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A PRIZE POEM.
Recited in the Theatre, oxford, June 15,1803.
iKiEFT of thy fons, amid thy foes forlorn,
Mourn, widow'd queen, forgotten Sion, mourn!
Js this thy place, fad City, this thy throne,
Where the wild defert rears its craggy stone?
While funs unhlest their angry lustre fling,
And way-worn pilgrims seek the fcanty fpring r
Where now thy pomp, which kings with envy view'd?
Where now thy might, which all thofe kings fuhdu'd?
No martial myriads muster in thy gate j
No fuppliant nations in thy Temple wait;
No prophet hards thy glittering courts among,
Wake the full lyre, and fwel.1 the tide of fong:
But lawlefs Force, and meagre Want is there,
And the quick-darting eye of restlefs Fear;
While cold' Ohlivion, 'mid thy ruins laid,
Folds his dank wing beneath the ivy fhade. (1)
Ye guardian Saints! ye warrior fons of heaven, (2) To whofe high care Judæa's state was given!
(1) Alluding to the usual manner in which Steep is represent in ancient statues. See also Pindar, t'yth. 1. v. 16,17. "xwfiu Yjpoy twrot aiufii."
(-!) Authorities tor these celestial warriors may he found, Josh v. 13, 2 Kings vi. 2Mace. V.S. shid. xl. &c.
O wont of old your nightly watch to keep,
A host of gods, on Sion's towery steep!
If e'er your fecret footsteps linger still
By Siloa's fount, or Tabor's echoing hill,
If e'er your fong on Salem's glories dwell,
And mourn the captive land you lov'd se well;
(For, oft, 'tis faid, in Kedron's palmy vale,
Mysterious harpings fwell the midnight gale,
And, blest as balmy dews that Hermon cheer,
Melt in foft cadence on the pilgrim's ear ;)
Forgive, blest fpirits, if a theme fo high
Mock the weak notes of mortal minstrelsy!
Yet, might your aid this anxious breast infpire
With one faint fpark of Milton's feraph sire,
Then mould my Mufe afcend with bolder flight,
And weave her eagle-plumes, exulting in the light*
O happy once in heaven's peculiar love,
Delight of men below, and faints above!
Though, Salem, now the fpoiler's ruffian hand
Has loos'd his hell-hounds o'er thy wasted land;
Tho' weak, and whelm'd beneath the storms of Fate,
Thy houfe is left unto thee defolate;
Though thy proud stones in cumb'rous ruin fall,
And feas of fand o'er-top thy mouldering wall;
Yet shall the Mufe to Fancy's ardent view
Each lhadowy trace of faded pomp renew:
And as the Seer (3) on Pisgah's topmost blow
With glistening eye beheld the plain below,
With prefcient ardour drank the fcented gale,
And bade the opening glades of Canaan hail;
Her eagle-eye shall fcan the profpect wide,
From Carmel's cliffs to Almotana's tide; (4)
Xhe flinty waste, the cedar-tasted hill,
I he liquid health of fmooth Ardeni's rill;
The grot, where, hy the watch-sire's ev'niog hlaze, (5};
The rohher riots, or the hermit prays;
Or where the tempest rives the hoary stone,
The wintry top of giant Lehanon. '".
Fierce, hardy, proud, in confcious freedom hold,
Thofe stormy feats the warrior Drufes hold ; (S)
From Norman hlood their lofty line they trace,
Their lion courage proves their generous race.
They, only they, while all around them kneel
In fullen homage to the Thracian steel,
Teach their pale defpot's waning moon to fear
The patriot terrors of the mountain fpear.
Yes, valorous chiefs, while yet your fahres thine*
The native guard of feehle Palestine,
O ever thus, hy no vain hoast difmay'd,
Defend the hirthright of the cedar shade!
What though no more for you th' ohedient gale
Swells the white hofom of the Tyrian fail;
(4) Almntana is the oriental name for the Dead Sea, as Ardeni is for Jordan.
(5) The mountains of Palestine are full of caverns, which are generally occupied in one or other of the methods here mentioned.
(6) The untameahle spirit, feodal customs, and asseetion for Europeans, which distinguish this extraordinary race, who hoast themselves to he a remnant of the Crusaders, are wtll descrihed in Pagees.
Though now no mote your glitt'ring marts unseU
Sidonian dyes and Lusitanian gold ; (7)
Though not for you the pale and sickly flave
Forgets the light in Ophir's wealthy cave;
Yet youi's the lot, in proud contentment blest,
Where cheerful labour leads to tranquil rest.
No robber rage the ripening harvest knows;
And unrestrain'd the generous vintage flows:
Nor lefs your sons to manliest deeds afpire,
And Asia's mountains glow with Spartan sire.
So when, deep sinking in the rofy main'
The western Sun forfakes the Syrian plain.
His watery rays refracted lustre lhed.
And pour their latest light on Carmel's head.
Yet lhines your praife, amid furrounding gloom,
As the lone lamp that trembles in the tomb:
For, few the fouls that fpurn a tyrant's chain,
And fmall the bounds of Freedom's fcanty reign.
As the poor outcast on the cheerlefs wild, (8)
Arabia's parent, clafp'd her fainting child,
And wander'd near the roof no more her home,
Forbid to linger, yet afraid to roam:
My forrowing Fancy quits the happier height,
And fouthward throws her half-averted sight.
For fad the fcenes Judæa's plains difclofe,
A dreary waste of undistinguifh'd woes:
See War untir'd his crimfon pinions fpread,
And foul Revenge that tramples on the dead!
7) The eo,d of the T;rians chiell;r came from Portapii which was probably their Tarslmh.
Lo, where from far the guarded fountams (hine,(9)
Thy tents, Nebaloth, rife, and Kedar, thine!
'Tis jour's the boast to mark the stranger's way,
And fpur your headlong chargers on the prey,
Or roufe your nightly numbers from afar,
And on the hamlet pour the waste of war;
Nor fpare the hoary head, nor bid your eye
Revere the facred fmile of infancy.
Such now the clans whofe siery courfers feed
Where waves on Kiihon's bank the whifpering reed;
And their's the foil, where, curling to the ikies,
Smokes on Gerizim's mount Samaria's facrisice. (10)
While Ifrael's fons, by fcorpion curfes, driven,
Outcasts of earth, and reprobate of heaven,
Through the wide world in friendlefs exile stray,
Remorfe and lhame, fole comrades of their way,
With dumb despair their country's wrongs behold,
And, dead to glory, only burn for gold.
O Thou, their Guide, their, Father, and their Lord,
Lbv'd for Thy mercies, for Thy pow'r ador'd!
Is at Thy name the waves forgot their force,
And refluent Jordan fought his trembling fource;
If at Thy name like sheep the mountains fled,
And haughty Sirion bow'd his marble head;
To Ifrael's woes a pitying ear incline,
And raife from earth thy long-neglected vine!
Her rifled fruits behold the heathen bear,
And wild-wood boars her mangled clusters tear.
9) The watering places are generally beset with Arabs, who exact toll from all comers.
10) A miserable remnant of Samaritan worship still exists on Mount Gerizim.