Thy peerless glory, gentle orb! I sing,
Enamoured of thy beam's enchanting light,
Which, like a silver veil, adorns the dark
And melancholy brow of ebon night,
And gives her sable hue coquettish charm.
Celestial wand'rer! Mild magnificence!
Earth's fair twin sister swathed with infant bands!
Shed thy dumb eloquence upon my soul,
And kindle its dim torch with light of song!
Silent, thou tread'st thy lonely circling path,
Majestic, bright, and grand! Shining ever
In awful solitude! Thy voiceless praise
Piercing the vaulted space to countless worlds,
Whose choral anthems sympathetic swell,
Till heav'nly hosts repeat the sacred strains,
And tune their harps to melody and love!
How like a holy vessel set apart
For sacred rites thou seemest to me now!
No hand profane thy golden globe may touch!
No earthly mortal reach to thy high place!
No sinful sacrifice thy altar stain!
No weary pilgrim journey to thy shrine!
No priest, deluded, thy design distort,
Or taint thy purity with graven gods,
Polluting all thy holiness with guilt!
A solemn Presence walks with thee above,
Guiding thy motion with mysterious law,
And, midst thy rugged grandeur, dwells--ALONE!
Who would recall the burning orb of day,
When thy fair beams announce thy rising nigh?
Who but forgets the dazzling glare of noon,
When contemplating thy mild radiance?
Who, dwelling on thy calm, unruffled face,
But feels his heart with gentler action beat,
Stirred with deep thoughts that all his soul infuse
With sad regret, or sweet exulting joy?
Though in deep shadow earthly scenes are wrapt,
And sleep enfolds the weary sons of toil,
Yet is thy presence fruitful of delight;
Love, duty, glory, 'neath thy rays are blest!
And science and philosophy expand:
The fires of genius kindle at thy beam,
And praise and pray'r with holier thoughts ascend!
What scenes does fancy picture on thy globe--
Unfruitful, bleak, monotonous and bare!
No crystal wells hide in thy caverns deep,
Or gush in foaming torrents from thy heights!
Or wind their sparkling waters through thy vales!
No flow'ry shades imbow'r thy marble grots!
Or noble forests clothe thy nakedness!
NO mighty ocean girdles thee about,
Waking the slumb'ring echoes with its din!
No insects hum, or feathered songsters sing,
Or soar to the unchanging skies!
No flocks or herds or cities crowd thy plains!
No science draws thy latent treasures forth!
Nor beings, semi-gods, to dignify
Thy bald and desolate creation!
Nature has fled, and Time past over thee,
Nor registered thy birthday in his book!
No cloud thy lustre dims, or winds, or storm,
Thy calm repose disturbs; but all serene,
Like some embodied spirit heav'nly borne!
Thou keep'st thy course, gazing with placid eye
Upon the fitful changes of the earth,
Who, toiling with restless life, hails thy sweet smiles,
Shedding her silent tears of grateful joy,
And, like a cloistered lady, drops her hood,
To shake her censered odours at thy feet,
Whilst, like a saint, thou smil'st benignant down.
Lamp of the desert!Ah! thou'rt there supreme,
The friendly guide of trav'llers through the waste,
Lighting the dubious way o'er seas of sand,
That glitter in thy beams like heaps of gold.
The Arab loves thee! Trusting in thy light,
He fearless ventures on the treach'rous route,
And, with his merchandise for distant mart,
Treads safely o'er the blasted wilderness,
Guided and cheered by the translucent ray.
Nor less thy influence on verdant plains:
Turning the current of their crystal streams!
Stilling the storm! Swelling the bounteous cloud!
Lifting the fatal vapours from the vales!
Smoothing the ruffled pinions of the wind!
Curling soft wavelets in old Ocean's hair,
Or bracing all his energies for war!
Or, with thy soft, enchanting loveliness,
Depriving the huge giant of his strength!
Where is thy beauty more sublimely shown?
Thy sway more potent? or thy face more dear?
When, glowing in thy bright supremacy,
Thou walk'st the path of waters noiselessly,
Cheering the mariners' dull pacing watch,
With the home pictures mem'ry links with thee.
Thou lov'st to climb the loftiest mountain peak,
And wreathe thy temples with its virgin snow,
Casting thy bright refulgence on its brow,
And, on its summit throned, to glance below
Upon some halcyon scene of rural life,
Where the ripe harvest yields its golden grain
With tenfold measure to the fost'ring hand,
And with a smile, as if thou shared'st the joy,
Pourest thy flood of mellow radiance down!
Anon thou peepest through ambrosial shades,
Shrouding the humble tenants of the woods;
And with thy shining gleam, the modest cot,
Till now conceal'd, with sudden light invest,
Gilding its tranquil indigence, where peace
And unaffected piety preside.
And now thou hov'rest o'er some lucid lake,
Begirt with grassy slopes and massy knolls,
Half hid by branching trees and jutting crags.
Here doest thou bathe thee in the limpid wave,
Dimpling the sleeping waters, smooth and still,
Lapp'd in the bosom of tranquility,
And seeming all in Eden beauty dressed,
As if the treasured spot were Paradise,
And angels lingered there in fondness still!
His flock secured, the shepherd pleased, beholds
Thy ball in full-orbed glory rise, and turns,
With quicken'd step, his homeward path to tread;
His heart with sanguine expectation filled
Of meeting those the sharers of his lot--
His life's supremest treasures and delight!
Or, it may be, that pure and sacred love,
May all his nature animate with hope
That she, his fond and plighted fair, is near,
Coyly concealed by some convenient shade,
To give his heart the transport of surprise;
And, as with Love's swift wings impelled, he winds
With strong and manly strides, th' tortuous glen,
Imagines ev'ry nook betrays her form!
'Tis night--a tempest low'rs! the deepening gloom
Involves a gallant ship, where brave and strong,
The anxious crew, await the coming strife,
Whose terrors quail the stoutest! Fiercely now
The wild affray resounds! the lightnings flash;
And the winds coil and hiss, like loosened fiends
Evolving in despair! loud roaring waves,
Rival th' impassioned thunder of the clouds,
And lash and grapple as in deadly feud.
Hurrying on with maniac impetus,
The struggling vessel's anchor, Hope, is gone,
And Death with black distended jaws,
Uplifts his reeking arms to strike his prey,
When lo! thy beacon-light appears, and shows
The frowning shore and monster breaker near,
Which, through thy timely aid, are both escaped!
Such are thy attributes, resplendent orb!
And such the chaos of thy massive form!
Grand and sublime in spotless innocence!
Whose awful myst'ries baffle human love,
And dim the glass of keen philosophy!
Whose simple beauty ev'ry eye enchants!
Whose value none can over estimate!
Whose borrowed splendour so becoming is,
That ev'ry heart is captured by thy charms,
And thinks not of thy callous character,
And dreadful regions of eternal void.
But none can blindly deem thy pond'rous ball,
A dull and useless blank, while glorious light,
Illumes thy rugged countenance and smooths
Its coarse and savage features down to love.
Smiling with mild beneficence on man!
Roll on, fair satellite! forever roll!
Until thy adamantine chain is loosed,
And Ruin, that last triumphant angel,
Shall, 'mid the crash of spheres, mingle thy dust,
And the new earth shall need thy beams no more!