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Where will their fictious images remain ?
“ Now are they air condens'd, or gather'd rays? In paper-schemes, and the Chaldean's brain. How guide they then our prayer, or keep our ways
“This problem yet, this offspring of a guess, By stronger blasts still subject to be tost, Let us for once a child of truth confess,
By tempests scatter'd, and in whirlwinds lost? That these fair stars, these objects of delight " Have they again (as sacred song proclaims) And terror to our searching dazzled sight, Substances real, and existing frames ? Are worlds immense, unnumber'd, infinite. How comes it, since with them we jointly share But do these worlds display their beams, or guide The great effect of one Creator's care, Their orbs, to serve thy use, to please thy pride ? That, whilst our bodies sicken and decay, Thyself but dust, thy stature but a span,
Theirs are for ever healthy, young, and gay? A moment thy duration, foolish man!
Why, whilst we struggle in this vale beneath As well may the minutest emmet say,
With want and sorrow, with disease and death, That Caucasus was rais'd to pave his way ; Do they, more bless'd, perpetual life employ The snail, that Lebanon's extended wood
On songs of pleasure, and in scenes of joy ? Was destin'd only for his walk and food ;
"Now when my mind has all this world survey'd, The vilest cockle, gaping on the coast
And found, that nothing by itself was made; That rounds the ample seas, as well may boast, When thought has rais'd itself, by just degrees, The craggy rock projects above the sky, From valleys crown'd with flowers, and hills with That he in safety at its foot may lie;
trees; And the whole ocean's confluent waters swell, [shell. From smoking mineral, and from rising streams ; Only to quench-his thirst, or move and blanch his From fattening Nilus, or victorious Thames ;,
“A higher fight the venturous goddess tries, From all the living, that four-footed nuove
From the poor reptile with a reasoning soul, (I offer only what tradition taught)
That miserable master of the whole; Embattled cherub against cherub rose,
From this great object of the body's eye, Did shield to shield, and power to power oppose;
This fair half-round, this ample azure sky, Heaven rung with triumph, Hell was filled with Terribly large, and wonderfully bright,
With stars unnumber'd, and unmeasur'd light; What were these forms of which your volumes tell, From essences unseen, celestial names, How some fought great, and others recreant fell? Enlightening spirits, ministerial flames, These bound to bear an everlasting load,
Angels, dominions, potentates, and thrones, Durance of chain, and banishment of God; All that in each degree the name of creature owns By fatal turns their wretched strength to tire, Lift we our reason to that sovereign Cause, To swim in sulphurous lakes, or land on solid fire : Who blest the whole with life, and bounded it with While those, exalted to primeval light,
laws; Excess of blessing, and supreme delight,
Who forth from nothing call'd this comely frame, Only perceive some little pause of joys
His will and act, his word and work the same; In those great moments when their God employs To whom a thousand years are but a day; Their ministry, to pour his threaten'd hate Who bade the Light her genial beams display, On the proud king, or the rebellious state ; And set the Moon, and taught the Sun its way; Or to reverse Jehovah's high command,
Who, waking Time, his creature, from the source And speak the thunder falling from his hand, Primeval, order'd his predestin'd course ; When to his duty the proud king returns,
Himself, as in the hollow of his hand, And the rebellious state in ashes mourns; Holding, obedient to his high command, How can good angels be in Heaven confin'd, The deep abyss, the long-continued store, Or view that presence, which no space can bind? Where months, and days, and hours, and minutes Is God above, beneath, or yon, or here?
pour He who made all, is he not everywhere?
Their floating parts, and thenceforth are no more : Oh, how can wicked angels find a night
This Alpha and Omega, first and last, So dark, to hide them from that piercing light, Who like the potter in a mould has cast Which form’d the eye, and gave the power of sight? The world's great frame, commanding it to be
** What mean I now of angel, when I hear Such as the eyes of Sense and Reason see; Firm body, spirit pure, or fluid air?
Yet, if he wills, may change or spoil the whole ; Spirits, to action spiritual confin'd,
May take yon beauteous, mystic, starry roll, Friends to our thought, and kindred to our mind, And burn it like an useless parchment scroll; Should only act and prompt us from within, May from its basis in one moment pour Nor by external eye be ever seen.
This melted earthWas it not, therefore, to our fathers known, Like liquid metal, and like burning ore; That these had appetite, and limb, and bone ? Who, sole in power, at the beginning said, Else how could Abraham wash their wearied feet? Let Sea, and Air, and Earth, and Heaven be made, Or Sarah please their taste with savory meat ? And it was so ;-and, when he shall ordain Whence should they fear? or why did Lot engage In other sort, has but to speak again, To save their bodies from abusive rage ?
And they shall be no more: of this great theme, And how.could Jacob, in a real fight,
This glorious, hollow'd, everlasting name,
And each with mutual look on other gaz'd;
Nor speech they meditate, nor answer frame, The little which imperfectly we find,
Various discussions tear our heated brain;
How narrow limits were to Wisdom given ! For I in knowledge more than power did sway: Earth she surveys; she thence would measure And the astonish'd world in me beheld
Heaven: Moses eclips'd, and Jesse's son excell'd.
Through mists obscure now wings her tedious way; Humble a second bow'd, and took the word ; Now wanders dazzled with too bright a day; Foresaw my name by future age ador'd :
And from the summit of a pathless coast “O live," said he, “thou wisest of the wise; Sees infinite, and in that sight is lost. As none has equall’d, none shall ever rise
Remember, that the curs'd desire to know, Excelling thee."
Offspring of Adam! was thy source of woe. Parent of wicked, bane of honest deeds, Why wilt thou then renew the vain pursuit, Pernicious Flattery! thy malignant seeds,
And rashly catch at the forbidden fruit; In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand,
With empty labor and eluded strise, Sadly diffus'd o'er Virtue's gleby land,
Seeking, by knowledge, to attain to life; With rising pride amidst the corn appear,
For ever from that fatal tree debarr'd,
And now the whole perplex'd ignoble crowd,
Texts chiefly alluded to in Book II.
My prophets and my sophists finish'd here “I said in my own heart, Go to now, I will prove The civil efforts of the verbal war:
thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure."Not so my rabbins and logicians yield;
EccLEs. chap. ii. ver. i. Retiring, still they combat; from the field "I made me great works, I builded me houses, I Of open arms unwilling they depart,
· planted me vineyards."-Ver. 4. And skulk behind the subterfuge of art.
"I made me gardens and orchards; and I planted To speak one thing, mix'd dialects they join,
trees in them of all kind of fruits."-Ver. 5. Divide the simple, and the plain define:
“I made me pools of water, to water therewith the Fix fancied laws, and form imagin'd rules,
wood that bringeth forth trees."-Ver. 6. Terms of their art, and jargon of their schools,
" Then I looked on all the works that my hands had Il-grounded maxims, by false gloss enlarg’d,
wrought, and on the labor that I had
labored And captious science against reason charg'd.
to do: and behold all was vanity and vexation of Soon their crude notions with each other fought;
spirit; and there was no profit under the Sun.”The adverse sect denied what this had taught;
Ver. 11. And he at length the amplest triumph gain'd,
“I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the Who contradicted what the last maintain'd.
delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, O wretched impotence of human mind!
and that of all sorts."-Ver. 8. We, erring still, excuse for error find, And darkling grope, not knowing we are blind. “ I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine,
Vain man! since first thy blushing sire essay'd (yet acquainting inine heart with wisdom) and His folly with connected leaves to shade,
to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that How does the crime of thy resembling race
good for the sons of men, which they should do With like attempt that pristine error trace!
under Heaven all the days of their life."-Ver. 3. Too plain thy nakedness of soul espied,
" Then I said in my heart, As it happeneth unto Why dost thou strive the conscious shame to hide the fool, so it happeneth even unto me; and why By masks of eloquence and veils of pride ?
was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, With outward'smiles their fattery I receiv'd,
that this also is vanity,"-Ver. 15. Own'd my sick mind by their discourse reliev'd; “ Therefore I hated life, because the work that is But bent, and inward to myself, again
wrought under the Sun is grievous unto me."-Perplex'd, these matters I revolv'd in vain.
Ver. 17. My search still tir'd, my labor still renew'd, “Dead flies cause the ointment to send forth a At length I ignorance and knowledge view'd,
stinking savor: 60 doth a little folly him that is Impartial; both in equal balance laid, [weigh’d. in reputation for wisdom and honor."--Ch. x. ver. 1. Light slew the knowing scale, the doubtful heavy Fore'd by reflective reason, I confess,
“ The memory of the just is blessed, but the memory
of the wicked shall rot."-PROVERBS, ch. x. ver. 7. That human science is uncertain guess. Alas! we grasp at clouds, and beat the air, Vexing that spirit we
THE ARGUMENT. Can thought beyond
bounds of matter climb? Or who shall tell Ir vain we lift up our
Solomon, again seeking happiness, inquires if wealth To what our presumptuous eyes
and greatness can produce it; begins with the The searcher follow
magnificence of gardens and buildings, the luxury beir ken denies : The object faster flies.
of music and foasting; and proceeds to the hopes
intend to clear.
What is space or time?
and desires of love. In two episodes are shown Haunted my nights, and terrified my days;
Essay if harmony may grief control,
Or power of sound prevail upon the soul.
Attentive to the song; the lynx forget
I spake my purpose ; and the cheerful choir
Softend the timbrel's noise ; the trumpet's sound And make thy reason subject to thy sense.
Provok'd the Dorian flute (both sweeter found I commun'd thus: the power of wealth I tried, When mix’d); the fife the viol's notes refin'd, And all the various luxe of costly pride ;
And every strength with every grace was join'd. Artists and plans reliev'd my solemn hours; Each morn they wak'd me with a sprightly lay ; I founded palaces, and planted bowers;
Of opening Heaven they sung and gladsome day.
Each evening their repeated skill express'd
Scenes of repose, and images of rest :
The solemn violence of the graver sound
How the weak organ is with seeing cloy'd,
And now (unhappy search of thought!) I found On which the planted grove, the pensile garden, The fickle ear soon glutted with the sound, grows.
Condemn'd eternal changes to pursue,
I bade the virgins and the youth advance,
And, vex'd, I found that the musician's hand
I drank; I lik'd it not; 'twas rage, twas noise,
An airy scene of transitory joys
Would banish sorrow, and enlarge the soul.
My full design with vast expense achiev'd, How flow'd our mirth, and whence the source begun?
And made the jovial table laugh so loud,
To some false notion ow'd its poor prelence,
Offence and torture to the sober ear:
And prudence mention with the last regret.
Add yet unnumber'd ills, that lie unseen purple color is made.
In the pernicious draught; the word obscene
Or harsh, which, once elanc'd, must ever fly When she, with modest scorn, the wreath return'd Irrevocable ; the too prompt reply,
Reclin'd her beauteous neck, and inward mourn'd! Seed of severe distrust and fierce debate;
Forc'd by my pride, I my concern suppress'd, What we should shun, and what we ought to hate. Pretended drowsiness, and wish of rest :
Add too the blood impoverish'd, and the course And sullen I forsook th' imperfect feast, or health suppress'd, by wine's continual force. Ordering the eunuchs, to whose proper care
Unhappy man! whom sorrow thus and rage Our eastern grandeur gives th' imprison'd fair, To different ills alternately engage;
To lead her forth to a distinguish'd bower, Who drinks, alas! but to forget; nor sees
And bid her dress the bed, and wait the hour. That melancholy sloth, severe disease,
Restless I follow'd this obdurate maid Memory confus'd, and interrupted thought, (Swist are the steps that Love and Anger tread); Death's harbingers, lie latent in the draught; Approach'd her person, couried her embrace, And, in the flowers that wreath the sparkling bowl, Renew'd my flame, repeated my disgrace ; Fell adders hiss, and poisonous serpents roll. By turns put on the suppliant and the lord;
Remains there aught untried that may remove Threaten'd this moment, and the next implor'd , Sickness of mind, and heal the bosom?-Love. Offer'd again the unaccepted wreath, Love yet remains: indulge his genial fire, And choice of happy love, or instant death. Cherish fair hope, solicit young desire,
Averse to all her amorous king desir'd,
Far as she might she decently retir'd;
Why therefore hesitates my doubtful breast? “ What means," said she, “king Solomon the wise? Why ceases it one moment to be blest ?
“This wretched body trembles at your power: * Fly swilt, my friends; my servants, fly; employ Thus far could Fortune, but she can no more. Your instant pains to bring your master joy. Free to herself my potent mind remains, Let all my wives and concubines be dress'd; Nor fears the victor's rage, nor feels his chains. Let them to-night attend the royal feast;
“ 'Tis said, that thou canst plausibly dispute, All Israel's beauty, all the foreign fair;
Supreme of seers! of angel, man, and brute ; The gifts of princes, or the spoils of war: Canst plead, with subtle wit and fair discourse, Before their monarch they shall singly pass, Of passion's folly, and of reason's force; And the most worthy shall obtain the grace." That, to the tribes attentive, thou canst show
I said: the feast was serv'd, the bowl was crown'd; Whence their misfortunes or their blessings flow; To the king's pleasure went the mirthful round. That thou in science as in power art great, The women came: as custom wills, they past : And truth and honor on thy edicts wait. On one (O that distinguish'd one!) I cast
Where is that knowledge now, that' regal thought, The favorite glance! O! yet my mind retains With just advice and timely counsel fraught? That fond beginning of my infant pains.
Where now, O judge of Israel! does it rove?Mature the virgin was, of Egypt's race ;
What in one moment dost thou offer ? LoveGrace shap'd her limbs, and beauty deck'd her Love! why 'tis joy or sorrow, peace or strife ; face;
"Tis all the color of remaining life: Easy her motion seem'd, serene her air;
And human misery must begin or end, Full, though unzon'd, her bosom rose ; her hair, As he becomes a tyrant or a friend. Untied, and ignorant of artful aid,
Would David's son, religious, just, and grave, Adown her shoulders loosely lay display'd, To the first bride-bed of the world receive And in the jetty curls ten thousand Cupids play'd. A foreigner, a heathen, and a slave ? Fixd on her charms, and pleas'd that I could love, Or, grant thy passion has these names destroy'd, “Aid me, my friends, contribute to improve That Love, like Death, makes all distinction void; Your monarch’s bliss," I said ; “ fresh roses bring Yet in his empire o'er thy abject breast To strew my bed, till the impoverish'd Spring His flames and torments only are exprest ; Confess her want; around my amorous head His rage can in my smiles alone relent, Be dropping myrrh and liquid amber shed, And all his joys solicit my consent. Till Arab has no more. From the soft lyre,
Soft love, spontaneous tree, its parted root Sweet Aute, and ten-string'd instrument, require Must from two hearts with equal vigor shoot; Sounds of delight: and thou, fair nymph! draw Whilst each, delighted and delighting, gives nigh,
The pleasing ecstacy which each receives : Thou, in whose graceful form and potent eye,
Cherish'd with hope, and fed with joy, it grows; Thy master's joy, long sought, at length is found; Its cheerful buds their opening bloom disclose, And, as thy brow, let my desires be crown'd; And round the happy soil diffusive odor flows. O favorite virgin! that hast warm’d the breast, If angry Fate that mutual care denies, Whose sovereign dictates subjugate the East !" The fading plant bewails its due supplies;
I said : and sudden from the golden throne, Wild with despair, or sick with grief, it dies. With a submissive step, I hasted down.
“ By force beasts act, and are by force restrain'd The glowing garland from my hair I took,
The human mind by gentle means is gain'd. Love in my heart, obedience in my look; Thy useless strength, mistaken king, employ : Prepar'd to place it on
Sated with rage, and ignorant of joy, “O favorite virgin!"
Thou shalt not gain what I deny to yield,
again I said,
Nor reap the harvest, though thou spoild'st the field.
Know, Solomon, thy poor extent of sway ;
word obey : Contract thy brow, and Israel shall obey : What pangs, alas
come away." But wilful Love thou must with smiles appease, Tore up my senses,
Approach his awful throne by just degrees, -cstacy of smart,
And, if thou wouldst be happy, learn to please. Gid my heart,
comely head :
ha Ppy thou!
“ Not that those arts can here successful prove, Entirely thus I find the fiend portray'd, For I am destin'd to another's love.
Since first, alas! I saw the beauteous maid.
Curs'd demon! O! for ever broken lie
Those fatal shafts, by which I inward bleed! Each swore with truth, with pleasure each believ'd. O! can my wishes yet o'ertake thy speed ! The mutual contract was to Heaven convey'd ; Tird may’st thou pant, and hang thy flagging wing, In equal scales the busy angels weigh'd
Except thou turn'st thy course, resolv'd to bring Its solemn force, and clapp'd their wings, and spread The damsel back, and save the love-sick king!" The lasting roll, recording what we said.
My soul thus struggling in the fatal net,
Sent and recallid, ordain'd and disapprov'd;
But O, how short my interval of woe! “Now strike," she said, and open'd bare her Our griefs how swift! our remedies how slow! breast;
Another nymph, (for so did Heaven ordain, “ Stand it in Judah's chronicles confest,
To change the manner, but renew the pain,) That David's son, by impious passion mov'd, Another nymph, amongst the many fair, Smote a she-slave, and murder'd what he lov'd!" That made my softer hours their solemn care,
Asham'd, confus'd, I started from the bed, Before the rest affected still to stand, And to my soul, yet uncollected, said,
And watch'd my eye, preventing my command. “ Into thyself, fond Solomon, return;
Abra, she so was callid, did soonest haste Reflect again, and thou again shalt mourn. To grace my presence ; Abra went the last; When I through number'd years have Pleasure Abra was ready ere I call'd her name ; sought,
And, though I call’d another, Abra came.
To me her actions did unheeded die,
The Sun declined had shot his western ray,
(For so the precept of the law commands): For whom, disdaining me, she keeps her charms ? Love had ordain'd, that it was Abra's turn
“Fantastic tyrant of the amorous heart, To mix the sweets, and minister the urn. How hard thy yoke! how cruel is thy dart!
With awful homage and submissive dread, Those 'scape thy anger, who refuse thy sway, The maid approach'd, on my declining head And those are punish'd most who most obey. To pour the oils ; she trembled as she pour'd: See Judah's king revere thy greater power : With an unguarded look she now devour'd What canst thou covet, or how triumph more? My nearer face! and now recall'd her eye, Why then, O Love, with an obdurate ear, And heav'd, and strove to hide, a sudden sigh. Does this proud nymph reject a monarch's prayer? "And whence," said I, “ canst thou have dread Why to some simple shepherd does she run
or pain ? From the fond arms of David's favorite son? What can thy imagery of sorrow mean? Why flies she from the glories of a court,
Secluded from the world and all its care, Where wealth and pleasure may thy reign support, Hast thou to grieve or joy, to hope or fear? To some poor cottage on the mountain's brow, For sure," I added, “sure thy little heart Now bleak with winds, and cover'd now with snow, Ne'er felt Love's anger, nor receiv'd his dart." Where pinching want must curb her warm desires, A bash'd, she blush’d, and with disorder spoke And household cares suppress thy genial fires ? Her rising shame adom'd the words it broke “ Too aptly the afflicted Heathens prove
“If the great master will descend to hear Thy force, while they erect the shrines of Love. The humble series of his handmaid's care ; His mystic form the artisans of Greece
0! while she tells it, let him not put on In wounded stone, or molten gold, express; The look, that awes the nations from the throne ! And Cyprus to his godhead pays her vow, O! let not death severe in glory lie Fast in his hand the idol holds his bow;
In the king's frown, and terror of his eye!
Mine to obey, thy part is to ordain;