Thomas Aird

A Winter Day: Evening

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'Tis now the silent night: the full-orbed moon
Hangs in the depth of blue; scarce shine the stars,
Drowned in her light; the valleys of the earth
Are filled and flooded with a silver haze.

Of yonder heavens unscaled, so vast remote,
What can man know or tell? Their milky mists
Of nebulæ, what be they? A luminous stuff,
As Fancy thinks, to curdle into worlds
And systems yet to be? Nay, then, Man's art
Daring, has pierced the secret; has resolved
That luminous matter into stars distinct,
Already formed, but powdering the abyss
Of space with worlds so thick, they seemed, till now,
A cloudy confluence of unfashioned light.

This Man has done—even this. Outdoing this,
Did he not measure, by pure reach of thought,
Those delicate disturbing influences,
Put out like feelers, from the ethereal depths,
Upon our system, by some unborn thing,
As if for cognisance—yearning to be known,
And seen of Man among the works of God,
And praise its Maker in our human hearts?
And Man, did he not tell, as long and far
He felt it trembling on the soul-sent line
Of his analysis, what it was, and name
The place, and mass, and orbit of a star,
And seize it dawning from the gulfs of space?

But not to drop the bold heaven-climber yet—
Did not Man pluck the lightning from yon skies?
Nay, yoke we not the subtle element
In stated harness, like a visible drudge,
To do our hests? Trembles from shore to shore,
Under the bellies of the tumbling whales,
Along the sightless bottom of the sea,
The electric post with instantaneous news
From State to State. The East and the far West
Shall thus be knit by wonder-working Man,
The southern summer and the lands of snow.
Reverence thyself, O Man, and fear to shame
Thy Godlike nature with debasing sin.

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Thomas Aird