Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BIRTH OF THE INVISIBLE, by HORACE SMITH



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THE BIRTH OF THE INVISIBLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O scene of enchantment! O vision of bliss!
Last Line: As in accents sepulchral it groaned -- I am death!
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Adam & Eve; Bible; Birth; Death; Eden; Gardens & Gardening; Child Birth; Midwifery; Dead, The


O SCENE of enchantment! O vision of bliss!
What Paradisaical glory is this!
A garden! a garden! O rapturous sight!
More stately in beauty, more rich in delight,
Than any the Muse, in her leafiest hour,
Has fabled of golden Hesperian bower,
Or Fortunate Islands, or fields where the blest
In Elysium's sylvan beatitudes rest.
Lovely or rare, none can compare
With this heaven on earth so surpassingly fair!

Well, well, may its flowerets thus brightly expand,
For they feel the fresh touch of the Deity's hand;
And the trees that are rustling their branches on high,
Are raising their arms and their voice to the sky,
To give thanks to the Lord, at whose fiat sublime
They sprung from the earth in maturity's prime;
And the newly-born river that flows at their feet,
Is lisping an anthem its Maker to greet.
Lovely or rare, none can compare
With this heaven on earth so surpassingly fair!

What odorous incense upsprings from the sod,
Which has lately been pressed by the foot of its God!
What fragrance Sabaean the zephyrs exhale,
Where celestial breath has been left on the gale!
Behold! how the fruits deeply blush, where the sun
Has stamped his first kiss upon every one!
And hark! how the birds in sweet choral accord,
Send their voices' first offerings up to the Lord!
Lovely or rare, none can compare
With this heaven on earth so surpassingly fair!

No solace is wanting, no charms that dispense
A rival delight to the soul and the sense;
It is blissful to quaff the nectareous air;
To pluck from the branches ambrosial fare;
To list to the music of birds and of trees,
The chiming of waters, the song of the breeze;
To gaze on the Paradise blooming around,
And scent the rich breath of its flowery ground.
Lovely or rare, none can compare
With this heaven on earth so surpassingly fair!

The creatures now savage, not then beasts of prey,
'Mid the flocks and the herds fondly pasture and play:
The lion lies down with the kidling; the lamb
Disports with the tiger; the wolf with its dam;
The elephant, twining his trunk round the boughs
Of the palm, scatters dates for his friends to carouse;
The giraffe plucks the high-growing fruits; and each beast
Makes the banquet of Nature a fellowship feast.
Lovely or rare, none can compare
With this heaven on earth so surpassingly fair!

'Tis the garden of Eden, where joy, peace, and love,
Join the creatures below to their Maker above.
Behold! from you verdant alcove, hand in hand,
Wander Adam and Eve, till admiring they stand
Beneath the resplendent pre-eminent tree
Of knowledge, whose fruit is forbidden. And see!
In the guise of a serpent, where Satan appears,
And whispers melodious guilt in their ears.
Lovely or rare, none can compare
With this heaven on earth so surpassingly fair!

O horror of horrors! the dark deed is done:
They have tasted the fruit. Lo! the shuddering sun
Rushes out of the sky; all is terror and gloom.
The tears of the angels, bewailing man's doom,
Rain woe upon earth; the wild animals roar,
As their fangs, stainless once, are polluted with gore;
Flocks and herds fly before them, astounded, aghast;
Shrieks of anguish are borne on the terrible blast.
Fear and despair are on earth and in air,
For thunder has ravaged that garden so fair.

Degraded, ashamed, sinful Adam and Eve
From its precincts are driven to toil and to grieve;
Then earth gave a groan, a soul-harrowing sound,
And thrilled in her depths with a shudder profound,
That withered each Paradise tree to its root,
And shook down for ever and ever its fruit,
And scattered the rivers -- till all was o'erthrown,
That the site of the garden might never be known.
And Record is all that is left, since the fall,
Its exquisite beauties and bliss to recall.

Then, then in the desert's profoundest abyss,
Where the winds o'er the waste fiercely whistle and hiss,
In the blackness of night, with convulsions and throes,
Did Earth her sepulchral recesses unclose,
And heave up a monster, the world to affright,
Terrific of purpose, tremendous in might,
Though his features to none might he ever reveal.
Gladness and mirth fled from the earth,
When that fearful invisible monster had birth.

The hopes and the courage of Adam to daunt,
It ceased not, the spectre, his footsteps to haunt;
His children it touched, and converted to dust
In a moment his tenderest objects of trust;
Birds and beasts fell around him; where'er Adam walked,
Before him, in fancy, the murderer stalked;
More dread to the heart when unseen by the eye,
'Twas vain from the phantom to hide or to fly;
Wrinkles and bloom met the same doom --
One touch of the Gorgon sent all to the tomb.

It lurked in the wave, in the air, in the bower --
An ubiquitous curse, an all withering power --
Still snatching from Adam his hope and his joy,
And scaring with dread when it failed to destroy;
Till weakened with age, worn with sorrow and fear,
He felt a cold hand on his heart, and his ear
Was chilled by the spectre's cadaverous breath,
As in accents sepulchral it groaned -- I AM DEATH!





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