The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

the second Book.

from Poems (1656; editor's copy)

The Friendship betwixt Jonathan and David; and upon that occasion a digression concerning the nature of Love. A discourse between Jonathan and David, upon which the latter absents himself from Court, and the former goes thither, to inform himself of Sauls resolution. The Feast of the New-Moon, the manner of the Celebration of it; and therein a Digression of the History of Abraham. Sauls Speech upon Davids absence from the Feast, and his anger against Jonathan. Davids resolution to fly away; he parts with Jonathan, and falls asleep under a Tree. A Description of Phansie; an Angel makes up a Vision in Davids head; the Vision it self, which is, A Prophesie of all the succession of his Race till Christs time, with their most remarkable actions. At his awaking, Gabriel assumes an humane shape, and confirms to him the truth of his Vision.

    But now the early birds began to call
    The morning forth; up rose the Sun and Saul;
    Both, as men thought, rose fresh from sweet repose;
    But both, alas, from restless labours rose.
    For in Sauls breast, Envy, the toilsome Sin,
    Had all that night active and ty'rannous bin,
    She'expell'd all forms of Kindness, Vertue, Grace;
    Of the past day no footstep left or trace.
    The new-blown sparks of his old rage appear,
    Nor could his Love dwell longer with his fear.       10
    So near a storm wise David would not stay,
    Nor trust the glittering of a faithless Day.
    He saw the Sun call in his beams apace,
    And angry Clouds march up into their place.
    The Sea it self smooths his rough brow awhile,
    Flattering the greedy Merchant with a smile;
    But he, whose ship-wrackt Barque it drank before,
    Sees the deceit, and knows it would have more.
    Such is the Sea, and such was Saul.
    But Jonathan, his Son, and Only Good,       20
    Was gentle as fair Jordans useful Flood.
    Whose innocent stream as it in silence goes,
1    Fresh Honors, and a sudden spring bestows
    On both his banks to every flower and tree;
    The manner How lies hid, th'effect we see.
    But more than all, more than Himself he lov'ed
    The man whose worth his Fathers Hatred mov'ed.
    For when the noble youth at Dammin stood
    Adorn'd with sweat, and painted gay with Blood,
    Jonathan pierce'd him through with greedy Eye       30
    And understood the future Majestie
1 Sam. 18. 1.
    Then destin'ed in the glories of his look;
    He saw, and strait was with amazement strook,
    To see the strength, the feature, and the grace
    Of his young limbs; he saw his comely face
    Where Love and Rev'erence so well mingled were;
2    And Head, already crown'd with golden haire.
    He saw what Mildness his bold Sp'irit did tame,
    Gentler then Light, yet powerful as a Flame.
    He saw his Valour by their Safety prov'ed;       40
    He saw all this, and as he saw, he Lov'ed.
    What art thou, Love, thou great mysterious thing?
    From what hid stock does thy strange Nature spring?
    'Tis thou that mov'est the world through every part
    And holdst the vast frame close, that nothing start
    From the due Place and Office first ordain'd.
3    By Thee were all things Made, and are sustain'd.
    Sometimes we see thee fully, and can say
    From hence thou took'est thy Rise, and went'st that way;
    But oftner the short beams of Reasons Eye,       50
    See onely, There thou art, nor How, nor Why.
    How is the Loadstone, Natures subtle pride,
    By the rude Iron woo'd, and made a Bride?
    How was the Weapon wounded? what hid Flame
    The strong and conqu'ering Metal overcame?
4    Love (this Worlds Grace) exalts his Natural state;
    He feels thee, Love, and feels no more his Weight.
5    Ye learned Heads, whom Ivy garlands grace,
    Why does that twining plant the Oak embrace?
    The Oak for courtship most of all unfit,       60
    And rough as are the Winds that fight with it?
    How does the absent Pole the Needle move?
    How does his Cold and Ice beget hot Love?
    Which are the Wings of Lightness to ascend?
    Or why does Weight to th' Centre downwards bend?
    Thus Creatures void of Life obey thy Laws,
    And seldom We, they never know the Cause.
    In thy large state, Life gives the next degree,
7    Where Sense, and Good Apparent places thee;
    But thy chief Palace is Mans Heart alone,       70
    Here are thy Triumphs, and full glories shown,
    Handsome Desires, and Rest about thee flee,
    Union, Inhærence, Zeal, and Extasie.
    Thousand with Joys cluster around thine head,
    O're which a gall-less Dove her wings does spread,
    A gentle Lamb, purer and whiter farre
    Then Consciences of thine own Martyrs are,
    Lies at thy feet; and thy right hand does hold
    The mystick Scepter of a Cross of Gold.
    Thus do'est thou sit (like Men e're sin had fram'ed       80
    A guilty blush) Naked, but not Asham'ed.
    What cause then did the fab'ulous Ancients find,
    When first their superstition made thee blind?
    'Twas They, alas, 'twas They who could not see,
    When they mistook that Monster, Lust, for Thee.
    Thou art a bright, but not consuming Flame;
    Such in th'amazed Bush to Moses came;
Exo. 3. 1.
    When that secure its new-crown'd head did rear,
    And chid the trembling Branches needless fear.
    Thy Darts of healthful Gold, and downwards fall       90
    Soft as the Feathers that they're fletcht withal.
    Such, and no other, were those secret Darts,
    Which sweetly toucht this noblest pair of Hearts.
    Still to one end they both so justly drew,
    As courteous Doves together yok'd would do.
    No weight of Birth did on one side prevaile,
    Two Twins less even lie in Natures Scale.
    They mingled Fates, and both in each did share,
    They both were Servants, they both Princes were.
    If any Joy to one of them was sent,       100
    It was most his, to whom it least was meant,
    And fortunes malice betwixt both was crost,
    For striking one, it wounded th'other most.
    Never did Marriage such true Union find,
    Or mens desires with so glad violence bind;
    For there is still some tincture left of Sin,
    And still the Sex will needs be stealing in.
    Those joys are full of dross, and thicker farre,
    These, without matter, clear and liquid are.
    Such sacred Love does he'avens bright Spirits fill,       110
    Where Love is but to Understand and Will,
    With swift and unseen Motions; such as We
    Somewhat express in heightned Charitie.
    O ye blest One! whose Love on earth became
    So pure that still in Heav'en 'tis but the same!
    There now ye sit, and with mixt souls embrace,
    Gazing upon great Loves mysterious Face,
    And pity this base world where Friendship's made
    A bait for sin, or else at best a Trade.
    Ah wondrous Prince! who a true Friend could'st be,       120
    When a Crown Flatter'ed, and Saul threatned Thee!
    Who held'st him dear, whose Stars thy birth did cross!
    And bought'st him nobly at a Kingdoms loss!
    Isra'els bright Scepter far less glory brings;
    There have been fewer Friends on earth then Kings.
    To this strange pitch their high affections flew;
    Till Natures self scarce look'd on them as Two.
    Hither flies David for advice and ayde,
1 Sam. 20. 1.
    As swift as Love and Danger could perswade,
    As safe in Jonathans trust his thoughts remain       130
    As when Himself but dreams them o're again.
    My dearest Lord, farewel (said he) farewel;
    He'aven bless the King; may no misfortune tell
    Th'injustice of his hate, when I am dead;
    They'are coming now, perhaps; my guiltless head
    Here in your sight, perhaps, must bleeding ly,
    And scarce your own stand safe for being nigh.
    Think me not scar'ed with death, howere't appear,
    I know thou can'st not think so: tis a fear
    From which thy Love, and Dammin speaks me free;       140
    I'have met him face to face, and ne're could see
    One terrour in his looks to make me fly
    When Vertue bids me stand; but I would dy
    So as becomes my Life, so as may prove
    Sauls Malice, and at least excuse your Love.
    He stopt, and spoke some passion with his eyes;
    Excellent Friend (the gallant Prince replyes)
    Thou hast so prov'd thy Virtues, that they're known
    To all good men, more then to each his own.
    Who lives in Israel, that can doubtful be       150
    Of thy great actions? for he lives by Thee.
    Such is thy Valour, and thy vast success,
    That all things but thy Loyalty are less.
    And should my Father at thy ruine aim,
    'Twould wound as much his Safety as his Fame.
    Think them not coming then to slay thee here,
    But doubt mishaps, as little as you feare.
    For by thy loving God who e're design
    Against thy Life must strike at it through Mine.
    But I my royal Father must acquit       160
    From such base guilt, or the low thought of it.
    Think on his softness when from death he freed
    The faithless King of Am'alecks cursed seed;
1 Sam. 15. 9.
    Can he to'a Friend, to'a Son so bloudy grow,
    He who ev'n sin'd but now to spare a Foe?
    Admit he could; but with what strength or art
    Could he so long close, and seal up his heart?
    Such counsels jealous of themselves become,
    And dare not fix without consent of some.
    Few men so boldly ill, great sins to do,       170
    Till licens'ed and approv'ed by others too.
    No more (believe't) could he hide this from me,
1 Sam. 20. 2.
    Then I, had he discover'd it, from Thee.
    Here they embraces join, and almost tears;
    Till gentle David thus new prov'd his fears.
    The praise you pleas'd (great Prince) on me to spend
    Was all out-spoken when you stil'd me Friend.
    That name alone does dang'erous glories bring,
    And gives excuse to th' Envy of a King,
    What did his Spear, force, and dark plots impart       180
    But some eternal rancour in his heart?
    Still does he glance the fortune of that day
    When drown'd in his own blood Goliah lay,
    And cover'd half the plain; still hears the sound
    How that vast Monster fell, and strook the ground:
    The Dance, and, David his ten thousand slew,
    Still wound his sickly soul, and still are new.
    Great acts t'ambitious Princes Treasons grow,
    So much they hate that Safety which they ow.
    Tyrants dread all whom they raise high in place,       190
    From the Good, danger; from the Bad, disgrace.
    They doubt the Lords, mistrust the Peoples hate,
    Till Blood become a Principle of State.
    Secur'd nor by their Guards, nor by their Right,
    But still they Fear ev'en more then they Affright.
    Pardon me, Sir, your Father's rough and stern:
    His Will too strong to bend, too proud to learn.
    Remember, Sir, the Honey's deadly sting;
    Think on that savage Justice of the King.
    When the same day that saw you do before       200
    Things above Man, should see you Man no more.
    'Tis true th'accursed Agag mov'ed his ruth,
    He pitied his tall Limbs and comely youth
    Had seen, alas the proof of heav'ens fierce hate,
    And fear'd no mischief from his powerless fate.
    Remember how th'old Seer came raging down,
    And taught him boldly to suspect his Crown.
    Since then his pride quakes at th' Almighties rod,
    Nor dares he love the man belov'ed by God.
    Hence his deep rage and trembling Envy springs;       210
    Nothing so wild as Jealousie of Kings.
    Whom should he counsel ask, with whom advise,
    Who Reason and Gods counsel does despise?
    Whose head-strong will no Law or Conscience daunt,
    Dares he not sin, do'you think, without your grant?
    Yes, if the truth of our fixt love he knew,
    He would not doubt, believe't, to kill ev'en you.
    The Prince is mov'ed, and straight prepares to find
    The deep resolves of his griev'd Fathers mind.
    The danger now appears, Love can soon show't,       220
    And force his Stubborn piety to know't.
    They 'agree that David should conceal'd abide,
1 Sam. 20. 5. &c.
    Till his great friend had the Courts temper tryde,
    Till he had Sauls most secret purpose found,
    And searcht the depth and rancour of his wound.
8    'Twas the years seventh-born Moon; the solemn Feast
Lev. 23. 24. Nu. 26. 1.
    That with most noise its sacred mirth exprest.
    From op'ening Morn till night shuts in the day,
    On Trumpets and shrill Horns the Levites play.
9    Whether by this in mystick Type we see       230
    The New-years-Day of great Eternitie,
    When the chang'd Moon shall no more changes make,
    And scatter'd Deaths by Trumpets sound awake;
10    Or that the Law be kept in Mem'ory still,
Exo. 19. 19.
    Giv'en with like noise on Sina's shining Hill,
11    Or that (as some men teach) it did arise
    From faithful Abrams righteous Sacrifice,
    Who whilst the Ram on Isaac's fire did fry,
    His Horn with joyful tunes stood sounding by.
    Obscure the Cause; but God his will declar'ed;       240
    And all nice knowledge then with ease is spar'ed.
12    At the third hour Saul to the hallowed Tent
    Midst a large train of Priests and Courtiers went;
    The sacred Herd marcht proud and softly by;
13    Too fat and gay to think their deaths so nigh.
    Hard fate of Beasts, more innocent than We!
    Prey to our Lux'ury, and our Pietie!
    Whose guiltless blood on boards and Altars spilt,
    Serves both to Make, and Expiate too our guilt!
14    Three Bullocks of free neck, two guilded Rams,       250
    Two well-washt Goats, and fourteen spotless Lambs,
    With the three vital fruits, Wine, Oyl, and Bread,
    (Small fees to heav'en of all by which we're fed)
    Are offer'ed up; the hallowed flames arise,
    And faithful pray'rs mount with them to the skies.
15    From thence the King to th'outmost Court is brought,
    Where heav'enly things an inspir'ed Prophet taught,
    And from the sacred Tent to 'his Palace gates,
    With glad kind shouts th' Assembly on him waites;
    The chearful Horns before him loudly play,       260
    And fresh-strew'd flowers paint his triumphant way.
    Thus in slow state to th' Palace Hall they go,
    Rich drest for solemn Luxury and Show;
16    Ten pieces of bright Tap'estry hung the room,
    The noblest work e're stretcht on Syrian loom;
    For wealthy Adri'el in proud Sydon wrought
    And giv'en to Saul when Sauls best gift he sought
1 Sam. 18. 19.
    The bright-ey'd Merab; for that mindful day
    No ornament so proper seem'd as they.
17    There all old Abrams story you might see;       270
18    And still some Angel bore him companie.
    His painful, but well-guided Travels, show
    The fate of all his Sons, the Church below.
19    Here beauteous Sara to great Pharo came,
Gen. 21. 14.
    He blusht with sudden passion, she with shame;
    Troubled she seem'd, and lab'oring in the strife
    'Twixt her own Honor, and her Husbands Life.
    Here on a conqu'ering Host that careless lay,
    Drown'd in the joys of their new gotten prey,
Gen. 14.
    The Patriarch falls; well mingled might you see       280
20    The confus'd marks of Death and Luxury.
21    In the next piece blest Salems mystick King
Gen. 14. 18.
22    Does sacred Presents to the Victor bring;
    Like him whose Type he bears, his rights receives;
    Strictly requires his Due, yet freely gives.
    Ev'en in his port, his habit, and his face;
    The Mild, and Great, the Priest and Prince had place.
    Here all their starry host the heavens display;
Gen. 15. 5.
    And, Lo, an heav'enly Youth, more fair then they,
    Leads Abram forth; points upwards; such, said he,       290
23    So bright and numberless thy Seed shall be.
24    Here he with God a new Alliance makes,
Gen. 17.
    And in his flesh the marks of Homage takes;
25    Here he the three mysterious persons feasts,
Gen. 18. 2. Ver. 10.
    Well paid with joyful tidings by his Guests.
    Here for the wicked Town he prays, and near
Gen. 18. 23. Gen. 19. 24.
    Scarce did the wicked Town through Flames appear.
    And all his Fate, and all his Deeds were wrought,
26    Since he from Ur to Ephrons cave was brought.
Gen. 11. 31. Gen. 25. 9.
    But none 'mongst all the forms drew then their eyes       300
    Like faithful Abrams righteous Sacrifice.
Gen. 22. Ver. 3.
27    The sad old man mounts slowly to the place,
    With Natures power triumphant in his face
    O're the Minds courage; for in spight of all
    From his swoln eyes resistless waters fall.
28    The inn'ocent Boy his cruel burthen bore
Ver. 6.
    With smiling looks, and sometimes walk'd before,
    And sometimes turn'd to talk; above was made
    The Altars fatal Pile, and on it laid
Ver. 9.
29    The Hope of Mankind; patiently he lay,       310
    And did his Syre, as he his God, obey.
    The mournful Syre lifts up at last the knife,
    And on one moments string depends his life
Ver. 10.
    In whose young loyns such brooding wonders ly.
    A thousand Spir'its peep'd from th'affrighted sky,
    Amaz'ed at this strange Scene; and almost fear'd,
    For all those joyful Prophesies they'd heard.
    Till one leapt nimbly forth by Gods command
Ver. 11.
    Like Lightning from a Cloud, and stopt his hand.
    The gentle Spirit smil'ed kindly as he spoke,       320
    New beames of joy through Abrams wonder broke.
    The Angel points to'a tuft of bushes near,
Ver. 13.
    Where an entangled Ram does half appear,
    And struggles vainly with that fatal net,
    Which though but slightly wrought, was firmly set.
    For, lo, anon, to this sad glory doom'd,
    The useful Beast on Isaac's Pile consum'ed;
    Whilst on his Horns the ransom'ed couple plaid,
    And the glad Boy danc'd to the tunes he made.
    Near this Halls end a Shittim Table stood;       330
    Yet well-wrought plate strove to conceal the wood.
    For from the foot a golden vine did sprout,
    And cast his fruitful riches all about.
    Well might that beauteous Ore the Grape express,
    Which does weak Man intoxicate no less.
    Of the same wood the guilded beds were made,
    And on them large embroidered carpets laid,
    From Egypt the rich shop of Follies brought,
    But Arts of Pride all Nations soon are taught.
30    Behold sev'en comely blooming Youths appear,       340
    And in their hands sev'en silver washpots bear,
31    Curl'd, and gay clad; the choicest Sons that be
    Of Gibeons race, and Slaves of high degree.
    Seven beauteous Maids marcht softly in behind;
    Bright scarfs their cloathes, their hair fresh Garlands bind,
32    And whilst the Princes wash, they on them shed
    Rich Oyntments, which their costly odours spread
    O're the whole room; from their small prisons free
    With such glad haste through the wide ayr they flee.
33    The King was plac'ed alone, and o're his head       350
1 Sam. 20. 25.
    A well-wrought Heav'en of silk and gold was spread.
    Azure the ground, the Sun in gold shone bright,
    But pierc'd the wandring Clouds with silver light.
    The right hand bed the Kings three Sons did grace,
    The third was Abners, Adriels, Davids place.
    And twelve large Tables more were fill'd below,
    With the prime men Sauls Court and Camp could show;
    The Palace did with mirth and musick sound,
34    And the crown'd goblets nimbly mov'ed around.
    But though bright joy in every guest did shine,       360
    The plenty, state, musick, and sprightful wine
    Were lost on Saul; an angry care did dwell
    In his dark brest, and all gay forms expell.
    Davids unusual absence from the feast,
1 Sam. 20. 26. 27.
    To his sick spir'it did jealous thoughts suggest.
    Long lay he still, nor drank, nor eat, nor spoke,
    And thus at last his troubled silence broke.
    Where can he be? said he; It must be so:
    With that he paused awhile; Too well we know
    His boundless pride: he grieves and hates to see       370
    The solemn triumphs of my Court and Me.
    Believe me, friends, and trust what I can show
    From thousand proofs, th'ambitious David now
    Does those vast things in his proud soul design
    That too much business give for Mirth or Wine.
    He's kindling now perhaps, rebellious fire
    Among the Tribes, and does ev'n now conspire
    Against my Crown, and all our Lives, whilst we
    Are loth ev'en to suspect, what we might See.
35    By the Great Name, 'tis true.       380
    With that he strook the board, and no man there
    But Jonathan durst undertake to clear
1 Sam. 20. 28. 29.
    The blameless Prince; and scarce ten words he spoke,
    When thus his speech th'enraged Tyrant broke.
V. 30. 31.
36    Disloyal Wretch! thy gentle Mothers shame!
    Whose cold pale Ghost ev'en blushes at thy name!
    Who fears lest her chast bed should doubted be,
    And her white fame stain'd by black deeds of thee!
    Can'st thou be Mine? a Crown sometimes does hire
    Ev'en Sons against their Parents to conspire,       390
    But ne're did story yet, or fable tell
    Of one so wild, who meerly to Rebel
    Quitted th'unquestion'd birthright of a Throne,
    And bought his Fathers ruine with his own:
    Thou need'st not plead th'ambitious youths defence;
    Thy crime clears his, and makes that Innocence.
    Nor can his foul Ingratitude appear,
    Whilst thy unnatural guilt is plac'ed so near.
    Is this that noble Friendship you pretend?
    Mine, thine own Foe, and thy worst En'emies Friend?       400
    If thy low spirit can thy great birthright quit,
    The thing's but just, so ill deserv'est thou it.
    I, and thy Brethren here have no such mind;
    Nor such prodigious worth in David find,
    That we to him should our just rights resign,
    Or think Gods choice not made so well as Thine.
    Shame of thy House and Tribe! hence, from mine Eye,
    To thy false Friend, and servile Master fly;
    He's e're this time in arms expecting thee;
    Haste, for those arms are rais'ed to ruine Mee.       410
    Thy sin that way will nobler much appear,
    Then to remain his Spy and Agent here.
    When I think this, Nature by thee forsook,
    Forsakes me too. With that his spear he took
    To strike at him; the mirth and musick cease;
    The guests all rise this sudden storm t'appease;
Ver. 33.
37    The Prince his danger, and his duty knew;
Ver. 34.
    And low he bow'd, and silently withdrew.
    To David strait, who in a forest nigh
Ver. 35.
    Waits his advice, the royal Friend does fly.       420
    The sole advice, now like the danger clear,
    Was in some foreign land this storm t'outwear.
    All marks of comely grief in both are seen;
    And mournful kind discourses past between.
    Now generous tears their hasty tongues restrain,
Ver. 42.
    Now they begin, and talk all o're again
    A reverent Oath of constant love they take,
Ver. 42.
    And Gods high name their dreaded witness make;
    Not that at all their Faiths could doubtful prove;
    But 'twas the tedious zeal of endless Love.       430
    Thus e're they part, they the short time bestow
    In all the pomp Friendship and Grief could show.
    And David now with doubtful cares opprest,
    Beneath a shade borrows some little rest;
    When by command divine thick mists arise,
    And stop the Sense, and close the conque'red eyes.
38    There is a place which Man most high doth rear,
    The small Worlds Heav'en, where Reason moves the Sphære.
    Here in a robe which does all colours show,
    (The envy of birds, and the clouds gawdy bow)       440
    Phansie, wild Dame, with much lascivious pride
    By twin-Chamelions drawn, does gaily ride.
    Her coach there follows, and throngs round about
    Of shapes and airy Forms an endless rout.
    A Sea rowls on with harmless fury here;
    Straight 'tis a field, and trees and herbs appeare.
    Here in a moment are vast Armies made,
    And a quick Scene of war and blood displaid.
    Here sparkling wines, and brighter Maids come in,
    The bawds for sense and lying baits of sin.       450
39    Some things arise of strange and quarr'elling kind,
    The forepart Lyon, and a Snake behind;
    Here golden mountains swell the cove'tous place,
40    And Cenatures ride Themselves a painted race.
    Of these slight wonders Nature sees the store,
    And onely then accounts herself but poore.
    Hither an Angel comes in Davids trance;
    And finds them mingled in an antique dance;
    Of all the numerous forms fit choice he takes,
    And joyns them wisely, and this Vision makes.       460
    First David there appears in Kingly state,
    Whilst the twelve Tribes his dread commands await;
    Straight to the wars with his joyn'd strength he goes,
2 Sam. 5. 1. 1 Chro. 12. 23. Ver. 6.
    Settles new friends, and frights his ancient Foes.
    To Solima, Cana'ans old head, they came,
    (Since high in note, then not unknown to Fame)
41    The Blind and Lame th'undoubted wall defend,
2 Sam. 5. 6.
    And no new wounds or dangers apprehend.
    The busie image of great Joab there
    Disdains the mock, and teaches them to fear.       470
    He climbs the airy walls, leaps raging down,
    New-minted shapes of slaughter fill the town.
    They curse the guards their mirth and bravery chose;
    All of them now are slain, or made like those.
42    Far through an inward Scene an Army lay,
    Which with full banners a fair Fish display.
    From Sidon plains to happy Egypts coast
2 Sam. 5. 17. 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. 1 Chron. 14. 8.
    They seem all met; a vast and warlike Hoast.
    Thither hasts David to his destin'ed prey,
    Honor, and noble Danger lead the way;       480
43    The conscious Trees shook with a reverent fear
Ver. 22, 23. 24.
    Their unblown tops; God walkt before him there.
1 Chro. 14. 14.
    Slaughter the wearied Riphaims bosom fills,
    Dead corps imboss the vail with little hills.
44    On th'other side Sophenes mighty King
2 Sam. 8. 3. 1 Chro. 18. 3. Ver. 5. 2 Sam. 10. 6. 1 Chron. 19. 6. & 19. 8.
    Numberless troops of the blest East does bring:
    Twice are his men cut off, and chariots ta'ne;
45    Damascus and rich Adad help in vaine.
46    Here Nabathæan troops in battel stand,
    With all the lusty youth of Syrian land;       490
    Undaunted Joab rushes on with speed,
    Gallantly mounted on his fiery steed;
    He hews down all, and deals his deaths around;
    The Syrians leave, or possess dead the ground.
    On th' other wing does brave Abishai ride
Ver. 10.
    Reeking in blood and dust; on every side
    The perjur'd sons of Ammon quit the field,
    Some basely dye, and some more basely yield.
    Through a thick wood the wretched Hanun flies,
    And far more justly then fears Hebrew Spies.       500
47    Moloch, their bloody God, thrusts out his head,
2 Sam. 10. 3, 4. 1 Chro. 19. 3.
    Grinning through a black cloud; him they'd long fed
    In his sev'en Chambers, and he still did eat
    New-roasted babes, his dear, delicious meat.
    Again they'arise, more ang'red then dismaid;
Ver. 15. 1 Chro. 19. 16.
48    Euphrates, and Swift Tygris sends them aid:
    In vain they send it, for again they're slain,
49    And feast the greedy birds on Helay plain.
2 Sam. 11. 1. 1 Chr. 20.
50    Here Rabba with proud towers affronts the sky,
    And round about great Joabs trenches ly.       510
    They force the walls, and sack the helpless town;
2 Sam. 12. 30. 1 Chro. 20. 2. Ver. 31. 1 Chro. 20. 3. 1 King. 1. 1 Chron. 23. 1. 1 King. 3. 12. 2 Chro. 1. 12. 1 King. 10. Mat. 12. 42. Lu. 11. 31.
51    On Davids head shines Ammons massy Crown.
    Midst various torments the curst race expires,
    David himself his severe wrath admires.
    Next upon Isra'els throne does bravely sit
52    A comely Youth endow'ed with wondrous wit.
53    Far from the parched Line a royal Dame,
    To hear his tongue and boundless wisdom came.
    She carried back in her triumphant womb
    The glorious stock of thousand Kings to come.       520
    Here brightest forms his pomp and wealth display,
2 Chro. 19. 1 King. 6. 2 Chro. 3. & 4. 5.
    Here they a Temples vast foundations lay.
    A mighty work; and with fit glories fill'd.
    For God t'enhabit, and that King to build.
    Some from the quarries hew out massy stone,
    Some draw it up with cranes, some breathe and grone
    In order o're the anvile; some cut down
    Tall Cedars, the proud Mountains ancient crown;
    Some carve the Truncks, and breathing shapes bestow,
    Giving the Trees more life then when they grow;       530
    But, oh (alas) what sudden cloud is spread
    About this glorious Kings eclypsed head?
1 King. 11.
    It all his fame benights, and all his store,
    Wrapping him round, and now he's seen no more.
    When straight his Son appears at Sichem crown'd.
1 Kin. 12. 2 Chr. 10.
    With young and heedless Council circled round;
    Unseemly object! but a falling state
    Has always its own errours joyn'd with fate.
    Ten Tribes at once forsake the Jessian throne,
    And bold Adoram at his Message stone;       540
    Brethren of Israel!--more he fain would say,
Ver. 18. 2 Chro. 10. 18.
    But a flint stopt his mouth, and speech i'th'way.
    Here this fond Kings disasters but begin,
    He's destin'ed to more shame by'his Fathers sin.
    Susack comes up, and under his command
1 Ki. 14. 25. 2 Chron. 12. 2.
54    A dreadful Army from scorcht Africks sand
    As numberless as that; all is his prey,
    The Temples sacred wealth they bear away;
55    Adrazars shields and golden loss they take;
    Ev'n David in his dream does sweat and shake.       550
    Thus fails this wretched Prince; his Loyns appear
1 Kin. 12. 10. 2 Chro. 10. 10.
    Of less weight now, then Solomons Fingers were.
    Abijah next seeks Isra'el to regain,
1 Ki. 15. 1. 2 Chro. 13. 1. & 13. 3.
    And wash in seas of blood his Fathers stain;
56    Ne're saw the aged Sun so cruel fight,
    Scarce saw he this, but hid his bashful light.
    Nebats curst son fled with not half his men,
    Where were his Gods of Dan and Bethel then?
2 Chron. 13. 17.
    Yet could not this the fatal strife decide;
    God punisht one, but blest not th'other side.       560
    Asan a just and vertuous Prince succeeds;
    High rais'd by fame for great and godly deeds;
2 Ki. 15. 9. 2 Chr. 14. 1. ver. 13. 2 Chro. 14. 3
57    He cut the solemn groves where Idols stood,
    And Sacrific'ed the Gods with their own wood.
    He vanquisht thus the proud weak powers of hell,
    Before him next their doating servants fell.
58    So huge an Host of Zerahs men he slew,
    As made ev'en that Arabia Desert too.
2 Chr. 14. 9. 2 Chron. 16. 2. ver. 18. 2 Chron. 16. 8.
59    Why fear'd he then the perjur'd Baasha's fight?
    Or bought the dangerous ayd of Syrian's might?       570
    Conquest Heav'ens gift, cannot by man be sold;
    Alas, what weakness trusts he? Man and Gold.
    Next Josaphat possest the royal state;
2 K. 15. 25. & 22. 43. 2 Chr. 17. 2 Chron. 17. 11.
    An happy Prince, well worthy of his fate;
    His oft Oblations on Gods Altar made,
    With thousand flocks, and thousand herds are paid,
    Arabian Tribute! what mad troops are those,
    Those mighty Troops that dare to be his foes?
    He Prays them dead; with mutual wounds they fall;
2 Chro. 20. 17.
    One fury brought, one fury slays them all.       580
    Thus sits he still, and sees himself to win;
1 King. 22. 30. 2 Chro. 18. 19.
    Never o'recome but by's Friend Ahabs sin;
60    On whose disguise fates then did onely look;
    And had almost their Gods command mistook.
    Him from whose danger heav'en securely brings,
2 King. 3. 14. & 3. 9. & 3. 8.
    And for his sake two ripely wicked Kings.
61    Their Armies languish, burnt with thirst at Seere,
    Sighs all their Cold, Tears all their Moisture there.
    They fix their greedy eyes on th'empty sky,
    And fansie clouds, and so become more dry.       590
    Elisha calls for waters from afarre
2 Ki. 3. 13.
    To come; Elisha calls, and here they are.
    In helmets they quaff round the welcome flood;
    And the decrease repair with Moabs blood.
2 Ki. 3. 24. 2 Ki. 8. 16. & 8. 25. 2 Chr. 21. 1. & 22. 1. 2 Kin. 11. 1. 2 Chron. 22. 10.
62    Jehoram next, and Ochoziah throng
    For Judahs Scepter; both short-liv'd too long.
63    A Woman too from Murther Title claims;
    Both with her Sins and Sex the Crown she shames.
    Proud cursed Woman! but her fall at last
    To doubting men clears heav'en for what was past.       600
    Joas at first does bright and glorious show;
2 King. 12. 2 Chro. 24.
    In lifes fresh morn his fame did early crow.
    Fair was the promise of his dawning ray,
    But Prophets angry blood o'recast his day.
    From thence his clouds, from thence his storms begin,
2 Chro. 24. 21. 2 Ki. 12. 18. 2 Chro. 24. 23. 2 Kin. 14. 2 Chro. 25.
64    It cryes aloud, and twice let's Aram in.
65    So Amaziah lives, so ends his raign;
    Both by their Trayt'erous servants justly slain.
    Edom at first dreads his victorious hand,
2 Ki. 14. 7. 2 Chron. 25. 11. & 25. 12.
    Before him thousand Captives trembling stand.       610
    Down a prec'ipice deep, down he casts them all,
66    The mimick shapes in several postures fall.
    But then (mad fool!) he does those Gods adore,
2 Chron. 25. 14. 2 K. 14. 13. 2 Chron. 25. 23.
    Which when pluckt down, had worshipt him before.
    Thus all his life to come is loss and shame;
    No help from Gods who themselves helpt not, came.
67    All this Uzziahs strength and wit repairs,
2 Ki. 15. 1. 2 Chr. 26.
    Leaving a well-built greatness to his Heirs.
68    Till leprous scurff o're his whole body cast,
2 Ki. 15. 5. 2 Chr. 26. 19.
    Takes him at first from Men, from Earth at last.       620
69    As vertuous was his Son, and happier far;
2 K. 15. 32. 2 Chr. 27. 2 Chr. 27. 4.
    Buildings his Peace, and Trophies grac'ed his War.
    But Achaz heaps up sins, as if he meant
2 Ki. 16. 1. 2 Chr. 28. 2 Ki. 16. 3. 2 Chr. 28. 3.
    To make his worst forefathers innocent.
70    He burns his Son at Hinon, whilst around
    The roaring child drums and loud Trumpets sound.
    This to the boy a barb'arous mercy grew,
    And snatcht him from all mis'eries to ensue.
    Here Peca comes, and hundred thousands fall,
2 Ki. 16. 5. 2 Chro. 28. 6.
    Here Rezin marches up, and sweeps up all:       630
71    Till like a Sea the Great Belochus Son
2 Ki. 16. 7.
    Breaks upon both, and both does over-run.
    The last of Adads ancient stock is slain,
    Isra'el captiv'ed, and rich Damascus ta'ne.
2 Ki. 16. 9. & 15. 27.
    All this wild rage to revenge Juda's wrong;
72    But wo to Kingdoms that have Friends too strong!
2 Chro. 28. 20. 2 Kin. 18. 2 Chr. 29. 2 Ki. 18. 7.
    Thus Hezechiah the torn Empire took,
    And Assurs King with his worse Gods forsook,
    Who to poor Juda worlds of Nations brings,
    There rages; utters vain and Mighty things,       640
2 King. 18. 17. 2 Chr. 32. Isa. 36.
    Some dream of triumphs, and exalted names,
    Some of dear gold, and some of beauteous dames;
    Whilst in the midst of their huge sleepy boast,
2 K. 19. 35. 2 Chron. 32. 21. 2 K. 19. 37. 2 Chr. 32. 21.
73    An Angel scatters death through all the hoast.
    Th'affrighted Tyrant back to Babel hies,
74    There meets an end far worse then that he flies.
    Here Hezekiahs life is almost done!
    So good, and yet, alas! so short 'tis spunne.
     Th'end of the Line was ravell'd, weak and old;
    Time must go back, and afford better hold       650
2 Kin. 20. 2 Chr. 32. 24.
    To tye a new thread to'it, of fifteen years;
    'Tis done; Th'almighty power of prayer and tears!
75    Backward the Sun, an unknown motion, went;
2 K. 20. 11. 2 Chr. 32.
    The Stars gaz'ed on, and wondred what he meant:
76    Manasses next (forgetful man!) begins;
2 Kin. 21. 2 Chr. 33.
    Enslav'ed, and sold to Ashur by his sins.
    Till by the rod of learned mis'ery taught,
    Home to his God and Countrey both he's brought.
    It taught not Ammon, nor his hardness brake;
2 K. 21. 19. 2 Chro. 33. 21. 2 Kin. 22. 2 Kin. 23.
    He's made th'Example he refus'd to take.       660
    Yet from this root a goodly Cyon springs;
    Josiah best of Men, as well as Kings.
77    Down went the Calves with all their gold and cost;
    The Preists then truly griev'ed, Osyris lost,
    These mad Egyptian rites till now remain'd;
    Fools! they their worser thraldome still retain'd!
78    In his own Fires Moloch to ashes fell,
2 Kin. 23. 10. Ib. v. 13.
    And no more flames must have besides his Hell.
79    Like end Astartes horned Image found,
80    And Baals spired stone to dust was ground.       670
81    No more were Men in female habit seen,
    Or They in Mens by the lewd Syrian Queen.
82    No lustful Maids at Benos Temple sit,
    And with their bodies shame their marriage get.
83    The double Dagon neither nature saves,
    Nor flies She back to th'Erythræan waves.
85    The trav'elling Sun sees gladly from on high
2 King. 23 11.
    His Chariots burn, and Nergal quenched ly.
    The Kings impartial Anger lights on all,
    From fly-blown Acca'ron to the thundring Baâl.       680
    Here Davids joy unruly grows and bold;
    Nor could Sleeps silken chain its vio'lence hold;
    Had not the Angel to seal fast his eyes
    The humors stirr'd, and bad more mists arise:
    When straight a Chariot hurries swift away,
    And in it good Josiah bleeding lay.
    One hand's held up, one stops the wound; in vain
    They both are us'd; alas, he's slain, he's slain.
    Jehoias and Jehoikim next appear;
2 King. 23. 31. Ib. v. 26. 2 Chr. 36. 1. & 5. 2 K. 23. 34. 2 Chro. 36. 4. Jer. 36. 30. 2 Ki. 24. 8. 2 Chro. 36.
    Both urge that vengeance which before was near.       690
    He in Egyptian fetters captive dies,
86    Thus by more courteous anger murther'd lies.
87    His Son and Brother next do bonds sustain,
    Isra'els now solemn and imperial Chain.
    Her'es the last Scene of this proud Cities state;
    All ills are met ty'ed in one knot of Fate.
88    Their endless slavery in this tryal lay;
    Great God had heapt up Ages in one Day:
    Strong works around the wall the Caldees build,
    The Town with grief and dreadful bus'iness fill'd.       700
2 Kin. 25. 1. Jer. 52. 4.
    To their carv'ed Gods the frantick women pray,
    Gods which as near their ruine were as they.
    At last in rushes the prevailing foe,
    Does all the mischief of proud conquest show.
    The wondring babes from mothers breasts are rent,
    And suffer ills they neither fear'd nor meant.
2 Chr. 36. 17.
    No silver rev'erence guards the stooping age,
    No rule or method ties their boundless rage.
    The glorious Temple shines in flame all o're,
2 Chro. 36. 19. 2 King. 25. 9.
    Yet not so bright as in its Gold before.       710
    Nothing but fire or slaughter meets the eyes,
    Nothing the ear but groans and dismal cryes.
    The walls and towers are levi'ed with the ground,
    And scarce ought now of that vast Citie's found
    But shards and rubbish which weak signs might keep
    Of forepast glory, and bid Trav'ellers weep.
    Thus did triumphant Assur homewards pass,
    And thus Jerus'alem left, Jerusalem that was.
    Thus Zedechiah saw, and this not all;
    Before his face his Friends and Children fall,       720
2 Kin. 25. 7. Jer. 52. 10.
    The sport of ins'olent victors; this he viewes,
    A King and Father once; ill fate could use
    His eyes no more to do their master spight;
    All to be seen she took, and next his Sight.
89    Thus a long death in prison he outwears;
    Bereft of griefs last solace, ev'en his Tears.
    Then Jeconiahs son did foremost come,
Mat. 1. 12. Luk. 3.
    And he who brought the captiv'ed nation home;
    A row of Worthies in long order past
    O're the short stage; of all old Joseph last.       730
    Fair Angels past by next in seemly bands,
    All gilt, with gilded basquets in their hands.
    Some as they went the blew-ey'd violets strew,
    Some spotless Lilies in loose order threw.
    Some did the way with full-blown roses spread;
    Their smell divine and colour strangely red;
    Not such as our dull gardens proudly wear,
    Whom weathers taint, and winds rude kisses tear.
    Such, I believe, was the first Roses hew,
    Which at Gods word in beauteous Eden grew.       740
    Queen of the Flowers, which made that Orchard gay,
    The morning blushes of the Springs new Day.
90    With sober pace an heav'enly Maid walks in,
    Her looks all fair; no sign of Native sin
    Through her whole body writ; Immod'erate Grace
    Spoke things far more then humane in her face.
    It casts a dusky gloom o're all the flow'rs;
91    And with full beams their mingled Light devowrs.
    An Angel straight broke from a shining clowd,
    And prest his wings, and with much reve'rence bow'd.       750
    Again he bow'd, and grave approach he made,
    And thus his sacred Message sweetly said:
    Hail, full of Grace, thee the whole world shall call
Lu. 1. 28.
    Above all blest; Thee, who shalt bless them all.
    Thy Virgin womb in wondrous sort shall shrowd
    Jesus the God; (and then again he bow'd)
    Conception the great Spirit shall breathe on thee;
92    Hail thou, who must Gods wife, Gods mother be!
    With that, his seeming form to heav'n he rear'd;
    She low obeisance made, and disappear'd.       760
    Lo a new Star three eastern Sages see;
    (For why should onely Earth a Gainer be?)
Mat. 2. 1.
    They saw this Phosphors infant-light, and knew
    It bravely usher'd in a Sun as New.
    They hasted all this rising Sun t'adore;
93    With them rich myrrh, and early spices bore.
    Wise men; no fitter gift your zeal could bring;
    You'll in a noisome Stable find your King.
    Anon a thousand Dev'ils run roaring in;
    Some with a dreadful smile deform'edly grin.       770
    Some stamp their cloven paws, some frown and tear
    The gaping Snakes from their black-knotted hair.
    As if all grief, and all the rage of hell
    Were doubled now, or that just now they fell.
    But when the dreaded Maid they entring saw,
    All fled with trembling fear and silent aw.
    In her chast arms th' Eternal Infant lies,
    Th'Almighty voyce chang'ed into feeble cryes.
    Heav'en contain'd Virgins oft, and will do more;
    Never did Virgin contain Heav'en before.       780
    Angels peep round to view this mystick thing,
    And Halleluiah round, all Halleluiah sing.
    No longer could good David quiet bear,
    The unwieldy pleasure which ore-flow'd him here.
    It broke the fetters, and burst ope his ey.
    Away the tim'erous Forms together fly.
    Fixt with amaze he stood; and time must take,
    To learn if yet he were at last awake.
    Sometimes he thinks that heav'en this Vision sent,
    And order'ed all the Pageants as they went.       790
    Sometimes, that onely 'twas wild Phancies play,
    The loose and scatter'd reliques of the Day.
94    When Gabriel (no blest Spirit more kind or fair)
95    Bodies and cloathes himself with thickned ayr.
    All like a comely youth in lifes fresh bloom;
    Rare workmanship, and wrought by heavenly loom!
    He took for skin a cloud most soft and bright,
    That e're the midday Sun pierc'ed through with light:
    Upon his cheeks a lively blush he spred;
    Washt from the morning beauties deepest red.       800
    An harmless flaming Meteor shone for haire,
    And fell adown his shoulders with loose care.
    He cuts out a silk Mantle from the skies,
    Where the most sprightly azure pleas'd the eyes.
    This he with starry vapours spangles all,
    Took in their prime e're they grow ripe and fall.
    Of a new Rainbow e're it fret or fade,
    The choicest piece took out, a Scarf is made.
    Small streaming clouds he does for wings display,
    Not Vertuous Lovers sighes more soft then They.       810
    These he gilds o're with the Suns richest rays,
    Caught gliding o're pure streams on which he plays.
    Thus drest the joyful Gabriel posts away,
    And carries with him his own glorious day
    Through the thick woods; the gloomy shades a while
    Put on fresh looks, and wonder why they smile.
    The trembling Serpents close and silent ly,
96    The birds obscene far from his passage fly.
    A sudden spring waits on him as he goes,
    Sudden as that by which Creation rose.       820
    Thus he appears to David, at first sight
    All earth-bred fears and sorrows take their flight.
    In rushes joy divine, and hope, and rest;
    A Sacred calm shines through his peaceful brest.
    Hail, Man belov'ed! from highest heav'en (said he)
    My mighty Master sends thee health by me.
    The things thou saw'est are full of truth and light,
97    Shap'd in the glass of the divine Foresight.
    Ev'n now old Time is harnessing the years
    To go in order thus; hence empty fears;       830
    Thy Fate's all white; from thy blest seed shall spring
    The promis'd Shilo, the great Mystick King.
    Round the whole earth his dreaded name shall sound,
    And reach to Worlds, that must not yet be found.
    The Southern Clime him her sole Lord shall stile,
98    Him all the North, ev'en Albions stubborn Isle.
99    My Fellow-Servant, credit what I tell.
100   Straight into shapeless air unseen he fell.

Click here for a facsimile sequence of Cowley's elaborate prose notes; the verse text has been normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light."
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