WHAT IS NATURE?
What thing is Nature? Well, I don't Pretend to make a clatter, Like Hegel, Hamilton, and Comte, Concerning mind and matter.
Yet I have had my thoughts at times ; And since you ask the question, I'11 tell you what I think in rhymes That 'won't hurt your digestion. Nature is growth, a coming forth Into new fashion ever, Of that whose substance knows no birth, Whose virtue dieth never.
What Substance ?—that which to define My gasping reason smothers ; But what is best I call divine, • And worship God with others.
You're a materialist? Not at all ; If I should seek to find
The best name for that BEST I call, I'd rather call it MIND.
And Mind is one ; and what we call The Many is but one, As million rays shoot from the ball Of th' light-evolving Sun.
But not to dogmas I incline, And think that I am wise
Who fear and love' but not define, The Power that shapes the skies.
And you, Sir Doctor, are a fool, With logical appliance, That would take God into your school, And teach Him terms of science ; And talk of Nature, God, and Man With technic demonstration, As if yourself bad sketched the plan Of the boundless, vast Creation.
And dress mean thoughts in phrases grand, And prove, with solemn clatter, That you have got, in your clumsy hand, Two things called Mind and Matter.
Go to ! You know nor this, nor that ; Man has no measuring rod
For Nature, Force, and Law, and what The best of men call GOD.
For law, and life, and all the course Of lovely, shifting Nature, Are but the play of one wise Force, Which Moses called Creator.
Think on your knees : 'tis better so, ,Than without wings to soar ; Whitt sharp-eyed Logic thinks to know • "We'firid when we adore. College, Edinburgh. J. S. B.