To the Right Honourable Thomas Lord Parker, Baron of Macclesfield, Lord
High Chancellor of Great Britain, etc. etc.

My Lord,

Though I have not the honour of being known to your lordship, I presume to take a privilege which men of retirement are apt to think themselves in possession of, as being the only method they have of making their way to persons of your lordship's high station without struggling through multitudes for access. I may possibly fail in my respect to your lordship, even while I endeavour to show it most; but if I err, it is because I imagined I ought not to make my first approach to one of your lordship's exalted character with less ceremony than that of a dedication. It is annexed to the condition of eminent merit, not to suffer more from the malice of its enemies, than from the importunity of its admirers; and perhaps it would be unjust, that your lordship should hope to be exempted from the troubles, when you possess all the talents, of a patron.

I have here a fair occasion to celebrate those sublime qualities, of which a whole nation is sensible, were it not inconsistent with the design of my present application. By the just discharge of your great employments, your lordship may well deserve the prayers of the distressed, the thanks of your country, and the approbation of your royal master: this indeed is a reason why every good Briton should applaud your lordship; but it is equally a reason why none should disturb you in the execution of your important affairs by works of fancy and amusement. I was therefore induced to make this address to your lordship, by considering you rather in the amiable light of a person distinguished for a refined taste of the polite arts, and the candour that usually attends it, than in the dignity of your public character.

The greatness and solemnity of the subjects treated of in the following work cannot fail in some measure to recommend it to a person who holds in the utmost veneration those sacred books from which it is taken; and would at the same time justify to the world my choice of the great name prefixed to it, could I be assured that the undertaking had not suffered in my hands. Thus much I think myself obliged to say; that if this little performance had not been very indulgently spoken of by some, whose judgment is universally allowed in writings of this nature, I had not dared to gratify my ambition in offering it to your lordship: I am sensible that I am endeavouring to excuse one vanity by another; but I hope I shall meet with pardon for it, since it is visibly intended to show the great submission and respect with which I am, my lord, your lordship's most obedient and most humble servant,


Thrice happy Job(26) long liv'd in regal state,
Nor saw the sumptuous East a prince so great;
Whose worldly stores in such abundance flow'd,
Whose heart with such exalted virtue glow'd.
At length misfortunes take their turn to reign,
And ills on ills succeed; a dreadful train!
What now but deaths, and poverty, and wrong,
The sword wide-wasting, the reproachful tongue,
And spotted plagues, that mark'd his limbs all o'er
So thick with pains, they wanted room for more?
A change so sad what mortal heart could bear?
Exhausted woe had left him nought to fear;
But gave him all to grief. Low earth he prest,
Wept in the dust, and sorely smote his breast.
His friends around the deep affliction mourn'd,
Felt all his pangs, and groan for groan return'd;
In anguish of their hearts their mantles rent,
And seven long days in solemn silence spent;
A debt of rev'rence to distress so great!
Then Job contain'd no more; but cursed his fate.
His day of birth, its inauspicious light
He wishes sunk in shades of endless night,
And blotted from the year; nor fears to crave
Death, instant death; impatient for the grave,
That seat of bliss, that mansion of repose,
Where rest and mortals are no longer foes;
Where counsellors are hush'd, and mighty kings
(O happy turn!) no more are wretched things.
His words were daring, and displeas'd his friends;
His conduct they reprove, and he defends;
And now they kindled into warm debate,
And sentiments oppos'd with equal heat;
Fix'd in opinion, both refuse to yield,
And summon all their reason to the field:
So high at length their arguments were wrought,
They reach'd the last extent of human thought:
A pause ensu'd.--When, lo! Heaven interpos'd,
And awfully the long contention clos'd.
Full o'er their heads, with terrible surprise,
A sudden whirlwind blacken'd all the skies:
(They saw, and trembled!(27)) From the darkness broke
A dreadful voice, and thus th' Almighty spoke.
Who gives his tongue a loose so bold and vain,
Censures my conduct, and reproves my reign?
Lifts up his thoughts against me from the dust,
And tells the world's Creator what is just?
Of late so brave, now lift a dauntless eye,
Face my demand, and give it a reply:
Where didst thou dwell at nature's early birth?
Who laid foundations for the spacious earth?
Who on its surface did extend the line,
Its form determine, and its bulk confine?
Who fix'd the corner-stone? What hand, declare,
Hung it on nought, and fasten'd it on air;
When the bright morning stars in concert sung,
When heaven's high arch with loud hosannas rung;
When shouting sons of God the triumph crown'd,
And the wide concave thunder'd with the sound?
Earth's num'rous kingdoms, hast thou view'd them all?
And can thy span of knowledge grasp the ball?
Who heav'd the mountain, which sublimely stands,
And casts its shadow into distant lands?
Who, stretching forth his sceptre o'er the deep,
Can that wide world in due subjection keep?
I broke the globe, I scoop'd its hollow'd side,
And did a bason for the floods provide;
I chain'd them with my word; the boiling sea,
Work'd up in tempests, hears my great decree;
"(28)Thus far, thy floating tide shall be convey'd;
And here, O main, be thy proud billows stay'd."
Hast thou explor'd the secrets of the deep,
Where, shut from use, unnumber'd treasures sleep?
Where, down a thousand fathoms from the day,
Springs the great fountain, mother of the sea?
Those gloomy paths did thy bold foot e'er tread,
Whole worlds of waters rolling o'er thy head?
Hath the cleft centre open'd wide to thee?
Death's inmost chambers didst thou ever see?
E'er knock at his tremendous gate, and wade
To the black portal through th' incumbent shade?
Deep are those shades; but shades still deeper hide
My counsels from the ken of human pride.
Where dwells the light? In what refulgent dome?
And where has darkness made her dismal home?
Thou know'st, no doubt, since thy large heart is fraught
With ripen'd wisdom, through long ages brought;
Since nature was call'd forth when thou wast by,
And into being rose beneath thine eye!
Are mists begotten? Who their father knew?
From whom descend the pearly drops of dew?
To bind the stream by night, what hand can boast,
Or whiten morning with the hoary frost?
Whose powerful breath, from northern regions blown,
Touches the sea, and turns it into stone?
The like spirit in these two passages is no bad concurrent
argument, that Moses is author of the book of Job.]
A sudden desart spreads o'er realms defac'd,
And lays one half of the creation waste?
Thou know'st me not; thy blindness cannot see
How vast a distance parts thy God from thee.
Canst thou in whirlwinds mount aloft? Canst thou
In clouds and darkness wrap thy awful brow?
And, when day triumphs in meridian light,
Put forth thy hand, and shade the world with night?
Who launch'd the clouds in air, and bid them roll
Suspended seas aloft, from pole to pole?
Who can refresh the burning sandy plain,
And quench the summer with a waste of rain?
Who, in rough desarts, far from human toil,
Made rocks bring forth, and desolation smile?
There blooms the rose, where human face ne'er shone,
And spreads its beauties to the sun alone.
To check the shower, who lifts his hand on high,
And shuts the sluices of th' exhausted sky
When earth no longer mourns her gaping veins,
Her naked mountains, and her russet plains;
But, new in life, a cheerful prospect yields
Of shining rivers, and of verdant fields;
When groves and forests lavish all their bloom,
And earth and heaven are fill'd with rich perfume?
Hast thou e'er scal'd my wintry skies, and seen
Of hail and snows my northern magazine?
These the dread treasures of mine anger are,
My funds of vengeance for the day of war,
When clouds rain death, and storms, at my command,
Rage through the world, or waste a guilty land.
Who taught the rapid winds to fly so fast,
Or shakes the centre with his eastern blast?
Who from the skies can a whole deluge pour?
Who strikes through nature with the solemn roar
Of dreadful thunder, points it where to fall,
And in fierce lightning wraps the flying ball?
Not he who trembles at the darted fires,
Falls at the sound, and in the flash expires.
Who drew the comet out to such a size,
And pour'd his flaming train o'er half the skies?
Did thy resentment hang him out? Does he
Glare on the nations, and denounce, from thee?
Who on low earth can moderate the rein,
That guides the stars along th' ethereal plain?
Appoint their seasons, and direct their course,
Their lustre brighten, and supply their force?
Canst thou the skies' benevolence restrain,
And cause the Pleiades to shine in vain?
Or, when Orion sparkles from his sphere,
Thaw the cold season, and unbind the year?
Bid Mazzaroth his destin'd station know,
And teach the bright Arcturus where to glow?
Mine is the night, with all her stars; I pour
Myriads, and myriads I reserve in store.
Dost thou pronounce where day-light shall be born,
And draw the purple curtain of the morn;
Awake the sun, and bid him come away,
And glad thy world with his obsequious ray?
Hast thou, inthron'd in flaming glory, driven
Triumphant round the spacious ring of heaven?
That pomp of light, what hand so far displays,
That distant earth lies basking in the blaze?
Who did the soul with her rich powers invest,
And light up reason in the human breast?
To shine, with fresh increase of lustre, bright,
When stars and sun are set in endless night?
To these my various questions make reply.
Th' Almighty spoke; and, speaking, shook the sky.
What then, Chaldëan sire, was thy surprise!
Thus thou, with trembling heart, and downcast eyes:
"Once and again, which I in groans deplore,
My tongue has err'd; but shall presume no more.
My voice is in eternal silence bound,
And all my soul falls prostrate to the ground."
He ceas'd: when, lo! again th' Almighty spoke;
The same dread voice from the black whirlwind broke.
Can that arm measure with an arm divine?
And canst thou thunder with a voice like mine?
Or in the hollow of thy hand contain
The bulk of waters, the wide-spreading main,
When, mad with tempests, all the billows rise
In all their rage, and dash the distant skies?
Come forth, in beauty's excellence array'd;
And be the grandeur of thy power display'd;
Put on omnipotence, and, frowning, make
The spacious round of the creation shake;
Dispatch thy vengeance, bid it overthow
Triumphant vice, lay lofty tyrants low,
And crumble them to dust. When this is done,
I grant thy safety lodg'd in thee alone;
Of thee thou art, and mayst undaunted stand
Behind the buckler of thine own right hand.
Fond man! the vision of a moment made!
Dream of a dream! and shadow of a shade!
What worlds hast thou produc'd, what creatures fram'd,
What insects cherish'd, that thy God is blam'd?
When (29)pain'd with hunger, the wild raven's brood
Loud calls on God, importunate for food,
Who hears their cry, who grants their hoarse request,
And stills the clamour of the craving nest?
Who in the stupid ostrich(30) has subdu'd
A parent's care, and fond inquietude?
While far she flies, her scatter'd eggs are found,
Without an owner, on the sandy ground;
Cast out on fortune, they at mercy lie,
And borrow life from an indulgent sky;
Adopted by the sun, in blaze of day,
They ripen under his prolific ray.
Unmindful she, that some unhappy tread
May crush her young in their neglected bed.
(31)What time she skims along the field with speed,
(32)She scorns the rider, and pursuing steed.
How rich the peacock!(33) what bright glories run
From plume to plume, and vary in the sun!
He proudly spreads them, to the golden ray
Gives all his colours, and adorns the day;
With conscious state the specious round displays,
And slowly moves amid the waving blaze.
Who taught the hawk to find, in seasons wise,
Perpetual summer, and a change of skies?
When clouds deform the year, she mounts the wind,
Shoots to the south, nor fears the storm behind;
The sun returning, she returns again,
Lives in his beams, and leaves ill days to men.
Tho' strong the hawk,(34) tho' practis'd well to fly,
An eagle drops her in a lower sky;
An eagle, when, deserting human sight,
She seeks the sun in her unwearied flight:
Did thy command her yellow pinion lift
So high in air, and set her on the clift,
Where far above thy world she dwells alone,
And proudly makes the strength of rocks her own;
(35)Thence wide o'er nature takes her dread survey,
And with a glance predestinates her prey?
She feasts her young with blood; and, hov'ring o'er
Th' unslaughter'd host, enjoys the promis'd gore.
(36)Know'st thou how many moons, by me assign'd,
Roll o'er the mountain goat, and forest hind,
While pregnant they a mother's load sustain?
They bend in anguish, and cast forth their pain.
Hale are their young, from human frailties freed;
Walk unsustain'd, and unassisted feed;
They live at once; forsake the dam's warm side;
Take the wide world, with nature for their guide;
Bound o'er the lawn, or seek the distant glade;
And find a home in each delightful shade.
Will the tall reem, which knows no lord but me,
Low at the crib, and ask an alms of thee;
Submit his unworn shoulder to the yoke,
Break the stiff clod, and o'er thy furrow smoke?
Since great his strength, go trust him, void of care;
Lay on his neck the toil of all the year;
Bid him bring home the seasons to thy doors,
And cast his load among thy gather'd stores.
Didst thou from service the wild ass discharge,
And break his bonds, and bid him live at large,
Through the wide waste, his ample mansion, roam,
And lose himself in his unbounded home?
By nature's hand magnificently fed,
His meal is on the range of mountains spread;
As in pure air aloft he bounds along,
He sees in distant smoke the city throng;
Conscious of freedom, scorns the smother'd train,
The threat'ning driver, and the servile rein.
Survey the warlike horse! didst thou invest
With thunder his robust distended chest?
No sense of fear his dauntless soul allays;
'Tis dreadful to behold his nostrils blaze;
To paw the vale he proudly takes delight,
And triumphs in the fulness of his might;
High rais'd he snuffs the battle from afar,
And burns to plunge amid the raging war;
And mocks at death, and throws his foam around,
And in a storm of fury shakes the ground.
How does his firm, his rising heart, advance
Full on the brandish'd sword, and shaken lance;
While his fix'd eyeballs meet the dazzling shield,
Gaze, and return the lightning of the field!
He sinks the sense of pain in gen'rous pride,
Nor feels the shaft that trembles in his side;
But neighs to the shrill trumpet's dreadful blast
Till death; and when he groans, he groans his last.
But, fiercer still, the lordly lion stalks,
Grimly majestic in his lonely walks;
When round he glares, all living creatures fly;
He clears the desart with his rolling eye.
Say, mortal, does he rouse at thy command,
And roar to thee, and live upon thy hand?
Dost thou for him in forests bend thy bow,
And to his gloomy den the morsel throw,
Where bent on death lie hid his tawny brood,
And, couch'd in dreadful ambush, pant for blood;
Or, stretch'd on broken limbs, consume the day,
In darkness wrapt, and slumber o'er their prey?
(37)By the pale moon they take their destin'd round,
And lash their sides, and furious tear the ground.
Now shrieks, and dying groans, the desart fill;
They rage, they rend; their rav'nous jaws distill
With crimson foam; and, when the banquet's o'er,
They stride away, and paint their steps with gore;
In flight alone the shepherd puts his trust,
And shudders at the talon in the dust.
Mild is my behemoth, though large his frame;
Smooth is his temper, and represt his flame,
While unprovok'd. This native of the flood
Lifts his broad foot, and puts ashore for food;
Earth sinks beneath him, as he moves along
To seek the herbs, and mingle with the throng.
See with what strength his harden'd loins are bound,
All over proof and shut against a wound.
How like a mountain cedar moves his tail!
Nor can his complicated sinews fail.
Built high and wide, his solid bones surpass
The bars of steel; his ribs are ribs of brass;
His port majestic, and his armed jaw,
Give the wide forest, and the mountain, law.
The mountains feed him; there the beasts admire
The mighty stranger, and in dread retire:
At length his greatness nearer they survey,
Graze in his shadow, and his eye obey.
The fens and marshes are his cool retreat,
His noontide shelter from the burning heat;
Their sedgy bosoms his wide couch are made,
And groves of willows give him all their shade.
His eye drinks Jordan up, when, fir'd with drought,
He trusts to turn its current down his throat;
In lessen'd waves it creeps along the plain:
(38)He sinks a river, and he thirsts again.
(39)Go to the Nile, and, from its fruitful side,
Cast forth thy line into the swelling tide:
With slender hair leviathan command,
And stretch his vastness on the loaded strand.
Will he become thy servant? Will he own
Thy lordly nod, and tremble at thy frown?
Or with his sport amuse thy leisure day,
And, bound in silk, with thy soft maidens play?
Shall pompous banquets swell with such a prize?
And the bowl journey round his ample size?
Or the debating merchants share the prey,
And various limbs to various marts convey?
Thro' his firm skull what steel its way can win?
What forceful engine can subdue his skin?
Fly far, and live; tempt not his matchless might:
The bravest shrink to cowards in his sight;
(40)The rashest dare not rouse him up: Who then
Shall turn on me, among the sons of men?
Am I a debtor? Hast thou ever heard
Whence come the gifts that are on me conferr'd?
My lavish fruit a thousand valleys fills,
And mine the herds, that graze a thousand hills:
Earth, sea, and air, all nature is my own;
And stars and sun are dust beneath my throne.
And dar'st thou with the world's great Father vie,
Thou, who dost tremble at my creature's eye?
At full my huge leviathan shall rise,
Boast all his strength, and spread his wondrous size.
Who, great in arms, e'er stripp'd his shining mail,
Or crown'd his triumph with a single scale?
Whose heart sustains him to draw near? (41)Behold,
Destruction yawns; his spacious jaws unfold,
And, marshall'd round the wide expanse, disclose
Teeth edg'd with death, and crowding rows on rows:
What hideous fangs on either side arise!
And what a deep abyss between them lies!
Mete with thy lance, and with thy plummet sound,
The one how long, the other how profound.
His bulk is charg'd with such a furious soul,
That clouds of smoke from his spread nostrils roll,
As from a furnace; and, when rous'd his ire,
(42)Fate issues from his jaws in streams of fire.
The rage of tempests, and the roar of seas,
Thy terror, this thy great superior please;
Strength on his ample shoulder sits in state;
His well-join'd limbs are dreadfully complete;
His flakes of solid flesh are slow to part;
As steel his nerves, as adamant his heart.
When, late awak'd, he rears him from the floods,
And, stretching forth his stature to the clouds,
Writhes in the sun aloft his scaly height,
And strikes the distant hills with transient light,
Far round are fatal damps of terror spread,
The mighty fear, nor blush to own their dread.
(43)Large is his front; and, when his burnish'd eyes
Lift their broad lids, the morning seems to rise.
In vain may death in various shapes invade,
The swift-wing'd arrow, the descending blade;
His naked breast their impotence defies;
The dart rebounds, the brittle fauchion flies.
Shut in himself, the war without he hears,
Safe in the tempest of their rattling spears;
The cumber'd strand their wasted volleys strow;
His sport, the rage and labour of the foe.
His pastimes like a cauldron boil the flood,
And blacken ocean with the rising mud;
The billows feel him, as he works his way;
His hoary footsteps shine along the sea;
The foam high-wrought, with white divides the green,
And distant sailors point where death has been.
His like earth bears not on her spacious face:
Alone in nature stands his dauntless race,
For utter ignorance of fear renown'd,
In wrath he rolls his baleful eye around:
Makes every swoln, disdainful heart, subside,
And holds dominion o'er the sons of pride.
Then the Chaldëan eas'd his lab'ring breast,
With full conviction of his crime opprest.
"Thou canst accomplish all things, Lord of might:
And every thought is naked to thy sight.
But, oh! thy ways are wonderful, and lie
Beyond the deepest reach of mortal eye.
Oft have I heard of thine Almighty power;
But never saw thee till this dreadful hour.
O'erwhelm'd with shame, the Lord of life I see,
Abhor myself, and give my soul to thee.
Nor shall my weakness tempt thine anger more:
Man is not made to question, but adore."