Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Which from all coasts thy fleet supplies,

As doth a lion's when some innocent prey Can to atone this crime suffice.

He hath devour'd and brought away: Next o'er the upper town it spread,

Hoarseness and sores the throat did fill, With mad and undiscerning speed

And stopt the passages of speech and life; In every corner, every street,

No room was left for groans or grief; Without a guide did set its feet,

Too cruel and imperious ill! And too familiar every house did greet.

Which, uot content to kill, Unhappy queen of Greece! great Theseus now With tyrannous and dreadful pain, Did thee a mortal injury do,

Dost take from men the very power to complain. When first in walls he did thee close, When first he did thy citizens reduce,

Then down it went into the breast, Houses and government, and laws to use.

There all the seats and shops of life possess'd. It had been better if thy people still

Such noisome smells from thence did come, Dispersed in some field or hill,

As if the stomach were a tomb; Though savage and undisciplin'd, did dwell,

No food would there abide, Though barbarous, untame, and rude,

Or if it did, turn'd to the enemy's side, Than by their numbers thus to be subdu'd, The very meat new poisons to the plague supply'd." To be by their own swarms annoy'd,

Next, to the heart the fires came, And to be civiliz'd only to be destroy'd.

The heart did wonder what usurping flame,

What unknown furnace, should Minerva started when she heard the noise,

On its more natural heat intrude; And dying men's confused voice.

Straight call'd its spirits up, but found too well, From Heaven in haste she came, to see

It was too late now to rebel. What was the mighty prodigy.

The tainted blood its course began, Upon the castle pinnacles she sat,

And carried death where'er it ran;
And dard not nearer fly,

That which before was Nature's noblest art,
Nor midst so many deaths to trust her very deity. The circulation from the heart,
With pitying look she saw at every gate

Was most destructsul now,
Death and Destruction wait;

And nature speedier did undo, She wrung her hands, and call'd on Jove,

For that the sooner did impart And all th' immortal powers above;

The poison and the sinart,
But though a goddess now did pray,

Th’infectious blood to every distant part.
The Heavens refus'd, and turn'd their ear away.
She brought her olive and her shield,

The belly felt at last its share,
Neither of these, alas! assistance yield.

And all the subtile labyrinths there She lookt upon Medusa's face,

Of winding bowels did new monsters bear. Was angry that she was

Here seven days it rulld and sway'd, Herself of an immortal race,

And ottner kill'd, because it death so long delay'd. Was angry that her Gorgon's head

But if through strength and heat of age
Could not strike her as well as others dead:

The body overcame its rage,
She sat and wept a while, and then away she fled. The plague departed as the Devil doth,

When driven by prayers away he goeth. Now Death began her sword to whet,

If prayers and Heaven do him control,
Not all the Cyclops sweat,

And if he cannot have the soul,
Nor Vulcan's mighty anvils, could prepare Himself out of the roof or window throws,
Weapons enough for her.

And will not all his labour lose,
No weapons large enough, but all the age But takes away with him part of the house :
Men felt the heat within them rage,

So here the vanquish'd evil took from them And hop'd the air would it assuage,

Who conquer'o it, some part, some limb. Call'd for its help, but th' air did them deceive, Some lost the use of hands and eyes, And aggravate the ills it should relieve.

Some arms, some legs, some thighs; The air no more was vital now,

Some all their lives before forgot, But did a mortal poison grow;

Their minds were but one darker blot; The lungs, which usd to fan the heart,

Those various pictures in the head, Only now serv'd to fire each part;

And all the numerous shapes were fled;
What should refresh, increas'd the smart:

And now the ransack'd memory
And now their very breath,

Languish'd in vaked porerty, The chiefest sign of life, was turn'd the cause of Had lost its iniyhty treasury; death.

They pass'd the Lethe lake, although they did not

die. Upon the head first the disease, As a bold conqueror, doth seize,

Whatever lesser maladies men had, Begins with man's metropolis,

They all gave place and vanished; Secur'd the capitol, and then it knew

Those petty tyrants fled, It could at pleasure weaker parts subdue,

And at this mighty conqueror shrunk their head. Blood started through each eye ;

Fevers, agues, palsies, stone, The redness of that sky

Gout, colic, and consumption, Foretold a tempest nigh.

And all the milder generation, The tongue did flow all o'er

,By which mankind is by degrees undone, With clotted alth and gore;

Quickly were rooted out and gone;

Men say themselves freed from the pain,

Upon their souls and eyes Rejoic'd, but all, alas, in vain:

Hell and eternal horrour lies, 'Twas an unhappy remedy,

Unusual shapes and images, Whicb cur'd them that they might both worse Dark pictures and resemblances and sooner die.

Of things to come, and of the world below,

Oer their distemper'd fancies go: Physicians now could nought prevail,

Sometimes they curse, sometimes they pray unto They the first spoils to the proud victor fall; The gods above, the gods beneath;

Nor would the Plague their knowledge trust, Sometimes they cruelties and fury breathe, But sear'd their skill, and therefore slew the first: Not sleep, but waking now was sister unto Death. So tyrants, when they would confirm their yoke, First make the chiefest men to feel the stroke, Scatter'd in fields the bodies lay,

faway. The chiefest and the wisest heads, lest they

The Earth call'd to the fowls to take their flesh Should soonest disobey,

[way. In vain she call'd, they come not nigh, Should first rebel, and others learn from them the Nor would their food with their own ruin buy: No aid of herbs, or juices' power,

But at full meals they hunger, pine, and die. None of Apollo's art could cure,

The vultures afar ofl' did see the feast, But help'd the Plague the speedier to devour, Rejoic'd, and callid their friends to taste, Physic itself was a disease,

They rally'd up their troops in haste; Physic the fatal tortures did increase,

Along came mighty droves, Prescriptions did the pains renew,

Forsook their young ones and their groves, And Esculapius to the sick did come,

Each one his native mountain and his nest; As afterwards to Rome,

[too. They come, but all their carcases abhor, In form of serpent, brought new poisons with him

And now avoid the dead men more

Than weaker birds did living men before. The streams did wonder that, so soon

But if some bolder fowls the flesh assay, As they were from their native mountains gone, They were destroy'd by their own prev. They saw themselves drunk up, and fear

The dog no longer bark'd at coming guest, Another Xerxes' army near.

Repents its being a domestic beast, Some cast into the pit the urn,

Did to the woods and mountains haste: And drink it dry at its return:

The very owls at Athens are Again they drew, again they drank;

But seldom seen and rare, At first the coolness of the stream did thank,

The owls depart in open day, But straight the more were scorch'd, the more

Pather than in infected ivy more to stay. did burn; And, drunk with water, in their drinking sank:

Mountains of bones and carcases, That urn, which now to quench their thirst they

'The streets, the market-place possess, Shortly their ashes shall enclose: [use,

Threatening to raise a new Acropolis. Others into the crystal brook

Here lies a mother and her child, With faint and wondering eyes did look,

The infant suck'd as yet and smild, Saw what a ghastly shape themselves had took, But straight by its own food was kill'd. Away they would have fled, but them their legs Their parents hugg'd their children last, forsook.

Here parting lovers last embrac'd, Some snatch the waters up,

But yet not parting neither, Their hands, their mouths the cup;

They both expird and went away together. They drunk, and found they flam'd the more,

Here prisoners in the dungeon die, And only added to the burning store.

And gain a two-fold liberty ;
So have I seen on lime cold water thrown,

They meet and thank their pains,
Straight all was to a ferment grown,

Which them from double chains
And hidden seeds of fire together run:

Of body and of iron free.
The heap was calm and temperate before, Here others, poison'd by the scent
Such as the finger could endure;

Which from corrupted bodies went,
But, when the moistures it provoke,

Quickly return the death they did receive, Did rage, did swell, did smoke, [ashes broke. And death to others give; Did move, and flame, and burn, and straight to themselves now dead the air pollute the more,

For which they others curs'd before, So strong the heat, so strong the torments were,

Their bodies kill all that come near, They like some mighty burthen bear

And even after death they all are murderers here. The lightest covering of air. All sexes and all ages do invade

The friend doth bear his friend's last cries, The bounds which Nature laid,

Parteth his grief for him, and dies, The laws of modesty which Nature made: Lives not enough to close his eyes. The virgins blush not, yet uncloath'd appear,

The father at his death Undressid to run about, yet never fear.

Speaks his son heir with an infectious breath; The pain and the disease did now

In the same hour the son doth take Unwillingly reduce men to

His father's will and his own make. That nakedness once more,

The servant need not here be slain, Which perfect health and innocence caus'd before. To serve his master in the other world again; No sleep, no peace, no rest,

They languishing together lie, Their wandering and affrighted minds possess’d;

Their souls away together fly;

The husband gaspeth, and his wife lies by, “ How have I, Death, so ill deserv'l of thee, It must be her turn next to die :

That now thyself thou should'st revenge on me? The husband and the wife

Have I so many lives on thee bestow'd ? Too truly now are one, and live one life.

Have I the earth so often dy'd in blood? That couple which the gods did entertain,

Have I, to flatter thee, so many slain? Had made their prayer here in vain;

And must I now thy prey remain ? No fates in death could them divide,

Let me at least, if I must die, They must without their privilege together both Meet in the field some gallant enemy. have dy'd.

Send, gods, the Persian troops again:

No, they're a base and a degenerate train; There was no number now of death,

They by our women may be slain. The sisters scarce stood still themselves to breathe: Give me, great Heavens, some maoful foes, The sisters now quite wearied

Let me my death amidst some valiant Grecians In cutting single thread,

Let me survive to die at Syracuse, (choose, Began at once to part whole looms,

Where my dear country sball her glory lose. One stroke did give whole houses dooms: For you, great gods! into my mind infuse, Now dy'd the frosty hairs,

What miseries, what doom, The aged and decrepid years;

Must on my Athens shortly come! They fell, and only begg'd of Fate

My thoughts inspir'd presage Some few months more, but'twas, alas, too late. Slaughters and battles to the coming age: Then Death, as if asham'd of that,

Oh! might I die upon that glorious stage: A conquest so degenerate,

Oh! that !” but then he grasp'd his sword, and Cut off the young and lusty too:

death concludes bis rage. The young were reckoning o'er What happy days, what joys, they had in store: Draw back, draw back thy sword, O Fate! But Fate, ere they had finish'd their account, Lest thou repent when 'tis too late, them slew.

Lest, by thy making now so great a waste,
The wretched usurer died,

By spending all mankind upon one feast,
And had no time to tell where he his treasures hid; Thou starve thyself at last:
The merchant did behold

What men wilt thou reserve in store,
His ships return with spice and gold; Whom in the time to come thou may'st devour,

He saw't, and turn'd aside his head, [dead. When thou shalt have destroyed all before? Nor thank'd the gods, but fell amidst his riches But, if thou wilt not yet give o'er,

If yet thy greedy stomach calls for more,
The meetings and assemblies cease; no more If more remain whom thou must kill,
The people throng about the orator,

And if thy jaws are craving still,
No course of justice did appear,

Carry thy fury to the Scythian coasts, No noise of lawyers fill'd the ear,

The northern wilderness and eternal frosts! The senate cast away

Against those barbarous crowds thy arrows whet, The robe of honour, and obey

Where arts and laws are strangers yet; Death's more resistless sway,

Where thou may'st kill, and yet the loss will not Whilst that with dictatorian power

be great. Doth all the great and lesser officers devour. There rage, there spread, and there infect the No magistrates did walk about;

Murder whole towns and families there, No purple aw'd the rout:

Thy worst against those savage nations dure,
The common people too

Those whom mankind can spare,
A purple of their own did show :

Those whom mankind itself doth fear;
And all their bodies o'er

Amidst that dreadful night and fatal cold,
The ruling colours bore.

There thou may'st walk unseen, and bold,
No judge, no legislators sit,

There let thy flaines their empire hold. Since this new Draco came,

Unto the farthest seas, and nature's ends, And harsher laws did frame,

Where never summer's Sun its beams extends, Laws that, like his, in blood are writ.

Carry thy plagues, thy pains, thy heats, The benches and the pleading-place they leave, Thy raging fires, thy torturing sweats, About the streets they run and rave :

Wbere never say or heat did come,
The madness which great Solon did of late

They will rejoice at such a doom,
But only counterfeit

They'll bless thy pestilential fire,
For the advantage of the state,

Though by it they expire,
Now his successors do too truly imitate,

They'll thank the very flames with which they do

consume. Up starts the soldier from his bed,

He, though Death's servant, is not freed, Then if that banqnet will not thee suffice, Death him cashier'd, 'cause now his help she did Seek out new landswhere thou may'st tyrannize; not need.

Search every forest, every hill,
He that ne'er knew before to yield,

And all that in the hollow mountains dwell;
Or to give back, or leave the field,

Those wild and untame troops devour, Would fain now from himself have fed.

Thereby thou wilt the rest of men secure, He snatch'd his sword now rusted o'er,

And that the rest of men will tbank thee for.
Dreadful and sparkling now no more,

Let all those human beasts be slain,
And thus in open streets did roar;

Till scarce their memorr remain;

Thyself with that ignoble slaughter fill,

So when the elephants did first affright "Twill be permitted thee that blood to spill.

The Romans with unusual sight, Measure the ruder world throughout,

They many battles lose, March all the ocean's shores about,

Before they knew their foes, Only pass by and spare the British isle. Before they understood such dreadful troops topGo on, and (what Columbus once shall do

pose. When days and time unto their ripeness grow) Find out new lands and unknown countries too: Now every different sect agrees

Attempt those lands which yet are hid Against their common adversary, the disease, From all mortality beside:

And all their little wranglings cease; There thou may'st steal a victory,

The Pythagoreans from their precepts swerve, And none of this world hear the cry

No more their silence they observe, Of those that by thy wounds shall die;

Out of their schools they run, No Greek shall know thy cruelty,

Lament, and cry, and groan; And tell it to posterity.

They now desir'd their meten psychosis; Go, and unpeople all those mighty lands,

Not only to dispute, but wish Destroy with unrelenting hands;

That they might turn to beasts, or fowls, or fish, Go, and the Spaniard's sword prevent,

If the Platonics had been here, Go, make the Spaniard innocent;

They would have curs'd their master's year, Go, and root out all mankind there,

When all things shall be as they were, That when the European armies shall appear When they again the same disease shall bear: Their sin may be the less,

All the philosophers would now, They may find all a wilderness,

What the great Stagyrite shall do, And without blood the gold and silver there possess. Themselves into the waters headlong throw. Nor is this all which we thee grant;

The Stoics felt the deadly stroke, Rather than thou should'st full employment want, At first assault their courage was not broke, (We do permit) in Greece thy kingdom plant. They call'd in all the cobweb aid

Ransack Lycurgus' streets throughout, Of rules and precepts, which in store they They've no defence of walls to keep thee out.

bad; On wanton and proud Corinth seiza,

Thcy bid their hearts stand out, Nor let her double waves thy flames appease.

Bid them be calm and stout, Let Cyprus feel more fires than those of love: But all the strength of precept will not do't. Let Delos, which at first did give the Sun, They can't the storins of passion now assuage; See unknown Games in her begun,

As common men, are angry, grieve, and rage. Now let her wish she might unconstant prove, The gods are call'd upon in vain,

And from her place might truly move: The gods gave no release unto their pain,
Let Lemnos all thy anger feel,

The gods to fear ev'n for themselves began.
And think that a new Vulcan fell,

For now the sick unto their temples came,
And brought with bim new anvils, and new Hell. And brought more than an holy flame,
Nay, at Athens too we give thee up,

There at the altars made their prayer,
All that thou find'st in field, or camp, or shop: They sacrific'd, and died there,
Make havock there without control

A sacrifice not seen before;
Of every ignorant and common soul.

That Heaven, only us'd unto the gore
But then, kiod Plague, thy conquests stop;

Of lambs or bulls, should now
Let arts, and let the learned, there escape, Loaded with priests see its own altars too !
Upon Minerva's self commit no rape;
Toucb not the sacred throng,

The woods gave funeral piles no more,
And let Apollo's priests be, like him, young, The dead the very fire devour,

Like him, be healthful too, and strong. And that almighty conqueror o'erpower.
But ah! too ravenous Plague, whilst I

The noble and the common dust
Strive to keep off the misery,

Into each other's graves are thrust. The learned too, as fast as others, round me die; No place is sacred, and no tomb; They from corruption are not free,

"Tis now a privilege to consume; Are mortal, though they give an immortality.

Their ashes no distinction had;

Too truly all by death are equal made. They turn'd their authors o'er, to try

The ghosts of those great heroes that had fed. What help, what cure, what remedy,

From Athens, long since banished, All Nature's stores against this plague supply; Now o'er the city hovered ;

And though besides they shunn'd it every where, Their anger yielded to their love, They search'd it in their books, and fain would They left th' immortal joys above, meet it there;

So much their Athens' danger did then move. They turn'd the records of the ancient times, They came to pity, and to aid, And chiefly those that were made famous by their But now, alas! were quite dismay'd, crimes,

When they beheld the marbles open lay'd, To find if men were punish'd so before; And poor men's bones the noble urns invade; But found not the disease nor cure,

Back to the blessed seats they went, Nature, alas! was now surpris'd,

And now did thank their banishment, And all her forces seiz'd,

By which they were to die in foreign countries Before she was bow to resist advis'd.

sent.

But wbat, great gods ! was worst of all, Thy hand too, like the Sun which angels move, Hell forth its magazines of lust did call,

Has the same influence from above, Nor would it be content

Produces gold and silver of a nobler kind; With the thick troops of souls were thither sent; Of greater price, and more refin'd. (race, Into the upper world it went,

Yet in this it exceeds the Sun, 't has no degenerate Such guilt, such wickedness,

Brings forth no lead, nor any thing so base, Such irreligion did increase, That the few good which did survive

What holy vestal hearth, Were angry with the Plague for suffering them to What immortal breath, live:

Did give so pure poetic flame its birth? More for the living than the dead did grieve.

Just such a fire as thine, Some robb’d the very dead,

Of such an unmix'd glorious shine, Though sure to be infected ere they fled,

Was Prometheus's flame, Though in the very air sure to be punished.

Which from no less than Heaven came. Some nor the shrines nor temples spar'd,

Along he brought the sparkling coal, Nor gods nor heavens fear'd,

From some celestial chimney stole; Though such example of their power appear'd. Quickly the plunder'd stars he left, Virtue was now esteem'd an empty nanie,

And as he hasten'd down And honesty the foolish voice of Fame;

With the robb'd flames his hands still shone, For, having past those torturing flames before, And seem'd as if they were burnt for the theit. They thoug lit the punishment already o'er, Thy poetry's compounded of the same, 'Thought Heaven no worse torments had in Such a bright immortal flame; store;

(no more. Just so temper'd is thy rage, Here having felt one Hell, they thought there was Thy fires as light and pure as they,

And go as high as his did, if not higher,

That thou may'st seem to us
A true Prometheus,

[fire. UPON THE POEMS OF THE

But that thou didst not steal the least spark of thy English Ovid, Anacreon, Pindar, and Virgil, Such as thine was Arion's verse, ABRAHAM COWLEY,

Which he did to the listening fish rehearse;

Which when they heard play'd on his lute, IN IMITATION OF HIS OWN PINDARIC ODES.

They first curst Nature that she made them mate

So noble were his lines, which made the very wares Let all this meaner rout of books stand by,

Strive to turn bis slaves, The common people of our library;

Lay down their boisterous noise, Let them make way for Cowley's leaves to come, And dance to his harmonious voice, And be hung up within this sacred room:

Which made the Syrens lend their ear, Let no prophane hands break the chain,

And from his sweeter tunes some treachery Or give them unwish'd liberty again.

Which made the dolphin proud, [fear; But let his holy relic be laid here,

That he was allow'd With the same religious care

With Atlas, the great porter of the skies, to take As Numa once the target kept,

Such heavenly music up, and carry 't on his back. Which down from Heaven leapt;

So full and graceful thy words go, Just such another is this book,

And with the same majestic sweetness flow, Which its original from divine hands took, Yet his verse only carried him o'er the seas; And brings as much good too, to those that on it look. But there's a very sea of wit in these,

But yet in this they differ. That could be As salt and boundless as the other ocean is,
Eleven times liken'd by a mortal hand;
But this which here doth stand

Such as thine are, was great Amphion's song, Will never any of its own sort see,

Which brought the wondering stones aloor; But must still live without such company. The wondering stones skipt from their mother For never yet was writ,

Earth, In the two learned ages which time left behind, And left their father cold as his first birth; Nor in this ever shall we find,

They rose, and knew not by what magic force they Nor any one like to it,

hung. Of all the numerous monuments of wit,

So were his words, so plac'd his sounds,

Which forc'd the marbles rise from out their Cowley! what God did fill thy breast,

grounds, And taught thy hand t'indite?

Which cut and carved, made them shine, (For God's a poet too,

A work which can be outdone by none but thing He doth create, and so do you)

Th’amazed poet saw the building rise,
Or else at least

And knew not how to trust his eyes : What angel sat upon thy pen when thoudidst write? The willing mortar came, and all the trees There he sat, and mov'd thy hand,

Leap into beams he sees.
As proud of his command,

He saw the streets appear,
As when he makes the dancing orbs to reel, Streets, that must needs be harmonious there:

And spins out poetry from Heaven's wheel. He saw the walls dance round this pipe,

Thy hand too, like a better sphere, [hear. The glorious temple show its head, Qives us more ravishing music made for mento He saw the infant city ripe,

« ZurückWeiter »