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First PRIEST.

Wine and beauty thus inviting,
Each to different joys exciting,

Whither shall my choice incline ?

Second PRIEST.

I'll waste no longer thought in choosing;
But neither this nor that refusing,

I'll make them both together mine.

Recitative.

But whence, when joy should brighten o'er the land,
This sullen gloom in Judah's captive band ?
Ye sons of Judah, why the lute unstrung?
Or why those harps on yonder willows hung?
Come, take the lyre, and pour the strain along,
The day demands it; sing us Sion's song.
Dismiss your griefs, and join our warbling choir;
For who like you can wake the sleeping lyre !

Second PROPHET.

Bow'd down with chains, the scorn of all mankind,
To want, to toil, and every ill consign'd,
Is this a time to bid us raise the strain,
And mix in rites that Heaven regards with pain ?
No, never ! May this hand forget each art
That speeds the power of music to the heart,
Ere I forget the land that gave me birth,
Or join with sounds profane its sacred birth,

5

VOL. IV.

First PRIEST.

Insulting slaves ! if gentler methods fail,
The whips and angry tortures shall prevail.

[Exeunt CHALDEANS.

First PROPHET.

Why, let them come, one good remains to cheer;
We fear the Lord, and know no other fear.

Chorus
Can whips or tortures hurt the mind
On God's supporting breast reclin'd ?
Stand fast, and let our tyrants see,
That fortitude is victory.

[Exeunt.

ACT II.

Scene as before.

Chorus of ISRAELITES.
O peace of mind, angelic guest!
Thou soft companion of the breast!

Dispense thy balmy store:
Wing all our thoughts to reach the skies,
Till earth, receding from our eyes,

Shall vanish as we soar.

First PRIEST.

Recitative.
No more! Too long has justice been delay'd ;
The king's command must fully be obey'd ;

Compliance with his will your peace secures,
Praise but our gods, and every good is yours.
But if rebellious to his high command,
You spurn the favors offer'd at his hand;
Think, timely think, what terrors are behind;
Reflect, nor tempt to rage the royal mind.

Second PRIEST.

Air.

Fierce is the whirlwind howling

O'er Afric's sandy plain,
And fierce the tempest rolling

Along the furrow'd main :

But storms that fly,

To rend the sky,
Every ill presaging,

Less dreadful show

To worlds below
Than angry monarch's raging.

ISRAELITISH WOMAN.

Recitative.

Ah, me! what angry terrors round us grow:
How shrinks my soul to meet the threaten'd blow!
Ye prophets, skill'd in Heaven's eternal truth,
Forgive my sex's fears, forgive my youth!
If shrinking thus, when frowning power appears,
I wish for life, and yield me to

my

fears. Let us one hour, one little hour obey; To-morrow's tears may wash our stains away.

Air.

To the last moment of his breath,

On hope the wretch relies;
And e'en the pang preceding death

Bids expectation rise.
Hope, like the gleaming taper's light,

Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,

Emits a brighter ray.*

Second PRIEST.

Why this delay? At length for joy prepare;
I read your looks, and see compliance there.
Come on, and bid the warbling rapture rise,
Our monarch's fame the noblest theme supplies.
Begin, ye captive bands, and strike the lyre;
The time, the theme, the place and all conspire.

CHALDEAN WOMAN.

Air.

See the ruddy morning smiling,
Hear the grove to bliss beguiling;
Zephyrs through the woodland playing,
Streams along the valley straying.

(“Fatigued with life, yet loth to part,

On hope the wretch relies;
And every blow that sinks the heart,

Bids the deluder rise.

“ Hope, like the taper's gleamy light,

Adorns the wretch's way;
And still, as darker grows the night,

Emits a brighter ray."-Orig. MS.)

First PRIEST.

While these a constant revel keep,
Shall Reason only teach to weep?
Hence intruder! we'll pursue
Nature, a better guide than you.

Second PRIEST.

Every moment, as it flows,
Some peculiar pleasure owes ;
Then let us, providently wise,
Seize the debtor as it flies.

Think not to-morrow can repay
The pleasures that we lose to-day;
To-morrow's most unbounded store
Can but pay its proper score.

First PRIEST.

Recitative.

But, hush! see foremost of the captive choir,
The master-prophet grasps his full-ton'd lyre.
Mark where he sits, with executing art,
Feels for each tone, and speeds it to the heart.
See how prophetic rapture fills his form,
Awful as clouds that nurse the growing storm;
And now his voice, accordant to the string,
Prepares our monarch's victories to sing.

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