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Or, if my heedless youth has stepp'd astray,
Too soon forgetful of thy gracious hand; On me alone thy just displeasure lay,
But take thy judgments from this mourning land.
We all have sinn'd, and thou hast laid us low
As humble earth, from whence at first we came : Like flying shades before the clouds we show,
And shrink like parchment in consuming flame.
O let it be enough what thou hast done: (street,
When spotted deaths ran arm'd through every With poison'd darts, which not the good could shun,
The speedy could outfiy, or valiant meet.
• The living few, and frequent funerals then,
Proclaim'd thy wrath on this forsaken place ; And now those few, who are return'd again,
Thy searching judgments to their dwellings trace.
O pass not, Lord, an absolute decree,
Or bind thy sentence unconditional; But in thy sentence our remorse foresee,
And, in that foresight, this thy doom recal.
• Thy threatenings, Lord, as thine, thou may'st re
But if immutable and fix'd they stand, [voke; Continue still thyself to give the stroke,
And let not foreign foes oppress thy land.'
The Eternal heard, and from the heavenly choir
Chose out the cherub with the flaming sword; And bade him swiftly drive the approaching fire
From where our naval magazines were stor’d.
The blessed minister his wings display'd,
And, like a shooting star, he cleft the night: He charg'd the flames, and those that disobey'd
He lash'd to duty with his sword of light.
The fugitive flames, chastis’d, went forth to pray
On pious structures, by our fathers rear'd; By which to Heaven they did affect the way,
Ere faith in churchmen without works was heard.
The wanting orphans saw, with watery eyes,
Their founders' charity in dust laid low; And sent to God their ever-answer'd cries;
For he protects the poor, who made them so.
Nor could thy fabric, Paul, defend thee long,
Though thou wert sacred to thy Maker's praise: Though made immortal by a poet's song;
And poets' songs the Theban walls could raise.
The daring flames peep'd in, and saw from far
The awful beauties of the sacred quire ; But since it was profan'd by civil war,
Heaven thought it fit to have it purgʻd by fire.
Now down the narrow streets it swiftly came,
And, widely opening, did on both sides prey; This benefit we sadly owe the flame,
If only ruin must enlarge our way.
And now four days the sun had seen our woes,
Four nights the moon beheld the incessant fire; It seem'd as if the stars more sickly rose,
And farther from the feverish North retire.
In the empyrean Heaven, the bless'd abode,
The Thrones and the Dominions prostrate lie, Not daring to behold their angry God;
And an hush'd silence damps the tuneful sky.
At length the Almighty cast a pitying eye,
And mercy softly touch'd his melting breast; He saw the Town's one-half in rubbish lie,
And eager flames drive on to storm the rest.
An hollow crystal pyramid he takes,
In firmamental waters dipt above; Of it a broad extinguisher he makes,
And hoods the flames that to their quarry strove.
The vanquish'd fires withdraw from every place,
Or, full with feeding, sink into a sleep: Each household Genius shows again his face,
And from the hearths the little Lares creep.
Our King this more than natural change beholds; With sober joy his heart and eyes
abound: To the All-good his lifted hands he folds,
And thanks him low on his redeemed ground.
As when sharp frosts had long constrain'd the earth,
A kindly thaw unlocks it with cold rain ; And first the tender blade peeps up to birth, And straight the green fields laugh with promis'd
grain. By such degrees the spreading gladness grew
In every heart which fear had froze before: The standing streets with so much joy they view,
That with less grief the perish'd they deplore.
The Father of the people open'd wide
His stores, and all the poor with plenty fed: Thus God's anointed God's own place supplied, And fill'd the empty with his daily bread.
This royal bounty brought its own reward,
And in their minds so deep did print the sense, That if their ruins sadly they regard, [thence.
'Tis but with fear the sight might drive him
But so may he live long that Town to sway,
Which by his auspice they will nobler make, As he will hatch their ashes by his stay,
And not their humble ruins now forsake.
They have not lost their loyalty by fire;
Nor is their courage or their wealth so low, That from his wars they poorly would retire,
Or beg the pity of a vanquish'd foe.
Not with more constancy the Jews of old,
By Cyrus from rewarded exile sent, Their royal city did in dust behold,
Or with more vigour to rebuild it went.
The utmost malice of the stars is past, [Town,
And two dire comets, which have scourg'd the In their own plague and fire have breth'd their last,
Or, dimly, in their sinking sockets frown.
Now frequent trines the happier lights among,
And high-rais'd Jove from his dark prison freed, (Those weights took off that on his planet hung)
Will gloriously the new-laid wo is succeed.
Methinks already, from this chemic flame,
I see a city of more precious mould: Rich as the town,* which gives the Indies name,
With silver pav'd, and all divine with gold.
Already, labouring with a mighty fate,
She shakes the rubbish from her mounting brow, And seems to have renew'd her charter's date,
Which Heaven will to the death of Time allow.
More great than human, now, and more august,
New deified she from her fires does rise;
And, opening, into larger parts she flies.
Before, she like some shepherdess did show,
Who sat to bathe her by a river's side ;
Nor taught the beauteous arts of modern pride:
Now, like a maiden queen, she will behold,
From her high turrets, hourly suitors come ; The East with incense, and the West with gold,
Will stand, like suppliants, to receive her doom.
The silent Thames, her own domestic flood,
Shall bear her vessels, like a sweeping train ; And often wind, as of his mistress proud,
With longing eyes to meet her face again.