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 Or song of bird, happy and free with one
Who loved, like him, to let his memory run
Over old fields of learning, and to sun
Himself in Plato's wise philosophies,
And dream with Philo over mysteries
Whereof the dreamer never finds the keys;
To touch all themes of thought, nor weakly stop
For doubt of truth, but let the buckets drop
Deep down and bring the hidden waters up.1
For there was freedom in that wakening time
Of tender souls; to differ was not crime;
The varying bells made up the perfect chime.
On lips unlike was laid the altar's coal,
The white, clear light, tradition-colored, stole
Through the stained oriel of each human soul.
Gathered from many sects, the Quaker brought
His old beliefs, adjusting to the thought
That moved his soul the creed his fathers taught.
One faith alone, so broad that all mankind
Within themselves its secret witness find,
The soul's communion with the Eternal Mind,
The Spirit's law, the Inward Rule and Guide,
Scholar and peasant, lord and serf, allied,
The polished Penn and Cromwell's Ironside.
1 Among the pioneer Friends were many men of learning and broad and liberal views. Penn was conversant with every department of literature and philosophy. Thomas Lloyd was a ripe and rare scholar. The great Loganian Library of Philadelphia bears witness to the varied learning and classical taste of its donor, James Logan. Thomas Story, member of the Council of State, Master of the Rolls, and Commissioner of Claims under William Penn, and an able minister of his Society, took a deep interest in scientific questions, and in a letter to his friend Logan, written while on a religious visit to Great Britain, seems to have anticipated the conclusion of modern geologists. ‘I spent,’ he says, ‘some months, especially at Scarborough, during the season attending meetings, at whose high cliffs and the variety of strata therein and their several positions I further learned and was confirmed in some things,—that the earth is of much older date as to the beginning of it than the time assigned in the Holy Scriptures as commonly understood, which is suited to the common capacities of mankind, as to six days of progressive work, by which I understand certain long and competent periods of time, and not natural days.’ It was sometimes made a matter of reproach by the Anabaptists and other sects, that the Quakers read profane writings and philosophies, and that they quoted heathen moralists in support of their views. Sluyter and Dankers, in their journal of American travels, visiting a Quaker preacher's house at Burlington, on the Delaware, found ‘a volume of Virgil lying on the window, as if it were a common hand-book; also Helmont's book on Medicine (Ortus Mledicince, id est Initia Physica inaudita progressus medicine novus in morborum ultionam ad vitam longam), whom, in an introduction they have made to it, they make to pass for one of their own sect, although in his lifetime he did not know anything about Quakers.’ It would appear from this that the half-mystical, halfscientific writings of the alchemist and philosopher of Vilverde had not escaped the notice of Friends, and that they had included him in their broad eclecticism.
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