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Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light deni'd ?"
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT.
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
Ev'n them who kept thy truth so pure of old
When all our fathers worshipt stocks and stones
Forget not: in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that rollid
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubl’d to the hills, and they
To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all th' Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundredfold, who having learnt thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
TO CYRIACK SKINNER, UPON HIS BLINDNESS.
Cyriack, this three-years-day, these eyes, though clear
To outward view of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year;
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heav'ns hand or will, nor bate one jot
Or heart or hope; but still bear up, and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overpli’d
In liberty's defence, my noble task,
Of which all Europe rings from side to side.
This thought might lead me through this world's vain mask,
Content, though blind, had I no better guide.
Thus spake our sire:
'For Man to tell how human life began
Is hard; for who himself beginning knew?
Desire with thee still longer to converse
Induc'd mo. As new wak’t from soundest sleep
Soft on the flow'ry herb I found me laid
In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun
Soon dri'd, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward heav'n my wondring eyes I turn’d,
And gaz'd awhile the ample sky; till rais'd
By quick instinctive motion up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet; about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these,
Creatures that liv'd, and mov'd, and walk'd, or flew,
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smild,
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd.
Myself I then perus’d, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
With supple joints, as lively vigour led :
But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
Knew not; to speak I tri'd, and forth with spake,
My tongue obey'd, and readily could name
Whate'er I saw. "Thou Sun," said I, "fair light,
And thou enlighten'a Earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,
And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?
Not of myself; by some great Maker then,
In goodness and in power pre-eminent;
Tell me, how I may know him, how adore,
From whom I have that thus I move and live,
And feel that I am happier than I know."
While thus I callid, and stray'd I knew not whither,
From where I first drew air, and first beheld
This happy light, when answer none return’d,
On a green shady bank profuse of flow'rs
Pensive I sat me down; there gentle sleep
First found me, and with soft oppression seiz'd
My drowsed sense, untroubld, though I thought
I then was passing to my former state
Insensible, and forth with to dissolve;
When suddenly stood at my head a dream,
Whose inward apparition gently mov'd
My fancy to believe I yet had being,
And liv'd. One came, methought, of shape divine,
And said, “Thy mansion wants thee, Adam, rise,
First Man, of men innumerable ordain'd
First father, call'd by thee I come thy guide
To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepar'd.”
So saying by the hand he took me rais'd,
And over fields and waters, as in air
Smooth sliding without step, last led me up
A woody mountain; whose high top was plain,
A circuit wide, enclos'd, with goodliest trees
Planted, with walks, and bowers, and what I saw
Of Earth before scarce pleasant seem'd. Each tree
Load'n with fairest fruit that hung to the eye
Tempting, stirr'd in me sudden appetite
To pluck and eat; whereat I wak'd, and found
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
Had lively shadow'd: here had new begun
My wandring, had not he who was my guide
Up hither, from among the trees appear'd,
Presence divine. Rejoicing, but with awe
In adoration at his feet I fell
Submiss: he rear'd me, and “whom thou gought'st I am,
Said mildly, "Author of all this thou seest
Above, or round about thee, or beneath.
This Paradise I give thee, count it thine
To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat:
Of every tree that in the garden grows
Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth:
But of the tree, whose operation brings
Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set
The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith,
Amid the garden by the tree of Life,
HOEKZEMA, Poetry. 4th Ed.
Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste,
And shun the bitter consequence: for know,
The day thou eat'st thereof, my sole command
Transgrest, inevitably thou shalt die;
From that day mortal, and this happy state
Shalt lose, expell’d from hence into a world
Of woe and sorrow.” Sternly he pronounc'd
The rigid interdiction, which resounds
Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice
Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect
Return’d and gracious purpose thus renewid.
“Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth
To thee and to thy race I give; as lords
Possess it, and all things that therein live,
Or live in sea, or air, beast, fish and fowl.
In sign whereof each bird and beast behold
After their kinds; I bring them to receive
From thee their names, and pay thee fealty
With low subjection; understand the same
Of fish within their watry residence,
Not hither summon'd, since they cannot change
Their element to draw the thinner air."
As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold
Approaching two and two; these cowring low
With blandishment, each bird stoop'd on his wing.
I nam'd them, as they pass'd, and understood
Their nature, with such knowledge God endu'd
My sudden apprehension; but in these
I found not what methought I wanted still;
And to the Heav'nly Vision thus presum'd.
6"O by what name, for thou above all these,
Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher,
Surpassest far my naming, how may I
Adore thee, Author of this universe,
And all this good to Man? for whose well being
So amply, and with hands so liberal
Thou hast provided all things: but with me