Hugh Henry Brackenridge

Here you will find the Long Poem A poem on divine revelation of poet Hugh Henry Brackenridge

A poem on divine revelation

This is a day of happiness, sweet peace, 
And heavenly sunshine; upon which conven'd 
In full assembly fair, once more we view, 
And hail with voice expressive of the heart, 
Patrons and sons of this illustrious hall. 
This hall more worthy of its rising fame 
Than hall on mountain or romantic hill, 
Where Druid bards sang to the hero's praise, 
While round their woods and barren heaths was heard 
The shrill calm echo of th' enchanting shell. 
Than all those halls and lordly palaces 
Where in the days of chivalry, each knight, 
And baron brave in military pride 
Shone in the brass and burning steel of war; 
For in this hall more worthy of a strain 
No envious sound forbidding peace is heard, 
Fierce song of battle kindling martial rage 
And desp'rate purpose in heroic minds: 
But sacred truth fair science and each grace 
Of virtue born; health, elegance and ease 
And temp'rate mirth in social intercourse 
Convey rich pleasure to the mind; and oft 
The sacred muse in heaven-breathing song 
Doth wrap the soul in extasy divine, 
Inspiring joy and sentiment which not 
The tale of war or song of Druids gave. 
The song of Druids or the tale of war 
With martial vigour every breast inspir'd, 
With valour fierce and love of deathless fame; 
But here a rich and splendid throng conven'd 
From many a distant city and fair town, 
Or rural seat by shore or mountain-stream, 
Breathe joy and blessing to the human race, 
Give countenance to arts themselves have known, 
Inspire the love of heights themselves have reach'd, 
Of noble science to enlarge the mind, 
Of truth and virtue to adorn the soul, 
And make the human nature grow divine. 

Oh could the muse on this auspicious day 
Begin a song of more majestic sound, 
Or touch the lyre on some sublimer key, 
Meet entertainment for the noble mind. 
How shall the muse from this poetic bow'r 
So long remov'd, and from this happy hill, 
Where ev'ry grace and ev'ry virtue dwells, 
And where the springs of knowledge and of thought 
In riv'lets clear and gushing streams flow down 
Attempt a strain? How sing in rapture high 
Or touch in vari'd melody the lyre 
The lyre so long neglected and each strain 
Unmeditated, and long since forgot? 
But yet constrain'd on this occasion sweet 
To this fam'd hall and this assembly fair 
With comely presence honouring the day, 
She fain would pay a tributary strain. 
A purer strain though not of equal praise 
To that which Fingal heard when Ossian sung 
With voice high rais'd in Selma hall of shells; 
Or that which Pindar on th' Elean plain, 
Sang with immortal skill and voice divine, 
When native Thebes and ev'ry Grecian state 
Pour'd forth her sons in rapid chariot race, 
To shun the goal and reach the glorious palm. 
He sang the pride of some ambitious chief, 
For olive crowns and wreaths of glory won; 
I sing the rise of that all glorious light, 
Whose sacred dawn the aged fathers saw 
By faith's clear eye, through many a cloud obscure 
And heavy mist between: they saw it beam 
From Judah's royal tribe, they saw it shine 
O'er Judah's happy land, and bade the hills, 
The rocky hills and barren vallies smile, 
The desert blossom and the wilds rejoice. 

This is that light and revelation pure, 
Which Jacob saw and in prophetic view, 
Did hail its author from the skies, and bade 
The sceptre wait with sov'reignty and sway 
On Judah's hand till Shiloh came. That light 
Which Beor's son in clearer vision saw, 
Its beams sore piercing his malignant eye; 
But yet constrain'd by the eternal truth 
Confess'd its origin and hail'd its rise, 
Fresh as a star from Judah's sacred line. 
This, Amos' son touch'd with seraphic fire 
In after times beheld. He saw it beam 
From Judah's royal tribe; he saw it shine 
O'er Judah's happy land, and bade the hills, 
The rocky hills and barren vallies smile, 
The desert blossom and the wilds rejoice. 

This is that light which purifies the soul, 
From mist obscure, of envy, hate, and pride; 
Bids love celestial in the bosom glow, 
Fresh kindling up the intellectual eye 
Of faith divine, in beatific view 
Of that high glory and seraphic bliss, 
Which he who reigns invisible, shall give 
To wait on virtue in the realms of day. 

This is that light which from remotest times 
Shone to the just; gave sweet serenity, 
And sunshine to the soul, of each wise sage, 
Fam'd patriarch, and holy man of God, 
Who in the infancy of time did walk 
With step unerring, through those dreary shades, 
Which veil'd the world e'er yet the golden sun 
Of revelation beam'd. Seth, Enos, and 
The family of him preserv'd from death 
By flood of waters. Abram and that swain 
Who erst exil'd in Midia