« EelmineJätka »
Who breathes, must suffer; and who thinks, must
And he alone is bless'd, who ne'er was born.
"Yet in thy turn, thou frowning preacher, hear
Are not these general maxims too severe ?
Say: cannot power secure its owner's bliss?
And is not wealth the potent sire of peace?
Are victors bless'd with fame, or kings with ease?"
I tell thee, life is but one common care,
And man was born to suffer, and to fear.
But be the terror of these ills suppress'd,
And view we man with health and vigor blest.
Home he returns with the declining Sun,
His destin'd task of labor hardly done;
Goes forth again with the ascending ray,
Again his travel for his bread to pay,
And find the ill sufficient to the day.
Haply at night he does with horror shun
A widow'd daughter or a dying son;
His neighbor's offspring he to-morrow sees,
And doubly feels his want in their increase;
The next day, and the next, he must attend
His foe triumphant, or his buried friend.
In every act and turn of life, he feels
Public calamities, or household ills;
The due reward to just desert refus'd,
The trust betray'd, the nuptial bed abus'd;
The judge corrupt, the long-depending cause,
And doubtful issue of misconstrued laws;
The crafty turns of a dishonest state,
And violent will of the wrong-doing great;
The venom'd tongue, injurious to his fame,
Which nor can wisdom shun, nor fair advice re- The name of wise or great, of judge or king?
What is a king?-a man condemn'd to bear
The public burthen of the nation's care;
Now crown'd some angry faction to appease;
Now falls a victim to the people's ease;
From the first-blooming of his ill-taught youth,
Nourish'd in flattery, and estrang'd from truth;
At home surrounded by a servile crowd,
Prompt to abuse, and in detraction loud;
Abroad begirt with men, and swords, and spears,
His very state acknowledging his fears;
Marching amidst a thousand guards, he shows
His secret terror of a thousand foes:
"But is no rank, no station, no degree,
From this contagious taint of sorrow free?"
None, mortal! none. Yet in a bolder strain
Let me this melancholy truth maintain.
But hence, ye worldly and profane, retire;
For I adapt my voice, and raise my lyre,
To notions not by vulgar ear receiv'd:
Yet still must covet life, and be deceiv'd;
Your very fear of death shall make you try
To catch the shade of immortality;
Wishing on Earth to linger, and to save
Part of its prey from the devouring grave;
To those who may survive you to bequeath
Something entire, in spite of Time and Death;
A fancied kind of being to retrieve,
And in a book, or from a building, live.
False hope! vain labor! let some ages fly,
The dome shall moulder, and the volume die :
Wretches, still taught, still will ye think it strange,
That all the parts of this great fabric change,
Quit their old station, and primeval frame,
And lose their shape, their essence, and their name ?
Reduce the song: our hopes, our joys, are vain;
Our lot is sorrow, and our portion pain. [bring
What pause from woe, what hopes of comfort
Esteem we these, my friends, event and chance,
Produc'd as atoms from the fluttering dance?
Or higher yet their essence may we draw
From destin'd order and eternal law?
Again, my Muse, the cruel doubt repeat:
Spring they, I say, from accident or Fate?
Yet such we find they are as can control
The servile actions of our wavering soul:
Can fright, can alter, or can chain, the will;
Their ills all built on life, that fundamental ill.
O fatal search! in which the laboring mind, Still press'd with weight of woe, still hopes find
A shadow of delight, a dream of peace,
From years of pain one moment of release;
Hoping at least she may herself deceive,
Against experience willing to believe,
Desirous to rejoice, condemn'd to grieve.
Happy the mortal man, who now at last
Has through this doleful vale of misery past,
Who to his destin'd stage has carried on
The tedious load, and laid his burthen down ;
Whom the cut brass, or wounded marble, shows
Victor o'er Life, and all her train of woes.
He, happier yet, who, privileg'd by Fate
To shorter labor and a lighter weight,
Receiv'd but yesterday the gift of breath,
Order'd to-morrow to return to death.
But O! beyond description happiest he,
Who ne'er must roll on life's tumultuous sea;
Who, with bless'd freedom, from the general doom
Exempt, must never force the teeming womb,
Nor see the Sun, nor sink into the tomb!
Frequent for breath his panting bosom heaves;
To broken sleep his remnant sense he gives,
And only by his pains, awaking, finds he lives.
Loos'd by devouring Time, the silver cord
Dissever'd lies; unhonor'd from the board
The crystal urn, when broken, is thrown by,
And apter utensils their place supply.
These things and thou must share one equal lot,
Die and be lost, corrupt and be rgot;
While still another and another race
Shall now supply, and now give up the place;
From earth all came, to earth must all return,
Frail as the cord, and brittle as the urn.
to In war, however prudent, great, or brave,
To blind events and fickle chance a slave;
Seeking to settle what for ever flies,
Sure of the toil, uncertain of the prize.
But he returns with conquest on his brow,
Brings up the triumph, and absolves the vow:
The captive generals to his car were tied;
The joyful citizens' tumultuous tide,
Echoing his glory, gratify his pride.
What is this triumph? madness, shouts, and noise
One great collection of the people's voice.
The wretches he brings back in chains relate
What may to-morrow be the victor's fate.
The spoils and trophies, borne before him, show
National loss, and epidemic woe,
Various distress, which he and his may know.
Does he not mourn the valiant thousands slain,
The heroes, once the glory of the plain,
Left in the conflict of the fatal day,
Or the wolf's portion, or the vulture's prey?
Does he not weep the laurel which he wears,
Wet with the soldier's blood, and widow's tears ?
See, where he comes, the darling of the war!
See millions crowding round the gilded car!
In the vast joys of this ecstatic hour,
And full fruition of successful power,
One moment and one thought might let him scan
The various turns of life, and fickle state of man.
Are the dire images of sad distrust,
And popular change, obscur'd amid the dust
That rises from the victor's rapid wheel?
Can the loud clarion or shrill fife repel
The inward cries of care? can Nature's voice,
Plaintive, be drown'd or lessen'd in the noise;
Though shouts of thunder loud afflict the air,
Stun the birds, now releas'd, and shake the ivory
"Yon crowd," he might reflect, "yon joyful crowd,
Pleas'd with my honors, in my praises loud,
(Should fleeting Victory to the vanquish'd go,
Should she depress my arms, and raise the foe,)
Would for that foe with equal ardor wait
At the high palace, or the crowded gate;
With restless rage would pull my statues down,
And cast the brass anew to his renown.
"O impotent desire of worldly sway!
That I, who make the triumph of to-day,
May of to-morrow's pomp one part appear,
Ghastly with wounds, and lifeless on the bier!
Then (vileness of mankind!) then of all these,
Whom my dilated eye with labor sees,
Would one, alas! repeat me good, or great,
Wash my pale body, or bewail my fate?
Or, march'd I chain'd behind the hostile car,
The victor's pastime, and the sport of war,
Would one, would one his pitying sorrow lend,
Or be so poor, to own he was my friend?"
Avails it then, O Reason, to be wise?
To see this cruel scene with quicker eyes?
To know with more distinction to complain,
And have superior sense in feeling pain?
Let us revolve that roll with strictest eye,
Where, safe from Time, distinguish'd actions lie;
And judge if greatness be exempt from pain,
Or pleasure ever may with power remain.
Yet why these sorrows heap'd upon the sire,
Becomes nor man, nor angel, to inquire.
Each age sinn'd on, and guilt advanc'd with
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 deep abyss, ye waters, rise!"
The frighted angels heard th' Almighty Lord,
And o'er the Earth from wrathful vials pour'd
Tempests and storms, obedient to his word.
Meantime, his providence to Noah gave
The guard of all that he design'd to save.
Exempt from general doom the patriarch stood,
Contemn'd the waves, and triumph'd o'er the flood.
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 universal waste :
Present, (sad prospect!) can he aught descry
But (what affects his melancholy eye)
The beauties of the ancient fabric lost,
In chains of craggy hill, or lengths of dreary coast?
While, to high Heaven his pious breathings turn'd,
Weeping he hop'd, and sacrificing mourn'd;
When of God's image only eight he found
Snatch'd from the watery grave, and sav'd from
And of three sons, the future hopes of Earth,
The seed whence empires must receive their birth,
One he foresees excluded heavenly grace,
And mark'd 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 peevish wife;
Must with the mother leave the weeping son,
In want to wander, and in wilds to groan;
Must take his other child, his age's hope,
Adam, great type, for whom the world was made, To trembling Moriam's melancholy top,
The fairest blessing to his arms convey'd,
Order'd to drench his knife in filial blood,
A charming wife; and air, and sea, and land, Destroy his heir, or disobey his God.
And all that move therein, to his command
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.
Ere yet he earns his bread, adown his brow,
Inclin'd to earth, his laboring sweat must flow;
His limbs must ache, with daily toils oppress'd,
Ere long-wish'd night brings necessary rest.
Still viewing, with regret, his darling Eve,
He for her follies and his own must grieve;
Bewailing still afresh their hapless choice;
His ear oft frighted with the imag'd voice
Of Heaven, when first it thunder'd; oft his view
Aghast, as when the infant lightning flew,
And the stern cherub stopp'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.
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 sight,
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 wants and hardships must engage
Plots and rebellions must disturb his age;
Some Corah still arose, some rebel slave,
Prompter to sink the state, than he to save:
And Israel did his rage so far provoke,
That what the Godhead wrote, the prophet broke,
His voice scarce heard, his dictates scarce believ'd
In camps, in arms, in pilgrimage, he liv'd;
And died obedient to severest 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.
In the still shades of Death: for dread and pain,
And griefs, will find their shafts elanc'd in vain,
And their points broke, retorted from the head,
Safe in the grave, and free among the dead.
Yet tell me, frighted Reason! what is death?
Blood only stopp'd, and interrupted breath;
The utmost limit of a narrow span,
And end of motion, which with life began.
As smoke that rises from the kindling fires
Is seen this moment, and the next expires;
As empty clouds by rising winds are tost,
Their fleeting forms scarce sooner found than lost
So vanishes our state, so pass our days;
So life but opens now, and now decays;
The cradle and the tomb, alas! so nigh,
To live, is scarce distinguish'd from to die.
Cure of the miser's wish, and coward's fear,
Death only shows us what we knew was near.
With courage, therefore, view the pointed hour,
Dread not Death's anger, but expect his power;
Nor Nature's law with fruitless sorrow mourn,
But die, O mortal man! for thou wast born.
Cautious thro' doubt, by want of courage wise,
To such advice the reasoner still replies.
Yet measuring all the long-continued space,
Every successive day's repeated race,
Since Time first started from his pristine goal,
Till he had reach'd that hour wherein my soul,
Join'd to my body, swell'd the womb; I was
(At least I think so) nothing: must I pass
Again to nothing, when this vital breath,
Ceasing, consigns me o'er to rest and death?
Must the whole man, amazing thought! return
To the cold marble, or contracted urn?
And never shall those particles agree,
That were in life this individual he?
But, sever'd, must they join the general mass,
Through other forms and shapes ordain'd to pass,
Nor thought nor image kept of what he was?
Does the great Word, that gave him sense, ordain
Young as I was, I hasted to fulfil
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'er he stray'd from good,
And cite his sad example, whilst 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.
Ev'n there, my soul, ev'n there he should have fell, That life shall never wake that sense again?
But that my interest did my rage conceal.
Doubling my erime, I promise, and deceive,
Purpose to slay, whilst swearing to forgive.
Treaties, persuasions, sighs, and tears, are vain;
With a mean lie curs'd vengeance I sustain,
Join fraud to force, and policy to power,
Till, of the destin'd fugitive secure,
In solemn 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.
Mine was the murder; it was mine alone:
Years of contrition must the crime atone;
Nor can my guilty soul expect relief,
But from a long sincerity of grief.
And will no power his sinking spirits save
From the dark caves of Death, and chambers of the
Forlorn he must and persecuted fly,
Climb the steep mountain, in the cavern lie,
And often ask, and be refus'd, to die.
For ever, from his manly toil, 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 sins impress'd upon the dying child?
What heart can think the grief which he sustain'd,
When the king's crime brought vengeance on the
And the inexorable prophet's voice [choice?
Gave famine, plague, or war, and bid him fix his
He died; and, oh! may no reflection shed
Its poisonous venom on the royal dead!
Yet the unwilling truth must be express'd,
Which long has labor'd in this pensive 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 entail'd on Judah's crown.
With an imperfect hand, and trembling heart,
Her love of truth superior to her art,
Already the reflecting Muse has trac'd
The mournful figures of my actions past.
The pensive goddess has already taught
How vain is hope, and how vexatious thought;
From growing childhood to declining age,
How tedious every step, how gloomy every stage.
This course of vanity almost complete,
Tir'd in the field of life, I hope retreat
Each evening I behold the setting Sun,
With downward speed, into the Ocean run:
Yet the same light (pass but some fleeting hours)
Exerts his vigor, and renews his powers;
Starts the bright race again: his constant flame
Rises and sets, returning still the same.
I mark the various fury of the winds;
These neither seasons guide, nor order binds;
They now dilate, and now contract their force;
Various their speed, but endless is their course.
From his first fountain and beginning ouze,
Down to the sea each brook and torrent flows:
Though sundry drops or leave or swell the stream,
The whole still runs, with equal pace, the same;
Still other waves supply the rising urns,
And the eternal flood no want of water mourns.
Why then must man obey the sad decree,
Which subjects neither sun, nor wind, nor sea?
A flower, that does with opening morn arise,
And, flourishing the day, at evening dies;
A winged eastern blast, just skimming o'er
The ocean's brow, and sinking on the shore;
A fire, whose flames through crackling stubble fly,
A meteor shooting from the summer sky;
A bowl adown the bending mountain roll'd;
A bubble breaking, and a fable told.
Select from vulgar herds, with garlands gay,
A noontide shadow, and a midnight dream;
Are emblems which, with semblance apt, proclaim | A hundred bulls ascend the sacred way.
Our earthly course: but, O my soul! so fast
Must life run off, and death for ever last?
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.
remain,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,
This dark opinion, sure, is too confin'd:
Else whence this hope, and terror of the mind?
Does something still, and somewhere, yet
Reward or punishment, delight or pain?
Say, shall our relics second birth receive?
Sleep we to wake, and only die to live?
When the sad wife has closed her husband's eyes,
And pierc'd the echoing vault with doleful cries,
Lies the pale corpse not yet entirely dead,
The spirit only from the body fled;
The grosser part of heat and motion void,
To be by fire, or worm, or time, destroy'd;
The Soul, immortal substance, to remain,
Conscious of joy, and capable of pain?
And, if her acts have been directed well,
While with her friendly clay she deign'd to dwell,
Shall she with safety reach her pristine seat?
Find her rest endless, and her bliss complete?
And, while the buried man we idly mourn,
Do angels joy to see his better half return?
But, if she has deform'd this earthly life
With murderous rapine, and seditious strife,
Amaz'd, repuls'd, and by those angels driven
From the ethereal seat, and blissful Heaven,
In everlasting darkness must she lie,
Still more unhappy, that she cannot die?
Amid two seas, on one small point of land,
Wearied, uncertain, and amaz'd, we stand :
On either side our thoughts incessant turn;
Forward we dread, and looking back we mourn;
Losing the present in this dubious haste,
And lost ourselves betwixt the future and the past.
These cruel doubts contending in my breast,
My reason staggering, and my hopes oppress'd,
"Once more," I said, "once more I will inquire,
What is this little, agile, pervious fire,
This fluttering motion, which we call the Mind?
How does she act? and where is she confin'd?
Have we the power to guide her as we please?
Whence then those evils that obstruct our ease?
We happiness pursue; we fly from pain;
Yet the pursuit, and yet the flight, is vain:
And, while poor Nature labors to be blest,
By day with pleasure, and by night with rest,
Some stronger power eludes our sickly will,
Dashing our rising hope with certain ill;
And makes us, with reflective trouble, see
That all is destin'd, which we fancy free.
"That Power superior then, which rules our Is his decree by human prayer inclin'd? Will he for sacrifice our sorrows ease? And can our tears reverse his firm decrees? Then let Religion aid, where Reason fails: Throw loads of incense in, to turn the scales; And let the silent sanctuary show, What from the babbling schools we may not know, How man may shun or bear his destin'd part of woe. What shall amend, or what absolve, our fate? Anxious we hover in a mediate state, Betwixt infinity and nothing, bounds,
Or boundless terms, whose doubtful sense confounds.
Unequal thought! whilst all we apprehend
Is, that our hopes must rise, our sorrows end,
As our Creator deigns to be our friend."
I said; and instant bad the priests prepare
The ritual sacrifice and solemn prayer.
"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 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;
The sacred wood, which on the altar lay,
Untouch'd, unlighted, glows-
Ambrosial odor, such as never flows
From Arab's gum, or the Sabæan rose,
Does round the air evolving scents diffuse :
The holy ground is wet with heavenly dews:
Celestial music (such Jessides' lyre,
Such Miriam's timbrel, would in vain require)
Strikes to my thought through my admiring ear,
With ecstacy too fine, and pleasure hard to bear.
And lo! what sees my ravish'd eye? what feels
My wand'ring soul? An opening cloud reveals
An heavenly form, embodied, and array'd
With robes of light. I heard. The angel said:
"Cease, man of woman born, to hope relief From daily trouble and continued grief; Thy hope of joy deliver to the wind, Suppress thy passions, and prepare thy mind; Free and familiar with misfortune grow, Be us'd to sorrow, and inur'd to woe; By weakening toil and hoary age o'ercome, See thy decrease, and hasten to thy tomb; Leave to thy children tumult, strife, and war, Portions of toil, and legacies of care; Send the successive ills through ages down, And let each weeping father tell his son, That deeper struck, and more distinctly griev'd, He must augment the sorrows he receiv'd.
"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!)
Shall from thy dictates and his duty rove,
And lose his great defence, his people's love;
Ill-counsell'd, vanquish'd, fugitive, disgrac'd,
Shall mourn the fame of Jacob's strength effac'd;
Shall sigh the king diminish'd, and the crown
With lessen'd rays descending to his son;
Shall see the wreaths, his grandsire knew to reap
By active toil and military sweat,
Pining, incline their sickly leaves, and shed
Their falling honors from his giddy head;
By arms or prayer unable to assuage
Domestic horror and intestine rage,
Shall from the vietor and the vanquish'd fear,
From Israel's arrow, and from Judah's spear;
Shall cast his wearied limbs on Jordan's flood,
By brother's arms disturb'd, and stain'd with kin-
"Hence laboring years shall weep their destin'd 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.
"Afflicted Israel shall sit weeping down, Fast by the stream where Babel's waters run; Their harps upon the neighboring willows hung, Nor joyous hymn encouraging their tongue, Nor cheerful dance their feet; with toil oppress'd, Their wearied limbs aspiring but to rest.
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, levell'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 blest, 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 down-cast eye-lids, and with looks aghast, Shall dread the future, or bewail the past.
In the reflective stream the sighing bride,
Viewing her charms impair'd, abash'd, shall hide
Her pensive head; and in her languid face
The bridegroom shall foresee his sickly race,
While ponderous fetters vex their close embrace.
With irksome anguish then your priests shall mourn
Their long-neglected feasts' despair'd return,
And sad oblivion of their solemn days.
Thenceforth their voices they shall only raise,
Louder to weep. By day, your frighted seers
Shall call for fountains to express their tears,
And wish their eyes were floods; by night, from
Of opening gulfs, black storms, and raging flames,
Starting amaz'd, shall to the people show
Emblems of heavenly wrath, and mystic types of woe
"The captives, as their tyrant shall require That they should breathe the song, and touch the lyre,
Shall say: Can Jacob's servile race rejoice,
Untun'd the music, and disus'd the voice?
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 vietor's eye, to dread
The arbitrary lash, to bend, to grieve,
(Outcast of mortal race!) can we conceive
Image of aught delightful, soft, or gay?
Alas! when we have toil'd 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 fire?
Madness, we fancy, gave an ill-tim'd 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,
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 laboring senses may not droop,
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 redeem'd, 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 neighboring skies