The tide revertive, unattracted, leaves
A yellow waste of idle sands behind.
Then breaking hence, he took his ardent flight
Through the blue infinite; and every star,
Which the clear concave of a winter's night
Pours on the eye, or astronomic tube,
Far-stretching, snatches from the dark abyss;
Or such as farther in successive skies
To fancy shine alone, at his approach
Blazed into suns, the living centre each
Of an harmonious system: all combin'd,
And ruled unerring by that single power,
Which draws the stone projected to the ground.
O unprofuse magnificence divine!
O wisdom truly perfect! thus to call
From a few causes such a scheme of things,
Effects so various, beautiful, and great,
An universe complete! And, O belov'd
Of Heaven! whose well-purged penetrative eye,
The mystic veil transpiercing, inly scann'd
The rising, moving, wide-establish'd frame.
He, first of men, with awful wing pursu'd
The comet through the long elliptic curve,
As round innumerous worlds he wound his way;
Till, to the forehead of our evening sky
Return'd, the blazing wonder glares anew,
And o'er the trembling nations shakes dismay,
The heavens are all his own; from the wild rule
Of whirling vortices, and circling spheres,
To their first great simplicity restor’d.
The schools astonish'd stood; but found it vain
To combat still with demonstration strong,
And, unawakened, dream beneath the blaze
Of truth. At once their pleasing visions fled,