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But, preach I to thee, while I should revenge
Thy cursed sin that staineth Israel,
And makes her fields blush with her children's blood 2
Take that as part of thy deserved plague,
Which worthily no torment can inflict.
ABs. O Joab, Joab, cruel, ruthless Joab
Herewith thou wound'st thy kingly sovereign's heart,
Whose heavenly temper hates his children's blood,
And will be sick, I know, for Absalon.
O, my dear father, that thy melting eyes
Might pierce this thicket to behold thy son,
Thy dearest son, gor'd with a mortal dart
Yet, Joab, pity me; pity my father, Joab;
Pity his soul's distress that mourns my life,
And will be dead, I know, to hear my death.
JoAB. If he were so remorseful of thy state,
Why sent he me against thee with the sword 2
All Joab means to pleasure thee withal
Is, to despatch thee quickly of thy pain:
Hold, Absalon, Joab's pity is in this;
In this, proud Absalon, is Joab's love. [He goes out.
Abs. Such love, such pity Israel's God send thee,
And for his love to David pity me.
Ah, my dear father see, thy bowels bleed;
See death assault thy dearest Absalon;
See, pity, pardon, pray for Absalon.

Enter five or six Soldiers.

Sold. See where the rebel in his glory hangs:
Where is the virtue of thy beauty, Absalon?
V. O.L. II. r

Will any of us here now fear thy looks,
Or be in love with that thy golden hair,
Wherein was wrapt rebellion 'gainst thy sire,
And cords prepar'd to stop thy father's breath 2
Our captain Joab hath begun to us;
And here's an end to thee and all thy sins.
Come, let us take the beauteous rebel down,
And in some ditch amids this darksome wood,
Bury his bulk” beneath a heap of stones,
Whose stony heart did hunt his father's death.

Enter in triumph with drum and ensign, JoAB, ABISAI and Soldiers, to ABSALON.

JoAB. Well done, talli soldiers; take the traitor down, And in this miry ditch inter his bones, Covering his hateful breast with heaps of stones. This shady thicket of dark Ephraim Shall ever lower on his cursed grave;

Night ravens and owls shall ring his fatal knell,

And sit exclaiming on his damned soul;
There shall they heap their preys of carrion,
Till all his grave be clad with stinking bones,
That it may loath the sense of every man:
So shall his end breed horror to his name,
And to his traitorous fact eternal shame. [Ereunt.

* bulk] i.e. body. t tall] i.e. brave.

CHORUs. O dreadful precedent of his just doom, Whose holy heart is never touch'd with ruth Offickle beauty, or of glorious shapes, But with the virtue of an upright soul, Humble and zealous in his inward thoughts, Though in his person loathsome and deform'd Now, since this story lends us other store, To make a third discourse of David's life, Adding thereto his most renowned death, And all their deaths, that at his death he judg’d, Here end we this, and what here wants to please, We will supply with treble willingness.”

Trumpets sound: Enter JoAB, AHIMAAs, CUs A Y, AMAs A, with all the rest.

JoA.B. Soldiers of Israel, and ye sons of Judah, That have contended in these irksome broils, And ript old Israel's bowels with your swords; The godless general of your stubborn arms Is brought by Israel's helper to the grave, A grave of shame, and scorn of all the tribes: Now then, to save your honours from the dust,

* After this speech of the Chorus, the old copy (Sig. G 4.)

gives the following fragment, which belongs to some earlier scene of the play that has been lost;

“Absalon, with three or four of his servants or gentlemen.

“Ab. What boots it, Absalon, unhappy Absalon,
Sighing I say, what boots it, Absalon,
To have disclos'd a far more worthy womb

And keep your bloods in temper by your bones,
Let Joab's ensign shroud your manly heads,
Direct your eyes, your weapons, and your hearts,
To guard the life of David from his foes.
Error hath mask'd your much too forward minds,
And you have sinn’d against the chosen state,
Against his life, for whom your lives are bless'd,
And follow'd an usurper to the field;
In whose just death your deaths are threaten’d,
But Joab pities your disorder'd souls,
And therefore offers pardon, peace, and love,
To all that will be friendly reconciled
To Israel's weal, to David, and to heaven.
Amasa, thou art leader of the host,
That under Absalon have rais'd their arms;
Then be a captain wise and politic,
Careful and loving for thy soldiers' lives,
And lead them to this honourable league.
AMA. I will; at least, I’ll do my best:
And for the gracious offer thou hast made
I give thee thanks, as much as for my head.
Then, you deceiv'd poor souls of Israel,
Since now ye see the errors you incurr'd,
With thanks and due submission be appeas'd;
And as ye see your captain's precedent,
Here cast we then our swords at Joab's feet,
Submitting with all zeal and reverence
Our goods and bodies to his gracious hands.
JoAB. Stand up, and take ye all your swords
again; [All stand up.
David, and Joab, shall be blest herein.

AHI. Now let me go inform my lord the king How God hath freed him from his enemies. JoAB. Another time, Ahimaas, not now; But Cusay, go thyself, and tell the king The happy message of our good success. CU. I will, my lord, and thank thee for thy grace. [Er. Cus. AH1. What if thy servant should go too, my lord 2 JoAB. What news hast thou to bring since he is gone? AHI. Yet do Ahimaas so much content, That he may run about so sweet a charge. [Erit. JoAB. Run, if thou wilt; and peace be with thy steps. Now follow, that you may salute the king With humble hearts, and reconciled souls. AMA. We follow, Joab, to our gracious king; And him our swords shall honour to our deaths. [Exeunt.


BETH. What means my lord, the lamp of Israel, From whose bright eyes all eyes receive their light, To dim the glory of his sweet aspects, And paint his countenance with his heart's distress 2 Why should his thoughts retain a sad conceit, When every pleasure kneels before his throne, And sues for sweet acceptance with his grace 2

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