Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Like a calm sea, which to th' enlarged view But Michal, in whose breast all virtues move,
Gives pleasure, but gives fear and reverence too. That hatch the pregnant seeds of sacred love,
Mithal's sweet looks clear and free joys did with juster eyes the noble object meets,
move,

And turns all Merab's poison into sweets: And be less strong, though much more gentle, She saw, and wonderd bow a youth unknown love:

Should make all fame to come so soon his own: Like virtuous kings, whom men rejoice ť obey She saw, and wonder'd how a shepherd's crook (Tyrants themselves less absolute than they). Despis'd that sword at which the sceptre shook ; Merab appear'd like some fair princely tower; Though he seventh-born, and tho' his house but Michal, some virgin-queen's delicious bower.

poor, All Beauty's stores in little and in great; She knew it noble was, and would be more. But the contracted beams shot fiercest heat. Oft had she heard, and fancy'd oft the sight, A clean and lively brown was Merab's dye, With what a generons calm he march'd to fight; Such as the prouder colours migbt envy: In the great dan ger how exempt from fear, Michal's pare skin shone with such taintless And after it from pride, he did appear. white,

Greatness and goodness, and an air divine, As scatter'd the weak rays of human sight; She saw through all his words and actions shine, Hler lips and cheeks a nobler red did shew, She heard his eloquent tongue, and charming Than e'er on fruits or flowers Heaven's pencil

lyre, drew,

Whose artful sounds did violent love inspire, From Merab's eyes fierce and quick lightnings Though us'd all other passions to relieve: came,

She weigh'd all this; and well we may conceive, From Michal's, the Sun's mild, yet active, flame: When those strong thoughts attack'd her doubtlul Merub's long hair was glossy chesnut brown;

breast, Tresses of palest gold did Michal crown. His beauty no less active than the rest. Such was their outward form; and one might find the fire thus kindled soon grew fierce and great, A diturence not unlike it in the mind.

When David's breast reflected back its heat. Merab with comely majesty and state

Soon she perceiv'd (scarce can love hidden lie Bire high th' advantage of her worth and fate; From any sight, much less the loving eye) Such humble sweetness did soft Michal show, She conqueror was, as well as overcome, That none who reach so high e'er stoop'd so low. And gain'd no less abroad than lost at home. Merab rejoic'd in her wrack'd lovers' pain, Ev'n the first hour they met (for such a pair, And fortify'd her virtue with disdain :

Who in all mankind else so matchless were, 'The griefs she caus'd, gave gentle Michal grief Yet their own equals, Nature's self does wed) (Sie wish'd her beauties less, for their relief); A mutual warmth through both their bosoms Ex'n to her captives civil; yet th' excess

spread: Of naked virtue guarded her no less. [vex; Fate gave the signal; both at once began Business and power Merab's large thoughts did The gentle race, and with just pace they ran. Her wit disdain'd the fetters of her sex :

Ev'n so, methinks, when two fair tapers come Michal no less disdain'd affairs and noise, From several doors, entering at once the room, Yet did it not from ignorance, but choice. With a swift flight, thai leaves the eye behind, In brief, both copies were more sweetly drawn; Their amorous lights into one light are join'd. Merab of Saul, Michal of Jonathan.

Nature herself, were she to judge the case, * The day that David great Goliah slew, Knew not which first began the kind embrace. Not great Goliah's sword was more his due Michal her modest flames sought to conceal, Than Merab; by Saul's public promise she But love even th' art to hide it does revcal: Was sold then, and betroth'd to victory;

Her soft unpractis'd eyes betray'd the theft, But haughty she did this just match despise Love pass'd through thein, and there such foot(Her pride debauch'd her judgment and her

steps left! eyes).

She blush'd when he approach'd, and when he An unknown youth, ne'er seen at court before,

spoke; Who shepherd's staff, and shepherd's habit, bore, And suddenly her wandering answers broke The seventh-born son of no rich hoase--were still At his name's sound; and, when she heard him Th' unpleasant forms which her high thoughts.

prais'd, did fil:

With concern'd haste her thoughtful looks she And much aversion in her stubborn mind

rais'd. Was bred by being promis'd and design'd. Uncall'd-for sighs oft from her bosom flew, Loog had the patient Adriel humbly borne And Adriel's active friend she abruptly grew. The roughest shoeks of her imperious scorn: Oft, when the court's gay youth stood waiting Adriel the rich; but riches were in vain, She strove to act a cold mdifferency; [by, And could not set him free, nor her enchain. In vain she acted so constrain'd a part, Long liv'd they thus;-but, as the hunted deer, For thousand nameless things disclos'd her heart. Clorely pursued, quits all her wonted fear, On th' other side, David with silent pain And takes the nearest waves, which from the Did in respectful bounds his fires contain: She oft with herrourhad beheld before : [shore His humble fear t offend, and trembling awe, So, whilst the violent maid from David fled, Impos'd on him a no-less rigorous law She leap'd to Adriel's long-avoided bed; Than modesty on her; and, though he strove The match was nam'd, agreed, and finish'd, To make her see 't, he durst not tell his love. straight;

To tell it first, the timorous youth made chuice (So soon comply'd Saul's envy with her hate!) Of Music's bolder and more active voice; YOL VII.

M

And thus, beneath her window, did he touch with ease a brother's lawful power o'ercame
His faithful lyre; the words and numbers such The forinal decencies of virgin-shame.
As did well worth my memory appear,

She first with all her heart forgave the past,
And may perhaps deserve your princely ear: Heard David tell his flames, and told her own at

last.

Lo here the happy point of prosperous love! "AWAKE, awake, my Lyre!

Which ev'n enjoyment seldom can improve. And tell thy silent master's humble tale,

Themselves agreed, which scarce could fail In sounds that may prevail;

alone; Sounds that gentle thoughts inspire:

All Israel's wish concurrent with their own; Though so exalted she,

A brother's powerful aid firm to the side; And I so lowly be,

| By solemn vow the king and father ty'd: Tell her, such different notes make all thy har- 1 All jealous fears, all nice disguises, past, mony.

All that in less-ripe love offends the taste;

In either's breast their souls both meet and wed, · Hark I how the strings awake:

Their heart the nuptial-temple and the bed. And, though the moving hand approach not near, And, though the grosser cates were yet not drest, Themselves with awful foar,

By which their bodies must supply this feast, A kind of numerous trembl.og make.

Bold hopes prevent slow pleasure's lingering birth, Now all thy forces try,

As saints, assurd of Heaven, enjoy 't on Earth. Now all thy charms apply,

All this the king observ'd; and well he saw Revenge upon her ear the conquests of her eye. What scandal, and what danger, it might draw

Toppose this just and popular match ; but meant • Weak Lyre! thy virtue sure

Tout-malice all refusals by consent. Is useless here, since thou art only found

He meant the poisonous grant should mortal To cure, but not to wound,

prove; And she to wound, but not to cure.

He meant t’ ensnare his virtue by his love:
Too weak too wilt thou prove i

And thus he to him spoke, with more of art
My passion to remove,

And fraud, than well became the kingly part: Physic to other ills, thou 'rt nourishment to "Your valour, David, and high worth, said he, love,

To praise is all men's duty, mine to see

Rewarded ; and we shall tour utmost powers *Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre!

Do with like care that part, as you did yours. For thou canst never tell my humble tale Forbid it, God! we like those kings should prove, In sounds that will prevail;

Who fear 'the virtues which they 're bound to Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire :

love.
All thy vain mirth lay by,

Your piety does that tender point secure,
Bid thy strings silent lie,

Norwill my acts such humble thoughts endure: Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre; and let thy mas Your nearness to't rather supports the crown, ter die.'

And th' honours given to you increase our own.

All that we can we 'll give ; 'tis our intent, e She heard all this, and the prevailing sound Both as a guard and as an ornament, prore, Touch'd with delightful pain her tender wound. To place thee next ourselves ; Heaven does apYet, though she joy'd th' authentic news to hear, And my son's friendship, and my daughter's Of what she guess'd before with jealous fear,

lore, She check'd her forward joy, and blush'd for Guide fatally, methinks, my willing choice; shame,

1 I see, methinks, Heaven in 't, and I rejoice. And did his boldness with forc'd anger blame. Blush not, my son ! that Michal's love I name; The senseless rules which first false honour taught, Nor need she blush to hear it; 'tis no shame And into laws the tyrant custom brought

Nor secret now; fame does it loudy tell, Which women's pride and folly did invent, And all men but thy rivals like it well. Their lovers and themselves too to torment, If Merab's choice could have complied with mine, Made her next day a grave displeasure fain, | Merab, my elder comfort, had been thine: And all her words, and all her looks, constrain And her's, at last, should have with mine come Before the trembling youth; who, when he saw |

ply'd, His vital light her wonted beams withdraw, Had I not thine and Michal's heart descry'd. He curs'd his voice, his fingers, and his lyre, Take whom thou lov'st, and who loves thee; the He curs'd his too-bold tongue, and bold desire;

last In vain he cursed the last, for that still grew; And dearest present made me by the chaste From all things food its strong complexion drew; | Ahinoam; and, unless she me deceive, His joy and hope their cheerful motions eeas'd, When I to Jonathan my crown shall leave, His life decay'd, but still his love increas'd; "Twill be a smaller gift. Whilst she, whose heart approv'd not her disdain, if I thy generous thoughts may undertake Saw and endur'd his pains with greater pain. To guess, they are wbat jointure thou shalt inake Rit Jonathan, to whom both hearts were known, | Fitting her birth and fortune: and, since so With a concernment equ I to their own .. Custom ordains, we mean t exact it too. (Joyful that Heaven with is sworn love comply'd The jointure we exact is, that shall be To draw that knot more fast which he had ty'd) No less advantage to thy fame than she. With well-tim'd zeal, and with an artful care, Go where Philistian troops infest the land, Restor'd, and better'd soon, the nice affair. Renew the terrours of thy conquering hand

pray'd,

When thinë own hand, which needs must con- | All clad in liveliest colours, fresh and fair queror prove,

As the bright flowers that crown'd their brighter In this joint cause of honour and of love,

hair; An hundred of the faithless foe shall slay, All in that new-blown age which does inspire And for a dower their hundred foreskins pay, Warmth in themselves, in their beholders fire. Be Michal thy reward: did we not know

But all this, and all else the Sun did e'er, Thy mighty fate, and worth that makes it so, | Or Fancy see, in her less-bounded sphere, We should not cheaply that dear blood expose, The bride herself outshone; and one would say Which we to mingle with our own had chose : They made but the faint dawn to her full day. But thou 'rt secure; and, since this match of Behind a numerous train of ladies went, We to the public benefit design,

[thine | Who on their dress much fruitless care had spent; A public good shall its beginning grace,

Vain gems, and unregarded cost, they bore, And give triumphant omens of thy race.'

For all men's eyes were ty'd to those before. “Thas spoke the king: the happy youth bow'd The bridegroom's flourishing troop fill'd next the low:

place, Modest and graceful his great joy did show; | With thirty comely youths of noblest race, 'The noble task well pleas'd his generous mind, That march'd before; and Heaven around his And nought t' except against it could he find,

head But that his mistress' price too cheap appear'd; The graceful beams of joy and beauty spread. No danger, but her scorn of it, he fear'd.

So the glad star, which men and angels love, Sbe with inuch different sense the news receiv'd, Prince of the glorious host that shines above At her high rate she trembled, blush'd, and (No light of Heaven so chearful or so gay) griev'd;

Lifts up his sacred lamp, and opens day. 'Twas a less work the conquest of his foes, The king himself, at the tent's crowned gate, "Than to obtain her leave his life t'expose.

In all his robes of ceremony and state, Their kind debate on this soft point would prove Sate to receive the train ; on either hand Tedious, and needless, to repeat: if love

Did the high-priest and the great prophet stand: (As sure it has) e'er touch'd your princely Adriel, behind, Jonathan, Abner, Jesse, breast,

And all the chiefs in their due order press. 'Twill to your gentle thoughts at full suggest First Saul declar'd his choice, and the just cause All that was done, or said; the grief, hope, Avow'd by a general murmur of applause; fears;

Then sign'd her dower; and in few words he His troubled joys, and her obliging tears. in all the pomp of passion's reign they part; And blest, and gave the joyful, trembling maid And bright prophetic forms enlarge his heart : T her lover's hands; who, with a cheerful look Victory and fame, and that more quick delight And humble gesture, the vast present took. Of the rich prize for which he was to fight. The nuptial-hymn straight sounds, and musics “Tow'rds Gath he went, and in one month (so

play, A fatal and a willing work is done!) [soon | And feasts and balls shorten the thoughtless day A double dower, two hundred foreskins, brought To all but to the wedded ; till at last Of choice Philistian knights with whom he fought, The long-wish'd night did her kind shadow cast; Men that in birth and valour did excel,

| At last th' inestimable hour was come Fit for the cause and hand by which they fell. To lead his conquering prey in triumph home. Now was Saul caught; nor longer could delay T'a palace near, drest for the nuptial-bed, The two resistless lovers' happy day. [slow, (Part of her dower) he his fair princess led; Though this day's coming long had seem'd and Saul, the high-priest, and Samuel, here they Yet seem'd its stay as long and tedious now;

leave, For, now the violent weight of eager love Who, as they part, their weighty blessings give. Did with more haste so nearits centre move, Her vail is now put on; and at the gate He curs'd the stops of form and state which lay The thirty youths and thirty virgins wait In this last stage, like scandals, in his way. With golden lamps, bright as the flames they bore,

« On a large gentle hill crown'd with tall wood, To light the nuptial-pomp and march before ; Near where the regal Gabaah proudly stood, The rest bring home in state the happy pair, a tent was pitch'd, of green wrought damask | To that last scene of bliss, and leave them there made,

All those free joys insatiably to prove, and seem'd but the fresh forest's natural shade; With which rich Beauty feasts the glutton Love, Various and vast within, on pillars borne

“But scarce, alas! the first seven days were Of Shittim-wood, that usefully adorn,

past, Hither to grace the nuptial-feast, does Saul In which the public nuptial triumphs last, Of the twelve tribes th elders and captains call : When Saul this new alliance did repent And all around the idle, busy crowd

(Such subtle cares his jealous thoughts torment!) With sbouts and blessings tell their joy aloud. He envy'd the good work himself had one ; Lo! the press breaks, and from their several Fear'd David less his servant than his son. homes

No longer his wild wrath could he command; In decent pride the bride and bridegroom comes. He seeks to stain bis own imperial hand Before the bride, in a long double row

In his son's hlood; and, that twice cheated too, With solemn pace thirty choice virgins go, With troops and armies does one life pursue. and make a moving galaxy on Earth;

Said I but one! his thirsty rage extends I heavenly beauties, all of highest birtb; To th' lives of all his kindred and his friends!

TIIE ARGUMENT.

Ev'n Jonathan had dy'd for being so,

Since last night's story, and with greedier ear Had not just God put-by th' unnatural blow. The man, of whom so much he heard, did hear. “ You see, sir, the true cause which brings us The well-born youth of all his flourishing court here:

March gay behind, and joyful, to the sport; No sullen discontent, or groundless fear;

Some arm'd with bows, some with straight javeNo guilty act or end calls us from home;

lins, ride; Only to breathe in peace awhile we come; Rich swords and gilded quivers grace their side. Ready to serve, and in mean space to pray 'Midst the fair troop David's tall brethren rode, For you, who us receive, and him who, drives And Joab, comely as a fancied god; away.”

They entertain'd th' attentive Moab lords
With loose and various talk that chance affords,
Whilst they pac'd slowly on; but the wise king

Did David's tongue to weightier subjects bring.
THE DAVIDEIS.

“Much," said the king, “ much I to Joab owe,

For the fair picture drawn by him of you;
BOOK IV.

'Twas drawn in little, but did acts express
So great, that largest histories are less.
I see, methinks, the Gathian monster still ;
His shape last night my mindful dreams did fill.

Strange tyrant, Saul, with envy to pursue
Moab carries his guest to hunt at Nebo ; in the The praise of deeds whence his own safety grew!

way falls into discourse with David, and de- I've heard (but who can think it ?) that his son sires to know of him the reasons of the change Has his life's hazard for your friendship run; of government in Israel ; how Saul came to the His matchless son, whose worth (if fame be true) crown, and the story of him and Jonathan. Lifts him 'bove all his countrymen but you, David's speech, containing the state of the With whom it makes him one.” Low David commonwealth under the Judges; the mo

bows, tives for which the people desired a king ; | But no reply Moab's swift tongue allows. their deputies' speech to Samuel upon that “And pray, kind guest! whilst we ride thus," subject, and his reply. The assembling of the

says he, people at the tabernacle, to inquire God's “ (To gameful Nebo still three leagues there be) pleasure. God's speech. The character of The story of your royal friend relate, Saul; his anointing by Samael, and election And his ungovern'd sire's imperious fate; by lot; the defection of his people. The war Why your great state that nameless family of Nahash king of Ammon against Jabesh

chose, Gilead; Saul and Jonathan's relieving of the And by what steps to Israel's throne they town. Jonathan's character; his single fight with

rose." Nahash, whom he slays, and defeats his army. He said : and David thus :" From Egypt's land The confirma ion of Saul's kingdom at Gilgal, You've heard, sir, by what strong unarmed hand and the manner of Samuel's quitting his of- Our fathers came, Moses their sacred guide; fice of judge. The war with the Philistines But he in sight of the given country dy'd: at Macmas: their strength, and the weakness His fatal promis'd Canaan was on high, of Saul's forces; his exercising of the priestly And Joshua's sword must the active rod supply: function, and the judgment denounced by Sa- It did so, and did wonders. muel against him. Jonathan's discourse with his From sacred Jordan to the Western main, esquire; their falling alone upon the enemy's From well-clad Libanus to the Southern plain out-guards at Senes, and after upon the whole Of naked sands his winged conquest went: army; the wonderful defeat of it. Saul's rash And thirty kings to Hell uncrown'd he sent. row, by which Jonathan is to be put to death, Almost four hundred years, from bim to Saul, but is saved by the people.

In too much freedom past, or foreign thrail.

Oft strangers' iron sceptres bruis'd the land, Though state and kind discourse thus robb'd (Such still are those borne by a conquering hand) the night

Oft pitying God did well-form'd spirits raise, Of half her natural and more just delight, Fit for the toilsome business of their days, Moab (whom temperance did still vigorous keep, To free the groaning nation, and to give And regal cares had us'd to moderate sleep) Peace first, and then the rules in peace to live. Up with the Sun arose; and, having thrice But they whose stamp of power did chiefly lie With lifted hands dow'd towards his shining rise, In characters too fine for most men's eye, And thrice tow'rds Phegor, his Baal's holiest hill, Graces and gifts divine-not painted bright (With good and pious prayers, directed ill) With state to awe dull minds, and force t' alCall'd to the chase his friends, who for him fright stay'd;

Were ill obey'd whilst living, and at death The glade ogs bark'd, the cheerful horses neigh's. Their rules and pattern vanish'd with their Moab his chariot mounts, drawn by four steeds, breath. The best and noblest that fresh Zerith breeds, The hungry rich all near them did devour; All white as snow, and spriteful as the light, Their judge was Appetite, and their law was With scarlet trapt,and foaming gold they bite.

power. He into it young David with him took,

Not want itself could luxury restrain ; Did with respect and wonder on him look For what that emptied, Rapine flld again

spun,

Robbery the field, Oppression sack'd the town ; | The threats concurr'd of a rough neighbouring What the sword's reaping spar'd, was glean’d by war; th' gown.

A mighty storm long gathering from afar; At courts and seats of justice to complain, For Ammon, heightend with mix'd nations' aid, Was to be robb'd more vexingly again.

Like torrents swoln with rain, prepar'd the land Nor was their last less active or less boid,

t'invade. Amidst this rougher search of blood and gold; Samuel was old, and, by his sons ill choice, Weak beauties they corrupt, and force the Turn'd dotard in th' unskilful vulgar's voice ; strong;

His sons so scorn'd and hated, that the land The pride of old men that, and this of young, Nor hop'd, nor wish’d, a victory from their hand, You ’ave heard perhaps, sir, of lew'd Gibeah's These were the just and faultless causes why shame,

The general voice did for a monarch cry; Which Hebrew tongues still tremble when they But God ill grains did in this incense smell; Alarmed all by one fair stranger's eyes, [name: Wrapp'd in fair leaves he saw the canker dwell: As to a sudden war, the town does rise,

A mutinous itch of change; a dull despair Shaking and pale, half-dead ere they begin Of helps divine, oft prov'd; a faithless care The strange and wanton tragedy of their sin: Of common means; the pride of heart and scorn All their wild lusts they force her to sustain, Of th' humble yoke under low judges borne. Till by shame, sorrow, weariness, and pain, They saw the state and glittering pomp which She mids't their loath'd and cruel kindness dies; In vulgar sense the sceptres of the East ; (blest Of monstrous Lust the innocent sacrifice. They saw not power's true source, and scorn'd to This did, 'tis true, a civil war create

obey (The frequent curse of our loose govern'd state); Persons that look'd no dreadfuller than they ; All Gibeah's, and all Jabesh' blood it cost; They miss'd courts, guards, a gay and numerous Near a whole tribe, and future kings, we lost.

train Firm in this general earthquake of the land, Our judges, like their laws,were rude andplain: Ilow could religion, its main pillar, stand ? On an old bench of wood, her seat of state Proud and fond man his Father's worship hates, Beneath the well-known palm, wise Deborah sate; Hinseif, God's creature, his own god creates ! Her maids with comely diligence round her Hence in each household several deities grew, And when no old one pleas’d they fram'd a new: And she too, when the pleadings there were done: The only land which serv'd but one before, With the same goad Shamgar his oxen drives Dil th' only then all nations' gods adore. Which took, the sun before, six hundred lives They servd their gods at first, and soon their From his sham'd foes : he midst his work dealt kings,

laws; (Their choice of that this latter slavery brings) And oft was his plough stopp'd to hear a cause : Till special men, armd with God's warrant, Nor did great Gideon his old flail disdain, broke

After won fields, sack'd towns, and princes slain By justest force th' unjustly-forced yoke; His sceptre that, and Ophra's threshing-loor All matehless persons, and thrice worthy they

The seat and emblem of his justice bore. Of power more great, or lands more apt t'obey. What should I cair, the happiest father, name? At last the priesthood join'd, in Ithamar's son, Or mournful Jephtha, known no less to Fame More weight and lustre to the sceptre won; For the most wretched ? Both at once did keep But, whilst mild Eli and good Samuel were The mighty flocks of Israel and their sheep. Pusied with age, and th' altar's sacred care, Oft from the field in haste they summon'd were To their wild sons they their high charge commit, Some weighty foreign embassy to hear; Who expose to scorn and hate both them and They call'd their slaves, their sons, and friends, it.

around,
Eli's curs'd house th' exemplar vengeance bears who all at sereral cares were scatter'd found;
Of all their blood, and all sad Israel's tears; They wash'd their feet, their only gown put on,
Hes sons abroad, himself at home, lies slain; And this chief work of ceremony was done.
Israel's captivd, God's ark and law are ta’en. These reasons, and all else that could be said,
*Thus twice are nations by ill princes vex'd, In a ripe hour by factious Eloquence spread
They suffer by them first, and for them next. Through all the tribes, make all desire a king;
Samuel succeeds ;-since Moses, none before And to their judge selected deputies bring
So much of God in his bright bosom bore. This harsh demand ; which Racol for the rest
In vain our arins Philistian tyrants seiz'd; (A bold and artful mouth) thus with much grace
Heaven's magazines he open'd when he pleas'd : express'd :-
He rains and winds for auxiliaries brought ; *We're come, most sacred Judge ! to pay the
He muster'd flames and thunders when he fought. arrears
Thus thirty years with strong and steady hand Of much-ow'd thanks, for the bright thirty years
He held th' inshaken balance of the land; Of your just reign ; and at your feet to lay
At last his sons th' indulgent father chose All that our grateful hearts can weak'y pay
To share that state which they were born to In unproportion'd words; for you alone
lose :

The not unfit reward, who seek for nope.
Their hateful acts that change's birth did haste, But, when our forepast ills we call to mind,
Which had long growth i' th’ womb of ages past. And sadly think how little 's left behind
To this (for still were some great periods set, Of your important life, whose sudden date
There's a strong kpot of several causes inet) Would disinherit th' anprovided state ;

« PoprzedniaDalej »