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Thou art the cause these torments suck my blood,
Piercing with venom of thy poison'd eyes
The strength and marrow of my tainted bones:
To punish Pharaoh, and his cursed host,
The waters shrink at great Adonai's voice,
And sandy bottom of the sea appear'd,
Offering his service at his servant's feet;
And, to inflict a plague on David's sin,
He makes his bowels traitors to his breast,
Winding about his heart with mortal gripes.
Ah, Absalon, the wrath of heaven inflames
Thy scorched bosom with ambitious heat,
And Sathan sets thee on a lusty tower,
Showing thy thoughts the pride of Israel,
Of choice to cast thee on her ruthless stones'
Weep with me then, ye sons of Israel,
[He lies down, and all the rest after him.
Lie down with David, and with David mourn
Before the holy one that sees our hearts;
Season this heavy soil with showers of tears,
And fill the face of every flower with dew;
Weep, Israel, for David's soul dissolves,
Lading the fountains of his drowned eyes,
And pours her substance on the senseless earth.
SA. Weep, Israel; O, weep for David's soul,
Strewing the ground with hair and garments torn,
For tragic witness of your hearty woes
AHI. O, would our eyes were conduits to our
hearts, - --
And that our hearts were seas of liquid blood,
To pour in streams upon this holy mount,
For witness we would die for David's woes |
Jon ATH. Then should this mount of olives seem
Drown'd with a sea, that with our sighs should roar,
And in the murmur of his mounting waves,
Report our bleeding sorrows to the heavens,
For witness we would die for David's woes |
ITH. Earth cannot weep enough for David's woes;
Then weep, you heavens, and, all you clouds, dissolve,
That piteous stars may see our miseries,
And drop their golden tears upon the ground,
For witness how they weep for David's woes.
S.A. Now let my sovereign raise his prostrate bones,
And mourn not as a faithless man would do;
But be assur'd, that Jacob's righteous God,
That promis'd never to forsake your throne,
Will still be just and pure in his vows.
DAv. Sadoc, high-priest, preserver of the ark,
Whose sacred virtue keeps the chosen crown,
I know, my God is spotless in his vows,
And that these hairs shall greet my grave in peace;
But that my son should wrong his tender'd soul,
And fight against his father's happiness,
Turns all my hopes into despair of him,
And that despair feeds all my veins with grief.
ITH. Think of it, David, as a fatal plague
Which grief preserveth, but preventeth not;
And turn thy drooping eyes upon the troops,
That, of affection to thy worthiness,
Do swarm about the person of the king:
Cherish their valours, and their zealous loves, With pleasant looks, and sweet encouragements. DAv. Methinks, the voice of Ithay fills mine ears. ITH. Let not the voice of Ithay loath thine ears, Whose heart would balm thy bosom with his tears. DAv. But wherefore goest thou to the wars with us? Thou art a stranger here in Israel, And son to Achis, mighty king of Gath; Therefore return, and with thy father stay: Thou cam'st but yesterday; and should I now Let thee partake these troubles here with us? Keep both thyself, and all thy soldiers safe: Let me abide the hazards of these arms, And God requite the friendship thou has show'd. ITH. As sure as Israel's God gives David life, What place or peril shall contain the king, The same will Ithay share in life and death. DAv. Then, gentle Ithay, be thou still with us, A joy to David, and a grace to Israel. Go, Sadoc, now, and bear the ark of God Into the great Jerusalem again: If I find favour in his gracious eyes, Then will he lay his hand upon my heart Yet once again before I visit death; Giving it strength, and virtue to mine eyes, To taste the comforts, and behold the form Of his fair ark, and holy tabernacle: But, if he say, my wonted love is worn, And I have no delight in David now, Here lie I armed with an humble heart
T'embrace the pains that anger shall impose,
And kiss the sword my lord shall kill me with.
Then, Sadoc, take Ahimaas thy son,
With Jonathan son to Abiathar;
And in these fields will I repose myself,
Till they return from you some certain news.
SA. Thy servants will with joy obey the king,
And hope to cheer his heart with happy news.
[Ea. Sadoc, Ahim. and Jonathan.
ITH. Now that it be no grief unto the king,
Let me for good inform his majesty,
That with unkind and graceless Absalon,
Achitophel your ancient counsellor
Directs the state of this rebellion.
DAv. Then doth it aim with danger at my crown.
O thou, that hold'st his raging bloody bound
Within the circle of the silver moon,
That girds earth's centre with his watry scarf,
Limit the counsel of Achitophel,
No bounds extending to my soul's distress,
But turn his wisdom into foolishness
Enter CUSAY, with his coat turned, and head covered.
CU. Happiness and honour to my lord the king !
DAv. What happiness or honour may betide His state that toils in my extremities?
CU. O, let my gracious sovereign cease these griefs, Unless he wish his servant Cusay's death, Whose life depends upon my lord's relief!
Then, let my presence with my sighs perfume
The pleasant closet of my sovereign's soul.
DAv. No, Cusay, no; thy presence unto me
Will be a burden, since I tender thee,
And cannot brook* thy sighs for David's sake:
But if thou turn to fair Jerusalem,
And say to Absalon, as thou hast been
A trusty friend unto his father's seat,
So thou wilt be to him, and call him king,
Achitophel's counsel may be brought to naught.
Then having Sadoc and Abiathar,
All three may learn the secrets of my son,
Sending the message by Ahimaas,
And friendly Jonathan, who both are there.
CU. Then rise, referring the success to heaven. #
DAv. Cusay, I rise; though with unweildy bones
I carry arms against my Absalon. [Ereunt.
ABSALON, AMAs A, ACHITOPHEL, with the concubines of DAv1D and others in great state : ABSALoN crowned.
ABs. Now you that were my father's concubines, Liquor to his inchaste and lustful fire, Have seen his honour shaken in his house, Which I possess in sight of all the world: I bring ye forth for foils to my renown, And to eclipse the glory of your king, Whose life is with his honour fast inclos'd * brook] Old copy “breake.” # This line is given in the old copy to David. WOL. II. E.