« הקודםהמשך »
And let the silent sanctuary show,
What from the babbling schools we may not know,
How man may shun, or bear his destin'd part of woe.
What shall amend, or what absolve our fate?
Anxious we hover in a mediate state,
Betwixt infinity and nothing; bounds,
Or boundless terms, whose doubtful sense confounds.
Unequal thought ! whilst all we apprehend,
Is, that our hopes must rise, our sorrows end,
As our Creator deigns to be our friend.
I said:—and instant bad the priests prepare
The ritual sacrifice, and solemn prayer.
Select from vulgar herds, with garlands gay,
A hundred bulls ascend the sacred way.
The artful youth proceed to form the choir:
They breathe the flute, or strike the vocal wire.
The maids in comely order next advance;
They beat the timbrel, and instruct the dance.
Follows the chosen tribe from Levi sprung,
Chanting by just return the holy song.
Along the choir in solemn state they past,
—The anxious king came last.
The sacred hymn perform’d, my promis'd vow
I paid ; and, bowing at the altar low,
Father of Heaven I said, and judge of earth !
Whose word call’d out this universe to birth ;
By whose kind power and influencing care
The various creatures move, and live, and are
But, ceasing once that care, withdrawn that power,
They move (alas !) and live, and are no more :
Omniscient Master, omnipresent King,
To thee, to thee, my last distress I bring.
Thou, that canst still the raging of the seas,
Chain up the winds, and bid the tempests cease;
Redeem my shipwreck'd soul from raging gusts
Of cruel passion, and deceitful lusts :
From storms of rage, and dangerous rocks of pride,
Let thy strong hand this little vessel guide
(It was thy hand that made it) through the tide
Impetuous of this life: let thy command
Direct my course, and bring me safe to land.
If, while this wearied flesh draws fleeting breath,
Not satisfied with life, afraid of death,
It haply be thy will, that I should know
Glimpse of delight, or pause from anxious woe:
From now, from instant now, great Sire dispel
The clouds that press my soul; from now reveal
A gracious beam of light; from now inspire
My tongue to sing, my hand to touch the lyre :
My open'd thought to joyous prospects raise;
And, for thy mercy, let me sing thy praise.
Or, if thy will ordains, I still shall wait
Some new hereafter, and a future state;
Permit me strength, my weight of woe to bear;
And raise my mind superior to my care.
Let me, howe'er unable to explain
The secret lab’rinths of thy ways to man,
With humble zeal confess thy awful power;
Still weeping hope, and wondering still adore,
So in my conquest be thy might declar'd:
And, for thy justice, be thy name rever'd.
My prayer scarce ended, a stupendous gloom
Darkens the air; loud thunder shakes the dome:
To the beginning miracle succeed
An awful silence and religious dread.
Sudden breaks forth a more than common day:
The sacred wood, which on the altar lay,
Untouch'd, unlighted, glows
Ambrosial odour, such as never flows
From Arab's gum, or the Sabaean rose,
Does round the air revolving scents diffuse:
The holy ground is wet with heavenly dews:
Celestial music (such Jessides' lyre,
Such Miriam's timbrel would in vain require)
Strikes to my thought through my admiring ear,
With ecstasy too fine, and pleasure hard to bear :
And lo! what sees my ravish'd eye what feels
My wondering soul? an opening cloud reveals
A heavenly form embodied, and array'd
With robes of light. I heard. The angel said:
Cease, man of woman born, to hope relief,
From daily trouble, and continu'd grief,
Thy hope of joy deliver to the wind:
Suppress thy passions; and prepare thy mind.
Free and familiar with misfortune grow;
Be used to sorrow, and inur'd to woe.
By weakening toil, and hoary age o'ercome,
See thy decrease; and hasten to thy tomb.
Leave to thy children tumult, strife, and war,
Portions of toil, and legacies of care.
Send the successive ills through ages down:
And let each weeping father tell his son,
That, deeper struck, and more distinctly griev'd,
He must augment the sorrows he receiv'd.
The child to whose success thy hope is bound,
Ere thou art scarce interr'd, or he is crown'd ;
To lust of arbitrary sway inclin'd
(That cursed poison to the prince's mind )
Shall from thy dictate, and his duty rove,
And lose his great defence, his people's love.
Ill counsell’d, vanquish'd, fugitive, disgrac'd,
Shall mourn the fame of Jacob's strength effac’d.
Shall sigh the king diminish'd, and the crown
With lessen’d rays descending to his son ;
Shall see the wreaths, his grandsire knew to reap
By active toil and military sweat,
Pining incline their sickly leaves, and shed
Their falling honours from his giddy head.
By arms, or prayer unable to assuage
Domestic horror, and intestine rage,
Shall from the victor and the vanquish’d fear,
From Israel's arrow, and from Judah's spear:
Shall cast his wearied limbs on Jordan's flood,
By brother's arms disturb’d, and stain'd with kin-
dred blood. [race,
Hence labouring years shall weep their destin'd
Charg’d with ill omens, sullied with disgrace.
Time, by necessity compell'd, shall go
Through scenes of war, and epochas of woe.
The empire lessen’d in a parted stream,
Shall lose its course
Indulge thy tears: the heathen shall blaspheme:
Judah shall fall, oppress'd by grief and shame ;
And men shall from her ruins know her fame.
New Egypts yet, and second bonds remain,
A harsher Pharaoh, and a heavier chain.
Again, obedient to a dire command,
Thy captive sons shall leave the promis'd land.
Their name more low, their servitude more vile,
Shall on Euphrates' bank renew the grief of Nile.
These pointed spires that wound the ambient sky,
Inglorious change I shall in destruction lie
Low, levell'd with the dust; their heights unknown,
Or measur’d by their ruin. Yonder throne
For lasting glory built, design'd the seat
Of kings for ever blest, for ever great,
Remov’d by the invader's barbarous hand,
Shall grace his triumph in a foreign land.
The tyrant shall demand yon sacred load
Of gold and vessels set apart to God.
Then by vile hands to common use debas'd ;
Shall send them flowing round his drunken feast,
With sacrilegious taunt, and impious jest.
Twice fourteen ages shall their way complete:
Empires by various turns shall rise and set:
While thy abandon'd tribes shall only know
A different master, and a change of woe:
With downcast eyelids, and with looks aghast,
Shall dread the future, or bewail the past.
Afflicted Israel shall sit weeping down,