may fill your garners, ye that reap
The loaded soil, and ye may waste much good
In senseless riot; but ye will not find
In feast or in the chase, in song or dance,
A liberty like his, who, unimpeached
Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong,
Appropriates nature as his Father's work,
And has a richer use of yours
you. He is indeed a freeman. Free by birth Of no mean city; planned or ere the hills Were built, the fountains opened, or the sea 765 With all his roaring multitude of waves. His freedom is the same in every State, And no condition of his changeful life, So manifold in cares, whose every day Brings its own evil with it, makes it less : For he has wings, that neither sickness, pain, Nor penury, can cripple or confine. No nook so narrow, but he spreads them there With ease, and is at large. The oppressor holds
His body bound; but knows not what a range
His spirit takes, unconscious of a chain,
And that to bind him is a vain attempt,
Whom God delights in, and in whom He dwells.
Acquaint thyself with God, if thou wouldest taste
His works. Admitted once to His embrace,
Thou shalt perceive that thou wast blind before;
Thine eye shall be instructed, and thine heart,
Made pure, shall relish with divine delight,
Till then unfelt, what hands divine have wrought.
Brutes graze the mountain-top, with faces prone, 785
And eyes intent upon the scanty herb
It yields them; or, recumbent on its brow,
Ruminate heedless of the scene outspread
Beneath, beyond, and stretching far away
From inland regions to the distant main.
790 Man views it, and admires, but rests content With what he views. The landscape has his praise, But not its Author. Unconcerned who formed The paradise he sees, he finds it such; And such well pleased to find it, asks no more. 795 Not so the mind that has been touched from Heaven, And in the school of sacred wisdom taught To read His wonders, in whose thought the world, Fair as it is, existed ere it was. Nor for its own sake merely, but for His Much more who fashioned it, he gives it praise; Praise that from earth resulting, as it ought, To earth's acknowledged sovereign, finds at once
Its only just proprietor in Him.
The soul that sees Him, or receives sublimed
New faculties, or learns at least to employ
More worthily the powers she owned before,
Discerns in all things what, with stupid gaze
Of ignorance, till then she overlooked,
A ray of heavenly light, gilding all forms
Terrestrial in the vast and the minute,
The unambiguous footsteps of the God,
Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing,
And wheels His throne upon the rolling worlds.
Much conversant with Heaven, she often holds 815
With those fair ministers of light to man
That fill the skies nightly with silent pomp,
Sweet conference. Inquires what strains were theyo
With which Heaven rang, when every star, in haste
To gratulate the new-created earth,
Sent forth a voice, and all the sons of God
Shouted for joy. --“Tell me, ye shining hosts
That navigate a sea that knows no storms,
Beneath a vault unsullied with a cloud,
If from your elevation, whence ye view
Distinctly scenes invisible to man,
And systems, of whose birth no tidings yet
Have reached this nether world, ye spy a race
Favored as ours; transgressors from the womb,
And hasting to a grave, yet doomed to rise,
And to possess a brighter Heaven than yours?
As one, who, long detained on foreign shores
Pants to return, and when he sees afar
His country's weather-bleached and battered rocks
From the green wave emerging, darts an eye
Radiant with joy toward the happy land,
So I with animated hopes behold,
And many an aching wish, your beamy fires,
That show like beacons in the blue abyss,
Ordained to guide the embodied spirit home,
From toilsome life to never-ending rest.
Love kindles as I gaze. I feel desires
That give assurance of their own success,
And that, infused from Heaven, must thither tend.”
So reads he Nature, whom the lamp of truth 845
Illuminates. Thy lamp, mysterious Word !
Which whoso sees, no longer wanders lost,
With intellects bemazed in endless doubt,
But runs the road of wisdom. Thou hast built,
With means that were not, till by thee employed, 850
Worlds that had never been, hadst Thou in strength
Been less, or less benevolent than strong.
They are Thy witnesses, who speak Thy power
And goodness infinite, but speak in ears
That hear not, or receive not their report.
In vain Thy creatures testify of Thee,
Till thou proclaim Thyself. Theirs is indeed
A teaching voice; but 'tis the praise of Thine
That whom it teaches it makes prompt to learn,
And with the boon gives talents for its use.
Till Thou art heard, imaginations vain