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That no concessions from the throne would please, | No groundless clamours shall my friends remove, But lenitives fomented the disease:
Nor crowds have power to purish ere they prove; That Absalom, ambitious of the crown,
For Gods and godlike kings their care express, Was made the lure to draw the people down: Still to defend their servants in distress. That false Achitophel's pernicious hate
Oh, that my power to saving were confin'd! Had turn'd the plot to ruin church and state: Why am I forc'd, like Heaven, against my mind, The council violent, the rabble worse:
To make examples of another kind ? That Shimei taught Jerusalem to curse.
Must I at length the sword of Justice draw? . With all these loads of injuries opprest,
Oh curst effects of necessary law! And long revolving in his careful breast
How ill my fear they by my mercy scan! Th’ event of things, at last, his patience tird, Beware the fury of a patient man. Thus, from his royal throne, by Heaven inspir'd, Law they require, let Law then show her face; The godlike David spoke; with awful fear They could not be content to look on grace, His train their Maker in their master hear. Her hinder parts, but with a daring, eye
“ Thus long have I, by native mercy sway'd, To tempt the terrour of her front, and die. My wrongs dissembled, my revenge delay'd : By their own arts 'tis righteously decreed, So willing to forgive th' offending age;
Those dire artificers of Death shall bleed. So much the father did the king assuage.
Against themselves their witnesses will swear, But now, so far my clemency they slight, Till, viper-like, their mother-plot they tear; Th' offenders question my forgiving right:
And suck for nutriment that bloody gore, That one was made for many, they contend; Which was their principle of life before. But 'tis to rule ; for that 's a monarch's end. Their Belial with their Beelzebub will fight: They call my tenderness of blood, my fear; Thus on my foes, my foes shall do me right. Though manly tempers can the longest bear. Nor doubt th' event: for factions crowds engage, Yet, since they will divert my native course, In their first onset, all their brutal rage. 'Tis time to show I am not good by force.
Then let them take an unresisted course: Those heap'd affronts, that haughty subjects bring, Retire, and traverse, and delude their force: Are burthens for a camel, not a king.
But, when they stand all breathless, urge the fight, Kings are the public pillars of the state,
And rise upon them with redoubled might:
When long driven back, at length it stands the To sbake the column, let him share the fall:
ground.” But oh, that yet he would repent and live!
He said: Th’ Almighty nodding gave consent; How easy 'tis for parents to forgive!
And peals of thunder shook the firmament.
Once more the godlike David was restor'd,
ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL.
--Si quis tamen hæc quoque, si quis
Captus amore leget-
In the year 1680 Mr. Dryden undertook the poem And mine as requisite as their consent:
of Absalom and Achitophel, upon the desire of king Without my leave a future king to choose,
Charles the Second. The performance was apInfers a right the present to dispose.
plauded by every one ; and several persons pressTrue, they petition me t' approve their choice:
ing him to write a second part, he, upon declining But Esau's hands suit ill with Jacob's voice.
it himself, spoke to Mr. Tate to write one, and gave My pious subjects for my safety pray;
him his advice in the direction of it; and that part Which to secure, they take my power away.
beginning with Prom plots and treasons Heaven preserve my years, Next these, a troop of busy spirits press, But save me most from my petitioners. Unsatiate as the barren womb or grave,
and ending with God cannot grant so much as they can crave.
To talk like Doeg, and to write like theeWhat then is left, but with a jealous eye To guard the small remains of royalty?
containing near two hundred verses, were entirely Tbe law shall still direct my peaceful sway, Mr. Dryden's composition, besides some touches in And the same law teach rebels to obey :
other places. The preceding lines, upwards (f Votes shall no more establish'd power control, three hundred in number, were written by Mr. Tate. Buch votes as make a part exceed the whole. The poem is here printed complete. VOL. VIII.
TO THE READER.
Less desolation did the pest pursue,
That from Dan's limits to Beersheba flex,
Than since our evidencing days began!
Continued fear beyond the worst of fate! While pamper'd crowds to inad sedition run, Trust was no more, art, science, useless made, And monarchs by indulgence are undone.
All occupations lost but Corah's trade. Thus David's clemency was fatal grown,
Meanwhile a guard on modest Corah wait, While wealthy Faction aw'd the wanting throne. If not for safety, needful yet for state. For now their sovereign's orders to contemn Well might he deem each peer and prince his slave, Was held the charter of Jerusalem,
And lord it o'er the tribes which he could save: His rights ť invade, his tributes to refuse,
Ev'n vice in him was virtue - what sad fate, A privilege peculiar to the Jews;
But for his honesty, had seiz'd our state! As if from heavenly call this licence fell,
And with what tyranny bad we been curst, And Jacob's seed were chosen to rebel!
Had Corah never prov'd a villain first ! Achitophel with triumph sees his crimes
T' have told his knowledge of th' intrigue in gross, Thus suited to the madness of the times;
Had been, alas! to our deponent's loss : And Absalom, to make his hopes succeed,
The travell’d Levite had th' experience got, Of lattering charms no longer stands in need; To husband well, and make the best of 's plot; While, fond of change, though ne'er so dearly bought, And therefore, like an evidence of skill, Our tribes outstrip the youth's ambitious thought; With wise reserves secur'd his pension still; His swiftest liopes with swifter homage meet, Not quite of future power himself bereft, And crowd their servile necks beneath his feet. But limbos large for unbelievers left. Thus to his aid while pressing tides repair, And now his writ such reverence had got, He mounts and spreads his streamers in the air. 'T'was worse than plotting to suspect his plot. The charms of empire might his youth mislead, Some were so well convinc'd, they made no doubt But what can our besotted Israel plead ?
Themselves to help the founder'd swearers out. Sway'd by a monarch, whose serene command Some had their sense impos'd on by their fear, Seems half the blessing of our promis'd land. But more for interest sake believe and swear: Whose only grievance is excess of ease;
Ev'n to that height with some the frenzy gres, Freedom our pain, and plenty our discase! They ray'd to find their danger not prove true. Yet as all folly would lay claim to sense,
Yet, than all these a viler crew remain, And wickedness ne'er wanted a pretence,
Who with Achitophel the cry maintain; With arguments they'd make their treason good, Not urg'd by fear, nor through misguided sense, And righteous David's self with slanders load : Blind zeal and starving need had some pretence, That arts of foreign sway he did affect,
But for the good old cause, that did excite And guilty Jebusites from law protect,
Th' original rebels' wiles, revenge, and spite. Whose very chiefs, convict, were never freed, These raise the plot to have the scandal thrown Nay we have seen their sacrificers bleed;
Upon the bright successor of the crown, Accusers' infamy is urg'd in vain,
Whose virtue with such wrongs they had pursued, Wbile in the bounds of sense they did contain, As seem'd all hope of pardon to exclude. But soon they lanch'd into th' unfathom'd tide, Thus, while on private ends their zeal is built, And in the depths they knew disdain’d to ride. Tlie cheated crowd applaud and share their guilt. For probable discoveries to dispense,
Such practices as these, too gross to lie Was thought below a pension'd evidence;
Long unobserv'd by each discerning eye, Mere truth was dull, nor suited with the port The more judicious Israelites uuspell’d, Of pamper'd Corah, when advanc'd to court. Though still the charm the giddy rabble held, No less than wonders now they will impose, Evin Absalom amidst the dazzling beams And projects void of grace or sense disclose. Of empire, and ambition's flattering dreams, Such was the change on pious Michal brought, Perceives the plot, too foul to be excus'd, Michal that ne'er was cruel ev'n in thought, To aid designs, no less pernicious, us'd. The best of queens, and most obedient wife, And, filial sense yet striving in his breast, Impeach'd of curst designs on David's life! Thus to Achitophel bis doubts exprest. His life, the theme of her eternal prayer,
Why are my thoughts upon a crown employd. "Tis scarce so much his guardian angels' care. Which once obtain'd can be but half enjoy'd ? Not summer morns such mildness can disclose, Not so when virtue did my arms require, The Hermon lily, nor the Sharon rose.
And to my father's wars I flew entire. Neglecting each vain pomp of majesty,
My regal power how will my foes resent, Transported Michal feeds her thoughts on high. When I myself have scarce my own consent! She lives with angels, and, as angels do,
Give me a son's unblemish'd truth again, Quits Heaven sometimes to bless the world below. Or quench the sparks of duty that remain. Where, cherish'd by her bounty's plenteous spring, How slight to force a throne that legions guard Reviving widows smile, and orphans sing.
The task to me; to prove unjust, how hard ! Oh! when rebellious Israel's crimes, at height, And if th' imagin'd guilt thus wonnd my tbougbe; Are threaten'd with her lord's approaching fate, What will it when the tragic scene is wrought? The piety of Miebal then remain
Dire war must first be conjur'd from below, In Heaven's remembrance, and prolong his reign! The realm we 'd rule, we first must overthros:
And when the civil fories are on 'wing,
Who private interest never yet pursued, That blind and undistinguish'd slaughters fling, But still pretended 'twas for others' good : Who knows what impious chance may reach the What politician yet e'er scap'd his fate, king?
Who saving his own neck not say'd the state? Oh! rather let me perish in the strife,
From hence on every humorous wind that veerd, Than have my crown the price of David's life! With shifted sails a several course you steer'd. Or, if the tempest of the war be stand,
What from a sway did David e'er pursue, In peace, some vile officious villain's hand
That seem'd like absolute, but sprung from you? His soul's anointed temple may invade,
Who at your instance quash'd each penal law, Or, prest by clamorous crowds, myself be made That kept dissenting factious Jews in awe; His murtherer; rebellious crowds, whose guilt And who suspends fixt laws, may abrogate, Shall dread his vengeance till his blood be spilt. That done, form new, and so enslave the state. Which if my filial tenderness oppose,
Ev'n property, whose champion now you stand, Since to the empire by their arms I rose,
And seem for this the idol of the land, Those very arms on me shall be employ'd,
Did ne'er sustain such violence before, A new usurper crown'd, and I destroy'd :
As when your counsel shut the royal store; The same pretence of public good will hold, Advice, that ruin to whole tribes procurd, Aud new Achitophels be found as bold
But secret kept till your own bank's securd, To urge the needful change, perhaps the old.” Recount with this the triple covenant bruke,
He said. The statesman with a smile replies, And Israel fitted for a foreign yoke; A smile that did his rising spleen disguise ; Nor here your counsels fatal progress staid, “My thoughts presum'd our labours at an end, But sent our levied powers to Pharaoh's aid. And are we still with conscience to contend ? Hence Tyre and Israel, low in ruins laid, [made, Whose want in kings, as needful is allow'd, And Egypt, once their scorn, their common terrour As 'tis for them to find it in the crowd.
Ev'n yet of such a season can we dream, Par in the doubtful passage you are gone,
When royal rights you inade your darling theme, And only can be safe by pressing on.
For power unlimited could reasons draw, The crown's true heir, a prince severe and wise, And place prerogative above the law; ? Has view'd your motions long with jealous eyes: Which on your fall from office grew unjust,
Your person's charms, your more prevailing arts, The laws made king, the king a slave in trust: .And mark'd your progress in the people's hearts, Whom with state-craft, to interest only true, * Whose patience is th' effect of stinted power, You now accuse of ills contriv'd by you." But treasures vengeance for the fatal hour,
To this Hell's agent—“ Royal youth, fix here, And if remote the peril he can bring,
Let interest be the star by which you steer ; Your present danger 's greater from the king. Hence to repose your trust in me was wise, Let not a parent's name deceive your sense, Whose interest most in your advancement lies, Nor trust the father in a jealous prince!
A tie so firm as always will avail, Your trivial faults if he could so resent,
When friendship, nature, and religion, fail; To doom you little less than banishment,
On our's the safety of the crowd depends, What rage must your presumption since inspire ! Secure the crowd, and we obtain our ends, Against his orders you return from Tyre.
Whom I will cause so far our guilt to share, = Nor only so, but with a pomp more high,
Till they are made our champions by their fear, - And open court of popularity,
What opposition can your rival bring, The factious tribes."—“And this reproof from thee?” While sanhedrims are jealous of the king? The prince replies, “O statesman's winding skill! | His strength as yet in David's friendship lies, They first condemn, that first advis'd the ill !" And what can David's self without supplies ? “ Hlustrious youth !” return'd Achitophel,
Who with exclusive bills must now dispense, “ Misconstrue not the words that mean you well; Debar the heir, or starve in his defence, The course you steer I wortby blaine conclude, Conditions which our elders ne'er will quit, But 'tis because you leave it unpursued.
And David's justice never can admit. ( A monarch's crown with fate surrounded lies, Or forc'd by wants his brother to betray,
Who reach, lay hold on Death that miss the prize. To your ambition next he clears the way; .. Did you for this expose yourself to show,
For if succession once to nought they bring, And to the crowd bow popularly low?
Their next advance removes the present king : For this your glorious progress next ordain, Persisting else his senates to dissolve, With chariots, horsemen, and a numerous train? In equal hazard shall his reign involve. With Fame before you like the morniug star,
Our tribes, whom Pharaoh's power so much alarms, And shouts of joy salnting from afar?
Shall rise without their prince t'oppose his arms; Oh from the heights you've reach'd but take a view, Nor boots it on what cause at first they join, Scarce leading Lucifer could fall like you! Their troops, once up, are tools for our design, And must I here my shipwreck'd arts bemoan? At least such subtle covenants shall be made, Have I for this so oft made Israel groan?
Till peace itself is war in masquerade.
replies, By which a conquest if we fail to make, (stake,”! " The known perfection of your policies,
'Tis a drawn game at worst, and we secure out Nor in Achitophel yet grudge or blame,
He said, and for the dire success depends The privilege that statesmen ever claim; On various sects, by common guilt made friends.
Whose heads, though ne'er so differing in their creed, For never Hebronite, though kick'd and scom'd, l'th' point of treason yet were well agreed. To his own country willingly return'd. 'Mongst these, extorting Ishban first appears, -But, leaving famish'd Phaleg to be fed, Pursued by a meagre troop of bankrupt heirs. And to talk treason for his daily bread, Blest times, when Ishban, he whose occupation Let Hebron, nay let Hell produce a man So long has been to cheat, reform the nation! So made for mischief as Ben-Jochanan. Ishban of conscience suited to his trade,
A Jew of humble parentage was he, As good a saint as usurer ever made.
By trade a Levite, though of low degree: Yet Mammon has not so engrost him quite, His pride no higher than the desk aspir'd, But Belial lays as large a claim of spite;
But for the drudgery of priests was hir'd Who, for those pardons from his prince he draws, To read and pray in linen ephod brave, Returns reproaches, and cries up the cause. And pick up single shekels from the grave. That year in which the city be did sway,
Marry'd at last, but finding charge come faster, He left rebellion in a hopeful way.
He could not live by God, but chang'd his master Yet his ámbition once was found so bold,
Inspir'd by want, was made a factious tool, To offer talents of extorted gold;
They got a villain, and we lost a fool. Could David's wants have so been bribd, to shame Still violent, wbatever cause he took, And scandalize our peerage with his name; But most against the party he forsook. For which, his dear sedition he'd forswear,
For renegadoes, who ne'er turn by halves, And ev'n turn loval to be made a peer.
Are bound in conscience to be double koares Next him, let railing Rabsheka have place, So this prose-prophet took most monstrous pain, So full of zeal he has no need of grace;
To let his masters see he earn'd his gains. A sair: that can both flesh and spirit use,
But, as the Devil owes all his imps a shame, Alike haunt conventicles and the stews:
lle chose th' apostate for his proper theme; Of whom the question difficult appears,
With little pains he made the picture true, If most i' th' preachers' or the bawds' arrears. And from reflection took the rogue he drer. What caution could appear too much in him A wondrous work, to prove the Jewish nation That keeps the treasure of Jerusalem!
In every age a murmuring generation; Let David's brother but approach the town, To trace them from their infancy of sioning, “ Double our guards !” be cries, “we are undone." And show them factious from their first beginners Protesting that he dares not sleep in 's bed To prove they could rebel, and rail, and mock, Lest he should rise next morn without his head. Much to the credit of the chosen flock; Next these, a troop of busy spirits press,
A strong authority, which must convince, Of little fortunes, and of conscience less;
That saints own no allegiance to their prince. With them the tribe, whose luxury bad drain'd As 'tis a leading-card to make a whore, Their banks, in former sequestrations gain'd; To prove her mother had turn'd up before. Who rich and great by past rebellions grew, But, tell me, did the drunken patriarch bless And long to fish the troubled streams anew. The son that show'd his father's nakedness? Some future hopes, some present payment draws, Sach thanks the present church thy pen will gie, To sell their conscience and espouse the cause. Which proves rebellion was so primitive. Such stipends those vile hirelings best befit, Must ancient failings be examples made? Priests without grace, and poets without wit. Then murtherers from Cain may learn their trade Shall that false Hebronite escape our curse, As thou the beathen and the saint hast drawn, Judas, that keeps the rebels' pension-purse; Methinks th' apostate was the better man : Judas, that pays the treason-writer's fee,
And thy hot father, waving my respect, Judas, that well deserves his namesake's tree; Not of a mother-church, but of a sect. Who at Jerusalern's own gat's erects
And such he needs must be of thy indit'ns, His college for a nursery of sects;
This comes of drinking asses milk and writing. Young prophets with an early care secures, If Balak should be call'd to leare his place, And with the dung of his own arts manures ? As profit is the loudest call of grace, What have the men of Hebron here to do?
His temple, dispossess'd of one, would be What part in Israel's promis'd land have you ? Replenish'd with seven devils more by tbee. Here Phaleg, the lay-Hebronite is come,
Levi, thou art a load, I'll lay thee down, 'Cause, like the rest, he could not live at home; And show Rebellion bare, withont a gown; Who from his own possessions could not drain Poor slaves in metre, dull and addle-pater, An omer even of Hebronitish grain,
Who rhyme below ev'n David's psalms translated Here struts it like a patriot, and talks high Some in my speedy pace I must outrun, Of injurd subjects, alter'd property :
As lame Mephibosheth the wizard's soa: An emblem of that buzzing insect just,
To make quick way, I'll leap o'er beary blocks That mo'ints the wheel, and thinks she raises dust. Shun rotten Uzza as I would the pox; (an dry bones live? or skeletons produce
And hasten Og and Doeg to rehearse, The vital warmth of cuckoldizing juice?
Two fools that crutch their feeble sense on very Slim Phaleg could, and, at the table fed,
Who by my Muse to all succeeding times, Return'l the grateful product to the bed.
Shall live in spite of their own doggrel rhymes. A wa'tinz-man to travelling nobles chose,
Doeg, though without knowing how or why, He his ovn laws would saucily impose,
Made still a blundering kind of melody; Till bastinalned back again he went,
Spurr'd boldlyon, and dash'd through thick and tha To learn those manners he to teach was sent. Through sense and nonsense, never out nor in; Chastis'd be ought to have retreated home,
Free from all meaning, whether good or bad, But he reals po'itics to Absalom.
And, in one word, heroically mad:
But thou in clumsy verse, unlickt, unpointed,
fle was two warm on picking-work to dwell, Why should thy metre good king David blast ? But fagotted his notions as they fell,
A psalm of his will surely be thy last. And if they rhym'd and ratuled, all was well. Dar'st thou in verse presume to meet thy foes, Spiteful he is not, though he wrote a satire, Thou whom the penny pamphlet fol'd in prose? For still there goes some thinking to ill nature : Doeg, whom God for mankind's mirth has made, He needs no more than birds and beasts to think, ('ertops thy talent in thy very trade; All his occasions are to eat and drink.
Doeg to thee, thy paintings are so coarse,
A poet is, though he 's the poet's horse.
To die for fact on is a common evil,
I will not rake the dunghill for thy crimes,
But of king David's foes be this the doom, The woman that committed buggery,
May all be like the young man Absalom ! Was rightly sentenc'd by the law to die;
And for my foes may this their blessing be, But 'twas hard fate that to the gallows led
To talk like Doeg, and to write like thee! The dog that never heard the statute read.
Achitophel, cach rank, degree, and age, Railing in other men may be a crime,
For various ends, neglects not to engage: But ought to pass for mere instinct in him: The wise and rich for purse and counsel brought, Instinct he follows and no further knows,
The fools and beggars for their number sought: lor to write verse with him is to transprose. Who yet not only on the town depends, "Twere pity treason at his door to lay,
For ev'n in court the faction had its friends; Who makes Heaven's gate a lock to its own key: These thought the places they possest too small, Let him rail on, let his invective Muse
And in their hearts wish'd court and king to fall : Ilave four-and-twenty letters to abuse,
Whose names the Muse disdaining, holds i'th' dark, Which, if he jumbles to one line of sense,
Thrust in the villain herd without a inark; Indict him of a capital offence.
With parasites and libel-spawning imps, In fire-works give him leave to vent his spite, Intriguing tops, dull jesters, and worse pimps. Those are the only serpents he can write;
Disdain the rascal rabble to pursue, The height of his ambition is, we know,
Their set cabals are yet a viler crew; But to be master of a puppet-show,
Sce where involvid in common smoke they sit ; On that one stage his works may yet appear,
Some for our mirth, some for our satire fit: And a inonth's harvest keeps bin all the year. These, gloomy, thoughtful, and on mischief bent,
Now stop your noses, readers, all and some, While those, for mere good fellowship, frequent Por here's a tun of midnight-work to come, Th' appointed club, can let sedition pass, Og froin a treasou-tavern rolling home.
Sense, nonsense, any thing t' employ the glass; Round as a globe, and liquor'd every chink, And who believe in their dull honest hearts, Goolly and great he sails behind his link;
The rest ialk treason but to show their parts; With all this bulk there 's nothing lost in Og, Who ne'er had wit or will for mischief yet, For every inch that is not fool is rogue:
But pleas'd to be reputed of a set. A monstrous mass of foul corrupted matter,
But in the sacred annals of our plot, is all the devils had spew'd to make the batter. Industrious Arod never be forgot : When wine has given him courage to blaspheme, The labours of this midnight magistrate, He curses God, but God before curst him; May vie with Corah's to preserve the state. And, if man could have reason, none has more, ku search of arins he fail'd not to lay bold Inat made his paunch so rich, and him so poor. On War's most powerful dangerous weapon, gold.
ith wealth he was not trusted, for Heaven knew And last, to take from Jebusites all odds, l'hat 'twas of old to pamper up a Jew;
Their altars pillag'd, stole their very gods; to what would he on quail and pheasant swell, Oft would he cry, when treasure he surpris'., That ev'n on tripe and carrion could rebel? “ 'Tis Baalish gold in David's coin disguis'd.” But though. Heaven made him poor, with reverence Which to his house with richer relics came, le never was a poet of God's making; [speaking, While lumber idols only fed the flame: "he midwife laid her hand on his thick scull, For our wise rabble ne'er took pains t'inquire, Vith this prophetic blessing—“ Be thou dull; What 'twas he burut, so 't made a ronsing fire. Drink, swear, and roar, forbear no lewd delight With which our elder was enrich'd no more it for thy bulk, do any thing but write;
Than false Gehazi with the Syrian's store; Thou art of lasting make, like thoughtless men, So poor, that when our choosing-tribes were met, strong nativity-but for the pen!
Ev'n for his stinking votes he ran in debt; at opium, mingle arsenic in thy drink,
For meat the wicked, and, as authors think, till thou mayst live, avoiding pen and ink.” The saints he chous'd for his electing drink; see, I see, 'tis counsel given in vain,
Thus every shift and subtle method past, or treason botcht in rhyme will be thy bane; And all to be no Zaken at the last. Whyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck, Now, rais’d on Tyre's sad ruins, Pharaoh's pride Tis fatal to thy fame and to thy neck:
Soar'd bigh, his legions thrca ning far and w.dej.