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“How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,
Measured this transient world, the race of time
Till time stand fixed ? beyond is all abyss,
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart,
Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire,
Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God, to walk
As in His presence, ever to observe
His providence, and on Him sole depend,
Merciful over all His works, with good
Still overcoming evil, and by small
Accomplishing great things, by things deemed weak
Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise
By simply meek; that suffering for truth's sake
Is fortitude to highest victory,
And to the faithful, death the gate of life;
Taught this by His example, whom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest!”
To whom thus also the Angel last replied:
“ This having learned, thou hast attained the sum
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars
Thou knewest by name, and all the ethereal powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
Or works of God in heaven, air, earth, or sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoyed'st,
And all the rule one empire; only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance, add love,
By name to come called charity, the soul
Of all the rest, then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier far!
Let us descend now therefore from this top
Of speculation; for the hour precise
Exacts our parting hence.”
In either hand the hastening Angel caught
Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
To the subjected plain; then disappeared.
They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.
ON THE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT.
AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese that rolled
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundredfold, who, having learned thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent, which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He, returning, chide.
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?”
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies,—“ God doth not need
Either man's work, or His own gifts; who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best: His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
RIVERS, arise; whether thou be the son
Of utmost Tweed, or Ouse, or gulphy Dun,
Or Trent, who, like some earth-born giant, spreads
His thirty arms along the indented meads;
Or sullen Mole, that runneth underneath ;
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death;
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,
Or coaly Tyne, or ancient hallowed Dee;
Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name;
Or Medway smooth, or royal-towered Thame.
To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope
Things not revealed, which the invisible King,
Only omniscient, hath suppressed in night;
To none communicable in earth, or heaven:
Enough is left besides to search, and know.
But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
Her temperance over appetite, to know
In measure what the mind
may well contain, Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid; Leave them to God above; Him serve, and fear!
Of other creatures, as Him pleases best,
Wherever placed, let Him dispose.
Heaven is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise:
Think only what concerns thee, and thy being.
But, apt the mind, or fancy is to rove
Unchecked, and of her roving is no end
Till, warned, or by experience taught, she learn
That, not to know at large of things remote
From use, obscure, and subtle; but, to know
That which before us lies in daily life,
Is the prime wisdom: what is more, is fume,
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence;
And renders us, in things that most concern,
Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek.
THE moon whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views,
At evening from the top of Fesole,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers, or mountains, on her spotty globe.