Thomas Parnell

(1679 - 1718 / Ireland)

Deborah - Poem by Thomas Parnell

Time Sire of years unwind thy leaf anew,
& still the past recall to present view,
Spread forth its circles, swiftly gaze ym ore,
But where an action's nobly sung before
There stop & stay for me whose thoughts design
To make anothers song resound in mine.
Pass where ye priests procession bore the law,
When Jourdans parted waters fixd with awe,
While Israel marchd upon ye naked Sand,
Admird ye wonder, & obtaind the land.
Slide through the num'rous fates of Canaans kings,
While conquest rode on Expeditions wings.
Glance over Israel at a single view
In bondage oft, & oft unbound anew,
Till Jabin rise, & Deborah stand enrolld
On the broad guilded leafs revolving fold.

O King subdu'd! O Woman born to fame!
O Wake my fancy for the glorious theme,
O wake my fancy with the sense of praise,
O wake with warblings of triumphant lays.
The Land you rise in sultry suns invade,
But where you rise to sing you'le find a shade.

Those trees in order & with verdure crownd,
The Sacred Prophetesses tent surround.
& that fair palm afront exactly plact
That overtops & overspreads the rest,
Near ye broad root a mossy bank supports,
Where Justice opens unexpensive courts.
There Deb'rah sits, the willing tribes repair,
Referr their causes, & she Judges there.
Nor needs a guard to bring her subjects in,
Each Grace each Virtue proves a guard unseen.
Nor wants the penaltys enforcing law,
While Great Opinion gives effectuall awe.

Now twenty years that rolld in heavy pain
Saw Jabin gall them with Oppressions chain,
When she submissive to divine command,
Proclaims a warr for freedome o're ye land,
& bids young Barack with those men descend,
Whom in the mountains he for battle traind.
Go, says the Prophetess, thy foes assail,
Go make ten thousand over all prevail,
Make Jabins captains feel thy glittering sword,
Make all his army: God has spoke the word.
He fitt for warr & Israels hope in sight
Yet doubts ye number & by that the fight,
Then thus replys with wish to stand secure,
Or eager thought to know the conquest sure:
Belovd of God, lend thou thy presence too
& I with gladness lead th' appointed few,
But if thou wil't not lett thy son deny,
For whats ten thousand men or what am I?
If so, she crys, a share of toil be mine,
Another share & some dishonour thine,
For God to punish doubt resolves to show
That less than numbers can suppress his foe;
You'le move to conquer, & the foes to yield,
But 'tis a womans act assures the field.

Now seem the warriours in their ranks assignd,
Now furling banners flutter in the wind,
Her words encourage, & his actions lead,
Hope spurrs them forward, valour draws ye blade,
& Freedome like a fair reward for all
Stands reaching forth her hand & seems to call.

On T'other side & allmost ore ye plain
Proud Sis'ra Jabins captain brings his men,
As thick as locusts on the vintage fly,
As thick as scatterd leaves in Autumn ly,
Bold with success against a nation tryd,
& proud of numbers, & secure in pride.

Now sound the trumpets, now my fancy warms,
& now methinks I view their toiles in arms,
The lively Phantomes tread my boundless mind
With no faint colours or weak strokes designd.
See where in distant conflict from afarr
The pointed arrows bring the wounds of warr.
See where the lines with closer force engage,
& thrust the spear & whirl ye sword of rage.
Here break the files & vainly strive to close,
There on their own repelld assist their foes.
Here Deb'rah calls & Jabins souldiers fly,
There Barack fights & Jabins souldiers dy.
But now nine hundred chariots roll along,
Expert their guiders & their horses strong,
& Terrour rattling in their fierce array
Bears down on Israel to restore the day.
O Lord of battles, O the dangers near,
Assist thine Israel or they perish here.
How swift is Mercys aid, behold it fly
On rushing tempests through ye troubled sky,
With dashing rain with pelting hail they blow,
& sharply drive them on the facing foe,
Thus blessd with help & onely touchd behind,
The fav'rite Nation presses in the wind.
But heat of action now disturbs ye sight,
& wild confusion mingles all ye fight,
Cold-whistling winds & shriekes of dying men
& groans & armour sound in all ye plain.
The bands of Canaan fate no longer dare,
Oppressd by weather & destroyd by warr,
& from his chariot whence he ruld ye fight,
Their haughty Leader leaps to Joyn ye flight.
See where he flys, & see the Victour near,
See rapid Conquest in pursuit of Fear,
See See they both make off, ye work is ore,
& fancy cleard of vision as before.

Thus (if ye mind of man may seem to move
With some resemblance of ye skyes above)
When warrs are gath'ring in our hearts below
We've seen their battles in Ætheriall show:
The Long-distended tracts of opening sky
The Phantoms Azure field of fight supply;
The whitish clouds an argent armour yield;
A radiant blazon guilds their argent shield;
Young glittring comets point ye leveld spear,
Which for the pennons hang their flaming hair;
& ore their helms for gallant glory dresst
Sit curles of air & nod upon the crest.
Thus armd they seem to march & seem to fight,
& seeming wounds & deaths delude ye sight,
The ruddy thunder-clouds look staind with gore,
& for ye din of warr within they roar.
Then flys a side, & then a side pursues,
Till in the motion all their shapes they loose,
Dispersing air concludes ye mimick scene,
The sky shuts up & swiftly clears again.

But does their Sis'ra share ye common fate,
Or mourn his humbled pride in dark retreat?
With such enquiry near the palm repair,
Victorious Honour knows & tells it there.

To that fair type of Israels late success
Which nobly rises as its weights depress,
To that fair type returns ye Joyfull band,
Whose courage rose to free their groaning land,
There stands ye Leader in the pomp of arms,
There stands the Judge in beautys awfull charms.
& whilst reclind upon the resting spear
He pants with chace & breaths in calmer air,
Her thoughts are working with a backward view,
& woud in song the great exploit renew.

She sees an armd Oppressions hundred hands
impose its fetters on the promisd lands.
She sees her nation struggling in the chains,
& warrs arising with unequall trains.
She sees their feats in arms, the field embru'd,
The foe disorderd, & the foe pursud.
Till Conquest dressd in rays of Glory come
With Peace & Freedome brought in triumph home.
Then round her heart a beamy gladness plays,
Which darting forward thus converts to praise.

For Israels late avengings on ye foe
When led by no compelling powr below,
When each sprung forward of their own accord,
For this, for all the mercy praise the Lord.

Hear O ye Kings, ye neighbring Princes hear,
My song triumphant shall instruct your fear,
My song triumphant bids your glory bow
To God confessd the God of Jacob now.

O Glorious Lord when with thy sov'raign hand
Thou led thy nation off from Edoms Land,
Then trembled Earth, & shook ye Heav'ns on high,
& clouds in drops forsook ye melted sky,
With tumbling waters hills were heard to roar,
& felt such shocks as Sinai felt before.

But fear abating which by time decays,
The Kings of Canaan rose in Shamgars days,
& still continud into Jaels times
Their empire fixing with succesfull crimes.
Oppression ravagd all our lost abodes,
Nor durst ye people trust ye common roads,
But paths perplexd & unfrequented chose
To shun the dangers of insulting foes.
Thus direfull wast deformd ye country round,
Unpeopled towns & disimprovd the ground.
Till I resolving in the gap to stand
I Deb'rah rose a Mother of the Land,
Where others slaves by settled custome grown
Coud serve & chuse to serve the Gods unknown,
Where others sufferd with a tame regrett
Destruction spilling blood in ev'ry gate,
& fourty thousand had not for the field
One spear offensive or defensive shield.

O towrds ye Leaders of my nation move
O beat my warming heart with sense of love,
Commend th' Assertours on their own accord,
& bless ye Sovreign causer, bless the Lord.

Speak ye that ride with powr returnd in state,
Speak ye the praise that rule ye Judgement seat,
Speak ye the praise to God that walk ye roads,
While Safety brings you to restord abodes.

The rescud villagers no more affraid
Of Archers lurking in the faithless Shade,
& sudden death conveyd from sounding strings,
Shall safe-approach ye waters rising springs,
& while their turns of drawing there they wait,
Loytring in ease upon a grassy Seat,
Call all ye blessing of ye Lord to mind,
& sing the Lord in all ye blessing kind.
The townsmen rescud from ye tyrants reign
Shall flock with Joy to fill their walls again,
See Justice in ye gates her ballance bear,
& none but her unsheath a weapon there.

Awake O Deb'rah, O Awake to praise,
Awake & utter forth triumphant lays,
Arise O Barack, be thy pomp begun,
Lead on thy triumph thou Abinoams Son,
Thy captives bound in chains when Gods Decree
Made humbled Princes stoop their necks to thee,
When He the Giver of Success in fight
Advancd a Woman Ore ye Sons of Might.

Against this Amalek of banded foes
I Deb'rah root of All ye warr arose,
From Ephraim sprung, & leading Ephraims line,
The next in rising Benjamin was thine.
The ruling heads of half Manassehs land
To serve in danger left their safe command.
The tribe of Zebuluns unactive men
For Glorious arms forsook ye peacefull pen.
The Lords of Issachar with Deb'rah went,
The tribe with Barack to ye vale was sent,
Where he on foot performd the gen'ralls part,
& shard ye souldiers toil to raise their heart.

But Reubens strange divisions Justly wrought
Amongst his brethren deep concern of thought.
Ah while ye nation in affliction lay,
How coudst thou Reuben by ye sheepfold stay?
& lett thy bleating flock divert ye days
That idely passd thee with inglorious ease.
Divided Tribe, without thy danger free,
Deep were the Searchings of our hearts for thee.
Our Gilead too by such example swayd
With unconcern beyond ye river staid,
& Dan in ships at sea for safety rode,
& frighted Asher in its rocks abode.

Now Sing ye field, ye feats of warr begun,
& Praise thy Nepthali with Zebulun.
To deaths exposd, in posts advancd they stood,
With soules resolvd & gallant rage of blood.
Then came ye Kings & fought, ye Gatherd Kings
By waters streaming from Megiddo's springs,
In Tanaach vale sustaind ye daring toil,
Yet neither fought for pay, nor won ye spoil.
The skys indulgent to the cause of right
On Israels side against their army fight;
In evil aspects starrs & Planets range,
& by the weather in tempestuous change
Promote their dire distress, & make it known
That God has hosts above to save his own.
The Kishon swelld, grew rapid as they fled,
& rolld them sinking down its sandy bed.
O River Kishon, River of renown!
& O my soul that trod their glory down!
The stony paths by which disorderd flight
Conveyd their troops & chariots from ye fight
With rugged points their horses hoofs distresst,
& broke them prancing in impetuous hast.

Curse curse ye Meroz, curse ye town abhorrd,
(So spake ye glorious Angel of ye Lord.)
For Meroz came not into field prepard
To Joyn that side on which the Lord declard.

But bless ye Jael, be ye Kenites name
Above our womens blessd in endless fame.
The Captain faint with sore fatigue of flight,
Implord for water to support his might,
& milk she powrd him while he water sought,
& in a lordly dish her butter brought.
With courage well deserving to prevail
One hand her hammer held & one ye nail,
& him reclind to sleep she boldly slew,
She Smote, she piercd, she struck ye temples through,
Before her feet reluctant on the clay
He bowd he fell, he bowd he fell he lay,
He bowd he fell he dyd. by such degrees
As thrice she struck each strokes effect she sees.

His mother gazd with long-expecting eyes,
& grown impatient through ye lattice cryes;
Why moves ye chariot of my son so slow?
Or what affairs retard his coming so?
Her Ladys answerd.—but she woud not stay,
(For Pride had taught what Flattry meant to say)
They've sped she says, & now ye prey they share,
For each a damsel or a lovely pair,
For Sis'ras part a robe of gallant grace
Where diverse colours rich embroid'ry trace,
Meet for ye necks of those who win ye spoil
When triumph offers its reward for toil.

Thus perish all who Gods decrees oppose,
Thus like ye vanquishd perish all thy foes.
But lett ye men that in thy name delight
Be like ye Sun in heavnly glory bright,
When mounted on ye dawn he posts away,
& with full strength encreases on the day.

Twas here ye Prophetess respird fm song.
Then loudly shouted all ye chearfull throng,
By freedome gaind, by victory compleat,
Prepard for mirth irregularly great.
The frowns of sorrow gave their ancient place
To pleasure drawn in smiles on ev'ry face.
The groans of slav'ry were no longer wrung,
But thoughts of comfort from ye blessing sprung.
& as they shouted in ye breezy west,
Amongst ye plumes that deckt ye singers crest
The Spirit of Applause it self conveyd
On waving air, & lightly wanton plaid.
Such was ye case, (or such Ideas flow
From thought replenishd with triumphant show.)

What raisd their Joy their love coud also raise,
& each contended in the words of praise,
& evry word proclaimd the wonders past,
& God was still ye first & still ye last,
Deep in their soules ye fair impression lay,
Deep-tracd & never to be worn away.

From hence ye rescud generation still
Abhorrd the practice of rebellious ill,
& feard the punishment for ill abhorrd,
& lovd repentance & adord ye Lord.

From hence in all their day ye Lord was kind,
His face serene with settled favour shind,
Fair banishd Order was recalld in state,
The Laws revivd, the princes ruld ye gate,
Peace cheard ye vales, Contentment laughd wth Peace,
Gay-blooming Plenty rose with large encrease,
Sweet Mercy those who thought on mercy blesst,
& so for fourty years ye land had rest.

Rest happy Land awhile, ah longer so
didst thou thine happiness sincerely know!
But soon thy quiet with thy goodness past,
& in the song alone obtaind to last.

Live song triumphant, live in fair record,
& teach succeeding times to love ye Lord:
For fancy moves by bright example wood,
& wins ye mind with images of good.

Touchd with a sacred rage & heavnly flame,
I strive to sing thine universall aim,
To quit ye subject, & in lays sublime
The morall fitt for any point of time:
Then go my verses with applying strain
Go form a triumph not ascribd to men.

Lett all ye clouds of Grief impending ly,
& storms of Trouble drive along ye sky,
Then Humble Piety thine accents raise,
For prayr will prove ye powrfull charm of ease.

Lo now thy soul has spoke its best desires,
How blessings answer what ye prayr requires.
Before thy sighs the cloudes of Grief retreat,
The Storms of trouble by thy tears abate,
& Radiant Glory from her upper sphear
Lookes down & glitters in relented air.

Rise Lovely Piety from earthy bed,
The Parted flame descends upon thine head,
This wondrous Mitre framd by Sacred Love,
& for thy triumph sent thee from above,
In two bright points with upper rays aspires,
& rounds thy temples with innocuous fires.
Rise Lovely Piety, with Pomp appear,
& thou Kind Mercy Lend a chariot here,
On either side fair Fame & Honour place,
Behind lett Plenty walk in hand with peace,
While Irreligion mutt'ring horrid sound
With fierce & proud Oppression backward bound
dragg by the wheeles along ye dusty plain,
& gnashing lick ye ground, & curse with pain.

Now come ye thousands & more thousands yet,
With order Joyn to fill ye train of state,
Soules tund for praising to ye temple bring,
& thus amidst ye Sacred Musick sing.
Hail Piety! triumphant Goodness hail!
Hail O prevailing! Ever O prevail!
At thine Entreaty Justice leaves to frown,
& Wrath appeasing lays ye Thunder down,
The tender heart of yearning Mercy burns,
Love asks a blessing & ye Lord returns.
In his great name that heavn & earth has made
In his great name alone we find our aid,
Then bless the Name, & lett ye world adore
From this time forward & for evermore.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 17, 2010



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