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Till one, in whom an outward mien appear'd, Various discussions tear our heated brain ;
Opinions often turn; still doubts remain;
How narrow limits were to Wisdom given ! That mine to speak, and theirs was to obey; Earth she surveys; she thence would measure For I in knowledge more than power did sway:
Heaven : And the astonish'd world in me beheld
Through mists obscure now wings her tedious way; Moses eclips'd, and Jesse's son excell’d.
Now wanders dazzled with too bright a day; Humble a second bow'd, and took the word; And from the summit of a pathless coast Foresaw my name by future age ador'd:
Sees infinite, and in that sight is lost. • O live," said he, « thou wisest of the wise; Remember, that the curs'd desire to know, As none has equall'd, none shall ever rise
Offspring of Adam! was thy source of woe. Excelling thec.”
Why wilt thou then renew the vain pursuit, Parent of wicked, bane of honest deeds,
And rashly catch at the forbidden fruit; Pernicious Flattery ! thy malignant seeds,
With empty labour and eluded strife In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand,
Seeking, by knowledge, to attain to life ; Sadly diffus'd o'er Virtue's gleby land,
For ever from that fatal tree debarr'd, With rising pride amidst the corn appear,
Which flaming swords and angry cherubs guard ? And choke the hopes and harvest of the year.
And now the whole perplex'd ignoble crowd,
Book II. - PLEASURE.
Terts chiefly alluded to in Book II.
“ I said in my own heart, Go to now, I will prove My prophets and my sophists finish'd here
thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure." — The civil efforts of the verbal war :
EccLEs. chap. ii. ver. 1. Not so my rabbins and logicians yield;
" I made me great works, I builded me houses, I Retiring, still they combat; from the field
planted me vineyards.” - Ver. 4. Of open arms unwilling they depart, And skulk behind the subterfuge of art.
“ I made me gardens and orchards; and I planted To speak one thing, mix'd dialects they join,
trees in them of all kind of fruits." — Ver. 5. Divide the simple, and the plain define;
“ I made me pools of water, to water therewith the Fix fancy'd laws, and form imagin'd rules,
wood that bringeth forth trees.” - Ver. 6. Terms of their art, and jargon of their schools, « Then I looked on all the works that my hands had Ill-grounded maxims, by false gloss enlarg'd, wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured And captious science against reason charg'a.
to do: and behold all was vanity and vexation of Soon their crude notions with each other fought;
spirit; and there was no profit under the Sun.”The adverse sect deny'd what this had taught;
“ I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the O wretched impotence of human mind!
delights of the sons of men, as musical instruWe, erring still, excuse for errour find,
ments, and that of all sorts." - Ver. 8. And darkling grope, not knowing we are blind. J" I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, Vain man! since first thy blushing sire essay'd
(yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom) and His folly with connected leaves to shade,
to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was How does the crime of thy resembling race
that good for the sons of men, which they should With like attempt that pristine errour trace !
do under Heaven all the days of their life.”Too plain thy nakedness of soul espy'd,
Ver. 3. Why dost thou strive the conscious shame to hide
“ Then I said in my heart, As it happeneth unto By masks of eloquence and veils of pride ?
the fool, so it happeneth even unto me; and why With outward smiles their flattery I receiv'd,
was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, Own'd my sick mind by their discourse reliev'd;
that this also is vanity.” — Ver. 15. But bent, and inward to myself, again Perplex'd, these matters I revolv'd in vain.
“ Therefore I hated life, because the work that is My search still tir'd, my labour still renew'd, wrought under the Sun is grievous unto me.” At length I ignorance and knowledge view'd, Ver. 17. Impartial ; both in equal balance laid, (weigh’d.“ Dead flies cause the ointment to send forth a Light flew the knowing scale, the doubtful heavy stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is Forc'd by reflective reason, I confess,
in reputation for wisdom and honour." - Ch. I. That human science is uncertain guess.
ver. 1. Alas! we grasp at clouds, and beat the air, Vexing that spirit we intend to clear.
“ The memory of the just is blessed, but the meCan thought beyond the bounds of matter climb ?
mory of the wicked shall rot." - PROVERBS, ch. I. Or who shall tell me what is space or time?
ver. 7. In vain we lift up our presumptuous eyes To what our Maker to their ken denies :
The Argumeni. The searcher follows fast; the object faster flies. Solomon, again seeking happiness, inquires if wealth The little which imperfectly we find,
and greatness can produce it; begins with the Soduces only the bewilder'd mind
magnificence of gardens and buildings, the luxury To fruitless search of something yet behind.
of music and feasting; and proceeds to the hopes and desires of love. In two episodes are shown | Haunted my nights, and terrify'd my days; the follies and troubles of that passion. Solomon, Stalk'd through my gardens, and pursued my ways, still disappointed, falls under the temptations of Nor shut from artful bower, nor lost in winding libertinism and idolatry; recovers his thought;
maze. reasons aright; and concludes, that, as to the Yet take thy bent, my soul; another sense pursuit of pleasure and sensual delight, All is Indulge; add music to magnificence : vanity and vexation of spirit.
Essay if harmony may grief control,
Or power of sound prevail upon the soul. Try then, O man, the moments to deceive, Often our seers and poets have confest, That from the womb attend thee to the grave : | That music's force can tame the furious beast For weary'd Nature find some apter scheme : Can make the wolf, or foaming boar, restrain Health be thy hope, and Pleasure be thy theme. His rage; the lion drop his crested mane, From the perplexing and unequal ways,
Attentive to the song; the lynx forget Where study brings thee; from the endless maže, His wrath to man, and lick the minstrel's feet. Which doubt persuades to run, forewarn'd, recede Are we, alas ! less savage yet than these? To the gay field and flowery path, that lead
Else music, sure, may human cares appease. To jocund mirth, soft joy, and careless ease :
I spake my purpose ; and the cheerful choir Forsake what may instruct, for what may please; Parted their shares of harmony: the lyre Essay amusing art, and proud expense,
Soften'd the timbrel's noise; the trumpet's sound And make thy reason subject to thy sense.
Provok'd the Dorian flute (both sweeter found I commund thus: the power of wealth I try'd, When mix’d); the fife the viol's notes refin'd, And all the various luxe of costly pride;
And every strength with every grace was join'd. Artists and plans reliev'd my solemn hours ; Each morn they wak'd me with a sprightly lay; I founded palaces, and planted bowers;
Of opening Heaven they sung and gladsome day. Birds, fishes, beasts, of each exotic kind,
Each evening their repeated skill express'd I to the limits of my court confin'd;
Scenes of repose, and images of rest : To trees transferr'd I gave a second birth,
Yet still in vain; for music gather'd thought: And bade a foreign shade grace Judah's earth; But how unequal the effects it brought ! Fish-ponds were made, where former forests grew, The soft ideas of the cheerful note, And hills were levell’d to extend the view;
Lightly receiv'd, were easily forgot ; Rivers diverted from their native course,
The solemn violence of the graver sound And bound with chains of artificial force,
Knew to strike deep, and leave a lasting wound. From large cascades in pleasing tumult roll’d, And now reflecting, I with grief descry Or rose through figur'd stone, or breathing gold; The sickly lust of the fantastic eye; From furthest Africa's tormented womb
How the weak organ is with seeing cloy'd, The marble brought, erects the spacious dome, Flying ere night what it at noon enjoy'd. Or forms the pillars long-extended rows,
And now (unhappy search of thought !) I found On which the planted grove, the pensile garden,
The fickle ear soon glutted with the sound, grows.
Condemn'd eternal changes to pursue, The workmen here obey the master's call, Tir'd with the last, and eager of the new. To gild the turret, and to paint the wall,
I bade the virgins and the youth advance, To mark the pavement there with various stone, To temper music with the sprightly dance. And on the jasper steps to rear the throne :
In vain! too low the mimic motions seem; The spreading cedar, that an age had stood, What takes our heart must merit our esteem. Sapreme of trees, and mistress of the wood, Nature, I thought, perform'd too mean a part, Cut down and carv'd, my shining roof adorns, Forming her movements to the rules of art; And Lebanon his ruin'd honour mourns.
And, vex'd, I found that the musician's hand A thousand artists show their cunning power, Had o'er the dancer's mind too great command. To raise the wonders of the ivory tower.
I drank; I lik'd it not; 'twas rage, 'twas noise, A thousand maideps ply the purple loom,
An airy scene of transitory joys. To weave the bed, and deck the regal room;
In vain I trusted that the flowing bowl Till Tyre confesses her exhausted store,
Would banish sorrow, and enlarge the soul. That on her coast the murex * is no more;
To the late revel, and protracted feast, Till from the Parian isle, and Libya's coast, Wild dreams succeeded, and disorder'd rest; The mountains grieve their hopes of marble lost; And as, at dawn of morn, fair Reason's light And India's woods return their just complaint; Broke through the fumes and phantoms of the night, Their brood decay'd, and want of elephant.
What had been said, I ask'd my soul, what done? My full design with vast expense achiev'd, How flow'd our mirth, and whence the source begun? I came, beheld, admir'd, reflected, griev'd; Perhaps the jest that charm’d the sprightly crowd, I chid the folly of my thoughtless haste,
And made the jovial table laugh so loud,
To some false notion ow'd its poor pretence,
Offence and torture to the sober ear :
Perhaps, alas ! the pleasing stream was brought Vexatious Thought still found my flying mind
From this man's errour, from another's fault; Nor bound by limits, nor to place confin'd; From topics, which good-nature would forget,
And prudence mention with the last regret. • The murez is a shell_fish, of the liquor whereof Add yet unnumber'd ills, that lie unseen a purple colour is made.
| In the pernicious draught; the word obscene,
Or harsh, which, once clanc'd, must ever fly When she, with modest scorn, the wreath return'd, Irrevocable; the too prompt reply,
Reclin'd her beauteous neck, and inward mourn'd! Seed of severe distrust and fierce debate;
Forc'd by my pride, I my concern suppress'd, What we should shun, and what we ought to hate. Pretended drowsiness, and wish of rest :
Add too the blood impoverish'd, and the course | And sullen I forsook th' imperfect feast,
Unhappy man! whom sorrow thus and rage Our eastern grandeur gives th' imprison'd fair,
To lead her forth to a distinguish'd bower, Who drinks, alas ! but to forget; nor sees
And bid her dress the bed, and wait the hour That melancholy sloth, severe disease,
Restless I follow'd this obdurate maid Memory confus'd, and interrupted thought,
(Swift are the steps that Love and Anger tread); Death's harbingers, lie latent in the draught ; Approach'd her person, courted her embrace, And, in the flowers that wreath the sparkling bowl, Renew'd my flame, repeated my disgrace ; Fell adders hiss, and poisonous serpents roll. By turns put on the suppliant and the lord;
Remains there aught untry'd that may remove Threaten'd this moment, and the next implor'd; Sickness of mind, and heal the bosom?- Love. Offer'd again the unaccepted wreath, Love yet remains : indulge his genial fire,
And choice of happy love, or instant death. Cherish fair hope, solicit young desire,
Averse to all her amorous king desir'd, And boldly bid thy anxious soul explore
Far as she might she decently retir'd; This last great remedy's mysterious power.
And, darting scorn and sorrow from her eyes, Why therefore hesitates my doubtful breast ? “ What means," said she, “king Solomon the wise ? Why ceases it one moment to be blest ?
“ This wretched body trembles at your power : “ Fly swift, my friends; my servants, fly; employ Thus far could Fortune, but she can no more. Your instant pains to bring your master joy. Free to herself my potent mind remains, Let all my wives and concubines be dress'd; Nor fears the victor's rage, nor feels his chains, Let them to-night attend the royal feast;
“ 'Tis said, that thou canst plausibly dispute, All Israel's beauty, all the foreign fair ;
Supreme of seers! of angel, man, and brute; The gifts of princes, or the spoils of war :
Canst plead, with subtle wit and fair discourse, Before their monarch they shall singly pass, Of passion's folly, and of reason's force ; And the most worthy shall obtain the grace." That, to the tribes attentive, thou canst show
I said : the feast was serv'd, the bowl was crown'd; | Whence their misfortunes or their blessings flow; To the king's pleasure went the mirthful round. That thou in science as in power art great, The women came : as custom wills, they past : And truth and honour on thy edicts wait. On one (O that distinguish'd one!) I cast
Where is that knowledge now, that regal thought, The favourite glance! O! yet my mind retains With just advice and timely counsel fraught? That fond beginning of my infant pains.
Where now, O Judge of Israel! does it rove? Mature the virgin was, of Egypt's race; (face; What in one moment dost thou offer? LoveGrace shap'd her limbs, and beauty deck'd her Love! why 'tis joy or sorrow, peace or strife; Easy her motion seem'd, serene her air ;
'Tis all the colour of remaining life : Full, though unzon'd, her bosom rose; her hair, And human misery must begin or end, Unty'd, and ignorant of artful aid,
As he becomes a tyrant or a friend. Adown her shoulders loosely lay display'd, Would David's son, religious, just, and grave, And in the jetty curls ten thousand Cupids play'd. To the first bride-bed of the world receive Fix'd on her charms, and pleas’d that I could love, A foreigner, a heathen, and a slave? “ Aid me, my friends, contribute to improve Or, grant thy passion has these names destroy'd, Your monarch's bliss,” I said; “fresh roses bring That Love, like Death, makes all distinction void; To strew my bed, till the impoverish'd Spring Yet in his empire o'er thy abject breast Confess her want ; around my amorous head His flames and torments only are exprest; Be dropping myrrh and liquid amber shed, His rage can in my smiles alone relent, Till Arab has no more. From the soft lyre, And all his joys solicit my consent. Sweet Aute, and ten-string'd instrument, require “ Soft love, spontaneous tree, its parted root Sounds of delight: and thou, fair nymph! draw Must from two hearts with equal vigour shoot;
Whilst each, delighted and delighting gives Thou, in whose graceful form and potent eye, The pleasing ecstacy which each receives : Thy master's joy, long sought, at length is found; Cherish'd with hope, and fed with joy it grows; And, as thy brow, let my desires be crown'd; Its cheerful buds their opening bloom disclose, O favourite virgin! that hast warm’d the breast, And round the happy soil diffusive odour flows. Whose sovereign dictates subjugate the East!" If angry Fate that mutual care denies,
I said: and sudden from the golden throne, The fading plant bewails its due supplies; With a submissive step, I hasted down.
Wild with despair, or sick with grief, it dies. The glowing garland from my hair I took,
“ By force beasts act, and are by force restrain'd: Love in my heart, obedience in iny look ;
The human mind by gentle means is gain’d. Prepar’d to place it on her comely head :
Thy useless strength, mistaken king, employ: “ O favourite virgin !" yet again I said,
Sated with rage, and ignorant of joy, “ Receive the honours destin'd to thy brow; Thou shalt not gain what I deny to yield, And 0, above thy fellows, happy thou !
Nor reap the harvest, though thou spoil'st the field. Their duty must thy sovereign word obey :
Know, Solomon, thy poor extent of sway; Rise up, my love, my fair-one, come away."
Contract thy brow, and Israel shall obey : What pangs, alas ! what ecstacy of smart,
But wilful Love thou must with smiles appease, Tore up my senses, and transfix'd my heart, Approach his awful throne by just degrees,
And, if thou would'st be happy, learn to please.
“ Not that those arts can here successful prove, | Entirely thus I find the fiend pourtray'd, For I am destin'd to another's love.
Since first, alas! I saw the beauteous maid: Beyond the cruel bounds of thy command,
I felt him strike, and now I see him fly: To my dear equal in my native land,
Curs'd deinon! O! for ever broken lie My plighted vow I gave; I his receiv'd:
Those fatal shafts, by which I inward bleed! Each swore with truth, with pleasure each believ'd. O! can my wishes yet o'ertake thy speed! The mutual contract was to Heaven convey'd; Tir'd may'st thou pant, and hang thy flagging wing, In equal scales the busy angels weigh'd
Except thou turn'st thy course, resolv'd to bring Its solemn force, and clapp'd their wings, and spread The damsel back, and save the love-sick king !" The lasting roll, recording what we said.
My soul thus struggling in the fatal net,
Sent and recall'd, ordain'd and disapprov'd;
But 0, how short my interval of woe! “ Now strike,” she said, and open'd bare her Our griefs how swist! our remedies how slow! breast;
Another nymph, (for so did Heaven ordain, “ Stand it in Judah's chronicles confest,
To change the manner, but renew the pain,) Thuat David's son, by impious passion mov’d, Another nymph, amongst the many fair, Smote a she-slave, and murder'd what he lov'd !" That made my softer hours their solemn care,
Asliam'd, confus'd, I started from the bed, Before the rest affected still to stand, And to my soul, yet uncollected, said,
And watch'd my eye, preventing my command. “ Into thyself, fond Solomon, return;
Abra, she so was call’d, did soonest haste Reflect again, and thou again shalt mourn.
To grace my presence; Abra went the last When I through number'd years have Pleasure Abra was ready ere I call'd her name; sought,
And, though I call’d another, Abra came. And in vain hope the wanton phantom caught; Her equals first observ'd her growing zcal, To mock my sense, and mortify my pride,
And, laughing, gloss'd, that Abra serv'd so well. 'Tis in another's power, and is deny'd.
To me her actions did unheeded die,
Till more appriz'd of what the rumour said,
“ To ravish her! that thought was soon depressid, When, tir'd with business of the solemn day,
(For so the precept of the law commands): For whom, disdaining me, she keeps her charms ? Love had ordain'd, that it was Abra's turn “ Fantastic tyrant of the amorous heart,
To mix the sweets, and minister the urn. How hard thy yoke ! how cruel is thy dart !
With awful homage and submissive dread, Those 'scape thy anger, who refuse thy sway, The maid approach’d, on my declining head And those are punish'd most who most obey. To pour the oils; she trembled as she pour'd: Ske Judah's king revere thy greater power : With an unguarded look she now devour'd What canst thou covet, or how triumph more ? My nearer face! and now recall’d her eye, Why then, I Love, with an obdurate ear,
And heav'd, and strove to hide, a sudden sigh. Does this proud nymph reject a monarch's prayer ? « And whence," said I, “ canst thou have dread Why to some simple shepherd does she run
or pain ? From the fond arms of David's favourite son ? What can thy imagery of sorrow mean? Wory flies she from the glories of a court,
Secluded from the world and all its care, Where wealth and pleasure may thy reign support, Hast thou to grieve or joy, to hope or fear? To some por cottage on the mountain's brow, For sure,” I added, “ sure thy little heart Now bleak with winds, and cover'd now with snow,
Ne'er felt Love's anger, nor receiv'd his dart." Where pinching want must curb her warm desires, Abash'd, she blush'd, and with disorder spoke : And household cares suppress thy genial fires ? Her rising shame adorn’d the words it broke. * Too aptly the afflicted Heathens prove
“ If the great master will descend to hear Thy force, while they erect the shrines of Love. The humble series of his handmaid's care; His mystic form the artizans of Greece
0! while she tells it, let him not put on In wounded stone, or molten gold, express;
The look, that awes the nations from the throne! And Cyprus to his godhead pays her vow,
O! let not death severe in glory lie Fast in his hand the idol holds his bow ;
In the king's frown, and terrour of his eye! A quiver by his side sustains his store
“ Mine to obey, thy part is to ordain ; Of pointed darts; sad emblems of his power: And though to mention be to suffer pain, A pair of wings he has, which he extends
If the king smile whilst I my woe recite, Now to be gone; which now again he bends, If, weeping, I find favour in his sight, Prope to return, as best may serve his wanton ends. Flow fast, my tears, full rising his delight.
"O! witness Earth beneath, and Heaven above!, O! yet my tortur'd senses deep retain For can I hide it? I am sick of love ; SICK OI love ;
The wretched memory of my former pain, If madness may the name of passion bear,
The dire affront, and my Egyptian chain. Or love be cali'd what is indeed despair. (controls “ As time," I said, “ may happily efface
“ Thou Sovereign Power! whose secret will That cruel image of the king's disgrace, The inward bent and motion of our souls!
Imperial Reason shall resume her seat, Why hast thou plac'd such infinite degrees
And Solomon, once fall'n, again be great. Between the cause and cure of my disease ? Betray'd by passion, as subdued in war, The mighty object of that raging fire,
We wisely should exert a double care,
Nor ever ought a second time to err."
| I saw her; 'twas humanity ; it gave At morn with him I o'er the hills had run,
Some respite to the sorrows of my slave.
I call'd her often, for she always serv'd.
Whene'er I revell’d in the women's bowers, Till he and joy together should appear,
(For first I sought her but at looser hours) And the lov'd dog declare his master near.
The apples she had gather'd smelt most sweet, On my declining neck and open breast
The cakes she kneaded was the savoury meat : I should have lull'd the lovely youth to rest, But fruits their odour lost, and meats their taste, And from beneath his head, at dawning day, If gentle Abra had not deck'd the feast. With softest care have stol'n my arm away, | Dishonour'd did the sparkling goblet stand, To rise and from the fold release the sheep, Unless receiv'd from gentle Abra's hand; Fond of his flock, indulgent to his sleep.
| And, when the virgins form’d the evening choir, · « Or if kind Heaven, propitious to my flame, Raising their voices to the master lyre, (For sure from Heaven the faithful ardour came,) Too flat I thought this voice, and that too shrill; Had blest my life, and deck'd my natal hour One show'd too much, and one too little skill; With height of title, and extent of power ;
Nor could my soul approve the music's tone, Without a crime my passion had aspir'd,
Till all was hush'd, and Abra sung alone. Found the lov'd prince, and told what I desir'd. Fairer she seem'd distinguish'd from the rest,
" Then I had come, preventing Sheba's queen, And better mien disclos'd, as better drest.
A bright tiara, round her forehead ty'd,
The blushing ruby on her snowy breast
Render'd its panting whiteness more confess'd; Swceter than breezes of her native south,
Bracelets of pearl gave roundness to her arın,
Her senses pleas'd, her beauty still improv'd,
And she more lovely grew, as more belov'd. Reflecting temper'd light from crystal streams; And now I could behold, avow, and blame Ruddy as gold his cheek ; his bosom fair
The several follies of my former flame; As silver ; the curl'd ringlets of his hair
Willing my heart for recompense to prove Black as the raven's wing ; his lip more red The certain joys that lie in prosperous love. Than eastern coral, or the scarlet thread;
“ For what," said I, “ from Abra can I fear, Even his teeth, and white like a young flock Too humble to insult, too soft to be severe ? Coeval, newly shorn, from the clear brook
The damsel's sole ambition is to please : Recent, and branching on the sunny rock. With freedom I may like, and quit with ease; Ivory, with sapphires interspers’d, explains | She soothes, but never can enthral my mind: How white his hands, how blue the manly veins. | Why may not Peace and Love for once be join'd ?" Columns of polish'd marble, firmly set
Great Heaven ! how frail thy creature man is On golden bases, are his legs and feet;
made! His stature all majestic, all divine,
How by himself insensibly betray'd !
On Pleasure's flowing brink we idly stray,
And give our conduct to the waves and wind : With unborn monarchs charg'd, and Solomons to Then in the flowery mead, or verdant shade, come.”
| To wanton dalliance negligently laid, Here o'er her speech her flowing eyes prevail. We weave the ci aplet, and we crown the bowl, O foolish maid! and O unhappy tale!
| And smiling sec the nearer waters roll, My suffering heart for ever shall defy
Till the strong gusts of raging passion rise, New wounds and danger from a future eye. | Till the dire tempest mingles carth and skies;