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Does trouble to our suffering 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;
Well may she trust her beauties on a flood,
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 is 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 employ'd;
Whose steady soul ne'er learn'd to separate
Between his monarch's interest and the state,
But heaps those blessings on the royal head,
Which he well knows must be on subjects shed.
On what pretence could then the vulgar rage Against 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 rights 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; 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;
Would ne'er through wrong and right his progress take,
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 wolves 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 son's curs'd steel the father's 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
Whose few survivors with worse fate remain,
To drag the bondage of a tyrant's reign:
Which scene of woes unknowing we renew,
And madly, e'en those ills we fear, pursue;
While Pharaoh laughs at our domestic broils,
And safely crowds his tent 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' indulgence of a lawful king;
Expecting still the troubled waves would cease,
But found the raging billows still increase.
The crowd, whose insolence forbearance swells,
While he forgives too far, almost rebels:
At last his deep resentments silence broke,
The' imperial palace shook, while 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's sacred 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?
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 patriot's 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 urg'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 ungovern❜d Senates drive,
And to what bounds licentious votes arrive.
When their injustice we are 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 wrongs 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 field:
Thus madly their own freedom they betray,
And for the' oppression which they fear make way;
Succession fix'd by Heaven, the kingdom's bar,
Which, once dissolv'd, admits the flood of war;
Waste, 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.