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It is not from his form, in which we trace
Strength joined with beauty, dignity with grace,
That man, the matter of this globe, derives
His right of empire over all that lives.
That form indeed, the associate of a mind
Vast in its powers, ethereal in its kind,
That form, the labour of almighty skill,
Framed for the service of a free-born will,
Afferts precedence, and befpeaks control,
But borrows all its grandeur from the foul.
Hers is the ftate, the splendour, and the throne,
An intellectual kingdom, all her own.
For her the memory fills her ample page
With truths poured down from every dittant age;
For her amasses an unbounded store,
The wisdom of great nations, now no more ;
Though laden, not incumbered with her spoil;
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil;
When copiously supplied, then most enlarged;
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharged.
For her the fancy, roving unconfined,
The present mufe of every penfive mind,
Works magic wonders, adds a brighter hue
To nature's scenes than nature ever knew.
At her command winds rise and waters roar,
Again the lays them slumbering on the shore;
With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies,
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise.
For her the judgment, umpire in the strife
That grace and nature have to wage through life,
Quick-fighted arbiter of good and ill,
Appointed sage preceptor to the will,
Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.
Why did the fiat of a God give birth
To yon fair sun and his attendant earth?
And, when descending he resigns the skies,
Why takes the gentler moon her turn to rise,
Whom ocean feels through all his countless waves,
And owns her power on every shore he laves ?
Why do the seasons ftill enrich the year,
Fruitful and young as in their first career?
Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees,
Rocked in the cradle of the western breeze;
Summer in haste the thriving charge receives
Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves,
Till autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews
Dye them at last in all their glowing hues.--
'Twere wild profusion all, and bootless waste,
Power misemployed, munificence misplaced,
Had not its author dignified the plan,
And crowned it with the majesty of man.
Thus formed, thus placed, intelligent, and taught,
Look where he will, the wonders God has wrought,
The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws
Finds in a sober moment time to pause,
To press the important question on his heart,
“ Why formed at all, and wherefore as thou art ?"
If man be what he seems, this hour a Nave,
The next mere dust and ashes in the grave;
Endued with reason only to descry
His crimes and follies with an aching eye;
With passions, juft that he may prove, with pain,
The force he spends against their fury vain ;
And if, soon after having burnt, by turns,
With every luft, with which frail nature burns,
His being end where death diffolves the bond,
The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond;
Then he, of all that nature has brought forth,
Stands self-impeached the creature of leaft worth,
And useless while he lives, and when he dies,
Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies.
Truths, that the learned pursue with eager thought, Are not important always as dear-bought, Proving at laft, though told in pompous strains, A childish waste of philofophic pains; But truths, on which depends our main concern, That 'tis our shame and misery not to learn, Shine by the side of every path we tread With such a lustre, he that runs may read. 'Tis true that, if to trifle life away Down to the fun-fet of their latest day, Then perish on futurity's wide shore Like fleeting exhalations, found no more, Were all that Heaven required of human kind, And all the plan their deftiny designed, What none could reverence all might juftly blame, And man would breathe but for his Maker's shame.