Hannah - Poem by Thomas Parnell
Now Crowds more off, retiring trumpetts sound
On Eccho's dying in their last rebound,
The notes of fancy seem no longer strong,
But sweetning closes fitt a private song.
So when the storms forsake ye seas command
To break their forces in the winding land,
No more their blasts tumultuous rage proclaim,
But sweep in murmurs ore a murm'ring stream.
Then Seek ye Subject & its song be mine
Whose numbers next in Sacred story shine;
Go brightly-working thought, prepard to fly
Above ye page on hov'ring pinnions ly,
& beat with stronger force to make thee rise
Where beautious Hannah meets ye searching eyes.
There frame a town & fix a tent with cords,
The town be Shiloh calld, the tent ye Lords.
Carvd pillars filleted with silver rear
To close ye curtains in an outward square,
But those within it which ye porch uphold
Be finely wrought & overlaid with gold.
Here Eli comes to take ye resting Seat,
Slow-moving forward with a revrend gate,
Sacred in office, venerably sage
& venerably great in silverd age.
Here Hannah comes, a melancholly wife
Reproachd for barren in ye marriage life.
Like summer-mornings she to sight appears,
Bedewd & shining in the midst of tears.
Her heart in bitterness of grief she bowd,
& thus her wishes to the Lord she vowd.
If thou thine handmaid with compassion see,
If I my God am not forgott by thee,
If in mine offspring thou prolong my line,
The Child I wish for all his days be thine,
His life devoted in thy courts be led,
& not a rasour come upon his head.
So from recesses of her inmost soul
Through moving lips her still devotion stole:
As silent waters glide through parted trees
Whose branches tremble with a rising breeze.
The words were lost because her heart was low,
But free desire had taught ye mouth to go.
This Eli markd, & with a voice severe,
While yet she multiplyd her thoughts in prayr,
How long shall wine he crys distract thy breast,
Begon & lay ye drunken fitt by rest.
Ah says ye mourner count not this for sin,
It is not wine but grief that workes within,
The spirit of thy wretched handmaid know,
Her prayr's complaint, & her condition woe.
Then spake ye Sacred Priest, in peace depart,
& with thy comfort God fullfill thine heart.
His blessing thus pronouncd with awfull sound,
The Vot'ry bending leaves ye solemn ground,
She seems confirmd the Lord has heard her crys,
& Chearfull Hope the tears of trouble drys,
& makes her alterd eyes irradiate roll
With Joy that dawns in thought upon ye soul.
Now lett ye Town & Tent & court remain,
& leap the time till Hannah comes again.
As painted prospects skip along ye green
from hills to mountains eminently seen,
& leave their intervalls that sink below
In deep retirement unexpressd to show.
Behold she comes (but not as once she came
To grieve to sigh & teach her eyes to stream.)
Content adorns her with a lively face,
An open look, & smiling kind of grace.
Her little Samuel in her arms she bears
The wish of long desire & Child of prayrs,
& as ye sacrifice she brought begun,
To rev'rend Eli she presents her son.
Here, crys ye Mother, here my Lord may see
The woman come who prayd in grief by thee,
The Child I su'd for God with bounty gave,
& what he granted let him now receive.
But still ye Vot'ry feeles her temper move
With all ye tender violence of Love.
That still enjoys ye gift, & inly burns
To search for larger or for more returns.
Then filld with blessings which allure to praise,
& raisd by Joy to soul-enchanting lays,
Thus thankes ye Lord beneficently-kind
In sweet effusions of ye gratefull mind.
My lifting heart with more than common heat
Sends up its thankes to God on ev'ry beat.
My glory raisd above ye reach of scorn
In God exalts its highly-planted horn.
My mouth enlargd mine enemy defys,
& finds in Gods salvation full replys.
O Bright in holy beautys, Powr divine,
Theres none whose glory can compare wth thine,
None share thine honours, nay theres none beside,
No rock on which thy creatures can confide.
Ye proud in spirit who your gifts adore,
Unlearn the fault & speak with pride no more:
No more in words your arrogance be shown,
Nor call ye workes of Providence your own,
Since he that rules us infinitely knows,
& as he will his acts of Powr dispose.
The strong whose sinewy forces archd ye bow
Have seen it shatterd by ye conqu'ring foe.
The weak have felt their nerves more firmly brace,
& new-sprung vigour in the limbs encrease.
The full whom varyd tasts of plenty fed
Have lett their labour out to gain their bread.
The poor that languishd in a starving state
Content & full have ceased to beg their meat.
The barren womb, no longer barren now,
(O be my thankes accepted with my vow)
In pleasure wonders at a mothers pain,
& sees her offspring & conceives again,
While she that gloryd in her numerous heirs,
Now broke by feebleness no longer bears.
Such turns their rising from ye Lord derive,
The Lord that kills the Lord yt makes alive.
He brings by sickness down to gaping graves,
& by restoring health from sickness saves;
He makes ye poor by keeping back his store,
& makes ye rich by blessing men with more;
He sinking hearts with bitter grief annoys,
Or lifts them bounding with enlivend Joys.
He takes ye beggar from his humble clay
From off ye dunghill where despisd he lay
To mix with Princes in a rank supream,
Fill thrones of Honour & inherit fame.
For all the pillars of exalted state
So nobly firm so beautifully great,
Whose various orders bear ye rounded ball
Which woud without them to confusion fall,
All are ye Lords, at his disposure stand,
& prop ye governd world at his command.
His mercy still more wonderfully sweet
Shall guard ye righteous & uphold their feet.
While through ye darkness of ye wicked soul
Amazement Dread & Desperation roll,
While envy stops their tongues, & hopeless grief
that sees their fears but not their fears relief,
& they their strength as unavailing view,
Since none shall trust in that & safely too.
The foes of Israel for his Israels sake
God will to pieces in his anger break.
His bolts of thunder from an opend sky
Shall on their heads with force unerring fly.
His voice shall call, & all ye world shall hear,
& all for sentence at his Seat appear.
But mount to gentler praises, mount again
My thought prophetick of Messiahs reign,
Perceive the glorys which around him shine,
& thus thine hymn be crownd with grace divine.
'Strength to ye King for mans salvation born,
'& honours rising like ye lifted horn.
Tis here ye numbers find a bright repose,
The vows accepted & the Vot'ry goes.
But thou my soul upon her accents hung,
& sweetly pleasd with what she sweetly sung,
Prolong the pleasure with thine inward eyes,
Turn back thy thought, & see ye subject rise.
In her peculiar case ye song begun,
& for awhile through private blessings run,
As through their banks the curling waters play,
& soft in murmurs kiss ye flowry way.
With force encreasing then she leaps ye bounds,
& largely flows on more extended grounds,
Spreads wide & wider, till vast seas appear,
& boundless views of Providence are here.
How Swift these views along her Anthem glide,
As waves on waves pushd forward in ye tide!
How swift thy wonders ore my fancy sweep,
O Providence thou great unfathomd deep,
Where Resignation gently dips ye wing,
& learns to love & thank, admire & sing,
But bold presumptious Reasnings diving down
To reach ye bottom, in their diving drown.
Neglecting man forgetfull of thy ways
Nor owns thy care, nor thinkes of giving praise,
But from himself his happiness derives,
& thankes his wisdome when by thine he thrives.
His limbs at ease in soft repose he spreads,
Bewitchd with vain delights on flowry beds,
& while his sense ye fragrant breezes kiss,
He meditates a waking dream of bliss.
He thinks of Kingdomes & their crowns are near;
He thinkes of glorys & their rays appear;
He thinks of beautys & a lovely face
Serenely smiles in evry taking grace;
He thinks of riches & their heaps arise
Display their glittring forms & fix his eyes;
Thus drawn with pleasures in a charming view
Rising he reaches & woud faign pursue.
But still ye fleeting shadows mock his care,
& still his fingers grasp at yielding air,
What ere our tempers as their comforts want
It is not mans to take but Gods to grant.
If then persisting in the vain design
We seek true bliss unblessd with help divine,
Still may we search, still search without relief,
Nor onely want a bliss but find a grief.
That such conviction may to sight appear
Sitt down ye Sons of men spectatours here,
Behold a scene upon your folly wrought,
& lett this lively scene instruct ye thought.
Boy blow thy pipe untill ye bubble rise,
Then cast it off to float upon ye skys,
Still swell its sides with breath. O beautious frame!
It grows, it shines, be now the world thy name.
Methinks Creation forms itself within,
The men, the towns, ye birds, ye trees are seen,
The skys above present an Azure show,
& lovely Verdure paints an earth below.
Ile wind my self in this delightfull sphere,
& live a thousand years of pleasure there,
Rolld up in blisses which around me close,
& now regald with these & now with those.
False hope, but falser words of Joy farewell,
You've rent the lodging where I meant to dwell,
My bubble's burst, my prospects disappear,
& leave behind a moral & a tear.
If at the type our dreaming soules awake,
& Hannahs strains their Just impression make,
The boundless powr of Providence we know,
& fix our trust on nothing here below.
Then He grown pleasd that men his greatness own,
Lookes down Serenely from his starry throne,
& bids ye blessed days our prayrs have won
Put on their glorys & prepare to run.
For which our thanks be Justly sent above,
Enlargd by gladness, & inspird with Love:
For which his praises be for ever sung,
Oh Sweet employments of ye gratefull tongue!
Burst forth my temper in a godly flame,
For all his blessings laud his holy name:
That ere mine eyes saluted chearfull day
A gift devoted in ye womb I lay,
like Samuel vowd before my breath I drew,
O coud I prove in life like Samuel too!
That all my frame is exquisitely wrought,
The world enjoyd by sense, & God by thought;
That living streams through living Channels glide
To make this frame by natures course abide;
That for its good by Providences care
Fire Joyns with water, earth concurrs wth air;
That Mercys ever-inexhausted store
Is pleasd to proffer & to promise more,
& all ye proffers stream with grace divine,
& all ye promises with glory shine.
O praise the Lord my Soul, in one accord
Lett all that is within me praise ye Lord;
O praise ye Lord my soul, & ever strive
To keep the sweet remembrances alive:
Still raise ye kind affections of thine heart,
Raise evry gratefull word to bear a part,
With ev'ry word the strains of love devise,
Awake thine harp, & thou thy self arise,
Then if his Mercy be not half expresst,
Lett wondring silence magnify ye rest.
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