WITHOUT assistance of the reas’ning power,
Without a precept, or an earthly guide;
Without apparent motive, every hour,
The soul on her own movements will decide.
Repress—excite—resolve:—and simply fraught
With inborn sentiment of wrong or right,
More justly act, than when distracted thought
Wanders by REASON’s misdirected light.
How oft dull mists o’erspread the sluggish mind,
Distorting or obscuring all around:
Mid clouds of ERROR, blown by PASSION’s wind,
Will TRUTH, bright ANGEL, sit divinely crown’d?
See, worldly WISDOM, in her devious course,
She seeks rich harvests from the stony plain:
Thro’ sandy deserts would the streamlet force,
Or raise tall forests on the stormy main?
To lead insulted REASON far astray:
See POWER tyrannically awe mankind,
And grasp even mental freedom as her prey.
See POVERTY’s long train of deep’ning woes,
Incessant TOIL, pale FAMINE, and DISEASE;
OPPRESSION, SLAVERY, every ill that grows,
From mis-led IGNORANCE combined with these.
Enter some proud SERAGLIO,* where enshrined
Sits SENSUAL JOY, in all her wishes blest,
And say, what powerful influence o’er the mind
Has sacred REASON ever there possest.
Lone in the bosom of BERKESTAN’s wood,
A hoary DERVISH long has made abode;
Remote from ill—sought only by the good,
His converse holy as his prayer to GOD.
Attentive, hear the venerable SAGE
Speak the experience of a length of years;
And deeply read in WISDOM’s sacred page,
What sweet simplicity of heart appears.
‘Why wilt thou, restless mortal, vainly stray,
Thro’ the dark mazes of the world, to gain
That rule of life, whose strong, persuasive sway,
Shall o’er thy soul dominion-long obtain;
‘Guide thee thro’ paths of HONOR, VIRTUE, PEACE;
Bless thee thro’ life, and bless thy parting breath:
Lead thee to scenes where joy shall never cease,
Beyond the power of pain, disease, or death.
‘Seek not the learn’d expounders of THE LAW,
Whose mystic dogmas render dimness blind:
Nor from the page of HIST’RY seek to draw
The bright exemplars of a perfect mind.
‘But humbly listen to the gentle voice
Of TRUTH, of NATURE, and her sovereign LORD,
That speaks within thy heart, confirms thy choice
In all that’s GOOD, and renders VICE abhorr’d.
‘Bids thee be mild, beneficent and free:
Bids thee be ever temperate, ever just:
Adverse to STRIFE, OPPRESSION’s enemy,
And ne’er forget thou art the child of dust.
‘Then—then shall REASON bear her genuine sway,
And sun-like, brighten all the mental day:
Then, wing’d with FAITH, thy soul pursue her course,
Pure as she sprang from her ETERNAL SOURCE.’