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Whom has he wrong'd in all his peaceful reign?
Who sues for justice to his throne, in vain?
What millions has he pardon'd of his foes,
Whom just revenge did to his wrath expose?
Mild, easy, humble, studious of our good,
Inclin❜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?
Let haughty Pharaoh curse with such a reign
His fruitful Nile, and yoke a servile train.
If David's rule Jerusalem displease,

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The dog-star heats their brain to this disease.
Why then should I, encouraging the bad,
Turn rebel, and run popularly mad?
Were he a tyrant who, by lawless might,
Oppress'd the Jews, and rais'd the Jebusite,
Well might I mourn; but Nature's holy bands
Would curb my spirits, and restrain my hands;
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 outruns desire :
What more can I expect while David lives?
All but his kingly diadem he gives:

And that (but here he paused; then, sighing, said)
Is justly destin'd for a worthier head.

For when my father from his toils shall rest,
And late augment the number of the blest,
His lawful issue shall the throne ascend,
Or the collateral line, where that shall end.
His brother, though oppress'd with vulgar spite,
Yet dauntless, and secure of native right,

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Of every royal virtue stands possest,
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 e'en the' offending crowd will find;
For sure he comes of a forgiving kind.
Why should I then repine at Heaven's 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,
And then betray'd it to a mean descent!
I find, I find my mounting spirits bold,
And David's part disdains my mother's mould.
Why am I scanted by a niggard birth?
My soul disclaims the kindred of her earth,
And, made for empire, whispers me within,
Desire of greatness is a godlike sin."

Him staggering so when Hell's dire agent found, While fainting Virtue scarce maintain'd her ground, He pours fresh forces in, and thus replies:

"The' eternal GOD, supremely 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 virtue's only given to guide a throne. Not that your father's mildness I condemn, 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, 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 Sanhedrim shall keep him poor;
And every shekel 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,
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 public scorn.
The next successor, whom I fear and hate,
My arts have made obnoxious to the state,
Turn'd all his virtues to his overthrow,
And gain'd our elders to pronounce a foe.
His right, for sums of necessary gold,
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.
All empire is no more than power 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,
Better one suffer than a million grieve. [chose,
The Jews well know their power; ere Saul they
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;
The public good, that universal call,
To which e'en Heaven submitted, answers all.

VOL. XI.

0

Nor let his love enchant your generous mind;
"Tis Nature's trick to propagate her kind.
Our fond begetters, who would never die,
Love but themselves in their posterity.
Or let his kindness by the' effects be tried,
Or let him lay his vain pretence aside.
God said he lov'd your father; could he bring
A better proof than to anoint him King?
It surely show'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;
Is't after God's own heart to cheat his heir?
He to his brother gives supreme command,
To you a legacy of barren land;

Perhaps the' old harp, on which he thrums his lays,
Or some dull Hebrew ballad in your praise.

1 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 people's hearts;
Though now his mighty soul its grief contains,
He meditates revenge who least complains;
And like a lion slumbering 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;
Till, at the last, his time for fury found,
He shoots with sudden vengeance from the ground,
The prostrate vulgar passes o'er, and spares,
But with a lordly rage his hunters tears.
Your case no tame expedients will afford;
Resolve on death, or conquest by the sword,

Which for no less a stake than life you draw,
And self-defence is Nature's eldest law.
Leave the warm people no considering time,
For then rebellion may be thought a crime.
Avail yourself of what occasion gives,
But try 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 would expose
To plots, from seeming friends and secret foes.
And who can sound the depth of David's soul?
Perhaps his fear his kindness may control:
He fears his brother, though he loves his son,
For plighted vows too late to be undone.
If so, by force he wishes to be gain'd,
Like women's lechery to seem constrain❜d.
Doubt not; but, when he most affects the frown,
Commit asing rape upon the Crown.
Secure his person to secure your cause;
They who possess the prince possess the laws."
He said; and this advice above the rest,
With Absalom's mild nature suited best ;
Unblam'd of life, ambition set aside,
Not stain'd with cruelty nor puff'd with pride.
How happy had he been if destiny

Had higher plac'd his birth, or not so high?
His kingly virtues might have claim'd a throne,
And blest all other countries but his own:
But charming greatness since so few refuse,
'Tis juster to lament him than accuse.
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.

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