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Conjecture ever, the misfeatur'd child
Of letter'd arrogance, delights to run
Thro' Speculation's puzzling mazes wild,
And all to end at last where it begun.
Fain would we trace, with Reason's erring clue,
The darksome paths of destiny aright:
In vain; the talk were easier to pursue
The trackless wheelings of the swallow's flight, From mortal ken himself th' Almighty shrouds, Pavilion'd in thick night and circumambient clouds.
T once to raise our reverence and delight,
To elevate the mind, and please the fight,
To pour in virtue at th' attentive eye,
And waft the foul on wings of extasy;
For this the painter's art with nature vies,
And bids the visionary saint arise ;
Who views the facred forms in thought aspires,
Catches pure zeal, and, as he gazes,
Feels the same ardour to his breast convey'd,
Is what he sees, and emulates the flade.
Thy strokes, great Artist,' ro fublime appear,
They check our pleasure with an awful fear;
While, thro' the mortal line, the God you trace,
Author himself, and Heir of Jesse's race;
In raptures we admire thy bold defign,
And, as the subject, own the hand divine.
While thro' thy work the rising day-thall Arcam;
So long shall last thy honour, praise, and name.
And may thy labours to the Muse impart
Some emanation from her sister art,
To animate the verse, and bid it shine
In colours easy, bright, and itrong, as thine.
Supine on earth an awful figure lies,
While softest slumbers seem to seal his eyes;
The hoary fire Heaven's guardian care demands,
And at his feet the watchful angel stands.
The form august and large, the mien divine,
Betray the founder of Mefliah's line *.
Lo! from his loins the promis'd item ascends,
And high to Heaven it's sacred boughs extends :
Each limb productive of some hero springs,
And blooms luxuriant with a race of kings.
Th'eternal plant wide spreads it's arms around,
And with the mighty Branch the mystick top is crown'd,
And lo! the glories of th’ illustrious line,
At their first dawn with ripen’d fplendours sine,
In David all express'd; the good, the great,
The king, the hero, and the man compleat.
Serene he fits, and sweeps the golden lyre,
And blends the prophet's with the poet's fire.
See ! with what art he strikes the vocal strings,
The God, his theme, inspiring what he sings !
Hark! or our ears delude us; from his tongue
Sweet flows, or seems to flow, some heavenly fong.
O! could thine art arrest the fleeting found,
And paint the voice in magick numbers bound;
Could the warm sun, as erst when Memnon play'd,
Wake with his rising beam the vocal shade :
Then might he draw th' attentive angels down,
Bending to hear the lay, so sweet, fo like their own.
On either side the monarch's offspring shine,
And some adorn, and fome disgrace their line.
Here Ammon glories ; proud, incestuous lord !
This hand sustains the robe, and that the sword.
Frowning and fierce, with haughty strides he tow'rs,
And on his horrid brow defiance lours.
There Absalom the ravish'd sceptre fways,
And his stol'n honour all his shame displays :
The base usurper youth! who joins in one
The rebel subject, and thungrateful fon.
Amid the royal race, see Nathan stand :
Fervent he seems to speak, and lift his hand ;
His looks th' emotion of his soul disclose,
And eloquence from ev'ry gesture flows.
Such, and so stern he came, ordain'd to bring
Th’ungrateful mandate to the guilty king:
When, at his dreadful voice, a sudden smart
Shot thro' the trembling monarch's conscious heart;
From his own lips condemn’d; severe decree !
Had his God prov'd so stern a Judge as he.
But man with frailty is ally'd by birth ;
Consummate purity ne'er dwelt on earth :
Thro' all the soul tho' virtue holds the rein,
Beats at the heart, and springs at ev'ry vein ;
Yet ever from the clearest source have ran
Some grofs allay, some tincture of the man.
But who is he-deep musing? In his mind
He seems to weigh, in Reason's scales, mankind :
Fix'd Contemplation holds his steady eyes !
I know the sage; the wiseft of the wise *.
Bless’d with all man could wish, or prince obtain,
Yet his great heart pronounc'd those blessings vain.
And lo! bright glittering in his facred hands,
In miniature the glorious temple stands.
Effulgent frame ! ftupendous to behold!
Gold the strong valves, the roof of burnislı'd gold;
The wandering ark, in that bright dome infrin'd,
Spreads the strong light, eternal, unconfin'd!
Above, th' unutterable' glory plays;
Presence Divine ! and the full-streaming rays
Pour thro' reluctant crowds intolérable blaze.
But itern oppression rends Reboam's reign ;
See the gay prince, injurious, proud, and vain !
Th’imperial sceptre totters in his hand,
And proud rebellion triumphs in the land.
Curs'd with corruption's ever-fruitful spring,
A beardless fenate, and a haughty king.
There Asa, good and great, the sceptre bears,
Justice attends his peace, success his wars :
While Virtue was his sword, and Heaven his shield,
Without controul the warrior swept the field;
Loaded with spoils, triumphant he return’d,
And half her swarthy fons sad Ethiopia mourn'd.
But fince thy flagging piety decay'd,
And barter'd God's defence for human aid;
See their fair laurels wither on thy brow!
Nor herbs nor healthful arts avail thee now;
Nor is Heaven chang’d, apostate prince, but thou !
No mean atonement does this lapse require ;
But see the son, you must forgive the fire:
He, the juft prince *; with ev'ry virtue bless'd.
He reign'd, and goodness all the man possess’d;
Around his throne fair happiness and peace
Smooth'd ev'ry brow, and smil'd in ev'ry face.
As when along the burning waste he stray'd,
Where no pure streams in bubbling mazes play'd,
Where Drought, incumbent on the thirsty ground,
Long since had breath'd her scorching blasts around;
The prophet + calls, th' obedient floods repair
To the parch'd fields, for Jofaphat was there.
The new-fprung waves, in many a gurgling vein,
Trickle luxurious thro' the fucking plain ;
Fresh honours the reviving fields adorn,
And o'er the desart Plenty pours her horn.
So, from the throne his influence he sheds,
And bids the Virtues raise their languid heads;
Where'er he goes, attending Truth prevails,
Oppression flies, and Justice lifts her scales.
See, on his arm, the royal eagle stand,
Great type of conqueft and fupreme command;
Th'exulting bird distinguish'd triumph brings,
And greets the monarch with expanded wings :
Fierce Moab's fons prevent th' impending blow,
Ruth on themselves, and fall without the foe.
The pious hero vanquish'd Heav'n by prayer ;
His faith an army, and his vows a war.
Thee, too, Ozias, fates indulgent bless'd,
And thy days shone, in fairest actions dress'd;
Till that rash hand, by some blind frenzy fway'd,
Unclean, the facred office durft invade :
Quick o'er thị limbs the furfy venom ran,
And hoary filth besprinkled all the man.
Transmissive worth adorns the pious fon*,
The father's virtues with the father's throne.
Lo! there he stands ; he who the rage fubdu'd
Of Ammon's fons, and drench'd his fword in blood!:
And dost thou, Ahaz, Judah's fcourge, disgrace,
With thy bafe front, the glories of thy ráce ?
See the vile king his iron fceptre bear-
His only praise attends the pious heir † ;
He, in whose foul the virtues all conspire,
The best good fon, from the most wicked fire.
And, lo! in Hezekiah's golden reign,
Long exil'd Piety returns again: