Be ye not dismayed at
the signs of heaven; for the heathen are
dismayed at them. JER. X. 2.
who from yon’ dusky sky
Dart’st o’er a shrinking world thy fiery eye,
Scattering from thy burning train
Diffusive terror o’er the earth and main;
What high behest dost thou perform
Of Heaven’s Almighty Lord? what coming storm
Of war or woe does thy etherial flame
To thoughtless man proclaim?
Dost thou commissioned shine
The silent harbinger of wrath divine?
Or does thy unprophetic fire
Thro’ the wide realms of solar day
Mad Heat or purple Pestilence inspire?
Thro’ all her lands, Earth trembles at thy ray;
And starts, as she beholds thee sweep
With fiery wing Air’s far-illumined deep.
The Eternal gave command,
and from afar,
From realms unbless’d with heat or light,
The mournful kingdoms of perpetual Night,
Unvisited but by thy glowing car,—
Radiant and clear as when thy course begun,
Swift as the flame that fires th’etherial blue,
Thro’ the wide system, like a sun,
Thy moving glories flew.
Thou shinest terrific to the guilty soul!
But not to him, who calmly brave
Spurns earthly terror’s base control,
And dares the yawning grave:
To one superior Will resigned,
He views with an unanxious mind
Earth’s passing wonders,—and can gaze
With eye serene on thy innocuous blaze,
As on the meteor-fires, that sweep
O’er the smooth bosom of the deep,
Or gild with lustre pale
The humid surface of some midnight vale.
FROM THE ELEVENTH BOOK OF STATIUS’ THEBAID.
Jamque in pulvereum,
furiis hortantibus, aequor Prosiliunt, &c.
Soon as both armies from the
Fierce to the fight the rival brothers flew:
Each warrior his auxiliar fiend inspires,
Directs his arm, and pours in all her fires:
Round the bright reins their snaky locks they twine,
And with each swelling mane their glittering folds combine.
The horns were hush’d: the drums no longer peal’d:
A death-like stillness brooded o’er the field:
And thrice hell’s monarch rock’d the ground below,
And thrice his thunders shook the realms of woe.—
No martial power was there: the God of War
Whirl’d from the hated field his heavenly car:
Indignant Pallas sought th’ethereal climes:
And Furies learn’d to blush at human crimes.
The thronging people, from the stately crown }
Of each tall turret, look with horror down, }
And general grief overwhelms