To his Excellency, GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esquire, Commander in chief of the American Armies, The Saviour of his Country, The Supporter of Freedom, And the Benefactor of Mankind;1.
This Poem is inscribed, with the highest respect for his character, the most ardent wishes for his happiness, and the most grateful sense of the blessings, secured, by his generous efforts, to the United States of North America,
by his most humble, and most obedient servant, Timothy Dwight.3.
As this poem is the first of the kind, which has been published in this country, the writer begs leave to introduce it with several observations, which that circumstance alone may perhaps render necessary.1.
He has taken to himself the liberty of altering the real order of the two last battles, because he imagined the illustrious events, which attended the battle of Gibeon, would make it appear to be the catastrophe of the poem, wherever inserted.2.
He has varied the story of the embassy from Gibeon, for reasons, which he thinks will be obvious to every reader, and which he hopes will be esteemed his sufficient justification.3.
To give entire Unity to the Action, he has made Jabin the Canä:anitish hero through the whole poem; and has transferred the scene of the battle, between Hazor and Israel, from the shores of the lake Merom to the neighbourhood of Ai.4.
In the Manners, he has studied a medium between absolute barbarism and modern refinement. In the best characters, he has endeavoured to represent such manners, as are removed from the peculiarities of any age, or country, and might belong to the amiable and virtuous, of every age: such as are elevated without design, refined without ceremony, elegant without fashion, and agreeable, because they are ornamented with sincerity, dignity, and religion, not because they are polished by art and education. Of such manners, he hopes he may observe, without impropriety, that they possess the highest advantages for universal application.5.
He has made use of Rhyme, because he believed it would be more generally relished than blank verse, even amongst those who are esteemed persons of taste.6.
It may perhaps be thought the result of inattention or ignorance, that he chose a subject, in which his countrymen had no national interest. But he remarked that the Iliad and Eneid were as agreeable to modern nations, as to the Greeks and Romans. The reason he supposed to be obvious–the subjects of those poems furnish the fairest opportunities of exhibiting the agreeable, the novel, the moral, the pathetic, and the sublime. If he is not deceived, 7.
the subject he has chosen possesses, in a degree, the same advantages.8.
It will be observed that he has introduced some new words, and annexed to some old ones, a new signification. This liberty, allowed to others, he hopes will not be refused to him: especially as from this source the copiousness and refinement of language have been principally derived.9.
That he wishes to please he frankly confesses. If he fails in the design, it will be a satisfaction that he shall have injured no person but himself. As the poem is uniformly friendly to delicacy, and virtue, he hopes his countrymen will so far regard him with candour, as not to impute it to him as a fault, that he has endeavoured to please them, and has thrown in his mite, for the advancement of the refined arts, on this side of the Atlantic.10.
Greenfield, in Conecticut, March 1, 1785
THE CONQUEST OF CANAAN
Subject proposed. Invocation. After the battle, mentioned in the beginning of the seventh chapter of Joshua, the Israelites, in correspondence with the sacred history, are represented in circumstances of extreme distress. With this event the poem opens, in the evening. Morning. Scene of war. Story of Zimri, and Aram. Zimri returns to the assembly of Israel, and brings an account of the death of Aram, and of an army, sent by Jabin, king of Hazor, to assist Ai. Distress of the Israelites. Character and oration of Hanniel. After a pathetic address, and rehearsal of their miseries, he attempts to prove the impossibility of succeeding in their present design, because of the strength, skill, and numerous allies of their enemies; foretels their approaching ruin, asserts that God is opposed to them, that they were led out of Egypt to silence their murmurs, and, the end being accomplished, ought to return. Panegyric on that country; obviates objections to a return, and informs them that, if they should conquer Canä:an, they will be ruined, during the war, by the necessary neglect of arts and agriculture, difficulty of dividing the land, of settling a form of government, and of avoiding tyranny; and concludes with a new exhortation to return to Egypt. Applause. Joshua replies, and beginning to explain the dispensations of Providence, it interrupted by Hanniel, who first obliquely, and then openly accuses him of aiming at the usurpation of kingly authority; and asserts the return to be easy. Joshua vindicates his innocence with severity upon Hanniel; and allowing they can return, paints to them the miseries, they will experience from the Egyptian king, lords, people, and manners, and from providential dispensations terminating in their ruin. He appeals to them to judge of the falsehood of Hanniel’s ideas of the purposes of Heaven, in leading them out of Egypt; and declares the certainty of their success from their union, with a few exceptions, their previous prosperity, and the favour and revealed designs of Heaven, and exults in their future glory. Applause. Preparation for war. Caleb opposes immediate war, and advises a fast of two days. Joshua approves of it.
THE Chief, whose arm to Israel’s chosen band *
Gave the fair empire of the promis’d land,
Ordain’d by Heaven to hold the sacred sway,
Demands my voice and animates the lay.
O thou, whose Love, high thron’d above all height,
Illumes th’ immense, and sunns the world of light;
Whose distant beam the human mind inspires,
With wisdom brightens, and with virtue fires;
Unfold how pious realms to glory rise, 5.
And impious nations find avenging skies:
May thy own deeds exalt the humble line,
And not a stain obscure the theme divine.
When now from western hills the sun was driven,
And night expanding fill’d the bounds of heaven,
O’er Israel’s camp ten thousand fires appear’d
And solemn cries from distant guards were heard,
Her tribes, escap’d from Ai’s unhappy plain, 5.
With shame and anguish mourn’d their heroes slain,
Pierc’d with deep wounds the groaning warriors stood;
Their bosoms heav’d, their tears incessant flow’d;
Their sons unburied on the hostile plain,
Their brothers captiv’d, and their parents slain. 10.
The tender father clasp’d his lovely child,
That thoughtless-sporting innocently smil’d,
To his fond arms with soft endearments leapt,
Gaz’d on his tears, and wonder’d why he wept.
Her woes with his the trembling mother join’d, 15.
Edg’d all his fears, and sunk his drooping mind,
Array’d in tenfold gloom th’ approaching light,
And gather’d foes unnumber’d to the fight.
Thus trembling, sad, of every hope forlorn,
The hapless thousands watch’d the coming morn. 20.
In Joshua’s ear their sad complaints resound,
As flow, unseen, he trac’d the camp around.
Where’er shrill cries, or groans distinguish’d flow’d
Propp’d on his lance, the Hero listening stood:
For oft the secret hour of night he chose, 5.
To hush their tumults, and to learn their woes;
Each tear, each cry his feeling mind oppress’d,
And schemes of pity fill’d his labouring breast.
And now bright Phosphor wak’d the dawning day,
The tents all whitening in th’ expanded ray;
The sun’s broad beam the scene of war display’d,
A wide extent, with distant groves o’erspread;
A tall, dark forest gloom’d the northern round, 5.
And castern hills o’er hills th’ horizon bound:
Far south, a plain in vivid green withdrew,
And one unvaried level fill’d the view;
Beyond, Ai’s grandeur proudly rose on high,
And azure mountains pierc’d the western sky.10.
Around their Leader’s tent, th’ unnumber’d train
Throng’d from the camp, and gather’d on the plain.
When Zimri slow approach’d; of Asher’s race
The first in merit, as the first in place.
Him, not a chief, that dar’d the battling field,
In swiftness equall’d, or in strength excell’d;
Save Joshua’s arm, that still unconquer’d shone;
From every rival every prize he won.
In night’s last gloom (so Joshua’s will ordain’d)
To find what hopes the cautious foe remain’d,
Or what new strength, allied, increas’d their force,
To Ai’s high walls the hero bent his course.
Aram, his friend, unknowing vile dismay, 5.
With willing footsteps shar’d the dangerous way.
In virtue join’d, one soul to both was given;
Each steer’d his path, and led his friend to heaven.
O’er earth’s dim verge as dawn’d the cheerful day,
Near slumbering Ai they cours’d their fearless way;
Unseen, in twining shrubs, a heathen sate,
Mark’d their still path, and boded Aram’s fate;
Swift hurl’d, his javelin sought the hero’s side, 5.
Pierc’d to the heart, he groan’d, and gasp’d, and died.
The heathen flew, fierce Zimri clave his breast,
But Aram’s eyes were clos’d in endless rest.
Thus, while fond Virtue wish’d in vain to save,*
Hale, bright and generous, found a hapless grave. *
With genius’ living flame his bosom glow’d,
And science charm’d him to her sweet abode:
In worth’s fair path his feet adventur’d far; 5.
The pride of peace, the rising grace of war;
In duty firm, in danger calm as even,
To friends unchanging, and sincere to heaven.
How short his course, the prize how early won! 10.
While weeping friendship mourns her favourite gone,
With soul too noble for so base a cause,
Thus Andre bow’d to war’s barbarian laws.
In morn’s fair light the opening blossom warm’d,
Its beauty smil’d, its growing fragrance charm’d; 15.
Fierce roar’d th’ untimely blast around its head;
The beauty vanish’d, and the fragrance fled;
Soon sunk his graces in the wintry tomb,
And sad Columbia wept his hapless doom.
As now o’er eastern hills the morning burn’d,
Alone brave Zimri to the camp return’d;
Pale in his front despair and anguish sate,
And each kind bosom fear’d for Aram’s fate,
When thus, the Leader–Say, exalted chief, 5.
What dire misfortune clouds thy mind with grief?
O best of men, he cried, my tears deplore
The hero’s fate, brave Aram is no more.
Weep, weep, my friends: his worthy life demands
This last, poor tribute from your grateful hands, 10.
Nor weep for him alone: dread scenes of grief
Surround our steps, and Heaven denies relief.
Th’ insulting wretch, that seal’d the hero’s fate,
In death proclaim’d what terrors round you wait.
I die, he cried, but know, thou culprit, know, 15.
To the dark tomb thy harbinger I go.
O’er Israel’s race ascend, from realms afar,
The clouds of ruin, and the storms of war.
The hosts, that bow to Jabin’s great controul
From Hazor’s rocky hills, in thunder roll; 20.
Hosts, that ne’er knew the tender tear to shed,
Born in the field, beneath the standard bred;
That raptur’d fly, where shrilling trumpets call,
Plunge on the pointed spear, and climb the kindled wall.
These dauntless bands (to Ai the message came) 25.
Shall sink in night thy nation’s hated name;
Even now brave Oran, Jabin’s martial boast,
Speeds his glad course and moves a countless host:
Raptur’d I see thy camp in flames arise, 30.
And Israel’s ashes cloud the angry skies.
He spoke. Astonish’d at th’ impending doom,
Round the pale thousands breath’d a solemn gloom;
Rent were their martial vestments, torne their hair,
And every eye spoke pangs of keen despair.35.
Mid the sad throng, in mournful robes array’d
Vile dust besprinkled o’er his down-cast head,
Pale Hanniel rose, and with dissembled woe,
Clouded his front, and urg’d the tear to flow.
Of princely blood, his haughty sire, of yore 5.
Proud Pharaoh’s favourite on th’ Egyptian shore,
O’er Israel’s race was scepter’d to preside,
To rule their tributes and their toils to guide.
In the son’s mind again the parent liv’d,
His pride rekindled, and his art reviv’d.
Where’er pride call’d, his changing soul would turn;
Grieve with the sad, and with the envious burn;
Vaunt with the brave, be serious with the wise, 5.
And cheat the pious with uplifted eyes;
In Youth’s fond sports with seeming zeal engage,
Or list, delighted, to the tales of Age.
When Joshua’s hand the sacred rule adorn’d,
With pangs he saw, but still in secret mourn’d:
His close revenge the Hero’s fate decreed,
And smooth, sure slander taught his name to bleed.
With friendly grasp he squeez’d each warrior’s hand; 5.
With jests familiar pleas’d the vulgar band;
In sly, shrewd hints the Leader’s faults disclos’d;
Prais’d his whole sway, but single acts oppos’d;
Admir’d how law so stern a face could wear;
Stil’d combat rashness, and nam’d caution fear: 10.
With angels then his fame and virtue join’d,
To tempt coarse scandal from each envious mind:
Blest his own peaceful lot, and smil’d, that Heaven,
To minds, that priz’d them, empire’s toils had given.
Yet base born fear his vigorous soul disdain’d; 15.
Each danger shar’d and every toil sustain’d;
Joy’d, in terrific fields, the foe to dare,
And claim’d the honours of the fiercest war.
Now the blest period, long in vain desir’d,
His fond hope flatter’d, and his bosom fir’d;
To end his rival’s sway, his own secure,
Resolv’d, his fancy deem’d the triumph sure.
In seeming anguish oft his hands he wrung,
And words imperfect murmur’d on his tongue;
At length, with feeble voice, he thus began,
While round the tribes a mute attention ran.
Friends! brethren! sires! or by what tenderer name
Shall I address the heirs of Jacob’s fame?
Dear to my soul, as those red drops, that flow,
Thro’ my warm veins, and bid my bosom glow,
If chill’d by grief’s cold hand, the vital flood 5.
Still pours its warmth, nor yet forsakes the road!
Long has this heart with deep compassion view’d
Your generous tribes, by countless ills subdu’d;
Ills, these pain’d eyes foreboding, long beheld,
And this sad warning voice in vain reveal’d. 10.
Those counsels, now by sure experience prov’d,
That voice, alone by Israel’s welfare mov’d,
Once more attend. Ye guardian powers, be near,
Enlarge their minds and give them hearts to hear!
Let base-born prejudice no more controul 15.
The native candour of each generous soul;
Assert yourselves; your future conduct scan;
Reason’s the noblest privilege of man.
Long have our feet with restless error rov’d,
And the sad waste with all its miseries prov’d;
That waste, by Heaven’s unerring sentence curs’d
With ceaseless hunger, and eternal thirst,
The tyger’s rage, the lion’s fearful path, 5.
Bestrew’d with bones, and red with recent death,
The sun’s keen fury, midnight’s gloomy dread,
And all the horrors of th’ impoison’d shade.
How oft these eyes the hapless child have view’d,
By hunger famish’d and by pain subdu’d,
While the fond parent o’er his beauties hung,
And look’d distress, that froze his faltering tongue,
Distress, to hear the young, the piercing cry, 5.
That claim’d relief, when no relief was nigh;
To see the babe, its face with death o’erspread,
Stretch forth its little hands, and sue for bread:
While friends, all impotent, roll’d down the tear,
Rocks learn’d to feel, and forests bent to hear.10.
When pale Disease assum’d her fatal reign,
Chas’d the warm glow, and rack’d the joints with pain,
Oft have these failing eyes the chief beheld,
In counsel fam’d, and glorious in the field,
Condemn’d the pangs of sickness to endure, 5.
Far from relief, and hopeless of a cure;
No downy couch to rest his drooping head,
The skies his covering, and the earth his bed;
No softening plant his stiffen’d wounds to heal,
Soothe his rack’d nerves, and learn them not to feel; 10.
Nor sweet, embowering shade to drive away
Night’s baleful damps, and summer’s scorching ray.
But who the various ills can number o’er.
Or tell the sands that form the sea-beat shore?
Even now by slow degrees our thousands fall, 15.
Till one wide, common grave involve us all.
For see what woes surround our daring course,
That tempts the terrors of unmeasur’d force;
Safe in high walls, insulting foes deride,
Our boastful impotence, and banner’d pride;
On boundless wealth, with careless ease, rely, 5.
And hosts unnumber’d never taught to fly;
Proud of the dreadful steed, the wasting car,
And all the strength, and all the art, of war.
These foes to aid, what countless throngs will join!
What peopled realms against our arms combine!
From Gibeon’s walls, and where tremendous powers
Surround imperial Hazor’s hundred towers,
Or where proud shores the western main behold, 5.
Or orient Gihon’s haughty tides are roll’d,
I see to fearful combat millions rise,
Chiefs mount the car, and point the fated prize;
See in the van-guard haughty Conquest ride
Lo, murder’d thousands pour the ruddy tide! 10.
O’er Israel’s camp the clouds of vengeance lower,
Fear wings our flight, and flames our race devour.
At that dread season, chain’d in bonds forlorn,
Of men the proverb, and of Heaven the scorn,
Hiss’d by vile slaves, our tribes the rack shall feel,
Or gasp, far happier, on the griding steel:
Slow round the form the fires of Molock burn; 5.
Chiefs mount the pile, and babes to ashes turn:
Impal’d with anguish, bleeding sires behold,
Their wives polluted and their virgins sold;
Their sons, sweet solace of declining age,
In sport transfix’d, or cleft in causeless rage; 10.
While threats, while insults rend with sore dismay,
And hungry hounds stand gaping for their prey.
But cease my faltering tongue; ere these befal,
Oh Heaven, let Hanniel’s blood bedew yon impious wall.
And will no happier hand direct the road,
And tell, where Quiet builds her sweet abode?
Where is the sage, on whose angelic tongue
Bright wisdom dwelt, and soft persuasion hung?
Does no kind breast with patriot virtue glow, 5.
And claim an interest in his country’s woe?
Here then, ye heirs of Jacob’s name, behold
A friend, whose bosom terror ne’er controul’d;
Whose voice, though envious thousands dare oppose,
Shall pour the balm, and heal his country’s woes.10.
How long, brave heroes, shall your feet pursue
Such keen distress, as nations never knew?
How long your host the chains of slavery own,
And millions die, to swell the pride of one?
‘Gainst Heaven’s decree let folly cease to rise, 5.
And tempt no more the vengeance of the skies.
To other lords that firm decree ordains
Th’ expected mountains, and the promis’d plains.
Our every path unnumber’d woes surround;
Our blood in streams bedews polluted ground; 10.
No glad success arrays our steps in light,
And smiling Victory triumphs in our flight.
Search ancient years; thro’ time’s long course return,
When earth first wanton’d in the beams of morn;
Success unchang’d attends, when God approves,
And Peace propitious smooths the path he loves.
Base flight, and dire amaze, and creeping shame, 5.
Man lost in guilt, and alien’d skies, proclaim.
If still your fetter’d minds, by folly sway’d,
Doubts wavering toss, and leaden fears invade,
To yon bright dome your eyes convicted turn;
Say why forgets the guiding flame to burn?
Why round its point forgets the cloud to roll, 5.
Sublime pavilion of th’ all-moving soul?
The dreaded truth must Hanniel singly own?
Fled is the smile of Heaven, the Guardian gone.
But Virtue asks, Why, led by God’s command,
Rov’d this brave host thro’ many a weary land?
Each hour, with pains replete, each field replies,
And with dread language, loud as clarions, cries,
In Egypt’s realms, where every pleasure smil’d, 5.
And, far from famine, labourers lightly toil’d,
Wanton with feasts, our thankless hearts repin’d,
And tainted prayers provok’d th’ all-ruling Mind;
Tir’d by long scenes of woe, th’ ungrateful host, 10.
Learn’d humbler thoughts, and priz’d the good they lost:
Reclaim’d, each spotless mind adores his ways,
And every blessing wakes the voice of praise.
The end thus gain’d, his terrors lifted high
Bid his warn’d sons the unbless’d purpose fly. 15.
See, swiftly borne, the storm of vengeance rise!
Cloud after cloud invades the angry skies;
Even now o’er earth, fierce peals commencing roar,
And round the concave flames vindictive pour;
Hark, with what din the distant whirlwinds roll! 20.
How the floods threaten from the thundering pole!
Rise, nimbly rise, burst every dead delay,
And fly, ere fury sweep our race away.
But where, on where shall hapless Israel fly?
Where find a covert, when the ruin’s nigh?
Will no kind land the wish’d recess disclose!
No friendly refuge soothe our long, long woes?
Yes, the fair, fruitful land, with rapture crown’d, 5.
Where once our fires a sweet retirement found,
That land, our refuge Heaven’s high will ordains,
Pleas’d with our prayers, and piteous of our pains.
Hail favour’d realms, where no rude tempest blows!
Serene retreats, and shades of kind repose!
Ordain’d, the union’d bliss of life to prove,
The wreaths of glory, and the bowers of love!
There the great prince, with awful splendor crown’d, 5.
From foes shall guard us, and with peace surround,
In no rude combat fated to engage,
Nor fir’d by clarions to vindictive rage.
There cates divine shall yield the sweet repast,
Charm the pall’d eye, and lure the loathing taste; 10.
With die refulgent crimson vestures glow,
And robes of kings succeed this garb of woe:
Our tribes, in spicy groves, at ease recline,
Press the swell’d fig, and pluck the cluster’d vine;
Her floods of boundless wealth the river roll,
And spring, with autumn join’d, beam temperate round the pole.
For these bless’d joys, what mind, so left to shame,
Can grudge the tribute, regal glories claim?
Return, how due! Devoid of decent show,
How soon would Power to trampled weakness grow?
How soon base minds the feeble judge deride, 5.
And beggar’d rulers quake at wealthy pride?
Nor the just doom can Avarice’ self deny,
Who share the blessing must the tax supply.
No danger now even timid minds can fear,
Lest stern Oppression lift her rod severe: 10.
Unlike our sires, who rais’d impatient cries,
A fairer doom awaits us from the skies.
Taught by our hated flight, the nation knows
How, join’d with ours, their vast dominion grows;
Disjoin’d, how swift the weaken’d tribes decay, 15.
To foes a triumph, and to schisms a prey.
Even now with friendly joy their bosoms burn,
And with fond prescience hail our wish’d return;
Bid our own hands the grateful covenant frame,
Prepar’d to give, what avarice scarce can claim;
Our sons invite their boundless wealth to share, 5.
Garlands of fame, and sweet repose of care.
Here, warriors, here the dreaded miseries flow,
Scenes of dire scorn, and seats of thickening woe.
For bless’d as hope can paint, o’er all our toil
Let conquest flourish, and let glory smile;
Still in long train, what ceaseless ills await! 5.
The waste of war, and frowns of adverse fate!
While sheath’d in arms, the conquer’d realms we guard,
End of long pains, and patience’ wish’d reward,
Those realms what culturing hand shall teach to bloom?
Or bid bright vesture purple o’er the loom?
Unfed, uncloath’d, our tribes shall waste away, 5.
Our lands grow wild, and every art decay.
Whose wisdom then shall equal lots divine,
And round each province lead the bordering line!
Will none, for fancied wrongs, the falchion draw,
His arm the umpire, and his will the law, 5.
O’er his friend’s prize with rude irruption pour,
Burst nature’s bonds, and bathe in kindred gore?
Whose chosen hand the sceptre then shall sway?
What system’d rule the union’d tribes obey?
To my pain’d eyes what hideous prospects spread,
When impious Faction rears her snaky head!
Array’d in savage pomp, Destruction reigns 5.
O’er flaming cities, and o’er crimson plains;
Friends, against friends, that knew but one fond heart,
Aim the dark knife, and lift the secret dart;
In brother’s blood unfeeling brothers wade,
And parent’s bosoms sheath the filial blade. 10.
Let Pity round the scene extend her veil,
And thrilling virtue shun the dreadful tale!
Or shall one arm the state forever sway?
And, sunk to stocks, our torpid race obey?
One voice, thro’ ages, Jacob’s pride controul,
Ourselves the clay, and he th’ all-moving soul?
Perish the thought! t’ oppose a tyrant’s reign, 5.
One patriot life shall flow from every vein;
In Israel’s cause shall burst this fearless voice,
And this bold arm avenge the free-born choice.
Rise, warriors, rise! desert this dreary plain,
These fields of slaughter, and these haunts of pain!
To scenes of brighter name, to happier skies,
To other Edens lift your raptur’d eyes!
The world’s fair Empress chides our dull delay, 5.
Spreads her fond arms, and bids us haste away,
To bliss, to glory; seize th’ auspicious road,
And claim your interest in the bless’d abode!
The hero spoke. As when, in distant skies,
Slow-roll’d, the darkening storm begins to rise, 10.
Thro’ the deep grove, and thro’ the sounding vale,
Roar the long murmurs of the sweeping gale:
So round the throng a hoarse applause was heard,
And growing joy in every face appear’d.15.
On a tall rock, whose top o’erlook’d the plain,
The Leader rose, and hush’d the reverent train.
By Hanniel warm’d, with airy visions fir’d,
He saw gay hope their glowing minds inspir’d,
In prospect bright, at hand fair Egypt lay, 5.
Divine the pleasure, and secure the way;
With calm, frank aspect, that serenely smil’d,
His port all-winning, and his accent mild;
Too wise, to thwart at once the general choice,
Or hope to sway alone by reason’s voice, 10.
He thus began. Ye heirs of Jacob’s name,
Let Joshua’s voice your generous candor claim.
In Israel’s sacred cause my toils ye know,
My midnight watchings, and my morning woe.
Your long, lone path my wakeful eye survey’d, 15.
Charm’d the sad wild, and cheer’d the languid head;
Sooth’d drooping sickness, banish’d fear’s alarms
And clasp’d the orphan with delighted arms;
‘Gainst fierce invasions rais’d a guardian shield,
The first to seek, the last to leave, the field; 20.
For all your tribes a parent’s fondness prov’d,
Fulfill’d each wish, and even your wanderings lov’d.
In those sad scenes, where pity owns applause,
Not Hanniel’s tears adorn a fairer cause.
For Israel’s woe does Hanniel singly feel?
Are these eyes blind? or is this bosom steel?
When ceas’d these hands from toil? or what strange sun 5.
Saw Joshua’s feet the haunts of danger shun?
Your eyes have seen, these honest scars proclaim
How oft this breast has pour’d the vital stream:
Still be it pour’d. A nation’s cause to save,
Life’s a poor price; the field an envied grave.10.
Whatever voice your welfare shall divine,
My heart shall welcome and my hand shall join:
But, calmly weigh’d, let Truth our counsels guide.
And Reason’s choice the destin’d course decide. 5.
So prone the mind in error’s path to rove,
T’explore is wisdom, and ’tis bliss to prove.
Charm’d, at first sight, when pleasures rise to view,
Each painted scene our ventrous thoughts pursue;
In airy visions far-seen Edens rise, 10.
And isles of pleasure tempt enamour’d eyes.
On the calm tide, to aromatic gales,
Our fearless hands exalt impatient sails;
Thro’ sapphire floods the bark foresees its way,
While wanton billows smoothly round it play, 15.
Nor heeds the angry storm, that with dread power,
Climbs dark behind the hill, and hopes th’ avenging hour,
Warn’d by my voice, such hidden dangers fly,
And each gay prospect scan with searching eye.
In realms far distant spreads th’ expected shore,
Hills rise between, and boiling oceans roar:
Two tiresome ways invite our wearied bands,
Thro’ trackless deserts, or through hostile lands.
Say, shall our steps again the waste pervade,
Dare the fierce heat, and tempt th’ impoison’d shade?
Consult yon chief; his voice again shall tell
Those dreary scenes, he painted now so well.
Or shall our feet, its dangers hid from view,
Thro’ peopled realms, a nearer path pursue?
I blush, when falsehood leads the chosen tribes,
Where folly dictates, and where fear prescribes.
One foe to shun, shall fiercer foes be tried? 5.
Death their delight, and war their earliest pride.
Lo the fierce wrath, at Taberah’s plain that burn’d,
And Korah’s host to instant corses turn’d,
Rous’d to more dreadful flames, our guilt to spy,
And see our feet to hated Egypt fly,
Shall wing Philistia’s host to death and war,
And bid fierce Midian whirl the thundering car;
Full on her prey avenging Amalek fall,
And guilt and terror every heart appall;
Our wives, our sons, to savage wrath be given, 10.
Feast famish’d wolves, and glut the hawks of heaven.
No fancied doom my boding words declare:
Truth, fix’d as mountains, fills your startled ear.
To every beast the lamb presents a prey,
And coward bands invite the world to slay.
But will ye tremble for one shameful fall?
Shall one lost combat Abraham’s race appall?
Is Aram dead! to rapid vengeance fly;
By me his orphan babes for vengeance cry;
Fir’d by his fate, your nerves let ardour string, 5.
Exalt the standard, and to combat spring.
Even Zimri fears, by strong affections led,
While his fond bosom mourns his Aram dead.
Of all the sympathy, that woes impart
To the soft texture of the good man’s heart, 10.
Departed friendship claims the largest share,
And sorrow in excess is virtue there.
But timid passion! Grief, with startled eye
Spies fancied ills, and quakes, ere danger’s nigh
Yon chief demands, why fled the guardian fire?
What unknown folly bade the cloud retire?
That base distrust, which glorious fight delays,
That smooth, close fraud which tempts to dangerous ways,
These claim the soourge of Heaven: be these atou’d, 5.
Each fear shall vanish, and each hope be crown’d.
While thus the Chief their bosoms warm’d anew,
And every ear, and heart, to virtue drew;
Their kindling zeal impatient Hanniel eyed,
Shook for his cause, and frown’d with startled pride:
When those, he cried, whose choice our warriors lost, 5.
Of truth expatiate, and of wisdom boast,
With just disdain my rising spirits burn,
And my pain’d heart, at times, forgets to mourn;
To shame, to flight, does sacred Wisdom lead? 10.
Does sacred Truth command our sons to bleed?
Rouse then to arms; lo Ai impatient stands,
And yields the doom, our eager wish demands;
In wisdom’s cause with active zeal engage,
And fall, a splendid triumph to their rage. 15.
Far happier lot, to meet the falchion’s sway!
Than, one by one, thus lingering, waste away.
Far other end yon Chief ambitious eyes;
Conceal’d by virtue’s mask the danger lies.
Unbrib’d, unaw’d, the honest task I claim,
To burst the veil, and ward th’ impending shame.
Long vers’d in wiles, the lust of power his guide, 5.
He lulls our caution, and inflates our pride;
With sense, that darts through man a searching view,
With pride, that rest, or limits never knew,
To deep designs mistrustless hearts he draws,
With freedom soothes, and cheats with flatter’d laws; 10.
A crown to seize, the patriot’s fire can claim,
And mock with seeming zeal the fearful Name.
Full well he knows that, worne by slow delay,
Our generous tribes shall fall an easy prey;
That long-felt influence, great by habit grown, 15.
Climbs to firm sway, and swells into a throne.
Be warn’d, be warn’d; the threatening evils fly,
And seek repose beneath a kinder sky.
Short is the toil, the well-known path secure,
The pleasure endless, and the triumph sure.
Rejoic’d, each land will ope the destin’d road, 5.
And smiling guide us to the wish’d abode.
Freed from the fearful storm that round them spread,
Their hearts shall hail us, and their hands shall aid.
No giant chief in terror there shall rise;
No dreadful Jabin spring to seize the prize: 10.
From Madon’s hills, to fierce vindictive war
No frowning Jobab roll his iron car:
From death’s alarms the potent king shall guard,
And bowers of transport yield the bright reward.15.
He spoke. Like Angels dress’d in glory’s prime,
With conscious worth, and dignity sublime,
While the still thousands gaz’d with glad surprize,
His great soul living in his piercing eyes,
The Chief return’d. By wild ambition toss’d, 5.
To shame impervious, and to virtue lost,
Here bend thine eye, thy front unblushing rear;
Let frozen Conscience point no sting severe;
Then tell, if falsehood lends thee power to tell,
Thy mind believes one scene, thy lips reveal; 10.
One black aspersion, form’d to blot my name;
Or one vain prospect, rais’d for Israel’s shame.
Disclose what dreaded toil this arm has fled;
On what dire plain this bosom fail’d to bleed:
Tell, if thou canst, when, lur’d by interest’s call, 15.
One nerve, one wish forgot the bliss of all.
In virtue arm’d, while Conscience gayly smiles,
I mock thy fraud, and triumph o’er thy wiles:
Thy darts impoison’d peace and glory bring;
‘Tis guilt alone gives slander strength to sting.
Blush, Hanniel, blush; to yonder tent depart; 5.
Let humbler wishes rule thy envious heart;
Calm the wide lust of power; contract thy pride;
Repent those black designs, thou canst not hide;
Once more to Heaven thy long-lost prayers revive,
And know, the mind that counsels can forgive.10.
Can I, as God, unfailing bliss assure,
Foil with a wish, and peace at choice secure?
What nature can, this arm unbroke shall bear,
Whate’er man dar’d, this breast unshaken dare
Canä:an’s host, those eyes with pain shall view 5.
My falchion vanquish, and my feet pursue;
On Israel’s faithful sons this hand bestow
The bliss of quiet, and the balm of woe.
Should then these thoughts, to base ambition grown,
With impious madness build the envied throne,
To wing my doom let rapid lightnings fly,
And pamper’d hounds the peaceful grave deny.
Mine be the bliss, the bliss supreme to see 5.
My long-lov’d nation bless’d, and bless’d by me:
Let others rule; compar’d with this pure joy,
A throne’s a bubble, and the world a toy.
In reason’s face let all thy wishes speed;
Let foes befriend thee, and let Heaven succeed:
Then count thy gains; the mighty prize survey;
And straws, and bubbles, shall those gains outweigh.
Wrought in gay looms, thy golden robes shall glare; 5.
Rich banquets tempt, and luscious wines ensnare:
But to vile show shall Men their bliss confine?
Or sink to brutes, and only live to dine?
On these poor joys what dreadful ills attend?
Fears ever rising! miseries ne’er to end!
Tho’ whelm’d in floods one impious tyrant lies,
In the thron’d son shall all the father rise;
The same black heart; the same beclouded mind; 5.
To pity marbled, and to reason blind.
Search ancient times: the annal’d page run o’er;
With curious eye the sun’s long course explore;
Scarce can each age a single king confess,
Who knew to govern, or who wish’d to bless: 10.
The rest, of earth the terror, or the scorn,
By knaves exalted, and by cowards borne.
To lords like these shall Israel’s millions bow?
Bend the false knee, and force the perjur’d vow?
A few short years, our wealth content to share, 15.
The rest their greedy hands to toil may spare:
But soon, full soon, their envious minds shall know
Our growth their ruin, and our peace their woe.
Then all the plagues, from jealous power that spring,
And death, the tender mercy of a king,
Your breasts shall feel; and, rack’d with anguish, mourn
The day, when madness counsell’d to return.
Can I forget, how, from the dunghill rais’d,
Villains who bow’d, and sycophants who prais’d,
O’er Jacob’s heirs were scepter’d to preside,
Their tributes gather, and their labors guide?
From them, each cruel pang your heart shall rive, 5.
That coward minds, or offic’d slaves, can give:
Their daring hands prophane the spotless charms,
That yield soft transport to your melting arms;
Each generous thought the brandish’d scourge controul
And Insult rend the agonizing soul.10.
Then too shall Egypt, fir’d with wrath, recal
The plagues they felt, their king’s, their nation’s fall;
Against your race, while Vengeance spreads the wing,
With fury arm them, and to torture spring;
Your sacred dome shall burn; your altars rend; 5.
Your priests destroy; your hated worship end.
In that dread period, what auspicious shore
Shall banish’d Virtue’s lifted wing explore?
In what new realm, when, crush’d, her votaries fail,
Build the bright dome, and spread the hallow’d veil;
Her priests inspire; her altars teach to rise, 5.
And waft her morning incense to the skies?
Her final flight your hearts in vain shall mourn;
In vain, with anguish, call her wish’d return;
In vain the hour extatic sigh to find,
And the sweet sabbath of a guiltless mind.10.
To Egypt’s crimes our sons shall fall a prey,
And learn her manners, while they own her sway:
From many a bower obscene the poison glide,
Taint the young soul, and freeze the vital tide;
The sacred Law our rising hope forsake, 5.
And lisp out curses, ere they know to speak:
Sad Conscience bow beneath an iron rod,
And torpid Reason own a reptile God.
Then, rous’d to wrath, shall Heaven refuse to hear;
Mock all your pangs, and hiss your bitter prayer:
In poison’d gales, its wasting curses rise;
The plague empurpled taint the sickly skies:
The fields all wither, famine rend the breast, 5.
And babes, sad victims! yield the dire repast.
Then from Sabean climes, with hideous sound,
Swift cars shall roll, and savage war resound;
To blood, to vengeance, chiefs their hosts inspire,
Spread boundless death, and wrap the world in fire:
Our sons, bless’d refuge of the waning year! 5.
Charm of sad toil, and sweet repose of care!
‘Gainst their own hapless sires with foes combine,
And with new anguish point the dart divine.
Thus o’er our race shall matchless misery roll,
And death, and bondage blast the rising soul;
Till the last dregs of vengeance Heaven expend,
Blot out our race, and Israel’s glory end;
In final darkness set our sun’s pale beam, 5.
And black oblivion shroud our hapless name.
For this dire end, were such bright scenes bestow’d?
For this, th’ eternal covenant seal’d by God?
For this did ocean’s trembling waves divide,
And o’er pale Egypt roll their whelming tide?
For this, the seraph lead our sacred bands? 5.
For this loud thunder speak the dread commands?
From the hard rock refreshing waters rise?
The food of angels shower from balmy skies?
The sun-bright waste its flaming heats allay,
And Jordan’s parting billows yield our way? 10.
But Hanniel cries, These wondrous signs were given,
To scourge our guilt, and bend our hearts to Heaven.
Were this the end, fierce famine had annoy’d;
The plague had wasted, or the sword destroy’d.
To fairer bliss he led the chosen train 5.
Thro’ the dark wave, and o’er the howling plain,
Ordain’d, when yon proud towers in dust are hurl’d,
To found an empire, and to rule a world;
O’er earth’s far realms bid truth and virtue shine,
And spread to nature’s bounds the Name divine.10.
What tho’ a few base minds the course oppose,
Slaves of poor pride, and Israel’s bitter foes;
For pomp, for banquets would their race destroy,
And smile, to sell a nation for a toy;
What tho’ of lifeless mold, a feeble race 5.
With souls of maids the shape of men disgrace;
Think life no life, unbless’d with torpid ease,
Shrink from a shield, and shiver at a breeze:
‘Gainst those let Justice’ angry falchion flame,
And hissing Vengeance blast their impious name: 10.
These dress th’ inglorious loom; in sleep decay,
And to their kindred nothing fleet away.
Far other mind our true-born race inspires;
Keen bravery prompts, and Abraham’s virtue fires:
I see to combat ardent heroes rise;
I see bright glory flash from sparkling eyes;
Hark a glad cry! that every danger braves, 5.
“Perish the day, ere Israel’s sons be slaves;”
Swift pour new transports thro’ my thrilling veins;
Heaven’s voice in thunder calls to hostile plains:
Mark, mark the sound divine! cease every care;
Gird on your arms, and wake to manly war: 10.
To bright possessions glory points the way,
And calls her sons, her heroes, to the prey.
By friendship’s ties, religion’s bonds combin’d,
By birth united, and by interest join’d,
In the same view our every wish conspires,
One spirit actuates, and one genius fires;
Plain, generous manners vigorous limbs confess, 5.
And vigorous minds to freedom ardent press;
In danger’s path our eyes serenely smile,
And well-strung sinews hail accustom’d toil.
‘Gainst hosts like these what foe with hope can arm?
What numbers daunt them? or what fears alarm?
To reeds before them deadly spears shall turn,
Swords blunt their edge, and flames forget to burn;
To the slight mound descend the heaven-topp’d wall, 5.
The floods grow dry, and hills and mountains fall.
Rise then to war; awake to bright alarms;
Hail the glad trump, and seize your eager arms!
Behold, my sons, behold with raptur’d eyes,
How slight the toil, how vast the glorious prize!
These golden robes the fate of Sihon tell, 5.
How Midian yielded, and how Amalek fell;
How sunk proud Jericho’s invaded wall,
And wide Canä:an trembled at her fall;
How through each region rings the dreadful cry.
And their wild eye-balls see destruction nigh. 10.
That faith, that arm of steel, that dauntless soul
That bade o’er Bashan’s walls destruction roll,
O’er fields, o’er towers, shall Israel’s standard bear,
Turn realms to flight, and wrest the prize of war;
Fill life with glory; Heaven’s complacence gain, 15.
And call fair Peace to cheer the crimson plain.
Then o’er wide lands, as blissful Eden bright,
Type of the skies, and seats of pure delight,
Our sons, with prosperous course, shall stretch their sway,
And claim an empire, spread from sea to sea:
In one great whole th’ harmonious tribes combine; 5.
Trace Justice’ path, and choose their chiefs divine;
On Freedom’s base erect the heavenly plan;
Teach laws to reign, aud save the rights of man.
Then smiling Art shall wrap the fields in bloom,
Fine the rich ore, and guide the useful loom; 10.
Then lofty towers in golden pomp arise;
Then spiry cities meet auspicious skies:
The soul on Wisdom’s wing sublimely soar,
New virtues cherish, and new truths explore:
Thro’ time’s long tract our name celestial run, 15.
Climb in the east, and circle with the sun;
And smiling Glory stretch triumphant wings
O’er hosts of heroes, and o’er tribes of kings.
The Leader spoke; and deep in every breast
A thrilling joy his cheerful voice impress’d.
Round the wide train, late drown’d in sad dismay,
His eyes refulgent cast a living ray:
Soul caught from soul the quick, enlivening charm; 5.
Each parent’s visage bade his children arm;
In every heart th’ undaunted wish began;
O’er the glad field a pleasing murmur ran;
On Ai’s high walls they cast a longing eye,
Resolv’d to conquer, or prepar’d to die. 10.
So, when the northeast pours a deepening storm,
Night shades the world, and clouds the heaven deform,
Loud on some ship descends the driving rain,
And winds imperious toss the surging main;
Dissolv’d in terror, sailors eye the wave, 15.
Lift ardent prayers, and wait the gaping grave:
If chance in beauty’s bloom the morn arise,
Still the rough roar, and charm the troubled skies,
Serenely opening, far the billows o’er,
The blue-seen mountains, and the native shore; 20.
Raptur’d the new-born day with shouts they hail,
And stretch their canvas to the joyous gale.
When sickening Hanniel saw their bosoms glow,
Their fierce eyes burn, and tears of transport flow,
The lov’d, the fond design, his changeful mind,
With secret pangs, to happier hours consign’d.
High o’er the rest his shouts distinguish’d rose; 5.
With well feign’d smiles his artful visage glows,
And thus his voice–When pierc’d with Israel’s grief
I strove in vain to lend the wish’d relief,
Perhaps this heart, by nature prone to know
The good man’s interest in his country’s woe, 10.
Of peace, and prosperous arms too soon despair’d,
Unreal ills foresaw, and fancied dangers fear’d.
Yet still those views a kind indulgence claim,
Your fame their glory, and your bliss their aim.
Should this bold course be doom’d to woe severe, 15.
Pure is my warning voice, my conscience clear;
On destin’d fight should friendly Conquest smile,
With joy, my soul shall welcome every toil;
In Israel’s cause, to scenes of danger driven,
To war is transport, and to die is heaven.20.
The hero ceas’d: a faint applause was heard,
And half-form’d smiles around the plain appear’d,
With startling sound the trump’s deep voice began;
To seize their arms the raptur’d thousands ran;
When Caleb, reverend chief, all white with age, 5.
Serenely rose, and hush’d the tumult’s rage.
Deep thought fate musing on his furrow’d face;
Calm wisdom round him cast an awful grace;
With smiles just Heaven survey’d his constant truth,
Innerv’d his limbs, and lengthen’d out his youth: 10.
Even now his arm rejoic’d the sword to wield,
To lead the contest, and to sweep the field.
Near the great Chief, in purple robes he stood;
Sense, from his tongue, and sweet persuasion flow’d;
Round the wide plain attentive silence hung, 15.
And thus sage counsels sway’d the listening throng.
My voice impels to arms; but let the sky
Lead on our host, and bid the heathen fly.
Were Israel spotless in the Eternal’s sight,
Ai had not boasted a victorious fight.
When Virtue dress’d us in divine array, 5.
Joy cheer’d each hour, and smooth’d the rugged way:
To scenes of fame each warrior ardent ran,
And claim’d the glories of the dreadful van.
But when black Vice our breasts with poison stain’d,
We shook for dangers timorous Fancy feign’d; 10.
Each shameful field beheld our squadrons fly,
And heroes arm’d for battle, but to die.
And now some sin, some folly, not bemoan’d,
Rebellion bold, or injury unaton’d,
Pours on our heads this flood of grief and care,
Bids Ai exult, and all our sons despair.
Else round the heavenly dome the cloud had spread, 5.
And sacred fires illum’d the nightly shade.
Let the whole race to God submissive bend;
Let ceaseless prayer to Mercy’s throne ascend;
‘Till the third morn, the pious fast endure;
Each deed be holy, and each bosom pure;
Then o’er our path with joy shall Heaven preside, 5.
Our guilt discover, and our counsels guide.
Then, nor ’till then, to war let trumpets call;
Lead forth these bands, and mount the yielding wall.
But should our course, this day, to fight be driven,
Should arms be brandish’d in the face of Heaven, 10.
Look round your steps; survey the dreadful road;
Think if the sword and shield can war with God.
Thus spoke the sage. Blest man! the Chief replied,
The war’s first honour, and the council’s pride!
Thine is the voice of God: th’ inspiring ray
Shines thro’ thy breast, and gives the brightest day.
Two days shall combat cease. The camp around, 5.
Let the sad fast in every tent be found:
Two days to Heaven be rais’d by pious fear
The grateful tribute of a humble prayer.
So shall we wipe away the crimson stain,
And Israel’s glory gild the conquering plain.10.
He spoke. Each warrior with delight obey’d;
Each cheerful face th’ obsequious mind display’d.
The host dispers’d; and prayers, and reverent sighs
Rose in soft incense to th’ approving skies.
Morning. Gibeonites assemble for the worship of the Sun. Mina refuses to join them in this worship; the king enquires the reason. She mentions her adoration of the true God. The king being anxious to know more of the matter, after an apology for speaking in such an assembly, she gives a general account of the Deity, and his dispensations. As he is still further inquisitive, she gives him a more minute account of the Divine works, in a history of the creation–our first parents–the fall–general succeeding apostacy–deluge–second apostacy–calling of Abraham –Israelites journeying into Egypt–oppression and plagues of Egypt–Israelites’ deliverance–journey through the wilderness–promulgation of the divine law–destruction of Sihon, and Og–last prophecy, death, and burial of Moses, and the commission of Joshua. The Gibeonites being much afflicted at the prospect of their destruction, Mina proposes an embassy to Joshua, to solicit peace. The king approves the proposal. Conclusion.12.
BEYOND those western hills, whose haughty brow,
To heaven exalted, scorn’d the world below,
A plain outspread, with growing verdure bright,
And stole, extensive, from the aching sight.
Here, in proud pomp, adorn’d with countless spires, 5.
That mock’d the glories of the solar fires,
Gibeon’s imperial towers sublimely rose,
And spurn’d the terrors of surrounding foes.
Now o’er the hills red streams began to burn,
And bursting splendors usher’d in the morn;
With living dies the flowers all-beauteous glow’d;
O’er the glad fields etherial odours flow’d;
The forest echoed with a boundless song, 5.
And rising breezes pour’d the strains along.
Adorn’d with green, before the palace lay
A spacious square, and smil’d upon the day.
Here, ere the dawn the kindling skies illum’d,
Or opening flowers the fragrant gales perfum’d,
Of every age, a vast, assembled train 5.
Pour’d from the lofty domes, and fill’d the plain.
High in the midst two sacred altars shone,
Adorn’d with honours to their God, the Sun.
This, deck’d with art, and bright in royal pride,
With sable gore the quivering victim died:
On that gay flowers in rich profusion lay, 5.
And gales of Eden bore their sweets away.
Here, white with age, in snowy vesture dress’d,
Aradon stood, their monarch, and their priest;
Red in his hand a torch refulgent shone,
And his fix’d countenance watch’d the rising sun.5.
When first the flaming Orb, with glorious rays,
Roll’d o’er the hills, and pour’d a boundless blaze;
Charm’d at the sight, the monarch stretch’d his hand,
And touch’d the tributes with the sacred brand;
Through freshen’d air perfumes began to rise, 5.
And curling volumes mounted to the skies.
Thrice to the earth the raptur’d suppliants bow’d,
Then struck the lyre, and hymn’d the rising God.
O thou, whose bursting beams in glory rise,
And sail, and brighten, thro’ unbounded skies!
The world’s great Parent! heaven’s exalted King?
Sole Source of good! and life’s eternal Spring!
All hail, while cloath’d in beauty’s endless ray, 5.
Thy face unclouded gives the new-born day!
Above all scenes is plac’d thy heavenly throne;
Ere time began, thy spotless splendor shone:
Sublime from east to west thy chariot rolls,
Chears the wide earth, and warms the distant poles;
Commands the vegetable race to grow, 5.
The fruit to redden, and the flower to blow.
This world was born to change: the hand of Time
Makes, and unmakes the scenes of every clime.
The insect millions scarce the morn survive;
One transient day the flowery nations live: 10.
A few short years complete the human doom;
Then pale Death summons to the narrow tomb.
Lash’d by the flood, the hard rocks wear away;
Worne by the storm, the lessening hills decay;
Unchang’d alone is thine exalted flame, 15.
From endless years to endless years the same;
Thy splendors with immortal beauty shine,
Roll round th’ eternal heavens, and speak thy name divine.
When thy bright throne, beyond old ocean’s bound,
Thro’ nether skies pursues its destin’d round,
Lost in th’ ascending darkness, beauty fades;
Thro’ the blank field, and thro’ the woodland, spreads
A melancholy silence. O’er the plain 5.
Dread lions roam, and savage terrors reign.
And when sad Autumn sees thy face retire,
And happier regions hail thy orient fire,
High in the storm imperious Winter flies,
And desolation saddens all the skies.
But when once more thy beam the north ascends, 5.
Thy light invigorates, and thy warmth extends;
The fields rejoice, the groves with transport ring,
And boundless nature hails the sky-born spring.
Nor even in winter’s gloom, or night’s sad reign,
Darts the warm influence of thy beams in vain.
Beyond the main some fairer region lies,
Some brighter isles beneath the southern skies,
Where crimson War ne’er bade the clarion roar,
Nor sanguine billows died the vernal shore:
No thundering storm the day’s bright face conceals, 5.
No summer scorches, and no frost congeals;
No sickness wastes, no grief provokes the tear,
Nor tainted vapours blast the clement year.
Round the glad day-star endless beauties burn,
And crown’d with rainbows, opes th’imperial morn; 10.
A clear unbounded light the skies display,
And purple lustre leads the changing day.
O’er conscious shades, and bowers of soft repose,
Young breezes spring, and balmy fragrance blows;
The fields all wanton in serenest beams, 15.
Wake fairer flowers, and roll diviner streams;
Thro’ the long vales aerial music roves,
And nobler fruitage dies the bending groves.
Thro’ spotless nations as the realm refin’d,
Thine influence there sublimes th’ immortal mind;
Its active pinions swift thro’ nature roam,
Lose the low world, and claim a nobler home.
Their limbs, of endless life, with glory crown’d, 5.
New youth improves, and growing charms surround:
On the bless’d shore thy splendors love to shine,
And raise thy sons each hour, to raptures more divine.
Thus ceas’d the sound: the harp’s melodious strain
Join’d the glad hymn, and charm’d the listening train;
A sparkling joy each speaking face display’d,
While light expanding lessen’d every shade.
Fair as the lucid star, that up the sky
Leads the gay morn, and bids the darkness fly,
Beside the king a lovely Virgin stood,
Nor join’d the song, nor with th’ assembly bow’d.
A sweet displeasure ting’d her melting eye, 5.
And her sad bosom heav’d th’ oppressive sigh.
Her soft distress the watchful king survey’d,
And thus, with friendly smile, address’d the maid.
Say, loveliest fair one, whence the meaning gloom,
That damps our joys, and clouds thy rosy bloom!
Why does thy soul the reverence due deny
To yon bright orb, that gilds the orient sky?
Far other God, replied the fair, demands
My vocal transports, and my suppliant hands;
A God, whose power rais’d high yon azure round,
Form’d the wide earth, and fix’d the ocean’s bound;
Who more the sun transcends, than his gay glare 5.
The transient glimmerings of some half-seen star.
Strange scenes, the monarch cries, thy voice declares,
And breathes sweet music thro’ our raptur’d ears.
But canst thou, unconvinc’d, yon orb behold,
O’er earth, o’er heaven, in endless triumph roll’d?
What boundless joy his gladsome course attends! 5.
What glory brightens! and what good descends!
Round the blue void his beams unchanging shine,
And speak his nature, and his name, divine.
Yet still my curious thoughts the tale demand,
And ask improvement at thy lovely hand. 10.
Say then, O fair, what all-exalted Power
Thy wishes reverence, and thy hands adore.
With down-cast eye, and cheek of crimson bright
That sweetly mingled with the spotless white,
Replied the virtuous maid. To bolder tongues
Of man’s bold sex, the arduous task belongs.
But thy fond cares, that sav’d my life, demand 5.
Toils far superior from my grateful hand.
Thy bliss, thy endless bliss, my voice shall bribe
To pass the bounds, the maiden’s laws prescribe.
Far, very far beyond this lower sky,
Beyond the sun, beyond the flames on high,
Dwells in pure light, in heaven’s serene abode,
The Source of life, the Spring of endless good;
All scenes, all heights above, sublimely reigns; 5.
All worlds created, and all worlds sustains.
Yon orb, whose brightness wakes thy raptur’d praise,
Is but a beam of his unbounded blaze.
His breath illum’d, his hand exalted high,
And roll’d him flaming thro’ th’ expanded sky.
His bounteous influence, thro’ all nature driven,
Warms the wide earth, and cheers the wider heaven.
All scenes, all beings his pure sight surveys,
Where morn begins, and where pale eve decays;
Where hell’s dark shores the glooms of night display; 5.
Or heaven’s broad palace glows in lasting day;
Thro’ worlds of endless youth, where angels shine,
And unknown nations rove in light divine.
He moves, informs, directs, and rules the whole;
Their cause, their end, their guardian, and their soul.10.
He wakes the beauties of the vernal morn;
He bids the flames of sultry summer burn;
He showers th’ autumnal wealth; and his dread power
Sounds in the wintry storm, and bids the wild waves roar.
In these vast regions countless beings move,
Live in his smiles, and wanton in his love:
In all, his power, and boundless wisdom, shine,
The works, the glories of a hand divine.
Thron’d in high heaven, in starry mansions reign, 5.
Of purest intellect, th’ angelic train
All sense, all soul, all love, eternal power
Their thoughts contemplate, and their songs adore.
Thro’ earth’s wide realms unnumber’d tribes we find,
Of different ranks, for different ends design’d.
On every leaf the insect millions swarm,
Hum round the flower, or in the sun-beam warm;
The birds, on painted pinions, gayly fly 5.
Thro’ the wide regions of the sapphire sky;
Beasts climb the cliff, or walk the savage wood;
And fishes sport around the foamy flood.
These, with the reptile race, to time a prey,
Of dust were fashion’d, and to dust decay.10.
To man of nobler rank, two parts were given,
This form’d of earth, and that inspir’d by heaven.
Such as the texture, such th’ allotted doom;
His body moulders in the narrow tomb:
But the wing’d soul, when earth in dust is hurl’d, 5.
Shall spring, immortal, from the sinking world;
Ordain’d, if crimes its earthly course distain,
To bathe in fire, and waste with endless pain;
If cleans’d from guilt, with active joy to rise
To the pure transports of angelic skies; 10.
But man, unmindful of his nobler birth,
In vain seeks pleasure from surrounding earth.
Far different, far, the scenes by Heaven design’d
To fill the wishes of the active mind.
This bounded point is but our being’s morn; 15.
To endless life th’ etherial Soul was born.
Upward with nimble slight her thoughts should soar,
And, wing’d by virtue, brighter worlds explore;
Earth’s groveling joys disdain with conscious pride,
Like angels fashion’d, and to heaven allied.20.
For this fair train our nature to prepare,
And the pure fragrance of immortal air,
To raise the downward heart from earthly toys,
And mould our wishes to sublimer joys,
Thro’ earth’s wide realms, afflictions first began, 5.
The noblest blessings Heaven bestows on man.
Toil, disappointment, hunger, thirst, and pain,
A long, long, dismal, melancholy train,
Cleanse the dim eye, dissolve the powerful lust,
And loose the chains, that bind our hearts to dust. 10.
From sorrow’s fire, like silver well refin’d,
Freed from vile earth, shall rise th’ undrosly mind,
Each hour, with beams of clearer beauty shine,
And ceaseless claim an image more divine.
At length, when sickness brings th’ expected doom, 15.
Its powers shall rise triumphant o’er the tomb,
Forward to nobler scenes with rapture spring,
And hail the message of th’ undreaded king;
While life’s long stream its farthest shore shall lave,
And seek the bosom of th’ eternal wave. 20.
Then shall we see diviner winds arise,
The main grow calm, and smiles invest the skies:
Then shall our happy hands exalt the fail,
Launch on the deep, and call th’ etherial gale;
With joy, our spirits leave the fading shore, 25.
And hear the lessening storms at distance roar.
Inwrapp’d in beams of uncreated light,
All heaven, disclos’d, shall burst upon the sight;
Streams of immortal bliss in vision roll,
And hosts of angels hail the kindred soul.30.
With rosy smiles, thus spoke the lovely maid,
While o’er the plain a boundless silence spread.
Like the tun’d lyre, the music of her tongue
Pour’d soft persuasion on the truths she sung:
Pleas’d, her sweet grace, and sparkling eye, they view, 5.
And the frank mein, that Falsehood never knew.
To all, Aradon bent a yielding ear;
For Heaven inspir’d his honest heart to hear.
Mid savage realms, fair Gibeon’s sons inclin’d
To manners gentler, worship more refin’d:
Each social art adorn’d the generous door; 5.
The stranger welcom’d, and reliev’d the poor;
And hence they liv’d. From nature’s bounteous Lord,
Even virtue’s semblance finds a sure reward.
A calm delight exulting in his eyes,
With gentlest voice, the monarch thus replies.
O brightest of thy sex, an angel’s tongue
Alone can boast the sweetness of thy song.
Led by thy voice, my raptur’d mind would know
The mighty Power, from whom all blessings flow;
Would learn what holy seers his will explain, 5.
What prayers delight him, and what offerings gain;
Safe in his smiles, beyond the grave respire;
Exult o’er death, and flee from endless fire;
To those immortal regions speed my flight,
And prove some humble seat, amid the sons of light.10.
But say, O fair, when form’d the Power divine
The lamps that round yon sky forever shine?
Know’st thou the day when earth’s wide realms were made,
The hills exalted, and the ocean spread?
Whose hand thine infant mind to reason wrought, 5.
In virtue nurs’d thee, and in wisdom taught?
Tho’ age my trembling brow has whiten’d o’er,
Strange unknown scenes thy curious thoughts explore.
Return’d the lovely maid, Thy glad request
Wakes my fond hope, and warms my grateful breast–
Know, mighty prince, when Elam’s deathful spear
Pierc’d the fell foe, and loos’d my soul from fear,
From Israel’s camp, thro’ unknown paths, I stray’d, 5.
My lone steps wandering round the woodland shade.
‘Twas there, the sacred truths the prophet sung,
And thus sweet music tun’d his heavenly tongue.
From realms divine high-rais’d beyond all height,
Th’ almighty Parent cast his piercing sight;
With boundless view, he saw the etherial vast
A clouded gloom, an undelightsome waste:
Around the extended wild, no sun’s broad ray 5.
Mock’d the clear splendor of immortal day;
No varying moon, ordain’d at eve to rise,
Led the full pomp of constellated skies;
No day in circling beauty learn’d to roll;
Nor fair spring smil’d, nor frost congeal’d the pole; 10.
Substantial darkness space unmeasur’d fill’d,
And nature’s realms lay desolate and wild.
He spoke: at once, o’er earth’s far distant bounds
The heavens wide-arching stretch’d their sapphire rounds
With hoary cliffs the far-seen hills ascend;
Down sink the vales, and wide the plains extend;
Headlong from steep to steep the billows roar, 5.
Fill the broad main, and toss against the shore.
He spoke; and beauty thro’ all nature flow’d;
With springing verdure earth’s wide regions glow’d;
Forth rush the flowery tribes, and trees on high
Shroud their tall summits in the ambient sky.
He spoke; the heavens with sudden glory shone;
In godlike pomp burst forth the golden sun;
Far thro’ immensity his kindling ray
Shot life and joy, and pour’d the new-born day;
With milder lustre rose the charms of even, 5.
The moon’s broad beam, and all the pride of heaven.
He spoke; and fishes fill’d the watry rounds,
Swarm’d in the streams, and swam the Ocean’s bounds;
The green sea sparkled with unnumber’d dies,
And varying beauty wav’d upon the skies;
Whales through the foaming billows proudly rode, 5.
And unknown monsters gambol’d o’er the flood.
From the deep wave, adorn’d with nobler grace,
In countless millions sprang the feather’d race;
Thro’ the far clouds the eagle cleft his way,
And soar’d and wanton’d in the flames of day; 10.
Full on the morn the peacock op’d his beams,
And swans majestic row’d th’ expanded streams.
He spoke; and, wondering, from disparted plains
In throngs unnumber’d rose the bestial trains:
Their snowy robes the harmless flocks reveal’d;
Gay steeds exulting pranc’d the vernal field;
The lion glar’d, and mid the gazing throng 5.
Shook his rough main, and grimly stalk’d along.
The wide earth finish’d, from his western throne,
In splendid beauty look’d the gladsome sun;
Calm were the skies, the fields with lustre crown’d,
And nature’s incense fill’d th’ etherial round.
Enshrin’d in sacred light, the Maker stood, 5.
Complacent smil’d, and own’d the work was good.
Then from his hand in silent glory came
A nobler form, and Man his destin’d name;
Erect, and tall, in solemn pomp he stood,
And living virtue in his visage glow’d. 10.
Then too a fairer being shew’d her charms;
Young Beauty wanton’d in her snowy arms;
The heavens around her bade their graces fly,
And Love fate blooming in her gentle eye.
O pair divine! superior to your kind; 15.
To virtue fashion’d, and for bliss design’d!
He, born to rule, with calm, uplifted brow,
Look’d down majestic on the world below;
To heaven, his mansion, turn’d his thought sublime;
Or rov’d far onward thro’ the scenes of time;
O’er nature’s kingdom cast a searching eye, 5.
And dar’d to trace the secrets of the sky
On fancy’s pinions scann’d the bright abode,
And claim’d his friend, an Angel, or a God.
Her he indu’d with nature more refin’d,
A lovelier image, and a softer minb.
To her he gave to kindle sweet desire,
To rouse great thoughts, and fan th’ heroic fire:
At pity’s gentle call to bend his ear; 5.
To prompt for woe the unaffected tear;
In scenes refin’d his softening soul improve,
And tune his wishes with the hand of love.
To her he gave with sweetness to obey,
Inspire the friend, and charm the lord away; 10.
Each bleeding grief with balmy hand to heal,
And learn his rending sinews not to feel;
Each joy t’improve, the pious wish to raise,
And add new raptures to his languid praise.
To this lov’d pair a bless’d retreat was given,
A seat for angels, and a humbler heaven;
Fair Eden nam’d: in swift succession, there
Glad scenes of rapture led the vernal year;
Round the green garden living beauty play’d; 5.
In gay profusion earth her treasures spread;
The air breath’d fragrance; streams harmonious rung,
And love, and transport, tun’d th’ aerial song.
With tranquil beams the seventh bright morn appear’d
And thus, from firey clouds, a voice was heard.
This day, O Man, to sacred transports rise,
And pass the hours in converse with the skies:
To prayer, to praise, be all thy wishes given; 5.
Soar from the world, and here begin thy heaven!
So shall thy sons pursue the virtuous road,
And, each returning sabbath, wake to God.
The sovereign voice the reverent pair obey’d;
A solemn beauty earth and heaven array’d: 10.
With joy the pinion’d tribes, in every grove,
Hymn’d the blest influence of immortal love:
Man join’d the concert, and his raptur’d lays
Charm’d the gay fields when angels ceas’d to praise.
Mid Eden’s groves the tree of knowledge stood,
That taught the unalter’d bounds of ill, and good:
Its fruit, all beauteous to the ravish’d eye,
Denied to man, and sacred to the sky:
Denied alone; a boundless store was given, 5.
Food for bright angels, transcript fair of heaven.
And thus the law–If vain desire to taste
Prompt thee, rebellious, to the dire repast;
Hear, hear, O man! on that tremendous day,
Thy life, thy bliss, thy virtue, pass away; 10.
No more the heir of endless joys refin’d,
But guilty, wretched, to the dust consign’d;
Toil here thy lot, thine end the dreary tomb,
And hopeless anguish thine eternal doom.
The sovereign voice the pair obsequious heard, 15.
Th’ injunction reverenc’d, and the danger fear’d:
‘Till urg’d by impious lust, by hell insnar’d,
They pluck’d the fruit; the guilt, and sentence shar’d,
For one poor banquet, one unreal joy,
Rebell’d, and yielded bliss without alloy; 20.
To howling deserts were from angels driven,
And lost the sweet society of heaven.
Then ills on ills unnumber’d rose forlorn;
No more the orient beam’d th’ angelic morn;
Fragrance and Beauty clos’d their blissful reign
Nor Spring perennial danc’d along the plain.
Cold Night her fearful clouds around them spread, 5.
And gave new terrors to the howling shade.
Lost in the bosom of th’ ascending storm,
The sun’s saint beam in winter ceas’d to warm;
O’er plains, and hills, the chilling frost congeal’d;
The snow tempestuous sadden’d all the field; 10.
On the wide wave the headlong whirlwind pour’d,
And all the thunders of the ocean roar’d.
Where late gay bloom’d the harvest’s waving pride,
And purpled fruits the bending branches died,
Impervious thorns, and clinging brambles spread, 15.
And unbless’d famine gloom’d th’ autumnal shade:
For blood, the raging wolf began to arm;
Fierce, hungry tygers rung the dread alarm;
The lion’s sovereign voice, with thrilling sound,
Clear’d the wide grove, and shook the hills around. 20.
The sacred stamp the mind forever lost,
The skies’ perfection and the angel’s boast:
Else had our life roll’d on, from sorrow clear,
A semblance bright of heaven’s eternal year.
Now stain’d with guilt, the soul to hatred turn’d; 5.
With pride was lifted, and with envy burn’d.
Fierce bickerings rose; with conquest noise was crown’d.
And Reason’s still, small voice in curses drown’d:
In vain sweet Friendship charm’d the stubborn ear;
She sung, and wondering found no heart to hear. 10.
By hands, not wisdom, next the cause was tried,
And blows obtain’d what argument denied.
Revenge soon taught to point the murdering knife,
And secret ambush hedg’d the hated life.
The villain’s gloomy path black night conceal’d, 5.
And virtuous blood bedew’d the lonely field.
Then rousing banners War with transport rais’d;
Forth flash’d the steel; the far-seen signal blaz’d:
O’er the scar’d hills the warning clarion rang,
And swift to combat startled nations sprang; 10.
In floods of streaming gore the fields were drown’d,
And slaughter’d thousands heap’d th’ embattled ground.
The regal dome, the turret’s golden gleam
Grac’d the sad triumphs of th’ imperious flame;
From wall to wall insulting engines frown’d, 15.
And all the pride of art fell crumbling to the ground.
To earth’s wide realms, from scenes above the sky,
Th’ Almighty Ruler turn’d his searching eye:
Deep sunk in boundless guilt the regions lay,
And vice exulting claim’d a single sway.
Her countless millions, lur’d by Pleasure’s charms, 5.
Bask’d in her smiles, and sported in her arms;
The song, the feast, inspir’d the jocund hours,
And Lewdness wanton’d in luxurious bowers.
In vain from door to door the beggar stray’d;
His portion hunger, and the frost his bed: 10.
In vain sad Sickness rais’d her feeble cry;
No friendly hand appear’d, nor melting eye:
Virtue, fair pilgrim, cast a wishful view,
And spread her wings, and sigh’d a last adieu.
He saw, while terror veil’d his awful face,
And bade fierce ruin wrap the guilty race,
Borne by the vengeance of his lifted arm,
Far roll’d the black immensity of storm;
From east to west were pour’d the glooms on high, 5.
And cloudy curtains hung th’ unmeasur’d sky.
Shook by the voice that rends th’ immortal plain,
In one broad deluge sunk th’ etherial main;
Huge floods, imprison’d in the vaulted ground,
With wild commotion burst the crumbling bound; 10.
O’er earth’s broad climes the surging billows driven
Climb’d the tall mountains, and invaded heaven:
The pride of man, the pomp-embosom’d tower,
Towns wrapp’d in gold, and realms of mighty power,
All plung’d at once beneath th’ unfathom’d wave, 15.
And nature perish’d in the boundless grave.
From realms, where suns with milder glory shine,
His voice awak’d the western wind divine.
At once the balmy wind obedient blew,
And springing beauty cloth’d the world anew;
In rosy youth her climes emergent smil’d, 5.
And flowery visitants rejoic’d the wild.
How, doom’d to pass beyond the liquid grave,
The ark’s rich treasure triumph’d o’er the wave;
How the bless’d favorite, rising from the main,
Rul’d orient lands, and peopled earth again,
Thou know’st. The wonderous tale, thro’ every clime, 5.
Tradition wafts along the stream of time.
With circling splendor, and etherial die,
The covenant bow spread sudden round the sky,
From those gay heavens, that arch’d with pomp divine,
Fair o’er the angelic world forever shine, 10.
To earth remov’d, and fix’d by God’s decree,
And endless barrier ‘gainst th’ ambitious sea.
Safe in the sacred sign, ungrateful man
New scenes of guilt with eager zeal began.
Again black Vice o’er nature stretch’d her sway,
And magic Pleasure charm’d the foot astray.
No sacred anthems climb’d the bright abode; 5.
Nor Reason blush’d to hail a golden god:
With rage, and conflict, earth was cover’d o’er;
Towns sunk in flames, and fields were drench’d in gore.
With impious jests they mock’d a future doom;
Sung o’er the shroud, and danc’d into the tomb. 10.
From land to land the clouds of death unfurl’d,
And one wide lethargy benumb’d th’ oblivious world.
Then too, proud Ashur, queen of realms, began
To forge her chains, and bind inglorious man.
Hence, tyrants sprang, and dar’d with impious claim,
Demand the honours of the sacred Name;
Hence stern Oppression rais’d his iron rod, 5.
Hence crimson Slaughter wrapp’d the world in blood:
Thro’ every clime the night of slavery spread.
And Heaven repenting griev’d that man was made.
From this black mass, this mingled host of foes,
One fainted friend th’ Almighty Ruler chose;
For him, bless’d champion of his yielding cause!
He chang’d the stable course of nature’s laws;
(An hundred summers saw the circling morn, 5.
Ere his first hope, the promis’d heir was born)
To him, to his he gave Canä:an’s shore,
‘Till the bright evening gild the west no more.
To Idol guilt the world beside was given,
Their name, their memory blotted out of heaven. 10.
When the dire famine o’er all nations spread,
His hand the favorite race to Egypt led.
As some fair tree, where fruitful streams are roll’d,
Lifts spiry shoots, and bids its leaves unfold;
O’er the green bank ambitious branches rise, 5.
Enjoy the winds, and gain upon the skies;
While opening flowers around it gayly spring,
And birds with transport clap the painted wing:
So each fond sun, and each successive shade
Beheld with smiles the infant nation spread; 10.
From field to field the rising boughs expand,
Share the glad smiles of heaven, and fill the jealous land.
Their sudden growth the envious tyrant view’d,
And impious hands in infant gore imbru’d,
With bold oppression bath’d the streaming eye,
Rack’d the sad soul, and rous’d the suppliant cry.
Their bleeding wrongs the omniscient Mind survey’d,
And bade fierce Vengeance bare her flaming blade.
No more the limpid wave serenely flow’d;
But thro’ sad shores the river roll’d in blood;
Unnumber’d reptiles climb’d the stately dome, 5.
Croak’d o’er the feast, and crawl’d the pillar’d room;
Insects in countless millions earth o’erspread;
The sickening murrain gloom’d the pastur’d shade;
From darken’d skies the storm’s red bolts were hurl’d,
And hail, and lightening swept the wasted world; 10.
Like cloudy curtains, locusts hung the day;
Pale death, and famine mark’d their baleful way:
Three days blank midnight wrapp’d the realm in gloom,
And all her first-born sunk in one broad tomb.
Then, high in air his lucid banner spread,
To the bright sign collected Israel fled,
With transport trac’d the finger of the sky,
Wing’d their glad path, and hail’d redemption nigh.
In vain its countless ills the waste disclos’d; 5.
In vain the sea their sacred path oppos’d;
Back roll’d th’ instinctive main; and round their side
In crystal splendor stood the conscious tide.
In the bright front, a cloud his dark abode,
Thron’d on the rushing winds, an angel rode, 10.
The spreading volumes mark’d their path by day,
And guiding flames illum’d their nightly way.
Behind, the tyrant, urg’d by Heaven’s decree,
Drove his pale host, and trembled thro’ the sea.
On the tall shore sublime the Prophet stood, 15.
And stretch’d his hand above the eager flood;
Wide-circling all, far clos’d the billow’d womb,
And Egypt’s glories found a watery tomb.
Thro’ spacious climes of fierce and scorching day,
The cloud expanded led their lonely way, 20.
‘Till, white with cliffs, and crown’d with many a shade,
In cloudy pride fam’d Sinai rear’d its head.
On this lone mount, the all-discerning Mind
To teach his name, t’ unfold his law, design’d;
On earth to witness truth and power divine, 25.
And bid o’er Jacob’s sons his splendors shine:
Beneath its haughty brow the thousands lay,
And hop’d the wonders of th’ expected day.
Fair rose the dawn: from heaven’s sublime abode,
Th’ almighty Power in boundless glory rode;
Long dusky folds a cloud around him spread,
His throne surrounding with impervious shade.
Its flame-bright skirts with light excessive shone, 5.
A noon-tide morn, that dimm’d the rising sun.
Forth from its womb unusual lightnings fly,
And thunders, hurl’d on thunders, rock the sky:
To Sinai’s top the wonderous scene descends;
Down plunge his cliffs; his tottering summit rends; 10.
O’er all the mountain burn devouring fires,
Wreath’d in dread smoke, and crown’d with lofty spires.
Loud as hoarse whirlwinds earth and heaven deform,
Loud as the thousand thunders of the storm,
With clear, dread voice, in pomp tremendous, roll 15.
The trump’s long-sounding terrors thro’ the pole.
The Seer majestic climbs the towering height,
And, bosom’d deep in glory, leaves the sight.
There, while the world was hush’d in silent awe,
The Sovereign Mind disclos’d th’ eternal Law;
And thus the dread commands. O Israel, know,
I am the Lord, who snatch’d thy sons from woe,
From Egypt’s bondage trac’d thy various ways: 5.
Nor shall base Idols share my sacred praise.
Let no vain words my fearful Name prophane;
Nor toil, nor sports my holy sabbaths stain.
Thy parent’s voice with reverent mind obey:
Thy hand from dire revenge, and murther stay: 10.
Let not a thought thy neighbour’s couch ascend;
And not a wish to others wealth extend:
Let truth thy converse, truth thy oaths confine:
And every passion to thy lot resign.
Unnumber’d statutes then his voice ordain’d,
The poor protected, and the rich restrain’d;
And taught, what manners prosperous rule assure,
Their foes to vanquish, and their peace secure.
Then thro’ long, weary climes their course was turn’d,
Still mov’d the cloud, and still the glory burn’d.
With ceaseless care he fill’d their hearts with good;
The skies dissolving shower’d immortal food:
With wondering joy they saw the streamy rain 5.
Pour from the rock, and spread along the plain:
And clonds of quails, from every region driven,
Blacken’d the fields, and fill’d the bounds of heaven.
‘Twas then, near Edom’s realms the thousands lay,
And her proud prince denied th’ expected way. 10.
Whate’er their state, whate’er their God concern’d,
From their great Seer my curious parent learn’d;
Charm’d with the scene, he left his native soil,
Shar’d all their wants, and barter’d ease for toil.
Thro’ long, lone paths we bent our circling course,
Untir’d by winter’s rage, or summer’s force;
Bright angels led the van; and round the road
Dread scenes of terror mark’d the present God.
Even now I see fierce Sihon’s hostile train,
Sheath’d in dire arms, and frowning o’er the plain.
In childhood then, around my fire I clung,
Danc’d in his arms, and in his bosom hung.
With nimble steps the sacred warriors sped, 5.
Blew the shrill trump, and fill’d the field with dead.
Like drifts of rushing dust, that sweep the skies,
On fear’s light pinions swift the remnant flies;
From town to town we wing our rapid way,
And the wide region sinks an easy prey. 10.
Then giant Og his heroes drove to arms,
Whirl’d his proud car, and thunder’d hoarse alarms:
In distant fields I saw the storm ascend,
Its shades all darken, and its clouds extend;
Down the grim hills I heard the volumes roll, 5.
And bursting terrors rend the shuddering pole.
As snows, slight fabric, in warm suns decay,
The impious squadrons sudden melt away.
Now o’er the Seer had six-score summers run,
And hoary locks around his temples shone,
When sounds melodious, opening from the sky,
To the sad train declar’d his end was nigh.
His mind inspir’d with more than mortal sight, 5.
Saw future scenes and ages rush to light;
And thus his voice. On Israel’s chosen train,
Like vernal showers let endless blessings rain:
Each rising age, ascend thy glory higher,
With time roll on, and with the skies expire! 10.
But oh, my sons, this voice attentive hear;
Let these last strains command the listening ear!
To unborn years I stretch my raptur’d eyes;
I see the promis’d seed in glory rise!
The etherial star triumphant mounts on high,
And fairer beams adorn the unmeasur’d sky:
All heaven impatient waits the sacred morn; 5.
Jesus descends; the filial God is born:
Hosts of bright angels round the favorite shine,
And earth is ravish’d with their hymns divine.
‘Tis he, whose offering guilt shall wash away,
And raise Mankind to climes of ceaseless day; 10.
The bliss of truth, and virtue, shall inspire,
And warm the bosom with seraphic fire.
Haste, haste, ye days of heaven! with rapid wing,
To this sad world the hope of nations bring!
Descend, O Prince of peace! thy love bestow; 15.
Cleanse the dark soul from seeds of endless woe;
With all earth’s myriads Jacob’s sons unite,
And bid immortal glory spring to light.
No more the gentile realms in dust shall mourn;
Nor evening altars to th’ infernals burn; 20.
But wak’d, reviv’d, by thy celestial name,
One cloud of incense, one unbounded flame,
To heaven ascend: the sun shall brighter rise,
And peace, and light, and glory gild the skies.
Thus the great Seer; and warm’d with heavenly grace,
Besought all blessings for his darling race;
Then up fam’d Pisgah’s side serenely drew,
Where all Canä:an met his rapturous view;
Thence his glad soul explor’d her native day, 5.
And left, for bliss, the tenemental clay:
His soul, scarce lower than the angels made,
With glory mitred, and with truth array’d.
As the bold eagle, borne from humble vales,
Lifts his strong wings, and up th’ expansion fails; 10.
O’er groves, o’er hills, o’er mountains, wins his way,
And climbs exulting in the noon-tide ray;
Now far beneath him sees each birdling fly;
Now clouds light-floating skim the lower sky;
In prospect wide, with piercing ken, descries 15.
Far, lessening towns, and spacious empires rise;
Here rivers wind, the lakes their borders spread;
And there the blue-seen ocean smooths his bed;
In pride sublime, he holds his upward way,
And basks, and triumphs, in the flame of day. 20.
So, borne with angel-flight, his mighty mind,
Ascending, left the common wing behind;
Full on the sun’s great Source superior drew,
‘Till truth’s wide regions stretch’d in glorious view;
There fair Creation spread her boundless plan; 25.
There op’d, mysterious, all the world of man:
With every splendor bright Redemption shone;
And, one immense of beauty, God the Son.
Still up the heavens he wing’d his solar flight,
And soar’d, and mingled with unborrow’d light. 30.
Far in a wild vale’s solitary gloom,
Jehovah form’d his favourite’s lonely tomb;
For life distinguish’d, there his limbs refine,
‘Till morn’s last beams in purple glory shine;
Then, rob’d in beauty, shall the Prophet rise, 5.
And sail, the peer of angels, thro’ the skies.
But, ere his spirit sought celestial day,
To Joshua’s hand he gave the destin’d sway,
A Chief divine! with every virtue crown’d,
In combat glorious, and in peace renown’d,
To him the Almighty voice–Thy chosen hand 5.
Shall guide my sons, and rule the promis’d land.
That land, where peace, and every pleasure reigns,
O’er heaven-topp’d hills, and fair, extended plains;
Where countless nations build the lofty dome,
Nurse purpling vines, and teach the vales to bloom; 10.
That land is thine. Where’er thy foot shall tread,
From the parch’d climes where Midian’s thousands spread,
To realms, where Hazor, arm’d with potent sway,
Bids kingdoms bow, and conquer’d chiefs obey:
Or where Euphrates winds his gentle flight; 15.
Or the broad ocean rolls in evening light;
All, all is thine. Who dare thy course withstand,
Shall feel the fury of th’ Eternal hand.
Lost in black crimes the torpid nations lie,
And claim fierce vengeance from an injur’d sky. 20.
Rise, rise to arms! o’er Jordan’s yielding flood
My guardian hand shall point the destin’d road.
Thus spoke the fair: and while th’ etherial strain
Breath’d a soft music o’er the wondering train,
With anxious look th’ impatient monarch cried–
O best of maids, thy sex’s noblest pride!
Far round the neighbouring realms by fame is rung 5.
The wonderous race, thy lovely voice has sung.
Oft have I heard, how, arm’d with dreadful rod,
Before his votaries march’d their mighty God;
How kings in vain their rapid course oppos’d,
Their hosts all vanquish’d, and their empire clos’d. 10.
But still, misled by Rumour’s dubious tongue,
In sad suspense my mind all-anxious hung.
Now with clear truth the scenes tremendous shine;
Of force convinc’d, I own the Power divine.
And must our race with one wide doom expire? 15.
These turrets sink? these walls be wrapt in fire?
Must yon bright maid, whose soft and lovely smile
Could murderers charm, and wolves of rage beguile:
These beauteous infants, scarce to reason born,
Sweeter than flowers perfume the vernal morn, 20.
To war’s unpitying fury yield their breath,
And helpless close their little eyes in death?
O thou great God, whose sway o’er heaven presides,
Whose searching eye the world’s vast empire guides:
Stay, stay thine hand; this guilty nation spare; 25.
Let these sweet babes thy boundless pity share!
Unform’d our infant prayer–but cries sincere
And honest hearts will find a bounteous ear.
He spoke; around, the melting voice of woe
Breath’d sad complaints, and tears began to flow;
When thus the Prince again–O loveliest maid!
Where, where shall Gibeon find the needed aid?
Can no kind hand the friendly refuge give? 5.
No pitying saviour bid my children live?
Say, loveliest fair, canst thou no succour lend?
Our teacher thou–be thou our guardian friend.
Perchance thy bounteous Ruler, form’d to bless,
O’er suppliant realms may lift the branch of peace. 10.
The maid return’d–perhaps a virgin’s mind,
Though wisdom fail, the wish’d retreat may find.
To Israel’s camp two trusty heroes send;
Let me, restor’d, their peaceful steps attend.
The maid, thou seest by blest adoption shares 5.
Their mighty Leader’s fond, parental cares.
Pleas’d with the offering, Joshua’s hand may give
The palm of peace, and bid thy nation live.
Charm’d with the thought, joy sparkling in his eyes,
With voice exulting, strait the king replies.
O fair divine! thy mind, with wisdom bright,
Even age out-soars and climbs an angel’s flight.
Let peace thy life surround. The task be mine 5.
Soon to prepare, and end the blest design.
Thy lovely voice must find a generous ear;
So sweet a strain even oaks would bow to hear.
The Monarch spoke; and o’er the circling throng
Bright smiles broke forth, and pleas’d applauses rung;
A beauteous semblance of the fields around,
Starr’d with young flowers, and with gay verdure crown’d,
Where airy songs, soft proof of raptur’d love, 5.
Wav’d on the gale, and echo’d thro’ the grove;
While the clear sun, rejoicing still to rise,
In pomp roll’d round immeasurable skies.
Characters of Hezron, Irad, and Selima, Morning. Irad and Selima walk out on the plain, northward of the camp, and hold a conversation on the justice of the War. As they are returning to the camp, they overhear two Israelites conversing on a design of returning into Egypt. Irad communicates the discovery to Joshua. The alarm is given, and an army percieved, coming from Ai to attack the camp. Joshua goes out to the place of rendezvous, marshals a body of troops, and sends them, under the command of Zimri, to meet the army of Ai. In the mean time the camp is in a general uproar, and a large body of the Israelites assembled, westward of the camp, for the purpose of returning into Egypt, After the confusion is in a degree allayed, Tadmor harangues the in rgents, with a list of grievances, and stimulates them to perseverance. Caleb who, with Hezron, had been sent by Joshua, upon Irad’s information, to watch the motions of the camp, replies to him. Ardan answers him, with impudence, and Hezron him, with severity. Insurgents march. As they are quitting the plain, Joshua comes out, with a body of troops to attack them. The chieftains set their forces in array. Joshua orders them to disperse. Ardan affronts him, and is killed. The insurgents disperse, and the chiefs return to the camp. Irad goes out to view the battle. Armies engage with violence, and equal success; until the chiefs, of Ai, influenced by superstitious fears, excited by the appearance of a thunder storm, order a retreat. Zimri also retires. Scene of the beauties of an evening after the storm concludes the book.13.
Of Judah’s thousands Hezron held the sway;
And love, and reverence, bade them all obey.
The chief, of simple manners, knew no art;
Truth was his language; honesty his heart:
To bless mankind his life’s unvaried end; 5.
His guest the stranger, and the poor his friend.
So fair his strong, and stubborn virtue shone,
Heaven crown’d his wishes with a lovely son.
To mould young Irad was his darling care;
To form for peace, to animate for war;
His limbs t’ innerve; his vices to controul, 5.
And lead to wisdom’s fount his thirsty soul.
In earliest years, the favourite Youth began
To shew those charms, which rarely grace the man.
To rashness brave, his bosom burn’d for fame;
Yet knew a milder, and a nobler flame:
Love’s gentle fire his passions could controul, 5.
And pure Religion warm’d his manly soul.
Not that, which broods upon the surly brow,
Or walks on frozen joints, demure, and slow;
At truth, and virtue, points the fatal wound,
Swells on the tongue, and vanishes in sound: 10.
But that, whose influence fires th’ angelic band;
Smooths the rough bosom; opes the narrow hand;
Serenely brightens in the cheerful face;
Casts round each act unutterable grace;
With rising morning, bows the secret knee, 15.
And wafts, great God! the humble soul to thee.
His raptur’d father wish’d no second son;
But found both parents’ charms combin’d in one;
His own strong sense, and daring thought, refin’d
By the soft graces of a mother’s mind.
His lively duty cheer’d the waning year; 5.
With hand all gentle wip’d the aged tear;
Explor’d each wish, prevented each request,
And thought it heaven to make a parent blest.
Nature’s politeness, unaffected ease,
Mov’d in his limbs, and fram’d his soul to please; 10.
To worth complacent gave the just reward,
And notic’d humble life, with kind regard.
Nature can form the soul, or rough, or fine;
But all her clouded beauties faintly shine:
Religion bids a new creation rise,
Fragrant as spring, and fair as spangled skies.
Thus, on the canvas, West, with raptur’d view, 5.
Sees new-born worlds his magic hand pursue;
Th’ impassion’d forms dissolve in soft desire,
Or glow, and tremble, with seraphic fire;
They breathe, they speak, they move, the field around,
And the ear listens for th’ expected sound. 10.
But these must fade: while Virtue’s strokes shall live,
Transcend earth’s sky-built tomb, and with the heavens revive.
Beyond his peers, by nature, Irad shone;
By virtue, ripen’d to the duteous son;
By virtue, aim’d at life’s sublimest end,
Rose to the saint, and soften’d to the friend:
Pleas’d his fond nation saw his glories rise, 5.
And a new Joshua charm’d their raptur’d eyes.
The virgins view’d, how could they not approve?
Esteem’s the silent harbinger of love.
The kind eye, glistening with a frequent tear,
The conscious blush, that saw discovery near,
Th’ unbidden sigh, that swell’d the beating breast, 5.
And the fix’d gaze, that scarce could be repress’d,
The soft emotions to his eye reveal’d,
And new, strange tremors through his bosom thrill’d.
But far o’er all Selima’s charms prevail’d,
When his pleas’d heart her piercing eyes assail’d.
His youngest birth, bless’d Caleb own’d the fair,
His life’s chief solace, and his favorite care.
Not nature’s hand her beauty could improve; 5.
Her voice was melody; her mind was love;
Her stature tall; her air intrancing ease;
Her skin the lilly, opening to the breeze;
Her cheek was health’s inimitable die,
And the bright soul sate sparkling in her eye. 10.
No vile cosmetic stain’d her lovely face;
No affectation murder’d real grace:
Her robes all neatness, told the world how fine,
How pure, th’ angelic habitant within.
Sweetness etherial majesty controul’d, 5.
And form’d an Irad of a softer mould.
Such was her soul, as when, of darkness born,
O’er young creation rose beginning morn,
Fair, in her front, a blushing Virtue stood,
Just sprung to life, and ey’d the forming God; 10.
From grace to grace with glowing wisdom grew,
And smil’d, and triumph’d, in the rapturous view.
Now twice nine years had o’er the fair-one roll’d,
Illum’d her eyes, and bade her charms unfold;
When her quick fancy, self-inspir’d to rove,
Attun’d her feelings to romantic love.
Oft on the youth she fix’d a secret gaze, 5.
And oft, with transport, listen’d to his praise.
The charms of face, the beauty of desert,
Stole soft, and silent, through her yielding heart.
Esteem, which hermits scarce could disapprove,
Bloom’d in his smiles, and open’d into love. 10.
Nor shone her glances on his breast in vain;
The gaze, that gave, return’d the pleasing pain.
Judgment, in both, the spotless flame improv’d;
They lik’d from fancy, but from reason lov’d.
Oft would each fire his tender wish declare,
To see one band unite the lovely pair.
Oft sigh’d the youth t’ unfold his anxious mind;
But still a modest fear his lips confin’d:
In pleas’d attention on her charms he hung, 5.
And half-heard wishes trembled o’er his tongue.
At length, kind Heaven, propitious to the pair,
Led his fond steps, where love had led the fair.
In a lone walk, far-distant on the plain,
Surpriz’d, his tongue unbidden told his pain. 10.
The beauteous maid, of frank and gentle mind,
Smil’d on his hopes, and bless’d with love refin’d,
In truth’s mild beam the spotless union grew,
And gave such joys, as youthful angels knew.
Now wak’d the dim-seen dawn. O’er hills afar
Rose in gay triumph morn’s refulgent star;
Up the glad skies fore-running beauty spread;
The grey mist sail’d along the mountain’s head;
In clouds th’ embosom’d lark her matin sings, 5.
And from his couch impatient Irad springs,
To morn’s unnumber’d sweets invites the fair,
Gay prospects, magic songs, and fragrant air.
Rapt with the charms, which nature gives to view
The great, the high, the beauteous, and the new,
To her soft power they bow’d the yielding mind,
Warm’d as they heard, and as they gaz’d refin’d;
In flowery tribes, where thousand splendors play; 5.
Where magic prospect holds the lingering day;
Where brighten’d Evening spreads her gayest train,
And hails young Hesper to his native main;
In cloudy wilds, where gloomy thunder lies,
The pale moon mourns, and mountains prop the skies. 10.
O’er northern plains serene the lovers stray,
And various converse charms their easy way–
How sweet, O fair–the Youth with rapture cries–
Earth’s beauteous scenes, and wonders of the skies!
The folding clouds! the gates of morn unbarr’d! 5.
The dewy plains, with flowery gems instarr’d!
The cliff-topp’d mountain! the deep-waving grove?
The air all odour! and the world all love!
Thrice fair are nature’s works–the maid replied,
And her face bloom’d in beauty’s living pride–
When round her fields my thoughts untroubled roll,
An easy joy steals softly on my soul:
Fix’d as I gaze, my breast with rapture warms, 5.
Her glories ravish, and her music charms.
But oh the fate of Ai’s unhappy field,
That every joy, and every hope, dispell’d!
Fled are the charms, that nature once attir’d
And lost the sweets, that ether once inspir’d. 10.
As now through well-know paths, retir’d I stray,
And seek accustom’d beauties round my way;
At every turn, the seeming trump alarms,
Pale corses rise, and groans, and clashing arms;
From my pain’d bosom heaves th’ unbidden figh; 15.
The still tear trembles in my labouring eye;
Lost, but to grief, my feet bewilder’d rove,
And my heart deadens to thyself, and love.
O fatal hapless combat! cause unjust!
That blends the noblest heroes with the dust; 20.
From sad Canä:an’s sons their wealth demands,
The flocks they tended, and their cultur’d lands;
Bids o’er their peaceful domes destruction flame,
And blots with deep dishonour Israel’s name.
The Prince rejoin’d, By all-creating Heaven,
To Abraham’s sons these fruitful fields were given.
Whate’er he made, the Maker claims his own;
Gives, and resumes, advis’d and rul’d by none.
By him bestow’d, a righteous sword demands 5.
These flocks, these cities, and these promis’d lands,
Yet not ’till crimes, beyond long-suffering great,
Had fill’d their cup, and fix’d their changeless state,
Would Heaven permit our race its gifts to claim,
Or seal the glory of th’ almighty Name. 10.
In vain mild Mercy hop’d their hearts to gain,
And Patience look’d for Penitence, in vain.
As rolling streams one course eternal keep,
All rush impetuous down the guilty steep.
The maid return’d, The nations’ foul disgrace,
Stain’d with black guilt, I grant Canä:an’s race.
But not alike are all from virtue driven;
Some, more than others, claim the sword of Heaven:
Yet undistinguish’d falls the general doom, 5.
The best, the worst, we destine to the tomb.
Where Hazor’s hundred towers majestic rise,
Frown o’er her plains, and dare avenging skies;
In all that elegance of artless charms,
Which prompts mild love, and rival hate alarms;
In that sweet union of serene desires, 5.
Which blows with fragrant breath unmingled fires;
Young, beauteous fair-ones, through her regions known,
Outvie the maid, thou lov’st to call thy own.
To these bright virgins chosen Irads bow;
Less wise, less virtuous, and less fair than thou; 10.
But crown’d with many a grace; of thoughts refin’d,
Of pleasing person, and of dauntless mind.
Shall this bless’d train, so young, so fair, so brave,
Fall, with black wretches, in a firey grave?
Or round wild regions must they hapless roam, 15.
Exil’d from joy, and forc’d from cheerful home?
To hunger, thirst, and sorrow, sink a prey,
And breathe, with lingering death, their lives away?
Should’st thou, when war to Salem drives her course,
Seize the keen steel, and join the conquering force,
While thy bold breast with glory’s warmth beats high,
And wreaths well-twin’d approach thy ravish’d eye,
To some lone hamlet loosely wandering come, 5.
Where simple swains had built their peaceful home,
Where care in silence smoothly pass’d away,
And home-bred happiness deceiv’d the day;
Should there sweet, helpless children meet thy view,
Fair as young rosebuds look thro’ early dew, 10.
With infant wonder, on thine armour gaze,
And point, with artless hands, the steely blaze:
Say could thy heart one angry purpose know,
Or doom such cherubs to a single woe?
Charm’d by soft smiles, I see thy heart retire, 15.
And mild compassion breathe a gentler fire;
Thy love parental o’er them kindly yearn,
Prompt pleasing hope, and all their wishes learn;
Thy bounteous hand each needed bliss bestow,
And in the angel lose th’ intended foe. 20.
Yet should dread war o’er these fair regions fly,
Unnumber’d virgins, bright as those must die;
To flames unnumber’d babes resign their breath,
And ere life blossoms, meet untimely death.
To thee, O prince! without a blush, I own
Such woes tremendous freeze my heart to stone.
Ere Irad’s arm such precious lives destroy,
Let me, far guiltier, cease from every joy;
Quick to the dreary grave my form descend, 5.
Our love all vanish, and our union end.
The Prince replied, Bless’d gentleness of mind!
The grace, the glory of a heart refin’d!
When new-born, helpless beings meet our eyes,
In noble minds, such thoughts resistless rise:
Even brutes, when young, our tender wishes try, 5.
And love forbids the infant whelp to die.
Yet oft this kindest impulse of the soul
Bids wild desire in murmuring tumults roll,
And blames the Power, whose love alone, to earth,
And all earth’s drear and dark events, gave birth. 10.
In thy pure bosom, angels must approve.
For sad Canä:an’s youth, this generous love.
But once as fair, as young, as soft as they,
As white with innocence, with smiles as gay,
Were those black throngs, whose crimes as mountains rise, 5.
And wipe out pity from th’ all bounteous skies.
As eggs innoxious, oft in meadows strew’d,
Break into asps, and pour the viper’s brood;
Nurs’d in rank soils, to strength the reptiles grow,
Resound the hiss, the sting of vengeance throw, 10.
Uprear the crest, inroll the snaky spire,
Light the keen eye-ball with terrific fire;
From fields, and forests, death, and poison gain,
And scatter wide destruction round the plain:
So, harmless once, by vile affections lur’d, 15.
In guilt, and years, those babes alike matur’d;
A thirst for sin, all patterns left behind,
The form all putrid, poison’d all the mind,
To every crime, to every madness, driven,
Curs’d the sad world, and hiss’d the name of Heaven. 20.
There the sot reels, the murderer prowls for blood;
There the starv’d orphan sues in vain for food;
For man man burns, with Sodom’s tainted flame,
And the world sickens with incestuous shame.
Even nature’s ties their bosoms bind no more, 25.
Wives wade in nuptial, sires in filial gore;
To howling Molock blooming babes expire,
And mothers round them dance, and light the funeral fire.
Should then these infants to dread manhood rise,
What unheard crimes would smoke thro’ earth and skies!
What hosts of demons sin’s dark realm would gain!
How hell gape hideous round Canä:an’s plain!
This sea of guilt unmeasur’d to prevent,
Our chosen race eternal Justice sent,
At once the bright possession to reclaim,
And ‘gainst its victims point the vengeful flame,
Thus crimes their due and dire reward shall know; 5.
Thus God be witness’d sin’s unchanging foe;
From land to land Jehovah’s glory shine,
And fear, and homage, wait the Name divine.
But, O unrivall’d maid! the kindest doom
These babes may destine to an early tomb.
To manhood risen their guilt, beyond controul,
Would blot their names from life’s celestial roll.
Now, in fair climes, their souls, forever bless’d, 5.
May bloom in youth, and share immortal rest;
And hail the boundless grace, that snatch’d its foes
From sins unnumber’d, and from lasting woes.
And, O bright maid! whate’er high Heaven design’d
Is just, is glorious to th’ omniscient Mind.
When Heaven commands, the virtuous ask no more:
His will is justice, as his arm is power:
Led by his voice, our cause divine we know; 5.
We tempt no evil, and we fear no foe.
All gentle Youth! Selima soft replied–
How well thy words from falsehood truth divide!
With what sweet tenderness, thy voice displays
The truth, the lustre, of th’ Eternal ways.
But say, bless’d Prince! will Heaven our race succeed? 5.
Shall we victorious gain the darling meed?
So oft our host rebellion blackens o’er,
I fear, lest triumph crown our arms no more.
When will the friendly cloud again return?
When o’er yon dome the nightly glory burn? 10.
Rejoin’d the smiling Prince; too anxious maid,
Let faithless terror ne’er thy heart invade,
To Abraham seal’d the sacred covenant stands–
Thy countless sons shall rule Canä:an’s lands.–
Guilt’s impious train these tumults shall destroy; 5.
Too vile, too base, to share the promis’d joy.
And he, whose soul, a plant for earth too fair,
Has grown, and ripen’d for a kinder air,
Full soon may feel the hand of blasting time,
By Heaven transplanted to a nobler clime, 10.
Pass the cold winter of the frozen tomb,
And rise, and flourish in eternal bloom.
But to glad fields, beyond those hills that lie,
And drink mild influence from the western sky,
The rest triumphant soon shall wing their way,
Seize their vast towns, and reign from sea to sea.
Then join’d in love, in bands connubial join’d, 5.
Each passion calm’d, and every taste refin’d,
Our fears shall end, unclouded hope begin,
Peace’ gentle morning o’er Canä:an shine;
In soft beatitude the seasons roll,
And growing union mix the kindred soul. 10.
The maid return’d–O day supremely fair!
Not blooming Eden own’d a happier pair.
But, Youth belov’d! my bosom, rack’d with pain,
Tells me, sad tale! the darling wish is vain.
Tells me that chosen mora will never come, 5.
Nor bliss be finish’d, but beyond the tomb.
For earth too bright were those love-lighted fires!
Too bless’d th’ indulgence of such pure desires!
Here unallay’d, no lot, no joy appears;
Grief poisons hope, and pleasures mix with tears. 10.
Ah fairest, wisest, loveliest of thy kind!
Of form all finish’d and of matchless mind!
Sweet-smiling visitant from yonder sky!
Too bright to live, and O too dear to die!
Why, hapless Mina! why from friends, and home, 5.
Didst thou, unguided, in the wild wood roam?
Perhaps the hungry wolf around thy way
Lurk’d with grim rage, and seiz’d his helpless prey.
Perhaps, O lot of anguish! brutal men
Thy path unguarded, with fell eyes, have seen. 10.
Or dost thou pale, unseen, unburied, lie,
Sad sorrow’s victim, in th’ inclement sky?
How soon is thy fair course of glory run!
Thy hopes all ended! all thy duties done!
Sleep, lovely maid! in hollow’d silence rest, 15.
Let fragrant gales thy form with leaves invest;
There with new sweets, the lonely wild-rose bloom,
And pitying strangers raise thy verdant tomb.
Ah hapless maid! the tender prince rejoin’d–
How thy rich graces charm’d each generous mind!
Even Joshua’s love how nobly didst thou claim,
Thy wishes virtue, and thy actions fame!
When his toils rose, when dangers dire oppress’d, 5.
And Israel’s griefs hung heavy on his breast,
Thy gentle mind, a soul-supporting stay,
Seren’d those toils, and charm’d those griefs away;
A calm retreat from fear, and doubt, and strife,
And all the hidden pangs of scepter’d life. 10.
Rest in mild slumbers, lovely maiden! rest;
Thy life be copied, and thy memory bless’d!
Each soft-eyed virgin bid thy fame revive,
Attune her lyre, and in her actions live;
So, join’d with thee, in beauty’s distant clime, 15.
Her praise shall triumph o’er the death of time.
As thus the converse pass’d, with many a tear,
To the still camp approach’d the sadden’d pair.
In th’ utmost skirt, a tent at distance stood;
Whence mingling voices, scarce-distinguish’d, flow’d.
Heard’st thou–a warrior low his zeal express’d– 5.
When generous Hanniel Jacob’s sons address’d?
How on his words the thousands listening hung!
How sweet persuasion charm’d us from his tongue!
From pride, from pomp, from love of titles free,
He loves the poor; he feels for thee and me. 10.
Oh, could our tribes by sad experience learn
What children tell, and what the blind discern,
Him for their leader would they raptur’d claim,
And fly from endless toil, and endless shame.
From hideous war my wearied soul recoils; 15.
I ask no treasures rais’d from battle’s spoils.
To painful arms let sons of slaughter run;
By them be glory’s painted bubble won:
To peace, of aims far different, would I fly,
In peace inglorious live, inglorious die: 20.
While peace, while plenty, much-lov’d Egypt knows,
Hears no shrill trump, and dreads no banded foes,
These boasted flocks, and towns, and promis’d fields,
To them my first, last wish delighted yields.
With earnest voice, his fellow pleas’d replies–
Since toil and pain have taught thee to be wise,
Know, my brave friend, a secret, faithful band
Soon point their course to Egypt’s darling land.
When first to combat Joshua bends his way, 5.
To guard the camp these bold associates stay;
With one firm heart, our path we then begin,
And noble Hanniel leads the bless’d design.
But hush’d in silence must these counsels rest,
Scarce even to tried, and faithful friends confess’d; 10.
Lest the dread Chief’s all-watchful, piercing eye,
With sun-like ken, the hated plot descry.
Thou know’st what ills a plot disclos’d attend;
Our names must perish, and our lives must end.
His friend return’d–The lov’d, the bold design
My glad soul welcomes, and my hand shall join.
Hail happy tidings! hail auspicious fields!
Where genial nature every pleasure yields–
Too bless’d, to that sweet native land I fly, 5.
That cot, that heritage, that friendly sky–
Dear scenes of youth! where peace and pleasure mild,
With cheerful health, and ceaseless plenty smil’d–
Might these, O envied lot! again be given,
‘Twere bliss too great; I claim no higher heaven. 10.
This heard, Selima to her tent withdrew;
While strait to Joshua ardent Irad flew,
To him, apart, the dangerous plot disclos’d,
And what the tribe, and where the tent, expos’d.
As some fond parent eyes his darling child, 5.
Pleas’d, the great Hero on the favourite smil’d,
His zeal, his prudence prais’d, and on his head
Besought the Heavens their choicest bliss to shed.
Mean time from distant guards a cry ascends,
And round the camp the dinning voice extends:
Th’ alarming trump resounds; the martial train
Pour from the tents, and crowd th’ accustom’d plain,
In mazy wanderings, thickening, darkening, roll, 5.
Fill all the field, and shade the boundless pole.
As where proud Erie winds her narrowing shores,
And o’er huge hills a boiling ocean pours,
The long white-sheeted foam, with fury hurl’d,
Down the cliffs thundering, shakes the stable world, 10.
In solemn grandeur clouds of mist arise,
Top the tall pines, and heavy, seek the skies:
So spread the volumes of the dust afar;
So roar the clamors of commencing war.
Anxious, and active, there the Leader strode,
Nerv’d every heart, and steel’d for death and blood;
From rank to rank, he hush’d the tumult’s sound,
And spread deep silence o’er th’ attentive ground:
Then while the chiefs combin’d the dread array, 5.
Tow’rd a high rock he bent his rapid way;
From the tall height, to Ai he cast his eyes,
And saw, in southern fields, her squadrons rise;
A cloud, far-spreading, o’er the plain impell’d,
Roll’d up th’ expanse, and wrapp’d the gloomy field; 10.
Approaching, widening, slow the darkness came,
Emblaz’d with gleams of intermitted flame.
So, long and black, like skirts of rising oven,
Thick clouds, now gathering, fill’d the northern heaven;
Borne on slow winds, that ceaseless chang’d its form, 15.
O’er the dark mountains fail’d th’ expanding storm;
In rising grandeur far-off thunders roll,
Dim lightnings flash, and gild the clouded pole;
More wide, more vast, the solemn gloom ascends,
And frowning, deepening, round th’ horizon bends. 20.
At once the Hero gave the loud command;
In awful silence mov’d the chosen band;
Compact, to Ai they cours’d their dreadful way,
And generous Zimri rul’d the long array,
Mean time new scenes around the camp began,
The tribes all motion, man confus’d with man;
From tent to tent swift-hastening feet appear’d;
Low-murmuring voices, mingling sounds were heard,
Loud, and more loud, the earnest clamors grow, 5.
Hum through the tents, and all the camp o’erflow.
To Egypt’s realms–resounds the general cry–
From these sad scenes, with prosperous feet, we fly,
These hosts of foes, these fields of ceaseless fight,
This sway of bondage, and this war of flight. 10.
Haste, freedom’s sons, and seize her happy shores,
For all her peace, and wealth, and joy, are yours.
Thus round the host the mingled clamor flew,
And loud, and fierce, debates tumultuous grew;
They urg’d, persuaded, threaten’d, flatter’d, cried, 15.
With love conjur’d, with stubborn breast denied;
Friends left their friends, with answering look severe,
Sigh’d sad departure, dropp’d th’ expressive tear;
From parents children headlong burst away,
While groans recall’d them from the dire affray; 20.
To brothers brothers gave the parting hand,
And Virtue eyed, with tears, the swerving band.
All dress’d in arms, and cloth’d in rich array,
Forth from the camp the warriors bent their way:
Their hands their gold, and favourite treasures bore,
And each fond bosom hail’d th’ Egyptian shore.
O’er the broad circuit of the western plain, 5.
From all sides gathering, mov’d the numerous train,
This way, and that, in thousand paths impell’d,
Immingling, rushing, darkening, hid the field,
To one great central phalanx swiftly driven,
Gloom’d the sad ground, and cast a shade on heaven, 10.
Frowning, and fierce, expanded o’er the plain,
And, proud of numbers, deem’d resistance vain.
Of name obscure, before th’ increasing throng
Two haughty chieftains proudly stalk’d along;
Felt all the joys, which little minds o’errun,
From sway first tried, and influence scarce begun;
Look’d wise, inportant hurried o’er the field; 5.
Commanded, question’d, with loud threats compell’d;
Spoke with stern voice; advising, wavering stood,
And scarce the ground was printed, where they trode.
Far round the plain the mingled tumult ran,
Chief answer’d chief, and man rehears’d to man.
Thro’ each small circle loud the murmur spread,
Of spoils ungiven, virtues unrepaid,
Woes unextinguish’d, labours ne’er to end, 5.
The starving houshold, and the naked friend–
Where now’s the heart, that bless’d the prophet’s sway,
That sooth’d the tribes, and bade the soul obey,
Swept Bashan’s fields, o’erthrew proud Sihon’s throne,
And to poor warriors left the spoils they won? 10.
But now new chiefs, in wiles and learning train’d,
Wield a dread sceptre, with an iron hand;
All, all but Hanniel; Hanniel singly glows
With Israel’s good, and weeps for Israel’s woes.
Hail then, oh hail the bless’d, auspicious day, 5.
That opes to brighter realms our happy way!
The chiefs, we chose, the glorious path shall guide,
Uncurs’d with learning, and unstain’d with pride.
Thus round the plain the tumult shrill resounds;
Of different note, immix unnumber’d sounds;
High toss’d in ether helms confus’dly fly,
And clashing shields to clashing shields reply:
Loud, hoarse, and rough, wide jars discordant noise, 5.
And raging passions swell the clamorous voice.
So, where on ocean’s brim the long beach winds.
Breaks his proud waves, and all his fury binds,
Unnumber’d fowls, of various wing, arise,
And toss in wild gyrations to the skies; 10.
From each harsh throat hard strains of discord roar,
Creak with dire din, and grate along the shore;
Loud, and more loud, the nations heaven deform,
Or gloom the strand, and croak the coming storm.
As round the plain the mingled tumult ran,
Tadmor, the elder chieftain, thus began–
Hail, sons of freedom! Jacob’s fairest boast!
Heirs of the sky, and virtue’s genuine host!
Well did brave Hanniel teach, in words divine, 5.
How fast our tribes, with toils, and griefs, decline;
Full well he mark’d what deep designs are laid
By chiefs, of man, nor truth, nor Heaven, afraid;
That, swell’d with pride, and train’d in artful lore,
O’erleap all right, and crush the hapless poor. 10.
To us no leader tells the deep design,
What hosts oppose us, and what lands combine;
What towns are next besieg’d; what dangers tried;
What spoils are won, and who those spoils divide.
In Egypt’s realm the long-wish’d rule to gain, 15.
They found each art, and each bold effort, vain:
Thence thro’ the waste they urg’d our fatal way,
And hop’d, in this dire land, untroubled sway;
Yet there the poor a lot far happier found,
With fasts unburden’d, and with rites unbound: 20.
Our tributes paid, at plenteous feasts we sate,
Stretch’d in soft ease, and every dainty ate.
Oh, why from those fair regions did we come?
Why, blind and headlong, leave our darling home?
Here our own leaders Egypt’s kings outdo, 25.
And change of lords is all the good we know.
Haste then, from these dread fields of misery fly;
With chiefs you chose again to Egypt hie;
Where ease, and wines, and feasts, and soft delight,
Earth ever fruitful, skies forever bright,
Awake sweet pleasure, raptur’d love revive, 5.
And teach poor mortals what it is to live:
Now seize the hour, by Joshua’s folly given,
Or op’d for Israel by a pitying Heaven.
Ai’s gallant sons will sweep his host away,
Worne by long labours, and to fasts a prey; 10.
Or, scap’d the field, their weary feet must fail;
Or, join’d in fight, our arms will soon prevail;
This day beyond persuit our course removes,
And leaves the tyrant to the slaves he loves.
He spoke; at once, from all th’ impatient train, 15.
A bust of triumph shook the sounding plain;
Thrice rose the shout; as oft the heavens replied;
And, borne thro’ fields, and woods, the far-off murmur died.
Thus, when the vernal storm forbears to rave,
And the wild river swells his torrent wave,
Huge isles of ice, along the clifted shore.
Float slow, and cumbrous; solemn thunders roar;
In deep gradations, rise, and burst, and roll, 5.
Wave o’er the sounding hills, and lessen to the pole.
When first from Joshua faithful Irad went,
He summon’d Judah’s heroes to his tent,
Bade them the tribes with prudent caution eye,
Pursue their motions, and their views descry,
Their tumults hush, or should their efforts fail, 5.
With speed to him convey th’ unpleasing tale.
When round the camp disorder’d scenes began,
Strait to the sound th’ attentive heroes ran;
Watch’d all the murmurs of the gathering train,
And follow’d anxious to the troubled plain; 10.
But first the tidings to the Leader sped,
What bands assembled, and what chieftains led,
Urg’d him with haste to arm a numerous force,
And ‘gainst th’ insurgents bend his rapid course.
And now, when Tadmor ceas’d, the shouts decay’d;
With sweet, mild accent, thus grave Caleb said–
How slight the toil, mistaking chief, to prove
‘Tis wisdom’s voice directs the path, we love!
Though thorns, though serpents hedge the fatal way, 5.
The fond heart bids, and answering feet obey.
Each truth, each argument, thy voice runs o’er,
Forbids our host to seek th’ Egyptian shore.
The waste’s dire ills thy plaintive words resound,
Yet through that waste the darling realm is found; 10.
Again those countless woes our race must try;
Again with toil, and thirst, and famine, die.
Or shall we flee, by Hazor’s bands compell’d,
To meet fierce Amalek, in the hostile field.
Will hosts that tremble, where Ai’s sons appear, 15.
Abide the conflict, when Philistia’s near.
But to what end, against unnumber’d foes,
Shall Israel war to gain Egyptian woes;
Shame, vice, idolatry, and bondage, join’d,
The wrath of Heaven, and hissing of mankind?
If war is destin’d Israel’s fearful doom, 5.
With war, let freedom, wealth, and glory come:
Let peace, let realms, let empire crown the toil;
The world applaud us, and th’ Eternal smile
In this fair land, shall each poor warrior reign
Lord of himself, and monarch of the plain. 10.
His house, his herd, his harvest all his own,
And changeless law transmit them to his son.
But Egypt’s wealth her king alone commands,
Her sons, her gold, her products, and her lands.
For him our hands, in slavish woe, must toil, 15.
And pamper splendor on the beggar’s spoil,
Poor beyond thought, suspended on a breath,
Our life a sufferance, and a nod our death.
But Israel’s chiefs are train’d in dangerous lore,
And hence regardless of the humble poor.
Say, Tadmor, say, the wiles of art to shun,
To Egypt’s realms impatient dost thou run?
To courts, to lords, with smooth deceit o’erhung, 5.
Where art first budded, and where learning sprung?
Truth, conscience, Heaven, thine idle dreams deny;
Repent, return; nor, snar’d by treasons, die.
The hero spoke. From all the angry train
A rising murmur wav’d along the plain:
As ‘twixt tall hills, where rushing torrents roll,
A slow, and lingering groan ascends the pole;
Thro’ gloomy caverns hums the solemn sound, 5.
Fills all the hollow realm, and shakes the shady ground.
Ardan, the younger chieftain, quick return’d,
And from his eye-balls kindling fury burn’d–
Imperious prince, I know thy heart of steel
Ne’er lov’d the poor, and never knew to feel.
But that proud voice, which aw’d my breast before, 5.
Now fails to rule, and guides the host no more.
I mock thy threats, thy utmost power defy,
Thy reasons trample, and thy words deny.
Chang’d is the scene. Thy pride must now obey
In worth thy betters, and thy lords in sway. 10.
Go tell yon slaves, that base, and bestial train,
Thy arts, thy arguments, and threats are vain;
Bid them their friends, their gallant brethren foe,
A host of heroes, daring to be free,
Of numbers countless, bravery never aw’d, 15.
Dup’d by no laws, and blinded by no God,
Their course now bending to the blissful shore,
Where peace and plenty bid the cup run o’er:
While they, poor reptiles! in dread bondage lie,
Drag life in misery, and unburied die. 20.
Haste, haste ere vengeance on thy helmet light,
And plunge thee swift to everlasting night.
Base, reptile miscreant!–Hezron fierce replied–
Go dream of Egypt; swell thine insect pride;
Thy wings expand; around thy dunghill fly;
Buzz thy small moment, and forgotten die.
For know, vain wretch! the voice of peace is o’er; 5.
The hand of Mercy lifts her branch no more;
To speed thy doom impatient Justice flies,
And wings the vengeance of affronted skies.
The hero spoke. A rising hiss began,
And round the plain contemptuous murmurs ran:
Quick tow’rd the camp the princes bent their course,
And, turn’d to Egypt, mov’d the rebel force.
Their standard rose: a shout to heaven ascends, 5.
And wide, and deep, the gloomy host extends.
Far round the files each casts exulting eyes;
Each feels the prowess of his arm arise:
By pride their force, their numbers doubled o’er,
All foes despis’d, and Joshua fear’d, no more; 10.
From voice to voice the haughty tale rebounds,
And air re-echoes with the mingling sounds.
As near the distant groves the warriors drew,
And homeward cast a lingering, parting view;
Behold! in eastern fields, a numerous train
Pour’d from the camp, and hasten’d o’er the plain.
There trembled Ephraim’s ensign in the skies; 5.
There the bull’s vengeance blaz’d from wrathful eyes;
In act to wound, with threatening horns, he stood,
Felt his vast strength, and snuff’d his rival’s blood.
Behind the mighty Chief, in pomp, impell’d,
The darkening phalanx widen’d o’er the field; 10.
Sublime, the Hero wing’d his dreadful way,
And round the rebels shed a dire dismay.
Amaz’d, the chieftains saw his hastening course,
And rang’d, with active speed, their numerous force;
In wild, disorder’d ranks, confus’d they stood,
Spoke sounding boasts, and thirsted loud for blood.
As near the noisy squadrons Joshua drew,
Round the rude files he cast a searching view;
For Hanniel’s steps he gaz’d; but gaz’d in vain,
Nor found the hero on the troubled plain.
For well his mind, by sad experience, knew 5.
What fearful ills defeated plots pursue,
How sway accustom’d, faction wild o’erthrows,
And sudden tumults end in certain woes.
Thence, to his tent by cautious thoughts confin’d,
Disjointed counsels throng’d his restless mind; 10.
He view’d, he wish’d; but knew the wish was vain,
And boded ruin to his favorite train.
Too wise the Chief, too fix’d the host, he saw;
Too firm th’ obedience to the sacred law;
In sullen silence mourn’d his lot severe, 15.
And wail’d devoted treason, with a tear.
High in the van, the Leader rais’d his voice,
The hosts all trembling at the dreadful noise–
Haste to your tents, with swift obedience haste,
That Mercy’s veil may hide the follies past;
Haste, ere this hand, by injur’d justice driven, 5.
Plunge in your breasts, th’ avenging sword of Heaven:
Your Maker’s voice, with conscious speed, obey,
And let deep sorrow wash your guilt away.
Thus he. Bold Ardan with shrill voice replied–
Let no vain hope inflate thy swelling pride–
Know, proud, mis-deeming leader! Heaven design’d
Jacob’s brave sons to bow with willing mind;
The chiefs, we freely chose, our hearts obey, 5.
And crouch no more, obsequious to thy sway.
To happier realms, with prosperous feet, we go,
And leave thy bondmen here to every woe;
Leave them to toil, to groan, to mourn their doom,
Languish out life, and die without a tomb: 10.
While we, fair freedom’s sons, superior fly
To peace, and transport, in a kinder sky.
The Chief disdain’d return. With wrathful look,
His eyes stream’d terror, as the culprit spoke;
Forth from the van, with awful port, he strode;
O’er his bright arms reflected lightnings glow’d;
With lifted hand, he drove th’ avenging blade, 5.
And plung’d proud Ardan swift to endless shade.
Th’ astonish’d train, like hunted harts impell’d,
Scatter’d in headlong terror, o’er the field.
So, on heaven’s plain when war and tumult sprung,
By Britain’s pride, and earth’s bright Phoenix, sung, 10.
When Satan, madden’d with Tartarean rage,
Dar’d Michael’s sword, and Michael’s might engage;
In pomp divine the great Archangel stood;
A sun’s broad splendors round his forehead glow’d;
Down his long wings thick, branching lightnings fell; 15.
Dire as ten thunders, rush’d his flaming steel;
Th’ Apostate sunk; fear wing’d the rebel train,
Swift as the rapid whirlwind, o’er th’ empyreal plain.
Pleas’d, the great chief, and Judah’s heroes view’d
The flying train, by guilt and fear subdued;
While to high heaven their grateful praises rose,
Whose guardian hand had sav’d from countless woes.
Then loud the criers proclaim–to Egypt’s land 5.
Whatever wretch shall lure a guilty band,
By stones oppress’d, his life shall fall a prey,
And dread oblivion sweep his name away.
While thus the rod of vengeance Joshua sway’d,
And the dread tumults of the plain decay’d,
Th’ approaching hosts, at distance, Irad view’d,
And Zimri’s thousands, with glad feet pursued,
Trac’d all the pomp of war, with wild delight, 5.
And wish’d, unarm’d, to share th’ impending fight.
Like ocean’s waves, the sons of Ai were driven,
And lowering Israel cast a gloom on heaven;
Proud chiefs, in golden splendor, trod the plain,
And tower’d majestic o’er the vulgar train. 10.
So, straight and tall, beyond the forest fair,
The pine, ambitious, stands without a peer;
O’er every grove beholds his boughs ascend,
Oaks climb beneath, and humble cedars bend;
Shares the mild winds, the sullen storm defies, 15.
And towers, and waves, and wantons, in the skies;
In pride sublime, demands the sylvan reign,
And glows, and triumphs in immortal green.
As now the tempest hid the orb of day,
The threatening fronts approach’d, in dark array;
Swift through th’ expansion clouds of arrows fly;
Stones shower on stones, and whizz along the sky;
Sing the shrill strings; the hissing darts resound; 5.
From clanging bucklers rattling pebbles bound;
Now here, now there, the warriors fall; amain
Groans murmur; armour sounds; and shouts convulse the plain.
With deep amaze, the sons of Ai beheld
Their foes, with ardour, tempt the deathful field.
For now, elate, they sought the early fight,
To certain victory march’d with fierce delight;
And fondly hop’d, ere Oran’s host should come, 5.
To seal devoted Israel’s hapless doom.
But vain their hopes; for with firm duty strong,
Undaunted Zimri fir’d the martial throng–
Now, warriors, now–the glowing leader cried–
Shall Israel’s arms regain their ravish’d pride; 10.
Ai now shall learn, untaught our force to slight,
What virtue warms us to the generous fight:
That one lost field shall ne’er our race dismay,
Nor shame, nor terror, stain the glorious day.
While thus untroubled thoughts his words confess’d,
All-anxious fears disturb’d his boding breast.
The host he knew distrustful of the sky,
Propense to terror, and prepar’d to fly;
He saw them sad move lingering o’er the plain, 5.
New arm their foes, and double all their train:
And the great Chief a strong injunction gave,
Each post with care to guard, each band to save,
Each opening fair for wise retreat t’ imbrace
To tempt no loss, and hazard no disgrace. 10.
But far beyond his thoughts, the sound of war,
The clash of arms, the shouts that rent the air,
Th’ inspiring tumults of the dreadful plain,
New strung their nerves, and rous’d their hopes again.
In quick oblivion, flight and fear were lost; 15.
Increasing ardours every bosom toss’d;
Firm-wedg’d, unshaken, rush’d the darkening train;
Spears flew; air murmur’d; corses heap’d the plain;
One flight of twinkling arms, all ether shone;
Earth roar’d one shout confus’d, one mingled groan; 20.
Each host press’d eager; each disdain’d to fly;
And wide confusion blended earth and sky.
Mean time the storm, along dark mountains driven,
Hung o’er the plain, and wrapp’d the mid-day heaven;
More frequent lightnings blaz’d the skies around,
And peals more dreadful shook the solid ground.
From the black clouds the whirlwinds burst amain, 5.
Scour’d all the groves, and rag’d along the plain;
Beneath, huge shouts the murmuring concave rend,
And drifts of dust in gloomy pomp ascend.
With boding hearts, the chiefs of Ai survey’d
The sun’s pure splendor lost in cloudy shade;
The sun, their god, his smiling face withdrew,
And round the world a fearful darkness flew:
Hence unapprov’d they deem’d the doubtful day, 5.
And scann’d, with careful looks their homeward way:
As thus they backward gaz’d, the driving rain
Rush’d, with impetuous fury, o’er the plain;
Fierce down th’ expansion streaming torrents shower’d,
And blood-stain’d brooks along the champain pour’d. 10.
The clash of arms, the long-resounding cries
Wav’d o’er the world a hoarse, tumultuous noise;
From heaven’s huge vault loud-rolling thunders came,
And lightnings blaz’d insufferable flame.
Then sad, dishearten’d, from the dreadful fire 15.
Ai’s generous leaders bade their host retire.
Reluctant, slow, disdaining base defeat,
From Israel’s sons the grisly ranks retreat;
Surpriz’d, fierce Israel see their backward course,
Hang o’er their rear, and press with gathering force; 20.
Intenser shouts ascend; the lightning’s flame
Casts o’er the shields a strong alternate gleam;
Loud thunders roll; the fields all quake around:
And the rain rushing roars along the ground.
Then Zimri’s piercing voice, with stern commands, 25.
Restrains the fury of his eager bands.
So fierce the thousands burn for raging war,
Even single warriors urge their foes afar;
‘Till near the chief, they see the standard rise,
While yet the tempest fills the midway skies, 30.
Then deep-embosom’d in th’ obscuring rain,
Their foes untroubled cross the homeward plain.
Mean time the winds were pass’d, the storm was o’er,
And streaming torrents ceas’d from heaven to pour;
Strait to the camp, by Zimri’s voice compell’d,
The bands flow-moving cross’d the spacious field.
With joy, the chief revolv’d the troubled day, 5.
The fate, and influence of the fierce affray;
Ai, in fierce conflict, fail’d the wreath to gain,
And Israel, dauntless, trod the skirmish’d plain;
He saw the host again to combat won
Their hopes new-kindled, and their terror gone; 10.
Thence his own bosom boding fear dispell’d,
And promis’d triumph on the future field.
And now the Youth they pass’d, as, with fond eyes,
He saw the varying fate of combat rise;
To him, deep-pondering, blew the storm in vain,
Scarce heard the peals, or mark’d the battering rain:
‘Till Ai, retir’d, the doubtful strife resign’d, 5.
And calm’d the tumults of his anxious mind.
Then gentler scenes his rapt attention gain’d,
Where God’s great hand in clear effulgence reign’d,
The growing beauties of the solemn even,
And all the bright sublimities of heaven.
Above tall western hills, the light of day 5.
Shot far the splendors of his golden ray;
Bright from the storm, with tenfold grace he smil’d,
The tumult soften’d, and the world grew mild.
With pomp transcendant, rob’d in heavenly dies,
Arch’d the clear rainbow round the orient skies; 10.
Its changeless form, its hues of beam divine,
Fair type of truth, and beauty’s endless shine,
Around th’ expanse, with thousand splendors rare,
Gay clouds sail’d wanton through the kindling air;
From shade to shade, unnumber’d tinctures blend; 15.
Unnumber’d forms of wonderous light extend;
In pride stupendous, glittering walls aspire,
Grac’d with bright domes, and crown’d with towers of fires
On cliffs cliffs burn; o’er mountains mountains roll:
A burst of glory spreads from pole to pole: 20.
Rapt with the splendor, every songster sings,
Tops the high bough, and claps his glistening wings:
With new-born green, reviving nature blooms,
And sweeter fragrance freshening air perfumes.
Far south the storm withdrew its troubled reign;
Descending twilight dimm’d the dusky plain;
Black night arose; her curtains hid the ground;
Less roar’d, and less, the thunders solemn sound;
The bended lightning shot a brighter stream, 5.
Or wrapp’d all heaven in one wide, mantling flame;
By turns, o’er plains, and woods, and mountains, spread
Faint, yellow glimmerings, and a deeper shade.
From parting clouds, the moon out-breaking shone,
And sate, sole empress, on her silver throne;
In clear, full beauty, round all nature smil’d,
And claim’d o’er heaven, and earth, dominion mild;
With humbler glory, stars her court attend, 5.
And bless’d, and union’d, silent lustre blend.
All these bright scenes revolv’d, his raptur’d mind,
With sweet transition, heaven in all divin’d;
Where, round the prospect, grandeur, beauty, glow’d,
They shone, the grandeur, beauty, of a God;
God look’d through all, as, with resplendence gay, 5.
They rais’d, and bore him from himself away.
Morning. Tribes assemble. Story of Achan. Embassy from Gibeon. Story of Mina, Joshua gives her to Elam, prince of Gibeon, in marriage, and makes peace with the Gibeonites. Feast. Joshua’s prayer. Cloud descends on the tabernacle. Elam sollicits leave to return to Gibeon. Joshua consents. Sports of the Israelites. Conduct of Hanniel. Walls built around the camp. Story of Helen.14.
NOW the third sun illum’d the azure main,
And Israel anxious gather’d on the plain.
In every face suspense and grief appear’d,
Each son was doubted, and each parent fear’d:
Brothers on brothers cast a side-long eye, 5.
And trembling fair-ones press’d the rising sigh.
Mid the wide concourse great Eleazar shone,
The sacred minister of Heaven’s high throne.
White were his aged locks, and round his face
Calm contemplation cast a solemn grace;
O’er his pure vesture shining unguent spread, 5.
And breath’d the fragrance of th’ Arabian shade:
Full on his breast the star-bright Urim glow’d,
And o’er his brow beam’d HOLINESS TO GOD.
The sacred rites perform’d, he bent his way
To the bright dome that mock’d the rising day.
The train with reverence bow’d. Around his head
Red spires of lambent flame serenely play’d;
On the clear splendors gaz’d the crowd around, 5.
And deep attention hush’d the shady ground.
Now in the sacred place the Priest ador’d,
And thus his voice Jehovah’s smiles implor’d.
O thou, whose wisdom built the bright abodes,
Great KING of KINGS, and sovereign God of God’s,
Almighty Father hear! Let grace divine 5.
Shower on our host, and cleanse from every sin!
Thou seest, Omniscient Mind! what guilt unknown
Pollutes our race, and dares insult thy throne:
Thou seest; and oh may thy all-gracious voice
That guilt declare, and bid thy sons rejoice! 10.
He spoke. A rushing sound of winds began,
Sung in the vail, and thro’ the temple ran;
A sapphire flame, unutterably bright,
Shot from the gloom, and wrapp’d the walls in light;
The dome all trembled; earth beneath it shook; 5.
And o’er the ark a voice in thunder spoke–
To Israel’s thousands, from th’ Eternal throne,
This mighty mandate by thy voice be known.
Of Judah’s race, a wretch, by madness driven,
With impious hand, hath dar’d the wrath of Heaven: 10.
Stones shall his house destroy, and flames devour;
I am commands; let all my sons adore.–
Not more; an awful darkness round him spread,
Still as the gloomy mansions of the dead.
All sad, and slow, return’d the mournful priest,
And strong impatience every eye express’d–
What the decree of Heaven! the Leader cried–
With solemn voice, the sacred Seer replied–
Of Judah’s race, a wretch, by madness driven, 5.
With impious hand, hath dar’d the wrath of Heaven:
Stones shall his house destroy, and flames devour;
I am commands; let all his sons adore.
He spoke; and sorrow gloom’d the plain: in haste,
So Joshua’s voice decreed, the lots were cast;
The wretch, so long conceal’d, arose to view,
And Achan’s name to fearful vengeance drew.
Forth from the crowd, with languid steps, and slow, 5.
The victim strode, and look’d unutter’d woe:
His useless hands hung feebly by his side;
His tottering knees their wonted aid denied;
His front was clouded with a wild dismay;
For hastening ruin darken’d o’er his way. 10.
And thus the youth forlorn–My hated name
Sinks in the misery of undying shame.
Pass’d is the day of grace: my dimmed light
Fades in the skirt of everlasting night.
From the rich spoils my hand a store convey’d, 5.
Help’d by the night, and safe in covert laid.
Beneath my tent the mischief may be found,
Where spreads the flooring o’er the secret ground.
Why did my heart resist that lovely fair,
Who sweetly warn’d me of the tempting snare? 10.
Hear, all ye warriors! fly the fatal road,
And learn, that vengeance waits the foes of God!
Great Joshua heard; and tho’ his feeling mind
To crimes was gentle, and to misery kind;
Fierce on the youth he cast a dreadful eye,
That wither’d all his strength, and bade him die.
And could no honour, and no law, controul 5.
The groveling wishes of thy gloomy soul?
How durst thou, impious, face th’ Almighty rod,
Put forth rebellious hands and steal from God?
Didst thou not know, weak man! th’ avenging Sky
Trac’d thy dark footsteps with all-searching eye? 10.
Didst thou not fear, amidst the gloomy deed,
Its vengeance bursting on thy guilty head?
Didst thou not fear the stings of conscious shame?
The thunder’s terror; or the lightning’s flame?
Go, raise to Heaven the sad, repenting eye, 15.
A Heaven that hears, when Misery lifts her cry!
Perhaps soft Mercy yet may lend an ear,
While thy sun glimmers in his last career.
Not pity’s wish, but folly’s, hides from view
The wretch, whom Justice’ awful feet pursue. 20.
Go then, unpardon’d, sink in shame forlorn,
Of Heaven the victim, and of earth the scorn;
A warning lamp, o’er guilt’s benighted way,
To light bewilder’d error back to day.
He spoke. The victim, with dread horror pale,
Walk’d trembling onward to a distant vale;
His look of anguish ask’d a hand to save,
And Pity’s eye pursued him to the grave.
Mean time around their Chief the princes stood,
And kind compassion in their bosoms glow’d:
When rob’d in fair attire, two strangers came,
And bow’d respectful, at the Hero’s name.
One, pass’d his strength, was grac’d with manly scars, 5.
Crown of the brave, and palm of glorious wars;
Tall was his frame, his countenance roughly kind,
And his calm front with honest boldness shin’d.
Dress’d in light robes, as flowers adorn the wild,
In nature’s prime his young companion smil’d 10.
Sweetness ineffable. Devoid of art,
His eye, soft-glowing, look’d the friendly heart.
Hail strangers, hail! the mighty Hero cried,
Whose port bespeaks a nation’s fairest pride.
Bring your kind hands the peaceful branch from far?
Or pant your bosoms for the fate of war?
The elder chief replied–From Gibeon’s king 5.
Our friendly hands no hostile message bring.
Tho’ once in sight renown’d, now silver age
Serenes his brow, and cools ambition’s rage.
‘Tis his first glory, Gibeon’s weal t’ encrease,
To soothe sad woe, and widen human bliss. 10.
Pass’d are five morns, since round th’ extended plain,
With fond impatience, rush’d a chosen train,
O’er rocks, and streams, the nimble deer pursued,
Trac’d the wild marsh, and scour’d the devious wood.
From the lone mansions of the unpierc’d shade, 5.
At once deep cries our wondering ears invade.
Led by the unknown voice, we nimbly hied
Thro’ the thick grove, and strait the scene descried.
‘Twixt two rough savages, whose hungry eyes
Lower’d death, and ruin, o’er their helpless prize, 10.
Fair as the star of morn, a lovely maid,
In pangs of terror, call’d in vain for aid.
Her robes embroider’d loosely met the view;
Her hair, unbound, in wild disorder flew;
All pale she stood, and to the pitying sky 15.
Stretch’d her white hands, and rais’d a piercing cry.
In vain, on terror’s wings, the caitiffs flew;
His eager sword this generous hero drew;
Their heads in twain the steely vengeance clave,
And hungry vultures yield the horrid grave. 20.
To Gibeon’s domes we led the beauteous fair,
Repos’d on down, and nurs’d with tenderest care.
Pleas’d with our pains, her sweet, angelic tongue
Strange truths divine, with heavenly music, sung.
Of nature’s Sovereign Lord, the tale began, 5.
How earth was form’d, and how created man;
How the tall mountains heav’d their cloud-wrapp’d spires,
And heaven was starr’d with thousand thousand fires.
Then too she told how, rous’d to fearful ire,
Jehovah bade the delug’d world expire; 10.
Thy nation’s rise; the rod of Sovereign power,
That shook proud Egypt’s realms from shore to shore,
The cleaving main; the wonders of the wild,
Where hard rocks flow’d, and sands with verdure smil’d;
Food, shower’d from heaven, perfum’d the morning blast, 15.
And quails in millions peopled all the waste.
In these dread scenes, Aradon’s mighty mind
The clear displays of boundless power divin’d;
Scenes nobler far than ancient sages knew,
Than age e’er taught, or airy fancy drew. 20.
At once, inspir’d with eager zeal to learn
What wondrous truths the glorious scheme concern,
This prince, his only hope, the monarch chose,
And join’d with me, his pleasure to disclose.
Sweet peace by us his friendly heart demands; 25.
His gold he proffers, and his warlike bands;
At thy request, to arms the thousands fly,
With thee we conquer, or with thee we die.
Shouldst thou consent, some bright, and generous Sage,
Fam’d for pure manners, and grown wise with age, 30.
Skill’d with unseen, yet all-persuasive art,
T’inform the mind, and softly win the heart,
Whose tenets, nobly rais’d o’er pride, and strife,
Grace the fair conduct of a virtuous life,
He asks, to spread Religion’s sacred sway, 35.
To lure his sons to heaven, and point the way.
And O what price immense canst thou demand!
What golden hoards? or boundless breadth of land?
One precious prize our grateful hands restore,
Unbought by gems, or loads of shining ore, 40.
In thy own tent, behold thy favorite fair,
Child of thy choice, and darling of thy care!
Thus spoke Hareshah. While glad smiles express’d
The Leader’s joy, he thus his chiefs address’d.
Even now, propitious, on our lengthen’d toils
Behold th’ all-watchful Eye complacent smiles!
In other realms our growing fame is heard, 5.
Our triumphs number’d and our Guardian fear’d.
But say, brave princes, shall these bands be tied?
And Gibeon’s sons to Jacob’s heirs allied?
Shall some bless’d sage her thousands teach to rise
To peace, to truth, to virtue, and the skies? 10.
Your choice I wait–he said. Quick Hanniel rose,
Whose life was contest, and whose joy t’ oppose.
To save the suppliant race his wish inclin’d,
For Heaven had form’d him with a feeling mind:
But well he knew how fair his matchless art 15.
Could gild the latent mischiefs of his heart;
How thousands on his words inchanted hung,
Touch’d by the magic of his wily tongue.
All paths with him were smooth, that shew’d a name,
Tho’ slaughter’d nations pav’d the road to fame. 20.
Thrice rose the chief to thwart the Leader’s choice,
And thrice strange faltering seiz’d his opening voice;
For round he cast his keen, experienc’d view,
And peace, the wish of every bosom, knew;
With shame his dauntless front was cover’d o’er. 25.
And the cheek blush’d, that never blush’d before.
Pleas’d the great Leader saw his failing eye,
And voice, in vain, attempt a base reply,
Then smiling thus–Untaught the wiles of art
I see mild aspects speak the friendly heart.
Yes let fair Peace, o’er Gibeon’s happy land, 5.
Raise her sweet voice, and lift her sacred wand.
‘Gainst hostile realms alone our falchions rise,
Foes to high Heaven, and victims of the Skies.
But far remov’d from Israel, very far,
Be every wish t’ extend the waste of war: 10.
To sooth vain pride with conquest’s dreadful name;
To pamper avarice with the spoils of shame;
To take one hour from man’s too hasty doom,
Or force one widow to a husband’s tomb.
From death’s sad scenes, and battle’s horrid toils, 15.
The real hero’s generous mind recoils:
When swords alone can plead the righteous cause,
The crimson steel his hand reluctant draws;
Grief walks his partner to the dreadful plain,
And glory’s mansions prove the haunts of pain. 20.
‘Tis Israel’s boast, the human weal t’ increase;
To stretch the reign, and nurse the arts, of peace;
The fierce, the wild, to tame; the weak defend;
Late to begin, and soon the strife to end;
To teach vain man the bliss to virtue given, 5.
And with new saints t’ enlarge the bounds of heaven.
But now, brave chiefs, to Joshua’s tent repair–
My fond heart pants to find the lovely fair–
Her sire, in Edom’s realm, our nation join’d,
Urg’d by the dictates of a virtuous mind:
Her, a sweet babe, his hand indulgent bore, 5.
To virtue form’d, and nurs’d in sacred lore.
As some bright lilly, daughter of the morn,
Swells its young leaves, and bids its splendors burn;
Fair, and more fair, th’ expanding beauties glow,
Dance in the sun, and shame the driving snow; 10.
So, born for heaven, still brightening to the view,
From truth to truth, from charm to charm, she grew;
Soft was her temper; all her thoughts refin’d;
Beauty her form, and virtue was her mind.
Now at the tent arriv’d, the fair they found;
With many a lovely maid incompass’d round;
With smiles of joy, their friend the virgins hail’d,
And gentle tears on every cheek prevail’d.
When first her Sire appear’d, around his form 5.
She cast, with sweetest grace, each snowy arm;
Pleas’d the great Hero eyed his lovely child,
And gave the fond embrace, and o’er the charmer smil’d.
Sweet maid! he cried, where rov’dst thou from the plain?
With tears we sought thee, but we sought in vain.
Far in the wood, replied the fair, I stray’d,
No care disturb’d me, and no fear dismay’d;
Charm’d with the flowers, that, undistinguish’d, smil’d
With solitary beauty round the wild.
A plum’d musician, on her verdant throne, 5.
Hymn’d, with soft transport, to the falling sun.
Slow I approach’d; the bird before me flew;
I heard the sound; how could I not pursue?
So long I wander’d, day forsook the sky;
I gaz’d, and gaz’d; but found not where to fly. 10.
In different paths, I roam’d the woody plain;
But faint, and trembling, still return’d again.
The wolf began to howl; and all around,
The hungry panther shook the shuddering ground;
Loud roar’d the approaching lion’s dread alarms, 15.
And death rush’d by me, in a thousand forms.
The long, long, dismal night at length was gone;
And cheerful day with pleasing beauty shone.
Hush’d was the world, save where, along the wood,
Rung the soft current of a silver flood.
Down verdant banks, with trembling steps I stray’d; 5.
Each breeze alarm’d me, and each leaf dismay’d;
Till, near the confines of the lonely stream,
Rode two barbarians, as the tyger grim.
My hated garb displeas’d their savage eyes,
And female weakness bade their lust arise. 10.
O why was strength to miscreant villains given?
Why lovely virtue left unarm’d by heaven?
Why must the helpless fair-one’s glory stand
A prey, for every monster’s brutal hand?
Thus mourn’d my heart; when Elam rush’d to fight, 15.
Clave the dire foes, and calm’d my wild affright;
At once low-whisper’d Virtue’s heavenly friend–
Weak are the fair, that heroes may defend.
She spoke. The blush that gives the brightest charm,
Glow’d in her face, and told her heart’s alarm.
Skill’d in the science of the human soul,
Th’ experienc’d Chief beheld her passions roll,
Smil’d at th’ expressive language of her eye, 5.
The dancing bosom, and the deep drawn sigh.
On Elam’s face he turn’d a searching view,
Trac’d his young flame, and all his wishes knew.
Oft on the virgin glanc’d his earnest gaze;
She glance for glance, and blush for blush, repays;
Their eyes prove faithful to the melting heart, 5.
Waft the fond wish, and all the soul impart.
No pride of beauty wak’d his young desires;
Nor eye that sparkles, fraught with lambent fires;
Nor cheek, that gaily shines with morning glow;
Nor downy bosom, dipp’d in spotless snow. 10.
He sigh’d for charms of nature more refin’d,
The Maker’s image, in the fair one’s mind;
Such charms, as found in heaven, delight improve,
And plac’d in angels prompt an angel’s love.
Thus while they paus’d; with sweet, and modest grace,
Fear in his eye, and blushes o’er his face,
The trembling youth began–O Chief divine!
My parent’s voice thou heard’st, disdain not mine.
To this bright maid my wishes would aspire– 5.
O blame not! frown not on the spotless fire!–
Thou know’st the joy her virtues yield to thee;
Then think her hand were paradise to me.
Pleas’d the Chief saw his eyes with fondness shine,
And mien all modest, merit’s faithful sign,
And thus–O fair! ’tis thine alone to choose.
Say, must this heart so soon its darling lose?
Canst thou to Elam yield a willing hand, 5.
And seek a guardian in a distant land?
With voice sincere, unus’d her thoughts to hide,
And bosom frank, the virgin’s lasting pride,
The guise, low-creeping Cunning must approve,
Fair mark of worth, and friend to virtuous love,
The maid replied–O sire! ’tis bliss to me, 5.
To be by him belov’d, approv’d by thee.
The Chief return’d; Bless’d heir of spotless fame!
Thy choice and wisdom ever ask the same.
Receive, brave Elam! Joshua’s favourite care,
As angels virtuous, and as Eden fair.
Her hand, her heart shall heal thy bleeding mind, 5.
Warm’d with pure love, and grac’d with truth refin’d,
Thy fainting strength, thy languid eye inspire,
Improve thy joys, and wake the hero’s fire,
Charm, with soft tenderness, thy griefs away,
And gild alike the darkness and the day. 10.
And thou, brave Elam! still, as morn returns,
While early transport in thy bosom burns,
On firm foundations let thy fondness rest,
Nor cold indifference canker in thy breast.
Know, all the vows by heedless lovers given, 15.
Though oft on earth forgot, are seal’d in heaven:
Then let thy fond connubial actions show
Truth was the language of the lover’s vow.
And thou, my child, to Heaven thyself approve;
Act all the soft commands of duteous love: 20.
So shall your lives serenely dance away,
And bliss unclouded light the setting day.
But now, brave friends, let pleasure round us roll;
Enjoy the genial feast, and snare the bowl;
Three days, with me, and every pleasure, stay; 25.
The fourth glad morn shall gild your homeward way.
Thus he. The feelings of each grateful breast
With manly dignity the chiefs confess’d.
In converse mild they sate. With busy care,
Th’ attendant train the cheerful feast prepare;
With kindly warmth the smoaking cauldrons glow, 5.
And sweet thro’ ether rising odours flow.
So vast, so various, was the Leader’s mind,
It rov’d through every region, unconfin’d;
From scenes sublime, with soft transition, ran
Thro’ all the duties, all the weal, of man;
At once his friends, his race, his Maker, serv’d; 5.
At once his own domestic bliss preserv’d;
In nice dependence rang’d the servant train,
And o’er his house bade beauteous order reign.
Thro’ all their minds Religion’s influence ran–
Men, true to Heaven, he knew were true to man– 10.
Her sons he chose; and with all-bounteous sway,
Rewarded, rul’d, and led in virtue’s way:
Hence, rich return of all his watchful toil,
No murmur pain’d him, and no houshold broil.
Peace round his mansion shed her influence mild, 15.
And cheerful, friendly, each domestic smil’d.
Now the lov’d maid had ‘scap’d from savage bands,
With twofold pleasure, wrought their active hands.
So just, so gentle was her angel mind,
To want so bounteous, and to all so kind,
Her, as the Leader, each alert obey’d, 5.
And thought it bliss to please the heavenly maid,
Mean time, selected for the genial feast,
To Joshua’s tent came many a princely guest;
Their courteous hearts the noble strangers greet,
And hail the fair with gratulation sweet.
O’er a vast board a wide pavilion spread,
With grandeur shin’d, and cast a pleasing shade.
There sate the guests; there cates delight the soul;
There wines inspiring tinge the spacious bowl:
They taste, enjoy, and, with light converse gay, 5.
In calm oblivion roll their cares away.
O’or all great Joshua shone, with aspect mild,
Cheer’d every guest, and with soft splendor smil’d:
Touch’d by his eyes, each heart with rapture glow’d,
And sweet complacence every face o’erflow’d.
So round th’ immense the sun’s broad glories stream, 5.
Spread boundless life, and pour the etherial flame;
Warm’d with pure light, the golden planets roll,
And smile soft-beaming joy from pole to pole,
In endless pride, at beauteous distance, rise,
Swell the great pomp, and glad the earth, and skies. 10.
There, like the day-star, beauteous Irad shone,
His splendors lessening in the nearer sun;
Full on the Chief a sparkling eye he turn’d,
And as he gaz’d, with bright ambition burn’d,
Mark’d all the glories of his awful face, 5.
His solemn grandeur, and his matchless grace;
While hoary Hezron watch’d with boding eyes,
And saw, well-pleas’d, the future hero rise.
There too, in transport brighten’d Caleb’s pride,
With tears, embracing Elam’s lovely bride;
Yet felt soft pain, to see her favourite’s charms,
The destin’d treasure of a stranger’s arms,
To see her days at distance doom’d to roll, 5.
And mingling friendship soothe no more the soul.
In easy converse pass’d the hours away;
Each face shone cheerful, and each heart was gay;
In glad succession went the goblets round,
And blended voices gave a jocund sound.
Mean time throng’d numerous round the Leader’s door,
The stranger, orphan, widow, and the poor;
Call’d from each tribe, by Joshua’s kind command,
A rare-felt joy inspir’d the friendless band;
They feasted, sang, and in the dance combin’d, 5.
Pour’d forth the raptures of th’ oblivious mind:
Then, moving various, o’er the camp they spread,
Each bliss imploring on the Leader’s head.
When now the feast was o’er, the sun drew nigh
The gilded borders of the western sky:
Forth to the temple march’d th’ illustrious train,
The thousands gathering o’er th’ extended plain.
From a tall rock, amid the silent crowd, 5.
The suppliant Hero rais’d his voice aloud–
O thou, whose hand illum’d yon rolling fire,
Stretch’d the wide plains, and bade the hills aspire,
Rul’d by whose power, the stars unnumber’d rise,
And swift-wing’d lightnings flame athwart the skies,
Storms ride majestic o’er th’ etherial plain, 5.
And wake the sleeping thunders of the main!
Empires, at thy command, arise, and fall;
And flight and triumph hasten at thy call!
Disclose, O Power Divine! thy sovereign voice–
Does combat please thee? combat is our choice– 10.
Does peace delight thee? peace alone we prize,
Led by thy will, and guided by thine eyes.
By thee this land to Abraham’s race was given,
‘Till suns withdraw, and stars are lost in heaven:
If now the bright possession God ordain, 15.
And crowns await us, on the crimson plain,
By some great sign th’ eternal smiles display,
And point our footsteps to the fierce affray!
At once a hollow wind began to roll,
As distant thunders rumble round the pole;
The fields grew black, the forests felt th’ alarm,
And swift through ether rush’d a cloudy storm,
High heaven all trembled with the dreadful sound, 5.
And peals on peals, convulsive, shook the ground.
Far round the sacred dome the darkness spread;
The sun’s clear splendor vanish’d in the shade:
Red flames burst forth; the conscious mountains nod,
And the world smokes beneath th’ approaching GOD. 10.
In silent awe, the camp astonish’d stood;
And each burn’d fiercely for the day of blood.
Fix’d in still wonder, gaz’d the stranger pair,
And mark’d, with anxious mind, the darkening air,
The dome, invelop’d in the sable shroud, 5.
And peals deep-murmuring in the hollow cloud:
With solemn look, each frequent eyed his friend,
And felt, instinctive, half-form’d prayers ascend,
Mean time the Leader every chief commands–
Two days, let peace refresh the fainting bands;
The third glad sun, awak’d by trumpet’s sound,
Shall light our falchions to the deathful ground.
Sleep, hapless Ai! thy last returning day 5.
Soon gilds thy turrets with a pitying ray.
And let the chief, th’ important charge who owns,
Of all our wealth, our wives, and blooming sons,
Bid a long trench wind through the tented ground,
And guardian walls the spacious camp surround. 10.
He spoke. With joy th’ attendant chiefs obey’d,
And round the camp the glad commands convey’d.
The squadrons ardent wait th’ appointed morn,
Cleanse their blue shields, and polish’d coats adorn.
So Joshua will’d; for well the Hero knew 5.
How glittering steel allur’d the ravish’d view;
Thence prais’d the chief, in shining neatness arm’d,
Averse from toys, but with true beauty charm’d;
And thence in glorious panoply he blaz’d,
A great example, acting all he prais’d. 10.
Now round the world pale Eve her sadness threw;
Still, solemn darkness cloudy curtains drew:
Through the wide camp the Leader trac’d his way,
To learn what wishes mark’d the busy day.
Ai, full in view, each heart to combat fir’d, 5.
And with gay prospects every breast inspir’d.
No thought of Egypt boding minds embrac’d;
No childish fear even vulgar souls disgrac’d:
In deep oblivion sunk the painful wound,
And fierce impatience hop’d th’ embattled ground. 10.
Pleas’d the great Hero heard th’ exulting strain,
And wandering, listening, sought his tent again.
When now the morn look’d mildly from the east,
To Joshua Elam thus his voice address’d–
O Chief of Israel, crown’d with grace divine!
Let health’s green garland round thy temples twine.
To bless mankind be still thy lov’d employ; 5.
To serve thy Maker still thy sacred joy;
No hour of thine to wasting grief be given;
Let each more brightly roll, and antedate thy heaven!
But now, his years impatient of delay,
My hoary father hopes our homeward way. 10.
Indulge, great prince, our eager wish to bear
The rapturous tidings to his longing ear.
His soul rejoic’d will smile at nature’s pains,
And life flow swifter through his icy veins.
Bid us with speed our destin’d path resume, 15.
And bless a parent, sinking in the tomb.
He spoke. Hareshah join’d the youth’s request:
Even Mina’s eyes a secret wish confess’d.
In love’s kind heat, like ice in summer’s ray,
All former ties, dissolving, pass away;
To new-found friends the soul oblivious flies, 5.
New objects charm us, and new passions rise.
The Hero saw, and kindly bade depart
The lov’d, the long-lost favourite of his heart;
With arms impassion’d clasp’d the bright-eyed fair,
Kiss’d with fond look, and dropp’d a tender tear. 10.
On gay-dress’d camels, toward the setting day,
With converse sweet, the lovers bent their way;
Like two fair stars, that shed a lonely light,
And sink in clouds, above the mountain’s height.
Two seers their steps attend, to point the way, 15.
That ends in mansions of unchanging day.
And now, o’er all the camp, the raptur’d throng
Crowd the wide plain, and wake th’ enlivening song.
Here cheerful thousands bid the walls ascend;
And broad, and deep, the lengthening trenches bend.
Here the strong arm the falchion learns to wield, 5.
Or hurls the javelin o’er the measur’d field.
With shouts of praise the conquerors oft are crown’d,
And clanging bucklers swell th’ applauding sound.
Part, join’d in crowds, in mimic fight engage,
Range their small hosts, and sport with seeming rage; 10.
From force unequal here the vanquish’d fly;
There, with deep groans, dissembling victims die.
Mean time all-watchful. Hanniel, round the plain,
From crowd to crowd, inspir’d the busy train.
He knew the plot, the generous Youth disclos’d,
To dark suspicion saw his name expos’d;
To wipe disgrace, his influence to recall, 5.
And, with light, secret snares, to gather all,
From tent to tent he urg’d his active way,
And blam’d with words severe, the wild affray.
Me, cried the hero, Israel’s thousands know
A fair unchanging friend, or open foe. 10.
To generous war since Israel’s voice is given,
To war I fly, and hope the smiles of Heaven.
Rouse then to arms; for glorious fight prepare;
Each thought of peace, each terror vile forbear:
Let glory’s fire each warrior’s breast inflame, 15.
And deathless deeds shall brighten Jacob’s name.
Thus he. The wile the thoughtless thousands drew,
Snar’d by soft words, and caught by gilding shew;
For war, invigor’d, glow’d th’ undaunted mind,
And kindling eye-balls with new lustre shin’d.
No walls they need, to stay th’ impending foe; 5.
Yet, with light labour, swift the barriers grow;
Hope high in view display’d unmeasur’d spoil,
Sooth’d every pain, and lessen’d every toil.
As thus serenely pass’d the cheerful day,
And care, and grief, oblivious roll’d away,
At once shrill rang, from eastern woods afar,
The cry of foes, and growing sound of war.
The sporting warriors, prompt at dread alarms, 5.
Ceas’d from each game, and brac’d for fight their arms;
O’er eastern fields, with rapid steps they hied.
And bands conjoining swell’d th’ embattled pride.
From the wood hastening, flew, with wild surprize,
Two timorous youths, and rais’d lamenting cries,
With trembling voice, they said–Of nought afraid,
Through yonder grove, with easy course, we stray’d;
A savage band, by twining shrubs conceal’d, 5.
Burst on our path, and half enclos’d the field.
Amaz’d we flew. Snar’d by the tangling vine,
Our heedless Partner fell; of Simeon’s line;
Helon his name: they seiz’d him fallen; in vain
Uplifting cries, and bore him o’er the plain. 10.
Quick, at the sound, a warrior rais’d his voice–
‘Tis my own son; the spring of all my joys–
Haste, haste, brave friends, my darling Helon save;
Nor yield your faithful Shallum childless to the grave.
The train, inspir’d, with nimbler footsteps flew; 5.
Each press’d his shield, and each his falchion drew;
The youths, before them, shew’d the sadden’d way,
Where the fell heathens bore their hapless prey;
Where the close thicket wrapp’d the ambush’d force,
And bending shrubs, and footsteps mark’d their course. 10.
Thence the glad train, with ease, the foe pursued,
And hoping, hastening, scower’d the devious wood.
Now, where all-anxious through the favouring shade,
Their hapless prize the heathens swift convey’d;
Weening, ere morn, through Oran’s camp to bear
The youth, with tidings of th’ expected war,
The heroes rush’d: his friends glad Helon knew; 5.
Loud rose his voice; the warriors eager flew;
While the bold heathens stay’d their useless flight,
New-brac’d their shields, and strung their nerves for fight.
Shrill through the woods the clash of arms arose;
These, fix’d to hold, and fierce to rescue, those;
The forest shook. In front, confess’d to view,
Full on the heathens raging Shallum flew.
One with his lance, and one with griding steel, 5.
He slew: the victims gave a hideous yell.
To his son’s voice he wing’d his furious course;
Nought stay’d his speed, and nought withstood his force.
Where two huge heathens struggling Helon led,
He wildly sprang; one flew; the other bled: 10.
With frantic joy he seiz’d his raptur’d hand,
And urg’d him trembling toward the friendly band.
There scarce arriv’d, a javelin pierc’d his side;
He groan’d, he sunk, grew pale, and fainting died.
Aghast, his darling’s fate the sire beheld, 15.
Then rush’d delirious round the woody field;
On the fled heathens stretch’d his raging course,
O’ertook, and singly drove the gather’d force:
Three fierce he flew; the rest, in devious ways,
Fled o’er the field, and ‘scap’d the hero’s chace. 20.
At length return’d, with a deep, bursting groan,
In strong embrace he clasp’d his hapless son,
Press’d to his bosom, bore him o’er the plain,
And, mid the weeping warriors, sought the camp again.
Evening. Irad and Selima walk out on the plain southward of the camp, and begin a conversation concerning the nature and designation of the visible heavens. Original state of Man, and of Creation. Reflections on the fall of Man. Wisdom and benevolence of the present system asserted. Threefold state of man, emblematized in the butterfly. Fanciful ideas of Heaven. An old man, in the habit of a beggar, sollicits alms of Irad, and is directed to repair to Hezron. The old man informs him that his request was but a pretence, and he came out of the Camp to stimulate him to the war, and uses a variety of arguments to accomplish the design. He retires, and Irad and Selima, terrified by the appearance of a meteor, return to the Camp. Morning. Irad goes to his father, and with earnest sollicitations, obtains leave to go out to the next battle. He communicates the intelligence to Selima. A thousand young volunteers choose him their leader. Evening. Joshua sends Zimri with a body of troops to lie in ambush on the western side of Ai.15.
NOW sunk the sun beneath the western main,
And deepening twilight shaded every plain.
To the known tent untroubled Irad sped,
And forth, with proffer’d hand, Selima led.
Through southern fields they trac’d their easy way, 5.
And love, and rapture, chang’d the night to day.
The western beam decay’d: th’ expanding sky
Spread clear, and boundless, to th’ attentive eye:
Scarce fill’d, the moon ascends the vaulted even,
And slow behind rolls on the pride of heaven; 10.
With joy, th’ unenvious planets round her play,
Join their glad beams, and swell the mimic day;
From star to star the mingling lustre flies;
Unmeasur’d beauty clothes the lucid skies;
Hush’d in calm silence sleeps the world screne, 15.
And floating splendor gilds the shadowy scene.
Round the mix’d glories of the spacious sky.
The pair instinctive turn’d a raptur’d eye,
From scene to scene with rising wonder ran,
And mild, with accent sweet, the maid began–
In yon broad field what scenes of glory shine! 5.
The bright effusions of a source divine!
Great as the hand, that form’d yon lucid way!
Fair as the morn, that op’d immortal day!
In earliest youth, when first my feeble mind
In nature’s works celestial power divin’d, 10.
To those gay regions fancy stretch’d her flight,
And rov’d, and sported, mid the gems of light.
For whom, I cried, ascend yon glowing fires?
What favourite first-born of th’ angelic choirs?
Those azure curtains? that sublime abode? 15.
A tent of glory for some darling God!
Say, loveliest Prince! for thy superior mind
Walks, with sure step, in wisdom’s path refin’d,
Why rove so far th’ unnumber’d flames on high?
Why cast their endless beauty through the sky? 20.
Is yon blue frame, that limits morn and even,
The sapphire pavement of some nobler heaven?
Are stars but gems of inborn light, that spread
With dust of gold the streets where angels tread?
Or if for man these works of glory shine, 25.
For earth-born reptiles furniture divine;
Say why so strange the acts of Heaven appear,
There such bright pomp, such wondrous meanness here.
The Youth return’d–Fair as those lucid eyes,
All lovely maid! thy bright ideas rise.
In vain proud man, with self-applause runs o’er
His arts of Egypt, and his Eastern lore,
Thy soul, on nature’s pinions, takes her flight, 5.
And, self-instructed, gains a nobler height.
When from the deep, ascended earth, and heaven,
To man, sole heir, the mighty boon was given.
Unlike his sons, no guilt his mind deform’d;
His life, his limbs, no fierce diseases storm’d;
Nor death’s cold poison pal’d his growing bloom, 5.
Nor knew his feet the journey to the tomb.
Young beauty’s purple splendor round him play’d;
Immortal Health his vigorous limbs array
Life, eldest heiress of th’ empyreal sky,
Smil’d on his cheek, and blossom’d in his eye. 10.
Array’d in endless light, his infant mind
Shone with fair truth, and glow’d with grace refin’d;
Her robe sky-tinctur’d, Virtue round him threw;
Unchanging jubilee his passions knew;
Heaven’s living lamp, with clear, and constant shine, 15.
Sunn’d the pure regions of the world within.
Far other glories then arose to view;
Parts answering parts, and beauties ever new.
With strong, bright charms the heaven angelic shin’d;
The varying prospect chain’d th’ inchanted mind;
Soft strains of rapture bade all ether ring; 5.
The gales, all fragrance, shed the light of spring;
From stars, from moonbeams, life’s sweet influence flew,
Inspir’d the streams, and glow’d in fostering dew;
Bade with strong life the purpling fruits refine,
And warm’d the bosom with a youth divine. 10.
Then reign’d fair Love, th’ immortal bliss of heaven;
Then social angels came on clouds of even;
Here trac’d new wonders of th’ omniscient Mind,
Strange to their world, and first on earth design’d;
In countless forms, where love and beauty glow’d, 15.
And stamp’d a rival of the bright abode.
His hand such nature to the man assign’d,
His form so temper’d, and so wrought his mind,
All gave delight; where spring display’d her prime;
Or where blank winter froze the desert clime;
The vale’s soft pride; the flower’s etherial form; 5.
The mountain’s grandeur, and the solemn storm.
But when foul guilt debas’d the beauteous mind,
The skies grew dim, and sickening nature pin’d.
With converse sweet, no more kind angels came:
No blissful morning shed th’ eternal beam;
No more from starry realms life’s influence fell, 5.
And peace, and Eden bade the world farewell.
Yet still with clear, though faded lustre, glow’d
The love, the greatness, of a bounteous God.
What though cold east winds wither’d all the plain;
Though blasts, and mildews shrunk the golden grain;
Pale evening’s, skirts the frost, and damp o’erhung; 5.
Air bred disease, and worms the fruitage stung:
Still o’er the mountains stars serenely rise;
Still the soft moonbeam trembles from the skies;
The sun, fair image of unborrow’d day,
Lights heaven, and earth, and cheers the boundless sea; 10.
Reviving seasons, crown’d with lustre, roll,
And plains of plenty glad th’ expecting soul.
These splendid scenes surprize thy curious mind;
For worms too noble, and for foes too kind.
But not too noble, or too kind, they shine,
The works of wisdom, power, and love, divine.
From morn’s gay bounds, to skirts of distant even, 5.
They teach the hand, and spread the name, of Heaven;
In beauty, grandeur, make Jehovah known,
But mark, with faded charms, a world undone.
Yet these, could man the common bliss pursue,
Would gentle peace, and smiling joy, renew, 10.
Light, with soft-beaming hope, the cheerful day,
And drive grim war, and cankering hate, away.
Thus spoke the Prince. The tender maid replies,
While her sad bosom heaves unbidden sighs.
Fair scenes of bliss thy living words disclose,
Realms of gay youth, and times of sweet repose.
Oh had our sire! but hence, ye wishes vain! 5.
No fancied joy shall edge returning pain–
Yet too, too blissful is the fond employ,
To nurse gay hope, and dream unreal joy;
Abroad in fields of airy light to roam,
And fly th’ envenom’d grief, that lurks at home. 10.
Ah, had the fatal fruit, untasted hung,
What bliss had brighten’d! and what glory sprung!
In gentlest union these bless’d hands had join’d,
One wish inform’d us, and one soul intwin’d;
On some lone hill our envied mansion stood, 15.
Where rich perfumes in morning breezes flow’d;
Sweet Peace around it wav’d her balmy wing,
And Youth unchanging dress’d eternal spring.
There, O bless’d lot! each innocent employ
Had form’d, and cherish’d mild, domestic joy: 20.
The walk all-pleasing, virtuous love refin’d;
Our flocks, our prospects, sooth’d th’ improving mind;
For me, the garden op’d its spicy bloom;
For thee, soft vesture whiten’d o’er the loom:
Our growing bliss the sun delay’d to see, 25.
And the poor heathen been as bless’d as we.
Ah dire reverse! while round this field of gore,
War’s hoarse rough-grating clangors ceaseless roar;
While sons, and fathers, in one hour are slain,
And each bright youth must tempt the fatal plain; 30.
While the sad virgin sees, with wearied eye,
No hope remains her, but to weep, and die;
While pain, and grief, each half-form’d joy invade,
And suns gay-rising set in mournful shade.
Kind, tender maid! the smiling Prince return’d–
The hapless fall how sweetly hast thou mourn’d!
Thy voice, all music, wins the raptur’d ear;
Yet more persuasive drops that melting tear.
But, O bright maid! by strong affections driven, 5.
Let no fond wish oppose the choice of Heaven.
To man’s first guilt ten thousand ills adjoin’d,
Writhe the torn limbs, and agonize the mind:
Pain, famine, toil, the sword, the ruthless wave,
Care, envy, broken faith, sad sorrow, and the grave. 10.
Yet God’s high acts unerring wisdom guides,
And boundless love his every choice decides.
Hence all events, and hence all beings right,
Best in their places, to best ends unite.
Hence from small ills unmeasur’d good shall flow; 15.
Hence joys unnumber’d spring from every woe:
Through the vast whole th’ eternal glories shine,
One great I am, all-beauteous, all divine.
Taus the great Prophet sung; and oft my sire
With these bless’d truths my tender heart would fire,
When, won to virtue, on his lips I hung,
And learn’d pure wisdom from his friendly tongue.
Heaven’s high behest, had faithless man obey’d,
A peaceful earth his eye had still survey’d;
Mild hours and seasons soft o’er nature run;
His sons, in millions, spread to lands unknown;
To Eden’s bowers the filial nations come, 5.
Hail’d their great sire, and own’d their happy home.
While from his throne, supreme of all below,
He saw well pleas’d, his mighty kingdom grow;
His subjects children, love his potent sway,
And one vast houshold spread to every sea. 10.
But, sprung from earth, and still to earth confin’d,
No fairer bliss had flow’d for poor mankind:
No law had given the high, stupendous claim,
To soar, and brighten in th’ immortal flame.
Now to those climes where, ‘twixt delight and pain, 5.
Expands, untravers’d, night’s eternal main,
Worms, born of dust, may point their lofty way,
And seize the bliss of ever-rising day.
Oft on the flower, embosom’d in perfume,
Thou seest gay butterflies in beauty bloom;
With curious eye, the wondrous insect scan,
By Heaven ordain’d a threefold type of man.
First from the dung-hill sprang the shining form, 5.
And crawl’d to view, a hideous, loathsome worm;
To creep, with toil, his inch-long journeys, curs’d;
The ground his mansion, and his food the dust:
To the next plant, his moment o’er, he drew,
And built his tomb and turn’d to earth anew. 10.
Oft, from the leaf depending, hast thou seen
Their tombs, with gold bedropp’d, and cloth’d in green;
There slept th’ expectant, ’till the plastic beam
Purg’d his vile dross, and bade his splendors flame.
Then burst the bonds: at once in glory rise 15.
His form etherial, and his changing dies,
Full on the lucid morn his wings unfold,
Starr’d with strong light, and gay in living gold;
Through fields of air at large the wonder flies,
Wafts on the beams, and mounts th’ expanded skies, 20.
O’er flowery beauties plumes of triumph waves;
Imbibes their fragrance, and their charms out-braves;
The birds his kindred, heaven his mansion, claims,
And shines, and wantons, in the noon-day flames.
So man, poor worm! the nursling of a day!
Springs from the dust, and dwells in humble clay;
Around his little mole-hill doom’d to creep,
To drag life’s load, and end his toil with sleep.
In silence to the grave his form descends, 5.
And waits the trump, that time and nature ends,
There strength imbibes, the beam of heaven to bear:
There learns, refin’d, to breathe its fragrant air;
Of life the bloom, of youth the splendor, gains,
And, cloth’d in beauty, hopes empyreal plains. 10.
Then, wing’d with light, the deathless man shall rise,
Sail through yon stars, and soar from skies to skies;
See heavens, o’er heavens, beneath him lessening roll,
And feel the Godhead warm his changing soul;
From beauty’s fount inhale th’ immortal ray, 15.
And grow from light to light, in cloudless day;
Mid morn’s fair legions, crown’d with grace, be known,
The peer of angels, and of GOD the son.
But O what scenes in that far region glow!
What crowns of patience! what rewards of woe!
From yon tall hill, when morn’s inviting air
To woodland wandering lur’d thy chosen fair,
Thou know’st how sweet gay prospects to descry,
And catch new Edens with the ravish’d eye.
In living green, the lawns at distance lay, 5.
Where snowy flocks mov’d round in vernal play;
High tower’d the nodding groves; the cliffs sublime
Left the low world, and dar’d th’ assaults of time;
Huge domes heav’d haughty to the morning fires,
And the sun trembled round a thousand spires: 10.
All heaven was mild; and borne from subject vales,
A cloud of fragrance cheer’d th’ inchanting gales.
Such pleasing scenes if this drear earth supply,
What scenes, what glories bloom beyond the sky!
There with strong life the plains immortal glow;
There Beauty bids her streams of rapture flow:
There changing, brightening, reigns th’ extatic power; 5.
Smiles in each fruit, and burns in every flower;
In solemn domes, with growing pride, aspires;
Gems with fair stars, and robes in living fires;
Round the trees wantons; on the mountains blooms;
Charms in new songs, and melts in strange perfumes. 10.
And O, of liquid light what seas extend!
What skies impurple! and what stars ascend!
But cease, my tongue! nor headlong rush too near
The sun, that kindles heaven’s eternal year.
When great Messiah shall those gates unbar,
Where grief recedes, and pain, and death, and war;
Then freed from dross, from every stain refin’d,
And dress’d in all the elegance of mind,
To her own mansion shall thy Soul aspire, 5.
And add new raptures to the sainted choir.
With love divine thy heart has learn’d to glow;
Smil’d at each joy, and wept at every woe;
In each soft station amiably stood,
And shewn the bright ambition to be good; 10.
The best, the loveliest daughter, sister, friend;
Thy life all virtue, and the heavens thine end.
Scarce, of thy years, can blooming cherubs claim
A purer conscience, or a fairer name.
Pleas’d as he spoke, an aged Form drew near,
The moon-beams whitening o’er his silver hair.
His quivering limbs a tatter’d garb array’d;
A staff his slow, and faltering footsteps stay’d–
Oh youth! he said, in wealth thy lot is cast; 5.
Let humble Poverty thy bounty taste.
Large as thy treasure be thy heart to give;
Thy bread impart, and bid my children live.
Sire! cried the Youth, to Hezron’s tent repair;
The poor, unfriended, never enter’d there.
To share his wealth the Heaven-sent strangers come;
There orphans, beggars, find a constant home.
His pious acts in sweet memorial rise, 5.
And prayers of thousands bless him from the skies.
Return’d the sage. To life’s far distant end,
On thee may Judah’s envied bliss descend!
From Asher’s race I spring, nor of thy sire,
Nor thee, fair Prince! or clothes, or food require.
My highest wish the gifts of Heaven exceed; 5.
Though small my portion, yet far less my need.
But O lov’d Youth! my faithful counsels hear;
Let hoary Age command thy listening ear.
Thy growth, thy beauty, nobler than thy peers,
Mine eyes attentive mark’d from earliest years:
I saw thy limbs in fair proportion rise, 5.
And thy face smile the image of the skies.
Thy mind all-lovely, every voice proclaim’d;
For sense distinguish’d, and for virtue fam’d;
Bounteous and brave thy heart; thy tongue discreet;
Thy manners courteous, and thy temper sweet. 10.
Oft on these plains when gathering armies spread,
The long van darken’d, and proud ensigns play’d;
Absorb’d, I saw thee war’s gay splendors view,
Trace the deep files, and moving chiefs pursue;
I saw the martial flame instinctive rise, 5.
And growing lightnings tremble in thine eyes;
I saw, and smil’d; and Israel’s voice approv’d,
That destin’d empire to thine arm belov’d.
But still, impell’d by strong desire to find
If Fame well sung the beauties of thy mind,
I watch’d thy steps, when evening hid the main,
Assum’d these rags and sought thee on the plain.
For know, fair Prince! in Truth’s unbiass’d state, 5.
The proud are little, and the lowly great,
From man, man claims, of high, or low degree,
The courteous manners, I have found in thee.
Now o’er thy head have twice ten summers run; *
The Youth is ripen’d, and the man begun:
Thy shapely limbs are sinew’d into force,
To hurl the dart; to speed the nimble course:
Yet on what plain in triumph hast thou stood? 5.
When, bold and active, dar’d the strife of blood?
No scar of thine attests the patriot wound;
Thine arm inglorious, and thy wreaths unbound:
Should’st thou, when Joshua sleeps, the sceptre bear;
How shall thy untaught mind conduct to war? 10.
How know what counsels wisdom bids embrace?
What strength to arm? the ambush where to place?
Where on the field to stretch the dreadful wing?
Or with what words of fire the languid arm to string?
Rise then, brave Youth! from ease unhonour’d rise! 15.
Let sun-bright glory tempt thine eager eyes!
When next approaching combat threats the field
Seize the strong lance, and grasp the sheltering shield;
If Hezron grant, the van’s bright station claim,
And leave the foremost in the chase of fame! 20.
Ill fits vile ease a Prince of worth divine,
Whose countless graces fair as angels shine;
At home, unnotic’d, stretch’d in sloth, to lie,
While friends, while fathers toil, and bleed, and die:
To share the spoils distain’d with others’ gore, 5.
A mean, false plunderer, when the battle’s o’er.
Then while to war thy bold companions run,
While deeds of glory, wreaths of life, are won;
On the dread sword while Israel’s cause suspends;
While empire victory, ruin flight attends; 10.
While in full view the field of promise lies,
And the brave arm shall win th’ unmeasur’d prize;
Demand thy share, thy share of danger claim;
The toils of danger give the crown of fame.
To thee, through tribes, through nations yet to come, 15.
Let grateful Israel owe her prosperous doom;
Her endless rule; her land in beauty dress’d;
Her stream of glory, and her ages bless’d.
Thus, in far distant times, when Joshua’s name
Shall pass, all-fragrant, down the tide of fame; 20.
When future heroes to their sons shall tell
How Hezron triumph’d, and how Sihon fell;
Combin’d with theirs, thy deeds shall waft along,
Swell the glad theme, and mingle in the song.
No shameful sloth, no dread of manly toil,
No mean, false wish to share in others’ spoil,
No love of ease, the generous Youth replied–
To tents confine me, and to Hezron’s side.
Far other wish my glowing mind inspires; 5.
Fame wings my thoughts, and war my bosom fires.
When Glory’s sons assembling hosts array,
Th’ extatic view bears all my soul away.
My pulse beats high; my bristling hair ascends;
My heaving heart a thrilling anguish rends: 10.
Sighs, prayers, and tears confess the growing pain;
But sighs, and prayers, and melting tears are vain.
By love, beyond my highest claim impell’d,
My sire constrains me from th’ embattled field.
Youth, frowns the chief, to ruin heedless flies; 15.
From arms refrain, ’till years shall make thee wise.
Go tell thy sire, the kindling sage return’d,
Thy hated absence Israel long have mourn’d.
In forceful language, ask their wondering eyes,
Why sunk in sloth, their darling Irad lies,
Their voice demands thee to th’ important plain, 5.
To generous toils, and glories bought with pain:
They pant, they burn, to see thy splendors shine,
Thy falchion triumph, and thy garlands twine.
Not fame alone, but duty points the way,
And truth and virtue chide the dull delay. 10.
This said, the Ancient o’er the plain withdrew,
And, fading from the moon-beam, left the view.
As lost in silence stood the wondering pair,
Or maz’d, bewilder’d, rov’d they knew not where,
A cloud ascending eastern skies o’erspread,
Involv’d the moon, and wrapp’d the world in shade:
A dim-seen lustre cloth’d all heaven around, 5.
And long, black shadows floated o’er the ground.
As deep and solemn the far whirlwind roars,
Or waves run rumbling under cavern’d shores,
With murmuring noise, o’er western mountains came
A broad, and dark-red meteor’s awful flame: 10.
Far o’er the woods, and plains, its sanguine hair
Stream’d wild, and dreadful, on the burden’d air.
As eastern groves its lessening light absorb,
Like thousand thunders, bursts the rending orb;
Wide-shooting flames the glimmering sky surround; 15.
A gloomy glory spreads the twilight ground;
Loud o’er the world a long, hoarse echo roars,
And sad Canä:an groans through all her shores.
Quick to the camp return’d th’ astonish’d pair,
And half, in broken slumbers, lost their care.
O’er anxious Irad hovering visions play’d,
Call’d up fair scenes, or dismal terrors shed;
Oft from his couch, in act to smite, he sprang, 5.
And oft his voice in shouts imperfect rang.
When first through broken clouds the morning shin’d,
In purpose firm he fix’d his doubtful mind;
At Hezron’s feet, with graceful reverence stood,
And claim’d the blessing, e’er with joy bestow’d.
With dawning smiles, he bless’d his lovely son, 5.
And sweet complacence round his aspect shone.
Will Hezron bend his ear? the favourite cries–
Speak, my belov’d–th’ indulgent sire replies.
Thou know’st my bosom feels the warrior’s flame,
Sighs for gay arms, and pants for generous fame;
For Israel weeps, to aid her cause aspires,
And burns tumultuous with resistless fires.
When next our host the shining falchion wield, 5.
Bless’d sire! command me to th’ embattled field.
Youths, o’er whose heads a few more months have run
In sport, the peers, the rivals of thy son,
In glory’s bright career with heroes join,
And their fair names even now begin to shine. 10.
Grant, best of parents! grant one blissful day,
And threefold duty shall thy love repay.
Why dost thou bring–the anxious sire replied–
The dread request, my love has oft denied?
Why must thy sire his favourite treasure lose?
Why will thy heart the path of danger choose?
That path, conceal’d where various evil lies, 5.
And the brave perish, while the dastard flies.
More circling summers have those youths beheld;
Th’accustom’d age commands them to the field.
Scarce nineteen suns thine infant eyes have seen;
Secure from shame, enjoy thy hours serene. 10.
Let truth, let wisdom be thy virtuous care;
And the sweet converse of thy darling fair.
Still with thy partners draw the mimic field;
The javelin hurl, the heavy falchion wield:
So taught their use, shalt thou, when battles join, 15.
With fairer names, with veteran heroes shine;
In marshal’d hosts a nobler office claim,
And stride more swiftly in the chase of fame.
Return’d the favourite–To thy faithful son
Whene’er thy choice, indulgent sire, was known,
No counter choice unduteous words confess’d,
But my sole answer was obedience bless’d.
When last mild evening clos’d the cheerful day, 5.
O’er southern plains I trac’d my careless way;
There as I gaz’d the works of Heaven around,
A chief, of Asher’s race, my footsteps found–
Youth, cried the hoary sage, the changing sun
Beholds, well pleas’d, thy riper years begun. 10.
The scenes of dangerous war thy breast demand,
And thy lov’d nation asks thine aiding hand;
Their eyes require thee on the hostile plain,
Nor let a nation claim thy aid in vain.
Go tell thy sire, while friends, while brothers die, 15.
‘Tis shame, ’tis guilt, in torpid ease to lie.
His duty bids him dress thy limbs in arms,
And thine strait summons to the trump’s alarms.
Haste, virtuous Youth! thy nation’s voice obey,
And fly, where Glory points her envied way. 20.
Ah sire belov’d! to shame, to fatal shame
Yield not thy darling Irad’s opening name.
Think, best of parents! with what stings of gall,
Contempt and scorn a generous mind appall.
Save me from piercing scorn; from ruin save; 25.
From dastards snatch me; rank me with the brave;
Thy nation’s call, more loud than thunders hear;
Though Irad fail, let Israel gain thine ear.
With anxious look, th’ unwilling sire replies,
The tears fast-streaming from his reverend eyes–
O son belov’d! beyond expression dear!
The ground of every joy! and every fear!
This painful tale disparts my troubled soul, 5.
And bids my tears in large effusion roll.
How can my heart to savage war resign
My wealth, my boast, my glory, all that’s mine;
The child, the joy, the image, of my mind;
The best, the only trace, I leave behind; 10.
To prayers long-tried, all-fervent, kindly given;
The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven?
From infant years thy lovely form to raise,
To lure thy mind to all that merits praise;
‘Gainst fatal snares thy youthful heart to arm,
With truth illumine, and with virtue warm,
Ten thousand sighs I breath’d, ten thousand prayers, 5.
Watch’d countless nights, and felt unnumber’d cares.
Each opening wish, each rising thought, I scann’d;
Each new-born virtue nurs’d with fostering hand:
The flower etherial saw, with rapture, bloom,
Glow with strong light, and charm with choice perfume, 10.
And each glad morn beheld my praises rise,
A grateful tribute to the bounteous skies.
As, touch’d with joy, thy beauties I behold,
Thy limbs invigorate, and thy thoughts unfold;
Thy pure complacence eye the all-lovely Mind;
Thy love, thy goodness flow to all mankind;
Thy aims expand beyond the flight of youth; 5.
Thy tongue unvarying yield the voice of truth;
Thy cheerful bounty make the poor thy care;
Thy spotless mind affect so bright a fair;
Thy sweet obedience every wish forerun,
And my blise double in my darling son; 10.
Too bless’d, I wish, my pains, my toils review’d,
Each pain repeated, and each toil renew’d.
But chief, when that bright fair, who gave thee breath,
Sunk, pale and hapless, in the arms of death,
Thy hand so gently sooth’d her long decay;
So sweetly guileful lur’d her pains away;
Whole nights, whole days, sustain’d her drooping head; 5.
Dried her sad tears, and watch’d her weary bed;
Like some mild angel, sent from pitying skies,
Shed dewy slumbers on her languid eyes;
Illum’d the grave, seren’d the rugged way,
And cheer’d each fainting Hope of future day: 10.
Me from myself thy matchless duty stole,
And chain’d thee lovely to my inmost soul.
Now to far regions is that parent gone,
And, but for thee, thy sire were left alone:
From thee remov’d, no second self I know;
And, O bless’d favourite! solitude is woe.
When wing’d, my sweet companion trac’d her flight,
A wildering gloom obscur’d the cheerful light;
Each joy was banish’d from my hapless doom,
And not a wish remain’d me, but the tomb.
Her tent, forsaken, seem’d in shades to mourn; 5.
Her empty seat implor’d her bless’d return:
Friends grac’d my board; her vacant place I view’d;
Down gush’d the tear, and every pang renew’d.
Through distant fields I roam’d; the fields were sad:
No more her presence bade the flowers be glad: 10.
A solemn twilight round all nature spread,
Drear as dun caves, that house the silent dead.
Alone in crowds I stood, in fields alone;
My hope, my friend, my lovely solace gone.
But thou wast left. In thy angelic face
Smil’d her lov’d image, glow’d her matchless grace:
To thee I flew; and, in thy duty, view’d
Her power to charm, her wish to bless, renew’d.
That peace, the world beside could never give, 5.
I found in thee, and lov’d again to live.
Too rich, too great, I own my Heaven-lent store;
On earth, if thou may’st live, I ask no more.
Shall then thy sire that dread persuasion hear?
Or feel the urgence of that forceful tear?
Ah! how can Hezron thy lov’d life destroy,
And yield th’ insatiate grave my only joy?
For, O fond Irad! all the pride of state,
Fair dreams, and painted bubbles, of the great,
No real joy, no gentle peace, contain,
But gay deceit, and undiscover’d pain.
Whate’er in Wisdom prompts a wish to live, 5.
Soft, calm domestic scenes alone can give.
Should’st thou be slain, even these must ceaseless mourn;
No joy betides me, and no hopes return;
A poor, despairing stranger, here I stay,
‘Till Death’s loud voice shall summon me away. 10.
But ah! to combat Israel Irad calls–
The piercing sound my struggling heart appalls–
Was all my bliss for Israel’s weal bestow’d?
And is a nation’s voice the voice of God?
Go then, my son, may he thy bosom guard, 5.
To triumph lead thee, and with fame reward;
Bright, and more bright, extend thy prosperous doom,
Or speed my footsteps to an early tomb.
Thus the great chief; and rising as he spoke,
In his right hand a sword suspended took;
Forth from the sheath the blade refulgent drew,
And his sad eye-balls kindled at the view.
Behold, brave youth–with earnest voice he cried–
Thine is the sword, thy sire’s, thy grandsire’s pride;
By death of kings, and generous chiefs, renown’d,
With wreaths ennobled, and with triumphs crown’d.
When Egypt’s sons, on proud Sabea’s plains, * 5.
By Moses guided, pour’d their countless trains;
High in his haughty car a chieftain rode,
Bore down whole troops, and roll’d through brooks of blood;
Deep in his breast, while thousands round him fell,
Thy generous Grandsire lodg’d this shining steel; 10.
Then ceas’d the fight; Sabea’s millions fled,
And the earth groan’d beneath the piles of dead.
To Jahaz’ deathless field when Sihon drew,
When combat thicken’d, and when dangers grew,
This arm, this falchion clave the monarch’s side, 15.
And low on earth abas’d his impious pride.
From Hezron’s hand the honour’d gift embrace.
Dread of thy foes, and glory of thy race;
And while thy arm their weapon learns to wield,
Let the same spirit prompt thee to the field.
Each wild excess, each useless danger shun; 5.
But first in virtue’s course auspicious run:
Outstrip thy peers; To Joshua’s height aspire;
Let real glory all thy wishes fire:
Let mine, my fire’s, my tribe’s, my nation’s fame
Imbibe new splendors from thy added name. 10.
Yet not one fear my boding mind alarms,
Lest Irad’s deeds distain his parent’s arms;
I know thy generous mind; and, forc’d to yield,
Assur’d, behold thee grace th’ embattled field.
And oh! wilt thou, whose hand from every foe 15.
My life preserv’d, and sooth’d in every woe,
My darling son defend! from thee he came;
Scarce born, I gave him to th’ eternal Name;
Thine are his virtues; round his youthful head
A guardian shield may thy good angel spread. 20.
Thus spoke the chief. In Irad’s feeling soul
A strange, tumultuous joy began to roll:
As oft t’ unfold his grateful heart he tried,
The suffocated sounds in silence died.
Down dropp’d the sword; and strait, with homage due, 5.
The Youth enkindling from the tent withdrew;
Quick to the lovely fair-one trac’d his way,
And strove the tumult of his thoughts t’ allay.
Her in the tent, with maidens compass’d round,
Select companions of her sports, he found. 10.
There, sweetly welcom’d with instinctive smiles,
He smooth’d his face with new, but harmless wiles,
And, while soft art her tender mind prepar’d,
His own design, his sire’s consent declar’d.
With guarded lips he spoke; but dire surprize 15.
Pierc’d her sad heart, and gloom’d her starry eyes;
With one deep sigh, she felt her strength decay,
Slid to the ground, and breath’d her life away.
Quick to her aid the Youth impassion’d flew:
And, with the virgins, bade her life renew; 20.
Again reviv’d the splendor of her eye,
And ting’d her cheek with health’s transcendent die.
O best belov’d! with tender voice he said–
Let not such anguish wound my beauteous maid!
Let cheerful hope thy timorous thoughts inspire, 25.
And thine eye languish with a brighter fire!
When o’er my head a few short days shall roll,
My hastening feet must reach th’ appointed goal;
To manhood grown, the law, from heaven reveal’d,
Resistless calls me to th’ imbattled field.
If Israel’s sons my falchion earlier claim, 5.
And kindly summon to the path of fame,
Why should’st thou mourn? ’tis duty points the way;
When duty calls us, safety bids obey.
Thou know’st when evening last the skies attir’d,
The sage, reproving, generous thoughts inspir’d;
First from his mouth my nation’s choice I knew;
And swift to war my soul obsequious flew:
No place, no hope, to vile delay was given; 5.
The call of nations is the call of Heaven.
Led by his voice, I trust his guardian care;
With equal ease he saves in peace, and war.
The same good hand, that thro’ the woodland shade,
To friends, to safety, loveliest Mina led, 10.
Though thousands fall, may Irad’s bosom shield,
And wing th’ averted javelin through the field.
Thus he, with softest voice, and fondest eye–
Then stopp’d; and anxious, hop’d the maid’s reply.
She, plung’d in grief, and lost in dread amaze,
Sate silent, solemn, fix’d in mournful gaze:
With tenderest action on her looks he hung, 5.
And thus vain solace tunes again his tongue.
But, doom’d to fall, should Heaven my life demand,
And death betide me from a heathen’s hand,
I fall in virtue’s course. Far happier doom,
In that bless’d path, to find a speedy tomb! 10.
Than, lost in sports, or sunk in shameful ease,
To drag a worthless life, and swell inglorious days.
And O bright maid! without one guilty fear,
My thoughts can view resistless death draw near.
In that far clime, where joy extends her reign, 15.
My pinion’d soul shall spring to life again;
Strong with empyreal youth, shall trace her way,
And join the nations of immortal day.
Thence, when thy form is summon’d to the tomb,
Perchance my spirit, wing’d with light, shall come, 20.
Hail thy release from toil, and grief, and pain,
And raptur’d guide thee o’er the trackless main;
In bonds etherial there our souls be join’d,
And prove th’ extatic nuptials of the mind.
With silent, sad, and discontented air,
And face averted, sate the listening fair.
While the deep woe her feeling bosom mourn’d,
With a long, heavy sigh, she thus return’d.
With boding heart I heard the sage’s tale, 5.
But felt fond hopes the dire design would fail;
That Hezron’s choice, so often tried in vain,
Would still confine thee from the fatal plain.
Yet thy lov’d maid, with gentle words, design’d
To change thy wish, and sooth thy eager mind, 10.
But my soul trembled at the dreadful light,
And every sense was lost in wild affright.
Now to dire fate my fondest hope must yield,
While empty fame allures thee to the field.
But O bless’d youth! by soft intreaties won,
Where duty calls not, hideous danger shun.
Let not thy ardour fame’s high impulse feel, 5.
Tempt nearer fight, and try the deathful steel.
The fatal front to veteran warriors give;
Be thy rich boon, thy bless’d reward, to live.
I know thy bosom burns with glory’s fire;
I know what visions war’s bright beams inspire. 10.
I fear, would Heaven the cause were less to fear,
Lest thy bold footsteps headlong rush too near;
Lest, wing’d with zeal, on instant death thou fly,
And leave thy hapless maid to weep, and die.
For ah! on Irad all my joys suspend;
Grow with thy bliss, and with thy life extend.
Should then dread war compel thee to the grave,
The sad, untimely portion of the brave,
Whither, ah whither can Selima fly? 5.
Where find a friend, to bid her early die?
Robb’d of thy face, the world’s a desart drear;
The house of pain, and grief, and cankering care;
Forlorn, and friendless, life’s lone path I tread,
And ask no lot, but with the silent dead. 10.
Nor all those joys, thou know’st to paint so fair,
Can sooth sad woe, or lighten dark despair.
With thee conjoin’d, I claim my only doom,
Alike well-pleas’d, or here, or in the tomb.
Scarce would my soul, without thee heaven explore, 15.
Where the first joy shall be to part no more.
Oh, would the Chief thy anguish’d maiden hear,
And mark thy station in the humbler rear!
There no fell heathen would thy life annoy;
Nor fatal danger threat Selima’s joy:
‘Till age, ’till art, from sure experience won, 5.
Had taught thee cautious every wile to shun.
And then, ah then might peace our days serene;
War cease to rage, and foes no more be seen;
Bliss, in glad streams, around our land extend,
And every sigh, and grief, and terror end. 10.
Thus spoke the saddening maid. With pleasing guile,
The tender Prince recall’d her vanish’d smile;
With tales amusive lur’d her grief away,
And cheer’d her soul with hope’s inlivening ray.
Meantime, through Israel spread the rumour far,
That matchless Irad join’d the coming war.
Charm’d with the tale, a bold, and generous train
Of youths, his rivals, throng’d the vacant plain;
And there, with one glad voice, the hero chose 5.
To guide their footsteps ‘gainst th’ expected foes.
To him too youths the flattering message bare;
With modest grace, and sweet, becoming air,
Surpriz’d he heard, and while their hearts he won,
Assum’d the trust, and own’d the honour done. 10.
And now decay’d the sounds of busy day;
The sun descending beam’d his final ray;
In starry grandeur rose the boundless night,
And temper’d ether with a milder light.
As through the host a general silence flow’d, 5.
To Zimri’s tent the watchful Leader strode,
And thus–Brave chief, to Ai direct thy course;
Thy sole command awaits a chosen force:
Through the deep forest steer thy southward way,
Where stately portals hail the setting day. 10.
When first the clarion’s voice to conflict calls,
Forsake thy ambush, and ascend her walls;
O’er all her domes let sudden flames aspire,
And her proud turrets sink in hostile fire:
Then through her northern gates direct thy way, 15.
And lead thy squadrons to the fierce affray.
I go–the chief replied. The moon’s broad round
Look’d in full lustre on the tented ground;
Fair o’er the shadowy hills she gently rose,
And shew’d a path for Ai’s exulting foes.
In glimmering steel, a long, refulgent train, 5.
Stretch’d in just files, and dazzled all the plain.
Slow to the wood their fading steps they press’d,
The Chief, in silent joy, retir’d to rest.
Morning. Army assembles under the command of Hezron, and Joshua. Irad sollicits, and obtains a post, in the front of the western division. Orders. Israelites march. Army of Ai. Characters of Oran, and Carmi. Battle. Feigned retreat of the Israelites. Hanniel’s disobedience, and overthrow. Joshua rescues him. Signal of return to battle. Joshua’s address. Battle renewed. Joshua retires, and gives Caleb the command. Exploits of Irad. Exploits of Hezron, and of Caleb. Death of Ludon. Oran. Death of Hezron. Exploits of Carmi. His death. Irad rallies Judah. Joshua descends to battle, kills Oran, and puts the Heathens to flight. Zimri, having set Ai on fire, comes out upon the rear of the enemy. Final rout, and overthrow of the Heathens. Irad’s distress at the fate of his father. Interview of Irad and Selima. Evening.16.
NOW dawning light conceal’d the worlds on high,
And morn in beauty cloth’d the cloudless sky:
Loud o’er the field the trump’s shrill sound began,
And swift to arms the startled thousands ran;
From all the camp burst forth the numerous throng, 5.
Shook their tall spears, and wak’d the martial song;
Wide wav’d their plumes, refulgent flash’d their shields,
And spiry banners trembled o’er the fields,
South of the camp, in two deep squares they stood,
And fierce for combat, fac’d the plain of blood. 10.
Before the western band great Hezron rose,
Joy of his race, and terror of his foes:
Averse from pomp, in useful steel array’d,
Pleas’d, his just ranks the mighty chief survey’d;
Pleas’d to the well-known field of combat drew; dew; 5.
When duty call’d, his soul no terror knew
Of equal strength battalions eastward stood,
And high in front exalted Joshua strode.
By nature fashion’d millions to controul,
In peace, in war, the great all-moving soul,
His mind expanded look’d existence through; 5.
His heart undaunted danger never knew;
With calm endurance, toils and fears engag’d,
Climb’d as they rose, and triumph’d as they rag’d;
Patient, serene, as ills and injuries tried,
Meek without meanness, noble without pride, 10.
Frank yet impervious, manly yet refin’d,
As the sun watchful, and as angels kind.
His Maker first, his conscience next he fear’d,
All rights kept sacred, and all laws rever’d;
Each wandering friend, with faithful friendship blam’d; 15.
Each foe applauded, as fair merit claim’d:
Alike his kingdom wealth and want approv’d;
The noble reverenc’d, and the peasant lov’d.
His form majestic, seem’d by God design’d
The glorious mansion of so vast a mind: 20.
An awful grandeur in his countenance sate;
Calm wisdom round him cast a solemn state:
His deathful arm no single force withstood;
His speed, his skill, no vigor could elude;
His piercing eye his mighty soul display’d; 25.
His lofty limbs resplendent arms array’d;
With varied lightenings his broad falchion shone,
And his clear buckler mock’d the rising sun.
Fair in the front of Judah’s manly train,
A young gay band, adorn’d the gladsome plain.
Bright was their steely mail; their polish’d shields
With dazling splendor streak’d the smiling fields;
Soft breezes sported through their plumy pride; 5.
Their trembling falchions glitter’d by their side;
Equal their bravery, and their thirst of fame;
Their age, their stature, and their arms the same.
In the fair front, more beauteous than the morn,
When cloudless splendors orient skies adorn,
First of his race exalted Irad stood,
His soul inflam’d, his falchion drawn for blood;
On Joshua’s steps his ceaseless eye was turn’d, 5.
Charm’d with the pomp, that round the hero burn’d;
Tall was his stature, lofty was his mien,
His eye refulgent, and his brow serene:
Topp’d with two snowy plumes, that play’d in air,
A silver morion crown’d his auburn hair: 10.
Far o’er the train his form sublimely shone,
By nobler arms, and manlier beauty, known.
So, when calm spring invests the sparkling plain,
And night sails silent up th’ etherial main,
Round the broad azure stars unnumber’d glow, 15.
And shadowy lustre robes the world below:
Thron’d in the western heaven young Hesper shines;
His silver car to nether realms declines;
O’er the gay mountains smiles his living eye,
And sinks, in splendor, down the gladsome sky. 20.
From host to host the Chief majestic strode,
Inspir’d their hopes, and steel’d their souls for blood;
Their perfect ranks his skilful eyes divide,
And his great bosom swells with manly pride.
As tow’rd the western square he bent his way, 5.
Where hoary Hezron led the long array;
To meet his steps impatient Irad ran,
And bent one knee before the godlike man:
And thus–To youth will Joshua lend an ear?–
–Speak my brave son; thine every wish declare– 10.
–With gentle voice, he said–The Youth replied–
See that fair train, inwrapp’d in steely pride!
In war, though young, our bosoms pant to shine,
And feel the wish, that brighter glows in thine.
Give, best of men! this brave, though youthful band 15.
In the bright front of charging fight to stand.
Oh, by my father’s toils in fields of blood,
Whose love this freedom, and this sword bestow’d,
Indulge this ardent wish! nor let thy frown
Quench a young flame, that emulates thy own. 20.
I grant thy wish–the mighty Chief replied,
Smiling superior o’er his manly pride,–
Go, first of youths, defend thy maker’s laws,
And lift the falchion, in thy country’s cause.
May God’s good hand thy tender footsteps guard, 5.
With caution bless thee, and with fame reward!
He spoke, and kindly raptur’d Irad rear’d;
His swimming eye the grateful mind declar’d;
Swift he return’d, on high his shield display’d,
Shook his blue sword, and thought the fight delay’d.
Near the bless’d scene enraptur’d Hezron stood,
And life ran nimbler thro’ his languid blood;
Charm’d with the kind regard, to Irad given,
He kneel’d to earth, and bless’d all-bounteous Heaven,
That Heaven which gave, his every wish to crown, 5.
The Chief to Israel, and to him the son.
Now, rang’d for combat, wait the warrior bands,
And his brave leaders Joshua thus commands–
‘Till this right hand exalt the javelin bright,
Let every rank conduct a mimic flight:
Slow, firm, and close, be mov’d the fair retreat; 5.
Nor wing’d with ruin wild, and foul defeat:
Meantime a missive death let arrows rain,
And slings unnumber’d tempest all the plain.
But when the javelin’s beams in ether burn,
Swift to the fight let every rank return; 10.
Each vigorous arm the sword’s broad terrors rear,
Or hurl the vengeance of the slaughtering spear;
Brace firm the spacious shield; disdain to fly;
Rush to glad conquest, or with glory die.
He spoke: o’er southern plains, in long array,
To Ai’s high walls the squadrons bent their way.
Undaunted Ai, th’ approaching storm beheld,
And rous’d her heroes to the darkening field;
Her chiefs command, her northern gates unfold, 5.
Bright arms burst forth, and hosts to fight are roll’d;
Like gloomy clouds, the blackening thousands rise,
And shrill-voic’d clarions thunder in the skies.
Two warlike chiefs th’ embattled heathens guide,
Their forms majestic cloath’d in golden pride.
Wrapp’d in blue mail, insufferably vain,
With cruel front, that frown’d a stern disdain,
Around, dark Oran cast a sanguine eye, 5.
Wav’d his broad shield, and dar’d th’ avenging sky.
Grim in the van, with lofty stalk, he strode,
And shook his spear distain’d with drops of blood,
Blood, by his hand, in ancient battles shed,
In wasted realms, and fields bestrew’d with dead. 10.
Sheath’d, in his hall the crimson’d weapon lay,
Lest cankering time should cleanse the stain away;
There, oft retir’d, he turn’d it o’er, and o’er,
And with fierce transport view’d the purple gore,
There call’d to mind the orphans of his spear, 15.
Smil’d horrid o’er the scene, nor knew to drop a tear.
Behind him darkly roll’d a cloudy band,
Rous’d to the war from many a distant land,
With various arms in one great host combin’d,
And various banners streaming on the wind.
‘Gainst Joshua’s host the chief imperious strode, 5.
And with fond prescience hail’d the scenes of blood;
A gloomy smile array’d his shaggy brow,
And thus his horrid joy began to flow.
Bless’d be the Gods, who gave this rapturous hour!
For this their fires shall many a youth devour; 10.
While their gor’d children bleeding parents view,
And tears in vain their lifeless forms bedew.
Warriors rejoice; yon troop forgets the day,
When Ai’s brave squadrons swept their host away;
Soon shall our spears be bath’d in brooks of blood, 15.
And fields grow fruitful with a genial flood.
‘Gainst Judah’s hosts, inclos’d in burnish’d arms,
With matchless bravery and unrival’d charms.
Ai’s dauntless sons to fight young Carmi led,
And now the helm first sparkled on his head.
Mov’d by his ceaseless sighs for martial fame, 5.
His royal fire the parent’s fears o’ercame.
Reluctant sent him to the deathful plain,
And fondly hop’d his lovely steps again.
There pleas’d with fame’s imaginary charms,
He clasp’d the phantom in his eager arms, 10.
On the bright glories turn’d a raptur’d eye,
And gaz’d, and gaz’d, and fancied bliss was nigh.
Now, mid the grandeur of the deep array,
A dreadful space in gloom tremendous lay:
No banners wave in air, nor trumpet’s sound;
But silent terror saddens all the ground.
Loud burst the clarion’s voice, and trembling far, 5.
Shoot the broad ensigns o’er the frowning war;
As thousand stars thro’ kindling ether stream,
Bright showers of arrows cast a transient gleam:
From slings tempestuous countless pebbles rain,
Whizz thro’ the skies, and whiten all the plain; 10.
The shrill helms clatter, death pursues the wound,
And prostrate heroes clothe the sprinkled ground.
So, when red summer burns the sultry pole,
O’er darkening hills a cloud’s black volumes roll;
Hoarse rush the winds; hoarse drives the rattling hail, 15.
Batters the craggs, and tempests all the vale;
Deep groan the forests, torne their branches fall,
And one tumultuous ruin buries all.
Ere the loose combat long suspense had hung,
“Retire,” the great command around them rung; 20.
Then, closely wedg’d, recedes the yielding fight,
And well-feign’d terror clothes the mimic flight.
Swift tow’rd their yielding foes the heathens spring,
Their bucklers blaze, their flashing lances sing:
Oft they rush forward, oft the bands retreat; 25.
For Israel’s host disdains a base defeat;
From ranks behind unnumber’d arrows shower,
And stones unnumber’d down the concave pour;
Thick fall the foremost, clanging arms resound,
And streams of crimson die th’ embattled ground. 30.
Meantime, fierce Hanniel, burning still for fame,
And sickening still at Joshua’s envied name,
Deem’d this the destin’d hour, to pluck the crown
From the Chief’s head, and plant it on his own.
Oh heaven, he cried, shall Israel ever flee, 5.
The dupe of cunning, and the coward’s prey?
Must these pain’d eyes again our ruin view,
Curse our wild counsels, and our follies rue?
Come every generous chief, whose bosom brave
To foul disgrace prefers a hero’s grave, 10.
Join Hanniel’s path; and soon proud Ai shall see
A few, bold warriors yet disdain to flee.
Whate’er my voice commands, my hand shall dare,
My deeds unspotted, as my dictates fair;–
Far nobler doom, to fall in manly fight, 15.
Than share, with titled names in splendid flight.–
This said his course the hero forward bends,
No chief applauds him, and no chief attends:
Two vulgar warriors, sad rebuff to pride!
Alone rush on, and clamour at his side. 20.
Their dauntless course their raptur’d foes descry,
And well-aim’d lances glitter thro’ the sky;
Thick round the warriors, sinks the hissing steel,
And death’s cold hand the brave attendants feel;
In Hanniel’s thigh expands a painful wound, 25.
And the stunn’d hero raging bites the ground.
Swift to his aid, impassion’d, Joshua flew,
Tho’ well proud Hanniel’s dark designs he knew
Heard all the vaunts, the close injustice saw,
And felt th’ infractions of his prudent law:
Yet now the chief lay weltering in his gore; 5.
Foes in distress to him were foes no more–
O’er the pale form he threw his guardian shield,
And bore him languid thro’ the dreadful field:
Thick shower the stones, the flashing javelins sing;
And his bright arms with ceaseless murmurs ring. 10.
Borne by four warriors o’er the distant plain,
Reluctant Hanniel sought the camp again:
There friendly plants his dying strength renew,
And sleep’s soft influence aids the balmy dew.
While Joshua thus–Hence taught, ye warriors, know, 15.
Wild, headstrong wishes guide to certain woe,
In peace, laws only claim a righteous sway;
In war, one voice commands, the rest obey.
Proud disobedience Heaven consigns to shame;
The path of duty leads alone to fame. 20.
He spoke–With awe the silent squadrons heard,
The precept reverenc’d, and the teacher fear’d;
Each saw, abash’d, the terrors of his frown,
And pleas’d, condemn’d rebellion, not his own.
Meantime, brave Irad, on the western plain,
With pangs retir’d from Ai’s contemptuous train,
As oft th’ imperious taunt his rage inspires,
And his scorch’d bosom flames with eager fires,
Their utmost strength his vengeance promps to try, 5.
He longs, he pants, to bid th’ insulters fly;
Oft toward the host his course instinctive turns;
His drawn sword trembles, and his buckler burns;
But still his soul, in child-hood taught t’ obey,
Restrains the wish, and backward turns his way. 10.
Now with pure splendor glow’d meridian light,
And Ai triumphant chas’d th’ imagin’d flight,
When gay in dazzling arms, great Joshua turn’d:
His eyeballs sparkled, and his bosom burn’d:
The glittering lance his mighty hand uprear’d; 5.
Loud rose his voice, and distant squadrons fear’d.
Behold, he cried, yon sheets of smoke ascend!
What heavy volumes round the skies extend!
Brave Zimri’s conquering arm, while Heaven inspires,
Bursts Ai’s proud portals, and her turrets fires; 10.
Now wheel your course; to active vengeance spring:
Brace the strong hand: the bloody falchion wing;
See, Heaven’s propitious finger points the way!
Fear chains their limbs, and terror yields the prey;
O’er our glad course commencing grory smiles, 15.
And boundless treasures crown triumphant toils.
He spoke; the warriors eyed th’ exalted sign;
And thrilling bosoms own’d the voice divine;
Swift wheel’d, the ranks to combat vigorous rise;
Red lances shower, and shouts convulse the skies.
An equal ardour Ai undaunted brings, 5.
Fronts the dire foe, and fierce to danger springs–
As, borne by warring winds, thro’ ether roll
Two rising storms, and cloud the northern pole;
O’er some dark mountain’s head their volumes driven
With floods of livid lightening deluge heaven; 10.
Peal following peal, careering thunders fly,
Burst o’er the world, and rend the shuddering sky.
With equal noise the storms of war resound;
The blackening volumes cloud the hostile ground;
Thro’ the shock’d air in mingled tumult rise, 15.
The conqueror’s triumphs, and the victim’s cries.
And now the chief to prudent Caleb’s charge,
While the cloud thickens, and the sounds enlarge,
Commends the host that own his mighty sway,
And bends to distant rocks his backward way.
Here high in air he lifts the lance’s beam, 5.
And power divine supplies a ceaseless stream;
With pointed circles glows the weapon bright,
And casts th’ effulgence of excessive light.
Long o’er the plain, impatient to pursue,
Had panting Irad fix’d an anxious view,
Sigh’d the great Leader’s warning voice to hear,
Or catch the radiance of th’ expected spear:
The ready sword his hand all eager press’d; 5.
The well-brac’d buckler glitter’d o’er his breast:
In th’ utmost western ranks he silent stood
And look’d far onward thro’ the field of blood;
Pain’d, lest the destin’d sign, forgot should fail,
Or some base dart the Leader’s life assail. 10.
But when the sun-bright point instarr’d the air,
The blooming hero kenn’d the beam afar;
To his brave peers, with ardent joy he cries,
And all the warrior sparkled in his eyes.
Lo, generous youths, on yon delightsome plain 15.
Shines the fair javelin, wish’d so long in vain!
Now spurn the hated flight; to combat spring;
Let virtue rouse you, and let glory wing.
Now shall our sires, and now the Leader, know
What flames heroic in our bosoms glow; 20.
Ai now shall learn, untaught our strength to slight
Not fear, but wisdom plann’d our seeming flight,
On their own heads redoubled vengeance feel,
Or fly inglorious from the conquering steel.
Rise then, brave youths, their impious scoffs repay; 25.
My arm to triumph leads the envied way.
He spoke; the voice each active hero warms;
With dreadful din they clash their glittering arms,
Full on their dauntless foes impetuous fall,
And break resistless o’er th’ embodied wall.
As winter’s shrilling blast begins to roar, 5.
And drives, in gloomy rage, along the shore;
Torne, in it’s path, the trees confus’dly lie:
The white waves roll, the boughs tumultuous fly,
Not with less force, o’er piles of warriors slain;
Pours the bold band across the bloody plain; 10.
Death leads their way: with youthful vigor light,
They deal swift vengeance thro’ the dusty fight,
Regardless of the storm, that round them flies,
Of dying murmurs, and of conquering cries.
High in the van exalted Irad strode,
And now commenc’d the toils of death and blood.
When first his arm, immingling in the strife,
Drew the red stream, and spilt a human life,
(A lovely youth oppos’d his hapless head, 5.
And with pure crimson died the infant blade)
Thro’ his chill’d veins a new, strange horror ran,
And half-form’d tears in either eye began;
In his young heart, unus’d to create woe,
Instinctive sympathy began to glow; 10.
The dreadful scene he gaz’d, and shook to hear
The hollow groan and see pale death so near.
But soon fresh transports in his bosom rise,
Rous’d by shrill arms, and fir’d by barbarous cries:
Again his spirit claims th’ imbattled foe, 15.
And bids two heroes to his falchion bow;
Thro’ cleaving ranks he wings a dreadful way,
And clouds of rolling dust obscure the day.
Meantime in Judah’s van great Hezron sped,
His voice arous’d them and his footsteps led;
With fix’d firm course, the hoary hero strode,
His brown arms purpled with the bursting blood;
Ranks after ranks against his falchion rise, 5.
And chief on chief in swift succession dies.
For now each breast such active vengeance warms;
They spurn the trifling toil of missive arms;
Each braces firm the shield, and joys to wheel
The surer vengeance of the griding steel. 10.
Full on great Hezron’s course the heathens rush’d,
And the first chiefs by following chiefs were crush’d:
In solemn pomp, against the growing storm
The mighty hero rear’d his moveless form.
In vain bright swords around him ceaceless hung, 15.
Troops press’d in vain, and clattering armour rung.
So, on some hill, while angry tempests lower,
In stately grandeur, stands the moss-grown tower;
Loud roar the winds; impetuous drives the rain,
And all the fury of th’ etherial main; 20.
Still, rear’d to heaven, it frowns with pride sublime,
Spurns the fierce storm, and mocks the waste of time.
Far distant, Caleb swept the crimson plain,
Guided the fight, and pil’d the numerous slain;
Round his great arm the cloudy squadrons hung;
Clash’d on his buckler countless weapons rung;
Chiefs after chiefs oppos’d his wasting course, 5.
Met his broad steel, and felt its fatal force.
Ludon, the Hivites’ prince, his arm defied
All rough with gold, and gay in barbarous pride;
With giant strength the heathen hurl’d his spear,
Its terrors quivering through the parted air;
Loud o’er brave Caleb’s shoulders sung the steel, 5.
And pierc’d a warrior’s breast; the warrior fell;
His blue mail clang’d; to rise he tried in vain,
But writh’d in dying anguish on the plain.
The mighty leader rais’d his sword on high,
Its transient lightnings circling in the sky, 10.
Full on the Heathen’s neck a griding wound
Sunk; the loos’d head fell spouting to the ground.
Amaz’d, the Hivites saw their monarch lost.
And deathlike murmurs groan’d around the host.
Near the bold leader Oran rear’d his steel,
Where the storm thicken’d, and the fiercest fell:
Imperious taunts provoke the rage of war,
Loud threats insult, and tumult sounds afar;
Wedg’d in a moveless throng, the battle grows, 5.
Cries deeper roar, and shriller ring the blows.
With joy, unfeeling Oran strides the slain,
And hails the ruins of th’ accustom’d plain;
No anguish melts, no wound his pity charms,
No fate impassions, and no groan alarms: 10.
Thro’ the red scenes he hews a raptur’d way,
And mingling darkness intercepts the day.
Meantime fierce Irad o’er the field is driven,
And boasts th’ assistance of a favouring heaven
Though new to war, with war his bosom glows,
And knows no transport, but the slight of foes.
In scenes of distant death bold Hezron stands,
Dies his blue arms, and pains his aged hands;
Full many a chief his veteran falchion crowns,
Thick slit the shades, and blood the verdure drowns.
Impetuous Carmi springs the chief to meet, 5.
Conscious of youth, and light with nimble feet;
His arm all active strews the sanguine ground,
Wakes the deep groan, and deals the frequent wound:
Full on his angry sword the warriors rush,
Impel th’ upright, the falling heedless crush: 10.
No chief the fury of his arm withstands,
And ruin widens o’er bold Hezron’s bands.
Amaz’d, the hero saw the deluge spread,
And wide, and wider rise the piles of dead,
Flight first commence in hosts that own his sway, 15.
And proud Ai hail a second conquering day:
From his sad bosom heav’d a heavy groan;
Round the whole war he miss’d his favourite son:
Untaught to droop, he hopes congenial fire
May yet ward shame, and yet the troops inspire.– 20.
Where now, he cries, are fled the boasts of morn?
The towering stalk? the brow of lifted scorn?
Then Judah’s warriors promis’d deeds of fame,
Hiss’d impious flight, and spurn’d the dastard’s shame.
Far other scenes now rend these hapless eyes; 25.
The foe advances, and the boaster flies;
Broke but by fear, ye wing inglorious flight,
Giants in words, and maidens in the fight;
Oh had kind Heaven dispens’d a speedier doom,
And this frail form in Bashan found a tomb! 30.
Then had these palsied limbs, in peace repos’d;
Unpain’d with shame, these eyes in triumph clos’d;
Pleas’d to the last, survey’d my favourite race,
View’d no base flight, and bled for no disgrace.–
Hence, hence, ye timorous souls, to Joshua fly, 35.
And tell the Chief, ye saw your leader die.
The hero spoke; and urg’d by passion’s force,
On furious Carmi bent his aged course;
Awful in gleam of arms, the chiefs appear,
Here the bold youth, the white-hair’d hero there:
But ere his sword great Hezron could extend, 5.
Or circling bands their ancient chief defend,
A long, bright lance his wary foe beheld,
And snatch’d it glittering on the bloody field;
Swift through the hero’s side he forc’d the steel;
Pierc’d to the heart, the aged warrior fell; 10.
There lay, a corse, bespread with purple stains,
The form, that triumph’d on a hundred plains.
On Ridgefield’s hills, to shame to virtue dead,
Thus dastard bands the foe inglorious fled;
When Wooster singly brav’d the deathful ground,
Fir’d hosts in vain, and met the fatal wound.
In dangers born, to arms in childhood train’d, 5.
From Gallia’s heroes many a palm he gain’d;
With freedom’s sacred flame serenely glow’d
For justice arm’d, and sought the field for God;
With steady zeal his nation’s interest lov’d;
(No terror touch’d him, and no injury mov’d) 10.
Far in the front, with dauntless bosom bled,
And crown’d the honours of his hoary head.
Bent o’er his foe, the lovely Carmi stood,
And view’d, with tears of grief, his bursting blood;
And thus–Unhappy sire, he sadly cried–
Perhaps thy monarch’s joy, thy nation’s pride.–
How like my father’s bends thy hoary brow? 5.
His limbs, his countenance, and his locks of snow,
All in thy venerable face I see–
Perhaps the parent of a son like me–
He spoke; and fiercely wheel’d his bloody sword,
Sprang to the fight, and many a hero gor’d;
His voice, his eyes the joyful host inspire,
And through the sweetness flames a dreadful fire.
Active as light, o’er trembling ranks he hung; 5.
Shouts shook the plains, the frighted forests rung:
Unnumber’d sullen groans were heard around;
Unnumber’d corses cloath’d the purple ground:
From post to post retir’d pale Judah’s train,
And chief on chief increas’d the piles of slain. 10.
Dark as an evening cloud, bold Ai was driven,
Gloom’d all the fields, and cast a shade on heaven;
Wide roll’d the storm; wide drove the dust along,
And ruin hover’d o’er the flying throng.
Meantime, brave Irad turn’d his sparkling eyes,
And saw in distant fields the clouds arise;
Sad flight and terror fill’d the backward plain,
And the foe shouted o’er his kindred slain.
As, when autumnal clouds the skies deform, 5.
Bursts the wild whirlwind from the gloomy storm;
Hoarse crash the pines; oaks stiffly stubborn fall,
And sudden thunders listening swains appall:
So, wing’d by Heaven, impetuous Irad flew;
As swift their darling chief the youths pursue; 10.
Whelm’d in their path, the falling bands expire,
And crowds of warriors from their steps retire.
Now, where brave Carmi swept the purple ground,
Terrific Irad shook his buckler’s round;
Alike in years they seem’d, alike in arms,
Of equal stature, and of rival charms:
Nor this, nor that, the dangerous fight can yield; 5.
But each demands the empire of the field.
From the fierce chiefs the wondering bands retreat;
Blows following blows their sounding shields repeat;
Uncleft, each faithful orb the stroke rebounds,
Blunts the keen blade, and intercepts the wounds: 10.
‘Till Irad’s nimble arm, with sudden wheel,
Through Carmi’s side impels the fatal steel,
Pure streams of crimson stain the subject ground,
And the freed soul pervades the gaping wound.
Not that fair pride, that soul-supporting flame, 5.
That lights the splendors of th’ immortal name;
Not all the bravery nature can impart,
Nor the fond wishes of a virgin’s heart.
Nor parents’ vows, nor nations’ prayers could save,
The young, bright hero from an early grave. 10.
He fell, with beauty’s fairest beams adorn’d,
While foes admir’d him, and while Irad mourn’d.
Ah youth, too soon allotted to the tomb;
Oh had kind Heaven dispens’d a softer doom,
On thy fair deeds a sweet reward bestow’d, 15.
And op’d the mansions of the bless’d abode!
Thus, where sad Charlestown lifts her hills on high,
Where once gay structures charm’d the morning sky,
Ere Howe’s barbarian hand in savage fire
Wrapp’d the tall dome, and whelm’d the sacred spire,
In life’s fair prime, and new to war’s alarms, 5.
Brave Warren sunk, in all the pride of arms.
With me, each generous mind the hour recall,
When pale Columbia mourn’d her favourite’s fall;
Mourn’d the bright statesman, hero, patriot, fled,
The friend extinguish’d, and the genius dead; 10.
While he, the darling of the wife, and good,
Seal’d his firm truth, and built his name in blood.
Loud as the rushing storm, the din of war
Burst o’er the plain, and shook the fields afar;
Fierce Irad rais’d a loud, distinguish’d cry–
Here see, my friends, their gasping leader lie.–
Through Ai’s wide host my sword shall hew your way; 5.
Shall Judah’s sons alone desert the day?
Shall Joshua know you fled? to glory rise;
Lift all your arms, and pierce the knave that flies.
The hero spoke; abash’d the warriors heard,
Rung their blue arms, and high the standard rear’d;
Aloft in air a Lion’s gloomy form
Lower’d, like the darkness of a sullen storm;
Around his head his shaggy terrors frown’d, 5.
And his red eyeballs gleam’d destruction round,
Swift from the bearer’s hand fierce Irad drew
The banner’d staff, and mid the heathens threw;
With joy they sprang to seize the glittering prize,
And smiles of triumph sparkled in their eyes. 10.
Shame flush’d the cheeks of Judah’s glowing train;
Their bosoms heav’d; their faces flash’d disdain;
To seize the shining spoil each warrior sprang;
The combat thicken’d; and all ether rang;
Far roll’d the darkness of the dusty cloud; 15.
Loud rose their cries, and armour clash’d aloud.
The blackening tempest Ai undaunted kenn’d,
Pleas’d to procure, and stubborn to defend;
Scarce Irad’s arm could cleave the firm-wedg’d train,
As fierce he strove the standard to regain; 20.
Through ranks on ranks he forc’d a sanguine way,
Ere his red falchion won the splendid prey;
With smiles, he saw the crimson tumult grow,
And hail’d the vengeance gathering o’er the foe.
From the tall rock great Joshua cast his eyes,
And saw the varying scenes of combat rise.
To Carmi’s force beheld pale Judah yield,
And rose to save the triumphs of the field;
But soon new shouts ascend the clouded sky, 5.
His friends now triumph, and the Heathens fly.
Now nearer scenes his searching view demand,
Where mighty Caleb rules the warrior band;
Fierce Oran’s sword begins inglorious flight,
And his loud clamours animate the fight:
Scarce Caleb’s arm the conflict can sustain, 5.
His voice arouse, or deeds inspire, the train;
So fierce the heathens throng th’ embattled ground,
So thick the warriors fall, the groans resound.
The Hero view’d, and tow’rd the fainting throng,
Swift as a rapid whirlwind, rush’d along; 10.
As ‘gainst a mound, when tempests ride the gale,
The raging river foams along the vale;
Down the wall crumbles, and with dreadful reign
Sweeps a wild deluge on the wasted plain.
Bursting upon the dark embodied throng 15.
Thus the wide ruin Joshua drove along;
Around his course increas’d the piles of dead,
The brave sunk fighting, and the coward fled.
Now, where unfeeling Oran crush’d the slain,
All grim with dust, and red with many a stain,
While smiles of transport gather’d on his brow,
His fierce eye sparkling o’er the bleeding foe,
While high for death he rear’d his sanguine arm, 5.
And a brave warrior bow’d to shun the storm,
Great Joshua’s full-orb’d buckler caught the wound,
And lightnings darted from the moony round,
Then, by his hand with rushing thunder thrown,
On Oran’s helmet burst a mighty stone, 10.
That, bounding onward ‘gainst a warrior’s side,
Crush’d his strong ribs, and shed a plenteous tide.
Stunn’d by the staggering blow, the leader fell,
Writh’d with the pain, and gave a hideous yell;
Furious he lay, with heaving, panting breath, 15.
Roll’d up his whitening eyes, and frown’d in death;
Cursing the shield, which seiz’d his nimble dart,
And stopp’d its passage to the warrior’s heart:
Swift on his throat descends th’ indignant blade,
Bursts the black gore, and leaps the grisly head. 20.
Loud o’er the tumult rose the Hero’s cry;
The host all quakes, the distant groves reply–
Rush on, bold heroes, conquest crowns the day;
Now spring to fight, and seize the trembling prey.
This arm on Oran drove the final wound; 5.
Let shouts of triumph shake the hostile ground:
Wealth, and fair peace, the generous contest yields,
And wreaths of glory bloom in bloody fields.–
As in th’ enkindled wood fierce winds arise,
And storms of fire are blown across the skies; 10.
In blazing trains, the towering pines descend,
And rushing thunders all the forest rend:
So, loud and furious, Israel throng’d the fight,
And their blue armour flash’d a dreadful light;
O’er the pale rear tremendous Joshua hung; 15.
Their gloomy knell his voice terrific rung;
From glowing eyeballs flash’d his wrath severe,
Grim Death before him hurl’d his murdering spear;
Heads, sever’d from their necks, bestrew’d his way,
And gushing bodies round his footsteps lay. 20.
Meantime Ai’s sounding portals wide unfold,
And fierce to combat bursting bands are roll’d;
In dreadful pomp ascends the widening train;
Battalions on battalions cloud the plain:
There glowing Zimri wings his rapid force, 5.
And eager thousands darken round his course,
Ai’s ghastly sons the smoking walls survey’d,
And wild amaze each pallid front array’d;
Here lay in gore their brethren, and their sires;
There sunk their mansions in terrific fires;
Before, behind, their foes increas’d alarms; 5.
They rais’d one shriek, and dropp’d their useless arms:
Where’er an opening rank receiv’d the day,
Or dust obscure disclos’d a glimmering ray,
Borne by light fear, they left the lingering wind,
They fled, they flew, nor cast a look behind; 10.
Oft on the spear’s protended point they ran;
While throng’d resistless, meeting man with man,
Steel stretch’d to steel, and shield to shield oppos’d;
On every side the power of Israel clos’d.
So thick they throng’d, no spear could miss its course; 15.
In vain no falchion spent its ardent force:
Less heard and less, resounded piercing cries,
And dust besprinkled ceas’d to fill the skies.
So, when tall navies lift imperial sails,
And hope th’ indulgence of propitious gales, 20.
When the cold north’s fierce winds the main deform,
And, fill’d with thunders, rolls the raging storm,
Heav’d from the bottom, foaming billows rise,
And climb, and climb, and roar against the skies;
O’er shiver’d masts unroll the surging waves, 25.
And the pale sailors plunge in watery graves.
Swift as a whirlwind, o’er the southern plain,
Impetuous Zimri drove the Hivite train:
With prosperous course, they sped their hasty slight,
Sunk in the wood, and vanish’d from the sight. 30.
And now, obedient to the Chief’s command,
Round the tall standard throng’d each wearied band;
A smile of transport every face adorn’d,
Their wounds unheeded, and the dead scarce mourn’d.
Nor knew fair Irad how his parent lay,
But, fir’d with glory, steer’d his careless way;
Near the great Chief he mov’d with conscious grace,
And conscious blushes crimson’d o’er his face;
When, pale and ghastly, on the bloody ground, 5.
Stain’d with black dust, and pierc’d with many a wound,
Stiff gore besprinkling all his locks of snow,
And a cold cloud around his reverend brow,
Hezron appear’d: at once his nerves congeal’d;
His frozen lips a dumb, dead silence seal’d; 10.
A moveless statue, o’er the sire he hung,
Nor streaming tears releas’d his marbled tongue.
Then round the corse impassion’d arms he threw,
And wash’d the clotted gore in filial dew;
Glu’d to the form with strong embraces lay, 15.
And kiss’d, with quivering lips, the senseless clay.
At length the Chief, soft pity in his eyes,
Reach’d his kind hand, and forc’d the Youth to rise:
Four mournful warriors Hezron’s body bore,
And their eyes glisten’d with a tender shower. 20.
The sun declin’d; besmear’d with dust, and blood,
Slow o’er the plain the wearied squadrons trode;
When, fair as Phosphor leads the morning train,
Dress’d in new beams, and beauteous from the main;
Crown’d with white flowers, that breath’d a rich perfume 5.
And cloth’d in loveliness, of gayest bloom,
Rose in soft splendor Caleb’s youngest pride,
A thousand maidens following at her side.
In snow-white robes of flowing silk array’d,
First of the virgins walk’d the blushing maid; 10.
Her long, dark hair loose-floated in the wind;
Her glowing eyes confess’d th’ etherial mind;
A wreath of olive flourish’d in her hand;
A silver lyre obey’d her soft command;
With sounds harmonious rang the warbled strings, 15.
And thus the maids, and thus Selima sings.
Who comes from Ai, adorn’d with gay attire,
Bright as the splendor of the morning fire?
Fair as the spring, ascends the lovely form,
And dreadful as the blaze, that lights the storm! 20.
Ye maids, with flowerets strew the conqueror’s way,
Strike the loud harp, and sing the dreadful day!
To Irad’s steps the matchless fair-one came,
Her breast quick panting, and her cheeks on flame;
Her beauteous hand the verdant crown display’d; 25.
Graceful he bow’d, and plac’d it on his head.
Slow to her train the trembling fair withdrew,
The charm’d youths following with a moveless view,
So, wing’d with light, and dress’d in strange array,
The mantling glory of the rising day, 30.
With sweet complacence, such as angels show
To souls unprison’d from this world of woe,
Parted soft-smiling from our general sire
Some bright-ey’d Virtue, of the heavenly choir,
Far in the solar walk, with wonderous flight, 35.
The form celestial lessen’d on his sight.
Again the youth his wonted life regain’d;
A transient sparkle in his eye obtain’d;
A rising glow his tender thoughts confess’d,
And the soft motions of his melting breast.
But soon dark glooms the feeble smiles o’erspread; 5.
Like morn’s gay hues, the fading splendor fled;
Returning anguish froze his feeling soul,
Deep sighs burst forth, and tears began to roll.
Evening described. Irad’s dream. He goes out to the walls of Ai. His lamentation for his father. Reflections on the fate of Ai. Appearance of an army. Irad returns in haste, and alarms the Camp. Joshua, at his request, allots him a body of forces, with whom he goes out to attack the Heathens. Battle by the burning of Ai, between Hazor, & c. and Israel. Irad’s exploits. He kills Adnor, and pursues Samlah to the eastern part of the host. Uzal. Shelumiel. Jabin’s character, and exploits. He kills Shammah, and Seraiab. Jobab. Confusion of the Israelites. Irad returns and rallies them. He attacks Jobab, with success. Kindling of the neighbouring forest separates the combatants.17.
The scene of this battle is partly on the plain east of Ai, partly in the forest still eastward, and partly northward of the forest.18.
O’ER the wide world immeasurably spread,
Night, still and gloomy, cast a solemn shade.
In heavens half-clouded stars unfrequent hung;
Scarce heard, the blast with mournful murmurs rung;
Above tall, eastern hills, the moon’s pale eye 5.
Look’d sad, and dreadful, from the cheerless sky.
Her cold, wan face, half-hid behind a cloud,
That wrapp’d the mountains in a sable shroud,
With feeble lustre streak’d the shadowy plains,
And edg’d her vapoury robes with dismal stains. 10.
All, but the savage race, to sleep retir’d,
And the last gleams of western skies expir’d.
Stretch’d in his tent, unhappy Irad lay,
And sad oblivion bore his toils away.
In that still hour, when rapt on eagle-wings,
To distant climes bewilder’d fancy springs,
A death-like slumber seal’d his tearful eyes, 5.
And thus unreal scenes in vision rise.
Through lonely fields, in russet gloom array’d,
Lost in mute grief, with weary steps he stray’d.
A shadowy light, like evening’s dusky ray,
Spread o’er the world, and form’d a twilight day. 10.
Before his wandering path, a northern grove
Shed midnight round, and pierc’d the clouds above:
Slow wav’d the tall, dark pines: a hollow sound
Roll’d through the wood, and shook th’ autumnal ground.
Dull-murmuring fell the sullen, swelling streams, 15.
Lulling to sleep, and blue in glimmering beams.
With broad, black horrors o’er its bosom spread,
An eastern mountain rear’d its shaggy head;
High hung the hoary cliff; the cedars height,
Less seen, and less, withdrew beyond the fight. 20.
Strange unknown scenes the regions wild display,
And solitary music slowly dies away.
From the thick grove, in dark-brown robes reveal’d,
A form stalk’d solemn o’er the shuddering field;
Of other worlds he seem’d; nor cast an eye
On the brown plain, or on the gloomy sky.
Regardless of the scenes that round him mourn’d, 5.
On Irad’s path his sad, slow steps he turn’d;
Pale stood the Youth; the stately shape drew nigh;
Gash’d was his cheek, and fix’d his lofty eye;
Like a light flame, low hung his beard of snow,
And death’s cold terrors hover’d on his brow. 10.
‘Twas Hezron’s self. With weak, but solemn sound,
As sullen graves beneath the foot resound,
His voice began–On fate’s dark verge I stand,
Whence thickening dangers roll across thy land.
Night wraps the world; approaching storms arise, 15.
Hang o’er thy race, and cloud the southern skies.
My mouldering bones a colder night detains,
Clos’d in the tomb, and bound in icy chains:
But the wing’d spirit fairer climes surround.
And heaven unfolding bids her songs resound. 20.
Faintly he spoke. By strange, immortal spell,
His wounds grew smooth, his sightless garments fell:
His pallid face a sudden beauty sir’d,
And with strong life his changing eye inspir’d;
O’er his white robes a purple splendor ray’d; 25.
Long glittering pinions loosely round him play’d;
In dreadful pomp, sublime the Vision stood,
And living fragrance breath’d along the wood.
At once the hero, startled, rais’d his head;
Still was his tent, and all the tumult fled;
Again to sleep he clos’d his wearied eyes,
And broken slumbers o’er his toils arise.
Sudden, his name re-echoing from the walls,
A wild, and visionary murmur calls–
Irad awake; my voice thine ear invades,
From the dark mansions of imprison’d shades;
In southern plains the clarion’s thunders rise, 5.
And shouts of triumph fill the rending skies.
Swift from his couch the Youth astonish’d rose,
(While every vein the dreadful murmur froze)
With active hand his arms around him brac’d;
With nimble feet the glimmering champain pass’d,
And tow’rd Ai’s flames, that rag’d with awful force, 5.
Suspense, but fearless, steer’d his lonely course.
Still o’er his head the airy phantom hung;
Irad awake–the voice unreal rung:
Sad grief, and anxious doubt his thoughts oppress’d,
But love’s soft whispers still disturb’d his breast. 10.
Now solemn silence sail’d along the air;
No bird complain’d; no echoing voice was near;
Save the slow murmur of the passing gale,
That swept the plain, and sounded through the vale.
The flames dark-glimmer’d on the hero’s shield, 5.
And cast long shadows o’er the pallid field:
Round the dread scenes he turn’d regardless eyes,
And thus began, with intermingled sighs–
And art thou sled forever? this thine end,
Thou best of parents, and thou surest friend?
And could’st thou fall, a prey to murdering war?
What cruel demon drove my feet so far?
Was no kind angel hovering o’er the throng? 5.
Where look’d the Power, thy virtue serv’d so long?
Thy soul so pure–thy life so firmly just–
Scarce Heaven’s own law could more demand from dust.
Why, O thou righteous Mind? but cease my tongue,
Nor blame the dread decree, that cannot wrong. 10.
Mine the sole fault–and mine the single blame–
Wild with the magic of that phantom, fame.
Didst thou for this the guilty shield bestow,
To leave thee naked to the fatal blow?
Didst thou for this the sword accurs’d impart, 15.
That should have plung’d beneath the murderer’s heart?
Far other love, far other faithful cares
Nurs’d my young limbs, and watch’d my rising years;
My early steps, from pleasure’s slippery road,
Lur’d with soft smiles, and led them up to God; 20.
Thy own bright actions prompting to pursue,
To virtue charm’d me, and to glory drew;
With Joshua’s self my wishes forc’d to vie.
Boast of mankind, and chosen of the Sky.
Pale, in the visions of the guilty bed,
Thy form affrights me, and thine eyes upbraid.
There scenes of dire distress thy words unroll,
Doom’d for my life, and opening on my soul.
Or does thy mind its lov’d employ pursue, 5.
To guard from ill, and hidden dangers shew?
Perhaps thy thoughts, beyond the silent tomb,
Watch, as in life, thy nation’s secret doom;
Some rushing fate unknown discern afar,
Some threatening ambush, or some wasting war. 10.
Perhaps the first of maids thy care demands,
And claims her safety from aerial hands.
Ah! knew the fair what crimes to me belong.
Her lovely voice had spar’d th’ applauding song;
A breast more pure her melting arms embrac’d, 5.
And the bright garland worthier temples grac’d.
Thus spoke the chief, when now his steps were nigh
Ai’s awful flames, that wav’d across the sky;
All pale, and gloomy, climb’d the dreadful blaze,
And smoky volumes curl’d above the rays;
A dreary gleam enrob’d the shady ground, 5.
And the brown land-scape faintly rose around.
Touch’d by the solemn scene, the hero cried–
Where hapless Ai! is now thy towery pride?
Where now thy manly sons, whose sinewy arms
Rose, a strong bulwark ‘gainst impending harms 10.
Where now the heaven-topp’d spire? the gilded wall?
Thy kings, thy heroes? whelm’d in ruin all–
Destruction’s clouds sail’d blackening o’er thy light,
And wide oblivion’s never-ending night.
Where yon tall dome shoots forth the greedy flame,
Perhaps some hero hop’d a deathless name.
Oft when return’d from war, his tender race
Climb’d his fond knee and ask’d the sweet embrace:
Oft, with a parent’s glistening eye, he view’d 5.
His face, his virtues in their forms renew’d.
Perhaps some daughter, darling of his care,
Beam’d, like Selima fairest of the fair:
And could those flames some lovely maid destroy,
A nation’s glory and a parent’s joy? 10.
Could babes, sweet-smiling, claim no hand to save,
But find, unwept, a furnace for a grave?
Thus mourn’d his generous heart the doom severe,
And paid lost Ai the tribute of a tear.
Like ocean’s long, deep roar, a rushing sound
Burst from the wood, and pour’d along the ground;
At once wide trembled o’er the awful fields 5.
The sudden gleam of spears, and helms, and shields,
Impetuous roll’d unseen the rattling car,
And banner’d terrors wav’d th’ approach of war.
Loud rung bold Irad’s voice; the dreadful sound
Stopp’d the long host, and shook th’ affrighted ground; 10.
Thrice, like the burst of thunder, hoarse he cried;
Thrice, stood the host; and thrice the sky replied:
The cry wav’d solemn through the winding vales;
Night shook, and murmurs fill’d the rushing gales.
The southern guards soon caught the boding sound, 15.
And spread th’ alarm the startled camp around;
Loud as tall billows rend the rocky shore,
Rose the sonorous clarion’s bursting roar:
Swift to the camp the hero wing’d his way,
Rous’d all the host, and scatter’d wide dismay– 20.
Arm, warriors, arm! to instant battle fly!
The foe’s at hand! ye combat, or ye die.
Swift to these tents unnumber’d bands repair;
Hark! how the trumpet fills the troubled air!
In southern fields ascends the wasting war, 25.
And fierce as whirlwinds rolls the rapid car.
Arm, ere our camp be wrapp’d in one broad flame,
And Israel’s manly thousands want a name,
Thus, round the host, his animating cry
Urg’d sleep’s oblivious hand from every eye;
Each waking mind the strange alarm appalls;
Arm, warriors, arm! each startled hero calls:
From tent to tent the wild confusion flies; 5.
Shouts rend the plains; groans murmur; shrieks arise;
A rushing noise invades the listening ear;
In swift succession half-seen forms appear;
Shrill rings the rattling mail; the trump’s big sound
Cleaves the dun heaven, and shakes the gloomy ground. 10.
Round a broad flame, that, by the Chief’s command,
Shoots lofty spires, and gleams along the sand,
Deep throng the squadrons; high the standards stream,
And wave, and glimmer, in the livid beam.
There, while the terrors of the lovely fair 15.
Froze every breast, and breath’d a wide despair.
A quickening glow the Leader’s voice inspir’d;
Hush’d were their cries; their lessening fears retir’d;
Through every bosom thrill’d a new delight,
And brac’d each sinew for the manly fight. 20.
Now, rang’d in ranks, the host expectant stood,
Prepar’d for combat, steel’d to death and blood;
Sudden, before the Chief, with panting breast,
The generous Youth preferr’d his bold request–
Near Ai’s red flames I steer’d my careless way, 5.
Robb’d of wish’d slumbers, and to grief a prey,
When sheath’d in gleaming arms, a mighty train,
Pour’d from the wood, and cover’d all the plain:
On foaming coursers, chiefs impel the war,
Or whirl the terrors of the wasting car. 10.
And wilt thou, Chief divine, from Irad hear
The dictates of a mind, that knows no fear?
Shall this young arm again the lance command,
And lead to fight a strong, undaunted band,
To Ai’s wide ruins wing our active course, 15.
And tempt the fury of barbarian force?
Shall thine unconquer’d sword the camp defend,
And ward the fate, if shame our steps attend?
Safe in thy prudence shall the race endure,
And Joshua’s name our wives, and sons secure. 20.
Lo, dress’d in steel, we wait thy ruling breath!
Counsel is ruin, and delay is death.
Go, in Jehovah’s name–the Chief replied–
Forth stalk’d the Youth, and warm’d with martial pride;
O’er southern fields the bands appointed steer’d, 25.
Squar’d in just ranks, and not a warrior fear’d.
Now where Ai’s sons bestrew’d the plain, they came,
Faintly illumin’d by the distant flame;
No foe appear’d: the world more gloomy grew,
And, lost in clouds, etherial realms withdrew;
Save where lone stars diffus’d a feeble beam, 5.
Like the far taper’s solitary gleam:
Slow winds breath’d hollow through the dark profound,
And deepening horror brooded o’er the ground.
East of proud Ai, an ancient forest stood,
And southward far was stretch’d the lofty wood;
North lay fair plains; and next the walls, array’d
With scatter’d trees, a spacious level spread.
Now near the burning domes, the squadrons stood,
Their breasts impatient for the scenes of blood:
On every face a death-like glimmer sate,
The unbless’d harbinger of instant fate.
High thro’ the gloom, in pale and dreadful spires, 5.
Rose the long terrors of the dark-red fires;
Torches, and torrent sparks, by whirlwinds driven,
Stream’d thro’ the smoke, and fir’d the clouded heaven.
As oft tall turrets sunk with rushing sound,
Broad flames burst forth, and swept th’ etherial round, 10.
The bright expansion lighten’d all the scene,
And deeper shadows lengthen’d o’er the green.
Loud thro’ the walls that cast a golden gleam,
Crown’d with tall pyramids of bending flame,
As thunders rumble down the darkening vales, 15.
Roll’d the deep solemn voice of rushing gales:
The bands admiring gaz’d the wonderous sight,
And Expectation trembled for the fight.
At once the sounding clarion breath’d alarms;
Wide from the forest burst the flash of arms;
Thick gleam’d the helms; and o’er astonish’d fields,
Like thousand meteors, rose the flame-bright shields.
In gloomy pomp, to furious combat roll’d 5.
Ranks sheath’d in mail, and chiefs in glimmering gold;
In floating lustre bounds the dim-seen steed,
And cars unfinish’d, swift to cars succeed:
From all the host ascends a dark-red glare,
Here in full blaze, in distant twinklings there; 10.
Slow waves the dreadful light, as round the shore
Night’s solemn blasts with deep concussion roar,
So rush’d the footsteps of th’ embattled train,
And send an awful murmur o’er the plain.
Tall in th’ opposing van, bold Irad stood,
And bade the clarion sound the voice of blood.
Loud blew the trumpet on the sweeping gales,
Rock’d the deep groves, and echoed round the vales;
A ceaseless murmur all the concave fills, 5.
Waves thro’ the quivering camp, and trembles o’er the hills.
High in the gloomy blaze the standards flew;
Th’ impatient Youth his burnish’d falchion drew;
Ten-thousand swords his eager bands display’d,
And crimson terrors danc’d on every blade.
With equal rage, the bold, Hazorian train 5.
Pour’d a wide deluge o’er the shadowy plain;
Loud rose the songs of war, loud clang’d the shields,
Dread shouts of vengeance shook the shuddering fields;
With mingled din, shrill, martial music rings,
And swift to combat each fierce hero springs. 10.
So broad, and dark, a midnight storm ascends,
Bursts on the main, and trembling nature rends;
The red foam burns, the watery mountains rise,
One deep unmeasur’d thunder heaves the skies;
The bark drives lonely; shivering and forlorn, 15.
The poor, sad sailors wish the lingering morn:
Not with less fury rush’d the vengeful train;
Not with less tumult roar’d th’ embattled plain.
Now in the oak’s black shade they fought conceal’d;
And now they shouted thro’ the open field; 20.
The long, pale splendors of the curling flame
Cast o’er their polish’d arms a livid gleam;
An umber’d lustre floated round their way,
And lighted falchions to the fierce affray.
Now the swift chariots ‘gainst the stubborn oak 25.
Dash; the dark earth re-echoes to the shock.
From shade to shade the forms tremendous stream,
And their arms flash a momentary flame.
Mid hollow tombs, as fleets an airy train,
Lost in the skies, or fading o’er the plain; 30.
So visionary shapes, around the fight,
Shoot thro’ the gloom, and vanish from the sight;
Thro’ twilight paths the maddening coursers bound,
The shrill swords crack, the clashing shields resound.
There, lost in grandeur might the eye behold 35.
The dark-red glimmerings of the steel, and gold;
The chief; the steed; the nimbly-rushing car;
And all the horrors of the gloomy war.
Here the thick clouds, with purple lustre bright,
Spread o’er the long long host and gradual sunk in night; 40.
Here half the world was wrapp’d in rolling fires,
And dreadful vallies sunk between the spires.
Swift ran black forms across the livid flame,
And oaks wav’d slowly in the trembling beam:
Loud rose the mingled noise; with hollow sound, 45.
Deep-rolling whirlwinds roar, and thundering flames resound.
As drives a blast along the midnight heath,
Rush’d raging Irad on the scenes of death;
High o’er his shoulder gleam’d his brandish’d blade,
And scatter’d ruin round the twilight shade.
Full on a giant hero’s sweeping car 5.
He pour’d the tempest of resistless war;
His twinkling lance the heathen rais’d on high,
And hurl’d it, fruitless, through the gloomy sky;
From the bold Youth the maddening coursers wheel,
Gash’d by the vengeance of his slaughtering steel, 10.
‘Twixt two tall oaks the helpless chief they drew;
The shrill car dash’d; the crack’d wheels rattling flew;
Crush’d in his arms, to rise he strove in vain,
And lay unpitied on the dreary plain.
Now Samlah’s hands to war the chariot guide,
Fair, beauteous, tall, fam’d Hamor’s youngest pride;
O’er Achsaph’s towers he stretch’d a potent sway,
And saw surrounding realms his rod obey.
Adnor, an elder birth, proud grandeur spurn’d; 5.
Lord of his soul, inferior realms he scorn’d;
Nor felt one pang, nor shew’d one envious frown,
When doating Age to Samlah gave the crown.
Round his young steps he cast a kind survey,
And taught the blessings of an equal sway; 10.
The pride of arts allur’d him to pursue;
To wisdom form’d him, and to virtue drew;
To reason’s rules his stormy passions wrought,
And shone, a pattern of the truths he taught.
From Jabin’s loins a matchless virgin sprung,
And every voice with Salma’s praises rung.
Her, Adnor led to share his brother’s throne,
And made, delighted, Samlah’s bliss his own.
Five weeks the prince beheld in transport glide, 5.
Bless’d in the beauties of his lovely bride:
Heedless of war he dwelt, ’till Jabin’s voice
Rous’d him to arms, and call’d to ruder joys.
Now, where bold Irad scatter’d blood and fate,
In the same car the friendly brothers sate;
When Adnor thus–Oh fly yon miscreant’s arm;
Nor tempt the terrors of the sweeping storm!
Its wonted aid my broken spear denies– 5.
With a fierce look, th’ impatient youth replies–
Me dost thou urge to base, unmanly flight?
Leap from the chariot; hide in covering night?
Shall Salma hear? shall Samlah’s growing name
Waste with the pangs of never-ending shame? 10.
He said, and furious, urg’d his rapid car,
Crush’d the firm ranks, and shouted to the war;
On Irad’s course he drove; the hero turn’d,
And a brown glimmering from his buckler burn’d:
‘Twixt the bold leaders pour’d an ardent band; 15.
Sword clash’d on sword, and hand rose up to hand;
They fell; new squadrons o’er their corses rise,
And louder tumults echo from the skies.
Imperious Samlah lifts a haughty cry–
Hence, on your lives, presuming dastards fly! 20.
Who dares transgress shall find a sudden doom:
Give Samlah place–give kings, and heroes room–
He spoke. His friends, all anxious for their king,
Still crowd the war, and swift to danger spring;
Loud sung the vengeance of his pointed steel, 25.
And a bold veteran, deeply wounded, fell;
Enrag’d, the bands on either side retreat,
And leave the furious monarch to his fate.
Swift from the chariot faithful Adnor sprang;
On Irad’s shield his rushing falchion rang:
The Youth’s quick wheeling, thro his shoulder glides;
Drops the cleft arm, and gush the living tides.
He sunk; and Irad, touch’d with pity, cried– 5.
Ah youth! whose bosom glows with generous pride,
To scenes of endless gloom thy spirit flies;
Wing, wing thy voice, for pardon, to the skies!
Oh, Sire of all, may this brave warrior’s mind,
In life’s fair climes, some lowly mansion find! 10.
He spoke. The chief his answering mind address’d–
If soft compassion warm thy friendly breast,
Oh hear! nor spurn a dying brother’s prayer!
Let Samlah’s tender years thy pity share!
Oh may a fire, a bride, thy bosom move! 5.
The charms of beauty, and the calls of love!
Thus the kind youth, and fainting, as he cried,
He liv’d for Samlah, and for Samlah died.
So frown’d dread night on Abraham’s fatal plain,
When thou, Montgomery, pride of chiefs, wast slain.
Spare, sons of freedom! spare that generous tear;
To heaven resign, nor name the doom severe–
Great, brave, and just, to ward Columbia’s shame, 5.
He hunted toil, in fields of growing fame;
Alive, fair Victory ne’er forsook his side;
He liv’d in triumph, and in glory died.
Still bards shall sing, to earth’s remotest clime,
He bled for all, and every heart for him. 10.
Glued to his fide, t’ untimely fate a prey,
There bright Macpherson breath’d his life away.
Round the fair youth in vain soft graces glow’d,
And science charm’d him to her sweet abode;
In vain fond parents hop’d his steps again, 15.
And worth approv’d, and realms admir’d, in vain.
Yet patriot virtue writes the glory high,
With such a chief, in such a cause, to die.
Soft spoke the chief–O youth! thy virtuous bloom
Ask’d a lot milder, and a later tomb.
Is there no blissful seat. by Heaven assign’d
To the fair efforts of a clouded mind?
To life well-acted, can no grace supply 5.
A sweet remission, and a happy sky?
But thou, base coward, claim’st th’ avenging sword;
Could’st thou look on, and see thy brother gor’d?
That best of brothers, whose concluding breath
Restrains the falchion, and delays thy death? 10.
Pale Samlah heard, and o’er th’ embodied wall
He rush’d, regardless of his brother’s fall,
From rank to rank with panting breast he flew,
Where the war open’d, and the coursers drew;
Behind, fierce Irad drove his dreadful way, 15.
And left at distance far the pallid ray;
Ten thousand spears around him pierce the gloom;
Ten thousand warriors rush to hastening doom;
Through the black ether smoky volumes flow,
And with brown light their skirts all-umber’d glow; 20.
Far o’er conflicting trains the sheets descend;
The deep night thickens, and the shades extend.
There Uzal brave a stubborn fight maintain’d,
And crown’d with matchless strength, retreat disdain’d:
Dan’s mighty chief–On Ai’s inglorious plain,
When vanquish’d Israel left their kindred slain,
His stiff, strong buckler brav’d the fierce affray, 5.
Shelter’d the flight, and cover’d all the way.
Now, in the centre, shrill his armour rung,
Where the darts shower’d, and where the javelins sung,
But still his dauntless footsteps onward drove;
Nor throng’d battalions could those footsteps move. 10.
On all sides round, a thousand twilight forms
Invade the war, and strike their ringing arms;
Here, ‘gainst the chief, prepar’d to pierce his foe,
The lance unheeded aim’d the fatal blow;
There, whilst the warrior listen’d to th’ alarm, 15.
High o’er his helmet hung th’ uplifted arm.
Unnumber’d bucklers twinkle round the field,
In light now dreadful, now in shades conceal’d.
Still more remote, involv’d in deeper gloom,
Where hands unnotic’d dealt the frequent doom, 20.
Shelumiel fought; the prince of Simeon’s trains,
Fam’d in the contests of a thousand plains.
Meantime, dark Hazor’s sons to battle roll’d,
And vast Madonians, wrapp’d in barbarous gold:
These, with their leaders, near the dreadful ray,
Whirl’d the swift car, and drove their rapid way.
There, dress’d in gold, tremendous Jabin shone, 5.
And wing’d the terrors of his moving throne.
He Hazor’s realms with mighty sceptre sway’d,
And his proud nod unnumber’d hosts obey’d.
A genius vast, with cool attention join’d,
To wisdom fashion’d his superior mind: 10.
No scene unnotic’d ‘scap’d his searching view;
The arts of peace, and arts of war, he knew;
To no kind wish, or tender tear, a prey;
But taught by keen discernment equal sway:
Interest, of all his life th’ unshaken guide, 15.
Unmov’d by passion, and unmov’d by pride.
He first, inventive, to the waste of war
Led the tall steed, and drove the dreadful car.
To arms, beneath the standard, veterans train’d,
And every movement, every feint, explain’d: 20.
Close, lest his conduct watchful chiefs should arm;
Slow to decide, and vigorous to perform:
With firm, fierce bravery forc’d his foes to fly,
And gave one law–to conquer, or to die.
Now his great mind, by long successes fir’d,
To matchless fame, and single rule, aspir’d;
In the same cause, beneath his banner join’d,
His voice, his art, this countless host combin’d,
In night’s concealing hour, prepar’d th’ affray, 5.
And promis’d triumph, ere the dawning ray.
High in his flame-bright car his spear he rais’d;
A crimson glory from his armour blaz’d;
Conquer, he cried, or fall, ye dauntless bands,
The noblest heroes of a thousand lands. 10.
Shall this brave host to Israel yield the night?
Few in their numbers; timorous in the fight–
Shall we, inglorious, blot our ancient fame?
Forbid it virtue, and forbid it shame.
Lo here the man, ye chose to guide your path, 15.
Prepar’d for glory, or prepar’d for death;
This arm shall guide you through the dastard band;
First in the fight, as first in sway, I stand.
He spoke, and fiercely wing’d his rapid car;
As fierce the squadrons rush to glorious war;
All dropp’d the javelin; all the falchion wheel’d;
A copious slaughter drench’d the glimmering field;
From their dire arms a fearful splendor came, 5.
And o’er their faces wav’d the gloomy flame.
Hand join’d to hand, the vengeful thousands rag’d;
Man challeng’d man, and sword with sword engag’d;
The victors rush’d; the pierc’d in anguish cried;
No flight; no fear; they conquer’d, or they died; 10.
For Israel’s dauntless sons maintain’d the field,
And chief with chief the dread assault repell’d;
Round the wild region mingled horrors reign’d;
Nor those would yield, nor these the victory gain’d.
First, in the van, imperious Jabin’s car
Bore down whole troops, and broke the thickening war.
High o’er the rest his dreadful voice was heard;
High o’er the rest his lofty form appear’d;
His shield, a crimson moon, before him spread, 5.
And o’er his visage hovering horrors play’d;
His steeds, like rapid winds, impatient flew;
His sword the first, his spear the distant, slew;
Round the dark chariot countless weapons hung,
And groans, with sullen murmur, ceaseless rung; 10.
Rank after rank he turn’d to hated flight,
And joyful Hazor throng’d the stubborn fight.
Before his dreadful path, two heroes sought,
And warm’d with vengeance, countless wonders wrought.
Sons of one sire, that in the desert fell,
When impious Korah bade the host rebel.
The helpless orphans generous Caleb bred, 5.
In arms instructed, and to combat led.
With mutual flame their friendly bosoms lov’d;
In peace together liv’d, in war together mov’d.
Now, side to side, the manly heroes stood,
And sable torrents from their falchions flow’d;
When Shammah thus–thou best of friends, behold
Yon heathen’s car, in gloomy terror roll’d.
How his fierce coursers wing their rapid way! 5.
How his keen falchion cleaves the yielding prey!
Say, shall our force the mighty Chief defy,
His arm experience, and his falchion try?
Or death, or triumph, shall the deed await;
And what is death, in Israel’s dubious fate? 10.
To prove fierce danger for his maker’s laws,
And proffer life to save his country’s cause,
Thou know’st, brave chief, Seraiah quick replied–
The good man’s duty, and the brave man’s pride.
He spoke, and fiercely plunging thro’ the war,
Hew’d a wide path, and burst upon the car,
Nor Shammah stay’d. On Jabin’s spacious shield
His rapid lance Seraiah’s hand impell’d;
Thro’ the thick orb the point no passage found, 5.
Its shade dark-quivering in the flamy round.
With a short flash, across the thickening air
The furious Heathen drove the greedy spear;
Swift on Seraiah’s helmet sunk the steel;
His red arms rang; the hero groan’d and fell. 10.
With pangs, bold Shammah saw his brother’s doom,
And wheel’d his fiery falchion thro’ the gloom;
From Jabin’s hand a second javelin sped,
Sung thro’ his ear, and pierc’d his gushing head;
Shrill rose the conqueror’s shout; and all around 15.
The plains remurmur, and the woods resound.
Now, more remote from Ai’s decreasing light,
Slow mov’d a giant to the dreadful fight.
As when dun smoke, o’er all th’ horizon spread,
Pours round the setting moon a crimson shade,
Distain’d with blood, her broad, and dreadful eye 5.
Looks death, and ruin, from the shuddering sky:
So gleams the circuit of his flame-bright shield,
And casts wide terror thro’ the quaking field,
A beam-like spear commands his horrid way,
And all, before him, shun the dire affray. 10.
And now fierce Israel’s sons, with sad surprize,
To find brave Irad turn’d their boding eyes.
Far round they gaz’d; his form no more appear’d;
They listen’d; but his voice no more was heard.
Then every bosom sudden fears appal; 5.
Their nerves all stiffen, and their falchions fall;
A timorous fight their frozen hands sustain,
And sighs, and backward looks, confess their pain.
With shouts of triumph, swift the Heathens roll’d,
And a bright terror flash’d from flamy gold; 10.
A thousand moony shields before them burn’d;
Ranks fell at once, and troops to flight were turn’d;
Each fatal step increas’d the piles of slain,
And boundless ruin ravag’d all the plain.
As when a storm in midnight pomp extends, 15.
And a broad deluge on the world descends,
From steep to steep, disdaining every goal,
Swell’d with hoarse thunders, mountain-torrents roll;
The vales all echo to the dreadful sound;
The torne rocks roar; the cracking trees resound. 20.
Meantime bold Irad far had cross’d the fight,
And Samlah vanish’d with auspicious flight:
Round the dread region gaz’d the Youth serene,
And eyed the grandeur of the solemn scene.
Unnumber’d phantoms crowd the dusky war; 5.
The half-seen hero, and unfinish’d car:
Black were the shades, as midnight in the tomb,
And floating glimmerings spread a fearful gloom.
Now roll’d the distant cries an awful sound;
Now nearer clamors shook th’ embattled ground. 10.
At once, from western fields, a shout ascends;
The plains all tremble, and the concave rends:
Quick turn’d the chief, while sad alarms inspire,
And saw dark forms, that pass’d along the fire;
Slow tow’rd the camp the shouting squadrons move, 15.
And long pale spires tremendous wave above.
Ah wretch! he cried–to childish heat a prey!
How soon wild passion drove my steps astray!
What chief, less vain, shall lay th’ increasing fear?
Who cheer the bands, my presence ought to cheer?
Ah! should disgrace, and dire defeat, ensue, 5.
No more this guilty face shall Joshua view;
These eyes ne’er open on a host undone,
But death, or glory, by this arm be won.
Thus as he spoke, he cross’d the deep array;
To his known form they yield an easy way:
Red flash his arms; and high above the field,
Gleams the drear lustre of his orbed shield.
So, pale, and dreadful, thro’ the midnight shade, 5.
Sails a broad meteor o’er the mountain’s head:
Dim rise the cliffs; and on the kindling air,
Stream the long terrors of its sanguine hair.
His voice resounding thro’ the gloomy fight,
Reviv’d their strength, and turn’d th’ increasing flight. 10.
Fly, dastards, fly; desert your Maker’s laws;
Your name dishonor; yield your country’s cause;
But come, ye friends of Israel’s injur’d name,
Sons of the skies, and heirs of deathless fame!
Know, round the distant plains, by chiefs inspir’d, 15.
By virtue prompted, and by vengeance fir’d,
Bold, manly warriors, never taught to yield,
Cleave their fell foes, and sweep the dusty field;
Let this bright pattern every breast inflame;
Here lift your swords, where Irad leads to fame. 20.
Thus every rank his voice invites to arms;
His presence actuates; his example charms;
From band to band, with nimble course, he flies,
Wheels the long host, and wakes intenser cries;
Thick flash the falchions; thick the javelins rain; 5.
And shooting banners tremble o’er the plain;
In every scene, alert, the youth appears;
Each chief, each rank, his cry with transport hears;
Shouts fiercely bursting listening earth appall,
And hovering Conquest yet suspends her fall. 10.
And now bold Irad, thro’ the thickest war,
Drove the tall chief, and darkly rolling car,
When, lo! the giant full before him stood,
Involv’d in death, and cover’d o’er with blood:
Like some vast wave, approach’d the horrid form, 5.
Heedless of spears, and raptur’d with the storm.
His wonderous size th’ admiring Youth beheld,
And snatch’d a lance that glitter’d on the field;
Loud rang the weapon on the monster’s brow;
Backward he quick recoil’d, and bending low, 10.
Stood staggering. Irad wav’d his dreadful sword,
Springing impetuous; swift between them pour’d
Two gloomy chariots, of their lords despoil’d,
And fierce around them thousand heroes toil’d:
No more the chief could find his destin’d prey, 15.
But turn’d, and mingled in the fierce affray.
Now loud, and solemn, thro’ the roaring vales
Swell’d the hoarse murmurs of the sounding gales,
With deep concussion shook the cliff’s tall brow,
And rush’d tempestuous on the world below;
From grove to grove the blast impatient flies, 5.
Rends the stiff oak, and howls along the skies,
On Ai’s broad flames, with wild dominion, falls,
And pours ten thousand thunders round her walls.
More wide, more bright, the folding fires ascend,
Heave the dun smoke, and far in ether bend; 10.
The glittering brands, by rapid whirlwinds driven,
Stream, like dim meteors, o’er the blacken’d heaven;
Swift through the woods red paths expanding roll;
Long heavy volumes thicken round the pole;
From all the concave sparks in torrents rain, 15.
And fiery tempests rush along the plain.
Far through the groves the furious flames had spread,
And thousand fires rose scatter’d in the shade,
Ere Hazor’s bands (so eager rag’d the fight)
Beheld, with sad amaze, the fearful sight.
Then Jabin’s voice, terrific, bade retire, 5.
And the glad warriors fled the widening fire.
Israel pursued; but Jabin’s deathful arm
Whole troops repell’d, and brav’d the wasting storm:
With the fierce giant, o’er the rear he rose,
And cool’d the vengeance of his ardent foes, 10.
Then to the fight, that still, with dreadful sway,
Rent eastern plains, brave Irad wing’d his way.
Part of the foes, that in the wood remain’d,
Had fled the heat, and safe recesses gain’d;
Part, lodg’d in open fields, maintain’d the war, 15.
And shouts rebellow’d tore the murmuring air.
Sudden, o’er all the hands, resounds a cry–
Fled are our friends; we conquer, or we die:
Lo round the wood the kindling torrents burn;
Fix here our ranks; no warrior can return– 20.
Then fierce despair the dauntless bosom fir’d,
Wing’d the keen falchion, and the arm inspir’d;
The chiefs exhorted, threaten’d, shouted, cried;
The ranks rush’d onward, met the steel, and died;
For Israel’s sons a moveless sight maintain, 5.
Glued to the field, and cleaving man to man;
Brave Irad’s dreadful voice the heroes arm’d,
Strung every nerve, and every weapon warm’d;
On friend, and foe, alike the blind sword fell;
And the son sunk beneath the parent’s steel. 10.
Wild, and more wild, the ruin rag’d around;
Shouts rung; groans murmur’d; thunders rock’d the ground;
Through the rent concave rush’d the loud acclaim,
Swell’d with the roaring wind, and fierce resounding flame,
At length a heathen’s voice–Retire, retire,
Where yon black opening parts the raging fire–
Quick, at the sound, along the glimmering shade, 5.
Thro’ the wide forest panting heroes fled,
In different courses, where the moory ground
Cleft the deep blaze, and form’d a verdant mound.
Swift as the rapid blast, the youthful train
Nimbly precipitated o’er the plain; 10.
On every side, the flames, with wild career,
Roar’d near their path, and added wings to fear;
None turn’d a gazing eye; but, with bless’d flight,
Stream’d thro’ the grove, and scap’d the vengeful light.
Behind, his path pale age more slow dragg’d on.
And wish’d, in vain, impending fate to shun;
Now here, now there, with feeble steps, they turn’d;
And here, and there, the fire terrific burn’d.
From tree to tree it flew; and all around 5.
The moulder’d pines, with hoarsely rushing sound,
Fell thundering. Kindled ruins hedg’d their path;
Behind them swift pursued the blazing death;
Before, beside, and bending o’er their head,
The bright, and scorching splendors fiercely play’d; 10.
Weak, and more weak, the cries of anguish came,
Drown’d in the roaring fury of the flame.
To the dire forest Israel’s sons pursued,
And heathen blood their reeking swords imbrued;
Then by the chief’s command return’d from fight,
Th’ attentive squadrons eyed the wondrous sight,
Far sound the dreadful region, trees on high, 5.
Wave their tall blazing summits in the sky;
Thro’ the dark air, in crimson terror, sail
Broad sheets of flame, and bend along the gale;
Loud, and more loud, the raging whirlwind pours;
From wood to wood the rushing deluge roars; 10.
Then, up vast eastern hills with fury driven,
Rolls o’er aerial cliffs, and kindles heaven:
The mountain groves, a long, long ridge of fire,
Shoot their tall flames, and thro’ the clouds aspire.
O’er dim-seen rocks, brown plains, and glimmering streams 15.
Floats the pale lustre of the trembling beams;
The camp astonish’d casts a quivering gaze,
And distant towns are lost in dumb amaze:
Retir’d the squadrons, range in dread array,
And watch the splendors of approaching day.– 5.
Morning. Joshua joins Irad. Jobab’s character, and challenge. Irad accepts it, and kills Jobab. Battle. Irad kills Samlab, and engages Jabin. His death. Judah routed with great slaughter. Death of Uzal, and Shelumiel. Caleb, with a large division, marches out, rallies Judah, and renews the battle. Irad’s death throws the whole army into confusion. Joshua inspirits them, and makes great havoc of the enemy. Zimra’s exploits. He kills the king of the Hittites, and routs them. Joshua kills the king of Shimron, and routs the centre. Jabin, perceiving the other divisions of the army defeated, orders a retreat, which is performed with regularity. Joshua’s lamentation over Irad. Scene of Selima’s distress at the sight of his corpse. Evening.19.
O’ER misty hills the day-star led the morn,
And streaming light in heaven began to burn;
Wide scenes of woe the boundless blaze display’d,
Where the steel triumph’d, and the deluge spread.
On wasted plains unnumber’d corses lay, 5.
And smokes far scatter’d climb’d upon the day,
Still clouded flames o’er eastern mountains rise,
And Ai’s broad ruins sadden all the skies.
When lo! in glimmering arms, and black array,
Like storms low-hovering in th’ etheriatl way,
Far round the north a gloomy cloud ascends,
Its horror deepens, and its breadth extends.
Compact and firm, as mov’d by one great soul, 5.
A front immense, the widening squadrons roll;
Thick shoot the spears; the trembling helmets beam,
And waving bucklers cast a moony gleam.
As the dire comet, swift through ether driven,
In solemn silence climbs the western heaven; 10.
His sanguine hair, portending fearful wars,
Streams down the midnight sky, and blots the stars;
Pale death and terror light the dusky gloom,
And quivering nations read their sudden doom.
So in the flaming van great Joshua rose, 15.
And shot red glories on the wondering foes.
At his command the trumpet sounded high,
Aerial ensigns dancing in the sky;
Near and more near, they trac’d a dreadful way,
Join’d Irad’s host, and stretch’d in long array. 20.
From Hazor’s ranks that now before the wood,
In three embattled squares, refulgent stood,
Great Jobab strode. In Madon’s realms he reign’d:
Red was his eye, his brow with blood distain’d;
A beam his spear; his vast, expanded shield 5.
Shot a bright morning o’er the crimson field;
His head sublime a mighty helmet crown’d;
His quivering plumes with sable horror frown’d;
Six cubits from the earth, he rais’d his frame;
His wish was battle, and his life was fame. 10.
Proud was his father; prouder was the son:
Nought mov’d his pride; the tear, nor piercing groan;
Unmatch’d his force, he claim’d a matchless fame,
And every combat deck’d his brightening name.
Princes, his captiv’d slaves, before him bow’d, 5.
Stalk’d in his train, and round his chariot rode;
While their fair partners, first in triumph led,
Held the rich cup, or grac’d the brutal bed.
Oft had surrounding realms his aid requir’d,
Ere Zimri’s hand Ai’s hapless turrets fir’d; 10.
But still their prayers, and still their gifts were vain,
Till Joshua’s glory rous’d his fierce disdain.
Else had no proffer mov’d his haughty mind,
That deem’d himself the champion of mankind,
When the joint wishes of the various band 15.
To nobler Jabin gave the first command.
But Joshua’s triumphs fill’d his anguish’d ear;
Fir’d at the sound, he snatch’d the deathful spear,
Resolv’d at once to prove the hero’s might,
And claim, alone, the wreaths of single fight, 20.
Twas he, when Irad rais’d his dreadful voice,
And inmost Hazor trembled at the noise,
When prudent Jabin urg’d a nightly storm,
Ere the Youth’s voice the slumbering camp should arm:
Bade his vast squadrons in the wood delay, 25.
Nor lift a spear, till morn should lead the day.
Shall this brave host th’ unmanly path pursue,
Fight ambush’d foes, and basely creep from view?
Shall Jobab, like the thief, to conquest steal,
And bravery call, what coward minds can feel? 30.
And now, from Jabin the proud chief demands,
To lead, as first in place, the central bands.
He, coolly wise, resigns the shadowy name,
And, pleas’d with substance, boasts a nobler fame.
Forth from the host, in freely pomp, he strode,
And ‘twixt th’ embattled lines sublimely stood.
His towering stride, vast height, and awful arms
Chill’d all his foes, and scatter’d wide alarms:
When thus the chief–Ye sons of Israel know 5.
The dauntless challenge of no common foe.
If in your host three heroes can be found,
(Be Joshua one) to tempt this dangerous ground,
Here shall they learn what strength informs the brave,
And find no God can shield them from the grave. 10.
Stung with the insult cast upon his God,
To the great Leader Irad nimbly strode,
And thus–Shall yonder heathen’s haughty cry
Dare Israel’s host, and Israel’s God defy?
Let me this boaster whelm in instant shame, 5.
Avenge my nation’s cause, my Maker’s name.
Exalted Youth! the smiling Chief replied,
This elder arm shall crop his towering pride.
Scarce in thy breast has manhood fix’d her seat;
Blot not thy bloom, nor urge untimely fate.
Brave as thou art, his strength must win the fight, 5.
And Israel’s glory sink in endless night.
Think not, he cried, of Irad’s tender age,
Nor heed the mockery of yon heathen’s rage.
This hand, though young, shall boast a conquering day;
Blind is wild rage, and pride an easy prey.
Here too shall Joshua’s potent prayers be given, 5.
And the bless’d aid, that Virtue hopes from Heaven.
Should Irad perish, none the wound shall know;
Should Joshua fall, our race is whelm’d in woe:
Heaven gave his chosen to thy guardian care,
To rule in peace, to save in dangerous war; 10.
On thee alone our fates suspended lie,
With thee we flourish, and with thee we die
Oh best of youths! provoke not hasty doom,
Nor rush impetuous to an early tomb.
I lov’d thy sire, the good, the just, the brave–
And shall this voice consign thee to the grave?
Swift thy name ripens into matchless praise; 5.
My son, my chosen, still prolong thy days.
In future fields thy arm shall brighter shine;
Thine be the glory, but the danger mine.
Ah grant my wish! th’ impatient Youth replies,
While two full tears stand glistening in his eyes–
This arm, unhurt, shall bid the monster bleed;
Angels will guard my course, and Heaven succeed.
My spear, when night her latest darkness spread, 5.
Had sunk him breathless in the field of dead;
But some kind spirit sav’d his life, till morn
Should grace the fight, and Irad’s name adorn.
Aid me, oh aid me, Hezron’s every friend!
Your voice, your wishes, must the Leader bend. 10.
Won by his earnest cries, the generous Chief
Forc’d his consent; but could not hide his grief.
A sigh steals silent from his bleeding breast,
As his slow tongue permits the sad request.
Wrapp’d in bright arms, while smiles his joy reveal’d,
The Youth stalk’d fearless o’er the horrid field;
The host, with rapture, view’d his lofty stride,
The leap alert, the port of conscious pride;
But each grave chief, by long experience wise, 5.
With faltering accent, to his comrade cries–
I fear, I fear, lest, on the bloody sand,
The bold Youth perish, by yon monster’s hand.
What bravery can, fair Irad will perform,
But can the opening floweret meet the storm? 10.
Ah, that such sweetness, such etherial fire
Should fall, the victim of a heathen’s ire!
Thy votary’s course, all-gracious Heaven, survey!
Let some kind angel hover round his way!
Now near the scene bold Irad urg’d his course,
Where Jobab triumph’d in resistless force;
When the huge warrior, swell’d with angry pride,
With bended brow, and voice contemptuous, cried–
Art thou the champion of thy vaunting race? 5.
Shall this poor victory Jobab’s falchion grace?
Go, call great Joshua, long to war inur’d,
Whose arm hath toils, whose shield hath hosts endur’d,
With him, ten chiefs; this hand shall crush them all;
Shame stains the steel, that bids a stripling fall; 10.
Retire, ere vengeance on thy helmet light;
Fly to yon troop, and save thy life by flight.
His haughty foe the Youth undaunted heard;
Vain, empty threats his bosom never fear’d;
O’er the vast form he turn’d his smiling eyes,
And saw unmov’d the livid vengeance rise.
Then, with a rosy blush of conscious worth, 5.
Calm from his tongue his manly voice broke forth–
Do threats like these become a hero’s voice?
Can courage find a vent in empty noise?
To every brave man give the well-earn’d praise,
Nor think on scoffs a bright renown to raise; 10.
True bravery claims a noble generous fame;
But the base wretch from vaunts expects his name.
Let shame, let truth, those coward words recall;
Thou seek’st my life; I glory in thy fall.
To me thy pride to me thy threats are vain; 15.
Heaven sees alone whose arm the prize shall gain.
And know, wheree’er may light his angry rod,
I fear no boaster that defies my God.
Now shield to shield, and lance to lance, they stand,
With taunts imperious shout the heathen band;
While hopeless Israel heaven with prayer assails,
And grateful incense fills the rising gales.
Stung by the just reproof, with whizzing sound 5.
The giant plung’d his javelin in the ground:
For passion, ever blind, impell’d his arm,
Steer’d a wild course, and sav’d the youth from harm;
He, calm and fearless, with a pleas’d surprise,
Survey’d its curious form and mighty size; 10.
Then ‘gainst his foe, with sure, unerring eye
Drove the swift lance, and lodg’d it in his thigh.
Enrag’d, the warrior saw his bubbling gore,
Writh’d with keen anguish, and the javelin tore.
The flesh pursued; a copious, sable stream 15.
Pour’d from the wound, and stain’d the steely gleam;
Then high in air he shook his sunlike shield,
And wav’d his falchion o’er th’ astonish’d field.
With matchless force the vengeful weapon fell;
The wary hero nimbly shunn’d the steel; 20.
And while his foe with foaming fury cried,
Oft pierc’d his arm, and wounded oft his side.
Wild, and more wild, the giant’s strokes resound,
Glance from the shield, and plough the cleaving ground;
Till, gathering all his strength for one vast blow, 25.
Dark as a storm, he rushes on his foe;
Lightly the hero springs; the monster falls,
Like sudden ruins of a turret’s walls;
Full on his neck descends the gladsome blade,
And from the trunk disparts the grisly head. 30.
Loud shouts of joy, from Israel’s thousands driven,
Burst o’er the plain, and shook the walls of heaven:
Amaz’d the heathens saw their champion lost,
And a wide, sullen groan was heard from all the host.
Alert, bold Irad seiz’d the giant’s shield,
His sword, his spear, and bore them thro’ the field;
At Joshua’s feet, with self-approving smiles,
He cast the grandeur of the glittering spoils;
The hoary warriors gather’d round his way, 5.
And gaz’d and wonder’d at the curious prey;
Then bless’d the chief, with transport in their eyes,
And own’d th’ assistance of auspicious Skies;
While youths unhappy rais’d less ardent prayers,
And wish’d the deed, and wish’d the glory, theirs. 10.
Led by soft impulse tow’rd th’ imbattled train,
Rov’d sad Selima down the spacious plain.
Afar she stood, and cast an anxious eye,
And strove in vain her favourite to descry.
At once, with distant din, the shouts ascend, 5.
And painful fears her tender bosom rend;
Slow tow’rd the camp her lingering steps inclin’d;
But oft the fair-one cast a look behind.
Now the long thunders of the clarion sound,
Reclam’d from hills, and plains, and groves around,
O’er the dire field the rushing squadrons driven,
Extend their shady files, and blacken heaven:
High in the central front great Joshua stands, 5.
And shoots wide terror thro’ th’ astonish’d bands;
Mid eastern thousands Zimri towers along,
And Irad shines before the western throng.
Unfurl’d, the sudden banners stream afar,
And, wrapp’d in thunder, joins the dreadful war;
Wide roll the volumes of the dust around,
And clouds on clouds envelope all the ground.
As floods, increas’d by long descending rains, 5.
Pour a brown deluge o’er the wintery plains,
Loud from a thousand hills, the torrents join,
Where azure bonds the river’s course confine;
The maddening ice, in boundless ruin driven,
Bursts, like the thunders of a falling heaven; 10.
The white rocks foam; the gloomy blasts arise,
Toss the wild stream, and roar along the skies.
So clos’d the squadrons of th’ unnumber’d foes;
So stormy shouts and hollow groans arose.
Long in an even ballance hung th’ affray,
Nor those would loose, nor these could gain, the day.
‘Till Irad’s rapid path, like heaven’s red fire,
Shot through the ranks, and bade the foe retire;
With joy, their chief surrounding warriors view, 5.
And troops on troops the generous course pursue.
At distance small, proud Samlah’s glittering car,
Whirl’d by white coursers, tempts the grisly war;
O’er all the plain, with piercing sound, arise
His stern injunctions, and his conquering cries.
With shouts bold Irad darts along the field, 5.
Now bright in arms, and now in dust conceal’d,
From rank to rank the well-known chief pursues.
And oft his flashing steel in blood imbrues.
Vain, impious wretch, he cried, thy nimble flight,
And vain the covert of surrounding night. 10.
Once hast thou fled the swift-pursuing spear,
But fled’st in vain, for vengeance finds thee here.
Learn from this hand what fate betides the knave,
Who yields, unmov’d, a brother to the grave.
If now thy feet escape the righteous doom, 15.
Let Heaven protect thee to a peaceful tomb!
In dread amaze astonish’d Samlah stood;
From his pale face retir’d the freezing blood;
His wild eye star’d, all bristling rose his hair;
Quick from his quivering hand the useless spear
Dropp’d; his teeth rattled, and the falling reins 5.
At random trembled on the coursers’ manes;
Behind he gaz’d, and found no path to fly;
For aid he panted, but no aid was nigh.
Deep in his back was lodg’d the fatal steel;
His breathless form, before the rolling wheel, 10.
Plung’d headlong; mournful rung a pitying groan,
So fair, so mild his beauteous aspect shone:
Even Irad, touch’d by Adnor’s kind request,
Felt soft emotions stealing through his breast.
Then swift he wheel’d the lightening of his sword;
Behind him, Judah’s host like torrents pour’d;
Shrill rose the tumult of the fields around,
Trembled through heaven and wav’d along the ground:
With souls undaunted, both the hosts contend; 5.
Spears fill the air, and shouts the concave rend.
Far distant, Joshua moves his awful form,
Swells the confusion, and directs the storm.
Beyond him, Zimri, swift as rapid fire,
Darts through the fight, and bids the foe expire.
A mingled horror clouds the dreadful plain; 5.
Here rush the fighting, and there fall the slain.
Now the mid sun had finish’d half his course,
When Irad raging with resistless force,
And far before him breathing wide dismay,
On Jabin’s chariot drove his rapid way.
Brave youths around him throng’d the crimson fight, 5.
Eyed the bless’d chief, and smil’d a fierce delight;
From every sword increasing vengeance fell,
And Death sate hovering o’er the sanguine steel.
Thron’d in proud state, the savage Monarch rode;
Like two red stars his wrathful eye-balls glow’d; 10.
Hoarse from his voice a dreadful thunder came,
And his bright armour flash’d a sudden flame.
Two steeds, bedropp’d with gore, and pale to view,
Emblems of death, his smoaking chariot drew.
Cheer’d by his hand, the coursers swiftly sprang; 15.
Beat by their hoofs, the brazen bucklers rang;
Tow’rd Irad’s path the heathen wing’d his way,
And, boding conquest, snuff’d the fancied prey.
Unmov’d, th’ angelic Youth, with wearied hands
Pav’d his red path, and drove the circling bands–
Stay, lovely hero! stay; thy course forbear;
Inough that sword has rul’d the glorious war–
Ah stay, till Israel’s sons thy steps surround; 5.
Return, return, and be with glory crown’d!
Great Jabin stood, and o’er the bloody field
Rais’d the broad terrors of his flaming shield;
His grimly brow, all blacken’d o’er with dust,
Frown’d like a storm, and froze the trembling host;
Near beauteous Irad stream’d the sounding car, 5.
And opening squadrons yield the dreadful war.
The foaming Chief, serene the Youth beheld,
And rear’d his javelin o’er the purple field;
Shrill sung the lance along the dusty sky,
Bor’d the strong shield, and pierc’d the Monarch’s thigh.
Enrag’d, to earth the haughty Warrior sprang; 5.
His red eyes flam’d; his arms descending rang;
With lofty action, each his hand uprais’d;
The falchions flash’d; aghast the squadrons gaz’d;
Two generous youths between them nimbly broke,
And bow’d their lives beneath the fatal stroke. 10.
Their lovely heads (their helmets cleft in twain)
Died the keen swords, and spouted on the plain.
More fierce the Monarch’s disappointed ire
Glow’d in his face, and blaz’d with gloomy fire.
In Irad, innocence serenely mild, 15.
And beauty’s sweetness with soft splendor smil’d;
Round his fair forehead beams of bravery play,
Nor stain’d with rage, nor mingled with dismay.
Again in ether rose the dreadful steel;
Again it lighten’d, and again it fell;
The Heathen’s, ringing, leap’d from Irad’s shield;
The Youth’s in fragments, treacherous, strew’d the field.
Held by a chief, swift-leaping from the band, 5.
A second falchion touch’d his reaching hand,
When–loveliest Youth! why did thy buckler’s bound
Shield but thy breast? why not thy form surround?
Where stood thy friends? was no kind hero near,
To guard thy life, and stay Selima’s tear?– 10.
From some base arm unseen, in covert flung,
Through his white side a coward javelin sung,
He fell–a groan sad-murmur’d round the host,
Their joy, their glory, and their leader lost.
Forth from the train a youth impatient sprung,
Spread his fond arms, and round the hero clung,
With soft endearments stay’d the fleeting breath,
And wish’d to save him from the hand of death.
But Jabin’s sword, driven through his friendly side, 5.
Stain’d his white armour with a spotless tide:
In kind imbrace their heaving bosoms lay,
And all life’s blooming beauty died away.
Through fields of air, their social spirits join’d
Wing’d their light way, nor lost a look behind; 10.
While two bright forms, on rosy pinions borne,
Sail’d round their path, and op’d the gates of morn.
Mid countless warriors Irad’s limbs were spread,
Even there distinguish’d from the vulgar dead.
Fair as the spring, and bright as rising day,
His snowy bosom open’d as he lay;
From the deep wound a little stream of blood 5.
In silence fell, and on the javelin glow’d.
Grim Jabin, frowning o’er his hapless head,
Deep in his bosom plung’d the cruel blade;
Foes, even in death, his vengeance ne’er forgave,
But hail’d their doom, insatiate as the grave; 10.
No worth, no bravery could his rage disarm,
Nor smiling love could melt, nor angel-beauty charm.
With dreadful sound, he rais’d his voice on high,
Froze the pale bands, and thunder’d thro’ the sky–
Haste, warriors, haste; your conquering arms display;
Here gasps their leader, to the dogs a prey.
See the slaves fly; ere evening’s dusky hour, 5.
The beasts shall rend them, and the hawks devour.
Receive, illustrious Oran! here receive
The poor, the sole reward, thy prince can give.
This victim first; a nation soon shall come
To pay due honours at thy sacred tomb, 10.
Wide streams of gore in rich libations flow,
And shades unnumber’d wait thy call below.
Here, dastards, here the worthless carcase yield,
Nor wait the vengeance of a future field.
To day this raptur’d hand your camp shall burn, 15.
And sires, and wives, and sons to mingled ashes turn.
Thus spoke the haughty Chief: with flashing eyes,
To fiercer fight inspir’d the warriors rise;
Clouds after clouds in gloomy pomp ascend,
And stormy clamours troubled ether rend.
The thickening tempest Judah’s host survey’d, 5.
And wedg’d their volumes in the dusty shade;
Man lock’d with man, and helm with helm combin’d,
And sword with sword in glimmering order join’d,
A long dread front, impervious, hides the fields,
Cloth’d with the grandeur of a thousand shields. 10.
First, in the flaming van to vengeance rose
Bold Irad’s train, and dar’d their ardent foes.
Their young, brave minds immortal fame inspires;
Each glowing thought the patriot’s virtue fires;
Serene they smil’d to see the ruin nigh; 5.
In death they triumph’d, but they fear’d to fly.
O’er the dark deep, as some tall wave impends,
Its white foam hisses, and its point ascends;
‘Gainst hoary rocks the bursting ruins roar,
Shake all the main, and echo round the shore,
So Jabin’s car with gloomy terror flew, 5.
And crush’d the ranks that near him rashly drew;
Roll’d in one mighty mass, the heathen force,
The swift-wing’d chariot, and the foaming horse,
O’er all the lovely band resistless fly,
And countless warriors round their Irad die. 10.
Thus, on the stream’s fair bank in beauty rise
Young, towering trees, and feel indulgent skies;
In spring’s mild beam their lovely boughs aspire,
Wave o’er the flowers, and call the plumy choir:
At once the floods descend, the torrents roar; 15.
The trees lie withering on the wasted shore.
All firmly brave, imbrown’d with dust and blood
‘Gainst the rude tempest Judah’s veterans stood;
Fix’d, even to death, their nation to defend,
With stout, stiff strength, the stubborn ranks contend;
To fate undaunted many a hero springs, 5.
The shouts redouble, and the concave rings.
Full in the front brave Uzal moveless stood,
His falchion reeking with incessant blood;
Fight, warriors, fight, or fall–he said, nor more;
But wheel’d his arm, and stepp’d in floods of gore; 10.
Above his feet the purple torrents ran,
And high before him man was pil’d on man.
So thick the swords around his helmet hung,
That sword clave sword; aloud his armour rung;
Panting he stood; in floods the sweat distill’d: 15.
Nor moves the Hero, nor the squadrons yield.
From his bright car, that rattling pour’d along,
With shouts, and threatnings, Jabin fir’d the throng;
Man leap’d o’er man: from every side they rush’d;
Bold warriors fell, by other warriors crush’d;
‘Till, hurl’d by Jabin’s hand, a javelin flew, 5.
Pierc’d Uzal’s heart, and life’s fair current drew,
Pleas’d, the great hero gave his parting breath;
My nation own’d my life, and now demands my death.
Thus hung with wounds, a prey to savage steel,
In Princeton’s fields the gallant Mercer fell.
When first his native realm her sons decreed,
In slavery’s chains, with want and woe to bleed,
Check’d, through his bosom fond remembrance ran. 5.
The cause of freedom was the cause of man.
In that fair cause he bar’d his manly breast,
The friend, the hope, the champion, of th’ oppress’d,
From height to height on glory’s pinions rose,
Bless’d by his friends, and prais’d by generous foes; 10.
Swift flew the shaft; the eagle ceas’d to rise,
And mourning millions trac’d him down the skies.
He fell; the throng, that press’d against his shield,
Plung’d in one heap, and spread along the field;
Bucklers on bucklers rang; steel clash’d on steel;
Their own swords gash’d them, wounding as they fell.
In one broad ruin lay the mingled crowd, 5.
And cries, and hollow groans were heard aloud.
So some tall prop, that bears extended walls,
Mouldering, gives way; the mossy structure falls,
The long beams thundering echo round the skies,
Earth shakes beneath, and clouds of dust arise. 10.
Thus sunk the warriors, some to rise no more,
Some, nimbly bounding, bath’d their spears in gore.
Now haughty Jabin lifts a louder cry,
The tall hills echo, and the fields reply.
Fly, dastards, fly; death haunts your impious way;
Your proud name sinks; your squadrons swift decay:
Where now’s the chief, that led your hosts abroad? 5.
Your far-fam’d bravery, and fictitious God?
Call the dread Power, that cleft th’ Egyptian wave,
To mourn your fate, and ope your heads a grave.
Pour on, my heroes, while yon friendly light
Shines in the heaven, and joys to view the fight 10.
He spoke, and onward wing’d his dreadful form;
Hazor behind him, like an evening storm,
That rides on gloomy blasts above the hills,
And wakes the thunder of the mountain rills,
Roll’d blackening. Israel’s sons in sad dismay, 15.
Bent tow’rd the camp their slow, unwilling way.
Enrag’d Shelumiel rais’d his angry voice,
But rais’d in vain; no hero heeds the noise:
Hoarse with shrill cries, and wild with deep despair,
He rush’d resistless on the thickest war,
From Jabin’s lance a grateful exit found, 5.
Sunk in his arms, and stiffen’d on the ground.
Far from the fight, despoil’d of helm and shield,
Slept beauteous Irad on the mournful field;
Deaf to the groans, and careless of the cries;
His hair soft-whistling o’er his half-shut eyes.
On either side his lifeless arms were spread, 5.
And blood ran round him from the countless dead.
Even there, two warriors, rushing o’er the plain,
O’er crimson torrents, and o’er piles of slain,
Stopp’d, when the lovely form arose to fight,
Survey’d his charms, and wish’d no more the fight. 10.
Ah! hapless Youth! cried one, with tender voice,
The Gods’ fair offspring, form’d for milder joys!
A face like thine the gentlest thoughts must move.
The gaze of Beauty, and the song of Love.
Sleep on, fair hero! for thy corse must lie 5.
Bare to the fury of a stormy sky.
Thus he. His friend, by softer passions warm’d,
By grief afflicted, and by beauty charm’d,
Cries sadly–No; for when my steps return,
This bleeding breast thy early fate shall mourn; 10.
The melting song declare thy hapless doom,
And my own hand erect thy head a tomb.
But now, outspread o’er all the northern plain,
In sable grandeur roll’d a countless train,
With trembling spears, with waving bucklers, bright,
And the quick gleams of interrupted light.
When Joshua strode the heathen host to dare,
To guard the camp was prudent Caleb’s care.
He, coolly wise, had summon’d all the train,
Dispos’d in ranks, and guided o’er the plain,
All arm’d for war, at distance meet to stay, 5.
And wait the changes of the dreadful day,
In even scale while dubious combat hung,
And far in southern fields the tumult rung,
Silent, they listen’d to the blended cry,
And heard faint shouts in distant murmurs die. 10.
But now th’ approaching clarion’s dreadful sound
Denounces flight, and shakes the banner’d ground;
From clouded plains increasing thunders rise,
And drifted volumes roll along the skies.
At once the chief commands; th’ unnumber’d throng, 5.
Like gathering tempests, darkly pour’d along:
High on the winds, unfurl’d in purple pride,
Th’ imperial standard cast the view aside;
A hero there sublimely seem’d to stand,
To point the conquest, and the flight command; 10.
In arms of burnish’d gold the warrior shone,
And wav’d and brighten’d in the falling sun.
Swift tow’rd the fight approach’d th’ impatient throng,
And wider pour’d the thickening dust along;
Loud, and more loud, victorious clamours grow,
And, more distinguish’d, breathe the sounds of woe;
Pale Judah’s sons a yielding fight maintain, 5.
And many a face looks backward o’er the plain,
When Caleb’s mighty voice, in thunder driven,
Starts all the host, and rends the clouded heaven.
What dismal scenes, enrag’d the hero cries–
Convulse this heart, and pierce these bleeding eyes! 10.
Shall Judah’s race, my brethren and my boast,
Flee, vanquish’d, driven, before a heathen host?
Can men, can warriors own so black a part,
The best of chiefs, your Joshua to desert?
Say with what pangs will Heaven the wretches try, 15.
That know no honour, and that feel no tie?
On yon bright plain, the conquering Chief behold,
Troops wing’d before him, cars tumultuous roll’d,
With Heaven’s imperial sword the fight commands,
And drives fierce ruin o’er decreasing bands! 20.
Say, shall the Man, who fights, who bleeds for all,
See your base flight, and perish in your fall?
The Chief, as angels kind, as angels true,
Sink in the doom, he warded long from you?
Fly then; but know, a few short furlongs past, 25.
Yon camp wild flames, and savage swords shall waste;
Besmear’d with streaming blood, your parents lie,
And, dash’d on stones, your gasping infants die;
Your wives, betray’d by such base culprits, feel
Abuse, more dreadful than the griding steel? 30.
No arm, no sword the falling nation save,
But this dire evening ope our common grave.
Can these dread scenes even dastards fail to arm?
Spring from the trance, and burst the sleepy charm;
Rise, rise like men; with shame, with vengeance burn; 35.
Wipe foul disgrace, and swift to fight return.
And ye brave chiefs, that never knew to yield,
Or turn a backward foot from glory’s field,
But, led by me, the van’s bright honours claim,
Smile at fair death, and shrink from torturing shame; 40.
Lift high th’ avenging sword, from pity free,
And cleave the wretch that basely dares to flee.
He spoke: the sound their manly bosoms fir’d,
Wheel’d their long ranks, and every arm inspir’d;
Even cowards now to generous combat arm’d,
And fainting heroes with new vengeance warm’d:
Fierce Hazor’s sons with equal fury driven, 5.
Like one wide cloud, that shades the skirts of even,
Rush’d dark and dreadful: ranks, by ranks impell’d,
Felt the keen lance, and heap’d the streaming field.
Pois’d in a dire suspense, the combat hung;
Swords clash’d, mail rattled, striking bucklers rung; 10.
Here his bold ranks great Caleb’s arm inspir’d;
There Jabin’s mighty hand his warriors fir’d:
No more the foaming steeds could trace their way,
So thick the squadrons wedg’d their black array:
Loud tumults roar, the clouded heavens resound, 15.
And deep convulsions heave the labouring ground.
Meantime, great Joshua, lightening o’er the plain,
Hedg’d his dire path with heaps of ghastly slain;
Back roll’d the squadrons; death’s encircling shade
Involv’d his course, and hover’d o’er his head.
At once a quivering voice fair Irad nam’d, 5.
Announc’d his ruin, and the flight proclaim’d;
From ranks to trembling ranks, the mournful sound
Wak’d a sad groan, and breath’d a gloom around,
With livid paleness clouded every face,
Congeal’d each vein, and stopp’d the growing chace. 10.
On the far camp they turn’d a frequent view;
Their fainting falchions scarce the fight renew:
Throng’d in a blackening storm, the foe descends;
Swift drive the chariots; far the dust extends:
With smiles, bold heathens hail commencing flight: 15.
Their lances shower; their eye-balls flash delight.
Loud as old ocean beats the rocky shore,
Loud as the storm’s deep-bursting thunders roar,
Vast shouts unrolling rend th’ etherial round,
Trembles all heaven, and shakes the gory ground. 20.
Amaz’d, the Hero saw the wild despair:
Nor knew the cause, ’till Irad fill’d the air;
Irad, re-echoing with a fearful noise,
Pal’d the blank face, and froze the faltering voice.
Loud o’er the bellowing shouts resounds his cry– 5.
My sons, my heroes, whither will ye fly?
Will ye pursue the camp? desert the slain?
And leave your Irad on the bloody plain?
Alas! you fly to more tremendous fates;
There ruin seeks you, and base death awaits: 10.
There, in sad horror, will your eyes behold
Flames round your camp, your wives, your children roll’d:
Let vengeance rouse, let Israel’s name inspire,
Let danger steel you, and let Irad fire,
Turn, turn, this instant seals your final doom; 15.
You gain the day, or fall without a tomb.
He said, and wav’d his broad, ensanguin’d shield;
Turn, warriors, turn, resounds along the field;
A new-born bravery fires the meanest soul:
Thick spears protend; ranks lengthening onward roll:
Less loud fierce whirlwinds through the valley pour: 5.
Less loud broad flames the spiry town devour,
When, wing’d by blasts, red conflagrations rise,
Blaze o’er the cloud-capp’d towers, and scorch the skies,
Black drifts of dust smoke through the vast profound;
Shouts hoarsely rage, and hollow groans resound. 10.
As, when through ether’s fields dark storms are driven,
The swift-wing’d flame, descending, kindles heaven,
Scath’d by the dreadful stream, the huge pines fall,
And bursting glory wraps the smoking ball;
O’er the tall mountains rolls the voice of God, 15.
The plains all tremble, and the forests nod:
So swift, so bright, the rushing hero pour’d;
With every stroke his sword a life devour’d;
Full on his foes he bore resistless storm,
Pale squadrons opening to his angry form; 20.
His shield blaz’d horror, and his lofty hand
Fell, with swift ruin, on the lessening band;
Gash’d by his hand, the coursers burst their reins,
And hurl’d their riders on the bloody plains;
Gash’d by his hand, the prostrate riders die; 25.
Crack the round wheels, the splendid trappings fly.
Meantime, far eastward Asher crouds the war,
Nor heeds the terrors of the rattling car.
Swift as on wings of fire a meteor driven,
Mounts o’er the hills, and sweeps the nightly heaven,
When the pale wanderer, lost in devious ways, 5.
With bristling hair, starts at the sudden blaze,
Rush’d rapid Zimri through the parting host;
Mark’d by his eye the hapless foe was lost;
O’er quivering ranks his sword incessant hung;
Loud in their ears his voice funereal rung 10.
Death’s hideous peal; hard-following on the sound
Sunk the last stroke, and corses cloath’d the ground.
Now while the Hittites fled the dire alarm,
Their haughty king withstood th’ invading arm.
Shrill rose the thunders of his piercing cry,
Lost in deaf ears, and echoing through the sky;
With swifter steps, his warriors urg’d their flight, 5.
And dark behind them rush’d pursuing night.
Fierce on the king’s bright car, with rapid force,
Resistless Zimri drove his dreadful course;
The dauntless monarch cast his mighty spear,
That sung, and trembled through th’ enlighten’d air; 10.
Full on brave Zimri’s helm the polish’d steel
Clash’d harmless, and to earth, rebounding, fell.
Regardless of the shock, the nimble chief
Sprang to the car; no sword could lend relief;
Caught by his arm, the heathen beat the ground; 15.
Wide on his bosom sunk the fatal wound;
The greedy blade, deep-plunging, gash’d his side,
And down his buckler pour’d a bubbling tide.
Wing’d with fierce ardour, Zimri mounts the car,
And calls his heroes to the crimson war.–
Rush on to conquest, every generous band,
Lo the bless’d triumphs of this happy hand!
Here, through his side the sword indignant thrust, 5.
Their furious leader, gasping, bites the dust.–
Fly, miscreants, fly, and let your lives remain
To grace the falchions of a future plain.
From dovelike foes what warrior hopes a name?
So cheap the purchase, victory scarce is fame.– 10.
Thus, loud and taunting, rose the hero’s cry;
Swift rush his bands; the heathen swifter fly:
High in the chariot, in dread pomp reveal’d,
His gloomy hand the firey steeds impell’d;
In dusty clouds the hosts are snatch’d from sight, 15.
And Death, and Zimri, darken o’er the flight.
While thus brave Asher trod the conquering plain,
And drove wild ruin on the heathen train,
In the dire centre, to resistless war
Proud Shimron’s monarch urg’d the thundering car.
In early youth, he saw fierce Jabin’s hand 5.
Seize his fair crown, and rule his fertile land;
Then to the victor’s court a captive brought,
In arms was train’d, in arts politic taught,
Won by soft wiles, his throne of Jabin held,
And bade his realm imperial tributes yield. 10.
There, fir’d to glory by the monarch’s voice,
He mock’d his pattern, and obey’d his choice,
And hop’d from conduct, form’d by rules so just,
Alone to reign, when Jabin slept in dust.
Full on his lofty breast the flashing shield
Gleam’d a bright terror through the clouded field:
As when the Sun, o’er scorch’d Peruvia’s plain,
Disease, and Death, and Horror in his train,
Unveils his crimson face, distain’d with blood, 5.
Burns the brown hills, and sickens every flood.
Loud rang the hero’s voice; his lances flew,
And every lance the foremost warrior flew.
On him great Joshua glanc’d a darkening eye,
And rush’d impetuous, with a deathful cry: 10.
His sword, swift-circling, hew’d his dismal way,
Fell’d ranks at once, and broke the deep array.
Amaz’d, the heathen cast a look behind,
And thus in doubt, explor’d his mighty mind–
Shall I resisting dare that arm of death, 15.
And reach his heart, or nobly yield my breath;
Or with some distant band the foe engage
Where bravery fails, and turn the battle’s rage?
This arm, this spear may spill his hated life;
And O what wreaths shall crown the happy strife! 20.
What bright rewards shall Jabin’s hand bestow!
What matchless honours round my temples flow!
I claim the contest–hence base flight and shame–
To fight is glory, and to die is fame.
He spoke; while Ruin, riding thro’ the plain,
Burst o’er his ranks, and mark’d her path with slain:
On Joshua’s helm she fate; tremendous hung
His arm on high, his voice like thunder rung:
Near the bright car he wheel’d his streaming blade, 5.
And dust around him cast a night-like shade.
Full on his buckler clash’d the heathen’s spear,
Pierc’d the thick plates, and flash’d behind in air;
Grazing his side, it cut the folded garb,
And drops of crimson stain’d the polish’d barb. 10.
With joy, the king his faithful javelin view’d,
Leap’d from his car, and with his sword pursued.
Then Joshua’s hand uprear’d his falchion high,
Its flames bright-circling in the dusty sky;
First his foe’s arm dropp’d on the bloody field; 15.
The second stroke divides his glittering shield;
Full on his throat the fierce avenging blade
Sinks; the freed spirit flits to midnight shade.
“Pour on to glory”–rung the Leader’s voice,
The trembling host shrunk backward at the noise;
Sad Shimron’s sons beheld their monarch dead,
Rais’d one deep howl, and, wing’d with horror, fled.
Throng’d in a gloomy storm, their head-long foes 5.
Round the dire flight with lifted falchions rose;
Broad streams of blood o’er-ran the scenes of death,
And sullen groans proclaim’d the parting breath.
As boiling Etna rolls a flood of fire
Down her rough rocks; and plains, and towns expire, 10.
Lick’d by the flames, exhaling rivers rise,
And crumbling groves smoke upward to the skies,
Swift pours the blazing deluge on the shore,
The scorch’d main foams, the hissing billows roar:
So fierce and dreadful, flew the victor host, 15.
In night involv’d, in dusty volumes lost.
Squadrons thick-strown were scatter’d o’er the fields,
And helms, and swords, and spears, and sanguine shields.
Huge piles of slaughter gathering round his course,
On Shimron Joshua wing’d his mighty force.
Like two red flames his vivid eye-balls glow,
And shoot fierce lightenings on th’ astonish’d foe;
Before, expanded, his meteorous shield 5.
Blaz’d a broad ruin thro’ the stormy field;
Round the wild war his flashing terrors fly;
Cars burst before him;–steeds, and heroes die.
So rush’d an angel down the midnight gloom,
When Egypt’s first-born sunk in one broad tomb; 10.
High in dark clouds th’ avenging Vision hung,
His path, like distant thunder, hoarsely rung;
Flames shot before him, whirlwinds roll’d around.
Bow’d the tall hills, and heav’d the trembling ground.
Not with less terror blaz’d the Leader on; 15.
‘Twas ruin all and one unbounded groan;
None look’d behind, none turn’d a hearkening ear;
Nor hills, nor streams impede the full career:
High o’er the ragged rocks they nimbly bound,
Dash thro’ the floods, and scower the level ground: 20.
First in the tumult, Youth impels his flight;
Springs o’er the field, and scapes pursuing night;
Pale Age with quivering limbs, and slow-drawn pace,
Feels the keen sword, and sinks beneath the chace.
Far distant, Zimri, like a sweeping storm,
Grim in the chariot rais’d his gloomy form;
Still on the hindmost fell his fateful sword;
Earth shook, air trembled, heaven with thunder roar’d
Oft, from the car descending to the plain, 5.
He stream’d, like lightening, o’er the ghastly slain,
Then swiftly rose, and on the heathens sped,
His wheels dark-rolling o’er th’ unnumber’d dead.
Meantime, with all the rage of combat fir’d,
While throngs of warriors round his steps expir’d;
While now, first disobedient to his call,
The balanc’d victory doubted where to fall:
While Caleb’s arm with youthful vigor warm’d, 5.
Sham’d Judah’s thousands and their vengeance arm’d:
From rank to rank impatient Jabin flew,
Drove these with threats, and those with praises drew.
But now the eastern plain loud thunders rend;
The shrill cars rattle; hoarser cries ascend;
Progressive clouds, in thickening volumes driven,
Roll tow’rd the south, and shade the dusty heaven.
From the tall car the Chief survey’d the field, 5.
And every circling scene at once beheld,
Even the far wood, with sudden flashes bright,
And the dire omens of tumultuous flight.
Around the war he cast a searching view,
Saw the day lost, and all its evils knew; 10.
Deep from his inmost soul burst forth a sigh,
And momentary sadness gloom’d his eye.
But soon his brow resum’d a cheerful grace,
And living ardour fir’d his artful face.
Full well the monarch knew that fears begun, 15.
From breast to breast, like glancing lightenings, run;
That one rank fled instructs a host to fly,
And cowards’ eyes teach heroes’ hearts to die–
Then, ere his friends the dire event divine,
Or Judah’s sons their kindred victors join, 20.
A wise retreat his mighty mind ordain’d,
And thus the rage of war his voice restrain’d.
Hear, all ye chiefs; brave Hazor’s bands that guide,
Your nation’s pillars, and your monarch’s pride.
Your matchless deeds this raptur’d eye has told, 25.
And fame’s bright hand to distant years enroll’d.
But see, o’er western hills the sun’s low fire
Cuts short the day, and bids the host retire.
Firm be your ranks, man fast inlock’d with man,
The rear led onward, fix’d the generous van; 30.
At once let chief with chief inspir’d combine,
And ‘gainst the foe extend th’ embattled line;
Brace firm the shield; the moveless spear protend;
Join hand and heart, and every rank defend.
Your prince behold; when Hazor claims the strife, 35.
My wounds are transport, and a toy my life.
The hero spoke: as by one soul inspir’d,
Swift to their well-known posts the chiefs retir’d;
At once, by banners rang’d, to brave the storm,
Firm, dreadful lines th’ experienc’d squadrons form.
Dire o’er the van-guard, shield with shield combin’d, 5.
Spear lock’d with spear, th’ undaunted leaders join’d;
‘Gainst Judah’s host, with ridgy terrors bright,
Rose a long wall, and flash’d a fearful light.
O’er the tremendous scene the Monarch’s car
Pour’d death around, and rul’d the grisly war: 10.
Fierce on the foe, where’er their steps pursue,
From rank to rank the mighty warrior flew;
Hearts form’d of stubborn steel his deeds appall;
The distant tremble, and the nearer fall;
Till Caleb’s voice commands the chace to stay, 15.
And yields his foes an unmolested way.
Then, still and slow, while Judah’s host admir’d,
In gloomy strength the sullen storm retir’d.
So, when in heaven propitious breezes rise.
And on the deep the nimble vessel flies,
Shagg’d with brown shades, that o’er the billows lower, 5.
In grim, dark pomp recedes the clifted shore;
Less seen, and less, the awful scenes decay,
And lost in blue confusion fade away.
With gore all hideous, and with dust imbrown’d,
In the dire front terrific Jabin frown’d;
His lifted arm prepar’d the fatal blow,
And menac’d vengeance to th’ approaching foe.–
So, forward driven by earth’s convulsive pangs, 5.
The tall, hoar cliff in dubious terror hangs;
High pois’d in dread suspense, its hovering brow
Lowers swift destruction on the world below:
Amaz’d, the swain, while sudden fears appall
Starts, as the tottering ruin seems to fall. 10.
Enjoy, he cried, imperious foes, enjoy
The fancied triumph, combat shall destroy:
But know, ye boasters, soon this arm shall tear
The short-liv’d crown, your haughty temples wear;
Soon your vain chiefs, your nation want a name, 15.
And all your glories sink in endless shame.
But now, sublime in crimson triumph borne,
The sacred standard mock’d th’ etherial morn;
Wide on the winds its waving splendors flow’d,
And call’d the warriors from the distant wood.
Behind great Joshua, Hazor’s sons to dare, 5.
Pour the bold thousands to the western war,
Beyond Ai’s walls, the lessening heathen train
In well-form’d squadrons cross the distant plain;
Part still in sight their shady files extend;
Part fill the wood, and part the hills ascend; 10.
To cease from toil the prudent Chief commands,
And balmy quiet sooths the wearied bands.
Half lost in mountain groves, the sun’s broad ray
Shower’d a full splendor round his evening way;
Slow Joshua strode the lovely Youth to find;
Th’ unwilling bands more slowly mov’d behind.
Soon as the matchless form arose to view, 5.
O’er their sad faces shone the sorrowing dew;
Silent they stood. To speak the Leader tried,
But the choak’d accents on his palate died.
His bleeding bosom beat with inward pains,
And leaden languors ran along his veins. 10.
Ah, best and bravest of thy race! he said,
And gently rais’d the pale, reclining head–
Lost are thy matchless charms, thy glory gone–
Gone is the glory which thy hand hath won.
In vain on thee thy nation cast her eyes; 5.
In vain with joy beheld thy light arise;
In vain she wish’d thy sceptre to obey;
Vain were her wishes; vain the destin’d sway.
Oh! Irad, loveliest Irad, nature’s pride!
Would Heaven, myself for thee, for thee had died! 10.
Nor more; the thoughts lay struggling in his breast;
But tears, expressive tears forbade the rest.
Borne by six chiefs, in silence, o’er the plain,
Fair Irad mov’d before the mournful train;
Great Joshua’s arm sustain’d his sword, and shield; 15.
Th’ afflicted thousands lengthening thro’ the field.
When, crown’d with flowers, the maidens at her side,
With gentle steps advanc’d great Caleb’s pride.
Her snowy hand, inspir’d by restless love,
Of the lone wild-rose two rich wreaths inwove; 20.
Fresh in her hand the flowers rejoic’d to bloom,
And round the fair-one shed a mild perfume.
O’er all the train her active glances rov’d;
She gaz’d, and gazing, miss’d the Youth she lov’d;
Some dire mischance her boding heart divin’d, 25.
And thronging terrors fill’d her anxious mind.
As near the host her quickening footsteps drew,
The breathless hero met her trembling view;
From her chill’d hand the headlong roses fell,
And life’s gay beauty bade her cheeks farewell; 30.
O’er her fair face unmeaning paleness sate,
And, sunk to earth, she felt no hapless fate.
With anguish Caleb saw her fading charms,
And caught the favourite in his hastening arms.
Reviv’d with piercing voice, that froze his soul,
She forc’d the big, round tear unwish’d to roll;
By all his love, besought him soon to lead 5.
Where cruel friendship snatch’d the lovely dead.
In vain the chief his anguish strove to hide,
Sighs rent his breast, and chill’d the vital tide.
To Joshua then, whose heart beside her mourn’d,
With gaze of keen distress, the charmer turn’d.–
Oh, generous Chief, to misery ever kind,–
Thou lov’st my sire–support his sinking mind!
Thy friendly wish delights to lessen woe– 5.
See how his tears for fallen Irad flow!
He claims thy friendship–generous hero, see,
Lost to himself, his fondness bleeds for me.–
To view the hapless Youth, distress’d he fears.
Would wound my soul, and force too copious tears. 10.
But lead, oh lead me, where the Youth is borne!
Calm is my heart, nor will my bosom mourn–
So cold that heart, it yields no pitying sigh–
And see no tear bedews this marbled eye.
She said, and look’d resistless; soft reclin’d
On Joshua’s arm, she forc’d his melting mind.
Pressing her hand, he trac’d a gentle way,
Where breathless Irad, lost in slumbers lay.
From the pale face his chilling hand withdrew 5.
The decent veil, and gave the Youth to view.
Fix’d o’er the form, with solemn gaze she hung,
And strong, deep sighs burst o’er her frozen tongue.
On Joshua then she cast a wishful look;
Wild was her tearless eye, and rolling spoke 10.
Anguish unutterable. Thrice she tried
To vent her woes, and thrice her efforts died.
At length, in accents of ecstatic grief,
Her voice bewilder’d, gave her heart relief.
Is this the doom we dread?–is this to die?
To sleep?–to feel no more?–to close the eye?–
Slight is the change–how vain the childish fear,
That trembles, and recoils, when death is near?
I too, methinks, would share the peaceful doom, 5.
And seek a calm repose in Irad’s tomb.
This breath I know, this useless breath must fail,
These eyes be darken’d, and this face grow pale–
But thou art pale, oh Youth! thy lot I crave,
And every grief shall vanish in the grave. 10.
She ceas’d, the tender chief without delay,
Soft pressing, kindly forc’d her steps away.
Slow tow’rd the camp, with solemn pace, they drew;
The corse moves on; the mournful bands pursue.
Pale Uzal follows, virtuous now no more; 5.
And brave Shelumiel, black with clotted gore.
Unnumber’d tears their hapless fate bewail,
And voice to voice resounds the dreadful tale.
But Irad, matchless Irad, call’d in vain,
Breathes wide a solemn sadness round the plain: 10.
Unhappy, to their tents the host retir’d,
And gradual; o’er the mountains day expir’d.
Evening. Interview between Selima and her parents. Morning. Distress of the Camp. Joshua directs Zimri to bury the dead. Funeral of Irad. Burial of the dead. Hareshab informs Joshua of a combination of the surrounding nations against Gibeon, and solicits his assistance. Story of Elam and Mina. Hareshab is directed to wait until the divine pleasure shall be known. Evening. Joshua walks out on the plain, northward of the camp, and hears Selima lamenting the death of Irad. Affected by the scene, he breaks out into a soliloquy on his distress, and is reproved by an angel, who delivers him a message from the Most High, and directs him to prepare for a vision of futurity.20.
NOW sober evening hung her curtains round,
And gloomy sadness brooded o’er the ground.
All pale, and solemn, rose the languid moon,
And shed a feeble twilight from her throne.
Sad in her tent, the feeling maiden sate, 5.
Fed on her woes, and sigh’d her hapless fate.
Dissolv’d in tears, her tender parents came,
To share her grief, and stay life’s parting flame.
Like dull, cold lights, that hover o’er the tomb,
A lone lamp languish’d round the silent room: 10.
Beside her couch, two lorn attendants stay’d,
And drooping, lingering, eyed th’ unconscious maid.
O’er the sad scene the pair attentive hung;
Then round the favourite form all-anxious clung:
Her tearless eye-balls scarce the virgin turn’d, 15.
But, fix’d in blank despair, her slumbering Irad mourn’d.
Awake! oh wake! the tender mother cry’d–
My child! my darling! nature’s loveliest pride!
Awake, and hear! oh hear thy mother’s call!
Behold these tears for thee in anguish fall! 20.
Ah see thy sire, with mighty woes oppress’d!
His sighs hard-bursting from his heaving breast!
Turn, turn thine eye! thy hapless parents save!
Nor speed our footsteps to the dreary grave!
She spoke. O’erwhelm’d in bitterness of fate,
Still the sweet maiden unregardful sate:
Fix’d on the parent, droop’d her failing eyes,
And deep, and heavy, heav’d her long-drawn sighs.
Again the mother, lost in sad amaze, 5.
Cast on her woes a strong, expressive gaze,
And thus–O child of parents once too bless’d!
Let not such anguish tear thy bleeding breast.
Swell not, with other pangs, thy miseries dire,
A dying mother, and a widow’d fire: 10.
The balm of patience summon to thy soul:
Let Heaven’s high voice excessive grief controul.
He call’d, from earth’s dark wild, the Youth away;
And call’d complacent, to the world of day.
To nobler scenes his mind seraphic flies, 15.
To bliss, to Hezron, angels, and the skies.
Thus spoke the parent. Struggling rose the fair,
And look’d unmeasur’d woe, and blank despair:
Again she languish’d; to the couch she fell,
And life sad-lingering seem’d to bid farewell.
Pierc’d to the soul, the tender father stood, 5.
And, lost in woes like her’s, the darling view’d,
He saw the mild reproof her sense recall,
Her strength revive her tears in silence fall;
A beam of glimmering hope his grief allay’d,
And thus, with grave, but gentle voice, he said– 10.
O child of love! sweet daughter of delight!
Let not that death-like gaze our souls affright.
Arise to thought! to sense, and reason, rise!
Nor dumb and marbled grieve against the Skies.
Such mighty woes no earthly loss requires; 15.
Not Irad claims them, nor true love inspires.
All is not lost; thy parents still survive:
And for thy bliss, and in thy life, they live.
He spoke. Again the virgin, whelm’d in woes,
With slow, and forceful effort feebly rose.
His voice rever’d arous’d her quickening soul,
Loos’d her sad tongue, and taught her tears to roll;
Pressing her mother’s hand, with head reclin’d, 5.
She thus disclos’d the anguish of her mind.
O best of parents, e’er to daughter given!
Lov’d, next to Irad! reverenc’d, next to Heaven!
Let not those frowns your hapless child destroy,
Bereft of every hope, and every joy! 10.
What hand, what power, can Irad’s breath restore?
Those eyes shall beam, that face shall smile, no more;
That voice ne’er warble music’s sweetest sound;
And that pale form must moulder in the ground.
‘Tis this, awakes the anguish of your mind; 15.
But ye can weep, and weep to Heaven resign’d.
Not so your daughter: form’d of feebler frame,
Grief rends her soul, and damps the vital flame.
Yet even her heart but shares the common pain,
Partakes the tears of all, and breathes their sighs again. 20.
For round all Israel cast attentive eyes,
And see for him the general anguish rise.
See his own son the childless fire forget;
The childless mother only weeps his fate:
His fate alone the virgin’s shrieks proclaim; 25.
And the poor, wailing infant lisps his name.
Even lifeless nature mourns him, wrapp’d in gloom,
O’ercast with woe and conscious of his tomb.
I saw the sun forlorn, and slow, retire;
I saw the silent evening sad expire; 30.
In shades of double gloom ascend the night,
And the stars languish, with a mournful light.
How cold yon moon extends her widow’d beam!
Announcing death, and pale with sickening gleam!
How faint her feeble glimmerings spread the plain! 35.
How still, and lonely, light the azore main!
While thus impassion’d, lifeless nature all,
In speechless sorrow, mourns the hero’s fall;
Shall I, belov’d, beyond all merit dear,
His best Selima, and his chosen fair,
Shall I, O sire! with common anguish weep? 5.
And o’er his grave, with dull indifference, sleep?
Dumb fields, and senseless forests would reprove
Such base oblivion of so bright a love.
Pleas’d, the great sire beheld her thoughts return,
And heard her melting accents Irad mourn;
And thus–O brightest, loveliest of thy kind,
Grac’d with each charm, that robes the angel’s mind,
More dear than ever child to sire was dear, 5.
As virtue lovely, and as truth sincere!
Think not thy parents on their darling frown,
Or feel a thought less tender than thy own.
Like thine, our wishes the bless’d Youth approv’d;
Like thee, we chose him, and like thee, we lov’d. 10.
But O all beauteous daughter! shall thy sire
Behold thee, whelm’d in boundless grief expire?
Or see thy life to hopeless anguish given?
Or hear thee murmur ‘gainst a righteous Heaven?
Again to earth could thy fond Youth remove, 15.
His heart would chide thee, and his voice reprove;
Bid thee, submissive, to thy Maker fall,
Embrace his hand, and wake at duty’s call;
Bid thee to him thy patient thoughts resign,
And blame thy wanderings, with a love like mine. 20.
From grief’s excess, thy parent would restrain,
Assert Heaven’s right, and fix the bounds of pain.
Ah sire rever’d! the pleading maid returns–
No common loss thy hapless daughter mourns.
Search the wide world. Can all her regions boast
One youth so fair, so bright, so early lost?
How Age admir’d him! how all Israel lov’d! 5.
The world applauded! and the Heavens approv’d!
His form was all, the brightest thoughts can frame;
His mind was all, the fondest wish can claim;
Whate’er is great, or good, or soft, or fair,
Refin’d, or lovely, fix’d its mansion there. 10.
Even he, whose hand the sacred sceptre bears,
Is but an Irad, of maturer years.
It is, O ’tis, as if, in yon fair clime,
Some prince of angels, bright in glory’s prime,
Transcending every peer, in worth supreme, 15.
Mitred with truth, and sunn’d with virtue’s beam,
In youth’s gay morn, in beauty’s endless bloom,
And life, superior to the potent tomb,
Had clos’d his smiles, while Heaven refus’d to save,
And sunk his glories in the dreary grave. 20.
What tears, for such a loss, would seraphs shed?
Tears, rich as theirs, should mourn their rival dead.
And where, O where shall poor Selima find
One beam of light to cheer her drooping mind?
All sad, I wander round the earth, and skies;
But no soft solace meets my failing eyes.
To friends I fly: those weeping friends I see 5.
Sunk in the deep despair, that buries me.
For him, O kindest, tenderest mother! rise
Thy heart-felt anguish, and thy hopeless sighs.
Thy tears, all-gentle sire! resistless shed,
Approve my grief, and weep the hero dead. 10.
No cheering hope your fondest love can give,
Sooth your sad child, or make her Irad live.
Then bid me mourn; this last relief bestow,
And yield my bosom to the peace of woe.
Oppress’d with grief, the feeling sire rejoin’d–
Sweet, lovely charmer of thy father’s mind!
From earth, from friends, thy hope can never flow;
Too poor, to yield the balm of real woe.
When real ills invade; when Want annoys; 5.
When hissing Shame, with lingering death destroys;
When pain torments, or sickness wastes our bloom;
Or friends too dear desert us, for the tomb:
This barren world no solace can supply:
But all earth’s portion is to weep, and die. 10.
Yet there are springs whence hope and comfort rise,
Springs of pure life, and flowing from the skies:
Thence gentle Mercy sends her treasures down;
And bright Religion makes the bliss her own.
To famish’d Want she spreads a boundless store, 15.
With that unbless’d, the heir of worlds is poor:
Repentant Shame she bids to crowns aspire,
Grace ever new, and glory ever higher:
On earth, in heaven, her wealth and honours rise,
Ennoble angels, and enrich the skies. 20.
Decay and Pain to cheerful peace she leads,
With patience arms them, and with comfort feeds;
And points the realms, where Health and Beauty bloom,
And Life, with smiles of triumph, braves the tomb.
When Friends, if Virtue’s friends from earth retire, 25.
And waste the bosom, with corroding fire;
She sees those friends again immortal live,
Rise from the grave, and dying worlds survive,
To each the form, the mind, of angels given,
Fair sons of light, and habitants of heaven. 30.
She too, and she alone, a Friend secures,
That through all times, and in all scenes, endures
At hand, to hear, to love, to bless, to save,
In life, and death, and worlds beyond the grave;
As heaven o’er earth sublime, all friends above, 35.
In power in wisdom, truth, and boundless love.
In grief, even vast as thine, her hand can heal,
And teach the heart its anguish not to feel.
Bright from the tomb, she sees thine Irad rise
To peace, and life, and glory in the skies;
One little moment separate from thy arms; 5.
Again to meet thee, with superior charms;
To hail thy rising soul, from realms above;
To smile as angels, and as Heaven to love.
Then, O thou child of truth! to her controul
Resign the tumults of thy troubled soul.
She on thy wounds shall shed her healing power,
Thy faith revive, thy wonted peace restore;
With softest music charm the passing day; 5.
Bid Heavenly visions o’er thee nightly play;
The tents of angels round thy curtains spread:
Invite the guardian cherub to thy bed;
Calm, with sweet slumbers, every stormy care,
And dry, with downy hand, the plaintive tear. 10.
She too shall life’s rough path with flowers adorn;
With spring’s mild splendor, cheer the wintry morn;
Thy yielding feet, in strong temptations save;
Welcome grim death, and triumph o’er the grave?
To brighter scenes, in happier regions, fly, 15.
And lift to thrones of glory, in the sky.
The parent spoke. The hapless maiden sate
Forlorn, and sad, bewailing Irad’s fate.
Silenc’d, but not reliev’d, her drooping mind
Fail’d not to sigh, nor yet to Heaven resign’d:
At length with vast, and heavy woes oppress’d, 5.
She sunk in slumbers of tumultuous rest.
Mild rose the morn; and, round the tented plain
The cries of thousands mourn’d their kindred slain.
In silent woe the hoary parent stood,
And wail’d his hopes, all sunk in fields of blood;
His sons, sweet charm of nature’s evil day, 5.
Fair light of age, and life’s most pleasing stay,
Now left him helpless, and alone, to find
Some foreign aid to sooth a drooping mind.
Strong pangs of sorrow fix’d his speaking eye,
And his rack’d heart heav’d deep the heavy sigh. 10.
The pale, sad widow cast a tender view
On her sweet race, and shed the plaintive dew.
Touch’d with her woes, the beauteous orphans mourn’d,
And artless tears their infant cheeks adorn’d.
The bride deplor’d a young, fond husband’s doom, 15.
Snatch’d from her arms, and banish’d to the tomb;
Her joys all ended in one dreadful day;
Her brightest hopes forever swept away;
No prospect left her, but long years of woe;
No wish, but ransom from these realms below. 20.
These scenes, with anguish, pierc’d the Leader’s breast,
Blank’d his fair prospects, and his soul depress’d.
Yet still, before the host, a cheerful grace,
With blameless art, array’d his tranquil face.
In all their pains, to him they cast their eyes; 5.
Like a fond sire, he heard their plaintive cries:
From his calm brow they caught the placid smile,
Forgot their miseries, and despis’d their toil.
Now in the silence of his tent, alone
He mourn’d their fears, and made their grief his own,
When Zimri came, with anxious care oppress’d,
And Joshua thus his faithful friend address’d.
Hear’st thou what sorrows fill the murmuring air?
The warriors’ groans? and terrors of the fair?
What tears of anguish every face bedew!
What throngs of orphans crowd upon the view!
Oh heavy, heavy pangs Jehovah’s hand 5.
On this sad heart, and on his chosen band!
Ah, where is Hezron? chief of spotless name!
His life so virtuous! and so pure his fame!
How soon, O pride of nature, art thou fled
To the dark, lonely mansions of the dead! 10.
How soon to thy compeers, thine angels, given,
All-beauteous Irad! fairest plant of heaven!
But still superior grace may point a way,
Through the long darkness to the promis’d day.
These mournful thoughts with prudent care conceal;
Nor let thy guarded brow a pain reveal.
Thy face they watch, the motions of thine eye,
Know all thy fears, and number every sigh.
When leaders smile, their looks the host inspire; 5.
Are leaders brave? the vulgar catch the fire;
With us they faint, they tremble, and they grieve;
With us they joy, they dare, they die, they live.
But now more solemn scenes thy care demand;
Choose twice ten thousand of the warrior band;
To yonder hapless field thy footsteps speed,
And pay the last, sad honours to the dead.
In one broad pit, our slaughter’d friends entomb; 5.
Nor grudge our foes the same unenvied doom:
Let men, let brave men, ne’er refuse the brave
The humble blessing of a peaceful grave.
I go, the darling hero’s fate to close,
And bid the matchless Youth a sweet repose:
‘Tis all we can, the friendly tear to shed,
And raise the light tomb o’er his lovely head.
With soft affections, thus the mighty Chief;
And Zimri slow retir’d, with answering grief.
Meantime, grave warriors, in black robes array’d,
And many a youth, and many a lovely maid,
Along the northern green, the Chief pursued; 5.
Flowers grac’d their hands, and tears their cheeks bedew’d
For now brave Irad clos’d his final doom,
Borne to his darksome, everlasting home.
Behind the bier, that slow, and solemn mov’d,
Pensive Selima follow’d him she lov’d;
On the sad coffin fix’d a stedfast eye;
Nor dropp’d a tear, nor breath’d a tender sigh.
Her dark-brown hair a wreath of roses crown’d; 5.
Her robes of sable flow’d along the ground:
A flower, just opening to the morning dew,
Blush’d in her hand, and brighten’d to the view.
Now in the grave the breathless Youth was laid:
Sadly serene advanc’d the lovely maid;
With speaking eyes, bewail’d her hapless doom,
And dropp’d the floweret in the lonely tomb.
High on the plain the funeral earth was spread; 5.
The turf’s gay verdure flourish’d o’er his head:
Each gentle face deplor’d his lot severe,
And spoke th’ expressive language of a tear.
Near the fair maiden stood th’ exalted Chief,
Fix’d in mute woe, and great in manly grief.
No ill-tim’d comfort would he strive to lend,
Nor ape the flatteries of the specious friend:
Yet the soft texture of his heart could feel– 5.
Why should he ope the wound he could not heal?
As thus their bosoms wail’d his hapless end,
And mourn’d, as each had lost his chosen friend;
Admir’d why Heaven had made such worth in vain,
And why confin’d it to the dreadful plain;
His generous deeds in deep dispair ran o’er, 5.
And saw him live, and speak, and act, no more;
Through the sad silence of the solemn scene,
The bands of Zimri cross’d the gloomy green.
Unnumber’d widows, on the field, they found,
Whose sons, whose husbands, strew’d the crimson ground: 10.
Slow mov’d the fair-ones round the dreadful plain,
Wash’d the black gore, and prov’d the countless slain;
And when the partners of their joys they knew,
They cleans’d their stiffen’d wounds in briny dew;
Wail’d their hard lot, that swept, in life’s gay bloom, 15.
Each hope, each rapture, to the sullen tomb;
With tears of anguish, envied earth its trust,
And grudg’d the grave the lov’d the precious dust.
Three days, above the undistinguish’d dead,
Their friends, and foes, the gather’d earth was spread.
A hill of stones, sad wound to human pride!
Just mark’d the place, where countless warriors died.
As there, in future years, the lonely swain
Drove his small flock, to feed the grass-grown plain,
Near the rough mass, in solemn thought, reclin’d,
Thus sad reflections fill’d his pondering mind.
Ah proud inglorious man! whose insect life 5.
Is lost in pain, in vanity, and strife.
What mighty toils, to gain immortal fame!
What wastes, what slaughters, build the darling name!
Yet this rude tomb, this shapeless pile, contains,
Of chiefs, of kings, the poor, the sole remains. 10.
This prize to win, must nations then expire?
And seats of peace, and joy, be whelm’d in fire?
Oh Heaven, in pity, loose the ties, that bind
To man’s black race, a just and honest mind!
Low sunk the sun. As now the chief return’d
From midst the camp, and hapless Israel mourn’d,
Hareshah sad, beside his tent, he found;
Prostrate he fell, and reverent kiss’d the ground.
Uprais’d by Joshua’s hand, again he stood, 5.
And thus his fears in plaintive accents flow’d.
Hail mighty prince! to thee alone tis given,
To taste the favour of indulgent Heaven;
To guide, with prosperous hand, the race he chose,
And hurl destruction on resisting foes. 10.
Thou know’st, with thee how Gibeon’s sons are join’d;
What views unite us, and what covenants bind;
This, through the circling realms by fame was sung,
And round each realm, th’ alarm of vengeance rung:
To waste her domes the general voice decreed, 15.
And millions haste t’ atchieve the barbarous deed.
Salem’s imperious sons, in proud array,
And haughtier Hebron, thither bend their way;
In martial pomp unnumber’d Lachish shines,
And Jarmuth brave with savage Eglon joins; 20.
With these, fierce nations speed from realms unknown,
Near the first glimmerings of the dawning sun.
There too, O Prince! tremendous Jabin stands,
Brings all his chiefs, and leads his veteran bands,
Wings the dread lightenings of the war around, 25.
And rolls his thunders o’er th’ embattled ground.
From these dread powers, so numerous, and so brave,
Nought less than Heaven, and thy own hand, can save.
Worne with long years, Aradon’s trembling arm
Ill wards the vengeance of so fierce a storm.
And,–O exalted Prince! prepare to hear 5.
A tale more sad than ever pierc’d thine ear–
In the dark grave is generous Elam laid,
And near him sleeps the Heaven-instructed maid.
How fell the lovely pair? the Leader cried;
And, with sad voice, the stranger chief replied.
When cheerful morn walk’d forth in golden air,
Rode the young hero, and his blooming fair,
With nimble hounds, that bade the forest roar; 5.
To chace the buck, to wound the bristly boar;
On two white steeds they bounded o’er the plain,
And gayly round them pranc’d a youthful train.
No coats of steely mail their limbs invest;
No buckler sparkles o’er the fearless breast; 10.
Thro’ sylvan shades they trac’d an easy way:
Each mind was sunshine, and each face was gay.
At once, with dreadful din before them rose
The trump of death, and shout of savage foes.
From the thick covert burst a barbarous throng,
Rang clashing arms, and scream’d a hideous song;
His gallant friends, a young, but chosen few, 5.
The prince, serenely brave, around him drew;
With firm, bold breasts, they fought, and at his side
In death they triumph’d, for with him they died.
As thro’ his bosom sung the fatal steel,
He rais’d his hand, and wav’d along farewell:
On the sweet maid his eye all-wishful hung,
And half-form’d accents ceas’d upon his tongue.
Quick round the youth a tender arm she threw, 5.
Fell as he fell, and wish’d to perish too.
The quivering form she press’d, in icy death,
Kiss’d his pale lips, and suck’d his parting breath.
No more her careless thoughts attempt to fly;
No more her ear attends the horrid cry: 10.
Close to the wound her snowy hand applied
Withdrew the lance, and stopp’d the purple tide.
A grim barbarian to the fair-one came,
Pierc’d her white side, and forc’d the vital stream;
With one weak gasp, on Elam’s bosom laid, 15.
Her bloom all vanish’d, and her spirit fled.
In distant fields, we heard the trumpet’s sound,
And strode impatient to the fatal ground.
On the sad scene, by favouring shrubs conceal’d,
A youth, unarm’d, the dire event beheld:
He, drown’d in tears, disclos’d the fierce affray, 5.
And shew’d where Mina, and her Elam, lay.
On the cold earth, the wither’d leaves he press’d;
The fair yet panting at his lifeless breast.
Her hand was feebly laid against the spear,
Still in her side, and in her eye a tear. 10.
So blooms a flower beside th’ autumnal stream,
And waves, and wantons, in the solar beam,
Nor knows the frost, that in the midnight sky
Lurks for its charms, and bids its beauty die.
The hapless pair in snow-white robes array’d,
To the same grave our friendly hands convey’d.
Kind youths, and virgins, there at dawn appear,
Strew fragrant flowers, and drop the tender tear;
There the sad wild rose yields its withering bloom, 5.
And melancholy music mourns their doom.
Pierc’d thro’ his thigh, and weltering on the ground,
A savage wretch, beneath an oak, we found.
By favours won, he shew’d th’ impending doom,
What bands are gather’d, and what heroes come. 10.
To spy these realms, he cried, from Hebron’s land,
Thro’ many a forest rov’d our warlike band,
Led by bold Hoham, from far distant shores,
Thence countless hosts invade yon shining towers;
There giant Zedeck’s lofty car is roll’d; 15.
There beams young Piram in refulgent gold;
High rais’d in air, ten thousand standards play,
And chiefs unnumber’d hail the deathful day.
Thus spoke the wretch. As o’er yon mountain’s brow
I steer’d my path, and eyed the world below,
From distant fields, the trump’s approaching sound
Wav’d o’er the plains, and fill’d the groves around;
Swift tow’rd the walls long, dusty volumes came, 5.
And dreadful gleams of interrupted flame;
On high the banners danc’d; a mighty train,
With lines immeasurable, hid the plain.
Oh, by the covenant, which thy voice hath given,
By the blest favour of all-bounteous Heaven,
That Heaven, which makes thee his peculiar care,
Aid our weak race, and grant our righteous prayer!
Thus mourn’d the chief, while Caleb slow drew nigh,
His anguish’d bosom heaving many a sigh;
His soul, in silence, mourn’d the hapless pair,
All-lovely Irad and his beauteous fair;
When Joshua sad the hoary sage address’d– 5.
Great prince, this night Hareshah is thy guest.
His voice a mournful tale from Gibeon brings;
How ‘gainst her walls Canäan arms her kings.
Our aid he claims; an aid by covenant doe;
But ah, what griefs our hapless race pursue! 10.
Again th’ Eternal arm our course withstands,
Cuts off our chiefs, and slays our hapless bands.
First Hezron slept: then virtuous Uzal fell,
And brave Shelumiel bade the world farewel,
Next lovely Irad found a hapless doom; 15.
And now sweet Mina seeks an early tomb.
Should still new courses unadvis’d be tried,
Fresh wrath may kindle, and fresh ills betide.
Let then this chief in peace with thee retire,
‘Till Heaven his counsels, and our course, inspire. 20.
He spoke. Hareshah with the sage withdrew,
While the sun lingering slowly left the view;
The mourning Hero sought a slight repose,
And broken slumbers o’er his eye-lids rose.
Now Night, in vestments rob’d of cloudy die,
With sable grandeur cloth’d the orient sky,
Impell’d the sun, obsequious to her reign,
Down the far mountains to the western main:
With magic hand, becalm’d the solemn even, 5.
And drew day’s curtain from the spangled heaven.
At once the planets sail’d around her throne;
At once ten thousand worlds in splendor shone:
Behind her car, the moon’s expanded eye
Rose from a cloud, and look’d around the sky: 10.
Far up th’ immense her train sublimely roll,
And dance, and triumph, round the lucid pole.
Faint shine the fields, beneath the shadowy ray;
Slow fades the glimmering of the west away;
To sleep the tribes retire; and not a sound 15.
Flows through the air, or murmurs on the ground.
The Chief, arising, o’er the darksome green
Turn’d his slow steps, and view’d the splendid scene;
With wondering gaze, survey’d the vaulted even,
The half-seen world, and all the pomp of Heaven.
Wide arch’d the palace of th’ Almighty hand, 5.
Its walls far-bending o’er the sea, and land:
Round the vast roof, from antient darkness sprung,
In living pride, immortal tapers hung:
The lamp on high an endless lustre shed,
And earth’s broad pavement all beneath was spread. 10.
From distant hills, red flames began to rise,
Topp’d the tall towers, and climb’d the kindling skies:
Thick stream’d the transient stars; and all around
A still, mild glory rob’d the twilight ground.
Now tow’rd the north he bent his wandering way,
Each scene revolving of the busy day,
When lo! soft sounds his startled ear assail,
Soft as the whisper of the flowing gale.
Now mournful murmurs slowly-pensive rise; 5.
Now languid harmony in silence dies:
Now nobler strains, with animating fire,
Warm the bold raptures of the living lyre.
Whither, O whither is thy beauty gone!
To what far region? to what world unknown?
No lone, drear shades of everlasting gloom,
Verg’d on the confines of the icy tomb,
No frozen climes, extend impervious bounds, 5.
Confine thy walks, and bar thy active rounds,
Forbid thy upward flight at large to rove,
And climb the mountains of eternal love.
Far other scenes thy lovely spirit claim;
Far other mansions own thy lasting fame.
Borne on light wings, I see thy guardian come,
Unchain thy mind, and point the starry home:
With joy, he clasps thee in immortal arms, 5.
Waves his young plumes, and smiles etherial charms;
Through fields of air, he wins his purple way,
And rosy choirs, delighted, round him play.
There, o’er bright realms, and pure, unchanging skies,
Suns gayly walk, and lucid morns arise;
Crown’d with new flowers, the streams perpetual roll,
And living beauty blooms around the pole.
Will there, alas! the soft enchantment end? 5.
And can no love to those fair climes ascend?
It can; it will; for there the bless’d improve
Their minds in joy, and where’s the joy, but love?
Canst thou forget, when, call’d from southern bowers,
Love tun’d the groves, and spring awak’d the flowers,
How, loos’d from slumbers by the morning ray,
O’er balmy plains we bent our frequent way?
On thy fond arm, with pleasing gaze, I hung, 5.
And heard sweet music murmur o’er thy tongue;
Hand lock’d in hand, with gentle ardour press’d,
Pour’d soft emotions through the heaving breast,
In magic transport heart with heart entwin’d,
And in sweet languors lost the melting mind. 10.
‘Twas then, thy voice, attun’d to wisdom’s lay,
Shew’d fairer worlds, and trac’d th’ immortal way;
In virtue’s pleasing paths my footsteps tried,
My sweet companion, and my skillful guide;
Through varied knowledge taught my mind to soar, 5.
Search hidden truths, and new-found walks explore:
While still the tale, by nature learn’d to rove,
Slid, unperceiv’d to scenes of happy love.
‘Till weak, and lost, the faltering converse fell,
And eyes disclos’d what eyes alone could tell; 10.
In rapturous tumuls bade the passions roll.
And spoke the living language of the soul.
With what fond hope, through many a blissful hour,
We gave the soul to fancy’s pleasing power;
Lost in the magic of that sweet employ
To build gay scenes, and fashion future joy!
We saw mild Peace o’er fair Canäan rise, 5.
And shower her pleasures from benignant skies.
On airy hills our happy mansion rose,
Built but for joy, nor room reserv’d for woes.
Round the calm solitude, with ceaseless song.
Soft roll’d domestic ecstasy along: 10.
Sweet as the sleep of Innocence, the day,
By raptures number’d, lightly danc’d away:
To love, to bliss, the union’d soul was given,
And each, too happy! ask’d no brighter heaven.
Yet then, even then, my trembling thoughts would rove, 15.
And steal on hour from Irad, and from love,
Through dread futurity all-anxious roam.
And cast a mournful glance on ills to come.
Hope not, fond maid, some voice prophetic cried–
A life, thus wasted down th’ unruffled tide: 20.
Trust no gay, golden doom, from anguish free,
Nor wish the laws of Heaven revers’d for thee.
Survey the peopled world; thy soul shall find
Woes, ceaseless woes, ordain’d for poor mankind.
Life’s a long solitude, an unknown gloom, 25.
Clos’d by the silence of the dreary tomb.
For soon, ah soon shall fleet thy pleasing dreams;
Soon close the eye, that, bright as angels, beams
Grace irresistible. To mouldering clay
Shall change the face, that smiles thy griefs away;
Soon the sweet music of that voice be o’er, 5.
Hope cease to charm, and beauty bloom no more:
Strange, darksome wilds, and devious ways be trod,
Nor love, nor Irad, steal thy heart from God.
And must the hours in ceaceless anguish roll?
Must no soft sunshine cheer my clouded soul? 10.
Spring charm around me brightest scenes, in vain?
And Youth’s angelick visions wake to pain?
Oh come once more, with fond endearments come;
Burst the cold prison of the sullen tomb;
Thro’ favourite walks, thy chosen maid attend; 15.
Where well-known shades for thee their branches bend:
Shed the sweet poison from thy speaking eye;
And look those raptures, lifeless words deny!
Still be the tale rehears’d, that ne’er could tire;
But, told each eve, fresh pleasure could inspire: 20.
Still hop’d those scenes, which love and fancy drew;
But, drawn a thousand times, were ever new!
Yet cease, fond maid; ’tis thine alone to mourn:
Yield the bright scenes, that never can return.
Thy joys are fled, thy smiling morn is o’er;
Too bless’d in youth, thou must be bless’d no more.
The hope, that brighten’d, with all-pleasing ray, 5.
Shone, but to charm, and flatter’d, to betray.
No more fair Irad heeds my tender strain;
Dull is the voice, that never call’d in vain;
Vain the cold languish of these once lov’d eyes;
And vain the fond desire, that bids him rise.
In life’s gay scenes, their highest grace before. 5.
Thy mind, O Youth divine! must share no more;
Alike unnotic’d, joys and tumults roll,
Nor these disturb, nor those delight, thy soul.
Again all bright shall glow the morning beam;
Again soft suns dissolve the frozen stream:
Spring call young breezes from the southern skies,
And, cloath’d in splendor, flowery millions rise,
In vain to thee–No morn’s indulgent ray 5.
Warms the cold mansion of the slumbering clay.
No mild etherial gale, with tepid wing,
Shall fan thy locks, or wast approaching spring:
Unfelt, unknown, shall breathe the rich perfume,
And unhear’d music wave around thy tomb. 10.
A cold, dumb, dead repose invests thee round;
Still as the void, ere nature form’d a sound.
O’er thy dark region, pierc’d by no kind ray,
Slow roll the long, oblivious hours away.
In these wild walks, this solitary round, 5.
Where the pale moon-beam lights the glimmering ground
At each sad turn, I view thy spirit come,
And glide, half-seen, behind a neighbouring tomb;
With visionary hand, forbid my stay,
Look o’er the grave, and beckon me away. 10.
But vain the wish; for still, around thy tomb,
This faithful hand shall bid the wild rose bloom;
Each lonely eve, Selima hither rove,
And pay the tribute of unalter’d love;
Till, O fond, lovely youth! these eyes shall close, 5.
Seal’d in the silence of a long repose:
Beneath one turf our kindred bodies lie,
And lose, unpain’d, this melancholy sky.
With thee, well-pleas’d, the final pang I’ll brave;
With thee Death smile, and lightsome be the grave; 10.
O’er earth’s broad fields, till heavens forget to reign,
And suns benighted vanish in the main;
This dark recess the cherub then shall find,
And wake a form, angelic as thy mind.
Distress’d, kind Joshua heard her moving strain,
But still walk’d onward o’er the shady plain;
Why should his face her mournful thoughts molest,
Tho’ soft compassion warm’d his feeling breast;
No comfort could he lend, nor joy impart, 5.
While slumbering Irad own’d her tender heart.
And now his footsteps slow and softly rove,
Thro’ the black silence of th’ extended grove;
Alternate moon-beams feebly pierce the shade,
And o’er his path a glimmering horror spread;
Strange, awful objects dimly rise around, 5.
And forms unfinish’d cloath the gloomy ground.
With mournful thoughts the prospect well combin’d,
And sooth’d the wanderings of a drooping mind.
Around he cast his melancholy eyes,
And pleas’d, beheld the solemn scenes arise; 10.
Scenes tun’d in concert with his sadden’d soul,
To grief resign’d, and pity’s soft controul;
The gloom, the silence, gave a kind relief;
Peace sprung from trouble, and delight from grief?
His heart impassion’d mourn’d his daughter’s doom, 15.
Her charms, her virtues, banish’d to the tomb.
Then hapless Irad all his woes renew’d,
And copious tears afresh his checks bedew’d:
At length, the tumults of his struggling breast
Unwish’d, unbidden accents thus express’d. 20.
Oh, when shall Israel’s countless sorrows cease?
And war once more resign to lasting peace?
Each rising morn, more dreadful woes appear.
And each sad evening prompts a larger tear.
Why did pale terror Judah’s race appal? 5.
Why princes, chiefs, and generous thousands fall?
Ah! why did Heaven to me commit the sway,
And bid his sons this feeble arm obey?
Oh had the Power divine for me ordain’d
Some humble mansion, in a lonely land; 10.
Where the trump’s voice was never never heard;
Nor falchion drawn, nor savage slaughter fear’d!
In quiet then my life had pass’d away,
Bless’d without pride, and without splendor gay;
In death, my soul serenely met her doom, 15.
And my own children built my humble tomb.
At once a wild, and visionary sound,
With sudden murmurs, fill’d the grove around;
The strange alarm now loud and louder grew,
And through the forest bursting splendor flew;
A Form, the brightest of the morning choir, 5.
Drew near, in all the pomp of heavenly fire;
Twelve stars of glory crown’d his awful head;
His sun-bright eyes the forky lightening shed;
Serene, but dreadfully serene, he stood,
And a dire trembling seiz’d the conscious wood. 10.
As when a storm the dark horizon fills,
Long, solemn thunders roll o’er distant hills;
So, from the Vision’s voice, a fearful sound
Appall’d his ear, and shook the startled ground.
Chief of thy race! from heaven’s eternal King, 15.
At his command, this sacred charge I bring.
I am the Lord. I form’d the earth, and sky,
Illum’d the fun, and hung his flames on high;
Bade worlds, in millions, star th’ etherial plain,
And built the secret chambers of the main. 20.
My voice, the heaven, and heaven of heavens obey;
And Ocean, Earth, and Hell, confess my sway.
Through worlds, on worlds, in Being’s mighty bounds,
That roll through space’ illimitable rounds;
Where skies, o’er skies, unmeasur’d arches bend, 25.
And stars, o’er stars, in endless pride ascend;
Where the sun’s searching beam hath never ray’d,
Nor scarce an angel’s pinion’d fancy stray’d;
My power, my wisdom, with divine controul,
Surveys, preserves, directs and moves, the whole. 30.
All these, with all their scenes, th’ eternal Mind,
Ere angels sung, or heaven began, design’d.
Whate’er my voice ordain’d to being came,
Touch’d by th’ immortal, all-inspiring flame.
In all, though man, with vain, benighted eye, 35.
Of insect ken, unnumber’d blots descry,
From hell’s deep caves, to heaven’s sublimest bound,
No stain, no fault, no error, can be found.
Whose thoughts shall then my boundless wisdom blame?
Whose wishes rise against my holy Name?
My spirit form’d thee in the silent womb,
And wrote, with Mercy’s hand, thy favourite doom;
Thy soul awak’d, thy infant limbs inspir’d, 5.
With truth illum’d thee, and with virtue fir’d;
Bade all my sons thy sceptred rule obey,
And stretch’d thy glory with the solar ray.
And shall thy heart my bounteous hand distrust,
And mourn that warriors mingle with the dust? 10.
What though brave Irad from the world retir’d,
Tho’ numerous bands around his steps expir’d;
Without a sear, without a pang, resign;
That virtuous Youth, and all those bands, were mine.
With songs the grace adore, that rais’d thy mind, 15.
From the low confines of the bestial kind,
Where countless throngs plod on their base pursuits,
Above, and just above, their kindred brutes,
To that sublimest honour, man can know,
To bless my sons, and shew my praise, below. 20.
Forgive, O Heaven! forgive–the Hero cried;
And milder thus the Vision’s voice replied.
O Chief of Israel! let no rebel thought
Accuse the wonders, God’s right hand hath wrought.
While his almighty arm thy course sustains, 5.
Ask not what numbers crowd embattled plains.
From the broad circuit of her various lands,
He call’d to fight Canäan’s countless bands:
He bids thee fearless tempt the martial field,
And trust the covert of his guardian shield. 10.
For there, in virtue’s cause, thy God shall arm,
And pour the vengeance of the baleful storm;
The sun stand still; the moon thy voice obey;
And the bright angel sweep thy foes away.
But now to nobler scenes thy views extend!
See long futurity in pomp ascend!
The varying doom of Israel’s wayward race;
How truth exalts them, and how crimes debase;
Their arts, their arms, their towns, and towers, behold, 5.
Fields of fair flocks, and domes inchas’d with gold!
High Heaven around them spreads his blessings far
Or proves, and scourges, with vindictive war!
There too, successive, see the wonders rise,
That guard, and bless, the Children of the skies; 10.
Thy own bright Israel; Heaven’s immortal race,
Sav’d by his Son, and sainted by his grace;
To Jacob’s chosen seed at first confin’d,
Then wide, and wider, spread to all mankind!
With more than mortal ken, thy raptur’d soul 15.
Shall see far distant times in vision roll;
When Abraham’s sons, from earth’s remotest end,
To Salem’s heaven-topp’d mountains shall ascend;
When round the poles, where frozen splendors play,
In noontide realms, that bask in brighter day, 20.
On spicy shores, where beauteous morning reigns,
Or Evening lingers o’er her favourite plains,
From guilt, from death, reviving nations rise,
And one vast hymn of transport fills the skies.
Beyond these scenes, shall nobler wonders shine, 25.
Climes of sweet peace, and years of joy divine,
Where truth’s fair sons extend the golden wing
Thro’ morn e’er-rising, ever changing spring;
Where unborn Beauty, round whose awful throne,
All splendors fade, and suns are dark at noon, 30.
Smiles o’er broad regions ever-brightening day,
Fair nature quickening in th’ ecstatic ray:
The soul, pure effluence of th’ all-beaming Mind,
With virtue diadem’d, with truth refin’d,
With bliss supreme, with radiance yet unknown, 35.
Begins, a star, and brightens to a sun;
Life, Love, and Rapture, blossom in her sight,
And Glory triumphs o’er the world of light.
Vision of futurity. Prospect of the land of Canäan. Prosperous events after the war is finished. Apostacy after the death of Joshua, and consequent judgements. Troubles by Cushan-rishathaim, Hazor, Midian, Ammon, and the Philistines. Samson. Civil War. Philistines’ Kings. David’s combat with Goliath. War with Ammon, and Syria. Joab. David’s glory. Jerusalem. Temple-Dedication. Solomon. Division of the kingdom. Destruction of Israel by Shalmaneser, and of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Restoration. Messiah. his Birth Baptism, Miracles, Trial, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Preaching of the Gospel by the Apostles, and succeeding Ministers. Prospect of America. Slavery of the eastern Continent. Glory of the Western Millennium. Calling of the Jews. Signs which forebode the end of the World. Resurrection, Conflagration, General Judgement, and consummation of all things. Prospect of heaven, and a happy immortality. Angel departs, and Joshua returns to the camp.21.
THE Vision ceas’d. At once the forest fled,
At once an unknown region round them spread,
Like the still sabbath’s dawning light serene,
And fair as blissful Eden’s living green.
High on a hill they stood, whose cloudy brow 5.
Look’d o’er th’ illimitable world below.
In shining verdure eastern realms withdrew,
And hills and plains, immingling, fill’d the view:
From southern forests rose melodious sounds;
Tall northern mountains stretch’d cerulean bounds; 10.
West, all was sea; blue skies, with peaceful reign,
Serene roll’d round th’ interminable plain.
Then thus the Power. To thee, bless’d man, ’tis given,
To know the thoughts of all-considering Heaven:
Scenes form’d eternal in th’ unmeasur’d Mind, 15.
In yon bright realms, for Abraham’s race design’d,
While the great promise stands in heaven secure,
Or earth, or seas, or skies or stars endure.
He spoke. At once a spacious land is seen,
Bright with young cornfields, and with pastures green;
Fair shine the rivers; fair the plains extend;
The tall woods wave, and towering hills ascend;
Ten thousand thousand flocks around them spread, 5.
Sport o’er the lawns, and crop the verdant blade;
Bless’d swains with music charm their useful toil,
The cheerful plowmen turn the sable soil;
The vine, glad offspring of the sun, aspires,
And smiles, and purples, in th’ indulgent fires; 10.
The vales, with humble pride, gay cots adorn,
And pleasure dances in the beams of morn;
Spring, hand in hand with golden Autumn join’d
Lives in the flowers, and wantons in the wind.
Then spacious towns exalt their stately spires,
Bend their long walls, and light unnumber’d fires;
Here all the pomp of haughty structures shines,
Youth crowds the dance, and Age in council joins;
There, built by virtue, smoking altars rise, 5.
And clouds of incense fill the morning skies.
When thus the Hero–Say, O Power divine!
What bright and happy scenes before me shine,
Tell, if these regions Israel’s bliss display,
And flocks, and fields, and cities own their sway. 10.
Just are thy thoughts–the Seraph’s voice return’d,
While rosy beauty round his aspect burn’d,
In these fair climes shall Israel fix her seat,
End her long toils, and find a calm retreat,
Then all the blessings, mortals here can know, 5.
From God’s good hand, in plenteous streams, shall flow.
In purest beams shall genial suns descend;
And moons, and stars, their softest radiance lend:
The gales waft health: kind showers the plains renew;
Morn yield her fragrance; eve her balmy dew; 10.
With autumn’s prime the wintery frost conspire;
With springs mild influence summer’s scorching fire;
To nurse the land of virtue’s lov’d recess,
And bless the nation, Heaven delights to bless.
These scenes of blissful peace shalt thou enjoy,
Nor grief disturb, nor circling foes annoy.
But when death calls thee to divine abodes,
They fly from Heaven, and seek Canäan’s gods;
To stocks, to stones, with stupid reverence, bow, 5.
Burst every tie, and perjure every vow.
Then war shall thunder from the realms around;
Then suns malignant parch the sterile ground;
The fields shall waste; the flocks to dust decay,
And fierce diseases sweep their tribes away. 10.
Yet shall his bounty sainted guardians raise,
And shed rich blessings on their peaceful days;
Wak’d to new life, the land forget to mourn,
And fruitful seasons to the plains return.
Behold these scenes expanding to thy soul! [Footnote:
From orient realms what blackening armies roll!
See their proud Monarch, in yon glimmering car, 5.
Leads his strong host, and points the waste of war.
Till, rais’d by Heaven, the youth, whose early bloom,
Gives a fair promise of his worth to come,
That second Irad, Othniel, lifts his hand,
And sweeps the heathens from his wasted land. 10.
In awful pomp, see Hazor’s bands arise, [Footnote:
Shade the far plains, and lower along the skies!
An unborn Jabin sways those spacious shores, 5.
And on these climes that raging deluge pours.
The little band, thou seest thy nation sends;
Lo, how the host innumerable bends!
Before Jehovah’s wrath the millions fly,
Drop their weak arms, and lift a lessening cry. 10.
Behold, in southern skies, what clouds appear! [Footnote:
There Midian’s sons the bloody standard rear:
Before them, Ruin marks her ravag’d way; 5.
Fire sweeps the plains, and smoke involves the day!
Behold yon Angel, rapt on wings of light,
Flames, like a meteor, down the face of night!
His fearful hand accelerates their doom,
And their own weapons plunge them to the tomb. 10.
Beyond fair Jordan, that broad, azure stream, [Footnote:
What moony shields, what throngs of lances, gleam!
In long, dark lines, see Jephthah’s spreading host 5.
Benight the heavens, and dusk the shady coast!
Lo, wing’d with fear, the ranks of Ammon yield,
Mount their bright cars, and fly the sanguine field!
From those dread scenes, now southward turn thine eyes; [Footnote:
Behold, what clouds of Philistines arise!
Ordain’d the terror of Canäan’s climes, 5.
The sting of guilt, the scourge of daring crimes;
Illum’d with spears, the gloomy squadrons roll,
Dust shades their path, and darkness hides the pole.
See Gaza’s thousands, rang’d in black array, [Footnote:
Spread their wide volumes on the setting day!
Behold brave Samson sweep the dreadful plain! 5.
Their falchions flame, their spears are hurl’d, in vain;
Swift from his fateful arm their squadrons fly,
And shields behind them glimmer on the sky.
Now, where yon haughty pile in pomp ascends,
His strong-wrought nerves the eyeless hero bends;
The columns shake, the cloudy temple falls,
And dusty ruin veils the smoking walls,
See, where proud Gibeah’s turrets strike the skies, *
On every side embattled armies rise!
There Civil Discord calls her sons to war,
And waves her banner through the troubled air;
Against one tribe the swords of all unite, 5.
Destruction hovering o’er the crimson fight.
See, like a storm, the Philistines again *
Roll o’er yon hills, and crowd the darkening plain!
Lo Israel flees! the haughty heathens dare,
Pollute the ark; nor know th’ Almighty’s there.
The sacred Prophet lifts his suppliant hands, 5.
And calls down vengeance on the impious bands;
Aghast they hear tremendous thunders rise,
And from the lightenings turn their trembling eyes;
The fields are redden’d with a sanguine die,
The vanquish’d triumph, and the victors fly. 10.
Thus scenes of varied life thy nation prove,
Restrain their crimes, and fix their wandering love.
At length, impatient of their Maker’s hand,
Their tribes, with union’d voice; a king demand.
First chosen to the throne, of truth forlorn, 5.
Blasting the promise of his opening morn,
Saul, impious tyrant, holds the sacred sway,
And Israel’s hapless sons his rod obey.
But now the scenes a longer view demand;
Behold what wonders to thine eyes expand! 10.
The hero gaz’d; at once two mountains rose, *
O’erspread by squadrons of embattled foes.
Proud, from the southern hill a giant strode,
Dar’d his pale foes, and brav’d the arm of God.
Vast were his limbs, for war and ruin made; 5.
His towering stature cast a long, dark shade;
His eye glar’d fury, and his buckler’s gleam,
Flam’d, like a cloud before the setting beam.
A youth, in nature’s prime, oppos’d his arm,
To the dire threatenings of the lowering storm: 10.
Soft round his aspect rosy beauty smil’d,
Bold but not rash, and without terror mild.
By his strong hand, like rapid lightening, flung,
Full on the giant’s front a pebble sung;
Like some tall oak, the mighty warrior fell, 15.
And with shrill thunders rang his clashing steel.
At once the heathens fled; their foes pursued,
And boundless death the crimson fields bestrew’d.
Then thus the Guide–Here David’s skilful hand,
Sinks vast Goliath in the bloody sand.
Call’d, from the peace of sylvan shades unknown,
To rule an empire, and to mount a throne,
This beauteous youth shall stretch a prosperous sway, 5.
And bid wide realms, and conquer’d kings, obey;
Where fertile shores the proud Euphrates laves,
Where yon broad ocean rolls its lucid waves,
Beyond the limits of the Syrian reign,
Or where far southward spreads the crimson main. 10.
Behold, in dreadful pomp, from northern skies, *
What gloomy clouds, what thronging squadrons rise!
Kings in the flaming van exalt their forms,
Borne in swift cars, and wrapp’d in dazzling arms;
Here Ammon’s sons unnumber’d crowd the fields; 5.
There Syria’s millions wave their glimmering shields.
See Israel moves in glory to the fight!
See Joab, circled with a blaze of light!
His lofty port, his firm, undaunted eye,
Shoot terror round, and bid the millions fly.
Again what crowds the distant plains invade!
How the world darkens in the sable shade!
Aloft in air the dancing banners fly,
And throngs of lances tremble in the sky.
High in the front majestic David stands,
Leads on the conquest, and the fight commands,
Bids death before him sweep the dreadful plain,
And rolls his chariot o’er th unnumber’d slain.
Nor less shall peace adorn his righteous sway;
The proud shall tremble, and the rich obey;
With equal hand, great Justice hold the scale;
In every council Wisdom’s voice prevail;
The fields grow fat, beneath the culturing hand, 5.
And smiling plenty wanton round the land.
Then spacious towns, with wealth and pomp supplied,
Shall bend long walls and lift their spiry pride;
O’er all imperial Salem’s splendors rise,
The boast of earth, and emblem of the skies. 10.
He spoke: tall mountains rear their summits high,
Crown’d with fair spires, that vanish in the sky;
Upheave huge walls: imperial arches bend,
And golden turrets to the clouds ascend.
So, when dun night begins in heaven to rise, 5.
A long, dark cloud surrounds the northern skies;
Forth from its spacious womb effulgent stream
Tall spires of glory, columns bright of flame;
There shine gay walls illumin’d towers ascend,
Wave round th’ immense, and o’er the concave bend; 10.
Expanding, reddening, the proud pomp aspires,
And stars faint-tremble through the wonderous fires.
Thus wide, thus bright, the splendid scene expands,
Rich with the treasures of surrounding lands;
The long streets wind; the lofty domes ascend; 15.
Fair gardens bloom, and crystal fountains bend;
From flowery millions rich perfumes arise,
Load the sweet gales, and breathe upon the skies.
There, crown’d with towers, and wrapp’d in golden pride, [Footnote:
A bursting dome the wondering Chief descried,
On eastern hills its front aerial stood, 5.
Look’d o’er the walls, and distant regions view’d;
There glow’d the beauty of the artists’ mind;
There gates, there spires, there columns, he design’d;
There, with strong light, etherial wisdom shone,
There blended glories mock’d the noonday sun, 10.
A bright, celestial grandeur towers display’d;
And verdant courts, expansive, round them spread.
There call’d from circling realms, a gladsome train,
In gayest robes, unnumber’d, hid the plain.
Soft rose their songs; the harp’s bewildering sound, 15.
Breath’d mild inchantment through the domes around,
On shining altars gifts of virtue lay,
Rich incense fum’d, and smoke embrown’d the day.
High o’er the rest, a prince majestic stood,
And robes of splendor loosely round him flow’d; 20.
Spread were his hands; his face, to earth declin’d,
Spoke the calm raptures of a pious mind;
His voice, on balmy winds, like incense, driven,
Rose, sweetly fragrant, to approving heaven:
At once, as earthquakes, rumbling, rock the ground, 25.
Slow roll’d a long, deep roar the dome around;
O’er the tall towers a cloud convolving spread,
Bedimm’d the skies, and wrapp’d the world in shade;
Fierce from its womb terrific lightenings came,
The gifts exhaling in the rapid flame; 30.
The train fell prostrate; shook the bright abode,
And trembling earth confess’d the present GOD.
Then thus the Guide–This prince, to David born,
With solemn pomp shall Salem’s towers adorn;
To God’s great name, this glorious pile shall raise,
Fair type of Heaven, and seat of lasting praise.
In his bless’d reign, shall peace extend her sway;
The poor dwell safely, and the proud obey;
Israel, secure, in happy fields recline,
Pluck their own figs, and taste their plenteous wine;
The swain sole monarch of his lands shall reign, 5.
And own the products of the grateful plain.
On fame’s light wings, his glory shall be borne,
Where smiles fair eve, or blooms etherial morn;
From distant regions kings enraptur’d throng,
Drink sacred truth, and catch the heavenly song: 10.
To him, her boundless wealth shall Egypt yield;
To him, Sabea ope the spicy field;
In morn’s fair islands, sweets celestial blow;
Wide ocean’s realms with pearly splendors glow:
The loom its purple, earth its gems, unfold, 15.
And teeming sulphur kindle into gold.
Long shall bright wisdom gild his prosperous day,
Till magic beauty charm his heart astray;
Wisdom, beyond the narrow thoughts of man,
In clouds involv’d, and bounded by a span;
Wisdom, that nature’s mysteries shall controul, 5.
And rule the nobler kingdom of the soul.
At length, when death his spirit shall demand,
Two guilty kings shall sway Canäan’s land,
Both to the fatal love of idols given,
And both rejected by an angry Heaven:
While their mad kingdoms oft in fight contend, 5.
And flames lay waste their fields, and wars their cities rend.
Then shall th’ Eternal’s awful vengeance rise,
His wheels descend, his chariot shake the skies
Before his breath the sons of Israel fly,
Like chaff when whirlwinds sweep th’ autumnal sky,
To realms, whose beauty endless frosts deform, 5.
To heavens that thunder with eternal storm:
Where o’er yon fiery cliffs, that bound the skies,
Dejected suns with feeble influence rise,
At distance hovering round the unbless’d shore,
Where glimmering ice forbids the waves to roar. 10.
Yet still, while Judah owns his awful sway,
And pious kings their sacred homage pay,
Safe in the covert of his guardian hand,
Shall happy subjects share a peaceful land;
Till rous’d to wrath by insolence of crimes, 5.
He rolls deep horror o’er Canäan’s climes.
On that dread morn, shall Salem hear from far
The trump’s shrill clamour, and the sounding car;
Hosts train’d to blood her shining seats surround,
And all her glories totter to the ground.
Adieu! adieu! thou darling of the skies; 5.
Thy towers begin to shake; thy flames begin to rise.
Where once the palace raptur’d eyes descried,
And the tall temple rear’d its splendid pride,
Round mouldering walls the nightly wolf shall howl;
Sad ruins murmur to the wailing owl;
In domes, once golden, creeping moss be found; 5.
The long, rank weed o’erspread the garden’s bound;
The wild Idumean cast a mournful eye
On the brown towers, and pass in silence by.
Nor let deep sorrow pain thy pitying eyes;
Lo fairer scenes in quick succession rise!
Soon shall the temple crown the sacred hill,
Bright domes ascend, and fields around them smile;
Thy nation gather; great Messiah shine, 5.
And earth be honour’d with a King divine.
From Edom’s realms, what mighty form ascends!
How the vale blossoms! how the mountain bends!
How shine his limbs, in heaven’s immortal pride!
How beams his vesture in the rainbow died!
‘Tis he! ’tis he! who saves a world undone; 5.
The Prince of glory! God’s eternal Son!
O’er conscious hills he wins his beauteous way;
The plains are transport, and all nature gay.
O sons of men!–th’ indulgent Saviour cries–*
My raptur’d voice invites you to the skies.
No more to Jacob’s narrow race confin’d, 5.
A bliss unmeasur’d flows for all mankind;
The life, the youth, of climes forever bless’d;
Increasing glory, and seraphic rest.
Say, what the gain in pleasure’s paths to stray,
Where poison blossoms, and where serpents play.
Ambition’s lofty steep with pain to climb,
Where guilt, and anguish, swell with every crime;
To waste, in weary toils, man’s little doom, 5.
For treasures, ravish’d by the neighbouring tomb.
Should earth’s broad realms beneath your sceptre roll,
Can worlds exchang’d redeem the deathless soul?
Rise then, oh rise, from sin’s oblivious sleep!
Lo, wide beneath you gapes th’ unfathom’d deep! 10.
Explore, with me, the undeceiving road,
That blooms with virtue, and that leads to GOD.
What though dire pain, and grief, and sad dismay,
And all earth’s fury hedge the arduous way;
Those griefs, those pains, my feet before you brave,
The world’s fell hatred, and the gloomy grave;
I feel superior wisdom’s peace refin’d, 5.
And the fair morning of a guiltless mind;
The toils of faith, rewarding as they rise;
Befriending seraphs, and complacent Skies.
And O the end! the bright, immortal end!
Heaven’s gates unbar, and angel hosts attend.
Each hour more sweet, for you her rivers roll;
A sky, still brightening, arches round her pole;
Fair, and more fair, her sunny mansions glow; 5.
Pure, and more pure, her airs etherial blow;
Her host, in growing youth, serenely shines;
Her glory quickens, and her world refines.
In that fair world, to e’er-beginning joy,
Each hour increasing, ting’d with no alloy, 10.
Rest from each toil, relief from every care,
Conquest of death, and triumph o’er despair,
To your own peers, your lasting home, ascend,
To bliss’ fair fountain, virtue’s faithful friend,
Those peers heaven’s sons, that home the bright abode, 15.
That fount an ocean, and that friend a GOD.
To these fair realms to lift the contrite mind,
To give bless’d faith, and purchase peace refin’d,
To man’s lost soul the stamp of heaven recall,
And build again the ruins of the fall,
From God’s high throne he comes to every woe, 5.
The world his dungeon, and mankind his foe,
Heaven’s wrath for thankless wretches dares assume,
Ascends the cross, and tries the darksome tomb.
Lo these dread scenes expanding to thine eye! *
Behold yon cloudy pomp invest the sky!
What hosts of angels wave their flamy wings!
The world is silent–hark, what music rings!–
All hail, ye happy swains! this sacred morn. 5.
Of David’s race, the promis’d Saviour’s born;
In Bethlehem’s inn, behold the parent maid,
Her heavenly offspring in a manger laid!
See, see, in yon blue track, his star ascend!
Adore ye angels! heaven in homage bend! 10.
From earth one cloud of mingling incense rise!
Peace to the world, and glory to the Skies!
Before the harbinger behold him stand, *
And take the sacred sprinkling from his hand;
On wings of flame the etherial dove descend,
And the glad train with reverent homage bend!
Far round th’ immense approving thunders roll, 5.
And God’s own son belov’d resounds from pole to pole.
See, at his touch, the fainting form respires;
The pale-eyed leper glows with purple fires;
Light as the hart, th’ exulting cripple springs,
And the dumb suppliant new-born praises sings;
Unusual sounds the cleaving car surprise, 5.
And light, and prospect, charm expanding eyes;
The dungeon bursts; the prisoner leaps to day,
And life recall’d reanimates the clay!
At his command, what throngs of demons flee,
To yon far gulf, that blackens o’er the sea!
Lo, in the skirt of yonder fading storm,
Obscurely sailing, many a dreadful form!
From its deep womb, what sullen murmurs rise! 5.
And what pale lightenings feebly sweep the skies!
But O! what love the harden’d soul can gain!
Fair truth compels, Messiah charms, in vain.
Untaught, unmov’d, by hate and fury driven,
His nation rise against the heir of heaven,
Before a heathen’s bar tumultuous hale; 5.
Nor worth can move, nor innocence avail.
Behold the milder glories round him shine!
What peace serene! what constancy divine!
How silently sublime! how meekly great!
How virtue’s splendor shades the glare of state! 10.
By friends denied, by poor vile worms contemn’d,
Judg’d without law, and without guilt condemn’d,
While men, while demons, in fond triumph rise,
The Prince of life, the Lord of angels, dies.
At once dire earthquakes heave the shuddering ground, 5.
Rend the hard rocks; the mountains quake around;
Far o’er the world blank midnight casts her shade,
And trembling rise the nations of the dead:
Pain’d, from the scene the conscious sun retires,
And nature’s voice proclaims–A God expires. 10.
But not the earth his sacred form confines;
The bands dissolve; the grave its trust resigns;
His fair, transforming limbs new life inspires;
Heaven’s youth informs, and Godlike beauty fires;
From the dark tomb he wings his lucid way, 15.
Ascends the sky, and glads the climes of day.
As thy bold arm, to Israel’s chosen band,
Thy foes extinguish’d, gives the promis’d land;
Call’d by thy name, shall he to realms of gloom
Drive vanquish’d Death, and triumph o’er the tomb, 20.
To that bless’d land, the true Canäan, rise,
And guide his chosen children to the skies.
Then o’er his foes shall fearful vengeance break;
Heaven shine in arms; earth’s listening regions quake;
The fond, vain triumph unknown woes destroy,
And clouds of ruin blast the transient joy.
Behold, in western skies, the storm ascend, [Footnote: 5.
Its terrors blacken, and its flames extend!
There hide the whirlwinds, soon ordain’d to roll;
There sleep fierce thunders, soon to rock the pole. 10.
But first dread signs the guilty world alarm;
A sanguine horror shades the sun’s bright form;
In fields of air, unreal hosts contend;
Shrill arms resound, and cars the concave rend:
From hell’s black shores the Pestilence aspires, 5.
Roams the wide earth, and breathes her baleful fires;
Whole regions wither in her sickening flight,
And hosts, and nations, perish in a night:
Far round the shuddering sky pale meteors glare,
And raging Discord sounds the trump of war. 10.
Then countless millions seize the bloody shield, [Footnote:
And Death’s black ensign glooms the fading field.
Lo, Zion’s domes what grimly hosts inclose! 5.
See sun-bright eagles lead her gathering foes!
High o’er her walls, what threatening engines rise!
And hark, what clamours murmuring mount the skies;
With clouds, pursuing clouds, the terrors grow;
More fierce the blaze, more dark th’ invading woe. 10.
But why should dismal scenes distress thy sight,
Or grief unnerve thee for th’ impending fight?
Meantime, from land to land with speed convey’d, [Footnote:
Messiah’s sons his truth and blessings spread.
On countless realms, to guilt and darkness given, 5.
Aliens from life, and reprobate of Heaven,
The sacred Spirit sheds his healing power,
And skies indulgent heavenly bounty shower.
Low at his name the raptur’d nations bend;
By him perfum’d, unnumber’d prayers ascend; 10.
To heaven his name from earth’s great houshold flies,
And one vast cloud of incense cheers the skies.
From Salem’s favour’d hills, the bliss shall stray,
Glad every land, and stretch to every sea;
But chief far onward speed its western flight,
And bless the regions of descending light.
Far o’er yon azure main thy view extend, [Footnote:
Where seas, and skies, in blue confusion blend,
Lo, there a mighty realm, by heaven design’d 5.
The last retreat for poor, oppress’d mankind!
Form’d with that pomp, which marks the hand divine,
And clothes yon vault, where worlds unnumber’d shine,
Here spacious plains in solemn grandeur spread;
Here cloudy forests cast eternal shade: 10.
Rich vallies wind; the sky tall mountains brave,
And inland seas for commerce spread the wave;
With nobler floods, the sea-like rivers roll,
And fairer lustre purples round the pole.
Here, warm’d by happy suns, gay mines unfold 15.
The useful iron, and the lasting gold;
Pure, changing gems in silence learn to glow,
And mock the splendors of the covenant bow:
On countless hills, by savage footsteps trod,
That smile to see the future harvest nod, 20.
In glad succession, plants unnumber’d bloom,
And flowers unnumber’d breathe a rich perfume;
Hence life once more a length of days shall claim,
And health, reviving, light her purple flame.
Far from all realms this world imperial lies;
Seas roll between, and threatening storms arise;
Alike remov’d beyond Ambition’s pale,
And the bold pinions of the venturous sail:
Till circling years the destin’d period bring, 5.
And a new Moses lifts the daring wing,
Through trackless seas, an unknown flight explores,
And hails a new Canäan’s promis’d shores.
On yon far strand, behold that little train *
Ascending, venturous, o’er th’ unmeasur’d main.
No dangers fright: no ills the course delay;
‘Tis virtue prompts, and God directs the way.
Speed, speed, ye sons of truth! let Heaven befriend, 5.
Let angels wast you, and let peace attend!
O smile thou sky serene! ye storms retire!
And airs of Eden every sail inspire!
Swift o’er the main, behold the canvas fly,
And fade, and fade, beneath the farthest sky; 10.
See verdant fields the changing waste unfold;
See sudden harvests dress the plains in gold:
In lofty walls the moving rocks ascend,
And dancing woods to spires and temples bend!
Meantime, expanding o’er earth’s distant ends,
Lo, Slavery’s gloom in sable pomp descends;
Far round each eastern clime her volumes roll, [Footnote:
And pour, deep-shading, to the sadden’d pole.
How the world droops beneath the fearful blast;
The plains all wither’d, and the skies o’ercast!
From realm to realm extends the general groan;
The fainting body stupifies to stone; 10.
Benumb’d, and fix’d, the palsied soul expires,
Blank’d all its views, and quench’d its living fires;
In clouds of boundless shade, the scenes decay;
Land after land departs, and nature fades away.
In that dread hour, beneath auspicious skies, [Footnote:
To nobler bliss yon western world shall rise.
Unlike all former realms, by war that stood, 5.
And saw the guilty throne ascend in blood,
Here union’d Choice shall form a rule divine;
Here countless lands in one great system join;
The sway of Law unbroke, unrivall’d grow,
And bid her blessings every land o’erflow. 10.
In fertile plains, behold the tree ascend,
Fair leaves unfold, and spreading branches bend!
The fierce, invading storm secure they brave,
And the strong influence of the creeping wave,
In heavenly gales with endless verdure rise, 5.
Wave o’er broad fields, and fade in friendly skies.
There safe from driving rains, and battering hail,
And the keen fury of the wintry gale,
Fresh spring the plants; the flowery millions bloom,
All ether gladdening with a choice perfume; 10.
Their hastening pinions birds unnumber’d spread,
And dance, and wanton, in th’ aerial shade.
Here Empire’s last, and brightest throne shall rise;
And Peace, and Right, and Freedom, greet the skies:
To morn’s far realms her ships commercing sail,
Or lift their canvas to the evening gale;
In wisdom’s walks, her sons ambitious soar, 5.
Tread starry fields, and untried scenes explore.
And hark what strange, what solemn-breathing strain
Swells, wildly murmuring, o’er the far, far main!
Down time’s long, lessening vale, the notes decay,
And, lost in distant ages, roll away. 10.
When earth commenc’d, six morns of labour rose, *
Ere the calm Sabbath shed her soft repose.
Thus shall the world’s great week direct its way,
And thousand circling suns complete the day.
Past were two days, ere beam’d the law divine; 5.
Two days must roll, ere great Messiah shine;
Two changeful days, the Gospel’s light shall rise;
Then sacred quiet hush the stormy skies.
O’er orient regions suns of toil shall roll,
Faint lustre dawn, and clouds obscure the pole: 10.
But o’er yon favourite world, the Sabbath’s morn,
Shall pour unbounded day, and with clear splendor burn.
Hence, o’er all lands shall sacred influence spread, *
Warm frozen climes, and cheer the death-like shade;
To nature’s bounds, reviving Freedom reign,
And Truth, and Virtue, light the world again.
No more in arms shall battling nations rise;
Nor war’s hoarse thunders heave the earth and skies;
No hungry vulture, from the rock’s tall brow,
Eye the red field, and slaughtering host, below;
No famine waste; no tender infant fear; 5.
The meek-eyed virgin drop no painful tear;
Soft to the lyre the trumpet sink refin’d,
And peace’ mild music still the stormy mind:
The savage, nurs’d in blood, with wondering eye,
Sees all the horrors of the desert fly: 10.
Dread war, once rapturous, now his soul affrights;
Sweet peace allures, and angel love delights;
His melting thoughts with softer passion glow;
His tears steal gently o’er the plaint of woe;
To virtuous toils his feet instinctive turn; 15.
Or seek the temple in the smiles of morn;
Each stormy purpose truth’s mild rays serene,
And spring celestial clothes the waste within.
See, round the lonely wild, with glad surprise,
Strange verdure blooms, and flowery wonders rise!
Hark how the sounds of gushing waters roll!
What new Arabias breathe upon the soul!
On russet plains returning Sharon blows; 5.
Her fragrance charms; her living beauty glows;
Each mount a Lebanon in pomp ascends,
And, topp’d with cloudy pride, the cedar bends;
To meads, to sports, with lambs the wolf retires,
Sooth’d his wild rage, and quench’d his gloomy fires, 10.
The viper fierce, the hissing asp, grow mild,
Refuse their prey, and wanton with the child:
New hymns the plumy tribes inraptur’d raise,
And howling forests harmonize to praise.
Shine soft, O sun! ye skies around them smile!
Your showers propitious balmy heavens distil!
In every waste what cheerful domes arise!
What golden temples meet the bending skies,
To yon bright world what clouds of incense roll; 5.
How Virtue’s songs breathe sweet from pole to pole!
Through earth’s wide realms let solemn silence flow! *
Be hush’d thou main! ye winds forget to blow!
Jehovah speaks–Beneath the farthest skies,
My trump shall sound, my sacred standard rise;
From morn to eve the lucid banner shine, 5.
And saints, ecstatic, hail th’ illustrious sign.
Wak’d from the slumbers of the world unknown,
See raptur’d Sion mount the starry throne,
Round her fair gates, her thronging sons behold,
Dress’d in white garments, and adorn’d with gold! 10.
Arise, O child of fostering heaven, arise;
Queen of the world, and favourite of the skies;
In sunny robes, with living splendor, shine;
Be all thy vestments as thyself divine!
Seize the loud harp, arouse the breathing string;
Exalt thine eyes, and hymns of transport sing;
Behold thy ruin’d walls again ascend;
Thy towers shoot up; thy spacious arches bend;
Thy gardens brighten; streams reviving roll, 5.
And gales of paradise intrance the soul.
Where long, long howl’d the solitary blast,
O’er the brown mountain, and the dreary waste;
Where famish’d wolves proclaim’d their nightly roam,
And raging lions found a bloody home;
Again glad suns command thy towers to burn, 5.
And o’er thy splendors bursts the raptur’d morn;
In vales of fragrance hymns of angels ring;
The mountains leap; the conscious forests sing;
To thy fair realms the bloom of Eden given
Transcends the morn, and rivals opening heaven. 10.
Lo, from the west, and east, and south, and north,
In countless millions, Gentile throngs break forth!
Their garlands bloom; their golden offerings blaze;
Their harps instinctive tremble to thy praise.
For thee, what prayers from gathering lands ascend! 5.
What suppliant nations at thine altars bend!
With what soft music sounds th’ etherial song!
What love, what ecstacy, attunes the tongue!
How gay the heavens! how fair the earth serene!
How joy illumes, how incense charms the scene! 10.
Lo, in each face primæval beauty glows!
In every vein primæval vigour flows;
In every bosom brightens peace refin’d,
And endless sunshine lights th’ unclouded mind;
Without one terror, shuts the willing eye 15.
And the soul wafts in slumber to the sky.
See mighty Justice lifts his awful reign!
Behold new Joshuas sway thy realms again!
Again the Prophet lights the earthly gloom;
Heaven’s gates disclose, and climes beyond the tomb; 20.
To earth glad angels speed their beauteous flight,
And call their fellows to the domes of light!
In castern climes, where suns begin to roll,
Or where clear splendors gild the sparkling pole,
Or where, illum’d by nature’s fairest ray,
Smile the bless’d regions of descending day,
Unnumber’d ships, like mist the morn exhales, 5.
Stretch their dim canvas to the rushing gales.
Behold, ascending, cloud-like, in the skies,
How their sails whiten! how their masts arise!
The world all moves! the far-extended main
Is lost beneath th’ immeasurable train! 10.
Here earth impatient all her treasures yields,
Fruits of gay mines, and sweets of spicy fields:
Fair robes of silken splendor mock the morn,
And sun-bright gems with changing lustre burn.
Exult, O earth! ye heavens with joy survey
Her charms, her glories, hold the lingering day!
Lo, wrapp’d in sparkling gold, thy wide walls burn;
Thy stones to pearls, thy gates to diamonds, turn,
Thy domes to palaces, thy seats to thrones, 5.
To queens thy daughters, and to kings thy sons.
Awake, awake, ye tenants of the tomb!
Burst your cold chains, and hail your destin’d home!
Lo, the night fades; the sky begins to burn,
And ruddy splendor opes the living morn!
See tombs, instinctive, break the sleepy charm, 5.
And gales divine the dust imprison’d warm;
From finish’d slumbers changing patriarchs rise;
Life crowns their heads, and transport fires their eyes;
Dress’d in the youth of heaven, again are join’d
The form angelic and the sainted mind. 10.
From bliss to bliss the circling hours shall flow;
With my own smiles the pure expansion glow,
Bright as the moon, the stars invest the pole;
Bright as the sun, the moon sublimely roll;
Unmeasur’d glories round the sun arise, 5.
And every morn light nations to the skies.
Long, long shall these fair scenes the bosom charm, *
And light, and love, refining nature warm;
Till earth slow-mouldering hear the great decree,
And time’s last waves approach th’ unfathom’d sea.
Then o’er wild regions, round the distant pole, 5.
Shall war’s tremendous voice begin to roll,
From hell’s dark caverns Discord fierce ascend,
Resound her trump, and startled nature rend;
All heaven re-echo to the deep alarms,
And maddening nations swiftly rush to arms. 10.
See, high in air, her banner, wide unfurl’d,
Streams in black terror o’er the trembling world;
From pole to pole the rage of combat flies,
And realms ‘gainst realms with ardent vengeance rise!
To scenes of slaughtering Fight the millions pour; 15.
Loud thunders roll, and flashing swords devour;
On delug’d plains unnumber’d corses lie,
And shouts, and groans, immingled, cleave the sky.
To Cities then she steers her dusky way;
The turrets shake, the walls in smoke decay: 20.
O’er the tall domes, and spires in gold array’d,
Where Pomp sate thron’d, and Joy and Friendship play’d,
Fierce drives the nimble flame; the whirlwinds throng,
Howl through the walls, and drive the storm along.
Now to the Fields she wings her rapid force, 25.
The world involving in her wasting course;
Before her car, a fiery tempest flies;
Behind, long hosts interminably rise;
From her pale face th’ etherial orbs retire;
Deep heaves the ground; the blackening groves expire; 30.
Horror, and wild dismay, the earth appall,
And one unbounded ruin buries all.
Mid these dire scenes, more awful scenes shall rise;
Sad nations quake, and trembling seize the skies.
From the dark tomb shall fearful lights ascend; 35.
And sullen sounds the sleeping mansion rend;
Pale ghosts with terror break the dreamer’s charm,
And death-like cries the listening world alarm.
Then midnight pangs shall toss the cleaving plains;
Fell Famine wanton o’er unburied trains; 40.
From crumbling mountains baleful flames aspire;
Realms sink in floods, and towns dissolve in fire;
In every blast, the spotted plague be driven,
And angry meteors blaze athwart the heaven.
Clouds of dark blood shall blot the sun’s broad light, 45.
Spread round th’ immense, and shroud the world in night,
With pale, and dreadful ray, the cold moon gleam;
The dim, lone stars diffuse an anguish’d beam;
Storms rock the skies; afflicted ocean roar,
And sanguine billows die the shuddering shore: 50.
And round earth thunder, from the almighty throne,
The voice irrevocable–It is DONE.
Rous’d on the fearful morn, shall nature hear *
The trump’s deep terrors rend the troubled air;
From realm to realm the sound tremendous roll,
Cleave the broad main, and shake th’ astonish’d pole;
The slumbering bones th’ Archangel’s call inspire; 5.
Rocks sink in dust, and earth be wrapp’d in fire;
From realms far-distant orbs unnumber’d come,
Sail thro’ immensity, and learn their doom:
And all yon changeless stars, that, thron’d on high,
Reign in immortal lustre round the sky, 10.
In solemn silence shroud their living light,
And leave the world to undistinguish’d night.
Hark, what dread sounds, descending from the pole,
Wave following wave, in swelling thunders roll!
How the tombs cleave! What awful forms arise!
What crowding nations pain the failing eyes!
From land to land behold the mountains rend; 5.
From shore to shore the final flames ascend,
Round the dark poles with boundless terror reign,
With bend immeasurable sweep the main,
From morn’s far kingdoms stretch to realms of even,
And climb, and climb, with solemn roar to heaven. 10.
What smoky ruins wrap the lessening ground!
What firey sheets fail through the vaulted round!
Pour’d in one mass, the lands, and seas, decay;
Inroll’d, the heavens, dissolving, fleet away;
The moon departs; the sun’s last beams expire, 15.
And nature’s buried in the boundless fire.
Lo, from the radiance of the bless’d abode, *
Messiah comes, in all the pomp of God!
Borne on swift winds, a storm before him flies;
Stars crown his head, and rainbows round him rise;
Beneath his feet, a sun’s broad terrors burn. 5.
And cleaving darkness opes a dreadful morn:
Through boundless space careering flames are driven;
Truth’s sacred hosts descend, and all the thrones of heaven.
See crowding millions, call’d from earth’s far ends,
See hell’s dark world, with fearful gloom, ascends, 10.
In throngs incomprehensible! Around
Worlds after worlds, from nature’s farthest bound,
Call’d by th’ Archangel’s voice, from either pole,
Self-mov’d, with all created nations, roll.
From this great train, his eyes the just divide, 15.
Price of his life, and being’s fairest pride;
Rob’d by his mighty hand, the starry throngs
From harps of transport call exstatic songs.
Hail, heirs of endless peace! ordain’d to rove
Round the pure climes of everlasting love.
For you the sun first led the lucid morn;
The world was fashion’d, and Messiah born;
For you high heaven with fond impatience waits, 5.
Pours her fair streams, and opes her golden gates;
Each hour, with purer glory, gayly shines,
Her courts enlarges, and her air refines.
But O unhappy race! to woes consign’d,
Lur’d by fond pleasure, and to wisdom blind.
What new Messiah shall the spirit save,
Stay the pent flames, and shut th’ eternal grave?
Where sleeps the music of his voice divine? 5.
Where hides the face, that could so sweetly shine?
Now hear that slighted voice to thunder turn!
See that mild face with flames of vengeance burn!
High o’er your heads the storm of ruin roars,
And, round th’ immense no friend your fate deplores. 10.
Lo, there to endless woe in throngs are driven,
What once were angels, and bright stars of heaven!
The world’s gay pride! the king with splendor crown’d!
The chief resistless, and the sage renown’d!
Down, down, the millions sink; where yon broad main 5.
Heaves her dark waves, and spreads the seats of pain:
Where long, black clouds, emblaz’d with awful fire,
Pour sullen round their heads, and in dread gloom retire.
Then, tumult’s hideous din forever o’er, [Footnote:
All foes subdued, and doom’d to rise no more,
Sin forc’d from each fair clime to final flight, 5.
And hell’s dark prison lock’d in endless night;
To heaven’s extremes diviner peace shall roll,
And spread through countless worlds, beyond each distant pole.
Crown’d with glad triumph, from the toils of war,
On angel’s wings, shall sail Messiah’s car; 10.
To the great Sire his conquering hand restore
Th’ etherial ensigns of unmeasur’d power;
Present his sons, before the palace bright,
And seek the bosom of unborrow’d light.
Then scenes, in heaven before unknown, shall rise,
And a new æra bless th’ angelic skies;
Through boundless tracts, a nobler kingdom shine,
Nor Seraphs’ minds conceive the pomp divine.
All realms, all worlds above, combin’d in one; 5.
The heaven of heavens the bright, eternal throne;
The subjects saints; the period endless spring;
The realm immensity, and God the king.
As fix’d, unchang’d, yon central world of fire
Leads on sublime the planetary choir,
Lights all the living lamps, and round the sky,
In midnight splendor calls the moon to fly;
Creates their smiles, instructs their orbs to roll, 5.
Fair eye of nature, and the world’s great soul;
So, in the beams of clear perfection shrin’d,
Shall his great Source, the Uncreated Mind,
Through all the Morning Stars that round him glow,
Rove in his smiles, and at his altar bow, 10.
Through countless trains, where worlds unnumber’d rise,
And cloth’d in starry pomp superior skies,
Pure rays of endless peace indulgent shine,
And warm immensity with love divine.
Love’s mighty chain shall boundless beings bind,
Join world to world, and mind unite with mind;
O’er the great houshold heaven’s eternal pride,
From age to age, th’ Almighty Sire preside;
Around his awful throne, with searching eyes, 5.
See fairer sons, and priests, and kings, arise;
Bid his own essence in their hearts revive,
His beauty brighten, and his glory live:
From harps etherial living raptures fall,
Heaven fill th’ immense, and GOD BE ALL IN ALL. 10.
In glory wafted down the lucid pole, [Footnote:
See Salem’s walls their solemn scenes unroll!
Less beauteous charms the lovely spouse array, 5.
When beams of rapture light the bridal day.
Behold, new skies serenely round her glow;
Pure fragrance breathes, and purple splendors flow:
In pomp ascends the ever-rising morn,
And starry rainbows round her chariot burn! 10.
There, from the distant wave, no suns arise;
No moon’s pale radiance gleams in evening skies;
Round the broad region, with unsading ray,
Jehovah smiles immeasurable day:
With living lustre, fruits celestial glow, 15.
And streams of life in endless beauty flow.
In robes of angels, see the chosen shine;
Waft on the floods, or walk in light divine;
Or taste the changing tree, whose fruit supplies
The youth of heaven, and beauty of the skies!
There, dress’d in bloom, and young in rosy years,
Th’immortal Father of mankind appears:
In clear effulgence, Israel’s Prophet shines,
And no dark veil his eager wish confines:
With smiles of joy serene, the Friend of God 5.
Counts his glad sons, and opes the bless’d abode.
To these fair realms thy footsteps shall ascend;
Here crowns await thee, and bright robes attend;
At nature’s call, thy guardian seraph come,
And guide his chosen to th’ eternal home;
Before the sacred throne, thy thoughts appear, 5.
Thy virtuous toils, thy truth, and love, sincere;
His witness’d favourite, God with smiles approve,
And join to nations of immortal love.
O blissful hour! when, freed from bonds of clay,
Thy path commences to the climes of day;
When from the sun thy wing begins to rise
Through the broad regions of unmeasur’d skies,
When time’s dark years behind thy flight shall roll, 5.
And all eternity invade thy soul.
In that bless’d hour, the sons of light shall come,
And shout thee welcome to thy destin’d home;
With heightening beauty bloom each angel mind,
Glow with pure joy, and yearn with love refin’d;
In strains divine, impassion’d seraphs tell 5.
How with dire treason heavenly nations fell;
What deeds renown’d have grac’d the fair abode;
Truth that endur’d, and zeal that rais’d to God;
How round th’ expansion worlds unnumber’d sprung,
And hosts etherial sky-born praises sung; 10.
The peace, the charms, to vernal Eden given,
Conversing angels, and approving Heaven.
In that bless’d hour, shall saints of antient days,
Lights of mankind, and heirs of deathless praise,
Disclose how Adam’s sons the world o’erspread, 15.
Borne to far isles, and o’er wide seas convey’d;
How the lone ark the seeds of nations bore,
And boundless ocean toss’d without a shore;
Embattled hosts the patriarch’s faith o’ercame,
Nor votive Isaac quench’d the living flame; 20.
Through the long devious desert Israel rov’d;
The angel wrestled, and the brother lov’d.
Rapt in thy bless’d arrival, there shall glow
The faithful partners of thine every woe;
Their hopes, their fears, their toils, with thee run o’er, 25.
Pains far retir’d, and griefs that haunt no more:
His long-lov’d friend unspotted Hezron join,
Add song to song, and mingle bliss with thine;
Irad, divinest flower! to meet thee rise,
And cast rich fragrance round delighted skies. 30.
With this great concourse lost in joys serene,
No tongue can utter, and no fancy feign,
Dissolv’d in friendship, chain’d to friends, divine,
Whose thoughts, whose converse, every power refine,
Thy unknown ages swift shall glide away, 35.
Lost in th’ immense of never-ending day.
Thro’ heaven’s expanded field thy feet shall rove,
Th’ all-beauteous region of ecstatic love;
Her gates of pearl, her towers of gems, behold,
Her streets, her mansions, of pellucid gold. 40.
Where each fair gate cherubic watchmen guard,
And God, approving, showers the vast reward.
There shalt thou feel, when, freed from sin’s alloy,
Souls lift their pinions to the climes of joy,
Around all heaven what speechless transports roll,
Blend smile with smile, and mingle soul with soul;
There hail, ecstatic, to the bright abode, 5.
The crowns, the trophies, of Messiah’s blood.
There God’s own hand shall lift the curtain high,
And all earth’s wonders open to thine eye:
In time’s mysterious reign, thy soul pursue
Power ever glorious, wisdom ever new;
See boundless good, Creation’s single end, 5.
And God his own, and being’s, faithful friend;
In all, the present God resulgent shine,
And boundless glory fill the work divine.
Fed with perennial springs of bliss refin’d,
Divine effusions of th’ All lovely Mind,
With endless ardour shall thy spirit glow,
And love immense from heaven’s great fountain flow;
Unbounded grace fill unconfin’d desire, 5.
Warm thy rapt bosom, and thy songs inspire.
Each hour, thy spreading thoughts shall swift improve;
Each hour increase the transports of thy love;
With morning beauty, Youth around thee shine,
Implant new senses, and the old resine;
From height to height thy rising wishes grow, 5.
And, at their birth, the full enjoyment flow;
No care, no want, th’ expanding bliss destroy,
But every thought, and sense, and wish, be joy.
From these bless’d scenes thy slight shall oft descend,
And, with thy kindred angels, man attend.
What sweet complacence shall thy bosom warm,
To spread fair truth, and every woe to charm;
Guard the lone cot, where faith delights to dwell; 5.
Or wake pure fervors in the secret cell;
Or watch that house, where strong devotions rise;
And prayers as incense cheer the morning skies;
Where sons to saints, to angels daughters, grow,
And peace, and virtue, build a heaven below. 10.
When fear alarms, shalt thou that fear allay;
When grief distresses, smile the pangs away;
When pain torments, the pious eyelids close,
Make soft the bed, and breathe serene repose;
Guide the departing soul to yonder skies, 15.
And teach the young immortal how to rise.
Through scorching sands shalt thou the wanderer bring,
Waft balmy gales, and point the cooling spring;
Or lure declining feet from flowery ways,
Seal the charm’d ear, and turn the fatal gaze; 20.
Or with rude whirlwinds the rough main deform;
Or roll the thunders of the mountain storm;
Or on the sanguine plain sublimely stand,
Direct the triumph, and the flight command;
Or o’er some realm in glorious pomp preside, 25.
To saints a guardian, and to kings a guide.
Nor shall one world thy bounded view confine;
But round all being stretch thy flight divine,
To worlds dispers’d o’er worlds, ambitious rise,
The golden planets of sublimer skies.
Far o’er thy little earth, to man’s weak eye,
Encircling roll the glories of the sky.
Yet know, bless’d prince though thus apparent all,
The moon moves singly round this darksome ball,
The earth, with those fair fires of wandering light, 5.
That shed soft lustre o’er the darksome night,
All worlds alike, with countless nations crown’d,
In circling course, the sun’s bright orb surround.
Still their glad faces to his splendor turn,
Imbibe his beams, and meet the grateful morn. 10.
This mighty scene thy mind with awe inspires,
With beauty raptures, and with wonder fires.
But O thou man belov’d! yon vault survey,
Where stars in millions blend the midnight ray;
In space’ broad fields so far the pomp retires, 5.
Yon sapphire concave scarce their twinkling fires:
Hence vainly deem’d the gems of inborn light,
Ordain’d to tremble through the gloom of night:
In near approach, those stars, with constant rays,
Shoot round th’ expansion, noon’s excessive blaze, 10.
Confine the empire of surrounding night,
And reign, and glory, in immortal light.
For know, bless’d favourite, suns are those fair flames;
Worlds round them roll, and day perpetual beams:
Those worlds unnumber’d circling moons adorn, 15.
And with long splendors comets mid them burn.
As in the world of minds, with golden chain,
Attractive Love extends her blissful reign,
In one pure realm all sainted beings joins,
God with his sons, his sons with God combines:
The bond to all of pure perfection given, 5.
The life, the beauty, peace, and joy of heaven:
So this stupendous frame, by him alone
Who calls their names, supported, number’d, known,
These countless systems in one system join’d,
Their size, their distance, with nice art design’d, 10.
A great, attracting power, on all impress’d,
Connects, moves, governs, and forbids to rest.
By this great power, impelling and impell’d,
All worlds move on through space’ unmeasur’d field.
Around their planets moons refulgent stray;
Around their suns those planets trace their way;
Around your central heaven all systems roll: 5.
And one great circling motion rules the whole.
O scene divine, on those bright towers to stand,
And mark the wonders of th’ Eternal hand;
To see thro’ space unnumber’d systems driven,
Worlds round their suns, and suns around the heaven; 10.
To see one ordinance worlds and suns obey;
Their order, peace, and fair, harmonious way;
Their solemn silence: varying pomp divine;
Their fair proportions, and their endless shine!
Some nearer rolling in celestial light; 15.
Some distant glimmering tow’rd the bordering night;
‘Till far remov’d from thought the regions lie,
Where angels never wing’d the lonely, verging sky,
On the clear glass as smiles the beauteous form,
And youth’s fair light, and eyes of glory charm;
As lucid streams, with face serene, unfold
Spring’s gayest prime, and flowers that bloom in gold;
As boundless ocean’s smooth, resplendent plain 5.
Rebeams the skies, and all their wonderous train,
No part, no wave, but feels the sun’s broad ray,
And glows, reflective, with surrounding day:
So round th’ immense, on fair creation’s breast,
In endless pomp the Godhead shines impress’d; 10.
His love, his beauty, o’er all nature burns;
Each sun unfolds it, and each world returns;
Each day, each hour, the glory bright improves,
And God, with ceaseless smile, th’ immortal image loves.
Wing’d with pure flame thro’ space’ unmeasur’d rounds,
Thy soul shall visit being’s farthest bounds;
When orbs begin, instruct their mass to roll;
For changing seasons fix the steady pole;
Teach eve to purple, golden morn to rise, 5.
And light new suns in solitary skies.
Upborne from world to world, shalt thou behold
How ever-varying wonders God unfold;
In each new realm, with growing bliss pursue
Scenes unimagin’d, nations ever new;
See some through highborn virtues swiftly soar, 5.
Some humbler duties, humbler thoughts explore;
To every race, new thoughts new senses bring;
On every plain, new vegetations spring;
O’er virtue’s sons eternal morning bloom;
O’er guilt’s vile throngs ascend eternal gloom; 10.
O’er mingled nations mingling seasons roll,
And peace, and tumult, wrap the changing pole.
To endless years, thy mind, inspir’d, shall rise
Thro’ knowledge, love, and beauty, of the skies;
To heights angelic, archangelic, soar,
‘Till man’s faint language paint the heights no more:
When borne to glory, wing’d to flights supreme, 5.
Thy soul shall reach creation’s first extreme,
Beyond all thought assume her last abode,
And seek the bosom of th’ involving GOD.
The Vision ceas’d. At once the scenes decay’d,
His bright form vanish’d and his glories fled:
Swift to the camp th’ exulting Chief return’d,
While the glad day-star in the orient burn’d.
Morning. Hareshab returns to Gibeon. Army assembles, Speech of Caleb. Hanniel. Joshua’s advice to him; his reply. Joshua’s prayer. Cloud rolls before the army toward Gibeon. Prospect of the Heathen host beyond the city. Speech of Joshua on that occasion. Israelites descend from the mountain. Jabin prepares for battle, and arranges the heathen army on the bank of a small river. Gibeonites ascend the walls to view the battle. Aradon marches his troops out to meet Joshua, who gives the command of them to Almiran. Arrangement of the combatants. Joshua by a stratagem draws the Heathens from their advantageous post. General engagement. Joshua’s exploits. He kills Medan and Talmon. Zedeck rallies the heathens; but is forced down the bank, and killed. Egon. Joshua, seeing Hazor strongly posted on the bank, moves down the river and rescues Almiran, kills Piram, and routs Jarmuth. Japhia. Exploits of Zimri. He kills Hobam, and puts Hebron into confusion. Jabin rallies them, and kills Hanniel. Asher retires. Joshua leaves his division to engage Hazor; and rallies Asher. Combat between him and Jabin. Heathens routed. Storm of Hail. Israelites return to their camp and are met by their wives and children singing praise to the Creator. Conclusion.22.
NOW rose in heaven the great, the final day,
Where fates of chiefs, and kings, and kingdoms lay
Morn dress’d in golden pride the cliffs on high,
Stream’d o’er the groves, and brighten’d round the sky:
No cloud, no mist, obscur’d the blue serene; 5.
And peace, and silence, hush’d the solemn scene.
To Caleb’s tent alert the Hero strode,
And rous’d Hareshah to the field of blood.–
With active haste to Gibeon’s prince repair;
To range his thousands be his instant care:
Ere the glad sun climb half th’ etherial main, 5.
Shall Heaven’s broad standard tremble on the plain.–
Far o’er the western field, with keen delight,
He wing’d his course, and vanish’d from the sight.
And now once more the clarion’s dreadful sound
Inspires to arms, and shakes the banner’d ground:
To arms the martial thousands raptur’d spring;
Their songs resound, their clashing bucklers ring:
Roll’d on the winds, imperial ensigns play, 5.
And wave their splendors to the bursting day.
Now join’d in marshall’d ranks the generous train,
And gloomy columns darken’d o’er the plain;
When, rob’d in white, their hoary fathers came,
Great in past fields, and heirs of deathless fame.
One was their voice, and from their reverend eyes, 5.
The bold heroic flame began to rise;
The soul stood struggling in the heaving breast,
And every limb their vigorous thoughts exprest.
When Caleb thus–The great concluding day
Now calls to arms, and Heaven directs the way: 10.
What tho’ unnumber’d hosts against us rise,
And with proud madness brave insulted Skies;
Shall cumbrous throngs the meanest arm dismay?
Or one base thought distain the glorious day?
Think how bold Abraham swept the midnight plain, 15.
While realms oppos’d, and millions fought, in vain;
How two brave patriarchs, in one friendly gloom,
Sunk Shechem’s towers and op’d a nation’s tomb;
Think how these sires for you unbroken toil’d,
Dar’d the rough main, and prov’d the hideous wild; 20.
Made spiry towns, and haughty kings a prey,
And forc’d o’er countless lands resistless way.
See your fond partners in sad grief array’d,
Behold your children claim parental aid!
Your hands their freedom and their fate suspend; 25.
Your swords must conquer, or your race must end.
Nor let these narrow scenes your thoughts confine;
Claim nobler views and pass the selfish line.
Ages unborn from you shall trace their doom,
Heaven’s future Seers, and heroes yet to come; 30.
If slaves, or men, this day your hands decide,
The scorn of nations, or the world’s great pride:
Empire and bondage in your bosoms lie;
‘Tis yours to triumph, or tis ours to die.
He spoke, and silent to th’ all-bounteous Skies
Stretch’d wide his hands, and rais’d his kindling eyes:
Each glowing visage flash’d disdain around
And hoarse applauses shook the neighbouring ground.
Bright from the lucid main, the sun’s broad eye
Look’d in imperial splendor from the sky;
With war’s gay pomp then shone th’ embattled plains;
In proud battalions rose the martial trains;
A broken radiance burst from trembling shields, 5.
And haughty heroes stalk’d along the fields.
Bold Hanniel there in shining armour stood,
And hop’d a deathless name in scenes of blood.
He saw the host to final combat rise,
The champions nations, and a realm the prize.
Now wealth allur’d; the rival now alarm’d; 5.
Strong pride impell’d, and splendid conquest charm’d;
His wounds, his pains, in quick oblivion gone,
The wish of glory prompts the warrior on;
Pleas’d, his fond fancy flies from silent shame
To plains of triumph, and to wreaths of fame. 10.
Him Joshua view’d with pity in his breast,
And kindly thus the haughty chief address’d–
If, when dread war resounds her hoarse alarm,
Health flush the cheek, and vigor brace the arm,
To fight, the warrior virtue fame command, 5.
And knaves alone refuse the needed hand.
But thou, brave Hanniel, seek’st the field in vain,
Pale with lost blood, and weak with ceaseless pain,
Unstrung to fight, and impotent to fly,
Useless, alive; nor glorious, should’st thou die. 10.
In fields of frequent strife thy garlands bloom:
Let not their verdure wither on thy tomb:
No feeble aid such numerous honours claim,
Nor can base envy crop the growing fame.
He spoke, impatient Hanniel quick return’d,
And keen resentment in his visage burn’d–
While yon bright orb rolls on the mighty doom
Of millions born, and millions yet to come,
What chief, what man, who boasts a reasoning mind, 5.
Will hide in shame, or sleep in tents confin’d?
Let these, if Jacob’s race such culprits knows,
Shirnk from great scenes, and die in vile repose,
Not such is Hanniel: when my country calls.
I smile at fields of blood, and blazing walls; 10.
Where clarions roar my ready footsteps hie,
Glue to the fight, and ask no strength to fly.
Unbroke by wounds, my voice shall now inspire
The coward’s languor, and the warrior’s fire;
This shield, or these frail limbs, well pleas’d, arrest 15.
The lance, that flies to wound a worthier breast.
But Hanniel’s glory why should Joshua fear?
Do rival names alarm thy tender ear?
On you broad plain unnumber’d stars arise,
Move in gay ranks, and triumph round the skies; 20.
Each lends his beam to swell the pomp divine,
Nor grieves that neighbouring spangles brighter shine.
How beauteous thus in Honour’s Angel-race,
When some blest æra numerous heroes grace,
Mean self disdain’d, if virtuous all engage 25.
To fill with light the constellated age.
Some shining deed should this right hand atchieve,
Unstain’d, unrivall’d, Joshua’s name would live;
Then wish no more my days consum’d in shame;
Nor grudge the glory, generous actions claim. 30.
The Leader heard, and wish’d that Heaven had join’d
A heart more honest with so bright a mind:
Through his great bosom thrill’d a sudden pain,
Where sweet compassion mix’d with brave disdain.
Sighing he said–How blind is reason’s eye, 5.
When Heaven ordains o’er-weening man to die!
Now through the host he cast a piercing view,
And every rank, and every station, knew;
Then, while mute silence hush’d th’ adoring bands,
From a tall rock, he rear’d his suppliant hands.–
O thou, whose throne, uprais’d beyond all height,
Glows in th’ effulgence of unutter’d light,
O’er earth, o’er hell, o’er heaven, extends thy sway;
Angels, Archangels, Thrones, and Powers obey; 5.
All scenes, all worlds, confess thy hand divine,
And seas, and skies, and stars, and suns, are thine.
At thy command, to glory nations rise;
At thy command, each guilty kingdom dies;
At thy command, awakes the trumpet’s roar: 10.
Death walks the plain, and earth is drench’d in gore:
Hush’d by thy sovereign nod, the tempests cease;
Peace is thy choice, and all the world is peace.
This day, O Power supreme! against the skies,
Sheath’d in dread arms, unnumber’d thousands rise.
As raging flames the shaggy mountains burn,
The groves to dust, and fields to deserts turn;
So let thy vengeance sweep th’ embattled plain, 5.
And teach proud monarchs God’s eternal reign.
From endless years thy all-encircling mind
To Abraham’s race this beauteous land assign’d:
The land, where Truth shall fix her lasting seat;
Where sky-born Virtue seeks a calm retreat;
Where blest Redemption opes her living morn; 5.
Where heaven commences, and where God is born.
For this thy voice the sacred promise gave;
For this thy thunders cleft th’ Egyptian wave;
Rich manna shower’d; with streams the desart smil’d,
And the whole heaven descended on the wild. 10.
Still, O unchanging Mind! thy bounty shower;
Draw thy red sword, and stretch thine arm of power.
To gain these realms, the crown of long desire,
Let Heaven protect us, and let Heaven inspire!
He spoke: a rushing voice began to roar,
Like caverns, echoing on the sea-beat shore;
Deep rang the hollow sound; and o’er the train,
The cloud stupendous sail’d along the plain;
Broad flames,in fierce effusion, round it play’d, 5.
Scorch’d the green fields, and brighten’d all the shade:
Tow’rd western hills the fearful gloom retir’d,
And all the splendor in one flash expir’d.
Loud rose the trump; and rang’d in dread array,
Behind the cloud the squadrons trac’d their way;
The burnish’d helm, blue mail, and upright spear,
Gleam’d o’er the plain, and starr’d the kindled air:
High strode the Leader in the glorious van, 5.
And round his arms an awful glory ran:
For God enrob’d him with a pomp divine,
And bade an angel in his countenance shine.
Thus, when no cloud obscures th’ autumnal even,
And night’s dark hand unveils the vault of heaven, 10.
Crown’d with pure beams, her sons in beauty rise,
And glow, and sparkle, o’er unmeasur’d skies;
The moon, bright regent, leads th’ immortal train,
And walks in pride imperial round the plain.
Now climb’d the bands the mountain’s towering height, 15.
And o’er the subject region cast their sight;
There glister’d Gibeon’s domes in trembling fires,
And all the grandeur of a thousand spires.
Beyond her walls, a far-extended plain
Spread, like the surface of the sleeping main: 20.
A mighty host there left the bounded eye,
And lost its distant terrors in the sky.
Full in th’ effulgence of the morn’s broad beem,
Stretch’d the tremendous front, a ridge of flame,
Of length immeasurable. Ether wide 25.
Wav’d with a thousand nations’ banner’d pride;
Toss’d in gay triumph, lucid ensigns shone,
And cast their various splendor on the sun:
Swift round the region dim-seen chariots roll’d;
The far steeds bounded wrapp’d in twinkling gold, 30.
With spears and helms adorn’d of countless trains,
Rose the full pomp of constellated plains;
And proud with wanton beams, the sun-bright shields
Join’d like unnumber’d moons, and dazzled all the fields.
Unmov’d, great Joshua round him cast his eyes.
And saw th’ interminable legions rise:
Then thus, while Israel hush’d in silence stood,
Rang’d in just ranks, and fac’d the field of blood.
Behold, on yon bright plain, embodied stands 5.
The gather’d force of all Canäan’s lands!
Gather’d by Heaven’s right hand, and sad despair,
To crown our arms, and sink in one dread war!
Hail my brave sons, with me, th’ immortal day,
That opes to blissful peace the glorious way, 10.
The hour, long number’d in impatient skies,
The morn, ordain’d with every pomp to rise,
By angels watch’d, by Heaven’s dread signs led on,
Sinai’s fierce flames, and Jordan’s walls of stone.
Each boundless hope let yon fair field inspire;
Each warrior kindle with a leader’s fire:
The spoils of kingdoms each rapt eye behold;
Ensigns of fame, and shields of moony gold;
The herds, that wanton round a thousand rills; 5.
The flocks, that whiten on a thousand hills;
The corn, all verdant o’er unmeasur’d plains;
The world, where spring with smiling plenty reigns;
Where olives swell; where beauteous figs refine;
And warm, and purpling, glows the cluster’d vine. 10.
This day ordains them ours: this mighty day
Through realms unknown shall stretch our potent sway;
Far as the hills, where suns begin to rise;
Far as the seas, that limit evening skies;
Till fading years unloose the sleeping grave, 15.
And time’s last current joins th’ eternal wave.
There too, my sons, shall boundless glory rise,
And yon bright field of conquest fill the skies.
Through Israel’s future tribes the tale shall ring;
The sage record it, and the prophet sing;
Our deeds, our honours, wake the slumbering lyre; 5.
Warm the saint’s praise, and light the hero’s fire;
Rous’d by the theme, new acts of virtue grow;
New chiefs break forth, and rival wonders flow;
Truth’s happy sons rehearse in raptur’d strains,
Far through all climes, and ages, Gibeon’s plains; 10.
To morn’s etherial host new bliss be given,
And human triumphs tune the harps of heaven.
For know, when darkness last involv’d the skies,
I saw the promis’d land in vision rise.
I saw sweet peace exalted joys unfold;
Fair towns ascend, and temples beam in gold;
Kings, sprung from Jacob’s lineage, mount the throne, 5.
And stretch their sway to years and realms unknown;
Art raise her sceptre; wisdom’s light revive,
And angel Virtue bid our glory live.
I saw Messiah bright from heaven descend,
And spread his sway to earth’s remotest end; 10.
Deep Gentile darkness yield to light refin’d;
And truth, and virtue, flow to all mankind.
I saw the world, where Powers and Seraphs bright
Shine in pure robes, and rove in endless light;
Where, in new youth, the patriarchs, from their thrones 15.
Hail a long starry train of heavenly sons;
Where Abraham’s steps his native skies sustain,
And Moses raptur’d meets his God again.
On you, my sons, these mighty scenes suspend;
From you shall Israel’s fame and bliss descend;
From you shall princes, heroes, prophets spring;
From you be born the heaven-appointed king;
On this great day his earthly kingdom stand, 5.
Reach thro’ all times, and flow to every land;
To bliss, in distant ages, nations rise,
The world ennoble, and expand the skies:
Rush then to glory; God’s tremendous arm
Moves in the flaming front, and guides us to the storm. 10.
He spoke: a shout convuls’d the mountain’s brow,
And burst sonorous o’er the world below:
Each warrior on the plain in fancy stood,
Drove back whole hosts, and rul’d the scenes of blood;
Each on his falchion cast a frequent eye, 5.
And thought it bliss, in Israel’s cause to die.
As sullen clouds, when blasts in silence rest,
Hang black and heavy on the mountain’s breast;
Slow sink the volumes down its hoary side,
Shroud all the cliffs, and roll in gloomy pride: 10.
At once the winds arise; and sounding rain
Pours with impetuous fury o’er the plain:
So the dark hosts descend in deep array,
And o’er the champaign drive their dreadful way.
From the far plains, great Jabin’s eye beheld
The squadrons, thickening on the distant field,
For when from Joshua’s arm his host retir’d,
Stung by disgrace, with fierce resentment fir’d,
Some future fight his angry thoughts design’d, 5.
To glut the vengeance of his haughty mind.
To Gibeon’s fields he steer’d his sullen course,
Where circling kings combin’d their gather’d force;
Chiefs rush’d to conquest from a thousand lands,
Whirl’d all their cars, and led their countless bands. 10.
To guide their strength against their dreaded foes
All with one voice the mighty hero chose.
He, pleas’d once more to rule the dreadful plain,
Survey’d the terrors of th’ unnumber’d train;
Survey’d a host, beyond his wishes great, 15.
And ask’d the gods to give no happier fate.
In splendid arms confess’d to dreadful view,
To final fight, to final fame, he drew;
Full on his shield, with various forms inroll’d,
Or death, or conquest–blaz’d in words of gold. 20.
In fields far west, a torrent, with rough waves,
The rocky shore with endless fury laves.
Here, o’er the stream high banks majestic hung,
And with sad murmurs hollow caverns rung;
There, for the squadrons, rushing to th’ affray, 5.
Smooth, sloping shores prepar’d an easy way.
High on the western margin of the flood,
A wall of fire, Canäan’s millions stood.
Here Jabin’s will ordain’d his host to stay,
Shields join’d with shields, and wedg’d in firm array.
For well he knew, when Israel’s rushing force 5.
Up the rough bank should urge their toilsome course,
Their broken ranks would fall an easy prey,
And fame, and triumph, close th’ important day.
Now Israel’s host, slow-moving o’er the plain,
Successive roll’d, as waves disturb the main;
In every face a fix’d, calm bravery shin’d;
And not a hero cast a look behind.
High on her ramparts Gibeon’s children rose,
Survey’d the fields, and eyed th’ impending foes.
Here in fond arms, the tender Mother bare
The babe, sweet offspring of her anxious care,
Hung o’er its infant charms, and joy’d to trace 5.
The sire’s lov’d image in its blooming face:
Then on the combat turn’d a boding view,
Wrung her white hands, and shed the glistening dew.
Here the gay Child, with pleas’d, and wondering eye,
Catch’d the broad standard, streaming in the sky; 10.
On the red armour cast a raptur’d gaze,
And rais’d his artless hands, and mark’d the splendid blaze.
Here, bath’d in tears, and whelm’d with timorous care,
In woe more lovely, mourn’d the melting Fair;
O’er Gibeon’s host their eyes incessant rov’d, 15.
And each, mid thousands, trac’d the youth she lov’d:
Fond hope, ere eve gave champions to his steel,
And at her feet his shining garlands fell.
Then fear presents him weltering on the plain,
Soft, healing, female aid implor’d in vain; 20.
Clos’d were those eyes, that beam’d etherial fire,
Glow’d with young joy, or languish’d sweet desire,
Dumb was the voice, that every wish could move,
And cold the form, that wak’d unutter’d love.
Here hoary Age in new-born pleasure stood, 25.
And war’s dread glories fir’d his languid blood;
Long-buried years rush’d forward to the view;
What hosts they battled, and what chiefs they slew:
Each on his brethren gaz’d with glad surprize,
And the great soul stood kindling in their eyes. 30.
From northern gates her dark battalions pour’d,
And many a hero fierce to combat tower’d;
His warlike thousands wise Aradon led,
The white locks trembling o’er his ancient head.
Hail, mighty Chief!–the hoary prince began– 5.
Favourite of God, and virtuous friend of man!
Blest be thy steps, that bring this kind relief
To feeble age, and solitary grief.
In fields of conflict once rejoic’d I stood,
With death familiar, and with scenes of blood. 10.
But now sad age my head has whiten’d o’er;
This palsied arm must wield the sword no more.
To mourn, to weep is all my future doom,
Drawn near to death, and bending o’er the tomb.
These bands thy voice obey; in danger’s field 15.
Their manly bosoms never knew to yield:
Nor will their feet, long tried in honour’s race,
Now learn to flee, and first commence disgrace.
But, fix’d to death, their king, their land to save,
All force will hazard, and all terrors brave. 20.
When round the host I turn my weeping eyes,
And gaze, and gaze, my soul, with anguish, cries
Where, where is Elam? Oh, may no sad doom
Compel thee to a son’s untimely tomb!
A happier life, a brighter lot be thine; 5.
Taste all the rapturing joys that once were mine.
From childless age may Heaven his chosen save,
Nor bring thy hoary hairs in sorrow to the grave!
Great prince! the Chief, with cheering voice, replied–
Thy nation’s father, and thy country’s pride!
Not singly thou the pangs of grief hast known;
I mourn a daughter, as thou weep’st a son.
From hearts too fond, Heaven call’d the pair away 5.
To fields of bliss, and climes of lasting day.
May every virtue in thy breast refine,
Till those fair climes, and all that bliss be thine.
But now retire, where yon bright chariot stands;
Let youth and vigour lead thy warlike bands,
For see, to fight Canäan’s millions rise!
And hark, what clamors rend the boundless skies!
The king obey’d. In arms, the ardent throng,
Behind Almiran, darkly rush’d along;
Almiran, Gibeon’s noblest, bravest son,
Led the bold heroes, and like lightning shone.
In three vast squadrons stood the heathens strength,
And rose a mighty front of dreadful length.
O’er northern banks, where chariots hoarsely rung,
Like clouds of thunder, haughty Hebron hung:
There too fierce Eglon rush’d with dreadful roar, 5.
Like the long murmurs of the sounding shore.
Nor feebler legions fill the southern plain;
There Lachish, Jarmuth there, the fight sustain;
To the dire centre numerous nations throng,
And Jabin guides the storm, and swiftly flames along. 10.
With piercing eyes the Chief his foes descried,
And bade his host in three vast squares divide.
‘Gainst Lachish Gibeon rolls in proud array;
‘Gainst Hebron Asher bends a dreadful way:
As fires pursue a comet’s sanguine form, 5.
Behind great Joshua drives the central storm.
Now o’er the plain, as ocean pours his tide,
Their streaming ensigns rear’d in purple pride,
Far north, and southward stretch’d the chosen train,
And cross’d in gloomy pomp the dreadful plain.
Near, and more near, th’ undaunted warriors drew; 5.
For well the Chief, by sure experience knew
That nations, taught in sudden fight to rise,
To war by stealth, and triumph by surprise,
To wiles, vain-glorious, fall an easy prey,
And, throng’d in tumult wild, are swept away. 10.
Thence, near the foe he bade the squadrons move,
Tempt with keen taunts, and with proud threatnings prove,
That chiefs, and men, with childish rage o’ercome,
Might quit the shore, and haste to certain doom.
Now near the stream the sacred thousands stood,
Their breasts all panting for the scenes of blood.
At once, as some black storm begins to rise,
A cloud of arrows fill’d the western skies;
The long, ascending gloom all heaven o’erspread, 5.
And the fields darken’d with a transient shade.
Then stones on stones tempestuous ether pour’d:
And darts on darts in quick succession shower’d:
Now here, now there, expiring warriors fell,
And shrill beneath them rung the clashing steel. 10.
At once, as mov’d by fear, the Chief withdrew,
And bade his host the distant walls pursue.
With joy, the heathens eyed their backward way,
Rais’d a long shout, and sprang to seize the prey.
Swift rush’d th’ exulting thousands down the shore; 5.
For ranks behind, urg’d on the ranks before;
Loud ring the chariots, swift the coursers bound,
And a deep thunder waves along the ground.
Around, great Jabin cast a mournful view,
And saw his foes retreat, his friends pursue,
His laws contemn’d, that bade the thousands stay,
Till o’er the torrent Israel urg’d their way;
Kenn’d the deep snare, by Joshua wisely laid, 5.
And to himself with sighs thus fiercely said.–
I see, proud chief, I see thy prosperous wiles;
On me fate frowns; on thee propitious smiles;
But not alone I prove the general doom;
Ten thousand ghosts shall meet me at the tomb: 10.
Aveng’d, and happy to the shades I’ll go,
To bid thy princes quake in realms below.
Thus spoke the king, and deem’d his ruin nigh,
A fearful vengeance reddening in his eye;
Strong, fell despair inflam’d his eager look; 15.
His bands gaz’d trembling, and his princes shook.
Meantime with smiles the sacred Chief beheld
His foes rush headlong o’er th’ embattled field:
At once his piercing voice restrain’d the flight,
Wheel’d his long ranks, and marshall’d to the fight.
At once the trump’s tremendous blast ascends 5.
The plains all shudder, and the concave rends;
Loud as the storm’s ten thousand thunders rise,
A shout unmeasur’d rocks the lands and skies;
Again high heaven is gloom’d with stony showers;
Again all ether darts unnumber’d pours; 10.
With deep convulsion, roars the closing war;
Fierce bounds the steed; sonorous rolls the car;
With one broad ruin heaves the earth amain,
And Night, and Death, and Horror, shroud the plain.
So pours a storm on Greenland’s frozen shore; 15.
The hoarse winds rage; the maddening billows roar;
When boundless darkness wraps the realms on high,
And flaming meteors stream across the sky:
Huge isles of raging ice, together driven,
With bursting thunder rend air, sea, and heaven: 20.
Rocks rise o’er rocks; o’er mountains mountains roll,
And the world trembles to the distant pole.
Thus o’er the field the dreadful tumult grows;
Alike impetuous, foes encounter foes;
Where Asher’s sons proud Hebron’s host engage; 25.
Or where bold Gibeon pours her torrent rage;
Or where, around the Chief,immingled rise
Triumphant clamours, and expiring cries.
Long roar’d the tumult of the dubious fight,
And no base coward wish’d inglorious flight: 30.
All fierce to combat rush’d th’ undaunted train;
Nor these the palm would lose, nor those could gain;
Till cloth’d in terror, Joshua’s dreadful arm
Began the triumph, and led on the storm.
Two chiefs, whose silver arms confess’d their sway,
Rais’d their broad buklers in his fateful way.
By their fair wives a common sire they claim’d;
And Medan this, and Talmon that, was nam’d;
Of royal race, from Salem’s walls they came, 5.
Their deeds just budding in the field of fame.
Cleft through the side brave Medan gasping fell;
And Talmon trembling fled the lifted steel.
By his own friends a javelin swiftly hurl’d
Plung’d his freed spirit to the nether world; 10.
Far round the field a shout of joy ascends,
And groans re-murmur from his sadden’d friends.
Then swift the Hero wheel’d his flaming sword;
Like mountain streams his host behind him pour’d;
Loud roar’d the thunders of the dreadful plain,
Rock’d the tall groves, and fill’d th’ etherial main:
Increasing horror rent the world around, 5.
And steeds, and cars, and warriors mingled on the ground.
Now near the stream approach’d the sounding war,
When fierce to combat roll’d a splendid car;
There giant Zedeck rose in dreadful view;
Two furious steeds the mighty monarch drew;
With wild impetuous rage, they foam’d along, 5.
And, pale before them, fled the parting throng.
From Joshua’s course he saw his bands retire;
His reddening aspect flash’d a gloomy fire;
With huge, hoarse voice the furious hero cried,
While the plains murmur’d, and the groves replied, 10.
Whatever wretch from this bright combat flies,
By the just gods, the impious dastard dies.
Nor hope to ‘scape the keen, avenging blade
In the still cot, or in the lonely shade.
Soon shall this sword, with victory crown’d, return; 15.
And wrath, and vengeance, all your dwellings burn;
Your bodies, limb from limb, this arm shall tear,
Nor sons, nor wives, nor fires, nor infants, spare;
But bid the hungry hawks your race devour,
And call grim wolves to feast in floods of gore. 20.
He spoke; astonish’d, some more nimbly flew;
And some to conflict with fresh ardour drew:
Despair once more the growing flight repell’d,
And gave new horrors to the gloomy field.
Meantime on Joshua drove the sounding car,
And burst impetuous through the thickest war,
Rough, heavy, dreadful, by the giant thrown
Flew the vast fragment of a craggy stone;
Scarce ‘scap’d the wary Chief, with sudden bound, 5.
While the broad ruin plow’d the crumbling ground.
A javelin then the monarch’s hand impell’d,
That sung, and trembled, ‘gainst the Hero’s shield;
Swift o’er his head a second hissing flies,
And a pierc’d warrior groans, and falls, and dies. 10.
At once great Joshua rais’d his reeking sword,
And with deep wounds the maddening coursers gor’d;
Through cleaving ranks the coursers backward flew,
And swift from fight the helpless monarch drew.
To the high shore, impendent o’er the flood, 15.
They rush’d, as whirlwinds sweep the rending wood;
To turn they tried, with short and sudden wheel;
But tried in vain; the sounding chariot fell.
Prone down the lofty bank the steeds pursued,
Where sharp, and ragged rocks beneath were strew’d; 20.
All shrill the giant’s striking mail resounds:
With clattering crash, the cracking car rebounds;
White o’er his lifeless head the waters roar–
Lost in the stream, and doom’d to rise no more.–
As, when the south’s fierce blasts the main deform, 25.
And roll the pealful onset of the storm;
Hung are the heavens with night; the world around,
Deep-murmuring, trembles to the solemn sound;
Full on dread Longa’s wild-resounding shore
Hills, wav’d o’er hills, ascend, and burst, and roar: 30.
Safe in his cot, the hoary sailor hears,
Or drops, for fancied wrecks, unbidden tears.
A boundless shout, from Israel’s raptur’d train,
Rent the broad skies, and shook the dreadful plain.
For now, their champion, trust, and glory lost, 35.
From Joshua’s vengeance flew sad Salem’s host;
Before him nought avail’d the shields, and spears,
But chiefs, and foaming steeds, and rattling cars,
Ranks urging ranks, squadrons o’er squadrons borne,
Down the bank plung’d; the bank behind them torne, 40.
Sunk with a rushing sound: great Joshua’s arm
Uplifted, imminent impell’d the storm.
Alert, he bounded on the yielding sand,
And scatter’d ruin from his red right hand.
The white waves foam’d around his midway side, 45.
As fierce he thunder’d thro’ the rushing tide.
Two blooming youths, he dash’d against the rock,
Where Zedeck’s chariot felt the fatal shock;
Their gushing blood ran purple thro’ the wave,
And thousands with them found a watery grave. 50.
There, mid vile throngs, t’ untimely fate a prey,
Young, generous Egon breath’d his soul away.
Him Salem’s nymphs resounded thro’ the vales,
Or sung melodious, to responsive gales.
He, from the mountain wilds, and cliffs sublime, 5.
Untrod, uncultur’d, from the first of time,
Drove the fierce beasts, by arms and arts compell’d,
To seek their safety in the lowland field.
By flames unclos’d, by hounds and swains pursued,
They fled each fastness of th’ impervious wood; 10.
Ambush’d, in vales beneath the savage prey
Rush’d on the spear, and yell’d their lives away.
Then howling wilds the traveller ceas’d t’ appall;
Then night spread harmless round th’ unguarded stall
His flocks, the rising swain with joy survey’d, 15.
And slaughter’d lambs defil’d no more the glade.
Egon, each pipe, each voice of music sung;
And Egon’s glory courts and caverns rung:
But pass’d was all his fame; by Joshua’s hand
Plung’d in the stream, and choak’d with surging sand, 20.
While from the bank the warriors leap’d amain,
Crush’d, drown’d, he mingled with the numerous slain.
On the steep, western bank all Hazor stood;
A cloud of fire, high-towering o’er the flood:
Their darts unnumber’d Israel’s host invade,
And many an eye is clos’d in death’s dark shade.
Swift down the shore a rock with fury fell, 5.
And crush’d two warriors, wrapp’d in shining steel:
Near Joshua’s steps the craggy ruin pour’d;
The Hero sprang; the foaming torrent roar’d.
Then stones on stones, with sounding tempest driven,
Fill’d the wide concave of the troubled heaven: 10.
Beneath their shields the prudent warriors stood;
All ether rang and foam’d the reddening flood;
‘Till mighty Joshua, breathing wide dismay,
Swift down the raging torrent drove his way.
Where southward waves, expanding ceas’d to roar, 15.
The stream was bounded by a sloping shore.
Hither the hero bent his awful course;
His host behind him pour’d their mighty force;
Fierce up the shore he rush’d; a dreadful band
Throng’d round their chief, and darken’d all the strand. 20.
Here brave Almiran, like a sweeping fire,
Urg’d his dread path, and bade his foes expire.
Tall in the gloomy van, the hero sped,
And Lachish pale before him fell or fled:
Such fiery terrors round his visage glow’d; 5.
Such streams of slaughter from his falchion flow’d.
‘Till, generous youth, an arrow found thy side,
And down thy armour gush’d the living tide.
Thy sire had grasp’d his long-neglected shield,
And follow’d, trembling, to the deathful field: 10.
There on thy deeds he cast an anxious view;
There touch’d with transport. felt his youth renew;
Then saw thee falling, pale, depriv’d of breath,
Plung’d on the foe, and sunk in whelming death.
The youth, great Joshua caught in friendly arms,
His shield averting war’s impendent harms;
Chaf’d by his hand, again he op’d his eyes;
His lips respir’d; his bloom began to rise.
Then Gibeon’s sons the mighty Leader fir’d, 5.
And sorrow prompted, and revenge inspir’d.
Now dress’d in golden pride, to crimson war,
Tall, beauteous Piram drove his shining car.
Born in the stillness of a court serene,
Where peace, and pleasure led the jocund scene,
He loath’d dire fight, to gentler thoughts inclin’d; 5.
And love, and music, charm’d his feeling mind.
Soft pity touch’d his heart; and oft a tear
He dropp’d, and mourn’d the human doom severe;
Th’ unnumber’d ills of wasting pride would rue,
And wish that kings the sweets of friendship knew. 10.
Yet, not of servile kind, his thoughts had soar’d,
In brighter days, and Art’s fair realms explor’d.
Such was his soul, as grace from heaven refin’d
Can warm, and ripen, to an angel’s mind.
To combat now the prince reluctant rode,
When full before him Israel’s Leader stood.
Pleas’d, he beheld the graceful form ascend,
And wish’d the gods had made the Chief his friend.
But vain his wishes; by the Hero thrown, 5.
Full on his forehead bursts a sounding stone,
He fell; his coursers backward rush’d amain
And snatch’d the monarch o’er the cloudy plain.
His hapless fall pale Jarmuth’s sons beheld;
Grief froze their hearts, and fear their nerves congeal’d
The Chief pursues; their trembling bands retire;
Deep groans ascend, and troops on troops expire:
Wide rolls the dust; the skies are snatch’d from sight, 5.
And death hangs dreadful o’er the growing fight.
There, thron’d in state, and dress’d in burnish’d steel,
Lachish’ fair prince, Japhia, hapless fell.
He bade soft songs awake the trembling lyre,
With notes of magic, and with words of fire;
Such songs, as Moses, uninspir’d, might sing; 5.
Like him, a bard, a hero, and a king.
But far beyond the pride of pomp, and power,
He lov’d the realms of nature to explore;
With lingering gaze, Edenian spring survey’d;
Morn’s fairy splendors, night’s gay curtain’d shade; 10.
The high hoar cliff; the grove’s benighting gloom;
The wild rose, widow’d, o’er the mouldering tomb;
The heaven-embosom’d sun; the rainbow’s die,
Where lucid forms disport to fancy’s eye.
When rous’d to war, and deeds of deathless name, 15.
Faint shone to him the charms of martial fame:
But fir’d to ecstacy, his soul beheld
The stormy grandeur of the troubled field:
The morn, that trembled o’er the steel-bright plains;
The whirlwind car, wing’d steed, and clashing trains. 20.
Such scenes the warrior sung. The swains around
Hung on th’enchantment of the wildering sound:
Soft o’er the lyre the voice of music pass’d,
Wild as the woodland warblings of the waste;
Each savage soften’d, as the numbers rose, 25.
Forsook his falchion, and forgot his foes.
As dread before him glow’d the Hero’s face,
His angel pomp, and heaven-descended grace;
He stopp’d; he gaz’d; and with fond fancy warm,
Glued to the solemn glories of his form;
Swift through his bosom drove the deadly spear, 5.
And all his beauteous dreams dissolv’d in air.
Meantime far north the sons of Asher pour’d,
And fierce to combat chiefs and heroes tower’d:
There, like a whirlwind, rapid Zimri flew,
And, like a tempest, countless bands pursue:
Clouds after clouds behind him darkly roll, 5.
And shouts of glory heave the murmuring pole.
As when two seas, by winds together hurl’d,
With bursting fury shake the solid world;
Waves pil’d o’er waves, the watery mountains rise,
And foam, and roar, and rage, against the skies:
So join’d the combat; ranks, o’er ranks impell’d, 5.
Swell’d the hoarse tumult of the hideous field;
Black drifts of dust becloud the gloomy ground;
Hoarse groans ascend, and clashing arms resound.
And now, where Zimri broke th’ embodied war,
Imperious Hoham drove his sounding car; 10.
Like flames, his rapid courses rush’d along,
Forc’d a red path, and crush’d the thickening throng:
His hissing lances shower’d destruction round,
And streaming bodies strew’d the crimson ground.
With joy, bold Zimri kenn’d the prince afar 15.
And wing’d his javelin thro’ the flashing air;
Deep in his throat was lodg’d th’ avenging steel;
With groans, the monarch panting, struggling, fell:
The sword indignant gash’d his cleaving side,
Freed the pale ghost, and pour’d the vital tide. 20.
With shouts of triumph swell’d th’ etherial main,
And new convulsions shook the stormy plain.
The cars rush’d backward; foaming coursers bound;
The shrill swords clash, and hollow groans resound.
‘Twixt the long banks remurmuring clamors roar, 5.
And eyes unnumber’d wish the farthest shore.
As, swell’d with rains, th’ autumnal stream ascends,
Foams o’er the rocks, and all the mountain rends,
Heav’d deep, with groans th’ uprooted forest yields,
And huge, unwieldy oaks, plunge cumbrous to the fields; 10.
So furious Asher, with resistless sway,
On Hebron bursting broke a dreadful way;
Swift o’er the floods the warriors eager fly,
And steeds, and men, on earth immingled lie.
On these dire scenes great Jabin cast his view,
And saw his friends retire, his foes pursue,
Then, while the storm of war brave Zedeck bore,
He whirl’d his chariot down the western shore.
As, stain’d with blood, a meteor’s midnight beam 5.
Cleaves the dun clouds, and trails a length of flame;
At once, with dreadful burst, its terrors fly,
And a deep thunder rocks the shuddering sky:
So, thron’d tremendous in his sun-bright car,
Rush’d the impetuous Hero to the war; 10.
Loud to their ears his voice terrific came,
And his fierce eyeballs flash’d a withering flame–
Rouse, rouse to fight, to triumph bend your way;
Nor yield these slaves the wish’d immortal day.
Shall Hebron’s sons, that never knew to fly, 15.
Now turn inglorious, and like dastards die?
Let all your antient deeds each soul inspire,
And each bold warrior emulate his sire.
This hour propitious brings the glorious doom,
And sweeps these wretches to the coward’s tomb. 20.
He spoke, and furious, with resistless force
Burst on his foes and stopp’d their eager course:
All Hebron round him swift to conflict turn’d,
New life inform’d them, and new bravery burn’d;
Squadrons on squadrons wedg’d their deep array, 5.
And darker horrors gloom’d the dreadful day.
Him Hanniel saw; for here in fiercest fight
With joy he mingled, and disdain’d base flight.
No griding anguish now his limb distress’d;
No thought, but glory, triumph’d in his breast;
Chiefs to his arm had given the parting breath, 5.
And vulgar warriors stain’d his sword with death.
Alive, impetuous, burn’d the martial flame,
And every hope beat high for endless fame.
On Jabin’s car th’ undaunted warrior flew:
The car, like whirlwinds near him swiftly drew.
This the bless’d hour the hero deem’d to gain
The garland, wish’d so long, but wish’d in vain.
The Chief of foes his raptur’d eye survey’d, 5.
The destin’d victim of his conquering blade.
No fear disturb’d, lest combat’s fickle doom
Should change the lot, and ope another’s tomb:
He smil’d, from Joshua sure the palm to win,
And felt fresh honours round his temples twine. 10.
At once, by Jabin’s hand like lightening driven,
A spear flew nimbly through the dusty heaven;
Deep in his forehead sunk th’ unerring steel;
Without a groan the haughty warrior fell:
No soul more restless e’er from earth retir’d, 15.
Nor pride more boundless e’er in dust expir’d.
As, when bold youths, the mount’s dim summit gain’d,
Upheave the huge, hoar crag, with toilsome hand;
From point to point th’ unwieldy ruin toss’d,
Smokes down the steep, and grinds the cliffs to dust;
High bounding, sinking headlong, seeks the plain, 5.
Cleaves the torne ground, and plows the foaming main;
Far plunge the crashing pines; the wild rocks roar,
Hurl’d with tumultuous fury to the shore;
Wide-rolling dust the neighbouring concave fills,
And a long, swelling roar runs murmuring round the hills. 10.
So down the bank, tremendous Jabin’s car
Urg’d the pale throng, and drove the sounding war:
His foes plung’d headlong in the crimson wave,
And chiefs, and warriors, found a liquid grave.
While thus in dreadful fight the hosts engag’d,
The tumults thicken’d, and the clamours rag’d;
From Joshua’s terrors Hazor’s sons withdrew,
And distant from the shore their front renew.
With hideous strength, their ridgy lines ascend; 5.
Red flame the shields; swords tremble; spears protend:
Pleas’d, the Chief views; too generous not to know,
And own, with praise, the merit of a foe.
From a tall rock he cast his flashing eyes,
And saw the varied scenes of combat rise.
While every foe bold Gibeon fiercely drove;
The tribes of Zimri backward slowly move:
Tow’rd the high walls ascending volumes roll, 5.
And clouds on clouds successive wrap the pole.
Greatly serene, he view’d the threatening doom,
Nor veil’d his visage with a transient gloom;
But bade his chiefs, their bands for fight array’d,
Lead on the war, and Hazor’s host invade. 10.
Then, where the fields display’d an easy course,
Along the shore he wing’d his rapid force;
Swift as a tempest down the bank he flies,
Cuts the red stream, and lifts tremendous cries–
Heavens! what dishonour pains this bleeding eye? 5.
See, lost to shame, my friends, my heroes fly!
Turn, turn to triumph; swift to glory turn;
With generous shame let every bosom burn!
Shall your brave sires, that never knew to flee,
With pangs your flight, and tarnish’d honour, see; 10.
And wish high Heaven had lent a milder doom,
And swept them childless to an earlier tomb?
Shall Dan, shall Asher, names of long renown,
Now lose the splendors of a deathless crown!
Forbid it Heaven! now wipe the hateful stain; 15.
One bold exertion wins th’ immortal plain.
He spoke: at once, unfurl’d in glorious pride,
The sacred standard cast the view aside;
There Dan’s bright eagle, high in pomp display’d,
Stretch’d his long wings, and rear’d his golden head;
Of gold his form in lucid triumph turn’d, 5.
And streamy lightnings round him fiercely burn’d.
At once all Asher furious rush’d to fight,
Each ardent warrior spurn’d inglorious flight.
With wider ruin heave the trembling fields;
Cars burst; cries roar; groans murmur; sound the shields. 10.
As in some forest two red flames aspire,
And whelm huge pines in floods of surging fire,
Then swift through falling groves together driven
Roll o’er the mountain tops, and kindle heaven:
So, fierce and dreadful, front to front oppos’d, 15.
Mid clouds of dust, the thundering squadrons clos’d:
Earth shakes; air rends; the trembling skies resound,
And night, and sad dismay, invade th’ embattled ground.
For war undaunted Hebron fiercely burn’d,
Nor even in Joshua’s path to flight were turn’d.
Full on his sword they rush’d, and bravely fell;
New bands with transport fac’d the slaughtering steel.
Incessant cries o’er all the combat rung; 5.
Incessant spears through darken’d ether sung;
Swift flew the courser; swift the raging car;
Hoarse rose the tumult of the maddening war;
Less loud through forests winds impetuous roll,
The huge pines sink, and tempest rends the pole; 10.
Less loud ‘gainst Zembla mountain billows roar,
When the storm thunders on the frozen shore.
For Hebron’s thousands Jabin’s voice inspir’d,
And Joshua’s deeds the sons of Israel fir’d.
Now where the Chief terrific swept the field,
And, cloth’d in terror, ranks on ranks repell’d;
Whilst a red deluge o’er his footsteps spread,
And countless torrents spouted from the dead;
Swift to his path a chief of Asher ran, 5.
Wild with dismay, and quivering thus began–
Wing, wing, thou best of men, thy friendly path–
Oh save the hero, or avenge his death!–
Now Zimri dies; from yon ascending ground,
I saw fierce Jabin point the fatal wound– 10.
He spoke; at once, from all the Heathen train,
A voice of thunder heav’d th’ affrighted plain:
Loud as hoarse whirlwinds torrent flames inspire,
When up the mountains rolls tempestuous fire;
Loud as th’ Almighty’s voice, through ether driven, 15.
Pales the wide world, and shakes the walls of heaven;
Long shouts tremendous from the fields arise,
Burst o’er the hosts, and rend the clouded skies.
Through Israel’s thousands thrills a dire alarm,
When thus great Joshua nerves each fainting arm– 20.
Urge, my brave warriors, urge the glorious strife;
Wheel your red swords, and save the leader’s life–
Shall Zimri die, whilst each astonish’d stands,
Nor sees these falchions useless in our hands?
Alive the fainting hero meets my sight, 25.
And yet maintains the solitary fight–
He spoke, and furious wheel’d his dreadful sword;
Back roll’d the heathens; streams of slaughter pour’d:
Behind him Asher’s host in deep array
Throng’d darkening; clouds and death involv’d their way;
The bounding steeds bedew’d their hoofs in blood, 5.
And chiefs and monarchs swell’d the purple flood.
Now, where bold Zimri brav’d the deathful ground,
O’erhung with foes, and pierc’d with many a wound,
Whilst labouring, panting, heav’d his frequent breath,
And o’er his helmet flash’d descending death; 10.
Great Joshua, flaming, drove th’ embattled train;
Their lances flew, their falchions rag’d in vain.
Dire as a peal of thunder sweeps the skies,
He rush’d, and Death sate frowning in his eyes:
For now brave Zimri scarce sustain’d the strife; 15.
Sunk on one knee, and wish’d to sell his life.
Thro’ the thick tumults of the broken war
Impetuous Jabin wing’d his rapid car;
With ruddy beams his lance uplifted shone;
His waving buckler mock’d the sanguine sun; 20.
‘Twixt the bold chiefs, undaunted at the storm,
Sublime great Joshua rear’d his mighty form.
Now front to front the frowning heroes stood;
Their eyes red flames; their faces dropp’d with blood;
Their swords the lightning; two broad moons, their shields
Shot a fierce glory through the dreadful fields.
Then Jabin’s heart, though form’d of stubborn steel,
First shook with terror, and first learn’d to feel.
But rous’d by keen disdain, and vengeful ire,
Quick from his eye-balls blaz’d infernal fire;
To earth, impatient, from the car he sprang; 5.
His breast beat high; his rattling armour rang;
To die resolv’d, but as a king to die,
Like sudden thunder rose his bursting cry–
From this right hand receive, thou base-born slave,
A death too noble, but a dastard’s grave; 10.
Torne by the dogs, thy carcase here shall lie,
Or glut the sowls, that sweep th’ avenging sky.
The Chief disdain’d return. The Heathen’s steel
Full on his helm with rapid fury fell,
Glanc’d by his sword, it clave the bloody ground; 15.
Else had the Hero known no future wound.
Then with swift wheel, through Jabin’s yielding side
Rush’d his keen blade, and pour’d the sable tide;
Aghast, their monarch’s fall his host beheld,
And sullen groans rung murmuring round the field. 20.
Like Heaven’s dread thunder Joshua rais’d his voice;
Hosts backward roll’d, earth trembled at the noise–
On Gibeon’s turrets stand thou still, O Sun!
Look down, thou Moon, on dreary Ajalon!
Fix’d in high heaven the awful splendors stood, 25.
And flam’d tremendous on the field of blood;
From each dread orb ensanguin’d streams aspire,
The skies all mantling in fierce-waving fire;
Amaz’d, Canäan’s realms the pomp descried;
The world grew pale; the hearts of nations died: 30.
The bounding Hero seiz’d the shining car,
Snatch’d the long reins, and shouted to the war:
Behind, fierce Asher swift to vengeance flew;
All dropp’d their spears, and all their falchions drew;
A sudden blaze gleam’d round the dusty gloom, 35.
And plung’d ten thousand warriors to the tomb.
For now, o’er all the fight, the heathens yield,
And Israel triumphs round the dreadful field.
High in the van, sublime great Joshua rode,
Wing’d the dire flight, and swell’d the tide of blood; 40.
Aghast, they see the lightning of his eyes,
And hear the thunders of his voice arise.
The plains are tumult all, convuls’d affright,
Fierce ruin, wild amaze, and raging flight;
The Chariots stream; the steeds all eager bound, 45.
Stretch o’er the plains, and sweep the rising ground;
O’er rocks, o’er floods the thousands headlong fly,
And swords, and spears, and shields, behind them lie;
No stop, nor backward look, nor listening ear,
From plains to forests pants the full career; 50.
Behind, the Hero wings his rapid way,
And dust and darkness shroud the beams of day.
So, borne in clouds of fire, an Angel’s form
On impious Sodom drove the dreadful storm.
From heaven, in dreadful pomp, the Vision came; 55.
Far, far behind him, stream’d the angry flame;
The dark-red thunder, from his right hand hurl’d,
Upheav’d the sky, and fir’d the rocking world;
High o’er the storm, on wings of light, he rode,
And sail’d, in lucid triumph, to th’ approving GOD. 60.
Long rush’d the victors o’er the sanguine field,
And scarce were Gibeon’s loftiest spires beheld;
When up the west dark clouds began to rise,
Sail’d o’er the hills, and lengthen’d round the skies.
A ridge of folding fire their summits shone; 5.
But fearful blackness all beneath was thrown.
Swift round the sun the spreading gloom was hurl’d,
And night, and solitude, amaz’d the world.
At once the voice of deep-resounding gales
Rung slow, and solemn, in the distant vales;
Then through the groves, and o’er th’ extended plain,
With stormy rage the rapid whirlwinds ran:
Red o’er the glimmering hills, with pomp divine, 5.
The lightning’s flaming path began to shine;
Far round th’ immense unusual thunders driven,
Proclaim’d the onset of approaching Heaven;
Astonish’d Nature own’d the strange alarm,
And the world trembled at th’ impendent storm. 10.
O’er the dark fields aghast Canäan stream’d;
Thick in their course the scatter’d bucklers gleam’d:
Behind them, Joshua urg’d the furious car,
And tenfold horrors hover’d round the war.
But when the Chief the spreading storm survey’d,
And trac’d almighty arms in heaven display’d;
With piercing voice, he gave the great command–
Stand still, ye chosen sons, admiring stand!
Behold, what awful scenes in heaven arise! 5.
Adore the power that brightens in the skies!
Now God’s tremendous arm asserts his laws;
Now bids his thunder aid the righteous cause;
Unfolds how Virtue saves her chosen bands,
And points the vengeance doom’d for guilty lands. 10.
Behold, what flames shoot forth! what gloom ascends!
How nature trembles! how the concave rends!
How the clouds darken! see, in yonder sky,
Their opening skirts proclaim th’ Almighty nigh!
He spoke, and from the north a rushing sound
Roll’d through the heavens, and shook th’ embattled ground:
At once a rapid path of dreadful flame
Burst from the skies, and pour’d a sanguine stream:
Thron’d on a dark red cloud, an Angel’s form 5.
Sail’d awfully sublime, above the storm.
Half veil’d in mist, his countenance, like a sun,
Inflam’d the clouds, and through all ether shone;
Long robes of crimson light behind him flow’d;
His wings were flames; his locks were died in blood: 10.
Ten thousand fiery shapes were round him driven,
And all the dazzling pomp of opening heaven.
Now, save Canäan’s cries, that feebly rung,
Round the dark plain a horrid silence hung.
Stretch’d in dire terror o’er her quivering band,
Th’ etherial Vision wav’d his sun-bright hand;
At once from opening skies red flames were hurl’d, 5.
And thunders, roll’d on thunders, rock’d the world,
In one broad deluge sunk th’ avenging hail,
And, fill’d with tempest, roar’d the hoary vale;
The headlong whirlwinds boundless nature blend;
The streams rush backward; tottering mountains bend; 10.
Down the tall steep their bursting summits roll,
And cliffs on cliffs, hoarse-crashing, rend the pole:
Far round the earth a wild drear horror reigns;
The high heavens heave, and sink the gloomy plains:
One sea of lightnings all the region fills: 15.
Long waves of fire ride surging o’er the hills;
The nodding forests plunge in flame around,
And with huge caverns gapes the shuddering ground.
Swifter than rapid winds Canäan driven,
Refuse the conflict of embattled Heaven. 20.
But the dire hail in vain the victims fly,
And death unbounded shook from all the sky;
The thunder’s dark career; the Seraph’s arm,
Fierce vengeance blazing down th’ immense of storm.
From falling groves to burning plains they flew; 25.
Hail roars around, and angry blasts pursue;
From shaking heavens almighty arms are hurl’d,
And all the gloomy concave bursts upon the world.
No day like this the guilty earth had known;
Not Egypt’s storm with equal terror shone;
No day like this o’er eastern hills shall rise,
Till Gabriel’s trump inrolls the sinking skies.
For Heaven’s dread stores, reserv’d for death, and war, 5.
Fierce hail, and lightning, fill’d the rending air.
In vain the host attempted still to fly;
They fell, they rose again; but rose to die.
Mid thousand corses, there, beneath his shield,
Stalk’d a lone trembler through the sounding field: 10.
Here, scatter’d wretches roam’d along the plain,
And sheltering bucklers hid their heads in vain.
On every side resistless foes engag’d;
The lightning’s livid blast around them rag’d;
While the shrill torrents of th’ avenging hail 15.
Rush’d on the pinions of the sweeping gale.
Rare, and more rare, were seen the sinking host,
‘Till, whelm’d beneath the deluge, all were lost.
Thus, when black midnight’s terrors earth deform,
From the tall Andes bursts a blazing storm;
From steep to steep the ridgy flames aspire,
Bend o’er wide realms, and wrap the heavens in fire;
All nature trembles; tottering mountains rend; 5.
Down the cliffs thunder; showers of fire descend;
Huge hills of ice, dissolv’d, and wastes of snow
Plunge in one deluge on the world below;
O’er half Peru the floods tempestuous sweep,
And rocks, and groves, and towns, roll mingled to the deep. 10.
The form began to move; the clouds gave way,
Their skirts all brightening with the crimson ray;
Far south, on wings of fire, the Angel flew,
And his clear splendors lessening left the view,
Down the broad regions of the mid-day skies, 15.
Where glittering domes were seen, and scarcely seen to rise.
Through the long day, Canäan’s widows stood,
And look’d, all-anxious, toward the plain of blood;
Look’d for the host, with victory’s garlands crown’d,
Enrich’d with spoils, and with fair fame renown’d.
Their hands, to glad their friends with choice repast, 5.
Cull’d every sweet, and wines of daintiest taste;
Oft as a dusty cloud the whirlwinds rear’d,
In distant fields they thought their lords appear’d;
Then, with new terrors, gaz’d, and gaz’d again,
‘Till night, and sorrow darken’d every plain. 10.
The storm retir’d; the ensigns gave command,
And round their Leader throng’d the conquering band.
Here sparkling eyes with joy and triumph burn’d;
Here pity silent from the slaughter turn’d;
Here for fallen friends the tear was seen to flow, 5.
And sighs oft spoke unutterable woe:
While Joshua’s thoughts mount upward to the skies,
And fear, and wonder, in his bosom rise.
The stream, the walls they pass’d serenely slow,
Climb’d the tall hills, and sought the plain below; 10.
There crown’d with flowers, their wives and children came
And songs rose grateful to th’ Eternal Name–
Bless’d be the Power divine–rejoic’d they sung,–
The green vales echoed, and the forest rung–
Bless’d be the hand, that clave the conscious sea, 15.
And, rob’d in thunder, swept our foes away!
Let endless blessings round our nation rise,
Cheer all our lives, and waft us to the skies!
Thus strains of rapture charm’d the listening gales,
While the low sun-beam glimmer’d on the vales: 20.
To rest the camp retir’d: ten-thousand fires
Thro’ the calm silence rais’d their bending spires:
The bright moon rose; winds cool’d the chearful even,
And wide magnificence enkindled heaven.