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And all his fate, and all his deeds, were wrought, |
Since he from Ur to Ephron's cave was brought.
But none 'mongst all the forms drew then their
Like faithful Abram's righteous sacrifice: [eyes
The sad old man mounts slowly to the place,
With Nature's power triumphant in his face
O'er the mind's courage; for, in spite of all,
From his swoln eyes resistless waters fall.
The innocent boy his cruel burthen bore
With smiling looks, and sometimes walk'd before,
And some times turn'd to talk; above was made
The altar's fatal pile, and on it laid
The hope of mankird; patiently he lay,
And did his sire, as he his God, obey.
The mournful sire lifts up at last the knife,
And on one moment's string depends his life,
In whose young loins such brooding wonders lie.
A thousand spirits peep'd from th' affrighted
Amaz'd at this strange scene; and almost fear'd
For all those joyful prophecies they'd heard ;
Till one leap'd nimbly forth, by God's command,
Like lightning from a cloud, and stopp'd his
The gentle spirit smil'd kindly as he spoke,
New beams of joy through Abram's wonder broke,
The angel points t' a tuft of bushes near,
Where an entangled ram does half appear,
And struggles vainly with that fatal net, [set.
Which, though but slightly wrought, was firmly
For, lo! anon, to this sad glory doom'd,
The useful beast on Isaac's pile consum'd;
Whilst on his horns the ransom'd couple play'd,
And the glad boy danc'd to the tunes he made.
Near this hall's end a shittim-table stood; Yet well-wrought plate strove to conceal the wood;
For from the foot a golden vine did sprout,
And cast his fruitful riches all about.
Well might that beauteous ore the grape express,
Which does weak man intoxicate no less.
Of the same wood the gilded beds were made,
And on them large embroider'd carpets laid,
From Egypt, the rich shop of follies, brought;
But arts of pride all nations soon are taught.
Behold seven comely blooming youths appear,
And in their hands seven silver wash-pots bear,
Curl'd, and gay clad; the choicest sons that be|
Of Gibeon's race, and slaves of high degree!
Seven beauteous maids march'd softly in behind;
Bright scarfs their clothes, their hair fresh gar-
And, whilst the princes wash, they on them shed Rich ointments, which their costly odours spread O'er the whole room; from their small prisons free, [fee. With such glad haste through the wide air they The king was plac'd alone, and o'er his head A well-wrought Heaven of silk and gold was spread,
Azure the ground, the Sun in gold shone bright, But piere'd the wandering clouds with silver light. The right-hand bed the king's three sons did grace,
The third was Abner's, Adriel's, David's, place; And twelve large tables more were fill'd below, With the prime men Saul's court and camp could show.
But, though bright joy in every guest did shine,
The plenty, state, music, and spriteful wine,
Were lost on Saul; an angry care did dwell
In his dark breast, and all gay forms expel.
David's unusual absence from the feast
To his sick spirit did jealous thoughts suggest :'
Long lay he still, nor drank, nor cat, nor spoke,
And thus at last his troubled silence broke:
"Where can he be?" said he; "It must be
The palace did with mirth and music sound, And the crown'd goblets nimbly mov'd around;
With that he paus'd a while. "Too well we know His boundless pride: he grieves, and hates to
The solemn triumphs of my court and me.
Believe me, friends, and trust what I can show
From thousand proofs; th' ambitious David now
Docs those vast things in his proud soul design
That too much business give for mirth or wine.
He's kindling now, perhaps, rebellious fire
Among the tribes, and does ev'n now conspire
Against my crown, and all our lives; whilst we
Are loth ev'n to suspect, what we might see.
By the Great Name, 'tis true."
With that he strook the board; and no man
But Jonathan durst undertake to clear [there
The blameless prince; and scarce ten words he
When thus his speech th' enraged tyrant broke:
"Disloyal wretch! thy gentle mother's shame! Whose cold pale ghost ev'n blushes at thy name! Who fears, lest her chaste bed should doubted be, And her white fame stain'd by black deeds of thee ! [hire Canst thou be mine? a crown sometimes does Ev'n sons against their parents to conspire; But ne'er did story yet, or fable, tell Of one so wild, who, merely to rebel, Quitted th' unquestion'd birthright of a throne, And bought his father's ruin with his own. Thou need'st not plead th' ambitious youth's defence;
Thy crime clears his, and makes that innocence:
Nor can his foul ingratitude appear,
Whilst thy unnatural guilt is plac'd so near.
Is this that noble friendship you pretend?
Mine, thine own, foe-and thy worst enemy's
If thy low spirit can thy great birthright quit,
The thing 's but just, so ill deserv'st thou it.
I, and thy brethren here, have no such mind;
Nor such prodigious worth in David find,
That we to him should our just rights resign,
Or think God's choice not made so well as thine,
Shame of thy house and tribe! hence, from mine
To thy false friend, and servile master, fly;
He's ere this time in arms expecting thee;
Haste, for those arms are rais'd to ruin me
Thy sin that way will nobler much appear,
Than to remain his spy and agent here.
When I think this, Nature, by thee forsook,
Forsakes me too." With that his spear he took
To strike at him; the mirth and music cease;
The guests all rise, this sudden storm t' appease:
The prince his danger, and his duty, knew;
And low he bow'd, and silently withdrew.
To David straight, who in a forest nigh
Wai's his advice, the royal friend dees fly.
The sole advice now, like the danger, clear,
Was, in some foreign land this storm t' outwear.
Here David's joy unruly grows and bold,
Nor could sleep's silken chain its violence hold,
Had not the angel, to seal fast his eyes,
The humours stirr'd, and bade more mists arise:
When straight a chariot hurries swift away,
And in it good Josiah bleeding lay;
One hand 's held up, one stops the wound; in vain
They both are us'd: alas! he 's slain, he 's slain.
Jehoias and Jehoiachim next appear;
Both urge that vengeance which before was near:
He in Egyptian fetters captive dies,
This by more courteous anger murder'd lies.
His son and brother next do bonds sustain,
Israel's now solemn and imperial chain.
Here's the last scene of this proud city's state;
All ills are met, ty'd in one knot of Fate.
Their endless slavery in this trial lay ;
Great God had heap'd up ages in one day:
Strong works around the wall the Chaldees build,
The town with grief, and dreadful business fill'd;
To their carv'd gods the frantic women pray,
Gods, which as near their ruin were as they.
At last in rushes the prevailing foe,
Does all the mischief of proud conquest show:
The wondering babes from mothers' breasts are
And suffer ills they neither fear'd nor meant ;
No silver reverence guards the stooping age,
No rule or method ties their boundless rage:
The glorious temple shines in flame all o'er,
Yet not so bright as in its gold before:
Nothing but fire or slaughter meets the eyes;
Nothing the ear but groans and dismal cries.
The walls and towers are levell'd with the ground,
And scarce aught now of that vast city 's found
But shards and rubbish, which weak signs might
Of fore past glory, and bid travellers weep. Thus did triumphant Assur homewards pass, And thus Jerusalem left, Jerusalem that was !
This Zedechiah saw, and this not all; Before his face his friends and children fall, The sport of insolent victors; this he views, A king and father once! ill Fate could use His eyes no more to do their master spite; All to be seen she took, and next his sight. Thus a long death in prison he outwears; Bereft of grief's last solace, ev'n his tears.
Then Jeconiah's son did foremost come, And he who brought the captiv'd nation home! A row of worthies in long order pass'd O'er the short stage; all old Joseph last. Fair angels pass'd by next in seemly bands, All gilt, with gilded baskets in their hands: Some, as they went, the blue-ey'd violet strew, Some spotless lilies in loose order threw; Some did the way with full-blown roses spread, Their smell divine, and colour strangely red; Not such as our dull gardens proudly wear, Whom weathers taint, and winds' rude kisses Such, I believe, was the first rose's hue, [tear: Which at God's word in beateous Eden grew; Queen of the flowers which made that orchard gay!
The morning blushes of the Spring's new day. With sober pace an heavenly maid walks in, Her looks all fair; no sign of native sin
Above all Blest! Thee, who shalt bless them all. Thy virgin womb in wondrous sort shall shroud Jesus the God (and then again he bow'd); Conception the great Spirit shall breathe on thee; Hail thou! who must God's wife, God's mother, be!"
With that, his seeming form to Heaven he rear'd:
She low obeisance made, and disappear'd.
Lo a new star three eastern sages see
(For why should only earth a gainer be?
They saw this Phosphor's infant-light, and knew
It bravely usher'd in a Sun as new:
They hasted al! this rising Sun t' adore;
With them rich myrrh and early spices bore:
Wise men! no fitter gift your zeal could bring }
You'll in a noisome stable find your King.
Anon a thousand devils run roaring in ;
Some with a dreadful smile deform'dly grin;
Some stamp their cloven paws, some frown and
The gaping snakes from their black-knotted hair;
As if all grief, and all the rage of Hell,
Were doubled now, or that just now they fell:
But, when the dreaded maid they entering saw,
All fled with trembling fear and silent awe.
In her chaste arms th' eternal infant lies
Th' Almighty voice chang'd into feeble cries.
Heaven contain'd virgins oft, and will do more;
Never did virgin contain Heaven before.
Angels peep round to view this mystic thing,
And Halleluiah round, all Halleluiah sing.
No longer could good David quiet bear Th' unwieldy pleasure which o'erflow'd him
It broke the fetters, and burst ope his eye;
Away the timorous forms together fly:
Fix'd with amaze he stood, and time must take,
To learn if yet he were at last awake.
Sometimes he thinks that Heaven the vision sent,
And order'd all the pageants as they went;
Sometimes, that only 'twas wild Phansy's play,
The loose and scatter'd relics of the day.
When Gabriel (no blest spirit more kind or fair)
Bodies and clothes himself with thicken'd air; All like a comely youth in life's fresh bloom; Rare workmanship, and wrought by heavenly loom!
He took for skin a cloud most soft and bright,
That ere the mid-day Sun pierc'd through with
Upon his cheeks a lively blush he spread, [light;
Wash'd from the morning beauty's deepest red:
An harmless flaming meteor shone for hair,
And fell adown his shoulders with loose care;
He cuts out a silk mantle from the skies,
Where the most spritely azure pleas'd the eyes;
This he with starry vapours spangles all,
Took in their prime, ere they grow ripe and fall:
Of a new rainbow, ere it fret or fade,
The choicest piece took out, a scarf is made:
Small streaming clouds he does for wings dis-
Not virtuous lovers' sighs more soft than they;
These he gilds o'er with the Sun's richest rays,
Caught gliding o'er pure streams on which he
Thus drest, the joyful Gabriel posts away And carries with him his own glorious day
Through the thick woods: the gloomy shades RAIS'D with the news he from high Heaven re
Put on fresh looks and wonder why they smile!
The trembling serpents close and silent lie;
The birds obscene far from his passage fly;
A sudden spring waits on him as he goes,
Sudden as that which by creation rose:
Thus he appears to David; at first sight
All earth-bred fears and sorrows take their flight.
In rushes joy divine, and hope, and rest;
A sacred calm shines through his peaceful
“Hail, man, belov'd! from highest Heaven,"
defeat of the Philistines' army. Saul's envy to David. The characters of Merab and Michal. The love between David and Michal: his song at her window; his expedition against the Philistines, and the dowry of two hundred foreskins for Michal, with whom he is married. The solemnities of the wedding. Saul's relapse, and the causes of David's flight into the kingdom of Moab.
The promis'd Shil the great mystic King:
Round the whole Earth his dreaded name shall
And reach to worlds that must not yet be
The Southern clime him her sole lord shall
Him all the North, ev'n Albion's stubborn isle,
My fellow servant credit what I tell."
Straight into shapeless air unseen he fell.
Straight to his diligent God just thanks he gives;
To divine Nobe directs then his flight,
A small town, great in fame, by Levi's right;
Is there, with sprightly wines and hallow'd bread,
(But what's to hunger hallow'd?) largely fed.
The good old priest welcomes his fatal guest,
And with long talk prolongs the hasty feast:
He lends him vain Goliah's sacred sword
(The fittest help just Fortune could afford);
A sword whose weight, without a blow might slay,
Able unblunted to cut hosts away;
A sword so great, that it was only fit
To take-off his great head who caure with it.
Thus he arms David: "I your own restore,
Take it," said he, "and use it as before;
I saw you then, and 'twas the bravest sight
That ere these eyes ow'd the discovering light:
When you step'd forth, how did the monster
In scorn of your soft looks and tender age! Some your high spirit did mad presumption call,
Some pitied that such youth should idly fall;
Th' uncircumcis'd smil'd grimly with disdain;
I knew the day was yours: I saw it plain."
Much more the reverend sire prepar'd to say
(Rapt with his joy); how the two armies lay;
Which way th' amazed foe did wildly flee,
All that his hearer better knew than he:
But David's haste denies all needless stay:
To Gath, an enemy's land he hastes away:
Not there secure; but, where one danger's near,
The more remote, though greater, disappear:----
So, from the hawk, birds to man's succour flee
So, from fir'd ships, man leaps into the sea.-
There in disguise he hopes unknown t' abide ;
Alas! in vain! what can such greatness hide?
Stones of small worth may lie unseen by day,
But night itself does the rich gem betray.
Tagal first spy'd him, a Philistian knight,
Who erst from David's wrath by shameful flight
Had say'd the sordid remnant of his age;
Hence the deep sore of envy mix'd with rage.
Straight, with a band of soldiers tall and rough,
Trembling-for scarce he thought that band
David's flight to Nob, and entertainment there by the high priest: from thence to Gath in disguise, where he is discovered and brought to Achis: he counterfeits himself mad, and escapes to Adullham. A short enumeration of the forces which come thither to him. A description of the kingdom of Moab, whither David flies; his entertainment at Moab's court: a digression of the history of Lot, father of the Moabites, represented in picture. Melchor's song at the feast. Moab desires Joab to relate the story of David; which he does: his extrac-Had the bold youth in his own shape appear'd, tion; his excellency in poesy, and the effects And now this wish'd-for, but yet dreadful prey, of it in curing Saul's malady. The Philistines' To Achis' court they led in haste away, army encamped at Damnin; the description With all unmanly rudeness which does wait of Goliah and his arms; his challenge to the Upon th' immoderate vulgar's joy and hate, Israelites: David's coming to the camp; his His valour now and strength must useless lie, And he himself must arts unusual try: speech to Saul, to desire leave to fight with Goliah: several speeches upon that occasion. Sometimes he tends his garments, nor does spare The combat and slaughter of Goliah, with the The goodly curls of his rich yellow hair;
On him he seizes, whom they all had fear'd,
His birth, his rising, tell, and various fate,
And how he slew that man of Gath of late,
What was he call'd? that huge and monstrous
With that he stopp'd, and Joab thus began "His birth, great sir! so much to mine is ty'd,
That praise of that might look from me like pride:
Yet, without boast, his veins contain a flood
Of th' old Judean lion's richest blood.
From Judah Fharez, from him Esrom, came,
Ram, Nashon, Salmon, names spoke loud by
A name no less ought Boaz to appear,
By whose blest match we come no strangers here: From him and your fair Ruth good Obed sprung, From Obed Jesse, Jesse, whom Fame's kindest
Counting his birth, and high nobility, shall
Not Jesse of Obed, but of David, call,
David born to him seventh; the six births past
Brave trials of a work more great at last.
Bless me! how swift and growing was his wit!
The wings of Time flagg'd dully after it.
Scarce past a child, all wonders would he sing
Of Nature's law, and power of Nature's king.
His sheep would scorn their food to hear his lay,
And savage beasts stand by as tame as they;
The fighting winds would stop there, and admire,
Learning consent and concord from his lyre;
Rivers, whose waves roll'd down aloud before,
Mute as their fish,would listen towards the shore.
""Twas now the time when first Saul God
God Saul; the room in 's heart wild passious took:
Sometimes a tyrant-frensy revell'd there,
Sometimes black sadness and deep, deep despair.
No help from herbs, or learned drugs he finds,
They cure but sometimes bodies, never minds :
Music alone those storms of soul could lay;
Not more Saul them, than music they, obey.
David's now sent for, and his harp must bring;
His harp, that magic bore on every string:
When Saul's rude passions did most tumult keep,
With his soft notes they all dropp'd down asleep:
When his dull spirits lay drown'd in death and
He with quick strains rais'd them to life and light. Thus cheer'd he Saul, thus did his fury 'suage, Till wars began, and times more fit for rage. To Helah plain Philistian troops are come, And War's loud noise strikes peaceful Music dumb.
Back to his rural care young David goes;
For this rough work Saul his stout brethren
He knew not what his hand in war could do,
Nor thought his sword could cure men's mad-
Now Dammin's destin'd for this scene of blood;
On two near hills the two proud armies stood,
Between, a fatal valley stretch'd-out wide,
And Death scem'd ready now on either side;
When lo! their host rais'd all a joyful shout,
And from the midst an huge and monstrous man
Aloud they shouted; at each step he took We and the Earth itself beneath him shook,
Some from the main to pluck whole islands try; The sea boils round with flames shot thick from sky;
This he believ'd, and on his shield he bore,
And prais'd their strength, but thought his own
The valley now this monster seem'd to fill;
And we, methought, look'd up t' him from our
All arm'd in brass the richest dress of war
(A dismal glorious sight!) he shone afar;
The Sun himself started with sudden fright,
To see his beams return so dismal bright:
Brass was his helmet, his boots brass; and o'er
His breast a thick plate of strong brass he wore :
His spear the trunk was of a lofty tree,
Which Nature meant some tall ship's mast
Th' huge iron head six hundred shekels weigh'd,
And of whole bodies but one wound it made;
Able Death's worst commands to overdo,
Destroying life at once and carcase too.
Thus arm'd he stood; all direful and all gay,
And round him flung a scornful look away:
So, when a Scythian tiger, gazing round,
An herd of kine in some fair plain has found,
Lowing secure, he swells with angry pride,
And calls forth all his spots on every side ;
Then stops, and hurls his haughty eyes at all,
In choice of some strong neck on which to fall;
Almost he scorns so weak, so cheap a prey,
And grieves to see them trembling haste away.
'Ye men of Jury,' he cries, 'if men you be,
And such dare prove yourselves to Fame and me,
Chuse out 'mongst all your troops the boldest
Is there no Samson here? O that that there were!
In his full strength, and long enchanted hair;
This sword should be in the weak razor's stead;
It should not cut his hair off, but his head.'
Thus he blasphem'd aloud; the valleys round,
Flattering his voice, restor❜d the dreadful sound:
We turn'd us trembling at the noise, and fear'd
We had behind some new Goliah heard.
'Twas Heaven, Heaven, sure, (which David's glory
Through this whole act) such sacred terrour sent
To all our host; for there was Saul in place,
Who ne'er saw fear but in his enemies' face;
His god-like son there in bright armour shone,
Who scorn'd to conquer armies not alone:
Fate her own book mistrusted at the sight,
On that side war, on this a single fight.
There stood Benaiah, and there trembled too,
He who th' Egyptian proud Goliah slew;
In his pale fright, rage through his eyes shot
He saw his staff, and blush'd with generous
Thousands beside stood mute and heartless there,
Men valiant all; nor was I us'd to fear.
"Thus forty days he march'd down arm'd to fight,
Once every morn he march'd, and once at night.
Slow rose the Sun, but gallop'd down apace,
With more than evening blushes in his face :
When Jesse to the camp young David sent;
His purpose low, but high was Fate's intent;
For, when the monster's pride he saw and heard,
Round him, he look'd, and wonder'd why they
Anger and brave disdain his heart possess'd,
Thoughts more than manly swell'd his youthful
Much the rewards propos'd his spirit inflame,
Saul's daughter much, and much the voice of
These to their just intentions strongly move, But chiefly God, and his dear country's love. Resolv❜d for combat, to Saul's tent he's brought, Where thus he spoke as boldly as he fought: 'Henceforth no more, great prince, your sacred breast
With that huge talking wretch of Gath molest;
This hand alone shall end his cursed breath;
Fear not, the wretch blasphemes himself to death,
And, cheated with false weight of his own might,
Has challeng'd Heaven, not us to single fight.
Forbid it, God! that where thy right is try'd,
The strength of man should find just cause for
Firm like some rock, and vast, he seems to stand,
But rocks we know were op'd at thy command:
That soul, which now does such large members
Through one small wound will creep in haste
And he who now dares boldly Heaven defy,
To every bird of heaven a prey shall lie:
For 'tis not human force we ought to fear;
Did that, alas! plant our forefathers here?
Twice fifteen kings did they by that subdue?
By that whole nations of Goliahs slew?
The wonders they perform'd may still be done;
Moses and Joshua is, but God's not gone.
We 'ave lost their rod and trumpets, not their
Prayers and belief are as strong witchcraft still:
These are more tall, more giants far, than he, Can reach to Heaven, and thence pluck victory. Count this, and then, sir, mine th' advantage is;
He's stronger far than I, my God than his.'
Amazement seiz'd on all, and shame, to see Their own fears scorn'd by one so young as he. 'Brave youth,' replies the king, 'whose daring mind,
Ere come to manhood, leaves it quite behind;
Reserve thy valour for more equal fight,
And let thy body grow up to thy sprite.
Thou 'rt yet too tender for so rude a foe,
Whose touch would wound thee more than him
Nature his limbs only for war made fit,
In thine, as yet, nought beside love she 'as writ.
With some less foe thy unflesh'd valour try;
This monster can be no first victory.
The lion's royal whelp does not at first
For blood of Basan bulls or tigers thirst;
In timorous deer he hansels his young paws,
And leaves the rugged bear for firmer claws.
So vast thy hopes, so unproportion'd be,
Fortune would be asham'd to second thee,'
"He said, and we all murmur'd an assent; But nought mov'd David from his high intent. It brave to him, and ominous, does appear, To be oppos'd at first, and conquer here; Which he resolves. 'Scorn not,' said he, 'inine age; For victory comes not, like an heritage, At set-years-when my father's flock I fed, A bear and lion, by fierce hunger led, Broke from the wood and snatch'd my lambs
From their grim mouths I forc'd the panting prey :
Both bear and lion ev'n this hand did kill;
On our great oak the bones and jaws hang still.
My God's the same, which then he was, to day,
And this wild wretch almost the same as they;
Who from such danger sav'd my flock, will he
Of Israel, his own flock, less careful be?'
'Be't so then,' Saul bursts forth; 'and thou on high
Who oft in weakness doth most strength descry-
At whose dread beck Conquest expecting stands,
And casts no look down on the fighters' hands→→→→
Assist what thou inspir'st; and let all see,
As boys to giants, giants are to thee.'
"Thus, and with trembling hopes of strange
In his own arms he the bold youth does dress. On 's head an helm of well-wrought brass is plac'd,
The top with warlike plume severcly grac'd ;
His breast a plate cut with rare figures bore,
A sword much practis'd in Death's art he wore :
Yet, David, us'd so long to no defence,
But those light arms of spirit and innocence,
No good in fight of that gay burthen knows,
But fears his own arms' weight more than his foes,
He lost himself in that disguise of war,
And guarded seems as men by prisons are;
He therefore, to exalt the wondrous sight,
Prepares now, and disarms himself for fight,
'Gainst shield, helm, breast plate; and instead
Five sharp smooth stones from the next brook he