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THE

FOURTH BOOK

OF

THE DAVIDEIS.

VOL. III.

Up with the sun arose; and, having thrice 5

Whbt lifted hands bow'd towards his shining rise,
And thrice tow'rds Phcgor, his Baal's holiest hill
(With good and pious prayers, directed ill),
Call'd to the chace his friends, who for him stay'd;
The glad dogs bark'd, the cheerful horses neigh'd. 10
Moab his chariot mounts, drawn by four steeds.
The best and noblest that fresh Zerith breeds,
All white as snow, and spriteful as the light,
With scarlet trapt, and foaming gold they bite.
He into it young David with him took, 15

Did with respect and wonder on him look
Since last night's story, and with greedier ear
The man, of whom so much he heard, did hear.
The well-born youth of all his flourishing court
March gay behind, and joyful, to the sport; 20
Some arm'd with bows, some with straight javelins,

ride;

Rich swords and gilded quivers grace their side.
'Midst the fair troop David's tall brethren rode,
And Joab, comely as a fancied god;
They entertain'd th' attentive Moab lords 2.5

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.
"Much," said the king, " much I to Joab owe,
"For the fair picture drawn by him of you; 30
"T was 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 35 "The praise of deeds whence his own safety grew! *' I Ve heard (but who can think it?) that his son "Has his life's hazard for your friendship run; "His matchless son, whose worth (if fame be true) "Lifts him 'bove all his countrymen but you, 40 "With whom it makes him one." Low David bows, But no reply Moab's swift tongue allows. "And pray, kind guest! whilst we ride thus,"says he "(To gameful Nebo still three leagues there be), "The story of your royal friend relate, 45

"And his ungovern'd sire's imperious fate; "Why your great State that nameless family chose, "And by what steps to Israel's throne they rose."

He said: and David thus: " From Egypt's land "You've heard, Sir, by what strong unarmed hand "Our fathers came, Moses their sacred guide; 51 "But he in sight of the given country dy'd: "His fatal promis'd Canaan was on high, "And Joshua's sword must th' active rod supply: "It did so, and did wonders. 55

"From sacred Jordan to the Western main, "From well-clad Libanus to the Southern plain "Of naked sands, his winged conquests went; "And thirty kings to hell uncrown'd he sent. "Almost four hundred years, from him to Saul, 60 "In too much freedom pass'd, or foreign thrall. "Oft strangers' iron sceptres bruis'd the land "(Such still are those borne by a conquering hand); "Oft pitying God did well-form'd spirits raise, v Fit for the toilsome business of their days, 65

VOL. III. C

"To free the groaning nation, and to give

"Peace first, and then the rules in peace to live.

"But they whose stamp of power did chiefly lie

"In characters too fine for most men's eye,

"Graces and gifts divine;—not painted bright 70

"With state to awe dull minds, and force t' af

"fright ;— "Were ill obey'd whilst living, and at death "Their rules and pattern vanish'd with their breath. "The hungry rich all near them did devour; "Their judge was Appetite, and their law was

"Power. 75

"Not Want itself could luxury restrain; "For what that emptied, Rapine fill'd again. "Robbery the field, Oppression sack'd the town; "What the Sword's reaping spar'd, was glean'd by : "th' Gown.

"At courts, and seats of justice, to complain, 80 '' Was to be robb'd more vexingly again. "Nor was their Lust less active or less bold, "Amidst this rougher search of blood and gold; "Weak beauties they corrupt, and force the strong; "The pride of old men that, and this of young. 85 "You 've heard perhaps, Sir, of lewd Gibeah's

"shame, "Which Hebrew tongues still tremble when they

"name: "Alarmed all by one fair stranger's eyes, "As to a sudden war, the town does rise, "Shaking and pale, half-dead ere they begin 90 "The strange and wanton tragedy of their sin:

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