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Fast by the streams, where Babel's waters run;
Their harps upon the neighb'ring willows hung,
Nor joyous hymn encouraging their tongue,
Nor cheerful dance their feet: with toil oppress'd,
Their wearied limbs aspiring but to rest.
In the reflective stream the sighing bride,
Viewing her charms impaird, abash'd shall hide
Her pensive head; and in her languid face
The bridegroom shall foresee his sickly race:
While ponderous fetters vex their close embrace.
With irksome anguish then your priests shall mourn
Their long neglected feasts' despair’d return,
And sad oblivion of their solemn days;
Thenceforth their voices they shall only raise,
Louder to weep. By day your frighted seers
Shall call for fountains to express their tears;
And wish their eyes were floods: by night from
Of opening gulfs, black storms, and raging flames,
Starting amaz'd, shall to the people show [woe.
Emblems of heavenly wrath, and mystic types of
The captives, as their tyrant shall require,
That they should breathe the song, and touch the
Shall say: can Jacob's servile race rejoice, [lyre,
|Untun'd the music, and disus’d the voice 2
What can we play (they shall discourse), how sing
In foreign lands, and to a barbarous king *
We and our fathers from our childhood bred
To watch the cruel victor's eye, to dread
The arbitrary lash, to bend, to grieve
(Outcast of mortal race), can we conceive
Image of aught delightful, soft, or gay ?
Alas! when we have toil'd the longsome day;
The fullest bliss our hearts aspire to know,
Is but some interval from active woe:
In broken rest, and startling sleep to mourn,
Till morn, the tyrant, and the scourge, return.
Bred up in grief, can pleasure be our theme 2
Our endless anguish does not nature claim P
Reason and sorrow are to us the same. -
Alas! with wild amazement we require,
If idle folly was not pleasure's sire:
Madness, we fancy, gave an ill-tim'd birth
To grinning laughter, and to frantic mirth.
This is the series of perpetual woe,
Which thou, alas ! and thine are born to know.
Illustrious wretch repine not, nor reply:
View not, what Heaven ordains, with reason's eye;
Too bright the object is: the distance is too high.
The man who would resolve the work of fate,
|May limit number, and make crooked straight;
Stop thy inquiry then ; and curb thy sense;
Nor let dust argue with Omnipotence.
'Tis God who must dispose, and man sustain,
Born to endure, forbidden to complain.
Thy sum of life must his decrees fulfil ;
What derogates from his command, is ill;
And that alone is good which centres in his will
Yet that thy labouring senses may not droop,
Lost to delight, and destitute of hope :
Remark what I, God's messenger, aver
From him, who neither car deceive, nor err.
The land at length redeem’d, shall cease to mourn;
Shall from her sad captivity return.
Sion shall raise her long-dejected head;
And in her courts the law again be read.
Again the glorious temple shall arise,
And with new lustre pierce the neighbouring skies.
The promis'd seat of empire shall again
Cover the mountain, and command the plain;
And, from thy race distinguish'd, One shall spring,
Greater in act than victor, more than king
In dignity and power, sent down from Heaven,
To succour earth. To Him, to IIim, 'tis given,
Passion, and care, and anguish to destroy.
Through Him soft peace, and plenitude of joy
Perpetual o'er the world redeem'd shall flow;
No more may man inquire, nor angel know.
Now, Solomon, remembering who thou art,
Act through thy remnant life the decent part.
Go forth : be strong: with patience, and with care
Perform, and suffer: to thyself severe,
Gracious to others, thy desires suppress'd,
Diffus’d thy virtues, first of men! be best.
Thy sum of duty let two words contain;
(O may they graven in thy heart remain )
Be humble, and be just. The angel said:—
With upward speed his agile wings he spread :
Whilst on the holy ground I prostrate lay,
By various doubts impell’d, or to obey,
Or to object: at length (my mournful look
IIeavenward erect) determin'd, thus I spoke:
Supreme, all wise, eternal Potentate 1
Sole author, sole disposer of our fate |
Enthron’d in light, and immortality |
Whom no man fully sees, and none can see I
Original of beings power divine !
Since that I live, and that I think, is thine;
Benign Creator, let thy plastic hand
Dispose its own effect. Let thy command
Restore, great Father, thy instructed son;
And in my act may thy great will be done l
ON PART OF THE EIGHTY-EIGHTH PSALM. A COLLEGE EXERCISE, 1690.
HEAVY, O Lord, on me thy judgments lie,
Accurs'd I am, while God rejects my cry.
O'erwhelm’d in darkness and despair I groan;
And every place is hell; for God is gone.
O Lord! arise, and let thy beams control
Those horrid clouds, that press my frighted soul :
Save the poor wanderer from eternal night,
Thou that art the God of light.
Downward I hasten to my destin’d place; There none obtain thy aid, or sing thy praise.
Soon I shall lie in death's deep ocean drown'd :
Is mercy there, or sweet forgiveness found?
O save me yet, whilst on the brink I stand;
Rebuke the storm, and waft my soul to land.
O let her rest beneath thy wing secure,
Thou that art the God of power.
Behold the prodigals to thee I come,
To hail my father, and to seek my home.
Nor refuge could I find, nor friend abroad,
Straying in vice, and destitute of God.
O let thy terrors, and my anguish end
Be thou my refuge, and be thou my friend:
Receive the son thou didst so long reprove,
Thou that art the God of love.
TO THE REV. DR. FRANCIS TURNER,1
BISHOP OF ELY, wiio HAD ADVISED A TRANSLATION OF PRUDENTIUS.
IF poets, ere they cloth'd their infant thought, And the rude work to just perfection brought, Did still some god, or godlike man invoke, Whose mighty name their sacred silence broke:
1 Doctor Francis Turner was at that time master of St. John's College, Cambridge. He was one of the petitioning bishops who were committed to the Tower by James IL