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The wise Achitophel, whose counsel prov'd Hang, like a rotten branch, upon this tree,
Fit for the axe and ready for the fire!
Since Thou withholdest all ordinary help Is now us'd like the fool of Israel.
To loose my body from this bond of death, Then set thy angry soul upon her wings, Oh let my beauty fill these senseless plants And let her fly into the shade of death ;
With sense and power to loose me from this And for my death let heaven for ever weep,
plague, Making huge floods upon the land I leave, And work some wonder to prevent his death To ravish them and all their fairest fruits. Whose life Thou mad'st a special miracle! Let all the sighs I breath'd for this disgrace Hang on my hedges like eternal mists,
Enter JOAB with a soldier. As mourning garments for their master's death. Sol. My lord, I saw the young Prince Absalon Ope, earth, and take thy miserable son
Hang by the hair upon a shady oak, Into the bowels of thy cursed womb:
And could by no means get himself unloosed. Once in a surfeit thou didst spue him forth; Joab. Why slew'st thou not the wicked Absalon, Now for fell hunger suck him in again,
That rebel to his father and to Heaven, And be his body poison to thy veins.
That so I might have given thee for thy pains And now, thou hellish instrument of heaven, Ten silver shekels and a golden waist ? Once execute th' arrest of Jove's just doom, Sol. Not for a thousand shekels would I slay And stop his breath that curseth Israel! [Exit. The son of David, whom his father charged
Nor thou, Abisai, nor the son of Gath? Enter ABSALOx, with AMASA and the rest of his train.
Should touch with stroke of deadly violence.
The charge was given in hearing of us all; Abs. Now for the crown and throne of Israel, And had I done it, then, I know, thyself, To be confirm'd with virtue of my sword, Before thou wouldst abide the king's rebuke, And writ with David's blood upon the blade. Wouldst have accused me as a man of death. Now, Jove, let forth the golden firmament, Joab. I must not now stand trifling here with And look on him, with all thy fiery eyes,
thee. Which thou hast made to give their glories light. Abs. Help, Joab, help, oh help thy Absalon! To show thou lov'st the virtue of thy hand, Let not thy angry thoughts be laid in blood, Let fall a wreath of stars upon my head,
In blood of him that sometimes nourish'd thee, Whose influence may govern Israel
And softened thy sweet heart with friendly love: With state exceeding all her other kings. Oh give me once again my father's sight, Fight, lords and captains, that your sovereign's My dearest father and my princely sovereign! face
That, shedding tears of blood before his face, May shine in honour brighter than the sun; The ground may witness, and the heavens record, And with the virtue of my beauteous rays My last submission sounds and full of ruth. Make this fair land as fruitful as the fields
Joab. Rebel to nature, hate to heaven and That with sweet milk and honey overflow'd.
earth! God, in the whizzing of a pleasant wind,
Shall I give help to him that thirsts the soul Shall march upon the tops of mulberry-trees, i Of his dear father and my sovereign lord ? To cool all breasts that burn with any griefs, Now see, the Lord hath tangled in a tree As whilom? He was good to Moses' men.
The health and glory of thy stubborn heart, By day the Lord shall sit within a cloud,
And made thy pride curb'd with a senseless plant To guide your footsteps to the fields of joy; Now, Absalon, how doth the Lord regard And in the night a pillar, bright as fire,
The beauty whereupon thy hope was built, Shall before you, like a second sun,
And which thou thought'st his grace did glory in ? Wherein the essence of his Godhead is;
Find'st thou not now, with fear of instant death, That day and night you may be brought to peace, That God affects not any painted shape And never swerve from that delightsome path Or goodly personage, when the virtuous soul That leads your souls to perfect happiness. Is stuff'd with naught but pride and stubbornness? This shall he do for joy when I am king. But preach I to thee, while I should revenge Then fight, brave captains, that these joys may fly Thy cursèd sin that staineth Israel, Into your bosoms with sweet victory. '[Exeuni. And makes her fields blush with her children's
blood ? The battle ; and then ABSALON hangs by the hair.3
Take that as part of thy deserved plague, Abe. What angry angel, sitting in these shades, Which worthily no torment can inflict. Hath laid his cruel hands upon my hair,
[Stabs him. And holds my body thus'twixt heaven and earth? Abs. 0 Joab, Joab, cruel, ruthless Joab! Hath Absalon no soldier near his hand
Here with thou wound'st thy kingly sovereign's That may untwine me this unpleasant curl,
heart, Or wound this tree that ravisheth his lord ? Whose heavenly temper hates his children's O God, behold the glory of thy hand,
blood, And choicest fruit of nature's workmanship, And will be sick, I know, for Absalon,
Oh, my dear father, that thy melting eyes
Might pierce this thicket to behold thy son, Shall march upon the tops of mulberry-trees, &c.And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going Thy dearest son, gored with a mortal dart ! in the tops of the mulberry-trees, that then thou shalt
Yet, Joab, pity me; pity my father, Joab; go out to battle : for God is gone forth before thee,' &c.
Pity his soul's distress that mourns my life, -1 Curos. xiv. 15.
And will bo dead, I know, to hear my death. whilom-formerly, once.
Joab. If he were so remorsefuls of thy state, • Absalon hangs by the hair.-The following entry | Why sent he me against thee with the sword ? occurs in Henslowe's Diary, under Oct. 1602:
Pd for poleyes and workmanshipp for to hange Ab-
2 the son of Gath-Ithay, present play, or to some other drama in which Absalon 3 sound-perfect.
4 quth-sorrow. was 'hung?'-DYCE.
All Joab means to pleasure thee withal
Against his life for whom your lives are bless'd, Is, to despatch theo quickly of thy pain :
And follow'd an usurper to the field; Hold, Absalon, Joab's pity is in this;
In whose just death your deaths are threatened ; In this, proud Absalon, is Joab's love.
But Joab pities your disordered souls [Stabs him again; and then exit with Soldier. And therefore offers pardon, peace, and love, Abs. Such love, such pity Israel's God send To all that will be friendly reconcil'd thee,
To Israel's weal, to David, and to Heaven. And for his love to David pity me!
Amasa, thou art leader of the host Ah! my dear father, see thy bowels bleed; That under Absalon have raised their arms; See death assault thy dearest Absalon;
Then be a captain wise and politic, See, pity, pardon, pray for Absalon!
Careful and loving for thy soldiers' lives,
And lead them to this honourable league.
Ama. I will; at least, I'll do my best: First Sol. See where the rebel in his glory And for the gracious offer thou hast made hangs.
I give thee thanks, as much as for my head. Where is the virtue of thy beauty, Absalon ? Then, you deceiv'd poor souls of Israel, Will any of us here now fear thy looks,
Since now ye see the errors you incurrd, Or be in love with that thy golden hair,
With thanks and due submission be appeas'd; Wherein was wrapt rebellion 'gainst thy sire, And as yo see your captain's precedent, And cords prepard to stop thy father's breath? Here cast we, then, our'swords at Joab's feet, Our captain, Joab, hath begun to us,
Submitting with all zeal and reverence And here's an end to thee and all thy sins. Our goods and bodies to his gracious hands. [They stab ABSALON, who dies.
[Kneels with others. Come let us take the beauteous rebel down,
Joab. Stand up, and take ye all your swords And in some ditch, amids this darksome wood,
[All stand up. Bury his bulk beneath a heap of stones,
David and Joab shall be bless'd herein. Whose stony heart did hunt his father's death. Ahi. Now let me go inform my lord the king
How God hath freed him from his enemies. Re-enter in triumph, with drum and ensign, JOAB, Joab. Another time, Ahimaas, not now.ABISAI, and Soldiers.
But, Cusay, go thyself, and tell the king Joab. Well done, tall soldiers ! take the traitor The happy message of our good success. down,
Cu. I will, my lord, and thank thee for thy And in this miry ditch inter his bones,
[Erit. Covering his hateful breast with heaps of stones; Ahi. What if thy servant should go too, my This shady thicket of dark Ephraim
lord ? Shall ever lower on his cursèd grave;
Joab. What news hast thou to bring since he Night-ravens and owls shall ring his fatal knell, is gone? And sit exclaiming on his damned soul;
Ahi. Yet do Ahimaas so much content, There shall they heap their preys of carrion, That he may run about so sweet a charge. Till all his grave be clad with stinking bones,
Joab. Run, if thou wilt; and peace be with That it may loathe the sense of every man!
[Exit AHIMAAS. So shall his end breed horror to his name,
Now follow, that you may salute the king And to his traitorous fact? eternal shame.
With humble hearts and reconciled souls. [Exeunt.
Ama. We follow, Joab, to our gracious king;
And him our swords shall honour to our deaths Enter Chorus.
[Exeunt. Chorus. Oh dreadful precedent of his just doom, Whose holy heart is never touch'd with ruth
Enter David, BETHSABE, SOLOMON, NATHAN, Of fickle beauty or of glorious shape;
ADONIA, CHILEAB, with their train. But with the virtue of an upright soul,
Beth. What means my lord, the lamp of Isracl, Humble and zealous in his inward thoughts, From whose bright eyes all eyes receive their light, Though in his person loathsome and deformed! To dim the glory of his sweet aspect Now, since this story lends us other store, And paint his countenance with his heart's disTo make a third discourse of David's life,
tress? Adding thereto his most renowned death, Why should his thoughts retain a sad conceit, And all their deaths that at his death he judg'd, When every pleasure kneels before his throne, Here end we this, and what here wants to please, And sues for sweet acceptance with his grace? We will supply with treble willingness. (Exit. Take but your lute, and make the mountains
dance, Trumpets sound. Enter JOAB, AUIMAAS, CUSAY; Retrieve the sun's sphere, and restrain the clouds, Amasa, with all the other followers of ABSALON.
Give ears to trees, make savage lions tame, Joab. Soldiers of Israel, and ye sons of Judah, Impose still silence to the loudest winds, That have contended in these irksome broils,
And fill the fairest day with foulest storms: And ript old Israel's bowels with your swords,
Then why should passions of much meaner power The godless general of your stubborn arms
Bear head against the heart of Israel ? Is brought by Israel's lielper to the grave,
Bethsabe, thou might'st increase tho A grave of shame, and scorn of all the tribes!
strength Now, then, to save your honours from the dust,
Of these thy arguments, drawn from my skil, And keep your bloods in temper by your bones,
By urging ihy sweet sight to my conceits, Let Joab's ensign shroud your manly heads,
Whose virtue ever serv'd for sacred balm Direct your eyes, your weapons, and your hearts, But, Bethsabe, the daughter of the ilighest
To cheer my pinings past all earthly joys.
Whose beauty builds the towers of Israel,
She that in chains of pearl and unicorn ?
i tall-sturdy, bold, brave.
1 coneeil-conception, thought.
Leads at her train the ancient golden world, That now art framing of the future world,
Know'st all to come, not by the course of heaven, Whose breath refineth all infectious airs,
By frail conjectures of inferior signs,
By bowels of a sacrificed beast,
But by a true and natural presage,
From Adam to the end of Adam's seed : Beth. Then is the pleasure of my sovereign's Heaven, protect my weakness with thy strength! heart
So look on me that I may view thy face, So wrapt within the bosom of that son,
And see these secrets written in thy brows. That Salomon, whom Israel's God affects, O sun, come dart thy rays upon my moon! And gave the name unto him for his love, That now mine eyes, eclipsed to the earth, Should be no salve to comfort David's soul ? May brightly be refin'd and shine to heaven;
Dav. Salomon, my love, is David's lord;! Transform me from this flesh, that I may live, Our God hath nam'd him lord of Israel:
Before my death, regenerato with thee. In him (for that, and since he is thy son)
O thou great God, ravish my earthly sprite !? Must David needs be pleased at the heart;
That for the time a more than human skill And he shall surely sit upon my throne.
May feed the organons of all my sense; But Absalon, the beauty of my bones,
That, when I think, thy thoughts may be my Fair Absalon, the counterfeit 2 of love,
guide, Sweet Absalon, the image of content,
And, when I speak, I may be made by choice Must claim a portion in his father's care,
The perfect echo of thy heavenly voice.' And be in life and death King David's son. Thus say, my son, and thou shalt learn them all. Nath. Yet, as my lord hath said, let Salomon Sal. A secret fury * ravisheth my soul, reigo,
Lifting my mind above her human bounds; Whom God in naming hath anointed king. And, as the eagle, rousèd from her stand Now is he apt to learn th' eternal laws,
With violent hunger, towering in the air, Whose knowledge being rooted in his youth Seizeth her feather'd prey, and thinks to feed, Will beautify his age with glorious fruits; But seeing then a cloud beneath her feet, Wbile Absalon, incens'd with graceless pride, Lets fall the fowl, and is enboldened Usurps and stains the kingdom with his sin : With eyes intentives to bedare the sun, Let Salomon be made thy staff of age,
And styeth' close unto his stately sphere; Fair Israel's rest, and honour of thy race.
So Salomon, mounted on the burning wings Dar. Tell me, my Salomon, wilt thou embrace Of zeal divi lets fall his mortal food Thy fatlıer's precepts graved in thy heart, And cheers his senses with celestial air, And satisfy my zeal to thy renown
Treads in the golden starry labyrinth, With practice of such sacred principles
And holds his eyes fix'd on Jehovah's brows. As shall concern the state of Israel ?
Good father, teach me further what to do. Sal. My royal father, if the heavenly zeal, Nath. See, David, how his haughty spirit Which for my welfare feeds upon your soul,
mounts, Were not sustain'd with virtue of mine own; Even now of height to wield a diadem : If the sweet accents of your cheerful voice Then make him promise that he may succeed, Should not each hour beat upon mine ears And rest old Israel's bones from broils of war. As sweetly as the breath of heaven to him
Dav. Nathan, thou prophet, sprung from Jesse's That gaspeth scorched with the summer's sun, root, I should be guilty of unpardon'd sin,
I promise thee and lovely Bethsabe, Fearing the plague of heaven and shame of earth: My Salomon shall govern after me. But since I vow myself to learn the skill
Beth. He that hath touch'd thee with this And holy secrets of his mighty hand
righteous thought Whose cunning tunes the music of my soul, Preserve the harbour of thy thoughts in peace ! It would content me, father, first to learn How the Eternal fram'd the firmament;
Enter Messenger. Which bodies lend their influence by fire,
Mess. My lord, thy servants of the watch have And which are fill'd with hoary winter's ice; What sign is rainy, and what star is fair; One running hitherward from forth the wars. Why by the rules of true proportion
Dav. If he be come alone, he bringeth news. The year is still divided into months,
Mess. Another hath thy servant seen, my lord, The months to days, the days to certain hours; Whose running much resembles Sadoc's son. What fruitful race shall fill the future world ; Dav. He is a good man, and good tidings Or for what time shall this round building stand; brings. What magistrates, what kings shall keep in awe Men's minds with bridles of th' eternal law.
Enter ANIMAAS. Dav. Wade not too far, my boy, in waves so Ahi. Peace and content be with my lord the deep:
king, The feeble eyes of our aspiring thoughts
Whom Israel's God hath bless'd with victory. Behold things present, and record things past; But things to come exceed our human reacb, And are not painted yet in angels' eyes:
I architect-Dyce suggests archetype' as the correct For those, submit thy sense, and say, “Thou reading,
2 sprite-spirit. power,
organons-organs, or instruments. * fury-enthusiasm, or rupture.
s intentive-attentive, gazing. Salomon, my love, is David's lord-corrupted. -DICE. 6 bedare-defy, dare. 2 counterfeit-portrait, likeness, iinage.
Dav. Tell me, Ahimaas, lives my Absalon? And marcheth not in triumph through the gates? Ahi. I saw a troop of soldiers gathered,
[Unfolds thc pavilion. But know not what the tumult might import. David, awake! if sleep have shut thine eyes,
Dav. Stand by, until some other may inform Sleep of affection, that thou canst not see The heart of David with a happy truth.
The honour offer'd to the victor's head:
Joab brings conquest piercèd on his spear,
And joy from all the tribes of Israel.
Dav. Thou man of blood, thou sepulchre of soul,
death, Whom God hath bless'd with conquest of his foes.
Whose marble breast intombs my bowels quick, Dav. But, Cusay, lives the young man Absalon ?
Did I not charge thee, nay, entreat thy hand, Cu. The stubborn enemies to David's peace,
Even for my sake, to spare my Absalon? And all that cast their darts against his crown,
And hast thou now, in spite of David's health, Fare ever like the young man Absalon !
And scorn to do my heart some happiness, For as he rid the woods of Ephraim,
Given him the sword and spilt his purple soul? Which fought for thee as much as all thy men,
Joab. What, irks it David, that he victor His hair was tangled in a shady oak;
breathes, And hanging there, by Joab and his men,
That Juda and the fields of Israel Sustain'd the stroke of well-deserved death.
Should cleanse their faces from their children's Dav. Hath Absalon sustain'd the stroke of death?
blood? Die, David, for the death of Absalon,
What! art thou weary of thy royal rule? And make these cursèd news the bloody darts
Is Israel's throne a serpent in thine eyes, That through his bowels rip thy wretched breast.
And He that set thee there so far from thanks, Hence, David, walk the solitary woods,
That thou must curse his servant for his sake? And in some cedar's shade the thunder slew,
Hast thou not said that, as the morning light, And fire from heaven hath made his branches black, The cloudless morning, so should be thine house, Sit mourning the decease of Absalon :
And not as flowers by the brightest rain Against the body of that blasted plant
Which grow up quickly and as quickly fade? In thousand shivers break thy ivory lute,
Hast thou not said, the wicked are as thorns, Hanging thy stringless harp upon his boughs;
That cannot be preserved 2 with the hand, And through the hollow sapless sounding trunk
And that the man shall touch them must be arm'd Bellow the torments that perplex thy soul.
With coats of iron and garments made of steel, There let the winds sit sighing till they burst;
Or with the shaft of a defenced spear? Let tempest, muffled with a cloud of pitch,
And art thou angry he is now cut off Threaten the forests with her hellish face.
That led the guiltless swarming 3 to their deaths, And, mounted fiercely on her iron wings,
And was more wicked than an host of men ? Rend up the wretched engine 1 by the roots
Advance thee from thy melancholy den, That held my dearest Absalon to death.
And deck thy body with thy blissful robes, Then let them toss my broken lute to heaven,
Or, by the Lord that sways the heaven I swear, Even to his hands that beats me with the strings,
I'll lead thine armies to another king To show how sadly his poor shepherd sings.
Shall cheer them for their princely chivalry, [Goes to his pavilion and sits close a while.
And not sit daunted, frowning in the dark, Beth. Die, Bethsabe, to see thy David mourn,
When his fair looks, with oil and wine refresh'd, To hear his tunes of anguish and of hell.
Should dart into their bosoms gladsome beams, Oh, help, my David, help thy Bethsabe,
And fill their stomachs with triumphant feasts; Whose heart is pierced with thy breathy swords, 2
That when elsewhere stern war shall sound his And bursts with burden of ten thousand griefs!
trump, [Lies down.
And call another battle 4 to the field, Now sit thy sorrows sucking of my blood : Fame still may bring thy valiant soldiers home, Oh that it might be poison to their powers,
And for their service happily confess And that their lips might draw my bosom dry,
She wanted worthy trumps to sound their So David's love might ease him, though she die! prowess : Nath. These violent passions come not from
Take thou this course and live; refuse and die. above;
Abis. Come, brother, let him sit there till he David and Bethsabe offend the Highest,
sink; To mourn in this immeasurable sort.
Some other shall advance the name of Joab. Dav. [looking forth.] 0 Absalon, Absalon! 0
[Offers to go out with JOAB. my son, my son!
Beth. [rising.] Oh, stay, my lords, stay! David Would God that I had died for Absalon!
mourns no more, But he is dead; ah! dead; Absalon is dead: And David lives to die for Absalon,
[Sits close again. presorvèd-held, taken, grasped. The passage of Enter JOAB, ABISAI, ITHAY, and their train.
Scripture to which our author here alludes is as follows:
"And he shall be as the light of the morning when Joab. Why lies the queen so prostrate on the the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the ground?
tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining
after rain. Why is this company so tragic-hu'd ? Why is the king now absent from his men,
Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in ali things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my
desire, although he make it not to grow. I engine-agent or means.
But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns 2 breathy suords -- We suggest whether it should not thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands be "breathed words;" but if the text is suffered to re [The Vulgate quæ non tolluntur manibus ']: main, we can only say, that “thy breathy swords," for But the man that shall touch them must be fenced "the swords of thy breath," is more barbaric than any with iron and the staff of a spear,' &c. thing which we have met with in Peele.'--Rev. J. MIT
2 Sam. xxiii, 4 sqq. FORD, ---Gent, Mag. for Feburary 1933, p. 103. Dyce 3 swarming-swarm, crowd. nevertheless believes it to be the genuine reading.
But riseth to give honour to your acts.
happy art thou, David's fairest son,
Shall reap a sevenfold grace for all thy griefs;
Joab. Bravely resolv'd, and spoken liko a king: Now may old Israel and his daughters sing.
sequester'd-separated, withd. awn. * joy-enjoy.