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“Themselves agreed, which scarce could fail alone;
* All Israel's wish concurrent with their own;
“A brother's powerful aid firm to the side;
“By solemn vow the king and father ty'd : 850
“All jealous fears, all nice disguises, past,
“All that in less-ripe love offends the taste;
“In either's breast their souls both meet and wed,
“Their heart the nuptial-temple and the bed.
“And, though the grosser cates were yet not drest,
“By which their bodies must supply this feast, 856
“Bold hopes prevent slow pleasure's lingering birth,
“As saints, assur’d of heaven, enjoy't on earth.
* All this the king observ'd; and well he saw
“What scandal, and what danger, it might draw 860
“T” oppose this just and popular match; but meant
“T” out-malice all refusals by consent.
“He meant the poisonous grant should mortal
- “ prove; -
“He meant to ensnare his virtue by his love:
“And thus he to him spoke, with more of art 865
“And fraud, than well became the kingly part:—
“Your valour, David, and high worth, said he,
“To praise is all men's duty, mine to see
“Rewarded; and we shall to our utmost powers
“Do with like care that part, as you did yours. 870
“Forbid it, God! we like those kings should prove,
“Who fear the virtues which they’re bound to love.
“Your piety does that tender point secure,
“Nor will my acts such humble thoughts endure:
“Your nearness to 't rather supports the crown. 875
“And th’ honours given to you increase our own.
“All that we can we'll give; 'tis our intent, “Both as a guard and as an ornament, “To place thee next ourselves; Heaven doesapprove, “And my son's friendship, and my daughter's love, * Guide fatally, methinks, my willing choice; 881 “I see, methinks, Heaven in 't, and I rejoice. “Blush not, my son! that Michal's love I name, * Nor need she blush to hear it; "t is no shame “Nor secret now; fame does it loudly tell, 885 “And all men but thy rivals like it well. o f* If Merab's choice could have comply'd with mine, * Merab, my elder comfort, had been thine : “And hers, at last, should have with mine comply'd, “Had I not thine and Michal's heart descry’d. 890 * Take whom thou lov'st, and who loves thee; the ** last * And dearest present made me by the chaste * Ahinoam; and, unless she me deceive, * When I to Jonathan my crown shall leave, “”T will be a smaller gift. 895 “If I thy generous thoughts may undertake “To guess, they are what jointure thou shalt make “. Fitting her birth and fortune: and, since so * Custom ordains, we mean t’ exact it too. “The jointure we exact is, that shall be 900 “No less advantage to thy fame than she. “Go where Philistian troops infest the land, “Renew the terrors of thy conquering hand: * When thine own hand, which needs must con“ queror prove, “In this joint cause of honour and of love, 905
“An hundred of the faithless foe shall slay,
“And for a dower their hundred foreskins pay,
“Be Michal thy reward: did we not know
“Thy mighty fate, and worth that makes it so,
“We should not cheaply that dear blood expose,910
“Which we to mingle with our own had chose:
“But thou’rt secure; and, since this match of thine
“We to the publick benefit design,
“A publick good shall its beginning grace,
“And give triumphant omens of thy race. 915
“Thus spoke the king: the happy youth bow'd
** low : '
“Modest and graceful his great joy did show;
“The noble task well pleas'd his generous mind,
“And nought t' except against it could he find,
“But that his mistress’ price too cheap appear'd ;
“No danger, but her scorn of it, he fear'd. 921
“She with much different sense the news receiv'd,
“At her high rate she trembled, blush'd, and
“ griev'd ;
“”T was a less work the conquest of his foes,
“Than to obtain her leave his life t” expose. 925
“Their kind debate on this soft point would prove
“Tedious, and needless, to repeat: if love
“ (As sure it has) e'er touch'd your princely breast,
“”T will to your gentle thoughts at full suggest
“All that was done, or said; the grief, hope,
“ fears; 930
“His troubled joys, and her obliging tears.
“In all the pomp of passion's reign they part;
“And bright prophetick forms enlarge his heart:
“Victory and fame, and that more quick delight “Of the rich prize for which he was to fight. 935 “Tow’rds Gath he went, and in one month (so ** soon “A fatal and a willing work is done!) “A double dower, two hundred foreskins, brought “Of choice Philistian knights with whom he fought, ** Men that in birth and valour did excel, 940 * Fit for the cause and hand by which they fell. “Now was Saul caught; nor longer could delay * The two resistless lovers’ happy day. [slow, * Though this day's coming long had seem’d and * Yet seem'd its stay as long and tedious now; 945 * For, now the violent weight of eager love * Did with more haste so near its centre move, “He curs’d the stops of form and state, which lay “In this last stage, like scandals, in his way. “On a large gentle hill crown'd with tall wood, * Near where the regal Gabaah proudly stood, 951 “A tent was pitch'd, of greenwrought damask made, “And seem’d but the fresh forest's natural shade; * Various and vast within, on pillars borne “Of Shittim-wood, that usefully adorn. 955 “Hither, to grace the nuptial-feast, does Saul * Of the twelve tribes th' elders and captains call: “And all around the idle, busy crowd “With shouts and blessings tell their joy aloud. “Lo! the press breaks, and from their several homes “In decent pride the bride and bridegroom comes. * Before the bride, in a long double row “With solemn pace thirty choice virgins go,
“And make a moving galaxy on earth;
“All heavenly beauties, all of highest birth; 965
“All clad in liveliest colours, fresh and fair
“As the bright flowers that crown'd their brighter
“All in that new-blown age which does inspire
* Warmth in themselves, in their beholders fire.
“But all this, and all else the sun did e'er, 970
“Or fancy see, in her less-bounded sphere,
“The bride herself outshone; and one would say
“They made but the faint dawn to her full day.
* Behind a numerous train of ladies went,
“Who on their dress much fruitless care had spent:
“Wain gems, and unregarded cost, they bore, 975
“For all men's eyes were ty'd to those before.
“The bridegroom's flourishing troop fill'd next the
“ place, -
“With thirty comely youths of noblest race,
“That march'd before; and Heaven around his
“ head 980
“The graceful beams of joy and beauty spread.
“So the glad star, which men and angels love,
“Prince of the glorious host that shines above
“ (No light of heaven so cheerful or so gay),
“Lifts up his sacred lamp, and opens day. 985
“The king himself, at the tent's crowned gate,
“In all his robes of ceremony' and state,
“Sate to receive the train; on either hand
“Did the high-priest and the great prophet stand:
“Adriel behind, Jonathan, Abner, Jesse, 990
“And all the chiefs in their due order press. . .