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He said; and for the dire success depends
On various sects, by common guilt made friends ;
Whose heads, though ne'er so differing in their creed,
l'th' point of treason yet were well agreed.
'Mongst these extorting Ishban first appears,
Pursued by a meagere troop of bankrupt-heirs.
Blest times! when Ishban, he whose occupation
So.long has been to cheat, reforms the nation!
Ishban, of conscience suited to his trade,
As good a saint as usurer ever made :
Yet Mammon has not so engross'd him quite,
But Belial lays as large a claim of spite ;
Who, for those pardons from his prince he draws,
Returns reproaches, and cries up the cause.
in which the City he did sway,
He left rebellion in a hopeful way;
Yet his ambition once was found so bold,
To offer talents of extorted gold;
Could David's wants have so been brib'd, to shame
And scandalize our peerage with his name;
For which, his dear sedition he'd forswear,
And e'en turn loyal to be made a peer.
Next him, let railing Rabsheka have place,
So full of zeal, he has no need of grace ;
A saint that can both flesh and spirit use,
Alike haunt conventicles and the stews;
Of whom the question difficult appears,
If most i'th' preachers' or the bawds' arrears.
What caution could appear too much in him
That keeps the treasure of Jerusalem!
Let David's brother but approach the Town,
« Double our guards, (he cries) we are undone;"
Protesting, that he dares not sleep in's bed,
Lest he should rise next morn without his head.
[Next these a troop of busy spirits press, Of little fortunes, and of conscience less; With them the tribe whose luxury had drain’d Their banks, in former sequestrations gain'd; Who rich and great by past rebellions grew, And long to fish the troubled streams anew. Some future hopes, some present payment draws, To sell their conscience and espouse the cause; . Such stipends those vile hirelings best befit, Priests without grace, and poets without wit. Shall that false Hebronite escape our curse; Judas, that keeps the rebels' pension-purse; Judas, that pays the treason-writer's fee; Judas, that well deserves his namesake's tree; Who at Jerusalem's own gates erects His college for a nursery of sécts; Young prophets with an early care secures, And with the dung of his own arts manures ? What have the men of Hebron here to do? What part in Israel's Promis'd Land have you? Here Phaleg, the Lay-Hebronite, is come, 'Cause, like the rest, he could not live at home; Who from his own possessions could not drain An omer e'en of Hebronitish grain ; Here struts it like a patriot, and talks high Of injur'd subjects' alter'd property; An emblem of that buzzing insect just, That mounts the wheel, and thinks she raises dust. Can dry bones live? or skeletons produce The vital warmth of cuckoldizing juice? Slim Phaleg could, and, at the table fed, Return'd the grateful product to the bed. A waiting-man to travelling nobles chose, He his own laws would saucily impose,
Till bastinado'd, back again he went,
To learn those manners he to teach was sent.
Chastis'd, he ought to have retreated home,
But he reads politics to Absalom ;
For never Hebronite, though kick'd and scorn'd,
To his own country willingly return'd.
But leaving famish'd Phaleg to be fed,
And to talk treason for his daily bread,
Let Hebron, nay let Hell, produce a man
So made for mischief as Ben Jochanan.
À Jew of humble parentage was he,
By trade a Levite, though of low degree;
His pride no higher than the desk aspir'd,
But for the drudgery of priests was hir'd
To read and pray in linen ephod brave,
And pick up single shekels from the grave.
Married at last, but finding charge come faster,
He could not live by God, but chang'd his master ;
Inspir'd by want, was made a factious tool;
They got a villain, and we lost a fool.
Still violent, whatever cause he took,
But most against the party he forsook:
For renegadoes, who ne'er turn by halves,
Are bound in conscience to be double knaves.
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;
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,
Which proves Rebellion was so primitive.
Must ancient failings be examples made ?
Then murderers from Cain may learn their trade,
As thou the heathen and the saint hast drawn,
Methinks the apostate was the better man;
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-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.
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;
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 :
Spiteful he is not, though he wrote a satire,
For still there goes some thinking to ill-nature;
He needs no more than birds and beasts to think,
All his occasions are 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 Achitophel.
The woman that committed by,
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, and no farther knows,
For to write verse with him is to transpose :