Thomas Parnell

Here you will find the Long Poem Habakkuk of poet Thomas Parnell


Now leave the Porch, to vision now retreat,
Where the next rapture glows with varying heat;
Now change the time, and change the Temple scene,
The following Seer forewarns a future reign.
To some retirement, where the Prophets sons
Indulge their holy flight, my fancy runs,
Some sacred College built for praise and pray'r
And heav'nly dream, she seeks Habakkuk there.
Perhaps 'tis there he moans the nation's sin,
Hears the word come, or feels the fit within, 
Or sees the vision fram'd with Angels hands,
And dreads the judgments of revolted lands,
Or holds a converse if the Lord appear,
And, like Elijah, wraps his face for fear.
This deep recess portends an act of weight,
A message lab'ring with the work of fate.

Methinks the Skies have lost their lovely blue,
A storm rides fiery, thick the clouds ensue.
Fall'n to the ground with prostrate face I lye,
Oh! 'twere the same in this to gaze and dye!
But hark the Prophet's voice: my pray'rs complain
Of labour spent, of Preaching urg'd in vain;
And must, my God, thy sorrowing servant still
Quit my lone joys to walk this world of ill?
Where spoiling rages, strife and wrong command,
And the slack'd laws no longer curb the land?

At this a strange and more than human sound
Thus breaks the cloud and daunts the trembling ground.
Behold the Gentiles, wond'ring all behold,
What scarce ye credit tho' the work be told,
For lo the proud Chaldean troops I raise,
To march the breadth and all the region seize,
Fierce as the proling wolves at close of day,
And swift as eagles in pursuit of prey.
As eastern winds to blast the season blow,
For blood and rapine flies the dreadful foe;
Leads the sad captives countless as the sand,
Derides the princes and destroys the land.
Yet these triumphant grown offend me more,
And only thank the Gods they chose before.

Art thou not holiest, here the prophet cries,
Supream, Eternal, of the purest eyes?
And shall those eyes the wicked realms regard,
Their crimes be great yet vict'ry their reward?
Shall these still ravage more and more to reign,
Draw the full net, and cast to fill again?
As watch-men silent sit, I wait to see
How solves my doubt, what speaks the Lord to me.

Then go, the Lord replys, suspend thy fears,
And write the vision for a term of years.
Thy foes will feel their turn when those are past,
Wait tho' it tarry, sure it comes at last.
'Tis for their rapine, lusts and thirst of blood 
And all their unprotecting Gods of wood.
The Lord is present on his sacred hill,
Cease thy weak doubts, and let the world be still.

Here terrour leaves me with exalted head,
I breath fine air, and find the vision fled,
The Seer withdrawn, inspir'd, and urg'd to write,
By the warm influence of the sacred sight.

His writing finish'd, Prophet-like array'd,
He brings the burthen on the region laid;
His hands a tablet and a volume bear,
The tablet threatnings, and the volume pray'r,
Both for the temple, where to shun decay,
Enroll'd the works of inspiration lay.
And awful oft he stops, or marches slow,
While the dull'd nation hears him preach their woe.

Arriv'd at length, with grave concern for all,
He fix'd his table on the sacred wall.
'Twas large inscrib'd that those who run might read,
'Habakkuk's burthen by the Lord decreed,
'For Judah's sins, her empire is no more,
'The fierce Chaldeans bath her ralm in gore'.

Next to the priest his volume he resign'd,
'Twas pray'r with praises mix'd to raise the mind,
'Twas facts recounted which their fathers knew,
'Twas pow'r in wonders manifest to view.
'Twas comfort rais'd on love already past,
And hope that former love returns at last.

The priests within the prophecy convey'd,
The singers tunes to join his anthem made.
Here and attend the words. And holy thou
That help'd the prophet, help the Poet now.

O Lord who rules the world, with mortal ear
I've heard thy judgments, and I shake for fear.
O Lord by whom their number'd years we find,
E'en in the midst receive the drooping mind;
E'en in the midst thou canst?then make it known
Thy love, thy will, thy power, to save thine own.
Remember mercy tho' thine anger burn,
And soon to Salem bid thy flock return.
O Lord who gav'st it with an outstretch'd hand,
We well remember how thou gav'st the land.

God came from Teman, southward sprung the flame,
From Paron-mount the one that's Holy came, 
A glitt'ring glory made the desart blaze,
High Heav'n was cover'd, earth was fill'd with praise.
Dazzling the brightness, not the sun so bright,
'Twas here the pure substantial Fount of Light
Shot from his hand and side in golden streams,
Came forward effluent horny-pointed beams:
Thus shone his coming, as sublimely fair
As bounded nature