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Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge Him thy greater, sound His praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb’st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall’st.
Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly’st;
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wand'ring fires, that move
In mystic dance, not without song resound
His praise, who out of darkness call’d up light.
Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix
And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the woods' great Author rise,
Whether to deck with clouds the uncolour'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling, still advance His praise.
His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With ev'ry plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs warbling, tune his praise.
Join voices all, ye living souls; ye birds,
That singing up to heaven's gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes His praise ;
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread or lowly creep,
Witness if I be silent, morn or e'en,
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught His praise.
Hail, universal Lord! be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gather'd aught of evil, or conceal’d,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.
Ah! little think the gay licentious crowd,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround, -
They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah! little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death,
And all the sad variety of pain ;
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame; how many bleed,
By shameful variance between man and man;
How many pine in want and dungeon-glooms,
Shut from the common air, and common use
Of their own limbs; how
drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery. Sore pierc'd by wintry winds,
How many shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless poverty. How many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse ;
Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter to the tragic muse.
E’en in the vale where wisdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation join’d,
How many, rack’d with honest passions, droop
In deep-retir'd distress. How many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish. Thought fond man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills
That one incessant struggle render life,
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appall’d,
And heedless rambling impulse learn to think ;
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate ;
The social tear would rise, the social sigh;
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
[Supposed to have been written by Alexander Selkirk during
his solitary abode in the island of Juan Fernandez.]
I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute ;
From the centre all round to the sea,
I am lord of the fowls and the brute.
O solitude, where are the charms
That sages have found in thy face? Better dwell in the midst of alarms
Than reign in this horrible place!
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone; Never hear the sweet music of speech
I start at the sound of my own!
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference see; They are so unacquainted with man
Their tameness is shocking to me!
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestow'd upon man, O, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again!
My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth; Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.
Religion! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word! More precious than silver and gold,
And all that this world can afford.
But the sound of the church-going bell
These valleys and rocks never heard ; Never sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Or smil'd when a Sabbath appear’d.
Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more.
My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me? 0, tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see!
How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Compar'd with the speed of its flight, The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light !
When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there; But, alas ! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair!
But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair : Even here is a season of rest;
And I to my cabin repair.