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The L A W given at SIN A I.
ARM thee with thunder, heavenly Muse,
And keep th' expecting world in awe ;
Oft haft thou fung in gentler mood
The melting mercies of thy God;
Now give thy fiercelt fires a loose,
And found bis dreadful law :
To Israel first the words were spoke,
To Israel freed from Egypt's yoke,
Inhuman bondage ! The hard galling load
Over-press’d their feeble souls,
Bent their knees to senseless bulls,
And broke their ties to God.
Now had they pass’d th’ Arabian bay,
And march'd between the cleaving sea ;
The rising waves stood guardians of their wondrous way,
But fell with most impetuous force
On the pursuing swarms,
And bury'd Egypt all in arms,
Blending in watery death the rider and the horse :
O'er struggling Pharaoh roll’d the mighty tide,
And sav'd the labours of a pyramid.
Apis and Ore in vain he cries,
And all his horned Gods beside,
He swallows fate with swimming eyes,
And curs'd the Hebrew 6 as he dy'd.
Ah! foolish Israel, to comply
With Memphian idolatry!
And bow to brutes, (a stupid slave)
To idols impotent to save !
Behold thy God, the sovereign of the sky,
Has wrought falvation in the deep,
Has bound thy foes in iron fleep,
And rais'd thine honours high :
His grace forgives thy follies past,
Behold he comes in majesty,
And Sinai's top proclaims his law :
Prepare to meet thy God in halte ;
But keep an awful distance still :
Let Mofes round the facred hill
The circling limits draw.
Hark! The Thrill echoes of the trumpet roar,
And call the trembling armies near ;
Slow and unwilling they appear,
Rails kept them from the mount before,
Now from the rails their fear :
'Twas the same herald, and the trump the same
Which shall be blown by high command,
Shall bid the wheels of nature stand,
And heaven's eternal will proclaim,
That time shall be no more.
Thus while the labouring angel swell's the found,
And rent the skies, and took the ground, Up rose th' Almighty; round his fapphire seat 7
Adoring thrones in order fell;
The lesser powers at distance dwell,
And cast their glories down successive at his feet :
Gabriel the Great prepares his way,
“ Lift up your heads, Eternal doors," he cries;
Th’Eternal doors his word obey,
Open, and thoot celestial day
Upon the lower skies.
Heaven's mighty pillars bow'd their head,
As their Creator bid,
And down Jehovah rode from the superior sphere,
A thousand guards before, and myriads in the rear.
His chariot was a pitchy cloud,
The wheels beset with burning gems;
The winds in harness with the flames
Flew o'er th'ethereal road :
Down through his magazines he past
Of hail, and ice, and fleecy snow,
Swift rollid the triumph, and as fast
Did hail, and ice, in melted rivers flow,
The day was mingled with the night,
His feet on solid darkness trod,
His radiant eyes proclaim'd the God,
And scatter'd dreadful light;
He breath'd, and sulphur ran, a fiery stream :
He spoke, and (though with unknown (peed he came)
Chid the flow tempeft, and the lagging.flame.
Sinai receiv'd his glorious flight, With axle red, and glowing wheel,
Did the winged chariot light,
And rising finuke obscurd the burning hill.
Lo, it mounts in curling waves,
Lo, the gloomy pride out-braves
The stately pyramids of fire :
The pyramids to heaven aspire,
And mix with stars, but see their gloomy offspring higher.
So have you seen ungrateful ivy grow
Round the tall oak that fix score years has stood,
And proudly shoot a leaf or two
Above its kind supporters utmost bough,
And glory there to stand the loftiest of the wood.
Forbear, young Muse, forbear;
The flowery things that poets say,
The little arts of Simile
Are vain and useless here;
Nor shall the burning hills of old
With Sinai be compar'd,
Nor all that lying Greece has told,
Or learned Rome has heard;
Ætna shall be nam'd no niore,
Ætna the torch of Sicily ;
Not half so high
Her lightnings fly,
Not half fo loud her thunders roar
Cross the Sicanian sea, to fright th’Italian fhore.
Behold the sacred hill: Its trembling spire
Quakes at the terrors of the fire,
While all below its verdlant feet
Stagger and reel under th' Almighty weight:
Press’d with a greater than feign'd Atlas' load
Deep groand the mount; it never bore
It bow'd, and Mook beneath the burden of a God.
Freih horrors seize the camp; despair,
And dying groans, torment the air,
And shrieks, and swoons, and deaths were there :
The bellowing thunder, and the lightning's blaze
Spread through the host a wild amaze;
Darkness on every soul, and pale was every face :
Confus'd and dismal were the cries,
Let Moles speak, or Israel dies :
Moles the spreading terror feels,
No more the Man of God conceals
His shivering and surprize :
Yet, with recovering mind, commands
Silence, and deep attention, through the Hebrew bands.
Hark! from the centre of the fame,
All arm'd and feather'd with the same,
Majestic founds break through the smoaky cloud :
Sent from the All-creating tongue,
A light of cherubs guard the words along,
And bear their fiery law to the retreating crowd.
“I am the Lord: 'Tis I proclaim
" That glorious and that fearful name,
Thy God and King: 'Twas I, that broke
Thy bondage, and th' Egyptian yoke ;
“Mine is the right to speak my will,
“ And thine the duty to fulfil.