תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

From whence thy wandering Nile begins his

course

Of this new Nile thou seest the sacred source ;

And, as thy land that does o’erflow,

Take heed lest this do so! What plague more just could on thy waters fall? The Hebrew infants' murder stains them all : The kind, instructing punishment enjoy; [destroy. Whom the red river cannot mend, the Red-sea shall The river yet gave one instruction more; And, from the rotting fish and unconcocted gore

(Which was but water just before),

A loathsome host was quickly made, That scaled 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 the' alarmed country tries

To kill their noisome enemies; [arise. From the 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 ;

[cuse. As yet the sorcerers' mimic power served 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; [been; One would have thought some sudden wind 't had But, lo ! 'twas nimble life was got within!

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 the’ 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.

[ocr errors]

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 Composed this mighty army's spacious boast; Of different manners, different languages; And different habits, too, they wore,

And different arms they bore, And some, like Scythians, lived 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
Did with the cries of tortured cattle sound;

About the fields enraged they flew,
And wish'd the plague that was to' ensue.

From poisonous stars a mortal influence came

(The mingled malice of their flame); A skilful angel did the ingredients take, And with just hands the sad composure make, And over all the land did the full vial shake. Thirst, giddiness, faintness, and putrid heats,

And pining pains, and shivering sweats, On all the cattle, all the beasts, did fall ; With deform’d death the country's cover'd all. The labouring ox drops down before the plough; The crowned victims to the altar led

Sink, and prevent the lifted blow: [head, The generous horse from the full manger turns his

Does his loved floods and pastures scorn,
Hates the shrill trumpet and the horn,

Nor can his lifeless nostril please
With the once-ravishing smell of all his dappled

mistresses : The starving sheep refuse to feed, They bleat their innocent souls out into air ; The faithful dogs lie gasping by them there ; The' astonish'd shepherd weeps, and breaks his

tuneful reed.

Thus did the beasts for man's rebellion die;
God did on man a gentler medicine try,
And a Disease, for Physic, did apply.
Warm ashes from the furnace Moses took ;
The sorcerers did with wonder on him look,
And smiled at the' unaccustom'd spell,

Which no Egyptian rituals tell :

He Alings the pregnant ashes through the air,
And speaks a mighty prayer;

[bear. Both which the ministering winds around all Egypt As gentle western blasts with downy wings,

Hatching the tender springs,
To the unborn buds with vital whispers say,

“ Ye living buds, why do ye stay?" The passionate buds break through the bark their So, wheresoe'er this tainted wind but blew, (way;

Swelling pains and ulcers grew; It from the body call’d all sleeping poisons out, And to them added new ;

[sprout. A noisome spring of sores, as thick as leaves, did

Heaven itself is angry next;

(Woe to man, when Heaven is vex'd !)

With sullen brow it frown'd,
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-charged clouds in ranged squad-

rons move,
And fill the spacious plains above;
Through which the rolling thunder first does play,
And opens wide the tempest's noisy way. .

And straight a stony shower
Of monstrous Hail does downwards pour,

Such as ne’er winter yet brought forth,
From all her stormy magazines of the north.
It all the beasts and men abroad did slay,
O’er the defaced corpse, like monuments, lay;
The houses and strong-body'd trees it broke;

Nor ask'd aid from the thunders stroke; The thunder but for terror through it flew,

The hail alone the work could do.

The dismal lightnings all around, [ground, Some flying through the air, some running on the

Some swimming o'er the water's face,

Filld with bright horror every place; One would have thought, their dreadful day to

have seen,

The very hail, and rain itself, had kindled been. The infant corn,

which yet did scarce appear, Escaped this general massacre

Of every thing that grew,

And the well-stored 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

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,

The wretched pillagers bore away,
And the whole Summer was their

prey ;
Till Moses with a prayer

Breathed 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!
VOL. II.

« הקודםהמשך »