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meet with pardon for it, since it is visibly intended | Who heav'd the mountain, which sublimely stands, to show the great submission and respect with which And casts its shadow into distant lands?
THRICE happy Job long liv'd in regal state,
When shouting sons of God the triumph crown'd, And the wide concave thunder'd with the sound? Earth's numerous kingdoms, hast thou view'd them all?
And can thy span of knowledge grasp the ball? 60
"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 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; Thus far, thy floating tide shall be convey'd ; And here, O main, be thy proud billows stay'd.' 70 "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' incumbentshade? 80 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? 90 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? A sudden desert 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; 100 And, when day triumphs in meridian light, Put forth thy hand, and shade the world with night? "Who lanch'd the clouds in air, and bid them roll Suspended scas aloft, from pole to pole? Who can refresh the burning sandy plain, And quench the summer with a waste of rain? Who, in rough deserts far from human toil, Made rocks bring forth, and desolation smile? There blooms the rose, where human face ne'er shone, 110 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 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 nation, 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 Instre brighten, and supply their force? 140 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.
"Who in the stupid ostrich has subdued A parent's care, and fond inquietude?
While far she flies, her scatter'd eggs are found,
"How rich the peacock! what bright glories run
"Who taught the hawk to find, in seasons wise, Perpetual summer, and a change of skies?
"Dost thou pronounce where day-light shall be When clouds deform the year, she mounts the wind,
Shoots to the south, nor fears the storm behind; 150 The Sun returning, she returns again, Lives in his beams, and leaves ill days to men. "Though strong the hawk, though practis'd well to fly,
And draw the purple curtain of the morn;
"Who did the soul with her rich powers invest,
The bulk of waters, the wide-spreading main,
What insects cherish'd, that thy God is blam'd? 190
Th' unsiaughter'd host, enjoys the promis'd gore. 230
"Didst thou from service the wild-ass discharge,
His meal is on the range of mountains spread;
'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,
"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; 300 Farth 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. 310 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; 320 In lessen'd waves it creeps along the plain: He sinks a river, and he thirsts again.
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? 330 "Shallpompous banquets swell with such a prize? And the bowl journey round his ample size?
Or the debating merchants share the prey,
"Am I a debtor? Hast thou ever heard
"At full my large 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? Behold, Destruction yawns; his spacious jaws unfold, And marshal'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, Fate issues from his jaws in streams of fire. The rage of tempests, and the roar of seas, Thy terrour, 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 terrour spread, The mighty fear, nor blush to own their dread. "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; 380 His naked breast their impotence defies; The dart rebounds, the brittle falchion 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 Chaldæan eas'd his labouring breast, With full conviction of his crime opprest. 400 "Thou canst accomplish all things, Lord of Might! And every thought is naked to thy sight.
that of "Let there be light," &c. so much only, as the absolute government of nature yields to the 405 creation of it.
But, oh! thy ways are wonderful, and lie
NOTES ON THE PARAPHRASE.
Book of Job.] It is disputed amongst the critics who was the author of the Book of Job; some give it to Moses, some to others. As I was engaged in this little performance, some arguments occurred to me which favour the former of those opinions; and because I do not find them mentioned by any one else, I have flung them into the following notes, where little else is to be expected.
Ver. 1.] The Almighty's speech, chapter xxxviii, &c. which is what I paraphrase in this little work, is by much the finest part of the noblest and most antient poem in the world. Bishop Patrick says, its grandeur is as much above all other poetry, as thunder is louder than a whisper. In order to set this distinguished part of the poem in a fuller light, and give the reader a clearer conception of it, I have abridged the preceding and subsequent parts of the poem, and joined them to it; so that this piece is a sort of an epitome of the whole Book of Job. I use the word paraphrase, because I want another which might better answer to the uncommon liberties I have taken. I have omitted, added, and transposed. The mountain, the comet, the Sun, and other parts, are entirely added: those upon the peacock, the lion, &c. are much enlarged; and 1
The like spirit in these two passages is no bad concurrent argument, that Moses is author of the book of Job.
Ver. 191.] Another argument that Moses was the author is, that most of the creatures here are Egyptian. The reason given why the raven is particularly mentioned as an object of the care of Providence, is, because, by her clamorous and importunate voice, she particularly seems always calling upon it; thence nogarow, à xóga, Ælian. I. ii. c. 48. is "to ask earnestly." And since there were ravens on the bank of the Nile more clamorous than the rest of that species, those probably are meant in that place.
Ver. 195.] There are many instances of this bird's stupidity: let two suffice. First, It covers its head in the reeds, and thinks itself all out of sight: Stat lumine clauso Ridendum revolta caput, creditque latere Quæ non ispa videt. CLAUD. Secondly, They that go in pursuit of them, draw the skin of an ostrich's neck on one hand, which proves a sufficient lure to take them with the other. They have so little brain, that Heliogabalus had six hundred beads for his supper.
Here we may observe, that our judicious as well as sublime author just touches the great points of distinction in each creature, and then hastens to another. A description is exact when you cannot add, but what is common to another thing; nor withdraw, but something peculiarly belonging to the thing described. A likeness is lost in too much description, as a meaning often in too much illus
have thrown the whole into a method more suitable
Longinus has a chapter on interrogations, which shows that they contribute much to the sublime. This speech of the Almighty is made up of them. Interrogation seems, indeed, the proper style of Majesty incensed. It differs from other manner of reproof, as bidding a person execute himself, does from a common execution; for he that asks the guilty a proper question, makes him, in effect, pass sentence on himself.
Ver. 205.] Here is marked another peculiar quaof this creature, which neither flies nor runs directly, but has a motion composed of both, and, using its wings as sails, makes great speed.
Vasta velut Libyæ venantum vocibus ales
Ver. 206.] Xenophon says, Cyrus had horses that could overtake the goat and the wild ass; but none that could reach this creature. A thousand golden ducats, or a hundred camels, was the stated price of a horse that could equal their speed.
Ver. 207.] Though this bird is but just mentioned in my author, I could not forbear going a little further, and spreading those beautiful plumes
Ver. 41.] The Book of Job is well known to be dramatic, and, like the tragedies of old Greece, is fiction built on truth. Probably this most noble part of it, the Almighty speaking out of the whirl-(which are there shut up) in half a dozen lines. wind (so suitable to the after-practice of the Greek stage, when there happened dignus vindice nodus) is fictitious; but is a fiction more agreeable to the time in which Job lived, than to any since. Frequent, before the Law, were the appearances of the Almighty after this manner, Exod. c. xix. Ezek. c. i. &c. Hence is he said to "dwell in thick darkness and have his way in the whirlwind."
The circumstance I have marked of his opening his plumes to the Sun is true: Expandit colores adverso maximè Sole, quia sic fulgentius radiant. PLIN. 1. x. c. 20.
Ver. 219.] Thuanus (de Re Accip.) mentions a hawk that flew from Paris to London in a night. And the Eygptians, in regard to its swiftness, made it their symbol for the wind; for which reason we may suppose the hawk, as well as the crow above. mentioned, to have been a bird of note in Egypt. Ver. 227.] The eagle is said to be of so acute a that, when she is so high in air that man cannot see her, she can discern the smallest fish under water. My author accurately understood the nature of the creatures he describes, and seems
Ver. 69.] There is a very great air in all that precedes, but this is signally sublime. We are struck with admiration to see the vast and ungovernable ocean receiving commands, and punctually obey-sight, ing them; to find it like a managed horse, raging, tossing, and foaming, but by the rule and direction of its master. This passage yields in sublimity to
to have been a naturalist as well as a poet, which the next note will confirm.
Ver. 231.] The meaning of this question is, Knowest thou the time and circumstances of their bringing forth? For to know the time only was easy, and had nothing extraordinary in it; but the circumstances had something peculiarly expressive of God's providence, which makes the question proper in this place. Pliny observes, that the hind with young is by instinct directed to a certain herb called seselis, which facilitates the birth. Thunder also (which looks like the more immediate hand of Providence) has the same effect. Ps. xxix. In so early an age to observe these things, may style our author a naturalist.
Ver. 259.] The descripton of the horse is the most celebrated of any in the poem. There is an excellent critique on it in the Guardian. I shall therefore only observe, that in this description, as in other parts of this speech, our vulgar translation has much more spirit than the Septuagint; it always takes the original in the most poetic and exalted sense, so that most commentators, even on the Hebrew itself, fall beneath it.
Ver. 289.] Pursuing their prey by night is true of most wild beasts, particularly the lion. Ps. evi. 20. The Arabians have one among their 500 names for the lion, which signifies "the hunter by moon-shine."
Ver. 322.] Cephesi glaciale caput quo suetos an
Ferre sitim Python, amnemque avertere ponto. STAT. Theb. v. 349. Qui spiris tegeret montes, hauriret hiatu Flumina, &c. CLAUD. Pref. in Ruf. Let not then this hyberbole seem too much for an eastern poet, though some commentators of name strain hard in this place for a new construction, through fear of it.
Ver. 523.] The taking of the crocodile is most difficult. Diodorus says, they are not to be taken but by iron nets. When Augustus conquered Eygpt, he struck a medal, the impress of which was a crocodile chained to a palm-tree, with this inscription, Nemo antea religavit.
Ver. 339.] This alludes to a custom of this creature, which is, when sated with fish, to come ashore and sleep among the reeds.
Ver. 353.] The crocodile's mouth is exceedingly wide. When he gapes, says Pliny, sit totum os. Martial says to his old woman,
Cum comparata rictibus tuis ora
so that the expression here is barely just,
Ver. 364.] This too is nearer truth than at first view may be imagined. The crocodile, say the naturalists, lying long under water, and being there forced to hold its breath, when it emerges, the breath Long represt is hot, and bursts out so violently, that it resembles fire and smoke. The horse suppresses not his breath by any means so long, neither is he so fierce and animated; yet the most correct of poets ventures to use the same metaphor concerning him:
Collectumque premens volvit sub naribus ignem. By this and the foregoing note I would caution against a false opinion of the eastern boldness from passages in them ill understood.
Ver. 377.]"His eyes are like the eye-lids of the morning." I think this gives us as great an image of the thing it would express, as can enter the thought of man. It is not improbable that the Egyptians stole their hieroglyphic for the morning, which is the crocodile's eye, from this passage, though no commentator, I have seen, mentions it. It is easy to conceive how the Egyptians should be both readers and admirers of the writings of Moses, whom I suppose the author of this poem.
I have observed already that three or four of the creatures here described are Egyptian; the two last are notoriously so, they are the river-horse and the crocodile, those celebrated inhabitants of the Nile; and on these two it is that our author chiefly dwells. It would have been expected from an author more remote from that river than Moses, in a catalogue of creatures produced to magnify their Creator, to have dwelt on the two largest works of his hand, viz.the elephant and the whale. This is so natural an expectation, that some commentators have rendered behemoth and leviathan, the elephant and whale, though the descriptions in our author will not admit of it: but Moses being, as we may well suppose, under an immediate terrour of the hippopotamus and crocodile, from their daily mischiefs and ravages around him; it is very accountable why he should permit them to take place.
ON DR. YOUNG'S TRANSLATION OF PART OF JOB.
BY DR. COBDEN.
THE poem, which, originally great,
ON MICHAEL ANGELO'S FAMOUS PIECE OF THE CRUCIFIXON;
WHO IS SAID TO HAVE STABBED A PERSON THAT HE
WHILST his Redeemer on his canvass dies,
Views the pale cheek and the distorted mien;
Though the report was propagated without the least truth, it may be sufficient ground to justify a poetical fancy's enlarging on it.