by William Alexander
The Patriarchs, Kings, and Prophets most renown'd,
Who came with God by conference friends to be,
And (whil'st his Law was of their lives the ground)
By him from wants and dangers were made free,
And in all temporall blessings did abound,
Yet did but Christ by Types and figures see:
O how they joy now to behold his face,
Whom they by faith did whil'st they liv'd imbrace!
What sudden lightning cleares my cloudie brow,
And bends faint hopes to follow forth their aimes?
At Christs right hand a band more bright doth bow,
Then Summers Sun when mustring all his beams;
The prospect of my thoughts is pleasant now;
Ioy doth disperse all melancholy dreames;
Hence, hence all ye whose sprits are still prophane,
This sacred ground no vulgar foot must staine.
The first of them that throng about the Throne,
Is he, save God, who once no fellow had;
Of all the Syre, and yet a Sonne to none,
Was rich when naked, never poore till clad;
Long'd not, nor loath'd, nor griev'd, when as alone,
What could displease, where he was best, none bad?
Though never childe what childishnesse more strange,
Who for an apple Paradise did change?
To that brave Garden with all pleasure stor'd,
When banish'd Adam heavily look'd back,
As griev'd to thinke of what he had beene Lord,
Whil'st every object anguish more did make;
An angry Angel bragg'd him with a sword,
God threatned had, how could he comfort take?
A Prince depriv'd, forc'd servile works to try,
So tortur'd first, and then condemn'd to dye.
But that short griefe, to endlesse joy is chang'd,
He lives more happy, that he once was dead,
The promis'd seed (so Evah was reveng'd)
Sting'd in the heele, did bruise the Serpents head;
O monstrous worke, from reason far estrang'd!
What harm'd him most, hath him more happy made:
He lives (where first he was in feare to fall)
(Free from restrictions) to no danger thrall.
Two doe succeed to this great sonne of slime,
(Though one was elder) eldest borne to light,
Who heard their father sigh forth many time
His fall, wives weakenesse, and the Serpents slight,
Not for the losse, griev'd onely for his crime,
And so much more, that it had wrong'd their right:
While as they him, and he his Maker lov'd,
His wail'd rebellion their obedience mov'd.
Loe, (next to Edens) Adams greatest losse,
That faithfull Sheepheard, whom no staine could taint,
First gold refin'd (all upright) free from drosse,
In whom (it seemes) heaven piety would paint,
Since first (thus goodnesse mischiefe straight must tosse)
Whom persecution did designe a Saint:
An innocent for gratefull offring slaine,
Whose suffring did a Martyrs glory gaine.
The old mans griefe with comfort to asswage
(Gods owne when weake are strengthened still by grace)
I here see Seth, who after Cains rage,
(A pledge of favour) fill'd his brothers place,
With other ancients of that infant age,
Most part of whom from him deriv'd their race:
In his sonnes time (whil'st vice had flow'd ov'r all)
On God againe, who then began to call.
He most is mark'd amidst this glorious traine,
Who walk'd with God, when here, as wholly his,
And such perfection did below attaine,
That death not tooke him as the custome is,
But, as secur'd by priviledge from paine;
The fabulous Grecians fondly glaunc'd at this,
Yet fail'd in forme, and did pervert the sense,
No Eagle, no, but Angels bare him hence.
The time of Adam first much knowledge bred,
Who told heavens will, and warn'd how Satan rag'd,
For all were learn'd, though bookes they never read.
Whil'st many Ages could not make one ag'd;
But when Gods sonnes did with mens daughters wed,
(Though Giants, weake) all were to vice engag'd:
And since all those were never purg'd till drown'd,
That time yeelds few for piety renown'd.
Most happy he who first (though scorn'd a space)
To preach repentance, eminently stood,
Both threatning judgement, and yet offring grace,
As he was made, to make the world grow good;
Then (all else lost) did save some of his race,
Their soules from sinne, their bodies from the floud:
And last (worlds victor) even by Angels prais'd,
His Arke triumphall to the clouds was rais'd.
Whil'st widow'd fields which seem'd their guests to waile,
(As all distill'd in teares) could not be dry'd;
The drooping flowers with hanging heads grown pale,
Did seeme to mourne, that thus all creatures dy'd,
Lest th'earth (thus spoil'd) to bring forth fruits might faile,
Industrious Noah, husbandry first try'd:
For which to him, fond Ancients, Altars fram'd,
Whil'st Saturne, Ianus, and Ogyges nam'd.
O! what strange things by deare experience past,
Could this man tell, amazement to constraine?
Who saw the world first full, then all turn'd waste,
Yet liv'd himselfe to people it againe,
Till from his race great Kings did rise at last,
Who him for Syre not knew, or did disdaine:
Whil'st old (and poore perchance) with toyle and strife,
Glad (by his labour) to maintaine his life.
There are two sonnes whom anguish did entrance,
To heare the third, their fathers scorne proclaime,
Who forward, backward, blindely did advance,
Even from themselves to hide their fathers shame,
Lest that their eyes had guilty beene by chance,
As sure their hearts could no such horrour dreame:
The fathers blessing hath effectuall prov'd,
We see how Cham was curs'd, they truely lov'd.
Shem, fathers heire, a Lampe of light design'd,
Melchisedech, a mighty Prince, or Priest,
With whom God did communicate his minde,
A speciall labourer after Noahs rest,
I see with him some others of his kinde,
Till Abram rose, who follow'd him for best:
Arpashad, Shelah, Eber, Pelag stand,
Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah in one band.
Of Iaphets race at first, some forward throng,
(The rest (turn'd Gentiles) godlinesse did leave)
Who surfetting on Natures pleasures long,
At last (quite stumbling) drunke with vice did rave,
And when once stray'd, still more and more went wrong,
Till last recall'd, the Lord their seed did save:
In Tents of Shem, since Iaphet came to dwell,
His numbers now doe all the rest excell.
Who shines so bright? I must to marke him stay,
The Churches stocke, from whom it did descend,
The first cleare Lampe who did direct heavens way,
Perfections patterne, imitations end,
Whom righteousnesse did as a robe array,
Who eate with Angels, was profess'd Gods friend:
Of all the faithfull, call'd the father still,
Whose pleasure was to doe his Makers will.
A straying stranger, he (whil'st poore he seem'd)
Gave Lot his choice of lands, so peace to bring,
And him when Captive by the sword redeem'd,
Both liberall, valorous, yet a greater thing,
His friend once free, no treasure more esteem'd,
Who scorn'd to be beholding to a King:
Was onely weake when he disclaim'd his wife,
Not firme with God, or else too fond on life.
When Sodomes ruine justly was design'd,
God to this man whom he so dearely lov'd,
Would (ere effected) justifie his minde,
By his applause, as glad to be approv'd,
Who durst contest, but could ten good not finde,
Else by his meanes, heavens army was remov'd,
In league with God by Sacrament receiv'd,
Who true religion, heretable leav'd.
His lifted hand had aym'd the fatall wound,
(A course most strange, which thoughts can scarce embrace)
Yet not distracted, but in judgement sound,
To kill his sonne, and all the promis'd race;
(Whil'st faith triumph'd, both sense and reason bound)
Till him an Angell stayd (O wondrous case!)
"Her birth, who barren was, an offring made,
"Had beene by natures course, not borne, nor dead.
He in whose bosome, Saints have had their rest,
Who was for God from friends and soile estrang'd,
Hath still his Nephew neere (a wandring guest)
On fields too faire, his roving flockes who rang'd,
Which he at last, as ugly, did detest,
His wife transform'd, himselfe deform'd, both chang'd:
He, though not burn'd, yet smoak'd, had Sodomes smell,
Whil'st fled from flames, when safe, as choak'd, he fell.
That sacrifice (though offered) who not dy'd,
First type of Christ, his suffering who presag'd,
For whom God did (when famine was) provide,
And for dig'd fountaines budding broyles asswag'd,
Yea, was for fathers cause, his guard and guide,
Till at his wealth for envy, heathens rag'd:
Though substance thought, that but a shadow darke,
Scarce of his riches pointed at a sparke.
There that great wrestler, halfe of one times brood,
Who was ere borne against his brother bent,
And last us'd fraud, when force could doe no good,
(The meanes were bad, though happy the event)
But with heavens Monarch bravely struggling stood,
Till blest by force, he thence a Victor went:
To dreame of Angels, who on th'earth did lye,
A stone his pillow, curtain'd by the skye.
He thus whom God nor man could not appall,
(By beauty onely to turne captive mov'd)
Twice seven years sold, was made a wretches thrall,
And yet the time seem'd short because he lov'd;
Still when high thoughts his hopes to minde did call,
Rough blasts seem'd smooth, even suffrings pleasant prov'd:
No storme him mov'd, save onely Rachels frowne,
Whose leavy Garland did his labours crowne.
O happy shepheard! flattring but his flocke,
In minde a Monarch, but more free from toyles,
Whose Crowne an Ivy wreath, whose throne some rocke,
His staffe a Scepter, Lord of many soiles,
At night the Stars, all day the Sunne his clocke,
He fed his sheep, they him, proud of their spoiles:
And whil'st corrivall'd by encroaching beames,
Her eyes his glasse, and hers some Crystall streames.
Whil'st poore, thus pleas'd, nought could occurre save good,
But straight when rich, he tortur'd did remaine,
His daughter ravish'd, sonnes involv'd in bloud,
The best belov'd (as he imagin'd) slaine,
When old and weake, forc'd farre to shift for food,
Whence (save his bones) nought was brought back againe:
"His dayes both few and evill, he last confest,
"Not wealth nor honour, death yeelds onely rest.
But what rare beauties ravish now mine eyes,
Of which I thinke her one, who grosly fail'd,
By whom first man was borne, all mankinde dyes,
Whose errour still her ruin'd race hath wail'd?
But (rack'd with pangs which all her sexe oft tryes)
No doubt repentance many times prevaile:
Whil'st breeding more to plant the world withall,
In place of one, whom she had made to fall.
She, whose great beauty, Kings in vaine did crave,
First of her sexe, whom sacred pennes applaud,
Who yong, still barren, did when old conceive,
Yet (fondly curious) did her selfe defraud,
And made a Mayd her equall of a slave,
Her rivals raiser, her owne husbands bawd:
For which due paine, she justly did abide,
"Of slaves preferr'd, none can endure the pride.
From drawing water, an attending Mayd,
Whil'st nobly humble, honourably kinde,
Straight (highly match'd) with gorgeous robes array'd,
By struggling twins, a mother was design'd,
Of which for one (as franke affection sway'd)
She boldly ventred, though her mate was blinde,
Whom she beguil'd, not wrong'd, and (calme in strife)
Though alwaies faithfull, was a cunning wife.
Of rivall sisters emulous in love,
The Churches mothers, Iacobs joyes surmis'd,
The ones weake eyes, now bright as starres doe move,
Whom God would grace, when man too much despis'd;
She though least faire, yet did most fertile prove,
Whose mate loves oddes, found by opinion pris'd:
In minde, and armes, two brides at once embrac'd,
Whil'st sense and fancy, severall circuits trac'd.
Long after death, she who to waile was spy'd,
When from compassion, Herod quite did swerve,
Not mercenarily match'd, whom for a Bryde,
Twice seven years service scarcely could deserve;
Yet (stain'd by breeding whil'st her Syre was guide)
Imbezled Idols, did with fraud preserve:
Long long'd to beare, yet by her wish was griev'd,
First known, whose death made Evahs curse beleev'd.
Her mother neere, that ravish'd daughter stayes,
Whose curiousnesse much mischiefe did procure;
A gorgeous beauty whil'st it guardlesse strayes,
If not inviting, doth at least allure;
O what huge evils, a moments sport repayes,
Her brothers murtherers, and her selfe a whore?
Here lust by bloud, and shame was purg'd by teares,
Such bitter fruits a womans wandring beares.
The old arch-Fathers chiefe whom Iewes renowne,
Their names by Tribes distinguish did their race,
His fathers strength who might have claym'd the Crowne,
Had not his glory melted in disgrace,
Like water (when rais'd high) which must fall downe,
For pleasure foule, had forfeited his place,
Yet when his brothers would their brother kill,
Then, onely kinde, he stay'd th'intended ill.
Hearts big with vengeance, whil'st for bloud they long'd,
Two worst of twelve, in mischiefe, brothers sworne,
Mans sacred match, Gods covenant, both wrong'd,
The mocke of marriage, circumcisions scorne,
To murther numbers by base treason throng'd,
Till for their fault, (with inward anguish torne
Their holy father, horrours height conceiv'd,
But though their wrath was curs'd, themselves were sav'd.
He who himselfe with courage should acquite,
Still like a Lyon, fighting for his prey,
Stor'd with abundance, dandled with delight,
Whom all his brothers freely should obey,
With bloud of Grapes made red, with milke made white,
Till Shiloh came, who did the Sceptre sway;
From him did spring the Author of our peace,
The height of goodnesse, and the ground of grace.
But yet at home he was unhappy long,
His eldest sonne (high hopes defrauding) dead,
The next (too grosly working nature wrong)
Had straight Gods judgement pour'd upon his head:
The third held backe from whom he did belong,
He (though their Syre) to breed them heires was made,
A whore-like widow tempting him to lust,
Whom first he damn'd, but (bound by signes) held just.
Here are the rest of fertile Leahs brood,
And of the Mayds for birth, who with her striv'd,
Not stayn'd as ill, nor yet much prais'd for good,
Who sheepheards still in vaguing lodgings liv'd,
Did sell their brother, brought their father food,
And highly griev'd for former harme contriv'd,
With them comes Rachels last and dearest boy,
On whom his father doted oft for joy.
But then all these, one more transports me now,
Who did of dreames the mysteries unfold,
To whom Sunne, Moone, and Starres eleven did bow,
As for their Atlas, who should them uphold;
"But envies basenesse cannot worth allow:
For, brag'd by death, he for a slave was sold:
Yet wrought they good, who mischiefe did intend,
A bad beginning for so brave an end.
In fortunes favour, and in strength for age,
To taste stayn'd pleasure, him by all their charmes,
Not beauty (grac'd by greatnesse) could engage,
Though offered, and alone, and in his armes;
Whil'st love to lust, and lust all turn'd to rage,
His chastnesse blame, his goodnesse bred him harmes:
The Syre for love afflicted did remaine,
And onely he because of his disdaine.
He whom for state, affliction had prepar'd,
Whil'st from a Prison to a Palace brought,
Where sold a slave, was straight a Prince declar'd,
Clad with rich robes, the chiefe by suiters sought,
In time of plenty, who for famine car'd,
Sav'd all the subjects, yet the kingdome bought:
Both rich and godly, O how rare a thing!
Of God the Prophet, Minion of the King.
Not proud, when prosp'ring (as when rais'd o'rethrowne)
His heart grew humble, when his fortune great,
Where some for shame had not his brothers showne,
Whose scorned basenesse might his fame abate,
He (tenderly disposed to his owne,)
Did from distresse redeeme their wretched state:
And, where (unnaturall) they had him betray'd,
Their cruelty with courtesie repay'd.
Thrice happy man, as high in worth as place,
Whose fortunes course did strangely ebbe and flow,
From murther, bondage, ruine, and disgrace,
In Pharo's kingdome, greatest Prince to grow,
In whom true vertue garnish'd was with grace,
To gaine industrious, liberall to bestow:
And yet in this his chiefe contentment stood,
That he had liv'd to doe his Father good.
Though fail'd in earthly, sharpe in spirituall sight,
When Ioseph thought that Iacob was beguil'd,
Who (straight whil'st crossing) seeming wrong, went right,
Here are his sonnes from whom two Tribes were stil'd:
In scattred Levies roome, one rose in might,
What father knowes how God will blesse a childe?
Whil'st God his good, by his owne vertue breeds,
The yongest thus the eldest oft exceeds.
When raging malice had put off her maske,
All kindenesse, duty, and compassion gone,
The straw abstracted, doubling still their taske,
Even Mid-wives, murtherers, birth and death made one,
Here sundry are, who helpe from God did aske,
And under burdens heavily did grone:
"But though affliction force devotions teares,
"Curs'd are those workes which such oppression reares.
From murther scap'd, by flouds for death confin'd,
He when scarce borne, whom God did strangely keepe;
Of Reeds his Cradle, rocking with the winde,
As lulling him, the softly sounding deepe,
Did seeme to sing (with kisses cold too kinde)
Hence monsters, hence, doe not disturbe his sleepe:
Who makes our Nymphs all passionate to prove,
Whil'st Egypts Princesse comes to court his love.
Yet with his race he rather choos'd to smart,
Then to be held for Pharoh's daughters brood,
And with an Hebrew boldly taking part,
Kill'd one of Egypt who against him stood;
How could base envy poyson so a heart?
He guerdon'd was with ill for doing good,
Till in exile farre from his friends remov'd,
Great Pharoh's nursling Iethro's shepheard prov'd.
Though low below, yet much esteem'd above,
He straight was choos'd a Legate for the Lord,
And did to bragge a King heavens Herauld prove,
By sounds from flames with rare instructions stor'd;
His sacred message wonders did approve,
That it confirm'd, he boldly might record:
The hand soone leprous, was as quickly pure,
Which drugges, nor charmes, did not procure, nor cure.
His staffe, though stiffe, in bending circles turn'd,
Left frothy furrowes, where it till'd the ground;
Eyes, flamie globes (as sparkling poyson) burn'd,
Still stretch'd to strike, else threatning in a round,
Then arch'd, at th'earth (all rais'd in rain-bowes) spurn'd,
Whil'st waving colours did with feare confound:
Whose swelling horrour bragg'd some storme to be,
Both bow and shaft, an animated tree.
Who wonders not what wonders then were wrought,
Whil'st bent for God, each element tooke armes?
Flouds turn'd to bloud, forth croaking squadrons brought,
Th'earth, (pride to curbe) from dust rais'd abject swarmes,
(Th'ayre glooming darke) black clouds of flies long fought;
Plagues, thunder, tempests, all inflicted harmes:
Till that the kingdome was with anguish fill'd,
Whil'st in each house the hop'd-for heire was kill'd.
The parted depths, that God might gaine renowne,
(Though liquid firme,) with waves empall'd a way,
Till in one drop they all at once fell downe,
As which for Pharoh, in an ambush lay,
And (even whil'st walking dry) did thousands drowne,
Iewes State a time, still Egypts tombe to stay:
What slaughter huge? and yet no bloud was spill'd?
No striker seene, all by one blow were kill'd.
He dry'd the Sea, from rockes a floud did draw,
Chiefe wonder-worker, wonderfull in all,
And yet a farre Canaan onely saw,
Since stumbling once, though free from any fall,
Heavens Oracle, the organ of the law;
When last (sinnes curse) his corps to death was thrall,
An Angell it to hide from Satan reft,
That superstition had no relict left.
His brother first did gorgeous garments weare,
With robes in state, a consecrated Priest,
And names of Tribes in pretious stones did reare,
With gold and silke embroydered on his brest,
Whose long worne staffe did straight ripe Almonds beare,
And in the Church a monument did rest:
He though he grudg'd, and Iewes first Idoll made,
Was grac'd alive, and glorifi'd when dead.
Their sister Miriam, mirrour of her kinde,
With flaming ardour, ravish'd up above,
To sing Gods praise, she with true zeale inclin'd,
Scorn'd mortall matches, courting still his love,
Yet, envy once so tainted had her minde,
Her bodies beauties all did leprous prove:
Till he whose harme she studied to contrive,
Her pardon sought, the meekest man alive.
He who from Israel forc'd the Plague to part,
The bravest impe of that annoynted brood,
No thirst of praise, nor hatred in his heart,
Whose act seem'd ill, but his intent was good;
O happy man, how strange was his desert,
By murther saving, blest for shedding bloud!
"A godly zeale, which nothing can controule,
"As pretious incense, offers up the soule.
Neere Moses stands that valorous brood of Nun,
By whose direction Israel reach'd her marke,
From whom for reverence, Iordan backe did runne,
As which would not presume to touch the Arke;
He as his debtor did arrest the Sunne,
Till foes were kill'd, that it should not grow darke:
Weake hornes for trumpets sounding downe a wall,
It, even ere breach'd (as breath'd away) did fall.
That man for worth, whom all the world renownes,
With greatest gallants rank'd by fame doth stand,
Their match in conquering, more in scorning crownes,
Who would but God obey, not men command,
And (nations ruin'd) razing States and Townes,
Did not retaine, no, did but part their land:
This warriour onely held for great may be,
From avarice, and from ambition free.
His fellow spye, who would not witnesse wrong,
But high in minde, had Gyants in contempt,
And breathing courage, staggering troupes among,
From abject feare, even dastards did exempt,
When eighty sixe yeares old, both stout and strong,
A dangerous conquest bravely did attempt:
"Mindes cleare and calme from guilty stormes secure,
Make Natures strength as doubled to endure.
Next him comes he who did his daughter wed,
Who was for valour, a reward design'd,
But in that brest, what host could feare have bred,
Where love and courage both enflam'd the minde?
He (first of Iudges) grudging squadrons led,
To curbe the pride of heathens haughty kinde:
Who when that Israel to base Idols bow'd,
To plague them suffred were, but not allow'd.
When Moabs Monarch made Gods people grone,
And them from bondage no way would enlarge,
He who heavens Legat rais'd him from his throne,
A fatall message boldly to discharge;
And he who kill'd sixe hundred all alone,
Against whose goade, no steele could serve for targe:
"Those shew fraile life, a prey of every hand,
"Who (theirs contemn'd) anothers will command.
I see that Dame whom Hebrewes honour most,
The glory of her sexe, a staine to men,
A Prophetesse, a Iudge, chiefe of an host,
Whose parts might furnish Fames most liberall pen;
Of such a one, no Ethnicke scroule can boast,
Not martiall Ladies, nor Sibyllaes ten:
What greater worth could any brest embrace,
In warre couragious, just in time of peace?
Next her comes he who did refuse to fight,
Unlesse her count'nance gave his courage life,
For which although his foes were put to flight,
The Captaines death gave glory to a wife;
Which, though he much presum'd, what judgements height?
Not Sword, nor Launce did grace, no, not a knife:
This did him kill, who armies did command,
A little naile, and in a woman's hand.
His mother said (puff'd up by former broiles)
What stayes my Sonne? he some great matter tryes,
The souldiers to reward, they part the spoiles,
Whil'st vaunting Victors scorne the Captives cryes,
Some dainty Lady doth defray his toyles,
His eares drinke praises, trophees feast his eyes:
Thus she with dreames was flattered all the space,
Whil'st he (poore wretch) was dying with disgrace.
Who Baal spoil'd, his clients did deride,
(Though of his race the man neglected most)
From threshing wheate, which he for feare would hide,
Did (call'd by God) come to command an host,
Whose favour twice by severall signes was try'd,
Whil'st staggering doubts his resolution crost:
The fields all faire, his fleece quite drench'd did lye,
And when all else was wet, was onely dry.
This victory, God for his owne would stampe,
And lest that it had seem'd by numbers sway'd,
Of every thousand ten, but kept the campe,
The rest remov'd, and of those few who stay'd,
Each crush'd a Pitcher, and held forth a Lampe,
Brave sounds and lightning, to make men dismaid:
A barly cake most monstrous did appeare,
The sword of Gideon kill'd ere it came neare.
This man when offered fled a Soveraignes place,
So modest first, and afterwards devout,
With all the jewels which his troupes did grace,
An Ephod made (though bright) his onely blote,
Which did procure the ruine of his race,
By making Iewes (too superstitious) dote:
"None should serve God, but as himselfe directs,
"A good intention may breed bad effects.
That Gileadite, who when exil'd from home,
In forraine parts a martiall man excell'd,
Not loathing all, for being wrong'd by some,
Did save their states, who him from his expell'd,
And Ammons Army two wayes did o'recome,
To yeeld by reason, and by force compell'd:
"Men (not like beasts) should know for what they fight,
"That valour may maintaine, not make a right.
When haughty Ephraim out of time too bold,
And basely grudging at anothers good,
With words outragious (arrogantly told)
Him to contemne whom God exalted, stood,
That sudden heate procur'd an endlesse cold,
The pride of thousands quickly quench'd with bloud,
First civile warre, that with the Iewes was seene,
Though since they oft have thus unhappy beene.
When generous Iephte, did with state returne,
The pointed object of a generall joy,
Whose daughters brest with longing thoughts did burne
Whil'st she made haste, his triumph to convoy;
Can one from mirth be made so quickly mourne?
Who sav'd all else, must he his owne destroy?
She singing came, but straight went backe and wept,
A vow too rash to be so strictly kept.
That Nazarite (as singular renown'd)
Whose heads each haire, a man in strength contain'd,
Ah then one woman, all more weake were found,
Whose charming bosome, glories colour stain'd,
She of his soule the mystery did sound,
Who first by bloud, and last for gold was gain'd:
His sacred secret he to her bewray'd,
And she him straight to all his foes betray'd.
Strange madnesse thus, did raze his judgements Fort,
What none could force that he would needs afford;
This gorgeous creature, curious Natures sport,
A living Idoll, by blinde zeale ador'd,
She, she triumphs upon a doting sort,
Who will be slaves, even where there wants a Lord:
And bearing sway, no reason some can move,
"Those who usurpe their power, must tyrants prove.
God by this man, strange wonders bent to show,
He curious riddles, Sphinx-like could contrive;
And as his strength, that men his wit might know,
To purchase praise by stratagems would strive;
Fields forc'd by fire, seem'd lightning from below,
Whil'st those who fled, that which they fled did drive:
This course it seemes did shew his nature right,
The flames his force, the Foxes shew his flight.
His deeds farre past the reach of their conceit,
Who fain'd great persons, glosing on things gone;
He of a Towne did raze the guarded gate,
And (braving numbers) carried it alone;
He (bursting bands) a thousand dayes did date,
And with no weapon, save an abject bone
Which (whil'st in flouds of sweat he all was drench'd)
His rage with bloud, his thirst with water quench'd.
But what behold I now? how great a change?
Haires quite raz'd, hands bound, and his eyes put out,
Gaz'd at by troupes (as if some monster strange)
Whom once they fear'd, the flocking Pagans flout,
Till desp'rate courage burning with revenge,
Pull'd downe their Temple, smoothering all about,
Where thousands kill'd, life sold at no base rate,
A famous ruine rear'd his tombe in state.
Here with the rest, who judg'd the Hebrew race,
And them from foes, in justice did maintaine,
Though last in number, one comes first in place,
Whom long his mother (griev'd) had wish'd in vaine,
By prayer purchas'd, and bred up in grace,
Who, beg'd from God, was given him backe againe,
By whom when but a childe, he thrice was call'd,
A Iudge, and Prophet, twise in state enstall'd.
Yet when fond Israel urg'd a King to have,
Though grieving God, this much did vex his minde,
The danger showne of that which they did crave,
Not onely freely he their Prince design'd,
But when in wrath the Lord did quite him leave,
Did labour long that he might favour finde;
This course his heart free from ambition prov'd,
Who thus left rule, and his successour lov'd.
Two Hebrews crown'd, he kill'd one heathnish King,
A reverent Iudge who purchas'd true respect;
He all the people did together bring,
And boldly ask'd what person could object,
Whose oxe or asse he tooke, or any thing
For doing wrong, or justice to neglect;
A glorious challenge, and a vaunt not vaine,
To brave a state, as free from any staine.
Now marke I one, th'earth bred no other such,
For temperance, patience, charitie, and love,
Whom God did praise, till Satan envied much,
And thus did tempt, that he this gold might prove;
Thou kept'st him so that none his state could touch,
This hirelings heart thy gifts doe onely move;
Let him but taste of ruine and disgrace,
And he will straight blaspheme thee to thy face.
His children feasting whil'st he pensive stands,
What strange ill newes straight all at once arrived?
Whil'st th'asses fed, the oxen plow'd thy lands,
Sabæans hence them violently drived;
Rob'd are thy camels by Chaldean bands,
Thy Sheepe of life flames (sent from heaven) deprived;
Thy Sonnes are smothered by a houses fall,
Save wee who speake, kill'd are thy servants all.
When passion first prevail'd (as one forlorne)
Their course impetuous did him so confound,
With head all spoild of haires, and garments torne,
He worship'd God (fall'n groveling on the ground)
Then said, As by my dame first naked borne,
So naked last, dust must my body bound;
The Lord did give, the Lord doth take againe,
Blest be his name; I grieve, but not complaine.
With soares growne loathsome, of all wretches chiefe,
By friends quite left, by servants not obey'd,
Curse God and die (as desperate of reliefe)
His wife first cri'd, that had from duty strai'd;
Who came to comfort, did augment his griefe,
And thought those plagues his wickednesse bewrai'd,
Till charg'd with anguish grudging at the rod,
He (to debate his cause) durst chalenge God.
By golden speeches (with much power) express'd,
How short a time man wrapt in woes did live;
Last humbling him till he his fault confess'd,
The Lord did speake, as cited there to strive,
Who check'd his friends for having truth transgress'd,
And for his cause would only them forgive;
His riches doubled, multipli'd his race,
Both old, and happie, Iob did die in peace.
What stately troope doth dazell so my sight,
As for their worth, so in their number rare;
Those all are kings, as walking in Gods light,
Who kept his law with a religious care,
And brave lieutenants did his battels fight,
Yea, highly griev'd, when falne in any snare;
They now have gain'd (all weakenesses laid downe)
A boundlesse kingdome, an eternall Crowne.
He whome the Lord to be a king design'd,
A Shepheard boy (whil'st reckning all his brood)
Whom his owne father scarce could call to mind,
Vs'd (as a drudge) to beare his brothers food,
He (whil'st at his high sprite the rest repin'd)
Did seale his valour with a Giants blood:
And for his love expos'd to dangerous toiles,
In dowry gave two hundred Pagans spoiles.
His Thousands Saul Ten thousands David kill'd;
This envi'd praise with honour bred him harme:
Sauls troubled brest such Iealous fancies fill'd,
That man whose musick did his Dæmon charme,
His blood (oft ventred) greedie to have spill'd,
As for some conquest did great numbers arme:
And thought his state could in no safety prove
Whil'st such a gallant kept his peoples love.
By madnesse fain'd forc'd to delude his foes,
He whom his merits onely did betray,
In wildernesses farre from all repose,
Was like a Partridge hunted for a prey:
6Yet twice to him God did his King expose,
And he discharg'd that any him should slay;
Thus of his raigne bent to abide the time,
He for a Crowne would not commit a crime.
Yea, when the Tyrant (tumbled from his seat)
By his owne hand (defrauding foes) was slaine,
He caus'd him dye who did the news relate,
His death to haste though vaunting but in vaine;
And having heard the ruine of his state,
He (straight made tender) could not teares restraine:
But us'd such griefe that it no pen can paint,
As witnesse may his passionate complaint.
A King, a Prophet, valorous, devout,
That man to Gods owne heart, choice of a land,
(None perfect here) him faults, even foule, did blot,
And where he fell, let no man bragge to stand,
By tempting beauty fondly made to dote,
He act'd adultery, murther did command:
And all his subjects caus'd to count (though dust)
As proud of numbers in his strength to trust.
Though these his faults repentance had defrai'd,
The plague for them troupes did from breath seclude,
His concubines deflowr'd, his force decay'd,
Chas'd by his sonne, he in great danger stood;
And was from building of the Temple stai'd,
As one whose hands polluted were with bloud:
Last (fail'd, ere old) he left a bloudy will,
That who himselfe had spar'd, his Sonne should kill.
There walks with him one link'd in love below,
From which not Syre, nor state, his thoughts could bring,
A friendship such what fabulous penne can show?
In him save God it weigh'd downe every thing:
He with one man an Army did ore-throw,
Both borne, and worthy, to have beene a King:
But farre more great, he (never faulty tri'd)
Whil'st bravely fighting, for his Countrey dy'd.
He, when his wish was offred from above,
Who not (like Midas) basely gap'd for gold,
Nor yet (like Paris) urg'd a Ladies love,
But wish'd for wisedome, judgements height to hold,
Which first two Dames about one childe did prove,
Whil'st who was mother kindnesse did unfold;
Of plants each vertue whether good or naught,
He from the Cedar to the Thistle taught.
But whil'st by riches riotously led,
And lull'd asleep with pleasures of this life,
He Pharoah's faults did with his daughter wed,
And entertain'd the Idoll of each wife;
But last he was (when fulnesse loathing bred)
With all the world (as vanity) at strife,
And of all states he did the height attaine,
A foole, a wise man, holy, and prophane.
There one who Idols highly still abhorr'd,
And their confusion in such manner wrought,
That he his mother when she one ador'd,
Of state depriv'd, and to live private brought;
And yet (afraid) he Arams help implor'd,
And (when diseas'd) not God, but physick sought;
Yet bravely broke the Ethiopian bands,
And here by God rank'd with good Princes stands.
His sonne succeeds, a King by goodnesse great,
As just, religious, generally belov'd,
Yet joyn'd with Achab, one whom God did hate,
And by the Prophet had his fault reprov'd;
But when huge armies came to raze his state,
His ardent zeale the Lord of hosts so mov'd:
That (as spectatour) he in safety stood,
Till all his enemies were o're-flow'd with bloud.
Now happie he who did all ill detest,
And godly, vertuous, singular, excell'd,
Not like his Father striving to be Priest,
Who from the Temple leprous was expell'd,
But building Towns, and stately works, at rest,
To pay him tribute strangers were compell'd,
"Thus prosper they who do what God directs;
"No danger dare approach where he protects.
When Ashur's Captaine swolne with pride blasphem'd,
And durst our God with Gentiles gods compare,
He who (that scorne then ruine worse esteem'd)
(When thus distress'd) did to his strength repaire;
Who oft from anguish hath his owne redeem'd,
And then himselfe a party did declare:
The Iews miraculously were freed from toils,
An Angell fought, they came to take the spoiles.
By sicknesse charg'd to leave this lodge of clay,
(This life so sweet, death is so bitter thought)
With teares and sighs he humbly begg'd to stay,
And had a lease of yeares too dearly bought:
Sinne took advantage of this long delay,
And where not tax'd before, he folly wrought:
By vaunted treasures foolishly spread forth,
To make a Prince enamour'd of their worth.
The last of those who fortunately raign'd,
Is he for first whom many would preferre,
The Law restor'd, all read what it contain'd,
Who by his teares Gods judgement did deferre,
By dead mens bones the heathenish Altar stain'd,
He still liv'd well, did onely (dying) erre:
Whil'st without cause he needs would go to fight,
And by his losse did cloud all Iuda's light.
By God anointed comes another sort,
His great familiars, trusted with his will,
When sent to promise, threaten, or exhort,
Whom heavenly thoughts with sacred rage did fill;
One Davids doome did from himselfe extort,
Who, even when doing, yet was damning ill:
Whil'st to a King, from God, he (wisely bold)
His stormy message figuratively told.
That Shilonite who (as from heaven advis'd)
To Ieroboam prophesy'd a Crowne,
And told his wife (soone knowne though com'd disguis'd)
Since falne from God (all dignity put downe)
That (all their off-spring plagued, and despis'd)
Her sonne should die, straight when she touch'd the towne:
By death made happie to prevent disgrace,
None else should have a grave of all their race.
That man of God whom God did earst imploy,
To bragge the Altar, for a signe all torne,
Who nam'd the man who should it quite destroy,
Though after that for many yeares not borne;
And that old Prophet would him still convoy,
Whose cosening kindnesse did his calling scorne:
He freely ly'd, truth did of force preferre,
His doome denouncing whom he made to erre.
When lying sprits had Achabs trust deceiv'd,
To tempt him forth for ruine and disgrace,
One truly told (as if at hand perceiv'd)
As Shepheardlesse how Israel left their place,
The King enrag'd (as sure he should be sav'd)
Cri'd, Keep him fast, till I returne in peace;
If thou return'st in peace from mischiefe free,
The Prophet said, then God speaks not by me.
Who clos'd the clouds, (of drought an ominous threat)
And (fed by Ravens) wonderfully liv'd,
Who did (by spending) multiply her meat,
Whose breathlesse sonne he straight, when dead, reviv'd;
Flames swallow'd floods to shew what God was great,
Which Baals Priests to follow fondly striv'd;
But all by him were as abusers slaine,
Who for their Idoll strugled had in vaine.
By Angels fed, for forty dayes to fast,
He reach'd mount Horeb, held for sacred ground,
Where first windes roar'd, next gaping earthquakes past,
Then flames of fire his daz'led sight did bound,
A murmur soft, and quiet calme came last,
From which God spoke, as who his friend had found:
And straight he told in spite of Tyrants bosts,
How jealously he lov'd the Lord of hosts.
By bands of fiftie for his ruine sought,
Fire at his call from heaven them twice did kill,
Till that to him unarm'd, who never fought,
A Captaine with his troupes did yeeld, at will;
His cloake (as did the Arke) a wonder wrought,
When parted Iordan, till he past, stood still;
He in his Chariot did in state retire,
(As crown'd with glory) flashing flames of fire.
He who this great mans gift redoubled got,
A childe procur'd, and even when dead did cure,
Made leprous Naman free from any spot,
And, in his place, his greedy man impure;
Made weighty iron above the water flot,
And when Samaria famine did endure,
Did shew that plenty should it soone releeve,
But he first dye, who would it not beleeve.
The Syrians counsell told to Israels King,
That host in armes which bent to take him stood,
He (quite made blinde) amid'st their foes did bring,
Yet would not harme them, no, but gave them food;
Thus whil'st alive, well did he every thing,
And (even whil'st dying) alwayes doing good:
By homely signes he did to Ioash show,
How Arams Army he should thrice o're-throw.
That sonne of Amos here much grac'd I spie,
Whose Princely birth all parts conforme approve,
His threatnings thunder, comforts flowing flie;
This may sinke downe, that ravish up above,
No Greeke, nor Romane penne, could soare so high;
His speech (all power) may admiration move:
Whil'st lifting up all them in God who trust,
And levelling proud Nations with the dust.
When God in wrath abandon'd had his owne,
Who not prevented, no, did ruine haste,
This man hath oft by sacred vision showne,
That straying Gentiles should be call'd at last;
Of Christ to come as cleare a witnesse knowne,
As were Apostles proving what was past:
Twixt him and them this sympathie is found,
That martyrdome (the Christian badge) both crown'd.
He who long mourn'd (as but to anguish borne,
Still passionate) with elegiack straines,
For Iuda's bondage, haughty Babels scorne,
The which (whil'st free) he oft as captive plains;
For this by him upbraiding yokes were borne,
Still persecuted, yet despising paines:
He long was kept his prophesy to stay,
In dungeons darke, a stranger to the day.
When Abrahams off-spring were transported all,
And what they would not trust, did feeling see,
Their daunted courage labouring to recall,
He who them told what God did then decree,
And that they should but for a time be thrall,
As confident as if they had beene free,
Did build their Temple, painting every part,
As it at first was drawn within his heart.
He who declar'd (interpreting his dreame)
To Ashur's Monarch, Monarchs aim'd for great;
Whom straight for this he did a Prince proclaime,
Yet in short space, what height of partiall hate!
A burning fornace (roaring forth a flame)
Of him and his two friends became the seat,
Till them an Angel freed from fires vast pow'r,
And who attended them did soone devoure.
Thus highly grac'd, and by this wonder knowne
(Base envy onely mischiefe can asswage)
To Lyons fierce he for a prey was throwne,
Which touch'd not him, yet rent his foes in rage;
By strange descriptions mystically showne,
He figur'd forth the state of every age,
Yet did not know what he himselfe did teach,
No wonder then though it no other reach.
A number more fill up this happy band,
Who did their message faithfully performe,
And scorning danger, resolutely stand,
When raging Tyrants at the truth would storme;
They as if Signets in their masters hand,
Gave true impressions, keeping still one forme:
Not fearing paine, nor prizing pleasure ought,
Since onely God, and not themselves they sought.
When captiv'd Iews confus'dly forth did presse,
Though once for state distinguish'd all in ranks,
By bondage equall'd, fellows in distresse,
A rigorous Marshall meriting no thanks,
Whil'st swelling breasts did strugling words represse,
Teares turn'd to flouds, they melted on the banks:
All melodie by misery o're-come,
On trembling willows harps were hanging dumbe.
Even then whil'st thus all did for Sion mourne,
Their scattred remnant recollect'd with paine,
Three at three times to Iuda did returne,
The sacred vessels bearing back againe,
And for Gods glory with such zeale did burne,
That though oft hindred, and neare to be slaine:
(Their ruin'd Temple with great toile restor'd)
They kept the Law, what was prophane abhorr'd.
Long after borne I see with them before,
That valorous widow who did free her Towne,
By beauty arm'd, which purpos'd to decore,
(Though rich in robes) her modestie did crowne,
No wretch, nor lavish, must'ring Natures store,
To brave an Army vent'ring in a Gowne:
She kill'd a Captaine even amid'st his host,
And triumph'd had ere foes could know they lost.
To robeing eyes in ambush for delight,
(Her dainty treasures by strange fate betray'd)
The cheeks turn'd red, to see the rest so white,
Which (even when naked) shamefastnesse arrai'd,
Now pale for feare, and straight enflam'd for spite,
Both beauties colours interchanging strai'd:
Lo, one who lov'd true honour more then fame,
A reall goodnesse, not a studied name.
She who for fairenesse choice of all her kinde,
Was made an Empresse, yet how rare a thing!
Though faire of face, was farre more faire in minde;
This did please God, that did but please a King,
She when her race for ruine was design'd,
Them free from harme in greater grace did bring:
And with her Uncle was for good reserv'd,
He Persia's Prince, she all the Iews preserv'd.
When heathnish Tyrants insolently ill,
(What sacred was, made to confusion thrall)
Even on Gods Altar beasts uncleane would kill,
Abhomination desolating all;
Then, for their law some troupes were constant still,
And (suffring freely) did with courage fall:
A reverent Ancient by strange tortures try'd,
And with seven sonnes a woman Martyr dy'd.
At Modin first a worthie man did rise,
And straight kill'd one who striv'd to be prophane,
His sonnes all arm'd, the Pagans did despise,
And three of them did endlesse glory gaine,
Who oft took Townes, foil'd hosts, did troups surprise,
Yet were at last unfortunately slaine:
One bravely fighting, did last wounds imbrace,
And two by friends betrai'd in time of peace.
With those else nam'd here stands a number more,
Well knowne to God, though not to fame, nor mee,
Who lov'd his Prophets, and did him adore,
Though still devout, from superstition free,
Of their redemption confident before,
By faith (as com'd) who did their Saviour see:
Dark figures then just reckonings did contrive,
The law did damne, grace onely doth forgive.
Last updated January 14, 2019