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More full revenge Philistians could not wish:
But call’t the justice of their mighty Fish.
They now in height of anger let him live;
And, freedom too, to encrease his scorn they give;
He, by wise madness freed, does homeward flee,
And rage makes them all that he seem'd to be.
Near to Adullam, in an aged wood,
An hill, part earth, part rocky stone, there stood,
Hollow and vast within, which Nature wrought,
As if by her scholar Art she had been taught.
Hither young David with his kindred came,
Servants and friends: many his spreading fame,
Many their wants or discontents, did call:
Great men in war, and almost armies, all!
Hither came wise and valiant Joab down
(One to whom David's self must owe his crown);
A mighty man, had not some cunning sin,
Amidst so many virtues crowded in.
With him Abishai came, by whom there fell
At once three hundred: with him Asahel;
Asahel, swifter than the northern wind;
Scarce could the nimble motions of his mind
Outgo his feet; so strangely would he run,
That Time itself perceived not what was done:
Oft o'er the lawns and meadows would he pass,
His weight unknown, and harmless to the grass;
Oft o'er the sands and hollow dust would trace,
Yet no one atom trouble or displace.
Unhappy youth, whose end so near I see 1
There's nought but thy ill fate so swift as thee.
Hither Jessides’ wrongs Benaiah drew,
He who the vast exceeding monster slew ;
Th’ Egyptian like an hill himself did rear,
Like some tall tree upon it seem'd his spear:
But by Benaiah's staff he fell, o'erthrown;
The Earth, as if worst strook, did loudest groan.
Such was Benaiah: in a narrow pit
He saw a lion, and leapt downto it;
As easily there the royal beast he tore,
As that itself did kids or lambs before.
Him Ira follow'd, a young lovely boy,
But full of spirit, and arms was all his joy;
Oft, when a child, he in his dreams would fight
With the vain air, and his wak'd mother fright;
Oft he would shoot young birds, and, as they fall,
Would laugh, and fancy them Philistians all:
And now at home no longer would he stay,
Though yet the face did scarce his sex betray.
Dodos’ great son came next, whose dreadful
Snatch'd ripen'd glories from a conquering
Who knows not Dammin, and that barley-field,
Which did a strange and bloody harvest yield.
Many besides did this new troop increase;
Adam, whose wants made him unfit for peace;
Eliel, whose full quiver did always bear
As many deaths as in it arrows were:
None from his hand did vain orinnocent flee,
Scarce Love or Fate could aim so well as he.
Many of Judah took wrong'd David's side,
And many of old Jacob's youngest tribe;
But his chief strength the Gathite soldiers are,
Each single man able t'o'ercome a war!
Swift as the darts they fling through yielding air,
And hardy all as the strong steel they bear: *
A lion's noble rage sits in their face, Terribly comely, arm'd with dreadful grace! Th'undaunted prince, though thus well-guard. ed here, Yet his stout soul does for his parents fear; He seeks for them a safe and quiet seat, Nortrusts his fortune with a pledge so great. So, when in hostile fire rich Asia's pride For ten years' siege had fully satisfy'd, AEneas stole an act of higher fame, And bore Anchises through the wondering flame; A nobler burthen and a richer prey, Than all the Grecian forces bore away Go, pious prince' in peace, in triumph go; Enjoy the conquest of thine overthrow; To ‘ave sav'd thy Troy would far less gloriousbe: By this thou overcom'st their victory. Moab next Judah, an old kingdom, lies: Jordan their touch, and his curs'd sea, denies: They see north-stars from o'er Amoreus' ground, Edom and Petra their south part does bound: Eastwards the lands of Cush and Ammon lie, The morning's happy beams they first espy; The region with fat soil and plenty’s blest, A soil too good to be of old possest By monstrous Emins ; but Lot's offspring came, And conquer'd both the people and the name; Till Seon drave them beyond Arnon's flood, And their sad bounds mark'd deep in their own blood. In Hesbon, his triumphant court he plac'd, Hesbon, by men and Nature strangely grac'd; A glorious town, and fill'd with all delight Which peace could yield, though well prepard for fight." But this proud city and her prouder lord, Felt the keen rage of Israel's sacred sword; Whilst Moab triumph'd in her torn estate, To seeber own become her conqueror's fate: Yet that small remnant of Lot's parted crown Did, arm'd with Israel's sins, pluck Israel down: Full thrice six years they felt fierce Eglon's yoke, Till Ehud's sword God's vengeful message spoke; Since then their kings in quiet held their own, Quiet, the good of a not-envy'd throne : And now a wise old prince the sceptre sway’d, Well by his subjects and himself obey'd ; Only before his fathers’ gods he fell; Poor wretched man' almost too good for Hell Hither does David his blest parents bring; With humble greatness begs of Moab's king A safe and fair abode, where they might live, Free from those storms with which himself must strive. The king with cheerful grace his suit approv’d, By hate to Saul, and love to Virtue mov’d. “Welcome, great Knight, and your fair troop,” said he, “Yourname found welcome long before with me; That to rich Ophir's rising morm is known, And stretch'd out far to the burnt swarthy zone: Swift Fame, when her round journey she does make, Scorms not sometimes us in her way to take. Are you the man did that huge giant kill, Great Baal of Phegor? and how young he's still! From Ruth we heard you came; Ruth was born here, In Judah sojourn'd, and (they say) match'd there
To one of Bethlem; which I hope is true:
Howe'er your virtues here entitle you:
Those have the bestalliance always been;
To gods as well as men they make us kin.”
He spoke, and straight led in his thankful guests,
T'a stately room prepar'd for shows and feasts:
The room with golden tapestry glister'd bright,
At once to please, and to confound, the sight,
Th’excellent work of Babylonian hands;
In midst a table of rich ivory stands,
By three fierce tigers, and three lions borne,
Which grin, and fearfully the place adorn;
Widely they gape, and to the eye they roar,
As if they hunger'd for the food they bore.
About it beds of Libyan citron stood,
With coverings dy’d in Tyrian fishes' blood
(They say, th' Herculean art): butmost delight
Some pictures gave to David's learned sight.
Here several ways Lot and great Abram go,
Their too-much wealth vast and unkind does
Thus each extreme to equal danger tends,
Plenty, as well as Want, can separate friends.
Here Sodom's towers raise their proud tops on
(The towers, as well as men, outbrave the sky);
By it the waves of reverend Jordan run,
Here green with trees, there gilded with the Sun;
Hither. Lot's household comes, a numerous train,
And all with various business fill the plain:
Some drive the crowding sheep with rural hooks;
They lift up their mild heads, and bleat in looks;
Some drive the herds; here a fierce bullock
Th’ appointed way, and runs with threatening
In vain the herdman calls him back again;
The dogs stand off afar, and bark in vain:
Some lead the groaning waggons, loaded high
With stuff, on top of which the maidens lie:
Upon tall camels the fair sisters ride,
And Lot talks with them both on either side.
Another picture to curst Sodom brings
Elam’s proud lord, with his three servant-kings :
They sack the town, and bear Lot bound away;
Whilst in a pit the vanquish'd Bera lay,
Buried almost alive, for fear of death;
But Heaven's just vengeance sav'd as yet his
Abraham pursues and slays the victor's host,
Scarce had their conquest leisure for a boast.
Next this was drawn the reckless city's flame.
When a strange Hell pour'd down from Heaven
Here the two angels from Lot's window look
With smiling anger; the lewd wretches, strook
With sudden blindness, seek in vain the door,
Their eyes, first cause of lust, first vengeance
Through liquid air Heaven's busy soldiers fly,
And drive on clouds where seeds of thunder lie:
Here the sad sky glows red with dismal streaks,
Herelightning from it with short tremblingbreaks;
Here the blue flames of scalding brimstone fall,
Involving swiftly in one ruin all :
The fire of trees and houses mounts on high,
And meets half-way new fires that shower from
Some in their arms snatch their dear babes away;
At once drop down the fathers' arms and they:
Some into waters leap with kindled hair,
And, more to vex their fate, are burnt ev'n there.
Men thought (so much a flame by aut was
The picture's self would fall in ashes down.
Afar old Lot toward little Zoar hies,
And dares not move (good man) his weeping
Behind his wife stood, ever fix’d alone,
No more a woman, not yet quite a stone :
A lasting death seiz'd on her turning head;
One cheek was rough and white, the other red,
And yet a cheek: in vain to speak she strove:
Her lips though stone, a little seem'd to move:
One eye was clos'd, surpris’d by sudden night:
The other trembled still with parting light:
The wind admir'd, which her hair loosely bore,
Why it grew stiff, and now would play no more.
To Heaven she lifted up her freezing hands,
And to this day a suppliant pillar stands:
She try’d her heavy foot from ground to rear,
And rais'd the heel, but her toes rooted there:
Ah, foolish woman' who must always be
A sight more strange than that she turn'd to see!
Whilst David fed with these his curious eye,
The feast is now serv'd-in and down they lie.
Moab a goblet takes of massy gold,
Which Zippor, and from Zippor all of old
Quaff'd to their gods and friends: an health goes
In the brisk grape of Arnon's richest ground;
Whilst Melchor to his harp with wondrous skill
(For such were poets then, and should be still)
His noble verse through Nature's secrets led :
He sung what spirit through the whole mass is
Every-where all; how Heavens God's law ap-
And think it rest etermally to move;
How the kind Sun usefully comes and goes,
Wants it himself, yet gives to man repose;
How his round journey does for ever last,
And how he baits at every sea in haste:
He sung how Earth blots the Moon's gilded wane,
Whilst foolish men beat sounding brass in vain;
Why the greatwaters her slight horns obey,
Her changing horns not constanter than they:
He sung how grisly comets hung in air;
Why swords and plagues attend their fatal hair;
God’s beacons for the world, drawn up so far,
To publish ill, and raise all earth to war:
Why contraries feed thunder in the cloud;
What motions vex it, till it roar so loud: '
How lambent fires become so wondrous tame,
And bear such shining winter in their flame:
What radiant pencil draws the watery bow:
What ties up hail, and picks the fleecy snow :
What palsy of the Earth here shakes fix’d hills
From off her brows, and here whole rivers spills.
Thus did this Heathen Nature's secrets tell,[well.
And sometimes miss'd the cause, but sought it
Such was the sauce of Moab's noble feast,
Till night far spent invites them to their rest:
Only the good old prince stays Joab there,
And much he tells, and much desires to hear;
He tells deeds antique, and the new desires
Of David much, and much of Saul, inquires.
“Nay gentle guest!” said he, “since now
The story of your gallant friend begin;
His birth, his rising, tell, and various fate,
And how he slew thatman 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
That praise of that might look from me like
Yet, without boast, his veins contain a flood
Of th’ old Judean lion's richest blood.
From Judah Pharez, 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
6od Saul; the room in 's heart wild passions 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 tumultkeep,
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
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
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,
Northought 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 seem'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,
Vast as the hill, down which he march'd he aps
Amaz'd all eyes, nor was their army fear'd.
A young tall squire (though then he seem'd not
Did from the camp at first before him go ;
At first he did, but scarce could follow straight,
Sweating beneath a shield's unruly weight,
On * was wrought the gods' and giants'
Rare work! all fill'd with terrour and delight.
Here a vasthill 'against thundering Baal was
Trees and beasts on 't fell burnt with lightning
One flings a mountain and its river too,
Torm up with 't; that rains back on him that
Some from the main to pluck whole islands try;
The sea boils round with flames shot thick from
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 to 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 trumk 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.
‘Yemen 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
To try his strength and fate with me in fight:
The chance of war, set us two bear for all,
And they the conquerur serve whose knight shall
At this he paus'd awhile: straight, ‘I defy
Your gods and you; dares none come down and
Go back for shame, and Egypt's slavery bear,
Or yield to us, and serve more nobly here.
Alas! ye 'ave no more wonders to be done,
Your sorcerer Moses now, and Joshua,’s gone;
Your magic trumpets then could cities take,
And sounds of triumph did your battles make.
Spears in your hands and manly swords are
Get you your spells and conjuring rods again.
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
Once every morn be 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,
tound 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,
Wberethus he spoke as boldly as he fought:
“Henceforth no more, great prince, your sacred
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! plantour forefathers here?
Twice fifteen kings did they by that subdue?
By that whole nations of Goliahs slew 2
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 them, sir, mine th' advantage
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
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 success, 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 severely 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' weightmore 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 of those, Five sharp smooth stones from the nextbrook he chose,
And fits them to his sling; then marches down; For sword, his enemy's he esteem'd his own. We all with various passions strangely gaz'd, Some sad, some sham’d, some angry; all amaz'd. “Now in the valley he stands; through's youthful face Wrath checks the beauty, and sheds manly grace, Both in his looks so join'd that they might move Fear ev’n in friends, and from an enemy love; Hot as ripe noon, sweet as the blooming day, Like July furious, but more fair than May. Th" accurs'd Philistian stands on th' other side, Grumbling aloud, and smiles 'twixt rage and pride. • The plagues of Dagon a smooth boy,” said he, • A cursed beardless foe oppos'd to me ! Hell! with what arms (hence thou ford child) he's come ! Some friend his mother call to drive him home. Not gone yet? if one minute more thou stay, The birds of heaven shall bear thee dead away. Gods ! a curs'd boy '-the rest then murmuring out, He walks and casts a deadly grin about. David with cheerful anger in his eyes, Advances boldly on and thus replies: * Thou com'st vain man! all arm'd into the field, And trustest those war toys, thy sword and shield: Thy pride's my spear, thy blasphemies my sword; My shield, thy Maker, fool! the mighty Lord Of thee and battles; who hath sent forth me Unarm'd thus, not to fight, but conquer thee. In vain shall Dagon, thy false hope withstand; In vain thy other god, thine own right hand: Thy fall to man shall Heaven's strong justice shew ; Wretch 'tis the only good that thou can'st do.” “He said; our host stood dully silent by ; And durst not trust their ears against the eye; As much their champion's threats to him they fear'd, As when themonster's threats to them they heard. His flaming sword the enrag’d Philistian shakes, And haste to his ruin with loud curses makes; Backwards the winds his active curses blew, And fatally round his own head they flew : For now from David's sling the stone is fled, And strikes with joyful noise the monster's head; It strook his forehead, and pierc’d deeply there, As swiftly as it pierc'd before the air : Down, down he falls, and bites in vain the ground: Blood, brain, and soul, croud mingled through the wound! So a strong oak, which many years had stood With fair and flourishing boughs itself a wood— Though it might long the axe's violence bear, And play’d with winds which other trees did tearYet by the thunder's stroke from th’ root 'tis rent (Sosure the blows that from high Heaven are sent 1) What tongue the joy and wonder can express, Which did that moment our whole host possess
Their jocund shouts th' air like a storm did tear,
Th’ amazed clouds fled swift away with fear:
But far more swift th' accurs'd Philistines fly,
And, their ill sate to perfect, basely die.
With thousand corpse the ways around are
Till they by the day's flight secure their own.
Now through the camp sounds nought but David's
All joys, of several stamp and colours, came
From several passions: some his valour praise,
Some his o speech, some the fair popular
Of youth, and beauty, and his modest guise;
Gifts that mov’d all, but charm'd the female
Some wonder, some, they thought’t would be so,
And some saw angels flying through the air:
The basest spirits cast back a crooked glance
On this great act, and fain would give "t to
Women our host with songs and dances meet,
With much joy Saul, David with more, they
Hence the king's politic rage and envy flows,
Which first he hides, and seeks his life to ex-
To generous dangers, that his hate might clear,
And Fate or Chance the blame, nay David, bear.
So vain are man’s designs ! for Fate and Chance,
And Earth and Heaven, conspir'd to his advance:
His beauty, youth, courage, and wondrous wit,
In all mankind but Saul did love beget.
Not Saul's own house, not his own nearest blood,
The noble cause's sacred truth withstood.
You ’ve met, no doubt, and kindly us'd, the
Of God-like Jonathan's illustrious name;
A name which every wind to Heaven would bear,
Which men to speak and angels joy to hear.
No angel e'er bore to his brother mind
A kindness more exalted and resin'd,
Than his to David; which look'd nobly down,
And scorn'd the false alarums of a crown.
At Dammin field he stood, and from his place
Leap'd forth the wondrous conqueror to em-
On him his mantle, girdle, sword, and bow,
On him his heart and soul he did bestow:
Not all that Saul could threaten or persuade,
In this close knot the smallest looseness made.
Oft his wise care did the king's rage suspend;
His own life's danger shelter'd oft his friend;
Which he expos'd a sacrifice to fall
By th’ undiscerning rage of furious Saul.
Nor was young David's active virtue grown
Strong and triumphant in one sex alone;
Imperious Beauty too it durst invade,
And deeper prints in the soft breast it made:
For there, to Esteem and Friendship's graver
Passion was pour'd, like oil into the flame.
Like two bright eyes in a fair body plac'd,
Saul's royal house two beauteous daughters
Merab the first, Michal the younger nam'd,
Both equally for different glories fam'd.
Merab with spacious beauty fill'd the sight,
But too much awe chastis'd the bold delight: