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Lay'd all the civil bonds of manhood waste:
And scatter'd ruin as the torrent palt.
So from the bills, whose hollow caves contain
The congregated snow, and swelling rain;
*Till the full stores their antient bounds disdain;
Precipitate the furious torrent flows:
In vain would speed avoid, or strength oppose;
Towns, forests, herds, and men promiscuous drown'd,
With one great death deform the dreary ground:
The echo'd woes from diftant rocks resound.
And now, what impious ways my wishes took;
How they the monarch, and the man forsook;
And how I followed an abandoned will,
Thro' crooked paths, and fad retreats of ill;
How Judah's daughters now, now foreign slaves,
By turns my prostituted bed receives :
Through tribes of women how I loosely rang'd
Impatient; liked to-night, to-morrow chang'd;
And, by the instinct of capricious luit,
Enjoyed, disdained, was grateful, or unjust:
o, be these scenes from human eyes conceal'd,
In clouds of decent silence justly veild!
O, be the wanton images convey'd
To black oblivion, and eternal shade!
Or let their sad Epitome alone,
And outward lines, to future
be known, Enough to propagate the fure belief, That vice engender; fhame; and folly broods o'er
Baryed in Roth, and loft in case I lay:
The night I revelled; and I slept the day.
New heaps of fewel đanıped my kindling fires;
And daily change extinguish'd young desires.
By its own force destroy'd, fruition ceas'd;
And, always weary'd, I was never pleas'd.
No longer now does my neglected mind
Its wonted stores, and old Ideas find.
Fix'd judgment there no longer does abide,
To take the true, or set the false afide.
No longer does swift memory trace the cells,
Where springing wit, or young invention dwells.
Frequent debauch to habitude prevails:
Patience of toil, and love of virtue fails.
By fad degrees impaired my vigour dies;
'Till I command no longer e’en in vice.
The women on my dotage build their sway :
They ask ; I grant: they threaten; I obey,
In regal garments now I gravely stride,
Aw'd by the Persian damfel's haughty pride.
Now with the looser Syrian dance, and fing,
In robes tuck'd up, opprobrious to the king.
Charm'd by their eyes, their manners I acquire,
And shape my foolishness to their desire,
Seduced and awed by the Philistine dame,
At Dagon's shrine I kindle impious flame.
With the Chaldean's charms her rites prevail ;
And curling frankincense ascends to Baal.
To each new harlot I new altars dress;
And ferve her God, whose person I caref.
Where, my deluded sense, was Reason flown?
Where the high majesty of David's throne ?
Where all the maxims of eternal truth,
With which the living God inform’d my youth:
When with the lewd Egyptian I adore
Vain idols, deities that ne'er before
In Israel's land had fix'd their dire abodes,
Beastly divinities, and droves of Gods:
Osiris, Apis, powers that chew the cud,
And dog Anubis, flatterer for his food;
When in the woody hills forbidden shade
I carv'd the marble, and invok'd its aid:
When in the fens to snakes and flies, with zeal
Unworthy human thought, I proftrate fell;
To shrubs and plants my vile devotion paid;
And set the bearded leek, to which I pray’d:
When to all beings sacred rites were given;
Forgot the arbiter of earth and heaven.
Through these sad shades, this Chaos in my soul,
Some feeds of light at length began to roll.
The rising motion of an infant ray
Shot glimmering thro' the cloud, and promis'd day.
And now, one moment able to reflect,
I found the king abandoned to neglect,
Seen without awe, and served without respect.
I found my subjects amicably join,
To lessen their defects by citing mine.
The priest with pity prayed for David's race;
And left his text, to dwell on my disgrace.
The father, whilft he warn'd his erring son,
To fad examples which he ought to fhun,
Describ’d and only named not Solomon.
Each bard, each fire did to his pupil fing,
A wise child better than a foolish king.
Into myself my reason's eye I torn'd;
And as I much reflected, much I mourn’d.
A mighty king I am, an earthly God:
Nations obey my word, and wait my nod;
I raise or fink, imprison or set free;
And life or death depends on my decree.
Fond the Idea, and the thought is vain :
O’er Judah’s king ten thousand tyrants reign;
Legions of luft, and various powers of ill
Insult the master's tributary will:
And he, from whom the nations should receive
Justice and freedom, lies himself a flave,
Tortur'd by cruel change of wild desires,
Lashed by mad rage, and scorched by brutal fires.
O Reason! once again to thee I call:
Accept my sorrow, and retrieve my fall.
Wisdom, thou say'st, from Heaven received her birth;
Her beams transmitted to the subject earth:
Yet this great empress of the human soul
Does only with imagin'd power controul;
If restless passion by rebellious sway
Compels the weak usurper to obey.
O troubled, weak, and coward, as thou art!
Without thy poor advice the laboring heart
To worse extremes with swifter steps would run,
Not saved by virtue, yet by vice undone.
Oft have I said ; the praise of doing well
Is to the ear, as ointment to the smell.
Now, if some flies perchance, however small,
Into the alabaster urn shou'd fall;
The odours of the sweets inclosed, would die;
And stench corrupt (fad change!) their place supply.
So the least faults, if mixed with fairelt deed,
Of future ill become the fatal feed :
Into the balm of purest virtue cast,
Annoy all life with one contagious blast.
Loft Solomon! pursue this thought no more :
Of thy past errors recollect the store:
And îlent weep, that while the deathless Muse
Shall sing the just, hall o'er their heads diffuse.
Perfumes with lavish hand; the shall proclaim
Thy crimes alone; and to thy evil fame
Impartial, scatter damps and poisons on thy name.
Awaking therefore, as who long had dream’d,
Much of my women, and their Gods afham’d;
From this abyss of exemplary vice
Resolved, as time might aid my thought, to rise;
Again I bid the mournful Goddess write
The fond pursuit of fugitive delight:
Bid her exalt her melancholy wing,
And, raised from earth, and fav'd from passion, fing
Of human hope by cross event destroy'd,
Of useless wealth, and greatness unenjoy’d,
Of luft and love, with their fantastic train,
Their wishes, smiles, and looks deceitful, all and vain.
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