Abbildungen der Seite

Immensity of Nature
Than white owl or brown nightjar,
Be softer the down on the wing's edge
Than combing crests of a snowdrift are
Which the smooth wind holloweth,
Of its shadowing I will be more aware
Than a mirror is of a swoon'd man's breath,
To find the guidance that I need. . .


TO see the world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.


Mortal though I be, yea ephemeral, if but a moment

I gaze up to the night's starry domain of heaven, Then no longer on earth I stand; I touch the Creator,

And my lively spirit drinketh immortality.


.. And for magnitude, as Alexander the Great, after that he was used to great armies, and the great conquests of the spacious provinces in Asia, when he received letters out of Greece, of some fights and services there ... he said, It seemed to him that he was advertised of the battles of the frogs and the mice, that the old tales went of. So certainly, if a man meditate much upon universal frame of nature, the earth with men upon it (the


Silence of Nature divineness of souls except) will not seem much other than an ant-hill, whereas some ants carry corn, and some carry their

young, and some go empty, and all to and fro a little heap of dust. . .


. . But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near ;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.


Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m'effraie.


Science carries us into zones of speculation, where there. is no habitable city for the mind of man.

If a man were to ask Nature for what


she produces, and if she chose to attend and reply to him, she would


"You should never have asked; you ought to have understood in silence, even as I keep silence and am wont to say nothing. What is it then that you should have understood ? This; that whatever is produced is a sight for me (Nature) to look upon in silence, a vision naturally produced; and that I, who am myself the child of such a vision, am of my nature a lover of

[ocr errors][merged small]

The Voice of Nature - sights; and that which sees in me produces the vision, as a geometrician draws the figure which his mind sees. I do not indeed draw; but, as I look, the forms of the bodily world fall off, as it were, from my gaze, and take substance. ... I owe my life not to any action, but to the being of thoughts greater than I, contemplating themselves.'

What then should this mean? It means that what we call Nature, being a Life-soul* and born of a prior soul that lives a more potent life than hers, stands quietly at gaze within herself, looking neither at what is above her nor at what is below, but steadfast in her own place, and in a sort of self-conscience; and that with this intelligence and conscience of herself she sees her own effects as far as it is given her to see, and is content to do nothing more than perfect the vision bright and fair. But the intelligence and sense which we may,

if we will, attribute to her, are not like those of other sensible and intelligent beings : compared with them they are as sleeping is to waking : for ... as she gazes on the vision of herself she rests, and her gaze is unruffled, but dim.



[blocks in formation]

.. But if thou scorn us not, though keeping still
Thy silence to our askings, even herein
Some part at least our quest thou dost fulfil,
Thy gravity charms us from man's world of sin.

O thou art grave; pointest with steadfast aim
At us a warning hand, and in our eyes
Thou lookest with but one look, ever the same.

The shafted beam that breaks from summer skies,

Man in Nature

The unclouded sun, all things 'twixt sun and shade,
That into that which we call thee arise,
They are thy temple, builded and display'd
For worship fair. . .


.. Dieu est présent dans la nature, mais la nature n'est

pas il y a une nature en Dieu, mais ce n'est pas Dieu même.



. . Certes, la Nature est inique, sans pudeur, sans probité et sans foi. Elle ne veut connaître que la faveur gratuite et l'aversion folle, et n'entend compenser une injustice que par une autre. Le bonheur de quelquesuns s'expie par le malheur d'un plus grand nombre.

Inutile d'ergoter contre une force aveugle ...

Il n'est nullement nécessaire que l'univers soit, mais il est nécessaire que justice se fasse, et l'athéisme est tenu d'expliquer l'opiniâtreté absolue de la conscience sur ce point. La Nature n'est pas juste ; nous sommes les produits de la Nature : pourquoi réclamons-nous et prophétisons-nous la justice ? pourquoi l'effet se redresset-il contre sa cause? le phénomène est singulier. Cette revendication provient-elle d'un aveuglement puéril de la vanité humaine ? Non, elle est le cri le plus profond de notre être ...

Tel est le credo du genre humain. La Nature sera vaincue par l'Esprit ; l'éternel aura raison du temps ...



Poor soul, here for so little, cast among so many hardships, filled with desires so incommensurate and so inconsistent, savagely surrounded, savagely descended, irremediably condemned to prey upon his fellow lives : who shd have blamed him had he been of a piece with his destiny and a being merely barbarous ? And we look and behold him instead filled with imperfect virtues : ... sitting down, amidst his momentary life, to debate of Right and Wrong and the attributes of the Deity. . .

To touch the heart of his mystery, we find in him ... the thought of Duty; the thought of something owing to himself, to his neighbour, to his God: an ideal of decency, to which he would rise if it were possible; a limit of shame, below which, if it be possible, he will not stoop.

It matters not where we look, under what climate we observe him, in what stage of society, in what depth of ignorance, burthened with what erroneous morality; by camp-fires in Assiniboia, the snow powdering his shoulders, the wind plucking his blanket, as he sits, passing the ceremonial calumet and uttering his grave opinions like a Roman senator ; in ships at sea, a man inured to hardships and vile pleasures; ... in the slums of cities, moving among indifferent millions to mechanical employments, a fool, a thief, the comrade of thieves, even here keeping the point of honour and the touch of pity, often repaying the world's scorn with service, often standing firm upon a scruple, and at a certain cost rejecting riches everywhere some virtue cherished or affected, everywhere

« ZurückWeiter »