ODE TO THE ATHEIST.
1 EXPATIATE long in nice debate,
2 On Chance, Necessity, and Fate;
3 With learn'd Lucretius stray
4 In Epicurus' magic grove,
5 Where the self-motion'd atoms rove
6 In mazy mystic play.
7 Some vain hypothesis admit,
8 The specious cobweb-work of wit;
9 And daringly deny
10 What every object round avows,
11 What every act of Reason shews,
12 An All-wise Deity.
13 The clearest evidence contest,
14 Divinely stampt on every breast,
15 Since Time was taught to roll;
16 In Error's gloomy coverts stray,
17 From Truth's indisputable ray
18 Remote, as pole from pole.
19 So shuts the moping bird of night
20 Her feeble eyes against the light,
21 That glads the chearful day;
22 And when prevailing darkness reigns;
23 Thro' groves obscene, or dreary plains,
24 She wings her dubious way.
25 Consult the blue expanse on high,
26 The blush that paints the morning sky;
27 The cloud that nimbly rides,
28 The orbs that mark with lustre bright
29 The spangled mantle of the night,
30 Who there supreme resides.
31 Question the gaudy flowers around,
32 That scent the air, or paint the ground,
33 Whose influence they obey;
34 Whose hand imparts the various dyes;
35 At whose command they bud and rise;
36 At whose command decay.
37 Say ye, on down, or mountain steep,
38 That stately tread, or lowly creep;
39 And ye aërial throng,
40 That chear the woodland scene and fields
41 With vocal strains; whose bounty yields,
42 Or sustenance or song:
43 Who, in the ocean's waste domain,
44 The tenants of the watry plain
45 With liberal hand supplies?
46 The floods in icy fetters binds,
47 Smooths the rough surge, and lulls the winds,
48 Or bids the tempest rise?
49 Nature in every mystic scene
50 Declares a plastic Author's reign:
51 Above the morning's wings,
52 Beyond the sea's remotest tides,
53 Beneath the Daedal earth resides
54 Th' Almighty King of Kings.