« הקודםהמשך »
And o'er the earth from wrathful viols pour'd
Tempefts and ftorms, obedient to his word.
Mean time, his Providence to Noah gave
The guard of all, that he defign'd to fave.
Exempt from general doom the Patriarch ftood ;
Contemn*d the waves, and triumph*d o'er the fiood. -
The winds fall filent: and the waves decreafe:
The Dove brings quiet, and the Olive peace :
Yet ftill his heart does inward forrow feel,
Which Faith alone forbids him to reveal.
Ifon the backward world his views are caft;
'Tis death diffus'd, and univerfal wafte.
Prefent (fad profpeét!) can he ought defcry,
But (what affe&ts 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-
tions drown'd ;
And of three fons, the future hopes of earth,
The feed, whence empires muft receive their birth, ,
One he forefees excluded heavenly grace,
And marked with curfes, fatal to his race.
Abraham, potent prince, the friend of God,
Of human iIIs mufl bear the deftin'd load ;
Byblood and battles muft his power maintain,
And flay the monarchs, ere he rules the plain ;
Vol. II, - G Muft
The frighted angels heard th' Almighty Lord ; }
Muft deal juft portions of a fervile life
To a proud handmaid, and a peevifh wife ;
Muft with the mother leave the weeping fon,
In want to wander, and in wilds to groam ;
Muft take his other child, his age's hope,
To trembling Moriam's melancholy top,
Order'd to drench his knife in filial blood ;
Deflroy his heir, or difobey his God.
Mofes beheld that God; but how beheld
The Peity in radiant beams conceal'd,
And clouded in a deep abyfs of light;
While prefent, too fevere for human fight, ?
Nor flaying longer than one fwift-wing'd night.
The following days, and months, and years decreed.
To fierce encounter, and to toilfome deed.
His youth with want and hardfhips muft engage:
Plots and rebellions muft diflurb his age.
Some Coram ftill arofe, fome rebel flave,
Prompter to fink the ftate, than he to fave:
And Ifrael did his rage fo far provoke,
That when the Godhead wrote, the Prophet broke.
His voice fcarce heard, his di&tates fcarce believ'd,
In camps, in arms, iii pilgrimage, he liv'd;
And dy*d obedient to fevereft law,
Forbid to tread the promis'd land, he faw.
My father's iife was one long line of care,
A fcene of danger, and a ftate of war.
Alarm'd, expos' d, his childhood muft engage
The bear's rough gripe, and foaming lion's rage-
By various turns his threaten'd youth muft fear
Goliah's lifted fword, and Saul's emitted fpear.
Forlorn he muft, and perfecuted fiy;
Climb the fteep mountain in the cavern lie; ?
And often afk, and be refus'd to die.
For ever, from his manly toils, are known
•The weight of power, and anguifh of a crown.
What tongue can fpeak the reftlefs monarch's woes;
When God, and Nathan were declar'd his foes ?
When every obje&t his offence revil'd, Y
The hufband murder'd, and the wife defi1'd, $
The parent's fins imprefs'd upon the dying chiid ?
What heart can think the grief which he fuflain'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 choice ?
He dy'd; and oh ! may no refle&tion fhed
Its poifonous venom om the royal dead :
Yet the unwilling truth muft be exprefs'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 unfinifh'd murder to his fon,
And Joab's blood intail'd on Judah's crown.
Young as I was, I hafted to fulfill
The cruel di&tates of my parent's will.
Ofhis fair deeds a diftant view I took;
But turn'd the tube upon his faults to look ;
G 2 Forgot
Forgot his youth, fpent in his country's caufe,
His care of right, his reverence to the laws :
But could with joy his years of folly trace,
Broken and old in Bathfheba's, embrace;
Could follow him, where-e'er he ftray'd from good,
And cite his fad exam pie ; whilit I trod $
Paths open to deceit, and track'd with blood.
Soon docile to the fecret a&ts ofill,
With finiles I could betray, with temper kil1:
Soon in a brother could a rival view;
Watch all his a&ts, and all his ways purfue.
In vain for life he to the alt.ur fled:
Ambition and revenge have certain fpecd.
Even there, my foui, even there he fhould have fell
But that my intereft did my rage conceal.
Doubling my crime, I promife, and deceive ;
Purpofe to flay, whilft fwearing to forgive.
Trcaties, perfuafions, fighs, and tears are vain :
With a mean lye curs*d vengeance I fuftain ;
Join fraud to force, and policy to power;
*Ti11 of the deftin'd fugitive fecure,
In folemn ftate to parricide I rife ;
And, as God lives, this day my brother dies.
Be witnefs to my tears, celeftial Mufe!
In vain I would forget, in vain excufe
Fraternal blood by my dire&tion fpilt;
In vain on Joab's head transfer the guilt:
'The deed was a&ted by the fubject's hand ;
The fword was pointed by the king's command,
AMine was the murder: it was mine alone ;
Years of contrition muft the crime atone :
Nor can my guilty foul expe&t relief,
But from a long fincerity of grief.
With an imperfe&i hand, and trembling heart,
Her love oftruth fuperior to her art,
Already the refle&ting Mufe has trac'd
The mournful figures of my a&tion paft.
The penfive Goddefs has already taught,,
How vain is hope, and how vexatious thought;
From growing childhood to declining age,
How tedious every ftep, how gloomy every ftage.
This courfe of vanity almoft compleat,
Tir'd in the field of life, I hope retreat
In the ftill fhades of death : for dread and pain,
And griefs will find their fhafts elanc'd in *aim,
And their points broke, retorted from the head,
Safe in the grave, and free among the dead.
Yet tel1 me, frighted Reafon ! what is Death ?
Blood only ftopp'd, and interrupted breath ;
The utmoft limit of a narrow fpan,
And end of motion which with life began, -
As fmoke that rifes from the kindling fires
Is feen this moment, and the next expires:
As empty clouds by rifing winds are toft,
Their fleeting forms fcarce fooner found than loft : '
Se vanifhes our ftate, fo pafs our days: - va |
So life but opens now, and now decays:
The cradle and the tomb, alas! fo nigh ;
To live is fcarce diftinguifh'd from to die,