תמונות בעמוד

Against this nearest, cruelest of foes, What shall wit meditate, or force oppose ? Whence, feeble Nature, shall we summon aid, If by our pity and our pride betray'd ? External remedy shall we hope to find, When the close fiend has gain'd our treacherous

mind, .
Insulting there does reason's power deride,
And, blind himself, conducts the dazzled guide ?

My conqueror now, my lovely Abra, held
My freedom in her chains; my heart was fill'd
With her, with her alone ; in her alone
It sought its peace and joy: while she was gone
It sigh’d, and griev'd, impatient of her stay;
Return'd, she chas'd those sighs, that grief, away :(
Her absence made the night; her presence

brought the day.
The ball, the play, the mask, by turns succeed;
For her I make the song; the dance with her I lead; *
I court her, various, in each shape and dress
That luxury may form or thought express.

To-day beneath the palm-tree, on the plains,
In Deborah's arms and habit Abra reigns:
The wreath, denoting conquest, guides her brow,
And low, like Barak, at her feet I bow.
The mimic chorus sings her prosperous hand,
As she had slain the foe, and sav'd the land.

T'o-morrow she approves a softer air,
Forsakes the pomp and pageantry of war,
The form of peaceful Abigail assumes,
And from the village with the present comes :
The youthful band depose their glitteting arms,
Receive her bounties, and recite her charms;
Whilst I assume my father's step and mein,
To meet, with due regard, my future queen.

If hap’ly Abra's will be now inclin’d
To range the woods or chase the flying hind,
Soon as the sun awakes, the sprightly court
Leave their repose, and hasten to the sport.
In lessen'd royalty, and humble state,
Thy king, Jerusalem! descends to wait
Till Abra comes. She comes; a milk-white steed,
Mixture of Persia's and Arabia's breed,
Sustains the nymph: her garments flying loose
(As the Sydonian maids or Thracian use)
And half her knee and half her breast appear,
By art, like negligence, disclos'd, and bare :
Her left hand guides the hunting courser's fight,
A silver bow she carries in her right,
And from the golden quiver at her side,
Rustles the ebon arrow's feather'd pride;
Sapphires and diamonds on her front display
An artificial moon's increasing ray. '
Diana, huntress, mistress of the groves,
The favourite Abra speaks, and looks, and moves.
Her, as the present goddess, I obey,
Beneath her feet the captive game I lay ;
The mingled chorus sing Diana's fame,
Clarions and horns in louder peals proclaim
Her mystic praise, the vocal triumphs bound
Against the hills; the hills reflect the sound.

If, tir'd this evening with the hunted woods,
To the large fish-pools or the glassy floods
Her mind to-morrow points, a thousand hands
To-night employ'd, obey the King's commands.
Upon the watery beach an artful pile
Of planks is join'd, and forms a moving isle ;
A golden chariot in the midst is set,
And silver cygnets seem to feel its weight.

Vol. XV.

Abra, bright queen, ascends her gaudy throne,
In semblance of the Grecian Venus known;
Tritons and sea-green naiads round her move,
And sing in moving strains the force of love;
Whilst, as the approaching pageant does appear,
And echoing crowds speak mighty Venus near,
1, her adorer, too devoutly stand
Fast on the utmost margin of the land,
With arms and hopes extended, to receive
The fancied goddess rising from the wave.

O subject Reason! O imperious Love!
Whither yet further would my folly rove?
Is it enough that Abra should be great
In the wall'd palace or the rural seat ;
That masking habits, and a borrow'd name,
Contrive to hide my plenitude of shame?
No, no: Jerusalem combin'd must see
My open fault and regal infamy.
Solemn a month is destin'd for the feast;
Abra invites; the nation is the guest.
To have the honour of each day sustain'd,
The woods are travers’d, and the lakes are drain'd:
Arabia's wilds and Egypt's are explor’d;
The edible creation decks the board :
Hardly the phenix 'scapes
The men their lyres, the maids their voices raise,
To sing my happiness and Abra's praise,
And slavish bards our mutual loves rehearse
In lying strains and ignominious verse;
While from the banquet leading forth the bride,
Whom prudent love from public eyes should hide,
I show her to the world, confess'd and known,
Queen of my heart and partner of my throne.

And now her friends and flatterers fill the court;
From Dan and from Beersheba they resort;
They barter places and dispose of grants,
Whole provinces unequal to their wants;
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 she 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 sires, 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 Shimei'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 Abra'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 durst not reason with my wounded heart;
Abra possess’d; she was its better part.

0! had I now review'd the famous cause
Which gave my righteous youth so just applause,
In vain on the dissembled mother's tongue
Had cunning art and sly persuasion hung;
And real care in vain, and native love,
In the true parent's panting breast had strove;
While both deceiv'd had seen the destin'd child
Or slain or sav'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 widows' 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 solid day;
Porches and schools, design'd for public good,
Uncover'd, and with scaffolds cumber'd, stood,
Or nodded, threatening ruin-
Half pillars wanted their expected height,
And roofs, imperfect, prejudic'd the sight.
The artists grieve; the labouring people droop:
My father's legacy, my country's hope,
God's temples, lie unfinish'd-

The wise and grave deplord their monarch's


And future mischiefs of a sinking state. i
• Is this (the serious said) is this the man,
Whose active soul through every science ran?

« הקודםהמשך »