[From Mona's Isle, 1844]


ERE this round earth’s foundation stonewas laid,
Or suns, or stars, or any creature made,
The mighty Father on his heavenly throne
Lived beyond time eternally alone,
Containing all within this earth and sky,
A self-existing boundless Deity!
But how or when creation first began
Is far too deep for mortal mind to scan.
To demonstrate, or even have a thought,
How those bright orbs from chaos first were brought
To range at large the wide expanse of space,
For what design—who but a God can trace?
Though reason asks the simple question, why
So many bodies should be placed on high
For man’s frail use, on this his earthly sphere,
Some of whose rays in distance disappear?
But why should Man thus strive to know the cause
Of the Creator’s most intricate laws,
Whilst he himself’s the greatest mystery
Throughout the whole that he can yet descry?
How can an earth-born creature here below
Presume the mighty works of God to know,
While darkness shrouds the being of that mind
By which less mighty things are oft defined ?
Though high it soars on intellectual wings.
Beyond this earth and all terrestrial things,
To survey nature with a mental eye
Amidst the starry regions of the sky— From God’s high attributes to God it speeds,
Then on itself at last the mind recedes,
Quite satisfied that for Man to explain
The awful myst’ry must at best prove vain.
Man’s soul, with essence springing from a God,
When dies the body, leaves the senseless clod:
But whither shall this mystic being stray
When disembodied frøm its frame of clay?
Shall it ascend beyond the dark abyss
That parts creation from the realms of bliss,
Beholding all in a seraphic light
That now is hidden from its earthly sight?
Winging its flight along the trackless road
To seek the haven of its blest abode,
Beholding all creation at a glance,
A nameless thing filling the vast expanse?
Or shall it hover round its sleeping clay
Until the morning of that solemn day,
Waiting the summons from the silent tomb
‘ro reunite, and share the final doom?
In vain we seek the mystery to learn,
For disappointment keen is all we earn,
Nor more, nor what our doom may be, we know
Till death shall free us from this world of woe!


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HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000