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Echoes and waterfalls, and pointed crags That into music touch the passing wind. Here then my young imagination found No uncongenial element; could here Among new objects serve or give command, Even as the heart's occasions might require, To forward reason's else too scrupulous march. The effect was, still more elevated views Of human nature. Neither vice nor guilt, Debasement undergone by body or mind, Nor all the misery forced upon my sight, Misery not lightly passed, but sometimes scanned Most feelingly, could overthrow my trust In what we may become ; induce belief That I was ignorant, had been falsely taught, A solitary, who with vain conceits Had been inspired, and walked about in dreams. From those sad scenes when meditation turned, Lo! everything that was indeed divine Retained its purity inviolate, Nay, brighter shone, by this portentous gloom Set off ; such opposition as aroused The mind of Adam, yet in Paradise Though fallen from bliss, when in the East he saw * Darkness ere day's mid course, and morning light More orient in the western cloud, that drew O’er the blue firmament a radiant white, Descending slow with something heavenly fraught..
* See Note.
Add also, that, among the multitudes Of that huge city, oftentimes was seen Affectingly set forth, more than elsewhere Is possible, the unity of man, One spirit over ignorance and vice Predominant, in good and evil hearts; One sense for moral judgments, as one eye For the sun's light. The soul when smitten thus By a sublime idea, whencesoe'er Vouchsafed for union or communion, feeds On the pure bliss, and takes her rest with God.
Thus from a very early age, O Friend! My thoughts by slow gradations had been drawn To human-kind, and to the good and ill Of human life : Nature had led me on; And oft amid the “busy hum” I seemed To travel independent of her help, As if I had forgotten her; but no, The world of human-kind outweighed not here In
my habitual thoughts; the scale of love, Though filling daily, still was light, compared With that in which her mighty objects lay.