From the Southern Literary Messenger (1840)
A Birth-Day's Aspiration
As one who pausing on the tedious slope
Of some high mountain, thoughtfully looks back
On the long, painful, and uncertain track
His feet have trodden:--then, with awe and hope
Commingled, gazes where, beyond the scope
Of utmost vision, majestically dread,
Its "cloud-capt" summit rises over-head--
So stand I now!--Henceforward I must cope
With greater perils, with less outward aid.
Father! who hast in mercy hitherto,
And love and pity guided, bear me through!
Well may I, when I ponder, be dismayed;
My purity is sin--my strength is dust--
Nor dare I but in Thine own promise trust!
(Compare with Milton's
On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-three.)