Go thou and mark the holy preacher's tones,
And fix thy gaze intently, as he lifts
The separating veil, and to thy sight
Unfolds the secrets of Eternity:--
The bliss that knows no pausing--pains that roll
In whelming billows, ever, ever on.
Thou hear'st, thou seest, appalled; yet knowest not
To answer me, what is Eternity.
Go, bend thee o'er the impenitent sick one;
Mark well--'tis mortal sickness--the deep pangs
Expressed by nature's eloquence. The groans
The tossings, writhings, the unutterable
Commotions of a body racked; a soul
Already steeped in hell; and as thou hear'st
The super-human cry break fearful forth,
"Oh what is this Eternity?" despair,
Despair, Oh man, to answer--thou know'st not.
Go to the grave-yard--seek out yonder tomb--
Descend, fear not--thou sees that mouldering lid;
Now handle the dark corse--the clammy bones
Tell of corruption, tell of the foul worm
That long hath here held banqueting.
Hark! from this coffin, broken into dust,
These bones, these damps, this melancholy gloom,
A voice disturbs the chambers of the tomb:
Canst thou reply? Oh no--thou know'st not yet,
Nor learnest here, what is Eternity.
Go to! and let God teach thee--let the grasp
Of sickness, bring thee down unto the gates
Of death, and as thou shuddering seest in light
Unknown before, the past, the present, and
The solemn future--though thy hopes on Him,
The Everlasting Rock, be built: though thou
Art safe through riches of His blood, and thou
Canst say, exulting, "Death! where is thy sting?"
Yet, Man, a veil is lifted up to thee;
Revealing things, undreamed, unfelt, nor told
In the wide range of providence to men.
And now thou canst reply, "Eternity--
Oh more than tongue can tell, or thought devise;
More than imagining can fathom--God!
Eternal God! 'tis thy duration all."