The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
Poetry; Love; ReligionThis theme is Love, and its Philosophy,
The wisdom of its nature we’ll discuss
In form of song. May Heaven assist this strain!
And may this song in sweetness well accord
With all the holiest feelings of the soul,
As they a kinship claim with heavenly loves;
Yea, such that best assimilate with Truth,
Whose garb is Righteousness, whose joy is Peace!
Poetry; FutureSay, what is Love?—But first its source declare,
And shew its Truth.—Come, Inspiration come
And to the Muse unfold the holy theme:
As when a scroll of prophecy’s unwound,
Displaying future myst’ries; so propound
Love’s nature, and its powers; and so declare
page 2 Its beauties and its joys; though now commix’d
With earthly cares, as something to annoy;
And tell the loss of glory once its own!
Love!—Who can tell its nature? ’Tis beyond
Conception’s pow’r when seen in prestine state,
As it from God’s paternal bosom sprung,
As co-existent with His only Son!
Love, with Him brought to being as a twin
Co-partner of His Life, was Holiness
Immaculate and true; the issue grand
Of the Almighty’s fiat, which declared—
“This is My Son! In Him is My delight:
For, Him have I begotten!—He is Mine,
Co-equal with Me:—On dominion’s throne
Have I ordain’d Him ever there to reign,
Above all principalities and pow’rs,
Might and dominion of whatever name:—
As you to being rise, at this behest,
Created for my glory, in your hosts,
Come, minister before Him, Lord of all:
Bow down and do Him rev’rence as your King!
page 3 In Him is all my pleasure hid; Religion; Love; Joywith Him
MyLove goes forth—His nature’s Love itself!
And, Him will I uphold in all My Love!”
Here is Love’s high beginning,—Its great birth,
And source of issue; from which it pervades
The vast circumference, from its centre, forth
Through Heaven’s empyrean space, and filling all
Immensity with its exhaustless flow:
Yea, permeating with its light, and life,
Th’ angelic hosts as cause of all their joy!
Such love, how beatific.—How divine,
And godlike is its nature! ’Tis supreme
O’erev’ry motive, which excite the wills
Of all seraphic orders to rejoice
In joyful happiness unknown to cares!
Love, in its powers ecstatic, as enjoy’d
By the angelic hosts, is far beyond
The grasp of human thought: aye ev’n beyond
Angelic ken itself, to be defined,
Although its nature and effects give joy!
page 4 While, in man’s fallen state, ’tis oft the source
Of much anxiety and painful cares.
Religion; Love; JoyThe happiness of Heaven, who can conceive,
A part from love’s sweet influence? ’Tis the light
That beams in glory from th’ effulgent face
Of Deity, and sheds, through Heaven’s expanse,
An equal share of bliss, and brightness pure!
No diminution’s felt at farthest reach,
(If such there be) from centre, as its source;
For, Love gives glory unrestrain’d, and strong,
As magnified ten thousand fold, to all,
Convincing all alike that “God is Love!”
Yea, in whose soul such love exists, and proves
The emanation of God’s Love, there can
No darkness be: for light and life maintain,
To the exclusion of all shade of care.—
Such is the joy of Heaven. Angelic hosts
Acknowledge such, their glory, and delight;
So, loud their harps, for high acclaim attuned,
Give forth their symphonies, agreeing all
With shouts of praise, extolling “Gracious Love!”
page 5 Religion; Love; JoyTLove is the never-ending theme of Heaven,
In everlasting praise! It is the zest
Of all enjoyment theirs, which never fails
T’ excite new raptures in each ardent soul,
Increasing, and enlarging the full flow
Of holy joy, which no decreasing knows.
The joys of earth, ere sir was introduced,
Were much the same as those enjoy’d above,
Proceeding from that love which beam’d from heav’n
Upon man’s soul, and was his Light of life:
Yet, danger, being in the way, declared
Its lesser glory, though of shining Truth!
Which Sin has tarnish’d now. Love; Memory; JoyTruth’s lustre gone,
What clouds of gloom envelope would the world,
But for such rays Love, still glimmering through,
To cheer one’s pilgrim path of life, and prove
A motive to advance in virtue’s cause,
While keeping in remembrance former bliss!
If good such present state of earthly joys,
Arising out of our love’s tarnish’d sheen;
How far short’ in comparison, they come
page 6 With joy in Heaven, where not a shade of woe
Dare enter; where nought intervenes to vex;
Such heavenly love, who can conceive its worth?
’Tis past all reckoning, and far beyond
The power of human language to pourtray,
As to be understood! Aye, more than this,
Such love, the cause of all seraphic praise,
Falls far short of the glory, and the grace,
Contain’d in God’s unfathomable Love!
Religion; Nature; LoveAll Nature emanating from the will
Of Him who call’d creation from the depths
Of nothingness, into existence fair,
An impress bears of that impulse devine,
Which then accompanied the creating word,
Acknowledging the Author as Supreme!
Love is the badge by which man’s soul’s discern’d
To be the Image of th’ Eternal Sire;—
The breath of life breathed in man’s moulded clay,
As it lay newly form’d,—God’s handy work,—
Was such, that changed cold earth to quicken’d life,
Whose every feeling thrill’d with holy love;
page 7 Religion; PoetryThe very counterpart of Love divine,
Impress’d upon his soul!—Thus, God alone
Clams th’ Authorship of man, distinguish’d by
“This mark” even as human authors own
Some trade mark theirs, as token of the right
They have in aught of worth call’d by their names;
So, man; when to this life was introduced
A double portion of Love’s holy sprite
(Double, compared to aught the word diffused,)
Inspired his nature, and became both part
And parcel of existence, so ’s to cheer,
And aid him in pursuit of duty’s path;
Likewise to keep him in remembrance true
That he is not his own, as sprung by chance
Into this state of being;—and that he bore
The badge-mark of his Maker on his soul,
As proof he must His special service do!
Love; Nature; FriendshipSuch was the grand connecting link, which bound
To Heaven, earth, and all created things.
Love, pure untarnish’d love, like what exists
In souls seraphic, was the medium bond
page 8 Of friendship between man and Diety.
No fear exists where love has its abode:
So, in man’s soul tranquility, and bliss
Abounded, like the echo of that joy
Experienced by the seraphim, as they
Their harps tune high to songs devine of love!
His heart was in full harmony with Heaven;
He gladly could partake in such delights,
Which much enraptured the celestial choirs;
His soul reverberating all their joys!
The holy passion, pure and undefiled,
As more and more developed it became,
Declared its origiu: and felt his soul
A holy boldness to converse with God:
An adaptation to enjoyments pure,
Arising from sweet fellowship with Him
The object of his reverence, made him feel
At home, in the society of his King.
No dread perplex’d, him, though he was alone,
Nor did his time hang heavy on his hands;
And no oppressive care his peace disturb’d;
page 9 Nor was there room for such, for lo, his heart
Was otherwise pre-occupied with Love!
Love; Morality; JoyLove was the magnet between God and man,
And still is, in regard to common weal,
Whether for present, or for future good;
It was man’s motive pow’r to duty’s work,
And made earth’s Eden Paradise below,
Akin to Heav’n above, for perfect bliss!
Blest is the power of Love;—of Love devine,
That parent of all human love;—in truth,
’Tisthat, which fills man’s soul with moral worth,
And makes it conscious of superior caste,
’Bove aught to being call’d; and makes him seek
Enjoyments of a nature like itself,
For immortality; and tending all
To such, that’s found in service of its God,
While offering Him its pure affections all,
With true confiding faith! Then, such were the
Enjoyments man possess’d, and happy felt,
While fearing Him with that becoming fear,
Which springs from rev’rence innocent of dread;
page 10 (But such an idea then was quite unknown;
For dread can ne’er exist in sinless souls,
As such is the result of conscious guilt:)
While Love; Joyhis devotion’s all composed of love,
Yes love intense,—intense in all its Truth,
As ’twould reflect the Image of his God
Upon his soul;—the sum of perfect bliss!
With such a love man’s soul was first endow’d,
When God’s own breath him starled from the dust;
’Twas perfect in itself, ’twas undefiled,
’Twas pure affection, full of living truth,
And nothing knew of falsehood or of shame.
Man thus with his Creator could converse,
And felt no barrier to express a wish—
A holy wish—to have one like himself,
As a companion in the walks of life;
One who’d reciprocate his feelings, and
Who could participate each heart-felt joy.
Love was the impulse prompting the request;
And God in love complied with his desire!
Religion; Liberty; GovernmentThis opportunity, reserved for man,
page 11 To make request, according as he felt
The pressure of a want upon his heart
To be supplied, spoke friendship and good faith
Between man and his Maker; and the rank
Man held, as one of independent mind,
With reason’s power to seek the good required,
Rather than be mere passively content
To have it on him thrust, without request,
Like the inferior races that prevail.
So, pleased with man’s desire, as it bespoke
Confiding faith, and self-consulting thought,
Combined in freedom of the will enjoy’d;
Most graciously was heard the fond request,
Like heart-imploring prayer; when answer came,
“It is not good that man should be alone!”—
The void must be fill’d up, as ’twere to add
To all that happiness, for which he was
Found capable, and which his nature craved,
While he maintain’d God’s love upon his soul.
Man much had in his primal state of joy,
And Oh! that much must be increased, to shew
page 12 No want of aught that’s good will be withheld,
While steadfast was he in his Maker’s fear.—
Poetry; JoyGod’s works around were subjects to his muse,
Oft raising most delightful thoughts, which burst
In utter’d tones of love-expressive praise;
Yes, love expressive,—full of ecstacy,—
Prolonging oft the song of heart felt joy!
At close of day, he lonesome sought repose;
Lonesome,—as having no one near, from whom
He could have a reply to joy express’d:
And as he slept, as ’twere a trance-like sleep,
A work was on him done, of which he felt
Unconscious as to pain; but rather was
Enraptured with fresh pleasure in his dreams!
Then, having got aroused from slumbers deep,
By wakeful nature loud in matin songs,
As if reproving man for seeming sloth,
While calling him to duty from his dreams:
He felt as having overslept, beyond
His wont to be astir. Now call’d again
To cosciousness required in daily life;
page 13 And having gone abroad contemplative,
Meanwhile orisons rising from his heart,
Like Nature’s incense in its sweet perfumes;
While some presntiment, upon his mind,
Would shew he soon would have his heart’s desire:—
The while admiting much the beauteous scene
Around, ’mid op’ning flowers of various bloom;—
So grateful were the fragrances he breathed,
They seem’d as sweet ambrosia fed his soul:—
When Lo! the object of his fond request
Appear’d, as like himself she walk’d the grove,
Contemplative, admiring all she saw
Of flow’rs and fruits; while list’ning to the strains
Of warbling choiresters, whose cheerful songs
Would seem to bid her welcome; such she felt
All counterpart of happiness she own’d!
And as she in majestic innocence
Enjoy’d surrounding pleasures in her walk,
Unconscious was she of th’ admirer near;
Or that, she in herself, o’er all admired,
Was beauty in perfection; as there met
page 14 All kinds of comeliness most chaste, as when
All rays would in one glorious focus shine!
Nature; JoyAt such a sight, who can declare the joy
That took possession of him? Wonder-rapt
At such display of beauty, and of grace;
Love fired his heart more ardently, which made
Him bound t’ embrace the object he admired,
His counterpart,—Companion of his life!
Th’ emotions he sustain’d from Nature’s charms
Were now so vastly multiplied, he felt
As Paradise itself had got renew’d,
And former loves intensified become!
His heart beat high within him; his whole soul
Was full of rapture, and ecstatic praise!
How fondly strain’d he to his throbbing breast
The gentle being caught in his embrace;
So fain, as he’d incorp’rate with himself,
Her gracile form: while up to heaven he look’d,
With eyes expressive of the joys he felt,
Joy full of gratitude and henrt [sic: heart]-felt praise.
On such a scene might angel vision look
page 15 With holy joy; and might their harps be tuned,
In grateful anthems to endearments given:—
Thus praising God for such a farther view
Of love in man, His goodness thus display’d.
And well might Deity benignant look
On their enjoyments, all their loves to bless!
Who can the raptures of man’s soul declare,
Ere words could give them utterance? Meanwhile
Attachment’s best expression, as pourtray’d
In the enamour’d kiss, his joy bespoke,
Till deep emotions, stirr’d, pour’d forth this strain:
Love; Joy; Religion; LandOh Isha! my Beloved!—dear to my heart!—
Part of myself!—The darling of my soul!
Second to Deity! to me, thou art;
MyJoy! in thee, is happiness complete!—
My heart was lonely, notwithstanding all
Around would joy impart; but who was there
To whom I could communicate a thought?
Or would rejoice mine ears with speech, to shew
Intelligence of soul as kindred pure,
So as to prove mine equal, or take part
page 16 In life concerns, t’enhance enjoyments pure?—
Oh Gift of Heaven! without thee Paradise
Had been a wild! All beauties had been vain!
Though admiration, would creation’s works
Call forth, yet who had I to sympathise
With me in aught of joy, to whom express
My fervent thoughts? such pent up in my heart,
from joys abounding running all to waste!
Or who was there, to join with kindred love
My adorations to the great Supreme?—
Nature; SocietyAll other creatures had there partners meet;
The songs of birds, and other bestial sounds,
Met from their fellows sympathetic strains:
Thus joy would answer joy, to shew their loves
Were not in waste, or vain, or void of aim!
But me,—when I my grateful praise pour’d forth,
No one would answer; none would say Amen!
Yea, I was lone;—my gladness was secluse,
Apart from every influence of love!—
Oh! what a change I feel! My dearest love,
Thus join’d together, may we never part!
page 17 Now heart with heart most genially will hold
Sweet correspondence, and all joys enhance;
While greater ardour mingling in the praise
Of our Creator, will enlarge the bliss,
I feel from Heaven descending on my soul!
The joys of other creatures have their bounds:
But, Oh! th’ unbounded scope I now possess
With thee my love, I feel as now I could
Embrace the whole creation for thy sake!
To me, thou art its miniature of worth:
Without thee all were worthless! Yes, thy charms
Have influence on my heart: they magnify
All other charms which Nature can display!
Oh! praise be to the bounteous Lord of all,
For this to me, His crowning gift! JoyFor thee,
My darling Isha, my heart’s wellings flow,
To overflowing:—an exhaustless source
To me, thou art, of everlasting praise!”
So spake th’ enraptured Sire of human kind,
When first he was a Bridegroom, and rejoiced
In the first Honeymoon the world beheld:
page 18 To whom, th’ Embraced, in answer thus replied;
“My dearest lord, to thee I feel attach’d,
As to thee drawn by a most potent power;
I feel within my heart that we are one!
From thee, I surely must have been detach’d,
A sep’rate being, by some powerful hand;
And, in my nature, would I still incline
To a reunion to the source, from which
Came this existence, so that I might have
With him a fellowship of genial love.
Imagination; PerceptionThus, as I came along, I often look’d
This way and that, to see if there was one,
Like him I saw in vision, ere I woke
Into this state, which much my thoughts imprest;
So, now, in you, that vision’s realized!
From thee, to be devided, is not mine;
My feelings such would with abhorrence spurn!
I feel rejoiced at this embrace and love,
Though first I felt surprised, and would have fled,
Yet, seeking for this fellowship of thine:
Oh, may I still deserve it! Yes, I am
page 19 Thine own; so ever be our hearts as one!
’Twill be my pleasure ever to rejoice
In aught that gives thee gladness, and enhance
Th’ endearments of thy heart, as all mine own.—
As I came past yon coppice, I admired
The blooming eglantine, whose fragrance rich
Gave pleasure to another sense, I felt
Possess’d of, more than sight and hearing, while
All such united were to glad my heart
With beauties of their kinds; to me, all sweet;
As such, with loving thoughts, best correspond!—
And as I stood contemplative, I saw
A likeness of my state in the frail bine,
Which wound itself around the stronger stems
Of neighb’ring trees, as glad of such support,
Their beauties with advantage to display!
I felt myself alone:—a creature frail—
And felt, with nature of my wants, impress’d,
While longing for congenial fellowship
In one, superior—worthy of my faith,
On whom my heart in confidence could rest!
page 20 Thus, much impress’d, as by some guiding hand,
I’ve hither come; and, Oh! my heart is glad,
To find the import of my every wish
Concentrated in thee, my husband good;
My chief delight, and crown of all my joys!—
Oh! may my virtues like the fragrant flow’rs,
Of th’ eglantine which garnish well the boughs
Of yonder trees, be the adornments, which
May grace our union, and rejoice thy heart!
So be my aim to cherish all thy love;
That, my chief duty;—that, any sole delight,
That mutually our hearts may aye rejoice!
“Oh! bless my Isha,* great creating SIRE!
My Wombman bless. Thou Author of all good!”—
Man interposed; while closer to his heart,
He fondly strain’d her, and with fervour kiss’d
Her forehead and her cheek; which she return’d
As answer fond, to his accepted love!—
Then hied they thither to the nuptial bower,
page 21 While Nature would on ev’ry side declare
Congratulations meet, while voiceing forth
The bridal chorals. Songsters of the grove
Their happiest strains a-chanting; other tribes
Their voices uttering,—all in unison,
With warmest commendations, that could hail
Th’ occasion of man’s happiness complete:
While shrubs, and flow’ring trees of every kind,
Shed far their fragrance on the zephyr’s wing,
As thus were sent to regions more remote,
The cheering news of Man’s first marriage feast:—
All, all were joyous! All betokening
Heaven’s high approval of their mutual Love!