On The Hurricane

You have obey'd, you WINDS, that must fulfill
 The Great Disposer's righteous Will;
Throughout the Land, unlimited you flew,
Nor sought, as heretofore, with Friendly Aid
 Only, new Motion to bestow
Upon the sluggish Vapours, bred below,
Condensing into Mists, and melancholy Shade.
 No more such gentle Methods you pursue,
 But marching now in terrible Array,
  Undistinguish'd was your Prey:
 In vain the Shrubs, with lowly Bent,
 Sought their Destruction to prevent;
 The Beech in vain, with out-stretch'd Arms,
 Deprecates th' approaching Harms;
 In vain the Oak (so often storm'd)
 Rely'd upon that native Force,
 By which already was perform'd
 So much of his appointed Course,
 As made him, fearless of Decay,
  Wait but the accomplish'd Time
 Of his long-wish'd and useful Prime,
To be remov'd, with Honor, to the Sea.

 The strait and ornamental Pine
 Did in the like Ambition joyn,
 And thought his Fame shou'd ever last,
When in some Royal Ship he stood the planted Mast;
 And shou'd again his Length of Timber rear,
 And new engrafted Branches wear
 Of fibrous Cordage and impending Shrouds,
Still trimm'd with human Care, and water'd by the Clouds.
 But oh, you Trees! who solitary stood;
  Or you, whose Numbers form'd a Wood;
  You, who on Mountains chose to rise,
  And drew them nearer to the Skies;
  Or you, whom Valleys late did hold
  In flexible and lighter Mould;
You num'rous Brethren of the Leafy Kind,
  To whatsoever Use design'd,
  Now, vain you found it to contend
 With not, alas! one Element; your Friend
 Your Mother Earth, thro' long preceding Rains,
  (Which undermining sink below)
  No more her wonted Strength retains;
 Nor you so fix'd within her Bosom grow,
 That for your sakes she can resolve to bear
  These furious Shocks of hurrying Air;
 But finding All your Ruin did conspire,
 She soon her beauteous Progeny resign'd
 To this destructive, this imperious Wind,
That check'd your nobler Aims, and gives you to the Fire.

 Thus! have thy Cedars, Libanus, been struck
  As the lythe Oziers twisted round;
 Thus! Cadez, has thy Wilderness been shook,
 When the appalling, and tremendous Sound
  Of rattl'ing Tempests o'er you broke,
  And made your stubborn Glories bow,
 When in such Whirlwinds the Almighty spoke,
Warning Judea then, as our Britannia now.

  Yet these were the remoter Harms,
 Foreign the Care, and distant the Alarms:
  Whilst but sheltring Trees alone,
  Master'd soon, and soon o'erthrown,
  Felt those Gusts, which since prevail,
  And loftier Palaces assail;
  Whose shaken Turrets now give way,
 With vain Inscriptions, which the Freeze has borne
 Through Ages past, t'extol and to adorn,
  And to our latter Times convey;
 Who did the Structures deep Foundation lay,
 Forcing his Praise upon the gazing Croud,
 And, whilst he moulders in a scanty Shroud,
Telling both Earth and Skies, he when alive was proud.
 Now down at once comes the superfluous Load,
  The costly Fret-work with it yields,
 Whose imitated Fruits and Flow'rs are strew'd,
Like those of real Growth o'er the Autumnal Fields.

  The present Owner lifts his Eyes,
 And the swift Change with sad Affrightment spies:
 The Cieling gone, that late the Roof conceal'd;
 The Roof untyl'd, thro' which the Heav'ns reveal'd,
Exposes now his Head, when all Defence has fail'd.

  What alas, is to be done!
 Those, who in Cities wou'd from Dangers run,
  Do but encreasing Dangers meet,
And Death, in various shapes, attending in the Street;
  While some, too tardy in their Flight,
  O'ertaken by a worse Mischance,
  Their upward Parts do scarce advance,
When on their following Limbs th' extending Ruins light.
 One half's interr'd, the other yet survives,
 And for Release with fainting Vigour strives;
 Implores the Aid of absent Friends in vain;
 With fault'ring Speech, and dying Wishes calls
 Those, whom perhaps, their own Domestick Walls
By parallel Distress, or swifter Death retains.

 O Wells! thy Bishop's Mansion we lament,
 So tragical the Fall, so dire th'Event!
  But let no daring Thought presume
 To point a Cause for that oppressive Doom.
 Yet strictly pious KEN! had'st Thou been there,
 This Fate, we think, had not become thy share;
  Nor had that awful Fabrick bow'd,
  Sliding from its loosen'd Bands;
  Nor yielding Timbers been allow'd
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"On The Hurricane" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 17 Feb. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/3275/on-the-hurricane>.

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