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As I have done; and shall inquire no more.
In Nature's channel, thus the questions run :-
What am I? and from whence?-I nothing know,
But that I am; and since I am, conclude
Something eternal: had there e'er been nought,
Nought still had been: eternal there must be.
But what eternal? Why not human race,
And Adam's ancestors without an end?-
That's hard to be conceived; since every link
Of that long-chained succession is so frail;
Can every part depend, and not the whole?
Yet grant it true: new difficulties rise;
I'm still quite out at sea; nor see the shore.
Whence earth, and these bright orbs ?-eternal too?—
Grant matter was eternal; still these orbs
Would want some other father; much design
Is seen in all their motions, all their makes;
Design implies intelligence and art:
That can't be from themselves-or man; that art
Man scarce can comprehend, could man bestow?
And nothing greater, yet allowed, than man.—
Who motion, foreign to the smallest grain,
Shot through vast masses of enormous weight?
Who bid brute matter's restive lump assume
Such various forms, and gave it wings to fly?
Has matter innate motion? then each atom,
Asserting its indisputable right
To dance, would form a universe of dust.
Has matter none? Then whence these glorious forms
And boundless flights, from shapeless and reposed?
Has matter more than motion? Has it thought,
Judgment, and genius? Is it deeply learned
In mathematics? Has it framed such laws,
Which, but to guess, a Newton made immortal?-
If so, how each sage atom laughs at me,
Who think a clod inferior to a man!
If art to form; and counsel to conduct;
And that with greater far than human skill ;
Resides not in each block;-a GODHEAD reigns.-
And if a God there is, that God how great!
13.-ON THE WONDERS OF REDEMPTION. THOU most indulgent, most tremendous Power! Still more tremendous for thy wondrous love;
That arms with awe more awful, thy commands,
And foul transgression dips in sevenfold guilt;
How our hearts tremble at thy love immense!
In love immense, inviolably just!
Thou, rather than thy justice should be stained,
Didst stain the cross; and, work of wonders far
The greatest, that thy Dearest far might bleed.
Bold thought! shall I dare speak it or repress?
Should man more execrate or boast the guilt
Which roused such vengeance? which such love inflamed ?
O'er guilt (how mountainous!) with outstretched arms
Stern Justice, and soft-smiling Love, embrace,
Supporting, in full majesty, thy throne,
When seemed its majesty to need support,
Or that, or man, inevitably lost:
What but the fathomless of thought divine
Could labour such expedient from despair,
And rescue both? both rescue! both exalt!
O how are both exalted by the deed!
The wondrous deed! or shall I call it more?
A wonder in Omnipotence itself!
A mystery, no less to gods than men !
Ye brainless wits! ye baptized infidels!
Ye worse for mending! washed to fouler stains!
The ransom was paid down: the fund of Heaven,
Heaven's inexhaustible, exhausted fund,
Amazing and amazed, poured forth the price,
All price beyond: though curious to compute,
Archangels failed to cast the mighty sum:
Its value vast ungrasped by minds create,
For ever hides and glows in the Supreme.
And was the ransom paid? It was: and paid
(What can exalt the bounty more?) for you.
The sun beheld it—no, the shocking scene
Drove back his chariot: Midnight veiled his face
Not such as this, not such as Nature makes:
A midnight Nature shuddered to behold;
A midnight new! a dread eclipse (without
Opposing spheres) from her Creator's frown!
Sun! didst thou fly thy Maker's pain? or start
At the enormous load of human guilt
Which bowed his blessed head, o'erwhelmed his cross,
Made groan the centre, burst earth's marble womb!
With pangs, strange pangs! delivered of her dead?
Hell howled; and Heaven that hour let fall a tear!
Heaven wept, that man might smile! Heaven bled, that man Might never die!
And is devotion virtue? 'Tis compelled.
What heart of stone but glows at thoughts like these?
Such contemplations mount us, and should mount
The mind still higher, nor ever glance on man
Unraptured, uninflamed.-Where roll my thoughts
To rest from wonders? other wonders rise,
And strike where'er they roll: my soul is caught:
Heaven's sovereign blessings clustering from the cross,
Rush on her in a throng, and close her round,
The prisoner of amaze !-In his blest life
I see the path, and in his death the price,
And in his great ascent the proof supreme
Of immortality.-And did he rise?
Hear, O ye nations! hear it, O ye dead!
He rose, he rose ! he burst the bars of death.
The theme, the joy, how then shall men sustain ?
O the burst gates! crushed sting! demolished throne!
Last gasp of vanquished Death! Shout, earth and heaven,
This sum of good to man! whose nature then
Took wing, and mounted with him from the tomb.
Then, then, I rose; then first humanity
Triumphant past the crystal ports of light,
(Stupendous guest !) and seized eternal youth,
Seized in our name. E'er since 'tis blasphemous
To call man mortal. Man's mortality
Was then transferred to death; and heaven's duration
Unalienably sealed to this frail frame,
This child of dust.-Man, all immortal, hail!
Hail, Heaven, all lavish of strange gifts to man!
Thine all the glory! man's the boundless bliss!
Wizard. LOCHIEL! Lochiel! beware of the day
When the Lowlands shall meet thee in battle array!
For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight,
And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight:
They rally, they bleed, for their kingdom and crown;
Wo, wo to the riders that trample them down!
Proud Cumberland prances, insulting the slain,
And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plain.
But hark! through the fast-flashing lightning of war,
What steed to the desert flies frantic and far?
'Tis thine, oh Glenullin! whose bride shall await,
Like a love-lighted watch-fire, all night at the gate.
A steed comes at morning: no rider is there ;
But its bridle is red with the sign of despair.
Weep, Albin! to death and captivity led !
Oh weep! but thy tears cannot number the dead:
For a merciless sword on Culloden shall wave,-
Culloden! that reeks with the blood of the brave.
Lochiel. Go, preach to the coward, thou death-telling seer: Or, if gory Culloden so dreadful appear, Draw, dotard, around thy old wavering sight, This mantle, to cover the phantoms of fright.
Wizard. Ha! laughest thou, Lochiel, my vision to scorn? Proud bird of the mountain, thy plume shall be torn! Say, rushed the bold eagle exultingly forth,
From his home, in the dark-rolling clouds of the north?
Lo! the death-shot of foemen outspeeding, he rode
Companionless, bearing destruction abroad;
But down let him stoop from his havock on high,
Ah! home let him speed,—for the spoiler is nigh.
Why flames the far summit? Why shoot to the blast
Those embers, like stars from the firmament cast?
'Tis the fire-shower of ruin, all dreadfully driven
From his eyry, that beacons the darkness of heaven.
Oh, crested Lochiel! the peerless in might,
Whose banners arise on the battlements' height,
Heaven's fire is around thee, to blast and to burn:
Return to thy dwelling; all lonely, return !
For the blackness of ashes shall mark where it stood,
And a wild mother scream o'er her famishing brood.
Lochiel. False Wizard, avaunt! I have marshalled my clan, Their swords are a thousand, their bosoms are one; They are true to the last of their blood and their breath, And like reapers descend to the harvest of death. Then welcome be Cumberland's steed to the shock! Let him dash his proud foam like a wave on the rock! But wo to his kindred, and wo to his cause, When Albin her claymore indignantly draws;
When her bonneted chieftains to victory crowd,
Clanranald the dauntless, and Moray the proud,
All plaided and plumed in their tartan array—
Wizard. -Lochiel, Lochiel! beware of the day
For, dark and despairing, my sight I may seal,
But man cannot cover what God would reveal;
'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before.
I tell thee, Culloden's dread echoes shall ring
With the blood-hounds that bark for thy fugitive king!
Lo! anointed by Heaven with the vials of wrath,
Behold, where he flies on his desolate path!
Now in darkness and billows, he sweeps from my sight:
Rise! rise! ye wild tempests, and cover his flight!
'Tis finished. Their thunders are hushed on the moors:
Culloden is lost, and my country deplores!
But where is the iron-bound prisoner? Where?
For the red eye of battle is shut in despair.
Say, mounts he the ocean-wave, banished, forlorn,
Like a limb from his country cast bleeding and torn?
Ah no! for a darker departure is near;
The war-drum is muffled, and black is the bier;
His death-bell is tolling! oh! mercy, dispel
Yon sight, that it freezes my spirit to tell!
Life flutters convulsed in his quivering limbs,
And his blood-streaming nostril in agony swims!
Accursed be the fagots that blaze at his feet,
Where his heart shall be thrown, ere it ceases to beat,
With the smoke of its ashes to poison the gale
Lochiel. -Down, soothless insulter! I trust not the tale: For never shall Albin a destiny meet,
So black with dishonour, so foul with retreat.
Though my perishing ranks should be strewed in their gore, Like ocean-weeds heaped on the surf-beaten shore,
Lochiel, untainted by flight or by chains,
While the kindling of life in his bosom remains,
Shall victor exult, or in death be laid low,
With his back to the field, and his feet to the foe!
And leaving in battle no blot on his name,
Look proudly to Heaven from the death-bed of fame.