Thomas Parnell

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


From the bleak Beach and broad expanse of sea,
To lofty Salem, Thought direct thy way;
Mount thy light chariot, move along the plains,
And end thy flight where Hezekiah reigns.

How swiftly thought has pass'd from land to land,
And quite outrun Time's meas'ring glass of sand,
Great Salem's walls appear and I resort
To view the state of Hezekiah's court.

Well may that king a pious verse inspire,
Who cleans'd the temple, who reviv'd the choir,
Pleas'd with the service David fix'd before,
That heav'nly musick might on earth adore.
Deep-rob'd in white, he made the Levites stand
With Cymbals, Harps, and Psaltries in their hand;
He gave the Priests their trumpets, prompt to raise
The tuneful soul, by force of sound to praise.
A skilful master for the song he chose,
The songs were David's these, and Asaph's those.
Then burns their off'ring, all around rejoice,
Each tunes his instrument to join the voice;
The trumpets sounded, and the singers sung,
The People worship'd and the temple rung.
Each while the victim burns presents his heart,
Then the Priest blesses, and the People part.

Hail sacred musick! since you know to draw
The soul to Heav'n, the spirit to the law,
I come to prove thy force, thy warbling string
May tune my soul to write what others sing.

But is this Salem? this the proms'd bliss,
These sighs and groans? what means the realm by this?
What solemn sorrow dwells in ev'ry street?
What fear confounds the downcast looks I meet?
Alas the King! whole nations sink with woe,
When righteous Kings are summon'd hence to go;
The King lies sick, and thus to speak his doom,
The Prophet, grave Isaiah, stalks the room:
Oh Prince thy servant sent from God, believe,
Set all in order for thou can'st not live.
Solemn he said, and sighing left the place,
Deep prints of horror furrow'd ev'ry face, 
Within their minds appear eternal glooms,
Black gaping marbles of their monarchs tombs,
A King belov'd deceas'd, his offspring none,
And wars destructive e'er they fix the throne.
Strait to the wall he turn'd with dark despair,
('Twas tow'rds the temple, or for private pray'r,)
And thus to God the pious monarch spoke,
Who burn'd the groves, the brazen serpent broke:
Remember Lord with what a heart for right,
What care for truth, I walk'd within thy sight.

'Twas thus with terror, pray'rs and tears he toss'd,
When the mid-court the grave Isaiah cross'd,
Whom in the cedar columns of the square,
Meets a sweet Angel hung in glitt'ring air.
Seiz'd with a trance he stop'd, before his eye
Clears a rais'd arch of visionary sky,
Where as a minute pass'd, the greater light
Purpling appear'd, and south'd and set in night;
A Moon succeeding leads the starry train,
She glides, and sinks her silver horns again:
A second fanci'd morning drives the shades;
Clos'd by the dark the second ev'ning fades;
The third bright dawn awakes, and strait he sees
The temple rise, the monarch on his knees.
Pleas'd with the scene, his inward thoughts rejoice,
When thus the Guardian angel form'd a voice.
Now tow'rds the captain of my people go,
And, Seer, relate him what thy visions show,
The Lord has heard his words, and seen his tears,
And through fifteen extends his future years.

Here to the room prepar'd with dismal black,
The Prophet turning, brought the comfort back.
Oh monarch hail, he cry'd, thy words are heard,
Thy virtuous actions meet a kind regard,
God gives thee fifteen years, when thrice a day,
Shews the round Sun, within the temple pray.

When thrice the day! surpriz'd the monarch cries,
When thrice the Sun! what pow'r have I to rise!
But if thy comfort's human or divine,
'Tis short to prove it?give thy prince a sign.

Behold, the Prophet cry'd, (and stretch'd his hands)
Against yon lattice where the dial stands,
Now shall the Sun a backward journey go 
Through ten drawn lines, or leap to ten below.
'Tis easier posting nature's airy track,
Replies the monarch, let the Sun go back.
Attentive here he gaz'd, the prophet pray'd,
Back went the Sun, and back pursu'd the shade.

Chear'd by the sign, and by the Prophet heal'd,
What sacred thanks his gratitude reveal'd?
As sickly Swallows when a summer ends,
Who miss'd the passage with their flying friends,
Take to a wall, there lean the languid head,
While all who find them think the sleepers dead;
If yet their warmth new days of summer bring,
They wake and joyful flutter up to sing;
So far'd the monarch, sick to death he lay,
His court despair'd, and watch'd the last decay;
At length new favour shines, new life he gains,
And rais'd he sings; 'tis thus the song remains.

I said, my God, when in the loath'd disease
Thy Prophet's words cut off my future days,
Now to the g