Man’s Petty Universe Contrasted with the True

SCENE: the abyss of Space: AMBROSIUS and CYNTHIA in
the car, returning to the earth. Ambrosius loquitur.

O what a deep delight it is to cleave,
Out-darting thought, above all sight and sound,
And sweep the ceiling of the universe,
Thus with our locks! How it does mad the heart,
How dances it along the living veins,
Like hot and steaming wine! How my eyes ache
With gazing on this mighty vacancy!
O Universe of earth and air and ocean,
Which man calls infinite, where art thou now?
Sooner a babe should pierce the marble ear
Of death, and startle his tombed ancestor,
‘Mid Hell’s thick laughter, shrieks, and flamy noises,
With cradle-pulings, than the gathered voice
Of every thunder, ocean, and wild blast,
Find thee, thou atom, in this wilderness!
This boundless emptiness, this waveless sea,
This desert of vacuity, alone
Is great: and thou, for whom the word was made,
Art as the wren’s small goblet of a home
Unto the holy vastness of the temple!

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[Kelsall, 1851]