« PreviousContinue »
Next them a train of loyal peers ascend ;
Sharp-judging Adriel, the Muses' friend,
Himself a Muse: in sanhedrins debate
True to his prince, but not a slave of state ;
Whom David's love with honors did adorn,
That from his disobedient son were torn.
Jotham of piercing wit, and pregnant thought,
Endued by nature, and by learning taught,
To move assemblies, who but only tried
The worse awhile, then chose the better side:
Nor chose alone, but turn'd the balance too;
So much the weight of one brave man can do.
Hushai, the friend of David in distress;
In public storms of manly stedfastness:
By foreign treaties he inform'd his youth,
And join'd experience to his native truth.
His frugal care supplied the wanting throne;
Frugal for that, but bounteous of his own:
"Tis easy conduct when exchequers flow;
But hard the task to manage well the low :
For sov reign pow'r is too depress'd or high,
When kings are fore'd to sell, or crowds to buy.
Indulge one labor more, my weary Muse,
For Amiel who can Amiel's praise refuse?
Of antient race by birth, but nöbler yet
In his own worthi, and without title great:
The sanhedrim long time as chief he rui'd,
Their reason guided, and their passion cool'd:
So dextrous was he in the crowns defence,
So form'd to speak a loyal nation's sense,
That, as their band was Israel's tribes in small,
So fit was he to represent them all.
Now rasher charioteers the seat ascend,
Whose loose careers his steady skill commend:
They, like th unequal ruler of the day,
Misguide the seasons, and mistake the way;
While he withdrawn at their mad labors smiles,
And safe enjoys the sabbath of his toils.
These were the chief,asmall but faithfulband-
Of worthies, in the breach who dar'd to stand,
And tempt th' united fury of the land.
With grief they view'd such pow'rful engines
To batter down the lawful government:
A num'rous faction, with pretended frights,
In sanhedrims to plume the regal rights;
The true successor from the court remov'd;
The plot by hireling witnesses improv'd.
These ills they saw, and, as their duty bound,
They show'd the king the danger of the wound:
Thatno concessions from the throne would please,
But lenitives fomented the disease:
That Absalom, ambitious of the crown,
Was made the lure to draw the people down:
That false Achitophel's pernicious frate
Had turn'd the plot to ruin church and state;
The council violent, the rabble worse:
That Shimei taught Jerusalem to curse.
Thus long have I, by native mercy sway'd, My wrongs dissembled, my revenge delay'd: So willing to forgive th' offending age; So much the father did the king assuage. But now so far my clemency they slight, Th' offenders question my forgiving right: That one was made for many, they contend; But 'tis to rule; for that's a monarch's end. They call my tenderness of blood my fear; Though manly tempers can the longest bear. Yet, since they will divert my native course, "Tis time to show I am not good by force. Those heap'd atroms that haughty sabjects bring Are burdens for a camel, not a king. Kings are the public pillars of the state, Born to sustain and prop the nation's weight: If my young Samson will pretend a call To shake the column, let him share the fall: But, oh! that yet he would repent and live! How easy is for parents to forgive! With how few tears a pardon might be won From nature, pleading for a darling son! Poor, pitied youth, by my paternal care Rais'd up to all the height his fame could bear: Had God ordain'd his Ete for empire born, He would have given his soul another turn: Gull'd with a patriot's name, whose modern
With all these loads of injuries opprest, And long revolving in his careful breast Th' event of thing, at last his patience tir'd, Thus from his royal throne, by heaven inspir'd, The godlike David spoke; with awful fear His train their Maker in their master hear:
Is one that would by law supplant his prince;
The people's brave, the politician's tool;
Never was patriot yet but was a fool.
Whence comes it that religion and the laws
Should more be Absalom's than David's cause?
His old instructor, ere he lost his place,
Was never thought endued with so much grace.
Good heavens! how faction can a patriot paint!
My rebel ever proves my people's saint.
Would they impose an heir upon the throne,
Let sanhedrims be taught to give their own.
A king's at least a part of government;
And mine as requisite as their consent:
Without my leave a future king to choose,
Infers a right the present to depose.
True, they petitition me t' approve their choice.
But Esan's hands suit ill with Jacob's voice.
My pious subjects for my safety pray;
Which to secure, they take my pow'r away.
From plots and treasons heaven preserve my years,
But save me most from my petitioners!
Unsatiate as the barren womb or grave,
God cannot grant so much as they can crave.
What then is left, but with a jealous eye
To guard the small remains of loyalty?
The law shall still direct my peaceful sway,
And the same law teach rebels to obey :
Votes shall no more establish'd power control,
Such votes as make a part exceed the whole.
No groundless clamors shall my friends remove,
Nor crowds have pow'r to punish ere they proves
For Gods and godlike kings their care express,
Still to defend their servants in distress.
Oh, that my pow'r to saving were confin'd!
Whyam I fore'd, like heaven, against my mind,
To inake examples of another kind?
Must I at length the sword of justice draw?
Oh curst effects of necessary law !
How ill my fear they by my mercy scan!
Beware the fury of a patient man.
Law they require, let faw then show her face;
They could not be content to look on grace,
Her hinder parts, but with a daring eve
To tempt the terror of her front, and die.
By their own arts 'tis righteously decreed,
Those dire artificers of death shall bleed;
Against themselves their witnesses will swear,
Till, viper-like, their mother plot they tear;
And suck for nutriment that bloody gore;
Which was their principle of life before.
Their Belial with their Beelzebub will fight:
Thus on my foes my foes shall do me right.
Nordoubt th' event: for factious crowds engage,
In their first onset, all their brutal rage.
Then let them take an unresisted course :
letire, and traverse, and delude their force:
But when they stand all breathless, urge the fight,
Aud rise upon them with redoubled might:
For lawful pow'r is still superior found;
When long driv'n back, at length it stands the
He said: th Almighty nodding gave consent;
And peals of thunder shook the firmament.
Henceforth a series of new time began,
The mighty years in long procession ran:
Once more the godlike David was restor'd,
And willing nations knew their lawful lord.
While pamper'd crowds to mad sedition run,
And monarchs by indulgence are undone..
Thus David's clemency was fatal grown,
While wealthy faction aw'd the wanting throne;
For now their sovereign's orders to contemn
Was held the charter of Jerusalem;
His rights t'invade, his tributes to refuse,
A privilege peculiar to the Jews;
As if from heavenly call this licence fell,
And Jacob's seed were chosen to rebel!
That madly their own happiness oppose;
There Heaven itself, and godlike kings in vain
Show' down the manna of a gentle reign;
Achitophel with triumph sees his crimes Thus suited to the madness of the times And Absalom, to make his hopes succeed, Of flatt'ring charms no longer stands in need; While, fond of change, tho'ne'er so dearly bought, Ourtribes outstript the youth's ambitiousthought, His swiftest hopes with swifter homage meet, And crowd their servile necks beneath his feet. Thus to his aid while pressing tides repair, He mounts, and spreads his streamers in the air. The charms of empire might his youth mislead But what can our besotted Israel plead? Sway'd by a monarch whose serene command Seems half the blessing of our promis'd land, Whose only grievance is excess of ease; Freedom our pain, and plenty our disease! Yet, as all folly would lay claim to sense, And wickedness ne'er wanted a pretence, With argument, they'd make their treason good, And righteous David's self with slanders load: That arts of foreign sway he did affect, And guilty Jebusites from law protect, Whose very chiefs, convict, were never freed; Nay, we have seen their sacrifices bleed! Accusers' infamy is urg'd in vain, While in the bounds of sense they did contain; But soon they launch'd into th' unfathom'd tide, And in the depths they knew disdain'd to ride. For probable discoveries to dispense Mere truth was dull, nor suited with the port Was thought below a pension'd evidence; of pamper'd Corah when advanc'd to court. No less than wonders now they will impose, And projects void of grace or sense disclose. Sueh was the change on pious Michael brought, Michael that ne'er was cruel even in thought, The best of queens and most obedient wife, Impeach'd of curst designs on David's life! His life, the theme of her eternal pray'r, "Tis scarce so much his guardian angel's care: Not summer morns such mildness can disclose, The Hermon lily, nor the Sharon rose. Neglecting each vain pomp of majesty, Transported Michael feeds her thoughts on high: She lives with angels, and, as angels do, Quits heaven sometimes tobless the world below: Where,cherish'dbyherbounty's plenteous spring, Reviving widows smile, and orphans sing. Oh! when rebellious Israel's crimes at height Are threaten'd with her lord's approaching fate; The piety of Michael then remain In Heaven's remembrance, and prolong his reign! Less desolation did the pest pursue That from Dan's limits to Beersheba slew,
Less fatal the repeated wars of Tyre,
And less Jerusalem's avenging fire;
With gentler terror these our state o'er-ran,
Than since our evidencing days began!
On ev'ry check a pale confusion sat,
Continued fear beyond the worst of fate!
Trust was no more; art, science, useless made;
All occupations lost but Coral's trade.
Meanwhile a guard on modest Corah wait,
If not for safety, needful yet for state.
Well might he deem eachpeer and princehis slave,
And lord it o'er the tribes which he could save:
Ev'n vice in him was virtue-what sad fate
But for his honesty had scis'd our state!
And with what tyranny had we been curst,
Had Corah never prov'd a villain first!
T have told his knowledge of th' intrigue in
Had been, alas! to our deponent's loss: [gross,
The travell'd Levite had th' experience got,
To husband well, and make the best of 's plot ;
And therefore, like an evidence of skill,
With wise reserves secur'd his pension still;
Not quite of future pow'r himself bereft,
But limbos large for unbelievers left.
And now his writ such reverence had got,
"Twas worse than plotting to suspect his plot.
Some were so well convinc'd, they made no doubt
Themselves to help the founder'd swearers out.
Some had their sense impos'd on by their fear,
But more for interest sake believe and swear :
Even to that height with some the phrenzy grew,
They rag'd to find their danger not prove true.
Yet, than all these a viler crew remain,
Who with Achitophel the cry maintain ;
Not urg'd by fear, nor thro' misguided sense-
Blind zeal and starving need had some pretence-
But for the good old cause that did excite
Th' original rebel's wiles - revenge and spite.
These raise the plot to have the scandal thrown
Upon the bright successor of the crown,
Whose virtue with such wrongs theyhad pursued,
As seeni'd all hope of pardon to exclude.
Thus, while on private ends their zeal is built,
The cheated crowd applaud and share their guilt.
Such practices as these, too gross to lie
Long unobserv'd by each discerning eye,
The more judicious Israelites unspell'd,
Though still the charm the giddy rabble held.
Even Absalom, amidst the dazzling beams
Of empire, and ambition's flatt'ring dreams,
Perceives the plot, too foul to be excus'd,
To aid designs, no less pernicions, us'd:
And, filial sense yet striving in his breast,
Thus to Achitophel his doubts express'd:
(Why are my thoughts upon a crown employ'd.
Which once obtain'd can be but half enjoy'd?
Not so when virtue did my arms require,
And to my father's wars I flew entire.
My regal pow'r how will my foes resent,
When I myself have scarce my own consent!
Give me a son's unblemish'd truth again,
Or quench the sparks of duty that remain.
How slight to force a throne that legions guard
The task to me; to prove unjust, how hard!
And if th'imagin'd guilt thus wound my thought,
What will it when the tragic scene is wrought?
Dire war must first be conjur'd from below,
The realm we'd rule we first must overthrow;
And when the civil furies are on the wing,
That blind and undistinguish'd slaughters fling,
Who knows what impious chance may reach
Oh! rather let me perish in the strife,
Than have my crown the price of David's life!
Or, if the tempest of the war he stand,
In peace, some vile officious villain's hand
His soul's anointed temple may invade ;
Or, press'd by clam rous crowds, myself be made
His murderer-rebellious crowds, whose guilt
Shall dread his vengeance till his blood be spilt,
Which if my filial tenderness oppose,
Since to the empire by their arms I rose,
Those very arms on me shall be employ'd,
A new usurper crown'd, and I destroy'd.
The same pretence of public good will hold,
And new Achitophels be found as bold
To urge the needful change, perhaps the old..
He said the statesman with a smile replies,
A smile that did his rising spleen disguise:
My thoughts presum'd our labors at an end,
And are we still with conscience to contend,
Whose want in kings as needful is allow'd
As 'tis for them to find it in the crowd?
Far in the doubtful passage you are gone,
And only can be safe by pressing on.
The crown's true heir, a prince severe and wise,
Has view'd your motions long with jealous eyes;
Your person's charms, your more prevailing arts,
And mark'd your progress in the people's hearts,
Whose patience is th' effect of stinted pow'r,
But treasures vengeance for the fatal hour;
And, if remote the peril he can bring,
Your present danger's greater from the king.
Let not a parent's name deceive your sense,
Nor trust the father in a jealous prince!
Your trivial faults if he could so resent,
To doom you little less than banishment,
What rage must your presumption since inspire!
Against his orders you return from Tyre.
Nor only so, but with a pomp more high,
And open court of popularity,
The factions tribes-And this reproof from thee?
The prince replies, O statesman's winding skill!
They first condemn that first advis'd the ill!
Illustrious youth, return'd Achitophel,
Misconstrue not the words that mean you well.
The course you steer I worthy blame conclude,
But 'tis because you leave it unpursued.
A monarch's crown with fate surrounded lies;
Who reach, lay hold on death that miss the prize.
Did you for this expose yourself to show,
And to the crowd bow popularly low?
For this your glorious progress next ordain,
With chariots, horsemen, and a numerous train;
With fame before you like the morning star,
And shouts of joy saluting from afar?
Oh, fromtheheightsyou've reach'd but take a view,
Scarce leading Lucifer could fall like you!
For if succession once to nought they bring,
Their next advance removes the present king:
Persisting else his senates to dissolve,
In equal hazard shall his reign involve.
Ourtribes, whom Pharaoh'spow'r so muchalarms,
Shall rise without their prince t' oppose his arms,
Nor boots it on what cause at first they join,
Their troops once up are tools for our design.
At least such subtile cov'nants shall
Till peace itself is war in masquerade.
Associations of mysterious sense,
Against, but seeming for, the king's defence
E'en on their courts of justice fetters draw,
And from our agents muzzle up their law:
By which a conquest if we fail to make,
'Tis a drawn game at worst, and we secure our
and for the dire success depends
On various sects, by common guilt made friends;
Whose heads, tho' ne'er so diff'ring in their creed,
I' th' point of treason yet were well agreed.
'Mongst these, extorting Ishban first appears,
Pursued by meagre troops of bankrupt heirs.
Blest times, when Ishban, he whose occupation
So long has been to cheat, reforms the nation!
Ishban of conscience suited to his trade,
As good a saint as usurer ever made.
Yet Mammon has not so engross'd him quite,
But Belial lays as large a claim of spite;
Who, for those pardons from his prince he draws,
Return reproaches, and cries up the cause.
That year in which the city he did sway,
He left rebellion in a hopeful way.
Yet his ambition once was found so bold,
To offer talents of extorted gold;
Could David's wants have so been brib'd, to
And must I here my shipwreck'd arts bemoan?
Have I for this so oft made Israel groan?
Your single int'rest with the nation weigh'd?
And turn'd the scale where your desires were laid?
Even when at helm a course so dang`rous mov'd
To land your hopes as iny removal prov'd?
I not dispute, the royal youth replies,
The known perfection of your policies;
Nor in Achitophel yet grudge or blame
The privilege that statesmen ever claim;
Who private int rest never get pursued,
But still pretended 'twas for others' good:
What politician yet e'er scap'd his fate,
Who saving his own neck not sav'd the state?
From hence on ev'ry humorous wind that
With shifted sails a several course you steer'd.
What from a sway did David e'er pursue,
That seem'd like absolute, but sprung from you?
Who at your instance quash'd each penal law,
That kept dissenting factious Jews in awe;
And who suspends fix'd laws, may abrogate;
That done, form new, and so enslave the state.
Even property, whose champion now you stand,
And seem for this the idol of the land,
Did ne'er sustain such violence before,
As when your counsel shut the royal store;
Advice, that ruin to whole tribes procur'd,
But secret kept till your own banks secur'd.
Recount with this the triple cov'nant broke,
And Israel fitted for a foreign yoke;
Nor here your counsel's fatal progress staid,
But sent our levied pow'rs to Pharaoh's aid.
Hence Tyre and Israel low in ruins laid,
And Egypt, once their scorn, their common
Even yet of such a season can we dream,
When royal rights you made your darling theme,
For pow'r unlimited could reasons draw,
And place prerogative above the law;
Which on your fall from oflice grew unjust,
The laws made king, the kiug a slave in trust;
Whom with state-craft, to int'rest only true,
You now accuse of ills contriv'd by you.
To this hell's agent Royal youth, fix here,
Let int'rest be the star by which you steer;
Hence to repose your trust in me was wise,
Whose int'rest most in your advancement lies:
A tie so firm as always will avail,
When friendship, nature, and religion, fail.
On ours the safety of the crowd depends ;
Secure the crowd, and we obtain our ends;
Whom I will cause so far our guilt to share,
Till they are made our champions by their fear.
What opposition can your rival bring,
While sanhedrims are jealous of the king?
Histrength as yet in David's friendship lies,
And what can David's self without supplies?
Who with exclusive bills must now dispense,
Debar the heir, or starve in his defence;
Conditions which our elders ne'er will quit,
And David's justice never can admit.'
Or forc'd by wants his brother to betray,
To your ambition next he clears the way;
And seandalise our peerage with his name,
For which, his dear sedition he'd forswear,
And ev'n turu loval to be made a peer.
Next him, let railing Rabsheka have place,
So full of zeal he has no need of grace;
A saint that can both flesh and spirit use,
Alike haunt conventicles and the stews a
Of whom the question difficult appears,
If most i' th' preacher's or the bayd's arrears.
What caution could appear too much in him
That keeps the treasure of Jerusalem!
Let David's brother but approach the town,
Double our guards, he cries, we are undone !
Protesting that he dares not sleep in 's bed,
Lest he should rise next morn without his head.
"Next these, a troop of busy spirits press,
Of little fortunes, and of conscience less;
With them the tribe, whose luxury had drain'd
Their banks, in former sequestrations gain'd;
Who rich and great by past rebellions grew,
And long to fish the troubled streams anew.
Some future hopes, some present payment draws,
To sell their conscience and espouse the cause.
Such stipends those vile hirelings best befit,
Priests without grace, and poets without wit.
Shall that false Hebronite escape our curse,
Judas that keeps the rebels' pensive purse ;
Judas that pays the treason-writer's fee,
Judas that well deserves his namesake's tree;
Who at Jerusalem's own gates erects
His college for a nursery of sects;
Young prophets with an early care secures,
And with the dung of his own arts manures?
What have the men of Hebron here to do?
What part in Israel's promis'd land have you?
Here Phaleg the lay-Hebronite is come,
'Cause like the rest he could not live at home;
Who from his own possessions could not drain
An omer even of Hebronitish grain,
Here struts it like a patriot, and talks high
Of injur'd subjects, alter'd property:
An emblem of that buzzing insect just,
That mounts the wheel,and thinks she raisesdust.
Can dry bones live? or skeletons produce
The vital warmth of cuckoldising juice?
Slim Phaleg could, and at the table fed,
Return'd the grateful product to the bed.
A waiting man to travelling nobles chose,
He his own laws would saucily impose;
Till bastinadoed back again he went,
To learn those manners he to teach was sent.
Chastis'd he ought to have retreated home;
But he reads politics to Absalom.
For never Hebronite, tho' kick'd and scorn'd,
To his own country willingly return'd.
But, leaving famish'd Phaleg to be fed,
And to talk treason for his daily bread.
Let Hebron, nay let hell, produce a man
So made for mischief as Ben-Jochanian;
A Jew of humble parentage was he,
By trade a Levite, though of low degree:
His pride no higher than the desk aspir'd;
But for the drudgery of priests was hir'd,
To read and pray in linen ephod brave,
And pick up single shekels from the grave.
Married at last, but finding charge come faster,
He could not live by God, so chang'd his master.
Inspir'd by want, was made a factious tool;
They got a villain, and we lost a fool.
Still violent, whatever cause he took,
But most against the party he forsook.
For renegadoes, who ne'er turn by halves,
Are bound in conscience to be double knaves.
So this prose-prophet took most monstrous pains,
To let his masters see he earn'd his gains.
But, as the devil owes all his imps a shame,
He chose th' apostate for his proper theme;
With little pains he made the picture true,
And from reflection took the rogue he drew;
A wond'rous work, to prove the Jewish nation
In every age a murmuring generation:
To trace them from their infancy of sinning,
Andshow themfactious from their firstbeginning,
To prove they could rebel, and rail, and mock,
Much to the credit of the chosen flock :.
A strong authority, which must convince,
That saints owe no allegiance to their prince,
As 'tis a leading card to make a whore,
To prove her mother had turn'd up before.
But, tell me, did the drunken patriarch bless
The son that show'd his father's nakedness.
Such thanks the present church thy pen will give
Which proves rebellion was so primitive.
Must antient failings be examples made?
Then murderers from Cain may learn their trade.
As thou the heathen and the saint hast diawn,
Methinks th' apostate was the better man;
And thy hot father, waving my respect,
Not of a mother-church, but of a sect:
And such he needs must be of thy inditing;
This comes of drinking asses' milk, and writing,
If Balak should be call'd to leave his place,
As profit is the loudest call of grace,
His temple, dispossess'd of one, would be
Replenish'd with seven devils more by thee.
Levi, thou art a load, I'll lay thee down,
And show rebellion bare, without a gown;
Poor slaves, in metre, dull and addle-pated,
Who rhyniebelow ev'nDavid's Psalms translated.
Some in my speedy pace I must out-run,
As lame Mephibosheth, the wizard's son;
To make quick way, I'll leap o'er heavy blocks,
Shun rotten Uzza as I would the pox;
And hasten Og and Doeg to rehearse,
Two fools that crutch their feeble sense on verse;
Who by my Muse to all succeeding times
Shall live, in spite of their own doggrel rhymes.
Doeg, though without knowing how or why, Made still a blundering kind of melody; Spurr'd boldly on, and dash'd thro' thick and thin, Thro' sense and nonsense, tiever out nor in ; Free from all meaning, whether good or bad, And, in one word, heroically mad: He was too warm on picking-work to dwell, But fagotted his notions as they fell,
as well; }
Spiteful he is not, though he wrote a satire,
For still there goes some thinking to ill-nature;
He needs no more than birds and beasts to
All his occasions are to eat and drink.
If he call rogue and rascal from a garret,
He means you no more mischief than a parrot;
The words for friend and foe alike were made;
To fetter thein in verse, is all his trade.
For almonds he 'll cry whore to his own mother;
And call young Absalom king David's brother.
Let him be gallows-free by my consent,
And nothing suffer since he nothing meant;
Hanging supposes humau soul and reason;
This animal's below committing treason ;
Shall he be hang'd who never could rebel?
That's a preferment for Achitophel,
The woman that committed burglary
Was rightly sentenc'd by the law to die;
But 'twas hard fate that to the gallows led
The dog that never heard the statute read.
Railing in other men may be a crime,
But ought to pass for mere instinct in him·
Justinct he follows, and no farther knows ;
For to write verse with him is to transpose
"Twere pity treason at his door to lay,
Who makes heaven's gate a lock to its own keyi
Let him rail on, let his invective Muse
Have four-and-twenty letters to abuse;