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ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL.

PART II.

Si quis tamen hæc quoque, si quis
Captus amore leget-

TO THE READER.

and gave

In the year 1680, Mr. Dryden undertook the poem of Absalom and Achitophel, upon the desire of King Charles II. The performance was applauded by every one; and several persons pressing him to write a second part, he, upon declining it himself, spoke to Mr. Tate to write one, him his advice in the direction of it; and that part beginning with

• Next these, a troop of busy spirits press,' and ending with

To talk like Doeg, and to write like thee.' containing near two hundred verses, were entirely Mr. Dryden's compositions, besides some touches in other places.

Derrick.

Since men like beasts each other's prey were made,
Since trade began, and priesthood grew a trade,
Since realms were form’d, none sure so curst as those
That madly their own happiness oppose;
There heaven itself and god-like kings, in vain 5

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15

Shower down the manna of a gentle reign ;
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 to invade, his tributes to refuse,
A privilege peculiar to the Jews;
As if from heavenly call this license fell,
And Jacob's seed were chosen to rebel!

Achitophel with triumph sees his crimes
Thus suited to the madness of the times;
And Absalom, to make his hopes succeed,
Of Alattering charms no longer stands in need;
While fond of change, though ne'er so dearly

bought, Our tribes outstrip the youth's ambitious thought; 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; 30 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,

25 40

45

With arguments 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 sacrificers bleed !
Accusers' infamy is urg’d in vain,
While in the bounds of sense they did contain ;
But soon they launch'd into the unfathom’d tide,
And in the depths they knew disdain’d to ride.
For probable discoveries to dispense,
Was thought below a pension'd evidence;
Mere truth was dull, nor suited with the port
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.
Such was the charge on pious Michal brought,
Michal 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 prayer,
'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 Michal feeds her thoughts on high.
She lives with angels, and, as angels do,
Quits heaven sometimes to bless the world below.
Where, cherish'd by her bounties' plenteous spring,
Reviving widows smile, and orphans sing.

50

55 15

Shower down the manna of a gentle reign ;
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 to invade, his tributes to refuse,
A privilege peculiar to the Jews ;
As if from heavenly call this license fell,
And Jacob's seed were chosen to rebel !

Achitophel with triumph sees his crimes
Thus suited to the madness of the times ;
And Absalom, to make his hopes succeed,
Of flattering charms no longer stands in need;
While fond of change, though ne'er so dearly

bought, Our tribes outstrip the youth's ambitious thought; 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 ; 30 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,

25 40

45

With arguments 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 sacrificers bleed !
Accusers' infamy is urg'd in vain,
While in the bounds of sense they did contain ;
But soon they launch'd into the unfathom'd tide,
And in the depths they knew disdain’d to ride.
For probable discoveries to dispense,
Was thought below a pension'd evidence;
Mere truth was dull, nor suited with the port
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.
Such was the charge on pious Michal brought,
Michal 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 prayer,
'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 Michal feeds her thoughts on high.
She lives with angels, and, as angels do,
Quits heaven sometimes to bless the world below.
Where, cherish'd by her bounties' plenteous spring,
Reviving widows smile, and orphans sing.

50

55

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