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Than that night rises from his absent ray,
And his returning luftre kindles day?
But we expect the morning red in vain :
"Tis hid in vapours, or obscur'd by rain.
The noon-tide yellow we in vain require :
'Tis black in florm, or red in lightning fire:
Pitchy and dark the night sometimes appears,
Friend to our woe, and parent of our fears :
Our joy and wonder sometimes the excites,
With stars unnumber'd, and eternal lights.
Send forth, ye wife, send forth your lab'ring thought:
Let it return with empty notions fraught,
Of airy columns ev'ry moment broke,
Of circling whirlpools, and of spheres of smoke:
Yet this solution but once more affords
New change of terms, and scaffolding of words :
In other garb my question I receive ;
And take the doubt the very fame I gave.
Lo! as a giant strong the lusty sun
Iultiply'd rounds in one great round does run,
Twofold his course, yet constant his career,
Changing the day, and finishing the year.
Again when his defcending orb retires,
And earth perceives the absence of his fires;
The moon affords us her alternate ray,
And with kind beams distributes fainter day:
Yer keeps the Nages of her monthly race,
Varicus her beams, and changeable her face.
Each planet shining in its proper sphere,
Does with just speed his radiant voyage steer:
Each fees liis lamp with diff'rent luftre crown'd:
Each knows his course with diff'rent periods bound:
And in his passage thro' the liquid space,
Nor bastens, nor retards his neighbour's race.
Now shine these planets with substantial rays ?
Does innate lustre gild their measur'd days?
Or do they (as your schemes, I think, have shown)
Dart furtive beams, and glory not their own,
All servants to that source of light, the sun ?
Again I see ten thousand thousand stars,
Nor cast in lines, in circles, nor in squares :
(Poor rules, with which our bounded mind is fill'd,
When we would plant, or cultivate, or build)
But shining with such vast, such various light,
As speaks the hand, that form’d them, infinite :
Ho mean the order and perfection fought
In the belt product of the human thought,
Compar'd to the great harmony that reigns
In what the spirit of the world ordains !
Now if the fun to earth transmits his
Yet does not scorch us with too fierce a day;
How small a portion of his pow'r is giv'n
To orbs more diftant, and remoter heav'n?
And of thofe stars, which our imperfect eye
Has doom'd, and fix'd to one eternal sky,
Each by a native stock of honour great,
May dart strong influence, and diffuse kind heat,
Itself a sun; and with transmissive light
Enliven worlds deny'd to human fight :
Around the circles of their ambient skies
New moons may grow or wane, may set or rise;
And other stars may to those suns be earths;
Give their own elements their proper
Divide their climes, or elevate their pole ;
See their lands flourish, and their oceans roll ;
Yet thefe great orbs thus radically bright,
Primitive founts, and origins of light,
May each to other (as their diff'rent sphere
Makes or their distance, or their height appear)
Be feen a nobler, or inferior ftar ;
And in that fpace, which we call air and sky,
Myriads of earths, and moons, and suns
lie Unmcasar'd, and unknown by human eye. In vain we measure this amazing sphere, And find and fix its centre here or there ; While its circumf'rence fcorning to be brought Ev'n into fancy'd space, illudes our vanquish'd thought.
Where then are all the radiant monsters driv'n With which your gueffes fill'd the frighten'd heav'n ? Where will their fictious images remain ? In paper fehemes, and the Chaldean's brain.
This problem yet, this offspring of a guess, Let us for once a child of truth confess; That these fair stars, these objects of delight And terror, to our fearching dazi'd fight, Are worlds immense, unnumber'd, infinite : But do these worlds display their beams, or guide Their orbs, to serve thy use, to please thy pride ? Thyself but dust: thy ftature but a span, A moment thy duration ; foolish man ! As well may the minutest emmet say, That Caucasus was rais'd to pave his
way : The snail, that Lebanon's extended wood Was destin'd only for his walk, and food ;
The vileft cockle, gaping on the coast
That rounds the ample seas, as well may boast,
The craggy rock projects above the sky,
That he in safety at its foot may lie ;
And the whole ocean's confluent waters swell
Only to quench his thirst, or move and blanch his shello
A higher fight the vent'rous Goddess tries,
Leaving material worlds, and local skies :
Enquires, what are the beings, where the fpace,
That form'd and held the angels ancient race.
For rebel Lucifer with Michael fought
(I offer only what tradition taught)
Embaril'd cherub against cherub rose ;
Did shield to shield, and pow'r to pow'r oppose :
Heav'n rung with triumph: hell was filla with woes.
What were these forms of which your volumes tell,
How some fought great, and others recreant fell :
These bound to bear an everlasting load,
Durance of chain, and banishment of God;
By fatal turns their wretched strength to tire ;
To swim in sulph'rous lakes, or land on folid fire ;
Whilft those exalted to primaeval light,
Excess of blessing and fupreme delight,
Only perceive some little paufe of joys
In those great momenis, when their God employs.
Their ministry, to pour his threaten'd hate
On the proud king, or the rebellious tate:
Or to reverse Jehovah's high command,
And speak the thunder falling from his hand,
When to his duty the proud king returns,
And the rebellious state in aihes mourns.
How can good angels be in heav'n confin'd;
Or view that presence, which no fpace can bind?
Is God above, beneath, or yon', or here?
He who made all, is he not ev'ry where ?
Oh how can wicked angels find a night
So dark to hide 'em from the piercing light,
Which form’d the eye, and gave the pow'r of light?
What mean I now of angel, when I hear
Firm body, spirit pure, or fluid air ?
Spirits to action spiritual confin'd,
Friends to our thought, and kindred to our mind,
Should only act and prompt us from within,
Nor by external eye be ever seen.
Was it not therefore to our fathers known,
That these had appetite, and limb, and bone ?
Else how could Abiam wash their weary'd feet;
Or Sarah please their tafte with fav’ry meat ?
Whence should they fear? or why did Lot engage
To save their bodies from abusive rage ?
And how could Jacob in a real fight,
Feel or resist the wrestling angel's might?
How could a form its ftrength with matter try?
Or how a spirit touch a morial's thigh?
Now are they air condens'd, or gather'd rays ?
How guide they then our pray'r, or keep our ways,
By stronger blalls still subject to be tost,
By tempests scatter'd, and in whirlwinds loft ?
Have they again (as facred fong proclaims)
Substances real, and existing frames ?
How comes it, since with them we jointly share
The great effect of one Creator's care ;