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O'er the broad lands, and cross the tide,
On fancy's airy horse I ride,
(Sweet rapture of the mind!)
Till on the bank of Ganges' flood,
In a tall ancient grove I stood,
For sacred use design'd.
Hard by a venerable priest,
Ris'n with his god, the sun, from rest,
Awoke his morning song ;
Thrice he conjur'd the murm'ring stream,
The birth of souls was all his theme,
And half-divine his tongue.
"He sang th' eternal rolling flame, That vital mass, that still the same
Does all our minds compose; But shap'd in twice ten thousand frames; Thence diff'ring souls of diff'ring names, And jarring tempers rose.
"The mighty power that form'd the mind One mould for every two design'd,
And bless'd the new-born pair; This be a match for this: (he said) Then down he sent the souls he made, To seek them bodies here:
"But parting from their warm abode
They lost their fellows on the road,
And never join'd their hands:
Ah cruel chance, and crossing fates!
Our eastern souls have dropt their mates
On Europe's barbarous lands.
"Happy the youth that finds the bride, Whose birth is to his own ally'd,
The sweetest joy of life:
But oh the crouds of wretched souls
Fetter'd to minds of different moulds,
And chain'd t' eternal strife!
"Thus sang the wond'rous Indian bard
My soul with vast attention heard,
While Ganges ceas'd to flow :
Sure then (I cry'd) might I but see
That gentle nymph that twinn'd with me,
I may be happy too.
"Some courteous angel, tell me where, What distant lands this unknown fair, Or distant seas detain ?
Swift as the wheel of nature rolls
I'd fly, to meet, and mingle souls,
And wear the joyful chain."
CONTEMPLATION, lovely fair!
Far from scenes of noise and care.
Evermore delights to dwell
In the still sequester'd cell:
Lead me then, propitious power,
To thy lonely rural bower;
To the silent, shady wood,
To the rivulet's dimpling flood:
And, on summer mornings, lead
To the russet heath or mead:
To the cot's plain simple door,
The ploughman's peaceful, happy floor:
Where Phyllis brings her loaded pail,
And young affection lisps its tale;
Lead to dusky lanes or shades,
Where tall oaks lift high their heads:
To the seat of happiness,
To the garden's lov'd recess;
Beds with pinks and roses gay,
The pride and boast of June and May.
Contemplation, nymph serene!
Guide to lawns, or upland green,
Or near the promontory's side-
Let me hear the roaring tide,
Hear old Ocean's wild waves roll ;-
Or the sad knell slowly toll,
Or, at gloomy hour of day,
With me to the church-yard stray,
And meditate among the dead;
While the sexton plies his spade,
There peruse the time-worn stones,
Or, as he turns up human bones,
Think on what I soon must be,
Think on vast eternity:
Till torches dissipate the gloom,
And the sable mourners come;
Till the venerable priest,
In his snowy surplice drest,
Loudly begins the solemn lines,
And "dust to dust," at length consigus.
Hail! matron lovely, tho' demure,
Ever chaste and ever pure,
Diffuse thy balm into my breast,
Bring with thee happiness and rest:
Sooth each melancholy sigh,
Teach me to live, and teach to die.
THE SONG OF SIMEON
'Tis enough-the hour is come,
Now within the silent tomb
Let this mortal frame decay,
Mingled with its kindred clay;
Since thy mercies oft of old
By thy chosen seers foretold,
Faithful now and stedfast prove,
God of truth and God of love!
Since at length my aged eye
Sees the day-spring from on high.
Son of righteousness, to thee
Lo! the nations bow the knee,
And the realms of distant kings
Own the healing of thy wings.
Those whom death had overspread
With his dark and dreary shade,
Lift their eyes and from afar
Hail the light of Jacob's star;
Waiting till the promis'd ray
Turn their darkness into day.
See the beams intensely shed
Shine o'er Sion's favour'd head.
Never may they hence remove,
God of truth and God of love!