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Untuned the music, and disused the voice? 813
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
(Out cast of mortal race), can we conceive
Image of aught delightful, soft or gay? 820
Alas! when we have toiled 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;
Our endless anguish does not nature claim;
Reason and sorrow are to us the same!
Alas! with wild amazement we require,
If idle folly was not pleasure's sire; 830
Madness, we fancy, gave an ill-timed 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; 840
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, 847 Lost to delight, and destitute of hope: Remark what I, God's messenger, aver From him, who neither can deceive, nor err. The land at length redeemed, 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 promised seat of empire shall again Cover the mountain, and command the plain; And from thy race distinguished, One shall spring, Greater in act than victor, more than king 860 In dignity and power, sent down from Heaven, To succour earth. To Him, to Him, 'tis given, Passion, and care, and anguish to destroy. Through Him soft peace, and plenitude of joy Perpetual o'er the world redeemed shall flow, No more may man enquire, 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, 870 Gracious to others, thy desires suppressed, Diffused 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 impelled, or to obey, Or to object; at length (my mournful look Heavenward erect) determined, thus I spoke: 880
Supreme, all wise, eternal Potentate! SS1 Sole author, sole disposer of our fate! Enthroned in light, and immortality! Whom no man fully sees, and none can see! 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! 890
ON PART OF THE EIGHTY-EIGHTH PSALM.
A COLLEGE EXERCISE, 1690.
1 HEAVY, O Lord, on me thy judgments lie,
Accursed I am, while God rejects my cry;
O'erwhelmed 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.
2 Downward I hasten to my destined place;
There none obtain thy aid, or sing thy praise.
Soon I shall lie in death's deep ocean drowned:
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.
3 Behold the prodigal, 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, WHO HAD ADVISED A TRANSLATION
IF poets, ere they clothed their infant thought,
And the rude work to just perfection brought,
Did still some god, or god-like man invoke,
Whose mighty name their sacred silence broke;
Your goodness, Sir, will easily excuse
The bold requests of an aspiring muse;
Who, with your blessing would your aid implore,
And in her weakness justify your power.
From your fair pattern she would strive to write,
And with unequal strength pursue your flight; 10
Yet hopes she ne'er can err that follows you,
Led by your blessed commands, and great example too.
Then smiling and aspiring influence give,
And make the muse and her endeavours live;
Claim all her future labours as your due,
Let every song begin and end with you.
So to the blest retreat she'll gladly go,
Where the saints' palm and muses' laurel grow;
Where kindly both in glad embrace shall join,
And round your brow their mingled honours twine; 20
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 II. and one of those who were afterwards deprived of his see for refusing the oaths to the new government.
Both to the virtue due, which could excel, 21
As much in writing, as in living well.
So shall she proudly press the tuneful string,
And mighty things in mighty numbers sing;
Nor doubt to strike Prudentius' daring lyre,
And humbly bring the verse which you inspire.
To DR TURNER, BISHOP OF ELY, ON HIS DEPARTURE
TELL, dear Alexis, tell thy Damon, why
Dost thou in mournful shades obscurely lie;
Why dost thou sigh, why strike thy panting breast !
And steal from life the needful hours of rest?
Are thy kids starved by winter's early frost;
Are any of thy bleating stragglers lost;
Have strangers' cattle trod thy new-ploughed ground;
Has great Joanna, or her greater shepherd frowned :
See my kids browse, my lambs securely play,
(Ah, were their master unconcerned as they!) 10
No beasts (at noon I looked) had trod my ground;
Nor has Joanna, or her shepherd, frowned.
Then stop the lavish fountain of your eyes,
Nor let those sighs from your swoln bosom rise;
Chase sadness, friend, and solitude away,
And once again rejoice, and once again look gay.