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Then let religion aid where reason fails,
What shall amend, or what absolve our fate?
I said,-and instant bade the priests prepare The ritual sacrifice and solemn prayer. Select from vulgar herds, with garlands gay, A hundred bulls ascend the sacred way : The artful youth proceed to form the choir, They breathe the flute, or strike the vocal wire: The maids in comely order next advance, They beat the timbrel and instruct the dance: Follows the chosen tribe, from Levi sprung, Chanting by just return the holy song: Along the choir in solemn state they past, - The anxious King came last. The sacred hymn perform’d, my promis'd vow I paid, and, bowing at the altar low, 'Father of heaven! (I said) and judge of earth! Whose word call’d out this universe to birth, By whose kind power and influencing care The various creatures move, and live, and are ; But ceasing once that care, withdrawn that power, They move (alas!) and live, and are no more; Omniscient Master, omnipresent King, To thee, to thee, my last distress I bring.
Thou that canst still the raging of the seas, Chain up the winds and bid the tempests cease, Redeem my shipwreck'd soul from raging gusts Of cruel passion, and deceitful lusts ; From storms of rage and dangerous rocks of pride, Let thy strong hand this little vessel guide. (It was thy hand that made it) through the tide ) Impetuous of this life ; let thy command Direct my course, and bring me safe to land. If, while this wearied flesh draws fleeting
breath, Not satisfied with life, afraid of death, It haply be thy will that I should know Glimpse of delight or pause from anxious woe; From now, from instant now, great Sire! dispel The clouds that press my soul; from now reveal A gracious beam of light; from now inspire My tongue to sing, my hand to touch the lyre; My open'd thought to joyous prospects raise, And for thy mercy let me sing thy praise : Or, if thy will ordains I still shall wait Some new hereafter and a future state, Permit me strength my weight of woe to bear, And raise my mind superior to my care : Let me, howe'er unable to explain The secret labyrinths of thy ways to man, With humble zeal confess thy awful power, Still weeping hope, and wondering, still adore : So in my conquest be thy might declar'd, And for thy justice be thy name rever'd.'
My prayer scarce ended, a stupendous gloom Darkens the air; loud thunder shakes the dome: To the beginning miracle succeed An awful silence, and religious dread.
Sudden breaks forth a more than common day:
Cease, Man, of woman born, to hope relief
'The child to whose success thy hope is bound, Ere thou art scarce interr'd, or he is crown'd, To lust of arbitrary sway inclin'd, (That cursed poison to the prince's mind!) VOL. XV.
Shall from thy dictates and his duty rove,
dred blood. • Hence labouring years shall weep their destin'd
race, Charg'd with ill omens, sullied with disgrace: Time, by necessity compell’d, shall go Through scenes of war, and epochas of woe: The empire lessen'd in a parted stream Shall lose its course Indulge thy tears; the heathen shall blaspheme; ) Judah shall fall, oppress’d by grief and shame, And men shall, from her ruins, know her fame. )
New Egypts yet, and second bonds remain, A harsher Pharaoh, and a heavier chain. Again, obedient to a dire command, Thy captive sons shall leave the Promis'd Land; Their name more low, their servitude more vile, Shall on Euphrates' bank renew the grief of Nile.
These pointed spires that wound the ambient sky, Inglorious change! shall in destruction lie Low, leveli'd with the dust, their heights unknown, Or measur'd by their ruin. Yonder throne, For lasting glory built, design'd the seat Of kings for ever bless'd, for ever great, Remov'd by the invader's barbarous hand, Shall grace his triumph in a foreign land; The tyrant shall demand yon sacred load Of gold and vessels set apart to God; Then by vile hands to common use debas'd, Shall send them flowing round his drunken feast, With sacrilegious taunt and impious jest. )
"Twice fourteen ages shall their way complete ; Empires by various turns shall rise and set, While thy abandon'd tribes shall only know A different master and a change of woe; With downcast eyelids, and with looks aghast, Shall dread the future or bewail the past.
‘Afflicted Israel shall sit weeping down,