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When the Almighty did on Horeb stand,
Thy shades enclos'd the hallow'd land ;
In clouds of night he was array'd, And venerable darkness his pavilion made. When he appear'd arm'd in his power and might,
He veil'd the beatific light;
When terrible with majesty, In tempests he gave laws, and clad himself in thee. Ere the foundation of the earth was laid,
Or brighter firmament was made ;
Ere matter, time, or place was known, Thou, Monarch Darkness, sway'dst these spacious
realms alone. But now the moon (tho' gay with borrow'd light)
Invades thy scanty lot of Night :
By rebel subjects thou’rt betray'd, The anarchy of stars depose their monarch, Shade. Yet fading Light its empire must resign,
And Nature's power submit to thine:
And universal ruin shall erect thy throne, And Fate confirm thy kingdom evermore thy own.
Occasioned by seeing the Ruins of an old Castle.
THOU who, mid the world-involving gloom,
Sit'st on yon solitary spire !
Or slowly shak'st the sounding dome,
Or hear'st the wildly warbling lyre ;
Say, when thy musing soul
Bids distant times unroll,
And marks the fight of each revolving year.
Of years whose slow-consuming power
Has clad with moss yon leaning tower,
That saw the race of Glory run,
That mark'd Ambition's setting sun,
That shook old Empire's towering pride,
That swept them down the floating tide-
Say, when these long-unfolding scenes appear,
Streams down thy hoary cheek the pity-darting tear!
Cast o'er yon trackless waste thy wandering eye:
Yon hill, whose gold-illumin'd brow,
Just trembling thro' the bending sky,
O'erlooks the boundless wild below;
Once bore the branching wood
That o'er yon murm'ring flood
Hung wildly waving to the rustling gale ;
The naked heath with moss o'ergrown,
That hears the lone owl's nightly moan,
Once bloom'd with summer's copious store,
Once rais'd the lawn-bespangling flower;
Or heard some lover's plaintive lay,
When by pale Cynthia's silver ray
All wild he wander'd o'er the lonely dale,
And taught the listening moon the melancholy tale.
Ye wilds where heaven-wrapt Fancy roves !
Ye sky-crown'd hills, and solemn groves !
Ye low-brow'd vaults, ye gloomy cells !
Ye caves where night-bred Silence dwells !
Ghosts that in yon lonely hall
Lightly glance along the wall;
Or beneath yon ivy'd tower,
At the silent midnight hour,
Stand array'd in spotless white,
And stain the dusky robe of Night;
Or with slow solemn pauses roam
O'er the long-sounding hollow dome!
Say, mid yon desert solitary round,
When darkness wraps the boundless spheres,
Does ne'er some dismal dying sound
On Night's dull serious ear rebound,
(years i That mourns the ceaseless lapse of life-consuming
O call the inspiring glorious hour to view,
When Caledonia's martial train
From yon steep rock's high-arching brow
Pour'd on the heart-struck Aying Dane!
When War's blood-tinctur'd spear
Hung o'er the trembling rear;
When light-heeld Terror wing'd their headlong flight:
Yon towers then wrung with wild alarms !
Yon desert gleam'd with shining arms!
While on the bleak hill's brightening spire
Bold Victory flam'd, with eyes of fire ;
Her limbs celestial robes infold,
Her wings were ting'd with spangling gold,
She spoke-her words infus'd resistless might,
And warm'd the bounding heart, and rous'd the soul
Bat, ah! what hand the smiling prospect brings ?
What voice recals the expiring day?
See, darting swift on eagle-wings,
The glancing moment bursts away!
So from some mountain's head,
In mantling gold array'd,
While bright-ey'd Fancy stands in sweet surprise :
The vale where musing Quiet treads,
The flower-clad lawns, and bloomy meads,
Or streams where zephyr loves to stray
Beneath the pale eve's twinkling ray ;
Or waving woods detain the sight-
When from the gloomy cave of night
Some cloud sweeps shadowy o'er the dusky skies,
And wraps the flying scene, that fades, and swims,
Lo! rising from yon dreary tomb,
What spectres stalk across the gloom !
With haggard eyes, and vissage pale,
And voice that moans with feeble wail !
O'er yon long resounding plain
Slowly moves the solemn train ;
Wailing wild with shrieks of woe
O'er the bones that rest below!
While the dull night's startled ear
Shrinks, aghast with thrilling fear!
Or stand with thin robes wasting soon,
And eyes that blast the sickening moon !
Yet these, ere Time had rollid their years away,
Ere Death's fell arm had mark'd its aim;
Ruld yon proud towers with ample sway,
Beheld the trembling swains obey :
And wrought the glorious deed that swell'd the trump
But why o'er these indulge the bursting sigh ?
Feels not each shrub the tempest's power ?
Rocks not the dome when whirlwinds fly?
Nor shakes the hill when thunders roar ?
Lo! mouldering, wild, unknown,
What fanes, what towers o'erthrown,
What tumbling chaos marks the waste of Time !
I see Palmyra's temples fall;
Old Ruin shakes the hanging wall!
Yon waste where roaming lions howl,
Yon aisle where moans the grey-ey'd owl,
Shows the proud Persian's great abode; *
Where scepter'd once, an earthly god !
His power-clad arm controll'd each happier clime,
Where sports the warbling Muse, and Fancy soars
III. 2. Hark! what dire sound rolls murm'ring on the gale? Ah! what soul-thrilling scene appears? I see the column'd arches fail ! And structures hoar, the boast of years !
What mouldering piles decay'd
Gleam thro' the moon-streak'd shade,
Where Rome's proud Genius rear'd her awful brow!
Sad monument !-Ambition near
Rolls on the dust, and pours a tear ;
Pale Honor drops the fluttering plume,
And Conquest weeps o'er Cæsar's tomb;
Slow Patience sits with eye deprest,
And Courage beats his sobbing breast;
Ev'n War's red cheek the gushing streams o'erflow,
And Fancy's listening ear attends the plaint of Woe.
Lo, on yon pyramid sublime,
Whence lies Old Egypt's desert clime,
Bleak, naked, wild! where ruin lowers,
Mid fanes, and wrecks, and tumbling towers:
On the steep height waste and bare,
Stands the power with hoary hair !
O’er his scythe he bends; his hand
Slowly shakes the flowing sand,
While the hours, in airy ring,
Lightly fit with downy wing,
And sap the works of man; and shade
With silver'd locks his furrow'd head;
Thence rolls the mighty power his broad survey,
And seals the nations' awful doom:
He sees proud Grandeur's meteor-ray ;
He yields to Joy the festive day;
Then sweeps the lengthening shade, and marks them
for the tomb.