A Vision Of Philosophy.

A poem by Thomas Moore

'Twas on the Red Sea coast, at morn, we met
The venerable man;[1] a healthy bloom
Mingled its softness with the vigorous thought
That towered upon his brow; and when he spoke
'Twas language sweetened into song--such holy sounds
As oft, they say, the wise and virtuous hear,
Prelusive to the harmony of heaven,
When death is nigh; and still, as he unclosed[2]
His sacred lips, an odor, all as bland
As ocean-breezes gather from the flowers
That blossom in Elysium, breathed around,
With silent awe we listened, while he told
Of the dark veil which many an age had hung
O'er Nature's form, till, long explored by man,
The mystic shroud grew thin and luminous,
And glimpses of that heavenly form shone through:--
Of magic wonders, that were known and taught
By him (or Cham or Zoroaster named)
Who mused amid the mighty cataclysm,
O'er his rude tablets of primeval lore;
And gathering round him, in the sacred ark,
The mighty secrets of that former globe,
Let not the living star of science sink
Beneath the waters, which ingulfed a world!--
Of visions, by Calliope revealed
To him,[3]who traced upon his typic lyre
The diapason of man's mingled frame,
And the grand Doric heptachord of heaven.
With all of pure, of wondrous and arcane,
Which the grave sons of Mochus, many a night,
Told to the young and bright-haired visitant
Of Carmel's sacred mount.--Then, in a flow
Of calmer converse, he beguiled us on
Through many a Maze of Garden and of Porch,
Through many a system, where the scattered light
Of heavenly truth lay, like a broken beam
From the pure sun, which, though refracted all
Into a thousand hues, is sunshine still,[4]
And bright through every change!--he spoke of Him,
The lone, eternal One, who dwells above,
And of the soul's untraceable descent
From that high fount of spirit, through the grades
Of intellectual being, till it mix
With atoms vague, corruptible, and dark;
Nor yet even then, though sunk in earthly dross,
Corrupted all, nor its ethereal touch
Quite lost, but tasting of the fountain still.
As some bright river, which has rolled along
Through meads of flowery light and mines of gold,
When poured at length into the dusky deep,
Disdains to take at once its briny taint,
Or balmy freshness, of the scenes it left.
But keeps unchanged awhile the lustrous tinge,
And here the old man ceased--a winged train
Of nymphs and genii bore him from our eyes.
The fair illusion fled! and, as I waked,
'Twas clear that my rapt soul had roamed, the while,
To that bright realm of dreams, that spirit-world,
Which mortals know by its long track of light
O'er midnight's sky, and call the Galaxy.[5]

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