Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
Absalom and Achitophel

  ’Tis 1 not my intention to make an Apology for my Poem: Some will think it needs no Excuse, and others will receive none. The Design, I am sure, is honest: but he who draws his Pen for one Party must expect to make Enemies of the other. For Wit and Fool are Consequents of Whig and Tory: and every man is a Knave or an Ass to the contrary side. There’s a Treasury of Merits in the Phanatick Church as well as in the Papist, and a Pennyworth to be had of Saintship, Honesty, and Poetry, for the Leud, the Factious, and the Blockheads: But the longest Chapter in Deuteronomy has not Curses enough for an Anti-Bromingham. My Comfort is, their manifest Prejudice to my Cause, will render their Judgment of less Authority against me. Yet if a Poem have a Genius, it will force its own reception in the World. For there’s a sweetness in good Verse, which Tickles even while it Hurts: And, no man can be heartily angry with him, who pleases him against his will. The Commendation of Adversaries, is the greatest Triumph of a Writer; because it never comes unless Extorted. But I can be satisfied on more easy terms: If I happen to please the more Moderate sort, I shall be sure of an honest Party; and, in all probability, 2 of the best Judges; for the least Concern’d are commonly the least Corrupt: And, I confess, I have laid in for those, by rebating the Satyre (where Justice would allow it), from carrying too sharp an Edge. They, who can Criticize so weakly, as to imagine I have done my Worst, may be Convinc’d at their own Cost that I can write Severely, with more ease, than I can Gently. I have but laugh’d at some mens Follies, when I coud have declaim’d against their Vices; and, other mens Vertues I have commended as freely as I have tax’d their Crimes. And now, if you are a Malicious Reader, I expect you should return upon me that I affect to be thought more Impartial than I am. But if men are not to be judg’d by their Professions, God forgive you Common-wealthsmen, for professing so plausibly for the Government. You cannot be so Unconscionable, as to charge me for not Subscribing of my Name; for that woud reflect too grosly upon your own Party, who never dare, though they have the advantage of a Jury to secure them. If you like not my Poem, the fault may possibly be in my Writing: (though ’tis hard for an Author to judge against himself;) But, more probably, ’tis in your Morals, which cannot bear the truth of it. The Violent on both sides will condemn the Character of Absalom, as either too favourably or too hardly drawn. But they are not the Violent whom I desire to please. The fault, on the right hand, is to Extenuate, Palliate, and Indulge; and, to confess freely, I have endeavoured to commit it. Besides the respect which I owe his Birth, I have a greater for his Heroick Vertues; and, David himself, coud not be more tender of the Young-man’s Life, than I woud be of his Reputation. But, since the most excellent Natures are always the most easy and, as being such, are the soonest perverted by ill Counsels, especially when baited with Fame and Glory, ’tis no more a wonder that he withstood not the temptations of Achitophel, than it was for Adam not to have resisted the two Devils, the Serpent and the Woman. The conclusion of the Story, I purposely forbore to prosecute; because, I could not obtain from my self to show Absalom Unfortunate. The Frame of it was cut out but for a Picture to the Waste; and if the Draught be so far true, ’tis as much as I design’d.
  Were I the Inventor, who am only 3 the Historian, I shoud certainly conclude the Piece, with the Reconcilement of Absalom to David. And, who knows but this may come to pass? Things were not brought to an Extremity where I left the Story: There seems yet to be room left for a Composure; hereafter, there may only be for Pity. I have not so much as an uncharitable Wish against Achitophel, but am content to be Accus’d of a good natur’d Errour; and to hope with Origen, that the Devil himself may, at last, be sav’d. For which reason, in this Poem, he is neither brought to set his House in order, nor to dispose of his Person afterwards, as he in wisdom shall think fit. God is infinitely merciful; and his Vicegerent is only 4 not so, because he is not Infinite.
  The true end of Satyre is the amendment of Vices by correction. And he who writes Honestly, is no more an Enemy to the Offender than the Physician to the Patient, when he prescribes harsh Remedies to an inveterate Disease: for those, are only in order to prevent the Chyrurgeon’s work of an Ense rescindendum, which I wish not to my very Enemies. To conclude all, If the Body Politique have any Analogy to the Natural, in my weak judgment, an Act of Oblivion were as necessary in a Hot, Distempered State, as an Opiate woud be in a Raging Fever. 5



IN pious times, e’r Priest-craft did begin,
Before Polygamy was made a Sin;
When Man on many multipli’d his kind,
E’r one to one was cursedly confin’d,
When Nature prompted and no Law deni’d        5
Promiscuous Use of Concubine and Bride;
Then Israel’s Monarch, after Heavens own heart,
His vigorous warmth did, variously, impart
To Wives and Slaves: And, wide as his Command,
Scatter’d his Maker’s Image through the Land.        10
Michal, of Royal Blood, the Crown did wear,
A soil ungrateful to the Tiller’s care:
Not so the rest; for several Mothers bore
To God-like David several sons before.
But since like Slaves his Bed they did ascend,        15
No True Succession could their Seed attend.
Of all this Numerous Progeny was none
So Beautiful so Brave as Absalon:
Whether, inspird by 6 some diviner Lust,
His father got him with a greater Gust,        20
Or that his Conscious Destiny made way
By manly Beauty to Imperial Sway.
Early in Foreign Fields he won Renown
With Kings and States allied to Israel’s Crown:
In Peace the thoughts of War he coud remove        25
And seem’d as he were onely born for Love.
What e’r he did was done with so much ease,
In him alone, ’twas Natural to please;
His motions all accompanied with grace;
And Paradise was open’d in his face.        30
With secret Joy, indulgent David view’d
His Youthful Image in his Son renew’d;
To all his wishes Nothing he deni’d
And made the Charming Annabel his Bride.
What faults he had (for who from faults is free?)        35
His father coud not or he woud not see.
Some warm excesses, which the Law forbore,
Were constru’d Youth that purg’d by boiling o’r:
And Amnon’s Murther, by a specious Name,
Was call’d a Just Revenge for injur’d Fame.        40
Thus Prais’d and Lov’d, the Noble Youth remain’d,
While David, undisturb’d, in Sion reign’d.
But Life can never be sincerely blest:
Heav’n punishes the bad, and proves the best.
The Jews, a Headstrong, Moody, Murm’ring race        45
As ever tri’d th’ extent and stretch of grace;
God’s pamper’d People, whom, debauch’d with ease,
No King could govern nor no God could please;
(Gods they had tri’d of every shape and size
That God-smiths could produce or Priests devise:)        50
These Adam-wits, too fortunately free,
Began to dream they wanted liberty;
And when no rule, no president was found
Of men, by Laws less circumscrib’d and bound;
They led their wild desires to Woods and Caves;        55
And thought that all but Savages were Slaves.
They who, when Saul was dead, without a blow
Made foolish Ishbosheth the Crown forgo;
Who banisht David did from Hebron bring,
And, with a General shout, proclaim’d him King:        60
Those very Jews who at their very best
Their Humour more than Loyalty exprest,
Now wondred why so long they had obey’d
An Idol-Monarch which their hands had made;
Thought they might ruine him they could create        65
Or melt him to that Golden Calf, a State.
But these were random Bolts: No form’d Design
Nor Interest made the Factious Croud to join:
The sober part of Israel, free from stain,
Well knew the value of a peaceful reign;        70
And, looking backward with a wise afright,
Saw Seams of wounds, dishonest to the sight:
In contemplation of whose ugly Scars,
They curst the memory of Civil Wars.
The moderate sort of Men, thus qualifi’d,        75
Inclin’d the Ballance to the better side;
And David’s mildness manag’d it so well,
The bad found no occasion to Rebel.
But, when to Sin our byast Nature leans,
The careful Devil is still at hand with means;        80
And providently Pimps for ill desires:
The Good Old Cause, reviv’d, a Plot requires,
Plots, true or false, are necessary things,
To raise up Common-wealths and ruin Kings.
  Th’ inhabitants of old Jerusalem,        85
Were Jebusites; the Town so call’d from them;
And their’s the Native right——
But when the chosen People grew more strong,
The rightful cause at length became the wrong;
And every loss the men of Jebus bore,        90
They still were thought God’s enemies the more.
Thus, worn and 7 weaken’d, well or ill content,
Submit they must to David’s Government:
Impoverish’t and depriv’d of all Command,
Their Taxes doubled as they lost their Land;        95
And, what was harder yet to flesh and blood,
Their Gods disgrac’d, and burnt like common Wood.
This set the Heathen Priesthood in a flame,
For Priests of all Religions are the same:
Of whatsoe’er descent their Godhead be,        100
Stock, Stone, or other homely Pedigree,
In his defence his Servants are as bold,
As if he had been born of beaten Gold.
The Jewish Rabbins, though their Enemies,
In this conclude them honest men and wise:        105
For ’twas their duty, all the Learned think,
T’ espouse his Cause by whom they eat and drink.
From hence began that Plot, the Nations Curse,
Bad in itself, but represented worse,
Rais’d in extremes, and in extremes decri’d,        110
With Oaths affirm’d, with dying Vows deni’d,
Not weigh’d or winnow’d by the Multitude,
But swallow’d in the Mass, unchewed and crude.
Some Truth there was, but dashed and brew’d with Lies;
To please the Fools, and puzzle all the Wise.        115
Succeeding Times did equal Folly call
Believing nothing or believing all
The Egyptian Rites the Jebusites embrac’d,
Where Gods were recommended by their taste.
Such sav’ry Deities must needs be good        120
As 8 serv’d at once for Worship and for Food.
By force they could not Introduce these Gods,
For Ten to One in former days was odds.
So Fraud was us’d, (the Sacrificers Trade,)
Fools are more hard to Conquer than Persuade.        125
Their busie Teachers mingled with the Jews
And rak’d for Converts even the Court and Stews:
Which Hebrew Priests the more unkindly took,
Because the Fleece accompanies the Flock.
Some thought they God’s Anointed meant to slay        130
By Guns, invented since full many a day:
Our Author swears it not; but who can know
How far the Devil and Jebusites may go?
This Plot, which fail’d for want of common Sense,
Had yet a deep and dangerous Consequence;        135
For as, when raging Fevers boil the Blood
The standing Lake soon floats into a Floud;
And ev’ry hostile Humour which before
Slept quiet in its Channels bubbles o’re:
So, several Factions from this first Ferment        140
Work up to Foam, and threat the Government.
Some by their Friends, more by themselves thought wise,
Oppos’d the Pow’r to which they could not rise.
Some had in Courts been Great and, thrown from thence,
Like Fiends were hardened in Impenitence.        145
Some, by their Monarch’s fatal mercy grown,
From Pardon’d Rebels, Kinsmen to the Throne
Were raised in Pow’r and Publick Office high;
Strong Bands, if Bands ungrateful men coud tie.
Of these the false Achitophel was first,        150
A Name to all succeeding Ages curst.
For close Designs and crooked Counsels 9 fit,
Sagacious, Bold, and Turbulent of wit,
Restless, unfixt in Principles 10 and Place,
In Pow’r unpleased, impatient of Disgrace;        155
A fiery Soul, which working out its way,
Fretted the Pigmy Body to decay:
And o’r informed the Tenement of Clay.
A daring Pilot in extremity;
Pleas’d with the Danger, when the Waves went high        160
He sought the Storms; but, for a Calm unfit,
Would Steer too nigh the Sands to boast his Wit.
Great Wits are sure to Madness near alli’d
And thin Partitions do their Bounds divide;
Else, why should he, with Wealth and Honour blest,        165
Refuse his Age the needful hours of Rest?
Punish a Body which he coud not please,
Bankrupt of Life, yet Prodigal of Ease?
And all to leave what with his Toil he won
To that unfeather’d two-legg’d thing, a Son:        170
Got, while his Soul did huddled Notions trie;
And born a shapeless Lump, like Anarchy.
In Friendship false, implacable in Hate,
Resolv’d to Ruine or to Rule the State;
To Compass this the Triple Bond he broke;        175
The Pillars of the Publick Safety shook,
And fitted Israel for a Foreign Yoke;
Then, seiz’d with Fear, yet still affecting Fame,
Usurp’d 11 a Patriot’s All-attoning Name.
So easie still it proves in Factious Times        180
With publick Zeal to cancel private Crimes:
How safe is Treason and how sacred ill, 12
Where none can sin against the Peoples Will,
Where Crouds can wink; and no offence be known,
Since in anothers guilt they find their own.        185
Yet, Fame deserv’d, no Enemy can grudge;
The Statesman we abhor, but praise the Judge.
In Israels courts ne’er sat an Abbethdin
With more discerning Eyes or Hands more clean,
Unbrib’d, unsought, the Wretched to redress;        190
Swift of Dispatch and easie of Access.
Oh, had he been content to serve the Crown
With Vertues onely proper to the Gown,
Or had the rankness of the Soil been freed
From Cockle that opprest the Noble Seed,        195
David for him his tuneful Harp had strung,
And Heav’n had wanted one Immortal Song.
But wild Ambition loves to slide, not stand,
And Fortunes Ice prefers to Vertues Land.
Achitophel, grown weary to possess        200
A lawful Fame, and lazie Happiness,
Disdain’d the Golden Fruit to gather free
And lent the Crowd his Arm to shake the Tree.
Now, manifest of Crimes, contriv’d long since,
He stood at bold Defiance with his Prince:        205
Held up the Buckler of the Peoples Cause
Against the Crown; and sculk’d behind the Laws.
The wish’d occasion of the Plot he takes;
Some Circumstances finds, but more he makes.
By buzzing Emissaries, fills the ears        210
Of listening Crouds, 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 easie to Rebel.        215
For, govern’d 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.
Achitophel still wants a Chief, and none        220
Was found so fit as Warlike Absalon:
Not, that he wish’d his Greatness to create,
(For Polititians neither love nor hate:)
But, for he knew his Title not allow’d,
Would keep him still depending on the Croud,        225
That Kingly pow’r, thus ebbing out, might be
Drawn to the Dregs of a Democracie.
Him he attempts with studied Arts to please
And sheds his Venome in such words as these.
  Auspicious Prince! at whose Nativity        230
Some Royal Planet rul’d the Southern Sky;
Thy longing Countries Darling and Desire,
Their cloudy Pillar, and their guardian Fire,
Their second Moses, whose extended Wand
Divides 13 the Seas and shows the promis’d Land,        235
Whose dawning Day, in every distant Age,
Has exercised the Sacred Prophets rage,
The Peoples Pray’r, the glad Diviners Theam,
The Young mens Vision and the Old mens Dream!
Thee, Saviour, Thee the Nations Vows confess;        240
And, never satisfi’d with seeing, bless:
Swift, unbespoken Pomps, thy steps proclaim,
And stammering Babes are taught to lisp thy Name.
How long wilt thou the general Joy detain;
Starve, and defraud the People of thy Reign?        245
Content ingloriously to pass thy days,
Like one of Vertues Fools that Feeds on Praise;
Till thy fresh Glories, which now shine so bright,
Grow Stale and Tarnish with our dayly sight.
Believe me, Royal Youth, thy Fruit must be        250
Or gather’d Ripe, or rot upon the Tree.
Heav’n has to all allotted, soon or late,
Some lucky Revolution of their Fate:
Whose Motions, if we watch and guide with Skill,
(For humane Good depends on humane Will,)        255
Our Fortune rolls as from a smooth Descent
And, from the first impression, takes the Bent;
But, if unseiz’d, she glides away like wind;
And leaves repenting Folly far behind.
Now, now she meets you with a glorious prize        260
And spreads her Locks before her as she flies.
Had thus Old David, from whose Loins you spring,
Not dar’d, when Fortune call’d him, to be King,
At Gath an Exile he might still remain,
And Heavens Anointing Oil had been in vain.        265
Let his successful Youth your hopes engage,
But shun th’ example of Declining Age.
Behold him setting in his Western Skies,
The Shadows lengthening as the Vapours rise.
He is not now, as when, on Jordan’s Sand,        270
The Joyful People throng’d to see him Land,
Cov’ring the Beach and blackning all the Strand:
But like the Prince of Angels, from his height,
Comes tumbling downward with diminish’d light:
Betray’d by one poor Plot to publick Scorn,        275
(Our onely blessing since his curst Return,)
Those heaps of People which one Sheaf did bind,
Blown off and scatter’d by a puff of Wind.
What strength can he to your Designs oppose,
Naked of Friends, and round beset with Foes?        280
If Pharaoh’s doubtful succour he should use,
A Foreign Aid would more incense the Jews:
Proud Egypt woud dissembled Friendship bring;
Foment the War, but not support the King:
Nor woud the Royal Party e’r unite        285
With Pharaoh’s arms t’ assist the Jebusite;
Or if they shoud, their Interest soon would break,
And, with such odious Aid, make David weak.
All sorts of men, by my successful Arts
Abhorring Kings, estrange their altered Hearts        290
From David’s Rule: And ’tis the general Cry,
Religion, Common-wealth, and Liberty.
If you, as Champion of the Publique Good,
Add to their Arms a Chief of Royal Blood;
What may not Israel hope, and what Applause        295
Might such a General gain by such a Cause?
Not barren Praise alone, that Gaudy Flow’r,
Fair onely to the sight, but solid Pow’r:
And Nobler is a limited Command,
Giv’n by the Love of all your Native Land,        300
Than a Successive Title, Long, and Dark,
Drawn from the Mouldy Rolls of Noah’s ark.
  What cannot Praise effect in Mighty Minds,
When Flattery Sooths and when Ambition Blinds!
Desire of Pow’r, on Earth a Vitious Weed,        305
Yet, sprung from High is of Cœlestial Seed;
In God ’tis Glory: And when Men Aspire,
’Tis but a Spark too much of Heavenly Fire.
Th’ Ambitious Youth, too Covetous of Fame,
Too full of Angels Metal in his Frame,        310
Unwarily was led from Vertues ways,
Made Drunk with Honour, and debauch’d with Praise.
Half loath and half consenting to the Ill,
(For Loyal Blood within him strugled still,)
He thus repli’d—And what Pretence have I        315
To take up Arms for Publick Liberty?
My Father Governs with unquestion’d Right;
The Faiths Defender and Mankinds Delight,
Good, Gracious, Just, observant of the Laws;
And Heav’n by Wonders has espous’d his Cause.        320
Whom has he Wrong’d in all his Peaceful Reign?
Who sues for Justice to his Throne in Vain?
What Millions has he pardoned of his Foes
Whom Just Revenge did to his Wrath expose?
Mild, Easie, Humble, Studious of our Good,        325
Enclin’d to Mercy, and averse from Blood.
If Mildness Ill with Stubborn Israel Suit,
His Crime is God’s beloved Attribute.
What could he gain, his People to Betray
Or change his Right, for Arbitrary Sway?        330
Let Haughty Pharaoh Curse with such a Reign
His Fruitful Nile, and Yoak a Servile Train.
If David’s Rule Jerusalem Displease,
The Dog-star heats their Brains to this Disease.
Why then should I, Encouraging the Bad,        335
Turn Rebel and run Popularly Mad?
Were he a Tyrant who, by Lawless Might,
Opprest the Jews and rais’d the Jebusite,
Well might I Mourn; but Nature’s holy Bands
Would Curb my Spirits, and Restrain my Hands;        340
The People might assert their Liberty;
But what was Right in them, were Crime in me.
His Favour leaves me nothing to require;
Prevents my Wishes and out-runs Desire
What more can I expect while David lives?        345
All but his Kingly Diadem he gives:
And that: But there he paus’d; then Sighing, said,
Is Justly destin’d for a Worthier head.
For when my Father from his Toyls shall Rest
And late Augment the Number of the Blest:        350
His Lawful Issue shall the Throne ascend,
Or the Collat’ral Line, where that shall end.
His Brother, though Opprest with Vulgar Spight,
Yet Dauntless and Secure of Native Right,
Of every Royal Vertue stands possest;        355
Still Dear to all the Bravest and the Best.
His Courage Foes, his Friends his Truth Proclaim;
His Loyalty the King, the World his Fame.
His Mercy ev’n th’ Offending Croud will find,
For sure he comes of a Forgiving Kind.        360
Why should I then Repine at Heavens Decree
Which gives me no Pretence to Royalty?
Yet oh that Fate, Propitiously Inclin’d,
Had rais’d my Birth, or had debas’d my Mind;
To my large Soul, not all her Treasure lent,        365
And then betrai’d it to a mean Descent.
I find, I find my mounting Spirits Bold,
And David’s part disdains my Mothers Mold.
Why am I scanted by a Niggard Birth?
My soul Disclaims the Kindred of her Earth:        370
And, made for Empire, Whispers me within;
Desire of Greatness is a God-like Sin.
  Him Staggering so when Hells dire Agent found,
While fainting Vertue scarce maintain’d her Ground,
He pours fresh Forces in, and thus Replies:        375
Th’ eternal God, Supreamly Good and Wise,
Imparts not these Prodigious Gifts in vain;
What Wonders are Reserv’d to bless your Reign?
Against your will your Arguments have shown,
Such Vertue’s only giv’n to guide a Throne.        380
Not that your Father’s Mildness I contemn,
But manly Force becomes the Diadem.
’Tis true he grants the People all they crave;
And more perhaps than Subjects ought to have:
For Lavish Grants suppose a Monarch tame        385
And more his Goodness than his Wit proclaim.
But when should People strive their Bonds to break,
If not when Kings are Negligent or Weak?
Let him give on till he can give no more,
The thrifty Sanhedrin shall keep him poor:        390
And every Sheckle which he can receive
Shall cost a Limb of his Prerogative.
To ply him with new Plots shall be my care;
Or plunge him deep in some Expensive War;
Which, when his Treasure can no more supply,        395
He must, with the Remains of Kingship, buy.
His faithful Friends our Jealousies and Fears
Call Jebusites; and Pharaoh’s Pensioners,
Whom, when our Fury from his Aid has torn,
He shall be naked left to publick Scorn.        400
The next Successor, whom I fear and hate,
My Arts have made obnoxious to the State;
Turn’d all his Vertues to his Overthrow,
And gain’d our Elders to pronounce a Foe.
His Right, for Sums of necessary Gold,        405
Shall first be Pawn’d, and afterwards be Sold;
Till time shall Ever-wanting David draw,
To pass your doubtful Title into Law.
If not; the People have a Right Supreme
To make their Kings; for Kings are made for them.        410
All Empire is no more than Pow’r in Trust,
Which, when resum’d, can be no longer Just.
Succession, for the general Good design’d,
In its own wrong a Nation cannot bind:
If altering that, the People can relieve,        415
Better one suffer, than a Nation 14 grieve.
The Jews well know their pow’r: e’r Saul they chose
God was their King, and God they durst Depose.
Urge now your Piety, your Filial Name,
A Father’s Right and Fear of future Fame;        420
The Publick Good, that Universal Call,
To which even Heav’n submitted, answers all.
Nor let his Love enchant your generous Mind;
’Tis Natures trick to propagate her Kind.
Our fond Begetters, who would never die,        425
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 he loved your Father; coud he bring
A better Proof than to anoint him King?        430
It surely shew’d, He lov’d the Shepherd well
Who gave so fair a Flock as Israel.
Would David have you thought his Darling Son?
What means he then, to Alienate the Crown?
The name of Godly he may blush to bear:        435
’Tis 15 after Gods own heart to Cheat his Heir.
He to his Brother gives Supreme Command;
To you a Legacie of Barren Land:
Perhaps th’ old Harp on which he thrums his Lays:
Or some dull Hebrew Ballad in your Praise.        440
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 Peoples Hearts.
Though now his mighty Soul its Grief contains;        445
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:        450
Till at the last, his time for Fury found,
He shoots with sudden Vengeance from the Ground:
The Prostrate Vulgar, passes o’r and Spares;
But with a Lordly Rage, his Hunters tears;
Your Case no tame Expedients will afford;        455
Resolve on Death, or Conquest by the Sword,
Which for no less a Stake than Life, you Draw,
And Self-defence is Natures Eldest Law.
Leave the warm People no Considering time;
For then Rebellion may be thought a Crime.        460
Prevail 16 your self of what Occasion gives,
But trie 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 minute woud Expose,        465
To Plots, from seeming Friends and secret Foes.
And who can sound the depth of David’s Soul?
Perhaps his fear, his kindness may Controul.
He fears his Brother, though he loves his Son,
For plighted Vows too late to be undone.        470
If so, by Force he wishes to be gain’d,
Like Womens Leachery to seem Constrain’d:
Doubt not; but, when he most affects the Frown,
Commit a pleasing Rape upon the Crown.
Secure his Person to secure your Cause;        475
They who possess the Prince, possess the Laws.
  He said, And this Advice above the rest
With Absalom’s Mild Nature suited best;
Unblamed of Life (Ambition set aside,)
Not stain’d with Cruelty, nor puft with pride.        480
How happy had he been, if Destiny
Had higher placed his Birth, or not so high!
His Kingly Vertues might have claim’d a Throne
And blest all other Countries but his own:
But charming Greatness, since so few refuse;        485
’Tis Juster to Lament him, than Accuse.
Strong were his hopes a Rival to remove,
With Blandishments to gain the publick Love,
To Head the Faction while their Zeal was hot,
And Popularly Prosecute the Plot.        490
To farther this, Achitophel Unites
The Malecontents of all the Israelites:
Whose differing Parties he could wisely Join
For several Ends, to serve the same Design.
The Best, and of the Princes some were such,        495
Who thought the pow’r of Monarchy too much:
Mistaken Men, and Patriots in their Hearts;
Not Wicked, but seduc’d by Impious Arts.
By these the Springs of Property were bent,
And wound so high, they Crack’d the Government.        500
The next for Interest sought t’ embroil the State,
To sell their Duty at a dearer rate;
And make their Jewish Markets of the Throne;
Pretending Publick Good, to serve their own.
Others thought Kings an useless heavy Load,        505
Who Cost too much, and did too little Good.
These were for laying Honest David by
On Principles of pure good Husbandry.
With them join’d all th’ Haranguers of the Throng
That thought to get Preferment by the Tongue.        510
Who follow next, a double danger bring,
Not onely hating David, but the King;
The Solymæan Rout; well Vers’d of old
In Godly Faction, and in Treason bold;
Cowring and Quaking at a Conqu’ror’s Sword,        515
But Lofty to a Lawful Prince Restored;
Saw with Disdain an Ethnick Plot begun
And Scorned by Jebusites to be Out-done.
Hot Levites Headed these; who pul’d before
From th’ Ark, which in the Judges days they bore,        520
Resum’d their Cant, and with a Zealous Crie
Pursu’d their old belov’d Theocracie.
Where Sanhedrin and Priest enslav’d the Nation
And justifi’d their Spoils by Inspiration:
For 17 who so fit for Reign as Aaron’s Race,        525
If once Dominion they could found in Grace?
These led the Pack; though not of surest scent,
Yet deepest mouth’d against the Government.
A numerous Host of dreaming Saints succeed;
Of the true old Enthusiastick Breed:        530
’Gainst Form and Order they their Pow’r imploy.
Nothing to Build, and all things to Destroy.
But far more numerous was the Herd of such,
Who think too little, and who talk too much.
These, out of meer instinct, they knew not why,        535
Adored their Fathers’ God, and Property:
And, by the same blind Benefit of Fate,
The Devil and the Jebusite did hate:
Born to be sav’d, even in their own despight;
Because they could not help believing right.        540
Such were the Tools; but a whole Hydra more
Remains, of sprouting heads too long 18 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 seem’d to be        545
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 Chymist, Fidler, States-man, and Buffoon;        550
Then all for Women, Painting, Rhiming, Drinking,
Besides ten thousand Freaks that died in thinking.
Blest Madman, who coud every hour employ,
With something New to wish, or to enjoy!
Railing and praising were his usual Theams;        555
And both (to shew his Judgment) in Extreams:
So over Violent, or over Civil,
That every Man, with him, was God or Devil.
In squandring Wealth was his peculiar Art:
Nothing went unrewarded, but Desert.        560
Begger’d by fools, whom still he found too late:
He had his Jest, and they had his Estate.
He laugh’d himself from Court; then sought Relief
By forming Parties, but could ne’r be Chief:
For, spight of him, the weight of Business fell        565
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 Reherse
Of Lords, below the Dignity of Verse.        570
Wits, Warriors, Commonwealths-men were the best:
Kind Husbands and meer 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 damn,        575
Who made new Porridge for the Paschal Lamb.
Let Friendships holy Band some Names assure,
Some their own Worth, and some let Scorn secure.
Nor shall the Rascal Rabble here have Place,
Whom Kings no Titles gave, and God no Grace:        580
Not Bull-fac’d Jonas, who coud Statutes draw
To mean Rebellion, and make Treason Law.
But he, though bad, is follow’d by a worse,
The Wretch, who Heav’ns Anointed dar’d to Curse.
Shimei, whose Youth did early Promise 19 bring        585
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.        590
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, chose him Magistrate:
His Hand a Vare 20 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 lov’d his wicked Neighbour as himself:        600
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 Curst the King when he was by,
Woud rather Curse, than break good Company.        605
If any durst his Factious Friends accuse,
He pact a jury of dissenting Jews:
Whose fellow-feeling, in the godly Cause
Would free the suff’ring Saint from Humane Laws.
For Laws are onely made to Punish those        610
Who serve the King, and to protect his Foes.
If any leisure time he had from Pow’r,
(Because ’tis Sin to misimploy an hour;)
His bus’ness was by Writing to persuade
That kings were Useless, and a Clog to Trade:        615
And that his noble Stile he might refine,
No Rechabite more shund the fumes of Wine.
Chaste were his Cellars; and his Shrieval Board
The Grossness of a City Feast abhor’d:
His Cooks, with long disuse, their Trade forgot;        620
Cool was his Kitchin, though his Brains were hot.
Such frugal Vertue Malice may accuse;
But sure ’twas necessary to the Jews:
For Towns once burnt, such Magistrates require
As dare not tempt Gods Providence by Fire.        625
With Spiritual Food he fed his Servants well,
But free from Flesh that made the Jews rebel:
And Moses’s Laws he held in more account,
For forty days of Fasting in the Mount.
To speak the rest, who better are forgot,        630
Would tire a well-breath’d Witness of the Plot:
Yet, Corah, thou shalt from Oblivion pass;
Erect thy self thou Monumental Brass:
High as the Serpent of thy Metal made,
While Nations stand secure beneath thy shade.        635
What though his Birth were base, yet Comets rise
From Earthy Vapours, e’r they shine in Skies.
Prodigious Actions may as well be done
By Weaver’s issue as by Prince’s son.
This Arch-Attestor for the Publick Good        640
By that one Deed enobles all his Bloud.
Who ever ask’d the Witnesses high race
Whose Oath with Martyrdom did Stephen grace?
Ours was a Levite, and as times went then,
His tribe were God-almighties Gentlemen.        645
Sunk were his Eyes, his Voice was harsh and loud,
Sure signs he neither Cholerick was, nor Proud:
His long Chin prov’d his Wit; his Saint-like Grace
A Church Vermilion, and a Moses’s Face.
His Memory, miraculously great,        650
Coud Plots, exceeding mans belief, repeat;
Which, therefore cannot be accounted Lies,
For humane Wit coud never such devise.
Some future Truths are mingled in his Book;
But where the Witness fail’d, the Prophet spoke:        655
Some things like Visionary flights appear;
The Spirit caught him up, the Lord knows where:
And gave him his Rabinical degree,
Unknown to Foreign University.
His Judgment yet his Mem’ry did excel,        660
Which piec’d his wondrous Evidence so well:
And suited to the temper of the Times;
Then groaning under Jebusitick Crimes.
Let Israels foes suspect his Heav’nly call,
And rashly judge his Writ Apocryphal;        665
Our Laws for such affronts have Forfeits made:
He takes his Life, who takes away his Trade.
Were I myself in Witness Corah’s place,
The Wretch who did me such a dire disgrace
Should whet my memory, though once forgot,        670
To make him an Appendix of my Plot.
His Zeal to Heav’n, made him his Prince despise,
And load his Person with indignities:
But Zeal peculiar priviledge affords,
Indulging latitude to deeds and words:        675
And Corah might for Agag’s murther call,
In terms as course as Samuel us’d to Saul.
What others in his Evidence did join,
(The best that coud be had for love or coin,)
In Corah’s own predicament will fall.        680
For Witness is a Common Name to all.
  Surrounded thus with Friends of every sort,
Deluded Absalom forsakes the Court:
Impatient of high hopes, urg’d with renown,
And Fir’d with near possession of a Crown.        685
The admiring Croud are dazled with surprize
And on his goodly person feed their eyes:
His joy conceal’d, 21 he sets himself to show;
On each side bowing popularly low:
His looks, his gestures, and his words he frames        690
And with familiar ease repeats their Names.
Thus, form’d by Nature, furnished out with Arts,
He glides unfelt into their secret hearts:
Then with a kind compassionating look,
And sighs, bespeaking pity e’r he spoke,        695
Few words he said, but easie those and fit,
More slow than Hybla drops, and far more sweet.
  I mourn, my Country-men, your lost Estate,
Though far unable to prevent your Fate:
Behold a Banish’d man, for your dear cause        700
Expos’d a prey to Arbitrary Laws!
Yet oh! that I alone coud be undone,
Cut off from Empire, and no more a Son!
Now all your Liberties a spoil are made;
Egypt and Tyrus intercept your Trade,        705
And Jebusites your Sacred Rites invade.
My Father, whom with reverence yet I name,
Charm’d into Ease, is careless of his Fame:
And, brib’d with petty sums of Foreign Gold,
Is grown in Bathsheba’s Embraces old:        710
Exalts his Enemies, his Friends destroys,
And all his pow’r against himself imploys.
He gives, and let him give my right away;
But why should he his own and yours betray?
He onely, he can make the Nation bleed,        715
And he alone from my revenge is freed.
Take then my tears (with that he wiped his Eyes)
’Tis all the Aid my present pow’r supplies:
No Court-Informer can these Arms accuse;
These Arms may Sons against their Fathers use;        720
And, ’tis my wish, the next Successor’s reign
May make no other Israelite complain.
  Youth, Beauty, Graceful Action seldom fail:
But Common Interest always will prevail:
And pity never Ceases to be shown        725
To him, who makes the Peoples wrongs his own.
The Croud, (that still believe their Kings oppress,)
With lifted hands their young Messiah bless:
Who now begins his Progress to ordain
With Chariots, Horsemen, and a num’rous train;        730
From East to West his Glories he displays:
And, like the Sun, the Promis’d Land surveys.
Fame runs before him as the Morning-Star,
And shouts of Joy salute him from afar:
Each house receives him as a Guardian God;        735
And Consecrates the Place of his abode:
But hospitable Treats did most commend
Wise Issachar, his wealthy Western Friend.
This moving Court that caught the Peoples Eyes,
And seem’d but Pomp, did other Ends disguise:        740
Achitophel had form’d it, with intent
To sound the depths, 22 and fathom where it went,
The Peoples hearts distinguish Friends from Foes;
And trie their strength before they came to Blows.
Yet all was colour’d with a smooth pretence        745
Of specious love, and duty to their Prince.
Religion, and Redress of Grievances,
Two names, that always cheat and always please,
Are often urg’d; and good King David’s life
Endanger’d by a Brother and a Wife.        750
Thus, in a Pageant Shew, a Plot is made;
And Peace it self is War in Masquerade.
Oh foolish Israel! never warn’d by Ill:
Still the same Bait, and circumvented still!
Did ever men forsake their present ease,        755
In midst of health imagine a Disease;
Take pains Contingent mischiefs to foresee,
Make Heirs for Monarchs, and for God decree?
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 unquestion’d can those Laws destroy.
Yet if the Croud be Judge of Fit and Just,        765
And Kings are onely Officers in Trust,
Then this resuming Cov’nant was declar’d
When Kings were made, or is for ever bar’d:
If those who gave the Scepter, coud not tie
By their own Deed their own Posterity,        770
How then coud Adam bind his future Race?
How coud his Forfeit on Mankind take place?
Or how coud heavenly Justice damn us all
Who ne’r consented to our Fathers Fall?
Then Kings are Slaves to those whom they command,        775
And Tenants to their Peoples pleasure stand.
Add that the Pow’r, 23 for Property allow’d,
Is mischievously seated in the Croud;
For who can be secure of private Right,
If Sovereign Sway may be dissolv’d by Might?        780
Nor is the Peoples Judgment always true:
The Most may err as grosly as the Few.
And faultless Kings run down, by Common Cry,
For Vice, Oppression, and for Tyranny.
What Standard is there in a fickle rout,        785
Which, flowing to the Mark, runs faster out?
Nor onely crouds, but Sanhedrins may be
Infected with this publick Lunacy:
And Share the madness of Rebellious Times,
To Murther Monarchs for Imagin’d crimes.        790
If they may Give and Take when e’r they please,
Not Kings alone, (the Godheads Images,)
But Government it self at length must fall
To Natures state, where all have Right to all.
Yet, grant our Lords the People, Kings can make,        795
What prudent men a setled Throne woud shake?
For whatsoe’r their Sufferings were before,
That Change they Covet makes them suffer more.
All other Errors but disturb a State;
But Innovation is the Blow of Fate.        800
If ancient Fabricks nod, and threat to fall,
To Patch the Flaws, 24 and Buttress up the Wall,
Thus far ’tis Duty; but here fix the Mark:
For all beyond it is to touch our 25 Ark.
To change Foundations, cast the Frame anew,        805
Is work for Rebels who base Ends pursue:
At once Divine and Humane Laws controul,
And mend the Parts by ruine of the Whole.
The tamp’ring World is subject to this Curse,
To Physick their Disease into a Worse.        810
  Now what Relief can Righteous David bring?
How Fatal ’tis to be too good a King!
Friends he has few, so high the madness grows;
Who dare be such, must be the People’s Foes:
Yet some there were ev’n in the worst of days;        815
Some let me name, and Naming is to praise.
  In this short File Barzillai first appears;
Barzillai crown’d with Honour and with Years:
Long since, the rising Rebels he withstood
In Regions Waste, beyond the Jordans Flood:        820
Unfortunately Brave to buoy the State;
But sinking underneath his Master’s Fate:
In Exile with his God-like Prince he Mourn’d,
For him he Suffer’d, and with him Return’d.
The Court he practis’d, not the Courtier’s Art:        825
Large was his Wealth, but larger was his Heart:
Which, well the Noblest Objects knew to chuse,
The Fighting Warriour, and Recording Muse.
His Bed coud once a Fruitful Issue boast:
Now more than half a Father’s Name is lost.        830
His Eldest Hope, with every Grace adorn’d,
By me (so Heav’n will have it) always Mourn’d
And always honour’d, snatch’d in manhoods prime
B’ unequal Fates and Providences crime:
Yet not before the Goal of Honour won,        835
All Parts fulfill’d of Subject and of Son;
Swift was the Race, but short the Time to run.
Oh Narrow Circle, but of Pow’r Divine,
Scanted in Space, but perfect in thy Line!
By Sea, by Land, thy Matchless Worth was known;        840
Arms thy Delight, and War was all thy Own:
Thy force, Infus’d, the fainting Tyrians prop’d;
And haughty Pharaoh found his Fortune stop’d.
Oh Ancient Honour, Oh unconquered Hand,
Whom Foes unpunish’d never coud withstand!        845
But Israel was unworthy of thy Name: 26
Short is the date of all Immoderate Fame. 27
It looks as Heav’n our Ruine had design’d,
And durst not trust thy Fortune and thy Mind.
Now, free from Earth, thy disencumbred Soul        850
Mounts up, and leaves behind the Clouds and Starry Pole:
From thence thy kindred Legions maist thou bring,
To aid the Guardian Angel of thy King.
Here stop my Muse, here cease thy painful flight;
No pinions can pursue Immortal height:        855
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 Herse?
Now take thy steepy flight from Heav’n, and see        860
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.
Zadock the priest, whom, shunning Pow’r and Place,
His lowly mind advanc’d to David’s Grace:        865
With him the Sagan of Jerusalem,
Of hospitable Soul and noble Stem;
Him of the Western dome, whose weighty sense
Flows in fit words and heavenly eloquence.
The Prophets Sons, by such Example led,        870
To Learning and to Loyalty were bred:
For Colleges on bounteous Kings depend,
And never Rebel was to Arts a Friend.
To these succeed the Pillars of the Laws,
Who best coud plead, and best can 28 judge a Cause.        875
Next them a train of Loyal Peers ascend:
Sharp judging Adriel, the Muses Friend,
Himself a Muse:—In Sanhedrins debate
True to his Prince, but not a Slave of State.
Whom David’s love with Honours did adorn,        880
That from his disobedient Son were torn.
Jotham of piercing 29 Wit and pregnant Thought,
Endew’d by nature and by learning taught
To move Assemblies, who but onely tri’d
The worse a while, then chose the better side;        885
Nor chose alone, but turned the Balance too;
So much the weight of one brave man can do.
Hushai the friend of David in distress,
In publick storms of manly stedfastness;
By Foreign Treaties he inform’d his Youth;        890
And join’d Experience to his Native Truth.
His frugal care suppli’d the wanting Throne;
Frugal for that, but bounteous of his own:
’Tis easie Conduct when Exchequers flow;
But hard the task to manage well the low:        895
For Sovereign Power is too deprest or high,
When Kings are forced to sell, or Crouds to buy.
Indulge one labour more, my weary Muse,
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 rul’d,
Their Reason guided, and their Passion cool d:
So dextrous was he in the Crown’s defence,
So form’d to speak a Loyal Nations Sense,        905
That, as their Band was Israels Tribes in small,
So fit was he to represent them all.
Now rasher Charioteers the Seat ascend,
Whose loose Carriers his steady Skill commend:
They, like th’ unequal Ruler of the Day,        910
Misguide the Seasons, and mistake the Way;
While he withdrawn at their mad Labour smiles
And safe enjoys the Sabbath of his Toils.
  These were the chief; a small but faithful Band
Of Worthies in the Breach who dar’d to stand        915
And tempt th’ united Fury of the Land.
With grief they view’d such powerful Engines bent
To batter down the lawful Government.
A numerous Faction with pretended frights,
In Sanhedrins to plume the Regal Rights.        920
The true Successor from the Court removed:
The plot, by hireling Witnesses improv’d.
These Ills they saw, and, as their Duty bound,
They shew’d the King the danger of the Wound:
That no Concessions from the Throne woud please;        925
But Lenitives fomented the Disease;
That Absalom, ambitious of the Crown,
Was made the Lure to draw the People down:
That false Achitophel’s pernitious Hate
Had turn’d the Plot to ruine Church and State;        930
The Council violent, the Rabble worse:
That Shimei taught Jerusalem to Curse.
  With all these loads of Injuries opprest,
And long revolving in his careful Brest
Th’ event of things; at last his patience tir’d,        935
Thus from his Royal Throne, by Heav’n inspir’d,
The God-like David spoke; with awful fear
His Train their Maker in their Master hear.
  Thus long have I by Native Mercy sway’d,
My Wrongs dissembl’d, my Revenge delay’d;        940
So willing to forgive th’ Offending Age;
So much the Father did the King asswage.
But now so far my Clemency they slight,
Th’ Offenders question my Forgiving Right.
That one was made for many, they contend;        945
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.        950
Those heap’d Affronts that haughty Subjects bring,
Are burdens for a Camel, not a King:
Kings are the publick Pillars of the State,
Born to sustain and prop the Nations weight:
If my young Sampson will pretend a Call        955
To shake the Column, let him share the Fall:
But oh that yet he woud repent and live!
How easie ’tis for Parents to forgive!
With how few Tears a Pardon might be won
From Nature, pleading for a Darling Son! 30        960
Poor pitied youth, by my Paternal care,
Rais’d up to all the Height his Frame coud bear:
Had God ordain’d his Fate for Empire born,
He woud have giv’n his Soul another turn:
Gull’d with a Patriot’s name, whose Modern sense        965
Is one that woud by Law supplant 31 his Prince:
The Peoples Brave, the Politicians Tool;
Never was Patriot yet, but was a Fool.
Whence comes it that Religion and the Laws
Should more be Absalom’s than David’s Cause?        970
His old Instructor, e’r he lost his Place,
Was never thought indu’d with so much Grace.
Good heav’ns, how Faction can a Patriot Paint!
My Rebel ever proves my Peoples Saint:
Woud They impose an Heir upon the Throne?        975
Let Sanhedrins be taught to give their Own.
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 t’ 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 Pow’r away.
From Plots and Treasons Heav’n 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 Crave.
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:
Votes shall no more Established Pow’r controul,
Such Votes as make a Part exceed the Whole:
No groundless Clamours shall my Friends remove        995
Nor Crouds have pow’r to Punish e’r they Prove;
For Gods and God-like kings their Care express,
Still to defend their Servants in distress.
Oh that my Pow’r to Saving were confin’d:
Why am I forc’d, like Heav’n, against my mind,        1000
To make Examples of another Kind?
Must I at length the Sword of Justice draw?
Oh curst Effects of necessary Law!
How ill my Fear they by my Mercy scan,
Beware the Fury of a Patient Man.        1005
Law they require, let Law then shew her Face;
They could not be content to look on Grace, 32
Her hinder parts, but with a daring Eye
To tempt the terror of her Front, and Die.
By their own Arts ’tis Righteously decreed,        1010
Those dire Artificers of Death shall bleed.
Against themselves their Witnesses will Swear,
Till, Viper-like, their Mother Plot they tear,
And suck for Nutriment that bloudy gore
Which was their Principle of Life before.        1015
Their Belial with their Belzebub will fight;
Thus on my Foes, my Foes shall do me Right.
Nor doubt th’ event; for Factious croud engage
In their first Onset, all their Brutal Rage;
Then let ’em take an unresisted Course;        1020
Retire and Traverse, and Delude their Force:
But when they stand all Breathless, urge the fight,
And rise upon ’em with redoubled might:
For Lawful Pow’r is still Superiour found,
When long driv’n back, at length it stands the ground.        1025
  He said. Th’ Almighty, nodding, gave consent;
And peals of Thunder shook the Firmament.
Henceforth a Series of new time began,
The mighty Years in long Procession ran:
Once more the God-like David was Restor’d,        1030
And willing Nations knew their Lawful Lord.
Note 1. The first edition and the second were both of 1681. The text is from the latter, except as noted. The current texts have several serious errors. [back]
Note 2. probability] ed. 1: pobability ed. 2. [back]
Note 3. only] ed. 1: onely ed. 2. [back]
Note 4. only] ed. 1: onely ed. 2. [back]
Note 5. Fever] ed. 1: Feavour ed. 2. [back]
Note 6. by] with ed. 1. [back]
Note 7. and] Scott, Saintsbury, and others absurdly give or. [back]
Note 8. As] And ed. 1. [back]
Note 9. Counsels] Counsel ed. 1. [back]
Note 10. Principles] Principle ed. 1. [back]
Note 11. Usurp’d] Assum’d ed. 1. [back]
Note 12. 180–91 Not in ed. 1. [back]
Note 13. Divides] Shuts up ed. 1. [back]
Note 14. Nation] Million ed. 1. [back]
Note 15. ’Tis] Derrick and others absurdly give Is’t. [back]
Note 16. Prevail] Derrick and others wrongly give Avail. [back]
Note 17. for] ed. 1: to ed. 2. [back]
Note 18. long] ed. 3: long, edd. 1 and 2. [back]
Note 19. Youth did early Promise] early Youth did Promise ed. 1. [back]
Note 20. Vare] Derrick, Scott, and others wrongly give Vase. [back]
Note 21. His joy conceal’d] Dissembling Joy ed. 1. [back]
Note 22. depths] depth ed. 1. [back]
Note 23. Add that the Pow’r] That Pow’r which is ed. 1. [back]
Note 24. the Flaws] Many editors give their Flaws. [back]
Note 25. our] Many editors give the. [back]
Note 26. thy] Many editors give his; Name] Birth ed. 1. [back]
Note 27. Fame] Worth ed. 1. [back]
Note 28. can] Many editors absurdly give could. [back]
Note 29. piercing] ready ed. 1. [back]
Note 30. 957–60 Not in ed. 1. [back]
Note 31. supplant] destroy ed. 1. [back]
Note 32. Grace,] Some editors omit the comma and thereby destroy the sense. [back]

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