Page images

Self-wandering through the noon, the night, they


Voiceless-a voice the power all-wise denied:
Know then this awful truth-it is not given
T' elude the wisdom of omniscient Heaven.



WITH crooked judgments, lo! the oath's dread



Avenging runs, and tracks them where they trod. Rough are the ways of Justice as the sea, Dragg'd to and fro by men's corrupt decree: Bribe-pamper'd men! whose hands perverting


The right aside and warp the wrested law.

Though, while corruption on their sentence waits,
They thrust pale Justice from their haughty gates;
Invisible their steps the Virgin treads,

And musters evils o'er their sinful heads.
She with the dark of air her form arrays,
And walks in awful grief the city ways;
Her wail is heard, her tear upbraiding falls
O'er their stain'd manners, their devoted walls.
But they who never from the right have stray'd,
Who as the citizen the stranger aid;

They and their cities flourish; genial Peace Dwells in their borders, and their youth increase; Nor Jove, whose radiant eyes behold afar

Hangs forth in Heaven the signs of grievous war. Nor dearth nor scath the upright just pursues; Feasts all their care; while earth abundance


Rich are their mountain oaks: the topmost tree
The acorns fill; its trunk the hiving bee:
Their sheep with fleeces pant: their women's race
Reflect both parents in the infant face:
Still flourish they, nor tempt with ships the main;
The fruits of earth are pour'd from every plain.

But o'er the wicked race, to whom belong
The thought of evil and the deed of wrong,
Saturnian Jove, of wide beholding eyes,

Bids the dark signs of retribution rise:
And oft the crimes of one destructive fall,

The crimes of one are visited on all.

The God sends down his angry plagues from high,
Famine and pestilence; in heaps they die:
He smites with barrenness the marriage bed,
And generations moulder with the dead:

[ocr errors]

Again in vengeance of his wrath he falls

On their great hosts, and breaks their tottering


Scatters their ships of war; and where the sea Heaves high its mountain billows, there is he. Ponder, oh judges! in your inmost thought The retribution by his vengeance wrought. Invisible the Gods are ever nigh,

Pass through the midst and bend th' all-seeing


The men who grind the poor, who wrest the right, Awless of Heaven's revenge, are naked to their


For thrice ten thousand holy Demons rove
This breathing world, the delegates of Jove.
Guardians of man, their glance alike surveys
The upright judgments, and th' unrighteous ways.
A virgin pure is Justice, and her birth
August from him, who rules the Heavens and earth:
A creature glorious to the Gods on high,
Whose mansion is yon everlasting sky.

Driven by despiteful wrong she takes her seat,
In lowly grief, at Jove's eternal feet.

There of the soul unjust her plaints ascend;
So rue the nations when their kings offend:
When, uttering wiles and brooding thoughts of ill,
They bend the laws and wrest them to their will.
Oh! gorged with gold, ye kingly judges, hear!
Make straight your paths; your crooked judg-
ments fear;

That the foul record may no more be seen,

Erased, forgotten, as it ne'er had been!

« PreviousContinue »