Judith Sargent Murray Society
JSM's dates: 1751-1820
On Blending Spirit with Matter
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This poem appeared in the March 5, 1803 edition of the Boston Weekly Magazine under the name "Honora Martesia."

On Blending Spirit with Matter.

I wish this mode of speech was given o’er,
That we confounded life and death no more;
That nor in thought, nor word, we e’er consign’d
To drear oblivion the percipient mind.
Strange that we mingle thus the breath of God,
Blending the Soul with its enfolding clod!
Dark is the view, and comfortless the plan,
Which levels thus the complex being Man!
‘Gainst human Nature when we wield the pen;
Since the Great Spirit is the life of men,
Our wit and folly are alike in vain,
While the blest source of being shall remain.

That this weak tenement is frail I know,
Subject to error—the lorn child of woe—
Its texture slight—its frame deriv’d from earth—
Fated to fall before the conq’ror death:
That ‘twill to reptiles yield a rich repast,
Descending to its native dust at last.—

All this unhesitating I confess,
Nor can the view my better hopes depress;
For should we hence characterize the race,
Or the high lineage of the spirit trace,
We might as well hie to some lone retreat,
And thus the philosophic Exile greet:

Thy hut is lowly—tis obscure and small,
And must assuredly to ruin fall;
Contending winds will rase it to the ground,
And on the spot shall rise the verdant mound;
Ee’n now thy cottage totters in the blast,
The storm descends—the fatal dies is cast!

Hence we deduce our sentiments of thee,
Superior to thy cot, thou canst not be;
The Tenant cannot soar beyond his cell,
The clay built walls where he was wont to dwell!
As is the house, so is the master too,
Together rising in one point of view!

‘Tis thus to Reason’s eye their tenets seem,
Who lightly of the heaven born mind esteem;
O … of Deity!—I trace thy flight,
To regions of interminable light,
Where thy expansive pow’rs new strength shall gain,
And truth unclouded shall forever reign.



2009 © Bonnie Hurd Smith

Independent scholar and author Bonnie Hurd Smith is the president and CEO of History Smiths, a marketing company that works with businesses to incorporate history -- their own and their community's -- into their branding, marketing, and community outreach to attract customers, boost customer loyalty, and secure a high status reputation in the communities they serve.