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MESSIAH, a Sacred ECLOGUE.
E nymphs of Solyma! begin the fong:
To heav'nly themes fublimer ftrains belong.
The moffy fountains, and the fylvan fhades,
The dreams of Pindus and th' Aonian maids,
Delight no more- -O thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Ifaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the Bard begun :
A Virgin fhall conceive, a Virgin bear a Son!
From Jeffe's root behold a branch arise,
Whofe facred flow'r with fragrance fills the skies:
Th' æthereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic dove.
Ye heav'ns! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in foft filence fhed the kindly show'r!
The fick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes fhall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail ;
Returning justice lift aloft her fcale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white rob'd innocence from heav'n descend.
Swift fly the years, and rife th' expected morn!
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!
See nature haftes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incenfe of the breathing fpring :
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forefts on the mountains dance :
See fpicy clouds from lowly Saron rise,
And Carmel's flow'ry top perfumes the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely defert chears;
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears :
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains, and, ye vallies, rife;
With heads declin'd, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be fmooth 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 fhall purge the visual ray,
And on the fightless eye-ball pour the day:
'Tis he th' obstructed paths of found fhall clear,
And bid new mufic charm th' unfolding ear:
The dumb fhall fing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No figh, no murmur the wide world shall hear,
From ev'ry face he wipes off ev'ry tear.
In adamantine chains fhall death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound..
As the good fhepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture, and the purest air,
Explores the loft, the wand'ring sheep directs,
By day o'erfees them, and by night protects,
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand, and in his bofom warms;
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promis'd father of the future age.
No more fhall 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 fhall bend,
And the broad faulchion in a plow-share end.
Then palaces fhall rife; the joyful fon
Shall finish what his short-liv'd fire begun ;
Their vines a fhadow to their race shall yield,
And the fame hand that sow'd, shall reap the field.
The swain in barren deferts with furprize
Sees lilies spring, and fudden verdure rise ;
And starts amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmʼring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The fpiry fir and shapely box adorn :
To leaflefs fhrubs the flow'ry palms fucceed,
And od❜rous myrtle to the noisom weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead, And boys in flow'ry bands the tiger lead;
The fteer and lion at one crib fhall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand fhall take
The crefted bafilisk and speckled fnake,
Pleas'd the green luftre of the fcales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
Rife, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rife!
Exalt thy tow'ry head, and lift thy eyes!
See a long race thy fpacious courts adorn;
See future fons, and daughters yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on ev'ry fide arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies!
See barb'rous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with proftrate kings,
And heap'd with products of Sabæan springs!
For thee Idume's fpicy forefts blow,
And feeds 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 rifing fun shall gild the morn,
Nor ev'ning Cynthia fill her filver horn;
But loft, diffolv'd in thy fuperior 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 feas fhall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to duft, and mountains melt away;
But fix'd his word, his faving pow'r remains ;
Thy realm for ever lafts, thy own Meffiah reigns!
ATHER of all! in ev'ry age,
In ev'ry clime ador'd,
By faint, by favage, and by fage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou great firft caufe, leaft understood:
Who all my fense confin'd
To know but this, that thou art good,
And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark eftate,
To fee the good from ill;
And binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.
What confcience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than hell to fhun,
That, more than heav'n pursue.
What bleffings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not caft away;
For God is paid when man receives,
T'enjoy is to obey.