Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VISION OF MOSES, by JOHN BYROM

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VISION OF MOSES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Moses, to whom by a peculiar grace
Last Line: "murder'd the father of that very child."
Subject(s): Bible; Moses; Religion; Theology

MOSES, to whom by a peculiar grace
God spake—the Hebrew phrase is, "face to face,"—
Call'd by a heav'nly voice, the Rabbins say,
Ascended to a mountain's top one day,
Where, in some points perplex'd, his mind was eas'd,
And doubts concerning providence appeas'd.

During the Colloquy Divine, say they,
The prophet was commanded to survey
And mark what happen'd on the plain below:—
There he perceiv'd a fine, clear spring to flow
Just at the mountain's foot, to which, anon,
A soldier in his course came riding on;
Who taking notice of the fountain, stopp'd,—
Alighted,—drank,—and in remounting dropp'd
A purse of gold; but, as the precious load
Fell unsuspected, he pursued his road.
Scarce had he gone when a young lad came by;
And, as the purse lay just before his eye,
He took it up, and, finding its content,
Secur'd the treasure, and away he went.
Soon after him a poor, infirm old man,
With age and travel weary quite, and wan,
Came to the spring to quench his thirst;—he drank,
And then sat down to rest him on the bank.
While there he sat, the soldier on his track,
Missing his gold, return'd directly back,
Lit from his horse, began to swear and curse,
And ask'd the poor old fellow for his purse.
He solemnly protested o'er and o'er,
With hands and eyes uplifted to implore
Heav'n's attestation to the truth, that he
Nor purse nor gold had ever chanc'd to see;—
'Twas all in vain,—the man believ'd him not,
But drew his sword and stabb'd him on the spot.

Moses with horror and amazement seiz'd,
Fell on his face;—The Voice Divine was pleas'd
To give the prophet's anxious mind relief,
Preventing thus expostulating grief:—
"Be not surpris'd, nor ask how such a deed
"The world's Just Judge could suffer to succeed.
"The child has caus'd the passion, it is true,
"That made the soldier run the old man thro';
"But know one fact, tho' never yet found out,
"And judge how that would banish ev'ry doubt,—
"This same old man, through passion once as wild,
"Murder'd the father of that very child."

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