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CCLXVI. “ We all have sinn'd, and thou hast laid us low, " As humble earth, from whence at first we came: “ Like flying shades before the clouds we show, “ And shrink like parchment in consuming flame.
CCLXVII. “O let it be enough what thou hast done! " When spotted deaths ran arm'd thro' ev'ry street, “ With poison'd darts, which not the good could shun, “ The speedy could outfly or valiant meet.
“ The living few, and frequent fun’rals then, “ Proclaim'd thy wrath on this forsaken place; 1070 “ And now those few, who are return'd again, “ Thy searching judgments to their dwelling trace.
“ O pass not, Lord, an absolute decree,
" Or bind thy sentence unconditional;
“ But in thy sentence our remorse foresee,
“ And in that foresight this thy doom recall.
[voke; “ Thy threatnings, Lord, as thine, thou may'st re« But if immutable and fix'd they stand, " Continue still thyself to give the stroke,
And let not foreign foes oppress thy land.” 1080
Th’Eternal heard, and from the heav'nly choir
Chose out the cherub with the flaming sword,
And bade him swiftly drive th' approaching fire
From where our naval magazines were stor'd.
The blessed minister his wings display'd,
And, like a shooting star, he cleft the night :
He charg'd the flames, and those that disobey'd
He lash'd to duty with his sword of light.
The fugitive flames, chastis'd, went forth to prey
On pious structures, by our fathers rear'd; 1090
By which to heav'n they did affect the way,
Ere faith in churchmen without works was heard.
The wanting orphans saw, with wat’ry eyes,
Their founder's charity in dust laid low,
And sent to God their ever answer'd cries,
For he protects the poor who made them so.
Nor could thy fabric, Paul! defend ihee long,
Tho' thou wert sacred to thy Maker's praise ;
Tho' made immortal by a poet's song,
And poets' songs the Theban walls could raise. 1100
The daring flames peep'd in, and saw from far
The awful beauties of the sacred quire ;
But, since it was profan’d by Civil war,
Heav'n thought it fit 10 have it furg'd by fire.
Now down the narrow streets it swiftly came,
And, widely op'ning, did on both sides prey :
This benefit we sadly owe the flame,
If only ruin must enlarge our way.
And now four days the sun had seen our woes,
Four nights the moon beheld th' incessant fire;
It seem'd as if the stars more sickly rose,
And farther from the fev'rish North retire.
In th’empyrean heav'n, the bless'd abode,
The Thrones and the Dominions prostrate lie,
Not daring to behold their angry God,
And an hush'd silence damps the tuneful sky.
At length th' Almighty cast a pitying eye,
And mercy sofily touch'd his melting breast;
He saw the Town's one half in rubbish lie,
And eager flames drive on to storm the rest.
An hollow crystal pyramid he takes,
In firmamental waters dipt above;
Of it a broad extinguisher he makes,
And hoods the flames that to their quarry strove.
The vanquisb'd fires withdraw from ev'ry place,
Or full with feeding, sink into a sleep:
Each household genius shews again his face,
And from the hearths the little Lares creep.
Our King this more than nat'ral change beholds;
With sober joy his heart and eyes abound; 1130
To the All-good his lifted hands he folds,
And thanks him low on his redeemed ground.
As when sharp frosts had long constrain'd the earth,
A kindly thaw unlocks it with cold rain,
And first the tender blade peeps up to birth, [grain:
And straight the green fields laugh with promis'd
By such degrees the spreading gladness grew
In ev'ry heart, which fear had froze before:
The standing streets with so much joy they view,
That with less grief the perish'd they deplore.
The father of the people open'd wide
His stores, and all the poor with plenty fed:
Thus God's anointed God's own place supply'd,
And fill'd the empty with his daily bread.
This royal bounty brought its own reward,
And in their minds so deep did print the sense,
That if their ruins sadly they regard,
'Tis but with fear the sight might drive him thence.
But so may he live long that Town to sway,
Which by his auspice they will nobler make,
As he will hatch their ashes by his stay,
And not their humble ruins now forsake.
They have not lost their loyalty by fire;
Nor is their courage nor their wealth so low,
That from his wars they poorly would retire,
Or beg the pity of a vanquish'd foe.
Not with more constancy the Jews of old,
By Cyrus from rewarded exile sent,
Their royal city did in dust behold,
Or with more vigour to rebuild it went.
1160 ccXcI. The utmost malice of the stars is past, And two dire comets, which have scourg'd the Town, In their own plague and fire have breath'd their last, Or dimly in their sinking sockets frown.
ссxсі І. Now frequent trines the happier lights among, And high-rais'd Jove from his dark prison freed, (Those weights took off that on his planet hung) Will gloriously the new-laid works succeed.
ccxcurr. Methinks already from this chymic flame, Isce a city of more precious mould,