• 1. Absolons Sheep-shearing.
  • 2. Ioab projecting.
  • 3. Bathsheba bathing.
  • 4. Israel rebelling.
  • 5. Ahithophel hanging.
  • 6. David returning.


PSAL. 119. 71. ‘It is good for mee that I have been in trouble, that I may learne thy Statutes.’

LONDON: Printed by Richard Hodgkinsonne, and are to be sold by Daniel Frere, at the signe of the Bull in Little-Britan. 1638.

To the Author.

THe Poem which shall live, and oft be read,
With foure faire Ornaments, is garnished.
It must describe to life, fitly compare,
Abound with Sentences, and Fictions rare:
All these are met in thine, and doe conspire,
To dresse thy Lines in durable attire.
Thy chosen Subject of a sacred straine,
Is Index of thy sanctified Braine,
Prophaner Muses vent your idle dreames,
While thine discourseth of diviner Theames.
It shall bee written on thy mournfull Herse,
Hee turn'd all sacred Story into Verse.

Ad Authorem.
Quiddam ex Virgilii Eclogâ sextâ inflexum, & huic penso pretextum per G. H.

HAs oh! Laete, fides tibi dant (en accipe) Musae,
Psalmicini quas ante duci: quibus ille solebat
Cantando sacros deducere coelitus hymnos.
His tibi suavifluo currit scaturigine vena,
Ne quis sit vates, quo se plus jactet Apollo.
Omnis te pia Musa canit; nec gratior ulla est,
Quam quae Davidis praescribit pagina nomen;
Quae canit aerumnas regis, curas (que) sequaces
Saepius obsessi latrantibus undique monstris.

To the worthy Author of this Divine Poem.

ORder and Number set the World in frame,
Tun'd the harmonious Spheres, made memory
A Cabinet, to eternize Mans fame,
And to Record th' eternall Deity,
All Verses rellish not of Levitie.
Who saith, true Poesie is not Divine,
Knows not the Hebrew Hymn, nor hath read thine.
Should I beleeve a Metempsychosis,
Isha's sonnes soule silenc'd by his last fate,
I'de sweare inform'd thy body, and made this
Vse of thy Peace, to draw his trouble's State,
That others might take heed, ere 'tis too late.
Church and State Hypocrites, in their owne trap,
To catch, though maskt & lul'd in fortunes lap
Follow thy Prophet, Poets follow thee,
Till they have learn'd to leave Venerian Rimes,
And thou hast taught religious Historie,
Affords the proper Sonnets of our times,
Best Organs Canzons, true coelestiall Chimes;
So having penned Odes for Davids Lyre,
Goe, helpe to chaunt them in the Angels Quire.

Idem ad Lectorem.

INcestûs poenae, fraterni sanguinis ultor;
Principis aerumnae, Proditionis opus;
Contemptus Cleri, rabies temeraria vulgi;
Peccantis planctus, contritionis amor;
Si tibi sint curae: pandit mysteria mira
A [...]-laetus vates, alite digna Jovis.
R. S.


The first Booke.
Absolons Sheep-shearing.

I Tell the divers tryalls of the King,
Who hevenly hymns did to his Maker sing:
Blest Spirit that infus'd on him such skill,
Dispose aright thine humble servants quill
Now liv'd the King at home in happy peace
Free from all Wars and dangerous disease
Of civill broiles: For all Sauls house was slaine,
None but the lame Mephibosheth, remaine:
The Philistins are all brought downe so low,
They dare no other Lord than David know:
The Syrians in two battailes overthrowne,
Now make their peace and serve him as his own:
[Page] The Heral [...] violating Ammonite,
Is strong enough to serve, but not to fight.
Two yeare are past since Thamars ravishment,
The Peeres and people free from discontent:
When thus becalm'd with peace, and newly rose
From meat, newes comes (thus fame by going growes)
That all his sonnes by Absolon were slaine,
Not one amongst the living did remaine;
This made him from his Cloth of state descend,
And teare his clothes, and dolefull cryes out send,
Lye on the earth whilst all his servants cry,
And with their clothes all rent, stand mourning by:
Till Ionadab begins thus to the King;
Take not, my Lord, so grievously this thing,
As if that all thy sonnes at once were dead,
Thine Amnon's onely slaine who ravished
His sister Thamar; Absolon this thing
E're since hath vow'd, and now to passe doth bring;
By faire pretence of making him a feast,
Thus hath hee slaine his Brothe [...] and his Guest.
By this the Watchman, looking up, descride
Much people comming on the Mountaines side,
When Ionadab; Lo, as thy servant said,
The Kings sonnes come, my Lord, be not dismaid;
They all are safe, scarce had hee made an end,
When downe the hill they saw them all descend,
Who as they neerer came still more lamented,
The King and all his servants hearts relented,
As when from Egypt with full sacks of graine,
Old Iacobs sonnes came to him home againe,
Because with Ioseph, Simeon was left bound,
The Sonnes and Father make the valleys sound
[Page 2] With plaints & groans; and cause at home more mourning
For Simeons misse, than joy at their returning:
So was it here, King David and his Sonnes
Make all the Court to sound with plaints and groanes:
Meane while the guiltie murtherer Absolon,
Not daring stay to answer what was done,
In hast t'avoid the Lawes revenging hand,
To Geshur posts, his Mothers native land.
Geshur a Citie is in Syrias Fields
On Iudahs borders, where old Talmaie wields
The Scepter, who for some respects of state,
When David yet o're Hebron onely sate,
To him had given his Daughter, from whose bed
Came Absolon and Thamar ravished.
It was no little pleasure to the King,
To see his goodly Nephew: but this thing
Amaz'd him much, great Davids Sonne to see
Attended with so small a companie:
But his sweet Beautie and brave personage,
Commended by the flower of his age,
So takes the good old King, his salutation
Was all compos'd of joy and admiration;
The hidden vigour of his lightning eye,
His rosie cheeks, his fronts sweet Majestie,
His Nose like Gnomon of a Diall faire,
His Lippes pure scarlet Ribbands, whereon haire
Arose like finest Downe, his Mouth not wide,
But open'd, did discover on each side,
An Ivorie range of Teeth, as even and sound
As twinned Lambs which on the Mountaines bound;
His Locks were like to twist of burnish [...] Gold,
Which did out-weigh, so oft as hee was pol'd,
[Page] The Ramm's faire Fleece, and to the Sun-beames turn'd,
Did seeme a flaming Bush that never burn'd:
In all the Kingdomes of the East not one
Was found, for Beauty like to Absolon;
From his foots sole up to his curled crowne,
No blemish could in Absolon be showne:
This made th'idolatrous vaine Syrian
Thinke him a God in likenesse of a man,
Beleeving Sol had left his Chariot bright
In Geshurs Court, one night to take delight;
Or warlike Mars resign'd his Sphere above,
To solace there in pleasing armes of Love:
The Priests themselves that were, or should be, wise,
Were ready even to offer Sacrifice:
When Talmai thus: my fairest Absolon,
Art thou my Nephew royall Davids Sonne?
Or dost thou from amongst the Gods descend,
Mee to admonish of my latter end?
Worship theres due unto a power divine,
And not Embracements; If that thou art mine,
Declare the cause that doth thee hither bring.
Then Absolon: My Parent and my King,
I duely here doe give upon my knee
The worship, which thou offerest to mee:
I am thy sonne and servant: But the King
Lets him not kneel, but whilst from's eyes doe spring
Teares mixt with joy, to's chaire of State doth guide,
Who thus begins, downe sitting by his side.
It hath, too oft, been prov'd to be deny'd,
That all things which on earth to men betide,
By heavenly Powers are guided to their end,
What ever Mortalls vainly may intend:
[Page 3] So as Church Policies, and Rules of State,
Are alwayes subject to eternall Fate.
When thou thy Daughter borne of Royall Seed
To David gav'st, hee of thine aide had need,
Against Sauls house, his Hebron to maintaine,
And other parts of Israels Land to gaine:
Who thought then that thy Daughters Progeny,
Should be subjected to strange soveraignty?
This baser Israelite to beare a Sonne
To disinherit Maachas Absolon.
But when I found my Fathers mind and fate
In this agree, contented with my state,
My life I in a Countrie Village led,
And like a Farmer Sheep and Bullocks fed.
In Court I saw no safety to remaine,
Where Envie and Ambition ever reigne,
With divers jealousies and strains of state,
To thrust downe vertue, not to emulate:
Yet feeling Royall Blood boile in a veine,
Which mee assur'd that I was borne to reigne,
And that to bee commanded was too base
For one descended of so Royall Race,
I rather chose to be the first in place,
Than second in the highest Monarchs grace;
My Sheep-hooke therefore I a Scepter feigne,
My Garland greene, a Crowne, and that small traine
Of Gallants that did on my person tend,
I call'd my Peeres. The Iudges I did send,
To judge my subjects, which were flocks of sheep,
Were shepheards, who them did protect and keep,
And not as now wee see some Iudges doe,
Their Fleeces pull, and take their Bodies too.
[Page] The Law I rul'd by, was my will and word,
A frowning looke my executing sword,
Nor did I lesse esteeme my fragrant Bowers,
Then Kings their high guilt, princely costly Towers:
My fields and flocks did yeeld as wholsome meat,
I ay a better stomacke had to eate;
And when I pleas'd to hunt, the little Hare
More pleasure yeelded than Roe Bucke or Beare.
I often, walking in my shady Groves,
Heard more sweet dainty Lays of heavenly Loves,
Than could be tun'd by Davids choisest Quire,
What more than I enjoy'd could one desire?
A Country life is too too full of blesse,
If country men knew their owne happinesse,
But ah! poore wretches, all admire gay showes
Of Court and Citie, but alas who knowes
Their base dissemblings, jealousies and cares?
Forswearing, lying, flattering and feares:
Whereas their clothes, they seeke to change the bed,
And to account the stolne for sweetest bread,
That dying, few doe know for whom they toild,
If for their owne or for anothers child:
The while the Country-man, at home alone,
Enjoyes his wife his own deare flesh and bone,
And sees even in his sons and Nephewes faces,
Their parents native features, looks and graces.
And though such shows they make not on their table,
Yet is their chear as good and acceptable;
Yea even their Offerings and Sacrifice,
Assoone to Heaven may from these Cells arise,
As those that Kings on statelie Altars lay,
And send their Hecatombs up night and day.
[Page 4] Thus as a King I liv'd amongst my Peeres,
And wanted nothing but their cares and f [...]ares,
Free from the envie of the Prince and Court,
Who never did regard my meaner port,
Untill the Heavens or some malicious fate,
Who better knew, than they, my happy state,
Even in the swimming fulnesse of my gladnesse,
Me interrupted with this cause of sadnesse.
Besides her sonne, thy servant Absolon,
Maacha had a daughter, and but one
By David, of such comely modest grace,
She was the light and glory of our race,
Surmounting common beauties of the Court,
As Suns bright beames the Starrs of meaner sort;
With which some Courtiers playing, as the Flyes
With flaming Lamps, burnt both their wings and eyes:
Of which was Amnon, whom experience try'd,
That he indeed was not true Eagle-ey'd,
For dazled with her beames, most pure and bright,
Against Gods Lawes and Natures common light,
He lusted after his owne Sisters bed,
A wickednesse not to be uttered.
But as the more conceal'd, the more the fire
Consumes, so this unnaturall desire
Most fearing it should be to mor [...]alls showne,
(Nere dreading God, to whom it all was knowne)
Consumes his marrow, and his body dryes,
So as on bed all languishing he lyes,
No meanes he saw his lawlesse lust to gain,
For she a Virgin liv'd, pure, free from stain.
When Ionadab my fathers brothers son,
(As subtile ones who fairest rising Sun
[Page] Ay worship, and think nothing vil'e or base,
That may possesse them of a Princes grace)
Observing Amnons pulse, doth plainly finde
His sicknesse not of body, but of minde:
And saith, my Lord, Art thou not Davids son,
The kingdoms heire? thou knowst their breaths, not one
From Sihors Floud to great Euphrates sands,
That cheerfully observes not thy commands.
Thou art the life and comfort of our State,
Why dost thy self and us then macerate?
Let but thy servants know what thou desir'st,
And they will more effect than thou requir'st.
Ah! Cosin Ionadab saith Amnon, I
Think better my desires with me should dye:
To make them known it is as bootlesse vain,
As wicked to affect: I will not feign,
Nor hide the secrets of my heart from thee,
I love my Sister Thamar: but what hee
Advis'd the lustfull Prince was never known,
Till thus the cause was by the issue shown.
One Summers evening walking, when Sols light
was giving way unto the Queen of night:
I, on a Mule by Moon-light, did descry
A Lady, with small train, who comming nigh,
Falls to the ground, and with a piteous groan,
With sighs and sobs doth testifie her moan:
Her hand, alas, she laid upon her head,
Which was with ashes all besprinkeled,
Her partie-colour'd garments all were rent,
That I her piteous case did even lament,
Before I her discover'd by the face,
To be our Thamar: Ah! saith she, alas!
[Page 5] Most miserable wight, yet why should I
Make known my grief, and see no remedy?
Had any soe done me this foule despight,
I could have over-past my grief more light,
But my neere friend hath me dishonoured,
My elder Brother Amnon ravished.
You can but wonder, noble Absolon,
How he a Virgin Maid could finde alone:
Ah! dearest Brother, by a subtill wile,
Me and my Father both he did beguile;
Himself he feigning sick upon his bed,
Soon as he by the King was visited,
Most humbly of him doth intreat the grace,
That I (ah me) might come before his face,
And in his Chamber make some dainty meat,
Which of my hand it might be he could eat:
The King commanded, I forthwith was sent,
Without the least suspecting his intent,
Me to dishonour, and my family,
And violate my chaste virginity.
But he, alas! when I had bak'd him meat,
Two dainty cakes, which he desir'd to eat,
Commanded all his men out of the roome,
And bade me into his bed-chamber come;
Where he would be refreshed at my hand,
I that did simply all things understand,
Brought in the Cakes, and offer'd him to eat,
But found my honour was his long'd-for meat.
For holding fast my hand, he doth begin,
With these faire words me to his lust to win.
Pure heavenly Star of my Nativity!
By whose benign aspect, I live or dye,
[Page] Sweet Soveraign leech! of my souls long diseasc,
No Physick but thy self my grief can ease:
Thy onely heat can quench my hot desire,
As Sunnes bright shining beames extinguish fire.
I care not for these Cakes, thy candid hand
Hath more enrich'd, than Pearles calcin'd to sand,
Were it my pleasure onely to obtain,
And that thou shouldst more honour loose, than gain,
Thou mightst deny: But Amnon seeks thy grace,
And humbly supplicates thy sweet embrace;
Aske half my birth-right, onely with me lye,
My dearest Sister, else for love I dye.
When I, deare Brother! let not Gods choise nation,
Be guilty of so foule abhomination;
By strength a Sister to base lust compell,
Such sin was never known in Israel:
Lo! all thy people thee for this will blame,
And where shall I ah hide my head for shame?
If thou dost love me, as thou dost pretend,
(Such foule beginnings never well can end)
Before thou force me, aske me of the King,
Not that I foule incestuous guilt would bring
Upon my Land, or had the lest intent
To move the King to give us his consent,
(For what can be a lowder crying sin
Than blood to joyne to blood and kin to kin)
I onely sought to win him to forbeare,
But I my charmes tun'd to deaf Adders eare.
As when a Wolf hath seized for his prey
A little Lamb, that went aside to play,
The Lamb doth bleat and struggle all in vaine,
So I as little by my striving gaine,
[Page 6] For by his strength and power he me opprest.
Oh shame forbids me to reveale the rest.
But as if malice more than raging lust,
Had him invited to this fact unjust,
Soon as his pleasure thus was satisfide
He could not in his presence me abide,
But as a Strumpet vile or common Whore,
Commands me straight to get me out of doore,
And when I, lo [...]h to publish this disgrace,
By my foule usage, and my blubber'd face;
Him on my knees besought he would forbeare
To doe this second wrong, he would not heare:
But with a furious hatred, farre above
The raging passion of his lustfull love,
Calls he his servant in, and storming more,
Commands him put me out and shut the doore.
Talmai at this amaz'd streight up doth stand,
And cryes, are these your fruits of holy Land?
What other King yet ever gave consent
To such a base incestuous Ravishment?
Where he the King his father did defraud,
And made him to incestuous lust a Bawd:
Oh had it been mine onely Sonne and heire,
I would have hangd the wretch up by the haire,
Or with wild horses torn his joynts in sunder,
Had God forborn to strike him down with Thunder.
But what said David when he heard this thing?
Did he th' offender punish? No, O King,
Saith Absolon, he onely seem'd displeas'd
At first with Amnon, but was soon appeas'd;
For neither good nor bad to him was said,
As if he to displease him were afraid.
[Page] Th' offence he hated, and th' offender lov'd,
But love it seemes for more than anger mov'd.
The Sun hath finish't twice his annuall course,
Since Thamar thus was ravished by force,
Whil'st in my house she liv'd disconsolate,
For lorn of all, for feare of Amnons hate,
But never any word thereof durst mutter,
For feare we should but our disgraces utter,
We knew the King unwilling to repaire
His daughters losse, with hazarding his heire;
Nor did I shew at all my discontent,
Lest his distrust should my revenge prevent,
But covertly my hate dissembeled,
Till opportune Revenge were offered.
And now approach'd the season of the yeere,
That I my Sheep on Hazors plaines did sheare,
Where I prepar'd a sumptuous Royall Feast,
And did invite the King to be my Guest;
But he unwilling me to over-charge,
Said, Nay my Son, we will not so much charge
Thee, at thy house, us all to entertaine,
Nor would he goe, although I urg'd againe.
Then said I, yet let Amnon go with me,
Ah, saith the King, why should he go with thee?
More than thy presence nothing mighty King,
Would to thy servant grace and honour bring;
But since thou art not pleas'd with me to go,
That honour thou deny'st, let Amnon do.
So I him urg'd, he promis'd in the end,
That he with Amnon all his Sonnes would send.
Was never Wood-man gladder, when at hand
He spyes the Stag come faire upon his stand,
[Page 7] Than I, at comming of my wis [...]ed guest,
For whom indeed I did provide the Feast:
In coolest vault, whose sweeter Northern light,
Was freed from hotter gleams of Sun-shine bright,
My servants had the Table covered,
For Davids sonnes, whilst Thamar ravished,
In covert close for shame her head did hide,
Whom Amnon could not in his sight abide.
When all were come, and at the Table set,
And, as their stomacks lik'd, fell to their meat,
Two of my servants, as I did command,
Who closely waiting did by Amnon stand,
So soon as I gave them a secret signe,
And that his heart was merry grown with wine,
Down smote him dead, which service bravely done,
Shall never be forgot by Absolon:
The Kings sonnes all with sudden horrour scar'd,
As if like cheare had been for them prepar'd,
Haste to their Mules; to thee forthwith I fled
On swiftest coursers ready sadeled,
I nothing of the truth from thee conceale,
And now my King and Father I appeale
Unto thy Iustice, where if guilty I
Be judg'd of Amnons blood, then let me dye.
I would not put my life upon the rude
And violence of furious multitude,
Nor on the Iustice of an angry King,
Time may again me into favour bring:
I then shall plainly prove that Absolon
Hath done no more than David should have done:
And when Kings suffer such sinnes in their Land,
God will revenge them by anothers hand.
[Page] Lo thus he ends: When Talmai; valiant son
I do commend this act so bravely done,
In answering this foule base indignity,
Thou hast reveng'd thy Sister, self and me:
No generous brave spirit could have born
So great dishonour, and so foule a scorn:
Be confident in this, my son, that I
Will in this quarrell, live with thee and dye.
The rather for that thou thy self hast shew'd,
As just in punishing a crime so lewd;
So also politick in cutting down
That Tree, which stopt thy way unto the Crown.
O grand exploit! which fairly both wayes tends
To publike Justice, and to private ends.
Some reach at Crowns by shedding guiltlesse blood
But thou by being great, and seeming good.
Thus shall my Absolon get thanks and praise,
As popular in that which must him raise.
Then Talmai rose, and looking round about,
Perceiv'd that all his servants were gone out,
For well-bred Courtiers thought it no fit thing,
Uncall'd, to heare the secrets of a King:
But soon as they their Master walking heare,
All in his presence readily appeare,
Where he commands them all, they do their best,
To entertain his sonne, so goes to rest.

Ioab projecting.

OLd Israel did never so lament
For Iosephs colour'd coat, all bloody rent,
As David for his murdred first born Son,
And absence of his loved Absolon.
As when great Ioab trecherosly had slain
Brave Abner by a false and subtil train,
So to revenge the blood of Asahel,
The King and all the Lords of Israel,
With garments torn, and ashes on their head,
Lament and mourne for Abner lying dead:
So lowd did David weep, that all might heare,
And followed unto the Grave the Beer.
So now the King, and all his servants mourn
For Amnons losse, who never will return:
[Page] Yea Passions Davids reason so confound,
He all the day lyes sorrowing on the ground,
And though the Elders of his house and Peeres,
Perswade him to represse his grief and tears,
By all their prayers they cannot him intreat,
To rise up or refresh himself with meat:
Till Bathsheba out-leading Solomon
Upon her hand, bespeakes him thus alone.
Let thy great wisdome, Gracious Soveraign Lord,
Descend to heare thy handmaid in a word;
Nor think, O King, as his Stepmother, I
Too lightly think of thy calamity,
Be sure I could a full proportion hold
With thee in sorrow, if that mourning could,
Thy first-borne Sonne to thee bring back again,
But ah, alas! such teares are spent in vain;
We may to him, he cannot to us come:
Remember, when thy first-born of my wombe,
Was with the sicknesse struck, whereof it dyed,
How you besought the Lord, and to him cryed,
If for our sin he would be reconcil'd,
And by thee be intreated for the child:
Thou all the night on earth laist without meat,
Nor could the Elders of thy house intreat
Thee to sit up, but when thou heardst 'twas gone,
Thou didst arise and wash thy selfe, and soon
As thou with thine Gods house hadst visited,
Didst cheerfully refresh thy self with bread.
This was our patern then, let it be now
The same to thee: thou mourned hast enough,
Then cease more to bewaile thy first-born Son,
And cheer thy self with little Solomon,
[Page 9] To whom, yet in my womb, God gave a name,
To shew that he should be a man of fame.
Then said the King; My dearest Queen, the light
Sent from my God, to guide me in the right,
Which seeing I allow, yet go astray,
So Passion doth my Reason oversway,
Yet with good reason I may this lament,
Not as a losse, but as a punishment
Of Rape and Incest suffer'd in my Land,
For God is just, and hath no partiall hand.
Affections divert Administration
Of Iustice, which is free from acceptation
Of persons, and doth at the head begin,
Greatnesse is no protection for sin.
To Amnon now as he deserv'd is done,
To save one, I have lost another Son,
God us both justly to his Barre doth bring,
Him for the rape, me for not punishing.
Not as if I the Murtherer excus'd,
Whose malice as an instrument God us'd,
Us unto judgement for our sinnes to call,
For God is just, and we offenders all.
The Sunnes pure beames draw up from filthy soile
The lees, yet doth it self no whit defile,
So of our sinnes pure God oft makes good use,
Yet's without sinne, as we without excuse.
Oh God, how wondrous are thy works throughout
The world, thy judgements all past finding out.
Shame unto us, all praise to God is due,
For he is righteous, and his judgements true.
Thus lauds he God, whilst little Solomon,
Who newly able was to run alone,
[Page] And like a Pye or Parrat 'gan to chatter,
All sounds he heard, though nothing to the matter,
More chear'd the King with pratling non-sense,
Then all his Courtiers studied eloquence,
And as young Davids Harp oft dispossest
Saul of his evill spirit, and him refresht;
So did this Parrats pretty melody,
Dispell the clouds of his melancholy,
And passions of grief to joy convert,
Nought more than children chear an old mans heart.
Oh blessed Child, saith David! in thy face
I see a modell of all heavenly grace,
Thou shalt in wisdome, wealth, and power increase,
And be a King of happinesse and peace.
A Type of that great Prince of peace and rest,
In whom all Nations of the world are blest.
The God that alwayes dwelt with us in Tents,
Since Sinai thundred his Commandements,
Will be content t'abide within the frame,
Thou shalt erect to praise his holy Name.
Type of the Heav'n of Heav'ns, which we live under,
The Nations glory and the earths great wonder:
To thee shall all the Nations Presents bring,
As to the highest and the wisest King.
As stones shall Silver in thy streets remaine,
And Cedars as wilde Fig-trees on the Plaine:
All Kings to heare and see thee shall desire,
But they that neerest come, shall most admire,
To heare thy heav'nly Wisdome plaine expound,
The hardest Questions that they can propound.
Oh happy, couldst thou keep upright thy heart,
But ah! strange women do the best pervert.
[Page 10] [...]o! thus is Davids sad melancholy
[...]urn'd, like Sauls hatred, into prophesie,
[...]s torrent swift which long his course hath held,
[...]n sudden by immoderate showers fill'd,
[...]reaks down the Banke, and beares the ground away,
And finding new his former course doth stay.
But all these goodly hopes of Solomon,
Could not divert his love from Absolon,
Wherefore since Amnon could no more return,
He now takes comfort and begins to burn
With such affection to Absolon,
That even to fetch him home he could have gone,
Which Ioab by some signes discovering,
A woman wise from Tekoa did bring
In mourning-clothes, with ashes on her head,
As if she had long mourned for the dead:
Who being well instructed in her part
By Ioab, thus begins to shew her Art.
She meeting David at set time and place,
Low to the ground falls down upon her face,
And cryes out, help O King! thy servant save,
Ah woman, said the King, what wouldst thou have?
I am, saith she, a woman widowed,
And live alone, thy hand-maids husband's dead,
Who leaving me two sonnes, whilst in the field
Each strove with other, both too stout to yeeld,
And there not being any nigh to part,
He that struck first was stricken to the heart:
So now he only doth to me remain,
Who in his fury hath his brother slain:
Happy yet were thy servant, if I might
Enjoy this onely Son, my soules delight,
[Page] But all the kindred of my family,
In just revenge for brothers blood, do cry,
Give us the heire to slay: So they my light,
In Israel would, ah me! extinguish quite,
Not suffering this one man on earth alive,
Thine hand-maids husbands name here to revive.
The King, by nature most affectionate,
With her in sorrow doth participate,
And saith, go home, good woman, be content,
Concerning thee, Ile give commandement.
But she repli'd againe, my Lord and King!
The guilt of this iniquitie, God bring
Upon my Fathers family and me.
Thou and thy Throne of justice shall be free.
Good woman feare thou nothing, said the King,
The man that speaks against thee, hither bring,
And I will give him an expresse command,
Against thee never more to lift his hand.
Oh King, saith she, remember God thy Lord,
Nor suffer more the sharp revenging sword,
To forrage as it formerly hath done,
Lest as my first, it slay my second son.
Now as the Lord doth live, by whom we all
Doe live, from's head this day no haire shall fall.
Yet, said the woman, I thine hand-maid pray,
Let me speake one word more, the King said, say:
Then said the woman: Oh why should the King,
On us, Gods chosen people, evill bring,
For by the words the King hath uttered,
Thou plainly hast to us discovered,
That thou indeed art faulty, oh my King,
That home thy banished thou dost not bring.
[Page 11] [...]y Liege and Lord! consider this thing well,
What danger 'tis for Davids heire to dwell,
[...]ut of the Kingdome, and live banished,
[...]ea with an Heathen King his life to lead;
[...]or as pure water spilt upon the ground,
[...] soon dryed up, and can no more be found,
[...]or is the scent and purity retain'd,
[...]ut whilst in some pure glasse it is contain'd:
[...]o people perish all without a head,
Or like so many Sheep are scattered,
But God who till this time hath him preserv'd
Unto this people, hath for good reserv'd,
And mov'd their hearts to wish at home againe,
Thy sonne, that yet doth banished remaine.
And now I to the King these things have said,
Because I of the people was afraid;
Thus thought I, let me speake unto my Lord,
[...] may be he will heare his hand-maids word,
And be as gentle unto Absolon
[...]s to thine hand-maid and mine onely Sonne,
Whom thou hast saved from revenging hand,
That me and him would pluck out of the Land.
I thought, if to preserve a family,
Thou wouldst not let the sword my sonne destroy,
Thou mightst do much more for the Kingdomes peace,
And for Religions wealth and strength's increase.
For as an Angel, God hath given thee skill
To heare and judge aright of good and ill:
And therefore, since the Act of this my Son,
Is one with thine, God make thy judgement one.
The King repli'd, good woman, I desire,
Hide not from me the thing which I require,
[Page] Tell, Is not Ioabs band with thee in this?
Ah, good my Lord the King, said she, it is:
I will not leave the truth on either hand,
For thou, O King, wilt soon it understand.
Thy servant Ioab to my mouth convei'd,
Even all the words which I thine hand-maid said;
That by their circumstance my Soveraigne might,
Without affection see and judge aright,
And not the peoples and our wishes crosse,
For Absolons offence or Amnons losse.
Therefore, oh King, as now thou hast been wise
For to discover all we could devise,
And as Gods Angel here dost all things know,
So, by that wisdome, all things wisely do.
Thus ends the woman, when to Ioab so
The King begins, as thou wilt all must go;
This thou projected hast, it shall be done,
Go haste, and fetch the young-man, Absolon:
Then Ioab falling down upon his face,
Gave humble thanks for this so high a grace,
Oh King, saith he, what grace hast thou exprest,
In yeelding to thy servants bold request?
And now thought Ioab, with this simulation,
To make at once an utter supplantation,
Of Bathshebes projecting for her Son,
By bringing back from Geshur, Absolon.
Such is mans nature ay with envious eye,
To view our equals, rais'd to dignity,
And would more willingly, though with more danger,
Than to their own, be subject to a stranger:
But Bathshebe perceiving his designe,
As prudently did worke her counter mine,
[Page 12] And to the Prophet straight her self applyes,
They best direct that first with God advise,
And thus begins: Good Prophet! seest thou not
How cruell Ioab cunningly doth plot,
To bring in grace again proud Absolon,
And ruine utterly my Solomon?
What then shall all those prophesies betide,
Which have by thee of him been propheside,
If Ioabs craft against us may prevail,
Ah help! Gods promises do never fail.
Madame, saith Nathan, they shall ay endure,
And like the Mountaines, stable stand and sure;
The Goat shall easelier dive into the deep,
And Dolphin up to top of Mountains creep,
Than earthly powers Gods promises with-stand,
What's arme of flesh against his mighty hand?
Mens subtill windings, close dissimulations,
Are even as vain as their imaginations,
Turn'd by his power and wisdome to those ends
And purposes, his goodnesse here intends:
God works not here by likely meanes, as man,
What he is pleas'd to will, he alwayes can:
By causes he sometimes, oft times without,
Against all causes brings he things about;
All things are wrought according to his will,
They happy who it cheerfully fulfill,
And voluntary Agents do their best,
Upon his goodnesse faithfully to rest:
Experience forbids us to distrust
Th' Almighty, as unable or unjust.
All Sauls projectings, David to keep down,
Were but as steps to raise him to the Crown,
[Page] The more deliverances, the more his praise,
No keeping down whom God intends to raise.
Good Nathan, saith the Queen, no eloquence
Instructs us like our owne experience;
(I now delight not to recount my story,
Mine be the shame, I give to God the glory:)
From bed of sinne, which did me wel-nigh smother,
He rais'd me up to be the happie mother
Of such a child, whose wise and potent hand,
Should sway the Scepter of this holy Land,
And be to all succeeding generations,
Our glory, and the astonishment of Nations.
Lo! Nathan I have bred him in my wombe,
And suckel'd at my brests, till hee's become
Of Learning capable: Now I him bring,
To thee to be instructed like a King.
Madame, saith Nathan, 'tis the best of Arts,
To give right rules to children, for their parts:
For as of other things, so of man-kind,
In youth the time is to instruct the mind.
What liquor they be season'd with, they hold,
To middle age, yea even when they are old:
Then as the yeelding tender twigs in field,
Contented are to husbands hand to yeeld,
And, as it gently them directs, do grow
Up towards Heaven, or to the ground below,
So Tutors may their minds depresse or raise
To base desires, or thoughts deserving praise:
Sweet Manna only did with morning last,
Soon as the Sun grew hot, the time was past:
This is the time true vertues seeds to sow,
That they with them in strength may thrive and grow,
[Page 13] And not discern, grown up to middle stature,
[...]f they be thus by precept, or by nature.
First be they taught their Parents to revere,
Distemper, lying and deceit to feare,
To have Gods dreadfull Name in reverence,
For hope of good, and feare of punishments.
On them yet this inforce not, but instill
It gently, with good liking to their will,
For what is so enforced on us then,
We fall into dislike of, growing men,
And being free and at full liberty,
More pleasing wayes unto our natures try.
Acquaint their growing minds with pleasing Stories,
Of vertues sweet rewards, and highest glories,
But never vices in their presence name,
Without eternall infamy and blame:
Nor let them know how commonly they reigne,
Lest they to them a liking entertaine:
This will their minds to vertue elevate,
And make them vices loath detest and hate,
And if you finde their Natures do intend
To any errours, them to th' adverse bend,
As oft we bow young twigs clean opposite,
Of purpose onely, for to set them right.
When you have sweetend thus their inclination,
Nothing improves it more than emulation,
Be it at Schoole, or play, they exercise,
Allure them with the glory of the prize:
Best minds have all this inbred quality,
To set their chief delight on victory.
Thus Prophets should good rules and precepts give,
By which they after do intend to live;
[Page] For so did Nathan with his blessed charge,
Who now conceiving he was set at large,
Removed from his awfull parents eye,
And freely left to his owne liberty,
Begins like Colt to run his full careare,
But Nathan him restraines with modest feare,
Yet not abridging him those sweet delights,
To which his tender pupillage invites:
He by the gentlest meanes him first inclin'd,
To sports that better Body might and mind,
And told and taught him all brave martiall Story,
To fill his limbs with strength, and heart with glory.
An errour 'tis in those that youth up train,
Them from sweet lively pleasures to restrain,
Licentious loosenesse is a foule extreme,
Between these two doth lye the golden mean.
They that our best and noblest horses breed,
Do let them run at liberty and feed,
Till they unto their height of strength be grown,
Then gently tam'd for services and shown.
Who to their Books too hardly youths constraine,
The heat draw from their stomack to the brain,
Them making heavie, lumpish, dull, and slow,
And dry that moysture up should make them grow.
As Colts which at the first be over-toil'd,
Turn jades, and are in every journey foil'd.
As fruit ripe in the morning rots ere noon,
Such is the fate of all that ripe too soon.
But such is not the fate of Solomon,
Though all his equalls are by him out-gone:
In learning, riding, any recreation,
He all transcends beyond all emulation.
[Page 14] These soon are past, and now he sets his mind,
The highest wisdome only out to find,
Which Nathan finding shewes his utmost Art,
To season with Gods holy feare his heart,
The holiest heavenly precepts to instill,
Both to his understanding and his will,
Wherein this child not only doth outgo
His equals, but ev'n his great Master too,
"So do we often see great God imparts
"To his Vice-gerents, large and ample hearts,
"By which they may more able be to lead,
"And guide the people in their Makers stead.
You great ones that do subtilely project,
By meanes unjust, and cruell, to effect
The things you aime at, and oft-times in blood
Of friends and allyes, make your actions good;
That make no conscience, by dissimulations,
To ruine Cities, Families and Nations.
Though oft you passe unseen by mortall eyes,
He sits in heav'n that all your works descryes,
Conducing all your projects to those ends,
His goodnesse, not your malice, here intends.
Yea those pure spirits, which are waiting still
On earth, his heav'nly pleasure to fulfill;
See all your windings, and with grief behold
Proud mortalls here, so desperately bold,
Upon these fraile and brittle habitations,
To perpetrate so foule abhominations
In sight of God, of Angels, and the Devill,
Who takes delight to see them work all evill:
Oh doe but make a true just estimation,
Of them that use such close dissimulation:
[Page] Survey their lives, and you shall plainly see,
The best men have been open faire and free.
Deep Politicks faire vertues formes commend,
As most conducing to their aimes and end,
But hold the practice is an hinderance,
To all that great affayers would advance,
They Grace and Holinesse it self would seem,
Not to be so in deed, but in esteem,
By false pretence of Goodnesse to do evill,
A Principle for Lucifer the Devill.

Bathsheba bathing.

OH what a happy thing 'tis to be bred
Of godly Parents, and well tutored;
Especially for Kings, whose education
Brings happinesse or ruine to a Nation;
Yea Subjects children, bred too tenderly,
Infect a City, Town or Family,
With lewd examples, quickly followed.
By Pr [...]cepts wee are dragg'd, by Patter [...]s led.
Now David by too good experience,
Had prov'd what mischief comes by indulgence,
In breeding children; Amnon grown so bold,
He might not by his Father be control'd
For foulest incest, Maachas Absolon,
Hath kill'd the Prince his brother and is gone.
[Page] Faire Thamar now remains more desolate
By Amnons murther, than his rape or hate;
Revenge that's private, lawlesse shedding bloud
Without the Magistrate, doth no man good;
The Murtherer in exile must remain,
Till Ioab comes to bring him home againe,
Who taking for's Companion Abishai,
Lo thus begins discoursing on the way.
Many that are indeed, or would seem wise,
And by the past, of things to come, surmise,
Do hold that in all bodies politick,
Diseases are, as men, are well or sick,
That rising Kingdomes periods have, which past,
They like our bodies here, decline and waste,
Till their last ruine; and, as bodies, states
Beginnings, risings, fallings have and dutes:
And sure 'tis no hard matter to observe,
How states are healthfull, thrive, decline and sterve.
But he's the Statist profitably wise,
That knows their sicknesses and remedies,
Be their disease in body, feet, or head,
By Prudence they may be recovered,
But he indeed is Master of his Art,
That keeps th' infection from the head and heart,
The King and Army, for by these, lo all
Monarchs and Kingdomes flourish, rise and fall;
And sure we seldome see a remedy
Of such infection, but Phlebotomy.
Nought more (saith Abishai) foments the rude
Seditions of the giddy multitude,
Than those our wandring Levites, discontent
At Churches, or the Kingdomes government;
[Page 16] Their reason why they are so disaffected,
Is, that they think their gifts too much neglected,
That they are not assum'd, yet able are
The weight of government alone to beare;
And therefore new Church Orders will devise,
To make the people all the old despise,
And thus would bring into the peoples hate,
All ancient governours of Church and State.
Lo! this disease, now good experience finds,
Like plague of Leprosie, infects the minds
Of people, and instilling close dislike
Of Governours, at Church and State does strike.
These seeme, at first, low on the ground to creep,
But soon they into Counsell Chambers peep;
Where, though they dare not reach up at the Crown,
They all that are above them would pull down;
And if our Rulers negligence give way,
Whereby they may but seem to beare the sway,
They such strange Church-disorders will propound,
As quickly would both Church and State confound,
Agreeing all to crosse what Law commands,
Yet differing in their severall demands.
Some Statists think that this distemper growes
The more, that Rulers strive it to oppose:
But our too late experience hath found,
How dangerous 'tis, to give these humours ground,
Though scarce a great man meddles in these actions,
Except some few to strengthen more their factions;
I wish such to some new-found Land would go,
That we the sound might from the th' infected know.
Alas! saith Ioab, these vain idle rude
Distempers of the brainlesse multitude,
[Page] Are by a purge or vomit quickly spent,
Or turn'd into the bodies nourishment:
They most, in times of wanton peace, do breed,
Begot at first of Humour, and do feed
On Ayre, popular applause, I mean,
No Policy can them extirpate cleane,
So long as there is moisture to supply
Iuice to the root, if that once faile, they dye.
Many divine of changes in our state,
Because our King hath been unhappy late,
Since his last marriage, his Child is dead,
His first-born slaine, his daughter ravished,
And Chileab is lost, his second Sonne,
So now his heire is M [...]ch as Absolon.
Few but my selfe, our States disease do know,
Whereby so many troubles on us grow,
Our sicknesse is of sinne even in the head,
Which (as diseases most by ease are bred)
Grew in the King, when he too much did yeeld
To pleasure, whilst his Armie lay in field.
For whereas in all Battailes he was wont
To be most valiant, and the first in front;
When we last went against the Ammonit [...],
He in his Palace had another fight,
Till plainly I discover'd, past all doubt,
The Citie Rabbab could not long hold out,
I sent for him to th' taking of the same,
Lest it were called after by my name.
Not to delay thee long, although the King
Did sin in secret, God would have the thing
To all be known: vain hope 'tis to conceale
Our sinnes from men, which we to God reveale.
[Page 17] [...]weet Bathsheba, Iude as fairest Maid,
By divers Princes courted, woo'd and prai'd,
At last was carryed by the bravest Lord,
That ere in Monarchs quarrell drew a Sword;
A Hittite, but the noblest of his house,
Wise, modest, valiant and religious,
Who 'mongst King Davids Worthies had a name,
And second was to none in worth and fame.
Nor was she faire without, and inly base,
But like Gold Picture in a Silver case,
Was by this Lord belov'd, and lik'd agen,
Thus fairest Dames make choise of bravest men.
A happy union and a blessed paire,
As truly vertuous as seeming faire,
In true affection tide, and link'd in love,
As Spheares which by one mutuall motion move;
So she him honours, and he is so kind,
They seem'd two bodies govern'd by one mind:
Yet were not their affections more combind,
Than Love and Honour in them both conjoind.
Was ever Virgin to the Temple led,
More chaste than she into Vriahs bed?
To revelling she seldome would resort,
But was most part a stranger at the Court,
Whose strange and new attyres, she did not know,
Where Ladies naked brests, and shoulders show,
Like Chapmen, who their wares shew to the eye,
And bid you like for love, for monie buy:
Love never friends more closely fastened,
No Turtles truer to each others bed.
There Love and Honour arme in arme did stand,
But ever Honour had the upper hand:
[Page] Whereof a proof to thee Ile briefly tell.
When Hanun had reproached Israel,
In violating with imprudent hands,
Our Kings Ambassadours, the sacred bands
Of mutuall Amity 'twixt State and State,
By David sent, him to congratulate,
Their beards and garments shaving to the thighes,
In foulest scorn, as if they had been spies;
And that he saw, he stank in Davids sight,
He hir'd the Syrian and the Aramite
Against our King, which when he understands,
He me commands to muster all his bands,
And men of might: of which not one did I
Wish more, than brave Vriahs company.
And therefore where my Officers I sent
To others, at his house, to him I went,
Where I them found inchain'd in Lovers charms,
Delighting sweetly each in others arms;
When I made known to them the Kings command,
Amaz'd they gazing each on other stand:
A while with deare affection, honour strove,
But Honour got the victory of Love.
And she begins; my Lords, I must confesse,
I like my husband, know no earthly blesse.
But not for beauty, wealth, or wanton love,
Did I desire to make him mine, above
All other Princes, that to me did sue,
But for his valour, worth, and honour true:
But since he cannot serve to my content,
Without his worths and honours detriment,
Go chearly forth, let it be never said,
With thee thy courage in mine armes is laid.
[Page 18] [...]hould you want men, these womans armes should fight,
To be revenged on the Ammonite,
Who on Gods people put so foule a scorn,
[...]s never any Nation could have born.
These Sweet expressions of her loyall love,
[...] heart of flint, or sullen brasse might move
To pitty her: I must confesse my heart,
Till then did never act a yeelding part.
Thou knowst in what fierce battails I have been,
What cruelties in Conquests I have seen,
When we the hated City Rabbah sackt,
How diversly the common souldier rackt,
All of both sexes, were they young or old,
To make them shew where they had hid their gold.
The streets on all sides eccho'd plaints and grones,
And childrens braines were dasht against the stones,
[...]ere babes hang sprawling on a Souldiers speare,
[...] Lady faire, one drags out by the haire,
Whilst other from her teare her rich attire,
[...]hen throw her naked body in the mire:
Lo here a child and mother, loth to part,
Are nailed fast together with a Dart:
Here little babes not knowing ill from good,
Do play and paddle in their parents blood:
All Captives which we took, thou sawst put under,
The Tile-kils, or with Sawes cut quite asunder:
[...]ome we with iron Axes hew and pare,
And some we under iron Harrowes tare.
All these fierce Hostile furies did not move
Mine heart, so much as these effects of Love.
So as indeed I was content to yield,
[...]athshebas brests should be Vriahs field.
[Page] But she repli'd, Lord Ioab, I do hate
To purchase pleasure at so high a rate,
And therefore wisht her husband to prepare
Himselfe for Armes, the rest should be her care.
A tender Mother that hath only one,
Most carefull is in breeding up that Sonne,
Soon as he for some place in Schoole is fit,
Where are best helps for to enrich his wit,
When time's at hand, that he should thither ride,
And be disjoyned from his Mothers side,
Although his absence grieves her at the heart,
Yet for his good, she's willing he should part,
She trusts some friend a Chamber to prepare
At Schoole, whilst she for needfull things takes care;
So Bathsheba commends her onely one
To me, to care for, as my dearest Sonne:
Nor ever would omit, what might advance
Her husbands honour, worth and valiance:
Thus were we by our King sent out to fight
'Gainst Ammon, Ishtob and the Aramite.
Where, as we neere approach'd the City Gate,
We Arams host behind us spide, though late,
When as before us, lo! the Ammonite,
In Battaile ready set, came out to fight.
When I the Battaile thus in front did finde,
Ammon before, the Aramite behind,
I put the choise of Israel in array
'Gainst Aram, and the rest, my Abishai,
I did commit to thee, that thou shouldst fight
Most valiantly, against the Ammonite.
Whom, if thou wert unable to resist,
I promis'd thee mine aid, and if I mist
[Page 19] Thy help 'gainst Aram, thou shouldst help agen,
[...]ever, said I, play the valiant men.
We for our Cities, and Gods people fight,
[...]et him do what it seems good in his sight.
[...]gainst proud Aram soon I got the day,
Which Ammon seeing, turn'd and run away
[...]nto their Town, we to Ierusalem,
[...]eturn'd with honour, having beaten them.
[...]ut hauty Sirians, scorning one should tell,
That they were vanquish'd thus by Israel,
[...]reat Hadadezar, that same potent King,
To whom the petty Kings did presents bring,
[...]ends for the Aramites beyond the Floud,
[...]nd came againe to make their quarrell good.
Which David hearing, them at Helam met.
[...]here both in battaile each 'gainst other set,
[...]e all his Chariots and Foot-men lost,
With Shoha that great Captaine of his Host.
[...]ut when the Kings saw Hadadezer fell,
Their greatest King, 'fore th' host of Israel,
They made their peace, and being weak and poore,
[...]esolv'd to helpe the Ammonite no more.
Thou me about hast with long stories led,
But what's this to the sicknesse of the head;
All this, saith Abishai, I saw and know,
[...] will forthwith, saith Ioab, briefly show,
But we old men, ('tis held a fault in all)
Are in our Tales too circumstantiall.
But this that to my purpose was so fit,
[...] could not without prejudice omit.
These were the speciall reasons mov'd the King
To root out Ammon, for the following Spring,
[Page] About the time that Kings go forth to warre,
His Souldiers David muster'd neer and farre,
And me against strong Rabbah with them sent,
Whilst he at home in ease liv'd, and content;
Where as one evening from his Couch he rose,
Which he did often use for his repose,
And walking on his houses Battlement,
To view the glorious Starres in Firmament,
(Which now the Sun had new withdrawn his sight,
Began to shimmer with their borrowed light)
Lo he from thence a glorious object spyes,
Which makes his heart do homage to his eyes,
Out of the water he discerns a light
Arise, more glorious than the Queen of night,
And yet he thought it could not be the Moon,
Her beauty borrowed is, this was her owne.
Yet 'twas a woman, but of such a feature,
As in her frame, all Arts conjoyn'd with Nature,
Who sate all naked in a velvet chaire,
Broad-spreading with white Comb her golden hai [...]
Which as thin clouds do, oft in Summers night,
Obscure the beames of fairest Cynthias light,
So shadowed her haire from Davids eyes,
Her singular admired rarities.
But soon she leaps into the water light,
VVhere lo, she shines like to a Lilly white,
In purest glasse, or as we see a Grace
Idea'd sweetly in a Christall Case.
To make the way seem short, I to the life
Describe the beautie of this Worthyes wife.
One while with armes as if with oares she drives
Her swimming body, and anon she dives;
[Page 20] One while upright, she in the water stands,
Above her head it pa [...]hing with her hands,
VVhose drops upon her haire like pearls did leap,
VVhich falling down do seem to mourn and weep.
But best might the particulars appeare
Of her sweet counten [...]nce and beauty rare,
VVhen like faire Roach (which on a Summers day,
Bove water leaps, as Fishes use to play.)
She leaves the Bath, and on a chaire set higher,
Her Maidens haste with warmed clothes to dry her.
Then lo, her soft silk hayre with curled folds,
Out-braves the brightnesse of sweet Marygolds,
Her Ovall from, her nimble vigorous eye,
VVhere's sweetnesse, humblenesse and mijesty,
Her browes thin haire, as silver fri [...]ge adorns,
Like Cynthias beames, when first she shewes her horns:
Her cheeks sweet beds of Lillies and of Roses,
Betwixt which, like a rising hill, her nose is,
Beneath that lo her lippes like Rubies show,
Or Red-rose bud that new begins to blow:
Below which, lo a valley dimpled in,
Us leads to flowry hillock of her chin,
Her Ivory necke, which doth her head uphold,
Like silver handle to a cup of Gold,
On her faire shoulders is by joints so plac'd,
It turns like golden fane, yet stands as fast.
Beneath which rise her either si [...]ken brest,
Like paire of milk-white Pigeons in a nest;
Or like the first forbidden fruits of sinne,
VVhereof first Eve to Adam did begin,
Or like two bunches of a fruitfull Vine.
And when she blushes like to sops in wine;
[Page] Her either hand as richest Cabinet,
Had on each finger Pearles and Diamonds set,
Each lim of her beseem'd even Beauties Queen,
I only now describe what may be seen.
But when her warmed clothes had sucked in
The water, loth to leave so faire a skin,
She from her chaire leaps nimbly to her bed,
And from his sight with clothes was covered:
Which more amaz'd the King, than all the sight
Before could yeeld him comfort and delight:
So have I seen in clearest Summer night,
Dart from the skies a Lamp of shining light,
Whereat rude people stand amazed all,
And sweare they saw a Star from Heav'n to fall,
Which doth portend, say they, great alterations
Of State, Sword, Famine, Plague or Inundations.
But how, saith Abishai, at even-tide
Were these sweet Beauties by the King descri'd?
Quoth Ioab, brother 'twas not so late night,
Where Sun was set, but by the Heavens pure light,
The King might easely look down from his Tower,
And see a Lady bathing in her Bower:
Yea Abishai thou knowst in darkest night,
Where such a Sun doth shine, there needs no light.
Thus he that late ascends the Battlement,
To view the glorious Starres, and Firmament,
And in them to admire Gods grace and glory,
With too much gazing, sings another story:
Lo he whose soule was like a weaned Child,
Pure, simple, abstinent, and undefil'd,
Becomes impure, thus is base slime and dust
From heavenly thoughts proclive to fleshly lust.
[Page 21] He first looks to inquire, then with delight,
Next with consent, last with sharp appetite.
Thus Achan looked, lik'd and coveted
The cursed Gold, and thing prohibited.
Base lust of th' eye, that sets our mind on fire,
And burnes us with inordinate desire:
Vncircumoised boasting Philistin,
Who, if in single fight, he gets within,
Doth conquer all, and therefore David chose
To fight with him at distance, never close.
But now that he is call'd to single fight
With spirituall Philistin, of greater might,
Contrary clean to that he did before,
Than closing, he desireth nothing more;
And therefore soon as he could well inquire,
And find 'twas Bathsheba, he did desire,
He sends one of his Chamber, to invite
Her to the Court, sometimes to take delight,
Till her belov'd Vriah did return,
And not to sit all day at home and mourn:
Glad was the woman, that her Lord and King,
Did so much for her Husbands honouring,
And sayes, though for Vriahs safe retire,
To pray and mourn I onely do desire,
I will my self and him this thing denay,
Ere I my gracious King will disobey.
Soon as the King her in the Court doth see,
Amongst the Ladies, like faire Cypresse Tree,
Amongst the Shrubs, or Cynthia shining bright,
Amid the twinkling Starres in frosty night,
He first begins her beauty to commend,
And blushing kist her cheek, and calls her friend,
[Page] And said that if he might a servant be
To such a beautious Mistris: his degree
Of State should bow, her humbly to observe,
And do his best her favour to deserve.
Thus though her Husbands Honour first did bring,
This Dame to Court, yet proud now, that a King
Should there confesse, he did such service owe,
(For few faire Ladies but their beauty know)
As ready was to take as he to offer,
All Complements of Court, the King would proffer,
Not once suspecting such a godly King
Would offer her the least dishonouring:
Nor could all Satans cunning him have brought.
At first, to entertaine so foule a thought,
But as a simple Lambe on flowrie banks
Of Iordan bounds, and leaps, and pla [...]es his pranks,
Till his faire shadow in the watry glasse,
He spies, which seemes the substance to surpasse,
Whereon he nigher comes, and comes to look,
Till unawares he falls into the brook,
Whence he may strive to get out, but in vain,
The streames by force him carry to the Main:
Even so the King at first begins to play
With her pure hand, as on his Couch he lay,
Then gazing on her eyes and modest face,
Reflecting beauties, like a Looking-glasse,
He unawares in Beauties snare is took,
Ev'n as the Lamb was drowned in the Brook.
Oh lothsomnesse, deceitfulnesse of sinne?
The sweetnesse, bitternesse we finde therein,
Beginnings, fawnings, growing, terrour, smart,
Our weaknesse, Satans envie, mans false heart!
[Page 22] Thus Mortals (which to Heaven should seek the way)
As Fishes, which in fresher water play,
Swim in delights, and lustfull pleasures all,
Till unawares they in the dead-sea fall:
But as you evermore shall see one sinne
Beget another, to lye hidden in,
So David, his Adultery to hide,
Commits first drunkennesse, then homicide,
For she perceiving that she had conceiv'd,
And fearing lest (for being so deceiv'd)
The Lords and all the people would her blame,
Because her Lord could not beget the same,
Who had been three full months to battail gone,
Before her bathing, and the act was done,
She hereof closely certifies the King,
Who seeks thus to provide a covering,
He sends to me a Letter, which requir'd
Vriah home, as if he had desir'd,
To know by him, how all things did succeed,
But 'twas to father what his wife did breed.
In brief Vriah comes, and doth relate
To David mine, and all the peoples state,
And how the warres went on, and prospered,
Then David wisht him get him home to bed,
Refresh thy self, thy journey hath been great,
And after him he sends a messe of meat.
But brave Vriah, hating all delight,
Or pleasure, which disabled him to fight;
Among the Guard did all that night attend,
Nor would to his own house, and wife descend.
Which when the King, next morrow, understands,
He of Vriah thus the cause demands.
[Page] Brave Hittite, may thy King the reason know?
Why this last night, when thou didst from me go,
You went not home, but tarryed with my Gard,
As of thy journey thou hadst no regard?
Who said, the Arke with Iudah, Israel,
And my Lord Ioab in their Tents do dwell,
Abroad i'th' field: What then, shall I alone
Lye with my wife, and eat and drink at home?
As thy soule lives, and as thou liv'st, O King,
I am resolved not to do this thing.
The King yet caus'd him in the City stay
All that, and afterwards another day,
In hope at last he to his wife would go,
But when he found that this way would not do,
He makes him in his presence sup that night,
And drink down healths, untill his head was light,
Yet he his wife regarded nere the more,
But with the Gard all night lay as before.
Oh such brave Spirits, saith Abishai, would raise
Unto themselves and us immortall praise,
Were they but, as they due deserve, regarded,
But see, saith Ioab, how this was rewarded?
He brings a Letter sign'd with Davids hand
To me, which did to this effect command:
"Of thee, and of thy host I did inquire
"By this, and finde all things as I desire,
"This onely now to thee, I do not find
"This Hittite answerable to my mind,
"And therefore set him formost in the fight,
"Where thou discern'st the men of greatest might,
"And when he is in danger, soon retire,
"And let him dye: No other cause inquire,
[Page 23] "Of thy King David. Having this command,
My part was to obey, and not to stand
In disputation, were it wrong or right,
And therefore where I saw most men of might
Defend the walls, I brave Vriah sent,
Where all succeeded just to mine intent,
Of Davids servants many likewise fell,
Both of Iudea, and of Israel.
Whereof, when first I certifi'd the King,
He seemed much displeased with the thing,
But when he heard Vriah also di'd,
His wrath appeas'd, he thus again repli'd.
Salute thou Ioab, tell him after-care
Or grief avails not 'gainst the chance of Warre,
For thus the sword doth usually devoure,
All that do come within his reach or power:
Be not discourag'd, make thine Armie strong,
To be reveng'd of this and all our wrong.
What said his wife, saith Abishai hereto?
Ev'n mourn'd for fashion, as [...]ich widdowes do,
Saith Ioab, but as soon as that was done,
The King her makes his wife, and takes her home.
The joy to be a Queen soon dryes her eyes,
And with her husbands murtherer she lyes.
Wondrous iniquity, saith Abishai,
I never heard the like, untill this day,
A head distemper'd thus cannot but ake,
And make the heart and all the members shake.
He were a man of wondrous wisdome sure,
That could to this disease apply a cure:
Is not one Prophet left in Israel,
That dares the King of these offences tell?
[Page] Yes sure, saith Ioab, there's a skilfull one,
Hath searcht this sore unto the very bone,
Good Nathan, yet with such a gentle hand,
He made the King his faults to understand,
By telling others, so the sore did presse,
With prudent, gentle, pious tendernesse.
For Prophets that reprove such faults in Kings,
Must strike at one, to sound out other strings,
And not reproach their errours to their faces,
Nor publish to the people their disgraces.
Since Bathsheb as conception did begin,
The King slept in this Lethargy of sinne,
They both had like beginning, life and growth,
And have like bringing forth, and birth of both.
As skilfull Leech to cure his Patients ills,
With gold oft covers bi [...]ter wholsome pills:
So Nathan doth this Parable apply,
A seeming-sweet but bitter remedy.
Pardon my Liege, saith he, if Iustice I
Desire, when sinnes to Heaven for vengeance cry,
Lo in a City were, nay which is more,
Still are two men, one rich, the other poore,
The rich had mighty Heards and Flocks, the poore
A little Lambe had onely for his store,
Deare bought, which he at home with him did cherish,
And even amongst his sonnes and daughters nourish,
Drank of his cup, eate of his bread, and ay
As his own daughter in his bosome lay.
But lo, a stranger to the rich man came,
Who secretly purloins the poore mans Lamb,
Whereof he for the stranger doth prepare,
And his own Heard and all his Lambs did spare.
[Page 24] Now as the Lord lives, David doth reply,
The man that did the thing deserves to dye;
Besides he foure-fold shall the Lamb restore,
Because he was so cruell to the poore.
As he that doth besiege a mighty Tower,
Doth use at first more policy than power:
But when the breach is made, and he got in,
To shew his strength and courage doth begin:
And as we see Ambassadours of Kings,
In formes are curteous, but advance the things,
Which unto them their master doth command
With resolution, so doth Nathan stand,
The breach with as much courage to maintain,
As he the same by subtile meanes did gaine:
Thou art the man, saith Nathan, thou alone
This vile abhominable thing hast done;
Thou art the rich, Vriah was the poore,
Thou hast thy choise of wives, he one, no more,
Which thou hast ravisht, and her husband slain,
The wicked stranger, lust to entertain.
This is the thing I must make plainly known,
The words I speak are Gods, and not mine own.
I have annointed thee the King of all
My people, and thee freed from hand of Saul,
I gave to thee thy Masters house and wives,
And to thy hand committed all the lives
Of Israel and Iudah, and would more
To thee have given, if thou hadst wanted store:
Oh! why shouldst thou my Precepts thus despise!
And do this wicked evill in mine eyes?
The stout Vriah by thy sword is dead,
And thou his wife hast taken to thy bed.
[Page] This Worthy oft escap'd more dangerous fights,
Thy sword hath kil'd him, not the Ammonites.
The sword shall never from thine house depart,
Because thou hast despised me, and art
Defil'd with ravishing Vriahs wife,
And for thy pleasure took'st away his life.
Thus, saith the Lord, against thee I will raise
Up evill in thine house, even in thy dayes,
Thy fruit begotten in Adultery,
Shall onely breed thee sorrow, and so dye,
Thy Sonne with incest shall defile the bed,
Of thine own daughter, by him ravished:
Thy Sonnes shall rise up one against another,
And Brothers hands imbrew with bloud of Brother:
Thy Wives shall be defil'd in open light,
The Sun shall blush to see so foule a sight:
Thou sin'dst in secret, but this shall be done
In sight of all the people and the Sunne.
As tender Oakes shak'd with fierce blasts of wind,
B [...] yeelding do the faster rooting find,
When stouter Oakes, which give no way at all,
Are thrown quite down, and ruine in their fall,
So it with David fares, whose heart relents,
And shakes and trembles at Gods menacements,
His sinne confessing, but his Faith holds fast,
And sings this Peni [...]entiall Psalme at last.

PSAL. 51.

OF thy great goodnesse, Lord, some pitty take
On me whom sinne
Doth now awake,
If thou in loving kindnesse wilt begin,
All mine offences easely may,
Be by thy mercies done away.
[...]hen wash me throughly from this staine
Of sinfull guilt,
Till none remaine.
[...]ow I confesse, O Lord, thou canst and wilt,
Cause sin, which now me lyes before,
Never to rise against me more.
[...]gainst thee I, O Lord, have sinn'd alone,
And in thy sight
This evill done,
[...]hat judg'd, thou mightst be found most pure and right,
I full of sinne, of good bereav'd,
Iust as my mother me conceiv'd.
Thou truth dost in the inward parts require,
Which to discern
Lord, me inspire,
So I of thee may secret wisdome learn:
With Hyssope purge me, I shall grow
More clean and pure than whitest snow.
Of joy and gladnesse make thou me to heare,
My broken bones
Thus shalt thou cheare,
And into joyfull Ditties change my grones,
Thy face turn from my sins foul hew,
My heart make clean, my spirit renew.
Cast me not out from thee for my demerit,
Nor take from me
Thy holy Spirit;
Recomfort, Lord! my will conform to thee,
So shall I sinners teach thy way,
And them convert that go astray.
From guilt of blood, O Lord, deliver me,
Oh help or never
Shall I be free,
So of thy goodnesse I shall sing for ever,
Ope thou my lips, mine Organs raise,
Then shall my mouth set forth thy praise.
Thou sacrifice desir'st not, else would I
With all my might
Thereto comply,
Nor dost thou in bur [...]t-offerings delight,
A troubled spirit's best sacrifice,
Broak contrite hearts thoul't not despise.
Let thy protecting arms like walls embrace
And Sion grace;
Then our burnt offerings thee shall please agen,
We will upon thine Altar lay,
Gifts and oblations every day.
Here Ioab ends, when noble Abishai;
[...]o thy discourse hath shortned much the way,
Beyond the River I discern the plain,
That Iair, Manasses son, by sword did gain,
Upon which bordereth the Geshurite,
Ride on, we may see Talmai's Court to night,
And bring most welcome newes to Absolon.
I know saith Ioab well, what I have done:
This is a project of mine own devising,
To please the setting Sun, as well as rising;
Nothing more pleasing is to Davids mind,
No service more the Princes heart can bind,
Nor to King Talmai be more acceptable,
Who will us gratifie as he is able.
What's he? saith Abishai, a petty King,
Saith Ioab, here on Gilead bordering:
[Page] Great Hadadezar was Lord Paramount,
And here did but as Tributaries count
These lesser Kings, till we at Helam slew
His Captain, and his Army overthrew.
Since that they all are servants to our King,
(Except old Talmai) and him Presens bring.
But night encroacheth now so on the day,
They leave their talk and look unto their way,
By which that night to Geshurs Court they come,
Most welcome to the King and Absalom:
For this was their Ambassage from the King,
The young-man to Hierusalem to bring.

Israel rebelling.

SOL had no sooner ha [...]nessed his horse,
Rejoycing, Giant-like, to run his course,
His longest journey frō the East to West,
When Talmai, who that nig [...]t took little rest,
(So were his thoughts [...]a'ne up, and fil'd with care,
For's Grand-child Israels apparant heire,
And plotting both their powers to combine,
To subject to one head all Palestine)
To his Bed-side did send for Absolon,
And as a Father counsels thus his sonne.
Besides thy royall birth, and riper age,
Thy strength of wit and goodly personage,
With vertues all, which fit a man to raigne,
And with the people love and favour gaine,
[Page] Thou hast in highest Courts of Kings been bred,
And learn'd how subjects should be governed:
And howsoe're thou now liv'st banisht from
Thy Fathers presence, and thy royall home,
Yet lo, the peoples votes thee all designe,
Great Iudahs King and Lord of Palestine:
The chiefest Arts we have in Courts to rise,
Is silence and dissembling injuries,
Acknowledging for savours all disgraces,
And giving for them thanks with smiling faces,
Yea, Kings must oft. (I know to whom I speak thus)
Give way and smile at wrongs, or they will break us.
They that will curb their Peers and peoples factions,
Must look especially to their first actions,
For nought so sure establisheth a Crowne,
As then to merit honour and [...]enown:
For such is ay the peoples waywardnesse,
They measure Princes vertues by successe.
Of all we most obnoxious are to hate,
Such multitudes for us insidiate,
Our neerest kindred, servants, wives and friends
Pretending service but to have their ends,
Amongst all none so base pernicious are,
As th'impudent dissembling flatterer,
A close infection in a royall house,
And to the King and State most dangerous,
Beginning soon as they begin their dayes,
For all are taken with immoderate praise,
Yea in their crad [...]e they are rock'd together,
No King but on this Lime-bush leaves a feather.
Oh! 'tls at Court a gainfull occupation,
To pry into their Princes inclination,
[Page 28] And what they find them cover and desire,
That alwayes to commend most and admire;
To have their words and actions ever lin'd,
[...]ust by the square they finde their King inclin'd,
Be it to lust, excesse, or cove ise,
These Brokers will new tricks for them devise:
Most infamous foul greedinesse of gain
They stile good thrift, and earing for the main:
The infectious presidents of filthy lust
Sweet gentle Courtship, and the tolls unjust
Kings raise for fewell to their prodigality,
Are gloriously inti [...]led Liberality.
They take all lets out of the wayes that lead,
To base desires, by shame prohibited.
Thus they all seeds of vertue seek to choke,
And cover over vice with vertues cloke;
So as should heavens to Kings no larger heart
Than to the common people here impart,
How should they quite themselves of these diseases,
Which now by custome common grown, so pleases:
For deep wise prudent Counsellors of state,
That find reproofs procure them only hate,
Distinguish private vices of a King,
From publike errours in administring,
And looking to the Kingdomes government,
Avoid all private means of discontent.
He that will m [...]n in due subjection bind,
Must, as the body, so command the mind.
The King and Priest here acts his severall part,
One guides the hand, the other rules the heart,
Do never such sharp penall Lawes compose,
If you their consciences leave free and loose,
[Page] The people will them desperately pervert,
Religion is the onely ruling Art,
And holds upon the mind for better [...]ye,
Than feare of any pain or penalty:
See it but in our meates of flesh and fish,
No Law makes them one day forbeare a dish,
But let devotion bid a yearly Fast,
All will abstain, though forty dayes it last;
No humane Edict but a Law divine,
Could make your Iewes abstain from flesh of Swine:
You see how here I my disccur'e apply
To yours, not to my own Church policy.
Wisely advis'd, saith Absolon, to raigne,
But how, my Lord, shall I the Kingdome gain,
For Israels Crown not as thy Geshur goes
To th'eldest son, but's at the Kings dispose,
And I have many causes just to feare,
This last born son is to the King so deare,
I of my birth-right shall be dispossest,
Except I in the peoples favour rest.
The peoples grace, saith Talmai's but a blast,
A vapour that doth like a bubble last,
Up suddenly of wind and water blown,
And with another blast as quickly flown,
Thou by such breath maist rise up, but canst stand
No longer than thou serve to their command;
They follow head-long after novelty,
By pride seduced or simplicity,
The proud are heads and authors of the faction,
The simpler but the hands and feet of action:
They both alike ambitiously dissent,
From Rules of Church and civill Government:
[Page 29] And alwayes will applaud a new deviser,
To seem than all their Pred [...]cessors, wiser:
And thus by innovation of things,
They would enforce new Lawes on Gods and Kings,
Admitting unto them no other measure
Of worship and obedience, than their pleasure:
Serve but their turn, thou shalt their minion be,
Crosse them, their s [...]vour as their censur's free,
Adventure not to fly upon these wings,
These are not made to raise but pull down Kings.
Oh but, my Lord, saith Absolon, a Crown
Cannot be taken up, till it be down,
And therefore I affect, to learn the Art
Of drawing factious spirits to my part,
Of whom, against the King, I may have need,
If he design another to succeed.
The way, saith Talmai, civill wars to breed,
Let Heavens, not I, appoint one to succeed,
But if they so on thy high fortunes frown,
The people must be courted for a Crown,
Thou art to strive with all dexterity,
To act thy part as in a Comedy,
For few of them the truth from errour knows,
And nothing takes them more than glittering showes,
Congies, embracements, visits, salutations,
Large promises, faire speeches, commendations;
If you with reall blessings them would please,
Provide free trafficke, plenty, peace, and ease,
They war abroad than peace will rather chuse,
May they sit free at home and heare good newes:
But most of all the people to content,
Be alwayes blaming present government,
[Page] To gaine a Crown, thou early must and late,
Observe all suters standing at the gate,
And where thou seest a discontented brow,
Embrace him, ask the causes, why and how?
Approve his cause, however good or bad,
A factious spirit nothing more will glad.
Oh say, thy matter's good, thou needst not feare,
If that the King would take the paines to heare:
But he doth solace with the Queen at home,
And ne're thinks to depute one in his roome:
I must confesse, my friend, it is not well,
Were I but made a Iudge in Israel,
Your causes should be heard without delay,
And not as now put off from day to day,
That thou wert better suffer injury,
Than take such paines to buy a remedy.
Since I with David first joyn'd in Affinity,
I often have observ'd how your Divinity,
Prepares the people first to reverence,
And next them seasons with obedience;
Yea nothing more them right or wrong inclines,
Than as their Guides are sound or rash Divines:
Kings may command mens bodies as their head,
But peoples hearts are by their Prophets led.
And therefore as to civill Government,
So 'gainst Church-orders shew thy discontent;
No Musick is so sweet to peoples eare,
As evill of Church-governours to heare:
And if thou findst a Levite hot and young,
Of which but few, thou knowst, can hold their tongue
Of custome give him countenance and grace,
And mention thy dislikes when he's in place:
[Page 30] What then he heares thee and thy servants mutter,
He in th' assemblies openly will utter:
For which if he be silenc'd as his due,
At Court soon for his restitution sue,
Where want of years, and indiscretion blame,
Thou of a zealous Prince shalt get the name:
It skils not if his cause be good or bad,
His sufferings will to his credit adde.
For all the people after him will run,
Commending highly all that thou hast done,
And say, O had our Prince the Iudges place,
None but such zealous men should be in grace.
As when a Company desire to bring
Renown and credit to some new-found Spring,
They give it our the water is most sure
And medecineable for every cure,
Then women, children, men, and all that heare,
To drink that water travell far and neere,
In some it such a strong conceit doth breed,
They of Diseases cured are indeed:
And as when we erect an Image new
Of any Deity, lo all the crew
We speak of, with their offerings thither flock,
And do their homage to a stone or stock,
Till daily use satiety doth bring
To men, both of the Image and the Spring
So when the parents and neer kinsfolk bring
A Levite that at th' Altar scarce can sing,
With wondrous wit and gravity to preach,
Oh then, they all admire to heare him teach,
Yea giddy people run from far and nigh,
Whilst other neighbour Temples empty lye,
[Page] And by their violence and strong conceit,
Sublime his spirits to the very height,
Where he no longer can retain that grace,
Than till a new one, like him comes in place,
Then doth their famous Prophets honour fall,
And like the spring and Idol is in all.
Let a great man, run riot, swagger, sweare,
And for his lust and pleasure nothing spare,
If he familiarly himself acquaint
With such, they'l publish him to be a Saint.
These are good meanes, but I advise that thou
Invent unto thy self some new-found vow,
Be it the vainest thing thou canst devise,
They'l follow thee by droves to sacrifice:
As now you see them run most greedily,
To fasts maintain'd without authority,
Or t'heare a ratling shallow L [...]vite prate,
Whose tongue is interdicted by the State:
Do but disgrace old rules, and fashion new,
Thou shalt their hearts [...]o thee for ever glew,
For nothing doth the people so possesse,
As humouring, their spirituall wantonnesse;
Nor can a Prince a project better cloke,
Than underneath a Sacrifice of smoke.
But now one tells the King, that Ioab staid
For Absolon, and therefore humbly prai'd
Him haste to horse: So Talmai with a kisse,
And many blessings, doth his son dismisse
To David, who consin'd him to his place,
Nor might he come at Court to see his face:
And now that private life which wont him bring
Delight and solace, fitting for a King,
[Page 31] Is ev'n of discontent become the nest,
His head can onely on Court pillowes rest:
His three years sojourning in Geshurs Courts,
Have made him loath all wonted Country sports,
He therefore sends for Ioab him to bring,
Unto the Court, and presence of the King:
But David knowing well, that men in place
Encourage vice, if they offenders grace,
For twice twelve months would not endure to heare,
That Absolon should in his sight appeare,
'Tis well the mutherer may save his head,
And not be countenanc'd, though pardoned.
In this so strict was David to his son,
That Ioab dares not visit Absolon,
Untill he set on fire his field of graine,
So what love could not, anger did constraine,
And now was Ioab more for feare than love
Compel'd, thus for his son the King to move:
Thou knowst two years are past since I, O King!
Thy son unto Hierusalem did bring,
When thou consind'st him to his wonted place,
Nor ever since wouldst let him see thy face,
I well perceiving 'twas against thy mind,
He should be grac'd and honour'd in this kind,
All visits have forborn, though oft required,
Till now lo! he my Barly field hath fired,
Lo, thus your Grac [...] may see, I am compel'd
By fire unto his just requests to yeeld:
And yet indeed I finde thy sons desire,
To see his Father, hotter than the fire.
When I approacht his solitary gate,
I found him walking all disconsolate,
[Page] But soon as unto him my face appears,
His heart powres from his eyes a floud of tears,
And he begins, when thou me home didst bring,
I surely thought it would have pleas'd the King,
To have accepted me to former grace,
And that I should have serv'd before his face,
Else why should I from Geshurs Court have gone,
To live here solitary all alone?
Alas, what do I by my comming gaine,
If in this prison I confin'd remaine?
The Sun hath full five times fulfil'd his race,
Since I beheld my fathers cheerfull face:
O bring me once again into his sight,
And let him heare my cause and judge upright,
Then if I seem unrighteous in his eye,
I willing am for my offence to dye:
Lo banishment and death is much more light,
Than live disgrac'd out of my Fathers sight.
Thus Ioab [...]ubtly warms the melting heart
Of lon [...]ing David, whilst he doth impart
This fi [...]all affection of his son,
And finds this parly hath the fortresse won.
As when an enemy besiegeth round
A Castle, which the Captain knows unsound,
Though at the first he valiantly pretend,
To hold the Fort out to the sieges end,
Yet if his foe him good conditions tenders,
He them accep's, and soon the Fort up renders:
So here the King, although for president,
He would not shew his heart once to relent
For Absolon, yet thinking he did find,
By Ioab, how the young-man was inclin'd,
[Page 32] Lo his affections yeeld, and grow more strong,
Because he them dissembled had so long,
And therefore for him sends, and with a kisse
His pardon seales, for all that was amisse.
And now is Absolon as great as faire,
In hope now Israels apparent heire,
But as we evermore proud mortalls see,
In greater danger, in prosperity;
Then when adversity their sailes do scant,
And prudence more appears in store than want:
So is't with Absolon more surfetting
Of Grace, than with displeasure of a King,
Or of his former forraign banishment,
Great spirits loath all moderate content:
For though in humane judgement none indeed,
So likely was his Father to succeed,
If his ambition could it self contain,
Till age a period gave to Davids raign,
And that the Crown had fall'n to him by course,
Which now he sought to seize upon by force,
Yet his aspiring mind, impatient,
That time should thrust 'twixt him and his content,
Begins ev'n now to travell with ambition,
That never finds lest stay or intermission
Of pains and throws, till like the vipers seed,
In comming forth it leaves the mother dead.
And now the rules of State old Talmai read,
By him in Iudahs Court are practised,
And (like lusts stinking flame that all perverts)
He first takes peoples eyes and next their hearts.
Unwonted pompe and shews of splendour bright,
That us'd to take the peoples favour light,
[Page] Are with all State-magnificence prepar'd,
Lo, fifty foot attend him for his Guard,
His Charrets thunder, and his horses feet,
Most proudly trample up and down the street,
And all Ierusalem and Iudah ring,
With daily triumphs of their hopefull King,
Their eyes and tongues intangled thus in snares,
He likewise fetters for their hearts prepares.
He rising early standeth by the gate,
And for each suter is an Advocate,
His eare all causes heares, his tongue doth flatter,
Couldst thou be heard my friend good is thy matter,
His hand even like his tongue still courting is,
His lips salute the meanest with a kisse,
And nothing gives him cause of discontent,
But this the present state and government,
That is by him as deeply censured,
As all his Clients causes flattered.
Thus as a Theef that breaketh in by night,
(For these heart-s [...]ealers alwayes shun the light)
Layes hold on every thing that he can get,
(And all is fish to them that comes to net)
Ne'r pondering the weighty from the light,
No more had he respect to wrong or right,
For being crept at that by-window in,
Their hearts he seeks to steal away, not win.
Alas how little silly people knows,
Right to distinguish truth from glossing shows,
All is not gold, good friends, that glisters bright,
No naturall colour shows like painted white;
And now nought wants but some religious Cloke,
To keep the fier cover'd, lest it smoke,
[Page 33] The trechery of an ungracious son,
Must have his warrant from Religion:
The vow he made in Syria must be paid,
And [...] shall, for there the plot was laid,
How he the peoples hearts should steal away,
And, by pretended vow, the King betray.
Thus Hypocrites mock God to have their ends,
And foulest fact the fairest meanes pretends.
But nothing more could please the Fathers mind,
Than so devout a [...]oly son to find
Return'd from Geshur, that idolatrous Court,
Where they of true Religion make a sport:
Yet whilst he bowes his knees, and humbly prayes
God to accept that sacrifice of praise
At Hebron, where he first began to raign,
When Saul and's sons on Gilboa were slain,
His son is there projecting to cast down
[...]rom's Fathers royall head, th' imperiall Crown:
His doub [...]e guilt of feigned piety,
Such grace and favour wan in ev'ry eye,
That lo, two hundred honest meaning men,
Go with the Traytor from Hierusalem.
True hearted Israelites, whose just intents
Are sound and good, as is your conscience,
[...]oore silly Sheep, you right go, crastray,
[...]ust as your Guides direct you in the way.
Beware of them that holy vowes pretend,
But have, like Absolon, a wicked end,
That under promise of reforming things,
Do reach at Crowns and dethronizing Kings,
Nought better than their fruits to you will show them,
Yet take these speciall marks whereby to know them;
[Page] They alwayes with the times are discontent,
Still blaming States and Churches government,
Kings, Nobles, Judges, Priests and Rulers all,
Without respect within their censure fall;
Whose faults are greater in perspective shown,
But all must cover'd be that are their own.
They have an open greedy itching eare,
No time nor hands to practise what they heare:
Oh! prophesying is the onely thing,
No duty else they know to God or King.
Well-minded people, heed well what you do!
Beware how you with such to Hebron go,
To offer sacrifice, which they oft season
With high contempts, rebellion and treason.
And now the Prophet's tuning sweetest Layes,
Unto his God and Saviours endlesse praise;
When lo! a Messenger comes trembeling,
And thus begins, God save my Lord the King,
The hearts of all the men of Iudah are
Turn'd after Absolon, these eares did heare
The Trumpets sound, the people cry amain,
In Hebron, Absolon as King doth raign:
And further he hath sent out spies to tell
The same to all the Tribes of Israel.
In fine, the Polititian subtly wise,
Whilst he in Giloh offer'd sacrifice,
A wicked sacrifice as did thy son,
Is sent to, for to come to Absolon.
Oh my L [...]ege Lord! this hath been plotting long,
Achitophels conspiracies are strong:
For still the people more and more increase,
With Absolon, the enemy of peace.
[Page 34] Ah, saith the King, then all of us must flye,
[...]f we within the City stay, we dye:
For lo, the people ignorant and rude,
[...]he violent unbridled multitude,
[...]ike waves of raging seas do ebbe and flow,
When neither we nor they the causes know:
[...]esist their fury, it will hotter burn,
Give way, it like the tide will back return,
They that cry loudest, Absolon doth raign,
May be the first will bring us home again:
[...]ire popular ay like a shadow flyes,
[...]rom them that follow her, and as fast hy's
To them that shun her, who speed best of all,
[...]atch but an empty shadow with a fall.
Thus was the King out of the City sent,
[...]nd all the Country mourned as he went,
[...]he Ark and Priests and all accompani'd
[...]he King with teares unto the Rivers side:
[...]hen thus the King to Ittai; Ancient friend,
[...]he son of mine own bowells seeks mine end,
[...]hy shouldst thou me from Ga [...]h accompany,
[...]nd so partake of my calamity?
[...]ow must wander out, and God doth know,
[...]ere I shall return again or no.
[...]he greatest gift I to my friends can give,
[...] license to depart from me and live:
[...]hen Ittai thus: My dearest Lord and King,
[...] force not on me such dishonouring;
[...]o leave a King in danger merits blame,
[...] to forsake a friend, eternall shame,
[...]ith thee I am resolv'd to live and dye,
[...]o suffer thus is no calamity.
[Page] Thus Ittai past the ford, when to the King
The Priests and Levites th' Ark of God did bring,
To whom he thus. Reduce into his place
This holy Arke, if after I find grace
With God A mighty, he again will bring
Me hither to behold this holy thing,
But if in me he cannot take delight,
Do he with me as seemeth in his sight:
This he to all: To Zadock then alone,
He thus begins with tears to make his moan,
Most reverend Priest, grave, wise, religious,
The Mediator 'twixt our God and us,
Yet art thou but a Type, though Arons son,
The true high Priest and Substance is to come:
I know th' Arks presence, and thy gracious sight,
Would better us encourage to the fight,
And all our wars have been most prosperous,
Where Levites carried the Ark with us.
But I resolve now not to trouble them,
You shall return all to Ierusalem,
These holy things to thee committed are,
That thou of Gods true worship shouldst have care,
Serve him, yee shew thy duty to the King,
Which thou maist best do, by discovering
The plots of wicked-wise Achitophel,
Which knowing, I the better may refell.
Thou seest these Polititians devise,
To cloke their treasons under sacrifice.
Lo, both their vowes religiously must pay,
At Hebron and at Giloh on a day.
For both the things, which they have vow'd, are one,
To put down Gods anoynted from his Throne.
[Page 35] Thou that the secrets of mans heart dost sound,
Their hypocriticall device confound,
And as they do thy holy Rites prophane,
So make their worldly wisdome foolish, vain,
[...]he holy Bishop whose pure chrystall teares,
[...]hine in his eyes like Diamonds on his eares,
Makes no reply, but to the City tends,
Whilst David, weeping up the Mount ascends
Bare footed, with his head all covered,
[...]ea all the people wept, and hid their head:
Where soon as David had done worshipping,
Hushai the Archite comes unto the King,
With garments torn, and earth upon his head:
To whom the King, should I thee with me lead,
Thou wilt be but a burthen on the way,
But if thou go to Absolon, and say,
[...]s to thy Father I have been, O King!
[...] faithfull Senator in counselling,
[...]o will I be a servant to his son,
[...]hou thus maist me advertise how to shun
[...]he cunning projects of Achitophel,
Who, noble Hushai, thou remembrest well,
Hath by his tongue and practises unjust,
Rais'd up himself to honour from the dust.
[...]hou knowst I made him for his eloquence,
Or rather his unskilfull impudence,
The Steward of my private state and Crown,
Where he so close all under his long gown
Convey'd, and's fingers lickt by tricks unknown,
He purchaseth a City for his own,
[...] rais'd him to my highest judgment Seat,
Where finding him for me too potent-great,
[Page] And his proceedings hollow and unsound,
Projeeting crosse to all I did propound,
I thought it fit to ease him of his place,
Which taking for an undeserv'd disgrace,
He ever since to crosse my best intents,
My people humours in their discontents;
And as he at the first had learn'd the Arts,
To take their purses, now he catcheth hearts:
And winds their suffrages as in a string,
[...]hey please the people best, that crosse the King.
None e're was more for my prerogative,
So long as by it he eould rise or thrive;
But soon as he to his high pitch was flown,
None ever labor'd more to beat it down:
Not that I would for gain, by flatteries,
Trench on my meanest subjects liberties,
Who never duly will our Lawes observe,
Except Kings by example them preserve,
In making them our subjects rule and measure,
And not our own, or Iudges will and pleasure,
For Lawes come all from purest Iustice streame,
And peoples safety is the Law supreme,
But this must shadowed be from peoples eyes,
Who if they feare not Kings them soon despise.
My dearest, honest Counsellor of State,
Thou seest they make Religion but a hait
To catch my people, and betray their King,
Oh! therefore help me in discovering
Their most flagitious tr [...]asons, and confound
Achitophels devises most profound.
With thee is Zadock and Abiathar,
To whom discover all that thou canst heare,
[Page 36] They by their sons to me the truth will send,
That I may shun the evill they intend.
Thus by thy Counsell wise thou shalt defend
All these my people, and thy faithfull friend.
When Hushai thus, the Lawes of every Nation,
[...]o chiefly tend to common preservation
Of peoples health and safety, which depend
All on the King their head, whom to defend
VVe are oblig'd in this politicall,
As members in the body naturall,
And to their counsell wise submit as they,
[...] therefore shall thy just commands obey.
Now up was Israel in Armes and Lawes,
Became as tame as sleeping Lyons pawes,
For where warres rage, Lawes execution cease,
Especially when Princes break the peace.
And as the Plague that's in a City bred,
Doth over all the Country soon dispread,
So spreads th' infectious Leprosie of sinne,
[...]f it amongst the Princes first begin,
The people fuell to the fire bring
Of any vice, ensampled by the King.
Thus Absolons profound conspiracy,
Hath turn'd plain-dealing all to policy,
Now faith and loyalty are out of fashion,
And treason's grown the only occupation:
When Ziba with two Asses sadeled,
Laden with Raisons, VVine, ripe fruits, and bread,
VVhich he for David and his men did bring,
Blames lame Mephibosheth thus to the King.
Let me find grace and favour in thy sight,
My gracious Lord, whilst thou prepares to fight
[Page] For Soveraignty with trai [...]rous Absalom,
Mephibosheth as neuter sits at home,
In hope when both have spent your strength and store,
The people will his right to him restore.
Then Ziba, said the King, thine be his lands,
God me deliver from these Traytors hands:
This like a cunning curre could closely bite
Yet never barke, and like a Theef by night
Purloin his Masters living and good name,
But Shimei dares thus openly defame
The King himself: Thou man of Belial,
Thou bloudy murtherer of the house of Saul,
God justly now shall bring upon thy head,
Ev'n all the guiltlesse blood which thou hast shed,
And give thy Kingdome to thy rebell son,
Which thou by wicked meanes from Saul hast won:
And more than words, he throweth stones, ev'n then
When David had about him all his men:
Yet would he not let Abishai go take
From him his head, though he did offer make,
But [...] humble sinner, free from passion,
Deserving rather pitty and compassion,
Than now to be insulted over so,
When God for sin had humbled him so low,
Replyes thus gently, it to us belongs
Not to revenge, but meekly suffer wrongs,
Let us not punish him, but humbled be,
With mo [...]rning, anger cannot well agree:
Alas who knows, but that the Lord hath sent
Him here, to curse us for our chastisement?
Not that I Shemei's malice will excuse,
For that's his own, and though God doth it use
[Page 37] To punish past, or sinnes to come prevent,
It frees him not from guilt or punishment;
But I acknowledge all these stroaks from God,
And therefore now will kisse, not burn the Rod:
The son of mine own bowels seeks my right,
And life; Then much more may this Benjamite,
With false reproaching scandals me defame,
It may be God will blisse me for this shame.
I that the Speare took from Sauls sleeping head,
And would not suffer thee to smite him dead,
And cut his garments lap off in the cave,
Am now reproach'd for bloud, where life I gave;
Did not I cause th' Amalakite to fall,
Who brought me word that he had killed Saul,
And Banaahs and R [...]habs bloud he shed,
When unto me they brought their Masters head?
Yea lame Mephibosheth, to rule unable,
Sits like a Prince, and eats at mine own Table.
I do confesse my guiltinesse of blood,
But for Sauls house, I ever did them good,
But Davids gentlenesse and patience,
Emboldneth Shimei in his insolence,
So as he rails on, and for more disgrace,
Takes stones and dust to throw in Davids face.
Oh most incomparable patience!
A King to beare this Subjects insolence,
But wrongs are ne're so easily overcome,
As when we notice take from whence they come.
But now Ahimaaz and Ionathan,
To David and the host all posting ran,
And wisht them all to passe the floud that night,
[Page] Before they were constrained to the fight,
So all are past o're Iordane ere the day,
When Ionathan begins thus on the way,
No sooner did the Priests our Fathers bring,
The holy Arke, by the command, O King,
From Kedrons Book up to Ierusalem,
When thy son Absolon and all his men,
The men of Iudah and of Israel,
The City entred with A [...]hi ophel.
Oh how did knees then bow and voyces ring,
God save King Ahsolon, God save the King,
So fond of new, so made their old to leave,
As if all fail'd, they would themselves deceive.
But oh! I cannot but with horror tell,
The bellish counsell of Achitophel,
Who strongly to secure his part and faction,
Before he ran too farre into the action,
And lest upon a filiall submission,
Thou shouldst be reconcil'd, and grant remission:
Besides the usurpation of thy State,
He counsels him thy bed to violate,
That if high Treason could not make all sure,
Most horrid incest should his part secure;
For when they thy ten Concubines did find,
Which thou to keep thy house hadst left behind,
He counsell gave to spread an open Tent,
Upon thy houses highest B [...]ttlem [...]nt:
Where Absolon with ev'ry of them lyes,
Before the Sun and all the peoples eyes:
Which damned counsell, and most beastly spectac [...]e,
They all approve ev'n as an heavenly Oracle.
[Page 38] Most divellish plot, saith David, now I see
The danger of Hells deepest policy,
Where wickednesse and wisdome both combine,
None can defend us, but a power divine.
In this deepe plot see how Achitophel,
Doth imitate the Counsellor of Hell,
Who gives like counsell unto every son
Of God, as here he puts on Absolon,
To bring's past hope of reconciliation,
He thus in [...]idiates each mans inclination:
Can he but make us Traitors to Heavens King,
What sin's so foul but he on us will bring?
From ease to sloth, from sloth to foul excesse,
From thence to lust, from lust to wantonnesse,
Incest, Adultery, and Homicide,
Which at the first we seek to cloke and hide,
But grown in time, by custome, past all shame,
Upon our houses tops the same proclaime.
O subtile Polititian, wicked fool
Achitophel! taught in an Atheists School:
Can one that thinks of God, that judgeth right,
Hope by such crimes to prosper in his sight?
Thou either thinkst there is no God of might,
Or else resolv'st with Satan his despight;
But he that in the heaven above doth raign,
Thee scornes, and thine imaginations vain:
Thy hellish counsell, and this filthy lust,
Serve but to execute his judgements just:
I closely did by lust my God offend,
He payes me openly what I did lend.
I privily my Subject did betray,
[Page] My son acts treason in the open day:
Profoundest depth; the Almighties sapience,
Thus turns our sins into just punishments,
Yet leaves th' offenders without all excuse,
Their malice is their own, his but the use.
Oh that my Absolon, my son would yet
Return, I all offences would forget,
For I have many more than these committed
Against my God, yet hath he all remitted,
And though the Divill like Achitophel,
Had almost plung'd me in the jawes of Hell,
And so provok'd my Fathers indignation,
There was small hope of reconciliation,
Yet I no sooner did repent and pray,
But God repli'd, thy sinnes are done away.
Oh high exceeding riches of his Grace,
Which all his works in heaven and earth surpasse!
As Absolon this wickednesse hath done,
In sight of men, of Angels, and the Sun,
So adde we sin to sin, till past all shame,
On houses highest tops we them proclaim:
Should each mans secret sinnes be seen to other,
Alas! who would indure to see his Brother.
But all of them are open in his eye,
Yet he, to save us, is content to dye,
And at the time appointed will be slain,
Mean while th' innocent Lamb endures the pain.
Oh who can mind that Lambs sweet patience,
And not remit all wrongs without offence.
Then David pour'd out such a floud of teares,
His servants all lament, not one forbeares,
[Page 39] For as a stone in midst of water thrown,
Makes circle after circle till 'tis grown
So large, it opens ev'n from side to side:
Ev'n so did Davids lamentations slide
Through all the Camp, that Ionathan forbeares
His farther speech, and joynes with Davids teares.

Ahithophel hanging.

OH that so impious an Achitophel,
Should counsell in the Court of Israel!
So wise a Senator to such a King,
Should end his dayes so fondly in a string.
See what becomes of wisdom without grace,
And compassing bad ends by vices base,
They through the wayes of blindest error tend,
And like to their beginning have an end.
And now the King repressed had his teares,
When Ionathan begins thus to his eares:
Soon as the villain had by this devise,
Made Absolon thus odious in thine eyes,
Lo he invents a second policy,
Thus to secure a sudden victory.
[Page 40] Chuse me, saith he, twelve thousand men to fight,
And I will set upon the King this night,
All wearied now, he with so weak a hand,
Cannot our unexpected force withstand:
I will amaze his host, and smite the King,
And home in peace to thee thy people bring.
Pernicious counsell! who did this prevent?
Saith David, had my son twelve thousand sent
Against us, when we lay on th' other side
Of Iordan, I and all my host had di'd:
We then were unprepar'd, faint, wearied,
Our courage danted, and our spirits dead.
Thy Son and Elders all of Israel,
Saith Ionathan, did like t [...]is Counsell well,
But Hushai thy old favorite and friend,
Came unto Absolon, and did pretend
To do him service, and thus bowing prayes,
God grant the King long life and happy dayes.
Is this thy kindnesse, saith he, thou dost show
Unto thy friend, why didst not with him go?
My Lord, saith Hushai, thou this day shalt prove,
That I the King did more than David love,
For with the man, God and the people give,
By voyce this Kingdome, I resolve to live,
And be his servant, if thou please to grace
Me so, that I may stand before thy face,
The service I with David have begun,
Shall be continued to the King his son.
Thus to such trust he with the King is grown,
He makes his secret counsell to him known,
Amongst the rest this of Achitophel,
Which he as politiquely did refell.
[Page] My gracious Lord, saith Hushai, 'tis a thing
Of highest wisdome to advise a King,
But now so deep a Counsellor of State
Hath gone before, it doth me more amate.
Achitophels advise is alwayes prime,
Yet not to be allowed at this time.
Thou knowst thy Father and his men be strong,
And have in warres been exercised long,
Who neither weary nor weak-handed are,
But chaufed like a fierce and angry Beare
Rob'd of her whelps: Besides thy Father's wise,
Most expert in all warlike exercise,
And will not with his men lodge in the plain,
Lo, many caves and holes do yet remain,
Which were his haunts, when in the wildernesse
Saul sought him and his Army to oppresse.
From whence he on a sudden will affright
Thy men, some killing, putting some to flight:
So shall a rumour streight abroad be blown,
That thou and all thy host be overthrown.
The King hath oft been prov'd too strong to yeeld,
Thou never trid'st thy fortune in the field,
Be well prepar'd in thy first enterprise,
For thereby doth thy credit fall or rise;
The people ebbe and flow ev'n like the tide,
And ever fall unto the stronger side,
Like drunken men they to and fro do reel,
And change as oft as Fortune turns her wheel.
I therefore do advise, whilst thou dost stand
In Grace, with all the people of the Land;
(For who is he, that if thou dost but say,
Come to mine aid, but will thy word obey)
[Page 41] Thou muster all the people in the Land,
From Dan even to Bersheba, like the sand,
And that thou forth in person go to fight,
Thus will we come against him, with such might,
And multitudes: wee'l set upon him all,
Thick as the dew upon the grasse doth fall:
And if he get within a walled Town,
We will with ropes pull all the City down,
Not [...]uffering a stone upon a stone,
Of all his men we will not leave him one:
By these devices Hushai did refell
The dangerous counsell of Achi [...]ophel:
Which though for best the Elders do approve,
Yet Hushai's more the King and people move.
Oh sure, saith David, God would th [...]s confound,
By weake, the Counsels politicke, profound,
He will me re-establish in my Throne,
And overthrow the plots of Absolon.
Lo Hushai shew'd himself a faithfull friend,
And brought to passe the thing we did intend;
But how did you these counsels understand?
Hushai, saith Ionathan, them out of hand,
Unto the Priests our fathers close convai'd,
Who gave us notice of them by a Maid.
I and Ahimaaz lay in a Well,
Neere to the City, called En-Rogell,
To which a Maid (as if she went for water)
Comes and enformeth us of all the matter:
Into the City durst we not adventure,
For no man might come out, that in did enter:
Yet could we not this thing so closely hide,
But we were by a young-man both descri'd,
[Page] Who telling it to Absolon the King,
He servants sent us back again to bring:
But as we had before at En-Rogell,
So at Bahurim lay we in a Well,
Upon whose mouth a good old woman spred
Ground Corn, that so we might be covered:
And when the servants of King Absalom,
Inquir'd of her, what was of us become,
Like that good Rahab, which did hide the spies,
To save us, she excuses did devise,
When therefore they had search'd and nothing found,
They back return'd, we came out safe and sound,
And hasted hither thee this newes to bring,
That thou mightst know the danger of the King:
For who doth know but wise Achitophel,
May win thy son and men of Israel,
To take his counsell, and thee follow fast,
Before that thou hadst over Iordan past?
Whilst Ionathan yet speakes, one comes to tell
Another project of Achitophel,
Who seeing Hushai's counsell highly priz'd,
And that his own, though better, was despis'd,
Rides hom on's sadled Asse, and in despight,
The King such Oracles profound should slight,
His house and family first ordered,
His dayes ev'n with a halter finished,
And was interred in his fathers grave;
Such end, saith David, wicked Traytors have,
Their worldly wisdom is to folly brought,
And, with their breath, their thoughts all com to nought:
This man that able was to rule a State,
His furious passions cannot moderate,
[Page 42] And he that for the publike was so wise,
Now like a wicked fool turns mad and dyes.
Thus whilst he strives for wisdomes highest roome,
He falls into extreamest follies doome:
This is the life of all, and this their end,
That here on worldly wisdome do depend:
Wisdome and folly ay their life attend,
And them accompany even in their end,
They Cities can in peace and wealth maintain,
But let ther hearts be irreligious vain;
Their worldly states, they like Achitophel
Can order, but their soules let hang in hell.
Vain wisdome! that doth so our thoughts molest
Abroad, not caring what is in our brest,
Fond fool, in order thus his house to set,
And both his soul and body to forget.
But Hushai's counsell now is followed,
And all the men of Israel mustered
By Absolon, in number like Sea-sands,
The foulest Treasons want no helping hands:
For as at first a little ball of snow,
By turning oft; doth great and greater grow,
Till it unto so huge a heap doth rise,
There many dayes it after melting lies:
Ev'n so this Traitor, who at first began
With those two hundred men, who with him ran
To Hebrons sacrifice, in time is grown
To mighty heaps, and multitudes unknown,
Who over Iordan now do passe with him,
Ev'n as the King comes to Mehanaim:
And now lo, both these mighty armies lye
In Gileads Plaines, resolv'd the day to try,
[Page] Where Amasa by Absolon is made
The Captain of the host, in Ioabs stead;
But he that was expel'd from house and home
By his own people, and son Absolon,
Now findes abroad all duty and respect,
God never his doth finally neglect:
For as Gods Angels at Mehanaim met,
Good Iacob with his enemies beset,
Esau before his face, Laban behind,
And ministred sweet comforts to his mind,
So there an host of men come to the King,
And earthen vessels, Beds, and Basins bring,
Beanes, Barly, Lentiles, Flowre, parcht Corn & Wheat,
Cheese, Hony, Butter, Sheep, and Beeves to eat:
The son of that discourteous Ammonite,
That Davids Legates did so foule despight,
And Machir of Lodebar, who was all,
Till lately, to advance the house of Saul,
(For there was lame Mephibosheth maintain'd,
Who sole of Ionathan alive remain'd)
With old Barzillai that rich Gileadite,
Where Ishbosheth so long maintain'd his right,
Did all these things abundantly supply,
To Princely David and his company.
For they were weary in the wildernesse,
Faint, hungry, thirsty, and in great distresse.
Oh who doth know the happinesse of Rest
And Peace, but they whom civill warres infest!
Where beating of the Drums, and Trumpets sounds,
Are like the dreadfull callings of the hounds,
When in the morning they the fearefull heare,
In open field, do summon to appeare:
[Page 43] Who thinks each bush she sees, stands to belay her,
And every one she meets, comes to betray her.
Most direfull are th' effects of civill warres,
Where son of his own loynes no father spares,
Brother embrewes his hands in bloud of Brother,
And dearest friends do butcher one another.
One by an Engine bullets casts and stones,
Wherewith he breaks his wives and childrens bones:
Whilst they cast stones down from the City wall,
Which on their husbands head or parents fall:
Here servants for the duty, which they owe
Their masters, pay them with a mortall blow;
And they are paid for wages, from their master,
With broken pates, which never need a plaster.
Here Kings whom duty bindeth to defend
Their subjects, seek their ruine and their end:
And subjects count it honour, law, and right,
Against their Soveraigns dreaded face to fight,
All is with horrible confusion fill'd,
Farmes uninhabited, their Lands untill'd,
Their Kine, whose Milk doth yeeld abundant food,
Suckle the hungry Souldiers with their bloud:
And Shepheards that the plaines all over stock,
Are glad to save their lives, and lose their flock.
All Lawes are silent, Armes do all in all,
And strongest put the weakest to the wall:
Like savage beasts their fellowes each assaile,
Where strength and fury 'gainst all right prevaile:
Like Pikes in pond the most of might and power,
Do all the other underlings devoure.
Here heapes of bodies lye unburied,
Here Infants slain, and Virgins ravished,
[Page] Nor is the perill of the enemy
More dangerous than privie treachery:
Where great ones seem to take their Soveraigns parts,
Yet cleave unto the Rebels with their hearts:
And therefore him unfaithfully advise,
Disclosing's secrets to his Enemies,
Amongst such Traytors good and loyall held,
More perill is at home, than in the field.
These and a thousand more calamities
Of civill warres, now th'Hebrewes miseries,
And bred at first on this side Iordanes floud,
Are forded over now to Ephraims wood:
Which though ambition them at first begins,
God sends for scourges of the peoples sins.
But Absolon that might no longer raign,
Than he the peoples madnesse could maintain,
(Besides he many of their hearts did find
From him unto the better part inclin'd)
March'd on, till both the Armies were in sight,
On purpose to provoke the King to fight:
And David, who was stronger now become,
By many friends, that to his aid were come,
(It thinking foule dishonour for a Crown,
To be besieged in a walled Town,
Caus'd Ioab draw his men out of the gate,
That he might view them all, there as he sate:
Where he appoints some Captaines over ten,
Someover hundreds, some a thousand men:
For all, or most part, of his old Commanders,
To follow Absolon had left his standards.
When Ittai, Davids prudent faithfull friend
Begins, my Lord, stay here, thy servants send
[Page 44] Against these Rebels, for our King to fight,
Why should we hazard putting out our light?
What though ten thousand of thy people fall?
Thy life is of more value than us all,
True-hearted Subjects more will every day,
Turn after thee, and fall from him away,
With which we'l battail after battail try,
Till God and our good cause give victory.
When thus the King: Ioab and Abishai,
And Ittai you are men, on whom this day,
My life, my Kingdom, and my State relies,
And therefore I will do as you advise:
The Army order as you shall think fit,
To each of you a third part I commit,
Let Ioabs might for our main [...]attail stand,
I [...]tai and Abishai, the wings command.
But good my friends, remember Absolon,
Forget not that he is your Soveraigns son,
Intreat the young-man gently for my sake,
On's youth and my gray haires some pitty take;
This charge he in the gate, with many teares,
Gave all the Captaines in the peoples eares.
But Absolon, who found the people totter,
And waver like the Seas unstable water,
And that the Tribeson this side Iordans floud,
(Who for the King more than the Rebels stood)
Resolv'd to dye, all in the Kings defence,
Against his sons rebellious insolence,
Rais'd on his Mule, and arm'd in war-like fashion,
To all his Army utters this Oration:
My friends and fellow-souldiers, not mine own
Content, or private coveting the Crown,
[Page] Me caus'd these Armes and Weapons up to take,
But for the publike profit and your sake:
Alas! you know, how bra [...]e and plenteously,
I might have liv'd, in all prosperity,
Grace, honour, credit, glory, and renown,
Nought wanting, but the dangers of a Crown;
Of which, succession made me not so sure,
As all your votes and wishes did secure.
But this your favour to the rising Sun,
Which by my love and care of you I won,
Was made high treason by these, to the King,
Who of the State have all the managing,
Whose tirannous oppressions should I name,
I should la [...] ope mine own, and Fathers shame.
For such do rule the King, that are not able
To rule themselves, a thing intollerable.
This must be righted: I you hither bring
To fight against these Tyrants, not the King;
'Tis yours, and not my cause, for which we fight,
I only lend my counsell, strength, and might.
My friends and kinsmen, I you all leave free,
Go on which side you most desire to be,
Some tyranny account a benefit,
So they at home in peace may quiet sit,
And rather had the heaviest burthens beare,
Than noise of Drums and Trumpets sounding heare:
Such wish I to their Cities soon return:
But you brave friends, whose hearts do inly burn
With zeal and hate, 'gainst publike tyrannies,
And seek to vindicate these injuries,
Whom by your faces brave alacrity,
I easely from base Cowards can descry:
[Page 45] As with brave courage you with me remain,
With me as victors you shall ever raign:
Whilst they whose harts them fail for cowardise,
Shall lye and groan still under tyrannies.
As Moses led you by a mighty hand,
From bondage of a cruell Lord and Land,
So come I up, resolv'd to set you free,
From all oppressions, wrongs and tyranny.
The justnesse of our cause shall us acquite,
But you that are so miserably light,
Again for Aegypts flesh-pots to return,
Though you their Brick and Lime for ever burn,
Return, I say, and live in your own City,
Your lightnesse merits not such blame as pitty.
Since I return'd from Geshur to this C [...]urt,
I view'd your grievances of every sort;
Tell me to which of all your causes here,
I have not lent an understanding eare,
Your suits were good, but either none there were
Deputed of the King your plaints to heare,
Or else the Iudges wanted time and leasure,
All must attend from Term to Term their pleasure.
Oh! there is no more gainfull occupation
Than Law, in practise with the Iewish Nation:
Clerks, Patrons, Proctors, Lictors, more abound,
Than Merchants, Farmours, Souldiers, can be found,
And whence live these, but on the injuries
Of you, my people, and your miseries?
As Winds by Conjurers are oft up blown,
That Conjurers again may get them down:
So do these Lawyers, suits and questions raise,
Not for their Clyents profit, but their praise.
[Page] Nor will they them dismisse with little gain,
For many suits eternally remain,
With so great costs, as they that overcome,
Had better been condemn'd when they begun,
And ev'n as Souldiers, by continuall jarres,
Grow senselesse of the cruelty of warres:
So Lawyers us'd to wrongs and injuries,
Compassionate no Clyents miseries.
I cannot finde that all the civill broiles,
So much oppresse the subject, as the toiles
Men take, when they for justice sue and right,
More safe in field, than at the bar to fight.
Have not some Courts yet in your memories,
Doubled against all equitie their fees,
As if they had no table, law, nor taske,
But you were bound to pay what they will aske:
Which th' unlearn'd deskmen to such states doth raise,
And leaves Professors onely place and praise.
These and more grievances I will redresse,
And make the number of your Lawyers lesse,
Which, when they have no place to act their parts,
Will study other profitable Arts:
I will appoint for pleadings certain dayes,
And Iudges to do right without delayes.
Yea many other wrongs I will reform,
The Levites, which your consciences inform,
Shall take the tenths of all the soules they teach,
Where now dumb Priests have all, that never preach:
Your great ones now do only stand for show,
And them that beare the burthens keep full low.
(Thus peoples itching eares the Rebell feasts,
By rayling on their Governors and Priests)
[Page 46] A trite and common way to palliate
Rebellion, to traduce the present State,
That makes the people 'gainst their Rulers rise,
The rude and ignorant against the wise,
This makes the commons side against the Peeres,
The worst of ills, the utmost of our feares.
But now the more t' encourage you to fight,
We war against the broken Ammonite,
Whom late you did with Sawes and Harrows teare,
And now aids David not for love, but feare.
Barzillai that rich ancient Gileadite.
Who comes with wealth, not power to the [...]ight,
And Machir of Manasses, who do bring
Great store of wealth and victualls to the King,
Will adde but little honour to the day,
But they will wondrously increase the prey.
For since the Tribes on Iordans other side,
Stand for our right, and these from us divide,
Well may we all their goods and Cattels take,
And preys of all their Towns and Cities make.
This oily speech of his did frame the heart,
Of most of all his Souldiers, to his part:
[...]ut most those that by warres hop'd for increase,
And more than death did feare a needy peace.
But th' Armies now on both sides draw so neere,
They each to other terrible appeare.
Neere to Mehanaim there is a Wood
Ignobled, for much losse of Hebrewes blood,
Where when as Ammon war proclaimed had,
Against th' Inhabitants of Gilead,
And nothing his ambition would suffice,
But all the Land that over Iordan lyes.
[Page] Lo, valiant Ieptha commeth to their aid,
And all their foes in open field dismaid,
Which Ephraim bold (taking in foule despight,
That Ieptha without them should go to fight)
Him challeng'd openly upon the plain,
Where all are put to flight, that were not slain,
And taking Iordans passages beneath,
Slew all, that could not utter Shiboleth:
In this Wood, Ioab rather chose to train,
And ranke his men, than on the open plain,
For seeing's foes did two to one abound,
He took th' advantage of a narrow ground.
But Absolon most eager of the fight,
Presuming on his number, force, and might,
Calls out, My friends, brave courage on our side,
The Cowards in the Woods themselves do hide,
Should they our numbers see in open field,
Their courages and hearts would fail and yield:
You fight not now with men, but chase the Hind,
Which we in bushes, woods, and thickets find.
This said, the Trumpets sound, they give the sign,
The Armies meet, and both in battail joyn,
The Rebels Host o're all the plain are spread,
The Kings was close, compact, well ordered,
Both meet so close, they leave no little space,
Mens bodies against bodies fill the place,
Swords against swords, a Speare against a Speare,
Some kill, and some are kill'd, no sparing there.
In such close ranks there is no choise at all,
They victors are that stand, they dye that fall.
The ecchoing woods rebound with shouts and cryes,
Of wounded men, and shriekes of such as dyes.
[Page 47] Yet clashing of mens Armes yeeld such a sound,
That it doth all the other noise confound.
No man his help lends to his neerest friend,
To save his life, or haste his wished end,
In heat of Battails ay the gentlest brest
Is as remorslesse, as the cruellest.
But now the Kings two wings give back to train
Their foes, in compasse of the Battail main,
And other close ambushments in the Wood,
By Ioab laid to make his party good.
Where stakes, pits, thickets, trees, wild beasts conspire,
To pay rebellious Traytors duest hire:
Lo here a company unwares do fall,
Into some cover'd pit, are drowned all;
Here one doth seek the enemies sword to shun,
And to the pawes of cruell Beasts doth run;
Here one puts on his [...]ourser fresh and free,
And his own brains knocks out against a Tree:
One seeking to avoid the cruell push
Of sharper Pike, is hanged in a bush:
All had ill footing, but who ere did fall,
Was certain to be trodden down of all:
Here is a quagmire, where some sticking fast,
Their fellowes following tread them in for hast;
One leanes against a Tree to take his breath,
And lo a Serpent stin [...]s him to the death:
Here is a Ditch, in which so many fall,
It now is fill'd, the rest passe over all.
Thus by the Wood more perish than the Sword,
Such help the Heavens to Traytors ay afford!
But whilst before his Host the Rebells fall,
The King falls to his Armes spirituall:
[Page] (For like to Children then we come to God,
When we lye underneath our Masters Rod.)
"Oh God, judge thou my cause, saith he, do right
"Against my foes, with whom I now do fight,
"I never them offended to this houre,
"And yet they all my soul seek to devoure,
"Shall they escape thus with their wickednesse?
"Nay, thou, O Lord, shalt bring them to distresse:
"But now I pray 'gainst him, whom most I love,
"Oh therefore had I wings ev'n like a Dove,
"Then would I flye away, and be at rest,
Untill these stormy winds and tempests ceast.
When lo, the watch-man lifting up his eyes,
One running to the City-ward espies,
Which he as suddenly tells to the King,
Oh sure, saith David, he doth tidings bring,
Ah, saith the watchman, I a second see
Come running, but know not who it should be.
But lo, the first, oh King, doth seem to run
Like to Ahimaaz, old Zadocks son.
Ah! sai [...]h the King, he ay good newes doth bring,
Who lo, then comes and saith: All's well, O King,
God blessed be, who now hath set thee free,
And giv'n unto thy hands, thine enemy.
But oh! saith David, is the young-man well?
My Lord, saith he, Ioab and Israel,
Prevailed in the field against [...]hy son,
Before I came away, the field was won;
But when he me and Cushai to thee sent,
I tumults saw, but knew not what they meant:
Then turn aside, saith David, stand by here,
Till Cushai with his tidings doth appeare;
[Page 48] Then Cushai comes, and tidings cryes, O King,
God on thy foes doth all their mischief bring,
He hath aveng'd thee on thine enemies,
And all that up against my Lord do rise.
But ah, saith David, how is't with my son?
So be't, saith Cushai, unto every one,
That up against my Lord the King doth rise,
As Absolon, be all thine enemies.
When as the Rebels first before us fled,
And Ioab and thy servants followed,
The young-man post upon a Mule did ride,
Under an Oake whose armes dispreaded wide.
When lo, his haire, which he weares somewhat long,
Was so intangled in the boughs among,
The Mule not staying, but still putting forth,
There left him hanging 'twixt the heaven and earth;
Which when a Souldier saw, he Ioab told:
Who thus repli'd, couldst thou him there behold,
And yet forbeare to smite him to the ground?
For which thou shouldst no small reward have found.
Ah, saith the man, though thou to me shouldst give
A thousand silver sh [...]ckles, as I live,
I would not for this great reward be won,
To lift my hand against my Soveraigns son:
I heard the charge the King gave in the gate,
To us and all his Captaines as he sate:
I sure against my life had done this thing,
Thou wouldst have first accus'd me to the King.
But Ioab hasts to him, and with a Dart,
The young-man smites ev'n thorow to the heart:
And his ten Squires round compassing about,
Him smote quite through to put all out of doubt.
[Page] Then Ioab sounds the Trumpet to repeal,
The people from pursuing Israel.
Cushai would have gone on, the King to tell,
How they did with the young-mans body deal,
Who cast into a pit his flesh and bones,
And laid on him a mighty heape of stones,
Which heape, saith Ioab, shall for ay defame
A sons rebellion, and this traitors name,
More than the stately pillar he did frame
In Kings fair Dale and call'd it by his name,
In this for ever his reproach shall sleep,
And live, when's Monument becomes a heape.
But even as Ioab with his cruell Dart,
Smote Absolon into the very heart;
So Cushai's speech so strikes the King, he cry'd,
Oh Absolon my son, would I had di'd
For thee my Absolon, my son, my son.
Ah David, why mak'st thou such grievous mone?
Thy words would move a Tygers heart and eares,
VVhat then to see thy piteous face and teares?
What shall thy life, at thousands valued,
Be now exchanged for a Traitors head?
Wouldst thou thy life, for such a son, lay down,
That sought his Fathers death to get his Crown?
Canst thou not live without that Absolon,
That could not live in peace, till thou art gone?
Never was known a King more passionate,
Nor any Father more affectionate:
Herein me thinks, oh Singer sweet! thou art
A man affected after Gods own heart:
A heart of melting wax, not like a stone,
Thy Hony, butter'd words, and heart be one.
[Page 49] As thou wouldst for thy traytrous son have di'd,
So will he be for Traytors crucifi'd:
Thou seekst to save him who would thee betray,
He doth for's persecuting murtherers pray,
And cryes, whilst they scourge, scorn, and kill him too,
Father forgive, they know not what they do.
Though we be sons, rebellious and ungrate,
Our heavenly Father is compassionate:
And Angels sends to beare in their Arms,
Whilst we 'gainst him breath warres and sound Alarms:
Oh love incomprehensible, infinite!
Angels amazement, holy Saints delight,
My soul is ravish'd with thy brighter beames,
As eyes are dazeled with Suns purer gleames:
This love was never livelier set forth,
Than by this Type, thy Deputy on Earth.

David returning.

ALas! what vertue, goodnesse, or deserts,
Can to a King assure the peoples hearts?
When such a Prince, so gentle, gracious, kind,
Doth more revolters, than good subjects find.
Thus some few great men waxing strong in factions,
Begin the people in rebellious actions,
Till led on by opinion without reason,
They fall to flat Rebellion and Treason,
Whom God repayes in justice for such deed,
Achitophels or Absolons due meed,
But God of hosts, to whom it is all one,
To save with many, or with few or none,
Takes part with Iustice, and lets Israel feel,
What 'tis against Gods Kings to life their heel,
[Page] Sure this Re [...]ellion must be generall,
When twenty thousand in a battail fall,
Yet of this numberlesse rebellious power,
The Wood doth more than all the swords devoure:
And yet the King doth more lament and plain
For Absolon, than all his subjects slain;
Thus pious Fathers by their indulgence,
And gentlenesse to children, give offence,
Thus did old Eli, thus good Samuel,
Isaac loves Esau more than Israel,
And this bewails the death of Absolon,
As Amnons his incestuous wicked son;
Whereof when tidings came to Ioabs eare,
(For all the people of the Town might heare,
The King cry Absolon, oh Absolon,
Would I had dy'd for thee, my son, my son!)
That day which should have bin for mirth and gladnesse
Was turned to a night of dole and sadnesse;
The people which should triumph in that day,
All blusht for shame, as they had ran away,
And as they had deserv'd lesse praise than blame,
Into the City at the Posterns came.
For lo, the King had covered his head,
And cry'd, Ah Absolon! my son is dead.
When Ioab comming in unto the King,
Begins, Thou shame dost and confusion bring,
This day on all thy faithfull servants faces,
Which sav'd thy life and thee from all disgraces,
And have preserv'd thy sons and daughters lives,
The Honors of thy Concubines and wives.
For which thou makest them this faire amends,
Thou lov'st thine enemies, and hat'st thy friends.
[Page 51] This day thou piainly hast thy selfe declar'd,
Thou neither Prince nor servant dost regard:
Lo! had thy son liv'd, though all Israel,
And we had dy'd, it would have pleas'd thee well.
Ah but, saith David, [...]hou mightst well have take
The youth alive, and sav'd him for my sake;
Alas, O King! saith Ioab, for whose sake
Did all we Armes against the Rebell take?
For whose sake should thy servants with him fight?
But to defend our Kings, his Fathers right.
To all thy servants he was courteous,
To suitors aff [...]ble and gracious,
And to all Israel plausible and free,
The Young-man onely cruell was to thee.
Most wretched Traytor, vile unnaturall son,
Of sonnes and Traytors none like Absolon:
Base gracelesse Darling of a holy Sire,
Whose blood he hunts for, seeking to aspire
By all base meanes, unto thy State and Crown,
Who, if he could, would God from Heav'n pull down.
What other Prince of Israel hath done
Such services as I for Absolon?
I by the Tekoite got thy consent,
To call him from his three years banishment,
Who was so glad as I thy grace to gain,
To bring him home from Geshurs Court again?
I brought him to thy presence, and in grace,
After two yeeres confinement to his place,
All this I did as to my Lieges son,
But now he is unnaturall become,
The heavens, to keep thy servants free from blame,
Bring him, even as Achitophel, to shame.
[Page] His Mule resignes her load unto the Tree
Of Iustice, thus should Traytors hanged be.
His bush of haire, which never might be shorn,
Till it were grown too heavie to be born,
There bare his burthen: Lo thus God doth smite
Him in the part, he sinning took delight;
Thus Heaven, the Mule, his haire, and Oake conspire,
To give this Rebell his deserved hire.
I onely lent the Oake a Dart or twain,
To put the Traytor sooner out of pain;
Yet we must use him gently for thy sake,
Such gentlenesse will many Traytors make:
So long as gentlenesse in Governing,
Is held to be a vertue in a King,
No Treason nor Rebellion shall be said
To prosper by their faults, all will be laid
Upon the Heavens, or mans maliciousnesse,
That thus abuse a Princes gentlenesse:
A most pernicious Pest's such lenity,
In Governors of State or family.
Didst thou thou not seem by mildnesse to consent,
Unto thy daughter Thamars ravishment?
Of which ne're Amnon heard least good or ill,
Till Absolon it punisht, 'gainst thy will:
And now thy gentlenesse and indulgence,
By yeelding to the vain profuse expense,
And costly bravery of Absolon,
More [...]itting for a Monarch than thy son,
Who could not up and down the City ride,
With lesse than fifty footmen by his side,
Hath rais'd his high ambition to thy Crown,
And thus, lo, thou art vexed by thine own.
[Page 52] The [...]reasures of thy Kingdom must supply
Him meanes, for managing this treachery.
Sure had he liv'd this day to see thy face,
Thou hadst receiv'd him to thy former grace,
But we that have adventur'd goods and lives,
To save the King, his daughters, sons, and wives,
Secluded from thy face and presence be,
As if wee all were Traytors, and not he:
Now therefore, here I sweare before the Lord,
Except thou hearken to thy servants word,
And come and stand in some faire open place,
To shew thy servants comfort in thy face,
Of all the men, that thus for thee did fight,
There will not one remain with thee by night,
Which will be worser far, oh King, than all
The evils, that ever did thee befall.
Alas, saith David, I could not allow
In other men, the things which I do now,
But Parents love is strong and naturall,
And violently down the hill doth fall:
Flouds falling from precipite hills you may,
As well as Parents loves to children stay.
But if mine errors onely you relate,
You do not me advise, but exprobrate:
'Tis easie others faults to reprehend,
True wisdome others, and his own to mend.
But Ioab seeing speeches-liberty,
Did only rub, not heal the malady,
Begins with modesty to blame the time,
And some of those offenders that were prime:
When David thus, what must we here abide,
Or shall we go on Iordans other side?
[Page] What thinkst thou▪ must we try another field?
Or will the people and the Cities yield?
No doubt, saith Ioab, all the Townes will yield,
None of the faction can maintain the field;
Nor do I know a man, now he is gone,
They will accept to be their minion.
Now that the streame is turn'd, behold the tide
Will flow as fast unto the other side;
Mens fancies like an optique glasse make all
The eye is fixed on, seem faire, great and fall:
Where people love, they showes for truth will take,
And where they hate, of vertues vices make,
What made them else so vain fantasticall,
To follow Traytors, and from thee to fall?
For as we in Prospective glasses see,
Things farthest off, far fairer than they be;
So people by their fancy do approve
Kings vice or vertues, as they hate or love.
Be but at first of these thy friends secur'd,
Who now much danger have for thee endur'd,
And thou, as of one man, shalt draw the hearts,
Ev'n of all Palestina to thy parts.
The Tribes which now beyond the floud remain,
Will strive, which first shall bring thee back again:
Yea Iudah, who was first to put thee down,
Will come first to restore thee to thy Crown.
Thus came the King into the City gate,
Which when the people heard, they that of late,
For griefe and sorrow fled unto their Tent,
Do thither come, for joy incontinent,
Who them with comfortable words so pleaseth,
He all their former griefs and sorrowes easeth.
[Page 53] The King was scarse descended from his Throne,
When Rumors over all the Camp are blown,
That all the Tribes do strive about the King,
Which first of them him back again should bring:
Oh, say the people, he is just and wise,
And sa [...]ed us from all our enemies,
And from the Philistines delivered,
Yet now out of the Land from us is fled,
For Absolon, late in the Battail slain,
Whom we annoynted over us to raign.
Ah, saith the King, then will it be a shame,
For Iudah of my kindred, tribe and name,
If when as all the Tribes of Israel haste,
To bring me home againe, they be the last.
And therefore sends he to the Priests, that they
Should in this manner to the Elders say.
Why should you be the last that seek to bring
Again unto his house with you the King?
Now seeing all the other Tribes conspire
To that, the King of you doth most desire,
You are my brethren, mine own flesh and bone,
Then be not last, but rather come alone
To fetch me home to you, and I will grace
Your Captain Amasa with Ioabs place.
Is he not also of my flesh and bone?
What though he fought against me for my son?
This was and is a politick wise fashion,
To sway the people by the Priests Oration;
For they have at command the peoples eare,
And what they teach, we all are bound to heare.
In Iebus City is a spacious Court,
Where Elders and the people ay resort,
[Page] To heare the Prophets and the Law expounded,
And Rules of good and holy life propounded;
Where God, whom heav'n of heav'ns cannot contain,
Doth with his Ark in Tents of skins remain.
Here reverend Zadock, to the Congregation,
Out of his Pulpit, utters this Oration,
By which he wisely did the hearts command
Of Elders all, and people of the Land.
Men, Brethren, Fathers, whom I see this day
Assembled here, in great concourse, to pray,
For th' health and safety of our holy King,
Whom God in peace and honour to us bring.
I will not exprobrate your least omission
Of any duty, in his last dismission:
I onely of his merits make narration,
And leave all to your loyall application.
Will you be pleas'd to heare me first begin,
Where first he your and Israels hearts did win,
Th' uncircumcised Giant he did quell,
Defying all the host of Israel.
(To count his strength and vallour I forbeare,
In killing of the Lion and the Beare)
For this was his first signall act of fame,
Whereby he honour wan to Ishai's name,
By which he was made known to Saul, and wan
Such grace and favour, with sweet Ionathan,
Who as his soul most dearly David lov'd,
From which he would by no meanes be remov'd.
And though Saul would perswade his son to hate
Him, as the assured ruine of his State;
Against his violence he firmly stood,
And never ceast to do King David good.
[Page 54] After Goliah slain, he for his hire,
Became to be Sauls servant and Esquire;
And on his Harp so cunningly did play,
He often drave Sauls evill spirit away.
From whence he was advanc'd, to have command
Amongst the men of warre, when with his hand,
The jealous Tyrant sought to strike him dead,
As on his Harp he plaid and solaced.
To [...]ide his hate, yet to betray his li [...]e,
Saul proffers him his daughter unto wife,
So with twice fifty fore skins he endow her,
In hope his foes and him thus to devower:
But this hope failing, Davids victories,
Began in Saul such feares and ielousies,
That divers wayes his death he practised,
But God by Michol him delivered.
Whence he to Samuel in Ramoth fled,
Saul thither him pursuing, prophesi'd.
Then sav'd he Keilah by the Philistine
Besieg'd, and took great store of Sheep and Kine:
Thence flies he to Ahimelech the Priest,
Who paid too deare for such a Royall Guest;
For spitefull Doeg did to Saul complain,
And neere a hundred Priests by him were slain.
From thence to Achish Prince of Gath, where he,
Pretendeth madnesse and simplicity:
From thence he hunted to Adullams Cave,
Like to a Partridge flies, his life to save,
To Ziph, Eugaddy, Maons Desarts, where
He cut off Sauls coat-lap but's life did spare;
And after took his Sreare from's sleeping head;
Then he the second time to Achish fled,
[Page] Of whom he was most kindly entertain'd.
For hate of Saul, and Ziglags Town obtain'd.
Whence he to warre on Iudahs Coasts pretended,
But so 'gainst Amalek his forces bended,
And other foes of ours, that to complain,
He never let one man alive remain.
By which he, faln now into th' indignation,
As Achish thought, of his own King and Nation,
Was brought to field 'gainst Saul his King to fight,
But these Philistine Lords that knew his might,
And fearing he to th' other side should turn,
Made him again to Ziglag back return.
Which burnt he found, their women captive led,
With all their children that him followed;
For which all were so grieved and offended,
His Souldiers there to stone him had intended.
Amid all troubles God did him sustain,
And helpt to win his own, and more again:
For he so close pursu'd th' Amalekite,
And them unwares so furiously did smite,
He all the Host left dead upon the plain,
And losses all recovered again:
Inriching them with spoiles that with him went,
And many presents to our Elders sent,
In all his troubles, which of you can say,
He did me wrong, or made of mine a prey?
Was he not rather unto you, for all
Your Goods, against your enemies a wall?
Aske foolish Nabals servants, they will say,
He was a wall to us by night and day,
No sheep were lost, no Lambs of ours were slain,
Whilst David neer to Carmel did rema [...]n.
[Page 55] And though the churle did evill him requite,
Yet God, who is the Iudge of wrong and right,
Reveng'd his churlishnesse with losse of life,
Rewarding Davids goodnesse with his wife.
By this Saul and his sons were overthrown
At Gilboa, which soon as it was known
To David, how did he compassionate
Their deaths, and those afflictions of the State,
Which were so great, they over Iordan fled,
And many of their Townes abandoned.
So as by this so great an overthrow,
Were Israel and Iudah brought so low,
They to the son of Ishai presents bring,
And him acknowledge their annointed King.
For what was closely done by Samuel,
Was known to all the Tribes of Israel.
Had he not been a valiant man of warre,
The Philistins prevailed had so farre,
We surely had long since their servants been,
And not these dayes of liberty have seen.
Abner long at Mehanaim maintain'd
The son of Saul, whilst he at Hebron raign'd,
Till Traytors did his head to David bring,
Then all the Tribes acknowledge him their King.
Oh with what wondrous joy and acclamation,
Was he accepted then of all this Nation!
He went before us in and out, in all
The warres, in times of Samuel and Saul:
He saved us from all our enemies,
And honour'd us with glorious victories.
Oh! then he was of our own flesh and bone,
And fit to govern all the Tribes alone.
[Page] Sure his deserts were infinite before,
But hath he not to these still added more?
Witnesse this place, where now Gods Arke is pight
In th' heart of Iudah, which the Iebusite
'Gainst Iosuab, Iudges, Samuel, Saul, maintain'd,
By Davids might and prowesse now obtain'd,
This holy place, where now you meet to pray,
And offer sacrifices night and day,
For Sions Mount, your Kings brave habitation,
Worlds wonder, and the Glory of this Nation,
Whilome of theeves, and murtherers a den,
Whence they did steal your goods and spoil your men,
And sacrifice to Rimnon, morn and even,
And worship'd daily all the host of Heaven,
Yea often to appease th' infernall Ire,
Did drive your sons and daughters through the fire,
This fort, defended by the blind and lame,
He builded, and Hierusalem did name.
Did not all Palestine their forces bring,
'Gainst David soon as he was crowned King?
Whom all to weak his valour to withstand,
God twice delivered into Davids hand:
Yea ev'n the God of Hosts, to shew his right,
Led him forth from the Mulberry trees to fight:
Soon as his enemies subdued are,
He wholly on Religion sets his care,
Gods Ark into your City home to bring,
That God might dwell with you, as did the King.
Why should I here sad Vzzahs breach recite?
Whom God, for his presumption, dead did smite.
For staying but the Arke up with his hand,
Medling with sacred thing, 'gainst Gods command.
[Page 56] For which it was to Obe [...] Edoms led,
Where whilst it staid, all things well prospered.
But ah, how did our Prophet dance and sing,
More like a holy Levite than a King,
When th' Ark was brought up hither to be rear'd,
And set up in the place for it prepar'd,
Who though he then was scorn'd in Mich [...]ls sight,
God never did in him take more delight.
What hath he not for this your City done?
Besides his many Royall workes begun,
And finished, whereby he chang'd this hold
Of earth and stone, to streets of brasse and gold.
'Twas in his mind a Temple here to raise,
To Gods eternall Worship laud and praise.
Till God by Nathan otherwise declared;
Yet he for it materialls hath prepared,
The which his son that Prince of peace shall raise,
And blesse with peace and honour all his dayes.
For all such as have had their hands in bloud,
As David, though their warres are just and good,
From medling with Gods Altar ought abstain,
The stones whereof should all in peace be lain.
For what are all our Rites and offerings,
Arke, Incense, and all other holy things,
But figures of eternall peace and rest:
No bloudied hands may minister this feast.
(Irregularity for second wives
Is vain, as you shall see by both their lives.)
And therefore David leavs it to his son,
He after all his former battails won,
Hath taken Gath, the key of all your Land,
The Bridle thus wringing out of the hand
[Page] Of Philistins, who now [...] brought so low,
They all their knees to Iudahs Monarch bow.
Ittai one of their Lords of greatest might,
Serv'd under David in this civill fight:
Moab you know with lines was measured,
Two lines to save alive, another dead.
And Hadadezar, Syrians King of Kings,
With all his Vice-Roys, presents to us brings:
Now Aram and Damascus ours remain,
Twenty two thousand of them being slain.
He hither all the Shields of gold did bring,
Which he had taken from the Syrian King.
We quite through Edom all our Armies led,
And of them eighteen thousand slaughtered.
So as in all these Cities and wall'd Townes,
The King hath put strong men in Garrisons:
Yea ev'n Damascus, though as Queen she reigns,
Above the rest, a Garrison maintains.
What Presents did the son of Tohu bring,
Of Gold and Silver Vessels to the King?
Which all together, with a mighty masse
Of Gold and Silver Vessells, and of brasse;
The spoiles of all these Nations related,
Are to our Temples structure dedicated.
And as he did abroad a victor raign,
At home he right and judgement did maintain.
Israel was never better kept in order,
Seraiah Scribe, and Iosaphat Recorder,
The Kings own sons, your chiefest Rulers are,
The chiefest Priests, I and Abiathar.
God and the King unto this place did chuse us,
Which of you for wrong dealing can accuse us?
[Page 57] But seeing you are not of Iudah all,
But some of Benjamin and house of Saul,
Which Tribes are so neer neighbors, and allide,
We hardly one from th' other can divide,
Give me but leave to render an account,
How he in benefits doth you surmount.
When Saul and's sons on Gilboas Mount were slain,
How did he for their deaths lament and plain?
Especially for Ionathan his brother,
Was ever any friend more kind to other?
How were the men of Iabesh honoured,
Who Saul and his sons bones had buried?
Did ever any of Sauls kindred dye
By David, for revenge or jealousie?
How did he Abners losse lament and plain?
The Traytors that slew Ishbosheth were slain.
And lame Mephibosheth, who here now stands,
Hath he not given thee all thy Fathers Lands?
Wert thou not, like a Prince, serv'd with his meat,
Drank of his cup, and at his Table eate?
Though Ziba did thee trecherously disgrace,
The King will sure restore thee to thy place.
Could ever any Prince do more to win,
His Subjects hearts? yet should I now begin,
His merits all not mention'd to recite,
I could not reckon up them all by night:
But these are all but favours temporall:
Ah! what are his sweet Hymnes spirituall,
Whose every letter, tittle, point, and line,
Have each their sense, sweet, mysticall, divine,
Ev'n as our souls desire, like to the past
Of heavenly Manna to the spirituall tast;
[Page] By which the soul [...]s with [...]at and marrow fed,
As bodies were by Manna cherished,
They over all your Tents like Quailes dispread,
That weakest stomacks might be comforted.
But ah! no tongue but his can rightly sing,
The heavenly praises of this holy King,
Shew me his like in all Antiquity,
For valour, wisdome, justice, piety,
Yet won by shews and grosse dissembling,
You, for a Traytor, have dismiss'd this King.
What Nation is so barbarous and rude,
But will condemne such base ingratitude?
If in these errours you shall still remain,
And do not haste to bring him back again.
Thus doth this grave high Priest to them divine,
Like winged, heavenly, holy Seraphine,
And bows the hearts (this elocution can)
Of all the men of Iudah as one man,
When suddenly arose a murmuring,
And all cry out aloud, the King, the King.
All inly mov'd, each looks upon his brother,
And ready are to follow one another:
When one breakes forth, and him they follow all,
And leave good Zadock preaching to the wall.
So have I seen a goodly heard of Steeres,
Deep stung in Autumns heat by flyes and breers,
With tailes erect, all follow after one,
None knowing whither, nor for what they run;
Scarse from Mahanaim passed was the King,
When Legates this Ambassage to him bring;
The men of Iudah comming are amain,
Their King home to his house to bring again:
[Page 58] Lo, they are all, say they, upon the way,
And therefore he makes haste, that very day,
To Gilgall, where they all in order stood,
All prest to ford him over Iordans flood.
Shimei, that curst the King, going out mourning,
A thousand helps now brings to his returning;
And Ziba servant of Sauls family,
With twenty servants him accompany.
All these with readinesse attend the King,
And all things needfull to his passage bring,
When Shimei thus, let not my Lord begin,
Now to impute or call to mind the sin,
I did commit against my Lord the King,
When thou wentst forth, I now abhorre the thing;
Thy servant doth acknowledge his offence,
And to redeem his former insolence,
Doth hither first of Iosephs house descend.
Thee homeward to thy City to attend.
Faine Abish [...]i would have his neck disjoynted,
Because that he had cursed Gods annoynted,
But David, much offended, doth reply;
Shall any man this day in Israel dye?
This day I Israels King am made again,
And therefore sweare, no Shimei shall be slain.
And now Mephibosheth the King doth meet,
That never cut his beard, nor washt his feet,
Nor chang'd his rayment, from the day the King
Went out, till they him home in peace did bring.
To whom the King, Mephibosheth, ah! why
I [...] exile had I not thy company?
Who thus replyes: Ziba, oh King, deceav'd
Thy servant, and me of mine Asse bereav'd.
[Page] For soon as he did understand, that I
Resolved was thee to accompany,
And therefore him commanded to provide
Mine Asse in readinesse, whereon to ride:
He led the Beast away that should me beare,
And me accus'd of treason in thine eare.
But thou, my Lord, well knowst thy servant's lame,
And never merited so foule a blame.
Lo, as Gods Angell thou art just and wise,
Do therefore what good seemeth in thine eyes:
For I and all my Fathers family,
Were but as dead, when thy benignity,
Thy servant did at thine own Table place.
I ask no more, but still to see thy face.
No more, saith David, I all understand,
With Ziba, as before, divide the land:
Let him, his sons, and servants, till the ground,
The profits to Mephibosheth redound.
Let him, saith he, both land take and increase,
Now I do see my Lord return'd in peace.
Barzillai had the King accompani'd,
From Rogelim to Iordans other side,
And sent the Ki [...]g provision every day,
Whilst with his Host he at Mahanaim lay:
For he was wondrous rich, and very old,
But comely and most gracious to behold.
Faine would the King this good old man have led
To his own house, and at his Table fed.
But he replyes, Alas! how long have I,
My Lord, to live? let me go home and dye.
Thy servant now full foure score years hath past,
And in his meat and drink discernes no taste;
[Page] I cannot heare the voyce of [...]
Why should I be a burthen to th [...] [...]
Now thou art over Iordan, God [...] guard,
Why shouldst thou me requite with such reward?
Let me return to mine own quiet bed,
And in my parents grave be buried.
My son thy servant Chimham, he shall go
With thee, to whom, even what thou please [...], do.
Well, said the King, I do accept thy son,
What thou desirest for him shall be done,
And for thy self, what ever thou require,
I shall be glad to answer thy desire.
Thus did the King with many thanks dismisse
The good old man, and parted with a kisse.
Barzillai home returns, to take his ease,
The King comes to Hierusalem in peace.


THO. WEEKES, R. P. Lond. Cap. domest.


FOl. 3. l. 9. read Jesraelite. fol. 18. l. 5. b. read l. 12. b. read mad. fol. 52. l. 10. b. read fair [...]

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