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Bid both the poles suppress their stormy noise,
And bid the roaring sea contain its voice.
Ee still, thou sea; be still, thou air and earth,
Still as old Chaos, before Motion's birth:
A dreadful host of judgments is gone out,
In strength and number more
Than e'er was rais'd by God before, To scourge the rebel world, and march it round about.
I see the sword of God brandish'd above,
And from it streams a dismal ray:
1 see the scabbard cast away;
How red anon with slaughter will it prove!
How will it sweat and reek in blood!
How will the scarlet-glutton be o'ergorged with his
And devour all the mighty feast! [food,
Nothing soon but bones will rest.
God does a solemn sacrifice prepare ;
But not of oxen, nor of rams,
Not of kids, nor of their dams,
Not of heifers, nor of lambs:
The altar all the land, and all men in 't the victims are.
Since, wicked men's more guilty blood to spare,
The beasts so long have sacrificed been ;
Since men their birth-right forfeit still by sin;
'Tis fit at last beasts their revenge should have,
And sacrificed men their better brethren save.
So will they fall, so will they flee, Such will the creatures' wild distraction be, When, at the final doom,
Nature and Time shall both be slain, Shall struggle with Death's pangs in vain, And the whole world their funeral pile become. The wide stretch'd scroll of Heaven, which Immortal as the Deity think, With all the beauteous characters that in it
[we With such deep sense by God's own hand were writ (Whose eloquence, though we understand not, we admire)
Shall crackle, and the parts together shrink
Like parchment in a fire:
Th' exhausted Sun to th' Moon no more shall
But truly then headlong into the sea descend:
The glittering host, now in such fair array,
So proud, so well-appointed, and so gay,
Like fearful troops in some strong ambush ta'en,
Shall some fly routed, and some fall slain,
Thick as ripe fruit, or yellow leaves, in autumn
With such a violent storm as blows down tree and all.
And thou, O cursed land!
Which wilt not see the precipice where thou dost stand
(Though thou stand'st just upon the brink)
Thou of this poison'd bowl the bitter dregs shalt
Thy rivers and thy lakes shall so [drink.
With human blood o'erflow, [away,
That they shall fetch the slaughter'd corpse
Which in the fields around unburied lay,
And rob the beasts and birds to give the fish their
The rotten corpse shall so infect the air, [prey:
Beget such plagues and putrid venoms there,
That by thine own dead shall be slain
All thy few living that remain.
As one who buys, surveys, a ground,
So the destroying-angel measures it around;
So careful and so strict he is, Lest any nook or corner he should miss :" He walks about the perishing nation, Ruin behind him stalks and empty Desolation. Then shall the market and the pleading-place Be choak'd with brambles and o'ergrown with grass:
The serpents through thy streets shall roll, And in thy lower rooms the wolves shall howl, And thy gilt chambers lodge the raven and the And all the wing'd ill-omens of the air, Lowl, Though no new ills can be foreboded there: The lion then shall to the leopard say, "Brother leopard, come away;
Behold a land which God has given us in prey
Behold a land from whence we see [my!" Mankind expuls'd, his and our common eneThe brother leopard shakes himself, and does not stay.
THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT. Is this thy bravery, man, is this thy pride? Rebel to God, and slave to all beside! Captiv'd by every thing! and only free To fly from thine own liberty! All creatures, the Creator said, were thine; No creature but might since say," Man is mine." And sweat and toil in the vile drudgery In black Egyptian slavery we lie;
Of tyrant Sin!
To which we trophies raise, and wear out all our
We, the choice race, to God and angels kin!
In building up the monuments of Death; [breath
In vain the prophets and apostles come
To call us home,
Home to the promis'd Canaan above, [honey flow;
Which does with nourishing milk and pleasant
And even i' th' way to which we should be fed
With angels' tasteful bread:
But we, alas! the flesh-pots love,
We love the very leeks and sordid roots below.
In vain we judgments feel, and wonders see!
In vain did God to descend hither deign;
He was his own ambassador in vain,
Our Moses and our guide himself to be!
We will not let ourselves to go,
And with worse harden'd hearts do our own Pha raohs grow.
Ah! lest at last we perish so, [prince Think, stubborn man, think of th' Egyptian (Hard of belief and will, but not so hard as thou); Think with what dreadful proofs God did convince The feeble arguments that human power could
Think what plagues attend on thee,
The kind instructing punishment enjoy ; Who Moses' God does now refuse, more oft than Whom the red river cannot mend, the Red-sea Moses be. shall destroy.
"If from some god you come," (said the proud With half a smile and half a frown;
The river yet gave one instruction more;
And, from the rotten fish and unconcocted gore,
(Which was but water just before)
A loathsome host was quickly made,
But what god can to Egypt be unknown?)
"What sign, what powers, what credence do you That scal'd the banks, and with loud noise did
all the country invade.
As Nilus when he quits his sacred bed
(But like a friend he visits all the land
With welcome presents in his hand)
So did this living tide the fields o'erspread:
In vain th' alarmed country tries
To kill their noisome enemies;
From th' unexhausted source still new recruits
Nor does the earth these greedy troops suffice,
The towns and houses they possess,
The temples and the palaces,
Nor Pharaoh, nor his gods, they fear;
Both their importune croakings hear.
Unsatiate yet, they mount up higher,
Where never sun-born frog durst to aspire,
And in the silken beds their slimy members place;
A luxury unknown before to all the watery race!
The water thus her wonders did produce;
But both were to no use;
"Behold his seal! behold his hand!"
Cries Moses, and casts down th' all-mighty wand.
Th' all-mighty wand scarce touch'd the earth,
When, with an undiscerned birth,
Th' all-mighty wand a serpent grew,
And his long half in painted folds behind him
Upwards his threatening tail he threw;
Upwards he cast his threatening head:
He gap'd and hiss'd aloud,
With flaming eyes survey'd the trembling crowd,
And, like a basilisk, almost look'd th' assembly
Swift fled th' amazed king, the guards before him fled.
Jannes and Jambres stopp'd their flight,
And with proud words allay'd th' affright.
"The God of slaves," said they, "how can he be
More powerful than their master's deity?"
And down they cast their rods,
And mutter'd secret sounds that charm the ser-
The evil spirits their charms obey,
And in a subtle cloud they snatch the rods away,
And serpents in their place the airy jugglers lay.
Serpents in Egypt's monstrous land
Were ready still at hand,
And all at the Old Serpent's first command.
And they too gap'd, and they too hiss'd,
And they their threatening tails did twist;
But straight on both the Hebrew-serpent flew,
Broke both their active backs, and both it slew,
And both almost at once devour'd;
So much was over-power'd,
By God's miraculous creation,
His servant's, Nature's, slightly-wrought and
On the fam❜d bank the prophets stood, Touch'd with their rod, aud wounded, all the flood:
Flood now no more, but a long vein of putrid
The helpless fish were found [blood.
In their strange current drown'd:
The herbs and trees wash'd by the mortal tide
About it blush'd and dy'd:
Th' amazed crocodiles made haste to ground;
From their vast trunks the dropping gore they
spied, Thought it their own, and dreadfully aloud they
Nor all thy priests, north no,
O king! could'st ever show
Of this new Nile thou seest the sacred source;
And, as thy land that does o'erflow,
Take heed lest this do so!
And different arms they bore;
And some, like Scythians, liv'd on blood,
And some on green, and some on flowery food;
And Accaron, the airy prince, led on this various
Houses secure not men, the populous ill [host.
Did all the houses fill:
The country all around
From whence thy wandering Nile begins his Did with the cries of tortur'd cattle sound;
About the fields enrag'd they flew,
And wish'd the plague that was t' ensue.
From poisonous stars a mortal influence came
(The mingled malice of their flame);
A skilful angel did th' ingredients take,
And with just hands the sad composure make,
What plague more just could on thy waters fall?
The Hebrew infants' murder stains them all:
As yet the sorcerers' mimic power serv'd for ex-
"Try what the earth will do," said God, and lo!
They strook the earth a fertile blow,
And all the dust did straight to stir begin;
One would have thought some sudden wind't had
But lo! 'twas nimble life was got within! [been;
And all the little springs did move,
And every dust did an arm'd vermin prove,
Of an unknown and new-created kind, [find
Such as the magic-gods could neither make nor
The wretched shameful foe allow'd no rest
Either to man or beast.
Not Pharaoh from th' unquiet plague could be,
With all his change of raiments, free;
The devils themselves confess'd
This was God's hand; and 'twas but just, To punish thus man's pride, to punish dust with dust.
Lo! the third element does his plagues prepare,
And swarming clouds of insects fill the air;
With sullen noise they take their flight,
And march in bodies infinite;
In vain'tis day above, 'tis still beneath them night.
Of harmful flies the nations numberless
Compos'd this mighty army's spacious boast;
Of different manners, different languages;
And different habits, too, they wore,
One would have thought, their dreadful day to
The very hail, and rain itself, had kindled been.
Some swimming o'er the water's face,
Fill'd with bright horrour every place;
The infant corn, which yet dia carce appear,
Escap'd this general massacre
Of every thing that grew,
And the well-stor'd Egyptian year
Began to clothe her fields and trees anew.
When lo; a scorching wind from the burnt coun.
And endless legions with it drew [tries blew,
Of greedy locusts; who, where'er
Left all the earth depopulate and bare,
With sounding wings they flew,
As if Winter itself had march'd by there.
Whate'er the Sun and Nile
Gave with large bounty to the thankful soil,
The wretched pillagers bore away,
And the whole Summer was their prey;
Till Moses with a prayer
Breath'd forth a violent western wind,
Which all these living clouds did headlong bear
(No stragglers left behind)
Into the purple sea, and there bestow
On the luxurious fish a feast they ne'er did know.
With untaught joy Pharaoh the news does hear,
And little thinks their fate attends on him and
his so near.
What blindness or what darkness did there e'er
Like this undocile king's appear!
And murmur'd first in an imperfect sound:
Till Moses, lifting up his hand,
Waves the expected signal of his wand;
And all the full-charg'd clouds in ranged squad-
The living men were in their standing houses bu-
But the long Night no slumber knows, [ried;
But the short Death finds no repose!
Ten thousand terrours through the darkness fled,
And fill the spacious plains above; Through which the rolling thunder first does And ghosts complain'd, and spirits murmured; And Fancy's multiplying sight View'd all the scenes invisible of Night.
And opens wide the tempest's noisy way.
And straight a stony shower
What, eer, but that which now does represent
And paint the crime out in the punishment?
From the deep baleful caves of Hell below,
Where the old mother Night does grow-
Substantial Night, that does disclaim
Privation's empty name-
Through secret conduits monstrous shapes arose,
Such as the Sun's whole force could not oppose:
They with a solid cloud
All Heaven's eclipsed face did shroud ;
Seem'd, with large wings spread o'er the sea and
To brood up a new Chaos's deformed birth.
And every lamp, and every fire,
Did at the dreadful sight wink and expire,
To th' empyrean source all streams of light
seem'd to retire.
Of God's dreadful anger these
Were but the first light skirmishes;
The shock and bloody battle now begins,'
The plenteous harvest of full-ripen'd sins.
It was the time when the still Moon
Was monnted softly to her noon, [arose,
And dewy sleep,which from Night's secret springs
Gently as Nile the land o'erflows.
When lo! from the high countries of refined day,
The golden heaven without allay-
Whose dross, in the creation purg'd away,
Made up the Sun's adulterate ray-
Michael, the warlike prince, does downwards fly,
Swift as the journies of the sight,
Swift as the race of light,
He spoke, and downwards flew,
And o'er his shining form a well-cut cloud he
Made of the blackest fleece of Night, [threw,
And close-wrought to keep in the powerful light,
Yet wrought so fine it hinder'd not his flight;
But through the key-holes and the chinks of
Is but like fire struck out of stone;
So hardly got, and quickly gone,
That it scarce out-lives the blow.
Sorrow and fear soon quit the tyrant's breast;
Rage and revenge their place possess'd;
With a vast host of chariots and of horse,
And all his powerful kingdom's ready force,
The travelling nation he pursues; [news
Ten times o'ercome, he still th' unequal war re-
Fill'd with proud hopes, "At least," said he,
"Th' Egyptian gods, from Syrian magic free,
Will now revenge themselves and me;
Behold what passless rocks on either hand,
The swift approach of endless night
Breaks ope the wounded sleepers' rolling eyes;
They awake the rest with dying cries,
And darkness doubles the affright;
The mixed sounds of scatter'd deaths they hear,
And lose their parted souls 'twixt grief and fear.
Louder than all the shrieking women's voice
Pierces this chaos of confused noise;
Like prison-walls, about them stand,
Whilst the sea bounds their flight before!
And in our injur'd justice they must find
A far worse stop than rocks and seas behind;
Which shall with crimson gore
New paint the water's name, and double dye
He spoke; and all his host
Approv'd with shouts th' unhappy boast; bidden wind bore his vain words away,
And drown'd them in the neighbouring sea.
No means t' escape the faithless travellers spy,
And, with degenerous fear to die,
Curse their new-gotten liberty.
But the great Guide well knew he led them right,
And saw a path hid yet from human sight:
He strikes the raging waves, the waves on either
Unloose their close embraces, and divide;
And backwards press, as in some solemn shew
The crowding people do
Of every womb; none did he spare, None, from the meanest beast to Cenchre's pur-The ple heir.
(Though just before no space was seen) wondering army saw on either hand To let th' admired triumph pass between.
The no-less-wondering waves like rocks of crystal stand:
They march'd betwixt, and boldly trod
The secret paths of God.
And here and there all scatter'd in their way
The sea's old spoils, and gaping fishes, lay
Deserted on the sandy plain:
The Sun did with astonishment behold
The inmost chambers of the open'd main;
For, whatsoe'er of old
As brighter lightning cuts a way
Clear and distinguish'd through the day:
With less complaints the Zoan temples sound,
When the adored heifer 's drown'd,
And no true-mark'd successor to be found.
By his own priests, the poets, has been said,
He never sunk till then into the Ocean's bed.
Led cheerfully by a bright captain, Flame,
Whilst health and strength, and gladness, does To th' other shore at morning-dawn they came,
And saw behind th' unguided foe
The festal Hebrew cottages;
The blest destroyer comes not there,
To interrupt the sacred cheer
That new begins their well-reformed year:
Upon their doors he read and understood,
God's protection, writ in blood;
Well was he skill'd i' th' character Divine;
And, though he pass'd by it in haste,
He bow'd and worship'd, as he past,
The mighty mystery through its humble sign.
The sword strikes now too deep and near,
Longer with its edge to play;
No diligence or cost they spare
To haste the Hebrews now away,
Pharaoh himself chides their delay;
So kind and bountiful is fear!
But, oh! the bounty which to fear we owe,
March disorderly and slow.
The prophet straight from th' Idumean strand
Shakes his imperious wand:
The upper waves, that highest crowded lie,
The beckoning wand espy;
Straight their first right-hand files begin to move,
And, with a murmuring wind,
Give the word "March" to all behind.
The left-hand squadrons no less ready prove,
But, with a joyful, louder noise,
Answer their distant fellows' voice,
And haste to meet them make,
As several troops do all at once a common signal
What tongue th' amazement and th'affright can tell
Which on the Chamian army fell,
When on both sides they saw the roaring main
Broke loose from his invisible chain! They saw the monstrous death and watery war Come rolling down loud ruin from afar; In vain some backward and some forwards fly With helpless haste; in vain they cry
A SACRED POEM
OF THE TROUBLES OF DAVID,
IN FOUR BOOKS.
Me verò primùm dulces ante omnia Musa,
Quarum sacra fero ingenti percussus amore,
Accipiant, Calique vias ac Sidera monstrent.
To their celestial beasts for aid; In vain their guilty king they upbraid; In vain on Moses he, and Moses' God, does call, With a repentance true too late; They're compass'd round with a devouring fate, That draws, like a strong net, the mighty sea upon them all.
The proposition. The invocation. The entrance into the history from a new agreement betwixt Saul and David. A description of Hell. The Devil's speech Envy's reply to him. Her appearing to Saul in the shape of Benjamin. Her speech, and Saul's to himself after she was vanished. A description of Heaven. God's speech: he sends an Angel to David: the Angel's message to him. David sent for, to play before Saul. A digression concerning music. David's psalm. Saul attempts to kill him. His escape to his own house, from whence being pursued by the king's guard, by the artifice of his wife Michal he escapes and flies to Naioth, the prophets' college at Ramah, Saul's speech, and rage at his escape. A long digression describing the prophets' college, and their manner of life there, and the ordinary subjects of their poetry. Saul's guards pursue David thither, and prophesy. Saul among the prophets. He is compared to Balaam, whose song concludes the book.
I SING the man who Judah's sceptre bore
In that right-hand which held the crook before;
Who from best poet, best of kings did grow;
The two chief gifts Heaven could on man bestow.
Much danger first, much toil, did he sustain,
Whilst Saul and Hell cross'd his strong fate in vain.
Nor did his crown less painful work afford,
Less exercise his patience or his sword:
So long her conqueror, Fortune's spite pursued;
Till with unwearied virtue he subdued
All home-bred malice, and all foreign boasts;
Their strength was armies, his the Lord of Hosts.
Thou, who didst David's royal stem adorn,
And gav'st him birth from whom thyself wast born;
Who didst in triumph at Death's court appear,
And slew'st him with thy nails, thy cross, and
Whilst Hell's black tyrant trembled to behold
The glorious light he forfeited of old :
Who, Heaven's glad burthen now, and justest pride,
Sitt'st high enthron'd next thy great Father's
(Where hallow'd flames help to adorn that head
Which once the blushing thorns environed,
Till crimson drops of precious blood hung down
Like rubies to enrich thine humble crown)
Ev'n thou my breast with such blest rage inspire,
As mov'd the tuneful strings of David's lyre!
Guide my bold steps with thine own travelling
In these untrodden paths to sacred fame!
Lo, with pure hands thy heavenly fire to take,
My well-chang'd Muse I a chaste vestal make!
From Earth's vain joys, and Love's soft witch-
I consecrate my Magdalene to thee!
Lo, this great work, a temple to thy praise,
On polish'd pillars of strong verse I raise !
A temple, where, if thou vouchsafe to dwell,
It Solomon's and Herod's shall excel.
Their gods too long were devils, and virtues sin;
Too long the Muses' land hath heathen been;
Th' apostle to convert that world to thee;
But thou, Eternal Word! hast call'd forth me,
T'unbind the charms that in slight fables lie,
And teach, that truth is truest poesy.
The malice now of jealous Saul grew less, O'ercome by constant virtue and success: