ePub 版






TOW spent the fallen king in amorous cares The hours of facred fong and holy prayers; In vain the altar waits his flow returns,

Where unattended incenfe faintly burns;
In vain the whispering PRIESTS their fears exprefs,
And of the change a thousand caufes guess.
Heedlefs of all their cenfures he retires,
And in his palace feeds his fecret fires;
Impatient, 'till from RABBAH tidings tell,
That near those walls the poor URIAH fell;
Led to the onfet by a chofen few,

Who, at the treacherous fignal, soon withdrew;

Nor to his rescue e'er return'd again,

'Till by fierce Ammon's fword they faw the victim flain.

'Tis pafs'd, 'tis done! the holy marriage knot, Too ftrong to be'unty'd, at last is cut.

And now to BATHSHEBA the king declares,
That with his heart, the kingdom too is her's;
That ISRAEL'S throne and longing monarch's arms
-Are to be fill'd but with her widow'd charms;


Nor muft the days of formal tears fucceed,
To cross the living, and abuse the dead.
This fhe denies; and figns of grief are worn,
But mourns no more than may her face adorn;
Give to thofe eyes, which love and empire fir'd,
A melting softness, more to be defir'd;

Till the fix'd time, tho' hard to be endur'd,
Was pafs'd, and a fad confort's name procur'd:
When, with a pomp that fuits a prince's thought,
By paffion fway'd, and glorious woman taught,
A QUEEN she's made, than MICHAL seated higher,
Whilft light unusual airs prophane the hallow'd lyre.
Where art thou, NATHAN? where's that spirit now,
Giv'n to brave vice, tho' on a prince's brow?
In what low cave, or on what defart coast,
Now virtue wants it, is thy presence lost?

And lo! he comes; the reverend bard appears,
Defil'd with duft his awful filver hairs,

And his rough garment wet with falling tears.


The KING this mark'd, and confcious would have fled

The healing balm that for his wounds was fhed;
But the more wary priest with serpent art,

Join'd to the dove-like temper of his heart,
Retards the prince just ready to depart.



"Hear me, the cause between two neighbours hear
Thou, who for justice doft the fceptre bear:
Help the opprefs'd, nor let me weep alone

For him, who calls for fuccour from the throne.
Good princes for protection are ador'd,

And greater by the shield, than by the sword."


This clears the doubt, and now no more he fears The cause his own, and therefore ftays and hears: When thus the prophet;-in a flowery plain A KING-LIKE man does in full plenty reign; Cafts round his eyes, in vain, to reach the bound, Which JORDAN's flood fets to his fertile ground: Counting his flocks, whilst LEBANON contains A herd as large, kept by his numerous swains, That fill with bellowings the morning air, And to the shade at fcorching noon repair. Near to this wood a lowly cottage stands, Built by the humble owner's painful hands; Fenc'd by a stubble-roof from rain and heat, Secur'd without, without all plain and neat. A field of fmall extent furrounds the place, In which one fingle EWE did fport and graze : This his whole ftock, till in full time there came To bless his utmost hopes, a snowy LAMB; Which, left the feafon yet too cold might prove, And northern blafts annoy it from the grove, Or tow'ring fowl on the weak prey might seize, (For with his ftore his fears muft too increase) He brings it home, and lays it by his fide, At once his wealth, his pleasure, and his pride; Still bars the door, by labour call'd away, And, when returning at the close of day, With one small mefs himself and that fuftains, And half his dish it shares, and half his gains. -When to the great man's table now there comes A LORD as great, follow'd by hungry grooms:


For these must be provided fundry meats,
The beft for fome, for others coarfer cates!
One fervant diligent above the rest,
To help his mafter to contrive the feaft,

Extols the LAMB, 'twas nourish'd with fuch care,
So fed, fo lodg'd, it must be princely fare;
"And having this, my lord, his own may spare."
In hafte he fends, led by no law but will,
Not to intreat, or purchase, but to kill.
The meffenger arrives; the harmless spoil
Unus'd to fly, runs bleating to the toil :
Whilft for the innocent the owner fear'd,
And, fure, would move, could poverty be heard!
"Oh fpare, he cries, the product of my cares!
My stock's increase!,, the bleffings on my pray'rs !
My growing hope, and treasure of my life!'-
More was he speaking, when the murdering knife
Shew'd him his fuit, tho' juft, must be deny'd,
And the white fleece in its own fcarlet dy'd;
While the poor helpless wretch ftands weeping by,
And lifts his hands for juftice to the sky.'-
-"Which he fhall find! th' incenfed KING replies,
When for the foul offence th' oppreffor dies.
ONATHAN! by the HOLY NAME I swear,
Our land fuch wrongs unpunish'd shall not bear,
If, with the fault, th' offender thou declare."


Then, fays the prophet, clofing with the time, "THOU ART THE MAN, and thine th' ill-natur'd Nor think against thy place or state I err, A power above thee does this charge prefer:



Urg'd by whofe fpirit, hither am I brought,
T'expoftulate his goodness, and thy fault;
To lead thee back to those forgotten years,
In labour spent and lowly ruftic cares,
When in the wilderness thy flocks were few,
Thou didft the fhepherd's fimple art pursue,
Thro' crufting frofts, and penetrating dew:
Till wondering JESSE faw fix brothers pass'd,
And thou, elected, thou the leaft, and last,
A fceptre to thy rural hand convey'd,
And in thy bofom royal beauties laid :
A lovely princefs made thy prize that day,
When on the shaken ground the GIANT lay,
Stupid in death, beyond the reach of cries,
That bore thy fhouted praise to listening skies,
And drove the flying foe as fwift away

As winds of old, locufts to EGYPT's fea.

Thy heart with love, thy temples with renown,
Th' all-giving hand of heaven did largely crown,
Whilft yet thy cheek was spread with youthful


What more could craving man of GOD implore, Or what for favour'd man could GOD do more? Yet could not thefe, nor ISRAEL's throne fuffice Intemperate wishes, drawn thro' wandering eyes. One beauty, not thy own, and feen by chance, Defiles thy GRACE with one alluring glance; Chaces the spirit fed by facred art,

And blots the title AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART!


« 上一頁繼續 »