Saturday, November 15, 2003

Psalm CXIV

When Israel by Jehovah call'd
From Egypt's hostile plain,
Pour'd forth in numbers as the Sand
And sought the adjacent main:
Then God descended from on high
To lead the favour'd Race
To rule o'er Jacob, & his Name
In Judah's Tribe to place.
The Sea at their approach alarm'd
In wild amazement fled
And Jordan's flood was driven back
Within it's fountainhead.
The Mountains from their basis shook
Confess'd the Parent God!
With sudden throws like Rams they skipp'd
And broken, fell abroad.
The little Hills by the same power
Were from their Center torn
Like Lambs resistless they gave way
In Tumult wild, upborn.
Ye Waves what strange amazement, say,
Seiz'd on you that you fled?
Thou Jordan too! On Israel's march,
Why driven to thy Head?
Ye Mountains whence this sudden fright
That shook you from your base?
And whence, ye little Hills, your flight
From Israel's chosen Race?
Tremble thou Earth! Jehovah leads,
And guards the might Host!
That God, who by his awful Word,
Commands the Stream to flow2
From flinty Rocks; & pouring thence,
To form the Lake below.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

On the Death of the Vice-Chancellor

Learn ye nations of the earth
The condition of your birth,
Now be taught your feeble state,
Know, that all must yield to Fate!

If the mournful Rover, Death,
Say but once-resign your breath-
Vainly of escape you dream,
You must pass the Stygian stream.

Could the stoutest overcome
Death's assault, and baffle Doom,
Hercules had both withstood
Undiseas'd by Nessus' blood.

Ne'er had Hector press'd the plain
By a trick of Pallas slain,
Nor the Chief to Jove allied
By Achilles' phantom died.

Could enchantments life prolong,
Circe, saved by magic song,
Still had liv'd, and equal skill
Had preserv'd Medea still.

Dwelt in herbs and drugs a pow'r
To avert Man's destin'd hour,
Learn'd Machaon5 should have known
Doubtless to avert his own.

Chiron had survived the smart
Of the Hydra-tainted dart,
And Jove's bolt had been with ease
Foil'd by Asclepiades.

Thou too, Sage! of whom forlorn
Helicon and Cirrha mourn,
Still had'st filled thy princely place,
Regent of the gowned race,

Had'st advanc'd to higher fame
Still, thy much-ennobled name,
Nor in Charon's skiff explored
The Tartarean gulph abhorr'd.

But resentful Proserpine,
Jealous of thy skill divine,
Snapping short thy vital thread
Thee too number'd with the Dead.

Wise and good! untroubled be
The green turf that covers thee,
Thence in gay profusion grow
All the sweetest flow'rs that blow!

Pluto's Consort bid thee rest!
Oeacus pronounce thee blest!
To her home thy shade consign,
Make Elysium ever thine!