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Is there, with spritely wines and hallow'd bread, 5
(But what's to hunger hallow'd o) largely fed.
The good old priest welcomes his fatal guest,
And with long talk prolongs the hasty feast:
He lends him vain Goliah's sacred sword
(The fittest help just Fortune could afford); 10
A sword whose weight without a blow might slay,
Able unblunted to cut hosts away;
A sword so great, that it was only fit
To take-off his great head who came with it.
Thus he arms David : “I your own restore, 15
“Take it,” said he, “ and use it as before;
“I saw you then, and 't was the bravest sight
“That ere these eyes ow'd the discovering light:
“When you stepp'd forth, how did the monster rage,
“In scorn of your soft looks and tender age 20
“Some your high spirit did mad presumption call,
“Some pitied that such youth should idly fall;
“Th’ uncircumcis'd smil'd grimly with disdain;
“I knew the day was yours: I saw it plain.”
Much more the reverend sire prepar'd to say 25
(Rapt with his joy); how the two armies lay;
Which way th’ amazed foe did wildly flee,
All that his hearer better knew than he:
But David's haste denies all needless stay; .
To Gath, an enemy's land, he hastes away: 30
Not there secure; but, where one danger’s near,
The more remote, though greater, disappear:—
So, from the hawk, birds to man's succour flee;
So, from fir’d ships, man leaps into the sea.—
There in disguise he hopes unknown to abide; 35
Alas! in vain what can such greatness hide
Stones of small worth may lie unseen by day,
But night itself does the rich gem betray.
Tagal first spy'd him, a Philistian knight,
Who erst from David's wrath by shameful flight 40
Had sav'd the sordid remnant of his age;
Hence the deep sore of envy mix'd with rage.
Straight, with a band of soldiers tall and rough,
Trembling—for scarce he thought that band enough—
On him he seizes; whom they all had fear'd, 45
Had the bold youth in his own shape appear'd.
And now this wish’d-for, but yet dreadful, prey
To Achis’ court they led in haste away,
With all unmanly rudeness which does wait
Upon th’ immoderate vulgar's joy and hate. 50
His valour now and strength must useless lie,
And he himself must arts unusual try :
Sometimes he rends his garments, nor does spare
The goodly curls of his rich yellow hair;
Sometimes a violent laughter screw’d his face, 55
And sometimes ready tears dropp'd down apace;
Sometimes he fix’d his staring eyes on ground,
And sometimes in wild manner hurl’d them round.
More full revenge Philistians could not wish :
But call 't the justice of their mighty Fish. 60
They now in height of anger let him live ;
And freedom too, to increase 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, 65.
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, 70
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 75
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 80
Outgo his feet; so strangely would he run,
That time itself perceiv'd 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, 85
Yet no one atom trouble or displace.
Unhappy youth ! whose end so near I see
There’s nought but thy ill fate so swift as thee.
Hither Jessides’ wrongs Benaiah drew,
He who the vast exceeding monster slew ; 90
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 95
He saw a lion, and leapt down to 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; 100
Oft, when a child, he in his dream would fight
With the vain air, and his wak'd mother fright;
Oft would he shoot young birds, and, as they fall,
Would laugh, and fancy them Philistians all:
And now at home no longer would he stay, 105'
Though yet the face did scarce his sex betray.
Dodos’ great son came next, whose dreadful hand
Snatch'd ripen'd glories from a conquering band;
Who knows not Dammin, and that barley-field
Which did a strange and bloody harvest yield 11Q
Many besides did this new troop increase;—
Adan, 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 or innocent flee, 115
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 to o'ercome a war ! 120
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-guarded
Yet his stout soul durst for his parents fear;
He seeks for them a safe and quiet seat,
Nor trusts his fortune with a pledge so great.
So, when in hostile fire rich Asia's pride
For ten years' siege had fully satisfy'd, 130
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 1 in peace, in triumph go; 135
Enjoy the conquest of thine overthrow;
To have sav'd thy Troy would far less glorious be;
By this thou overcom'st their victory.
Moab next Judah, an old kingdom, lies;
Jordan their touch, and his curs'd sea denies: 140
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, 145
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
In Hesbon his triumphant court he plac'd,
Hesbon, by Men and Nature strangely grac'd;