« הקודםהמשך »
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 join'd 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 walk'd before him there.
Slaughter the weary'd Riphaims' bosom fills;
Dead corpse emboss the vale with little hills.
On the 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 Abishai 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
In his seven chambers; and he still did eat (fed
New-roasted babes, his dear, delicious meat,
Again they' arise, more anger'd than dismay'd;
Euphrates and swift Tygres sends them aid :
In vain they send it, for again they're slain,
And feast the greedy birds on Helay plain,
Here 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 endow'd 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 fill'd
For God to’ inhabit, and that king to build.
Some from the quarries hew out massy stone,
Some draw it up with cranes; some breathe and
In order o'er the anvil; some cut down [groan
Tall cedars, the proud mountain's ancient crown;
Some carve the trunks, and breathing shapes be-
Giving the trees more life than when they grow;
But oh, alas ! what sudden cloud is spread
About this glorious king's eclipsed head?
It all his fame benights, and all his store,
Wrapping him round; and now he's seen no more!
When straight his son appears, at Sichem crown'd,
and heedless council circled round;
Unseemly object! but a falling state
Has always its own errors.join'd with Fate.
Ten tribes at once forsake the Jessean throne,
And bold Adoram at his message stone;
• Brethren of Israel !"-more he fain would
But a flintstopp'd his mouth, and speech, i'the’way.
Here this fond king's disasters but begin,
He's destined to more shame by' his father's sin :
Susack came up, and under his command
A dreadful army from scorch'd Afric's sand,
As numberless as that: all is his prey,
The temple's sacred wealth they bear away:
Adrazar's shields and golden loss they take:
Even David in his dream does sweat and shake.
Thus fails this wretched prince; his loins appear
Of less weight now than Solomon's fingers were.
Abijah next seeks Israel to regain,
And wash in seas of blood his father's stain :
Ne'er saw the aged sun so cruel fight;
Scarce saw he this, but hid his bashful light.
Nebat's cursed son fled with not half his men;
Where were his gods of Dan and Bethel then ?
Yet could not this the fatal strife decide;
God punish'd one, but bless'd not the other side.
Asan, a just and virtuous prince, succeeds, High-raised by fame for great and godly deeds : He cut the solemn groves where idols stood, And sacrificed the gods with their own wood: He vanquish'd thus the proud weak powers of hell; Before him next their doting servants fell: So huge an host of Zerah's men he slew, As made even that Arabia Desert too. Why fear'd he then the perjured Baasha's fight? Or brought the dangerous aid of Syrians' might? Conquest, Heaven's gift, cannot by man be sold ; Alas! what weakness trusts he ? Man and gold.
Next Josaphat possess'd the royal state (An happy prince, well worthy of his fate); His oft oblations, on God's altar made, With thousand flocks and thousand herds are paid Arabian tribute! What mad troops are those, Those mighty troops that dare to be his foes ! He prays them dead: with mutual wounds they fall; One fury brought, one fury slays, them all. Thus sits he still, and sees himself to win; Never o'ercome but by's friend Ahab's sin ;
On whose disguise Fates then did only look;
And had almost their God's command mistook :
Him from whose danger Heaven securely brings,
And for his sake two ripely wicked kings.
Their armies languish, burnt with thirst at Seir:
Sighs all their cold, tears all their moisture, there;
They fix their greedy eyes on the empty sky,
And fancy clouds, and so become more dry:
Elisha calls for waters from afar
To come; Elisha calls, and here they are:
In helmets they quaff round the welcome flood;
And the decrease repair with Moab's blood.
Jehoram next, and Ochoziah, throng
For Judah's sceptre; both short-lived too long.
A Woman too from murder title claims;
Both with her sins and sex the crown she shames:
Proud, cursed woman! but her fall, at last,
To doubting men clears Heaven for what was
Joas at first does bright and glorious show;
In life's fresh morn his fame did early crow;
Fair was the promise of his dawning ray,
But Prophets' angry blood o'ercast his day;
From thence his clouds, from thence his storms,
It cries aloud, and twice lets Aram in. [begin ;
So Amaziah lives, so ends his reign;
Both by their traitorous servants justly slain.
Edom at first dreads his victorious hand,
Before him thousand captives trembling stand;
Down a deep precipice, down he casts them all,
The mimic shapes in several postures fall:
But then (mad fool !) he does those gods adore
Which, when pluck'd down, had worshipped him