Page images

Sprung from the deep; and from her native east
To journey through the aery gloom began,
Sphered in a radiant cloud — for yet the sun
Was not — she in a cloudy, tabernacle
Sojourned the while. God saw the light was good;
And light from darkness by the hemisphere
Divided. Light, the Day, and darkness, Night,
He named. Thus was the first day even and morn;
Nor passed uncelebrated, nor unsung
By the celestial choirs, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld,
Birth-day of Heaven and Earth, with joy and shout
The hollow universal orb they filled,
And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised
God and his works: Creator Him they sung,
Both when first evening was, and when first morn.

Again, God said: : - Let there be firmament
Amid the waters, and let it divide
The waters from the waters; and God made
The firmament, expanse of liquid pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffused
In circuit to the uttermost convex
Of this great round; partition firm and sure,
The waters underneath from those above
Dividing: for as earth, so He the world
Built on circumfluous waters, calm, in wide
Crystalline ocean, and the loud misrule
Of Chaos far removed, lest fierce extremes
Contiguous might distemper the whole frame.
And heaven He named the firmament. So even
And morning chorus sung the second day.

The earth was formed, but in the womb as yet
Of waters, embryon immature involved,
Appeared not; over all the face of earth
Main ocean flowed, not idle, but with warm
Prolific humor softening all her globe,


Fermented the great mother to conceive,
Satiate with genial moisture; when God said,
Be gathered now, ye waters under heaven,
Into one place, and let dry land appear.
Immediately the mountains huge appear
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave
Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky.
So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep,
Capacious bed of waters. Thither they
Hasted with glad precipitance, uprolled,
As drops on dust conglobing from the dry;
Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct,
For haste; such fight the great command impressed
On the swift floods ; as armies at the call
Of trumpet — for of armies thou hast heard
Troop to their standard, so the watery throng,
Wave rolling after wave, where way they found;
If steep, with torrent rapture; if through plain,
Soft ebbing: nor withstood them rock or hill ;
But they, or under ground, or circuit wide
With serpent error wandering, found their way,
And on the washy ooze deep channels wore;
Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry,
All but within those banks, where rivers now
Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train.
The dry land, Earth, and the great receptacle
Of congregated waters, He called Seas ;
And saw that it was good; and said: Let the earth
Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed,
And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind,
Whose seed is in herself upon the earth.
He scarce had said, when the bare earth, till then
Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned,
Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad
Her universal face with pleasant green;

[ocr errors]

Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered,
Opening their various colors, and made gay
Her bosom, smelling sweet; and, these scarce blown,
Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept
The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed
Embattled in her field, and the humble shrub,
And bush with frizzled air implicit: last
Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread
Their branches, hung with copious fruit, or gemmed
Their blossoms. With high woods the hills were crowned,
With tufts the valleys, and each fountain side ;
With borders long the rivers ; that Earth now
Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where gods might dwell
Or wander with delight, and love to haunt
Her sacred shades; though God had not yet rained
Upon the earth, and man to till the ground
None was, but from the earth a dewy mist

up and watered all the ground, and each
Plant of the field; which, ere it was in the earth,
God made, and every herb, before it grew
On the green stem. God saw that it was good :
So even and morn recorded the third day.

Again the Almighty spake:— Let there be lights
High in the expanse of heaven, to divide
The day from night; and let them be for signs,
For seasons, and for days, and circling years ;
And let them be for lights, as I ordain
Their office in the firmament of heaven,
To give light on the earth ; and it was so.
And God made two great lights, great for their use
To man, the greater to have rule by day,
The less by night, altern; and made the stars,
And set them in the firmament of heaven
To illuminate the earth, and rule the day
In their vicissitude, and rule the night,
And light from darkness to divide. God saw,


Surveying His great work, that it was good:
For, of celestial bodies, first the sun,
A mighty sphere, he framed, unlightsome first,
Though of ethereal mold; then formed the moon
Globose, and every magnitude of Stars,
And sowed with stars the heaven, thick as a field.
Of light by far the greater part he took,
Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed
In the sun's orb, made porous to receive
And drink the liquid light; firm to retain
Her gathered beams, great palace now of light.
Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,
And hence the morning planet gilds her horns;
By tincture or reflection they augment
Their small peculiar, though from human sight
So far remote, with diminution seen.
First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,
Regent of day, and all the horizon round
Invested with bright rays, jocund to run
His longitude through heaven's high road; the gray
Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced,
Shedding sweet influence. Less bright the moon,
But opposite in leveled west was set,
His mirror, with full face borrowing her light
From him ; for other light she needed none
In that aspect, and still that distance keeps
Till night; then in the east her turn she shines,
Revolved on heaven's great axle, and her reign
With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,
With thousand thousand stars, that then appeared
Spangling the hemisphere. Then first adorned
With her bright" luminaries, that set and rose,
Glad evening and glad morn crowned the fourth day.
And God said: — Let the waters generate

1 -
Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul;

[ocr errors]

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »