Imatges de pÓgina
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115

Him on this side Euphrates yet residing
Bred up in idol-worship, O that men,
Canst thou believe? should be so stupid grown,
While yet the patriarch liv'd, who scap'd the flood,
As to forsake the living God, and fall

To worship their own work in wood and stone
For Gods; yet him God the most high vouchsafes
To call by vision from his father's house,

His kindred, and false Gods, into a land
Which he will show him, and from him will raise
A mighty nation, and upon him show'r
His benediction so, that in his seed

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All nations shall be bless'd; he straight obeys,
Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes.
I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil
Ur of Chaldæa, passing now the ford
To Haran, after him a cumbrous train
Of herds, and flocks, and numerous servitude;
Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his wealth
With God, who call'd him, in a land unknown,
Canaan he now attains, I see his tents
Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain
Of Moreh; there by promise he receives
Gift to his progeny of all that land;

135

From Hamath northward to the desert south, Things by their names I call, though yet unnam'd, From Hermon east to the great western sea, 1.11 Mount Hermon, yonder sea, each place behold In prospect, as I point them; on the shore

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145

Mount Carmel; here the double-founted stream
Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons
Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills.
This ponder, that all nations of the earth
Shall in his seed be blessed; by that seed
Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise
The serpent's head; whereof to thee anon
Plainlier shall be reveal'd. This patriarch bless'd,
Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,
A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves,
Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown.

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The grandchild with twelve sons increas'd departs
From Canaan, to a land hereafter call'd
Ægypt, divided by the river Nile;

See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths
Into the sea. To sojourn in that land

He comes, invited by a younger son

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In time of dearth; a son, whose worthy deeds
Raise him to be the second in that realmı
Of Pharaoh there he dies, and leaves his race
Growing into a nation, and now grown
Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests
Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them
Inhospitably, and kills their infant males: [slaves
Till by two brethren, those two brethren call
Moses and Aaron, sent from God to claim
His people from enthralment, they return

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156 increas'd] A Latinism, as Plaut. Trucul. ii. vi. 34. Cumque es aucta liberis.' Richardson.

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With glory and spoil back to their promis'd land. But first the lawless tyrant, who denies

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To know their God, or message to regard,
Must be compell'd by signs and judgments dire;
To blood unshed the rivers must be turn'd;
Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill
With loath'd intrusion, and fill all the land;
His cattle must of rot and murrain die;
Botches and blains must all his flesh imboss, 180
And all his people; thunder mix'd with hail,
Hail mix'd with fire, must rend th' Egyptian sky,
And wheel on th' earth, devouring where it rolls;
What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain,
A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down 185
Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green:
Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
Palpable darkness, and blot out three days;
Last with one midnight stroke all the first-born
Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
This river-dragon tam'd at length submits
To let his sojourners depart, and oft

Humbles his stubborn heart; but still as ice

177 fill] Spoil. Bentl. MS.

180 imboss] Shakesp. K. Lear, act iv. sc. 11.

-Thou art a boil,

A plague-sore, an embossed carbuncle.

188 Palpable]

Todd.

'O darkness palpable.' Marston's Sat. ii.

191

191 This river-dragon] So in the first edition; in the second it is altered to The river-dragon.' Pearce.

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198

More harden'd after thaw, till, in his rage
Pursuing whom he late dismiss'd, the sea
Swallows him with his host, but them lets pass
As on dry land between two crystal walls,
Aw'd by the rod of Moses so to stand
Divided, till his rescu'd gain their shore:
Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend,
Though present in his angel, who shall go
Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire,
By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire,
To guide them in their journey, and remove
Behind them, while th' obdurate king pursues : 205
All night he will pursue, but his approach
Darkness defends between till morning watch;
Then through the fiery pillar and the cloud
God looking forth will trouble all his host,
And craze their chariot-wheels: when by command
Moses once more his potent rod extends
Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys;
On their imbattel'd ranks the waves return,
And overwhelm their war. The race elect

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Safe towards Canaan from the shore advance 215
Through the wild desert, not the readiest way,
Lest ent'ring on the Canaanite alarm'd

War terrify them inexpert, and fear

197 crystal walls] In Sylvester's Du Bartas, p. 363, the Red Sea is described with walls of crystall.'

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Todd.

207 defends] i. e. forbids, keeps off: so b. xi. 86. 'That defended fruit;' and Spens. F. Q. iv. 3. 32.

'Himself to save and daunger to defend.'

Todd.

1

Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather
Inglorious life with servitude; for life
To noble and ignoble is more sweet
Untrain'd in arms, where rashness ieads not on.
This also shall they gain by their delay

220

In the wide wilderness, there they shall found
Their government, and their great senate choose
Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordain'd.
God from the mount of Sinai, whose gray top
Shall tremble, he descending, will himself
In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpets sound
Ordain them laws; part, such as appertain
To civil justice; part, religious rites
Of sacrifice, informing them by types

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And shadows of that destin'd seed to bruise
The serpent, by what means he shall achieve
Mankind's deliverance. But the voice of God 235
To mortal ear is dreadful: they beseech
That Moses might report to them his will
And terror cease; he grants what they besought,
Instructed that to God is no access
Without mediator, whose high office now
Moses in figure bears, to introduce
One greater, of whose day he shall foretell,
And all the prophets in their age the times
Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus laws and rites
Establish'd, such delight hath God in men 245
Obedient to his will, that he vouchsafes

240

238 what they besoguht] In the first edition, 'He grants them their desire.'

Newton.

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