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YE nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains, and the silvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus, and the' Aonian maids,
Delight no more-0 thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the bard begun :
A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a son!
From Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies:
The' etherial spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic dove.
Ye heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly show'r!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fr. ud shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-rob'd Innocence from Heav'n descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise the' expected morn!
O spring to light, auspicious babe! be born.
See Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring;
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See spicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers:
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears!
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply;
The rocks proclaim the' approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains, and, ye vallies, rise;
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes, by ancient bards foretold:
Hear him, ye deaf, and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eye-ball pour the day:
'Tis he the' obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm the' unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear,
From every face be wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
And Hell's grim tyrant feel the eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air,
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bosom warms;
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promis'd father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end.
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-liv'd sire begun ;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'd, shall reap the field..
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy vallies, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn;
To leafless shrubs the flowering palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead;
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet;
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
Pleas'd, the green lustre of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rise!
Exalt thy towery head, and lift thy eyes!
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn;
See future sons and daughters, yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies!
See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
And heap'd with products of Sabæan springs !
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
See Heav'n its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day.
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn,
Nor evening Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolv'd in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
O'erflow thy courts: the light himself shall shine
Reveal'd, and God's eternal day be thine!
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away;
But fix'd his word, his saving pow'r remains ;-
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns!
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT.
P. 'SHUT, shut the door, good John!' fatigued,
'Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead."
The dog-star rages! nay, 'tis past a doubt
All Bedlam or Parnassus is let out:
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free,
Ev'n Sunday shines no sabbath-day to me:
Then from the mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy to catch me just at dinner-time.
Is there a parson much be-mus'd in beer,
A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a stanza when he should engross ?
Is there who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls?
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Apply to me to keep them mad or vain.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause:
Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song)
What drop or nostrum can this plague remove?
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma ! either way I'm sped;
If foes, they write; if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie.
To laugh were want of goodness and of grace,
And to be grave exceeds all pow'r of face.
I sit with sad civility, I read
With honest anguish and an aching head,
And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel, 'Keep your piece nine years.'
'Nine years!' cries he, who, high in Drury-lane,
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends,
Oblig'd by hunger and request of friends:
'The piece, you think, is incorrect? why take it,
I'm all submission; what you'd have it-make it.'
Three things another's modest wishes bound;-
'My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.'
Pitholeon sends to me: 'You know his grace,
I want a patron; ask him for a place.'
Pitholeon libell'd me-But here's a letter
Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine,
He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine.'
Bless me! a packet.-"Tis a stranger sues,
A virgin tragedy, an orphan Muse.'
If I dislike it,' Furies, death, and rage!'
If I approve, Commend it to the stage.'
There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, The players and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house rejects him, "Sdeath, I'll print it,
And shame the fools-your interest, Sir, with Lintot.'
Lintot, dull rogue, will think your price too much :
'Not, Sir, if you revise it, and retouch.'
All my demurs but double his attacks ;
At last he whispers, 'Do, and we go snacks.'
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door;
'Sir, let me see your works and you no more.'
"Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring,
(Midas, a sacred person and a king)
His very minister who spied them first
(Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak or burst, And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,
When every coxcomb perks them in my face?