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Joab. Well, nail thine eyes there.— Will the old man's prayer
Stretch out till doom? Benaiah, we lose time;
We should be now beyond Bahurim.

Ben. Be patient ;
The stroke was bitter, and his heart seemed fraught
Almost to bursting,

Joab. Better rive at once,
Than meet the tender mercies of his son
By loitering here. By heaven, I'll rouse him-

Ben. Hold,
Hold, Joab !

People. Stand aside-Back there—The King ! [KING DAVID comes forward among the People ; Enter Hushal,

with his garments rent; he falls to the ground, and clasps the King's feet.]

Hush. God save my lord the King! Live I to see
My master thus ! the Light, the Rock of Israel !

K. Dav. Once, Hushai, once the candle of the Lord
Beamed on my head, and like a shadowing rock,
His buckler sheltered me. Thou seest me, now,
Dark and defenceless; all my leprous sins
Wrathfully visited upon my people.

First People. What will become of us?

Second People. Alas! alas ! Heaven hath forsaken us !

Third People. Wo, wo, alas!

Joab. (Going among them.)
Peace with your howling ! Peace! or ye shall feast
The wild beasts of the wilderness.—My lord,
We linger here while death is at our heels.

K. Dav. Hushai.
Hush. Command thy servant.

K. Dav. Turn thou back;
Mix with his council; seem as they. Thy words
May blast Ahithophel's, whose malice, else,
Will work our ruin ; With us thou canst nought.-
Abiathar and Zadok stay behind,
By my commandment, with the Ark; To them
Communicate what thou canst learn of import;
They will despatch it to me by their sons,
Where I shall wait them in the wilderness.

Joab. Depart ere thou art seen.

Hush. God guard the King, And bring him home to Zion.

K. Dav. May it please Him!'

The whole of this part of the poem is hardly more than a dramatic version of the original story, as it is related in the second book of Sainuel. Obedient to the desire of his master, whose prudence and foresight are awakened, instead of stupified, by misfortune, Hushai, the faithful counsellor, returns to the city, in order to countermine and defeat the purposes of Absalom. It was the usurper's interest to press on immediately with his forces, and overwhelm his father before he could collect his friends and recover from his confusion. It was consequently Hushai's part to induce delay, by representing it as the wisest and safest course. This he effectually accomplishes. But the whole of the council scene, in which the debate takes place, is so favorable a specimen of Mr Hillhouse's powers, that we shall present it in his own words; and the rather, because, though it is inferior to none in the poem, we have not seen it extracted in any of the notices which have been given to the public. "The council-hall. ABSALOM, AHITHOPHEL, MANASSES, MALCHIAH, Hushai, and others, in debate ; AhiTHOPHEL speaking.

Ahith. My lord, you know them not-you wear, to-day,
The diadem, and hear yourself proclaimed
With trump and timbrel Israel's joy, and deem
Your lasting throne established. Canst thou bless,
Or blast, like Him who rent the waters, clave
The rock, whose awful clangour shook the world
When Sinai quaked beneath his majesty ?
Yet Jacob's seed forsook this thundering Guide,
Even at the foot of the astonished mount !-
If benefits could bind them, wherefore flames
The Ammonitish spoil upon thy brows,
While David's locks are naked to the night dew ?
Canst thou transcend thy father? is thy arm
Stronger than his who smote from sea to sea,
And girt us like a band of adamant ?-
Trust not their faith. Thy father's root is deep ;
His stock will bourgeon with a single sun;
And many tears will flow to moisten him.-
Pursue, this night, or ruin will o'ertake thee.

Ab. What say’st thou, Hushai? Speak to this, once more.

Hush. I listen to my lord Ahithophel,
As to a heaven-instructed oracle ;
But what he urges more alarnis my fears,

Thou seest, O King, how night envelopes us ;
Amidst its perils, whom must we pursue ?
The son of Jesse is a man of war,
Old in the field, hardened to danger, skilled
In every wile and stratagem; the night
More welcome than the day. Each mountain path
He treads instinctive as the ibex; sleeps,
Moistened with cold dank drippings of the rock,
As underneath the canopy. Some den
Will be his bed to-night. No hunter knows
Like him, the caverns, cliffs, and treacherous passes ;
Familiar to his feet, in former days,
As 'twixt the Court and Tabernacle! What !
Know ye not how his great heart swells in danger
Like the old lion's from bis lair by Jordan
Rising against the strong ? Beware of him by night,
While anger chafes him. Never hope
Surprisal. While we talk, they lurk in ambush,
Expectant of their prey ; the Cherethites,
And those blood-thirsty Giuites crouch around him,
Like evening wolves; fierce Joab darts his eyes,
Keen as the leopard's, out into the night,
And curses our delay; Abishai raves ;
Benaiah, Ittai, and the Tachmonite,
And they, the mighty three, who broke the host
Of the Philistines, and from Bethlehem well
Drew water, when the King but thirsted, now,
Raven like beasts bereaved of their young.-
We go not after boys, but the Gibborim,
Whose bloody weapons never struck but triumphed.

Malchi. It were a doubtful quest.
Hush. Hear


O King. Go not to-night, but summon, with the dawn, Israel's ten thousands; mount thy conquering car, Surrounded by innumerable hosts, And go, their strength, their glory, and their King, Almighty to the battle ; for what might Can then resist thee? Light upon this handful, Like dew upon the earth; or if they bar Some city's gates against thee, let the people Level its puny ramparts, stone by stone, And cast them into Jordan. Thus, my lord May bind his crown with wreaths of victory, And owe his kingdom to no second arm.

Ahith. O blindness! Lunacy!


Hush. I would retire ; Ye have my counsel.

Ahith. Would thou hadst not come,
To linger out with thy pernicious talk
The hours of action.

Hush. Wise Ahithophel,
No longer I'll offend thee. Please the King-

[ABSALOM waves him to resume his seat.]
Ahith. By all your hopes, my lord, of life and glory,
I do adjure thee shut thine ears to him !
His counsel's fatal, if not treacherous.
I see its issue, clearly as I see
The badge of royalty,—not long to sit
Where now it sparkles, if his words entice thee.-
Never was prudence in my tongue, or now.-
Blanch'd as I am, weak, withered, winter-stricken,
Grant but twelve thousand men, and I'll forth.
Weary, weak-handed, what can they, if taken,
Now, in their first alarm ?

Ab. Were this resolved,
We would not task thy age. What think ye, sirs ?

Manass. My lord, the risk is great: a night assault
Deprives us of advantage from our numbers,
Which in the open field ensure success;
And news of a disaster blown about,
And magnified, just now, when all are trembling,
Might lose a Tribe, might wound us fatally.
Hushai's advice appears most prudent.

Ahith. Fate !
Malchi. I think so too, my lord.
Others. And I. And I.
Ahith. Undone !

Ab. The Council are agreed, this once,
Against you, and with them the King accords.

Ahith. (Stretching his hands toward ABSALOM.)
Against thyself, thy throne, thy life, thy all!
Darkness has entered thee, confusion waits thee,
Death brandishes his dart at thee, and grins
At thy brief diadem !_Farewell! Farewell !
Remember me !--I'll not be checked and rated, -
Branded with treason-see my hoary hairs
Hooted and scoffed at, if they're spared, indeed,
For such indignity.

-Thou'lt follow soon. [Exit.] Ab. Or win or lose, we walk not by thy light.

Malchi. The old man's strangely moved.

Manass. His fury seemed

Āb. The Council is dissolved,
Here to assemble in the morning early,
To order for our absence. Leave us now
To private business.

Counsellors. Save our lord the King.' While these things are going on, Tamar, shocked at her father's crime, escapes from her apartments, is rescued in the streets fron violence by two ancient Jews, and is conducted by them to the temple, which she had been seeking as a place of safety. She is torn from the sanctuary, however, by Hadad, and brought back, as we are left to suppose, to her father. Just before the battle, Absalom places her under the care of Hadad, with an injunction that he should keep aloof from the turmoil, and if the fortune of the day declared for David, that he should bear her away to the palace of his old friend Talınai, king of Geshur. After this we see no more of the contending parties, but have an account of the fight from some who witness it. It is waged in the forest of Ephraim; in one part of which we are introduced to the peaceful tents of a company of Ishmaelites. Women are seen under the trees, and one is singing before the door of her tent. Presently a man comes in, with the intelligence that two mighty hosts are joining battle ; and soon after Tamar, pale and fatigued, and conducted by Hadad, craves and receives the shelter and hospitality of the tent. Then we have an exceedingly animated description of the battle, given by several of the Ishmaelites, as they enter, one after another, from the field, laden with the spoil of the slain. Abimelech, the master of the tent, returns last of all, and relates the deseat of the rebels, and the death of Absalom.

Abim. He fled upon a mule, and disappeared,
And had escaped I thought, though hotly followed,
Taking the wood when met upon the plain.
But as I crossed the forest far within,
A trumpet roused me. Hearing earnest voices,
I made that way, through a close brake, to spy
The danger. Near the thicket's verge,

A concourse round an oak. Intent they seemed


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