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ODE TO SUPERSTITION. *
I. 1. HENCE, to the realms of Night, dire Demon, hence!
Thy chain of adamant can bind
That little world, the human mind,
Wake the lion's loudest roar,
At thy command he plants the dagger deep,
*Written in early youth.
I. 2. When, with a frown that froze the peopled earth,
Thou dartedst thy huge head from high,
Night waved her banners o'er the sky, And, brooding, gave her shapeless shadows birth.
Rocking on the billowy air,
Ha! what withering phantoms glare! As blows the blast with many a sudden swell, At each dead pause, what shrill-toned voices yell! The sheeted spectre, rising from the tomb, Points to the murderer's stab, and shudders by; In every grove is felt a heavier gloom, That veils its genius from the vulgar eye:
The spirit of the water rides the storm, And, thro' the mist, reveals the terrors of his form.
And holds each mountain-wave in chains,
By glistering star-light thro' the snow,
Breathes softly in her wondering ear
* Lucretius, I. 63.
And, while the panting tigress hies
His spirit laughs in agonies,
To die is to be blest:
Weave the airy web of Fate;
Each unhewn mass of living stone
Was clad in horrors not its own,
Giant Error, darkly grand,
* The funeral rite of the Hindoos.
+ The Fates of the Northern Mythology. See Mallets Antiquities. # An allusion to the Second Sight.
Circled with seats of bliss, the Lord of Light
Sweet Music breathes her soul into the wind;
A timbrelled anthem swells the gale,
And bids the God of Thunders hail; + With lowings loud the captive God replies.
Clouds of incense woo thy smile,
Scaly monarch of the Nile! I But ah! what myriads claim the bended knee? Go, count the busy drops that swell the sea. Proud land! what eye can trace thy mystic lore, Locked up in characters as dark as night? || What eye those long, long labyrinths dare explore, I To which the parted soul oft wings her flight;
Again to visit her cold cell of clay, Charmed with perennial sweets, and smiling at decay?
* Æn. II. 172, &c. + The bull, Apis. | The Crocodile.
§ According to an ancient proverb, it was less difficult in Egypt to find a god than a man. || The Hieroglyphics.
On yon hoar summit, mildly bright *
With purple ether's liquid light,
On dazzling bursts of heavenly fire;
Her figure swells ! she foams, she raves !
Streams of rapture roll along,
Silver notes ascend the skies:
Oh catch it, ere it dies!
Breathing a prophetic flame.
* “ The Persians," says Herodotus, “ have no temples, altars, or statues. They sacrifice on the tops of the highest mountains.” I. 131. it Æn. VI. 46, &c.