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In the next piece, bless'd Salem's mystic king
Does sacred presents to the victor bring;
Like him whose type he bears, his rights receives;
Strictly requires his due, yet freely gives;
Even in his port, his habit, and his face,
The mild and great, the priest and prince, had place.
Here all their starry host the heavens display;
And lo! an heavenly youth, more fair than they,
Leads Abram forth; points upwards: “Such,” said
“So bright and numberless, thy seed shall be.”
Here he with God a new alliance makes,
And in his flesh the marks of homage takes:
And here he three mysterious persons feasts,
Well paid with joyful tidings by his guests:
Here for the wicked town he prays, and near
Scarce did the wicked town through flames appear;
And all his fate, and all his deeds, were wrought,
Since he from Ur to Ephron's cave was brought.
But none'mongst all the forms drew then their eyes
Like faithful Abram's righteous sacrifice:
The sad old man mounts slowly to the place,
With Nature's power triumphant in his face
O'er the Mind's courage; for, in spite of all,
From his swoln eyes resistless waters fall.
The innocent boy his cruel burthen bore
With smiling looks, and sometimes walk'd before,
And sometimes turn'd to talk: above was made
The altar's fatal pile, and on it laid -
The Hope of mankind; patiently he lay,
And did his sire, as he his God, obey.
The mournful sire lifts up at last the knife,
And on one moment's string depends his life,
In whose young loins such brooding wonders lie.
A thousand Spirits peep'd from the affrighted sky,
Amazed at this strange scene; and almost fear'd
For all those joyful prophecies they'd heard;
Till one leap'd nimbly forth, by God's command,
Like lightning from a cloud, and stopp'd his hand.
The gentle Spirit smiled kindly as he spoke,
New beams of joy through Abram's wonder broke;
The Angel points to a tuft of bushes near,
Where an entangled ram does half appear,
And struggles vainly with that fatal net,
Which, though but slightly wrought, was firmly set.
For, lo! anon, to this sad glory doom’d,
The useful beast on Isaac's pile consumed;
Whilst on his horns the ransom'd couple play'd,
And the glad boy danced to the tunes he made.
Near this hall's end a shittim-table stood;
Yetwell-wroughtplate strove to conceal the wood;
For from the foot a golden vine did sprout,
And cast his fruitful riches all about.
Well might that beauteous ore the grape express,
Which does weak man intoxicate no less.
Of the same wood the gilded beds were made,
And on them large embroider'd carpets laid,
From Egypt, the rich shop of follies, brought;
But arts of pride all nations soon are taught.
Behold seven comely blooming youths appear,
And in their hands seven silver wash-pots bear,
Curl’d, and gay clad; the choicest sons that be
Of Gibeon's race, and slaves of high degrees
Seven beauteous maids march'd softly in behind;
Brightscarfs their clothes, their hair fresh garlands
And, whilst the princes wash, they on them shed
Rich ointments, which their costly odours spread
O'er the whole room; from their small prisons free,
With such glad haste through the wide air they flee.
The king was placed alone, and o'er his head
A well-wrought heaven of silk and gold was spread,
Azure the ground, the sun in gold shone bright,
But pierc'd the wandering clouds with silver light.
The right-hand bed the king's three sons did grace,
The third was Abner's, Adriel's, David's, place;
And twelve large tables more were fill'd below,
With the prime men Saul's court and camp could
The palace did with mirth and music sound,
And the crown'd goblets nimbly moved around.
But, though bright joy in every guest did shine,
The plenty, taste, music, and spriteful 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 spirit 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 a while. “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 [spoke, The blameless Prince; and scarce ten words he 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 stain’d 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 unquestion'd 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 worstenemy's friend? If thy low spirit can thy great birthright quit, The thing's but just, so ill deservest 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, from mineeye, 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 to' appease:
The Prince his danger, and his duty, knew;
And low he bow’d, 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 to outwear.
All marks of comely grief in both are seen;
And mournful kind discourses pass'd 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 oppress'd,
Beneath a shade borrows some little rest;
When, by command divine, thick mists arise,
And stop the sense, and close the conquer'd eyes.
There is a place which man most high doth rear,
The Small World's heaven, where Reason moves
Here, in a robe which does all colours show
(The envy of birds, and the clouds' gaudy bow)
Phansy, wild dame, with much lascivious pride,
By twin-camelions 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 display'd: