Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Religious Musings


Religious Musings is a 420 line blank verse poem. The poem begins with a connection to John Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity by referring to the narrator as a prophet. Along with this prophetic emphasis is a description of Christ's birth:
This is the time, when most divine to hear,
The voice of Adoration rouses me,
As with a Cherub’s trump: and high upborne,
Yea, mingling with the Choir, I seem to view
The vision of the heavenly multitude,Who hymned the song of Peace o’er Bethlehem’s fields!
Yet thou more bright than all the Angel-blaze,
That harbingered thy birth, Thou Man of Woes! (lines 1–8)
Partway through the poem, the narrator introduces the idea of One Life:
There is one Mind, one omnipresent Mind,
Omnific. His most holy name is Love.
Truth of subliming import! with the which
Who feeds and saturates his constant soul,
He from his small particular orbit flies
With blest outstarting! From himself he flies,
Stands in the sun, and with no partial gaze
Views all creation; and he loves it all,
And blesses it, and calls it very good!
This is indeed to dwell with the Most High!
Cherubs and rapture-trembling Seraphim
Can press no nearer to the Almighty’s throne.
As the poem progresses, the narrator lists those who work to use science and reason to help mankind, including Benjamin Franklin, called "Patriot Sage":
From Avarice thus, from Luxury and War
Sprang heavenly Science; and from Science Freedom.
O’er waken’d realms Philosophers and Bards
Spread in concentric circles: they whose souls,
Conscious of their high dignities from God,
Brook not Wealth’s rivalry! and they, who long
Enamoured with the charms of order, hate
The unseemly disproportion: and whoe’er
Turn with mild sorrow from the Victor’s car
And the low puppetry of thrones, to muse
On that blest triumph, when the Patriot Sage
Called the red lightnings from the o’er-rushing cloud
And dashed the beauteous terrors on the earth
Smiling majestic. (lines 224–237)
The poem continues to introduce more of that elect group of individuals that are helping the world:
To Milton’s trump
The high groves of the renovated Earth
Unbosom their glad echoes: inly hushed,
Adoring Newton his serener eye
Raises to heaven: and he of mortal kind
Wisest, he first who marked the ideal tribes
Up the fine fibres through the sentient brain.
Lo! Priestley there, patriot, and saint, and sage,
Him, full of years, from his loved native land
Statesmen blood-stained and priests idolatrous
By dark lies maddening the blind multitude
Drove with vain hate. Calm, pitying he retired,
And mused expectant on these promised years. (lines 364–377)
The poem ends optimistically with images of nature:
I discipline my young and novice thought
In ministeries of heart-stirring song,
And aye on Meditation’s heaven-ward wing
Soaring aloft I breathe the empyreal air
Of Love, omnific, omnipresent Love,
Whose day-spring rises glorious in my soul
As the great Sun, when he his influence
Sheds on the frost-bound waters — The glad stream
Flows to the ray and warbles as it flows. (lines 412–420)

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