Hymn VIII.


I stood upon the heap’d remains1
Of ancient worlds, ’mid waste and rock,2
Where fire had heaved the rifted plains,3
And flood had worn each massive block ;4


Great layers of cinders, ashes piled,5
And molten streams congeal’d to stone,6
Grey peaks by biting ages filed,7
And shapeless ruins overthrown ;8


Dark vales descending headlong deep,9
Whose gulf our human thought devours,10
And iron crags upon the steep11
Sepulchral thrones of perish’d powers.12


What all around I seem’d to scan13
Was desolation’s eyeless face,14
A world whose dim forgotten plan15
No present skill avail’d to trace.16


The crystal sky’s harmonious frame,17
The joyous earth of fruitful cheer,18
No kindred here methought could claim,19
Where all was death, and grief, and fear.20


Swift fled the clouds that dismal hung,21
Forth stept the sun with godlike sway,22
The gloom no more about me clung,23
And glorious radiance fill’d the day.24


A boundless hall of purple sky,25
Around me spread celestial air,26
And smallest woofs were seen to lie,27
In downy softness floating there.28


Beyond the mountains’ nearer view,29
So stern and rude, the ocean lay,30
A circling plain of azure hue,31
Becalm’d in evening’s loveliest ray.32


Far off, the shore, the fields, the vales,33
The town, the hamlets glancing shone,34
And burnish’d isles and gliding sails35
Were bright with life beyond their own.36


But near, how changed is all around !37
Destruction’s woe and conflict o’er,38
The pathless rocks, the dells profound,39
To me are dark and sad no more.40


I see the herbage climb and steal41
Through dens where once the earth-
quakes fought,
And cliff and peak seem all to feel43
A stamp of good serenely wrought.44


Below, the valley seems to shut45
Within its mounds a joyous rill;46
Not far beyond, a peasant’s hut47
Sends curling smoke along the hill.48


The wary goat is browsing nigh,49
A bird is wheeling smooth in air,50
Here seeks the flitting butterfly51
’Mid mountain plants an odorous fare.52


Here nature’s lonely fortress towers,53
By giant struggles rear’d and wall’d ;54
Yet contemplation’s happiest flowers55
Are opening bright and unappall’d.56


Thou, God, so rulest ; such the plan57
Of endless change, evolving good ;58
Thou leadest thus desponding man59
With hope on all thy works to brood ;60


In all to see an endless will,61
For all educing light and life ;62
Thy blessings born from seeming ill,63
And peace the end assured of strife.64


So Thou in me, O God ! ordain65
That quiet faith and gladness pure,66
O’er all convulsions past may reign,67
And root my soul in Thee secure.68


So haggard wrecks of former woe69
Beneath thy radiant light may shine,70
And charm’d to steadfast being, show71
O’er all their havoc bliss divine.72