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 differing parties he could wisely

For several ends to serve the same design; The best, (and of the princes some were such,)


Who thought the power of monarchy too much;

Mistaken men, and patriots in their hearts,

Not wicked, but seduced by impious arts; By these the springs of property were bent And wound so high they cracked the government.


The next for interest sought to embroil the state


[blocks in formation]

Born to be saved, even in their own despite,. Because they could not help believing right. Such were the tools; but a whole Hydra



Remains, of sprouting heads too long to


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 545
Not one, but all mankind's epitome:
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong,
Was everything by starts and nothing

But in the course of one revolving moon Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon;


Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking,

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
And both (to show his judgment) in ex-



So over violent, or over civil,
That every man with him was God or

In squandering wealth was his peculiar art: Nothing went unrewarded but desert. 560 Beggared by fools whom still he found too late,

He had his jest, and they had his estate. He laughed himself from Court; then sought relief

By forming parties, but could ne'er be chief:

For spite of him, the weight of business fell On Absalom and wise Achitophel: 566 Thus wicked but in will, of means bereft, He left not faction, but of that was left.

Shimei, whose youth did early promise bring Of zeal to God, and hatred to his King, 586 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


The city, to reward his pious hate
Against his master, chose him magistrate.
His hand a vare1 of justice did uphold, 595
His neck was loaded with a chain of gold.
During his office treason was no crime;
The sons of Belial had a glorious time;
For Shimei, though not prodigal of pelf,
Yet loved his wicked neighbor as himself.
When two or three were gathered to de-


Against the monarch of Jerusalem, Shimei was always in the midst of them: And, if they cursed the King when he was by, Would rather curse than break good company. 605

If any durst his factious friends accuse, He packed a jury of dissenting Jews; Whose fellow-feeling in the godly cause Would free the suffering saint from human laws:

For laws are only made to punish those 610 Who serve the King, and to protect his foes. If any leisure time he had from power, Because 'tis sin to misemploy an hour, His business was by writing to persuade That kings were useless and a clog to trade: 615 And that his noble style he might refine, No Rechabite more shunned the fumes of wine. Chaste were his cellars, and his shrieval board

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


train; From east to west his glories he displays, And, like the sun, the promised land surveys.

Fame runs before him like the morning star,

And shouts of joy salute him from afar; Each house receives him as a guardian god, And consecrates the place of his abode. 736

· *





Oh foolish Israel! never warned by ill!
Still the same bait, and circumvented still!
Did ever men forsake their present ease,
In midst of health imagine a disease, 756
Take pains contingent mischiefs to foresee,
Make heirs for monarchs, and for God

What shall we think? Can people give away

Both for themselves and sons their native sway? 760 Then they are left defenceless to the sword Of each unbounded, arbitrary lord; And laws are vain by which we right enjoy, If kings unquestioned can those laws destroy.


Yet if the crowd be judge of fit and just,
And kings are only officers in trust,
Then this resuming covenant was declared
When kings were made, or is forever

If those who gave the sceptre could not tie
By their own deed their own posterity, 770
How then could Adam bind his future

How could his forfeit on mankind take place?

Or how could heavenly justice damn us all
Who ne'er consented to our father's fall?
Then kings are slaves to those whom they


And tenants to their people's pleasure

Add that the power, for property allowed,
Is mischievously seated in the crowd;
For who can be secure of private right,
If sovereign sway may be dissolved by
Nor is the people's judgment always true:
The most may err as grossly as the few;
And faultless kings run down by common

For vice, oppression, and for tyranny.



Now what relief can righteous David bring?


How fatal 'tis to be too good a king!
Friends he has few, so high the madness

years. Long since the rising rebels he withstood In regions waste beyond the Jordan's flood:


Which well the noblest objects knew to choose,

The fighting warrior, and recording Muse. His bed could once a fruitful issue boast; Now more than half a father's name is lost. 830 His eldest hope, with every grace adorned, By me, so Heaven will have it, always mourned

And always honored, snatched in man-
hood's prime

By unequal fates and Providence's crime:
Yet not before the goal of honor won, 835
All parts fulfilled of subject and of

Unfortunately brave to buoy the state,
But sinking underneath his master's fate.
In exile for his godlike prince he mourned,
For him he suffered, and with him re-


The court he practised, not the courtier's 825 Large was his wealth, but larger was his heart,


Swift was the race, but short the time to


Indulge one labor more, my weary

For Amiel: who can Amiel's praise refuse?
Of ancient race by birth, but nobler yet 900
In his own worth, and without title great:
The Sanhedrin long time as chief he ruled,
Their reason guided, and their passion

So dexterous was he in the Crown's de-

So formed to speak a loyal nation's


So fit was he to represent them all.

Who dare be such must be the people's Now rasher charioteers the seat ascend, foes. Whose loose careers his steady skill commend:

Yet some there were even in the worst of
Some let me name, and naming is to praise.
In this short file Barzillai first appears,
Barzillai, crowned with honor and with

They, like unequal ruler of the day, 910
Misguide the seasons and mistake the


905 That, as their band was Israel's tribes in small,


While he, withdrawn, at their mad labor smiles,

And safe enjoys the Sabbath of his toils. These were the chief, a small but faithful band

Of worthies in the breach who dared to stand 915

And tempt the united fury of the land. With grief they viewed such powerful engines bent

To batter down the lawful government.
A numerous faction, with pretended

In Sanhedrins to plume the regal rights,

[blocks in formation]


Thus from his royal throne, by Heaven inspired,

The godlike David spoke; with awful fear His train their Maker in their master hear. "Thus long have I, by native mercy swayed,

My wrongs dissembled, my revenge delayed;


So willing to forgive the offending age,
So much the father did the king assuage.
But now so far my clemency they slight,
The offenders question my forgiving right.
That one was made for many, they con-


But 'tis to rule, for that's a monarch's end. They call my tenderness of blood my fear, Though manly tempers can the longest bear.

Yet since they will divert my native course, 'Tis time to show I am not good by force. Those heaped affronts that haughty subjects bring


Are burdens for a camel, not a king.
Kings are the public pillars of the State,
Born to sustain and prop the nation's

If my young Samson will pretend a call 955 To shake the column, let him share the fall.

But oh that yet he would repent and live! How easy 'tis for parents to forgive!

[blocks in formation]


A king's at least a part of government, And mine as requisite as their consent. Without my leave a future king to choose Infers a right the present to depose. 980 True, they petition me to approve their choice;

But Esau's hands suit ill with Jacob's voice.

My pious subjects for my safety pray, Which to secure, they take my power away. From plots and treasons Heaven preserve my years, 985

But save me most from my petitioners, Unsatiate as the barren womb or grave; God cannot grant so much as they can


What then is left but with a jealous eye To guard the small remains of royalty? 990 The law shall still direct my peaceful sway, And the same law teach rebels to obey.

By their own arts, 'tis righteously decreed, Those dire artificers of death shall bleed. Against themselves their witnesses will



Till, viper-like, their mother-plot they tear,

[blocks in formation]


All human things are subject to decay, And, when Fate summons, monarchs must obey.

This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young

Was called to empire, and had governed long;


In prose and verse, was owned without dispute, Through all the realms of Nonsense, absolute.

This aged prince, now flourishing in peace, And blest with issue of a large increase, Worn out with business, did at length debate


To settle the succession of the state; And, pondering which of all his sons was fit

To reign and wage immortal war with
Cried, "Tis resolved, for Nature pleads
that he

Should only rule who most resembles me.
Shadwell alone my perfect image bears, 15
Mature in dulness from his tender years;
Shadwell alone of all my sons is he
Who stands confirmed in full stupidity.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »