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Some carve the trunks, and breathing shapes bestow,
Giving the trees more life than when they grow.
But, oh! alas! what sudden cloud is spread
About this glorious King's eclipsed head?
It all his fame benights, and all his store,
Wrapping him round; and now he's seen no more.
When straight his son appears at Sichem crown'd,
With young and heedless council circled round;
Unseemly object! but a falling state
Has always its own errors joined with Fate.
Ten tribes at once forsake the Jessian throne,
And bold Adoram at his message stone;
• Brethren of Israel!'-More he fain would say,
But a flint stopped his mouth, and speech in the way.
Here this fond king's disasters but begin;
He's destined to more shame by his father's sin.
Susac comes up, and under his command
A dreadful army from scorched Afric's sand,
As numberless as that: all is his prey;
The temple's sacred wealth they bear away;
Adrazar's shields and golden loss they take ;
Even David in his dream does sweat and shake.
Thus fails this wretched prince; his loins appear
Of less weight now than Solomon's fingers were.
Abijah next seeks Israel to regain,
And wash in scas of blood his father's stain.
Ne’er saw the aged sun so cruel sight;
Scarce saw he this, but hid his bashful light.
Nebat’s curs’d son fled with not half his men;
Where were his gods of Dan and Bethel then?
Yet could not this the fatal strife decide;
God punished one, but blessed not th' other side.
Asan, a just and virtuous prince, succeeds,
High raised by Fame for great and godly deeds :
He cut the solemn groves where idols stood,
And sacrificed the gods with their own wood.
He vanquished thus the proud weak powers of hell;
Before him next their doting servants fell:
So huge an host of Zerah's men he slew,
As made even that Arabia desert too.
Why feared he then the perjured Baasha's sight?
Or bought the dangerous aid of Syrian's might?
Conquest, Heaven's gift, cannot by man be sold;
Alas! what weakness trusts he ? man and gold.
Next Josaphat possessed the royal state;
A happy prince, well worthy of his fate :
His oft oblations on God's altar, made
With thousand flocks, and thousand herds, are paid,
Arabian tribute! What mad troops are those,
Those mighty troops that dare to be his foes?
He prays them dead; with mutual wounds they fall;
One fury brought, one fury slays them all.
Thus sits he still, and sees himself to win,
Never o'ercome but by his friend Ahab's sin;
On whose disguise Fates then did only look,
And had almost their God's command mistook:
Him from whose danger Heaven securely brings,
And for his sake too ripely wicked kings.
Their armies languish, burnt with thirst, at Seere,
Sighs all their cold, tears all their moisture there :
They fix their greedy eyes on the empty sky,
And fancy clouds, and so become more dry.
Elisha calls for waters from afar
To come; Elisha calls, and here they are.
In helmets they quaff round the welcome flood,
And the decrease repair with Moab's blood.
Jehoram next, and Ochoziah, throng
For Judah's sceptre; both shortlived too long.
A woman, too, from murder title claims;
Both with her sins and sex the crown she shames.
Proud, cursed woman! but her fall at last
To doubting men clears Heaven for what was past.
Joas at first does bright and glorious show;
In life's fresh morn his fame did early crow:
Fair was the promise of his dawning ray,
But prophets angry blood o'ercast his day:
From thence his clouds, from thence his storms, begin,
It cries aloud, and twice lets Aram in.
So Amaziah lives, so ends his reign,
Both by their traitorous servants justly slain.
Edom at first dreads his victorious hand;
Before him thousand captives trembling stand.
Down a precipice, deep down he casts them all;
The mimic shapes in several postures fall:
But then (mad fool!) he does those gods adore,
Which, when plucked down, had worshipped him before.
Thus all his life to come is loss and shame:
No help from gods, who themselves helped not, came.
All this Uzziah's strength and wit repairs,
Leaving a well-built greatness to his heirs;
Till leprous scurf, o'er his whole body cast,
Takes him at first from men, from earth at last.
As virtuous was his son, and happier far;
Buildings his peace, and trophies graced his war:
But Achaz heaps up sins, as if he meant
To make his worst forefathers innocent:
He burns his son at Hinnon, whilst around
The roaring child drums and loud trumpets sound:
This to the boy a barbarous mercy grew,
And snatched him from all miseries to ensue.
Here Peca comes, and hundred thousands fall;
Here Rezin marches up, and sweeps up all;
Till like a sea the great Belochus' son
Breaks upon both, and both does overrun.
The last of Adad's ancient stock is slain,
Israel captived, and rich Damascus ta’en;
All his wild rage to revenge Judah's wrong;
But woe to kingdoms that have friends too strong!
Thus Hezekiah the torn empire took,
And Assur's king with his worse gods forsook;
Who to poor Judah worlds of nations brings,
There rages, utters vain and mighty things.
Some dream of triumphs, and exalted names,
Some of dear gold, and some of beauteous dames;
Whilst in the midst of their huge sleepy boast,
An angel scatters death through all the host.
The affrighted tyrant back to Babel hies,
There meets an end far worse than that he flies.
Here Hezekiah's life is almost done!
So good, and yet, alas ! so short 'tis spun.
The end of the line was ravelled, weak, and old;
Time must go back, and afford better hold,
To tie a new thread to it of fifteen years.
'Tis done; the almighty power of prayer and tears !
Backward the sun, an unknown motion, went;
The stars gazed on, and wondered what he meant.
Manasses next (forgetful man!) begins,
Enslaved and sold to Ashur by his sins;
Till by the rod of learned Misery taught,
Home to his God and country both he's brought.
It taught not Ammon, nor his hardness brake,
He's made the example he refused to take.
Yet from this root a goodly scion springs, Josiah! best of men, as well as kings. Down went the calves, with all their gold and cost; The priests then truly grieved, Osiris lost.
These mad Egyptian rites till now remained;
Fools! they their worser thraldom still retained:
In his own fires Moloch to ashes fell,
And no more flames must have besides his hell.
Like end Astartes' horned image found,
And Baal's spired stone to dust was ground.
No more were men in female habit seen,
Or they in men's, by the lewd Syrian queen;
No lustful maids at Benos' temple sit,
And with their body's shame their marriage get.
The double Dagon neither nature saves,
Nor flies she back to the Erythræan waves.
The travelling sun sees gladly from on high
His chariots burn, and Nergal quenched lie.
The King's impartial anger lights on all,
From fly-blown Accaron to the thundering Baal.
Here David's joy unruly grows and bold,
Nor could sleep's silken chain its violence hold,
Had not the angel, to seal fast his eyes,
The humours stirred, and bid more mists arise;
When straight a chariot hurries swift away,
And in it good Josiah bleeding lay:
One hand's held up, one stops the wound; in vain
They both are used. Alas! he's slain, he's slain.
Jehoias and Jehoiakim next appear;
Both urge that vengeance which before was near.
He in Egyptian fetters captive dies,
This by more courteous Anger murdered lies,
His son and brother next to bonds sustain,
Israel's now solemn and imperial chain.
Here's the last scene of this proud city's state;
All ills are met, tied in one knot of Fate.
Their endless slavery in this trial lay;
Great God had heaped up ages in one day: