On a bank with roses shaded,
Whose sweet scent the violets aided,
Violets whose breath alone
Yields but feeble smell or none,
(Sweeter bed Jove ne’er repos’d on
When his eyes Olympus closed on,)
While o’er head six slaves did hold
Canopy of cloth o’ gold,
And two more did music keep,
Which might Juno lull to sleep,
Oriana who was queen
To the mighty Tamerlane,
That was lord of all the land
Between Thrace and Samarchand,
While the noon-tide fervor beam’d,
Mused herself to sleep, and dream’d.
Thus far, in magnific strain,
A young poet sooth’d his vein,
But he had nor prose nor numbers
To express a princess’ slumbers.—
Youthful Richard had strange fancies,
Was deep versed in old romances,
And could talk whole hours upon
The great Cham and Prester John,—
Tell the field in which the Sophi
From the Tartar won a trophy—
What he read with such delight of,
Thought he could as eas’ly write of—
But his over-young invention
Kept not pace with brave intention.
Twenty suns did rise and set,
And he could no further get;
But, unable to proceed,
Made a virtue out of need,
And, his labours wiselier deem’d of,
Did omit what the queen dream’d of.
This Picture does the story express
Of Moses in the Bulrushes.
How livelily the painter’s hand
By colours makes us understand!
Moses that little infant is.
This figure is his sister. This
Fine stately lady is no less
A personage than a princess,
Daughter of Pharaoh, Egypt’s king;
Whom Providence did hither bring
This little Hebrew child to save.
See how near the perilous wave
He lies exposed in the ark,
His rushy cradle, his frail bark!
Pharaoh, king of Egypt land,
In his greatness gave command
To his slaves, they should destroy
Every new-born Hebrew boy.
This Moses was an Hebrew’s son.
When he was born, his birth to none
His mother told, to none reveal’d,
But kept her goodly child conceal’d.
Three months she hid him; then she wrought
With Bulrushes this ark, and brought
Him in it to this river’s side,
Carefully looking far and wide
To see that no Egyptian eye
Her ark-hid treasure should espy.
Among the river-flags she lays
The child. Near him his sister stays.
We may imagine her affright,
When the king’s daughter is in sight.
Soon the princess will perceive
The ark among the flags, and give
Command to her attendant maid
That its contents shall be display’d.
Within the ark the child is found,
And now he utters mournful sound.