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our powers of vision, decked with the variegated colours of the rainbow !
In our motto the poet opens the subject of his eulogy with an animation which shews that his soul was apprised of the task he had undertaken.
Having avowed his determination to join, even with the angels, in the celebration of their theme, he thus Arikingly proceeds :
And what new wonders can you Thew your guest!
Who, while on this dim spot where mortals toil,
Clouded in duft from motion's simple laws,
Could trace the secret hand of Providence
Wide-working thro' this universal frame !
Have ye not listened while he bound the suns
And planets to their spheres ! th' unequal tark
Of human-kind till then. Oft had they roll'd
O'er erring man the year, and oft disgrac'd
The pride of schools, before their course was known
Full in its causes and effects to him,
All-piercing fage! who sat not down and dream'd
Romantic schemes, defended by the din
Of fpecious words and tyranny of names;
But bidding his amazing mind attend,
And with heroic patience, years on years
Deep searching, law at last the system dawn
And shine, of all his race, on him alone! The pleasures which the philosopher must have experienced on che contemplation of his vast discoveries are thus expressively described :
What were his raptures then? how pure ! how strong;
And what the triumphs of old Greece and Rome,
By his diminish'd ; but the pride of boys
In some small fray victorious ! when instead
Of shatter'd parcels of this earth, usurp'd
By violence unmanly, and fore deeds
Of cruelty and blood, NATURE herself,
Stood all-subdu'd by him, and open laid
Her ev'ry latent glory to his view !
THOMSON then mentions the planetary system rolling fucceffively around the orb of day with filent, but not unimpressive dignity: the Poet therefore naturally breaks out in the following sublime frain :
O unprofuse magnificence divine,
A wisdom truly perfect! thus to call
From a few causes such a scheme of things,
Effects só various, beautiful, and great,
An universe complete! and O belov'd
Of heaven! whose well-purg'd penetrative eye'
The mystic veil transpiercing, inly scann'd
The rising, moving, wide-establish'd frame ! The discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton are then touched ppon, particularly his doctrines respecting the wandering of comets--the vibrations of found, and the seven primary colours into which all the inferior dyes are refulved. This latter subject the Poet sketches with his usual delicacy
Evin light itself, which ev'ry thing difplays,
Shone undiscover'd, till his brighter mind
Untwisted all the thining robe of day,
And, from the whit’ning undiftinguith'd blaze,
Collecting ev'ry ray into his kind,
To the charni'd eye cduc'd the gorgeous train
Of parent colours. First the flaming red
Sprung vivid forth; the tawny orange next;
And next delicious yellow; by whose fide
Fell the kind beams of all refreshing green :
Then the pure blue, that swells autumnal skies,
Ethereal play'd, and then of sadder huc
Emerg'd the deepen’d indigo as when
The heavy-skirted evening droops with frost,
While the last gleamings of refracted light
Dy'd in the fainting violet away.
These, when the clouds distil the rosy show'r,
Shine out diftinct adown the wat’ry bow,
While o'er our heads the dewy vision bends
Delightful, mclting on the fields beneath.
Myriads of mingling dyes from these result,
And myriads till remain; infinite resource
Of beauty, ever-blushing, ever-new ! Sir Isaac employed his great powers on the abstruse and dry subject of chronology ; even this topic, most unpromising to poetry, is thus poetically delineated :
The noiseless tide of time all bearing down
To vaft ETERNITY's unbounded sea,
Where the green islands of the happy shine,
He stemm'd alone, and to the source (involv'd
Deep in primeval gloom) ascending, rais'd
His lights at equal distances, to guide
HISTORIAN-wilder'd on his darksome way.
The Poet, however, in the enumeration of New
TON's labours, seems to bend beneath the weight of his
subject, and justly asks:
But who can number up his labours ! who His high discoveries ling? when but a few Of the deep Itudying race can stretch their minds To what he knew? in fancy's lighter thought "How shall the muse then grasp the mighty theme? The devotion and private virtues of our philosopher are next celebrated in appropriate strains; and then he puts this pertinent question to the infideli
And you, ye hopeless glomy-minded tribe !
You, who unconscious of those nobler flights,
That reach, impatient at immortal life,
Against the prime endearing privilege
Of being, dare contend.--Say, can a
Of such extensive, deep, tremendous powers,
Enlarging still, be but a finer breath
Of spirits dancing thro' their tubes awhile,
And then for ever lost in vacant air ? This reflection naturally rouses the inspiration of the muse, and gives birth to the following fpirited paffage, worthy of THOMSON :
But hark! methinks I hear a warning voice,
Solenn, as when some awful change is come,
Sound thro' the world, “ 'Tis done-the measure's full,
And I resign my charge !" Ye mouldering Itoncs,
That build the tow'ring pyramid, the proud
Triumphal arch, the monument effac’d,
By ruthless ruin, and whate'er supports
The wurthipp'd name of huar antiquity,
Down to the duit! What grandeur can yo boast,
Whilc Newton lifts his column to the skies
Beyond the waste of time? Let no weak drop
Be Thed for him. The virgin in her bloom
Cut off, the joyous youth and darling child,
These are the tombs that claim the tender tear
And elegiac fong : But NEWTON calls
For other notes of gratulation high,
That OW HE wanders thro' those endless worlds
He here so well desery'd, and wondering talks,
And hymns their author with leis glad compeers. The Poet then concludes in an admonitory tone, suitable to the gravity and dignity of the subject, still keeping in view his beloved Newton.
O BRITAIN's boast! whether with angels thou
Sittelt in dread discourse, or fellow-bless'd
Who joy to see the honour of their kind;
Or, whether mounted on cherubic wing,
Thy Swift career is with the whirling orbs
Comparing things with things in rapture loft,
And grateful adoration for that light
So plenteous rais’d into thy mind below,
From light himself; Oh! look with pity down
On human kind, a frail erroneous race!
Exalt the spirit of a downward world!
O’er thy dejected country chief preside,
And be her GENIUS call'd; her studies raise,
Correct her mauners and inspire her YOUTH :
For tho' deprav'd and sunk, she brought thee forth,
And glories in thy name; the points thee out
To all her sons, and bids them eye thy far;
While in expectance of the second life,
When time Thall be no more, thy Sacred duft
Sleeps with her KINGS and dignifies the scene ! Whenever the writer of this essay beholds Weste minster Abbey, these latter lines spontaneously present themselves to his mind in their characteristic beauty. The allusion indeed is worthy of our Bard, who has treated every part of his sublime theme with an elevated propriety.
Nor will the reader be now displeased with a few concluding reflections, warranted by the fober nature of our subject, and suggested by the close of the ExPIRING YEAR.
To survey the poetical productions of past times, hath been the peculiar province of our Reflector, We must, therefore, remember, that the individuals to whose talents we are so much indebted, have been long ago removed from this sphere of being. Their race is run, their period of action is finished. But it is our chief confolation that the virtuous and enlightened mind shall flourilh in a more perfect fate of existence beyond the tomb. However mysterious may be the mode of our translation thither, or however difficult our conceptions of the subject, yet of its truth we are assured by the voice of reason and revelation. How exhilarating is the prospect ! how calculated to urge us on in our mental and moral improvement! The clouds which hover over this frail and feverish ftate of being, are thus in a measure diffipated, and breaking through the gloom occafioned by the incessant lapse of time, we anticipate with delight and supreme latisfaction the sunshine of ETERNAL DAY !