THE CURE OF SAUL.
A SACRED ODE.
1 "VENGEANCE, arise from thy infernal bed;
2 " And pour thy tempest on his guilty head! "
3 Thus heaven's decree, in thunder's sound,
4 Shook the dark abyss profound. —
5 The unchain'd Furies come!
6 Pale Melancholy stalks from hell:
7 Th' abortive offspring of her womb,
8 Despair and Anguish, round her yell.
9 By sleepless terror Saul possess'd,
10 Deep feels the fiend within his tortur'd breast.
11 Midnight spectres round him howl:
12 Before his eyes
13 In troops they rise;
14 And seas of horror overwhelm his soul.
15 Haste! to Jesse's son repair:
16 He best can sweep the lyre,
17 Wake the solemn-sounding air,
18 And lead the vocal choir:[Page 105]
19 On every string soft-breathing raptures dwell,
20 To sooth the throbbings of the troubled breast;
21 Whose magic voice can bid the tides of passion swell,
22 Or lull the raging storm to rest.
23 Sunk on his couch, and loathing day,
24 The heaven-forsaken monarch lay:
25 To the sad couch the shepherd now drew near;
26 And, while th' obedient choir stood round,
27 Prepar'd to catch the soul-commanding sound,
28 He dropp'd a generous tear. —
29 Thy pitying aid, O God, impart!
30 For lo, thy poison'd arrows drink his heart!
31 The mighty song from chaos rose. —
32 Around his throne the formless atoms sleep,
33 And drowzy Darkness broods upon the deep. —
34 Confusion, wake!
35 Bid the realms of Chaos shake!
36 Rouse him from his dread repose!
37 Hark! loud Discord breaks her chain:
38 The hostile atoms clash with deafning roar:
39 Her hoarse voice thunders thro' the drear domain;
40 And kindles every element to war. —
41 "Tumult cease!
42 " Sink to peace!
43 "Let there be light!" — th' Almighty said:
44 And lo, the radiant Sun,
45 Flaming from his orient bed,
46 His endless course begun. [Page 106]
47 See, the twinkling Pleiads rise:
48 Thy star, Orion, reddens in the skies:
49 While slow around the northern plain,
50 Arcturus wheels his nightly wane.
51 Thy glories, too, refulgent moon, he sung;
52 Thy mystic mazes, and thy changeful ray:
53 O fairest of the starry throng!
54 Thy solemn orb of light
55 Guides the triumphant carr of Night
56 O'er silver clouds, and sheds a softer day!
57 Ye planets, and each circling constellation,
58 In songs harmonious tell your generation!
59 Oh, while yon radiant Seraph turns the spheres,
60 And on the stedfast pole-star stands sublime;
61 Wheel your rounds
62 To heavenly sounds;
63 And sooth his song-enchanted ears
64 With your celestial chime.
65 In dumb surprize the listning monarch lay;
66 (His woe suspended by sweet Music's sway;)
67 And awe struck, with uplifted eye
68 Mus'd on the new-born wonders of the sky.
69 Lead the soothing verse along:
70 He feels, he feels the power of song —
71 Ocean hastens to his bed:
72 The lab'ring mountain rears his rock-encumber'd head:[Page 107]
73 Down his steep and shaggy side
74 The torrent rolls his thundering tide;
75 Then smooth and clear, along the fertile plain
76 Winds his majestic waters to the distant main.
77 Flocks and herds the hills adorn:
78 The lark, high-soaring, hails the morn.
79 And while along yon crimson-clouded steep
80 The slow sun steals into the golden deep,
81 Hark! the solemn Nightingale
82 Warbles to the woodland dale.
83 See, descending angels shower
84 Heaven's own bliss on Eden's bower:
85 Peace on Nature's lap reposes;
86 Pleasure strews her guiltless roses:
87 Joys divine in circles move,
88 Link'd with Innocence and Love.
89 Hail, happy Love, with Innocence combin'd!
90 All hail, ye sinless parents of mankind!
91 They paus'd: — the monarch, prostrate on his bed,
92 Submissive, bow'd his head;
93 Ador'd the works of boundless power divine:
94 Then, anguish-struck, he cry'd (an smote his breast),
95 Why, why is peace the welcome guest
96 Of every heart but mine!
97 Now let the solemn numbers flow,
98 'Till he feel that guilt is woe. [Page 108]
99 Heavenly harp, in mournful strain
100 O'er yon weeping bower complain:
101 What sounds of bitter pangs I hear!
102 What lamentations wound mine ear!
103 In vain, devoted pair, these tears ye shed:
104 Peace with Innocence is fled.
105 The messengers of Grace depart:
106 Death glares, and shakes the dreadful dart!
107 Ah, whither fly ye, by yourselves abhorr'd,
108 To shun that frowning cherub's fiery sword? —
110 Hapless, hapless pair,
111 Goaded by despair,
112 Forlorn, thro' desart climes they go!
113 Wake, my lyre! can Pity sleep,
114 When heaven is mov'd, and angels weep!
115 Flow, ye melting numbers, flow;
116 Till he feel, that guilt is woe. —
117 The king, with pride, and shame, and anguish torn,
118 Shot fury from his eyes, and scorn.
119 The glowing youth,
120 Bold in truth,
121 (So still should Virtue guilty power engage)
122 With brow undaunted met his rage.
123 See, his cheek kindles into generous fire:
124 Stern, he bends him o'er his lyre;
125 And, while the doom of guilt he sings,
126 Shakes horror from the tortur'd strings. [Page 109]
127 What sounds of terror and distress
128 Rend yon howling wilderness!
129 The dreadful thunders sound;
130 The forked lightnings flash along the ground.
131 Why yawns that deep'ning gulph below? —
132 'Tis for heaven's rebellious foe: —
133 Fly, ye sons of Israel, fly,
134 Who dwells in Korah's guilty tents must die! —
135 They sink! — Have mercy, Lord! — Their cries
136 In dreadful tumult rise!
137 Hark, from the deep their loud laments I hear!
138 They lessen now, and lessen on the ear!
139 Now, destruction's strife is o'er!
140 The countless host
141 For ever lost!
142 The gulph is clos'd! — Their cries are heard no more! —
143 But oh, my lyre, what accents can relate
144 Sinful man's appointed sate!
145 He comes, he comes! th' avenging God!
146 Clouds and darkness round him roll:
147 Tremble, earth! Ye mountains, nod!
148 He bows the skies, and shakes the pole.
149 The gloomy banners of his wrath unfurl'd,
150 He calls the floods, to drown a guilty world:
151 "Ruin, lift thy baleful head;
152 " Rouze the guilty world from sleep:
153 "Lead up thy billows from their cavern'd bed,
154 " And burst the rocks that chain thee in the deep. —[Page 110]
155 Now, th' impetuous torrents rise;
156 The hoarse-ascending deluge roars:
157 Down rush the cataracts from the skies;
158 The swelling waves o'erwhelm the shores.
159 Just, O God, is thy decree!
160 Shall guilty man contend with thee!
161 Lo, Hate and Envy, sea-entomb'd,
162 And Rage with Lust in ruin sleep;
163 And scoffing Luxury is doom'd
164 To glut the vast and ravenous deep! —
165 In vain from Fate th' astonish'd remnant flies: —
166 "Shrink, ye rocks! Ye oceans, rise!" —
167 The tottering cliffs no more the floods controul;
168 Sea following sea ingulphs the ball:
169 O'er the sunk hills the watry mountains roll,
170 And wide Destruction swallows all:
171 Now fiercer let th' impassion'd numbers glow:
172 Swell the song, ye mighty choir!
173 Wing your dreadful darts with fire!
174 Hear me, monarch! — Guilt is woe! —
175 Thus while the frowning shepherd pour'd along
176 The deep impetuous torrent of his song;
177 Saul, stung by dire despair,
178 Gnash'd his teeth, and tore his hair:
179 From his blood, by horror chill'd,
180 A cold and agonizing sweat distill'd:
181 Then, foaming with unutterable smart.
182 He aim'd a dagger at his heart.
183 His watchful train prevent the blow;
184 And call each lenient balm to sooth his frantic woe:[Page 111]
185 But pleas'd, the shepherd now beheld
186 His pride by heaven's own terrors quell'd:
187 Then bade his potent lyre controul
188 The mighty storm that rent his soul.
189 Cease your cares: the body's pain
190 A sweet relief may find:
191 But gums and lenient balms are vain,
192 To heal the wounded mind.
193 Come, fair Repentance, from the skies,
194 O sainted maid, with upcast eyes!
195 Descend, in thy celestial shrowd,
196 Vested in a weeping cloud!
197 Holy guide, descend, and bring
198 Mercy from th' Eternal King!
199 To his soul your beams impart,
200 And whisper comfort to his heart! —
201 They come: O King, thine ear incline!
202 Listen to their voice divine:
203 Their voice shall every pang compose,
204 To gentle sorrow sooth thy woes;
205 Till each pure wish to heaven shall soar,
206 And Peace return, to part no more!
207 Behold, obedient to their great command,
208 The lifted dagger quits his trembling hand:
209 Smooth'd is his brow, where sullen Care
210 And furrow'd Horror couch'd with fell Despair:[Page 112]
211 No more his eyes with fury glow;
212 But heavenly grief succeeds to hell-born woe. —
213 See, the signs of grace appear:
214 See the soft relenting tear,
215 Trickling at sweet Mercy's call!
216 Catch it, angels, ere it fall!
217 And let the heart-sent offering rise,
218 Heaven's best-accepted sacrifice! —
219 Yet, yet again? — Ah see, the pang returns!
220 Again with inward fire his heaving bosom burns!
221 Now, shepherd, wake a mightier strain;
222 Search the deep, heart-rending pain;
223 Till the large floods of sorrow roll,
224 And quench the tortures of his soul.
225 Almighty Lord, accept his pang sincere!
226 Let heavenly hope dispel each dark temptation!
227 And, while he pours the penitential tear,
228 O visit him with thy salvation! —
229 Stoop from heaven, ye raptur'd throng!
230 Sink, ye swelling tides of song!
231 For lo! dissolv'd by Music's melting power,
232 Celestial Sorrow rolls her plenteous shower,
233 O'er his wan cheek the colours rise;
234 And beams of comfort brighten in his eyes.
235 Happy king, thy woes are o'er!
236 Thy God shall wound thy soul no more:
237 The pitying Father of mankind
238 Meets the pure-returning mind. [Page 113]
239 No more shall black Despair afflict his soul:
240 Each gentler sound, ye shepherds, now combine:
241 Sweetly let the numbers roll:
242 Sooth him into hope divine.
243 Now lowly let the rustic measure glide,
244 To quell the dark remains of self-consuming Pride;
245 Till Nature's home-sprung blessings he confess,
246 And own that calm content is happiness. —
247 Ye woods and lakes, ye cliffs and mountains!
248 Haunted grots, and living fountains!
249 Listen to your shepherd's lay,
250 Whose artless carols close the day.
251 Bounding kids around him throng;
252 The steep rock echoes back his song:
253 While all unseen to mortal eye,
254 Sliding down the evening sky,
255 Holy Peace, tho' born above,
256 Daughter of Innocence and Love,
257 Quits her throne and mansion bright,
258 Her crown of stars, and robe of light,
259 Serene, in gentle smiles array'd,
260 To dwell beneath his palm-tree shade.
261 Hail, meek angel! awful guest!
262 Still pour thy radiance o'er my breast!
263 Pride and Hate in courts may shine:
264 The shepherd's calm and blameless tent is thine! —
265 Softly, softly breathe your numbers;
266 And wrap his weary'd soul in slumbers! [Page 114]
267 Gentle Sleep, becalm his breast,
268 And close his eyes in healing rest!
269 Descend, celestial visions, ye who wait,
270 God's ministring powers, at heaven's eternal gate!
271 Ye, who nightly vigils keep,
272 And rule the silent realms of Sleep,
273 Exalt the just to joys refin'd,
274 And plunge in woe the guilty mind;
275 Descend! — Oh, waft him to the skies,
276 And open all heaven's glories to his eyes!
277 Beyond yon starry roof, by seraphs trod,
278 Where Light's unclouded fountains blaze;
279 Where choirs immortal hymn their God,
280 Intranc'd in extasy of ceaseless praise.
281 Angels, heal his anguish!
282 Your harps and voices join!
283 His grief to bliss shall languish,
284 When sooth'd by sounds divine.
285 Behold, with dawning joy each feature glows!
286 See, the blissful tear o'erflows! —
287 The fiend is fled! — Let music's rapture rise:
288 Now Harmony, thy every nerve employ:
289 Shake the dome, and pierce the skies:
290 Wake him, wake him into joy. —
291 What power can every Passion's throne controul?
292 What power can boast the charm divine,
293 To still the tempest of the soul?
294 Celestial Harmony, that mighty charm is thine! [Page 115]
295 She, heavenly-born, came down to visit earth,
296 When from God's eternal throne
297 The beam of all-creative Wisdom shone,
298 And spake fair Order into birth.
299 At Wisdom's call she robed yon glittering skies,
300 Attun'd the spheres, and taught consenting orbs to rise.
301 Angels wrapt in wonder stood,
302 And saw that all was fair, and all was good.
303 'Twas then, ye sons of God, in bright array
304 Ye shouted o'er creation's day:
305 Then kindling into joy,
306 The morning stars together sung:
307 And thro' the vast ethereal sky
308 Seraphic hymns and loud hosannahs rung.