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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;
Destin'd the next his journey to pursue,
Where wounding thorns, and cursed thistles grew.
E’er yet he earns his bread, a-down his brow,
Inclin'd to earth, his labouring sweat must flow:
His limbs must ake, with daily toils oppress’d;
E’er long-wilh'd night brings necessary rest :
Still viewing with regret his darling Eve,
He for her follies, and his own must grieve.
Bewailing still a-freíh their hapless choice;
His ear oft frighted with the imag'd voice
Of Heaven, when first it thunder'd ; oft his view
Aghaft, as when the infant lightning flew;
And the stern Cherub ftop'd the fatal road,
Arm'd with the flames of an avenging God.
His younger son on the polluted ground,
First fruit of death lies plaintive of a wound
Given by a brother's hand: his eldest birth
Flies, mark’d by Heaven, a fugitive o’er earth.
Yet why these forrows heap'd upon the fire,
Becomes not man, nor angel to enquire.
Each age finn'don; and guilt advanc'd with time:
The son still added to the father's crime;
"Till God arose, and great in anger said:
Lo! it repenteth me, that man was made,
Withdraw thy light, thou sun! be dark, ye skies!
And from your decp 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
The guard of all, that he design’d to fave.
Exempt from general doom the Patriarch stood;
Contemn'd the waves, and triumph'd o'er the food.
The winds fall silent: 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. If on the backward world his views are cast; 'Tis death diffus'd, and univerfal waste. Present (sad prospect!) can he ought descry, But (what affects his melancholy eye) The beauties of the antient fabric loft, In chains of craggy hill, or lengths of dreary coaft? While to high Heaven 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 watery grave, and fav’d from na
And of three fons, the future hopes of earth,
The feed, whence empires must receive their birth,
One he forefees excluded heavenly grace,
And marked 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 power maintain,
And slay the monarchs, ere he rules the plain;
Must deal just portions of a servile life
To a proud handmaid, and a peevith wife;
Muit with the mother leave the weeping son,
In want to wander, and in wilds to groan ;
Muit 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 severe for human fight,
Nor staying longer than one swift-wing'd night.
The following days, and months, and years decreed
To fierce encounter, and to toilsome deed.
His youth with want and hardships must engage:
Plots and rebellions must diiturb his age.
Some Coram still arose, fome rebel slave,
Prompter to fink the state, than he to save:
And Ifrael did his rage so far provoke, ,
That when the Godhead wrote, the Prophet broke.
His voice scarce heard, his dictates scarce believ'd,
In camps, in arins, in pilgrimage, he liv'd;
And dy'd obedient to feverest 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 perfecuted Ay;
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 power, and anguish of a crown.
What tongue can speak the restless monarch’s woes;
When God, and Nathan were declar'd his foes?
When every object his offence revil'd,
The husband murder'd, and the wife defil'd,
The parent's fins imprefs'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, or war; and bid him fix his
He dy'd; and oh! may no reflection shed
Its poisonous venom on the royal dead:
Yet the unwilling truth must be express’d;
Which long has labour'd in this penfive breast:
Dying he added to my weight of care:
He made me to his crimes undoubted heir:
Left his unfinish'd murder to his son,
And Joab's blood intail'd on Judah's crown.
Young as I was, I hafted 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 reverence 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 his fad exampie; whilit 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.
Even there, iny foul, even there he should have fell
But that my intereit did my rage conceal,
Doubling my crime, I promise, and deceive;
Purpose to slay, whilft swearing to forgive.
Treaties, persuasions, fighs, and tears are vain;
With a mean lye curs’d vengeance I suftain;
-Join fraud to force, and policy to power ;
'Till of the destin'd fugitive secure,
In folemn 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,