BETA

ODE,

Composed while the Sun was under Eclipse, 7th September, 1820.

The sun
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations.
—Paradise Lost.
Light wanes ; dark clouds come hovering o’er1
The bosom of the silent sky ;2
And harvest fields, a yellow pride that wore,3
In twilight shadow lie.4
A gloom o’erspreads the forests green ;5
The sullen river, with a roll,6
Rushes to the sea, its goal ;7
And the far distant hills are seen,8
As if the fleecy robes of Eve were strewed between !9
The breezes are asleep ; the world at rest ;10
And silence to the east and west11
Gazes, but in vain, to see12
One leaflet moving on one single tree !13
The birds forsake their singing, and around,14
Nought but the cattle’s low—a lonely sound,15
Disturbs the solitude. Behold,16
Withdrawn from human eye17
Far in the sullen solitary sky,18
The sun hath quench’d his radiant orb of gold.19
A deeper, and a deeper gloom20
Succeeds, as if the day of doom21
Were come, and earth should quake around,22
At the angel’s trumpet sound !23
As if at once, like molten glass,24
Earth and Heaven away should pass ;25
And to darkling chaos roll,26
Crackling like a folding scroll !27
Oh ! Thou, that far beyond the starty sky,— 28
Thy glances piercing through eternity,— 29
Omniscient,—and invisible,—alone,—30
Sittest on thy jasper throne,31
Hearken to us, frail mortals, when we cry !32
Hearken to us,—although but for a day33
We are—and pass away !34
Hearken to us—although we have preferred35
Sin’s darkness to truth’s light ;36
And, wandering from thy sight,37
Have in the paths of folly ever erred :38
Hearken to us, although ungrateful we,39
Like prodigals, have wandered far astray40
From virtue’s everlasting way,41
And in our pride of heart forgotten thee !42
A deeper gloom, a darker dye,43
Mantles o’er the dismal sky ;44
Sailing o’er its breast, like phantom ships,45
The severing clouds revolve, and lo !46
With a faint and feeble glow,47
Looks out the mighty sun in dim eclipse ;48
Like a lunar crescent beaming,49
And a ghastly splendour streaming50
Upon the broken clouds, in many a fold,51
Around, like pillars of a ruined fane,52
In awful wildness rolled !53
Hearken again, oh ! Thou whose boundless power54
Extendest far beyond our limited thought,55
Through worlds, that in a twinkling thou hast wrought,56
And in a twinkling can in wrath devour !57
Thou that hast made, and can command ;58
Thou that the depths of chaos broke59
That touchest mountains, and they smoke ;60
And takest, in the hollow of thy hand,61
The heaving and immeasurable main,62
As if it were a drop of rain !63
Hearken to us, and hear,64
With unaverted ear,65
Our supplications, as with faces prone,66
And folded hands, we bow before thy throne !67
Because, with quenchless light, and daily force,68
Brightening the orient, from his chamber starts69
The red-haired giant, whose proud looks are darts70
Of living fire—rejoicing in his course71
Because the pale-eyed moon, with silver smile,72
Walks forth in beauty through the evening dim,73
And round her path the constellations swim,74
Shorn of her beams, with fainter light the while ;75
Because, with regular pulse the ocean throbs,76
Covering, and leaving wastes of yellow sand ;77
Because the green-rob’d spring o’erspreads the land ;78
Because the summer’s cheek is russet brown79
And autumn’s features waxing to a frown,80
Melts into winter’s age with tears and sobs ;81
Because a thousand gifts are daily poured82
By thee, oh Father, mighty, and adored,83
(if in our warmth of spirit we may call84
Thee, Father, who art sovereign overt all ; )85
Because thou givest us, from thy liberal hand,86
Raiment, and food, and health, and all87
We ask, or can enjoy, our hearts expand88
With insolent pride, and to rebellion fall.89
Forgive us ! oh, forgive us ! turn not thou90
With anger stamped upon thy brow,91
But look towards us, and relent,92
As thus in dust and ashes we repent !93
Not in the hour of pleasure are we borne94
To thee, in gratitude,—thou mak’st us mourn,95
Hiding thy face, and then our spirits fall,96
And on thy name imploringly we call :97
On earth the muffled sun looks down98
With dim and melancholy frown,99
Opaque and. dismal, of his glories shorn,100
In crescent shape, with sharp and pallid horn ;101
A type of that tremendous day,102
When sea, and earth, and sky shall pass away,103
And when the angel, ’ mid the tempest’s roar,104
Shall swear by heaven that “ time shall be no more ! ”105
Awful and solemn is the hour !106
Foreboding gloom, and doubtful fear,107
O’er the throbbing bosom lower,108
And tell how weak we are, how mighty is Thy power !109
Oh ! may not, unimproved,110
This hour of warning fleet away,111
And like the clouds that paint an April day,112
Pass, and from memory ever be removed113
But, graven on the mind, oh, may it bring114
Thoughts that are high, and feelings that endure,115
To keep, ’ mid tainted paths, the bosom pure116
Which grief can reach not, nor repentance sting :117
And, walking ’ mid mankind, oh, may we be118
From wickedness and wayward errors free,119
And rising o’er the ills that mock us here,120
Think on the splendours of a happier sphere,121
Where, veiling, with their wings, their faces bright,122
Amid insufferable light,123
The seraphim and cherubim adore124
Thy glory evermore !125