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Present (fad prospect!) can he ought descry,
But (what affects his melancholy eye)
The beauties of the ancient fabric loft,
In chains of craggy hill, or lengths of dreary coast ?
While to high heav'n 'his pious breathings turn’d,
Weeping he hop'd, and facrificing mourn'd;
When of God's image only eight he found
Snatch'd from the wat’ry grave, and sav'd from na.
And of three sons, the future hopes of earth,
The feed, whence empires must receive their birth,
One he foresees excluded heav'nly grace,
And mark'd with curses, fatal to his race.
Abraham, potent prince, the friend of God,
Of human ills must bear the destin'd load;
By blood and battles must his pow'r maintain,
And lay the monarchs, ere he rules the plain,
Must deal juft portions of a fervile life
To a proud handmaid, and a peevith wife;
Must with the mother leave the weeping song
In want to wander, and in wilds to groan ;
Must take his other child, his age's hope,
To trembling Moriam's melancholy top,
Order'd to drench his knife in filial blood;
Destroy his heir, or disobey his God.
Moses beheld that God; but how beheld
The Deity in radiant beams conceal'd,
And clouded in a deep abyss of light;
While present, too fevere for human right,
Nor staying longer than one swift-wing'd night.
The following days, and months, and years decreed
To fieroe encounter, and to coilsome deed,
His youth with want and hardships must engage :
Plots and rebellions must disturb his age,
Some Corab still arose, some rebel slave,
Prompter to Gink the state, than be to fave :
And Israel did his rage fo far provoke,
That what the Godhead wrote, the prophet broke.
His voice scarce heard, his dictates scarce believ'd,
In camps, in arms, in pilgrimage he liv'd;
And dy'd obedient to severest law,
Forbid to tread the promis'd land, he faw.
My father's life was one long line of care,
A scene of danger, and a state of war,
Alarm'd, expos'd, his childhood must engage
The bear's rough gripe, and foaming lion's rage.
By various turns his threaten'd youth mult fear
Goliab's lifted sword, and Saul's emitted spear.
Forlorn he must, and persecuted fly;
Climb the steep mountain, in the cavern lie ;
And often ask, and be refus'd to die.
For ever, from his manly toils, are known
The weight of pow'r, and anguifh of a crown.
What tongue can speak the restlefs monarch's woes;
When God, and Nathan were declar'd his foes?!
When ev'ry object his offence revild,
The husband murder'd, and the wife defilul,
The parent's Gns impress'd upon the dying child?
What heart can think the grief which he sustain'd;
When the king's crime brought vengeance on theland;
And the inexorable prophet's voice [choice?
Gave famine, plague, or war; and bid him fix his
He dy'd; and oh! may no reflexion fhed
Its pois'nous venom on the royal dead :
Yet the unwilling truth must be exprefs'd;
Which long has labour'd in this penGive breaft:
Dying he added to my weight of care :
He made me to his crimes undoubted heir :
Left his unfinith'd murder to his son,
And Joab's blood intail'd on Judah's crowd.
Young as I was, I halted to fulfill
The cruel dictates of my parent's will.
Of his fair deeds a distant view I took;
But turn'd the tube upon his faults to look;
Forgot his youth, spent in his country's cause,
His care of right, his rev'rence to the laws:
But could with joy his years of folly trace,
Broken and old in Bathsheba's embrace
Could follow him, where-e'er he stray'd from good,
And cite this fad example : whilst I trod
Paths open to deceit, and track'd with blood.
Soon docile to the secret acts of ill,
With smiles I could betray, with temper kill :
Soon in a brother could a rival views
Watch all his acts, and all his ways pursue.
In vain for life he to the altar fed :
Ambition and revenge have certain speed.
Ev'n there, my soul, ev’n there he should have fell;
But that my interest did my rage conceal :
Doubling my crime, I promise, and deceive ;
Purpose to flay, whilst swearing to forgive.
Treaties, persuasions, fighs, and tears are vain;
With a mean lie curs'd vengeance I fustains
Join fraud to force, and policy to pow'r;
'Till of the destin'd fugitive secure,
In solemn state to parricide I rise ;
And, as God lives, this day my brother dics.
Be witness to my tears, celestial muse!
In vain I would forget, in vain excuse
Fraternal blood by my direction spilt ;
In vain on Joab's head transfer the guilt :
The deed was acted by the subject's hand;
The sword was pointed by the king's command.
Mine was the murder : it was mine alone;
Years of contrition must the crime atone :
Nor can my guilty soul expect relief,
But from a long sincerity of grief.
With an imperfect hand, and trembling heart, Her love of truth superior to her art. Already the reflecting muse has trac’d The mournful figures of my action paft. The pen Gve goddess has already taught, How vain is hope, and how vexatious thought; From growing childhood to declining age, How tedious ev'ry step, how gloomy ev'ry stage. This course of vanity almoft compleat, Tir'd in the field of life, I hope retreat In the still shades of death : for dread and pain, And grief will find the shafts elanc'd in vain, And their points broke, retorted from the head, Safe in the grave, and free among the dead.
Yet tell me, frighted Reason! what is death? Blood only stopp'd, and interrupted breath? The utmost limit of a narrow span, And end of motion which with life began ? As smoke that rises from the kindling fires Is seen this moment, and the next expires; VOL. II.
As empty clouds by rising winds are tost,
Their feeting forms scarce sooner found-than loft;
So vanishes our state, so pass our days:
So life but opens now, and now decays :
The cradle and the tomb, alas ! so nigh;
To live is scarce distinguish'd from to die.
Cure of the miser's wish, and coward's fear,
Death only shews us, what we knew was near.
With courage therefore view the pointed hour;
Read not death's danger ; but expect his pow'r;
Nor nature's law with fruitless forrow mourn ;
But die, O mortal man ! for thou wast born.
Cautious thro' doubt; by want of courage, wise,
To fuch advice the reasʼner still replies.
Yet measuring all the long continu'd space,
Ev'ry successive day's repeated race,
Since time first started from his pristine goal,
'Till he had reach'd that hour, wherein my soul
Join’d to my body (well’d the wonib; I was,
(At least I think so) nothing : must I pass
Again to nothing, when this vital breath
Ceasing, consigns me o'er to rest, and death?
Must the whole man, amazing thought! return
To the cold marble, or contracted urn?
And never thrall those particles -ageee,
That were in life this individual He?
But sever'd, muft they join the general mass,
Thuocther forms, and shapes ordain'd to pass;
Nor thought nor image kept of what he was ?
Does the great Word that gave him sense, ordain,
That life shall never wake that sense again?