1 Hear, O my People, to my Law,
devout Attention lend;
Let the Instruction of my Mouth
deep in your Hearts descend.
2 My Tongue, by Inspiration taught,
shall Parables unfold,
Dark Oracles, but understood,
and own'd for Truths of old;
3 Which we from sacred Ragisters
of ancient Times have known,
And our Forefathers pious Care
to us has handed down.
4 We will not hide them from our Sons;
our Offspring shall be taught
The Praises of the Lord, whose Strength
has Works of Wonder wrought.
5 For Jacob he this Law ordain'd,
this League with Isr'el made;
With Charge, to be from Age to Age,
from Race to Race convey'd.
6 That Generations yet to come
should to their unborn Heirs
Religiously transmit the same,
and they again to theirs.
7 To teach them that in God alone
their hope securely stands;
That they should ne'er his Works forget,
but keep his just Commands.
8 Lest, like their Fathers, they might prove
a stiff rebellious Race,
False-hearted, fickle to this God,
unstedfast in his Grace.
9 Such were revolting Ephraim's Sons,
who tho' to Warfare bred;
And skillful Archers arm'd with Bows,
from Field ignobly fled.
10,11 They falsify'd their League with God,
his Orders disobey'd,
Forgot his Works and Miracles
before their Eyes display'd.
12 Nor Wonders, which their Fathers saw,
did they in Mind retain;
Prodigious Things in Egypt done,
and Zoan's fertile Plain.
13 He cut the Seas to let them pass,
restrain'd the pressing Flood;
While pil'd on Heaps, on either Side,
the solid Water stood.
14 A wondrous Pillar led them on,
compos'd of Shade and Light;
A shelt'ring Cloud it prov'd by Day,
a leading fire by Night.
15 When Drought oppress'd them, where no Stream
the Wilderness supply'd,
He cleft the Rock, whose flinty Breast
dissolv'd into a tide.
16 Streams from the solid Rock He brought,
which down in Rivers fell,
That trav'ling with their Camp each Day
renew'd the Miracle.
17 Yet there they sinn'd against Him more,
provoking the most High;
In that same Desart where He did
their fainting Souls supply.
18 They first incens'd Him in their Hearts,
that did his Pow'r distrust,
And long'd for Meat, not urg'd by Want,
but to indulge their Lust.
19 Then utter'd their blaspheming Doubts,
"can God, say they, prepare
"A Table in the Wilderness,
"set out with various Fare?
20 "He smote the flinty Rock ('tis true)
"and gushing Streams ensu'd;
"But can He Corn and Flesh provide
"for such a Multitude?"
21 The Lord with Indignation heard:
from Heav'n avenging Flame
On Jacob fell, consuming Wrath
on thankless Isr'el came.
22 Because their unbelieving Hearts
in God would not confide,
Nor trust his Care, who had from Heav'n
their Wants so oft supply'd.
23 Tho' He had made his Clouds discharge
Provisions down in Show'rs;
And when Earth fail'd, reliev'd their Needs
from his celestial Stores.
24 Tho' tasteful Manna was rain'd down
their Hunger to relieve;
Tho' from the Stores of Heav'n they did
sustaining Corn receive.
25 Thus Man with Angel's sacred Food,
ingrateful Man, was fed;
Not sparingly, for still they found
a plenteous Table spread.
26 From Heav'n He made an east Wind blow,
then did the South command
27 To rain down Flesh like Dust, and Fowls
like Seas unnumber'd Sand.
28 Within their Trenches He let fall
the luscious easy Prey,
And all around their spreading Camp
the feather'd Booty lay.
29 They fed, were fill'd, He gave them leave
their Appetites to feast;
30,31 Yet still their wanton Lust crav'd on,
nor with their Hunger ceas'd.
But whilst, in their Dainties chew,
The Wrath of God smote down their Chiefs,
and Isr'el's Chosen slew.
32 Yet still they sinn'd, nor would afford
his Miracles Belief;
33 Therefore thro' fruitless Travels He
consum'd their Lives in Grief.
34 When some were slain, the rest return'd
to God with early Cry;
35 Own'd Him the Rock of their Defence,
their Saviour, God most High.
36 But this was feign'd Submission all,
their Heart their Tongue bely'd;
37 Their Heart was still perverse, nor would
firm in his League abide.
38 Yet, full of Mercy, He forgave,
nor did with Death chastise;
But turn'd his kindled Wrath aside,
or would not let it rise.
39 For He remember'd they were Flesh,
that could not long remain;
A murmuring Wind that's quickly past,
and ne'er return's again.
40 How oft did they provoke Him there,
how oft his Patience grieve,
In that same Desart where He did
their fainting Souls relieve.
41 They tempted Him by turning back,
and wickedly repin'd;
When Isr'els God refus'd to be
by their Desires confin'd.
42 Nor call'd to mind the Hand and Day
that their Redemption brought?
43 His Signs in Egypt, wond'rous Works
in Zoan's Valley wrought.
44 He turn'd their Rivers into Blood,
that Man and Beast forbore;
And rather chose to die of Thirst,
than drink the putrid Gore.
45 he sent devouring Swarms of Flies,
hoarse Frogs annoy'd their Soil,
46 Locust and Caterpillars reap'd
the Harvest of their Toil.
47 Their Vines with batt'ring Hail were broke,
with Frost the Fig-tree dies;
48 Lightning and Hail makes Flocks and Herds
one general Sacrifice.
49 He turn'd his Anger loose, and set
no Time for it to cease;
And with their Plagues bad Angels sent
their Torments to increase.
50 He clear'd a Passage for his Wrath
to ravage uncontroul'd;
The Murrain on their Firstlings seiz'd
in ev'ry Field and Fold.
51 The deadly Pest from Beast to Man,
from Field to City came;
It slew their Heirs, their eldest Hopes
thro' all the Tents of Ham.
52 But his own Tribe, like folded Sheep,
he brought from their Distress;
And them conducted like a Flock,
throughout the Wilderness.
53 He led them on, and in their Way
no Cause of Fear they found;
But march'd securely through those Deeps,
in which their Foes were drown'd.
54 Nor ceas'd his Care till them He brought
safe to his promis'd Land,
And to his holy Mount, the Prize
of his victorious Hand.
55 To them the out-cast Heathen's Land
He did by Lot divide;
And in their Foes abandon'd Tents,
made Isr'el's Tribes reside.
56 Yet still they tempted, still provok'd
the Wrath of God most High;
Nor would to practise his Commands
their stubborn Hearts apply:
57 But in their faithless Fathers Steps,
perversely chose to go:
They turn'd aside, like Arrows shot
from some decietful Bow.
58 For Him to Fury they provok'd
with Altars set on high;
And with their graven Images
inflam'd his Jealousy.
59 When God heard this, on Isr'el's Tribes
his Wrath and Hatred fell;
60 He quitted Shiloh, and the Tents
where once he chose to dwell.
61 To vile Captivity his Ark,
his Glory to Disdain,
62 His People to the Sword He gave,
nor would his Wrath restrain.
63 Destructive War their ablest Youth
untimely did confound;
No Virgin was to th' Altar led,
with nuptial Garlands crown'd.
64 In Fight the Sacrificer fell,
the Priest a Victim bled;
And Widows who their Death should mourn,
themselves of Grief were dead.
65 Then as a Giant rouz'd from Sleep,
whom Wine had throughly warm'd,
Shouts out aloud; the Lord awak'd,
and his proud Foe alamr'd.
66 He smote their Host, that from the Field
a scatter'd Remnant came,
With Wounds imprinted on their Backs
of everlasting Shame.
67 With Conquests crown'd, He Joseph's Tents,
and Ephraim's Tribe forsook;
68 But Judah chose, and Sion's Mount
for his lov'd Dwelling took.
69 His Temple He erected there
with Spires exalted high;
While deep and fix'd as that of Earth,
the strong Foundations lie.
70 His faithful Servant David too,
He for his Choice did own,
And from the Sheepfolds him advanc'd
to sit on Judah's Throne.
71 From tending on the teeming Ewes,
he brought him forth to feed
His own Inheritance, the Tribes
of Isr'el's chosen Seed.
72 Exalted thus the Monarch prov'd
a faithful Shepherd still;
He fed them with an upright Heart,
and guided them with Skill.