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The argument. The friendship betwixt Jonathan and David ; and upon that
occasion a digression concerning the nature of Love-A discourse between Jonathan and David ; upon which the latter absents himself from court, and the former goes thither, to inform himself of Saul's resolution-- The feast of the New Moon; the manner of the celebration of it; and therein a digression of the history of Abraham-Saul's speech upon David's absence from the feast, and his anger against Jonathan-David's resolution to fly away; he parts with Jonathan, and falls asleep under a tree-A description of Phansy; an angel makes up a vision in David's head ; the vision itself, which is, a prophecy of all the succession of his race till Christ's time, with their most remarkable actions-At his awaking Gabriel assumes an human shape, and confirms to him the truth of his vision.
But now the early birds began to call
The morning forth ; up rose the sun and Saul;
Both, as men thought, rose fresh from sweet repose;
But both, alas! from restless labours rose:
For in Saul's breast, envy, the toilsome sin,
Had all that night active and tyrannous been:
She' expell'd all forms of kindness, virtue, grace;
Of the past day no footstep left or trace;
The new-blown sparks of his old rage appear,
Nor could his love dwell longer with his fear.
So near a storm wise David would not stay,
Nor trust the glittering of a faithless day;
He saw the sun call in his beams apace,
And angry clouds march up into their place;
The sea itself smooths his rough brow awhile,
Flattering the greedy merchant with a smile;
But he, whose shipwreck'd bark it drank before,
Sees the deceit, and knows it would have more.
Such is the sea, and such was Saul.
But Jonathan, his son, and only good,
Was gentle as fair Jordan's useful flood ;
Whose innocent stream, as it in silence goes,
Fresh honours and a sudden spring bestows,
On both his banks, to every flower and tree;
The manner how lies hid, the effect we see.
But more than all, more than himself, he loved,
The man whose worth his father's hatred moved ;
For, when the noble youth at Dammin stood,
Adorn'd with sweat, and painted gay with blood,
Jonathan pierced him through with greedy eye,
And understood the future majesty
Then destined in the glories of his look:
He saw, and straight was with amazement strook,
To see the strength, the feature, and the grace
Of his young limbs : he saw his comely face,
Where love and reverence so well mingled were;
And head, already crown'd with golden hair :
He saw what mildness his bold spirit did tame,
Gentler than light, yet powerful as a flame:
He saw his valour, by their safety proved;
He saw all this, and, as he saw, he loved.
What art thou, Love! thou great mysterious thing!
From what hid stock does thy strange nature spring?
'Tis thou that movest the world through every part,
And hold'st the vast frame close, that nothing start
From the due place and office first ordain'd;
By thee were all things made, and are sustain’d.
Sometimes we see thee fully, and can say (way;
From hence thou took’st thy rise, and went'st that
But oftener the short beams of Reason's eye
See only There thou art, not How, nor Why.
How is the loadstone, Nature's subtle pride,
By the rude iron woo'd, and made a bride?
How was the weapon wounded? what hid flame
The strong and conquering metal overcame?
Love (this world's grace) exalts his natural state ;
He feels thee, Love! and feels no more his weight.
Ye learned heads, whom ivy garlands grace,
Why does that twining plant the oak embrace?
The oak, for courtship most of all unfit,
And rough as are the winds that fight with it?
How does the absent pole the needle move?
How does his cold and ice beget hot love?
Which are the wings of lightness to ascend?
Or why does weight to the'centre downwards bend?
Thus creatures void of life obey thy laws,
And seldom we, they never, know the cause.
In thy large state, Life gives the next degree,
Where Sense, and Good Apparent places thee;
But thy chief palace is man's heart alone,
Here are thy triumphs and full glories shown;
Handsome Desires, and Rest, about thee flee,
Union, Inherence, Zeal, and Ecstasy,
With thousand joys cluster around thine head,
O'er which a gall-less dove her wings does spread;
A gentle lamb, purer and whiter far
Than consciences of thine own martyrs are,
Lies at thy feet; and thy right hand does hold
The mystic sceptre of a cross of gold.
Thus dost thou sit (like men ere sin had framed
A guilty blush) naked, but not ashamed.
What cause then did the fabulous ancients find,
When first their superstition made thee blind?
'Twas they, alas ! 'twas they who could not see,
When they mistook that monster Lust for thee.
Thou art a bright but not consuming flame;
Such in the amazed bush to Moses came;
What that secure its new-crown'd head did rear,
And chid the trembling branches' needless fear.
Thy darts are healthful gold, and downwards fall,
Soft as the feathers that they're fletch'd withal.
Such, and no other, were those secret darts
Which sweetly touch'd this noblest pair of hearts;
Still to one end they both so justly drew,
As courteous doves together yoked would do:
No weight of birth did on one side prevail,
Two twins less even lie in Nature's scale;
They mingled fates, and both in each did share,
They both were servants, they both princes were.
If any joy to one of them was sent,
It was most his, to whom it least was meant;
And Fortune's malice betwixt both was cross’d,
For, striking one, it wounded the’ other most.
Never did marriage such true union find,
Or men's desires with so glad violence bind;
For, there is still some tincture left of sin,
And still the sex will needs be stealing in.
Those joys are full of dross, and thicker far;
These, without matter, clear and liquid are.
Such sacred love does heaven's bright Spirits fill,
Where love is but to understand and will
With swift and unseen motions : such as we
Somewhat express in heighten'd charity.
O ye bless'd One! whose love on earth became