Imágenes de páginas

There now ye sit, and with mix'd souls embrace,
Gazing upon great Love's mysterious face;
And pity this base world, where friendship’s made
A bait for sin, or else at best a trade.
Ah, wondrous Prince! who a true friend couldst be,
When a crown flatter'd, and Saul threaten’d thee!
Who held’st him dear, whose stars thy birth did

And bought'st him nobly at a kingdom's loss !
Israel's bright sceptre far less glory brings;
There have been fewer friends on earth than kings.

To this strange pitch their high affections flew, Till Nature's self scarce look'd on them as two. Hither flies David for advice and aid, As swift as love and danger could persuade: As safe in Jonathan's trust his thoughts remain As when himself but dreams them o'er again.

My dearest lord, farewell !" said he, “farewell! Heaven bless the king! may no misfortune tell The' injustice of his hate when I am dead! They're coming now, perhaps; my guiltless head Here in your sight, perhaps, must bleeding lie, And scarce your own stand safe for being nigh. Think me not scared with death, howe'er 't appear; I know thou canst not think so: 'tis a fear From which thy love and Dammin speaks me free; I've met him face to face, and ne'er could see One terror in his looks to make me fly When Virtue bids me stand; but I would die So as becomes my life, so as may prove Saul's malice, and at least excuse your

love." Hestopp'd, and spoke some passion with his eyes; “ Excellent friend!" the gallant Prince replies,



“ Thou hast so proved thy virtues, that they're

known To all good men, more than to each his own. Who lives in Israel, that can doubtful be Of thy great actions ? for he lives by thee. Such is thy valour, and thy vast success, That all things but thy loyalty are less. And, should my father at thy ruin aim, 'Twould wound as much his safety as his fame: Think them not coming, then, to slay thee here, But doubt mishaps as little you For, by thy loving God, whoe'er design Against thy life must strike at it through mine. But I my royal father must acquit From such base guilt, or the low thought of it. Think on his softness when from death he freed The faithless king of Amalek's cursed seed; Can he to’ a friend, to’a son, so bloody grow, He who even sinn’d but now to spare a foe? Admit he could ; but with what strength or art Could he so long close and seal up his heart? Such counsels jealous of themselves become, And dare not fix without consent of some: Few men so boldly ill, great sins to do, Till licensed and approved by others too. No more (believe't) could he hide this from me, Than I, had he discover'd it, from thee.”

Here they embraces join, and almost tears; Till gentle David thus new proved his fears : “The praise you pleased (great Prince !) on me to

spend Was all out-spoken when you styled me Friend ; That name alone does dangerous glories bring, And gives excuse to the envy of a king.

What did his spear, force, and dark plots, impart,
But some eternal rancour in his heart?
Still does he glance the fortune of that day
When drown'd in his own blood Goliah lay,
And cover'd half the plain ; still hears the sound
How that vast monster fell, and struck the ground:
The dance, and · David his ten thousands slew,'
Still wound his sickly soul, and still are new.
Great acts, to' ambitious princes, treasons grow,
So much they hate that safety which they owe.
Tyrants dread all whom they raise high in place,
From the Good, danger; from the Bad, disgrace:
They doubt the lords, mistrust the people's hate,
Till blood becomes a principle of state:
Secured nor by their guards, nor by their right,
But still they fear'even more than they affright.
Pardon me, sir! your father's rough and stern;
His will too strong to bend, too proud to learn :
Remember, sir! the honey's deadly sting;
Think on that savage justice of the king;
When the same day that saw you do before
Things above man, should see you man no more.
'Tis true the’ accursed Agag moved his ruth,
He pitied his tall limbs and comely youth:
Had seen, alas! the proof of Heaven's fierce hate,
And fear'd no mischief from his powerless fate:
Remember how the old Seer came raging down,
And taught him boldly to suspect his crown;
Since then, his pride quakes at the Almighty's rod,
Nor dares he love the man beloved by God.
Hence his deep rage and trembling envy springs
(Nothing so wild as jealousy of kings !)
Whom should he counsel ask, with whom advise,
Who Reason and God's counsel does despise?



Whose headstrong will no law or conscience daunt,
Dares he not sin, do' you think, without your grant?
Yes, if the truth of our fix'd love he knew,
He would not doubt, believe 't, to kill even you.”

The Prince is moved, and straight prepares to find
The deep resolves of his grieved father's mind:
The danger now appears, Love can soon show 't,
And force his stubborn piety to know it.
They' agree that David should conceal'd abide,
Till his great friend had the Court's temper try'd;
Till he had Saul's most secret purpose found,
And search'd the depth and rancour of his wound.
'Twas the year's seventh-born moon, the solemn

feast That with most noise its sacred mirth express’d. From opening morn till night shuts in the day, On trumpets and shrill horns the Levites play. Whether by this in mystic type we see The New-year's-day of great eternity, (make, When the changed moon shall no more changes And scatter'd deaths by trumpets' sound awake; Or that the Law be kept in memory still, Given with like noise on Sinai's shining hill; Or that (as some men teach) it did arise From faithful Abram's righteous sacrifice, Who, whilst the Ram on Isaac's fire did fry, His horn with joyful tunes stood sounding by. Obscure the cause; but God his will declared, And all nice knowledge then with ease is spared. At the third hour Saul to the hallow'd tent, 'Midst a large train of priests and courtiers, went; The sacred herd march'd proud and softly by ; Too fat and gay to think their deaths so nigh. Hard fate of beasts, more innocent than we! Prey to our luxury, and our piety!

Whose guiltless blood, on boards and altars spilt, Serves both to make, and expiate too, our guilt! Three bullocks of free neck, two gilded rams, Two well-wash'd goats, and fourteen spotless

lambs, With the three vital fruits, wine, oil, and bread, (Small fees to Heaven of all by which we're fed!) Are offer'd up; the hallow'd flames arise, And faithful prayers mount with them to the skies. From hence the king to the’outmost court is brought, Where heavenly things an inspired prophet taught; And from the sacred tent to his palace-gates, With glad kind shouts the’ assembly on him waits; The cheerful horns before him loudly play, And fresh-stew'd flowers paint his triumphant way. Thus in slow state to the palace-hall they go, Rich dress’d for solemn luxury and show: Ten pieces of bright tapestry hung the room, The noblest work e'er stretch'd on Syrian loom, For wealthy Adriel in proud Sidon wrought, And given to Saul when Saul's best gift he sought, The bright-eyed Merab; for that mindful day No ornament so proper seem'd as they.

There all old Abram's story you might see; And still some angel bore him company. His painful, but well-guided, travels show The fate of all his sons, the Church below. Here beauteous Sarah to great Pharaoh came, He blush'd with sudden passion, she with shame; Troubled she seem'd, and labouring in the strife 'Twixt her own honour and her husband's life. Here on a conquering host, that careless lay, Drown'd in the joys of their new-gotten prey, The Patriarch falls ; well mingled might you see The confused marks of death and luxury.

« AnteriorContinuar »