Thomas Parnell

Here you will find the Long Poem Deborah of poet 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