Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

vapors rise.

Till thy fresh glories, which now shine so bright, Uowarily was led from virtue's ways,
Grow stale, and tarnish with our daily sight? Made drunk with honor, and debauch'd with
Believe me, royal youth, thy fruit must be

praise. Or gailer'd ripe, or rot upon the tree.

Half loil, and half consenting to the ill, Hearen bas to all allouted, soon or late, For royal blood within him struggled still, Some lucky revolution of their fate;.

He thus replied :- And what presence.lava I Whose motions if we warch and gurlewith skill, To take up arnis for public liberiy.? For human good depends on human will, My fither governs with unquestioned right; Our fortune rells as from a smooth descent, The faith's defender, and mankind's delight ; And from the first impression takes the bent: Good, gracious, just, observant of the laws ; But, if unscis'il, she glides away like wind, And Heaven by wonders has espous'd bis cause. Ard leaves repenting tolly far behind. Whoin has he wrong'd in all his peacefut reign? Now, now she meets you with a glorious prize, Who sues for justice to his throne in vain? And spreads her locks before you as she flies. Ithat millions has be pardond of his foes, Had thus old David, from whose loins you spring, Whom just revenge dil to his wrath expose ! Not dar'd when fortune call'd him to be king, Mild, easy, humble, studious of our good; At Gath an exile he might still remain, Inclin'd to mercy, and averse fronı blood. And Heaven's anointing oil had beer, in vain. Ti miklness ill with stubborn Israel suit, Let his successful youth your hopes engage ;

His crime is God's belov'd attribute. But shun the example of declining are:

What could be gain his people to betray, Behold him setting in his western skies, Or change bis right for arbitrary sway The shadows lengilı'ning as the

Let haughty Pharaoh curse with such a reign He is not now, as when on Jordan's sand Ilis fruiiful Nile, and yoke a servile train., The joyful people throng'd to see him land, David's rule Jerusalein displease, Covering the beach, and blackening all the The dog-star heats their brains to this disease. strand;

Why then should I, encouraging the bad, But, like the prince of angels, fronn bis height, Turn rebel, and run popularly mad? Cometumbling dowuward with diminishi'd light; Were he the tyrant, who by lawless might Betray'd by one poor plot to public scorn; Oppress'd the Jews, and rais'd the Jebusite, Qur only blessing since his curs'd return : Well might I mourn; but nature's holy bands These heaps of people which one sheaf did bind, Would curb my spirits, and restrain my hands : Blown oft and scaiter'd by a puff of wind, The people miglit assertatheir liberty; What strength can he to your designs oppose,

But what was right in them were crime in me. Naked of friends, and round beset with foes? His favor leaves me nothing to require, If Pharaoh's doubtful succour he should use, Prevents my wishes, and outruns desire; A foreign aid would inore incense the Jews : What more can I expect while David lives? Proud ligypt would dissembled friendship bring; All but his kingly chiadem he gives : Foment the war, but not support the king:

And that but here he paus'd; then, sighing, Nor would the royal party ere unite

said With Pharaoh's arms to assist the Jebusite; Is justly destin'd for a wortbier head. Or, if they should their in'fest soon would break, For when my father from his toils shall rest, And with such odious aid make David weak. And late augment the number of the blest, All sorts of men, by my successful arts, His lawful issue shall the throne ascend, Abhorring kings, estrange their alter'd hearts Or the collateral line, where that shall end. From David's rule; and 'tis their gen’ral cry,

His brother, though oppress'd with vulyar spite, Religion, commonwealth, and liveriy, Yet dauntless, and secure of native right, If you, as champion of the public good, Olev'ry royal virtue stands possest; Add to their arms a chief of royal blood,

Still dear to all the bravest and the best. What may not Isreal hope, and what applause His courage foes; his friends his truth proclaim, Night such a gen'ral gain by such a cause ? His loyalty the king, the world his fame. Noi barren praise atone, that gaudy flow'r, His mercy e'en th' offending crowd will find; Fair only to the sight, but solid pow'r; For sure he comes of a forgiving kind. And nobler is a limited command,

Why should I then repine at Heaven's decrce,
Given by the love of all your native land, Which gives me no pretence to royalty?
Than a successive title, long and dark, Yet, ob that fate, propitiously inclind,
Drawn from the mouldy rolls of Noahs ark. Had raise iny birth, or had debas'd my mind!

What cannot praise effect in mighty minus, To my large soul not all her treasure lent,
When flatt'ry sooths, and when ambition blinds? And:lien betray'd it to a mean descent!
Desire of pow'r, on earth a vicious weed, I find, I find iny mounting spirits bold,
Yet sprung from high, is of celestial seed': And David's part disclaius my mother's mould.
In God 'tis glory; and when ineu aspire, Why am I scanter by a niggard birth?
Tis but a spark too much of heavenly fire. My soul disclaims the kindred of ber earth;
Th’ambitious ymith, too covetous of fame, And, made for empire, whispers me within,
Too full of angel's metal in ! is fraine, Desire of greatness is a godlike sin.

Him staggering so when hell's dire agent found, The name of Godly he may blush to bear ; While fainting virtue scarce maintaind her Is 't after God's own heart to cheat bis beir? ground,

lie io luis brother gives supreme coinmand, He pours fresh forces.in, and thus replies : To you a legacy of barren land ; Thiciernai God, supremely good and wise, Periaps th'old harpon which he thumps his lays, Imparts not these prodigious gifts in vain : Or seine dull Hebrew ballad in your praize. What wonders are reserv'it, to bless pour reign! Then the next heir, a prince severe and wise, Against your will your arguments hise shuisn, Alicady luoks on you with jealous eyes; Such viriue 's only giv'n to guide a tronc. Sces through the thin disguises of your arts, Not that your father's inildues I contemn; And marks your progress in the people's hearts ; But manly force becomes the diadem.

Though now bis mighty soul his grief eontains; "Tis truc, he grants ille people all they crave; liemediates revenge who least complains : And more perhaps than subjects ought to have: And like a liop, slunub'ring in the way, l'or lavish grants auppose a monarch tame, Or sleep, dissembling, while he waits his prey, And more his goodness than liis wit proclaim. llis tearless fucs within his distance draws, But when should people strive their bonds to Constrains his roaring, and contracts his paw's ; If not when hings are negligent or weak? [tweak, Till at the last, his time for fury found, let liin give on till he can give no more,

lleshoots with sudden vengeance frontleground; The thrilty sanhedrim shall beep him poor: The prostrate vulgar passes v'er and spares, And ev'ry shekel which he can receive But with a loruly rage his hunters tears. Shall cosi a limb of his prerogative.

Lour case no laine expedients will afurd : To ply him with new ploes shall be my care, Resolve on death, or conquest by the sword, Or plunge him deep in some expensive war ;

Which for no less a stake than life you draw; Which when his treasure can no more supply, And self-defence is nature's eldest law. He must, with the remains of kingship, buy. Leave the warm people no considering tinie; His faithful friends, his jealousies and fears For then rebellion may be thought a crime. Call Jebusites, and Pharaoh's pensioners; Avail yourself of what occasion gives, Whom when our fury from his aid has torn, But try your title wifile your father lives : He shall be naked left to public scorn. And, that your arms may have a fair prelence, The next successor, whom I fear and bate, Proclain you take them in the king's defence; My arts have made obnoxious to the state ; Whose sacred life each moment would expose Türn'd all his virtues to his overthrow, To plots, from seeming friends and secret foe's And gain'd our elders to pronounce a foe. And, who can sound the depth of David's soul? Ilis right, for sums of necessary gold,

Perhaps his fear his kindness may control. Shall first be pawn'd, and afterwards be sold; He fears his brother, though he loves his son, Till time shall ever-wanting David draw For plighted vows too late to be undone. To pass your doubiful title into law :

If so, by force he wishes to be gaind : If not, the people have a right supreme Like women's lechery to seein constrain'd. To make their kings; for kings are made for them. Doubt not: but, when he most affects the frown, All empire is no more than pow'r in trust, Comınit a pleasing rape upon the crown. Which, when resum'd, can be no longer just. Secure his person to secure your cause : Succession, for the general geod desigud, They who possess the prince possess the laws, In its own wrong a nation cannot bind;

He said : and this advice above the rest, If alı'ring that the people can relieve,

With Absalom's mild nature suited best; Better one suffer than the nation grieve. Umblaın'd of life, ambition set aside, Thic Jews well know their pow's: ere Sanl they Not staind with cruelty, nor puff d with pride. choose,

How happy had he been, if destiny God was their king, and God they durst depose. Had higher plac'd his birth, or voi so high! Urge now your piciy, your filial name, His kingiv virtues might have claim'd a throne, A father's right, and fear of future fame ; And bless'd all other countries but his own. The public good, that univer-al call,

But charming greatness since so few refuse, To which e'on Ileaven submitiei, answers all "Tis juster lo lament him ihan accuse. Nor let his love cuchant your gen'rous mind; Strong were his hopes a rival to remove, "Tis nature's trick to propagate her kind. "Tith blandishments to gain the public love: Our fond begetiers, who would never dic, To lead the faction while their zeal was hot, Love but themselves in their posterity: And popularly prosecute the plot. Or let bis kindness by th' effects be tried, To further this, Achitophel unites Or let him lay his vain pretence aside. The malcontents of all the Israelites ; God said, he lov'd your father; could he bring Whose dift'ring parties he could wisely join, A better proof than to anoint him king? For several ends, 10 serve the same design. It surely show'd, he lov'd the shepherd well, The best, and of the princes some were such, Who gave so fair a flock as Israel.

Who thought the pow'r of monarchy too much; Would David have vou thought his darling son, Mistaken men, and patriots in their hearts ; İlhat means he then to alienate the crown? Not wicked, but seduc'd by impious arts ;

BY

By these the springs of properly were bent, Ile laugh'd himselffrom court; then sought relief
And wound so high, they crack'dithe government. By forming parties, but could ne'er be ehief;
The next for intrest sought i'enbroil the site, For, spite of him, the weight of business full
To sell their duty at a dearer rate,

On Absalom and wise Achitophel :
And make their Jewish markets of the throne; Thus, wicked but in will, of nieans bereft,
Pretending public good to serve their own. He left 1101 faction, but of that was lefe.
Others thought kings an useless heavy load, Titles and names 't were tedious to rehearse,
Who cost 100 much, and did too little good. Of lords, below the dignity of serse.
These were for laying honest David by, Wits, warriors, commonwealths-men, were the
On principles of pure good husbandry:

best : With them join'd all th' haranguers of the throng, Kind husbands and mere nobles all the rest. That thought to get preferment by the tongue. And therefore, in the name of d:Iness, be Who follow next, a double danger bring, The well-hung Balaam and cold Caleb free: Not only hating David, but the king,

And canting Nadab let oblivion damn, The Solymæan rout; well versid of old Who made new porridge for the pascal lamb. In godly faction, and in treason bold;

Let friendship's holy band some names assure ; Cow'ring and quaking at a conqu'ror's sword, Somne their own worth, and some letscorn secure. But lofty to a lawful prince restord;

Nor shall the rascal rabble here have place, Saw with discluin an Ethnic plot begun, Whom kings 110 title gave, and God no grace : And scorn'd by Jebusites to be outdone. Not bull-fac'd Jonas, who could statutes draw Hot Levites headed these; who pull'id before To mean rebellion, and make treason law. From th‘ark, which in the judge's days they bore. But he, though bad, is follow'il by a worse, Resursi'd their cant, and with a zealous cry The wretch who heaven's anointedar'dweurse ; Pursued their old belov'd theocracy :

Shimei, whose youth did early promise bring When sanhedrim and priest enslav'd the nation, Of zeal to God and hatred to his king, And justified their spoils by inspiration : Did wisely froin expensive sins refrain, For who so fit to reign as Aaron's race, And never broke the Sabbath but for gain : If once dominion they could found in grace? Vor ever was he known an oath to vent, These led the pack, though not of surest scent, Or curse, unless against the government. Yet deepest mooth'd against the government. Thus heaping wealth by the most ready way A num'rous host of dreaining saints succeed, Among the Jews, which was to cheat and pray; Of the true old enthusiastic breed;

The city, to reward his pious hale 'Gainst form and order they their pow'r employ, Against his master, chose hin magistrate. Nothing to build, and all things to destroy. His hand a vase of justice did uphold; Bių far more num'rous was the herd of such liis neck was loaded with a chain of gold; Who think too little, and who talk too much , During his office treason was no crime ; These out of mere instinct, they knew not why, The sons of Belial had a glorious tiine; Ador'd their fathers' God, and property ; For Shimei, though not prodigal of pelf, And, by the same blind benefit of fate, Vet lov'd his wicked neighbour as himself. The devil and the Jebusite did hate : When two or three were gather'd to declain Born to be sav'et, ev’n in their own despite, Against the monarch of Jerusalemi, Because they could not help believing right. Shimei was always in the midst of them ; Such were the tools : but a whole Hydra more And, if they cursid the king when he was by, Remains of spromiting beads too long io score. Would rather curse than break good company; Some of their chiefs were princes of the land: If any durst his facrious friends accuse, In the first rank of these did Zimri stand; He pack'd a Jury of dissenting Jews; A man so various that he seem'd to be

Whose fellow-feeling in the godly cause Not one, but all mankini's epitoine :

Would free the suff'ring saint from human laws. Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong ; For laws are only made to punish those Was ev'ry thing by starts, and nothing long ; Who serve the king, and to protect his foes. But in the course of one revolving inoon If any leisure time he had from pow'r, Was chromist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon; Because 'tis sin to misemploy an hour, Thenall for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, Ilis business was, by writing to persuade Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. That kings were useless, and a clog to trade :Blert madman! who could a'ry hour employ, And, that his noble style he might refine', With something new to wish, or o enjoy. No Rechabite trore shuan'd the fumes of wine. Railing and praising were his usual theries. Chaste were his cellars, and his shrieval board And both, to show his judgement, in extremnes : The grossgess of a city feast abhorrd; So over-violent, or over-civil,

Ilis cooks, with long disguise, their trade forgot, That ev'ry man with him was God or Devil. Cool was his kitchen, though his brains were hot. In squandering wealth was bis peculiar art : Such frugal virtue malica inay accuse; Nothing went unreu arded but desert : But sure 'iwas necessary to the Jews: Beggar'd by fools, whoni still he found too lata; For towns once burnt, such magistrates require lle had his jest, and they lind his estate : As dare not tempt Gou's providence by fire.

[ocr errors]

With spiritual food he fed his servants well, Ilis looks, his grstures, and his words he frames
But free froin flesh thai made the Jew's robel : And with familiar ease repeats their names.
And Moses' laws he held in more account, Thus forin'd by nature, furnishi’d out with arts,
For forty days of fasting in the mount. He glides unfélt into their secret hearts. -
To speak the rest, who better are forgot, Then with a kind compassionating look,
Would tire a well-breath'd witness of the plot. And sighs, bespeaking pily ere he spoke,
Yet, Corah, thou shalt from oblivion pass; l'ew words he said ; but easy those and fit,
Erect ihyself, ihou momumental brass, Moreslow than Hybla-drops, and far more sweet.
High as ihe serpent of thy metal made, I mourn, my countrymen, your lost estate;
While nations stand secure teneath thy shade. Though far unable to prevent your fate :
What though his birth were base, yet comets rise Behold a banish'd man, for your dear cause
From earthly vapors ere they shine in skics.

Expos'd a prey to arbitrary laws !
Prodigious actions may as well be done Yei oh! that'l alone should be undone,
By weaver's issue, as by prince's son. Cut off from empire, and no more a son!
This arch-atiestor for the public good, Now all your liberties a spoil are made;
By that one deed, ennobles all his blood. Egypt and Tyrus intercept your trade ;
Who ever ask'd the witness's high race, And Jebusites your sacred rights invade.
Whose oath with martyrdon did Stephen grace? My father, whom with rev’rence yet I name,
Ours was a Levite ; and, as times went then, Charmı'd iuto ease, is careless of his fame;
His tribe were God Almighty's gentlemen. And, brib’d with petty suins of foreign gold,
Sunk were his eves, his voice was harsh and loud; Is grown in Barhsheba's embraces old;
Sure signs he neither choleric was, nor proud : Exalts his enesnies, his friends destroys ;
His long chin prov'd liis wit; his saint-like grace and all his pouver against himself employs.
A church vermillion, and a Moses' face. He gives, and let him give my right away:
His memory, miraculously great,

But why should he his own and yours betray? Could plots, exceeding man's belief, repeat; He, only he, can make the nation bleed, Which therefore cannot be accounted lies, And be alone from my revenge is freed. For human wit could never such devise. Take then my tears' (with that he wip'd bis Some future truths are mingled in his book ;

eves), But where the witness fail'd, the prophet spoke; 'Tis all the aid my present pow't supplies ; Some things like visionary figlits appear;

No court-informer can these arms accuse ; The spirit caught him up the Lord knows where; These arms may sons against their fathers use : And gave him his rabinnical degree,

And 'tis my wish the next successor's reign Unknown to foreign university.

May make no other Israelite complien. His judgement yet his memory did excel; Youth, beauty, graceful action, seldoin fail ; Which pierc'd his wond'rons evidence so well, But common iniresi always will prevail : And suited to the temper of the times, And pity never ceases to be shown Then groaning under Šebusitic crimes. To him who makes the people's wrongs his own. Let Israel's focs suspect his heavenly call,

The crowd, that still believe their kings oppress, And rashlv judge his writ apocryphal; With lified hands their young Messiah bless : Our laws for such affronis have forfeits made : Who now begins his progress to ordain He takes his life who takes away his trade. With chariots, horsemen, and a numerous train; Were I myself in witness Corah's place, from east 10 west his glories he displays, The wrcich whodit me such a dire disgrace Aud, like the sun, the promis'd land surveys. Should whet my memory, though once forgot, Fame runs before him as the morning star, To make him an appendix of my plot. And shouts of joy salute him from afar: His zeal to Heaven made hiin his prince despise, Each house receives him as a guardian god, And load his person with indignities.

And consecrates the place of his-abode. But zeal peculiar privilege affords,

Bit hospitable irats did most commend Indulging latitude 1o deuds and words : Wise Issachar, his wealthy western friend, And Corah might for Agag's murder call, This moving court, that calight the people'seres, In terms as coarse as Samuel us'd to Saul. And scenu'd but ponip, did other ends disguise ; What others in his evidence did join, Achitophel had form'd it, with intent The best that could be had for love or coin, To sound the depths, and fathom where it went: In Corah's own predicament will fall ; The people's hearts, distiugnish friends from foes, For Witness is a cominon name to all.

And try iheir strength before they came to blows. Surrounded thus with friends of ev'ry sort, Yet all was color'd with a smooth pretence Deluded Absalom forsakes the court :

Oi specious love and duty to their prince. Impatient of high hopes, urg’d with renovn, Religion, and redress of grievances, And fir'd with near possession of a crown, Two names that always cheat and always please, Th'admiring crowd are dazzled with surprise, Are often urg'd; and good king David's life And on his goodly person feed their eyes. Endanger'd by a brother and a wife. His joy conceald, he sets himself to show; Thus in a pageant show a plot is made; Qn each side bowing popularly low:

And peace itself is war in masquerade.

Oh

}

Oh foolish Israel! never warn'd by ill ! Yet some there were, ev'n in the worst of days ;
Sţill the same bait, and circumvented still! Some let me name, and nanning is to praise.
Vid ever men forsake ihe present case ;

In this short file Barzillai first appears ;
In midst of health imagine a disease ;

Barzillai, crowu'd with honor and with years. Take pains contingent mischiefs to foresce; Lorg since, the rising rebels he withistood Make heirs for monarchs, and for God decree? In regions waste beyond the Jordan's Hood : What shall we think? Can people give away,

Unfortunately brave to buoy the state ; Both for themselves and sons, their native sway? But sinking underneath his master's fate : Then they are left defenceless to the sword In exile with his godlike price lie mourn'd; Of each unbounded arbitrary lord :

For him he suffer'd, and with hin return'd. And laws are vain, by which we right enjoy, The court he practis'il, not the courtier's art : If kings unquestion 'd can those laws destroy. Large was his wealth, but larger was his heart. Yet if the crowd be judge of fit and just,

\Vhich well the noblest oljects knew to choose, And hings are only olhcers in trust,

The fighting warrior, and recording Muse. Then this reruming cor'nant was declar'd His bed could once a fruitful issue boast; Ilhen kings were made, or is for ever barr'd. Now more than half a father's name is lost. If those who gave the sceptre could not tie His eldest hope, with ev'ry grace adorn'd, By their own deed their own posperity, By me (so Heaven will have it) always mourn'd How then could Adam bind his future race ? And always honor d, snatch'd in manhood's How could his forfeit on mankind take place? B'unequal fates, and providence's crime: [prime Or how could heavenly justice damn us all, Yet not before the goal of honor won, Who ne'er consented io our father's fall? All parts fulltillid of subject and of son : Then kings are slaves to those whom they com- Swifi was the race, but short the time to run. mand,

Oh narrow circle, but of pow'r divine, And tenants 10 their people's pleasure stand. Scanted in space, buit perfect in thy line ! Add, that the pow'r for property allow'd By sea, by land, thy mitchless worth was known, Is inischievously seated in the crowd : Arms thy delight, and war was all thy own : For who can be secure of private right,

Thv force infusid the tainting Tyrians propp'd ; If sovereign sway may be dissolved by mnight? And haughty Pharaoh found his fortune stoppd. Nor is the people's judgement always true : Oh antient honor ! oh unconquer'd hand, The most may err as grossly as the few; Whom foes unpunish'd vever could withstand! And faultless kings run down by common cry, But Israel was unworthy of his name: For vice, oppression, and for tyranny,

Short is the date of all immoxi'rate fanic. What standard is there in a fickle rout, It looks as Heaven our ruin had design'd, Which, flowing to the mark, runs faster out? And durst not trust thy fortune and thy mind. Nor only crowds, but sanhedriins may be Now, free from earth, thy disencumber'd soul Infected with this public lunacy:

Mounts up, and leaves behind the clouds and And share the madness of rebellious times,

starry pole : To murder monarchs for imagin'd crimes. From thence thy kindred legions may’st thou If they may give and take whene'er they please, bring, Not kings alone, the Godhead's images, To ail the guardian angel of thy king, But governinent itself, at length must fall. Herestop, my Muse, here cease thy painful Aight: To nature's state, where all have right to all. No pinions can pursue immortal height: Yet, grant our lords the people kings can Tell good Barzillai thou canst sing no more, make,

And iell thy soul she should have Aed before : What prudent men a setiled throne would shake? Or tied she with his life, and left this verse For whatsoe'er their sufferings were before, To hang on her departed pron's hearse ? That change they covet makes theyi suffer more. Now take thy steepy fight from heaven, and see All other errors but disturb á state;

If thou canst find on earth another be: But innovation is the blow of late.

Another he would be too hard to find ; If antient fabrics noul, and threat to fall, See then whom thou canst see not far behind. To patch their flaw's, and buttress up the wall, Zarloc the priest, whom, shuming pow'r and Thus far 'uis duty : but here fix the mark; For all beyond it, is to touch ile ark. His lowly mind advanc'd to David's grace. To change foundations, cast ihe frame ancú;. With him the Sagan of Jerusalemi, Is work for rebels, who base ends pursue, Of hospitable soul, and noble stein ; At once divine and human laws control, Hiin of the western dome, whose weighty scuse And mend the parts by ruin of the whole. Flows in fit words and heavenly eloquence. The tamp'ring world is subject to this curse, The prophet's sons, by such example led, To physic their disease into a worse.

To learning and to loyalty were bred : Now what relief can righteous David bring? For colleges ou bour, icous kings depend; llow faral 'tis to be too good a king !

And never rebel was to aris a friend. Friends he has few, so high the madness grows; To these succeed ihe pillars of the laws ; Who dares be such must be the people's foes. Who best can plead, and best can julge, a cause:

2

place,

« PředchozíPokračovat »