Nothing! thou elder brother e'en to Shade,
Thou hadst a being ere the world was made,
And (well fixed) art alone of ending not afraid.
Ere Time and Place were, Time and Place were not,
When primitive Nothing something straight begot,
Then all proceeded from the great united -What.
Something, the gen'ral attribute of all,
Severed from thee, its sole original,
Into thy boundless self must undistinguished fall.
Yet Something did thy mighty pow'r command,
And from thy fruitful emptiness's hand
Snatched men, beasts, birds, fire, air, and land.
Matter, the wicked'st off-spring of thy race,
By Form assisted, flew from thy embrace,
And rebel Light obscured thy reverend dusky face.
With Form and Matter, Time and Place did join,
Body, thy foe, with thee did leagues combine,
To spoil thy peaceful realm, and ruin all thy line.
But turncoat Time assists the foe in vain,
And, bribed by thee, assists thy short-lived reign,
And to thy hungry womb drives back thy slaves again.