WHY was this SPIRIT, ardent still to rise,
Chain’d in a dungeon of compacted clay?
Why were those thoughts, aspiring to the skies,
In heavy fetters doom’d to pine away?
Strange—mystic union of discordant things,
Beyond the powers of REASON to descry:
Like the wild ostrich of the waste, whose wings
Tho’ strongly nerved, yet are not form’d to fly.
O sluggish clay, that bend’st thy inmate down,
Low to the parent dust that gave thee birth!
I fain would spurn thee, all thy ties disown,
And roam a pilgrim from the realms of earth.
Roam where? What unknown worlds wouldst thou explore?
Where rest in boundless space thy weary flight?
Float o’er etherial oceans without shore,
Mount to the stars—or sink in endless night?
What is thine aim? What mighty object, say,
To rise above this sublunary sphere?
Ev’n HIM, who reigns o’er all the realms of day,
Say, dost thou seek? Vain man! then seek him here.
For his Almighty WISDOM, POWER, and LOVE,
Are neither circumscribed by time, nor space,
But perfect here, as in the realms above,
Sustain the myriads of the human race.
Here shall the faithful heart with transport own,
GOD’s awful presence fills not Heaven alone.