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The Jews well know their pow'r : ere Saul they If so by force he wishes to be gain'd:
Like women's lechery to seem coustrain'd.
God was their king, and God they durst depose. || Doubt not: but, when he most affects the
Urge now your piety, your filial name,
A father's right, and fear of future fame;
Commit a pleasing rape upon the crown.
Secure his person to secure your cause:
They who possess the prince possess the laws.
He said and this advice above the rest,
With Absalom's mild nature suited best;
Unblam'd of life, ambition set aside,
Not staju'd with cruelty, nor puff'd with pride,
How happy had he been, if destiny
Had higher plac'd his birth, or not so high!
His kingly virtues might have claim'd a throne,
And bless'd all other countries but his own.
But charming greatness since so few refuse,
'Tis juster to lament him than accuse.
Would David have you thought his darling Strong were his hopes a rival to remove,
With blandishments to gain the public love:
To head the faction while their zeal was hot,
And popularly prosecute the plot.
To further this, Achitophel unites
The malcontents of all the Israelites;
Whose diff'ring parties he could wisely join,
For several ends, to serve the same design.
The best, and of the princes some were such,
Who thought the pow'r of monarchy too múch;
Mistaken men, and patriots in their hearts;
Not wicked, but seduc'd by impious arts;
By these the springs of property were beut,
And wound so high, they crack'd the govern-
Or some dull Hebrew ballad in your praise.
Then the next heir, a prince severe and wise,
Already looks on you with jealous eyes ;
Sees through the thin disguises of your arts,
And marks your progress in the people's hearts;
Though now his mighty soul its grief contains:
He meditates revenge who least complains:
And like a lion, slumb'ring in the way,
Or sleep dissembling, while he waits his prey,
His fearless foes within his distance draws,
Constrains his roaring, and contracts his paws;
Till at the last, his time for fury found,
The next for int'rest sought t' embroil the state,
To sell their duty at a dearer rate,
And make their Jewish markets of the throne;
Pretending public good to serve their own.
Others thought kings an useless heavy load,
Who cost too much, and did too little good.
He shoots with sudden vengeance from the These were for laying honest David by,
On principles of pure good husbandry.
With them join'd all th' haranguers of the
That thought to get preferment by the tongue.
Who follow next, a double danger bring,
Not only hating David, but the king.
The Solyman rout; wel! vers'd of old
In godly faction, and in treason bold;
Cow'ring and quaking at a conqu'ror's sword,
But lofty to a lawful prince restor❜d;
Saw with disdain an Ethnic plot begun,
And scorn'd by Jebusites to be outdone.
Hot Levites headed these; who pull'd before
From th` ark, which in the judge's days they
The public good, that universal call,
To which e'en Heaven submitted, answers all.
Nor let his love enchant your gen'rous mind;
'Tis nature's trick to propagate her kind.
'Our fond begetters, who would never die,
Love but themselves in their posterity.
Or let his kindness by th' effects be tried,
Or let him lay his vain pretence aside.
God said, be lov'd your father; could he bring
A better proof than to anoint him king?
It surely shew'd, he lov'd the shepherd well,
Who gave so fair a flock as Israel.
What means he then to alienate the crown?
The name of godly he may blush to bear;
Is 't after God's own heart to cheat his heir?
He to his brother gives supreme command,
To you a legacy of barren land;
Perhaps the old harp on which he thumps his
The prostrate vulgar passes o'er and spares,
But with a lordly rage his hunters tears.
Your case no tame expedients will afford:
Resolve on death, or conquest by the sword,
Which for no less a stake than life you draw;
And self-defence is nature's eldest law.
Leave the warm people no considering time;
For then rebellion may be thought a crime.
Avail yourself of what occasion gives,
But try your title while your father lives:
And, that your arms may have a fair pretence,
Proclaim you take them in the king's defence;
Whose sacred life each moment would expose
To plots, from seeming friends and secret
And, who can sound the depth of David's soul?
Perhaps his fear his kindness may controul.
He fears bis brother, though he loves his son,
For plighted vows too late to be undone.
For who so fit to reign as Aaron's race,
If once dominion they could find in grace?
These led the pack, though not of surest scent,
Yet deepest mouth'd against the government.
A num'rous host of dreaming saints succeed,.
Of the true old enthusiastic breed;
Nothing to build, and all things to destroy.
But far more num'rous was the herd of such
Who think too little, and who talk too much;
These out of mere instinct, they know not
Ador'd their fathers' God, and property;
And, by the same blind benefit of fate,
The devil and the Jebusite did hate :
Born to be say'd, ev'n in their own despite,
Because they could not help believing right.
Such were the tools: but a whole bydra more
Remains of sprouting heads too long to score.
Some of their chiefs were princes of the land:
In the first rank of these did Zimri stand;
A man so various that he seemed to be
Not one, but all mankind's epitome:
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong;
Was every thing by starts, and nothing long ;
But in the course of one revolving moon
Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon;
Then all for women, painting, rhyming,
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking.
Blest madman! who could every hour employ,
With something new to wish, or to enjoy.
Railing and praising were his usual themes:
And, both to shew his judgment, in extremes :
So over-violent, or over-civil,
That ev'ry man with him was God or devil.
In squandering wealth was his peculiar art :
Nothing went unrewarded, but desert;
Beggar'd by fools, whom still he found too
He had his jest, and they had his estate.
He laugh'd himself from court; then sought
Let friendship's holy band some namés assure; Some their own worth, and some let scorn
'Gainst form and order they their pow'r em- To mean rebellion, and make treason law.
But he, though bad, is follow'd by a worse,
The wretch who Heaven's anointed dar'd to
By forming parties, but could ne'er be chief;
For spite of him, the weight of business fell
On Absalom and wise Achitophel:
Thus, wicked but in will, of means bereft,
He left not faction, but of that was left.
Titles and names, 'twere tedious to rehearse,
Of lords below the dignity of verse.
Nor shall the rascal rabble here have place, Whom kings no title gave, and God no grace: Not bull-fac'd Jonas, who could statutes draw
Kind husbands and mere nobles all the rest.
And therefore, in the name of dulness, be
The well-hung Balaam and cold Caleb free:
And canting Nadab let oblivion damu,
Who made new porridge for the pascal lamb.
Shimei, whose youth did early promise bring
Of zeal to God, and hatred to his king,
Did wisely from expensive sins refrain,
And never broke the Sabbath but for gain :
Nor ever was he known an oath to vent,
Or curse, unless against the government.
Thus heaping wealth by the most ready way
Among the Jews, which was to cheat and pray;
The city, to reward his pious hate
Against his master, cho e him magistrate.
His hand a vase of justice did uphold;
His neck was loaded with a chain of gold;
During his office treason was no crime;
The sons of Baliol had a glorious time;
For Shimei, though not prodigal of pelf,
Yet lov'd his wicked neighbour as bimself.
When two or three were gather'd to declaim
Against the monarch of Jerusalem,
Shimei was always in the midst of them;
And, if they curs'd the king when he was by,
Would rather curse than break good company;
If any durst his factious friends accuse,
He pack'd a jury of dissenting Jews,
Whose fellow-feelings in the god-like cause
Would free the suff'ring saint from human
For laws are only made to punish those
Who serve the king, and to protect his foes.
If any leisure time he had from pow'r,
Because 'ts sin to misemploy an hour,
His business was, by writing to persuade
That kings were useless, and a clog to trade:
And, that his noble style he might refine,
No Rechabite more shuun'd the fumes of
Chaste were his cellars, and his shrieval board The grossuess of a city feast abhorr'd;
His cooks, with long disuse their trade forgot; Cool was his kitchen, though his brains were hot.
Such frugal virtue malice may accuse;
But sure 'twas necessary to the Jews:
Wits, warriors, commonwealths-men, were the For towns, once burnt, such magistrates re
As dare not tempt God's providence by fire. With spiritual food he fed his servants well, But free from flesh that made the Jews rebel : And Moses' laws he held in more account, For forty days of fasting in the Mount.