Benjamin Colman

A Poem on Elijahs'Translation, Occasion'd by the Death of the Reverend and Learn

Coelo Musa beat.
Hor. Carm. Lib. 4. Od. 8.--Nec meus audet
Rem tentare pudor, quam Vires serre recusent.
Hor. Ep. 1. Lib. 2.

I sing the MAN, by Heav'ns peculiar Grace,
The Prince of Prophets, of the Chosen Race,
Rais'd and Accomplisht for degenerate Times,
To Stem the Ebb with Faith & Zeal Sublime;
T' assert forsaken Truth, to Check the Rage
Of rampant Vice, and cure a Wicked Age.
Such Times need such a Prophet, & in his Death
Is quencht the Light of Israel, and their Breath.

Plain was the Saint, his Soul by Grace refin'd,
His Girdle mean, but much adorn'd his Mind:
In Face, as well as Mind, above the Toyes
Of this vain World, and all its sensual Joyes:
Simple in Diet, negligent of Dress,
Hairy and rough his Robe, [1] meet to express
One Mortify'd to things of Time and Sense,
To Truth & things Divine a Love Intense.

Jealous for Israel[2], & the LORD OF HOSTS,
Disdain'd to see HIM Rival'd by a Post,
Mourn'd his forsaken Covenant, & Worship lost.
Courageous, dar'd Alone to stand the Shock,
Of num'rous Priests of Baal[3], & to deride their Stock.
Fac'd feirce Tyrannous Powers, told their Crimes,
And shames deserv'd, the Judgments of their Times.
His & Truths Triumph, Glorious: Strange to say!
A debaucht Nation Convert in a Day[4],
And sham'd, enrag'd Impostures fled away!

A wondrous Saint; Inspir'd, Imploy'd & Led
By Heav'nly Love; by many Wonders fed[5].
The Care of Heav'n, the Darling of his GOD,
Signally Sav'd, cheer'd by his Staff and Rod.
Voracious Ravens yield Him up their Prey:
Glad Angels to his Succour wing away:
And Heav'n, to show its Empire more, commands
Hopeless Relief from famishing Widows hands.

He Pray'd, [6] the Sealed Heav'ns witheld their Rain:
He Pray'd, the op'ned Clouds discharge again.
Provokt, He askt; [7] strange blazing show'rs of Flame
Stream down, and Sodoms Day renewed came.
He struck the Floods, [8] the refluent Waves divide,
His Mantles Breath drove back the flowing Tyde.
What aild thee, O astonisht Sea, to fly?
Jordan! from Joshua's dayes thy Banks not dry!
Yet Greater Wonders view: He spake, the Dead[9]
In Sin, or Grave, lift up their fallen Head:
Witness the happy Mother, fully won
To Heaven as she receiv'd her raised Son:
Blest Work of Grace! the Mercy of the Mean
Illustrious, as the Saving Change, is Seen.

Not less Miraculous the Prophets Fasts,
Labours and Travels [10] gloriously Surpast:
His Strength and Application, as his Trust
Noble and vast, Angelick and August:
In publick Toils consum'd, of Life profuse,
Exhausted in retired holy Muse,
On the deep things of God, & Mysteries Abstruse.

Such Labours Bounteous Heav'n is wont to Crown
With Heav'nly Visions, Light & Joyes unknown.
So Heav'nly Glories dazled Moses Eyes[11],
And Lab'ring Paul [12] was caught to Paradise.
No less Elijah to his Saviour dear,
No less his Cares & Toils, his Pray'rs & Tears;
Nor less wou'd Heav'n his suff'ring Soul to cheer.

The GOD of Israel past before the [13] Cave
In Majesty, as 'erst the Law he gave,
And frightned Nature seem'd to seek a Grave.
Tempests and Flames, & Earthquakes marcht before,
Speaking the Terrors of Almighty Pow'r;
These usher'd in the small still Voice of Grace;
His Soul grew Calm, Serene the troubled Place:
Husht as the Winds were all his boist'rous Fears,
The Humble Saint, call'd forth by God, appears;
With Mantle wrapt about his face he stood,
Afraid to hear, nor wisht to see his GOD.

Yet lest the Hero as his GOD we show,
Or He [14] Elate with Visions, vain shou'd grow,
At times his Passions did the Man betray,
That Saints have Sin, & Prophets are but Clay.
Too Tim'rous midst his Triumphs; [15] left to fly
A Womans Rage and Threats, and wish to die.
Desponding [16] moan'd Christ of his Church bereft,
And not a single Saint in Israel left.
All to hide Pride from Man, to show how Vain [17]
We are at Best, and undue Tho'ts restrain.

GOD is the Light[18], in whom's no Shade at all,
To Him in prostrate Adorations fall.
Created Brightness ever has its Blots,
And even Persia's Idol has its Spots.

Yet Admiration, Reverence and Love
Are due to Saints on Earth, or those Above.
Sure the curst Spirit that hates is born of Hell,
Nor is less Monster then foul Jezebel:
She Murd'rous sought his Blood[19]: Ahab his Name
(Dearer than Life) with sland'rous lies defames[20]:
And both invet'rate Hate, & deadly War proclaim.
Yet Spite of Envy, Spite of Malice curst,
VERTUE shall live: see bloated Fiend, & burst!
See the fair Name Immortal in my Verse!
See the Strew'd Glories on the Hero's Herse!
A Name imbalm'd shall be the Just Mans lot,
While Vicious Teeth shall gnash, & Names shall rot.

Return, my Muse, and Sing his faithful Care,
And noblest Trust, in happy [21] Bethels Chair.
Hail, Venerable Seat! from Jacobs dayes [22]
Sacred to Israels GOD, and to his Praise!
Blest evermore with Visions! the Resort
Of Holy Angels! Heav'ns Inferior Court!
Hail dreadful Place! th' Eternals blest Abode!
The Gate of Heav'n, and the House of GOD!
Blest place of Inspiration!--

Here stood the Spacious Colledge, Israels pride:
And here th' Illustrious Seer did preside.
Stately the Dome, worthy the Beauteous Train,
Religion pure devoted to Maintain,
And to the Age to come the Laws Divine explain.
Richly Endow'd by every pious Zeal,
Studious of Zions Glory and her Weal:
Blest Tribute! dear to Heav'n: A pious Aid
Given to Christ, and liberally repaid
In richer Blessings to the Church and State;
So He returns us what we Consecrate.

Hence Israels Chiefs, & hence her Teachers came;
Hence Truth & Grace, hence issu'd Light & Flame;
Hence Men Renown'd, & of Celebrious Fame.
Micaiah one: from foul Illusion free,
Faithful to God, and Ahab true to thee[23]!
Kings trembled as he Spake and Homage paid,
Of Truth and the Superior Man afraid.
Elisha too, to greater Glories born,
Was hence: and high exalted is his Horn!

These beauteous Sons were the blest Prophets pride,
Under his Wing they bloom'd, & flourisht by his Side:
Paid him a Reverence profound and true,
To Heav'ns Election, Israels Suffrage due.

Them, as by Office bound, He did Inspect,
Taught heav'nly Truth, and Errors did correct:
Cherisht the Good, & form'd their Manners well,
But searcht out Vice, th' Infection to expel.
Meek and Majestick; Affable and Grave,
Lowly & Good; and all that's Great and Brave.
He Overaw'd and Charm'd: Base hearts he won,
And perfected where Goodness was begun.

To them His Lectures on the Holy Law,
Sublime they were, new Mysteries they saw:
Like Him with Heav'nly Light & Joyes Inspir'd,
Their ravisht Minds the Sacred Deeps admir'd.
They saw the promised MESSIAH's dayes[24],
And the Glad Schools resounded with his Praise.
They Sang the Baptist [25] in their Prophets Spirit,
And blest the Saint Elect that shou'd Inherit.
They Sang of the [26] Transfigur'd Saviours Rayes,
What Fav'rite Saints, from Heav'n it self, to gaze,
On Glories yet Unknown; and Talk of High
Mysterious Truths; into which Angels Pry,
And pass in Transports Immortality.
They Sang his High Ascent, & Gifts [27] Ineffable,
The Cloven Tongues of Fire on Pentecost that fell,
And what Great Type shou'd all these Wonders Figure & Foretell.

Thus taught, they waited long the Great Event,
Foresaw the Day, Amaz'd at the Portent:
Stupendous Grace and Power they view'd, Ador'd
The Sov'rain GOD, and Pry'd into his Word.

And now the Saint had his Last Visit made,
His Solemn Charge, and final Blessing said.
His Weeping Sons receiv'd his last Adieu,
With eager Eyes their Breath departing View,
And following far behind to Jordans[28] Brink they drew.
Each Emulous to Succeed, but well prepar'd
To welcome Him whom Heav'n had Heir declar'd.

ELISHA He[29]! The Wisdom of the choice
Applauded with United Hearts and Voice.
Un-envy'd in the Schools, had long out-shone
In Gifts Divine, and Rival there was none.

Glorious the Seers Fidelity was here,
And Heav'ns Good Conduct Splendid did appear.
Nor Blood, nor Name, his upright Zeal retard,
Gods Choice & Will he simply did regard;
Whom Heav'n accomplishes it will reward.

The happy Youth cleav'd to his Fathers feet,
Ministring [30] to Him with a Duty meet;

From his Oraculous Lips askt Counsel Sage,
And had the Pray'rs and Blessings of his Age.

Yet there remain'd the last and dy'ng Bequest,
And the Wise Son had ready his Request.
"Say, now at Parting, [31] what I shall bequeath!
Trembling He fell the Prophets feet beneath,
Grieved to part, afraid to speak his Tho't,
Conscious how vast the Blessing was he so't:
With Mouth in dust he said,--"May I inherit
"A double Portion of thy Blessed Spirit!
"O might my last and highest Wish have place,
"An Em'nent Measure of thy Gifts and Grace!

Divine Ambition! to be Wise and Good!
So he his Fame and Interest understood.
Modest his Wish, He only askt a part,
And Heav'n gave all, [32] even an Equal Heart:
Obvious the Truth, from Sacred Record known,
None came so near Elijah as his wondrous Son.

'Twas at high Noon, the Day serene and fair,
Mountains of Lum'nous Clouds roll'd in the Air,
When on a sudden, from the radiant Skies,
Superior Light flasht in Elisha's Eyes:
The Heav'ns were cleft, & from th' Imperial Throne
A Stream of Glory, daz'ling Splendor, Shone:
Beams of ten Thousand Suns Shot round about,
The Sun and every blazon'd Cloud went out:
Bright Hosts of Angels lin'd the Heav'nly Way,
To guard the Saint up to Eternal Day.
Then down the Steep Descent, a Chariot Bright,
And Steeds of Fire, swift as the Beams of Light.
Wing'd Seraphs ready stood, bow'd low to greet
The Fav'rite Saint, and hand him to his Seat.

Enthron'd he Sat, Transform'd with Joyes his Mein,
Calm his gay Soul, and like his Face Serene.
His Eye and burning Wishes to his GOD,
Forward he bow'd, and on the Triumph rode.
[33]"Saluted, as he past the Heav'nly Croud,
"With Shouts of Joy, and Hallelujahs laud.
"Ten thousand thousand Angel Trumpets Sound,
"And the vast Realms of Heav'n all eccho'd round.
They Sang of Greater Triumphs [34] yet to come,
Their next Descent to wait the SAVIOUR Home:
And the glad Errand [35] of the Final Day,
The raised Dust of Saints to bring away
In equal Triumph, and in like Array.

Thus midst Inspir'd, Sublime, Prophetick Songs,
(Sweet Melody) the Vision past along.
The Prince of Air Accurst fled swift the Light,
And heav'nly Sounds, more grating than the Sight;
Blaspheem'd, & rag'd & gnasht in furious Spite.

Elisha saw: [36] "My Father, loud he cry'd,
"My Father! Israels Safety! and her Pride!
"More wer't Thou our Defence and Glory far,
"Than all our Chariots & strong Troops of War.
"Thy Pray'rs & Pow'r with God did more secure
"Our Tott'ring State, and naked Coasts immure,
"Than all our Arms.--

He said: Nor more cou'd see: Immense the space!
The Flying Glory now had gain'd the Place
Of Light ne'er to be seen by Mortal Eye[37]:
Nor longer [38] gaz'd he on the closing Skie.

With Anguish seiz'd[39] his goodly Robes he rent,
Himself, the Church, & Schools did sore lament.
The Prophets Bliss cou'd not his Tears restrain,
He wept their Lass, in His Eternal Gain.

Nor yet in Useless tears staid he to vent
His mighty Griefs, on Greater things Intent:
The Mantle faln [40] with Joy surprizing spy'd,
Laid the dear Pledge close to his panting Side;
Sov'rain Receipt! his fainting heart reviv'd.

By it Install'd in the blest Prophets Place!
With it receiv'd his Spirit and his Grace!
The Sacred Banner flying in his Hand,
Display'd his Empire, on the distant Strand;
Nature Obsequious, to his dread Command.
Triumphant-wise, the pensive Conqu'ror stood,
The precious Relick wav'd, and smote the flood:
"Where is the LORD, [41] Elijahs GOD? He cry'd.
Th' Obedient Waves again in haste divide.
He pass'd the ravisht Prophets saw; confest
The Miracle of Grace, and thankful blest
Th' Eternal SPIRIT, and his Glorious Rest[42].

O'rejoy'd they run the Saint Elect to meet,
And bow [43] beneath the bright Successors feet.
They breathe their Pray'rs & Blessings in his Arms
Cheer his sad Soul, & their own Passions charm
Their Hearts within 'em glow[44], their Graces burn;
Each speak Mysterious Oracles in their turn:
Inspir'd their Mind, Transform'd [45] their very Mein,
In Both Superior Grace and Beauty seen.
In Holiness and Truth sweet their Accord,
And Faith their Consolation did afford,
Elijahs more Illustrious Second [46] Coming with his LORD.



 Back to
Benjamin Colman