[Page 58]

The Vision,

Written in a dangerous fit of Sickness.

1 DIssolv'd in Sleep neer a complaining Stream,
2 My Fancy strove with an important Dream.
3 Me-thought I was with Violence born away
4 Through a dark Vault, whose Cavern did convey
5 To Death's sad Courts; the brazen Gates I past,
6 Which on my entrance were again made fast.
[Page 59]
7 The dismal Cell with horrour I survey'd,
8 For dead mens Bones in Piles were round me laid,
9 And Skulls of largest size the Pavement made.
10 The Sun to this dark Mansion darts no Ray,
11 But glim'ring Lamps make an imperfect Day:
12 By their faint Light I searcht the Cave around,
13 And in each Nook amazing Objects found.
14 In a long Row stood Glasses stor'd with Sand,
15 Which of some Mortals years the Tale contain'd:
16 His or Her Name the bloody Letters spell'd,
17 The Number of whose years the Hour-glass held.
18 Grim Fate stood by to watch the hindmost Grain,
19 And cut the slender Thread of Life in Twain;
20 Then down the Tablet dropt t'a stream below,
21 Suppos'd from the Lethaean Lake to flow:
22 A while it floated 'till born Under-ground,
23 'Twas in th' Abyss of deep Oblivion drown'd.
24 Whilst into Fate's Arcanas thus I pry'd,
25 My own Name on a Tablet I descry'd.
[Page 60]
26 But oh the Pangs and Agonies that rent
27 My panting Breast to find my Glass neer spent!
28 The Tragick Scene begins (Forgive me Fate
29 That thy occult Proceedings I Relate.)
30 Strait was I summond to receive my Doom,
31 For Death with horrid Grace approacht the Room
32 Array'd majestick in a mourning Robe,
33 A Dart his Scepter, and a Skull his Globe.
34 He sat, th' Attendants on his Person stood,
35 All arm'd for Slaughter, and distain'd with Blood.
36 Diseases next were plac't a numerous Train,
37 Producing each a Bed-roll of his slain.
38 No sooner were my scatter'd Thoughts restor'd,
39 But I with mental Pray'rs Heav'ns Aid implor'd;
40 Then thus with hollow Voice the Tyrant spoke
41 In vain fond Youth Heav'ns succour you invoke,
42 Stand to the Bar, and hear th'Inditement read;
43 For ere Thou dy'st Thou art allow'd to Plead:
44 Thy Charge is deep, but for thy self Reply,
45 Oh I am Guilty and deserve to Dye!
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46 My years in Vanity's pursuit I spent,
47 Too oft Transgrest, too rarely did Repent;
48 Some Vices (Heav'n Assisting) I supprest,
49 And lasting War proclaim'd with all the Rest;
50 But oft i'th' Combat I shrunk back and fled,
51 By Passions oft surpriz'd and Captive led.
52 But are this Courts Proceedings so severe,
53 That Youth can Challenge no Indulgence Here?
54 Had Fate my Life to Manlier years promov'd,
55 Perhaps my Skill and Courage had improv'd:
56 Mortal thy Doom already is decreed,
57 (The Iudge reply'd) and Sentence must proceed!
58 This Court's Records with Instances abound
59 Of Younger Brows than Thine with Lawrel crown'd,
60 Approach ye Ministers of Fate, and bear
61 Th'Offender Hence to th'Region of Despair,
62 In Liquid Flames of Sulphur let him roul,
63 In sharpest Agonies of a Hell-wreckt Soul:
64 Thus let him howl Eternity Away,
65 Refresht with no short Glimps of Heav'nly Day.
[Page 62]
66 Confusion now my Tortur'd Bosom fill'd;
67 Cold Sweat adown my Lifeless joynts distill'd.
68 A Guard of Daemons at the Tyrant's call
69 With hideous Yellings rusht into the Hall
70 Monstrous of Shape, of Size, Prodigious Tall.
71 In this Distress behold a Heav'nly Ray,
72 Around me did his chearful Light display.
73 The Lamps grew pale and shrunk into their Case,
74 The frighted Daemons Vanisht from the Place;
75 The haughty Tyrant's Self confus'd appear'd;
76 Mongst the dead Bones a rattling Noise was heard,
77 As Summon'd to the Universal Doom,
78 They justled with each other in their Tomb.
79 Not daring yet to hope Relief I spy'd
80 My Guardian-Angel smiling by my side;
81 A silent joy through all my Vitals ran,
82 Whilst Thus in Charming Language He began.
83 Rejoyce my charge, for from Heav'ns Court I come
84 With gracious Orders to Revoke thy Doom.
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85 Thy Sun is set, thy Life-glass almost run,
86 Thy Virtue's Race imperfectly begun.
87 But Heav'n in Pitty to thy sickly Pace,
88 Has Lincenc'd me or to contract the space,
89 Or on my Wing thy lingring Spirit convey
90 To Blissful Mansions of Eternal Day.
91 To Heav'n and Him my Humblest Thanks I paid,
92 And beg'd to be to those glad Seats convey'd;
93 But first admit the Lot of all Man-kind
94 And Leave (said He) that Load of Earth behind,
95 Pris'ners Absolv'd, less gladly quit their Chain
96 Than I this Flesh that did my Spirit detain.
97 But when my Soul her naked Self Survey'd,
98 Leaprous and soul by Sin's Contagion made,
99 She Blusht and sought to cover her Disgrace,
100 Retreating back into her Fleshy case.
101 The Guardian-Spirit her sond Attempr with-stood,
102 And streight with Hyssop dipt in Sacred Blood,
103 Baptiz'd Her; and behold, whilst I enquir'd
[Page 64]
104 Th'Intent o'th' Ceremony, I grew inspir'd
105 With mental joys, and now descry'd no more
106 Those Blemishes that stain'd my Soul before:
107 Thought of New Worlds my Mind had so ingrost,
108 That all Remembrance of the Old it Lost:
109 That Body too (which once I fondly thought
110 Cou'd never be from my Remembrance wrought)
111 Had now quite scapt my Mem'ry, till I spy'd
112 The pale and Lifeless Engine by my side.
113 Bless me (said I) what ghastly thing lies there?
114 Was this the Mansion where so many a year,
115 I lingred 'twixt successive Hope and Fear?
116 Was this the Thing I took such Care t'improve,
117 Taught it to Cringe, and in just measures move?
118 The thing that lately did in Business sweat,
119 That talkt so much of being Rich and Great!
120 That sought with Verse to make its Love renown'd,
121 And hop't ere long to see its Passion Crown'd;
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122 Behold where the designing Machine lies,
123 Prey to those Insects it did once Despise.
124 Suppose that Body now lay cover'd ore
125 In Persumes brought from Ormus Spicie Shore;
126 What courteous Female wou'd vouchsafe the Grace
127 To Curl those Locks, or Kiss that ghastly Face?
128 Why is the Corpse so long detain'd from Ground,
129 Tis more than Time those Hands and Feet were bound;
130 Close the dull Eyes, support the falling Chin,
131 With grassie Turfs suppress the swelling Skin:
132 Go, let the Fun'ral Peal be Rung aloud,
133 In Winding-Sheets th'offensive Carkass shrow'd
134 And in some Nook the Useless Lumber crow'd.
135 Insulting Thus I spake, and more had said,
136 But was by my Assistant Angel stay'd;
137 My Charge, said he, (these gloomy shades with-drawn)
138 Behold of Everlasting Day the Dawn:
139 At th'Entrance to th'Elysian Land (a Grace
140 Confer'd on Souls when first they arrive the Place)
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141 The Blissful Throng are met to welcome Thee
142 To their fair World of Immortality.
143 He said, and strait his Threatning Wand up-heav'd,
144 The Neighb'ring Walls obey'd the Stroke and cleav'd;
145 Such was the Blow giv'n by the Hebrew Guide,
146 When forcing his Foot-passage through the Tide,
147 The Waters there Congeal'd and stood in Walls,
148 The Building here like breaking Water falls.
149 But now the parting Stones brought Heav'n in View,
150 When (Fatal Chance!) my rapt'rous Dream withdrew
151 The grateful slumber from my Temples fell,
152 Round me I view'd the Grove, and thought it Hell;
153 Aloud I call'd my Guide! Obligingly
154 The Ecchoing Rocks kept up th'expiring cry,
155 But the false Vision fled without Reply.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The Vision, Written in a dangerous fit of Sickness.
Author: Nahum Tate
Genres: dream vision

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Source edition

Tate, Nahum, c. 1652-1715. Poems by N. Tate. London: Printed by T.M. for Benj. Tooke ..., 1677, pp. 58-66. [15],133p. (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Harding C 2953].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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