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But whence, when joy should brighten o'er the land,
This sullen gloom in Judah's captive band ?
Ye sons of Judah, why the lute unstrung?
Or why those harps on yonder willows hung ?
Come, take the lyre, and pour the strain along,
The day demands it: sing us Sion's song,
Dismiss your griefs, and join our tuneful choir
For who like you can wake the sleeping lyre ?
Every moment as it flows
Some peculiar pleasure owes :
Come, then, providently wise,
Seize the debtor ere it flies.
Think not to-morrow can repay
The debt of pleasure lost to-day:
Alas! to-morrow's richest store
Can but pay its proper score.
Chain'd as we are, the scorn of all mankind,
To want, to toil, and every ill consign'd-
Is this a time to bid us raise the strain,
Or mix in rites that Heaven regards with pain ?
No, never! May this hand forget each art
That wakes to finest joys the human heart,
Ere I forget the land that gave me birth,
Or join to sounds profane its sacred mirth!
Rebellious slaves! if soft persuasion fail,
More formidable terrors shall prevail.
Why, let them come, one good remains to cheer,
We fear the Lord, and know no other fear.
CHORUS OF CHALDEANS.
Can chains or tortures bend the mind
On God's supporting breast reclined ?
Stand fast,--and let our tyrants see
That fortitude is victory.
CHORUS OF, PRIESTS.
o O peace of mind, angelic guest,
Thou soft companion of the breast,
Dispense thy balmy store;
Wing all our thoughts to reach the skies,
Till earth, receding from our eyes,
Shall vanish as we soar.
No more. Too long has justice been delay'd-
The king's commands must fully be obey'd ;
Compliance with his will your peace secures,
Praise but our gods, and every good is yours:
But if, rebellious to his high command,
You spurn the favours offered at his hand-
Think, timely think, what ills remain behind;
Reflect, nor tempt to rage the royal mind.
Fierce is the tempest howling
Along the furrow'd m'in,
And fierce the whirlwind rolling,
O'er Afric's sandy plain :
But storms that fly
To rend the sky,
Every ill presaging-
Less dreadful show
To worlds below
Than angry monarch's raging.
Ah me! what angry terrors round us grow!
How shrinks my soul to meet the threaten'd blow!
Ye prophets, skill'd in Heaven's eternal truth,
Forgive my sex's fears, forgive my youth,
If, shrinking thus when frowning power appears,
I wish for life, and yield me to my fears,
Ah! let us one, one little hour obey;
To-morrow's tears may wash the stain away.
The wretch, condemn'd with life to part,
Still, still on hope relies ;
And every pang that rends the heart,
Bids expectation rise.
Hope, like the glimmering taper’s light,
Adorns and cheers the way;
And still, as darker
the night, Emits a brighter ray.
Why this delay! At length for joy prepare :
I read your looks, and see compliance there.
Come on, and bid the warbling rapture rise,
Our monarch's name the noblest theme supplies.
Begin, ye captive bands, and strike the lyre,-
The time, the theme, the place, and all conspire.
See the ruddy morning smiling,
Hear the grove to bliss beguiling;
Zephyrs through the woodland playing,
Streams along the valley straying.
But hush! see foremost of the captive choir, The master-prophet grasps his full-toned lyre; Mark where
he sits, with executing art, Feels for each tone, and speeds it to the heart. See, how prophetic rapture fills his form, Awful as clouds that nurse the growing storm! And now his voice, accordant to the string, Prepares our monarch's victories to sing.
From north, from south, from east, from west,
Conspiring nations come;
Tremble, thou vice-polluted breast,
Blasphemers, all be dumb.
The tempest gathers all around,
On Babylon it lies;
Down with her! down-down to the ground
She sinks, she groans, she dies.
Down with her, Lord, to lick the dust,
Before yon setting sun;
Serve her as she has served the just!
'Tis fix'd-it shall be done.
FIRST PRIEST.-RECITATIVE. No more! when slaves thus insolent presume, The king himself shall judge, and fix their doom. Short-sighted wretches ! have not you and all Beheld our power in Zedekiah’s fali ? To yonder gloomy dungeon turn your eyesSee where dethroned your captive monarch lies; Deprived of sight, and rankling in his chain, See where he mourns his friends and children slain. Yet know, ye slaves, that still remain behind More ponderous chains, and dungeons more confined.
Arise, all-potent Ruler, rise,
And vindicate thy people's cause,
Till every tongue, in every land,
Shall offer up unfeign'd applause.
Yes, my companions, Heaven's decrees are passid,
And our fix'd empire shall for ever last :
In vain the madd’ning prophet threatens woe
In vain rebellion aims her secret blow;
Still shall our name and growing power be spread,
And still our justice crush the traitor's head.
Coeval with man
Our empire began,
And never shall fall,
Till ruin shakes all.
With the ruin of all,
Then shall Babylon fall.
'Tis thus that pride triumphant rears the head
A little while, and all her power is fled.
But, ha! what means yon sadly plaintive train,
That onward slowly bends along the plain ?
And now, behold, to yonder bank they bear
A pallid corse, and rest the body there.
Alas! too well mine eyes indignant trace
The last remains of Judah's royal race :
Fall'n is our king, and all our fears are o'er,
Unhappy Zedekiah is no more.
Ye wretches who by fortune's hate
In want and sorrow groan-
Come, ponder his severer fate,
And learn to bless your own.
Ye vain, whom youth and pleasure guide,
Awhile the bliss suspend;
Like yours, his life began in pride
Like his, your