Rees Prichard

(1579-1644 / Wales)

Another On The Same Occasion - Poem by Rees Prichard

Mourn Cambria, thoughtless Cambria mourn,
Like Nineveh, repentent turn,
Put sackcloth on - proclaim a fast -
Cry out for Grace, and mend at last.

Thy eldest Sister undergoes
I mean) a thousand woes,
Beneath the weighty hand of God,
Who rules her with an iron rod.

The plague her people has devour'd,
Like wild-fire down from heaven show'rd,
And all her towns has over-run,
Like flames thro' heath parch'd by the sun.

They die in heaps, without delay,
Perhaps a thousand in a day,
And fall, across each other, down,
Along the streets, in ev'ry town.

No medicines can stop its rage,
Not floods of tears can it assuage,
God's power alone can it allay,
And his sweet mercy chase away.

Great London weeps and wails full sore,
As sack'd Jerusalem of yore:
Nought is there heard but hideous groans,
With loud laments, and mournful moans.

There is such sorrow, and such grief!
Such anguish as exceeds belief!
Such dire distress! such sighing sore!
The like was ne'er known there before!

Men of each rank, and each degree,
The sword of death uplifted see,
And wait on the funereal dray,
That bears the dead off, night and day.

There husbands see their consorts die,
And their dear children's corses lie
All round, 'till they the nose offend,
And none come near, their aid to lend.

There wives lament to see a spouse
And children dead, in ev'ry house;
Yet dare not quit, (how hard their case!)
Though wild with woe, the fatal place.

There, infant orphans cry aloud,
But there are none to give them food,
And suck the mother's milkless breast,
When she has been some days at rest.

To them no comforters there are
In heav'n or earth, the sea or air,
In town or country, church or court,
From flock or fold, from field, or fort.

He, that is well, with tearful eyes
The oft-repassing carts surveys,
Which lately carry'd nought but dung,
Now carrying corses, all day long.

They that survive are almost dead,
Before they are attack'd, thro' dread,
By seeing all that weight of woe,
Which they are doom'd to undergo.

They're not indulg'd, abroad to roam -
They cannot purchase food at home -
Their visits no one will admit -
They're not allow'd the dead to quit.

The plague, within their houses, stalks -
In all their streets, fell famine walks -
And, in the fields, the ravens pick
The eyes out of the helpless sick.

Both God and man seem to have left
The wretches of all hopes bereft,
And will not any pity show,
Or try to mitigate their woe.

The Godhead laughs at all their woes,
And stops his ears, from hearing, close,
Nor heeds their unavailing cries,
Who us'd his Gospel to despise.

When any, the infected spy,
As from a dog, that's mad, they fly:
Nay, they had rather meet a toad,
Than meet a Lond'ner on the road;

Because they soon infect all those,
Who dare approach them, with their clothes:
Thus whom the basilisk espies,
At once is murder'd by his eyes.

The father, though in the same house,
Can't see his son - nor wife, her spouse -
Nor, without danger, can a friend
In this disease, his friend attend.

The mother, with a kiss, destroys
Her son, the prime of all her joys,
Or, all unweeting, taints his blood,
E'en whilst he sucks her breasts for food.

The father with his baleful breath
Puts all his progeny to death;
And, like a cocatrice, deprives
All, who approach him, of their lives.

The sicken'd child, against his will,
Does his indulgent mother kill,
(Who nurs'd him with the tend'rest care)
And all the servants that come near.

Both men and women, suddenly,
In ev'ry house promiscuous die
By hundreds, in a single night,
'Till London seems unpeopled quite.

Such moans and cries were never known,
As in each corner of the town:
No! - not in Ramah, on the day,
When Herod did the infants slay.

Her clergymen's excessive grief
Transcends the limits of belief,
To see each church, of late so full,
Now nothing but an empty hull.

Her warehouses tho' richly stock'd,
Where crowds un-number'd lately flock'd,
Sell not enough, (their trade's so dead!)
To give their famish'd shopmen bread.

Each nice artificer complains
(Though he has finish'd them with pains)
That none his curious works will buy,
And that for hunger he must die.

Each inn, each house, or sumptuous seat,
Of lords and knights the late retreat,
Now uninhabited remains;
Or else the plague alone there reigns.

All who were wont to ply the oar
Upon the Thames, or drudge ashore,
Links, porters, scavengers, complain,
They can't their bread by labour gain.

The market, stor'd so well of late,
With flesh and fish, and ev'ry cate
On which each greedy glutton fed,
Hath neither flesh, nor meal, nor bread.

Many, who not long since repin'd,
Unless on quails and growse they din'd,
By hunger humbled, vainly wish
To make a meal, on salted fish.

Tho' then each day, to bring them food,
A thousand vessels stemm'd the flood,
There's now scarce seen a single load
Of grain, or meal, upon the road.

Where, there were all things for their use,
Which land, or water, did produce,
Now nothing else is to be found,
But dearth and famine all around.

Our pride, our lust, our vast excess,
Our gluttony, our drunkenness,
Our gospel-wresting heresies,
To those distresses first gave rise.

These are the fruits, these are the gains!
These are the wages sin obtains!
These are the punishments, I own,
Which we deserve for what we've done!

Thus God can, in a trice, bring down
The pride of any sinful town,
And soon reduce, e'en to the dust,
The walls and crowds to which men trust!

And thus it is th' Almighty can
Humble the haughtiness of man,
Who dares resist his just commands,
And turn him over to Death's hands.

We have long since (I must confess) -
We all have merited no less:
God's ways and works are free from blame;
Holy and rev'rend is his Name.

We ev'ry filthiness have sow'd;
In furrows by injustice plow'd;
What can we thence expect to mow,
Besides the crop, which sin did sow?

This is the pest, with which of yore
God threatned those, that heretofore
Did not obey and serve him right
With all their heart and all their might.

This is the same tremendous blow,
Which Wales is doom'd to undergo,
Because she did not turn betimes,
And warning take from England's crimes.

Since our long-suffering, gracious God
So long o'er London held his rod,
I fear that guilty Wales must feel
The edge of his avenging steel.

When Judah wou'd not erst forsake
His sins, nor from Samaria take
A warning, he no better sped,
Than Israel did, when captive led.

If, warn'd by England's sore distress,
Wales will no penitence express,
Some plague, or punishments severe,
Will on her coasts descend, I fear.

When God on Sodom, in his ire,
And on Gomorrah, rain'd down fire,
His wrathful vengeance was not cloy'd,
Until Zeboïm was destroy'd :

So as the Lord this plague has sent
To England, from the continent ;
I fear, it will not be allay'd,
'Till 't has to Wales a visit paid.

When first the pest, the sword of God,
O'er Germany in triumph trod;
'Cause France her vices did not shun,
Like wild-fire o'er her towns it run.

Because no warning she at all
Took from Bohemia, Flanders, Gaul,
England is curs'd with this dire pest,
And fares much worse than all the rest.

If Wales will not be warn'd by all
The woes, which now on England fall,
She shall be punish'd soon, I fear,
By plagues and judgements more severe.

Mourn therefore, heedless Cambria, mourn,
And from thy sins repentant turn,
Like Nineveh, for mercy call,
Ere those fell judgements on thee fall.

Beat, beat thy breast, and weep a flood,
Thy garments wash in Jesus' blood,
Cry out for grace, thy life amend,
Ere vengeance does on thee descend.

Ere God unsheaths his shining steel,
Before him with submission kneel;
For grace and favour him invoke,
Ere the destroyer gives the stroke.

'Tis vain to cry, when thou art slain,
When thou'rt condemn'd, to pray is vain,
'Tis vain, to try to break the rod,
When thou hast been chastis'd by God.

Arise, arise, use no delay,
Make haste, and quit thy sins to-day,
Fate hovers o'er thee now, amend,
Ere it does, on thy head, descend.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, October 8, 2010

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