by Elizabeth Bentley
ETERNITY! how dread thy sound!
It strikes with sacred awe profound;
Can I thy theme pursue?
What thoughts sublime thy name conveys,
What prospects to the mind displays,
While Fancy paints the view.
Reason in vain thy bounds explores,
In vain Imagination soars
To thy meridian hour;
Millions of ages told in vain,
She's still but able to attain
The day-dawn of thy pow'r.
As well the mind may hope to count
Those drops of water's vast amount,
That Ocean's caverns swell;
Or name those single grains of sand,
That mark the bounds of sea and land,
As soon Earth's atoms tell.
Eternity! how firm thy sway!
The soul no sooner quits her clay,
Than, to thy regions flown,
Her doom's irrevocably fix'd,
And bliss or woe shall reign unmix'd,
Nor change shall e'er be known.
With thee compared a shadowy sleep,
Less than a drop amidst the deep,
Our longest earthly race;
Yet this short now's the time to gain
A meed of endless joy or pain,
Thro' thy uncounted space.
Then what presumptive madness his,
Who dares to tempt thy dread abyss,
To shun a transient woe!
False dictate of a coward mind,
Afraid to bear those ills assigned,
To try our worth below.
Last updated January 14, 2019