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Bid both the poles suppress their stormy noise, So careful and so strict he is,
Lest any nook or corner he should miss :*
He walks about the perishing nation," Still as old Chaos, before Mution's birth: Ruin behind him stalks and empty Desolation. A dreadful host of judgments is gone out,
Then shall the market and the pleading place In strength and number more
Be choak'd with brambles and o'ergrown with Than e'er was rais'd by God before,
grass : To scourge the rebel' world, and march it round The serpents through thy streets shall roll, about.
And in thy lower rooms the wolves shall howl, I see the sword of God brandish'd above,
And thy gilt chambers lodge the raven and the And from it streams a dismal ray:
And all the wing'dill-omens of the air, owl, I see the scabbard cast away ;
Though no new ills can be foreboded there: How red anon with slaughter will it prove !
The lion then shall to the leopard say, How will it sweat and reek in blood !
“ Brother leopard, come away; How will the scarlet-glutton be o'ergorged with his
Behold a land which God has given us in prey
Behold a land from whence we see my !" And devour all the mighty feast! [food,
Mankind expuls'd, his and our common eneNothing soon but bones will rest. God does a solemn sacrifice prepare ;
The brother leopard shakes himself, and does not But not of oxen, nor of rams,
The glutted vultures shall expect in iain
New armies to be slain ;
Leave their consumed quarters, and be gone : Since, wicked men's more guilty blood to spare, Th' unburied ghosts shall sadly moan, The beasts so long have sacrificed been ;
The satyrs laugh to hear them groan, Since men their birth-right forfeit still by sin;
The evil spirits, that delight 'Tis fit at last beasts their revenge should have, To dance and revel in the mask of night, And sacrificed men their better brethren save. The Moon and stars, their sole spectators, shall
And, if of lost mankind
(afiright: So will they fall, so will they flee,
Aught happen to be left behind;
If any relics but remain ;
They in their dens shall lurk, beasts in the palaces
shall reign. Shall struggle with Death's pangs in vain, · And the whole world their funeral pile become. The wide stretch'd scroll of Hearen, which
THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT. .. Immortal as the Deity think,
Is this thy bravery, man, is this thy pride? With all the beauteous characters that in it
| Rebel to God, and slave to all beside! With such deep sense byGod's own hand were writ
Captiv'd by every thing! and only free (Whose eloquence, though we understand not,
Tofly from thine own liberty! we admire)
All creatures, the Creator said, were thine ; Shall crackle, and the parts together shrink
No creature but might since say,“ Man is mire." Like parchment in a fire:
(lend ; | In black Egyptian slavery we lie; Th' exhausted Sun to th' Moon no more shall and sweat and toil in the vile drudgery
. But truly then headlong into the sea descend :
Of tyrant Sin! The glittering host, now in such fair array,
To which we trophies raise, and wear out all onlr So proud, so well-appointed, and so gay,
In building up the monuments of Death; (breath Like fearful troops in some strong ambush ta'en,
en, We, the choice race, to God and angels kin! Shall some fly routed, and some fall slain, Thick as ripe fruit, or yellow leaves, in autumn
In vain the prophets and apostles coine
To call us home, i fall, With such a violent storm as blows down tree and
Home to the'promis'd Canaan above, shoney Bow;
Which does with nourishing milk and pleasant all.
And even i'th' way to which we should be fed And thou, O cursed land !
With angels' tasteful bread: Which wilt pot see the precipice where thou dost
But we, alas! the flesh-pots love, stand .
We love the very leeks and sordid roots below. (Though thou stand'st just upon the brink) | In vain we judgments feel, and wonders see! Thou of this poison'd bowl the bitter dregs shalt | In vain did God to descend hither deign;
Thy rivers and thy lakes shall so drink. | He was his own ambassador in vain,
With human blood o'erflow, (away, | Our Moses and our guide himself to be! That they shall fetch the slaughter'd corpse We will not let ourselves to go, Which in the fields around unburied lay,
And with worse harden'd hearts do our own PhaAnd rob the beasts and birds to give the fish their
raohs grow, The rotten corpse shall so infect the air, (prey : Ah! lest at last we perish so, prince Beget such plagues and putrid venoms there, Think, stubborn man, think of th’ Egyptian
That by thine own dead shall be slain , (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 So tie destroying-angel measures it around ;
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-sca Moses he.
shall destroy. " If from some god you come,” (said the proud The river yet gave one instruction more; With half a smile and half a frown;
And, from ihe rotten fish and unconcocted gore, king
(Which was but water just before) But what god can to Egypt be unknown?)
A loathsome host was quickly made, "What sign, what powers, what credence do you That scal'd the banks, and with loud noise did bring?”
all the country invade.
Th' all-mighty wand scarce touch'd the earth, With welcome presents in his hand)
So did this living tide the fields o'erspread :
In vain th' alarmed country tries And his long half in painted folds behind him To kill their noisome enemies; (arise. drew:
From th' unexhausted source still new recruits Upwards his threatening tail he threw; Nor does the earth these greedy troops suffice, Upwards he cast his threatening head:
The towns and houses they possess, He gap'd and hiss'd aloud,
The temples and tbe palaces, With flanning eyes survey'd the trembling crowd, Nor Pharaoh, nor his gods, they fear; And, like a basilisk, almost look'd th' assembly Both their importune croakings hear. dead;
Unsatiate yet, they mount up higher, Swift fled th' amazed king, the guards before Where never sun-born frog durst to aspire, him fled.
And in the silken beds their slimy members place; Jannes and Jambres stopp'd their Alight,
A luxury unknown before to all the watery race! And with proud words allay'd th' aflright. The water thus her wonders did produce; “ The God of slaves," said they, “how can he be But both were to no use;
As yet the sorcerers' mimic power serv'd for exAnd down they cast their rods,
“ Try what the earth will do,” said God, and lo! And mutter'd secret sounds that charm the ser They strook the earth a fertile blow, vile gods.
And all the dust did straight to stir begin ; The evil spirits their charms obey,
One would have thought some sudden wind't had And in a subtle cloud they snatch the rods away, But lo!'twas nimble life was got within! [been; And serpents in their place the airy jugglers lay. And all the little springs did move, Serpents in Egypt's monstrous land
And every dust did an arm'd vermin prove, Were ready still at hand,
Of an unknown and new-created kind, (finde And all at the Old Serpent's first command. Such as the magic-gods could neither make nor
And they too gap'd, and they too hiss'd, The wretched shameful foe allow'd no rest
Either to man or beast.
The devils themselves confessid So much was over-power'd,
This was God's hand; and 'twas but just, By God's miraculous creation,
To punish thus man's pride, to punish dust with His servant's, Nature's, slightly-wrought and
dust. feeble generation!
Lo! the third element does his plagues prepare, On the fam'd bank the prophets stood, And swarming clouds of insects fill the air; Touch'd with their rod, and wounded, all the With sullen noise they take their flight, flood:
And march in bodies infinite;
The helpless fish were found . [blood. Of harmful flies the nations numberless
Compos'd this mighty army's spacious boast; The herbs and trees wash'd by the mortal tide of different manners, different languages; About it blush'd and dy'd :
And different habits, too, they wore, Ih' amazed crocodiles made haste to ground; And different arms they bore; From their vast trunks the dropping gore they And some, like Scythians, liv'd on blood, spied,
And some on green, and some on flowery food; Thought it their own, and dreadfully aloud they And Accaron, the airy prince, led on this various cried.
Houses secure no: men, the populous ill (host. Nor all thy priests, north no,
Did all the houses fill: O king! could'st ever show
The country all around From whence thy wandering Nile begins his Did with the cries of tortur'd cattle sound; course
About the fields enrag'd they few, Of this new Nile thou seest the sacred source; And wish'd the plague that was t' ensue. And, as thy land that does o'erflow,
From poisonous stars a mortal influence came Take heed lest this do so!
(The mingled malice of their flame); What plague more just could on thy waters fall? |
| A skilful angel did th’ingredients take, The Hebrew infants' murder stains them all:
| And with just hands the sad composure make,
And over all the land did the full vial shake. One would have thought, their dreadful day lo Thirst, giddiness, faintness, and putrid heats, I
have seen, And pining pains, and shivering sweats, The very hail, and rain itself, had kindled On all the cattle, all the beasts, did fall;
been. With deform'd death the country's cover'd all. The infant corn, which yet dia arce appear. The labouring ox drops down before the plough ; !
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. his head,
When lo; a scorching wind from the burnt coun. Does his lov'd floods and pastures scorn,
And endless legions with it drew (tries blew,
Of greedy locusts; who, where'er
With sounding wings they flew,
Left all the earth depopulate and bare,
As if Winter itself had march'd by there.
Whate'er the Sun and Nile
Gave with large bounty to the thankful soil, Toe faithful dogs lie gasping by them there;
The wretched pillagers bore away, Th' astonish'd shepherd jweeps, and breaks his And the whole Summer was their prey ; tuneful reed.
Till Moses with a prayer Thus did the beasts for man's rebellion die;
Breath'd forth a violent western wind, God did on man a gentler med'cine try,
Which all these living clouds did headlong bear And a disease, for physic, did apply.
(No stragglers left behind) Warm ashes from the furnace Moses took ;
Into the purple sea, and there bestow The surcerers did with wonder on him look,
On the luxurious fish a feast they ne'er did know. And smild at th' unaccustom'd spell,
With untaught joy Pharaoh the news does hear, Which no Egyptian rituals tell :
And little thinks their fate attends on him and He fings the pregnant ąshes through the air,
his so near. And speaks a mighty prayer;
What blindness or what darkness did there e'er Both which the ministering winds around all like this undocile king's appear! Egypt bear.
What, eer, but that which now does represent es gentle western blasts with downy wings, And paint the crime out in the punishment ? Hatching the tender springs,
From the deep baleful caves of Hell below, To th’ unborn buds with vital whispers say,
Where the old mother Night does grow“ Ye living buds why do ye stay!" (way: Substantial Night, that does disclaim The passionate buds break through the bark their Privation's empty name So, wheresoe'er this tainted wind but blew, Through secret conduits monstrous shapes arose, Swelling pains and ulcers grew :
Such as the Sun's whole force could not oppose : It from the body call'd all sleeping poisons out, They with a solid cloud . And to them added new;
All Heaven's eclipsed face did shroud; A noisome spring of sores, as thick as leaves, Seem'd, with large wings spread o'er the sea and did sprout.
earth, Heaven itself is angry next;
To brood up a new Chaos's deformed birth. (Woe to man, when Heaven is vext!)
And every lamp, and every fire,
Did at the dreadful sight wink and expire,
To th' empyrean source all streams of light And murmur'd first in an imperfect sound: Till Moses, lifting up his hand,
seem'd to retire. Waves the expected signal of his wand;
The living men were in their standing houses buAnd all the full-charg'd clouds in ranged squad
But the long Night no slumber knows, (ried;
But the short Death finds no repose ! rons move, And fill the spacious plains above; Ten thousand terrours through the darkness fled, Through which the rolling thunder first does
And ghosts complain'd, and spirits murinured ;
And Fancy's multiplying sight
View'd all the scenes invisible of Night.
Of God's dreadful anger these
Such as ne'er Winter yet brought forth, | The shock and bloody battle now begins,
It was the time when the still Moon O'er the defaced corpse, like monuments, lay ; Was monnted softly to her noon, [arose, The houses and strong-bodied trees it broke, And dewy sleep, which from Night's secret springs Nor ask'd aid from the thunder's stroke;
Gently as Nile the land o'erflows.
The golden heaven without allay-
Whose dross, in the creation purg'd away, Some fying through the air, some running on . Made up the Sun's adulterate raythe ground,
Michael, the warlike prince, does downwards ily.
Swift as the journies of the sight,
Swift as the race of light,
And with his winged will cuts through the yield- Is but like fire struck out of stone; ing sky.
So hardly got, and quickly gone, He pass'd through many a star, and, as he past, That it scarce out-lives the blow. Shone (like a star in them) more brightly there Sorrow and fear soon quit the tyrant's breast;
Than they did in their sphere. [last, Rage and revenge their place possess'd; On a tall pyramid's pointed head he stopp'd at With a vast host of chariots and of horse, And a mild look of sacred pity cast
And all his powerful kingdom's ready force, Down on the sinful land where he was sent,
The travelling nation he pursues; [news. T'inflict the tardy punishment.
Ten times o'ercome, he still th' unequal war re"Ah! yet," said he, “yet, stubborn king ! repent, I Filld with proud hopes, “ At least,” said he,
Whilst thus unarm'd I stand, [hand; / “ Th’Egyptian gods, from Syrian magic free, Ere the keen sword of God fill my commanded | Will now revenge themselves and me; Suffer but yet thyself, and thine to live:
Behold what passless rocks on either hand, Who would, alas! believe,
Like prison-walls, about them stand, That it for man,” said he,
Whilst the sea bounds their flight before ! “So band to be forgiven should be,
And in our injur'd justice they must find And yet for God so easy to forgive!"
A far worse stop than rocks and seas behind;
Which shall with crimson gore He spoke, and downwards few,
New paint the water's name, and double dye And o'er his shining form a well-cut cloud he
the shore,” Made of the blackest fleece of Night, (threw, And close-wrought to keep in the powerful light,
He spoke; and all his host Yet wrought so fine it hinder'd not his fight;
Approv'd with shouts th' unhappy boast; But through the key-holes and the chinks of | A bidden wind bore bis vain words away.
And drown'd thein in the neighbouring sea, doors, And through the narrow'st walks of crooked pores,
moked pores. | No means t'escape the faithless travellers spy. He past more swift and free,
And, with degenerous fear to die, Than in wide air the wanton swallows fee.
Curse their new-gotten liberty. He took a pointed pestilence in his hand ;
But the great Guide well knew he led them right, The spirits of thousand mortal poisons made
And saw a path hid yet froin human sight: The strongly-temper'd blade,
He strikes the raging waves, the waves on either
side The sharpest sword that e'er was laid (land. Up in the magazines of God to scourge a wicked
| Unloose their close embraces, and divide; Through Egypt's wicked land his march he took,
And backwards press, as in some solemn shew And as he march'd the sacred first-born strook
The crowding people do Of every womb; none did he spare,
(Though just before no space was seen) None, from the meanest beast to Cenchre's pur
To let th'admired triumph pass between.
The wondering army saw on either hand ple heir,
The no-less-wondering waves like rocks of crystal The swift approach of endless night
stand: Breaks ope the wounded sleepers' rolling eyes; They march'd betwixt, and boldly trod They awake the rest with dying cries,
The secret paths of God. And darkness doubles the affright;
And here and there all scatter'd in their way The mixed sounds of scatter'd deaths they hear, | The sea's old spoils, and gaping fishes, lay And lose their parted souls 'twixt grief and fear. Deserted on the sandy plain: Louder than all the shrieking women's voice The Sun did with astonishment behold Pierces this chaos of confused noise ;
The inmost chambers of the open'd main; As brighter lightning cuts a way
For, whatsoe'er of old Clear and distinguish'd through the day: By his own priests, the poets, has been said, With less complaints the Zoan temples sound, He never sunk till then into the Ocean's bed. When the adored heifer 's drown'd,
Led cheerfully by a bright captain, Flame, And no true-mark'd successor to be found.
To th' other shore at morning-dawn they came, Whilst health and strength, and gladness, does
And saw behind th' unguided foe The festal Hebrew cottages ; [possess
March disorderly and slow. The blest destroyer comes not there,
The prophet straight from th’ Idumean strand To interrupt the sacred cheer
Shakes his imperious wand : That new begins their well-reformed year:
The upper waves, that highest crowded lie, Upon their doors he read and understood,
The beckoning wand espy; God's protection, writ in blood;
Straight their first right-hand files begin to move, Well was he skill'd i'th' character Divine;
And, with a murmuring wind, And, though he pass'd by it in haste,
Give the word “ March" to all behind. He bow'd and worsbip'd, as he past,
| The left-hand squadrons no less ready prove, The mighty mystery through its humble sign.
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 To haste the Hebrews now away,
take, Pharaoh himself chides their delay;
What tongue th’amazement and th’affright can So kind and bountiful is fear!
tell But, oh! the bounty which to fear we owe,
Which on the Chamian army fell,
When on both sides they saw the roaring To their celestial beasts for aid; main
In vain their guilty king they upbraid; Broke loose from his invisible chain ! In vain on Moses he, and Moses? God, does call, They saw the monstrous death and watery war With a repentance true too late; Come rolling down loud ruin from afar;
They're compass'd round with a devouring fate, In vain some backward and some forwards fly That draws, like a strong net, the mighty sea With helpless haste; in vain they cry
upon them all.
A SACRED POEM
IN FOUR BOOKS.
Virg. Georg. 11.
All home-bred malice, and all foreign boasts; THE ARGUMENT
Their strength was armies, his the Lord of Hosts.
Thou, who didst David's royal stem adorn, OF
And gav'st him birth from whom thyself wast born; BOOK I.
Who didst in triumph at Death's court appear, The proposition. The invocation. The entrance
And slew'st him with thy nails, thy cross, and into the history from a new agreement be
spear, twixt Saul and David. A description of Hell.
Whilst Hell's black tyrant trembled to behold The Devil's speech Envy's reply to him.
The glorious light be forfeited of old : Her appearing to Saul in the shape of Benja.
Who, Heaven's glad burthen now,and justest pride, min. Her speech, and Saul's to himself after
Sitt'st high enthron'd next thy great Father's she was vanished. A description of Heaven.
side God's speech : he sends an Angel to David :
(Where hallow'd fames help to adorn that head the Angel's message to him. David sent for,
Which once the blushing thorns environed, to play before Saul. A digression concerning
Till crimson drops of precious blood hung down music. David's psalm. Saul attempts to
Like rubies to enrich thine humble crown) kill him. His escape to his own house, from
Ev'n thou my breast with such blest rage inspire, whence being pursued by the king's guard, by
As moy'd the tuneful strings of David's lyre! the artifice of his wife Michal he escapes and
Guide my bold steps with thine own travelling flies to Naioth, the prophets' college at Ramah,
flame, Saul's speech, and rage at his escape. A long
In these untrodden paths to sacred fame! digression describing the prophets' college,
Lo, with pure hands thy heavenly fire to take, and their manner of life there, and the ordi
My well-chang'd Muse I a chaste vestal make! nary subjects of their poetry. Saul's guards | From Earth's vain joys, and Love's soft witchpursue David thither, and prophesy. Saul
I craft, free, among the prophets. He is compared to Ba
I consecrate my Magdalene to thee! laam, whose song concludes the book.
Lo, this great work, a temple to thy praise,
On polish'd pillars of strong verse I raise ! I sing the man who Judah's sceptre bore
A temple, where, if thou vouchsafe to dwell, In that right-hand which held the crook before ; It Solomon's and Herod's shall excel. Who from best poet, best of kings did grow; Too long the Muses' land hath heathen been ; The two chief gifts Heaven could on man bestow. Their gods too long were devils, and virtues sin ; Much danger first, much toil, did he sustain, But thou, Eternal Word! hast callid forth me, Whilst Sauland Hell cross'd his strong fate in vain. Th’apostle to convert that world to thee; Nor did his crown less painful work afford,
T' unbind the charms that in slight fables lie, Less exercise his patience or his sword :
And teach, that truth is truest poesy. Su long her conqueror, Fortune's spite pursued; The malice now of jealous Saul grew less, Till with unwearied virtue he subdued
O'ercome by constant virtue and success :