On the immensity of creation

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Oh! could I borrow some celestial plume,
This narrow globe should not confine me long
In its contracted sphere---the vast expanse,
Beyond where thought can reach, or eye can glance,
My curious spirit, charm'd should traverse o'er,
New worlds to find, new systems to explore:
When these appear'd, again I'd urge my flight
Till all creation open'd to my sight.

Ah! unavailing wish, absurd and vain,
Fancy return and drop thy wing again;
Could'st thou more swift than light move steady on,
Thy sight as broad, and piercing as the sun,
And Gabriel's years too added to thy own;
Nor Gabriel's sight, nor thought, nor rapid wing,
Can pass the immense domains of th' eternal King;
The greatest seraph in his bright abode
Can't comprehend the labours of a God.
Proud reason fails, and is confounded here;
---Man how contemptible thou dost appear!
What art thou in this scene?---Alas! no more
Than a small atom to the sandy shore,
A drop of water to a boundless sea,
A single moment to eternity.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.