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Within the entrails of a jetty cloud,
Whose dissolution shall pour down in showers
The substance of his life and swelling pride;
Then shall the stars light earth with rich aspects,
And heaven shall burn in love with Absalon,
Whose beauty will suffice to chase” all mists,
And clothe the sun's sphere with a triple fire,
Sooner than his clear eyes should suffer stain,
Or be offended with a lowering day.
FIRST Conc. Thy father's honour, graceless Ab-
And ours thus beaten with thy violent arms,
Will cry for vengeance to the host of heaven,
Whose power is ever arm'd against the proud,
And will dart plagues at thy aspiring head,
For doing this disgrace to David's throne.
SEcon D Conc. To David's throne, to David's
Whose sceptre angels guard with swords of fire,
And sit as eagles on his conquering fist,
Ready to prey upon his enemies;
Then think not thou, the captain of his foes,
Wert thou much swifter than Azahell was,
That could outpace the nimble-footed roe
To scape the fury of their thumping beaks,
Or dreadful scope of their commanding wings.
AcH. Let not my lord the king of Israel
Be angry with a silly woman's threats;
But with the pleasure he hath erst enjoy'd,
* chase] Old copy “chast.”
Turn them into their cabinets again,
Till David's conquest be their overthrow.
ABs. Into your bowers, ye daughters of disdain,
Gotten by fury of unbridled lust,
And wash your couches with your mourning tears,
For grief that David's kingdom is decay’d.
FIRST Conc. No, Absalon, his kingdom is en-
Fast to the finger of great Jacob's God,
Which will not loose it for a rebel's love.
[Ereunt CoN c.
AMA. If I might give advice unto the king,
These concubines should buy their taunts with blood.
ABs. Amasa, no; but let thy martial sword
Empty the veins" of David's armed men,
And let these foolish women scape our hands
To recompense the shame they have sustain'd.
First, Absalon was by the trumpet's sound
Proclaim'd through Hebron king of Israel;
And now is set in fair Jerusalem
With complete state, and glory of a crown.
Fifty fair footmen by my chariot run,
And to the air whose rupture rings my fame,
Where’er I ride they offer reverence.
Why should not Absalon, that in his face
Carries the final purpose of his God,
That is to work him grace in Israel,
Endeavour to achieve with all his strength,
The state that most may satisfy his joy,
Keeping his statutes and his covenants pure?
His thunder is entangled in my hair,
And with my beauty is his lightning quench'd;
I am the man he made to glory in,
When by the errours of my father's sin
He lost the path that led into the land
Wherewith our chosen ancestors were bless'd.
CU. Long may the beauteous king of Israel live : To whom the people do by thousands swarm. ABs. What meaneth Cusay so to greet his foe! Is this the love thou show'dst to David's soul, To whose assistance thou hast vow'd thy life? Why leav'st thou him in this extremity ? CU. Because the Lord, and Israel chooseth thee; And as before I serv'd thy father's turn, With counsel acceptable in his sight, So likewise will I now obey his son. ABs. Then welcome, Cusay, to king Absalon. And now, my lords, and loving counsellors, I think it time to exercise our arms Against forsaken David and his host. Give counsel first, my good Achitophel, What times and orders we may best observe, For prosperous manage of these high exploits. AcH. Let me choose out twelve thousand valiant men ; And, while the night hides with her sable mists The close endeavours cunning soldiers use, I will assault thy discontented sire;
And, while with weakness of their weary arms,
Surcharg'd with toil to shun thy sudden power,
The people fly in huge disorder'd troops
To save their lives, and leave the king alone,
Then will I smite him with his latest wound,
And bring the people to thy feet in peace.
ABs. Well hath Achitophel given his advice.
Yet let us hear what Cusay counsels us,
Whose great experience is well worth the ear.
CU. Though wise Achitophel be much more meet
To purchase hearing with my lord the king,
For all his former counsels, than myself,
Yet, not offending Absalon or him,
This time it is not good, nor worth pursuit;
For, well thou know'st, thy father's men are strong,
Chafing as she-bears robbed of their whelps:
Besides the king himself a valiant man,
Train'd up in feats and stratagems of war;
And will not, for prevention of the worst,
Lodge with the common soldiers in the field:
But now, I know, his wonted policies
Have taught him lurk within some secret cave,
Guarded with all his stoutest soldiers;
Which, if the forefront of his battle faint,
Will yet give out that Absalon doth fly,
And so thy soldiers be discouraged:
David himself withal, whose angry heart
Is as a lion's, letted of his walk,
Will fight himself, and all his men to one,
Before a few shall vanquish him by fear.
My counsel therefore is, with trumpet's sound
To gather men from Dan to Bersabe,
That they may march in number like sea sands,
That nestle close in one * another's neck:
So shall we come upon him in our strength,
Like to the dew that falls in showers from heaven,
And leave him not a man to march withal.
Besides, if any city succour him,
The numbers of our men shall fetch us ropes,
And we will pull it down the river's stream,
That not a stone be left to keep us out.
ABs. What says my lord to Cusay's counsel now !
AMA. I fancy Cusay's counsel better far
Than that is given us from Achitophel;
And so, I think, doth every soldier here.
ALL. Cusay's counsel is better than Achitophel's.
ABs. Then march we after Cusay's counsel all;
Sound trumpets through the bounds of Israel,
And muster all the men will serve the king,
That Absalon may glut his longing soul
With sole fruition of his father's crown.
Ach. Ill shall they fare that follow thy attempts,
That scorns the counsel of Achitophel. [Ereunt.
Cu. Thus hath the power of Jacob's jealous God
Fulfill'd his servant David's drifts by me,
And brought Achitophel's advice to scorn.