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Beth. Too near, my lord, was your unarmèd heart,

When furthest off my hapless beauty pierced; And would this dreary day had turn'd to night, Or that some pitchy cloud had cloak'd the sun, Before their lights had caus'd my lord to see His name disparag'd and my chastity!

Dav. My love, if want of love have left thy soul A sharper sense of honour than thy king (For love leads princes sometimes from their seats),

As erst my heart was hurt, displeasing thee,
So come and taste thy ease with easing me.

Beth. One medicine cannot heal our different harms,

But rather make both rankle at the bone;
Then let the king be cunning in his cure,
Lest flattering both, both perish in his hand.
Dav. Leave it to me, my dearest Bethsabe,
Whose skill is conversant in deeper cures.-
And, Cusay, haste thou to my servant Joab,
Commanding him to send Urias home
With all the speed can possibly be us'd.
Cu. Cusay will fly about the king's desire.
Enter JOAB, ADISAI, URIAS, and others, with drum
and ensign.

Joab. Courage, ye mighty men of Israel,
And charge your fatal instruments of war
Upon the bosoms of proud Ammon's sons,
That hath disguis'd your king's ambassadors,
Cut half their beards and half their garments off,
In spite of Israel and his daughters' sons!
Ye fight the holy battles of Jehovah,

King David's God, and ours, and Jacob's God, That guides your weapons to their conquering strokes,

Orders you footsteps, and directs your thoughts
To stratagems that harbour victory:

He casts his sacred eyesight from on high,
And sees your foes run seeking for their deaths,
Laughing their labours and their hopes to scorn;
While 'twixt your bodies and their blunted


He puts on armour of his honour's proof,

And makes their weapons wound the senseless winds.

Abis. Before this city Rabbah we will lie, And shoot forth shafts as thick and dangerous As was the hail that Moses mix'd with fire, And threw with fury round about the fields, Devouring Pharaoh's friends and Egypt's fruits. Ur. First, mighty captains, Joab and Abisai, Let us assault and scale this kingly tower, Where all their conduits and their fountains are; Then we may easily take the city too.

Joab. Well hath Urias counsell'd our attempts; And as he spake us, so assault the tower: Let Hanon now, the king of Ammon's son, Repulse our conquering passage if he dare.

Enter HANON, MACHAAS, and others, upon the walls.

Ha. What would the shepherd's-dogs of Israel Snatch from the mighty issue of King Ammon, The valiant Ammonites and haughty Syrians? 'Tis not your late successive victories Can make us yield, or quail our courages; But if ye dare assay to scale this tower, Our angry swords shall smite ye to the ground, And venge' our losses on your hateful lives.

Joab. Hanon, thy father Nahas gave relief To holy David in his hapless exile,

1 venge-revenge.

Lived his fixèd date, and died in peace;
But thou, instead of reaping his reward,
Hast trod it under foot, and scorn'd our king;
Therefore thy days shall end with violence,
And to our swords thy vital blood shall cleave.
Mach. Hence, thou that bear'st poor Israel's

The proud lieutenant of that base-born king,
And keep within the compass of his fold;
For, if ye seek to feed on Ammon's fruits,
And stray into the Syrians' fruitful meads,
The mastiffs of our land shall worry ye,
And pull the weesels' from your greedy throats.
Abis. Who can endure these pagans' blas-

Ur. My soul repines at this disparagement. Joab. Assault, ye valiant men of David's host, And beat these railing dastards from their doors. Assault, and they win the tower; and then JOAB speaks above.

Thus have we won the tower, which we will keep,

Maugre the sons of Ammon and of Syria.

Enter CUSAY, below.

Cu. Where is Lord Joab, leader of the host? Joab. Here is Lord Joab, leader of the host. Cusay, come up, for we have won the hold.3 Cu. In happy hour, then, is Cusay come. CUSAY goes up.

Joub. What news, then, brings Lord Cusay from the king?

Cu. His Majesty commands thee out of hand To send him home Urias from the wars, For matter of some service he should do.

Ur. 'Tis for no choler hath surprised the king, I hope, Lord Cusay, 'gainst his servant's truth? Cu. No; rather to prefer Urias' truth.

Joab. Here, take him with thee, then, and go

in peace;

And tell my lord the king that I have fought
Against the city Rabbah with success,
And scaled where the royal palace is,
The conduit-heads and all their sweetest springs:
Then let him come in person to these walls,
With all the soldiers he can bring besides,
And take the city as his own exploit,
Lest I surprise it, and the people give
The glory of the conquest to my name.

Cu. We will, Lord Joab; and great Israel's

Bless in thy hands the battles of our king!

Joab. Farewell, Urias; haste away the king. Ur. As sure as Joab breathes a victor here, Urias will haste him and his own return.

[Exeunt CUSAY and URIAS. Abis. Let us descend, and ope the palace gate, Taking our soldiers in to keep the hold.

Joab. Let us, Abisai:-and, ye sons of Judah, Be valiant, and maintain your victory. [Exeunt.


Tha. Whither, alas, ah! whither shall I fly, With folded arms and all-amazèd soul? Cast as was Eva from that glorious soil (Where all delights sat bating, wing'd with thoughts,

Ready to nestle in her naked breasts),

To bare and barren vales with floods made waste, To desert woods, and hills with lightning scorch'd,

1 weesels-weasands, i.e. windpipes.

2 Maugre-in spite of. French malgré.

3 hold stronghold, or keep

With death, with shame, with hell, with horror sit;

There will I wander from my father's face;
There Absalon, my brother Absalon,
Sweet Absalon shall hear his sister mourn;
There will I lure with my windy sighs
Night-ravens and owls to rend my bloody side,
Which with a rusty weapon I will wound,
And make them passage to my panting heart.
Why talk'st thou, wretch, and leav'st the deed

Rend hair and garments, as thy heart is rent
With inward fury of a thousand griefs,
And scatter them by these unhallow'd doors,
To figure Amnon's resting cruelty,
And tragic spoil of Thamar's chastity.


Abs. What causeth Thamar to exclaim so much?

Tha. The cause that Thamar shameth to disclose.

Abs. Say; I thy brother will revenge that


Hath Amnon forced thee? by David's hand,
And by the covenant God hath made with him,
Amnon shall bear his violence to hell;
Traitor to heaven, traitor to David's throne,
Traitor to Absalon and Israel.

This fact hath Jacob's ruler seen from heaven,
And through a cloud of smoke and tower of fire,
As he rides vaunting him upon the greens,
Shall tear his chariot-wheels with violent winds,
And throw his body in the bloody sea;
At him the thunder shall discharge his belt;
And his fair spouse, with bright and fiery wings,
Sit ever burning on his hateful bones:
Myself, as swift as thunder or his spouse,
Will hunt occasion with a secret hate,

To work false Amnon an ungracious end.-
Go in, my sister; rest thee in my house;
And God in time shall take this shame from thee.
Tha. Nor God nor time will do that good for

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My brother and fair Thamar's by the king,
My step-brother by mother and by kind:
He hath dishonour'd David's holiness,
And fix'd a blot of lightness on his throne.

Dav. Hath Amnon brought this evil on my house,

And suffer'd sin to smite his father's bones?
Smite, David, deadlier than the voice of heaven,
And let hate's fire be kindled in thy heart:
Frame in the arches of thy angry brows,
Making thy forehead, like a comet, shine,
To force false Amnon tremble at thy looks.
Sin, with his sevenfold crown and purple robo,
Begins his triumphs in my guilty throne;
There sits he watching with his hundred eyes
Our idle minutes and our wanton thoughts;
And with his baits, made of our frail desires,
Gives us the hook that hales our souls to hell:
But with the spirit of my kingdom's God
I'll thrust the flattering tyrant from his throne,

1 Kind-nature.

And scourge his bondslaves from my hallow'd


With rods of iron and thorns of sharpen'd steel.
Then, Absalon, revenge not thou this sin;
Leave it to me, and I will chasten him.

Abs. I am content: then grant, my lord the king,

Himself with all his other lords would come
Up to my sheep-feast on the plain of Hazor.

Dav. Nay, my fair son, myself with all my lords Will bring thee too much charge; yet some shall


Abs. But let my lord the king himself take pains;

The time of year is pleasant for your grace,
And gladsome summer in her shady robes,
Crowned with roses and with painted flowers,
With all her nymphs, shall entertain my lord,
That, from the thicket of my verdant groves,
Will sprinkle honey-dews about his breast,
And cast sweet balm upon his kingly head:
Then grant thy servant's boon, and go, my lord.
Dav. Let it content my sweet son Absalon,
That I may stay, and take my other lords.

Abs. But shall thy best-belovèd Amnon go? Dav. What needeth it, that Amnon go with thee?

Abs. Yet do thy son and servant so much grace.

Dav. Amnon shall go, and all my other lords, Because I will give grace to Absalon.

Enter CUSAY and URIAS, with others.

Cu. Pleaseth my lord the king, his servant Joab Hath sent Urias from the Syrian wars

Dav. Welcome, Urias, from the Syrian wars, Welcome to David as his dearest lord.

Ur. Thanks be to Israel's God and David's grace,

Urias finds such greeting with the king.

Dav. No other greeting shall Urias find
As long as David sways th' elected seat
And consecrated throne of Israel.
Tell me, Urias, of my servant Joab;
Fights he with truth the battles of our God,
And for the honour of the Lord's anointed?

Ur. Thy servant Joab fights the chosen wars
With truth, with honour, and with high success,
And 'gainst the wicked king of Ammon's sons,
Hath, by the finger of our sovereign's God,
Besieg'd the city Rabbah, and achiev'd
The court of waters, where the conduits run,
And all the Ammonites' delightsome springs:
Therefore he wisheth David's mightiness
Should number out the host of Israel,
And come in person to the city Rabbah,
That so her conquest may be made the king's
And Joab fight as his inferior.

Dar. This hath not God and Joab's prowess done

Without Urias' valour, I am sure,

Who, since his true conversion from a Hethite
To an adopted son of Israel,

Hath fought like one whose arms were lift by heaven,

And whose bright sword was edg'd with Israel's


Go therefore home, Urias, take thy rest;
Visit thy wife and household with the joys
A victor and a favourite of the king's
Should exercise with honour after arms.

Ur. Thy servant's bones are yet not half so craz'd,

Nor constitute on such a sickly mould,

1 achiev'd-won, or reached.

That for so little service he should faint,
And seek, as cowards, refuge of his home:
Nor are his thoughts so sensually stirr'd,

To stay the arms with which the Lord would


And fill their circle with his conquer'd foes,
For wanton bosom of a flattering wife.

Dav. Urias hath a beauteous sober wife,
Then go, Urias, solace in her love;

Whom God hath knit to thee, tremble to loose. Ur. The king is much too tender of my ease: The ark, and Israel, and Judah dwell

In palaces and rich pavilions;

But Joab and his brother in the fields,
Suffering the wrath of winter and the sun:
And shall Urias (of more shame than they)
Banquet, and loiter in the work of heaven?
As sure as thy soul doth live, my lord,
Mine ears shall never lean to such delight,
When holy labour calls me forth to fight.

Dav. Then be it with Urias' manly heart
As best his fame may shine in Israel.

Ur. Thus shall Urias' heart be best content, Till thou dismiss me back to Joab's bands: This ground before the king my master's doors Shall be my couch, and this unwearied arm The proper pillow of a soldier's head;

[Lies down. For never will I lodge within my house, Till Joab triumph in my secret vows. Dav. Then fetch some flagons of our purest wine,

That we may welcome home our hardy friend
With full carouses to his fortunes past,
And to the honours of his future arms;
Then will I send him back to Rabbah siege,
And follow with the strength of Israel.

Enter one with flagons of wine.

Arise, Urias; come and pledge the king.
Ur. If David think me worthy such a grace,
I will be bold and pledge my lord the king.

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That shall Urias do till he be dead.

Dar. Fill him the cup. [URIAS drinks.
Follow, ye lords that love"

Your sovereign's health, and do as he hath done.
Abs. Ill may he thrive, or live in Israel,
That loves not David, or denies his charge.-
Urias, here is to Abisai's health,

Lord Joab's brother and thy loving friend.

[Drinks. Ur. I pledge Lord Absalon and Abisai's health. [Drinks. Cu. Here now, Urias, to the health of Joab, And to the pleasant journey we shall have When we return to mighty Rabbah siege.

[Drinks. Tr. Cusay, I pledge thee with all my heart.Give me some drink, ye servants of the king; Give me my drink.


Dav. Well done, my good Urias! drink thy fill,
That in thy fulness David may rejoice.
Ur. I will, my Lord.

Abs. Now, Lord Urias, one carouse to me.
Ur. No, sir, I'll drink to the king;
Your father is a better man than you.

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Ur. Pledge me, man?

Abs. Pledge me, I say, or else thou lov'st us not. Ur. What, do you talk? do you talk? I'll no more; I'll lie down here.

Dav. Rather, Urias, go thou home and sleep. Ur. O, ho, sir! would you make me break my sentence? [Lies down.] Home, sir! no, indee, sir: I'll sleep upon mine arm, like a soldier; sleep like a man as long as I live in Israel.

Dav. [aside.] If naught will serve to save his wife's renown,

I'll send him with a letter unto Joab
To put him in the forefront of the wars,
That so my purposes may take effect.-
Help him in, sirs.

[Exeunt DAVID and ARSALON.
Cu. Come rise, Urias; get thee in and sleep.
Ur. I will not go home, sir; that's flat.
Cu. Then come and rest thee upon David's bed.
Ur. On afore, my lords, on afore. [Exeunt.

Enter CHORus.

Chorus. O proud revolt of a presumptuous man,
Laying his bridle in the neck of sin,
Ready to bear him past his grave to hell!
Like as the fatal raven, that in his voice
Carries the dreadful summons of our deaths,
Flies by the fair Arabian spiceries,

Her pleasant gardens and delightsome parks,
Seeming to curse them with his hoarse exclaims,
And yet doth stoop with hungry violence
Upon a piece of hateful carrion;

So wretched man, displeas'd with those delights
Would yield a quickening savour to his soul,
Pursues with eager and unstanched thirst
The greedy longings of his loathsome flesh.
If holy David so shook hands with sin,
What shall our baser spirits glory in?
This kingly giving lust her rein
Pursues the sequel with a greater ill.
Urias in the forefront of the wars
Is murdered by the hateful heathens' sword,
And David joys his too dear Bethsabe.
Suppose this past, and that the child is born,
Whose death the prophet solemnly doth mourn.

Enter BTSADE with hr Maid.
Beth. Mourn, Bethsabe, bewail thy foolishness,
Thy sin, thy shame, the sorrow of thy soul:
Sin, shame, and sorrow swarm about thy soul;
And, in the gates and entrance of my heart.
Sadness, with wreathèd arms, hangs her complaint.
No comfort from the ten-string'd instrument,
The tinkling cymbal, or the ivory lute;
Nor doth the sound of David's kingly harp
Make glad the broken heart of Bethsabe:
Jerusalem is fill'd with thy complaint,
And in the streets of Sion sits thy grief.
The babe is sick, sick to the death, I fear,
The fruit that sprung from thee to David's horse;
Nor may the pot of honey and of oil

Glad David or his handmaid's countenance.

Urias-wo is me to think hereon!

For who is it among the sons of men

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In thine own house stir evil up to thee;
Yea, I before thy face will take thy wives,
And give them to thy neighbour to possess:

That saith not to my soul, The king hath sinn'd; This shall be done to David in the day,

David hath done amiss, and Bethsabe
Laid snares of death unto Urias' life?'
My sweet Urias, fall'n into the pit

Art thou, and gone even to the gates of hell
For Bethsabe, that wouldst not shroud her shame.
Oh, what is it to serve the lust of kings!
How lion-like they rage when we resist!
But, Bethsabe, in humbleness attend

The grace that God will to his handmaid send.

[Exeunt. Enter DAVID in his gown, walking sadly; Servants attending.

Dav. [aside.] The babe is sick, and sad is David's heart,

To see the guiltless bear the guilty's pain.
David, hang up thy harp; hang down thy head;
And dash thy ivory lute against the stones.
The dew, that on the hill of Hermon falls,
Rains not on Sion's tops and lofty towers;
The plains of Gath and Askaron rejoice,
And David's thoughts are spent in pensiveness:
The babe is sick, sweet babe, that Bethsabe
With woman's pain brought forth to Israel.

But what saith Nathan to his lord the king?

Na. Thus Nathan saith unto his lord the king.
There were two men both dwellers in one town:
The one was mighty, and exceeding rich
In oxen, sheep, and cattle of the field;
The other poor, having nor ox, nor calf,
Nor other cattle, save one little lamb
Which he had bought and nourish'd by the hand;
And it grew up, and fed with him and his,
And eat and drank as he and his were wont,
And in his bosom slept, and was to him
As was his daughter or his dearest child.
There came a stranger to this wealthy man;
And he refus'd and spar'd to take his own,
Or of his store to dress or make him meat,
But took the poor man's sheep, partly, poor man's

And dress'd it for this stranger in his house.
What, tell me, shall be done to him for this?

Dav. Now, as the Lord doth live, this wicked man
Is judg'd and shall become the child of death;
Fourfold to the poor man shall he restore,
That without mercy took his lamb away.

Na. Thou art the man; and thou hast judg'd thyself.

David, thus saith the Lord thy God by me:
I thee anointed king in Israel,

And sav'd thee from the tyranny of Saul;

Thy master's house I gave thee to possess;

His wives into thy bosom did I give,

And Judah and Jerusalem withal;

And might, thou know'st, if this had been too small,

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That Israel openly may see thy shame.

Dav. Nathan, I have against the Lord, I have, Sinnèd; Oh, sinnèd grievously! and, lo, From heaven's throne doth David throw himself, And groan and grovel to the gates of hell!

[Falls down. Na. [raising him.] David, stand up: thus saith the Lord by me:

David the king shall live, for he hath scen
The true repentant sorrow of thy heart:
But, for thou hast in this misdeed of thine
Stirr'd up the enemies of Israel

To triumph, and blaspheme the God of Host3,
And say, he set a wicked man to reign
Over his loved people and his tribes,-
The child shall surely die, that erst was born,
His mother's sin, his kingly father's scorn.1


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How shall he speed that brings this tidings first, When, while the child was yet alive, we spake, And David's heart would not be comforted?

Dav. Yea, David's heart will not be comforted! What murmur ye, the servants of the king? What tidings telleth Cusay to the king? Say, Cusay, lives the child, or is he dead? Cu. The child is dead, that of Urias' wife David begat.

Dav. Urias' wife, say'st thou?

The child is dead, then ceaseth David's shame:
Fetch me to eat, and give me wine to drink;
Water to wash, and oil to clear my looks;
Bring down your shalms, your cymbals, and

your pipes;


Let David's harp and lute, his hand and voice,
Give laud to him that loveth Israel,

And sing his praise that shendeth David's fame,
That put away his sin from out his sight,
And sent his shame into the streets of Gath.
Bring ye to me the mother of the babe,
That I may wipe the tears from off her face,
And give her comfort with this hand of mine,
And deck fair Bethsabe with ornaments,

1 scorn-disgrace; reproach.

2 Nill-will not. 3 A kind of pipe like a hautboy; properly sharm. German schalmei, hautboy; probably connected with French chalumeau, pipe, reed; Latin, calamus, a reed.

shendeth defendeth here, though shend properlyinjure, reproach. Anglo-Saxon, scandu, scandal.

That she may bear to me another son,
That may be loved of the Lord of Hosts;
For where he is, of force must David go,
But never may he come where David is.

They bring in water, wine, and oil. Music and a banquet; and enter BETHSABE.

Fair Bethsabe, sit thou, and sigh no more:-
And sing and play, you servants of the king:
Now sleepeth David's sorrow with the dead,
And Bethsabe liveth to Israel.

They use all solemnities together, and sing, &c.
Now arms and warlike engines for assault
Prepare at once, ye men of Israel,
Ye men of Judah and Jerusalem,
That Rabbah may be taken by the king,
Lest it be called after Joab's name,
Nor David's glory shine in Sion streets.
To Rabbah marcheth David with his men,
To chástise Ammon and the wicked ones.


Enter ABSALON with several others. Abs. Set up your mules, and give them well to eat,

And let us meet our brothers at the feast.
Accursed is the master of this feast,
Dishonour of the house of Israel,

His sister's slander, and his mother's shame :
Shame be his share that could such ill contrive,
But may his wickedness find just reward!
Therefore doth Absalon conspire with you,
That Amnon die what time he sits to eat;
For in the holy temple have I sworn
Wreak' of his villany in Thamar's rape.
And here he comes: bespeak him gently all,
Whose death is deeply gravèd in my heart.


Am. Our shearers are not far from hence, I wot;

And Amnon to you all his brethren
Giveth such welcome as our fathers erst
Were wont in Judah and Jerusalem;-
But, specially, Lord Absalon, to thee,
The honour of thy house and progeny:
Sit down and dine with me, King David's son,
Thou fair young man, whose hairs shine in mine


Like golden wires of David's ivory lute.

Bury thy body 'mong the dead men's bones;
And we will make complaint to Israel
Of Amnon's death, and pride of Absalon.


Enter DAVID, JOAB, ABISAI, CUSAY, and others,
with drum and ensign against RABBAH.
Dav. This is the town of the uncircumcis'd,
The city of the kingdom, this is it,
Rabbah, where wicked Hanon sitteth king.
Despoil this king, this Hanon, of his crown;
Unpeople Rabbah and the streets thereof;
For in their blood, and slaughter of the slain,
Lieth the honour of King David's line.
Joab, Abisai, and the rest of you,
Fight ye this day for great Jerusalem.

Enter HANON and others on the walls. Joab. And see where Hanon shows him on the walls;

Why, then, do we forbear to give assault,
That Israel may, as it is promised,

Subdue the daughters of the Gentiles' tribes?
All this must be perform'd by David's hand.

Dav. Hark to me, Hanon, and remember well:
As sure as He doth live that kept my host,
What time our young men, by the pool of Gibeon,
Went forth against the strength of Isboseth,
And twelve to twelve did with their weapons

So sure art thou and thy men of war
To feel the sword of Israel this day,
Because thou hast defièd Jacob's God,
And suffer'd Rabbah with the Philistine
To rail upon the tribe of Benjamin.

Ha. Hark, man: as sure as Saul thy master fell,

And gor'd his sides upon the mountain-tops,
And Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchisua,
Water'd the dales and deeps of Askaron
With bloody streams, that from Gilboa ran
In channels through the wilderness of Ziph,
What time the sword of the uncircumcis'd
Was drunken with the blood of Israel;
So sure shall David perish with his men
Under the walls of Rabbah, Hanon's town.

Joab. Hanon, the God of Israel hath said,
David the king shall wear that crown of thine,
That weighs a talent of the finest gold,
And triumph in the spoil of Hanon's town,
When Israel shall hale thy people hence,

Abs. Amnon, where be thy shearers and thy And turn them to the tile-kiln, man and child,


That we may pour in plenty of thy wines,
And eat thy goats'-milk, and rejoice with thee?
Am. Here cometh Amnon's shearers and his


Absalon, sit and rejoice with me.

Enter a company of Shepherds, who dance and sing.
Drink, Absalon, in praise of Israel;
Welcome to Amnon's fields from David's court.
Abs. [stabbing AMNON.] Die with thy draught;
perish, and die accurs'd;
Dishonour to the honour of us all;
Die for the villany to Thamar done,
Unworthy thou to be King David's son!

[Exit with others. Jonad. Oh, what hath Absalon for Thamar done,

Murder'd his brother, great King David's son!
Ad. Run, Jonadab, away, and make it known
What cruelty this Absalon hath shown.
Amnon, thy brother Adonia shall

1 Wreak-vengeance.

And put them under harrows made of iron,
And hew their bones with axes, and their limbs
With iron swords divide and tear in twain.
Hanon, this shall be done to thee and thine,
Because thou hast defièd Israel.-

To arms, to arms, that Rabbah feel revenge,
And Hanon's town become King David's spoil!

Alarum, excursions, assault; exeunt. Then th trumpets sound, and re-enter DAVID with HANON'S crown, JOAB, etc.

Dar. Now clattering arms and wrathful storms of war

Have thunder'd over Rabbah's razèd towers;
The wreakful1 ire of great Jehovah's arm,
That for his people made the gates to rend,
And cloth'd the cherubims in fiery coats
To fight against the wicked Hanon's town.
Pay thanks, ye men of Judah, to the King,
The God of Sion and Jerusalem,
That hath exalted Israel to this,
And crowned David with this diadem.

1 wreakful-vengeful.


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