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The same rough means that 'swage the crowd,
Our senates, raging with the crowd's disease.
Henceforth unbias'd measures let them draw
From no false gloss, but genuine text of law;
Nor urge those crimes upon Religion's score,
Themselves so much in Jebusites abhor.
Whom laws convict, and only they, shall bleed,
Nor Pharisees by Pharisees be freed;
Impartial Justice from our throne shall show'r,
All shall have right, and we our sovereign
He said: the' attendants heard with awful joy, And glad presages their fix'd thoughts employ. From Hebron now the suffering heir return'd, A realm that long with civil discord mourn'd, Till his approach, like some arriving god, Compos'd and heal'd the place of his abode, The deluge check'd, that to Judea spread, And stop'd sedition at the fountain's head. Thus in forgiving David's paths he drives, And, chas'd from Israel, Israel's peace contrives: The field confess'd his power in arms before, And seas proclaim'd his triumphs to the shore; As nobly has his sway in Hebron shown, How fit to' inherit godlike David's throne. Through Sion's streets his glad arrival's spread, And conscious Faction shrinks her snaky head; His train their sufferings think o'erpaid, to see The crowds' applause with virtue once agree. Success charms all, but zeal for worth distrest, A virtue proper to the brave and best; 'Mongst whom was Jothran, Jothran always bent To serve the Crown, and loyal by descent,
Whose constancy so firm, and conduct just,
Deserv'd at once two royal masters' trust;
Who Tyre's proud arms had manfully withstood
On seas, and gather'd laurels from the flood;
Of learning yet no portion was denied,
Friend to the Muses, and the Muses' pride.
Nor can Benaiah's worth forgotten lie,
Of steady soul when public storms were high; Whose conduct, while the Moor fierce onsets made, Secur'd at once our honour and our trade.
Such were the chiefs who most his sufferings mourn'd,
And view'd with silent joy the prince return'd;
While those that sought his absence to betray,
Press first their nauseous false respects to pay;
Him still the' officious hypocrites molest,
And with malicious duty break his rest.
While real transports thus his friends employ,
And foes are loud in their dissembled joy,
His triumphs, so resounded far and near,
Miss'd not his young ambitious rival's ear;
And, as when joyful hunters' clamorous train
Some slumbering lion wakes in Moab's plain,
Who oft had forc'd the bold assailants yield,
And scatter'd his pursuers through the field,
Disdaining, furls his mane, and tears the ground,
His eyes enflaming all the desert round,
With roar of seas directs his chaser's way,
Provokes from far, and dares them to the fray:
Such rage storm'd now in Absalom's fierce breast,
Such indignation his fir'd eyes confest.
Where now was the instructor of his pride?
Slept the old pilot in so rough a tide;
Whose wiles had from the happy shore betray'd,
And thus on shelves the credulous youth convey'd?
In deep-revolving thoughts he weighs his state,
Secure of craft, nor doubts to baffle Fate;
At least, if his storm'd bark must go adrift,
To balk his charge, and for himself to shift,
In which his dextrous wit had oft been shown,
And in the wreck of kingdoms sav'd his own;
with more than common danger prest,
Of various resolutions stands possest,
Perceives the crowd's unstable zeal decay,
Lest their recanting chief the cause betray,
Who on a father's grace his hopes may ground,
And for his pardon with their heads compound.
Him, therefore, ere his fortune slip her time,
The statesman plots to' engage in some bold crime
Past pardon, whether to attempt his bed,
Or threat with open arms the royal head,
Or other daring method, and unjust,
That may confirm him in the people's trust.
But failing thus to' ensnare him, nor secure
How long his foil'd ambition may endure,
Plots next to lay him by, as past his date,
And try some new pretender's luckier fate,
Whose hopes with equal toil he would pursue,
Nor cares what claimer's crown'd, except the true.
Wake, Absalom, approaching ruin shun,
And see, O see, for whom thou art undone!
How are thy honours and thy fame betray'd,
The property of desperate villains made?
Lost power and conscious fears their crimes create,
And guilt in them was little less than fate;
But why shouldst thou, from every grievance free,
Forsake thy vineyards for their stormy sea?
For thee did Canaan's milk and honey flow,
Love dress'd thy bowers, and laurels sought thy
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 Absalom,
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.
Seiz'd 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 shatter'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 Sedition 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 seiz'd, engender'd by some careless swain,
Or swelling Neptune lawless inroads 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:
E'en so our scatter'd guests confus'dly meet,
With boil'd, bak'd, roast, all justling in the street,
Dejecting 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,
Immortaliz'd in laurel'd Asaph's verse:
Hard task! yet will not I thy flight recal;
View Heaven, and then enjoy thy glorious fall.
First write Bezaliel, whose illustrious name
Forestals our praise, and gives his poet fame;
The Kenites' rocky province his command,
A barren limb of fertile Canaan's land,