When man first broke from Nature's plastic hand,
He lay all prostrate, and inanimate;
His noble faculties not perfected;
His virtues all inert, and will, supine:
The breath of life just fluttered in its cage,
And, trembling, filled, and beautified each nerve;
But still the creature, void of sense, lay mute.
'Twas then two angels cleft the vaulted space,
Winging their downward course; celestial twins!
Sent by the Master Mind the work to dignify,
And give the final touch to mortal mould.
This soon espying, they descended swift,
And, hand in hand, alighted at the couch,
Where lay, in silent trance, the work divine!
The first, a seraph of great pow'r, was Sight,
All of celestial effulgence full!
ANd, as if conscious of the precious gift
His sacred mission bore, his radiant looks
With zealous fervour glow'd, beaming with quick,
And changeful thoughts, expressive of delight;
As if the virtues were all mirror'd there,
And happiness and joy, reflected, shone!
While, through his robes transparent, swiftly streamed
The sacred light of heaven--unquenchable!
Shedding peculiar lustre where he stood.
The other angel, though his counterpart,
Was even more divine, and heav'nly bright!
With calm, majestic step, and princely mien,
He moved, as not impeded, or impell'd,
By nature's laws, ethereal, and pure!
His fine imperial head, was circled
With a rich coronal of sparkling gems,
That all harmonious gleamed, and soft illumed
The forehead's unadorned magnificence,
Where shone the stamp of intellect divine,
Whose beatific light surpassing blazed!
With sweetest grace, and condescending air,
He looked the spirit of intelligence,
In rosy ether dressed, and flashing robes,
Floating, like golden cloudlets, carelessly!
Now both with wond'ring admiration gazed,
Viewing the stately figure's godlike shape
With such similitude of form to theirs.
Then, while soft strains melodious filled the air,
As from the harps of holy witnesses,
That all unseen, circled the godly pair,
They, smiling, stooped and raised the massive head;
And the first angel touched the closèd lids
Where lay the sightless orbs, like embryo worlds
Cradled in darkness! Straight they opened wide,
And strange bewilderment their gaze expressed,
Straining to catch the meaning of the glare,
And separate each object all confused.
And now, celestial Reason--Beam divine!
Cast o'er the new creation his fair vest,
That mangle, charged with rarest gifts, and pow'r,
To waken dormant intellect, and fill
His new-born soul with heav'nly attributes!--
To loose the springs of thought, and elevate
His finite nature to the style of God!--
The silent tongue, with tuneful speech inspire!--
And test the tensioned organs of the ear!--
His mortal life, with life immortal, crown!--
And feed his noble faculties with food
Untiring!--sateless!--ever fresh and new!--
To view, and comprehend the universe,
With all its virgin glories shining round,
That filled his glowing soul with solemn awe!--
To pierce the veil of Time, and contemplate
Illimitable Wisdom, Power, and Love!
To exercise his moral strength in feats
Of genius, mercy, and self-government!--
To serve, and to adore with faithful heart,
The mighty God--the Lord omnipotent!
Author, and Ruler of his destinies!
Creator! Judge! and Saviour of the world?
Here the bright Vision ceased, and smiled serene!
Then, bidding him arise, and walk, he turned,
And with inimitable grace, and mien,
Took his fair colleague's hand, and both, 'mid strains
Of rapt'rous song, resought their native realms!