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With a glance of disgust, he the landscape surveyed,
With its fragrant wild flowers, its wide-waving shade;—
Where Passaic meanders through margins of green,
So transparent its waters, its surface serene.
He rived the green hills, the wild woods he laid low;
He taught the pure stream in rough channels to flow ;
He rent the rude rock, the steep precipice gave,
And hurled down the chasm the thundering wave.
Countless moons have since rolled in the long lapse of
Cultivation has softened those features sublime;
The axe of the white man has lightened the shade,
And dispelled the deep gloom of the thicketed glade.
But the stranger still gazes with wondering eye,
On the rocks rudely torn, and groves mounted on high ;
Still loves on the cliff's dizzy borders to roam,
Where the torrent leaps headlong embosomed in foam.
FLow on for ever, in thy glorious robe
Of terror and of beauty. Yea, flow on
Unfathomed and resistless. God hath set
His rainbow on thy forehead: and the cloud
Mantled around thy feet. And he doth give
Thy voice of thunder, power to speak of Him
Eternally—bidding the lip of man
Keep silence—and upon thy rocky altar pour
Incense of awe-struck praise.
Ah who can dare
To lift the insect-trump of earthly hope,
Or love, or sorrow—'mid the peal sublime
Of thy tremendous hymn ! Even Ocean shrinks
Back from thy brotherhood: and all his waves
Retire abashed. For he doth sometimes seem
To sleep like a spent labourer—and recall
His wearied billows from their vexing play,
And lull them to a cradle calm : but thou,
With everlasting, undecaying tide,
Dost rest not, night or day. The morning stars,
When first they sang o'er young creation's birth,
Heard thy deep anthem; and those wrecking fires,
That wait the archangel's signal to dissolve
This solid earth, shall find Jehovah's name
Graven, as with a thousand diamond spears,
On thine unending volume.
That lifts itself within thy wide domain,
Doth gather greenness from thy living spray,
Yet tremble at the baptism. Lo!—yon birds
Do boldly venture near, and bathe their wing
Amid thy mist and foam. "Tis meet for them,
To touch thy garment's hem, and lightly stir
The snowy leaflets of thy vapor-wreath,
For they may sport unharmed amid the cloud,
Or listen at the echoing gate of heaven,
Without reproof. But as for us, it seems
Scarce lawful, with our broken tones, to speak
Familiarly of thee. Methinks, to tint
Thy glorious features with our pencil’s point,
Or woo thee to the tablet of a song,
Thou dost make the soul
A wondering witness of thy majesty,
But as it presses with delirious joy
To pierce thy vestibule, dost chain its step,
And tame its rapture with the humbling view
Of its own nothingness, bidding it stand
In the dread presence of the Invisible,
As if to answer to its God through thee.
[Sung at Plymouth, on the anniversary of the landing of our Fathers, 223 December, 1820.]
I. WAKE your harp's music 1–louder—higher, And pour your strains along, And Smite again each quivering wire, In all the pride of song! Shout like those godlike men of old, Who daring storm and foe, On this blest soil their anthem rolled, Two hundred years ago!
From native shores by tempests driven,
They sought a purer sky,
And found beneath a milder heaven,
The home of liberty!
An altar rose—and prayers—a ray
Broke on their night of wo—
The harbinger of Freedom's day,
They clung around that symbol too,
Their refuge and their all;
And swore while skies and waves were blue,
That altar should not fall.
They stood upon the red man's sod,
'Neath heaven's unpillared bow,
With home—a country—and a God,
Two hundred years ago!
Oh! 'twas a hard unyielding fate
That drove them to the seas,
And Persecution strove with Hate,
To darken her decrees:
But safe above each coral grave,
Each booming ship did go—
A God was on the western wave,
Two hundred years ago!