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Exact my own defects to scan;
What others are to feel; and know myself a man.
The creation required to praise its Author.
BEGIN, my soul, th' exalted lay!
Let each enraptur'd thought obey,
And praise th' Almighty's name:
Lo! heav'n and earth, and seas and skies,
In one melodious concert rise,
To swell th' inspiring theme.
Ye fields of light, celestial plains,
Where gay transporting beauty reigns,
Ye scenes divinely fair!
Your Maker's wond'rous pow'r proclaim,
Tell how he form'd your shining frame,
And breath'd the fluid air.
Ye angels, catch the thrilling sound!
While all th' adoring thrones around
His boundless mercy sing:
Let ev'ry list'ning saint above
Wake all the tuneful soul of love,
And touch the sweetest string.
Join, ye loud spheres, the vocal choir;
Thou dazzling orb of liquid fire,
The mighty chorus aid:
Soon as gray evening gilds the plain,
Thou, moon, protract the melting strain,
And praise him in the shade.
Thou heav'n of heav'ns, his vast abode ;
Ye clouds proclaim your forming God,
Who call'd yon worlds from night:
"Ye shades dispel !"-th' Eternal said; At once th' involving darkness fled, And nature sprung to light.
Whate'er a blooming world contains,
That wings the air, that skims the plains,
United praise bestow :
Ye dragons sound his awful name
To heav'n aloud; and roar acclaim,
Ye swelling deeps below.
Let ev'ry element rejoice;
Ye thunders burst with awful voice
TO HIM who bids you roll:
His praise in softer notes declare,
Each whispering breeze of yielding air,
And breathe it to the soul.
To him ye graceful cedars, bow;
Ye tow'ring mountains, bending low,
Your great Creator own;
Tell, when affrighted nature shook,
How Sinai kindled at his look,
And trembled at his frown.
Ye flocks that haunt the humble vale,
Ye insects flutt'ring on the gale.
In mutual concourse rise:
Crop the gay rose's vermeil bloom,
And waft its spoils a sweet perfume,
In incense to the skies.
Wake all ye mountain tribes, and sing;
Ye plumy warblers of the spring,
Harmonious anthems raise
TO HIM who shap'd your finer mould,
Who tipp'd your glittering wings with gold,
And tun'd your voice to praise.
Let man, by nobler passions sway'd
The feeling heart, the judging head,
In heav nly praise employ ;
Spread his tremendous name around,
Till heav'n's broad arch rings back the sound,
The gen'ral burst of joy.
Ye whom the charms of grandeur please,
Nurs'd on the downy lap of ease,
Fall prostrate at his throne:
Ye princes, rulers, all adore ;
Praise him, ye kings, who makes your pow'r
An image of his own.
Ye fair, by nature form'd to move,
O praise th' eternal SOURCE OF LOVE,
With youth's enliv'ning fire:
age take up the tuneful lay,
Sigh his bless'd name-then soar away,
And ask an angel's lyre.
Yet gave me in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.
Thou GREAT FIRST CAUSE, least understood,
Who all my sense confin'd
To know but this, that thou art good,
And that myself am blind;
What conscience dictates to be done, Or warns me not to do,
This teach me more than hell to shun, That more than heav'n pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid, when man receives;
T'enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round.
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw;
And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, oh teach my
To find that better way!
Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,
Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's wo,
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken'd by thy breath;
O lead me wheresoe'er I go,
Thro' this day's life or death!
This day, be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not,
And let thy will be done.
To thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies!
One chorus let all beings raise!
All nature's incense rise.
TREACH'ROUs conscience! while she seems to sleep On rose and myrtle, lull'd with syren song; While she seems, nodding o'er her charge, to drop On headlong appetite the slacken'd rein, And give us up to license unrecall'd, Unmark'd;-see, from behind her secret stand, The sly informer minutes ev'ry fault, And her dread diary with horror fills. Not the gross act alone employs her pen; She reconnoitres fancy's airy band. A watchful foe! the formidable spy, List'r'ng, o'erhears the whispers of our camp; Our dawning purposes of heart explores, And steals our embryos of iniquity.
As all rapacious usurers conceal
Their doomsday-book from all-consuming heirs ;
Thus, with indulgence most severe, she treats
Us spendthrifts of inestimable time;
Unnoted, notes each moment misapply'd;
In leaves more durable than leaves of brass,
Writes our whole history; which death shall read
In ev'ry pale delinquent's private ear;
And judgment publish; publish to more worlds.
Than this; and endless age in groans resound.