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MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES.
Joc. Why was my pray'r accepted? Why did
Heav'n In anger hear me, when I ask'd a son ? Ye dames of Egypt ! ye triumphant mothers ! You no imperial tyrant marks for ruin; You are not doom'd to see the babes you bore, The babes you fondly nurture, bleed before you ! You taste the transports of a mother's love, Without a mother's anguish! wretched Israel ! Can I forbear to mourn the different lot Of thy sad daughters ! — Why did God's own hand Rescue his chosen race by Joseph's care? Joseph ! th' elected instrument of Heav'n, Decreed to save illustrious Abraham's sons, What time the famine rag'd in Canaan's land. Israel, who then was spared, must perish now!
Thou great mysterious Pow'r, who hast involv'd Thy wise decrees in darkness, to perplex The pride of human wisdom, to confound The daring scrutiny, and prove the faith Of thy presuming creatures ! hear me now! O vindicate thy honour ; clear this doubt,
Teach me to trace this maze of Providence :
son, And Heav'n has granted him. Joc.
O sad estate Of human wretchedness! so weak is man, So ignorant and blind, that did not God Sometimes withhold in mercy what we ask, We should be ruin’d at our own request.
Too well thou know'st, my child, the stern decree Of Egypt's cruel king, hard-hearted Pharaoh ; 66 That every male of Hebrew mother born “ Must die.” Oh! do I live to tell it thee ? Must die a bloody death! My child, my son, My youngest born, my darling must be slain !
Mir. The helpless innocent ! and must he die?
Joc. No: if a mother's tears, a mother's prayers, A mother's fond precautions can prevail, He shall not die. I have a thought, my Miriam, And sure the God of mercies who inspir’d, Will bless the secret purpose of my soul, To save his precious life.
Hop'st thou that Pharaoh
Joc. I have no hope in Pharaoh, much in God;
Think, O think,
preserv’d Thy infant's life, and in thy house conceald him ! Should Pharaoh know!
Joc. Oh ! let the tyrant know, And feel what he inflicts! Yes, hear me, Heav'n! Send thy right-aiming thunderbolts — But hush, My impious murmurs ! Is it not thy will, Thou, infinite in mercy ? Thou permitt'st This seeming evil for some latent good. Yes, I will laud thy grace, and bless thy goodness For what I have, and not arraign thy wisdom For what I fear to lose. Oh, I will bless thee That Aaron will be spar'd! that my first born Lives safe and undisturb’d! that he was given me Before this impious persecution rag'd!
Mir. And yet who knows, but the fell tyrant's rage
I fear for him,
Dependent on their object; claim returns;
'Tis full of danger. Joc. 'Tis danger to expose, and death to keep him. Mir. Yet, Oh! reflect. Should the fierce cro
Mir. Should he escape, which yet I dare not hope,
Know, God is ev'ry where; Not to one narrow, partial spot confin’d;
No, not to chosen Israel: he extends
What must I do? Command thy daughter; for thy words have wak'd An holy boldness in my youthful breast.
Joc. Go, then, my Miriam, go, and take the infant.