CANTO I.PRODUCTION OF LIFE.
I. By firm immutable immortal lawsImpress'd on Nature by the Great First Cause,Say, Muse! how rose from elemental strifeOrganic forms, and kindled into life;How Love and Sympathy with potent charmWarm the cold heart, the lifted hand disarm;Allure with pleasures, and alarm with pains,And bind Society in golden chains.
Four past eventful Ages then recite,And give the fifth, new-born of Time, to light; 10The silken tissue of their joys disclose,Swell with deep chords the murmur of their woes;Their laws, their labours, and their loves proclaim,And chant their virtues to the trump of Fame.
Immortal Love! who ere the morn of Time,On wings outstretch'd, o'er Chaos hung sublime;Warm'd into life the bursting egg of Night,And gave young Nature to admiring Light!—You! whose wide arms, in soft embraces hurl'dRound the vast frame, connect the whirling world! 20Whether immers'd in day, the Sun your throne,You gird the planets in your silver zone;Or warm, descending on ethereal wing,The Earth's cold bosom with the beams of spring;Press drop to drop, to atom atom bind,Link sex to sex, or rivet mind to mind;Attend my song!—With rosy lips rehearse,And with your polish'd arrows write my verse!—So shall my lines soft-rolling eyes engage,And snow-white fingers turn the volant page; 30The smiles of Beauty all my toils repay,And youths and virgins chant the living lay.
II. Where Eden's sacred bowers triumphant sprung,By angels guarded, and by prophets sung,Wav'd o'er the east in purple pride unfurl'd,And rock'd the golden ;Four sparkling currents lav'd with wandering tidesTheir velvet avenues, and flowery sides;On sun-bright lawns unclad the Graces stray'd,And guiltless Cupids haunted every glade; 40Till the fair Bride, forbidden shades among,Heard unalarm'd the Tempter's serpent-tongue;Eyed the sweet fruit, the mandate disobey'd,And her fond Lord with sweeter smiles betray'd.Conscious awhile with throbbing heart he strove,Spread his wide arms, and barter'd life for love!—Now rocks on rocks, in savage grandeur roll'd,Steep above steep, the blasted plains infold;The incumbent crags eternal tempest shrouds,And livid light'nings cleave the lambent clouds; 50Round the firm base loud-howling whirlwinds blow,And sands in burning eddies dance below.
Hence ye profane!—the warring winds excludeUnhallow'd throngs, that press with footstep rude;But court the Muse's train with milder skies,And call with softer voice the good and wise.—Charm'd at her touch the opening wall divides,And rocks of crystal form the polish'd sides;Through the bright arch the Loves and Graces tread,Innocuous thunders murmuring o'er their head; 60Pair after pair, and tittering, as they pass,View their fair features in the walls of glass;Leave with impatient step the circling bourn,And hear behind the closing rocks return.
Here, high in air, unconscious of the storm.Thy temple, Nature, rears it's mystic form;From earth to heav'n, unwrought by mortal toil,Towers the vast fabric on the desert soil;O'er many a league the ponderous domes extend....