Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Earth and Heaven by Isaac Watts

Hast thou not seen, impatient boy!
Hast thou not read the solemn truth,
That gray experience writes for giddy youth
On every mortal joy?

Pleasure must be dash’d with pain:
And yet with heedless haste,
The thirsty boy repeats the taste,
Nor hearkens to despair, but tries the bowl again.

The rills of pleasure never run sincere,
    (Earth has no unpolluted spring)
From the curs’d soil some dangerous taint they bear;
So roses grow on thorns, and honey wears a sting

In vain we seek a Heaven below the sky;
The world has false, but flattering, charms;
Its distant joys show big in our esteem,
But lessen still as they draw near the eye;
    In our embrace the visions die,
    And when we grasp the airy forms
         We lose the pleasing dream.

Earth with her scenes of gay delight,
Is but a landscape rudely drawn,
With glaring colors, and false light;
Distance commends it to the sight,
    For fools gaze upon;
But bring the nauseous daubing night
Course and confus’d the hideous figures lie,
Dissolve the pleasure, and offend the eye.

Look up, my soul, pant toward th’ eternal hills;
    Those Heavens are fairer than they seem;
There pleasures all sincere glide on in crystal rills,
    There not a dreg of guilt defiles,
         Nor grief disturbs the stream.
     That Cannan knows no noxious thing,
     No cursed soil, no tainted spring,
Nor roses grow on throns, nor honey wears a sting.
(Isaac Watts, Earth and Heaven)

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