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140 THE THIRTY-FOURTH CHAPTer

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 we Immortal as the Deity think, With all the beauteous characters that in it [writ With such deep sense by God's own hand were (Whose eloquence, though we understand not, we admire) Shall crackle, and the parts together shrink Like parchment in a fire: The exhausted sun to the moon no more shall lend; 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 fall, With such a violent storm as blows down tree and all.

And thou, O cursed land [stand Which wilt not see the precipice where thou dost (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,

That they shall fetch the slaughter'd corpse away,
Which in the fields around unburied lay, [prey:
And rob the beasts and birds to give the fish their
The rotting corpse shall so infect the air,
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
Bechoked 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 owl,
And all the wing'd ill-omens of the air,
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
Mankind expulsed, his and our common enemy!”
The brother leopard shakes himself, and does not
stay.

The glutted vultures shall expect in vain
New armies to be slain ;
Shall find at last the business done,
Leave their consumed quarters, and be gone :
The unburied ghosts shall sadly moan,
The satyrs laugh to hear them groan:

The evil spirits, that delight To dance and revel in the mask of night, The moon and stars, their sole spectators, shall affright: And, if of lost mankind Aught happen to be left behind; If any relics but remain ; [shall reign. They in the dens shall lurk, beasts in the palaces

THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT.

Is this thy bravery, Man, is this thy pride 2
Rebel to God, and slave to all beside
Captived 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.”
In black Egyptian slavery we lie;
And sweat and toil in the vile drudgery
Of tyrant Sin;
To which we trophies raise, and wear out all our
breath
In building up the monuments of Death;
We, the choice race, to God and angels kin
In vain the prophets and apostles come
To call us home,
Home to the promised Canaan above,
Which does with nourishing milk and pleasant
honey flow;
And even i'the' 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 1
In vain did God to descend hither deign;
He was his own ambassador in vain,
Our Moses and our guide himself to bel
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,
Think, stubborn Man, think of the Egyptian Prince
(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, [show;
Who Moses’ God dost now refuse, more oft than
Moses he. -

“If from some god you come” (said the proud king
With half a smile and half a frown;
“But what god can to Egypt be unknown 2)
What sign, what powers, what credence, do you
bring” -
“Behold his seal behold his hand I’
Cries Moses, and casts down the all-mighty wand.
The all-mighty wand scarce touch'd the earth,
When, with an undiscerned birth,
The all-mighty wand a serpent grew,
And his long half in painted folds behind him drew:
Upwards his threatening tail he threw ;
Upwards he cast his threatening head:
He gaped and hiss'd aloud,
With flaming eyes survey'd the trembling crowd,
And, like a basilisk, almost look'd the assembly
dead; [fled.
Swift fled the amazed king, the guards before him

Jannes and Jambres stopped their flight, And with proud words allay’d the affright. “The God of slaves,” said they, “how can he be More powerful than their masters' deity ?” And down they cast their rods, [gods. And mutter'd secret sounds that charm the servile 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 gaped, 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 feeble generation 1

On the famed bank the prophets stood, Touch'd with their rod, and wounded, all the flood; Flood now no more, but along vein of putrid blood. The helpless fish were found In their strange current drown'd : The herbs and trees wash’d by the mortal tide About it blush'd and died : The 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, nor thou, [cried. Oh king ! couldst ever show

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