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D Ε Ι Τ Υ. This Poem was originally published without any fuccefs :
it lay dormant for some time, till it was taken notice of by FIELDING and HARVEY: since that, it has been esteemed as it merits. The most friking pasages are here selected.
OMNIPRES EN C E.
HR.O'the unmeasurable tracts of space,
Go Muse divine ! and present Godhead trace!
Should't thou above the heav'n of heav'ns afcend,
Could'At thou below the depth of depths descend ;
Could thy fond fight beyond the farry sphere,
The radiant morning's lucid pinions bear!
There should his brighter presence shine confefs'd,
There his almighty arm thy course arrest !
Could'ft thou the thickest veil of night assume,
Or think to hide thee in the central gloom!
Yet there, all patient to his piercing fight,
Darkness itself would kindle into light:
Not the black mansions of the silent grave,
Nor darker hell from his perception save ;
What pow'r, alas ! thy footsteps can convey
Beyond the reach of omnipresent day?
In his wide grasp, and comprehensive cye,
Immediate, worlds on worlds unnumber'd lie:
Systems inclos'd in his Idea roll,
Whose all informing inind directs the whole:
Lodg'd in his view, their certain ways they know;
Plac'd in that fight from whence can nothing go.
On earth his footstool fix’d, in heav'n his feat;
Enthron'd he dictates--and his word is Fate.
Nor want his shining images below,
In streams that murmur, or in winds that blow;
His fpirit broods along the boundless flood;
Smiles in the plain, and whispers in the wood;
Warms in the genial fun's enliv'ning ray,
Breathes in the air, and beautifies the day!
Steals on our footsteps wherefoe'er we go,
And yields the pureit joys' we tafte below.
Should man his great immenfity deny,
Man might as well usurp the vacant sky:
For were he limited in date, or view,
Thence were his attributes imperfect too ;
His knowledge, pow's, his goodness all confin'd,
And lost the notion of a ruling Mind !
Feeble the trust, and comfortless the sense,
Of a defective partial Providence !
Boldly 'might then his arm injustice brave,
Or innocence in vain his mercy crave;
Dejected virtue lift its hopeless eye!
And deep distress pour out the heartless ligh!
An absent God no abler to defend,
Protect, or punish, than an absent friend
Dilant alike our wants or griefs to know,
To ease the anguish, or prevent the blow!
If he, supreme director, were not near,
Vain were our hope, and empty were our fear;
Unpunih'd vice would o'er the world prevail,
And unrewarded virtue toil to fail!
The moral world a second chaos turn,
And nature for her great Supporter mourn!
Even the weak embryo, ere to life it breaks,
From his high pow'r its slender texture takes ;
While in his book the various parts inroll'd,
Increafing, own eternal Wisdom's inold.
Nor views he only the material whole,
But pierces thought, and penetrates the foul !
Ere from the lips the vocal accents part,
Or the faint purpose dawns within the heart !
His Ready eye the mental birth perceives,
Ere yet to us the new idea lives !
Knows what we say~ere yet the words proceed,
And ere we form th' intention, marks the deed !.
But Conscience, fair vicegerent-light within,
Asserts its author, and restores the scene!
Points out the beauty of the governd plan,
“ And vindicates the ways of God to man."
Then facred Mufe, by the vast prospect fird,
From heav'n descended, as by heav'n inspir’d;
His all-enlighe’ning Omnipresence own,
Whence first thou feelift thy dwindling presence known;
His wide Omniscience, juftly grateful fing,
Whence thy weak science prunes its callow wing!
And bless th' eternal all-informing soul, ,
Whose sight pervades, whose knowledge fills the whole!
As the Eternal and Omniscient Mind,
By laws not limited, nor bounds confin'd;
Is always independent, always free,
Hence shines confess'd Immutability!
Change, whether the spontaneous child of will,
Or birth of force--is imperfection fill.
But he, all-perfect, in himself contains
Pow'r self-deriv'd, for from himself he reigns !
If, alter'd by confraint, we could suppose,
That God his fix'd stability should lose;
How startles reason at a thought so strange!
What pow'r can force Omnipotence to change ?
If from his own divine productive thought,
Were the yet-Etranger alteration wrought;
Could excellence supreme, new rays acquire ?
Or strong perfection raise its glories higher !
Absurd !-his high meridian brightness glows,
Never decreases, never overflows !
Knows no addition, yields to no decay,
The sacred blaze of inexhaustless day!
Below, thro' different forms does matter range,
And life fub Gifts from elemental change,
Liquids condensing shapes terreftrial wear,
Earth mounts in fire, and fire dissolves in air ;
While we, enquiring phantoms of a day,
Inconftant as the shadows we survey !
With them, along Time's rapid current pass,
And haste to mingle with the parent mass;
But Thou, Eternal Lord of life divine !
In youth immortal halt for ever shine!