Page images

In fhady circles, like the moon beheld
From earth, when the her unenlighten'd face
Turns thitherward opaque: a space they brood
In congregated clouds; then breaking float
To all fides round. Dilated fome and denfe,
Broad as earth's furface each, by flow degrees
Spread from the confines of the light along,
Ufurping half the fphere, and fwim obfcure
On to its adverse coaft; till there they fet,
Or vanish scatter'd: measuring thus the time,
That round its axle whirls the radiant orb.

Faireft of beings! first-created light!
Prime cause of beauty! for from thee alone,
The fparkling gem, the vegetable race,

The nobler worlds that live and breathe, their charms,

The lovely hues peculiar to each tribe,

From thy unfailing source of splendor draw!

In thy pure fhine, with transport I survey
This firmament, and these her rolling worlds,
Their magnitudes, and motions: thofe how vaft!
How rapid these with fwiftne's unconceiv'd,
From west to east in folemn pomp revolv'd,
Unerring, undisturb'd; the sun's bright train,
Progreffive through the fky's light fluent borne
Around their centre. Mercury the first,
Near bordering on the day, with speedy wheel
Flies fwifteft on, inflaming where he comes,
With sevenfold splendor, all his azure road.

Next Venus to the westward of the fun,
Full orb'd her face, a golden plain of light,


Circles her larger round. Fair morning-star!
That leads on dawning day to yonder world,
The feat of man, hung in the heavens remote,-
Whofe northern hemifphere, defcending, fees
The fun arife; as through the zodiac-roll'd,
Full in the middle path oblique fhe winds
Her annual orb: and by her fide the Moon,
Campanion of her flight, whofe folemn beams,
Nocturnal, to her darken'd globe supply
A fofter day-light; whose attractive power
Swells all her feas and oceans into tides,
From the mid-deeps o'erflowing to their fhores,
Beyond the sphere of Mars, in diftant skies,
Revolves the mighty magnitude of Jove,
With kingly state, the rival of the fun.
About him round, four planetary moons,
On earth with wonder all night long beheld,
Moon above moon, his fair attendants, dance.
Thefe, in th' horizon, flow-afcending climb.
The steep of heaven, and, mingling in foft flow
Their filver radiance, brighten as they rife.
Those oppofite roll downward from their noon
To where the fhade of Jove, outstretch'd in length
A dusky cone immenfe, darkens the fky

Through many a region. To these bounds arriv'd,
A gradual pale creeps dim o'er each fad orb,
Fading their luftre; till they fink involv'd
In total night, and disappear eclips'd.
By this, the Sage, who, ftudious of the skies,
Heedful explores thefe late-discover'd worlds,


By this obferv'd, the rapid progress finds

Of light itfelf: how fwift the headlong ray
Shoots from the fun's height through unbounded space,
At once enlightning air, and earth, and heaven.
Laft, outmost Saturn walks his frontier-round,
The boundary of worlds; with his pale moons,
Faint-glimmering through the darkness night has thrown,
Deep-dy'd and dead, o'er this chill globe forlorn :
An endless defert, where extreme of cold
Eternal fits, as in his native feat,

On wintery hills of never thawing ice!
Such Saturn's earth; and yet ev'n here the fight,
Amid thefe doleful fcenes, new matter finds
Of wonder and delight! a mighty ring,
On each side rifing from th' horizon's verge,
Self-pois'd in air, with its bright circle round:
Encompaffeth his orb. As night comes on,
Saturn's broad fhade, caft on its eastern arch,
Climbs flowly to its height and at th' approach
Of morn returning, with like stealthy pace
Draws weftward off; till though the lucid round,.
In diftant view th' illumin'd fkies are feen.

Beauteous appearance! by th' Almighty's handi
Peculiar fashion'd.-Thine these noble works,
Great, univerfal Ruler! earth and heaven
Are thine, fpontaneous offspring of thy will,
Seen with tranfcendent ravifhment fublime,
That lifts the foul to thee! a holy joy,
By reason prompted, and by reafon swell 'd
Beyond all height-for thou art infinite!


Thy virtual energy the frame of things
Pervading actuates: as at first thy hand
Diffus'd through endless space this limpid sky,
Vast ocean without storm, where these huge globes
Sail undisturb'd, a rounding voyage each
Obfervant all of one unchanging law.
Simplicity divine! by this fole rule,

The Maker's great establishment, these worlds
Revolve harmonious, world attracting world
With mutual love, and to their central fun
All gravitating: now with quicken'd pace
Defcending toward the primal orb, and now
Receding flow, excurfive from his bounds.


This fpring of motion, this hid power Through univerfal nature, firft was known To thee, great Newton! Britain's jufteft pride, The boast of human race; whofe towering thought,

In her amazing progrefs unconfin'd,

From truth to truth afcending, gain'd the height

Of fcience, whither mankind from afar

Gaze up aftonish'd. Now beyond that height,

By death from frail mortality set free,

A pure intelligence he wings his way

Through wondrous fcenes, new-open'd in the world
Invifible, amid the general quire

Of faints and angels, rapt with joy divine,
Which fills, o'erflows, and ravishes the foul!
His mind's clear vision from all darknefs purg'd,
For God himself shines forth immediate there,
Through thofe eternal climes, the frame of things,

[ocr errors]

In its ideal harmony, to him

Stands all reveal'd.

But how fhall mortal wing

Attempt this blue profundity of heaven,
Unfathomable, endless of extent !

Where unknown funs to unknown systems rife,
Whofe numbers who shall tell? ftupenduous hoft!
In flaming millions through the vacant hung,
Sun beyond fun, and world to world unseen,
Measureless distance, unconceiv'd by thought!
Awful their order; each the central fire

Of his furrounding ftars, whofe whirling speed,
Solemn and filent, through the pathlefs void,
Nor change, nor error knows. But, their ways,
By reafon, bold adventurer, unexplor'd,
Instructed can declare! What fearch shall find
Their times and feafons! their appointed laws,
Peculiar their inhabitants of life,
And of intelligence, from feale to scale
Harmonious rifing and in fix'd degree;
Numberless orders, each refembling each,
Yet all diverfe!-Tremendous depth and height
Of wisdom and of power, that this great whole
Fram'd inexpreffible, and still preferves,
An infinite of wonders!-Thou, fupreme,
First, Independent Caufe, whofe prefence fills
Nature's vaft circle, and whof, pleasure moves,
Father of human kind! the Mufe's wing
Sustaining guide, while to the heights of heaven,
Roaming the interminable vaft of space,


« PreviousContinue »