To the sun (Botta)
Thou glorious lamp of Space! Thou that dost flood
The void of heaven with brightness! in thy glow
Unnumbered worlds, age after age, have trod
In their appointed paths, and yet the flow
Of brightness hath not ebbed. -- Before thy brow
The stars still veil themselves; thy burning glance
Is all unquenched, undimmed, unchanged e'en now,
As when the finger of Omnipotence
Pointed to thee thy throne amid the vast expanse.
Yes, all unchanged. -- As on that morn when rang
The shout of joy as forth thy rays were spread,
While all the morning stars together sang,
So thou art now. The morning stars have fled,
The towering hill with age has bowed its head,
The sea has changed its home with the dry land,
The earth has gathered in her countless dead,
Again and yet again -- but thou dost stand,
Exhaustless and unmoved, upheld by God's own hand.
Thy beams rest not alone where monarchs dwell,
They linger round the cottage of the poor,
And pierce the grating of the captive's cell;
And when thou lookest on the lowliest flower
That lifts its head to thee for one short hour,
Thy glances just as mildly, gently burn
As when thou gazest on the loftiest tower,
Or on the countless worlds that round thee turn.
Oh! what a lesson here might human frailty learn.
Thou look'st upon the earth, and in thy rays
She brings her increase forth. Thine early light
Unfolds the bud, and thy intenser gaze
The blushing summer flower. Thou takest thy flight
And o'er the earth then walks the starry night;
Thou guidest the waters of the unquiet main,
Whose billows foam and tremble in their might --
For o'er the winds of heaven thou hold'st thy reign,
From the soft, flower-kissed breeze to the wild hurricane.
When I behold thy bright, alchemic glance
A flood of gold-light o'er the landscape throw,
And every cloud that decks the blue expanse,
Beneath thy gaze with deeping blushes glow;
Or when I see thee tint the heavenly bow,
Or in thy gaze the icebound waters melt,
As spring returns before thy burning brow,
I wonder not that Persia's children knelt,
And deemed thou was the Heaven wherein the Eternal dwelt.
Thou isle of brightness 'mid an azure sea!
As oft I gaze on thee at closing day,
I feel my spirit fluttering to be free, --
To cast its bonds of ignorance away,
And learn thy mysteries; and then I say,
Peace, restless spirit! -- yet a little time
And your frail prison will have changed to clay,
And thou shalt stand before the throne of Him
To whose veiled brow of light this glorious lamp is dim!