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Nor did his crown less painful work afford,
Less exercise his patience, or his sword;
So long her conqueror, Fortune's spite pursued ;
Till with unwearied virtue he subdued
All home-bred malice, and all foreign boasts;
Their strength was Armies, his the Lord of Hosts.
Thou, who didst David's royal stem adorn,
And gavest him birth from whom thyself wast born;
Who didst in triumph at Death's court appear,
.And slew'st him with thy nails, thy cross, and spear,
Whilst Hell's black tyrant trembled to behold
The glorious light he forfeited of old;
Who, heaven's glad burthen now, and justest pride,
Sitt'st high enthroned next thy great Father's side
(Where hallow'd flames help to adorn that head
Which once the blushing thorns environed,
Till crimson drops of precious blood hung down
Like rubies to enrich thine humble crown),
Even thou my breast with such bless'd rage inspire,
As moved the tuneful strings of David's lyre;
Guide my bold steps with thine own travelling flame,
In these untrodden paths to sacred fame!
Lo, with pure hands thy heavenly fire to take,
My well-changed Muse I a chaste Vestal make!
From Earth’s vain joys, and Love's soft witchcraft,
I consecrate my Magdalene to thee ! [free,
Lo, this great work, a temple to thy praise,
On polish'd pillars of strong verse I raise !
A temple, where if thou vouchsafe to dwell,
It Solomon's and Herod's shall excel.
Too long the Muses' land hath heathen been;
Their gods too long were Devils, and virtues Sin;
But thou, Eternal Word! hast callid forth me,
The’ apostle to convert that world to thee;
To’unbind the charms that in slight fables lie,
And teach, that Truth is truest poesy.
The malice now of jealous Saul grew less,
O’ercome by constant virtue and success;
He grew at last more weary to command
New dangers, than young David to withstand
them; he fear'd his mastering fate,
And envy'd him a king's unpowerful hate.
Well did he know how palms by'oppression speed,
Victorious, and the victor's sacred meed!
The burthen lifts them higher. Well did he know
How a tame stream does wild and dangerous grow
By unjust force; he now with wanton play
Kisses the smiling banks, and glides away;
But, his known channel stopped, begins to roar,
And swell with rage, and buffet the dull shore;
His mutinous waters hurry to the war,
And troops of waves come rolling from afar:
Then scorns he such weak stops to his free source,
And overruns the neighbouring fields with violent
This knew the tyrant, and this useful thought His wounded mind to health and temper brought. He old kind vows to David did renew, Swore constancy, and meant his oath for true. A general joy at this glad news appear’d, For David all men loved, and Saul they fear'd. Angels and men did
and David love, But Hell did neither him nor that approve; From man's agreement fierce alarms they take, And quiet here, does there new business make.
Beneath the silent chambers of the earth, Where the sun's fruitful beams give metals birth
Where he the growth of fatal gold does see,
Gold, which above more influence has than he;-
Beneath the dens where unfletch'd tempests lie,
And infant winds their tender voices try;
Beneath the mighty ocean's wealthy caves ;
Beneath the eternal fountain of all waves,
Where their vast court the mother-waters keep,
And, undisturb’d by moons, in silence sleep;
There is a place, deep, wondrous deep, below,
Which genuine Night and Horror does o’erflow;
No bound controls the’ unwearied space, but hell,
Endless as those dire pains that in it dwell.
Here no dear glimpse of the sun's lovely face
Strikes through the solid darkness of the place;
No dawning morn does her kind reds display;
One slight weak beam would here be thought the
No gentle stars with their fair gems of light [day:
Offend the tyrannous and unquestion’d night.
Here Lucifer, the mighty captive, reigns ;
Proud ’midst his woes, and tyrant in his chains;
Once general of a gilded host of sprites,
Like Hesper, leading forth the spangled nights ;
But down like lightning, which him struck, he came;
And roar'd at his first plunge into the flame:
Myriads of spirits fell wounded round him there;
With dropping lights thick shone the singed air;
Since when, the dismal solace of their woe
Has only been weak mankind to undo ;
Themselves at first against themselves they'excite,
(Their dearest conquest and most proud delight)
And, if those mines of secret treason fail,
With open force man's virtue they assail ;
Unable to corrupt, seek to destroy,
And, where their poisons miss, the sword employ.
Thus sought the tyrant-fiend young David's fall,
And'gainst him arm’d the powerful rage of Saul:
He saw the beauties of his shape and face,
His female sweetness, and his manly grace:
He saw the nobler wonders of his mind,
Great gifts! which for great works he knew design'd:
He saw (to' ashame the strength of man and hell)
How by's young hands their Gathite champion fell:
He saw the reverend prophet boldly shed
The royal drops round his enlarged head;
And well he knew what legacy did place
The sacred sceptre in bless’d Judah's race,
From which the eternal Shilo was to spring;
A knowledge which new hells to hell did bring !
And, though no less he knew himself too weak
The smallest link of strong-wrought Fate to break,
Yet would he rage and struggle with the chain;
Loved to rebel, though sure that 'twas in vain.
And, now it broke his form’d design, to find
The gentle change of Saul's recovering mind;
He trusted much in Saul, and raged and grieved
(The great Deceiver !) to be himself deceived.
Thrice did he knock his iron teeth, thrice howl,
And into frowns his wrathful forehead roll;
His eyes dartforth red flames, which scare the night,
And with worse fires the trembling ghosts affright;
A troop of ghastly fiends compass him round,
And greedily catch at his lips' fear'd sound.
“Are we such Nothings then!" said he, "our will Cross'd by a shepherd's boy! and you yet still Play with your idle serpents here? dares none Attempt what becomes Furies ? are ye grown Benumb'd with fear, or Virtue's spiritless cold, You, who were once (I'm sure) so brave and bold?
Oh! my ill-changed condition! oh, my fate !
Did I lose heaven for this ?”
With that, with his long tail he lash'd his breast,
And horribly spoke out in looks the rest.
The quaking powers of night stood in amaze,
And at each other first could only gaze;
A dreadful silence fill’d the hollow place,
Doubling the native terror of hell's face;
Rivers of flaming brimstone, which before
So loudly raged, crept softly by the shore;
No hiss of snakes, no clank of chains, was known,
The souls, amidst their tortures, durst not groan.
Envy at last crawls forth from that dire throng,
Of all the direful'st'; her black locks hung long,
Attired with curling serpents; her pale skin
Was almost dropped from the sharp bones within;
And at her breast stuck vipers, which did prey
Upon her panting heart both night and day,
Sucking black blood from thence, which to repair
Both night and day they left fresh poisons there.
Her garments were deep-stain’d in human gore,
And torn by her own hands, in which she bore
A knotted whip, and bowl, that to the brim
Did with green gall and juice of wormwood swim;
With which, when she was drunk, she furious grew,
And lash'd herself: thus from the accursed crew
Envy, the worst of fiends, herself presents,
Envy, good only when she 'herself torments.
“Spend not, great king ! thy precious rage," said “ Upon so poor a cause! shall mighty we (she, The glory of our wrath to him afford? Are we not Furies still, and At thy dread anger the fix'd world shall shake, And frighted Nature her own laws forsake :