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Strong as the oaks that nourish'd them, and high,
That long-liv'd race did on their force rely,
Neglecting Heav'n; but we of shorter date!
Should be more mindful of impendent fate.
To worms that crawl upon this rubbish here,
This span of life may yet too long appear :
Enough to humble, and to make us great,
If it prepare us for a nobler seat:
Which well observing, he, in numerous lines,
Taught wretched man how fast his life declines :
In whom he dwelt before the world was made,
And may again retire when that shall fade.
The lasting Iliads have not liv'd so long
As his and Deborah's triumphant song.
Delphos unknown, no Muse could them inspire
But that which governs the celestial choir.
Heav'n to the pious did this art reveal,
And from their store succeeding poets steal.
Homer's Scamander for the Trojans fought,
And swelld so high, by her old Kishon taught,
His river scarce could fierce Achilles stay;
Her's, more successful, swept her foes away.
The host of Heaven, his Phæbus and his Mars,
He arms, instructed by lier fighting stars.
She led them all against the common foe;
But he (misled by what he saw below!)
The pow'rs above, like wretched men, divides,
And breaks their union into different sides.
The noblest parts which in his heroes shine,
May be but copies of that heroine.
Homer himself, and Agamemnon, she
The writer could, and the commander, be.
Truth she relates in a sublimer strain
Than all the tales the boldest Greeks could feign;
For what she sung that spirit did endite,
Which gave her courage and success in fight.
A double garland crowns the matchless dame;
From Heav'n her poem and her conquest came.
Though of the Jews she merit most esteem,
Yet here the Christian has the greater theme:
Her martial song describes how Sisera fell;
This sings our triumph over death and hell.
The rising light employ'd the sacred breath
of the blest Virgin and Elizabeth.
In songs of joy the angels sung his birth :
Here how he treated was upon the earth
Trembling we read! the' affliction and the scorn,
Which for our guilt so patiently was borne !
Conception, birth, and suffering, all belong,
(Though various parts) to one celestial song;
And she, well using so divine an art,
Has in this consort sung the tragic part.
As Hannah's seed was vow'd to sacred use,
So here this lady consecrates her Muse.
With like reward may Heav'n her bed adorn,
With fruit as fair as by lier Muse is born!
PARAPHRASE OF THE LORD'S PRAYER,
Silence, you Winds ! listen, ethereal Lights !
While our Urania sings what Heav'n indites :
The nnmbers are the nymph's; but from above
Descends the pledge of that eternal love.
Here wretched mortals have not leave alone,
But are instructed to approach his throne;
And how can he to miserable men
Deny requests which his own hand did pen?
In the Evangelists we find the prose
Which, paraphras'd by her, a poem grows ;
A devout rapture! so divine a hymn,
It may become the highest seraphim!
For they, like her, in that celestial choir,
Sing only what the spirit does inspire.
Taught by our Lord and theirs, with us they may
For all but pardon for offences pray.
SEVERAL PETITIONS IN THE SAME PRAYER.
I. His sacred name with reverence profound
Should mention'd be, and trembling at the sound!
It was Jehovah; 'tis Our Father now;
So low to us does Heav'n vouchsafe to bow'!
He brought it down that taught us how to pray,
And did so dearly for our ransom pay.
II. His kingdom come. For this we pray in vain,
Unless he does in our affections reign.
Absurd it were to wish for such a King,
And not obedience to his sceptre bring,
Whose yoke is easy, and his burden light,
His service freedom, and his judgments right.
III. His will be done. In fact 'tis always done;
But, as in Heav'n, it must be made our own.
His will should all our inclinations sway,
Whom Nature and the universe obey.
Happy the man! whose wishes are confin'd
To what has been eternally design’d;
Referring all to his paternal care,
To whom more dear than to ourselves we are.
IV. It is not what our avarice hoards up;
'Tis he that feeds us, and that tills our cup :
Like new-born babes depending on the breast,
From day to day we on his bounty feast :
Nor should the soul expect above a day
To dwell in her frail tenement of clay:
The setting sun should seem to bound our race,
And the new day a gift of special grace.
V. That he should all our trespasses forgive,
While we in hatred with our neighbours live:
Though so to pray may seem an easy task,
We curse ourselves when thus inclin'd we ask.
This pray'r to use, we ought with equal care
Our souls, as to the sacrament, prepare.
The noblest worship of the Pow'r above,
Is to extol and imitate his love;
Not to forgive our enemies alone,
But use our bounty that they may be won.
VI. Guard us from all temptations of the foc;
And those we may in several stations know:
The rich and poor in slippery places stand,
Give us enough! but with a sparing hand !
Not ill-persuading want, nor wanton wealth,
But what proportion’d is to life and health :
For not the dead but living sing thy praise,
Exalt thy kingdom, and thy glory raise.
Favete linguis! ***
Virginibus puerisque canto.