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Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove;
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons, as they roll.
For me, when I forget the darling theme,
Whether the blossom blows, the summer ray
Russets the plain, inspiring autumn gleams,
Or winter rises in the blackening east;
Be my tongue mute, my fancy paint no more,
And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat.
Should fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes,
Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun
Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam
Flames on th' Atlantic isles ; 'tis nought to me
Since God is ever present, ever felt,
In the void waste, as in the city full;
And where He vital breathes there must be joy.
When even at last the solemn hour shall come,
And wing my mystic flight to future worlds,
I cheerful will obey; there, with new powers,
Will rising wonders sing : I cannot go
Where universal love not smiles around,
Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns,
From seeming evil still educing good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression. But I lose
Myself in Him, in light ineffable!
Come then, expressive silence, muse His praise,
Or tell me, Pleasure, what you feel;
Speak honestly, nor aught conceal :
The matter is of weight.
Pleasure, sweet power, to Nature dear!
I never wish to be austere;
I seek the happiest state.
Pleasure replies, with modest smile,
Let not a name the heart beguile :
My name the sons of sense
Have oft assum'd; but, trust me, they
From happiness are far astray!
'Tis all a mere pretence.
To me they boast alliance near;
As men of pleasure, men of cheer,
If you will them believe:
Meanwhile, they are of Circe's crew,
Wretched, defiled; with painted hue,
Weak mortals to deceive.
Mine is a purer, nobler rise,
Virtue, my parent, from the skies
Came down to bless the earth,
With me, the child she bore to Love;
A beauteous happy pair above
And here of highest worth !
Virtue, I grant, is often tried
By sickness, sorrow, envy, pride;
Nor is asham'd to mourn.
But trial strengthens: conscience cheers,
Of death and woe, prevents the fears :
Assaults to vict'ry turn.
Celestial orb, whose pow'rful ray
Opes the glad eyelids of the day,
Whose influence all things own;
Praise him, whose courts effulgent shine
With light, as far excelling thine,
As thine the paler moon.
Ye glittering planets of the sky,
Whose beams the absent sun supply,
With him the song pursue;
And let himself submissive own,
He borrows from a brighter sun,
The light he lends to you.
Ye show'rs and dews, whose moisture shed
Calls into life the op'ning seed,
To him your praises yield;
Whose influence wakes the genial birth,
Drops fatness on the pregnant earth,
And crowns the laughing field.
Ye winds that oft tempestuous sweep
The ruffed surface of the deep,
With us confess
See through the heavens the King of kings,
Upborne on your expanded wings,
Comes flying all abroad.
Ye foods of fire, whene'er ye flow,
With just submission humbly bow
To his superior pow'r;
Who stops the tempest on its way,
Or bids the flaming deluge stay,
And gives it strength to roar.
Lest death their trembling souls should seize,
Their blood with mortal horrors freeze,
And all their prospects end;
At that inevitable hour,
My parent, Virtue, proves her power,
An everlasting friend.
In life, in death, I follow her;
She, she alone can joys confer,
To fill the human beart :
From Heav'n together first we came :
Constant we breathe one common fame,
And never, never part !
We sat us down by Babel's streams,
And dreamed soul.saddening memory's dreams;
And dark thoughts o'er our spirits crept
Of Sion—and we wept, we wept!
Our harps upon the willows hung
Silent, and tuneless, and unstrung ;
For they who wrought our pains and wrongs,
Asked us for Sion's pleasant songs.
How can we sing Jehovah's praise
To those who Baal's altars raise?
How warble Judah's freeborn hymns,
With Babel's fetters on our limbs ?
How chant thy lays dear Fatherland
To strangers on a foreign strand ?
Ah no! we'll bear grief's keenest sting,
But dare not Sion's anthems sing.
Place us where Sharon's roses blow;
Place us where Siloe's waters flow;
Place us on Lebanon, that waves
Its cedars o'er our fathers' graves :
Place us upon that holy mount,
Where stands the temple, gleams the fount;
And love and joy shall loose our tongues,
To warble Sion's pleasant songs.
If I should e'er, earth's fairest gem,
Forget thee, O Jerusalem !
May my right hand forget its skill,
To wake the slumbering lyre at will!
If from my heart, e'en when most gay,
Thy memory e'er should fade away,
May my tongue rest within my head
Mute as the voices of the dead !
Remember, O remember, Lord,
In that day Edom's race abhorred;
When once again o'er Salem's towers,
The sun of joy its radiance pours,
Forget not them whose hateful cry
Rose loud and fiend-like to the sky,
• Be that unholy city crushed,
Raze, raze it even with the dust!'
Daughter of Babylon, the hour
Is coming that shall bow thy power,
The Persian sword shall make thee groan,
The Mede shall fill Belshazzar's throne;
Blest shall he be who bids thee sip
The cup thou heldst to Salem's lip,
And mocks thee, weeping o'er the stones
Red with thy children's bleeding bones.