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Eleazer's Lamentation over Jerusalem; paraphrased out of Josephus.

Stanza I.
1 Alas, Jerusalem! Alas! where's now
2 Thy pristine Glory, thy unmatch'd Renown
3 To which the Heathen Monarchies did bow,
4 Ah hapless, miserable Town!
5 Where's all thy Majesty, thy Beauty gone?
6 Thou once most noble celebrated place,
7 The Joy, and the Delight of all the Earth;
8 Who gav'st to God-like Princes Birth,
9 And bred up Heroes, an immortal Race.
10 Where's now the vast Magnificence which made
11 The Souls of Foreigners adore
12 Thy wond'rous Brightness, which no more
13 Shall shine, but lie in an eternal Shade.
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14 Oh Misery! where's all her mighty State,
15 Her splendid Train of numerous Kings,
16 Her noble Edifices, noble Things,
17 Which made her seem so eminently Great?
18 That barb'rous Princes in her Gates appear'd,
19 And wealthy Presents, as their Tribute brought,
20 To court her Friendship, for her Strength they fear'd,
21 And all her wide Protection sought.
22 But now, ah, now they laugh, and cry,
23 See how her lofty Buildings lie,
24 See how her flaming Turrets gild the Sky!
25 Where's all the Young, the Valiant, and the Gay
26 That on her Festivals were us'd to play
27 Harmonious Tunes, and beautify the Day?
28 The glittering Troops, which did from far
29 Bring home the Trophies, and the Spoils of War.
30 Whom all the Nations round with Terror view'd,
31 Nor durst their God-like Valour try,
32 Where-e'er they fought, they certainly subdu'd,
33 And ev'ry Combat gain'd a Victory.
34 Ah! where's the House of the Eternal King,
35 The beauteous Temple of the Lord of Hosts,
36 To whose large Treasuries our Fleets did bring
37 The Gold, and Jewels of remotest Coasts;
38 There had the Infinite Creator plac'd
39 His terrible, amazing Name:
40 And with his more peculiar Presence grac'd
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41 That Heav'nly Sanctum, where no Mortal came,
42 The High-Priest only, he but once a Year,
43 In that Divine Apartment might appear:
44 So full of Glory, and so sacred then,
45 But now corrupted with the Heaps of Slain,
46 Which scatter'd round with Blood, defile the mighty Fane.
47 Alas Jerusalem! each spacious Street
48 Was once so fill'd, the numerous Throng
49 Were forc'd to justle as they pass'd along;
50 And Thousands did with Thousands meet,
51 The Darling then of God, and Man's belov'd Retreat.
52 In thee was the bright Throne of Justice fixt,
53 Justice impartial, and with Fraud unmixt.
54 She scorn'd the Beauties of fallacious Gold,
55 Despising the most wealthy Bribes;
56 But did the sacred Balance hold
57 With God-like Faith to all our happy Tribes.
58 Thy well-built Streets, and ev'ry noble Square,
59 Were once with polish'd Marble laid,
60 And all thy lofty Bull-warks made
61 With wond'rous Labour, and with artful Care.
62 Thy pond'rous Gates, surprizing to behold,
63 Were cover'd o'er with solid Gold;
64 Whose Splendour did so glorious appear,
65 It ravish'd and amaz'd the Eye;
66 And Strangers passing, to themselves wou'd cry,
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67 What mighty Heaps of Wealth are here!
68 How thick the Bars of massy Silver lie?
69 O happy People! and still happy be,
70 Celestial City! from Destruction free,
71 May'st thou enjoy a long entire Prosperity.
72 But now, oh wretched, wretched place!
73 Thy Streets and Palaces are spread
74 With heaps of Carcasses, and Mountains of the Dead,
75 The bleeding Relicks of the Jewish Race:
76 Each corner of the Town, no vacant space,
77 But is with breathless Bodies fill'd;
78 Some by the Sword, and some by Famine kill'd.
79 Natives and Strangers are together laid,
80 Death's Arrows all at random flew
81 Amongst the Crowd, and no distinction made
82 But both the Coward and the Valiant slew.
83 All in one dismal Ruin joyn'd,
84 (For Swords and Pestilence are blind;)
85 The fair, the good, the brave, no Mercy find;
86 Those that from far, with joyful haste,
87 Came to attend thy Festival,
88 Of the same bitter Potion taste,
89 And by the black destructive Poison fall,
90 For the avenging Sentence pass'd on all.
91 Oh! see how the delight of human Eyes
92 In horrid Desolation lies!
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93 See how the burning Ruins flame,
94 Nothing now left, but a sad empty Name;
95 And the triumphant Victor cries,
96 This was the fam'd Jerusalem!
97 The most obdurate Creature must
98 Be griev'd to see thy Palaces in Dust,
99 Those antient Habitations of the Just:
100 And could the Marble Rocks but know
101 The Mis'ries of thy fatal overthrow,
102 They'd strive to find some secret way unknown,
103 Maugre the sensless Nature of the Stone,
104 Their pity, and concern to show.
105 For now, where lofty Buildings stood,
106 Thy Sons corrupted Carasses are laid;
107 And all by this Destruction made
108 One common Golgotha, one Field of Blood.
109 See! how those antient Men, which rul'd thy State,
110 And made thee happy, made thee great,
111 Who sat upon the awful Chair
112 Of mighty Moses, in long Scarlet clad,
113 The good to cherish, and chastise the bad;
114 Now sit in the corrupted Air,
115 In silent Melancholy, and in sad Despair?
116 See! how their murder'd Children round 'em lie!
117 Ah dismal Scene! hark how they cry!
118 Woe! woe! one Beam of Mercy give,
119 Good Heaven! Alas, for we would live!
120 Be pitiful, and suffer us to die!
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121 Thus they lament, thus beg for Ease,
122 While in their feeble aged Arms they hold
123 The Bodies of the Off-spring, stiff and cold,
124 To guard 'em from the rav'nous Savages:
125 Till their increasing Sorrows Death perswade
126 (For Death must sure with pity see
127 The horrid Desolation he has made)
128 To put a period to their Misery.
129 Thy wretched Daughters that survive,
130 Are by the Heathen kept alive
131 Only to gratify their Lust,
132 And then be mixt with common Dust.
133 Oh! insupportable, stupendious Woe!
134 What shall we do? Ah! whither shall we go?
135 Down to the Grave, down to those happy Shades below!
136 Where all our brave Progenitors are blest
137 With endless Triumphs, and eternal Rest.
138 But who without a Flood of Tears can see
139 Thy mournful sad Catastrophe?
140 Who can behold thy glorious Temple lie
141 In Ashes, and not be in pain to die?
142 Unhappy, dear Jerusalem! thy Woes
143 Have rais'd my Griefs to such a vast excess,
144 Their mighty Weight no Mortal knows,
145 Thought cannot comprehend, or Words express,
146 Nor can they possibly, while I survive, be less.
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147 Good Heaven had been extreamly kind,
148 If it had struck me dead, or struck me blind,
149 Before this cursed time, this worst of Days.
150 Is Death quite tir'd, are all his Arrows spent?
151 If not, why then so many dull Delays?
152 Quick, quick, let the obliging Dart be sent!
153 Nay, at me only, let ten Thousand fly,
154 Who e'er shall wretchedly survive, that I
155 May, happily, be sure to die.
156 Yet still we live, live in excess of pain,
157 Our Friends and Relatives are slain;
158 Nothing but Ruins round us see,
159 Nothing but Desolation, Woe, and Misery!
160 Nay, while we thus with bleeding Hearts complain,
161 Our Enemies without, prepare
162 Their direful Engines to pursue the War;
163 And you must slavishly preserve your Breath,
164 Or seek for Freedom in the Arms of Death.
165 Thus then resolve, nor tremble at the thought,
166 Can Glory be too dearly bought?
167 Since the Almighty Wisdom has decreed
168 That we, and all our Progeny, should bleed,
169 It shall be after such a noble way,
170 Succeeding Ages will with wonder view,
171 What brave Despair compell'd us to:
172 No, we will ne'er survive another Day.
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173 Bring then your Wives, your Children, all
174 That's valuable, good, or dear,
175 With ready Hands, and place 'em here;
176 They shall unite in one vast Funeral.
177 I know your Courages are truly brave,
178 And dare do any thing, but ill;
179 Who would an aged Father save,
180 That he may live in Chains, and be a Slave,
181 Or for remorsless Enemies to kill?
182 Let your bold Hands then give the fatal Blow;
183 For what at any other time would be
184 The dire Effect of Rage and Cruelty,
185 Is Mercy, Tenderness, and Pity now,
186 This then perform'd, we'll to the Battle fly,
187 And there amidst our slaughter'd Foes expire.
188 If 'tis Revenge and Glory you desire,
189 Now you may have them, if you dare but die;
190 Nay more, ev'n Freedom, and Eternity.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): Eleazer's Lamentation over Jerusalem; paraphrased out of Josephus.
Author: John Pomfret
Themes: biblical history
Genres: ode

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Source edition

Pomfret, John, 1667-1702. Poems upon Several Occasions. By the Reverend Mr. John Pomfret [poems only]. The Sixth Edition, Corrected. With some Account Of his Life and Writings. To which are added, His Remains. London: printed for D. Brown without Temple Bar, J. Walthoe in the Temple Cloysters, A. Bettesworth, and E. Taylor, in Pater-Noster-Row, and J. Hooke in Fleetstreet, 1724, pp. 105-112. [12], 132, vi, 17p. (ESTC N21233)

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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.