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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, ihat nothing by itself was made ; That rounds the ample seas, as well may boast, When thought has rais'd itself, hy 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 flight the venturous goddess tries, From all the living, that four-footed niove Leaving material worlds and local skies;
Along the shore, the meadow, or the grove ;
From the poor reptile with a reasoning soul, (I offer only what tradition taught,)
That miserable master of the whole ; Embatiled cherub against cherub rose,
From this great object of the body's eye, Did shield 10 shield, and power to power oppose;
This fair half-round, this ample azure sky, Heaven rung with triumph, Hell was fill'd 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 tlames, 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, orderd 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 Auid 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 earth Was 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'rl,
Nor speech they meditate, nor answer frame, The liule which imperfectly we find,
Various discussions tear our heated brain;
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 equallid, 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, Peruicious Flautery! thy malignant seeds,
And rashly catch at the forbidden fruit; In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand,
With empty labor and eluded strife, 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. rer. i. Retiring, still they combat; from the field
“I mado me great works, I builded me houses, I Of open arms unwilling they depart,
plantod 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 : Fix fancied laws, and form imagin'd rules,
"I made me pools of water, to water therewith the
wood that bringeth forth trees."-Ver. 6. Terms of their art, and jargon of their schools, Ill-grounded maxims, by false gloss enlarg'd,
" Then I looked on all the works that my hands had And captious science against reason charg'd.
wrought, and on the labor that I had labored Soon their crude notions with each other fought;
to do: and behold all was vanity and vexation of The adverse sect denied what this had taught;
spirit; and there was no profit under the Sun,"
Ver. 11. And he at length the amplest triumph gain'd, Who contradicted what the last maintain'd. "I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the O wretched impotence of human mind!
delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments,
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 mine 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 flattery 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 flics
the ointment to scnd forth a At length I ignorance and knowledge view'd, stinking savor: so 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 flew the knowing scale, the doubtful heavy
“ The memory of the just is blessed, but the memory Fore'd by reflective reason, I confess,
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 intend to clear.
THE ARGUMENT. Lan thought beyond the bounds of matter climb? Or who shall tell me what is space or time? Solomon, again seeking happiness, inquires if wealth In vain we lift up our presumptuous eyes
and greatness can produce it; begins with the To what our Maker to their ken denies:
magnificence of gardens and buildings, the luxury The searcher follows fast; the object faster fies. of music and fcasting; and proceeds to the hopes
and desires of love. In two episodes are shown Haunted my nights, and terrified my days; the follies and troubles of that passion. Solomon, Stalk'd through my gardens, and pursu'd my ways, still disappointed, falls under the temptations of Nor shut from artful bower, nor lost in winding libertinism and idolatry ; recovers his thought; reasons aright; and concludes, that, as to the Yet take thy bent, my soul ; another sense pursuit of pleasure and sensual delight, All is Indulge; add music to magnificence: vanity and vexation of spirit.
Essay if harmony may grief control,
Or power of sound prevail upon the soul. Try then, O man, the moments to deceive, Often our seers and poets have confest, That from the womb attend thee to the grave: That music's force can tame the furious beast : For wearied Nature find some apter scheme: Can make the wolf, or foaming boar, restrain Health be thy hope, and Pleasure be thy theme. His rage; the lion drop his crested mane, From the perplexing and unequal ways,
Attentive to the song; the lynx forget Where study brings thee ; from the endless maze, His wrath to man, and lick the minstrel's feet. Which doubt persuades to run, forewarn’d, recede Are we, alas ! less savage yet than these? To the gay field and flowery path, that lead Else music, sure, may human cares appease. To jocund mirth, soft joy, and careless ease : I spake my purpose ; and the cheerful choir Forsake what may instruct, for what may please ; Parted their shares of harmony: the lyre Essay amusing art, and proud expense,
Soften'd the timbrel's noise; the trumpet's sound And make thy reason subject to thy sense. Provok'd the Dorian Aule (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. Birds, fishes, beasts, of each exotic kind,
Each evening their repeated skill express'd I 10 the limits of my court confin'd;
Scenes of repose, and images of rest : To trees transferr'd I gave a second birth, Yet still in vain ; for music gather'd thought: And bade a foreign shade grace Judah's earth; But how unequal the effects it brought! Fish-ponds were made, where former forests grew, The soft ideas of the cheerful note, And hills were levell’d to extend the view; Lightly receiv'd, were easily forgot; Rivers diverted from their native course, The solemn violence of the graver sound And bound with chains of artificial force, Knew to strike deep, and leave a lasting wound. From large cascades in pleasing tumult rollid, And now reflecting, I with grief descry Or rose through figur'd stone, or breathing gold; The sickly lust of the fantastic eye ; From furthest Africa's tormented womb
How the weak organ is with seeing cloy'd, The marble brought, erects the spacious dome, Flying ere night what it at noon enjoy’d. Or forms the pillars' long-extended rows,
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, To mark the pavement there with various stone, To temper music with the sprightly dance. And on the jasper steps to rear the throne : In vain! too low the mimic motions seem; The spreading cedar, that an age had stood, What takes our heart must merit our esteem. Supreme of trees, and mistress of the wood, Nature, I thought, performd too mean a part, Cut down and carv'd, my shining roof adorns, Forming her movements to the rules of art; And Lebanon his ruin'd honor mourns.
And, vex'd, I found that the musician's hand A thousand artists show their cunning power, Had o'er the dancer's mind too great command. To raise the wonders of the ivory tower.
I drank; I lik'd it not; 'twas rage, twas noise, A thousand maidens ply the purple loom, An airy scene of transitory joys To weave the bed, and deck the regal room ; In vain I trusted that the flowing bowl Till Tyre confesses her exhausted store,
Would banish sorrow, and enlarge the soul. That on her coast the murex* is no more; To the late revel, and protracted feast, Till from the Parian isle, and Libya's coast, Wild dreams succeeded, and disorder'd rest; The mountains grieve their hopes of marble lost; And as, at dawn of morn, fair Reason's light And India's woods return their just complaint, Broke through the fumes and phantoms of the night, Their brood decay'd, and want of elephant. What had been said, I ask'd my soul, what done?
My full design with vast expense achiev'd, How flow'd our mirth, and whence the source begun? I came, beheld, admir’d, reflected, griev'd; Perhaps the jest that charm’d the sprightly crowd, I chid the folly of my thoughtless haste,
And made the jovial table laugh so loud,
To my new courts sad Thought did still repair, To an ambiguous word's perverted sense,
Offence and torture to the sober ear:
And prudence mention with the last regret. * The murex is a shell-fish, of the liquor whereof a
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
Reclind her beauteous neck, and inward mourn'd !
Forc'd by my pride, I my concern suppress'd.
Add too the blood impoverishd, and the course And sullen I forsook th' imperfect seast,
Unhappy man! whom sorrow thus and rage Our eastern grandeur gives th' imprison'd fair,
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.
Restless I follow'd this obdurate maid
Remains there aught uniried that may remove Threaten'd this moment, and the next implor'd.
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 wigo!
* This wretched body trembles at your power : “ Fly swift, 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 ;
I said: the feast was serv'd, the bowl was crown'd; Whence their misfortunes or their blessings flow;
Where now, O judge of Israel! does it rovel-
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 lise : 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,
To the first bride-bed of the world receive
Aid me, my friends, contribute to improve That Love, like Death, makes all distinction void;
The pleasing ecstacy which each receives :
I said : and sudden from the golden throne, Wild with despair, or sick with grief, it dies.
By force beasts act, and are by force restrain'd
Thou shalt not gain what I deny to yield, • Receive the honors destin'd to thy brow;
reap the harvest, though thou spoild'st the field And 0, above thy fellows, happy thou!
Know, Solomon, thy poor extent of sway ;
What pangs, alas! what ecstacy of smart, Approach his awful throne by just degrees,
“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
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 recall'd, 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 frorn 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 call’d, 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 callid another, Abra came. And in vain hope the wanton phantom caught; Her equals first observ'd her growing zeal, To mock my sense, and mortify my pride,
And, laughing, gloss'd, that Abra serv'd so well. "Tis in another's power, and is denied.
To me her actions did unheeded die,
"To ravish her! that thought was soon depress’d, When, tir'd with business of the solemn day,
(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 recallid 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 darı.” 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 adorn’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;