1 SOLEMN is night, when Silence holds her reign,
2 And the hush'd winds die on the heaving main;
3 When no short gleam of scatter'd light appears,
4 Nor lunar beams make faint the nobler stars;
5 Then those whom inward cares deprive of rest
6 Pour forth the secret sorrows of the breast.
7 Such was the night-smooth glides the bark along,
8 From whence young HENRY breath'd his thoughtful song;
9 Pacing the deck, he threw his eyes around
10 The thick-starr'd firmament, and vast profound;
11 The patient winds scarce whistled o'er the waist,
12 The burning waves the vessel's prow embrac'd;
13 The nitrous air unclouded glow'd on high,
14 With northern meteors trembling through the sky. [Page 31]
15 "Eternal Power!" he cried, "with justice fraught,
16 " O! teach a wretch to curb each stubborn thought,
17 "Whose passions reason's powers no more restrain,
18 " Grown wanton midst intolerable pain.
19 "Pierc'd by ingratitude, I rove forlorn,
20 " My faithful heart by strong affection torn;
21 "A willing exile on the dangerous main,
22 " Unshook by storms, while calms breathe peace in vain.
23 "Oft with unmanly tenderness I mourn;
24 " And, tortur'd by imagination, burn;
25 "Sighs in a natural cadence close each song,
26 " And tones of anguish vibrate on my tongue.
27 "All is now hush'd, still as the silent grave,
28 " The breeze scarce swells the smooth unruffled wave,
29 "Which glittering with celestial lustre bright,
30 " Reflects the spangled heaven's ethereal light:[Page 32]
31 "O! how sublime this tract, for man design'd!
32 " Vast the perceptions of his rapid mind!
33 "Strongly to earth his young affections cling,
34 " While Fancy waves her bright and various wing;
35 "But soon each hope of earthly bliss is cross'd,
36 " Nipt in the bud, or in possession lost;
37 "Blushing, our empty wishes we survey,
38 " When we our passions with their motives weigh.
39 "Deeply I feel this still and solemn hour,
40 " Impress'd with GOD'S immeasurable power;
41 "While worlds unnumber'd 'mid yon ether burn,
42 " And thoughts immense pour in where'er I turn.
43 "How much man errs, whose soul, with thought sublime,
44 " Looks on tow'rds endless bliss thro' boundless time!
45 "When he to earthly passions gives dire sway,
46 " Or mourns those joys which of themselves decay!