Chap. 43. Of Ecclesiasticus

The sun that rolls his beamy orb on high,
Pride of the world, and glory of the sky,
Illustrious in his course, in bright array
Marches along the heavens, and scatters day
O'er earth, and o'er the main, and thro' th' ethereal way.
He in the morn renews his radiant round,
And warms the fragrant bosom of the ground;
But ere the noon of day in fiery gleams
He darts the glory of his blazing beams:
Beneath the burnings of his sultry ray
Earth to her centre pierc'd admits the day;
Huge vales expand where rivers roll'd before,
And lessen'd seas contract within their shore.
O Pow'r supreme! O high above all height!
Thou gav'st the sun to shine, and thou art light.
Whether he falls or rises in the skies,
He by thy voice is taught to fall or rise;
Swiftly he moves, refulgent in his sphere,
And measures out the day, the month, and year;
He drives the hours along with flower pace,
The minutes rush away, impetuous in their race;
He wakes the flow'rs that sleep within the earth,
And calls the fragrant infants out to birth;
The fragrant infants paint th' enamell'd vales,
And native incense loads the balmy gales;
The balmy gales the fragrancy convey
To heaven, and to their God an offering pay.
By thy command, the moon, as daylight fades,
Lifts her broad circle in the deep'ning shades;
Array'd in glory, and enthron'd in light,
She breaks the solemn terrors of the night;
Sweetly inconstant in her varying flame,
She changes still, another, yet the lame!
Now in decrease by slow degrees she shrouds
Her fading lustre in a veil of clouds;
Now at increase, her gathering beams display
A blaze of light, and give a paler day;
Ten thousand stars adorn her glitt'ring train,
Fall when she falls, and rise with her again,
And o'er the deserts of the sky unfold
Their burning spangles of fiderial gold:
Thro' the wide heavens she moves serenely bright,
Queen of the gay attendants of the night;
Orb above orb in sweet confusion lies,
And with a bright disorder paints the skies.
The Lord of Nature fram'd the show'ry bow,
Turn'd its gay arch, and bade its colours glow;
Its radiant circle compasses the skies,
And sweetly the rich tinctures faint and rise;
It bids the horrors of the storm to cease,
Adorns the clouds, and makes the tempest please.
He, wun deep-rolling clouds blot out the day,
And thund'rous storms a solemn gloom display,
Pours down a wat'ry deluge from on high,
And opens all the sluices of the sky;
High o'er the shores the rushing surge prevails,
Bursts o'er the plain, and roars along the vales;
Dashing abruptly dreadful down it comes,
Tumbling thro rocks, and tosses, whirls, and foams;
Mean time, from ev'ry region of the sky
Red burning bolts in forky vengeance fly;
Dreadfully bright o'er seas and earth they glare,
And bursts of thunder rend th' encumber'd air:
At once the thunders of th' Almighty sound,
Heav'n lours, descend the floods, and rocks the ground!
He gives the jurious whirlwind wings to fly,
To rend the earth, and wheel along the sky;
In circling eddies whirl'd, it roars aloud,
Drives wave on wave, and dashes cloud on cloud:
Where'er it moves it lays whole forests low,
And at the blast eternal mountains bow;
While tearing up the sands, in drifts they rise,
And half the deserts mount the burden'd skies.
He, from ærial treasures, downward pours
Sheets of unsully'd snow in lucid show'rs;
Flake after flake, thro' air thick-wav'ring flies,
Till one vast shining waste all Nature lies;
Then the proud hills a virgin whiteness shed,
A dazzling brightness glitters from the mead;
The hoary trees reflect a silver show,
And groves beneath the lovely burden bow.
He from loose vapours with an icy chain
Binds the round hail and moulds the harden'd rain;
The stony tempest with a rushing sound
Beats the firm glebe resulting from the ground;
Swiftly it falls, and as it falls invades
The rising herb, or breaks the spreading blades;
While infant flow'rs that rais'd their bloomy heads,
Crush'd by its fury, sink into their beds.
When stormy winter from the frozen north
Borne on his icy chariot issues forth,
The blasted groves their verdant pride resign,
And billows harden'd into crystal shine:
Sharp blows the rigour of the piercing winds,
And the proud floods as with a breast-plate binds;
Ev'n the proud seas forget in tides to roll
Beneath the freezings of the northern pole;
There waves on waves in solid mountains rise,
And Alps of ice invade the wond'ring skies,
While gulfs below and slipp'ry vallies lie,
And with a dreadful brightness pain the eye:
But if warm winds a warmer air restore,
And softer breezes bring a genial show'r,
The genial show'r revives the cheerful plain,
And the huge hills flow down into the main.
When the seas rage and loud the ocean roars,
When foaming billows lash the sounding shores,
If he in thunder bid the waves subside,
The waves obedient sink upon the tide,
A sudden peace controls the limpid deep,
And the still waters in soft silence sleep:
Then heaven lets down a golden-streaming ray,
And all the broad expansion flames with day;
In the clear glass the mariners delcry
A sun inverted and a downward sky.
They who advent'rous plough the wat'ry way
The dreadful wonders of the deep survey;
Familiar with the storms their fails unbind,
Tempt the rough blast, and bound before the wind:
Now high they mount, now shoot into a vale,
Now smooth their course, and scud before the gale.
There rolling monsters, arm'd in scaly pride,
Flounce in the billows, and dash round the tide;
There huge Leviathan unwieldy moves,
And thro' the waves a living island roves;
In dreadful pastime terribly he sports,
And the vast ocean scarce his weight supports;
Where'er he turns the hoary deeps divide,
He breathes a tempest and he spouts a tide!
Thus, Lord! the wonders of earth, sea, and air,
Thy boundless wisdom and thy power declare:
Thou, high in glory, and in might serene,
Seest and mov'st all, thyself unmov'd, unseen.
Should men and angels join in songs to raise
A grateful tribute equal to thy praise,
Yet far thy glory would their praise outshine,
Tho' men and angels in the song should join:
For though this earth with skill divine is wrought,
Above the guess of man or angel's thought,
Yet in the spacious regions of the skies,
New scenes unfold, and worlds on worlds arise:
There other orbs round other suns advance,
Float on the air, and run their mystic dance;
And yet the pow'r of thy Almighty hand
Can build another world from ev'ry sand;
And though vain man ar aign thy high decree,
Still this is just! what is, that ought to be.
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