תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

They teach her to recede, or to debate ;
With toys of love to mix affairs of state ;
By practis'd rules her empire to secure ;
And in my pleasure make my ruin sure.
They gave, and the transfer'd the curs’d advice, >
That monarchs should their inward soul disguise,
Dissemble and command, be false and wise ;
By ignominious arts for servile ends
Should compliment their foes, and shun their friends.
And now I leave the true and just supports
Of legal princes, and of honest courts,
Barzillai's, and the fierce Benaiah's heirs ;
Whose Gires, great partners in my father's cares,
Saluted their young king at Hebron crown’d,
Great by their toil, and glorious by their wound.
And now, unhappy counsel, I prefer
Those whom my follies only made me fear,
Old Corah’s brood, and taunting Sbimei's race;
Miscreants who ow'd their lives to David's grace ;
Though they had spurn’d his rule, and curs’d him

to his face.'
Still A bra's.pow'r my scandal still increas'd ;
Justice submitted to what Abra pleas'd :
Her will alone could settle or revoke ;
And law was fix'd by what she latest spoke.

Israel neglected, Abra was my care : I only acted, thought, and liv'd for her. I durft not reason with my wounded heart. Abra poffefsid ; she was its better pari. 0! had I now review'd the famous cause, Which gave my righteous youth fo just applause;

In vain on the diffembled mocher's tongue.
Had cunning art, and dy perfuafion hung,
And real care in vain, and native loves
In the true parent's panting breast had ftrove,
While boch. deceir'd had seen the destin'd child
Or fain, or fav’d, as Abra frown'd, or smil'd.

Unknowing to command, proud to obey, ''
A lifeless king, a royal shade I lay,
Unheard the injur'd orphans now complain:
The widow's cries address the throne in vain.
Causes unjudg’d disgrace the loaded file ;
And sleeping laws the king's neglect revile.
No more the elders throng'd around my throne,
To hear my maxims, and reform their own,
No more the young nobility were taught,
How Moses govern'd, and how David fought.
Loose and undisciplin'd the soldier lay;
Or lost in drink and game the folid day :
Porches and schools, design'd for public good,
Uncover'd, and with scaffolds cumber'd stood,
Or nodded, threatning ruin--
Half pillars wanted their expected height;
And roofs imperfect prejudic'd the fight.
The artists grieve ; the lab'ring people droop :
My father's legacy, my country's hope,
God's temple-lies unfinish'd

The wise and grave deplor'd their monarch's fate,
And future mischief of a sinking ftate.
Is this, the serious faid, is this the man,
Whose active foul through ev'ry science ran? .
Who by just rule and elevated skill
Prescrib'd the dubious bounds of good and ill? ..
"Whose golden fayings, and immortal wit,
On'large Phyla&teries expressive writ,
Were to the forehead of the Rabbins tyd,
Our youth's instruction, and our age's pride?
Could not the wise his wild desires restrain;
Then was our hearing, and his preaching vain !
What from his life and letters were we taught,
But that his knowledge aggravates his fault?

In lighter mood the bumorous and the gay
(As crown'd with roses at their feasts they lay)
Sent the full goblets, .charg'd with Abra's name,
And charms fuperior to their maker's fame :
Laughing some praise the king, who let''em fee,
How aptly luxe and empire might agree:
Some glofs?d, how love and wisdom were at strife ;
\And brought my proverbs to confront my life.
However, friend, here's to the king, one cries :
To him who was the king, the friend replies.
The king, for Judah's, and for wisdom's curse,
To Abra yields : could I, or thou do worse?
Our looser lives let chance or folly steer:
If thus the prudent and determin'd err.
Let Dinah bind with flow'rs her flowing hair :
And touch the lute, and sound the wanton air :
Let us the bliss without the sting receive,
Free, as we will, or to enjoy, or leave.
Pleasures on levity's smooth surface flow :
Thought brings the weight, that finks the soul.to woe,
Now be this maxim to the king convey'd,
And added to the thousand he has made.

Sadly, 0 Reason, is thy pow'r express'd, Thoa gloomy tyrant of the frighted breast !

And harsh the rules, which we from thee receive;
If for our wisdom we our pleafure give;
And more to think be only more to grieve.
If Judah's King at the tribunal try'd,
Forsakes his joy, to vindicate his pride ;
And changing forrows, I am only found [bound.
Loos’d from the chains of love, in thine more strictly

But do I call thee tyrant, or complain,
How hard thy laws, how abfolute thy reign?
While thou, alas! art but an empty name,
To no two men, who e'er discours'd the same;
The idle product of a troubled thought,
In borrow'd shapes, and airy colours wrought;
A fancy'd line, and a reflected fhade;
A chain which man to fetter man has made,
By artifice impos’d, by fear obey'd.

Yet, wretched name, or arbitrary thing,
Whence ever I thy cruel essence bring,
I own thy influence ; for I feel thy sting.
Reluctant I perceive thee in my foul,
Form'd to.command, and destin'd to controul.
Yes ; thy insulting dictates shall be heard :
Virtue for once shall be her own reward :

Yes; rebel Israel, this unhappy maid
Shall be dismiss'd : the croud shall be obey'd :
The king his passion, and his rule shall leave,
No longer Abra's, but the people's llave.
My coward soul shall bear its wayward fate::
I will, alas ! be wretched, to be great,
And sigh in royalty, and grieve in state.

I said: resolv'd to plunge into my grief
At once so far, as to expect relief

From my despair alone
I chose to write the thing I durst not speak,
To her I lov'd ; to her I muft forsake.
The harsh epiltle labour'd much to prove,
How inconGftent majesty, and love.
I always should, it said, esteem her well.;
But never see her more: it bid her feel
No future pain for me; but instanc wed
A lover more proportion'd to her bed;
And quiet dedicate her remnant life
To the just duties of an humble wife.

She read; and forth to me the wildly ran,
To me, the ease of all her former pain. .
She-kneel'd, intreated, struggled, threaten'd, cry'd,
And with alternate paflion liv'd and dy'd :
Till now deny'd the liberty to mourn,
And by rude fury from my prefence torn,
This only object of my real, care,
Cut off from hope, abandon'd to despair,
In some few posting fatal hours is hurl?d
From wealth, from pow'r, from love, and from the

world. Here tell me, if thou dar'st, my conscious-foul, What diff'rent forrows did within thee roll? What pangs, what fires, what'racks didst thou sustain? What fad vicissitudes of -{marting pain ? How oft from pomp and state did I remove, To feed despair, and cherish hopeless love? How oft, all day, recall'd I Abra's charms, Her beauties press’d, and panting in my arms ? How oft, with fighs, view'd ev'ry female face, Where mimic fancy might her likeness trace?

VOL. II.

« הקודםהמשך »