HYMN TO HOPE.
1 ALL hail, bright Hope! Thou, when the fatal box,
2 Replete with ills, was sent by angry Jove
3 In punishment of Japhet'sq
q Prometheus.daring son,
4 When every woe of fearful name flew forth
5 To vex the human race, thou kindly deign'dst
6 To stay behind, man's gentle comforter,
7 Life's balm and blessing! or, without the aid
8 Of truth-assimilated fiction, thou
9 Wast given by God himself, a chearing light
10 To guide man's feet, driv'n from fair Eden's groves
11 Across the untrack'd wilderness of life
12 To Heaven's blest mansions: where and where alone
13 Thy office, friendly Hope, shall sweetly cease
14 To full fruition yielded! But on earth,
15 Nay, not, perchance, ev'n in fair Eden's groves,
16 Are thy assuasive consolations vain:
17 For what is life, or what its highest scenes
18 Of boasted happiness, if present bliss[Page 222]
19 Bounds the horizon of our views; nor Hope,
20 With eagle eye, kens aught beyond, on which
21 To fix the future, ardent, heart's desire,
22 To fill the soul, and make the rapid wish
23 Run o'er with plentitude of joy? — Vain, vain,
24 To man's felicity, in youth or age,
25 The present draught of pleasure, tho' once wish'd
26 With all the eagerness of panting thirst.
27 Deep, deep he drinks, and longs for more! From hope
28 To hope he springs: he views, and still extends
29 His view: o'er cloud-capt Alps new Alps arise!
30 He gains the summit: still the prospect wide
31 Enlarges to his eye: forward he fares
32 Nor ceases to ascend, till high in heaven
33 He rides at anchor, and then Hope's no more.
34 But O! thou general blessing, smiling Hope!
35 Thy lucid ray, not only leads us on
36 From view to view; not only dost thou chear
37 With expectation sweet of future good;
38 But with serenity of present bliss
39 Thou fill'st the heart expectant! Hope can give
40 Habitual good-humour! To the soul
41 A vital heat: she quickens the still parts,
42 Nay, ev'n in motion keeps the springs of life!
43 And when most indolent, and most remiss,
44 Or rouzes, or preserves the mind awake.
45 See, too, how few — and ev'n those few how short —
46 Are actual enjoyments! But thro' thee,
47 Blest Hope, we gain a taste, delicious taste
48 Of pleasures possible! Taste, not less sweet,[Page 223]
49 Perchance, than real: for kind Hope bestows
50 A bliss in expectation, not less full,
51 And fuller oft than ripe fruition brings:
52 Fruition, haughty nymph, she never deigns
53 To walk with humble Hope, who, at her sight
54 Retires, abash'd, unnotic'd, and unthank'd!
55 But O! blest comforter, ingrate to thee
56 Let me not ever prove, should wish'd success
57 Crown my heart's hope! let me not e'er forget
58 The dear indulgences thy soothing views
59 Have to my soul presented! Yet, O yet —
60 Thy promis'd consummation too, too long
61 Delay'd, the heart in deep despondence sighs,
62 And sickens sad with care. O then, indulge
63 Thy votary's prayer, nor ever let me lose
64 Thy chearing aspect; never let the night
65 Of black despondence, with its dismal veil,
66 My little prospects in thick darkness wrap!
67 Nor yet too long delay to grant my wish
68 Accomplishment, if worthy! So my soul
69 Invigorated still shall onward press
70 To more and more improvement: nor grow faint
71 Till the big buds of Hope terrestrial burst
72 To blossoms full and fair in better climes!
73 But say, bright Hope, what numbers shall be found,
74 Worthy to sing thy praise: for that thy hand
75 Not only to the happiest life imparts
76 Its zest, its relish; but with tender care
77 Is stretch'd forth to assuage the wretch's woe,[Page 224]
78 To soothe the anguish of disease and pain;
79 And soften sad adversity's rough bed!
80 Thou only cheap and universal cure
81 Of human ills — of human sorrow, thou
82 Best comforter, and oft, full oft, alas!
83 The only comforter the wretched find!
84 Ah! see from that unfortunate, o'erwhelm'd
85 In the deep gulph of sorrow, with what speed,
86 What cruel speed, as from contagion, all
87 With one consent are flying! — and will none,
88 For gentle pity's sake, remain behind
89 To comfort the distrest! Yes, faithful Hope
90 Benevolently stays! and, flatterer kind,
91 Her far-foreseeing tube applies, thro' which
92 The eye, tho' dim with mourning, oft discerns
93 Future and happier days, thro' the black gloom
94 Of melancholy prospects shining bright.
95 Ah, honest flatterer! — yes, for once the muse
96 Commends, what most the worthy mind abhors,
97 And calls thee honest flatterer: for while all
98 Assiduous join to adulate the blest,
99 Hope, tender Hope alone, with soft concern,
100 Flatters th' unhappy! and when every friend
101 Flies from the ship-wreck'd, naked, ruin'd wretch;
102 When every woe, in dire array, crowds round,
103 Ev'n then, in that sad hour, Hope still remains,
104 As loth to leave (divine philanthrophist!)
105 Her labour of disinterested love![Page 225]
106 See — with those anxious sailorsr
r This refers to a real event, which happened two winters past. These mariners, when their vessel was sunk, continued two days and nights on the mast, where they found an accidental keg of brandy, which, under God, preserved their lives till a vessel from Margate came with great hazard to their preservation: the person who first saw the vessel immediately fainted away., see her watch
107 Her eye! almost exhausted on the mast,
108 The top-mast of yon high Admiral
109 Just peeping from those waves! that have ingulph'd
110 The gallant vessel with its hapless crew,
111 Save those who sit, as if for bitterer fate
112 Reserv'd, long wakeful nights and anxious days
113 High on the top-mast! fearing instant death
114 From each insulting wave! yet, yet, not yet
115 Will Hope desert them! See, she strains her eye
116 Far o'er the trackless occan: see, she looks,
117 With eager expectation, looks around!
118 Wild winds alone are heard: green waves alone,
119 Foaming with fury, are beheld! O Hope,
120 Blest Hope! forsake them not: should'st thou forsake,
121 And from the top mast fly, they fall, they sink
122 Irrevocably lost! — She will not go;
123 Still will she watch; nor watch in vain! she spies
124 A white sail, rising from the waves: it comes;
125 Behold! it comes, and in its bosom bears
126 Thrice-precious life! They faint for joy! their feet
127 Scarce bear them trembling to the welcome bark;[Page 226]
128 Where safely boarded — Hope her golden wings
129 Plumes, and exulting shoots across the deep,
130 Quick as in winter's skies the radiant star!
131 But whither thus precipitate her flight
132 Urges the general comforter? Behold
133 Where, stretch'd upon the bed of sore disease,
134 Worn out with pain, the sick man languid lies!
135 She comes, blest Hope! and lo! her kindly arm
136 Rears from the pillow his enfeebled head,
137 And lenient sooths his melancholy heart!
138 Now, pointing to fair Health, with roseate bloom,
139 Rekindling vigour in the mantling cheek:
140 Now, to the robe of white and crown of gold,
141 Reserv'd for Christ's true servants, in the realms
142 Of everlasting day! — Thrice faithful Hope,
143 Thou, like the heart, liv'st first, and diest last;
144 Nor, ev'n in death's extremest pangs, wilt leave
145 The fluttering soul — but, when earth's fears and joys
146 Sink into darkness all, thy beaming light
147 Unvelopes prospects new, and better far,
148 Prospects which make man, man: and cause the soul
149 In death to triumph, and defy the grave.
150 Nor ceases with the man of sorrow, stretch'd
151 On bed of sickness, Hore's indulgent aid:
152 The balm of comfort, see, how she presents
153 To the dear tender partner of his heart,
154 The wife, with weeping love, beside the couch
155 Watching solicitous, with sleepless eye!
156 Hope shews her the fond husband, to her arms
157 Once more restor'd: Hope to her aching heart[Page 227]
158 The valued parent represents, once more
159 Smiling amidst his children: and endear'd,
160 As thus endanger'd, tenfold more endear'd!
161 Look thro' the varied scenes of hapless life,
162 Hope, all-beneficent, is ever found
163 Where-e'er is found affliction! None so low
164 Can sink, but Hope will to their wretchedness
165 Descend, and point out consolation's star
166 Bright'ning in better skies! not ev'n the slave,
167 Loaden with cruel chains, deep in the mines
168 Of rich Potosi, toiling, though from light
169 Ever sequester'd of all-cheering day,
170 Can, from her light, be hid! See, through his soul
171 It shoots illuminating: and affords
172 Bright blessing glances of his native land,
173 Recover'd freedom, and rejoicing friends!
174 All hail, bright Hope! O, thro' the weary ways
175 Of this bad world, be thou the pilgrim's staff
176 On which my hands may lean, and find support
177 'Gainst all despondency! yet, Goddess! say,
178 While on thy altars all of human race
179 Devoutly sacrifice; while to thy shrine
180 All mortals bend the knee; whence doth it hap,
181 That oft the mournful tongue proclaims thee false,
182 And dares to desecrate thy hallow'd name,
183 Deceitful calling thee; and apt to slide
184 Full oft from the embrace, ev'n in the hour
185 Of highest expectation: often found
186 To promise what thou never dost bestow?
187 "Vain mortals — (yes, with serious solemn heed,
188 I mark thy words, celestial!) —" Mortals! know,
189 "'Tis not in Hope, 'tis in yourselves, deceiv'd
190 " And still deceiving, that the error lies:
191 "Short-liv'd, and of a span, ye stretch your hopes,
192 " Proud hopes of sublunary happiness,
193 "Far into time, as if of time secure,
194 " As if on earth immortal! or those hopes
195 "On objects fix, incapable to bless,
196 " When granted to your wishes! or, more vain,
197 "By self-delusion blinded, fancy-led,
198 " Ye idly hope, where reason's self recoils:
199 "Thus rendering your existence, dream at best,
200 " Still more a dream! — Less credulous and fond,
201 "Mortals, be-wise; either as mortals hope,
202 " Or, still more wise, hope as immortals! " Yes!
203 With sacred awe thy counsel I receive,
204 Blest teacher: O assist me to obey
205 Its dictates: far above this waning moon,
206 Teach me to rise o'er momentary bliss,
207 Triumphant: and to soar on thy bright wings
208 Beyond the lessen'd clouds, beyond all time
209 Deep into vast immensity! where thou,
210 Tho' born of immortality, and proof
211 Of thy high parent's glory — where, ev'n thou,
212 Earth's blessing — never, never shalt be known!
213 Then, farewell, Hope, for ever! — then adieu,
214 Sweet expectation; when each ravish'd sense
215 Lives in the plenitude of God's own joy![Page 229]
216 But, till that hour, O deign, all-cheering Hope,
217 To smile before me: gild my prospects round
218 With thy reviving splendor: full in view
219 Present the vast realities, which wait
220 Th' immortal stranger, travelling from this world
221 To his eternal home, his rest, his haven!
222 So shall my heart ne'er with impatient throbs
223 Pant for th' uncertain, sublunary gifts
224 Of this e'er-changing life! So Reason's hand
225 With Fortitude attending, on shall lead
226 To the neat cottage of retir'd Content,
227 Where dwells man's truest happiness! there lodg'd,
228 Like Caesar, with a generous disdain
229 Present possessions nobly I'll despise,
230 And from them frankly part, in the full hope,
231 Hope, which can ne'er deceive, nor mount too high,
232 Hope of possessions, future, better far:
233 Boundless duration: bliss immutable!
234 Hail then, bright Hope! of immortality
235 True, genuine daughter! hail, man's chiefest good,
236 And his best portion, while no mor than man!
237 Smile o'er the human race: and still vouchsafe
238 To gild, to gladden all their joys: to soothe
239 With gentle blandishment their woes: to fill
240 With just contempt of transitory life!
241 Still realizing to their raptur'd view
242 Heaven's high felicities! O! while strong Faith,
243 With steady finger, points us to our home,
244 Do thou invigorate our active feet
245 Along the rugged way: full, sull in sight[Page 230]
246 Place that home's glories: while thy sister Love
247 Charms us the while, the weary journey through;
248 And, when it ends, receive us from the arms
249 Of Faith and thee; to take up our abode
250 In realms, where GOD and LOVE are all in all.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): HYMN TO HOPE.
Author: William Dodd
Genres: blank verse; ode
References: DMI 32669
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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.