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(His arrows purposely made he
For them that persecute.) Behold,
He travails big with vanity;
Trouble he hath conceived of old
As in a womb, and from that mould
Hath at length brought forth a lie.
He digg'd a pit, and delved it deep,
And fell into the pit he made :
His mischief, that due course doth keep,
Turns on his head: and his ill trade
Of violence will undelay'd
Fall on his crown with ruin steep.
Then will I Jehovah's praise
According to his justice raise,
And sing the Name and Deity
Of Jehovah the Most High.
O JEHOVAH Our Lord, how wondrous great
And glorious is thy name through all the earth!
So as above the heavens thy praise to set,
Out of the tender mouths of latest bearth,
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou
Hast founded strength, because of all thy foes,
To stint the enemy, and slack the avenger's brow,
That bends his rage thy providence to oppose.
When I behold thy heavens, thy fingers' art,
The moon and stars, which thou so bright hast set
In the pure firmament, then saith my heart,
Oh, what is man that thou rememberest yet
And think'st upon him, or of man begot
That him thou visit'st, and of him art found?
Scarce to be less than gods thou madest his lot;
With honour and with state thou hast him crown'd.
O'er the works of thy hand thou madest him lord;
Thou hast put all under his lordly feet,
All flocks and herds, by thy commanding word,
All beasts that in the field or forest meet,
Fowl of the heavens, and fish that through the wet
Sea-paths in shoals do slide, and know no dearth.
O Jehovah our Lord, how wondrous great
And glorious is thy name through all the earth!
IN PARADISUM AMISSAM SUMMI POETÆ
Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni
Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis?
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,
Et fata, et fines, continet iste liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi,
Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet;
Terræque, tractusque maris, cœlumque profundum,
Sulphureumque Erebi flammivomumque specus;
Quæque colunt terras, pontumque, et Tartara cæca,
Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli;
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam ;
Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus;
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,
In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum?
Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces, quæ protulit arma!
Quæ canit, et quanta prælia dira tuba!
Cœlestes acies, atque in certamine cœlum !
Et quæ cœlestes pugna deceret agros!
Quantus in ætheriis tollit se Lucifer armis,
Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor !
Quantis et quam funestis concurritur iris,
Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,
Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ.
At simul in cœlis Messiæ insignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco
Admistis flammis insonuere polo,
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,
Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad pœnas fugiunt, et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite, Romani Scriptores; cedite, Graii;
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus:
Hæc quicunque leget tantum cecinisse putabit
Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.
WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling Angels, the Forbidden Tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all; the argument
Held me a while misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to fable and old song
(So Samson groped the temple's posts in spite),
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.
Yet as I read, soon growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear;
Through that wide field how he his way should find
O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind;
Lest he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.
Or, if a work so infinite he spanned,
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And by ill-imitating would excel)
Might hence presume the whole Creation's day
To change in scenes, and shew it in a play.
Pardon me, mighty Poet; nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinced, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.
Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit;
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.
That majesty which through thy work doth reign
Draws the devout, deterring the profane.
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize;
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease,
And above human flight dost soar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft.
The bird named from that Paradise you sing
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.
Where could'st thou words of such a compass find?
Whence furnish such a vast expense of mind?
Just Heaven, thee like Tiresias to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rime, of thy own sense secure;
While the Town-Bayes writes all the while and spells,
And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells.
Their fancies like our bushy points appear;
poets tag them, we for fashion wear.
I too, transported by the mode, offend,
And while I meant to praise thee, must commend.
Thy verse created like thy theme sublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rime.