« 上一頁繼續 »
ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL.
- Si propius stes, Te capiet magis
In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin,
Or that his conscious destiny made way, By manly beauty, to imperial sway; Early in foreign fields he won renown, With kings and states allied to Israel's crown: In peace the thoughts of war he could remove, And seem'd as he were only born for love. Whate'er he did, was done with so much ease, In him alone 'twas natural to please; His motions all accompanied with grace, . And Paradise was open'd in his face. With secret joy indulgent David view'd His youthful image in his son renew'd; To all his wishes nothing he denied, And made the charming Annabel his bride. What faults he had (for who from faults is free) His father could not, or he would not see. Some warm excesses, which the law forebote, Were construed youth, that purg'd by boiling o'er; (And Amnon's murder, by a specious name, Was call'd a just revenge for injur'd fame.
Thus prais'd, and lov'd, the noble youth remain'd, While David undisturb'd in Sion reign'd: But life can never be sincerely blest, Heaven punishes the bad, and proves the best. The Jews, a headstrong, moody, murmuring race, As ever tried the extent and stretch of grace; God's pamper'd people, whom, debauch'd with ease, No king could govern, nor no God could please ; (Gods they had tried of every shape and size That god-smiths could produce, or priests devise :) These Adam-wits, too fortunately free, Began to dream they wanted liberty; And when no rule, no precedent was found Of men by laws less circumscrib'd and bound,
They led their wild desires to woods and caves, And thought that all but savages were slaves. They who, when Saul was dead, without a blow Made foolish Ishbosheth the crown forego; Who banish'd David did from Hebron bring, And, with a general shout, proclaim'd him king : Those very Jews, who, at their very best, Their humour more than loyalty express'd, Now wonder'd why so long they had obey'd An idol-monarch which their hands had made; Thought they might ruin him they could create, Or melt him to that golden calf, a state. But these were random bolts; no form'd design, Nor interest, made the factious crowd to join : The sober part of Israel, free from stain, Well knew the value of a peaceful reign; And looking backward, with a wise affright, Saw seams of wounds, dishonest to the sight; In contemplation of whose ugly scars, They curs'd the memory of civil wars. The moderate sort of men, thus qualified, Inclin'd the balance to the better side; And David's mildness manag'd it so well, The bad found no occasion to rebel. But when to sin our bias'd nature leans, The careful devil is still at hand with means, And providently pimps for ill desires; The good old cause reviv'd a plot requires. Plots, true or false, are necessary thing's To raise up commonwealths, and ruin kings.
The' inhabitants of old Jerusalem Were Jebusites; the town so call'd from them; And theirs the native right
But when the chosen people grew more strong,
Their gods disgrac'd, and burnt like common wood.
To please the fools, and puzzle all the wise;
Believing nothing, or believing all.
Such savoury deities must needs be good,
wise, Oppos'd the power to which they could not rise : Some had in courts been great, and thrown from
thence, Like fiends, were harden'd in impenitence : Some, by their monarch's fatal mercy, grown From pardon'd rebels kinsmen to the throne, Were rais'd in power and public office high; Strong bands, if bands ungrateful men could tie.
Of these the false Achitophel was first, A name to all succeeding ages curs'd;