A Hymn to Darkness by Thomas Yalden

Darkness, thou first kind Parent of us all,
Thou art our great Original:
Since from thy Universal Womb,
Does all thou shad’st below, thy numerous Offspring come.

Thy wondrous Birth is even to Time unknown,
Or like Eternity thou’dst none:
Whilst Light did in its first Being owe,
Unto that awful Shade, it dares to rival now.

Say in what distant Region dost thou dwell!
To Reason inaccessible:
From Form, and duller Matter, free,
Thou soar’st above the reach of Man’s Philosophy.

Involv’d in thee, we first receive our breath,
Thou art our Refuge too in Death:
Great Monarch of the Grave and Womb,
Where e’er our Souls shall go, to thee our Bodies come.

The silent Globe is struck with awful fear,
When thy Majestick Shades appear:
Thou dost compose the Air and Sea;
And Earth a Sabbath keeps, Sacred to Rest, and Thee.

In thy serener Shades our Ghosts delight,
And court the umbrage of the Night:
In Vaults, and gloomy Caves, they stray,
But fly the Mornings beams, and sicken at the day.

Tho’ solid Bodies dare exclude the light,
Nor will the brightest Ray admit:
No Substance can thy Force repel,
Thou reign’st in depths below, dost at the Center dwell.

The sparkling Gems, and Oar in Mines below,
To thee their beauteous lustre owe:
Tho’ form’d within the Womb of Night,
Bright as their Sire they shine, with Native Rays of Light.

When thou dost raise thy venerable head,
And art in genuine Night array’d:
Thy Negro Beauties then delight,
Beauties like polish’d Jeat, with their own Darkness bright.

Thou dost thy Smiles impartially bestow,
And know’st no difference here below:
All things appear the same by thee,
Tho’ Light distinction makes, thou giv’st Equality.

Thou Darkness art the Lover’s kind retreat,
And dost the Nuptial Joys compleat:
Thou dost inspire them with thy Shade,
Giv’st vigour to the Youth, and warm’st the yielding Maid.

Calm, as the blest above, the Ancorites dwell,
Within their peaceful gloomy Cell:
Their minds with Heav’nly Joys are fill’d,
The Pleasures Light deny, thy Shades for ever yield.

In Caves of Night, the Oracles of old,
Did all their Mysteries unfold:
Darkness did first Religion grace,
Gave terrours to the God, and reverence to the place.

When the Almighty did on Horeb stand,
Thy Shades inclos’d the Hallow’d Land:
In Clouds of Night, he was array’d,
And venerable Darkness his Pavillion made.

When he appear’d arm’d in his Power and Might,
He vail’d the beatifick Light:
When terrible with Majesty,
In tempests he gave Laws, and clad himself in Thee.

E’er the Foundation of the Earth was laid,
Or brighter Firmament was made:
E’re Matter, Time, or Place were known,
Thou Monarch Darkness sway’dst these spacious Realms alone.

But now the Moon, (tho’ gay with borrow’d light)
Invades thy scanty Lot of Night:
By Rebel Subjects thou’rt betray’d,
The Anarchy of Stars depose their Monarch shade.

Yet fading Light its Empire must resign,
And Nature’s Power submit to Thine:
An Universal ruin shall erect thy Throne,
And Fate confirm thy Kingdom, evermore thy own.

From: http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/TextRecord.php?action=GET&textsid=33699

Date: 1693

By: Thomas Yalden (1670-1736)

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