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He grew at last more weary to command
New dangers, than young David to withstand
Or conquer them; he fear'd his mastering
And envy'd him a king's unpowerful hate.
Well did he know how palms by oppression
Victorious, and the victor's sacred meed! [speed
The burthen lifts them higher. Well did he know
How a tame stream does wild and dangerous grow
By unjust force; he now with wanton play
Kisses the smiling banks, and glides away;
But, his known channel stopp'd, begins to roar,
And swell with rage, and buffet the dull shore;
His mutinous waters hurry to the war,
And troops of waves come rolling from afar:
Then scorns he such weak stops to his free source,
And overruns the neighbouring fields with violent
This knew the tyrant, and this useful thought His wounded mind to health and temper brought. He old kind vows to David did renew, Swore constancy, and meant his oath for true: A general joy at this glad news appear'd, For David all men lov'd, and Saul they fear'd. Angels and men did peace and David love, But Hell did neither him nor that approve; From man's agreement fierce alarms they take, And quiet here, does there new business make.
Beneath the silent chambers of the Earth, Where the Sun's fruitful beams give metals birth
Where he the growth of fatal gold does see,
Gold, which above nore influence has than he;-
Beneath the dens where unfletcht tempests lie,
And infant winds their tender voices try;
Beneath the mighty ocean's wealthy caves;
Beneath th' eternal fountain of all waves,
Where their vast court the mother-waters keep,
And, undisturb'd by moons, in silence sleep;
There is a place, deep, wondrous deep, below,
Which genuine night and horrour does o'erflow;
No bound controls th' unwearied space but Hell,
Endless as those dire pains that in it dwell.
Here no dear glimpse of the Sun's lovely face
Strikes through the solid darkness of the place;
No dawning morn does her kind reds display;
One slight weak beam would here be thought
No gentle stars with their fair gems of light
Offend the tyrannous and unquestion'd Night.
Here Lucifer, the mighty captive, reigns;
Proud 'midst his woes, and tyrant in his chains;
Once general of a gilded host of sprites,
Like Hesper, leading forth the spangled nights;
But down like lightning, which him struck, he
He saw the beauties of his shape and face,
His female sweetness, and his manly grace:
He saw the nobler wonders of his mind,
Great gifts! which for great works he knew de-
He saw (t' ashame the strength of man and Hell)
How by his young hands their Gathite champion
He saw the reverend prophet boldly shed
The royal drops round his enlarged head;
And well he knew what legacy did place
The sacred sceptre in blest Judah's race,
From which th' eternal Shilo was to spring;
A knowledge which new hells to Hell did bring!
And, though no less he knew himself too weak
The smallest link of strong-wrought Fate to
And roar'd at his first plunge into the flame:
Myriads of spirits fell wounded round him there;
With dropping lights thick shone the singed air;
Since when, the dismal solace of their woe
Has only been weak mankind to undo;
Themselves at first against themselves they ex-
(Their dearest conquest and most proud delight)
And, if those mines of secret treason fail,
With open force man's virtue they assail;
Unable to corrupt, seek to destroy, [ploy,
And, where their poisons miss, the sword em-
Thus sought the tyrant-fiend young David's fall,
And 'gainst him arm'd the powerful rage of Saul:
Yet would he rage and struggle with the chain;
Lov'd to rebel, though sure that 'twas in vain.
And now it broke his form'd design, to find
The gentle change of Saul's recovering mind;
He trusted much in Saul, and rag'd, and griev'd
(The great deceiver !) to be himself deceiv'd.
Thrice did he knock his iron teeth, thrice howl,
And into frowns his wrathful forehead roll:
His eyes dart forth red flames, which scare the
Night, And with worse fires the trembling ghosts af fright;
A troop of ghastly fiends compass him round, And greedily catch at his lips' fear'd sound. "Are we such nothings then!" said he, "our will
Crost by a shepherd's boy! and you yet still Play with your idle serpents here? dares none Attempt what becomes furies? Are ye grown Benumb'd with fear, or virtue's spiritless cold, You, who were once (I'm sure) so brave and bold?
Oh! my ill-chang'd condition! oh, my fate!
Did I lose Heaven for this?"
With that, with his long tail he lash'd hi
And horribly spoke out in looks the rest.
The quaking powers of Night stood in amaze;
And at each other first could only gaze;
A dreadful silence fill'd the hollow place,
Doubling the native terrour of Hell's face;
Rivers of flaming brimstone, which before
So loudly rag'd, crept softly by the shore;
No hiss of snakes, no clank of chains, was known,
The souls, amidst their tortures, durst not
Envy at last crawls forth from that dire throng, Of all the direfull'st; her black locks hung long,
Attir'd with curling serpents; her pale skin [in;
Was almost dropp'd from the sharp bones with-
And at her breast stuck vipers, which did prey
Upon her panting heart both night and day,
Sucking black blood from thence, which to re-
Both night and day they left fresh poisons there.
Her garments were deep stain'd in human gore,
And torn by her own hands, in which she bore
A knotted whip, and bowl, that to the brim
Did with green gall and juice of wormwood
With which, when she was drunk, she furious
And lash'd herself: thus from th' accursed crew
Envy, the worst of fiends, herself presents, Envy, good only when she'herself torments. Spend not, great king! thy precious rage," said she,
Upon so poor a cause; shall mighty we
The glory of our wrath to him afford?
Are we not Furies still, and you our lord;
At thy dread anger the fixt world shall shake,
And frighted Nature her own laws forsake:
Do thou but threat, loud storms shall make re-
And thunder echo't to the trembling sky;
Whilst raging seas swell to so bold an height,
As shall the fire's proud element affright:
Th' old drudging Sun from his long beaten way
Shall at thy voice start, and misguide the day;
The jocund orbs shall break their measur'd pace
And stubborn poles change their allotted place;
Heaven's gilded troops shall flutter here and
Leaving their boasting songs tun'd to a sphere;
Nay, their God too-for fear he did, when we
Took noble arms against his tyranny,
So noble arms, and in a cause so great,
That triumphs they deserve for their defeat.
There was a day! oh might I see't again,
Tho' he had fiercer flames to thrust us in!
And can such powers be by a child withstood?
Will slings, alas! or pebbles do him good?
What th' untam'd lion, whet with hunger too,
And giants could not, that my word shall do:
I'll soon dissolve this peace; where Saul's new
(But Saul we know) great as my hate shall prove,
Before their Sun twice more be gone about,
I and my faithful snakes would drive it out.
By me Cain offer'd up his brother's gore,
A sacrifice for worse than that before;
I saw him fling the stone, as if he meant
At once his murder and his monument,
Aud laugh'd to see (for 'twas a goodly show)
The earth by her first tiller fatten'd so:
I drove proud Pharaoh to the parted sea;
He and his host drank up cold death by me:
By me rebellious arms fierce Corah took,
And Moses (curse upon that name!) forsook;
Hither (ye know) almost alive he came
Through the cleft Earth; ours was his funeral
By me--but I lose time, methinks, and should
Perform new acts whilst I relate the old.
David's the next our fury must enjoy:
Tis not thy God himself shall save thee, boy!
No, if he do, inay the whole world have peace;
May all ill actions, all ill fortune, cease,
And banished from this potent court below,
May I a ragged contemn'd Virtue grow!”
She spoke; all star'd at first, and made a pause;
But straight the general murmur of applause Ran through Death's courts; she frown'd still, and begun
To envy at the praise herself had won.
Great Beelzebub starts from his burning throne
To 'embrace the fiend, but she, now furious
To act her part, thrice bow'd, and thence she fled;
The snakes all hiss'd, the fiends all murmured.
It was the time when silent night began Tenchain with sleep the busy spirits of man; And Saul himself, though in his troubled breast The weight of empire lay, took gentle rest: So did not Envy; but with haste arose; And, as through Israel's stately towns she goes, She frowns, and shakes her head; "Shine on" says she,
"Ruins ere long shall your sole monuments be."
The silver Moon with terrour paler grew,
And neighbouring Hermon sweated flowery dew;
Swift Jordan started, and straight backward fled,
Hiding among thick reeds his aged head:
Lo, at her entrance Saul's strong palace shook;
And nimbly there the reverend shape she took
Of father Benjamin; so long her beard,
So large her limbs, so grave her looks, appear'd,
Just like his statue, which bestrid Saul's gate
And seem'd to guard the race it did create.
In this known form she' approach'd the tyrant's
And thus her words the sacred form bely'd:
"Arise, lost king of Israel! canst thou lie Dead in this sleep, and yet thy last so nigh? If king thou be'st, if Jesse's race as yet Sit not on Israel's throne! And shall he sit? Did ye for this from fruitful Egypt fly? From the mild brickkiln's nobler slavery? For this did seas your powerful rod obey? Did wonders guide, and feed, you on your way Could ye not there great Pharaoh's bondage bear,
You who can serve a boy, and minstrel, here? Forbid it, God! if thou be'st just; this shame Cast not on Saul's, on mine, and Israel's, name! Why was I else from Canaan's famine led? Happy, thrice happy, had I there been dead, Ere my full loins discharg'd this numerous race, This luckless tribe, ev'n crown'd to their disgrace!
Ah, Saul! thy servant's vassal must thou live? Place to his harp must thy dread sceptre give! What wants he now but that? canst thou for get
(If thou be'st man thou canst not) how they met The youth with songs? alas! poor monarch!
you Your thousand only, he ten thousand, slew! Him Israel loves, him neighbouring countries fear;
You but the name and empty title bear.
And yet the traitor lives, lives in thy court;
The court that must be his; where he shall sport
Himself with all thy concubines, thy gold,
Thy costly robes, thy crown. Wert thou not told
This by proud Samuel, when at Gilgal he
With bold false threats from God affronted thee?
The dotard ly'd; God said it not, I know;
Not Baal or Moloch would have us'd thee so.
Was not the choice his own? did not thy worth
Exact the royal lot, and call it forth?
Hast thou not since (my best and greatest son!)
To him, and to his perishing nation, done
Such lasting benefits as may justly claim
A sceptre as eternal as thy fame?
Poor prince! whom madmen, priests, and boys
By thine own flesh, thy ungrateful son betray'd!
Unnatural fool! who can thus cheated be
By friendship's name, against a crown and thee!
When this eclipse is past, thy fate's all bright.
Trust me, dear son! and credit what I tell ;
I've seen thy royal stars, and know them well.
Hence, fears and dull delays! is not thy breast
(Yes Saul, it is) with noble thoughts possest?
May they beget like acts!" With that she
One of her worst, her best-beloved snakes:
"Softly, dear worm! soft and unseen," said
"Into his bosom steal, and in it be
My viceroy." At that word she took
flight, And her loose shape dissolv'd into the night. Th' infected king leapt from his bed amaz'd, Scarce knew himself at first, but round him gaz'd:
And started back at piec'd-up shapes, which fear
And his distracted fancy painted there:
Terrour froze up his hair, and on his face
Showers of cold sweat roll'd trembling down
Then knocking with his angry hands his breast,
Earth with his feet, he cries, "Oh! 'tis con-
I've been a pious fool, a woman-king;
Wrong'd by a seer, a boy, every thing.
Eight hundred years of death is not so deep,
So unconcern'd, as my lethargic sleep.
My patience even a sacrilege becomes,
Disturbs the dead, and opes their sacred tombs.
Ah! Benjamin, kind father! who for me
This cursed world endur'st again to see!
All thou hast said, great vision! is so true,
That all which thou command'st and more, I'll
Kill him! yes, mighty ghost! the wretch shall die,
Though every star in Heaven should it deny ;
Nor mock th' assault of our just wrath again,
Had he ten times his fam'd ten thousand slain.
Should that bold popular madman, whose de-
Is to revenge his own disgrace by mine,
Should my ungrateful son oppose th' intent,
Should mine own heart grow scrupulous and
Curse me, just Heaven! (by which this truth I swear)
If I that seer, my son, or self, do spare.
No, gentle ghost! return to thy still home;
Thither, this day, mine and thy foe shall come.
If that curst object longer vex my sight,
It must have learnt t' appear as thou to night."
Whilst thus his wrath with threats the tyrant
The threaten'd youth slept fearless on his bed:
Sleep on, rest quiet as thy conscience take,
For, though thou sleep'st thyself, thy God's
Above the subtle foldings of the sky;
Above the well-set orbs' soft harmony;
Above those petty lamps that gild the night:
There is a place o'erflown with hallow'd light;
Where Heaven, as if it left itself behind,
Is stretch'd-out far, nor its own bounds can find:
Here peaceful flames swell up the sacred place,
Nor can the glory contain itself in th' endless
For there no twilight of the Sun's dull ray
Glimmers upon the pure and native day;
No pale-fac'd Moon does in stol'n beams appear,
Or with dim taper scatters darkness there;
On no smooth sphere the restless seasons slide,
No circling motion doth swift time divide ;
Nothing is there to come, and nothing past,
But an eternal now does always last.
There sits th' Almighty, First of all, and End;
Whom nothing but himself can comprehend;
Who with his word commanded all to be,
And all obey'd him, for that word was he:
Only he spoke, and every thing that is
From out the womb of fertile Nothing ris',
Oh, who shall tell, who shall describe thy
Thou great Three-One!
There thou thyself dost in full presence show,
Not absent from these meaner worlds below;
No, if thou wert, the elements' league would
And all thy creatures break thy Nature's peace, The Sun would stop his course, or gallop back, The stars drop out, the poles themselves would crack;
Earth's strong foundations would be torn in twain,
And this vast work all ravel out again
To its first nothing: for his spirit contains
The well-knit mass; from him each creature
Being and motion, which he still bestows;
From him th' effect of our weak action flows:
Round him vast armies of swift angels stand.
Which seven triumphant generals command;
They sing loud anthems of his endless praise;
And with fix'd eyes drink-in immortal rays:
Of these he call'd out one; all Heaven did
And silence kept whilst its Creator spake.
"Are we forgotten then so soon? can he Look on his crown, and not remember me That gave it? can he think we did not hear (Fond man!) his threats? and have we made the ear,
To be accounted deaf? No, Saul! we heard; And it will cost thee dear: the ills thou'st fear'd,
Practis'd or thought on, I'll all double send; Have we not spoke it, and dares man contend? Alas, poor dust! didst thou but know the day When thou must lie in blood at Gilboa,
Thy trembling tongue would stop against thy
Thou, and thy sons, thou would'st not threaten | Till they to number and fix'd rules were brought
By the Eternal Mind's poetic thought.
Water and air he for the tenor chose,
Earth made the bass, the treble flame arose :
To th' active Moon a quick brisk stroke he gave,
To Saturn's string, a touch more soft and grave.
The motions straight, and round, and swift, and
Then shall thine head fix'd in curst temples be,
And all their foolish gods shall laugh at thee.
That hand, which now on David's life would prey,
Shall then turn just, and its own master slay;
He whom thou hat'st, on thy lov'd throne shall
And expiate the disgrace thou dost to it.
Haste then; tell David what his king has
Tell him whose blood must paint this rising
Whilst this great vision labours in his thought,
Lo! the short prophecy t' effect is brought:
In treacherous haste he's sent for to the king
And with him bid his charmful lyre to bring.
The king, they say, lies raging in a fit,
Which does no cure but sacred tunes admit;
And true it was, soft music did appease
Th' obscure fantastic rage of Saul's disease.
Tell me, oh Muse! (for thou, or none, canst
The mystic powers that in blest numbers dwell;
Thon their great nature know'st, nor is it fit
This noblest gem of thine own crown t' omit)
Tell me from whence these heavenly charms
Teach the dull world t' admire what they de-
As first a various unform'd hint we find
Rise in some godlike poet's fertile mind,
Till all the parts and words their places take,
And with just marches verse and music make:
Such was God's poem, this world's new essay;
So wild and rude in its first draught it lay;
Th' ungovern'd parts no correspondence knew,
An artless war from thwarting motions grew;
And short, and long, were mix'd and woven so→
Did in such artful figures smoothly fall-
As made this decent-measur'd dance of all.
And this is music: sounds that charm our ears,
Are but one dressing that rich Science wears.
Though no man hear 't, though no man it re-
Yet will there still be music in my verse ; [hearse
In this great world so much of it we see,
The lesser, man, is all o'er harmony;
Storehouse of all proportions! single quire!
Which first God's breath did tunefully inspire!
From hence blest music's heavenly charms arise,
From sympathy, which them and man allies.
Thus they our souls, thus they our bodies win,
Not by their force, but party that's within:
Thus the strange cure, on our spilt blood apply'd,
Sympathy to the distant wound does guide:
Thus, when two brethren-strings are set alike,
To move them both, but one of them we strike:
Thus David's lyre did Saul's wild rage control,
And tun'd the harsh disorders of his soul.
"WHEN Israel was from bondage led, Led by th' Almighty's hand From out a foreign land,
The great sea beheld, and fled,
As men pursued, when that fear past they find,
Stop on some higher ground to look behind;
So, whilst through wondrous ways
The sacred army went,
The waves afar stood up to gaze,
And their own rocks did represent, Solid as waters are above the firmament. "Old Jordan's waters to their spring Start back with sudden fright; The spring amaz'd at sight, Asks what news from sea they bring. [side The mountains shook; and to the mountains' The little hills leap'd round, themselves to hide; As young affrighted lambs,
When they aught dreadful spy,
Run trembling to their helpless dams:
The mighty sea and river by
[Ay. Were glad, for their excuse to see the hills too "What ail'd the mighty sea to flee?
Or why did Jordan's tide
Back to his fountain glide?
Jordan's tide what ailed thee? [shake?
Why leap'd the hills? why did the mountains
What ail'd them, their fix'd natures to forsake?
Fly where thou wilt, O sea!
And Jordan's current cease!
Jordan, there is no need of thee;
For at God's word, whene'er he please, The rocks shall weep new waters forth instead of these."
THUS sung the great Musician to his lyre;
And Saul's black rage grew softly to retire;
But Envy's serpent still with him remain❜d,
And the wise charmer's he: lthful voice disdain'd,
t' have seen,
He had himself by David wounded been;
He scorn'd to leave what he did ill begin,
And thought his honour now engag'd i' th' sin;
A bloody troop of his own guards he sends
(Slaves to his will, and falsely call'd his friends)
To mend his errour by a surer blow;
So Saul ordain'd, but God ordain'd not so.
Home flies the prince, and to his trembling wife
Relates the new-past hazard of his life;
Which she with decent passion hears him tell;
For not her own fair eyes she lov'd so well.
Upon their palace-top, beneath a row
Of lemon-trees-which there did proudly grow,
And with bright stores of golden fruit repay
The light they drank from the Sun's neighbour-
(A small, but artful Paradise) they walk'd,
And hand in hand sad gentle things they talk'd.
Here Michal first an armed troop espies
(So faithful and so quick are loving eyes!)
Which march'd, and often glister'd through a
One would have thought, Saul's sudden rage And on the table med'cinal relics lie;
That on right-hand of her fair palace stood;
She saw them; and cry'd out, "They're come
My dearest lord; Saul's spear pursues thee
Behold his wicked guards! haste quickly, fly!
For Heaven's sake, haste! my dear lord, do
Ah, cruel father! whose ill-natur'd rage
Neither thy worth, nor marriage, can assuage!
Will he part those he join'd so late before?
Were the two-hundred foreskins worth no more?
He shall not part us;" (then she wept between)
"At yonder window thou may'st 'scape unseen;
This hand shall let thee down! stay not, but
In quiet then?" said she, "will they not give
That freedom, who so fear lest he should live ?
Ev'n Fate does with your cruelty conspire,
And spares your guilt, yet does what you desire.
Must he not live? for that ye need not sin;
My much-wrong'd husband speechless lies
And has too little left of vital breath
'Tis not my use to send thee hence so fast."
"Best of all women !" he replies-and this
Sarce spoke, she stops his answer with a kiss;
"Throw not away," said she, "thy precious
Thou stay'st too long within the reach of death."
Timely he obeys her wise advice; and straight
To unjust force sh' opposes just deceit :
She meets the murderers with a virtuous lye,
And good dissembling tears. 46 May be not die
To know his murderers, or to feel his death.
One hour will do your work
Here her well govern'd tears dropp'd down a-
Beauty and sorrow mingled in one face
Has such resistless charms, that they believe,
And an unwilling aptness find to grieve
At what they came for. A pale statue's head,
In linen wrapp'd, appear'd on David's bed;
Two servants mournful stand, and silent, by,
In the close room a well-plac'd taper's light
Adds a becoming horrour to the sight:
And for th' impression God prepar'd their sense;
They saw, believ'd all this, and parted thence.
How vain attempts Saul's unblest anger tries,
By his own hands deceiv'd, and servant's eyes!
"It cannot be," said he, "no, can it? shall
Our great ten-thousand-slayer idly fall?
The silly rout thinks God protects him still;
But God, alas! guards not the bad from ill.
Oh may he guard him! may his members be
In as full strength and well-set harmony,
As the fresh body of the first-made man
Ere sin, or sin's just meed, disease, began!
He will be else too small for our vast hate;
And we must share in our revenge with Fate.
No; let us have him whole; we else may seem
To 'ave snatch'd away but some few days from
And cut that thread which would have dropp'd in
Will our great anger learn to stoop so low?
I know it cannot, will not; him we prize
Of our just wrath the solemn sacrifice,
That must not blemish'd be; let him remain
Secure, and grow up to our stroke again :
Twill be some pleasure then to take his breath,
When he shall strive and wrestle with his death;
Go, let him live-And yet-shall I then stay
So long? good and great actions hate delay.
Some foolish piety perhaps, or he
That has been still mine honour's enemy,
Samuel, may change or cross my just intent,
And I this formai pity soon repent:
Besides, Fate gives him me, and whispers this,
That he can fly no more, if we should miss.
Miss! can we miss again? Go bring him straight,
Though gasping out his soul; if the wish'u date
Of his accursed life be almost past,
Some joy 'twill be to see him breathe his last."
The troop return'd, of their short virtue asham'd,
Saul's courage prais'd, and their own weakness
But when the pious fraud they understood,
Scarce the respect due to Saul's sacred blood,
Due to the sacred beauty in it reign'd,
From Michal's murder their wild rage restrain'd.
She alleg'd the holiest chains that bind a wife,
Duty and love; she alleg'd that her own life,