So this prose-prophet took most monstrous pains
To let his masters see he earn'd his gains ;
But as the devil owes all his imps a shame.
He chose the' apostate for his proper theme ;
With little pains he made the picture true,
And from reflection took the rogue he drew :
A wondrous work, to prove the Jewish nation
In every age a murmuring generation ;
To trace 'em from their infancy of sinning,
And shew 'em factious from their first beginning;
56 ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. Part '2.
To prove they could rebel, and rail, and mock,
Much to the credit of the chosen flock ;
A strong authority, which must convince
That saints own no allegiance to their prince ;
As 'tis a leading card to make a whore.
To prove her mother had turn'd up before.
But, tell me, did the drunken patriarch bless
The son that show'd his father's nakedness?
Such thanks the present church thy pen will give,
Mliich proves Rebellion was so primitive.
Must ancient failings be examples made ?
Then murderers from Cain may learn their trade.
As tliou the heathen and the saint hast drawn,
Methiuks the' apostate was the better man j
And thy hot father, waving my respect.
Not of a mother-church, but of a sect :
And such he needs must be, of thy inditing,
This comes of drinking asses' milk, and writing.
If Balak should be call d to leave his place,
As profit is the loudest call of grace,
His temple, dispossess'd of one, would be
Replenish'd with seven devils more by thee.
Levi, thou art a load, I'll lay thee down.
And show Rebellion bare, without a gown ;
Poor slaves in metre, dull and addle-pated.
Who rhyme below e'en David's Psalms translated.
Some in my speedy pace I must outrun,
As lame Mephibosheth, the wizard's son :
To make quick way I'll leap o'er heavy blocks.
Shun rotten Uzza as I would the p â€” x ;
And hasten Og and Doeg to rehearse,
To fools that crutch their feeble sense on verse;
Who, by my Muse, to all succeeding times
Shall live, in spite of their own doggrel rhymes.
Part *2. ABSALOM AlVD ACHITOPHEL. 57
Doeg, though without knowing how or why,
Made still a blundering kind of melody,
Spurr'd boldly on, and dash'd through thick and
Through sense and nonsense, never out nor in j
Free from all meaning, whether good or bad,
And, in one word, heroically mad :
He was too warm on picking-work to dwell, "^
But faggotted his notions as they fell, >
And if they rhym'd and rattled, all was well : j
Spiteful he is not, though he wrote a satire,
For still there goes some thinking to iil-nature ;
He needs no more than birds and beasts to think,
All his occasions are â€” to eat and drink :
If he call rogue and rascal from a garret,
He means you no more mischief than a parrot :
The words for friend and foe alike were made,
To fetter 'em in verse is all his trade.
For almonds he'll cry ' Whore' to his own mother.
And call young Absalom King David's brother.
Let him be gallows-free by my consent.
And nothing suffer, since he nothing meant :
Hanging supposes human soul and reason,
This animal's below committing treason :
Shall he be hang'd who never could rebel ?
That's a preferment for Acliitophel.
The woman that committed b y,
Was rightly sentenc'd by the law to die ;
But 'twas hard fate that to the gallows led
The dog, that never heard the statute read.
Railing in other men may be a crime,
But ought to pass for mere instinct in him ;
Instinct he follows, aiid no farther knows,
For to write verse with him is to transprose :
58 ABSALOM AND achitoPHel. Part 2.
'Tvvere pity, treason at his door to lay,
Who makes Heaven's gate a lock to its own key.
Let him rail on : let his invective muse
Have four-and-twenty letters to abu^e,
Which if he jumbles to one line of sense,
Indict him of a capital offence.
In fireworks give him leave to vent his spite,
Those are the only serpents he can write;
The height of his ambition i, we know,
But to be master of a puppet-show ;
On that one stage his works may yet appear,
And a month's harvest keeps him all the year.
Now stop your noses, readers, all and some, ^
For here's a tun of midnight-work to come, ^
Og from a treason-taveni rolling home. J
Round as a globe, and liquor'd every chink.
Goodly and great, he sails behind his link ;
With all this bulk, there's nothing lost in Og,
For every inch that is not fool, is rogue :
A monstrous mass of foul corrupted matter,
As all the devils had spew'd to make the batter.
When wine has given him courage to blaspheme,
He curses God. but God before curs'd him :
And if man could liave reason, none has more,
That ma Ic his paunch so rich and him so poor.
With wealth he was not trusted, for Heaven knew
What 'twas of old to pamper up a Jew ;
To what would ho on quail and pheasant swell,
That e'en on tripe and carrion could rebel?
But though Heav'n made him poor, with reverence
He never was a poet of God's making ;
The midwife laid her hand on his thick skull,
With this prophetic blessing â€” " Be thou dull ;
Part 2. ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. 59
Drink, swear, and roar, forbear no lewd delight
Fit for thy bulk ; do any thing but write :
Thou art of lasting make, like thoughtless men ;
A strong nativity â€” but for the pen !
Eat opium, mingle arsenic in thy drink,
Still thou may'st live, avoiding pen and ink."
I see, I see, 'tis counsel given in vain,
For treason botch'd in rhjme will be thy bane ;
Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck;
'Tis fatal to thy fame, and to thy neck.
Why should thy metre good Ring David blast P
A psalm of his will surely be thy last.
Dar'st thou presume in verse to meet thy foes,
Thou, whom the penny-pamphlet foil'd in prose?
Doeg, whom God for mankind's mirth has made,
O'ertops thy talent in thy very trade :
Doeg to thee, thy paintings are so coarse,
A poet is, though he's the poet's horse.
A double noose thou on thy neck dost pull,
For writing treason, and for writing dull :
To die for faction is a common evil.
But to be hang'd for nonsense, is the devil.
Hadst thou the glories of thy king exprest,
Thy praises had been satire at the best ;
But thou, in clumsy verse, unlick'd, unpointed,
Hast shamefully defied the Lord's anointed.
I will not rake the dunghill of thy crimes,
For who would read thy life that reads thy rhymes?
But of King David's foes be this the doom,
May all be like the young man Absalom ;
And for my foes, may this their blessing be,
To talk like Doeg, and to write like thee.]
Achitophel each rank, degree, and age.
For various ends neglects not to engage ;
60 ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. Part ?.
The wise and rich, for purse and counsel brought ;
The fools and beggars, for their number sought ;
Who yet not only on the Town depends,
For ev'n in Court the faction had its friends ;
These thought the places they possest too small,
And, in their hearts, wish'd Court and King to fall ;
Whose names the Muse disdaining, holds i' the' dark ,
Thrust in the villain-herd without a mark;
With parasites and libel-spawning imps.
Intriguing fops, dull jesters, and worse pimps.
Disdain the rascal rabble to pursue.
Their set cabals are yet a viler crew ;
See where involv'd in common smoke they sit.
Some for our mirth, some for our satire fit ;
These gloomy, thoughtful, aud on mischief bent.
While those for mere good fellowship frequent
The' appointed club, can let sedition pass.
Sense, nonsense, any thing, to' employ the glass ;
And who believe, in their dull honest hearts,
The rest talk treason but to show their parts ;
AÂ¥ho ne'er had wit or will for mischief yet,
But pleas'd to be reputed of a set.
But in the sacred annals of our plot.
Industrious Arod never be forgot ;
The labours of this midnight-magistrate
May vie with Corah's, to preserve the state :
In search of arms he faild not to lay hold
On War's most powerful, dangerous weapon, gold ;
And last, to take from Jebusites all odds,
Their altars pillag'd, stole their very gods.
Oft would he cry, when treasure he surpris'd,
IMs Baalish gold in David's coin disguis'd ;
Which to his house with richer relics came,
While lumber-idols only fed the flame :
Part 2. ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. 61
For our wise rabble ne'er took pains to' inquire
What 'twas he burnt, so't made a rousing fire.
With which our elder was enrich'd no more
Than false Gehazi with the Syrian's store;
So poor, that when our choosing-tribes were met.
E'en for his stinking votes he ran in debt ;
For meat the wicked, and, as authors think,
The saints he chous'd for his electing drink;
Thus every shift and subtle method past,
And all to be no Zaken at the last.
Now, rais'd on Tyre's sad ruins, Pharaoh's pride
Soar'd high, his legions threatening far and wide ;
As when a battering storm engender'd high,
By winds upheld, hangs hovering in the sky,
Is gaz'd upon by every trembling swain.
This for his vineyard fears, and that his grain ;
For blooming plan ts,and flowers new-opening,thesfc
For lambs yean'd lately, and far-labouring bees :
To guard his stock each to the gods does call,
Uncertain where the fire-chargd clouds will fall :
E'en so the doubtful nations watch his arms,
With terror each expecting his alarms.
Where, Judah, where was now thy Lion's roar ?
Thou only couldst the captive lands restore;
But thou, with inbred broils and faction prest,
From Egypt need'st a guardian with the rest,
Thy prince from Sanhedrims no trust allow'd,
Too much tlie representers of the crowd.
Who for their own defence give no supply,
But what the Crown's prerogatives must buy ;
As if their monarch's rights to violate
More needful were, than to preserve the state !
From present dangers they divert their care,
And all their fears are of the royal heir ;
62 ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. Part 2.
Whom now the reigning malice of his foes
Uiijudg'd woul(J sentence, and ere crown'd, de-
Reli::ion the pretence, but their decree
To bar his reign, whateer his faith shall be !
By Sanhedrims and clamorous crowds thus prest,
What passions rent the righteous David's breast?
Who knows not how to' oppose or to comply,
Uiijiist to grant, and dangerous to deny !
Ht.w near in this dark jnncture Israel's fate,
Whose peace one sole expedient could create,
Whicii \et the' evtreniest virtue did require,
E en of that prince whose downfal they conspire!
Hi> absence David does with tears advise
To' ai-pcase their ra;:e : undaunted he complies.
Thus he w ho, prodigal of blood and ease,
A ro\al life expos'd to winds and seas,
At onre contending with the waves and fire,
And heading danger in the wars of Tyre,
Inglorious now forsake- his native sand,
And, like an exile, quits the Promis'd Land!
Our monarch scarce from pressing tears refrains,
A,.d painfully his royal state maintains,
Who now embracing on the' extremest shore
AiUiost revokes wliat he enjoin'd before j
ConcUides at last more trust to be allow'd
To storms and seas, than to the raging crowd !
Fornear, r.ish Muse, the parting scene to draw,
With silence charm'd as deep as theirs that saw !
Net only our attending nobles weep,
But hardy sailors swell witli tears the deep !
The tide reÂ»traiu'd her course, and more amaz'd,
The twin-star^ on the royal brothers gaz'd :
While this sole fear
Part 2. ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. 63
Does trouble to our suj&ering hero bring,
Lest next, the popular rage oppress the king !
Thus parting, each for the' other's danger griev'd
The shore the king, and seas the prince receiv'd.
Go, injur'd hero, while propitious gales,
Soft as thy consort's breath, inspire thy sails j
Well may she trust her beauties on a dood,
Where thy triumphant fleets so oft have rode!
Safe on thy breast reclin'd, her rest be deep,
Rock'd like a nereid by the waves asleep ;
While happiest dreams her fancy entertain,
And to Elysian fields convert the main !
Go, injur'd hero, while the shores of Tyre
At thy approach so silent shall admire.
Who on thy thunder still their thoughts employ,
And greet thy landing with a trembling joy.
On heroes thus the prophet's fate ;s thrown,
Admir'd by every nation but their own ;
Yet while our factious Jews his worth deny.
Their aching conscience gives their tongue the lie.
E'en in the worst of men the noblest parts
Confess him, and he triumphs in their hearts,
Whom to his king the best respects commend
Of subject, soldier, kinsman, prince, and friend ;
All sacred names of most divine esteem,
And to perfection all sustain'd by him ;
Wise, just, and constant, courtly without art,
Swift to discern, and to reward desert;
No hour of his in fruitless ease destroy'd,
But on the noblest subjects still empioy'd ;
Whose steady soul ne'er learn'd to separate
Between his monarch's interest and the state,
But heaps tho'^e blessings on the royal head.
Which he well knows must be on subjects shed.
64 ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. Part S.
On what pretence could then the vulgar rage
Ajiainst his worth and native rights engage ?
Religious fears their argument are made,
Religious fears his sacred rights invade !
Of future superstition they complain,
And Jebusitic worship in his reign ;
With such alarms his foes the crowd deceive.
With dangers fright, which not themselves believe.
Since nothing can our sacred rites remove,
Whate'er the faith of the successor prove,
Our Jews their ark shall undisturb'd retain,
At least while their religion is their gain.
Who know by old experience Baal's commands
Not only claim'd their conscience, but their lands ;
They grudge God's tithes, how, therefore, shall
An idol full possession of the field ? [they yield
Grant such a prince enthron'd, we must confess
The people's sufferings than that monarch's less,
Who must to hard conditions still be bound,
And for his quiet with the crowd compound j
Or should his thoughts to tyranny incline,
Where are the means to compass the design ?
Our crown's revenues are too short a store.
And jealous Sanhedrims would give no more.
As vain our fears of Egypt's potent aid ;
Not so has Pharaoh learn'd ambition's trade.
Nor ever with such measures can comply
As shock the common rules of policy ;
None dread like him the growth of Israel's king,
And he alone sufficient aids can bring;
Who knows that prince to Egypt can give law.
That on our stubborn tribes his yoke could draw,
At such profound expense he has not stood.
Nor dy'd for this his hands so deep in blood ;
Part 3. ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. 65
Would ne'er through wrong and right is progress
Grudge his own rest, and keep the world awake,
To fix a lawless prince on Judah's throne,
First to invade our rights, and then his own ;
His dear-gain'd conquests cheaply to despoil,
And reap the harvest of his crimes and toil.
We grant his wealth vast as our ocean's sand,
And curse its fatal influence on our land.
Which our brib'd Jews so numerously partake,
That ev'n an host his pensioners would make ;
From these deceivers our divisions spring.
Our weakness, and the growth of Egypt's king ;
These with pretended friendship to the state,
Our crowd's suspicion of their prince create.
Both pleas'd and frighten'd with the specious cry,
To guard their sacred rights and property :
To ruin thus the chosen flock are sold,
While tpolves are ta'en for guardians of the fold ;
Seduc'd by these we groundlessly complain.
And loath the manna of a gentle reign :
Thus our forefathers' crooked paths are trod,
We trust our prince no more than they their God.
But all in vain our reasoning prophets preach
To those whom sad experience ne'er could teach,
Who can commence new broils in bleeding scars,
And fresh remembrance of intestine wars ;
When the same household mortal foes did yield,
And brothers stain'd with brothers' blood the field ;
When sons' curs'd steel the fathers' gore did stain,
And mothers mourn'd for sons by fathers slain!
When thick as Egypt's locusts on the sand.
Our tribes lay slaughter'd through the Promis'd
66 ABS4L0M AND ACIIITOPHEL. Pwt 2.
Whose few survivors with worse fate remain,
To drag the bondage of a tyrant's reign :
Which scene of woes unknowing we renew,
And madiy, e'en those ills we fear, pursue ;
While Pharaoh laughs at our domestic broils,
And safely crowds his tents with nations' spoils ;
Yet our fierce Sanhedrim, in restless rage,
Against our absent hero still engage.
And chiefly urge (such did their frenzy prove,)
The only suit their prince forbids to move;
Which till obtain'd, they cease affairs of state.
And real dangers wave for groundless hate.
Long David's patience waits relief to bring,
With all the' indulirence of a lawful king ;
Expecting still the troubled waves would cease,
But found the raging billows still increase.
Tne crowd, whose insolence forbearance swells.
While he forgives too far, almost rebels :
At last his deep resentments silence broke,
The' imperial palace shook, w^hile thus he spoke :
" Then Justice wake, and Rigour take her time ;
For, lo! our mercy is become our crime.
While halting Punishment her stroke delays.
Our sovereign right, Heaven'ssacred trust, decays !
For whose support e'en subjects' interest calls ;
Woe to that kingdom where the monarch falls !
That prince who yields the least of regal sway,
So far his people's freedom does betray.
Right lives by law, and law subsists by pow'r;
Disarm the shepherd, wolves the flock devour.
Hard lot of empire o'er a stubborn race.
Which Heaven itself in vain has tried with grace !
When will our reason's long-charm'd eyes unclose,
And Israel judge between her friends and foes?
Part 2. ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. 67
When shall we see expir'd deceivers' sway,
And credit what our God and monarchs say ?
Dissembled patriots brib'd with Egypt's gold,
E'en Sanhedrims in blind obedience hold;
Those patriots' falsehood in their actions see.
And judge, by the pernicious fruit, the tree ;
If aught for which so loudly they declaim,
Religion, laws, and freedom, were their aim ;
Our senates in due methods they had led.
To' avoid those mischiefs which they seem'd to
But first, ere yet they prop'd the sinking state.
To' impeach and charge, as uig'd by private hate,
Proves that they ne'er believ'd the fears they prest,
But barbarously destroy'd the nation's rest!
O ! whither will ungovem'd Senates drive.
And to what bounds licentious votes arrive.
When their injustice we aie press'd to share ;
The monarch urg'd to' exclude the lawful heir?
Are princes thus distinguish'd from the crowd,
And this the privilege of royal blood ?
But grant we should confirm the w rongs they press,
His sufferings yet were than the people s less ;
Condemn'd for life the murdering sword to wield,
And on their heirs entail a bloody Meld :
Thus madly their own freedom they betray,
And for the' oppression which they fear make w ay ;
Succession fix'd by Heaven, the kingdom's bar,
Which, once dissolvd, admits the flood of war;
W^aste, rapine, spoil, without the assault begin,
And our mad tribes supplant the fence within.
Since then their good they will not understand,
'Tis time to take the monarch's power in hand ;
Authority and force to join with skill.
And save the lunatic against their will.
68 ABSALOM A\D ACHITOPHEL. Part 2.
The same rough means that 'swage the crowd,
Our senates, raging with the crowd's disease.
Henceforth unbias'd measures let them draw
From no false gloss, but genuine text of law ;
Nor urge those crimes upon Religion's score,
Themselves so much in Jebusites abhor.
Whom laws convict, and only they, shall bleed.
Nor Pharisees by Pharisees be freed ;
Impartial Justice from our throne shall show'r,
All shall have right, and we our sovereign
He said: the' attendants heard with awful joy,
And glad presages their fix'd thoughts employ.
From Hebron now the suffering heir return'd,
A realm that long wnth civil discord mourn'd,
Till his approach, like some arriving god,
Compos'd and heal'd the place of his abode,
The deluge check'd, that to Judea spread,
And stop'd sedition at the fountain's head.
Thus in forgiving David's paths he drives,
And, chas'd from Israel, Israel's peace contrives :
The field coufess'd his power in arms before,
And seas proclaim'd his triumphs to the shore :
As nobly has his sway in Hebron shown,
How^ fit to' inherit godlike David's throne.
Through Sion's streets his glad arrival's spread,
And conscious Faction shrinks her snaky head ;
His train their sufferings think o'erpaid, to sec
The crowds' applause with virtue once agree.
Success charms all, but zeal for worth distrest,
A virtue proper to the brave and best;
'Mongst whom was Jothran, Jothran always bent
To serve the Crown, and loyal by descent,
I'art 'i. AnSALOM AND ACrilTOPHEL. 69
Whose coustanGy so firm, and conduct just,
Deserv'd at once two royal masters' trust j
Who Tyre's proud arms had manfully withstood
On seas, and gather'd laurels from the flood ;
Of learning yet no portion was denied,
Friejid to tlie Muses, and the Muses' pride.
Nor can Benaiah's worth forgotten lie,
Of steady soul when public storms were high ;
Whose conduct, while the Moor fierce onsets made,
Secur'd at once our honour and our trade.
Such wei'e the chiefs who most his sufferings
And view'd with silent joy the prince return'dj
While those that sought his absence to betray,
Press first their nauseous false respects to pay ;
Him still the' officious hypocrites molest.
And with malicious duty break his rest.
While real transports thus his friends employ.
And foes are loud in their dissembled joy.
His triumphs, so resounded far and near,
Miss'd not his young ambitious rival's ear;
And, as when joyful hunters' clamorous train
Some slumbering lion wakes in Moab's plain.
Who oft had forc'd the bold assailants yield.
And scatter'd his pursuers through the field.
Disdaining, furls his mane, and tears the ground,
His eyes enflaming all the desert round,
With roar of seas directs his chaser's way.
Provokes from far, and dares them to the fray ;
Such rage storm'd now in Absalom's fierce breast.
Such indignation his fir'd eyes confest.
Where now was the instructor of his pride?
Slept the old pilot in so rough a tide ;
VOL. II. F
70 ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. I^att t^
Whose wiles had from the happy shore betray'd,
And thus on shelves the credulous youth convey'd ?
In deep-revolving thoughts he weighs his state,
Secure of craft, nor doubts to baffle Fate ;
At least, if his storm'd bark must go adrift.
To balk his charge, and for himself to shift,
In which his dextrous wit had oft been shown,
And in the wreck of kingdoms sav'd his own ;
But now, with more than common danger prest,
Of various resolutions stands possest,
Perceives the crowd's unstable zeal decay,
Lest their recanting chief the cause beti"ay,
Who on a father's grace his hopes may ground.
And for his pardon witli their heads compound. ^
Him, therefore, ere his fortune slip her time.
The statesman plots to' engage in some bold crime
Past pardon, whether to attempt his bed.
Or threat with open arms the royal head.
Or other daring method, and unjust,
That may confirm him in the people's trust.
But failing thus to' ensnare him, nor secure
How long his foil'd ambition may endure.
Plots next to lay him by, as past his date.
And try some new preteudei-'s luckier fate.
Whose hopes with equal toil he would pursue.
Nor cares what claimer's crown'd, except the true.
Wake, Absalom, approaching ruin shun,
And see, O see, for whom thou art undone !
How are thy honours and thy fame betray'd,
The property of desperate villains made?
Lost power and conscious fears their crimes cieate,
And guilt in them was little less than fate ;
But why shouldst thou, from every grievance free,
Forsake thv vinevards for their stoimv sea.'
Part 2. ABSALOM AND ACHITOPHEL. 71
For thee did Canaan's milk and honey flow,
Love dress'd thy bowers, and laurels sought thy
Preferment, wealth, and power, thy vassals were.
And of a monarch all things but the care.
Oh, should our crimes again that curse draw down,
And rebel arras once more attempt the crown,
Sure ruin waits unhappy Absalom,
Alike by conquest or defeat undone.
Who could relentless see such youth and charms
Expire with wretched fate, in impious arms ?
A prince so form'd with Earth's and Heaven's
To triumph o'er crown'd heads in David's cause ?
Or grant him victor, still his hopes must fail,
Who conquering, would not for himself prevail j
The faction whom he trusts for future sway,
Him and the public would alike betray ;
Amongst themselves divide the captive state,
And found their hydra-empire in his fate!
Thus having beat the clouds with painful flight,