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On the General Conflagration, and ensuing Judgment.

A Pindaric Essay.

Esse quoque in Fatis, reminiscitur, affore tempus Quo Mare, quo Tellus, corruptaque Regia Coeli Ardeat, & Mundi Moles operosa laboret.Ovid. Met.
[ed.] Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.256-258. (AH)
1 Now the black Days of Universal Doom,
2 Which wond'rous Prophecies foretold, are come;
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3 What strong Convulsions, what stupendous Woe,
4 Must sinking Nature undergo,
5 Amidst the dreadful Wreck, and final Overthrow.
6 Methinks I hear her, conscious of her Fate,
7 With fearful Groans, and hideous Cries,
8 Fill the presaging Skies;
9 Unable to support the weight,
10 Or of the present, or approaching Miseries.
11 Methinks I hear her summon all,
12 Her guilty Off-spring, raving with Despair,
13 And trembling, cry aloud, prepare,
14 Ye Sublunary Pow'rs t' attend my Funeral!
15 See, see the tragical Portents,
16 Those dismal Harbingers of dire Events!
17 Loud Thunders roar, and darting Light'nings fly
18 Through the dark Concave of the troubled Sky:
19 The fiery Ravage is begun, the End is nigh,
20 See how the glaring Meteors blaze!
21 Like baleful Torches, O they come,
22 To light dissolving Nature to her Tomb!
23 And scatt'ring round their pestilential Rays,
24 Strike the affrighted Nations with a wild Amaze.
25 Vast Sheets of Flame, and Globes of Fire,
26 By an impetuous Wind are driven,
27 Thro' all the Regions of th' inferior Heaven,
28 Till hid in sulph'rous Smoke, they seemingly expire.
29 Sad and amazing 'tis to see,
30 What mad confusion rages over all
31 This scorching Ball!
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32 No Country is exempt, no Nation free,
33 But each partakes the Epidemic Misery.
34 What dismal havock of Mankind is made
35 By Wars, and Pestilence, and Dearth,
36 Thro' the whole mournful Earth?
37 Which with a murdering Fury they invade,
38 Forsook by Providence, and all propitious Aid.
39 Whilst Fiends let loose, their utmost Rage employ
40 To ruin all things here below;
41 Their Malice and Revenge no Limits know,
42 But, in the universal tumult, all destroy.
43 Distracted Mortals from their Cities fly
44 For safety to their Champian Ground,
45 But there no safety can be found;
46 The Vengeance of an angry Deity,
47 With unrelenting Fury does inclose them round.
48 And whilst for Mercy some aloud implore
49 The God, they ridicul'd before;
50 And others raving with their woe,
51 (For Hunger, Thirst, Despair they undergo,)
52 Blaspheme and curse the Power they should adore.
53 The Earth, parch'd up with Drought, her Jaws extend,
54 And opening wide a dreadful Tomb,
55 The howling Multitude, at once, descends,
56 Together all into her burning Womb.
57 The trembling Alps abscond their aged Heads
58 In mighty Pillars of Infernal Smoke,
59 Which from their bellowing Caverns broke,
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60 And suffocates whole Nations where it spreads.
61 Sometimes the Fire within divides
62 The massy Rivers of those secret Chains,
63 Which hold together their prodigious Sides,
64 And hurls the shatter'd Rocks o'er all the Plains
65 While Towns and Cities, ev'ry thing below,
66 Is overwhelmed with the same burst of Woe.
67 No Showers descend from the malignant Sky,
68 To cool the Burnings of the thirsty Field;
69 The Trees no Leaves, no Grass the Meadows yield,
70 But all is barren, all is dry.
71 The little Rivulets no more
72 To larger Streams their tribute pay,
73 Nor to the ebbing Ocean, they
74 Which with a strange unusual roar,
75 Forsakes those antient Bounds it would have pass'd before,
76 And to the monstrous Deep in vain retires;
77 For ev'n the Deep it self is not secure,
78 But belching subterraneous Fires,
79 Increases still the scalding Calenture,
80 Which neither Earth, nor Air, nor Water can endure.
81 The Sun by Sympathy concern'd,
82 At those Convulsions, Pangs, and Agonies,
83 Which on the whole Creation seize,
84 Is to substantial Darkness turn'd.
85 The neighb'ring Moon, as if a purple Flood,
86 O'erflow'd her tottering Orb, appears
87 Like a huge mass of black corrupting Blood;
88 For she her self a Dissolution fears.
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89 The larger Planets, which once shone so bright,
90 With the reflected Rays of borrow'd Light,
91 Shook from their Center, without motion lie,
92 Unweildy Globes of solid Night,
93 And ruinous Lumber of the Sky.
94 Amidst this dreadful Hurricane of Woes,
95 (For Fire, Confusion, Horror and Despair,
96 Fill ev'ry Region of the tortur'd Earth and Air;)
97 The great Archangel his loud Trumpet blows,
98 At whose amazing Sound, fresh Agonies
99 Upon expiring Nature seize;
100 For now she'll in few Minutes know
101 Th' ultimate Event and Fate of all below.
102 Awake, ye Dead, awake he cries
103 For all must come,
104 All that had Human Breath, arise,
105 To hear your last unalterable Doom.
106 At this the ghastly Tyrant, who had sway'd
107 So many thousand Ages uncontroul'd,
108 No longer could his Scepter hold,
109 But gave up all, and was himself a Captive made.
110 The scatter'd Particles of Human Clay,
111 Which in the silent Grave's dark Chambers lay,
112 Resume their pristine Forms agen,
113 And now from mortal, grow immortal Men.
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114 Stupendous Energy of sacred Pow'r,
115 Which can collect, where-ever cast;
116 The smallest Atoms, and that shape restore,
117 Which they had worn so many Years before,
118 Tho' thro' strange Accidents and numerous Changes past.
119 See how the joyful Angels fly
120 From ev'ry Quarter of the Sky,
121 To gather, and to convoy all,
122 The pious Sons of human Race,
123 To one capacious place,
124 Above the Confines of this flaming Ball.
125 See with what tenderness and love they bear
126 Those righteous Souls thro' the tumultuous Air;
127 Whilst the ungodly stand below,
128 Raging with shame, confusion, and despair,
129 Amidst the burning overthrow,
130 Expecting fiercer Torments, and acuter Woe.
131 Round them Infernal Spirits howling Fly;
132 O Horror, Curses, Tortures, Chains, they cry,
133 And roar aloud with execrable Blasphemy.
134 Hark how the daring Sons of Infamy
135 Who once dissolv'd in Pleasures lay,
136 And laugh'd at this tremendous Day,
137 To Rocks and Mountains now to hide 'em cry;
138 But Rocks and Mountains all in Ashes lie.
139 Their Shame's so mighty, and so strong their Fear,
140 That rather than appear
141 Before a God incens'd, they would be hurl'd
142 Amongst the burning Ruins of the World,
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143 And lie conceal'd, if possible, for ever there.
144 Time was, they would not own a Deity,
145 Nor after Death a future state;
146 But now, by sad Experience find too late,
147 There is, and terrible to that degree,
148 That, rather than behold his Face, they'd cease to be.
149 And sure 'tis better, if Heav'n would give consent,
150 To have no Being; but they must remain
151 For ever, and for ever be in pain.
152 O inexpressible stupendous Punishment,
153 Which cannot be endur'd, yet must be underwent.
154 But now the Eastern Skies expanding wide,
155 The glorious Judge Omnipotent descends,
156 And to the Sublunary World his Passage bends;
157 Where, cloath'd with Human Nature, he did once reside.
158 Round him the bright Ethereal Armies Fly,
159 And loud triumphant Hallelujahs sing,
160 With Songs of Praise, and Hymns of Victory
161 To their Celestial King,
162 All Glory, Pow'r, Dominion, Majesty,
163 Now and for everlasting Ages be,
164 To the Essential One, and Coeternal Three.
165 Perish that World, as 'tis decreed,
166 Which saw the God Incarnate bleed!
167 Perish by thy Almighty Vengeance those
168 Who durst thy Person, or thy Laws expose.
169 The cursed Refuse of Mankind, and Hell's proud Seed
170 Now to the unbelieving Nations show,
171 Thou art a God from all Eternity;
172 Not titular, or but by Office so;
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173 And let 'em the mysterious Union see,
174 Of Human Nature with the Deity.
175 With mighty transports, yet with awful fears,
176 The Good behold this glorious Sight,
177 Their God in all his Majesty appears,
178 Ineffable, amazing bright,
179 And seated on a Throne of everlasting Light.
180 Round the Tribunal, next to the most High,
181 In sacred Discipline and Order stand,
182 The Peers and Princes of the Sky,
183 As they excel in Glory or Command.
184 Upon the Right Hand that Illustrious Croud
185 In the white Bosom of a shining Cloud,
186 Whose Souls abhorring all ignoble Crimes,
187 Did with a steady Course pursue
188 His holy Precepts, in the worst of times;
189 Maugre what Earth, or Hell, what Men or Devils could
190 And now that God they did to Death adore,
191 For whom such Torments and such Pains they bore,
192 Returns to place them on those Thrones above,
193 Where undisturb'd, uncloy'd, they will possess
194 Divine substantial Happiness,
195 Unbounded as his Pow'r, and lasting as his Love.
196 Go bring, the Judge impartial, frowning cries,
197 Those Rebel Sons, who did my Laws despise;
198 Whom neither threat, nor promises could move,
199 Not all my Sufferings, nor all my Love,
200 To save themselves from everlasting Miseries.
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201 At this ten Millions of Archangels Flew
202 Swifter than Lightning, or the swiftest thought,
203 And less than in an instant brought,
204 The wretched, curs'd infernal Crew,
205 Who with distorted Aspects come,
206 To hear their sad intolerable Doom.
207 Alas! they cry, one Beam of Mercy show,
208 Thou all-forgiving Deity!
209 To pardon Crimes is natural to thee;
210 Crush us to nothing, or suspend our Woe:
211 But if it cannot, cannot be,
212 And we must go into a Gulph of Fire,
213 (For who can with Omnipotence contend;)
214 Grant, for thou art a God, it may at last expire,
215 And all our Tortures have an end.
216 Eternal Burnings, O we cannot bear!
217 Tho' now our Bodies too Immortal are,
218 Let 'em be pungent to the last degree;
219 And let our Pains innumerable be,
220 But let 'em not extend to all Eternity.
221 Loe now, there does no place remain
222 For penitence, and tears, but all
223 Must by their Actions stand or fall:
224 To hope for pity is in vain,
225 The Dye is cast, and not to be recall'd again.
226 Two mighty Books are by two Angels brought,
227 In this, impartially recorded, stands
228 The Laws of Nature, and Divine Commands,
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229 In that, each Action, Word and Thought,
230 Whate'er was said in secret, or in secret wrought.
231 Then first the Virtuous, and the Good,
232 Who all the Fury of Temptation stood,
233 And bravely pass'd thro' Ignominy, Chains and Blood;
234 Attended by their Guardian Angels, come
235 To the tremendous Bar of final Doom.
236 In vain the grand Accuser, railing brings,
237 A long Indictment of enormous Things,
238 Whose Guilt wip'd off by penitential Tears,
239 And their Redeemer's Blood and Agonies,
240 No more to their astonishment appears,
241 But in the secret Womb of dark Oblivion lies.
242 Come now, my Friends, he cries, ye Sons of Grace,
243 Partakers once of all my Wrongs and Shame,
244 Despis'd and hated for my Name.
245 Come to your Saviour's, and your God's Embrace!
246 Ascend, and those bright Diadems possess,
247 For you by my Eternal Father made,
248 E'er the Foundation of the World was laid;
249 And that surprizing Happiness,
250 Immense as my own Godhead, and will ne'er be less.
251 For when I languishing in Prison lay,
252 Naked and starv'd almost for want of Bread,
253 You did your kindly Visits pay,
254 Both cloath'd my Body, and my Hunger fed.
255 Wearied with Sickness, or oppress'd with Grief,
256 Your hand was always ready to supply:
257 When-e'er I wanted, you were always by,
258 To share my Sorrows, or to give Relief.
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259 In all Distress, so tender was your Love,
260 I could no anxious trouble bear,
261 No black Misfortune, or vexatious Care,
262 But you were still impatient to remove,
263 And mourn'd, your charitable Hand, should unsuccessful prove,
264 All this you did, tho' not to me
265 In Person, yet to mine in Misery;
266 And shall for ever live
267 In all the Glories that a God can give,
268 Or a created Being's able to receive.
269 At this the Architects Divine on high
270 Innumerable Thrones of Glory raise,
271 On which they, in appointed Order, place
272 The Human Coheirs of Eternity;
273 And with united Hymns the God Incarnate praise.
274 O Holy, Holy, Holy Lord,
275 Eternal God, Almighty One,
276 Be thou for ever, and be thou alone,
277 By all thy Creatures constantly ador'd!
278 Ineffable Coequal Three,
279 Who from Non-entity gave Birth
280 To Angels, and to Men, to Heaven and to Earth;
281 Yet always was thy self, and will for ever be.
282 But for thy Mercy, we had ne'er possest
283 These Thrones, and this immense Felicity,
284 Could ne'er have been so infinitely blest:
285 Therefore all Glory, Power, Dominion, Majesty,
286 To thee, O Lamb of God, to thee,
287 For ever, longer than for ever be.
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288 Then the Incarnate Godhead turns his Face
289 To those upon the Left, and cries,
290 (Almighty Vengeance Flashing in his Eyes)
291 Ye impious, unbelieving Race,
292 To those eternal Torments go,
293 Prepar'd for those Rebellious Sons of Light,
294 In burning Darkness, and in Flaming Night;
295 Which shall no limit or cessation know,
296 But always are extream, and always will be so.
297 The final Sentence pass'd, a dreadful Cloud,
298 Inclosing all the miserable Croud,
299 A mighty Hurricane of Thunder rose,
300 And hurl'd 'em all into a Lake of Fire,
301 Which never, never, never can expire:
302 The vast Abyss of endless Woes.
303 Whilst with their God, the Righteous mount on high,
304 In glorious triumph passing thro' the Sky,
305 To Joys immense, and everlasting Extasy.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): On the General Conflagration, and ensuing Judgment. A Pindaric Essay.
Author: John Pomfret
Themes: God; religion; death
Genres: Pindaric ode; essay; 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. 121-132. [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.