ON THE GOODNESS OF THE SUPREME BEING.
1 ORPHEUS, fore
e See this conjecture strongly supported by Delany, in his Life of David.so the Gentiles call'd thy name,
2 Israel's sweet Psalmist, who alone could'st wake
3 Th' inanimate to motion; who alone
4 The joyful hillocks, the applauding rocks,
5 And floods with musical persuasion drew;
6 Thou who to hail and snow gav'st voice and sound,
7 And mad'st the mute melodious! — greater yet
8 Was thy divinest skill, and rul'd o'er more
9 Than art and nature; for thy tuneful touch
10 Drove trembling Satan from the heart of Saul,
11 And quell'd the evil Angel: — in this breast
12 Some portion of thy genuine spirit breathe,
13 And lift me from myself, each thought impure
14 Banish; each low idea raise, refine,
15 Enlarge, and sanctify; — so shall the muse[Page 319]
16 Above the stars aspire, and aim to praise
17 Her God on earth, as he is prais'd in heaven.
18 Immense Creator! whose all-powerful hand
19 Fram'd universal Being, and whose eye
20 Saw like thyself, that all things form'd were good;
21 Where shall the timorous bard thy praise begin,
22 Where end the purest sacrifice of song,
23 And just thanksgiving? — The thought-kindling light,
24 Thy prime production, darts upon my mind
25 Its vivifying beams, my heart illumines,
26 And fills my soul with gratitude and Thee.
27 Hail to the chearful rays of ruddy morn,
28 That paint the streaky East, and blithsome rouse
29 The birds, the cattle, and mankind from rest!
30 Hail to the freshness of the early breeze,
31 And Iris dancing on the new-fall'n dew!
32 Without the aid of yonder golden globe
33 Lost were the garnet's lustre, lost the lily,
34 The tulip and auricula's spotted pride;
35 Lost were the peacock's plumage, to the sight
36 So pleasing in its pomp and glossy glow.
37 O thrice-illustrious! were it not for Thee
38 Those pansies, that reclining from the bank,
39 View thro' th' immaculate, pellucid stream
40 Their portraiture in the inverted heaven,
41 Might as well change their tripled boast, the white,
42 The purple, and the gold, that far outvie
43 The Eastern monarch's garb, ev'n with the dock,[Page 320]
44 Ev'n with the baneful hemlock's irksome green.
45 Without thy aid, without thy gladsome beams
46 The tribes of woodland warblers would remain
47 Mute on the bending branches, nor recite
48 The praise of him, who, e'er he form'd their lord,
49 Their voices tun'd to transport, wing'd their flight,
50 And bade them call for nurture, and receive;
51 And lo! they call; the blackbird and the thrush,
52 The woodlark, and the redbreast jointly call;
53 He hears and feeds their feather'd families,
54 He feeds his sweet musicians, — nor neglects
55 Th' invoking ravens in the greenwood wide;
56 And tho' their throats coarse ruttling hurt the ear,
57 They mean it all for music, thanks and praise
58 They mean, and leave ingratitude to man, —
59 But not to all, — for hark the organs blow
60 Their swelling notes round the cathedral's dome,
61 And grace th' harmonious choir, celestial feast
62 To pious ears, and med'cine of the mind;
63 The thrilling trebles and the manly base
64 Join in accordance meet, and with one voice
65 All to the sacred subject suit their song.
66 While in each breast sweet melancholy reigns
67 Angelically pensive, till the joy
68 Improves and purifies; — the solemn scene
69 The Sun thro' storied panes surveys with awe,
70 And bashfully with-holds each bolder beam.
71 Here, as her home, from morn to eve frequents
72 The cherub Gratitude; — behold her eyes!
73 With love and gladness weepingly they shed[Page 321]
74 Ecstatic smiles; the incense, that her hands
75 Uprear, is sweeter than the breath of May
76 Caught from the nectarine's blossom, and her voice
77 Is more than voice can tell; to him she sings,
78 To him who feeds, who clothes, and who adorns,
79 Who made, and who preserves, whatever dwells
80 In air, in stedfast earth, or sickle sea.
81 O He is good, he is immensely good!
82 Who all things form'd, and form'd them all for man;
83 Who mark'd the climates, varied every zone,
84 Dispensing all his blessings for the best
85 In order and in beauty: — rise, attend,
86 Attest, and praise, ye quarters of the world!
87 Bow down, ye elephants, submissive bow
88 To Him, who made the mite; tho' Asia's pride,
89 Ye carry armies on your tower-crown'd backs,
90 And grace the turban'd tyrants, bow to Him
91 Who is as great, as perfect, and as good
92 In his less striking wonders, till at length
93 The eye's at fault, and seeks th' assisting glass.
94 Approach and bring from Araby the blest,
95 The fragrant cassia, frankincense, and myrrh,
96 And meekly kneeling at the altar's foot
97 Lay all the tributary incense down.
98 Stoop, sable Africa, with reverence stoop,
99 And from thy brow take off the painted plume;
100 With golden ingots all thy camels load
101 T' adorn his temples, hasten with thy spear
102 Reverted, and thy trusty bow unstrung,[Page 322]
103 While unpursued thy lions roam and roar,
104 And ruin'd towers, rude rocks, and caverns wide
105 Remurmur to the glorious, surly sound.
106 And thou, fair Indian, whose immense domain
107 To counterpoise the Hemisphere extends,
108 Haste from the West, and with thy fruits and flowers,
109 Thy mines and med'cines, wealthy maid, attend.
110 More than the plenteousness so fam'd to flow
111 By fabling bards from Amalthea's horn
112 Is thine; thine therefore be a portion due
113 Of thanks and praise: come with thy brilliant crown
114 And vest of furr; and from thy fragrant lap
115 Pomegranates and the richf
f Ananas, the Indian name for pine-apples.ananas pour.
116 But chiefly thou, Europa, seat of Grace
117 And Christian excellence, his Goodness own,
118 Forth from ten thousand temples pour his praise;
119 Clad in the armour of the living God
120 Approach, unsheath the Spirit's flaming sword;
121 Faith's shield, Salvation's glory, — compass'd helm
122 With fortitude assume, and o'er your heart
123 Fair truth's invulnerable breast-plate spread;
124 Then join the general chorus of all worlds,
125 And let the song of charity begin
126 In strains seraphic, and melodious prayer.
127 "O all-sufficient, all-beneficent,
128 " Thou God of Goodness and of Glory, hear!
129 "Thou, who to lowliest minds dost condescend,[Page 323]
130 " Assuming passions to enforce thy laws,
131 "Adopting jealousy to prove thy love:
132 " Thou, who resign'd humility uphold,
133 "Ev'n as the slorist props the drooping rose,
134 " But quell tyrannic pride with peerless power,
135 "Ev'n as the tempest rives the stubborn oak:
136 " O all-sufficient, all-beneficent,
137 "Thou God of Goodness and of Glory, hear!
138 " Bless all mankind, and bring them in the end
139 "To heaven, to immortality, and THEE!"
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): ON THE GOODNESS OF THE SUPREME BEING.
Author: Christopher Smart
Themes: God; religion
Genres: blank verse; essay
References: DMI 32679
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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.