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Vanity of Spirit

Quite spent with thoughts, I left my cell, and lay
Where a shrill spring tun’d to the early day.
     I begg’d here long, and groan’d to know
     Who gave the clouds so brave a bow,
     Who bent the spheres, and circled in
     Corruption with this glorious ring;
     What is His name, and how I might
     Descry some part of His great light.

I summon’d Nature; pierc’d through all her store;
Broke up some seals, which none had touch’d before
     Her womb, her bosom, and her head,
     Where all her secrets lay abed,
     I rifled quite; and having past
     Through all the creatures, came at last
     To search my self, where I did find
     Traces, and sounds of a strange kind.

Here of this mighty spring I found some drills,
With echoes beaten from th’ eternal hills.
     Weak beams and fires flash’d to my sight,
     Like a young East, or moonshine night,
     Which show’d me in a nook cast by
     A piece of much antiquity,
     With hieroglyphics quite dismember’d,
     And broken letters scarce remember’d.

I took them up, and — much joy’d — went about
T’ unite those pieces, hoping to find out
     The mystery; but this ne’er done,
     That little light I had was gone.
     It griev’d me much. At last, said I,
     “Since in these veils my eclips’d eye
     May not approach Thee — for at night
     Who can have commerce with the light? —
     I’ll disapparel, and to buy
     But one half-glance, most gladly die.”

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