« הקודםהמשך »
The face of shipwreck'd Nature naked lay;
The Sun peep'd forth, and beheld nought but sea.
This men forgot, and burnt in lust again ;
Till showers, strange as their sin, of fiery rain
And scalding brimstone, dropped on Sodom's head;
Alive, they felt those flames they fry in dead.
No better end rash Pharaoh's pride befel,
When wind and sea waged war for Israel:
In his gilt chariots amazed fishes sat,
And grew with corpse of wretched princes fat;
The waves and rocks half-eaten bodies stain;
Nor was it since call'd the Red Sea in vain.
Much too they told of faithful Abram's fame,
To whose bless'd passage they owe still their name;
Of Moses much, and the great seed of Nun,
What wonders they perform’d, what lands they won;
How many kings they slew, or captive brought;
They held the swords, but God and angels fought.
Thus gain’d they the wise-spending of their days;
And their whole life was their dear Maker's praise.
No minute's rest, no swiftest thought, they sold
To that beloved plague of mankind, gold;
Gold, for which all mankind with greater pains
Labour towards hell, than those who dig its veins.
Their wealth was the contempt of it; which more
They valued than rich fools the shining ore.
The silk worm's precious death they scorn'd to
And Tyrian dye appear’d but sordid there. [wear,
Honour, which since the price of souls became,
Seem'd to these great ones a low idle name.
Instead of down, hard beds they chose to have,
Such as might bid them not forget their grave.
Their board dispeopled no full element,
Free Nature's bounty thriftily they spent,
And spared the stock; nor could their bodies say
We owe this crudeness to' excess yesterday.
Thus souls live cleanly, and no soiling fear,
But entertain their welcome Maker there;
The senses perform nimbly what they ’re bid,
And honestly, nor are by Reason chid ;
And, when the down of sleep does softly fall,
Their dreams are heavenly then, and mystical;
With hasty wings time present they outfly,
And tread the doubtful maze of destiny;
There walk, and sport among the years to come,
And with quick eye pierce every cause's womb.
Thus these wise saints enjoy'd their little all,
Free from the spite of much mistaken Saul;
For, if man's life we in just balance weigh,
David deserved his envy less than they.
Of this retreat the hunted Prince makes choice,
Adds to their choir his nobler lyre and voice.
But long unknown even here he could not lie;
So bright his lustre, so quick Envy's eye!
The' offended troop, whom he escaped before,
Pursue him here, and fear mistakes no more :
Beloved revenge fresh rage to them affords;
Some part of him all promise to their swords.
They came, but a new sp’rit their hearts possess'd,
Scattering a sacred calm through every breast:
The furrows of their brow, so rough erewhile,
Sink down into the dimples of a smile ;
Their cooler veins swell with a peaceful tide,
And the chaste streams with even current glide ;
A sudden day breaks gently through their eyes,
And morning-blushes in their cheeks arise :
The thoughts of war, of blood, and murder, cease;
In peaceful tunes they' adore the God of peace !
New messengers twice more the tyrant sent,
And was twice more mock'd with the same event:
His heighten'd rage no longer brooks delay;
It sends him there himself: but on the way
His foolish anger a wise fury grew,
And blessings from his mouth unbidden flew :
His kingly robes he laid at Naioth down,
Began to understand, and scorn, his crown ;
Employ’d his mounting thoughts on nobler things,
And felt more solid joys than empire brings;
Embraced his wondering son,
and on his head The balm of all past wounds, kind tears, he shed.
So covetous Balaam, with a fond intent Of cursing the bless'd seed, to Moab went: But as he went, his fatal tongue to sell, His ass taught him to speak, God to speak well.
“How comely are thy tents, O Israel !” (Thus he began)“. what conquests they foretel! « Less fair are orchards in their autumn pride, Adorn'd with trees on some fair river's side; Less fair are valleys, their green mantles spread! Or mountains with tall cedars on their head! 'Twas God himself (thy God who must not fear?) Brought thee from bondage to be master here. Slaughter shall wear out these, new weapons get, And death in triumph on thy darts shall sit. When Judah's lion starts up to his prey, The beasts shall hang their ears, and creep away; When he lies down, the woods shall silence keep, And dreadful tigers tremble at his sleep. Thy cursers, Jacob! shall twice cursed be; And he shall bless himself that blesses thee !"