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Is it a time to wrangle, when the props
And pillars of our planet seem to fail,
And nature * with a dini and lickly eye
To wait the close of all? But grant her end
More distant, and that prophecy demands
A longer respite, unaccomplish'd yet;
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak
Displeasure in his breast who smites the earth
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice.
And 'tis but seemly, that, where all deserve
And stand expos’d by common peccancy
To what no few have felt, there should be peace,
And brethren in calamity should love.
Alas for Sicily! rude fragments now
Lie scatter'd where the shapely column stood.
Her palaces are duft. In all her streets
The voice of singing and the sprightly chord
Are filent. Revelry, and dance, and show
Suffer a syncope and solemn pause ;
While God performs upon the trembling stage
Of his own works his dreadful
alone. How does the earth receive him? With what signs
Of gratulation and delight, her king?
Pours she not all her choicest fruits abroad,
Her sweetest flow'rs, her aromatic gums,
Disclosing paradise where'er he treads?
She quakes at his approach. Her hollow womb,
Conceiving thunders, through a thousand deeps
And fiery caverns roars beneath his foot.
The hills move lightly, and the mountains smoke,
For he has touch'd them. From th' extremest point
Of elevation down into th' abyss
His wrath is busy, and his frown is felt.
The rocks fall headlong, and the valleys rise,
The rivers die into offenfive pools,
And, charg'd with putrid verdure, breathe a gross
And mortal nuisance into all the air.
What folid was, by transformation strange,
Grows fluid ; and the fix'd and rooted earth,
Tormented into billows, heaves and swells,
Or with vortiginous and hideous whirl
Sucks down its
The tumult and the overthrow, the pangs
And agonies of human and of brute
Multitudes, fugitive on ev'ry side,
And fugitive in vain. The sylvan scene
Migrates uplifted; and, with all its foil
Alighting in far distant fields, finds out
A new poffeffor, and survives the change.
Ocean has caught the frenzy, and, upwrought
To an enormous and o'erbearing height,
Not by a mighty wind, but by that voice
Which winds and waves obey, invades the shore
Resistless. Never such a sudden flood,
Upridg'd so high, and fent on such a charge,
Possess'd an inland scene. Where now the throng
That press'd the beach, and, hafty to depart,
Look'd to the sea for safety? They are gone,
Gone with the refluent wave into the deep-
A prince with half his people! Ancient tow'rs,
And roofs embattled high, the gloomy scenes
Where beauty oft and letter'd worth consume
Life in the unproductive shades of death,
Fall prone : the pale inhabitants come forth,
And, happy in their unforeseen release
From all the rigours of restraint, enjoy
The terrors of the day that sets them free.
Who then that has thee, would not hold thee fast,
Freedom ! whom they that lose thee so regret,
That ev'n a judgment, making way for thee,
Seems in their eyes a mercy for thy fake.
Such evil sin hath wrought; and such a flame Kindlcd in heaven, that it burns down to earth,
And, in the furious inquest that it makes
On God's behalf, lays waste his fairest works.
very elements, though each be meant
The minister of man, to ferve his wants,
Conspire against him. With his breath he draws
A plague into his blood ;'and cannot use
Life's necessary means, but he must die.
Storms rise to’erwhelp him : or, if stormy winds
Rise not, the waters of the deep shall rise,
And, needing none assistance of the storm,
Shall roll themselves ashore, and reach him there.
The earth shall shake him out of all his holds,
Or make his house his grave: nor fo content,
Shall counterfeit the motions of the flood,
And drown him in her dry and dusty gulfs.
What then!- were they the wicked above all,
And we the righteous, whose fast anchor'd ille
Mov'd not, while theirs was rock'd, like a light skiff,
The sport of ev'ry wave ? No: none are clear,
And none than we more guilty. Buty where all
Stand chargeable with guilt, and to the shafts
Of wrath obnoxious, God may choose his mark:
May punish, if he please, the lefs, to varn
The more malignant. If he spar'd not them',
Tremble and be amaz’d at thine escape,
Far guiltier England, left he spare not thee!
Happy the man who fees a God employ'd
In all the good and ill that checquer life!
Resolving all events, with their effects
And manifold results, into the will
And arbitration wife of the Supreme.
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend
'The least of our concerns (since from the least
The greatest oft originate ;) could chance
Find place in his dominion, or dispose
One lawless particle to thwart bis plan ;
Then God might be furpris'd, and unforeseen
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb
The smooth and equal course of his affairs.
This truth philofophy, though eagle-eyed
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks ;
And, having found his instrument, forgets,
Or disregards, or, more presumptuous still,
Denies the pow'r that wields it. God proclaims
His hot displeasure against foolish-men,
That live an atheist life: involves the heav'n
In tempests; quits his grasp upon the winds,
And gives them all their fury; bids a plague
Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin,
And putrify the breath of blooming health.
He calls for famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from between his shrivel'd lips,