1 COME near, ye nations! and give ear, O earth!
2 Ye distant isles, and continents remote,
3 Where-e'er dispers'd beneath the vast expanse
4 Of heav'n's high roof, attend! Attend, and hear
5 Your doom tremendous ratify'd above,
6 Sad retribution of enormous guilt,[Page 178]
7 Which calling loud for justice and revenge,
8 Flew swift as light up to the throne of God,
9 And pull'd down dire destruction on the earth.
10 The mighty God, with all his thunder arm'd,
11 Will cast abroad the terrors of his wrath;
12 And show'r down vengeance on the guilty land.
13 The Lord of hosts amidst a night of clouds,
14 And with the majesty of darkness crown'd,
15 Thunder'd aloft; and from the inmost heav'n
16 Hurl'd down impetuous fury swift as thought
17 Through th' azure void, wide-stretch'd from pole to pole,
18 To ravage all the boundless universe.
19 As when a blust'ring wind rolls from the north,
20 And shakes all autumn with the driving blast;
21 So shall the fury of th' Omnipotent
22 Destroy the nations, and confound their arms,
23 Swords, shields, and spears, and all the pow'rs of war;
24 With eager speed rush o'er th' embattled ranks,
25 And thro' the thick battalions urge its way.
26 JEHOVAH'S arm will shake the vast convex,
27 And wrap the whole circumference around
28 In wasting desolation, ruin wide.
29 Destructive slaughter, ghastly to behold,
30 Dire specimen of wrath omnipotent,
31 Shall march tremendous o'er the burden'd earth,
32 Oppress'd, and conscious of unusual weight,
33 Shrinking beneath the heavy load of death.
34 The purple piles, and mountains of the slain,[Page 179]
35 Expiring wretches, pouring out their souls
36 With bursts of groans, shall fill the lab'ring world.
37 Each slaughter'd corps shall breath a pestilence;
38 And wide around diffuse the scents of death.
39 Th' eternal hills shall float in seas of blood;
40 And mountains vanish in the crimson tide.
41 Nature's huge volume shall be folded up
42 Like a vast scroll; and all the glittering orbs
43 Drop from the heavens like autumnal leaves,
44 Or the ripe fig, when sultry Sirius reigns;
45 While peals of thunder rattling in the skies,
46 Shall roll incessant o'er th' astonish'd world.
47 Death and destruction threat'ning all below,
48 And in substantial darkness high enthron'd,
49 Shall draw the curtains of eternal night,
50 And spread confusion hideous o'er the earth,
51 As when the embryo world ere time began,
52 In one rude heap, one undigested mass
53 Of jarring discord, and disorder lay.
54 The sun, amaz'd to see the wild obscure,
55 No more with radiant light shall gild the skies;
56 No more diffusing his all genial beams
57 On the high mountains spread the shining morn;
58 But downwards flaming thro' the vast immense,
59 Shall hide his glory in eternal night,
60 Thus in loud thunder speaks th' Almighty Sire —
61 In copious slaughter will I take my sword,[Page 180]
62 And, Idumea! thou shalt swim in blood.
63 The Lord shall hasten from the lofty skies;
64 Destruction on his aweful footsteps waits;
65 Death stalks before, ruin on every side
66 Proclaims the terror of an angry God.
67 The ravenous sword, pamper'd with reeking gore,
68 Drunk with the blood of half the rebel world,
69 Shall there be sheath'd in Israel's stubborn foes.
70 Bozrah with human sacrifice shall smoke,
71 And Idumea, thoughtless of her fate,
72 Shall feel the smart of heav'n's avenging rod.
73 The great, the small, th' oppressor, and th' oppress'd,
74 Shall join promiscuous in the common heap;
75 And one vast ruin shall involve them all.
76 For Israel's God is girt with burning rage,
77 And vows a last revenge to Zion's foes.
78 The silver streams, that shine along the plain,
79 And chide their banks, and tinkle as they run,
80 Shall stop, and stagnate to a sable pool;
81 And, black with mud, unconscious of a tide,
82 No more shall charm the sense, or lull the soul,
83 Or in soft murmurs die upon the ear:
84 But in crude streams and deadly stench exhale,
85 And with contagious vapours load the sky.
86 Rapacious flames, in pyramids of fire,
87 Shall burn unquenchable; and sulph'rous smoke,[Page 181]
88 Advancing o'er the horizontal plain,
89 In dusky wreaths roll ever to the skies.
90 Th' inhospitable land, left desolate,
91 Unfruitful, but in ev'ry noxious weed,
92 Shall be a lonely desart, waste and wild;
93 Within whose silent confines none shall dwell;
94 Nor ever more be heard th' harmonious voice
95 Of warbling birds, that heretofore were wont
96 In vocal choir to animate the grove,
97 And from the shady covert of the trees
98 Dispense sweet music to the list'ning vale:
99 But hooting owls, that spread their lazy wings
100 O'er the dark gloom, and with their boding screams
101 Double the native horrors of the night;
102 These with the cormorants shall dwell therein,
103 Securely in the upper lintels lodge,
104 And in the windows direful dirges sing.
105 God shall extend, and bare his thund'ring arm;
106 And with confusion circumscribe the land.
107 Where are the nobles, and the mighty chiefs,
108 That in soft ease their silken moments waste;
109 To whom their prostrate vassals throng in crowds,
110 Striving who first shall aweful homage pay,
111 And adoration! Them shall they invoke;
112 But all in vain; their names shall be no more,
113 But in their stead more worthy savages,
114 With rapine uncontrouble shall reign;[Page 182]
115 And nobler brutes shall canton out the land,
116 Those regal domes, and tow'ring palaces,
117 That high in clouds exalt their impious heads,
118 Reflecting thro' the liquid firmament
119 Home to the distant ken a dazling blaze,
120 Thorns shall surround, and nettles grow within:
121 Ivy shall creep along the painted walls:
122 The matted grass o'erspread the polish'd floor;
123 And brambles vile entwine the empty throne.
124 While beasts from different climes, joyous to find
125 A place of rest to man alone denied,
126 Shall take possession of the gilded domes:
127 The shaggy satyrs, that old forests haunt,
128 The ostrich and his mate, and dragons huge
129 Shall sport, and revel in the dreary waste.
130 There the hoarse screech-owls, that in dead of night
131 Upon the chimney tops perch ominous,
132 While songs obscene the silent hours disturb,
133 Shall in loud shrieks their sad presages tell,
134 Shall unmolested solitude enjoy,
135 And desolation make more desolate.
136 Ravens, and vulturs, scenting from afar
137 The universal slaughter, shall come forth
138 From the high mountain, and the humble vale,
139 Croaking in hideous concert, as they fly,
140 Dark'ning the heavens with their ghastly train;
141 And glut their hungry jaws with human prey,[Page 183]
142 Not one of these shall fail; none want her mate;
143 But shall for ever, such the Lord's decree,
144 In Edom's ruins wanton undisturb'd.
145 This is the fate, ordain'd for Zion's foes.
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About this text
Title (in Source Edition): ISAIAH XXXIV.
Themes: God; other countries; biblical history
Genres: blank verse; psalm
References: DMI 27714
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