From hallowed shrines let holy incense
In wreathing volumes to the azure skies,
To speak the grateful homage of the soul,
When man would own his Maker's high control.
But spices spread upon the marble mound,
Or perfumes scattered on the humble ground,
Or prostate head, or bended knees alone,
Find no acceptance at the heavenly throne.
So costly churches and the glittering dome,
May prove that wealth hath found religion's home,
But Nature's wonders must inspire the heart,
That worships God by love and not by art.
Vain are the hymns which feeble choirs may raise,
Compared with Nature's all pervading praise;
So like the praises of Niagara's roar,
Our praise should rise from this forevermore.
For 't is the heart devoted and sincere,
Bowing in grateful love and holy fear ---
The up-turned eye with an imploring gaze,
The heart-felt prayer, the joyous song of praise.
'Tis the firm faith, the conduct free from guile,
The mind exempt from thoughts that may defile,
The strict obedience to our Maker's laws---
That prove the votaries of religion's cause.