Piety Or, The Vision
'Twas when the night in silent sable fled,
When chearful morning sprung with rising red,
When dreams and vapours leave to crowd the brain,
And best the Vision draws its heav'nly scene;
'Twas then, as slumb'ring on my couch I lay,
A sudden splendor seem'd to kindle day,
A breeze came breathing in a sweet perfume,
Blown from eternal gardens, fill'd the room;
And in a void of blue, that clouds invest,
Appear'd a daughter of the realms of rest;
Her head a ring of golden glory wore,
Her honour'd hand the sacred volume bore,
Her rayment glitt'ring seem'd a silver white,
And all her sweet companions sons of light.
Strait as I gaz'd my fear and wonder grew,
Fear barr'd my voice, and wonder fix'd my view,
When lo! a cherub of the shining crowd
That sail'd as guardians in her azure cloud,
Fann'd the soft air and downward seem'd to glide,
And to my lips a living coal applied;
Then while the warmth on all my pulses ran,
Diffusing comfort, thus the maid began.
‘Where glorious mansions are prepar'd above,
‘The seats of Music, and the seats of Love,
‘Thence I descend, and piety my name,
‘To warm thy bosom with celestial flame,
‘To teach thee praises mix'd with humble pray'rs,
‘And tune thy soul to sing seraphic airs;
‘Be thou my bard.’ A vial here she caught,
(An angel's hand the chrystal vial brought)
And as with awful sound the word was said,
She pour'd a sacred unction on my head,
Then thus proceeded. ‘Be thy muse thy zeal,
‘Dare to be good, and all my joys reveal;
‘While other pencils flatt'ring forms create,
‘And paint the gawdy plumes that deck the great;
‘While other pens exalt the vain delight,
‘Whose wasteful revel wakes the depth of night;
‘Or others softly sing in idle lines,
‘How Damon courts, or Amaryllis shines;
‘More wisely thou select a theme divine;
‘'Tis Fame's their recompence, 'tis Heav'n is thine.
‘Despise the fervours of unhallow'd fire,
‘Where wine, or passion, or applause inspire,
‘Low restless life, and ravings born of earth,
‘Whose meaner subjects speak their humble birth;
‘Like working seas, that when loud Winters blow,
‘Not made for rising, only rage below:
‘Mine is a great, and yet a lasting heat,
‘More lasting still, as more intensely great,
‘Produc'd where pray'r, and praise, and pleasure breathe,
‘And ever mounting whence it shot beneath.
‘Unpaint the Love that hov'ring over beds,
‘From glitt'ring pinions guilty pleasure sheds,
‘Restore the colour to the golden mines
‘With which behind the feather'd idol shines;
‘To flow'ring greens give back their native care,
‘The rose and lily never his to wear;
‘To sweet Arabia send the balmy breath,
‘Strip the fair flesh, and call the phantom Death;
‘His bow be sabled o'er, his shafts the same,
‘And fork and point them with eternal flame.
‘But urge thy pow'rs, thine utmost voice advance,
‘Make the loud strings against thy fingers dance,
‘'Tis Love that angels praise, and men adore,
‘'Tis Love Divine that asks it all and more:
‘Fling back the gates of ever-blazing day,
‘Pour floods of liquid light to gild the way,
‘And all in glory wrapt, thro' paths untrod,
‘Pursue the great unseen descent of GOD!
‘Hail the meek virgin, bid the child appear,
‘The child is GOD! and call him Jesus here;
‘He comes; but where to rest? a manger's nigh,
‘Make the great being in a manger lye;
‘Fill the wide skies with angels on the wing,
‘Make thousands gaze, and make ten thousand sing:
‘Let men afflict him, men he came to save,
‘And still afflict him, 'till he reach the grave;
‘Make him resign'd, his loads of sorrow meet,
‘And me, like Mary, weep beneath his feet;
‘I'll bathe my tresses there, my pray'rs rehearse,
‘And glide in flames of love along thy verse.
‘Hah! while I speak, I feel my bosom swell,
‘My raptures smother what I long to tell!
‘'Tis GOD! a present GOD! thro' cleaving air
‘I see the throne! I see the Jesus there!
‘Plac'd on the right; he shows the wounds he bore!
‘(My fervours oft have won him thus before)
‘How pleas'd he looks! my words have reach'd his ear,
‘He bids the gates unbar, and calls me near.’
She ceas'd. The cloud on which she seem'd to tread,
Its curls unfolded, and around her spread;
Bright angels waft their wings to raise the cloud,
And sweep their iv'ry lutes, and sing aloud;
The scene moves off, while all its ambient sky
Is tun'd to wond'rous music, as they fly;
And soft the swelling sounds of music grow,
And faint their softness, till they fail below.
My downy sleep the warmth of Phoebus broke,
And while my thoughts were settling, thus I spoke;
Thou beauteous Vision on the soul imprest,
When most my reason wou'd appear to rest!
'Twas sure with pencils dipt in various lights
Some curious angel limn'd thy sacred sights;
From blazing suns his radiant gold he drew,
White moons the silver gave, and air the blue.
I'll mount the roving wind's expanded wing,
And seek the sacred hill, and light to sing;
('Tis known in Jewry well) I'll make my lays,
Obedient to thy summons, sound with praise.
But still I fear, unwarm'd with holy flame,
I take for truth the flatt'ries of a dream;
And barely wish the wond'rous gift I boast,
And faintly practise what deserves it most.
'Indulgent lord! whose gracious love displays
Joys in the light, and fills the dark with ease;
Be this, to bless my days, no dream of bliss,
Or be, to bless my nights, my dreams like this.
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