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Till now it nighed the noon-stead of the day,
When scorching heat the gadding herds do grieve, When shepherds now, and herdsmen every way,
Their thirsting cattle to the fountain drive:
Amongst the rest seven shepherdesses went
Along the way for watering of their sheep, Whose eyes him seemed such reflections sent
As made the flocks more white that they did keep :
Girls that so goodly and delightful were,
The fields were fresh and fragrant in their view, Winter was as the spring-time of the year,
The grass so proud that in their footsteps grew:
Daughters they were unto a holy man,
(And worthy, too, of such a sire to be,) Jethro, the priest of fertile Midian,
Few found so just, so righteous man as he.
But see the rude swain, the untutored slave,
Without respect or reverence to their kind, Away their fair flocks from the water drave ;
Such is the nature of the barbarous hind.
The maids, perceiving where a stranger sát,
Of whom those clowns so basely did esteem, Were in his presence discontent thereat,
Whom he perhaps improvident might deem;
Which he perceiving, kindly doth entreat,
Reproves the rustics for that offered wrong, Averring it an injury too great
To such, of right, all kindness did belong.
But finding well his oratory fail,
His fists about him frankly he bestows; That where persuasion could not late prevail,
He yet compelleth quickly by his blows.
Entreats the damsels their abodes to make,
With courtly semblance and a manly grace, At their fair pleasures quietly to take
What might be had by freedom of the place.
Whose beauty, shape, and courage they admire,
Exceeding these the honour of his mind; For what in mortal could their hearts desire
That in this man they did not richly find ?
Returning sooner than their usual hour,
All that had happened to their father told : That such a man relieved them by his power,
As one all civil courtesy that could :
Who full of bounty, hospitably meek,
Of his behaviour greatly pleased to hear ; Forthwith commands his servants him to seek,
To honour him by whom his honoured were :
Gently receives him to his goodly seat,
Feasts him, his friends, and families among, And with him all those offices entreat,
That to his place and virtues might belong :
Whilst in the beauty of those goodly dames,
Wherein wise nature her own skill admires, He feeds those secret and unpiercing flames,
Nursed in fresh youth and gotten in desires :
Won with this man, this princely priest to dwell,
For greater hire than bounty could devise; For her whose praise, makes praise itself excel,
Fairer than fairness, and as wisdom wise :
In her, her sisters severally were seen,
Of every one she was the rarest part, Who in her presence any time had been,
Her ange eye transpierced, not her heart.
Por Zipporah, a shepherd's life he leads,
And in her sight deceives the subtil hours ; And for her sake oft roves the flowery meads
With those sweet spoils to enrich her rural bowers.
Up to Mount Horeb with his flock he took,
The flock wise Jethro willed him to keep; Which well he guarded with his shepherd's crook,
Goodly the shepherd, goodly were the sheep:
To feed and fold full warily he knew,
From fox and wolf his wandering flocks to free. The goodliest flowers that in the meadows grew,
Were not more fresh and beautiful than he.
Gently his fair flocks lessowed he along,
Through the trim pastures freely at his leisure, Now on the hills, the valleys then among,
Which seem themselves to offer to his pleasure;
Whilst feathered sylvans from each blooming spray,
With murmuring waters whistling as they creep, Make him such music to abridge the way,
As fits a shepherd company to keep.
When, lo! that great and fearful God of might
To that fair Hebrew strangely doth appear, In a bush, burning visible and bright,
Yet unconsuming, as no fire there were:
With hair erected, and upturned eyes,
Whilst he, with great astonishment admires, Lo! that Eternal Rector of the skies,
Thus breathes to Moses from those quickening fires :
“Shake off thy sandals,” saith the thundering God,
“With humbled feet my wondrous power to see; For that the soil where thou hast boldly trod,
Is most select and hallowed unto me:
“ The righteous Abraham for his God me knew,
Isaae and Jacob trusted in my name, And did believe my covenant was true,
Which to their seed shall propagate the same.
* My folk that long in Egypt had been barred,
Whose cries have entered heaven's eternal gate, Our zealous mercy openly hath heard,
Kneeling in tears at our Eternal State;
“And am come down, then, in the land to see,
Where streams of milk through fruitful valleys flow, And luscious honey dropping from the tree,
Load the full flowers that in their shadows grow :
“By thee my power am purposed to try,
That from rough bondage shalt the Hebrews bring, Bearing that great and fearful embassy
To that monarchaic and imperious king.
“And on this mountain, standing in thy sight,
When thou 'returnest from that conquered land, Thou hallowed altars unto me shalt light,
This for a token certainly shall stand."
VIRTUE NOT HEREDITARY.
That height and god-like purity of mind
Resteth not still where titles most adorn; With any, not peculiarly confined
To names, and to be limited doth scorn :
Richest and poorest, both alike are born ;
Pity it is, that to one virtuous man
That mark him lent, to gentry to advance, Which, first by noble industry he wan,
His baser issue after should enhance; And the rude slave not any good that can
Such should thrust down by what is his by chance. As had not he been first that him did raise, Ne'er had his great heir wrought his grandsire's praise.
You that but boast your ancestor's proud style,
And the large stem whence your vain greatness grew; When you yourselves are ignorant and vile,
Nor glorious thing dare actually pursue,
Doubting their worth should else discover you,
Virtue, but poor, God in this earth doth place,
'Gainst this rude world to stand upon his right; To suffer sad affliction and disgrace,
Not ceasing to pursue her with despite :
And seeming in most miserable plight,
That is the man of an undaunted spirit,
For her dear sake that offereth him to die; For whom when him the world doth disinherit,
Looketh upon it with a pleased eye; What's done for virtue thinking it doth merit,
Daring the proudest menaces defy; More worth than life, howe'er the base world rate him, Beloved of heaven, although the world doth hate him.