Obrazy na stronie

*' Thou follow'dst Heaven in the design, and we "Find in the act't was Heaven that follow'd thee. "Thou ledd'st on angels, and that sacred band '" (The Deity's great lieutenant!) didst command. u 'T is true, Sir, and no figure, when I say §45 "Angels themselves fought under him that day. **. Clouds, with ripe thunder charg'd, some thither

"drew, "And some the dire materials brought for new. *' Hot drops of southern showers (the sweats of

"death), [breath;

*' The voice of storms, and winged whirlwinds' "The flames shot forth from fighting dragons' eyes; "The smokes that from scorch'd fevers' ovens rise; *' The reddest fires with which sad comets grow; u And Sodom's neighbouring lake, did spirits bestow a Of finest sulphur; amongst which they put 955 "Wrath, fury, horror, and all mingled shut "Into a cold moist cloud, t' enflame it more, "And make th' enraged prisoner louder roar. "Th' assembled clouds burst o'er their army's head; "Noise, darkness, dismal lightnings, round them

"spread. 9&)

- Another Spirit, with a more potent wand "Than that which Nature fear'd in Moses' hand, "And went the way that pleas'd, the mountain

"strook; "The mountain felt it; the vast mountain shook. « Through the wide air another Angel flew 965 * About their host, and thick amongst them threw

"Discord, despair, confusion, fear, mistake, "And all ih' ingredients that swift ruin make. "The fertile glebe requires no time to breed; "It quickens, and receives at once the seed. 970 "One would have thought, this dismal day t' have

"seen, "That Nature's self in her death-pangs had been. ■ "Such will the face of that great hour appear; "Such the distracted sinner's conscious fear. "In vain some few strive the wild flight to stay; 975 "In vain they threaten, and in vain they pray; "Unheard, unheeded, trodden down, they lie, "Beneath the wretched feet of crowds that fly. "O'er their own foot trampled the violent horse; "The guideless chariots with impetuous course "Cut wide through both; and, all their bloody way, "Horses and men, torn, bruis'd, and mangled, lay. "Some from the rocks cast themselves down head

"long; "The faint, weak passion grows so bold and strong! "To almost certain present death they fly, 985 "From a remote and causeless fear to die. "Much different error did some troops possess; "And madness, that look'd better, though no less: "Their fellow-troops for th' enter'd foe they take; "And Israel's war with mutual slaughter make. 990 "Meanwhile the king from Gabaa's hill did view, "And hear, the thickening tumult, as it grew "Still great and loud; and, though he knows not why "They fled, no more than they themselves that fly,

"Yet, by the storms and terrors of the air, 995 "Guesses some vengeful spirit's working there; "Obeys the loud occasion's sacred call, "And fiercely on the trembling host does fall. ** At the same time their slaves and prisoners' rise; « Nor does their much-wish'd liberty suffice, 1C00 "Without revenge; the scatter'd arms they seize, "And their proud vengeance with the memory please « Of who so lately bore them. All about, "From rocks and caves, the Hebrews issue out "At the glad noise; joy'd that their foes had shown "A fear that drowns the scandal of their own. 1006 "Still did the Prince 'midst all this storm appear, "Still scatter'd death and terrors every-where; "Still did he break, still blunt, his wearied swords; "Still slaughter new supplies t' his hand affords. 1 010 "Where troops yet stood, there still he hotly flew,

- And, till at last all fled, scorn'd to pursue. "All fled at last, but many in vain; for still

"Th' insatiate Conqueror was more swift to kill "Than they to save their lives. Till, lo! at last, 1015 "Nature, whose power he had so long surpass'd,

- Would yield no more, but to him stronger foes,

"Drought, faintness, and fierce hunger, did oppose. *' Reeking all o'er in dust, and blood, and sweat, "Burnt with the sun's and violent action's heat, 1020 "'Gainst an old oak his trembling limbs he staid, "For some short ease; Fate in the old oak had laid "Provisions up for his relief; and, lo! "The hollow trunk did with bright honey flow.

"With timely food his decay'd spirits recruit, 1025 "Strong he returns, and fresh, to the pursuit; "His strength and spirits the honey did restore; "But, oh! the bitter-sweet strange poison bore I "Behold, Sir, and mark well the treacherous fate, "That does so close on human glories wait! 103O "Behold the strong, and yet fantastick net, "'F ensnare triumphant virtue darkly set! "Could it before (scarce can it since) be thought, "The Prince—who had alone that morning fought "A duel with an host, had th' host o'erthrown, 1035 "And threescore thousand hands disarm'd with one j "Wash'd-off his country's shame, and doubly dy'd "In blood and blushes the Philistian pride; "Had sav'd and fix'd his father's tottering crown, "And the bright gold new burnish'd with renown,— "Should be ere night, by 's King and Father's "breath, 1041

"Without a fault, vow'd and condemn'd to death i "Destin'd the bloody sacrifice to be "Of thanks, himself, for his own victory? "Alone, with various fate, like to become, 1045 "Fighting, an host; dying, an hecatomb? "Yet such, Sir, was his case; "For Saul, who fear'd lest the full plenty might "(In the abandon'd camp expos'd to sight) "His hungry men from the pursuit dissuade, 1050 "A rash, but solemn vow to Heaven had made— "Curs'd be the wretch, thrice cursed let him be, "Who shall touch food this busy day, said he,

"Whilst the blest sun does with his favouring light "Assist ourvengeful swords againsttheirflight: 1055 "Be he thrice curst! and, if his life we spare, "On us those curses fall that he should bear! M Such was the king's rash vow; who little thought "How near to him Fate th' application brought. ** The two-edg'd oath wounds deep, perform'd or "broke; 1060

"Ev'n perjury its least and bluntest stroke. "T was his own son, whom God. and mankind

"lov'd, * His own victorious son, that he devov'd: "On whose bright head the baleful curses light: "But Providence, his helmet in the fight, 1065 "Forbids their entrance or their settling there; "They with brute sound dissolv'd into the air. "Him what religion, or what vow, could bind, "Unknown, unheard-of, till he his life did find "Entangled in 't ? whilst wonders he did do, 1070 f* Must he die now for not being prophet too? "To all but him this oath was meant and said; "He, afar off, the ends for which 't was made "Was acting then, till, faint and out of breath, ** He grew half-dead with toil of giving death. 1075 '* What could his crime in this condition be, '* Excus'd by ignorance and necessity F •' Yet the remorseless king—who did disdain *' That man should hear him swear or threat in vain, ** Though 'gainst himself; or fate a way should see "By which attack'd and conquer'd he might be; Vol. in. r

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