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On these drear sepulchres of buried days

How sad to gaze!

Yet, since their substances were perishable,

And hands unstable

Upreard their piles, no wonder that decay

Both man and monument should sweep away.

Ah me! how much more sadden'd is my mood,

How heart-subdued,

The ruins and the wrecks when I behold

By time unroll’d,

Of all the Faiths that man hath ever known,

World-worshipp'd once-now spurn’d and overthrown!


from the soul deriving breath,

Should know no death;

Yet do they perish, mingling their remains

With fallen fanes;

Creeds, canons, dogmas, councils, are the wreck'd

And mouldering Masonry of Intellect.

Apis, Osiris, paramount of yore

On Egypt's shore,

Woden and Thor, through the wide North adored,

With blood outpour'd;

Jove, and the multiform Divinities,

To whom the Pagan nations bow'd their knees,

Lo! they are cast aside, dethroned, forlorn,

Defaced, out-worn,

Like the world's childish dolls, which but insult

Its age adult,

Or prostrate scarecrows, on whose rags we tread,

With scorn proportion'd to our former dread.

Alas for human reason! all is change

Ceaseless and strange ;

All ages form new systems, leaving heirs

To cancel theirs :

The future can but imitate the past,

And instability alone will last.

Is there no compass left, by which to steer

This erring sphere?

No tie that may indissolubly bind

To God, mankind ?

No code that may defy time's sharpest tooth ?

No fix'd, immutable, unerring truth?

There is ! there is !-one primitive and sure

Religion pure, Unchanged in spirit, though its forms and codes

Wear myriad modes,

Contains all creeds within its mighty span


This is the Christian's faith, when rightly read;

Oh! may it spread

Till Earth, redeem'd from every hateful leaven,

Makes peace with Heaven :

Below-one blessed brotherhood of love;

One Father-worshipp'd with one voice-above !


The toils of Alchemists, whose vain pursuit

Sought to transmute

Dross into gold,—their secrets and their store

Of mystic lore,

What to the jibing modern do they seem?

An ignis fatuus chase, a phantasy, a dream!

Yet for enlighten'd moral Alchemists

There still exists

A philosophic stone, whose magic spell

No tongue may tell,

Which renovates the soul's decaying health,

And what it touches turns to purest mental wealth. This secret is reveal'd in every trace

Of Nature's face,

Whose seeming frown invariably tends

To smiling ends,

Transmuting ills into their opposite,
And all that shocks the sense to subsequent delight.-

Seems Earth unlovely in her robe of snow?

Then look below,

Where Nature in her subterranean Ark,

Silent and dark,

Already has each floral germ unfurld

That shall revive and clothe the dead and naked world.

Behold those perish'd flowers to earth consign'd

They, like mankind,

Seek in their grave new birth. By nature's power

Each in its hour

Clothed in new beauty, from its tomb shall spring,

And from its tube or chalice heavenward incense fling.

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