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Achitophel, grown weary to possess
A lawful fame, and lazy happiness,
Disdained the golden fruit to gather free,
And lent the crowd his arm to shake the tree.
Now, manifest of crimes contrived long since,
He stood at bold defiance with his prince;
Held up the buckler of the people's cause
Against the crown, and skulked behind the laws.
The wished occasion of the plot he takes;
Some circumstances finds, but more he makes;
By buzzing emissaries fills the ears
Of listening crowds with jealousies and fears
Of arbitrary counsels brought to light,
And proves the king himself a Jebusite.
Weak arguments! which yet, he knew full well,
Were strong with people easy to rebel.
For, governed by the moon, the giddy Jews
Tread the same track when she the prime renews;
And once in twenty years their scribes record,
By natural instinct they change their lord.
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 everything by starts, and nothing long; But, in the course of one revolving moon, 550 Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon; Then all for women, painting, riming, drinking, Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. Blest madman, who could every hour employ, With something new to wish, or to enjoy! 555 Railing and praising were his usual themes; And both, to show his judgment, in extremes; So over violent, or over civil,
That every man with him was God or devil. In squandering wealth was his peculiar art; 560 Nothing went unrewarded but desert.
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;
565 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.
In this short file Barzillai first appears;
Barzillai, crowned with honour and with years.
Long since, the rising rebels he withstood
820 In regions waste beyond the Jordan's flood:
Unfortunately brave to buoy the state;
But sinking underneath his master's fate:
In exile with his godlike prince he mourned;
For him he suffered, and with him returned.
The court he practised, not the courtier's art:
Large was his wealth, but larger was his heart,
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.
His eldest hope, with every grace adorned,
By me, so heaven will have it, always mourned,
And always honoured, snatched in manhood's prime
By unequal fates, and providence's crime:
Yet not before the goal of honour won,
All parts fulfilled of subject and of son:
Swift was the race, but short the time to run.
Oh narrow circle, but of power divine,
Scanted in space, and perfect in thy line!
By sea, by land, thy matchless worth was known,
Arms thy delight, and war was all thy own:
Thy force infused the fainting Tyrians propped,
And haughty Pharaoh found his fortune stopped.
Oh ancient honour! Oh unconquered hand,
Whom foes unpunished never could withstand!
But Israel was unworthy of thy name:
Short is the date of all immoderate fame.
It looks as heaven our ruin had designed,
And durst not trust thy fortune and thy mind. 850 Now, free from earth, thy disencumbered soul
Mounts up, and leaves behind the clouds and starry pole: From thence thy kindred legions may'st thou bring, To aid the guardian angel of thy king.
Here stop, my muse; here cease thy painful flight; 855 No pinions can pursue immortal height:
Tell good Barzillai thou canst sing no more,
And tell thy soul she should have fled before:
Or fled she with his life, and left this verse
To hang on her departed patron's hearse?
860 Now take thy steepy flight from heaven, and see
If thou canst find on earth another he:
Another he would be too hard to find;
See then whom thou canst see not far behind.
A SONG FOR ST. CECILIA'S DAY
FROM harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began:
When nature underneath a heap.
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high,
"Arise, ye more than dead."
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And Music's power obey.
From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began;
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in man.
What passion cannot music raise and quell?
When Jubal struck the chorded shell,
His listening brethren stood around,
And, wondering, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound:
Less than a God they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell,
That spoke so sweetly, and so well. What passion cannot music raise and quell?
The trumpet's loud clangour
Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.
The double, double, double beat
Of the thundering drum,
Cries, hark! the foes come:
Charge, charge! 'tis too late to retreat.