« PoprzedniaDalej »
He grew at last more weary to command
New dangers, than young David to withstand
Or conquer them; he fear'd his mastering
Andenvy'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
Howatame 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
Where he the growth of fatal gold does see,
Gold, which above more 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;
Nobound 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
And roar'd at his first plunge into the flame:
Myriads of spirits fell wounded round him there;
With dropping lights thick shonethe singed air;
Since when, the dismal solace of their woe
Has only been weak mankind to undo ; [cite,
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:
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
Yet would he rage and struggle with the chain 5
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
And with worse fires the trembling ghosts af.
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
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
Oh! my ill-chang'd condition! oh, my fate!
Did I lose Heaven for this?” [breast,
With that, with his long tail he lash'd his
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 Hels'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
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 heartboth night and day,
Sucking black blood from thence, which to re-
Both o 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
swim ; [grew, With which, when she was drunk, she furious And lash'd herself: thus from th’ accursed crew
Envy, the worst of fiends, herself ts, Jonvy, good only when she'herself torments. “Spend not, great king! thy precious rage," said she, * Upon so poor a cause; shall mighty we e 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
ly, And to: echot 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! ch might I see’t again,
Tho' he had fiercer flames to thrust usin!
And cam 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
love (But Sau} we know) great as my hate shall - ve, 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, And 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 merebellious 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 - fame: Tyme—but I lose time, methinks, and should Perform new acts whilst I relate the old. David's the next our fury must enjoy: *Fis not thy God himself shall save thee, boy! No, if he do, may the whole world have peace; May all ill actions, all ill fortune, cease, And banished from this potent court below, Kłay I a ragged contemnod Virtue grow to She spoke; all star'd at first, and made a - pause; Tout 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 grown To act her part, thrice bow'd, and thence she
ed The snakes aii hiss'd, the fiends all murmured.
It was the time when silent night began To enchain 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, appeard, 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 side; 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 2 If king thou best, 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 brickkin'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 best 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 Îthere been dead, Fre my full loins discharg'd this numerous rae”,
grace Ah, Saul thy servant's vassal must thou live? Place to his harp must thy drcad sceptre give? What wants he now but that 2 canst thou for.
get (If thou best man thou canst not) how they met The youth with songs? alas! poor monarch:
vuu Your thousand only, he ten thousand, slew! Him * loves, him neighbouring countries
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 2
Hast thou not since (my best and greatest son!)
To him, and to his perishing mation, done
| Such lasting benefits as may justly claim
A sceptre as eternal as thy fame :
Poor prince' whom madmen, priests, and boys - invade :
By thine own men, thy ungrateful son betray'd!
Unnatural fool!' who can thus cheated be
By friendship's name,against a crown and thee!
Tetray not toothyself; take courage, call
Thy enchanted virtues forth, and be whole Saul.
Lo! this great cause makes thy dead fathers
rise, Breaks the firm seals of their clos'd tombs and eyes. Nor can their jealous ashes, whilst this boy Survives, the privilege of their graves enjoy. Rise quickly, Saul; and take that rebel's breath, Which troubles thus thy life, and ev’n our death: Kill him, and thou 'rt secure; 'tis only he That's boldly interpos'd 'twixt God and thee, As Earth's low globe robs the high Moon of light; When this eclipse is past, thy fate's all bright. Trust me, dear son l 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 takes One of her worst, her best-beloved smakes: * Softly, dear worm 1 soft and unseen,” said she, “Into his bosom steal, and in it be My viceroy.” At that word she took her 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: Terreur froze up his hair, and on his face Showers of cold sweat roll'd trembling down apace. Then knocking with his angry hands his breast, Earth with his feet, he cries, “Oh ’tis confest; I've been a pious fool, a woman-king; Wrong’d by a seer, a boy, everything. 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 1 yes, mighty ghost! the wretch shall
Though every star in Heaven should it deny;
Nor mock th'assault of our just wrath again,
Had he tentimes 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 grew scrupulous and
relent, 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 to 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'erdown 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 flaines swell up the sacred place,
Nor can the glory contain itself in th’ endless
space; 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 mothing 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 throne. 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 cease, And all thy creatures breakthy 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 gains 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 shake, 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,
Thou, and thy sons, thou would'st not threaten
Thy trembling tongue would, stop against thy
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
sworn, Tell him whose blood must paint this rising morn; Yet bid him go securely, when he sends; 'Tis Saul that is his foe, and We his friends; The man who has his God, no aid can lack,
And We, who bid him go, will bring him back.” He spoke; the Heavens seem'd decently to
bow, With all their bright inhabitants; and now The jocund spheres began again to play, Again each spirit sung Halleluia; Only that angel was straight gone: even so (But not so swift) the morning-glories flow At once from the bright Sun, and strike the ground; So winged lightning the soft air does wound. Slow Time admires, and knows not what to call The motion, having no account so small. So flew this angel, till to David's bed He came, and thus his sacred message said: “Awake, young man, hear what thy king has sworn; He swore thy blood should paint this rising ritoria : Yet to him go securely, when he sends; 'Tis Saul that is your foe, and God your friends: The man who has his God, no aid can lack; And he who bids thee go, will bring thee back.” Up leap'd Jessides, and did round him stare, But could see nought; for nought was left but air : Whilst this great vision labours in his thought, Ilo! the short prophecy to 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 tell, The mystic powers that in blest numbers dwell; Thou their great nature know'st, nor is it fit This noblest gem of thine own crown to omit) Tell me from whence these heavenly charms arise; [spise ! Teach the dull world to admire what they deAs 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;
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
And short, and long, were mix’d and woven so-
Did in such artful figures smoothly fall—
As made this decent-measurd 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 prise,
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 asar 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 [fly, 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 seal 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,
Th'unthankful king, cur'd truly of his fit,
Seems to lie drown'd and buried still in it;
From his past madness draws this wicked use,
To sin disguis'd, and murder with excuse:
For, whilst the fearless youth his cure pursues,
And the soft med'cine with kind art renews,
The barbarous patient casts at him his spear,
(The usual sceptre that rough hand did bear)
Casts it with violent strength; but into th’
An arm more strong and sure than his was
An Angel, whose unseen and easy might
Put-by the weapon, and misled it right.
How vain man's power is unless God command,
The weapon disobeys his master's hand;
Happy was now the errour of the blow ;
At Gilboa it will not serve him so. -
One would have thought, Saul's sudden rage
to 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'di' th' sin;"
A bloody troop of his own guards he sends
(Slaves to his will, and falsely call'd his friends)
Tomend 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
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 1
Will he part those he join’d so late before?
sere the two-hundred foreskins worth no more ?
He shall not partus;” (then she wept between)
“At yonder window thou may'st’scape unseen;
This hand shall let thee down stay not, but
*Tis not my use to send thee hence so fast.”
“Best of all women o’ he replies—and this
S-arce 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 forcesh' opposes just deceit:
She meets the murderers with a virtuouslye,
And good dissembling tears. “Maybe not die
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
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,
And on the table med'cinal relics lie;
In the close room a well-plac'd taper's light
Adds a becoming horrour to the sight:
And for th’ impression God prepard 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 wenust 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 formal 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'd 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,