AN ODE To the Learned Dr. Thomas Burnett, AUTHOR of The Theory of the EARTH.
1 NO common Height the Muse must soar,
2 That wou'd thy Fame in Numbers try;
3 Nor dare in humble Verse adore,
4 But rise with Thee above the Sky:
5 You ask a bold and lofty strain,
6 And what we meanly sing, disdain.
7 You Nature's early Birth explore,
8 Her disunited Frame disclose,
9 From what mix'd Cause, and jarring Power,
10 The Infant Earth to Being rose:
11 How, in her Circling Bosom sleep
12 Th' imprison'd Seas, and Bounded Deep.
13 Resolv'd great hidden Truths to trace,
14 Each Learned Fable you despise;
15 And, pleas'd, enjoy the fam'd disgrace,
16 To think, and reason, singly wise:
17 Each Tale reject by Time allow'd,
18 And nobly leave the erring Crowd.
19 Hark! from her weak Foundations tore,
20 The bursting Earth asunder flies,
21 And, prop'd by yielding Seas no more,
22 The dreadful Crack alarms the Skies:
23 Whose Arches rent, their Weight forego,
24 And plunge in opening Gulphs below.
25 Now rushing from their watry Bed,
26 The driving Waves disdain a shore;
27 And with resistless Force o'erspread
28 That Orb, which check'd their Rage before:
29 While scattered o'er the foamy Tide,
30 All Nature's floating Ruins ride.
31 New Heavens disclos'd, the Silver Train
32 The SUN beneath their Waves admire;
33 And gliding thro' th' enlight'ned Main,
34 Gaze at each STAR'S diminish'd Fire.
35 Well pleas'd, the MOON'S bright Orb survey,
36 Trembling along their Azure Way.
37 How strong each Line, each Thought how great
38 With what an Energy you rise!
39 How shines each Fancy? with what Heat
40 Does every glowing Page surprize?
41 While spouting Oceans upward flow,
42 Or sink again to Caves below.
43 As Nature's Doom you thus impart,
44 The moving Scene we scarce endure;
45 But, shrinking, ask our anxious Heart,
46 If on our Earth we tread secure?
47 Whose Fate unmov'd, as you persue,
48 We start and tremble but to view.
49 Yet these Remains, we now behold,
50 Which Tow'ring once in Hills arose;
51 Shall from a New and fairer Mould
52 A New and fairer Earth compose:
53 Which to her Fate shall Owe her Bloom,
54 And rise more lovely from her Tomb.
55 Yet see This beauteous Fabrick end,
56 This Second Pride of Fate expire;
57 While gushing from the Clouds descend
58 The Burning Storm, the Liquid Fire;
59 Where Worlds and Men consuming lie,
60 And in One bright Confusion Die.
61 Their naked Tops the Hills admire,
62 No longer white with fleecy Dew;
63 And as they moan the spreading Fire,
64 Add to the Flames dissolving too:
65 While Rocks from melting Mountains flow,
66 And roll in Streams thro' Vales below.
67 And now the Kindling Orbs on high
68 All Nature's mournful End proclaim;
69 When thy great WORK, (Alas!) must die,
70 And feed the rich victorious Flame:
71 Give Vigour to the wasting Fire,
72 And with the World TOO SOON expire.
73 Once more her Bloom the Earth renews,
74 Smooth'd into Green, eternal Vales;
75 Her Glebe still moist with fragrant Dews,
76 Her Air still rich with balmy Gales:
77 No Change her Flowry Seasons breed,
78 But Springs retire, and Springs succeed.
79 Oh say, Thou Great, Thou Sacred Name,
80 What Scenes Thy thoughtful Breast employ,
81 Capacious as that mighty Frame
82 You raise with Ease, with Ease destroy?
83 Each World shall boast thy Fame; and YOU,
84 Who charm'd the OLD, shall grace the NEW.