Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DAVIDEIS, A SACRED POEM OF THE TROUBLES OF DAVID: BOOK 3, by ABRAHAM COWLEY



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DAVIDEIS, A SACRED POEM OF THE TROUBLES OF DAVID: BOOK 3, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Rais'd with the news he from high heav'n receives
Last Line: For you who us receive, and him who drives away.
Subject(s): David (d. 962 B.c.); Goliath; Moah (kingdom), Bible


RAis'd with the News he from high Heav'n receives,
Strait to his diligent God just Thanks he gives.
To Divine Nobe directs then his Flight,
A small Town great in Fame by Levy's Right,
Is there with sprightly Wines, and hallow'd Bread,
(But what's to Hunger hallow'd?) largely fed.
The good old Priest welcomes his fatal Guest,
And with long Talk prolongs the hasty Feast.
He lends him vain Goliah's Sacred Sword,
(The fittest Help just Fortune could afford)
A Sword whose Weight without a Blow might slay,
Able unblunted to cut Hosts away,
A Sword so great, that it was only fit
To take off his great Head who came with it.
Thus he arms David; I your own restore,
Take it (said he) and use it as before.
I saw you then, and 'twas the bravest Sight
That e'er these Eyes ow'd the discov'ring Light.
When you stepp'd forth, how did the Monster rage,
In scorn of your soft Looks, and tender Age!
Some your high Spirit did mad Presumption call,
Some pity'd that such Youth should idly fall.
Th' uncircumcis'd smil'd grimly with Disdain;
I knew the Day was yours: I saw it plain.
Much more the Reverend Sire prepar'd to say,
Wrap'd with his Joy; how the two Armies lay;
Which Way th' amazed Foe did wildly flee,
All that his Hearer better knew than he.
But David's Haste denies all needless Stay;
To Gath, an Enemy's Land, he hastes away,
Not there secure, but where one Danger's near,
The more remote though greater disappear.
So from the Hawk, Birds to Man's Succour flee,
So from fir'd Ships Man leaps into the Sea.
There in Disguise he hopes unknown t' abide!
Alas! in vain! What can such Greatness hide?
Stones of small Worth may lye unseen by Day.
But Night it self does the rich Gem betray.
Tagal first spy'd him, a Philistian Knight,
Who erst from David's Wrath by shameful Flight
Had sav'd the sordid Remnant of his Age;
Hence the deep Sore of Envy mix'd with Rage.
Strait with a Band of Soldiers tall and rough,
Trembling, for scarce he thought that Band enough,
On him he seises whom they all had fear'd,
Had the bold Youth in his own Shape appear'd.
And now this wish'd for, but yet dreadful Prey,
To Achis Court they led in haste away,
With all unmanly Rudeness which does wait
Upon th' Immod'rate Vulgar's Joy and Hate.
His Valour now and Strength must useless lye,
And he himself must Arts unusu'al try;
Sometimes he rends his Garments, nor does spare
The goodly Curls of his rich yellow Hair.
Sometimes a violent Laughter scru'd his Face,
And sometimes ready Tears dropp'd down apace.
Sometimes he fix'd his staring Eyes on Ground,
And sometimes in wild manner hurl'd them round.
More full Revenge Philistians could not wish,
But call't the Justice of their mighty Fish.
They now in height of Anger, let him Live;
And Freedom too, t' encrease his Scorn, they give,
He by wise Madness freed does homeward flee,
And Rage makes them all that he seem'd to be.
Near to Adullam in an aged Wood,
An Hill part Earth, part rocky Stone there stood,
Hollow and vast within, which Nature wrought
As if by 'her Scholar Art she had been taught.
Hither young David with his Kindred came,
Servants, and Friends; many his spreading Fame,
Many their Wants or Discontents did call;
Great Men in War, and almost Armies all!
Hither came wise and valiant Joab down,
One to whom David's self must owe his Crown,
A mighty Man, had not some cunning Sin,
Amidst so many Virtues crowded in.
With him Abishai came, by whom there fell
At once three hundred; with him Asahel:
Asahel, swifter than the Northern Wind;
Scarce could the nimble Motions of his Mind
Outgo his Feet; so strangely would he run,
That Time it self perceiv'd not what was done.
Oft o'er the Lawns and Meadows would he pass,
His Weight unknown, and harmless to the Grass;
Oft o'er the Sands and hollow Dust would trace,
Yet no one Atome trouble or displace.
Unhappy Youth, whose End so near I see!
There's nought but thy Ill Fate so swift as Thee.
Hither Jesside's Wrongs Benaiah drew,
He, who the vast exceeding Monster slew.
Th' Egyptian like an Hill himself did rear,
Like some tall Tree upon it seem'd his Spear.
But by Benaiah's Staff he fell o'erthrown;
The Earth, as if worst strook, did loudest groan.
Such was Benaiah; in a narrow Pit
He saw a Lion, and leap'd down to it.
As eas'ly there the Royal Beast he tore,
As that it self did Kids or Lambs before.
Him Ira follow'd, a young lovely Boy,
But full of Sp'irit, and Arms was all his Joy.
Oft, when a Child, he in his Dream would fight
With the vain Air, and his wak'd Mother fright.
Oft would he shoot young Birds, and as they fall,
Would laugh, and fancy them Philistians all.
And now at home no longer would he stay,
Though yet the Face did scarce his Sex betray.
Dodo's great Son came next, whose dreadful Hand
Snatch'd ripen'd Glories from a conqu'ring Band;
Who knows not Dammin, and that Barley Field,
Which did a strange and bloody Harvest yield?
Many besides did this new Troop encrease;
Adan, whose Wants made him unfit for Peace.
Eliel, whose full Quiv'er did always bear
As many Deaths as in it Arrows were,
None from his Hand did vain or inn'ocent flee,
Scarce Love or Fate could aim so well as he.
Many of Judah took wrong'd David's Side,
And many of old Jacob's youngest Tribe;
But his chief Strength the Gathite Soldiers are,
Each single Man able t' orecome a War!
Swift as the Darts they fling through yielding Air,
And hardy all as the strong Steel they bare,
A Lion's noble Rage sits in their Face,
Terrible Comely, arm'd with dreadful Grace!
Th' undaunted Prince, though thus well guarded here,
Yet his stout Soul durst for his Parents fear;
He seeks for them a safe and quiet Seat,
Nor trusts his Fortune with a Pledge so great.
So when in hostile Fire rich Asia's Pride
For ten Years Siege had fully satisfy'd,
AEneas stole an Act of higher Fame,
And bore Anchises through the wandring Flame,
A nobler Burden, and a richer Prey,
Than all the Groecian Forces bore away.
Go pious Prince, in Peace, in Triumph go;
Enjoy the Conquest of thine Overthrow;
To 'have saved thy Troy would far less glorious be;
By this thou Overcom'st their Victory.
Moab, next Judah, an old Kingdom, lyes;
Jordan their touch, and his curst Sea denies.
They see North-Stars from o'er Amoreus Ground,
Edom and Petra their South-Part does bound.
Eastwards the Lands of Cush and Ammon lye,
The Morning's happy Beams they first espy.
The Region with fat Soil and Plenty's bless'd,
A Soil too good to be of old possess'd
By monstrous Emins; but Lot's Off-spring came
And conquer'd both the People and the Name.
'Till Seon drave them beyond Arnon's Flood,
And their sad Bounds mark'd deep in their own Blood.
In Hesbon his triumphant Court he plac'd,
Hesbon, by Men and Nature strangely grac'd.
A glorious Town, and fill'd with all Delight
Which Peace could yield, though well prepar'd for Fight.
But this proud City, and her prouder Lord,
Felt the keen Rage of Israel's Sacred Sword,
Whilst Moab triumph'd in her torn Estate,
To see her own become her Conqu'ror's Fate.
Yet that small Remnant of Lot's parted Crown
Did, arm'd with Israel's Sins, pluck Israel down,
Full thrice six Years they felt fierce Eglon's Yoke,
'Till Ehud's Sword God's vengeful Message spoke;
Since then their Kings in Quiet held their own,
Quiet, the Good of a not envy'd Throne.
And now a wise old Prince the Scepter sway'd,
Well by his Subjects and himself obey'd.
Only before his Father's Gods he fell;
Poor wretched Man, almost too good for Hell!
Hither does David his bless'd Parents bring,
With humble Greatness begs of Moab's King,
A safe and fair Abode, where they might live,
Free from those Storms with which himself must strive.
The King with chearful Grace his Suit approv'd,
By Hate to Saul, and Love to Virtue mov'd.
Welcome great Knight, and your fair Troop (said he)
Your Name found Welcome long before with me.
That to rich Ophir's rising Morn is known,
And stretch'd out far to the burnt swarthy Zone.
Swift Fame, when her round Journey she does make,
Scorns not sometimes Us in her way to take.
Are you the Man, did that huge Gyant kill?
Great Baal of Phegor! And how young he's still!
From Ruth we heard you came; Ruth was born here
In Judah sojourn'd, and (they say) match'd there
To one of Bethlem; which I hope is true;
Howe'er your Virtues here entitle you.
Those have the best Alliance always been,
To Gods as well as Men they make us Kin.
He spoke, and strait led in his thankful Guests,
To' a stately Room prepar'd for Shows and Feasts.
The Room with Golden Tap'stry glister'd bright,
At once to please and to confound the Sight,
Th' excellent Work of Babylonian Hands;
In midst a Table of rich Iv'ry stands,
By three fierce Tigers, and three Lions born,
Which grin, and fearfully the Place adorn.
Widely they gape, and to the Eye they roar,
As if they hunger'd for the Food they bore.
About it Beds of Lybian Citron stood,
With Cov'rings dy'd in Tyrian Fishes' Blood,
They say, th' Herculean Art; but most Delight
Some Pictures gave to David's learned Sight.
Here sev'ral Ways Lot and great Abram go,
Their too much Wealth, vast, and unkind does grow.
Thus each Extream to equal Danger tends,
Plenty as well as Want can sep'arate Friends;
Here Sodom's Tow'rs raise their proud Tops on high;
The Tow'rs as well as Men out-brave the Sky.
By it the Waves of rev'rend Jordan run,
Here green with Trees, there gilded with the Sun.
Hither Lot's Houshold comes, a num'rous Train,
And all with various Business fill the Plain.
Some drive the crowding Sheep with rural Hooks,
They lift up their mild Heads, and bleat in Looks.
Some drive the Herds; here a fierce Bullock scorns
Th' appointed Way, and runs with threatning Horns;
In vain the Herdman calls him back again;
The Dogs stand off afar, and bark in vain.
Some lead the groaning Waggons, loaded high
With Stuff, on Top of which the Maidens lye.
Upon tall Camels the fair Sisters ride,
And Lot talks with them both on either Side.
Another Picture to curs'd Sodom brings
Elam's proud Lord, with his three Servant Kings.
They sack the Town, and bear Lot bound away;
Whilst in a Pit the vanquish'd Bera lay,
Bury'd almost alive for Fear of Death,
But Heav'n's just Vengeance sav'd as yet his Breath.
Abraham pursues, and slays the Victor's Host,
Scarce had their Conquest leisure for a Boast.
Next this was drawn the reckless Cities' Flame,
When a strange Hell pour'd down from Heav'n there came.
Here the two Angels from Lot's Window look
With smiling Anger; the lewd Wretches, strook
With sudden Blindness, seek in vain the Door;
Their Eyes, first Cause of Lust, first Veng'eance bore.
Through liquid Air Heav'n's busie Soldiers fly,
And drive on Clouds where Seeds of Thunder lye,
Here the sad Sky glows red with dismal Streaks,
Here Lightning from it with short trembling breaks.
Here the blue Flames of scalding Brimstone fall,
Involving swiftly in one Ruin all,
The Fire of Trees and Houses mounts on high,
And meets half way new Fires that show'r from Sky.
Some in their Arms snatch their dear Babes away;
At once drop down the Fathers Arms, and they.
Some into Waters leap with kindled Hair,
And more to vex their Fate, are burnt ev'n there.
Men thought, so much a Flame by Art was shown,
The Picture's self would fall in Ashes down.
Afar old Lot tow'ard little Zoar hies,
And dares not move (good Man) his weeping Eyes.
Behind his Wife stood ever fix'd alone;
No more a Woman, not yet quite a Stone.
A lasting Death seiz'd on her turning Head;
One Cheek was rough and white, the other red,
And yet a Cheek; in vain to speak she strove;
Her Lips, tho' Stone, a little seem'd to move.
One Eye was clos'd, surpris'd by sudden Night,
The other trembled still with parting Light.
The Wind admir'd, which her Hair loosely bore,
Why it grew stiff, and now would play no more.
To Heav'n she lifted up her freezing Hands,
And to this Day a Suppliant Pillar stands.
She try'd her heavy Foot from Ground to rear,
And rais'd the Heel, but her Toe's rooted there:
Ah foolish Woman! who must always be
A sight more strange, than that she turn'd to see!
Whilst David fed with these his curious Eye,
The Feast is now serv'd in, and down they lye.
Moab a Goblet takes of massie Gold,
Which Zippor, and from Zippor all of old
Quaft to their Gods and Friends; an Health goes round
In the brisk Grape of Arnon's richest Ground.
Whilst Melchor to his Harp with wondrous Skill
(For such were Poets then, and should be still)
His noble Verse through Nature's Secrets lead;
He sung what Spirit thro' the whole Mass is spread,
Ev'ry where All; how Heav'ns God's Law approve,
And think it Rest eternally to move.
How the kind Sun usefully comes and goes,
Wants it himself, yet gives to Man Repose.
How his round Journey does for ever last,
And how he baits at ev'ry Sea in haste.
He sung how Earth blots the Moon's gilded Wane,
Whilst foolish Men beat sounding Brass in vain,
Why the Great Waters her slight Horns obey,
Her changing Horns, not constanter than they;
He sung how grisly Comets hang in Air,
Why Sword and Plagues attend their fatal Hair,
God's Beacons for the World, drawn up so far,
To publish Ills, and raise all Earth to War.
Why Contraries feed Thunder in the Cloud,
What Motions vex it, 'till it roar so loud.
How Lambent Fires become so wondrous tame,
And bear such shining Winter in their Flame.
What radiant Pencil draws the watry Bow:
What ties up Hail, and picks the fleecy Snow.
What Palsie of the Earth shakes up fix'd Hills
From off her Brows, and here whole Rivers spills.
Thus did this Heathen Nature's Secrets tell,
And sometimes miss'd the Cause, but sought it well.
Such was the Sauce of Moab's noble Feast,
'Till Night far spent invites them to their Rest.
Only the good old Prince stays Joab there,
And much he tells, and much desires to hear.
He tells Deeds antique, and the new Desires;
Of David much, and much of Saul enquires.
Nay gentle Guest (said he) since now you're in,
The Story of your gallant Friend begin.
His Birth, his Rising tell, and various Fate,
And how he slew that Man of Gath of late,
What was he call'd? That huge and monstrous Man?
With that he stopp'd, and Joab thus began:
His Birth, great Sir, so much to mine is ty'd,
That Praise of that might look from me like Pride,
Yet without Boast, his Veins contain a Flood
Of th' old Judoean Lion's richest Blood.
From Judah Pharez, from him Esrom came,
Ram, Nashon, Salmon, Names spoke loud by Fame.
A Name no less ought Boaz to appear,
By whose bless'd Match we come no Strangers here.
From him and your fair Ruth good Obed sprung,
From Obed Jesse, Jesse whom Fame's kindest Tongue,
Counting his Birth, and high Nobil'ity, shall
Not Jesse of Obed, but of David call,
David born to him seventh; the six Births past,
Brave Trials of a Work more great at last.
Bless me! how swift and growing was his Wit?
The Wings of Time flagg'd dully after it.
Scarce past a Child, all Wonders would he sing
Of Nature's Law, and Pow'r of Nature's King.
His Sheep would scorn their Food to hear his Lay,
And savage Beasts stand by as tame as they.
The fighting Winds would stop there, and admire;
Learning Consent and Concord from his Lyre.
Rivers, whose Waves roll'd down aloud before;
Mute, as their Fish, would listen tow'ards the Shore.
'Twas now the time when first Saul God forsook,
God Saul; the Room in 's Heart wild Passions took;
Sometimes a Tyrant-Frensie revell'd there,
Sometimes black Sadness, and deep, deep Despair.
No Help from Herbs or learned Drugs he finds,
They cure but sometime Bodies, never Minds.
Musick alone those Storms of Soul could lay;
Not more Saul them, than Musick they obey.
David's now sent for, and his Harp must bring;
His Harp that Magick bore on ev'ry String.
When Saul's rude Passions did most Tumult keep,
With his soft Notes they all dropp'd down asleep.
When his dull Spir'its lay drown'd in Death and Night;
He with quick Strains rais'd them to Life and Light.
Thus chear'd he Saul, thus did his Fury swage,
'Till Wars began, and Times more fit for Rage.
To Helah Plain Philistian Troops are come,
And War's loud Noise strikes peaceful Musick dumb.
Back to his Rural Care young David goes,
For this rough Work Saul his stout Brethren chose.
He knew not what his Hand in War could do,
Nor thought his Sword could cure Men's Madness too.
Now Dammin's destin'd for this Scene of Blood,
On two near Hills the two proud Armies stood.
Between a fatal Valley stretch'd out wide,
And Death seem'd ready now on either Side,
When, lo! their Host rais'd all a joyful Shout,
And from the midst an huge and monstrous Man stepp'd out.
Aloud they shouted at each Step he took;
We and the Earth it self beneath him shook,
Vast as the Hill, down which he march'd, he' appear'd;
Amaz'd all Eyes, nor was their Army fear'd.
A young tall Squire (tho' then he seem'd not so)
Did from the Camp at first before him go;
At first he did, but scarce could follow strait.
Sweating beneath a Shield's unruly Weight,
On which was wrought the Gods', and Giants' Fight,
Rare Work! all fill'd with Terror and Delight.
Here a vast Hill 'gainst thund'ring Baal was thrown,
Trees and Beasts on't fell burnt with Lightning down.
One flings a Mountain, and its River too
Torn up with't; that rains back on him that threw.
Some from the Main to pluck whole Islands try;
The Sea boils round with Flames shot thick from Sky.
This he believ'd, and on his Shield he bore,
And prais'd their Strength, but thought his own was more.
The Valley now this Monster seem'd to fill;
And we (methoughts) look'd up to 'him from our Hill.
All arm'd in Brass, the richest Dress of War
(A dismal glorious Sight) he shone afar.
The Sun himself started with sudden Fright,
To see his Beams return so dismal bright.
Brass was his Helmet, his Boots Brass; and o'er
His Breast a thick Plate of strong Brass he wore,
His Spear the Trunk was of a lofty Tree,
Which Nature meant some tall Ship's Mast should be,
The 'huge Iron Head six hundred Shekels weigh'd,
And of whole Bodies but one Wound it made,
Able Death's worst Command to over-do,
Destroying Life at once, and Carcass too;
Thus arm'd he stood; all direful, and all gay,
And round him flung a scornful Look away.
So when a Scythian Tyger gazing round,
An Herd of Kine in some fair Plain has found
Lowing secure, he swells with angry Pride,
And calls forth all his Spots on ev'ry Side.
Then stops, and hurls his haughty Eyes at all,
In choice of some strong Neck on which to fall.
Almost he scorns so weak, so cheap a Prey,
And grieves to see them trembling haste away.
Ye Men of Jury, 'he cries, if Men you be,
And such dare prove your selves to Fame and me,
Chuse out 'mongst all your Troops the boldest Knight,
To try his Strength and Fate with me in Fight.
The Chance of War let us two bear for all,
And they the Conqu'ror serve whose Knight shall fall.
At this he paus'd a while; strait, I defie
Your Gods and you; dares none come down and die?
Go back for Shame, and Egypt's Slav'ry bear,
Or yield to us, and serve more nobly here.
Alas ye 'have no more Wonders to be done,
Your Sorc'rer Moses now and Josua's gone;
Your Magick Trumpets then could Cities take,
And Sounds of Triumph did your Battels make.
Spears in your Hands and manly Swords are vain;
Get you your Spells and Conjuring Rods again.
Is there no Sampson here? Oh that there were!
In his full Strength, and long Enchanted Hair.
This Sword should be in the weak Razor's stead;
It should not cut his Hair off, but his Head.
Thus he blasphem'd aloud; the Valleys round
Flatt'ring his Voice restor'd the dreadful Sound.
We turn'd us trembling at the Noise, and fear'd
We had behind some new Goliah heard.
'Twas Heav'n, Heav'n sure (which David's Glory meant
Through this whole Act) such sacred Terror sent
To all our Host, for there was Saul in place,
Who ne'er saw Fear but in his Enemies' Face,
His God-like Son there in bright Armour shone,
Who scorn'd to conquer Armies not Alone.
Fate her own Book mistrusted at the Sight;
On that Side War, on this a single Fight.
There stood Benaiah, and there trembled too,
He who th' Egyptian, proud Goliah slew.
In his pale Fright, Rage through his Eyes shot Flame,
He saw his Staff, and blush'd with generous Shame.
Thousands beside stood mute and heartless there,
Men valiant all; nor was I us'd to fear.
Thus forty Days he march'd down arm'd to Fight,
Once ev'ry Morn he march'd, and once at Night.
Slow rose the Sun, but gallopt down apace,
With more than Evening Blushes in his Face.
When Jessey to the Camp young David sent;
His Purpose low, but high was Fate's Intent.
For when the Monster's Pride he saw and heard,
Round him he look'd, and wonder'd why they fear'd.
Anger and brave Disdain his Heart possess'd,
Thoughts more than manly swell'd his youthful Breast.
Much the Rewards propos'd his Spirit enflame,
Saul's Daughter much, and much the Voice of Fame.
These to their just Intentions strongly move,
But chiefly God, and his dear Country's Love,
Resolv'd for Combat to Saul's Tent he's brought,
Where thus he spoke, as boldly as he fought:
Henceforth no more, great Prince, your sacred Breast
With that huge talking Wretch of Gath molest.
This Hand alone shall end his cursed Breath;
Fear not, the Wretch blasphemes himself to Death,
And cheated with false Weight of his own Might,
Has challeng'd Heav'n, not Us, to single Fight.
Forbid it God, that where thy Right is try'd,
The Strength of Man should find just cause for Pride!
Firm like some Rock, and vast he seems to stand,
But Rocks we know were op'd at thy Command,
That Soul which now does such large Members sway,
Thro' one small Wound will creep in haste away.
And he who now dares boldly Heav'n defie,
To ev'ry Bird of Heav'n a Prey shall lye.
For 'tis not human Force we ought to fear;
Did that, alas, plant our Forefathers here?
Twice fifteen Kings did they by that subdue?
By that whole Nations of Goliahs slew?
The Wonders they perform'd may still be done;
Moses and Josua is, but God's not gone.
We've lost their Rod and Trumpets, not their Skill:
Pray'rs and Belief are as strong Witchcraft still.
These are more tall, more Gyants far than he,
Can reach to Heav'n, and thence pluck Victory.
Count this, and then, Sir, mine th' Advantage is;
He's stronger far than I, my God than his.
Amazement seiz'd on all, and Shame to see,
Their own Fears scorn'd by one so young as he.
Brave Youth (replies the King) whose daring Mind
E'er come to Manhood, leaves it quite behind;
Reserve thy Valour for more equal Fight,
And let thy Body grow up to thy Spright.
Thou 'rt yet too tender for so rude a Foe,
Whose Touch would wound thee more than him thy Blow.
Nature his Limbs only for War made fit,
In thine as yet nought beside Love she 'has writ.
With some less Foe thy unflesh'd Valour try;
This Monster can be no first Victory.
The Lion's Royal Whelp does not at first,
For blood of Basan Bulls, or Tygers thirst.
In timorous Deer he hansels his young Paws,
And leaves the rugged Bear for firmer Claws.
So vast thy Hopes, so unproportion'd be,
Fortune would be asham'd to second thee.
He said, and we all murmur'd an Assent;
But nought moves David from his high Intent.
It brave to him, and om'inous does appear,
To be oppos'd at first, and conquer here,
Which he resolves; Scorn not (says he) mine Age,
For Vict'ry comes not like an Heritage,
At set Years; when my Father's Flock I fed,
A Bear and Lion by fierce Hunger led,
Broke from the Wood, and snatch'd my Lambs away;
From their grim Mouths I forc'd the panting Prey.
Both Bear and Lion ev'n this Hand did kill,
On our great Oak the Bones and Jaws hang still.
My God's the same, which then he was, to Day,
And this wild Wretch almost the same as they.
Who from such Danger sav'd my Flock, will he
Of Isra'el, his own Flock, less careful be?
Be 't so then (Saul burst forth:) And thou on high,
Who oft in Weakness dost most Strength descry,
At whose dread Beck Conquest expecting stands,
And casts no Look down on the Fighter's Hands,
Assist what thou inspir'st; and let all see,
As Boys to Giants, Giants are to thee.
Thus; and with trembling Hopes of strange Success,
In his own Arms he the bold Youth does dress.
On's Head an Helm of well-wrought Brass is plac'd,
The Top with warlike Plumes severely grac'd.
His Breast a Plate cut with rare Figures bore,
A Sword much practis'd in Death's Art he wore.
Yet David, us'd so long to no Defence,
But those light Arms of Spirit and Innocence,
No Good in Fight of that gay Burden knows,
But fears his own Arms' Weight more than his Foe's.
He lost himself in that Disguise of War,
And guarded seems as Men by Prisons are.
He therefore to exalt the wondrous Sight,
Prepares now, and disarms himself for Fight.
'Gainst Shield, Helm, Breast-Plate, and instead of those,
Five sharp smooth Stones from the next Brook he chose,
And fits them to his Sling; then marches down;
For Sword, his Enemy's he esteem'd his own.
We all with various Passion strangely gaz'd,
Some sad, some 'sham'd, some angry, all amaz'd.
Now in the Valley 'he stands; thro's youthful Face
Wrath checks the Beauty, and sheds manly Grace.
Both in his Looks so join'd, that they might move
Fear ev'n in Friends, and from an En'emy Love.
Hot as ripe Noon, sweet as the blooming Day,
Like July furious, but more fair than May.
Th' accurst Philistian stands on th' other Side,
Grumbling aloud, and smiles 'twixt Rage and Pride.
The Plagues of Dagon! A smooth Boy, says he,
A cursed, beardless Foe, oppos'd to me!
Hell! with what Arms (hence thou fond Child) he's come!
Some Friend his Mother call to drive him home.
Not gone yet? If one Minute more thou stay,
The Birds of Heav'n shall bear thee dead away.
Gods! A curs'd Boy! The rest then murm'ring out,
He walks, and casts a deadly Grin about.
David, with chearful Anger in his Eyes,
Advances boldly on, and thus replies,
Thou com'st, vain Man, all arm'd into the Field,
And trustest those War Toys, thy Sword, and Shield;
Thy Pride's my Spear, thy Blasphemies my Sword;
My Shield, thy Maker, Fool, the mighty Lord
Of thee and Battels; who hath sent forth me,
Unarm'd thus, not to fight, but conquer thee.
In vain shall Dagon, thy false Hope, withstand;
In vain thy other God, thine own right Hand.
Thy Fall to Man shall Heav'n's strong Justice shew;
Wretch! 'tis the only Good which thou canst do.
He said; our Host stood dully silent by;
And durst not trust their Ears against the Eye.
As much their Champion's Threats to him they fear'd,
As when the Monster's Threats to them they heard,
His flaming Sword th' enrag'd Philistian shakes,
And Haste to 'his Ruin with loud Curses makes.
Backward the Winds his active Curses blew,
And fatally round his own Head they flew.
For now from David's Sling the Stone is fled,
And strikes with joyful Noise the Monster's Head.
It strook his Forehead, and pierc'd deeply there;
As swiftly as it pierc'd before the Air.
Down, down he falls, and bites in vain the Ground;
Blood, Brain, and Soul crowd mingled through the Wound.
So a strong Oak, which many Years had stood
With fair and flourishing Boughs, it self a Wood;
Though it might long the Ax's Violence bear,
And play'd with Winds which other Trees did tear;
Yet by the Thunder's Stroak from th' Root 'tis rent;
So sure the Blows that from high Heav'n are sent.
What Tongue the Joy and Wonder can express,
Which did that Moment our whole Host possess?
Their jocond Shouts th' Air like a Storm did tear,
Th' amazed Clouds fled swift away with Fear.
But far more swift th' accurs'd Philistians fly,
And their ill Fate to perfect, basely die.
With thousand Corps the Ways around are strown,
'Till they, by the Day's Flight secure their own.
Now through the Camp sounds nought but David's Name;
All Joys of several Stamp and Colours came
From several Passions; some his Valour praise,
Some his free Speech, some the fair Pop'lar Rays
Of Youth, and Beauty, and his modest Guise;
Gifts that mov'd all, but charm'd the Female Eyes.
Some wonder, some they thought 'twould be so swear;
And some saw Angels flying through the Air.
The basest Spi'rits cast back a crooked Glance
On this great Act, and fain would giv't to Chance.
Women our Host with Songs and Dances meet,
With much Joy Saul, David with more they greet.
Hence the King's politick Rage and Envy flows,
Which first he hides, and seeks his Life t' expose
To gen'rous Dangers that his Hate might clear,
And Fate or Chance the Blame, nay David bear.
So vain are Man's Designs! For Fate, and Chance,
And Earth, and Heav'n conspir'd to his Advance;
His Beauty, Youth, Courage and wondrous Wit,
In all Mankind but Saul did Love beget.
Not Saul's own House, not his own nearest Blood,
The noble Cause's sacred Force withstood.
You've met no doubt, and kindly us'd the Fame,
Of God-like Jonathan's illustrious Name;
A Name which ev'ry Wind to Heav'n would bear,
Which Men to speak, and Angels joy to hear.
No Angel e'er bore to his Brother-Mind
A Kindness more exalted and refin'd,
Than his to David, which look'd nobly down,
And scorn'd the false Alarums of a Crown.
At Dammin Field he stood; and from his Place
Leap'd forth, the wondrous Conqu'eror to embrace;
On him his Mantle, Girdle, Sword, and Bow,
On him his Heart and Soul he did bestow.
Not all that Saul could threaten or persuade,
In this close Knot the smallest Looseness made.
Oft his wise Care did the King's Rage suspend,
His own Life's Danger shelter'd oft his Friend.
Which he expos'd, a Sacrifice to fall,
By th' undiscerning Rage of furious Saul.
Nor was young David's active Virtue grown
Strong and triumphant in one Sex alone.
Imperious Beauty too it durst invade,
And deeper Prints in the soft Breast it made;
For there t' Esteem and Friendship's graver Name,
Passion was pour'd like Oil into the Flame.
Like two bright Eyes in a fair Body plac'd.
Saul's Royal House two beauteous Daughters grac'd.
Merab the first, Michol the younger nam'd,
Both equally for different Glories fam'd.
Merab with spacious Beauty fill'd the Sight,
But too much Awe chastis'd the bold Delight.
Like a calm Sea, which to th' enlarged View,
Gives Pleasure, but gives Fear and Rev'rence too.
Michol's sweet Looks clear and free Joys did move,
And no less strong, though much more gentle Love.
Like virtuous Kings whom Men rejoice t' obey,
Tyrants themselves less absolute than they.
Merab appear'd like some fair Princely Tower,
Michol some Virgin Queen's delicious Bower.
All Beauty's Stores in Little and in Great;
But the contracted Beams shot fiercest Heat.
A clean and lively Brown was Merab's Dye,
Such as the Prouder Colours might envy.
Michol's pure Skin shone with such taintless White,
As scatter'd the weak Rays of Human Sight.
Her Lips and Cheeks a nobler Red did shew,
Than e'er on Fruits or Flowers Heav'n's Pencil drew.
From Merab's Eyes fierce and quick Lightnings came,
From Michol's the Sun's mild, yet active Flame;
Merab's long Hair was glossy Chestnut Brown,
Tresses of palest Gold did Michol crown.
Such was their outward Form, and one might find
A Difference, not unlike it, in the Mind.
Merab with comely Majesty and State,
Bore high th' Advantage of her Worth and Fate.
Such humble Sweetness did soft Michol show,
That none who reach so high e'er stoop'd so low.
Merab rejoic'd in her wrack'd Lover's Pain,
And fortify'd her Virtue with Disdain.
The Griefs she caus'd gave gentle Michol Grief,
She wish'd her Beauties less for their Relief,
Ev'n to her Captives civil; yet th' Excess
Of naked Virtue guarded her no less.
Business and Power Merab's large Thoughts did vex,
Her Wit disdain'd the Fetters of her Sex.
Michol no less disdain'd Affairs and Noise,
Yet did it not from Ignorance, but Choice.
In brief, both Copies were more sweetly drawn;
Merab of Saul, Michol of Jonathan.
The Day that David great Goliah slew,
Not great Goliah's Sword was more his Due,
Than Merab; by Saul's publick Promise she
Was sold then, and betroth'd to Victory.
But haughty she did this just Match despise,
Her Pride debauch'd her Judgment and her Eyes.
An unknown Youth, ne'er seen at Court before,
Who Shepherd's-Staff, and Shepherd's Habit bore;
The seventh-born Son of no rich House, were still
Th' unpleasant Forms which her high Thoughts did fill.
And much Aversion in her stubborn Mind
Was bred, by being Promis'd and Design'd.
Long had the patient Adriel humbly born
The roughest Shocks of her imperious Scorn;
Adriel the Rich, but Riches were in vain,
And could not set him free, nor her enchain.
Long liv'd they thus; but as the hunted Dear,
Closely pursued, quits all her wonted Fear,
And takes the nearest Waves, which from the Shore
She oft with Horror had beheld before.
So whilst the violent Maid from David fled,
She leap'd to Adriel's long avoided Bed.
The Match was nam'd, agreed, and finish'd strait;
So soon comply'd Saul's Envy with her Hate.
But Michol, in whose Breast all Virtues move,
That hatch the pregnant Seeds of sacred Love,
With juster Eyes the noble Object meets,
And turns all Merab's Poison into Sweets.
She saw and wonder'd how a Youth unknown,
Should make all Fame to come, so soon his own:
She saw, and wonder'd how a Shepherd's Crook
Despis'd that Sword, at which the Scepter shook.
Though he seventh-born, and though his House but poor,
She knew it noble was, and would be more.
Oft had she heard, and fancy'd oft the Sight,
With what a generous Calm he march'd to fight,
In the great Danger how exempt from Fear,
And after it from Pride he did appear.
Greatness, and Goodness, and an Air Divine,
She saw through all his Words and Actions shine.
She heard his eloquent Tongue, and charming Lyre,
Whose artful Sounds did violent Love inspire,
Though us'd all other Passions to relieve;
She weigh'd all this, and well we may conceive,
When those strong Thoughts attack'd her doubtful Breast,
His Beauty no less active than the rest.
The Fire, thus kindled, soon grew fierce and great,
When David's Breast reflected back its Heat.
Soon she perceiv'd (scarce can Love hidden lye
From any Sight, much less the Loving Eye)
She Conqu'eror was, as well as Overcome,
And gain'd no less Abroad than lost at Home.
Ev'n the first Hour they met (for such a Pair,
Who in all Mankind else so matchless were,
Yet their own Equals, Nature's self does wed)
A mutual Warmth through both their Bosoms spread.
Fate gave the Signal; both at once began
The gentle Race, and with just Pace they ran.
Ev'n so (methinks) when two fair Tapers come,
From several Doors entring at once the Room,
With a swift Flight that leaves the Eye behind;
Their amorous Lights into one Light are join'd.
Nature her self, were she to judge the Case,
Knew not which first began the kind Embrace.
Michol her modest Flames sought to conceal,
But Love ev'n th' Art to hide it does reveal.
Her soft unpractis'd Eyes betray'd the Theft,
Love past through them, and there such Footsteps left.
She blush'd when he approach'd, and when he spoke,
And suddenly her wandring Answers broke,
At his Name's Sound, and when she heard him prais'd,
With concern'd haste her thoughtful Looks she rais'd.
Uncall'd for Sighs oft from her Bosom flew,
And Adriel's active Friend she 'abruptly grew.
Oft when the Court's gay Youth stood waiting by,
She strove to act a cold Indifferency;
In vain she acted so constrain'd a Part,
For thousand Nameless things disclos'd her Heart.
On th' other side, David, with silent Pain,
Did in respectful Bounds his Fires contain.
His humble Fear t' offend, and trembling Awe,
Impos'd on him a no less rigorous Law
Than Modesty on her, and though he strove
To make her see 't, he durst not tell his Love.
To tell it first the timorous Youth made Choice
Of Musick's bolder and more active Voice.
And thus beneath her Window, did he touch
His faithful Lyre; the Words and Numbers such,
As did well worth my Memory appear,
And may perhaps deserve your Princely Ear.

1.

Awake, awake my Lyre,
And tell thy silent Master's humble Tale,
In Sounds that may prevail;
Sounds that gentle Thoughts inspire,
Though so Exalted she,
And I so Lowly be,
Tel her such diff'rent Notes make all thy Harmony.

2.

Hark, how the Strings awake!
And though the Moving Hand approach not near,
Themselves with awful Fear,
A kind of num'rous Trembling make.
Now all thy Forces try,
Now all thy Charms apply,
Revenge upon her Ear, the Conquests of her Eye.

3.

Weak Lyre! thy Virtue sure
Is useless here, since thou art only found
To Cure, but not to Wound,
And she to Wound, but not to Cure.
Too weak too wilt thou prove
My Passion to remove,
Physick to other Ills, thou 'rt Nourishment to Love.

4.

Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre;
For thou can'st never tell my humble Tale,
In Sounds that will prevail,
Nor gentle Thoughts in her inspire;
All thy vain Mirth lay by,
Bid thy Strings silent lye,
Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre, and let thy Master die.

She heard all this, and the prevailing Sound
Touch'd with delightful Pain her tender Wound.
Yet though she joy'd th' Authentique News to hear,
Of what she guest before with jealous Fear,
She check'd her forward Joy, and blush'd for Shame,
And did his Boldness with forc'd Anger blame.
The senseless Rules, which first False Honour taught,
And into Laws the Tyrant Custom brought,
Which Women's Pride and Folly did invent,
Their Lovers and themselves too to torment,
Made her next Day a grave Displeasure feign,
And all her Words, and all her Looks constrain
Before the trembling Youth; who when he saw
His vital Light her wonted Beams withdraw,
He curst his Voice, his Fingers and his Lyre,
He curst his too bold Tongue, and bold Desire.
In vain he curst the last, for that still grew;
From all things Food its strong Complexion drew:
His Joy and Hope their chearful Motions ceas'd,
His Life decay'd, but still his Love encreas'd.
Whilst she whose Heart approv'd not her Disdain,
Saw and endur'd his Pains with greater Pain.
But Jonathan, to whom both Hearts were known
With a Concernment equal to their own,
Joyful that Heav'n with his sworn Love comply'd
To draw that Knot more fast which he had ty'd,
With well-tim'd Zeal, and with an artful Care,
Restor'd, and better'd soon the nice Affair.
With ease a Brother's lawful Power o'ercame
The formal Decencies of Virgin-shame.
She first with all her Heart forgave the past,
Heard David tell his Flames, and told her own at last.
Lo here the happy Point of prosp'rous Love!
Which ev'n Enjoyment seldom can improve!
Themselves agreed, which scarce could fail alone,
All Israel's Wish concurrent with their own,
A Brother's powerful Aid firm to the Side,
By solemn Vow the King and Father ty'd:
All jealous Fears, all nice Disguises past,
All that in less-ripe Love offends the Taste,
In either's Breast their Souls both meet and wed,
Their Heart the Nuptial-Temple and the Bed.
And though the grosser Cates were yet not dress'd,
By which the Bodies must supply this Feast;
Bold Hopes prevent slow Pleasure's lingring Birth,
As Saints assur'd of Heav'n enjoy't on Earth.
All this the King observ'd, and well he saw,
What Scandal, and what Danger it might draw
T' oppose this just and pop'ular Match, but meant
T' out-malice all Refusals by Consent.
He meant the pois'onous Grant should mortal prove,
He meant t' ensnare his Virtue by his Love.
And thus he to him spoke, with more of Art
And Fraud, than well became the Kingly Part.
Your Valour, David, and high Worth (said he)
To Praise, is all Men's Duty, mine to see
Rewarded; and we shall t' our utmost Powers
Do with like Care that Part, as you did yours.
Forbid it God, we like those Kings should prove,
Who Fear the Virtues which they're bound to Love.
Your Pi'ety does that tender Point secure,
Nor will my Acts such humble Thoughts endure.
Your Nearness to 't rather supports the Crown,
And th' Honours giv'n to you encrease our own.
All that we can we'll give; 'tis our Intent,
Both as a Guard, and as an Ornament,
To place thee next our selves; Heav'n does approve,
And my Son's Friendship, and my Daughter's Love,
Guide fatally, methinks, my willing Choice;
I see, methinks, Heav'n in't, and I rejoice.
Blush not, my Son, that Michol's Love I name,
Nor need she blush to hear it; 'tis no Shame
Nor Secret now; Fame does it loudly tell,
And all Men but thy Rivals like it well.
If Merab's Choice could have comply'd with mine,
Merab, my elder Comfort, had been thine.
And hers at last should have with mine comply'd,
Had I not thine and Michol's Heart descry'd.
Take whom thou lov'est, and who loves thee; the last
And dearest Present made me by the Chaste
Ahinoam; and unless she me deceive,
When I to Jonathan my Crown shall leave,
'Twill be a smaller Gift.
If I thy generous Thoughts may undertake
To guess, they are what Jointure thou shalt make,
Fitting her Birth and Fortune: And since so
Custom ordains, we mean t' exact it too.
The Jointure we exact, is that shall be
No less Advantage to thy Fame than She.
Go where Philistian Troops infest the Land;
Renew the Terrors of thy conquering Hand.
When thine own Hand, which needs must Conqu'ror prove,
In this joint Cause of Honour and of Love,
An hundred of the faithless Foe shall slay,
And for a Dowre their hundred Foreskins pay,
Be Michol thy Reward; did we not know
Thy mighty Fate, and Worth that makes it so,
We should not cheaply that dear Blood expose,
Which we to mingle with our own had chose.
But thou'rt secure; and since this Match of thine
We to the publick Benefit design,
A publick Good shall its Beginning Grace,
And give triumphant Omens of thy Race.
Thus spoke the King: The happy Youth bow'd low;
Modest and Graceful his great Joy did show,
The noble Task well pleas'd his generous Mind;
And nought t' except against it could he find,
But that his Mistress Price too cheap appear'd,
No Danger, but her Scorn of it he fear'd.
She with much different Sense the News receiv'd,
At her high Rate she trembled, blush'd and griev'd.
'Twas a less Work the Conquest of his Foes,
Than to obtain her Leave his Life t' expose.
Their kind Debate on this soft Point would prove
Tedious, and needless to repeat: If Love
(As sure it has) e'er touch'd your Princely Breast,
'Twill to your gentle Thoughts at full suggest
All that was done, or said; the Grief, Hope, Fears,
His troubled Joys, and her obliging Tears.
In all the Pomp of Passion's reign, they part;
And bright Prophetick Forms enlarge his Heart;
Vict'ory and Fame; and that more quick Delight
Of the rich Prize for which he was to fight.
Tow'ards Gath he went; and in one Month (so soon
A fatal, and a willing Work is done)
A double Dowre, two hundred Foreskins brought
Of choice Philistian Knights with whom he fought,
Men that in Birth and Valour did excel,
Fit for the Cause and Hand by which they fell.
Now was Saul caught; nor longer could delay
The two resistless Lovers' happy Day.
Though this Day's coming long had seem'd and slow,
Yet seem'd its Stay as long and tedious now.
For now the violent Weight of eager Love,
Did with more haste so near its Centre move,
He curst the Stops of Form and State, which lay
In this last Stage like Scandals in his Way.
On the large gentle Hill, crown'd with tall Wood,
Near where the Regal Gabaah proudly stood,
A Tent was pitch'd, of Green wrought Damask made,
And seem'd but the fresh Forest's nat'ural Shade,
Various, and vast within, on Pillars born
Of Shittim Wood, that usefully adorn.
Hither, to grace the Nuptial-Feast, does Saul
Of the Twelve Tribes th' Elders and Captains call,
And all around the Idle, Busie Croud,
With Shouts and Blessings tell their Joy aloud.
Lo, the Press breaks, and from their sev'ral Homes
In decent Pride the Bride and Bridegroom comes.
Before the Bride, in a long double Row
With solemn Pace thirty choice Virgins go,
And make a moving Galaxy on Earth,
All heav'nly Beauties, all of highest Birth;
All clad in liveliest Colours, fresh and fair,
As the bright Flowers that crown'd their brighter Hair,
All in that new-blown Age, which does inspire
Warmth in Themselves, in their Beholders Fire.
But all this, and all else the Sun did e're,
Or Fancy see, in her less bounded Sphere,
The Bride her self out-shone; and one would say,
They made but the faint Dawn to her full Day.
Behind a numerous Train of Ladies went,
Who on their Dress much fruitless Care had spent,
Vain Gems, and unregarded Cost they bore,
For all Men's Eyes were ty'd to those before.
The Bridegroom's flourishing Troop fill'd next the Place,
With thirty comely Youths of noblest Race,
That march'd before; and Heav'n around his Head,
The graceful Beams of Joy and Beauty spread.
So the glad Star which Men and Angels love,
Prince of the glorious Host that shines above,
No Light of Heav'n so chearful or so gay,
Lifts up his sacred Lamp, and opens Day.
The King himself, at the Tent's crowned Gate,
In all his Robes of Ceremony 'and State,
Sate to receive the Train: on either Hand
Did the High-Priest, and the Great Prophet stand.
Adriel behind, Jonathan, Abner, Jesse,
And all the Chiefs in their due Order press.
First Saul declar'd his Choice, and the just Cause,
Avow'd by 'a gen'ral Murmur of Applause,
Then sign'd her Dow're, and in few Words he pray'd,
And bless'd, and gave the joyful trembling Maid
T'her Lover's Hands, who with a chearful Look
And humble Gesture the vast Present took.
The Nuptial-Hymn strait sounds, and Musicks play,
And Feasts and Balls shorten the thoughtless Day,
To all but to the Wedded; 'till at last
The long-wish'd Night did her kind Shadow cast;
At last th' inestimable Hour was come,
To lead his Conqu'ring Prey in Triumph home,
To 'a Palace near, dress'd for the Nuptial-Bed,
(Part of her Dowre) he his fair Princess led.
Saul, the High-Priest, and Samuel here they leave,
Who as they part, their weighty Blessings give.
Her Vail is now put on; and at the Gate
The thirty Youths, and thirty Virgins wait
With golden Lamps, bright as the Flames they bore,
To light the Nuptial-Pomp, and march before.
The rest bring Home in State the Happy Pair,
To that last Scene of Bliss, and leave them there,
All those free Joys insatiably to prove
With which rich Beauty feasts the Glutton Love.
But scarce, alas, the first sev'n Days were past,
In which the Publick Nuptial Triumphs last,
When Saul this new Alliance did repent,
Such subtle Cares his jealous Thoughts torment,
He envy'd the good Work himself had done;
Fear'd David less his Servant than his Son.
No longer his wild Wrath could he command;
He seeks to stain his own Imperial Hand
In his Son's Blood; and that twice cheated too,
With Troops and Armies does one Life pursue.
Said I but One? His thirsty Rage extends
To th' Lives of all his Kindred, and his Friends;
Ev'n Jonathan had dy'd for being so,
Had not just God put by th' unnat'ural Blow.
You see, Sir, the true Cause which brings us here;
No sullen Discontent, or groundless Fear,
No guilty Act or End calls us from home.
Only to breath in Peace a while we come,
Ready to Serve, and in mean Space to Pray
For you who us receive, and him who drives away.





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