תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

1

1

• (Should Aeeting Vi&t’ry to the vanquish'd go,
• Should she depress my arms, and raise the foe)
• Would for that foe with equał ardour wait
• At the high palace or the crouded gate;
• With restless rage would pull my statues down,
. And caft the brass anew to his renown.

• O impotent desire of worldly sway !
• That I, who make the triumph of to-day,

May of to-morrow's pomp one part appear,
• Ghaftly with wounds, and lifeless on the bier !

Then, (vileness of mankind !) then, of all these
• Whom my dilated eye with labour fees,
• Would one, alas! repeat me good or great,
• Wash my pale body, or bewail my fate?
• Or, march'd I chain'd behind the hostile car,
• The victor's paftime, and the sport of war,
• Would one, would one his pitying sorrow lend,
• Or be so poor, to own he was my friend?

• Avails it then, O Reason, to be wise ?
"To see this cruel scene with quicker eyes ?
• To know with more distinction to complain,
• And have superior sense in feeling pain?

• Let us revolve, that roll with strictest eye
• Where safe from Time diftinguish'd actions lie;
* And judge if greatness be exempt from pain,
• Or pleasure ever may with pow'r reinain.

• Adam, great type, for whom the world was made,
• The fairest blessing to his arms convey’d,
• A charming wife! and air, and fea, and land,
• And all that move therein, to his command
"Render'd obedient : say, my pensive Muse,
- What did these golden promises produce?
• Scarce tasting life, he was of joy bereav'd;

One day, I think, in Paradise he liv'd,
• Destind the next his journey to pursue,
• Where wounding thorns and cursed thistles grew.

Ere

• Ere yet he earns his bread, a-down his brow,
• Inclin'd to earth, his lab'ring fweat must flow;
• His limbs muft ache, with daily toils opprefsd,
· Ere long-wilh'd night brings necessary reit:
• Still viewing with regret his darling Eve,
He for her follies and his own must grieve.

Bewailing ftill afresh their hapless choice,

His ear oft frighted with the imag’d voice • Of Heav'n, when firft it thunder'd; oft his view

Aghat, as when the infant lightning flew, / • And the stern cherub stopp'd the fatal road, • Arm'd with the flames of an ävenging God. • His younger fon on the polluted ground, • First-fruit of death, lies plaintive of a wound • Giv'n by a brother's hand; his eldest birth • Flies, mark'd by Heav'n, a fugitive o’er earth : Yet why these sorrows heap'd upon the fire, • Becomes nor man nor angel to enquire. Each

age

finn'd on, and guilt advanc'd with time; · The son still added to the father's crime: « Till God arose ; and, great in anger, faid, Lo ! it repenteth me that man was made. “ Withdraw thy light, thou fun! be dark, ye skies! “ And, from your deep abyss, ye waters, rise !"

· The frighted angels heard th’ Almighty Lord,
• And o'er the earth, from wrathful viols, pour’d
• Tempests and storms, obedient to his word.
- Mean time his Providence to Noah gave

The guard of all that he design'd to fave:
Exempt from gèn’ral doom the patriarch stood,
Contemnd the waves, and triumph'd o'er the flood.

· The winds fall filent, and the waves decrease ;
« The dove brings quiet, and the olive peace:
" Yet still his heart does inward sorrow feel,
( Which faith alone forbids him to reveal.

}

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• If on the backward world his views are cast, • 'Tis death diffus'd, and universal waste.

Present, (sad prospect !) can he aught descry • But (what affects his melancholy eye) - The beauties of the ancient fabrick 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 facrifcing mourn'd; • When of God's image only eight he found • Snatch'd from the wat’ry grave, and sav'd from nations drown'd; • And of three sons, the future hopes of earth, • The seed 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 say the monarchs ere he rules the plain ; • Muft deal just portions of a servile life • To a proud handmaid and a peevith wife ; • Must with the mother leave the weeping son, - 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.

Mofes 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 fierce encounter, and to toilfome deed. · His youth with wants and hardships must engage ; « Plots and rebellions must disturb his

« Some

}

age :

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Some Corah ftill arose, fome rebel llave,

Prompter to sink the state, than he to fave; 6 And Israel did his rage so far provoke, • That what the Godhead wrote the prophet broke. 6 His voice scarce heard; his dictatės 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 saw.

• 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 must fear • Goliah's lifted sword, and Saul's emitted spear. « Forlorn he must, and persecuted, fly, • Climb the steep mountain, in the cavern lie; * And often ak, and be refus'd to die.

• For ever from his manly toil are known * The weight of pow'r, and anguilh of a crown. • What tongue can speak the reftlefs monarch's woess • When God and Nathan were declar'd his foes ? • When ev'ry object his offence revild; • The husband murder'd, and the wife defil'd; * The parent's fins impress'd upon the dying child ? • What heart can think the grief which he sustain'd, • When the king's crime brought vengeance on the land; • And the inexorable prophet's voice • Gave famine, plague, of war, and bid him fix his choice. • He dy'd; and, oh! may no reflection shed

It's pois'nous venom on the royal dead. • Yet the unwilling truth must be express’d, " Which long has labour'd in this penfive breaft: • Dying, he added to my weight of care ; • He made me to his crimes undoubted heir ; • Left his unfinisa'd murder to his son, • And Joab's blood entail'd on Judah's crown.

}

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Young

}

Young as I was, I hasted to fulfil
• The cruel dictates of my parent's will :
« Of his fair deeds a diftant 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 trače,
• Broken and old in Bathsheba's embrace;
• Could follow him where'er he stray'd from good,
• And cite his fad example, whilft 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 view,
• Watch all his acts, and all his ways pursue :
" In vain for life he to the altar fled ;
• Ambition and Revenge have certain speed.
• E'en there, my foul, e'en there he should have fell,
. But that

my
int'reit did

my rage conceal.
• Doubling my crime, I promise and deceive,

Purpose to say, whilft swearing to forgive. Treaties, persuafions, fighs, and tears, are vain ; • With a mean lye curs’d vengeance I sustain, · Join fraud to force, and policy to pow'r,

Till of the destin'd fugitive secure, 1 In solemn state to parricide I rise, * And, as God lives, this day my brother dies

• 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 ;

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »