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HYMN BEFORE SUNRISE, IN THE VALE OF CHAMoUNI. 309
HYMN BEFORE SUNRISE, IN THE WALE OF CHA MOUNI. — Coleridge.
Besides the rivers Arve and Arveiron, which have their sources in the foot of Mont Blanc, five conspicuous torrents rush down its sides; and within a few paces of the Glaciers, the Gentiana Major grows in immense numbers, with its * flowers of loveliest blue.”
HAST thou a charm to stay the morning-star In his steep course 2 so long he seems to pause On thy bald awful head, O sovran Blanc The Arve and Arveiron at thy base Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful form, Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines, How silently Around thee and above Deep is the air and dark, substantial, black, An ebon mass : methinks thou piercest it, As with a wedge | But when I look again, It is thine own calm home, thy crystal shrine, Thy habitation from eternity O dread and silent mountl I gazed upon thee, Till thou, still present to the bodily sense, Didst vanish from my thought : entranced in prayer I worshipped the Invisible alone.
Yet, like some sweet, beguiling melody, So sweet, we know not we are listening to it, Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with my thought Yea, with my life and life's own secret joy: Till the dilating soul, enrapt, transfused, Into the mignty vision passing, — there, As in her natural form, swelled vast to heaven!
Awake, my soul! not only passive praise Thou owest, — not alone these swelling tears, Mute thanks, and secret ecstasy Awake,
310 HYMN BEFORE SUNRISE, IN THE VALE of CHAMoUN,
Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake
Thou first and chief, sole sovran of the vale !
And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad | Who called you forth from night and utter death, From dark and icy caverns called you forth, Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks, For ever shattered and the same for ever ? Who gave you your invulnerable life, Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy, Unceasing thunder and eternal foam 2 And who commanded (and the silence came), Here let the billows stiffen, and have rest ?
Ye ice-falls l ye that from the mountain's brow Adown enormous ravines slope amain, – . Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice, And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge | Motionless torrents silent cataracts Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven Beneath the keen full moon 2 Who bade the sun Clothe you with rainbows 2 Who, with living flowers Of loveliest blue, spread garlands at your feet 2 —God let the torrents, like a shout of nations, Answer; and let the ice-plains echo, God God! sing, ye meadow-streams with gladsome voice
Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds !
Ye living slowers that skirt the eternal frost !
Thou, too, hoar mount, with thy sky-pointing peaks! Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard, Shoots downward, glittering through the pure serene, Into the depths of clouds that veil thy breast, — Thou, too, again, stupendous mountain' thou That as I raise my head, awhile bowed low In adoration, upward from thy base Stow travelling with dim eyes suffused with tears, Solemnly seemest, like a vapory cloud, To rise before me, – rise, O, ever rise, Rise like a cloud of incense, from the earth ! Thou kingly spirit throned among the hills, Thou dread ambassador from earth to heaven, Great hierarch 1 tell thou the silent sky, And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun, Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God.
“Cum laudaris, teipsum contemne.”
Think, too, that now thou dost in peril fall
COUPLETS. — Trench.
To halls of heavenly truth admission wouldst thou win 2 Oft Knowledge stands without, while Love may enter II].
Lovingly to each other sun and moon give place, Else were the mighty heaven for them too narrow space.
Despise not little sins; for mountain-high may stand The pilèd heap made up of smallest grains of sand.
Despise not little sins; the gallant ship may sink, Though only drop by drop the watery tide it drink.
God many a spiritual house has reared, but never one Where lowliness was not laid first, the corner-stone.
Rear highly as thou wilt thy branches in the air,
Sin, not till it is left, will duly sinful seem ;
When thou art fain to trace a map of thine own heart, As undiscovered land set down the largest part.
Wouldst thoudoharm,and yet unharmed thyselfabide? None ever struck another, save through his own side
3od’s dealings still are love, his chastenings are alone Love now compelled to take an altered, louder tone.
From our ill-ordered hearts we oft are fain to roam, As men go forth who find unquietness at home.
Why furnish with such care thy lodging of a night, And leave the while thy home in such a naked plight?
When thou hast thanked thy God for every blessing sent, What time will then remain for murmurs or lament?
Envy detects the spots in the clear orb of light,
Thou canst not choose but serve, – man's lot is servitude, – -- . But thou hast this much choice, a bad lord or a good.
Before the eyes of men let duly shine thy light,
Wouldst thou go forth to bless, be sure of thine own ground, Fix well thy centre first, then draw thy circles round.
Sin may be clasped so close we cannot see its face, Nor seen nor loathed until held from us a small space.
If humble, next of thy humility beware, And lest thou shouldst grow proud of such a grace have care.