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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 rites 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 to 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 froin 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 rry 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, Solomon. In clouds of decent silence justly veild ! 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: 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. Buried in sloth, and lost in ease, 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:
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 burntTortur'd by cruel change of wild desires,
offering, and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord
filled the house." --2 CHRON. vii. I. 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. l. 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 lo obey.
the beginning to the end."-Ch. ii. 11. “O troubled, weak, and coward, as thou art, Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever ; 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 par. Annoy 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. Resolv'd, 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'si thou to be, or whence thy spring ? Of useless wealth and greatness unenjoyd, 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 ber 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 ber native skies.
Still adding grief, still counting from the first, Whate'er thou art, where'er ordain'd to go, Judging the latest evils still the worst, (Points which we rather may dispute than known) 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 relax'd and worn, Be the fair level of thy actions laid,
Compellid 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 labor, 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, terrors of the plain, Recount our blessings, an compare our woes. The sheepfold scatter'd, and the shepherd slain; In its true light let clearest reason şee
The frequent errors of the pathless wood, The man dragg’d out to act, and forc'd to be; The giddy precipice, and the dangerous flood; 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 by night His tender eye by too direct a ray
Cuts the dank mist, and fatal wings its flight; Wounded, and flying 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
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,
Oft and in vain invok'd or to appease
Nought shall it profit, that the charming fair,
To the cold shaking paralytic hand, Who, in the scorner's or the judge's seat, Senseless of beauty's touch, or love's command; 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 psaltery 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,
Thus, through what path soe'er of life we rove, Day follows night; the clouds return again
Behold where Age's wretched victim lies, For hope is but the dream of those that wake : See his head trembling, and his half-clos'd eyes:
Frequent for breath his panting bosom heaves ; Who breathes, must suffer; and who thinks, must
Loos’d by devouring Time, the silver cord " Yet in thy turn, thou frowning preacher, hear
And is not wealth the potent sire of peace?
I tell thee, life is but one common care,
And man was born to suffer, and to fear.
None, mortal! none. Yet in a bolder strain
For I adapt my voice, and raise my lyre,
To notions not by vulgar ear receiv'd : Goes forth again with the ascending ray,
Yet still must covet life, and be deceiv'd; 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 horror shun
Wishing on Earth to linget, and to save
Part of its prey from the devouring grave;
And in a book, or from a building, live.
False hope! vain labor! let some ages fly, Public calamities, or household ills;
The dome shall moulder, and the volume die :
Wretches, still taught, still will ye think it strange,
Reduce the song : our hopes, our joys, are vain ;
What pause from woe, what hopes of comfort
What is a king ?-a man condemnd to bear
From the first-blooming of his ill-taught youth,
O fatal search! in which the laboring mind, His secret terror of a thousand foes :
To blind events and fickle chance a slave; A shadow of delight, a dream of peace,
Seeking to settle what for ever fies, From years of pain one moment of release ; Sure of the toil, uncertain of the prize. Hoping at least she may herself deceive,
But he returns with conquest on his brow, Against experience willing io believe,
Brings up the triumph, and absolves the vow: Desirous to rejoice, condemn'd to grieve. The captive generals to his car were tied ;
Happy the mortal man, who now at last The joyful citizens' tumultuous tide,
What is this triumph ? madness, shouts, and noise
The spoils and trophies, borne before him, show
National loss, and epidemic woe,
Does he not mourn the valiant thousands slain,
The heroes, once the glory of the plain,
Wet with the soldier's blood, and widow's tears ?
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 honors, 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 ardor wait
If on the backward world his views are cast, Al the high palace, or the crowded gale ; "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 labor sees,
Snatch'd from the watery 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 birth, 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 ;
Adam, great type, for whom the world was made, To trembling Moriam's melancholy top,
Moses beheld that God; but how beheld ?
Nor staying longer than one swift-wing'd night. Destind 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 bardships must engage Inclin'd to earth, his laboring sweat must dow; Plots and rebellions must disturb his age ; His limbs must ache, 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 livid; Of Heaven, when first it thunder'd; oft his view And died obedient to severest law, Aghast, as when the infant lightning flew, Forbid to tread the promis'd land he saw. And the stern cherub stopp'd the fatal road,
My father's life was one long line of care, Arm'd with the flames of an avenging God. A scene of danger, and a state of war. His younger son on the polluted ground,
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 Flies, mark'd by Heaven, a fugitive o'er Earth. Goliah's lifted sword, and Saul's emitted spear