« EelmineJätka »
“O! witness Earth beneath, and Heaven above! O! yet my tortur'd senses deep retain For can I hide it? I am sick of love ;
The wretched memory of my former pain, If madness may the name of passion bear, The dire affront, and my Egyptian chain. Or love be call'd what is indeed despair. [trols “ As time," I said, “ may happily efface
“ Thou Sovereign Power? whose secret will con- That cruel image of the king's disgrace, The inward bent and motion of our souls! Imperial reason shall resume her seat, Why hast thou plac'd such infinite degrees And Solomon, once fall'n, again be great. Between the cause and cure of my disease ? Betray'd by passion, as subdued in war, The mighty object of that raging fire,
We wisely should exert a double care,
Nor ever ought a second time to err."
I call'd her often, for she always servid.
Whene'er I revell'd in the women's bowers, Till he and joy together should appear,
(For first I sought her but at looser hours) And the lov'd dog declare his master near. The apples she had gather'd smelt most sweet, On my declining neck and open breast
The cakes she kneaded was the savcry meat: I should have lullid the lovely youth to rest,
But fruits their odor lost, and meats their taste, And from beneath his head, at dawning day, If gentle Abra had not deck'd the feast; With softest care have stol'n my arm away, Dishonor'd did the sparkling goblet stand, To rise and from the fold release the sheep, Unless receiv'd from gentle Abra's hand; Fond of his flock, indulgent to his sleep.
And, when the virgins form’d the evening choir, “Or if kind Heaven, propitious to my flame, Raising their voices to the master lyre, (For sure from Heaven the faithful ardor came,) Too flat I thought this voice, and that too shrill; Had blest my life, and deck'd my natal hour One show'd too much, and one too liule skill; With height of title, and extent of power; . Nor could my soul approve the music's tone, Without a crime my passion had aspir’d,
Till all was hush'd, and Abra sung alone. Found the lov'd prince, and told what I desir'd. Fairer she seem'd distinguish'd from the rest, “ Then I had come, preventing Sheba's queen,
And better mien disclos'd, as better drest. To see the comeliest of the sons of men,
A bright tiara, round her forehead tied, To hear the charming poet's amorous song,
To juster bounds confin'd its rising pride ; And gather honey falling from his tongue, The blushing ruby on her snowy breast To take the fragrant kisses of his mouth,
Render'd its panting whiteness more confessd ; Sweeter than brceżes of her native south, Bracelets of pearl gave roundness to her arm, Likening his grace, his person, and his mien, And every gem augmented every charm. To all that great or beauteous I had seen. Her senses pleas'd, her beauty still improv'd, Serene and bright his eyes, as solar beams And she more lovely grew, as more belov’d. Reflecting temper'd light from crystal streams; And now I could behold, avow, and blame Ruddy as gold his cheek; his bosom fair
The several follies of my former flame; As silver; the curl'd ringlets of his hair
Willing my heart for re mpense to prove Black as the raven's wing; his lip more red The certain joys that lie in prosperous love. Than eastern coral, or the scarlet thread ;
" For what,” said I, “ from Abra can I fear, Even his teeth, and white like a young flock Too humble to insult, too soft to be severe? Coeval, newly shorn, from the clear brook The damsel's sole ambition is to please : Recent, and branching on the sunny rock. With freedom I may like, and quit with ease; Ivory, with sapphires interspers’d, explains She soothes, but never can enthral my mind : How while his hands, how blue the manly veins. Why may not Peace and Love for once be join'd? Columns of polish'd marble, firmly set
Great Heaven! how frail thy creature man 1. On golden bases, are his legs and feet;
made! His stature all majestic, all divine,
How by himself insensibly betray'd !
Too little cautious of the adverse power,
And give our conduct to the waves and wind; With unborn monarchs charg'd, and Solomons to Then in the fowery mead, or verdant shade,
To wanton dalliance negligently laid, Here o'er her speech her flowing eyes prevail. We weave the chaplet, and we crown the bowl, O foolish maid! and O unhappy tale!
And smiling see the nearer waters roll, My suffering heart for ever shall defy
Till the strong gusts of raging passion rise. New wounds and danger from a future eye. Till the dire tempest mingles earth and skies:
And, swift into the boundless ocean borne,
Whilst I assume my father's step and mien, Our foolish confidence too late we mourn ; To meet with due regard my future queen. Round our devoted heads the billows beat, (treat. If haply Abra's will be now inclin'd And from our troubled view the lessen'd lands re- To range the woods, or chase the flying hind,
O mighty Love! from thy unbounded power Soon as the Sun awakes, the sprightly court
Leave their repose, and hasten to the sport.
Thy king, Jerusalem, descends to wait
The haughty nymph, in open beauty drest, Sustains the nymph: her garments flying loose, To-day encounters our unguarded breast: (As the Sydonian maids or Thracian use,) She looks with majesty, and moves with state ; And half her knee and half her breast appear, Unbent her soul, and in misfortune great,
By art, like negligence, disclos’d and bare.
Here whilst we take stern manhood for our guide, A silver bow she carries in her right,
Diana, huntress, mistress of the groves,
To-morrow; cruel power! thou arm'st the fair Clarions and horns in louder peals proclaim With flowing sorrow, and dishevell'd hair; Her mystic praise ; the vocal triumphs bound Sad her complaint, and humble is her tale, Against the hills ; the hills reflect the sound. Her sighs explaining where her accents fail.
If, tir'd this evening with the hunted woods, Here generous softness warms the honest breast; To the large fish-pools, or the glassy floods, We raise the sad, and succor the distress'd. Her mind to-morrow points; a thousand hands, And, whilst our wish prepares the kind relief, To-night employ’d, obey the king's commands. Whilst pity mitigates her rising grief,
Upon the watery beach an artful pile We sicken soon from her contagious care, Of planks is join'd, and forms a moving isle : Grieve for her sorrows, groan for her despair; A golden chariot in the midst is set, And against Love too late those bosoms arm, And silver cygnets seem to feel its weight. Which tears can soften, and which sighs can warm. Abra, bright queen, ascends her gaudy throne, Against this nearest, cruellest of foes,
In semblance of the Grecian Venus known: What shall Wit meditate, or Force oppose ? Tritons and sea-green Naïads round her move, Whence, feeble Nature, shall we summon aid, And sing in moving, strains the force of love; If by our pity and our pride betray'd ?
Whilst, as th' approaching pageant does appear,
Whither yet further would my folly rove?
No, no! Jerusalem combin'd must see
To-day, beneath the palm-tree on the plains, The woods are travers’d, and the lakes are drain'd:
Hardly the phenis 'scapes-
And slavish bards our mutual loves rehearse
While, from the banquet leading forth the bride, And from the village with the present comes. Whom prudent Love from public eyes should hide The youthful band depose their glittering arms, I show her to the world, confess'd and known Receive her bounties, and recite her charms; Queen of my heart, and partner of my throne.
And now her friends and flatterers fill the court; Were to the forehead of the rabbins tied, From Dan and from Beer-sheba they resort : Our youth's instruction, and our age's pride? They barter places, and dispose of grants, Could not the wise his wild desires restrain ? Whole provinces unequal to their wants ; Then was our hearing, and his preaching, vain! They teach her to recede, or to debate,
What from his life and letters were we taught, With toys of love to mix affairs of state ;
But that his knowledge aggravates his fault?" By practis'd rules her empire to secure,
In lighter mood the humorous and the gay And in my pleasure make my ruin sure.
(As crown'd with roses at their feasts they lay) They gave, and she transferr'd the curs'd advice, Sent the full goblet, charg'd with Abra's name, That monarchs should their inward soul disguise, And charms superior to their master's fame. Dissemble and command, be false and wise ; Laughing, some praise the king, who let them see By ignominious arts, for servile ends,
How aptly luxe and empire might agree : Should compliment their foes, and shun their Some gloss'd, how love and wisdom were at strife, friends.
And brought my proverbs to confront my life. And now I leave the true and just supports “ However, friend, here's to the king," one cries : or legal princes, and of honest courts,
To him who was the king," the friend replies. Barzillai's and the fierce Benaiah's heirs,
• The king, for Judah's and for Wisdom's curse, Whose sires, great partners in my father's cares, To Abra yields: could I or thou do worse ? Saluted their young king, at Hebron crown'd, Our looser lives let Chance or Folly steer, Great by their toil, and glorious by their wound. If thus the prudent and determin'derr. And now (unhappy counsel !) I prefer
Let Dinah bind with flowers her flowing hair, Those whom my follies only made me fear, And touch the lute, and sound the wanton air : Old Corah's blood, and taunting Shimei's race; Let us the bliss without the sting receive, Miscreants who ow'd their lives to David's grace, Free, as we will, or to enjoy, or leave. Though they had spurn’d his rule, and curs'd him Pleasures on levity's smooth surface flow : to his face.
Thought brings the weight that sinks the soul 10 woe. Still Abra's power, my scandal still increasid; Now be this maxim to the king convey'd, Justice submitted to what Abra pleas'd :
And added to the thousand he has made." Her will alone could settle or revoke,
“Sadly, 0 Reason! is thy power express'd, And law was fix'd by what she latest spoke. Thou gloomy tyrant of the frighted breast! Israel neglected, Abra was my care :
And harsh the rules which we from thee receive, I only acted, thought, and liv'd, for her.
If for our wisdom we our pleasure give;
If Judah's king, at thy tribunal tried,
Loos'd from the chains of Love, in thine more Had cunning art and sly persuasion hung,
strictly bound ! And real care in vain, and native love,
“But do I call thee tyrant, or complain In the true parent's panting breast had strove ; How hard thy laws, how absolute thy reign? While both, deceiv'd, had seen the destin'd child While thou, alas! art but an empty name, Or slain or sav'd, as Abra frown'd or smil'd. To no two men, who e'er discours'd, the same;
Unknowing to command, proud to obey, The idle product of a troubled thought,
In borrow'd shapes and airy colors wrought;
By artifice impos'd, by fear obey'd !
** Yet, wretched name, or arbitrary thing,
Reluctant I perceive thee in my soul,
Yes; thy insulting dictates shall be heard ;
Virtue for once shall be her own reward : Porches and schools, design'd for public good, Yes ; rebel Israel! this unhappy maid Uncover'd, and with scaffolds cumber'd, stood, Shall be dismiss'd : the crowd shall be obey'd : Or nodded, threatening ruin.
The king his passion and his rule shall leave,
My coward soul shall bear its wayward fate;
And sigh in royalty, and grieve in state."
I said : resolv'd to plunge into my grief
From my despair alone-
The harsh epistle labor'd much to prove
I always should, it said, esteem her well, On large phylacteries expressive writ,
But never see her more: it bid her feel
No future pain for me ; but instant wed
By its own force destroy'd, fruition ceas'd, A lover more proportion’d to her bed,
And, always wearied, I was never pleas'd. And quiet dedicate her remnant life
No longer now does my neglected mind
Its wonted stores and old ideas find.
To take the true, or set the false aside.
Frequent debauch to habitude prevails; And by rude fury from my presence torn,
Patience of toil, and love of virtue, fails. This only object of my real care,
By sad degrees impair’d, my vigor dies, Cut off from hope, abandon'd to despair,
Till I command no longer ev’n in vice. In some few posting fatal hours is hurld
The women on my dotage build their sway: From wealth, from power, from love, and from the They ask, I grant; they threaten, I obey. world.
In legal garments now I gravely stride, “Here tell me, if thou dar'st, my conscious soul, Aw'd by the Persian damsel's haughty pride: What different sorrows did within thee roll? Now with the looser Syrian dance and sing, What pangs, what fires, what racks, didst thou In ropes tuck'd up, opprobrious to the king. sustain ?
Charm'd by their eyes, their manners I acquire, What sad vicissitudes of smarting pain ?
And shape my foolishness to their desire ; How oft from pomp and state did I remove, Seduc'd and aw'd by the Philistine dame, To feed despair, and cherish hopeless love? At Dagon's shrine I kindle impious flame. How oft, all day, recall’d I Abra's charms, With the Chaldean's charms her riles prevail, Her beauties press'd, and panting in my arms? And curling frankincense ascends to Baal, How oft, with sighs, view'd ev'ry female face, To each new harlot I new altars dress, Where mimic fancy might her likeness trace ? And serve her god, whose person I caress. How oft desir'd lo fly from Israel's throne,
Where, my deluded sense, was Reason flown?
When thus the gather'd storms of wretched love In Israel's land had fix'd their dire abodes,
And dog Anubis, flatterer for his food ?
When in the fens to snakes and flies, with zeal So from the hills, whose hollow caves contain Unworthy human thought, I prostrate fell ; The congregated snow and swelling rain, To shrubs and plants my vile devotion paid, Till the full stores their ancient bounds disdain, And set the bearded leek, to which I pray'd; Precipitate the furious torrent flows :
When to all beings sacred rites were given, In vain would speed avoid, or strength oppose; Forgot the Arbiter of Earth and Heaven? Towns, forests, herds, and men, promiscuous drown'd, Through these sad shades, this chaos in my soul, With one great death deform the dreary ground : Some seeds of light at length began to roll. The echoed woes from distant rocks resound. The rising motion of an infant ray And now, what impious ways my wishes took, Shot glimmering thro' the cloud, and promis'd day How they the monarch and the man forsook ; And now, one moment able to reflect, And how I follow'd an abandon'd will,
I found the king abandon'd to neglect, Through crooked paths, and sad retreats of ill; Seen without awe, and serv'd without respect. How Judah's daughters now, now foreign slaves, I found my subjects amicably join By turns my prostituted bed receives ;
To lessen their defects by citing mine.
The father, whilst he warn'd his erring son
Each bard, each sire, did to his pupil sing, 0! be the wanton images convey'd
“A wise child better than a foolish king." To black oblivion and eternal shade!
Into myself my Reason's eye I turn'd, Or let their sad epitome alone,
And as I much reflected, much I mourn'd. And outward lines, to future age be known, A mighty king I am, an earthly god; Enough to propagate the sure belief,
Nations obey my word, and wait my nod :
And life or death depends on my decree.
And he, from whom the nations should receive * Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the Justice and freedom, lies himself a slave,
fire came down from Heaven, and consumed the burnt.
offering, and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord Tortur'd by cruel change of wild desires,
filled the house."--2 CHRON. vii. 1. Lash'd by mad rage, and scorch'd by brutal fires. “O Reason! once again to thee I call;
* By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea, Accept my sorrow, and retrieve my fall.
we wept, when we remembered Sion," &c. - Psalm Wisdom, thou say’st, from Heaven receiv'd her birth, cxxxvii. 1. Her beams transmitted to the subject Earth :
" I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doth Yet this great empress of the human soul
it?"-Eccles. ii. 2. Does only with imagin'd power control, If restless Passion, by rebellious sway,
“No man can find out the work that God maketh, from Compels the weak usurper to obey.
the beginning to the end."-Ch. iii. 11. “O troubled, weak, and coward, as thou art, “ Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can Without thy poor advice, the laboring heart
be put to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God To worse extremes with swifter steps would run, doeth it, that men should fear before him."-Ver. 14. Not sav'd by virtue, yet by vice undone!"
" Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; fear Oft have I said, the praise of doing well
God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole Is to the ear as ointment to the smell.
duty of man."-Ch. xii. 13.
and conditions of life, and concludes, in general, Into the balm of purest virtue cast,
that we are all miserable. He reflects more parAnnoy all life with one contagious blast.
ticularly upon the trouble and uncertainty of Lost Solomon! pursue this thought no more : greatness and power; gives some instances thereof Of thy past errors recollect the store ;
from Adam down to himself; and still concludes And silent weep, that, while the deathless Muse that all is vanity. He reasons again upon life, Shall sing the just, shall o’er their heads diffuse death, and a future being; finds human wisdom Perfumes with lavish hand, she shall proclaim too imperfect to resolve his doubts ; has recourse Thy crimes alone, and, to thy evil fame
to religion ; is informed by an angel, what shall Impartial, scatter damps and poisons on thy name. happen to himself, his family, and his kingdom Awaking, therefore, as who long had dream'd, till the redemption of Israel; and, upon the Much of my women and their gods asham’d; whole, resolves to submit his inquiries and anxiFrom this abyss of exemplary vice
eties to the will of his Creator. Resolvd, as time might aid my thought, to rise ; Again I bid the mournful goddess write
COME then, my soul! I call thee by that name, The fond pursuit of fugitive delight;
Thou busy thing, from whence I know I am: Bid her exalt her melancholy wing,
For, knowing what I am, I know thou art; And, rais'd from earth, and sav'd from passion, sing Since that must needs exist, which can impart. Of human hope by cross event destroy'd,
But how cam'st thou to be, or whence thy spring ? Of useless wealth and greatness unenjoy'd, For various of thee priests and poets sing. Of lust and love, with their fantastic train,
Bear’st thou submissive, but a lowly birth,
A plain effect which Nature must beget,
From force of instinct, more than choice of will;
Conscious of fear or valor, joy or pain,
As the wild courses of the blood ordain ;
In youth dost flourish, and with age shalt fail ; " Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be Till, mingled with thy partner's latest breath,
broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the Thou fly'st dissolv'd in air, and lost in death?
wheel broken at the cistern."-Eccles. chap. xii. ver. 6. Or, if thy great existence would aspire “ The Sun ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth To causes more sublime, of heavenly fire to his place where he arose."--Ch. i. 5.
Wert thou a spark struck off, a separate ray,
Ordain'd to mingle with terrestrial clay; “The wind goeth towards the south, and turneth about With it condemn'd for certain years to dwell,
unto the north. It whirleth about continually; and To grieve its frailties, and its pain to feel ; the wind returneth again, according to his circuit.”- To teach it good and ill, disgrace or fame, Ver. 6.
Pale it with rage, or redden it with shame; “ All the rivers run into the sea : yet the sea is not full. To guide its actions with informing care,
Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither In peace to judge, to conquer in the war; they return again."-Ver. 7.
Render it agile, witty, valiant, sage, " Then shall the dust return to the earth, as it was: and As fits the various course of human age; the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”- Till as the earthly part decays and falls, Ch. xii. 7.
The captive breaks her prison's mouldering walls;