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She read, and forth to me she wildly ran, Fix'd Judgment there no longer does abide, To me, the ease of all her former pain.
To take the true, or set the false aside. She kneelid, entreated, struggled, threaten'd, cry'd, No longer does swift Memory trace the cells, And with alternate passion liv'd and dy'd :
Where springing Wit, or young Invention, dwells. Till, now, deny'd the liberty to mourn,
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 vigour 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 (world. 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.
“ Here tell me, if thou dar'st, my conscious soul, In regal garments now I gravely stride, What different sorrows did within thee roll ? Aw'd by the Persian damsel's haughty pride : What pangs, what fires, what racks, didst thou Now with the looser Syrian dance and sing, sustain ?
In robes tuek'd up, opprobrious to the king. What sad vicissitudes of smarting pain ?
Charm'd by their eyes, their manners I acquire, How oft from pomp and state did I remove, And shape my foolishness to their desire; To feed despair, and cherish hopeless love ?
Seduc'd and aw'd by the Philistine dame, How oft, all day, recall'd I Abra's charms, At Dagon's shrine i kindle impious flame. Her beauties press'd, and panting in my arms? With the Chaldean's charms her rites prevail, How oft, with sighs, view'd ev'ry female face, And curling frankincense ascends to Baal. Where mimic fancy might her likeness trace? To each new harlot I new altars dress, How oft desir'd to Ay from Israel's throne, And serve her god, whose person I caress. And live in shades with her and Love alone?
Where, my deluded sense, was Reason flown ?
When thus the gather'd storms of wretched love Vain idols, deities that ne'er before
Osiris, Apis, powers that chew the cud,
When in the woody hills forbidden shade And scatter'd ruin as the torrent past.
I carv'd the marble, and invok'd its aid ; So from the hills, whose hollow caves contain When in the fens to snakes and flies, with zeal The congregated snow and swelling rain
Unworthy human thought, I prostrate fell; Till the full stores their ancient bounds disdain, To shrubs and plants my vile devotion paid, Precipitate the furious torrent flows :
And set the bearded leek, to which I pray'd ; In vain would speed avoid, or strength oppose; When to all beings sacred rites were given, Towns, forests, herds, and men, promiscuous Forgot the Arbiter of Earth and Heaven? 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. Through tribes of women how I loosely rang'd The priest with pity pray'd for David's race, Impatient: lik’d to-night, to-morrow chang'd; And left his text, to dwell on my disgrace. And, by the instinct of capricious lust,
The father, whilst he warn'd his erring son Enjoy'd, disdain'd, was grateful, or unjust : The sad examples which he ought to shun, 0! be these scenes from human eyes conceal'd, Describ'd, and only nam'd not, Soloinon. In clouds of decent silence justly veil'd !
Each bard, each sire, did to his pupil sing, O! 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: That vice engenders shame, and folly broods o'er I raise or sink, imprison or set free, grief!
And life or death depends on my decree. Bury'd in sloth, and lost in case, I lay; Fond the idea, and the thought is vain ; The night I revell’d, and I slept the day.
O'er Judah's king ten thousand tyrants reign ; New heaps of fuel damp'd my kindling fires, Legions of lust, and various powers of ill, And daily change extinguish'd young desires. Insult the master's tributary will : By its own force destroy'd, fruition ceas'd,
And he, from whom the nations should receive And, always weary'd, I was never pleas'd.
Justice and freedom, lies himself a slave, No longer now does my neglected mind
Tortur’d by cruel change of wild desires, Its wonted stores and old ideas find.
Lash'd by mad rage, and scorch'd by brutal fires.
“ O Reason ! once again to thee I call ;
the burnt-offering, and the sacrifices; and the Accept my sorrow, and retrieve my fall.
glory of the Lord filled the house." - 2 Chrok. Wisdom, thou say'st, from Heaven receiv'd her
birth, Her beams transmitted to the subject Earth :
“ By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down ; Yet this great empress of the human soul
yea, we wept, when we remembered Sion," &c.
Psalm cxxxvii. 1.
“ I said of laughter, it is mad; and of mirth, what Compels the weak usurper to obey.
doth it?" - EccLEs. ï. 2. “ O troubled, weak, and coward, as thou art, “ No man can find out the work that God maketh, Without thy poor advice, the labouring heart
from the beginning to the end." Ch. iii. 11. To worse extremes with swifter steps would run, Not sav'd by virtue, yet by vice undone !"
“ Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; Oft have I said, the praise of doing well
nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from Is to the ear as ointment to the smell.
it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before
him.” – Ver. 14. Now, if some flies, perchance, however small, Into the alabaster urn should fall,
« Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; The odours of the sweets enclos'd would die,
fear God, and keep his commandments; for this And stench corrupt (sad change !) their place is the whole duty of man.” — Ch. xü. 13.
supply. So the least faults, if mix'd with fairest deed, Of future ill become the fatal seed;
Argument. Into the balm of purest virtue cast,
Solomon considers man through the several stages Annoy all life with one contagious blast.
and conditions of life, and concludes in general, Lost Solomon! pursue this thought no more: that we are all miserable. He reflects more par. Of thy past errours recollect the store ;
ticularly upon the trouble and uncertainty of And silent weep, that, while the deathless Muse
greatness and power; gives some instances thereof Shall sing the just, shall o'er their heads diffuse from Adam down to himself; and still concludes Perfumes with lavish hand, she shall proclaim that all is vanity. He reasons again upon life, Thy crimes alone, and, to thy evil fame
death, and a future being ; finds human wisdom Impartial, scatter damps and poisons on thy name. too imperfect to resolve his doubts; has recourse Awaking, therefore, as who long had dream'd, to religion; is informed by an angel, what shall Much of my women and their gods asham'd; happen to himself, his family, and his kingdom From tlas abyss of exemplary vice
till the redemption of Israel ; and, upon the whole, Resolv'd, as time might aid my thought, to rise; resolves to submit his inquiries and anxieties to Again I bid the mournful goddess write
the will of his Creator. The fond pursuit of fugitive delight ; Bid her exalt her melancholy wing, And, rais'd from earth, and sav'd from passion, sing Thou busy thing, from whence I know I am:
Come then, my soul; I call thee by that name, Of human hope by cross event destroy'd, Of useless wealth and greatness unenjoy'd,
For, knowing what I am, I know thou art; Of lust and love, with their fantastic train,
Since that must needs exist, which can impart. Their wishes, smiles, and looks, deceitful all, and But how cam'st thou to be, or whence thy spring? vain,
For various of thee priests and poets sing.
Bear'st thou submissive, but a lowly birth,
A plain effect which Nature must beget,
As motion orders, and as atoms meet ;
Companion of the body's good or ill, Texts chiefly alluded to in Book III. From force of instinct, more than choice of will; " Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden Conscious of fear or valour, joy or pain,
bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the As the wild courses of the blood ordain; fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.".
Who, as degrees of heat and cold prevail, Eccles. chap. xii. ver. 6.
In youth dost flourish, and with age shalt fail;
Till, mingled with thy partner's latest breath, “ The Sun ariseth, and the Sun goeth down, and Thou fly'st dissolv'd in air, and lost in death? hasteth to his place where he arose.”. - Ch. i. 5.
Or, if thy great existence would aspire “ The wind goeth towards the south, and turneth To causes more sublime, of heavenly fire
about unto the north. It whirleth about con Wert thou a spark struck off, a separate ray,
With it condemn'd for certain years to dwell, “ All the rivers run into the sea : yet the sea is not To teach it good and ill, disgrace or fame,
To grieve its frailties, and its pains to feel; full
. Unto the place from whence the rivers Pale it with rage, or redden it with shame; come, thither they return again.” – Ver. 7.
To guide its actions with informing care, " Then shall the dust return to the earth, as it was : In peace to judge, to conquer in the war ; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Render it agile, witty, valiant, sage, - Ch. xii. 7.
As fits the various course of human age; “ Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, Till as the earthly part decays and falls,
the fire came down from Heaven, and consumed | The captive breaks her prison's mouldering walls;
Hovers awhile upon the sad remains,
But, looking back, we see the dreadful train Which now the pile or sepulchre contains ;
Of woes anew, which were we to sustain, And thence with liberty unbounded flies,
We should refuse to tread the path again; Impatient to regain her native skies.
Still adding grief, still counting from the first, Whate'er thou art, where-e'er ordain'd to go, Judging the latest evils still the worst, (Points which we rather may dispute than know,) And sadly finding each progressive hour Come on, thou little inmate of this breast,
Heighten their number and augment their power. Which for thy sake from passions I divest,
Till, by one countless sum of woes opprest, For these, thou say'st, raise all the stormy strife, Hoary with cares, and ignorant of rest, Which hinder thy repose, and trouble life.
We find the vital springs relar'd and worn, Be the fair level of thy actions laid,
Compell’d our common impotence to mourn. As temperance wills, and prudence may persuade : Thus through the round of age to childhood we Be thy affections undisturb’d and clear,
return; Guided to what may great or good appear, Reflecting find, that naked from the womb And try if life be worth the liver's care.
We yesterday came forth; that in the tomb Amass'd in man, there justly is beheld
Naked again we must to-morrow lie, What through the whole creation has excell'd : Born to lament, to labour, and to die. The life and growth of plants, of beasts the sense, Pass we the ills which each man feels or dreads, The angel's forecast and intelligence :
The weight or fallen or hanging o'er our heads; Say from these glorious seeds what harvest flows, The bear, the lion, terrours of the plain, Recount our blessings, and compare our woes. The sheepfold scatter'd, and the shepherd slain , In its true light let clearest reason see
The frequent errours of the pathless wood, The man dragg'd out to act, and forc'd to be; The giddy precipice, and the dangerous food; Helpless and naked, on a woman's knees
The noisome pestilence, that, in open war, To be expos'd and rear'd as she may please, Terrible marches through the mid-day air, Feel her neglect, and pine from her disease : And scatters death ; the arrow that hy night His tender eye by too direct a ray
Cuts the dank mist, and fatal wings its flight; Wounded, and Aying from unpractis'd day; The billowing snow, and violence of the shower, His heart assaulted by invading air,
That from the hills disperse their dreadful store, And beating fervent to the vital war ;.
And o'er the vales collected ruin pour; To his young sense how various forms appear, The worm that gnaws the ripening fruit, sad guest, That strike his wonder, and excite his fear : Canker or locust, hurtful to infest By his distortions he reveals his pains;
The blade ; while husks elude the tiller's care, He by his tears and by his sighs complains; And eminence of want distinguishes the year. Till time and use assist the infant wretch,
Pass we the slow disease, and subtle pain, By broken words and rudiments of speech, Which our weak frame is destin'd to sustain ; His wants in plainer characters to show,
The cruel stone with congregated war And paint more perfect figures of his woe; Tearing his bloody way; the cold catarrh, Condernn'd to sacrifice his childish years
With frequent impulse, and continued strife, To babbling ignorance, and to empty fears; Weakening the wasted seats of irksome life; To pass the riper period of his age,
The gout's fierce rack, the burning fever's rage Acting his part upon a crowded stage ;
The sad experience of decay;
and age, To lasting toils expos'd, and endless cares,
Herself the sorest ill; while Death and ease,
Oft' and in vain invok'd or to appease
Nought shall it profit, that the charming fair, Prone to forget the good, and blame the ill; Angelic, softest work of Heaven, draws near Or sadly censur'd in their curs'd debate,
To the cold shaking paralytic hand, Who, in the scorner's or the judge's seat,
Senseless of beauty's touch, or love's coinmand; Dare to condemn the virtue which they hate. Nor longer apt or able to fulfil Or, would he rather leave this frantic scene, The dictates of its feeble master's will. And trees and beasts prefer to courts and men, Nought shall the psaltry and the harp avail, In the remotest wood and lonely grot
The pleasing song, or well-repeated tale, Certain to meet that worst of evils, Thought ; When the quick spirits their warm march forbear, Different ideas to his memory brought,
And numbing coldness has unbrac'd the ear. Some intricate as are the pathless woods,
The verdant rising of the flowery hill,
The vale enamell'd, and the crystal rill,
In watery damps or dim suffusion lie.
Behold where Age's wretched victim lies,
See bis hegembling and his half.clos'd eyes
Frequent for breath his panting bosom heaves ; Who breathes, must suffer; and who thinks, must To broken sleep his remnant sense he gives,
mourn; And only by his pains, awaking, finds he lives. And he alone is bless'd, who ne'er was born.
Loos'd by devouring Time, the silver cord “ Yet in thy turn, thou frowning preacher, hear: Dissever'd lies; unhonour'd from the board Are not these general maxims too severe? The crystal urn, when broken, is thrown by, Say: cannot power secure its owner's bliss ? And apter utensils their place supply.
And is not wealth the potent sire of peace? These things and thou must share one equal lot, Are victors bless'd with fame, or kings with ease ** Die and be lost, corrupt and be forgot;
I tell thee, life is but one common care, While still another and another race
And man was born to suffer, and to fear. Shall now supply, and now give up the place; “ But is no rank, no station, no degree, From earth all came, to earth must all return, From this contagious taint of sorrow free?" Frail as the cord, and brittle as the urn.
None, mortal! none. Yet in a bolder strain But be the terrour of these ills suppress'd, Let me this melancholy truth maintain. And view we man with health and vigour blest, But hence, ye worldly and profane, retire ; Home he returns with the declining Sun,
For I adapt my voice, and raise my lyre, His destin'd task of labour hardly done ;
To notions not by vulgar ear recoiv'd: Goes forth again with the ascending ray,
Yet still must covet life, and be deceivd; Again his travel for his bread to pay,
Your very fear of death shall make you try And find the ill sufficient to the day.
To catch the shade of immortality; Haply at night he does with horrour shun
Wishing on Earth to linger, and to save A widow'd daughter or a dying son;
Part of its prey from the devouring grave; His neighbour's offspring he to-morrow sees, To those who may survive you to bequeath And doubly feels his want in their increase; Something entire, in spite of Time and Death; The next day, and the next, he must attend A fancy'd kind of being to retrieve, His foe triumphant, or his buried friend,
And in a book, or from a building, live. In every act and turn of life he feels
False hope ! vain labour ! let some ages fly, Publiç calamities, or household ills;
The dome shall moulder, and the volume die : The due reward to just desert refus’d,
Wretches, still taught, still will ye think it strange, 'The trust betray'd, the nuptial bed abus'd; That all the parts of this great fabric change, The judge corrupt, the long-depending cause, Quit their old station, and primeval frame, And doubtful issue of misconstrued laws;
And lose their shape, their essence, and their name? The crafty turns of a dishonest state,
Reduce the song : our hopes, our joys, are vain ; And violent will of the wrong-doing great; Our lot is sorrow, and our portion pain. (bring The venom'd tongue, injurious to his fame,
What pause from woe, what hopes of comfort Which nor can wisdom shun, nor fair advice re- | The name of wişe or great, of judge or king? claim.
What is a king ?- a man condemn'd to bear Esteem we these, my friends, event and chance, The public burthen of the nation's care ; Produc'd as atoms from the fluttering dance? Now crown'd some angry faction to appease; Or higher yet their essence may we draw
Now falls a victim to the people's ease; From destin'd order and eternal law ?
From the first blooming of his ill-taught youth, Again, my Muse, the crael doubt repeat :
Nourish'd in flattery, and estrang'd from truth; Spring they, I say, from accident or Fate? At home surrounded by a servile crowd, Yet such we find they are as can control
Prompt to abuse, and in detraction loud; The servile actions of our wavering soul :
Abroad begirt with men, and swords, and spears, Can fright, can alter, or can chain, the will ; His very state acknowledging his fears; Their ills all built on life, that fundamental ill. Marching amidst a thousand guards, he shows
( fatal search ! in which the labouring mind, His secret terrour of a thousand foes : Still press'd with weight of woe, still hopes to find In war, however prudent, great, or brave, A shadow of delight, a dream of peace,
To blind events and fickle chance a slave; From years of pain one moment of release ; Seeking to settle what for ever flies, Hoping at least she may herself deceive,
Sure of the toil, uncertain of the prize. Against experience willing to believe,
But he returns with conquest on his brow, Desirous to rejoice, condemn'd to grieve.
Brings up the triumph, and absolves the row: Happy the mortal man, who now at last The captive generals to his car were tyd; Has through this doleful vale of misery past, The joyful citizens tumultuous tide, Who to his destin'd stage has carry'd on
Echoing his glory, gratify his pride. The tedious load, and laid his burthen down ; What is this triumph ? madness, shouts, and noise, Whom the cut brass, or wounded marble, shows One great collection of the people's voice. Victor o'er Life, and all her train of woes.
The wretches he brings back in chains relate He, happier yet, who, privileg'd by Fate
What may to-morrow be the victor's fate. To shorter labour and a lighter weight,
The spoils and trophies, borne before him, show Receiv'd but yesterday the gift of breath,
National loss, and epidemic woe, Order'd to-morrow to return to death.
Various distress, which he and his may know. But O! beyond description happiest he,
Does he not mourn the valiant thousands slain,
Does he not weep th laurel which he wears,
See, where he comes, the darling of the war ! Yet why these sorrows heap'd upon the sire,
Each age sinn'd on, and guilt advanc'd with And full fruition of successful power,
“ Lo! it repenteth me that man was made ! And popular change, obscur'd amid the dust Withdraw thy light, thou Sun! be dark, ye skies! That rises from the victor's rapid wheel ?
And from your deep abyss, ye waters, rise !" Can the loud clarion or shrill fife repel
The frighted angels heard th’ Almighty Lord, The inward cries of care ? can Nature's voice, And o'er the Earth from wrathful vials pour'd Plaintive, be drown'd or lessen'd in the noise ; Tempests and storms, obedient to his word. Though shouts of thunder loud afflict the air, Meantime, his providence to Noah gave Stun the birds, now releas'd, and shake the ivory The guard of all that he design’d to save. chair?
Exempt from general doom the patriarch stood, “ Yon crowd,” he might reflect, “ yon joyful Contemn’d the waves, and triumph'd o'er the flood. crowd,
The winds fall silent, and the waves decrease, Pleas'd with my honours, in my praises loud, The dove brings quiet, and the olive peace (Should fleeting Victory to the vanquish'd go, Yet still his heart does inward sorrow feel, Should she depress my arms, and raise the foe,) Which faith alone forbids him to reveal. Would for that foe with equal ardour wait
If on the backward world his views are cast, At the high palace, or the crowded gate;
'Tis death diffus'd, and universal waste : With restless rage would pull my statues down, Present, (sad prospect !) can he aught descry And cast the brass anew to his renown.
But (what affects his melancholy eye) “ O impotent desire of worldly sway!
The beauties of the ancient fabric lost, That I, who make the triumph of to-day,
In chains of craggy hill, or lengths of dreary coast? May of to-morrow's pomp one part appear,
While, to high Heaven his pious breathings turn’d, Ghastly with wounds, and lifeless on the bier! Weeping he hop'd, and sacrificing mourn'd; Then (vileness of mankind !) then of all these, When of God's image only eight he found Whom my dilated eye with labour sees,
Snatch'd from the waterý grave, and sav'd from Would one, alas! repeat me good, or great,
nations drown'd; Wash my pale body, or bewail my fate?
And of three sons, the future hopes of Earth, Or, march'd I chain'd behind the hostile car, The seed whence empires must receive their birtlı, The victor's pastime, and the sport of war,
One he foresees excluded heavenly grace, Would one, would one his pitying sorrow lend, And mark'd with curses, fatal to his race! Or be so poor, to own he was my friend ?**
Abraham, potent prince, the friend of God, Avails it then, O Reason, to be wise ?
Of human ills must bear the destin'd load; To see this cruel scene with quicker eyes ? By blood and battles must his power maintain, To know with more distinction to complain, And slay the monarchs ere he rules the plain ; And have superior sense in feeling pain ?
Must deal just portions of a servile life Let us revolve that roll with strictest eye, To'a proud handmaid and a peevish wife; Where, safe from Time, distinguish'd actions lie; Must with the mother leave the weeping son, And judge if greatness be exempt from pain, In want to wander, and in wilds to groan; Or pleasure ever may with power remain.
Must take his other child, his age's hope,
Order'd to drench his knife in filial blood,
Moses beheld that God; but how beheld ?
And clouded in a deep abyss of light;
Nor staying longer than one swift-wing'd night. Destin' the next his journey to pursue,
The following days, and months, and years, decreed Where wounding thorns and cursed thistles grew. To fierce encounter, and to toilsome deed. Ere yet he earns
his bread, adown his brow, His youth with wants and hardships must engage; Inclin'd to earth, his labouring sweat must flow; Plots and rebellions must disturb his age ; His limbs must ake, with daily toils oppress’d, Some Corah still arose, some rebel slave, Ere long-wish'd night brings necessary rest. Prompter to sink the state, than he to save: Still viewing, with regret, his darling Eve, And Israel did his rage so far provoke, He for her follies and his own must grieve; That what the Godhead wrote, the prophet broke. Bewailing still afresh their hapless choice ;
His voice scarce heard, his dictates scarce believ'd, His ear oft frighted with the imag'd voice
In camps, in arms, in pilgrimage, he liv'd;
Forbid to tread the promis'd land he saw.
My father's life was one long line of care,
Alarm’d, expos'd, his childhood must engage First-fruit of Death, lies plaintive of a wound The bear's rough gripe, and foaming lion's rage. Given by a brother's hand: his eldest birth By various turns his threaten'd youth must fear