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But though bright joy in every guest did shine,
The plenty, state, music, and sprightful wine,
Were lost on Saul : an angry care did dwell
In his dark breast, and all gay forms expel.
David's unusual absence from the feast,
To his sick sp’rit did jealous thoughts suggest:
Long lay he still, nor drank, nor ate, nor spoke,
And thus at last his troubled silence broke.
Where can he be ?' said he. It must be so.'
With that he paused awhile. Too well we know
His boundless pride: he grieves, and hates to see
The solemn triumphs of my court and me.
Believe me, friends! and trust what I can show
From thousand proofs; the ambitious David now
Does those vast things in his proud soul design,
That too much business give for mirth or wine.
He's kindling now, perhaps, rebellious fire
Among the tribes, and does even now conspire
Against my crown, and all our lives, whilst we
Are loth even to suspect what we might see.
By the Great Name 'tis true.'
With that he strook the board, and no man there,
But Jonathan, durst undertake to clear
The blameless prince : and scarce ten words he spoke,
When thus his speech the enraged tyrant broke:
• Disloyal wretch! thy gentle mother's shame! Whose cold, pale ghost even blushes at thy name ! Who fears lest her chaste bed should doubted be, And her white fame stained by black deeds of thee! Canst thou be mine? A crown sometimes does hire Even sons against their parents to conspire ; But ne'er did story yet, or fable, tell Of one so wild who, merely to rebel, Quitted the unquestioned birthright of a throne,
And bought his father's ruin with his own.
Thou need'st not plead the ambitious youth's defence;
Thy crime clears his, and makes that innocence :
Nor can his foul ingratitude appear,
Whilst thy unnatural guilt is placed so near.
Is this that noble friendship you pretend?
Mine, thine own foe, and thy worst enemy's friend?
If thy low spirit can thy great birthright quit,
The thing's but just, so ill deserv'st thou it.
I, and thy brethren here, have no such mind,
Nor such prodigious worth in David find,
That we to him should our just rights resign,
Or think God's choice not made so well as thine.
Shame of thy house and tribe! hence froin mine eye,
To thy false friend and servile master fly;
He's ere this time in arms expecting thee;
Haste, for those arms are raised to ruin me.
Thy sin that way will nobler much appear,
Than to remain his spy and agent here.
When I think this, Nature, by thee forsook,
Forsakes me too.' With that his spear he took
To strike at him : the mirth and music cease ;
The guests all rise this sudden storm t'appease.
The prince his danger and his duty knew,
And low he bowed, and silently withdrew.
To David straight, who in a forest nigh
Waits his advice, the royal friend does fly
The sole advice, now, like the danger clear,
Was in some foreign land this storm t'outwear.
All marks of comely grief in both are seen,
And mournful kind discourses passed between.
Now generous tears their hasty tongues restrain;
Now they begin, and talk all o'er again :
A reverent oath of constant love they take,
And God's high name their dreaded witness make :
Not that at all their faiths could doubtful prove,
But 'twas the tedious zeal of endless love.
Thus, ere they part, they the short time bestow
In all the pomp friendship and grief could show.
And David now, with doubtful cares oppressed,
Beneath a shade borrows some little rest;
When by command divine thick mists arise,
And stop the sense, and close the conquered eyes.
There is a place which man most high doth rear,
The small world's heaven, where reason moves the
Here in a robe which does all colours show,
(The envy of birds, and the clouds' gaudy bow,)
Fancy, wild dame, with much lascivious pride,
By twin-chameleons drawn, does gaily ride:
Her coach there follows, and throngs round about
Of shapes and airy forms an endless rout.
A sea rolls on with harmless fury here;
Straight ’tis a field, and trees and herbs appear.
Here in a moment are vast armies made,
And a quick scene of war and blood displayed.
Here sparkling wines, and brighter maids come in,
The bawds for Sense, and lying baits of sin.
Some things arise of strange and quarrelling kind,
The forepart lion, and a snake behind.
Here golden mountains swell the covetous place,
And Centaurs ride themselves, a painted race.
Of these slight wonders Nature sees the store,
And only then accounts herself but poor.
; Hither an angel comes, in David's trance,
And finds them mingled in an antique dance ;
Of all the numerous forms fit choice he takes,
And joins them wisely, and this vision makes.
First, David there appears in kingly state, Whilst the Twelve Tribes his dread commands await: Straight to the wars with his joined strength he goes, Settles new friends, and frights his ancient foes. To Solima, Canaan's old head, they came, (Since high in note, then not unknown to Fame,) The blind and lame the undoubted wall defend, And no new wounds or dangers apprehend. The busy image of great Joab there Disdains the mock, and teaches them to fear : He climbs the airy walls, leaps raging down, New-minted shapes of slaughter fill the town. They curse the guards their mirth and bravery chose, All of them now are slain, or made like those. Far through an inward scene an army lay, Which with full banners a fair Fish display. From Sidon plains to happy Egypt's coast They seem all met, a vast and warlike host. Thither hastes David to his destined prey, Honour and noble danger lead the way. The conscious trees shook with a reverent fear Their unblown tops: God walked before him there. Slaughter the wearied Rephaims' bosom fills, Dead corpse emboss the vale with little hills. On th’ other side, Sophenes' mighty king Numberless troops of the bless'd East does bring : Twice are his men cut off, and chariots ta’en; Damascus and rich Adad help in vain; Here Nabathæan troops in battle stand, With all the lusty youth of Syrian land; Undaunted Joab rushes on with speed, Gallantly mounted on his fiery steed; He hews down all, and deals his deaths around; The Syrians leave, or possess, dead, the ground.
On the other wing does brave A bishai ride,
Reeking in blood and dust: on every side
The perjured sons of Ammon quit the field;
Some basely die, and some more basely yield.
Through a thick wood the wretched Hanun flies,
And far more justly then fears Hebrew spies.
Moloch, their bloody god, thrusts out his head,
Grinning through a black cloud: him they 'd long fed
In his seven chambers, and he still did eat
New-roasted babes, his dear delicious meat.
Again they rise, more angered and dismayed;
Euphrates and swift Tigris sends them aid:
In vain they send it, for again they 're slain,
And feast the greedy birds on Healy plain.
Tiere Rabba with proud towers affronts the sky,
And round about great Joab's trenches lie:
They force the walls, and sack the helpless town,
On David's head shines Ammon's massy crown.
"Midst various torments the cursed race expires;
David himself his severe wrath admires.
Next upon Israel's throne does bravely sit
A comely youth, endowed with wondrous wit:
Far, from the parched line, a royal dame,
To hear his tongue and boundless wisdom, came :
She carried back in her triumphant womb
The glorious stock of thousand kings to come.
Here brightest forms his pomp and wealth display;
Here they a temple's vast foundations lay;
A mighty work; and with fit glories filled,
For God t' inhabit, and that King to build.
Some from the quarries hew out massy stone,
Some draw it up with cranes ; some breathe and groan
In order o'er the anvil; some cut down
Tall cedars, the proud mountain's ancient crown;