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THE COURSE OF TIME.
Invocation to the Eternal Spirit.-The subject of the Poem announced.-A period long after the Last Judgment described. -Two youthful Sons of Paradise, waiting on the battlements of Heaven, observant of the return of holy messengers, or the arrival from distant worlds of spirits made perfect, discover one directing his flight towards Heaven.-The hills of Paradise. -The Mount of God.-Welcome of the faithful servant.-The hill of the Throne of God pointed out to him.-The Sons of Paradise offer to guide him into the presence of the Most High. -The New-arrived, bewildered by the strange sights beheld in his flight, begs for knowledge, and the solution of the mysteries he has seen.-Describes his flight through Chaos, and arrival at the place of Everlasting Punishment-Wall of fiery adamant— The Worm that never dies-Eternal Death-Hell-The dreadful sights beheld there.-The youthful Sons of Heaven refer the New-arrived to an ancient Bard of Adam's race.— -They fly towards his dwelling.-Flight through the fields of Heaven.-The Bard of Earth described-His bower in Paradise.-He is entreated to clear up the wondering doubt of the New-arrived, who tells what he has seen and conjectured.-The Bard informs him the gracious form he beheld in Hell is Virtue-Agrees to relate the history of the human race.
TERNAL SPIRIT! God of truth! to whom
All things seem as they are-Thou who of old
In holy vision tranced, the future pass
Before him, and to Judah's harp attuned
The muse that soft and sickly woos the ear
The essential truth-Time gone, the righteous saved,
Hold my right hand, Almighty! and me teach
That fools may hear and tremble, and the wise,
Long was the day, so long expected, past
Of all the human race his due reward.
The sun, earth's sun, and moon, and stars, had ceased
To mortal man; Hope was forgotten, and Fear;
Or righteousness, once talked of much as things