« PoprzedniaDalej »
The kind, instructing punishment enjoy; Whom the red river cannot mend, the Red-sea shall destroy.
The river yet gave one instruction more;
And, from the rotting fish and unconcocted gore
(Which was but water just before),
A loathsome host was quickly made,
That scal'd the banks, and with loud noise did all
the country' invade.
As Nilus when he quits his sacred bed
(But like a friend he visits all the land
With welcome presents in his hand)
So did this Living Tide the fields o'erspread:
In vain th’ alarmed country tries
To kill their noisome enemies;
From th’ unexhausted source still new recruits arise.
Nor does the earth these greedy troops suffice,
The towns and houses they possess,
The temples and the palaces,
Nor Pharaoh, nor his gods, they fear;
Both their importune croakings hear.
Unsatiate yet, they mount up higher,
Where never sun-born Frog durst to aspire,
And in the silken beds their slimy members place;
A luxury unknown before to all the watery race
The water thus her wonders did produce;
But both were to no use ;
“Try what the earth will do,” said God, and lo!
They strook the earth a fertile blow,
And all the dust did straight to stir begin;
One would have thought some sudden wind ’t had
But, lo!'t was nimble life was got within
And all the little springs did move,
And every dust did an arm'd vermin prove,
Of an unknown and new-created kind,
Such as the magick-gods could neither make nor
The wretched shameful Foe allow'd no rest
Either to man or beast.
Not Pharaoh from th' unquiet plague could be,
With all his change of raiments, free;
The devils themselves confess'd
This was God's hand; and ’t was but just,
To punish thus man's pride, to punish dust with
Lo! the third element does his plagues prepare,
And swarming clouds of insects fill the air;
With sullen noise they take their flight,
And march in bodies infinite;
In vain't is day above, ’tis still beneath them night.
Of harmful Flies the nations numberless
Compos'd this mighty army's spacious boast;
Of different manners, different languages;
And different habits, too, they wore,
And different arms they bore,
Heaven itself is angry next; (Woe to man, when Heaven is vext 1) With sullen brow it frown'd, And murmur'd first in an imperfect sound: Till Moses, lifting up his hand, Waves the expected signal of his wand; And all the full-charg’d clouds in ranged squadrons move, And fill the spacious plains above; Through which the rolling thunder first does play, And opens wide the tempest’s noisy way. And straight a stony shower Of monstrous Hail does downwards pour, Such as ne'er winter yet brought forth, From all her stormy magazines of the north. It all the beasts and men abroad did slay, O'er the defaced corpse, like monuments, lay; The houses and strong-body'd trees it broke, Nor ask'd aid from the thunder's stroke; The thunder but for terror through it flew, The hail alone the work could do. The dismal lightnings all around, Some flying through the air, some running on the ground, Some swimming o'er the water's face, Fill'd with bright horror every place; One would have thought, their dreadful day to have seen, The very hail, and rain itself, had kindled been.
The infant corn, which yet did scarce appear,
Escap'd this general massacre
Of every thing that grew,
And the well-stor'd Egyptian year
Began to clothe her fields and trees anew.
When, lo! a scorching wind from the burnt coun-
And endless legions with it drew
Of greedy Locusts; who, where'er
With sounding wings they flew,
Left all the earth depopulate and bare,
As if Winter itself had march'd by there.
Whate'er the Sun and Nile
Gave with large bounty to the thankful soil,
The wretched pillagers bore away,
And the whole Summer was their prey;
Till Moses with a prayer
Breath'd forth a violent western wind,
Which all these living clouds did headlong bear
(No stragglers left behind)
Into the purple sea, and there bestow
On the luxurious fish a feast they ne'er did know.
With untaught joy Pharaoh the news does hear,
And little thinks their fate attends on him and his
What blindness or what darkness did there e'er
Like this undocile king's appear !
What, e'er, but that which now does represent
And paint the crime out in the punishment :
WOL. II. R
From the deep baleful caves of hell below,
Where the old mother Night does grow—
Substantial Night, that does disclaim
Privation’s empty name—
Through secret conduits monstrous shapes arose,
Such as the sun's whole force could not oppose:
They with a solid cloud
All heaven's eclipsed face did shroud;
Seem’d, with large wings spread o'er the sea and
To brood up a new Chaos's deformed birth.
And every lamp, and every fire,
Did at the dreadful sight wink and expire,
To th’ Empyrean source all streams of light seem'd
The living men were in their standing houses buried;
But the long Night no slumber knows,
But the short Death finds no repose
Ten thousand terrors through the darkness fled,
And ghosts complain'd, and spirits murmured;
And Fancy's multiplying sight
View'd all the scenes invisible of Night.
Of God’s dreadful anger these
Were but the first light skirmishes;
The shock and bloody battle now begins,
The plenteous harvest of full-ripen'd sins.
It was the time when the still moon
Was mounted softly to her noon,