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Preferment, wealth, and power thy vassals were,
And of a monarch all things but the care.
Oh, should our crimes again that curse draw down,
And rebel-arms once more attempt the crown,
Sure ruin waits unhappy Abzalon,
Alike by conquest or defeat undone !
Who could relentless see such youth and charms
Expire with wretched fate in impious arms ?
A prince so form’d, with earth's and Heaven's applause,
To triumph o'er crown'd heads in David's cause :
Or grant him victor, still his hopes must fail,
Who conquering would not for himself prevail ;
The faction, whom he trusts for future sway,
Him and the public would alike betray;
Amongst themselves divide the captive state,
And found their hydra-empire in his fate!
Thus having beat the clouds with painful flight,
The pitied youth, with sceptres in his sight,
(So have their cruel politics decreed,).
Must by that crew, that made him guilty, bleed !
For, could their pride brook any prince's sway,,
Whom but mild David would they choose to obey ?
Who once at such a gentle reign repine,
The fall of monarchy itself design;
From hate to that their reformations spring,
And David not their grievance, but the king.
Seized now with panic fear the faction lies,
Lest this clear truth strike Absalom's charm'd eyes,
Lest he perceive, from long enchantment free,
What all beside the flatter'd youth must see.
But whate'er doubts his troubled bosom swell,
Fair carriage still became Achitophel,
Who now an envious festival installs,
And to survey their strength the faction calls,
Which fraud, religious worship too must gild ;
But, oh, how weakly does sedítion build !
For, lo! the royal mandate issues forth,
Dashing at once their treason, zeal, and' mirth!
So have I seen disastrous chance invade,
Where careful emmets had their forage laid,
Whether fierce Vulcan's rage the furzy plain
Had seized, engender'd by some careless swain,
Or swelling Neptune lawless iproads made,
And to their cell of store his flood convey'd ;
The commonwealth broke up, distracted go,
And in wild haste their loaded mates o'erthrow :
Even so our scatter'd guests confusedly meet,
With boil'd, baked, roast, all justling in the street;
Dejected all, and ruefully dismay'd,
For shekel, without treat or treason paid.
Sedition's dark eclipse now fainter shows,
More bright each hour the royal planet grows,
Of force the clouds of envy to disperse,
In kind conjunction of assisting stars.
Here, labouring muse, those glorious chiefs relate,
That turn'd the doubtful scale of David's fate;
The rest of that illustrious band rehearse,
Immortalised in laurell’d Asaph's verse :
Hard task ! yet will not I thy flight recall,
View heaven, and then enjoy thy glorious fall.
First write Bezaliel, whose illustrious name Forestalls our praise, and gives his poet fame. The Kenites' rocky province his command, A barren limb of fertile Canaan's land; Which for its generous natives yet could be Held worthy such a president as he ! Bezaliel with each grace and virtue fraught, Serene his looks, serene his life and thought; On whom so largely nature heap'd her store, There scarce remain'd for arts to give him more! To aid the crown and state his greatest zeal, His second care that service to conceal; Of dues observant, firm to every trust: And to the needy always more than just: Who truth from specious falsehood can divide, Has all the gownsmen's skill without their pride ; Thus crown'd with worth from heights of honour won, Sees all his glories copied in his son, Whose forward fame should every muse engage, Whose youth boasts skill denied to others' age. Men, manners, language, books of noblest kind, Already are the conquest of his mind : Whose loyalty before its date was prime, Nor waited the dull course of rolling time: The monster faction early he dismay'd, And David's cause long since confess'd his aid.
Brave Abdael o'er the prophets' school was placed ; Abdael, with all his father's virtue graced ;
A hero, who,.while stars look'd wondering down,
Without one Hebrew's blood restored the crown.
That praise was his; what therefore did remain
For following chiefs, but boldly to maintain
That crown restored ; and in this rank of fame,
Brave Abdael with the first a place must claim.
Proceed, illustrious, happy chief, proceed,
Foreseize the garlands for thy brow decreed,
While the inspired tribe attend with noblest strain
To register the glories thou shalt gain :
For sure the dew shall Gilboah's hills forsake,
And Jordan mix his stream with Sodom's lake,
Or seas retired their secret stores disclose,
And to the sun their scaly brood expose,
Or swell’d above the clifts their billows raise,
Before the muses leave their patron's praise.
Eliab our next labour does invite,
And hard the task to do Eliab right:
Long with the royal wanderer he roved,
And firm in all the turns of fortune proved !
Such ancient service and desert so large,
Well claim'd the royal household for his charge.
His age with only one mild heiress bless'd,
the bloom of smiling nature dress'd,
And bless'd again to see his flower allied
To David's stock, and made young Othniel's bride!
The bright restorer of his father's youth,
Devoted to a son's and subject's truth:
Resolved to bear that prize of duty home,
So bravely sought, while sought by Absalom.
Ah prince ! the illustrious planet of thy birth,
And thy more powerful virtue guard thy worth ;
That no Achitophel thy ruin boast !
Israel too much in one such wreck has lost.
E’en envy must consent to Helon's worth,
Whose soul, though Egypt glories in his birth,
Could for our captive ark its zeal retain,
And Pharaoh's altars in their pomp disdain:
To slight his gods was small; with nobler pride,
He all the allurements of his court defied:
Whom profit nor example could
But Israel's friend, and true to David's sway.
What acts of favour in his province fall,
On merit he confers, and freely all.
Our list of nobles next let Amri grace,
Whose merits claim'd the Abethdin's high place ;
Who, with a loyalty that did excel,
Brought all the endowments of Achitophel.
Sincere was Amri, and not only knew,
But Israel's sanctions into practice drew;
Our laws, that did a boundless ocean seem,
Were coasted all, and fathom'd all by him.
No rabbin speaks like him their mystic sense,
So just, and with such charms of eloquence :
To whom the double blessing does belong,
With Moses' inspiration, Aaron's tongue.
Than Sheva none more loyal zeal have shown,
Wakeful as Judah's lion for the crown,
Who for that cause still combats in his age,
For which his youth with danger did engage.
In vain our factious priests the cant revive;
In vain seditious scribes with libel strive
To inflame the crowd ; while he with watchful eye
Observes, and shoots their treasons as they fly;
Their weekly frauds his keen replies detect;
He undeceives more fast than they infect.
So Moses when the pest on legions prey'd,
Advanced his signal, and the plague was stay'd.
Once more, my fainting muse, thy pinions try,
And strength's exhausted store let love supply.
What tribute, Asaph, shall we render thee ?
We'll crown thee with a wreath from thy own tree !
Thy laurel grove no envy's flash can blast;
The song of Asaph shall for ever last.
With wonder late posterity shall dwell
On Absalom and false Achitophel:
Thy strains shall be our slumbering prophets' dream,
And when our Sion virgins sing their theme,
Our jubilees shall with thy verse be graced;
The song of Asaph shall for ever last.
How fierce his satire loosed; restrain'd, how tame;
How tender of the offending young man's fame!
How well his worth, and brave adventures styled;
Just to his virtues, to his error mild.
of thine that fears the strictest view,
But teems with just reproof, or praise as due;
Not Eden could à fairer prospect yield,
All paradise without one barren field:
Whose wit the censures of his foes has pass'd;
The song of Asaph shall for ever last.
What praise for such rich strains shall we allow?
What just rewards the grateful crown bestow ?
While bees in flowers rejoice, and flowers in dew,
While stars and fountains to their course are true;
While Judah's throne, and Sion's rock stand fast,
The song of Asaph and the fame shall last.
Still Hebron's honour'd happy soil retains
Our royal hero's beauteous dear remains;
Who now sails off with winds nor wishes slack,
To bring his sufferings bright companion back.
But ere such transport can our sense employ,
A bitter grief must poison half our joy;
Nor can our coasts restored those blessings see
Without a bribe to envious destiny !
Cursed Sodom's doom for ever fix the tide
Where by inglorious chance the valiant died.
Give not insulting Askalon to know,
Nor let Gath's daughters triumph in our woe!
No sailor with the news swell Egypt's pride,
By what inglorious fate our valiant died !
Weep, Arnon ! Jordan, weep thy fountains dry!
While Sion's rock dissolves for a supply.
Calm were the elements, night's silence deep,
The waves scarce murmuring, and the winds asleep;
Yet fate for ruin takes so still an hour,
And treacherous sands the princely bark devour;
Then death unworthy seized a generous race,
To virtue's scandal, and the stars' disgrace!
Oh! had the indulgent Powers vouchsafed to yield,
Instead of faithless shelves, a listed field;
A listed field of Heaven's and David's foes,
Fierce as the troops that did his youth oppose,
Each life had on his slaughter'd heap retired,
Not tamely, and unconquering thus expired:
But destiny is now their only foe,
And dying, even o'er that they triumph too;
With loud last breaths their master's 'scape applaud,
Of whom kind force could scarce the fates defraud ;
Who for such followers lost, oh, matchless mind !
At his own safety now almost repined !
Say, royal Sir, by all your fame in arms,
Your praise in peace, and by Urania's charms;