1 Ye sons of Israel, faithful tribes, attend;
A lsft'ning ear to these my numbers lend;
2 My flowing numbers marvels shall unfold,
Which were in parables conceal'd of old;
3 Which from our ancient fathers we have known;
4 Which shall to late posterity be shewn:
Yes; I, no simple bard, whom heav'n inspires
(E'en now my soul celestial transport fires!)
I will the wonders of th' Almighty sing,
The pow'r, the praises, of our God, our king.
5 For, when he made with Abr'ham's favour'd line
A league, confirm'd by sanctions most divine,
Them his peculiar people when he chose,
This, his determin'd will, he did impose,
That they his law, the wonders he had done,
For ever to their after-race make known;
7 That, mindful of his mercies and his word,
Firmly they might rely upon their Lord;
The statutes, that he had ordain'd, observe,
And never from his dread commandments swerve:
8 Never, like their rebellious fathers, prove
Ingrate and stubborn to almighty love;
Never, like them, distrust his gracious pow'r,
But wait his mercy, and his name adore.
9 Ye sons of Ephraim, why, when strongly arm'd
With bow, with spear, so dreadfully alarm'd?
Why fly your foes in the embattl'd field?
Why, when the fight began, so basely yield?
10 Alas! the sacred cov'nant they 'ad forgot,
Their God's most holy law regarded not;
11 Forgot the wonders of his mighty hand,
12 His glorious acts in Egypt's idol-land;
His glorious acts, that all their fathers saw,
That struck proud Pharaoh's harden'd heart with awe.
13 He for their passage made the sea divide;
Her waves a rampier form'd on either side;
14 With a dun cloud he led them in the day;
By night a stream of fire directs their way;
15 In the dry desart, fainting and athirst,
They cried--his ears their piteous plainings pierc'd.
He from the rock his plenteous streams bestow'd,
The rock he smote, and pour'd a limpid flood.
17 Yet still they sinn'd against his sov'reign pow'r,
And by their faithless murmurs vex'd him sore:
18 Dar'd in their thankless hearts to tempt their God,
And ask'd with highest insolence for food.
19 Great was their blasphemy, when thus they said;
"In the lone desart can he furnish bread?
20 "True; in our need the veiny rock he smote,
"And in full torrents gush'd the waters out.
"Food to supply, is sure beyond his pow'r,
"And where of bread, of flesh, his secret store?"
21 This heard the Lord, and strait his anger rose;
With dread resentment 'gainst his tribes he glows;
22 'Cause they, tho' such great mercies they'd receiv'd,
Still wanted faith, nor in his power believ'd.
23 Yet did he open strait the doors of heav'n;
24 Above their hopes, celestial food was giv'n;
In plenteous show'rs th' ambrosial manna fell,
Meats, that did far all earthly cates excel.
25 O blest result of clemency divine!
Meats, such as angels eat, he gave, benign;
26 He drove the east wind from the fields of air,
And bad the south his flaggy wings prepare;
27 The south obey'd, and pour'd a feather'd flood,
Birds of the richest flavour for their food.
O'er the astonish'd camp in heaps they lay,
Thick as the scatter'd sand along the sea,
29 And now they are with heavenly cates replete;
30 Yet still their lusts continue, while they eat,
31 E'en while they eat, the God, that's ever just,
Made them the victims of their wretched lust;
In his dread fury on the camp he flew,
And the most valiant of their chieftains slew.
32 Yet vain th' inflictions of his vengeance prov'd;
Nor yet his great beneficence remov'd
30 Their horrid guilt--at length, provok'd, their God
With all his rage and all his fury glow'd,
Their vitals with a dread distemper struck,
Their wounded souls with all his horrors shook.
34 Driv'n, by his vengeance, him they own'd their Lord,
His pow'r ackhowledg'd, and his help implor'd;
35 Own'd, they subsisted by his mighty aid,
That he redeem'd them, and their foes dismay'd.
36 Yet this they only with their lips confest;
Conviction cou'd not reach their harden'd breast;
37 Their vile demeanour, not their hearts, they chang'd,
Their hearts from his blest statutes still estrang'd.
38 Still he in mercy wou'd their crimes forgive;
Still in his favour he wou'd let them live;
Full oft his fearful anger he forbore,
And did, to health, to peace, their souls restore;
39 For he consider'd them of mortal birth,
That they were still but quicken'd lumps of earth;
Or empty shadows of a summer's day,
That, like a fleeting wind, post swift away,
40 And yet how oft ungrateful did they prove
To all the efforts of his tender love;
41 Measur'd almighty strength by their short line,
And, obstinate, denied his pow'r divine!
42 Their great deliv'rance they remember'd not,
Soon they the mercies of his arm forgot;
For them how he stupendous wonders wrought,
And 'gainst Egyptian rage their battles fought.
44 How with infected streams their rivers flow'd,
Their limpid waters ting'd with filthy blood:
45 Range o'er_their dwellings the devouring fly,
And marshy frog, their palaces annoy;
46 The locusts and destructive beetles swarm
Around their fields, and do them dreadful harm:
47 Their vines are ruin'd by the beating hail,
And o'er their trees the blasting frosts prevail:
48 His hail destroys the cattle of the plain,
And all their flocks are by his thunder slain:
49 Dread in his wrath, he all his vengeance pourd.
Full on their heads his indignation roar'd;
In heaviest trouble, in distress they lay,
And in-born furies on their vitals prey.
50 Stalks death around, in all his horrors clad,
And beast and man devouring plagues invade.
51 Hark! what sad moans! what unavailing cries!
The favour'd son, the father's darling, dies!
Joy of his years, and heir to his domain!
He dies; and mourns parental love in vain!
52 Mean while, as leads the swain his woolly care,
Our God did for his tribes their way prepare;
53 Fearless, they went; and joyful reach the shore,
While the returning waves their foes devour.
54 Safely he brought them to the sacred hill,
That holy mount where chose himself to dwell;
55 For them the impious nations chac'd away,
And made their fertile lands his people's prey.
56 Yet still provoking, they their God defied,
Despis'd his statutes, and his patience tried;
57 Just like their fathers they rebellious prov'd,
And from the even path of duty rov'd;
Like a deceitful bow they turn'd, and soon
Their wonted blasphemy and crimes begun.
58 Their Lord eternal they no more obey'd,
But after gods, that were not gods, they stray'd;
On each high hill their adorations pay
To images of brass, of stone, of clay.
59 This saw th' Almighty, and his anger rose;
He now abhorr'd the people he had chose;
60 Them of his glad'ning presence he bereft,
And his own altar, his dear Shiloh, left:
61 His hallow'd ark no more in Judah stands,
Whence beam'd his glorious light to distant lands;
The sacred monument of his people's peace,
Pledge of his awful law, the foes possess.
62 His people war with her fell train destroys,
While with regardless ears he hears their cries.
63 Their lusty youth are by the flames devour'd;
Fall their hoar priests by th' unrelenting sword;
No more the nuptial bed, the virgin-throng
Expect, or join the hymeneal song;
No more the widows for their consorts sigh,
And in the grave they unlamented lie.
65 At length his furious anger was appeas'd;
And soon the insults of the heathen ceas'd;
As from a heavy sleep our God arose,
And pour'd his dreadful vengeance on our foes:
66 Struck with a quick alarm, they turn, they fly;
In vain--for by his fatal shafts they die;
And, while yon sun shall sjine, continued shame,
Continued infamy awaits their name.
67 Yet not to Epbraim, tho' his sons were brave,
Nor to Manasseh, he the sceptre gave;
68 His favour'd choice the tribe of Judah prov'd;
The hill of Sion was the hill he lov'd.
69 There he his sacred seat for ever plac'd,
His temple there with his bright presence blest;
Firm as the globe, the hallow'd dome shall stand,
Firm shall remain, till nature's self shall end.
70 And him who tended long his fleecy care,
71 Who drove his fatlings to the pastures fair,
David, his servant, has he call'd bis own,
And fix'd the humble shepherd on a throne;
O'er his own fav'rite people gives him sway,
And bids the sons of Abraham obey,
72 By him supported, in his prowess strong,
His flock with faithful care he 'as govern'd long;
Protects them from the fury of the foe,
And teaches them the laws of heav'n to know.