How happy is the pure, good man, whose life

How happy is the pure, good man, whose life
Was always good, who in the tender years
Of childhood, and the trying time of youth,
Was shielded by a kind parental hand!
No stain deforms the brightness of his soul,
Only those specks of frail humanity,
Which almost need the microscopic eye
To trace their being. As the river rolls
Pure and unsullied o'er its sandy bed
In gentle agitation, that its waves
Sink not in silent stagnancy, his life
Passes in peaceful industry its round.
He rises with the lark, and like that bird,
Who sings her morning melody aloft
Amid the blue of heaven, he pours his voice
To God in secret prayer:
“Father in Heaven!
Omnipotent, eternal! ere the world
Rose, at thy bidding, from the formless void,
Blest in thy own essential good, thou liy'dst,
With space thy home, eternity thy day.
Before the Sun of Being rose, when night
And chaos brooded o'er the seeds of things,
Thy spirit wandered through the black abyss,
And o'er the boundless waste of waters moved.
The word went forth,—Confusion's voice was still.
At once from darkness, light and form and life,
And harmony and beauty, love and joy,
And melody and sweetness rose and filled
Creation with the wonders of thy power.
How sprang the infant sun from ocean's bed,
And glowed and glittered o'er its tossing waves!
How all the effulgent company of stars,
Blent in a choir of perfect harmony,
Lifted their voices in the arch of heaven,
And sang the birth of Being! how the moon,
Mantled in paler lustre, filled her orb
With borrowed beams, and thro' the dark-blue sky,
Dispensing love, her nightly journey ran!
How from its calm, the yet untainted air,
Waked by the morning, swept the teeming earth
In gentle gales and zephyrs bland, and shook
The vocal forest, and the glassy plain
Of ocean curled with billows! Then no storm,
Pregnant with the munitions of thy wrath,
Hung frowning on the mountains, black as night,
And grim as terror, waiting for thy voice
To unfold its lurid skirts, and onward move
To do thy vengeance. Then the sky was clear,
No fleecy vapor dimmed its purity,
Gay laughed the sun amid its fields of blue,
And peace and health and pleasure cheered the world.
No stagnant marsh nor festering swamp sent up
Its venomed mists and baleful fogs, the dews,
Drawn by the sun from living plants, dropped free
From all infection,—then no pestilence
Lifted its hydra-head, and through the streets
Of cities, conscience-struck, replete with vice,
And misery and filth, its fruit, stalked on
Exhaling death,—no battle squared its front,
To feed its ravening maw with human blood,—
No prison spread its gates, to swallow up
And bury in its hidden gloom the wretch
Who dared to violate thy holy law,
And lift against society his hand;
Nor had the grave its all-devouring jaws
Disclosed, the couch where man must lay his head,
And sleep with rank corruption and the worm.

“All then was pure; the blue sky overhead
Transparent opened to the farthest ken
Of human vision, like a hollow sphere
Of crystal, closing all creation in.
The star of day, a radiant jewel set
In that unblemished azure, to the eye
Insufferably brilliant, from the east
Impurpled, as the dewy morning rose
And wrung the tears, that night wept, from her hair,
To the midway throne, whereon he sits at noon
And pours his most effulgent effluence down,
And thence descending to the western wave,
Or forest ridge, that tosses like a sea
Its living billows, as a conqueror, marched,—
Thy purest spark, vicegerent of thy love.
That orb has dipped his brightness in the stream
Of ocean, and his last rays on the clouds
Have painted evening's tapestry, wherewith
She curtains round her canopy with gold
And purple, ruby and emerald and blue:
Then night ascends her car,—her plumy steeds,
Like birds nocturnal, through the drowsy air,
Fly silently and slow; she waves her wand,
And evening's many-colored veil is gone;
The sky puts off its soft cerulean robe,
And decks itself in sable livery,
Whereon innumerous gems of starry gold
Shine, with their bright eyes twinkling, as a train,
Encircling yon fair light, that charms the west,
Following the set of sun, or in the east,
Gay Phosphor, bringing on his orient beams.
Thus one unvaried mantle hid the face
Of earth from every eye, and blended all
The charms of hill and valley, bush and tree,
River and fountain, in one common shade:
Until the queen of heaven, from the deep,
Emerged, and blushing through the fiery zone
Of the low-hanging vapor, by her light
Enkindled, slowly onward held her way,
Walking in regal majesty, until
She reached the clear meridian,—there she hung,
An orb of purest silver, with the shades
Of sea and mountain checkered, as with pearls
Laid glittering on a snowy satin ground;
Ascending there, she hung a milder sun,
And poured her borrowed brightness o'er the face
Of this round earth, that rolls self-poised thro' space,
And takes its annual journey round the sun,
For ever balanced in its orbit. Night,
By this illumined, silvered o'er her brow;
And straightway, rising from a formless waste,
Smiled hill and forest, meadow, vale, and stream,
And many a white tent, where the shepherd lies
Enwrapped in downy slumber, many a fold,
Where flocks and herds concoct the feed of day,
And many a loaded bower with purple hung,
And many a harvest field, that called the swain
To put his sickle forth and reap its gold.

“The unseeded earth was bare,—its towering rocks
And sparkling sands, its snowy chalks and clays
Imbrowned, were void of vegetation, when
The word went forth, ‘Let herb and tree appear.’
As by the touch of some magician's wand,
Fair palaces, bright domes, and gardens gay
With all the wealth of art and nature, rise,
And occupy the cheerless desert,—Life,
In all its countless forms of plant, arose,
And in its mantle robed the barren earth.
The Cedar sprang on Lebanon, the Fir
Waved on the rocks of Norway, whispering Pines,
Towering on Alpine summits, widely spread
Their feathered umbrage, dancing to the gale
And murmuring with the zephyr; o'er the plains
Of sterile sand, along the southern shores
Of tideless Baltic, or the long-drawn coast,
By which the ocean torrent rushes, plains
Beneath a tropic sun, like Zara, bare,
The home of desolation,—here by dews,
From sea and lake and neighboring mountain, clad
With dark, perennial foliage, like the shade
Funereal, that enwraps the sepulchre
Of Turk and Persian in an awful gloom,—
There o'er the dry, unwatered ridge, that swells
Round as the ocean wave that erst involved
The forest in its waters, and the sand,
Now filled with shells and corals, made its bed,—
The pitch-tree lifts her spiry head, with cones
In russet mantled, when the north-wind blows,
Black at a distance, as the mourning pall,
When all the world is gay with new-born life,
And mantled in a sea-blue covering at
The coming on of winter, taking on
Her young leaves, when deciduous foliage drops
And strows the ground it shaded, in the day
Of general mourning to the field and grove,
Smiling in tears to see herself renewed,
When Death is riding round her. Where the streams
And fountains send their tribute, in the vale
Scooped out among the hillocks, like a bowl,
And o'er the boundless plain, low-lying, drenched
By torrent rains, the cypress weaves its dusk,
Dank canopy, that in its mantle shrouds
The stagnant flood teeming with life below.
Ah! who would venture through those boundless fens,
O'er which the tree of ages frowns, bowed down
With mossy tresses, spangled o'er with flowers,
Like gay Anacreon in his rosy wreath?
There grenadillas ramble o'er the boughs,
Laden with blue and crimson blossoms, hung
With tempting fruits, like golden apples, which
Stole on the virgin's heart and conquered her:
Above 't is beauty, and below green sedge
And spiry reeds and purpled flags conceal
The hideous forms that batten there, the snake,
Who twines his jetty folds of giant length,
And throws around his fascinating eye
Of living glow, to draw the heedless prey
Within his crushing coils. The wanderer's foot
Disturbs a reedy tuft; the rustling grass
Awakes the serpent, who, with tooth of fire,
Lurks in the thicket,—hark! the warning sound,
The death-announcing rattle sings and bids
The invader fly his danger,—adders hiss,
And lizards roar, unseen destroyers wait
To instil their poison, with a living wall
Of separation cutting from the world
These sweltering holds, wherein is found the home
Of reptiles, plagues, and pestilence and death:
But from their watery stores the sun draws up
Dews, mists, and clouds, that quench the thirsty sands
And clothe what else had been one sparkling waste
In a wide sea of never-dying green.”

Thus pass the moments by, till night draws on;
At rest with all the world, calm in himself,
Conscious of rectitude and purity,
He lays him down upon his homely couch;
Peace, on her dove-wings, hovers o'er his head
And fans his pillow; through the slumbrous night
Fair dreams of calm oblivion soothe his soul;
No muttered groan, no sudden shriek, nor start,
Disturb his quiet, but his sleep is sweet,
And gives him kind refreshment till the morn.
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