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The Baldwin UbMY
FOR YOUNG PERSONS:
THE SUBJECTS TAKEN FROM THE BIBLE.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
S E N S I B I L I T Y,
All the Books of the BI nLE are either moft admirable and exalted Pieces of Poetry, or are the belt materials in the world for it. COWLET.
PRINTED FOR T. CADELL IN THE STRAND, M DCC LXXXIII.
TO HER GRACE
T HE DUCHESS OF BEAUFORT;
THESE SACRED DRAMAS
ARE, WITH THE MOST PERFECT RESPECT,
AS, AMONG THE MANY AMIABLE
AND DISTINGUISHED QUALITIES
WHICH ADORN HER MIND,
AND ADD LUSTRE TO HER RANK,
HER EXCELLENCE IN THE MATERNAL CHARACTER
GIVES A PECULIAR PROPRIETY
TO HER PROTECTION OF THIS LITTLE WORK
WRITTEN WITH AN HUMBLE WISH
TO PROMOTE THE LOVE OF PIETY AND VIRT UE IN YOUNG "DERSONSi
BY HER GRACE'S
MAOST OBLIGED, AND
MOST HUMBLE SERVANT,
IAM as ready as the moft rigid Critic,
to confefs, that nothing can be more fimple and inartificial than the plans of the following Dramas. In the conftrufion of them, I have feldom ventured to introduce any perfons of my own creation : fill lefs did I imagine myfelf at liberty to invent circumftances. I reflected, with awe, that the place whereon I flood was holy ground. All the latitude I permitted myfelf, was, to
*Never, indeed, except in DANIEL, and that of neceffity; as the Bible furnifhes no more than two perfons, Daniel and Darius ; and there were not fufficient to carry on the bulinefs of the Piece.
A 3 make
make fuch perfons as I fele&ed, a utinder fuch circurnmfitances as I found; and exprefs fuch fentimennts as, in my humble judgment, appeared not unnatural to their fituations.Some of the fpeeches are fo long, as to retard the aaion; for I rather afpired after Moral Inftrution, than the purity of Dramatic Compofition. The very terms of AR and Scene are avoided; becaufe I was unwilling to awaken the attention of the Reader to my deficiencies in critical exaanefs.
It will be thought that I have chofen, perhaps, the leaft important paffage in the eventful Life of David, for the foundation of the Drama which bears his name. Yet even in this, his firft exploit, the facred I-Iif'corian reprefents him as exhibiting no mean leffon of modeftiy, humility, courage, and
and piety: virtues not only admirable, but imitable ; and within the reach of every Reader. Many will think, that the introdution of Saul's daughter would have added to the effect of the piece: and I have no doubt, but that it would have made the intrigue more complicated, and more intereffing, had this Drama been intended for the Stage. There, all that is tender, and all that is terrible in the paffions, find a proper place. But I write for the Young, in whom it will be always time enough to have them awakened; I write for a clafs of Readers, to whom it is not eafy to accommodate one's fubjea *.
It would not be eafy, I believe, to introduce Sacred Tragedies on the Englifh Stage. The fcrupulous would think it profane, while the profane would think it dull.
Aii ADV E *T ii S E M EN 'I.
A very judicious and learned fiend has
remarked, that the Regfedfimis of King Hezekiab breathe rather too much of the f'pirit of Chriffianity; for that it is fcarcely probable he had fo fettled a belief in the General Judgment. I feel the juftnefs of the objection, without having- been able to obviate 4 it. I wiffhed to convey a ftrong idea of this
great 1 ading truth; and have, perhaps irnproperly, aficribed fentiments to a jewlf monarch, merely becaufe I wished to 1r-1
prefs them on the Chriftian Reader.
The Critic and the Scholar, if any f-uch 1
should honour thefe pages with their attenYet th- excellent R.,cjNE, in ad1 iated country, and a v rpduus court, ventured to adlapt the_ Pcrv of
t :hui Frenrch Theare ; and it remairs to us
P giOrne iceuen oi in ZA utluor 's OOdUpt,
and of1 C0 fcdo of C~ DramrziC As:.
t 1 o.
tion, will find ample matter on which to cxercife their candor and their charity; qualities fo natural to genius and to learning, that even the feeblenefs of my performance will not be able to obftrut the exertion of them in favour of my intention.
The amiable Poet from whom I have taken my motto, after tfhewing the fuperiority of the Sacred, over the Profane Hiftories (fome inflances of which I have noticed in my Introduaion), concludes with the following remark, which I may apply'to myfelf with more propriety than it was ufed by the Author :-"- I am far from affuming to myfclf, to have fulfilled the duty of this Weighty undertaking; and I fall be am* Cowley.
" bitious of no other fruit from this weak and imperfea attempt of miine, but the cc opening of a way to the courage and in" duftry of fome other perfons, who may be better able to perform it thoroughly and fuccefsfully."
CO0N TE N TS.
THlE INTRODUCTION, -Page i MOSES, - - DAVID AND GOLIATH, -5 BELSIIAZZAR, -- 1253
DANIEL, 1 91
HEZEKIAH, -- - 255 SENSIBILITY, - 267
E R R A T A.
Page zo. line laft, for the Full-puint after GOD, PUT a Comma
Page 3Z, line j~3 for weaken'd read waken'd
O For the facred energy, which firuck
The harp of Jeffe's fon or for a fpark Of that celeffial flame, which touch'd the lips Of blefs'd Ifaiah *; when the Seraphim With living fire defcended, and his foul From fin's pollution purg'd or one faint ray, (If human things to heavenly I may join) Of that pure fpirit, which inflam'd the breaflt Of Milton, GoD's own poet I when, retir'd, In fair enthufiaftic vifion rapt, The nightly v itant deign'd blefs his couch With infpiration, fuch as never flow'd
Ifaiah, chap. vi.
I- NTRODUCTION. From Aganippe's fount, or Acidale! Then, when the facred fire within him burnt, He fpake, as man or angel might have fpoke, When man was pure, and angels were his guefis.
It will not be.-Nor prophet's burning zeal, Nor mule of fire, nor yet to fweep the firings With facred energy to me belongs; Nor with M\iltonic hand to touch the chords, That wake to ecftacy. From me, alas! The fecret fource of harmony is hid The magic powers which catch the ravifh'd foul In melody's fweet maze, and the clear fireams Which to pure Fancy's yet untafted fprings Enchanted lead. Of thefe I nothing know ; Yet, all unknowing, dare thy aid invoke, Spirit of Truth! who gracioufly haft faid, That none who afk in faith should afk in vain.
You I invoke not now, ye fabled Nine!
I not invoke you, though you well were fought
In Greece and Latium, by immortal bards, Whole fyren fong enchants; and hall enchant, Thro' Time's wide-circling round, tho' falfe their faith,
And lefs than human were the gods they liung. Tho' falfe their faith, they taught the beff they knew; And, blufh 0 Chrifflians liv'd above their faith. They wou'd have blefs'd the beam, and hailed the day, Which chas'd the moral darknefs from their fouls. Oh had their minds receiv'd the clearer ray Of true devotion; they had learn'd to fcorn Their deities impure, their fenfelefs gods, And wild mythology's fantaftic maze.
Pure PLATO how had thy chafte fpirit hail'd A faith fo fitted to thy moral fenfe What hadfi thou felt, to fee the fair romance Of high imagination, the bright dream Of thy pure fancy more than realiz'd! O fweet enthufiaft thou hadfi blefi a fcheme Fair, good, and perfect. How had thy rapt foul
Caught ire, and burnt with a diviner flame For ev'n thy fair idea ne'er conceiv'd ~Such plenitude of love, fuch boundlefs blifs, As Deity made vifible to fenfe. Unhappy BRuT'rus! philofophic mind! Great 'midfE the errors of the Stoic fchool How had his kindling spirit joy'd to find That his lov'd virtue was no empty name: Nor had he met the vifion at Philippi Nor had he fneath'd his bloody dagger's point, Or in the breaft he lov'd, or in his own.
The Pagan page how far more wife than ours!
They with the gods they worfhipp'd grac'd their fongz, Our long we grace with gods we difbelieve; The manners we adopt without the creed. Shall Fi&ion only raife poetic flame, And hall no altars blaze, O TRuTH! to thee? Shall falfehood only pleafe, and fable charm ? And hall eternal Truth neglected lie ? Becaufe immortal, flighted or profan'd?
Truth has our rev'rence only, not our love Our praife, but not our heart. A deity, Confefs'd, but flhunn'd; acknowledged, not ador'd She comes too near us, and fhe shines too bright. Her penetrating beam at once betrays WVhat we wou'd hide from others and ourfelves.
Why fihun to make our duty our delight ? Let pleafure be the motive (and allow That immortality be quite forgot): Where hall we trace, thro' all the page profane, A livelier pleafure, and a purer fource Of innocent delight, than the fair book Of holy Truth presents ? For ardent youth, The sprightly narrative ; for years mature, The moral document, in fober robe Of grave philofophy array'd: which all Had heard with admiration, had embrac'd With rapture; had the fades of Academe, Or the learn'd Porch produc'd it. Then, O then, How Wifdom's hidden treafures had been couch'd Beneath fair Allegory's graceful veil !
B 3 Do
Do not the pow'rs of foul-enchanting fong, Strong imag'ry, bold figure, every charm Of eaftern flight fublime, apt metaphor, And all the graces in thy lovely train, Divine Simplicity affemble all In Sion's fongs, and bold Ifaiah's firain ?
Why fhou'd the clafiic eye delight to trace How Pyrrha and the fam'd Theffalian king Reftor'd the ruin'd race of loft mankind; Yet turn, incurious, from the patriarch fav'dY, The righteous remnant of a delug'd world? WVhy are we taught, delighted, to recount Aicides' labours, yet negle6 to learn How mi ghty Samfon led a life of toil Herculean ? Pain and peril mark'd them both A life eventful, and difaffrous death. Can all the tales, which Grecian records yield Can all the names thie Roman page records, ?e-nown'd for friendfhip and furpafling love;
INTRODUCTION. Can gallant Thefeus and his brave compeer Oreftes, and the partner of his toils; Achates and his friend; Euryalus And blooming Nifus, pleafant in their lives, And undivided by the firoke of death; Can each, can all, a lovelier picture yield Of virtuous friendfhip: can they all prefent A tendernefs more touching than the love Of Jonathan and David ?-Speak, ye young! You who are undebauch'd by fafhion's lore, And, unfophifficate, from nature judge, Say, is your quick attention fironger drawn, By wafted Thebes, than Pharaoh's fmitten boflts ? Or do the vagrant Trojans yield a theme More grateful to the eager appetite Of young impatience, than the wand'ring tribes, By Mofes thro' the thirfly defert led ? The beauteous Maid (tho' tender is the tale), Whofe guiltlefs blood on Aulis' altar fiream'd,
B 4 Smite
B INTRODUCT ION.
Smites not the bofomn with a fofter pang
Than Jephthah's daughter, doom'd like her to d
Such are the lovely themes, which court the Mu h Scarce yet efifay'd in verfe-. 0 let me mourn,
That heav'ri-defcenided fong fhould e'cr forget
Its facrcd dignity and high defcent; Should e'er fo far its origin debafe,
To fprea-d corruption's bane, to lullthba
TWith flattery's opiate firain ; to taint the h *rt
Of innocence, and filently infufe
Delicious poifon, whofe infidious charm
FeCeds tlhe lick mind, and fondly riniflers UnV;'1a-C~fmC PIeafure to the fevered taile;
While its fell venom, with rnalinant pow'r,
Strikes at the root of virtue, with'ring all
Her vi tal cne-rgy. Oh for fume bal n
Cf fov'reign power, to raife the drooping ridufe
I :) all the health of virtue to infufe
r ~A zpn'rous warmth, to roufe an holy pride,
14'n-1iv hcr high co-nceptions of herfeif
For me, eternal Spirit! let thy word
My path illume 0 thou compaffionate GOD Thou know'Tr our frame, thou know'ft we are but dult. From duft a Seraph's zeal thou wilt not afk, An Angel's purity. Oh! as I irive, Tho' with a feeble voice and flagging wing, A glowing heart, but pow'rlefs hand, to tell The faith of favour'd man to heav'n; to fing The ways infcrutable of heav'n to man May I, by thy celeifial guidance led, Fix deeper in my heart the truths I fing! In my own life tranfcribe whate'er of good To others I propofe! and by thy rule Correct th' irregular *, reform the wrong, Exalt the low, and brighten the obfcure Still may I note, how all th' agreeing parts Of this well-ordcr'd fabric join to frame One fair, one finifh'd, one harmonious whole!
SWhat in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raffe and fupport.
Trace the clofe links, which form the perfect chain In beautiful connexion; mark the fcale, Whofe nice gradations, with progreiffion true, For ever rising, end in DEITY
MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES
I will affert eternal Providence,
And juffify the ways of God to man.
PERSONS of the DRAMA.
JOCHEBED, Mother of MOSES. MIRIAM, his Sifter.
The PRINCESS, King PHARAOH'S Daughter; MELITA; and other Attendants. SCENE, on the Banks of the NILE.
Cy The fubjed is taken from the Second Chapter of
the Book of Exodus.
L '3 1
MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES:
f T H Y was my pray'r accepted? why did heav'n
W In anger hear me, when I afk'd a fon?
Ye dames of Egypt! happy, happy mothers!
No tyrant robs you of your fondeft hopes;
You are not doom'd to fee the babes you bore,
The babes you nurture, bleed before your eyes!
You tafte the tranfports of maternal love,
And never know its anguifh! Happy mothers !
14 MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES: How difPrent is the lot of thy fad daughters,
0 wretched Ifrael Was it then for this ? Was it for this the righteous arm of GOD Refcued his chofen people from the jaws Of cruel want, by pious Jofeph's care ? Jofeph th' elected inftrument of heav'n, Decreed to fave illuffrious Abraham's race, What time the famine rag'd in Canaan's land. Ifrael, who then was fpar'd, muff perifh now!
Oh thou myfferious pow'r! who haff involv'd Thy wife decrees in darknefs, to perplex The pride of human wisdom, to confound The daring fcrutiny, and prove the faith Of thy prefuming creatures clear this doubt; Teach me to trace this maze of Providence: Why fave the fathers, if the fons muff perifh ?
Ah me, my mother! whence thefe floods of grief ?
JOCHE B ED.
A SACRED DRAMA. 15
My fon! my fon I cannot fpeak the reft. Ye who have fons can only know my fondnefs Ye who have loft them, or who fear to lofe, Can only know my pangs! none elfe can guefs them. A mother's forrows cannot be conceiv'd, Butby a mother-Wherefore am I one ?
With many pray'rs thou didft requeft this fon, And heav'n has granted him,
O fad eftate
Of human wretchednefs fo weak is man, So ignorant and blind, that did not GOD Sometimes withhold in mercy what we afk, We fhou'd be ruin'd at our own requeft.
Too well thou know'ft, my child, the fiern decree, Of Egypt's cruel king, hard-hearted Pharaoh; SThat
16 MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES: That ev'ry male, of Hebrew mother born, Mufl die." Oh do I live to tell it thee ? Muff die a bloody death! My child, my fon, My youngeft born, my darling muff be flain !
M I R IA M.
The helplefs innocent and muff he die ?
No: if a mother's tears, a mother's pray'rs, A mother's fond precautions can prevail, He hall not die. I have a thought, my Miriam I And fure the GOD of mercies, who infpir'd, Will blefs the fecret purpofe of my foul, To fave his precious life.
M I R I AM.
Hop'ft thou that PharaohJOCHEBED.
I have no hope in Pharaoh, much in GOD, Much in the RocK oF AGES.
A SACRED DRAMA.- 17
Think, O think,
What perils thou already haft incurr'd And flhun the greater, which may yet remain. Three months, three dang'rous months thou haft preferv'd
Thy infant's life, and in thy houfe conceal'd him! Should Pharaoh know!
Oh! let the tyrant know,
And feel what he inflimds! Yes, hear me, Heav'n Send thy right aiming thunderbolts--But hufh, My impious murmurs! Is it not thy will; Thou, infinite in mercy ? Thou permitt'ft This feeming evil for fome latent good. Yes, I will laud thy grace, and blefs thy goodnefs For what I have, and not arraign thy wifdom For what I fear to lofe. O, I will blefs thee, That Aaron will be fpar'd that my firft-born C Lives
xS MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES: Lives fafe and undifturb'd that he was giv'n me Before this impious perfecution rag'd !
And yet who knows, but the fell tyrant's rage May reach his precious life ?
I fear for him,
For thee, for all. A doating parent lives In many lives; thro' many a nerve the feels; From child to child the quick affecions fpread, For ever wand'ring, yet for ever fix'd. Nor does divifion weaken, nor the force Of conflant operation e'er exhaufl Parental love. All other paffions change, WVith changing circumflances; rife or fall, Dependant on their obje& ; claim returns; Live on reciprocation, and expire Unfed by hope. A mother's fondnefs reigns Without a rival, and without an end.
A SACRED IjRAMA. 9
But fay what Heav'n infpires, to lave thy fon?
Since the dear fatal morn which gave him birth, I have revolv'd in my diftradted mind Each means to fave his life: and many a thought, Which fondnefs prompted, prudence has oppos'd As perilous and rafh. With there poor hands I've fram'd a little ark of flender reeds; With pitch and flime I have fecur'd the fides, In this frail cradle I intend to lay My little helplefs infant, and expofe him Upon the banks of Nile.
'Tis full of danger.
'Tis danger to expofe, and death to keep him.
20 MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES;
Yet, Oh! reflect. Shou'd the fierce crocodile,
The native and the tyrant of the NILE,
Seize the defencelefs infant !
Spare my fond heart. Yet not the crocodile,
Nor all the deadly monfers of the deep, To me are half fo terrible as PHARAOH, I That heathen king, that royal murderer!
Shou'd he efcape, which yet I dare not hope,
Each fea-born monfter; yet the winds and waves
He cannot 'fcape.
JOC HEB ED.
Know, GOD is ev'ry where;
Not to one narrow, partial fpot confin'd;
A SACRED DRAMA. 2
No, not to chofen ISRAEL : He extends Thro' all the vaft infinitude of fpace. At his command the furious tempeffs rife, The blaffing of the breath of his difpleafure: He tells the world of waters, when to roar; And at his bidding, winds and feas are calm. In HIM, not in an arm of flefh, I truff ; In Hnm, whole promife never yet has fail'd,
1 place my confidence.
What muff I do ?
Command thy daughter, for thy words have wak'd An holy boldnefs in my youthful breaff.
Go then, my MIRIAM go, and take the infant. Buried in harmlefs flumbers there he lies : Let me not fee him-fpare my heart that parfg. Yet fure, one little look may be indulg'd, One kifs-perhaps the laff. No more, my foul!
C 3 That
22 MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES: That fondnefs wou'd be fatal-I fhou'd keep him, I cou'd not doom to death the babe I clafp'd: Did ever mother kill her fleeping boy ? I dare not hazard it-The tafk be thine. Oh do not wake my child; remove him foftly; And gently lay him on the river's brink.
MIRIAM. Did thofe magicians, whom the fons of EGYPT Confult, and think all-potent, join their fkill, And was it great as EGYPT'S fonrs believe; Yet all their fecret wizard arts combin'd, To fave this little ark of Bulrufhes, Thus fearfully expos'd, cou'd not effe& it. Their fpells, their incantations, and dire charms Cou'd not preferve it.
Know, this ark is charm'd
With fpells, which impious EGYPT never knew; With invocations to the living Gon.
A SACRED DRAMA. 23
I twifted every flender reed together, And with a pray'r did every ozier weave.
Yet e'er thou go'ft, obferve me well. When thou hafi laid him in his watry bed, O leave him not; but at a diffance wait, And mark what Heaven's high will determines for him. Lay him among the flags on yonder beach, Juff where the royal gardens meet the Nile. I dare not follow him, Sufpicion's eye Wou'd note my wild demeanor; MIRIAM, yes, The mother's fondnefs wou'd betray the child. Farewell! Gon of my fathers, Oh prote6 him I
MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES:
SCENE, on the Banks of the NILE.
Enter MIRIAM, after having deposited the child. y E S, I have laid him in his watry bed,
His watry grave, I fear !--I tremble fRill; It was a cruel tafk-flill I muff weep! But ah! my mother, who hall footh thy griefs ? The flags and fea-weeds will awhile fuftain Their precious load, but it muff fink ere long! Sweet babe, farewell Yet think not I will leave
No, I will watch thee, till the greedy waves
MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES. 25
Devour thy little bark: I'll fit me down, And fing to thee, fweet babe Thou can'ft not hear; 13ut 'twill anufe me, while I watch thy fate.
[She fits down on a bank, and fings.
S 0 N G.
T H 0 U, who canft make the feeble firong,
O GOD of Ifrael, hear my long!
Not mine fuch notes as Egypt's daughters raife 'Tis thee, 0 GOD of Hofts, I firive to praife.
Ye winds, the fervants of the LORD,
Ye waves, obedient to his word,
O fpare the babe committed to your truf ; And Ifrael fall confers, the LORD is juft!
26 MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES:
Tho' doom'd to find an early grave, This helplefs infant thou canft fave;
And he, whole death's decreed by Pharaoh's hand, May rife a prophet to redeem the land.
[She rifes, and looks out.
Who moves this way ? of royal port ne feems; Perhaps fent hither by the hand of Heav'n. To prop the falling houfe of Levi.- Soft I'll lifen unperceiv'd, thefe trees will hide me, [She jfands behind.
Enter the PRINCESS of EGYPTvr, attended by a
train of Ladies.
No farther, Virgins; here I mean to relt, To tafte the pleafant coolnefs of the breeze ; Perhaps
A SACRED DRAMA. 2
perhaps to bathe in this tranflucent fiream. Did not our holy law enjoin th' ablution Frequent and regular; it fill were needful, To mitigate the fervors of our clime. MELITA, flay-the reft at difiance wait.
[They all go out, except one.
7he PRINCESS looks out.
Sure, or I much miflake, or I perceive Upon the fedgy margin of the Nile A chefi ; entangled in the reeds it feems Difcern'ft thou ought ?
Something, but what I know not.
Go and examine, what this fight may mean.
The ancient Egyptians ufed to wafh their bodies four times every twenty-four hours.
3 MOSES IN THE BT LRUSHiESMIRIAM, behind.
O bleft, beyond my hopes! he is difcover'd; Myv brother will be fav'd who is this firanger ? Ah 'tis the Princefs, cruel Pharaoh's daughter. If the refemble her inhuman Sire, She muff be cruel too; yet fame reports her Moft merciful and mild :-I'll mark th' event, And pray that Heav'n may prompt her to preferve him.
Re-enter MELIT A.
Haft. thou difcover'd what the veffel is ?
Oh, Princes, I have feen the irangeft fight Within the veffel lies a sleeping babe, A fairer infant have I never feen !
Who knows, but fome unhappy Hebrew woman Has thus expos'd her infant, to evade The
A SACRED DRAMA. 29
The fern decree of my too cruel Sire. Unhappy mothers oft my heart has bled In fecret anguish o'er your flaughter'd fons.
Shou'd this be one, my Princefs knows the danger.
No danger fhou'd deter from a-ts of mercy.
A thoufand bleffings on her princely head t
Too much the fons of Jacob have endur'd From royal Pharaoh's unrelenting hate; Too much our houfe has crufh'd their alien race. Is't not enough, that cruel talk-mailers Grind them by hard oppremon and fern bondage ? Is't not enough, my father owes his greatnefs, His palaces, his fanes magnificent; Thofe ftruLtures which the world with wonder views, To
3o MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES: To the hard toils of much infulted Ifrael ? To them his growing cities owe their fplendor, Their labours built fair Ramefes and Pythom; And now, at length, his fill increafing rage To iron bondage adds the guilt of murder. Arid hall this little hel]plefs infant perifh P Forbid it, juRfice ; and forbid it, heav'n MELITA.
I know, thy royal father fears the frength Of this fill growing race, who flourifh more The more they are opprefs'd; he dreads their numbers.
Apis forbid! Pharaoh afraid of Ifrael !
Yet fhou'd this outcaft race, this haplefs people E'er grow to fuch a formidable greatnefs; (Which all the gods avert, whom Egypt worfhips) This infant's life can never ferve their caufe, Nor can his single death prevent their greatnefs.
M1 E L ITA.
A SACRED DRAMA. 3
I know not that: by weakeft infruments
Sometimes are great events produc'd; this child Perhaps may live to ferve his upilart race More than an hoff.
How ill does it befeem Thy tender years, and gentle womanhood, To feel thy breast to Pity's facred touch! So weak, fo unprotected is our fex, So conflantly expos'd, fo very helplefs That did not Heav'n itfelf enjoin compaffion, Yet human policy thou'd make us kind, Left we fhou'd need the pity we refufe. Yes, I will fave him--lead me to the place; And from the feeble ruffles we'll remove The little ark, which cradles this poor babe.
[The PRINCEss and her Mlaid go out,.
2 MOSES IN THE BULRUSH4ES
MIRIAM comes forward.
How poor were words, to fpeak my boundlefsjoy The Princefs will protect him; blefs her, Heav'n !
[She looks out after the Princefi, and deferibe
With what impatient fleps fihe feeks the fhore! Now the approaches where the ark is laid I With what companion, with what angel-fweetnefs, She bends to look upon the infant's face She takes his little hand in her's-bhe wakesShe files upon him-hark! alas, he cries; WVeep on, fweet babe weep on, till thou haft touch' Each chord of pity, weaken'd every fenfe Of melting fympathy, and flolen her foul She takes him in her arms-O lovely Princefs How goodnefs heightens beauty now fhe clafps him With fondnefs to her heart, fhe gives him now With tender caution to her damnfel's arms : She points her to the palace, and again This
A SACRED DRAMA. 33
This way the Princefs bends her gracious fleps; The virgin-train retire, and bear the child.
Re-enter the P R I N C E S S.
Did ever innocence and infant-beauty
Plead with fuch dumb but powerful eloquence ? If I, a firanger, feel there foft emotions, What muft the mother who expos'd him feel Go, feteh a woman of the Hebrew race, That fhe may nurfe the babe; and, by her garb, Lo fuch a one is here!
Princefs, all hail
Forgive the bold intrufion of thy fervant, Who fltands a charm'd fpetator of thy goodness.
I have redeem'd an infant from the waves, Whom I intend to nurture as mine own.
34 MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES:
My tranfports will betray me [fide.] Gen'rous
Know'ft thou a matron of the Hebrew race, To whom I may confide him?
Well I know
A prudent matron of the houfe of Levi; Her name JochIbed is, the wife of Amram; Gentle fhe is, and fam'd throughout her tribe For foft humanity; full well I know That fhe will rear him with a mother's love. [A/ide.] Oh truly fpoke! a mother's love indeed To her defpairing arms I mean to give This precious truft; the nurfe fhalI be the motherJ
With fpeed condu& this matron to the palace. Yes, I will raife him up to princely greatnefs,
A SACRED DRAMA, 35
And he hall be my fon; his name be Mofes, For I have drawn him from the perilous flood.
[YThey go out. She kneels.
Thou Great Unfeen! who caufeft gentle deeds, And fmil'ft on what thou caufeft; thus I blefs thee, That thou didfl deign confult the tender make Of yielding human hearts, when thou ordain'd'ft Humanity a virtue! Did'ft incline The nat'ral bias of the foul to mercy, Then mad'ft that mercy duty Gracious Pow'r! Mad'ft the keen rapture exquifite as right: Beyond the joys of fenfe; as pleafure fweet As reafon conftant, and as inflindt ftrong !
[ 36 ]
MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES.
'VE almost reach'd the place-with cautious Rteps
I mufR approach to where the ark is laid, Lef from the royal gardens any fpy me.
-Poor babe! ere this, the prefling calls of hunger Have broke thy fhort repofe; the chilling waves, Perhaps, have drench'd thy little fhiv'ring limbs. What-what muff he have fuffer'd !-No one fees me But foft, does no one listen ?-Ah! how hard, How very hard for fondnefs to be prudent Now is the moment, to embrace and feed him.
[She looks out.
MOSES IN THE BULRUSHIES. 37
Where's Miriam ? fhe has left her little charge, Perhaps through fear, perhaps fhe was deteqed. How wild is thought how terrible conjecture A mother's fondnefs frames a thoufand fears, And 1hapes unreal evils into being.
[She looks towards the river.
Ah me! where is he ? foul-diffra6ting fight! He is not there-he's loft, he's gone, he's drown'd Tofs'd by each heating furge my infant floats; Cold, cold and wat'ry is thy grave, my child O no-I fee the ark-Tranfporting fight; [She goes towards it.
What do I fee ? Alas, the ark is empty The cafket's left, the precious gem is gone You fpar'd him, pitying fpirits of the deep! But vain your mercy; fome infatiate beaft, Cruel as Pharaoh, took the life you fpar'dAnd I hall never, never fee him more !
D 3 Enter
38 MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES:
Come, and lament with me thy brother's lofs !
Come, and adore with me the GOD of Jacob!
Miriam-the child is dead!
He lives, he lives! JOCHEBED.
Impoffible: Oh! do not mock my grief! See'ft thou that empty veffel ?
From that veffel Th' Egyptian Princefs took him.
A SACRED DRAMA. 39
Pharaoh's daughter ? Then fill he will be flain.
His life is fafe; For know, The means to rear him as her own.
[Falls on her knees in rapture.
To GOD, the LORD, the glory be afcrib'd! Oh magnified for ever be thy might, Who can'fl plant mercy in a Heathen's heart, And from the depth of evil bring forth good !
O bleft event, beyond our warmeft hopes;
JOCHE B ED.
What hall my fon be nurtur'd in a court, In princely grandeur bred ? taught every art, And every wond'rous fcience Egypt knows?
D 4 Yet
40 -MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES: Yet ah I tremble, Miriam; thou'd he learn, VWith Egypt's polifh'd arts, her baneful faith! O worfe exchange for death! Yes, fhou'd he learn In yon' proud palace to difown his hand Who thus has fav'd him: thou'd he e'er embrace (As fure he will, if bred in Pharaoh's court) The grofs idolatries which Egypt owns, Her graven images, her brutifh gods :' Then fhall I wifh he had not been preferv'd, To fhame his fathers, and deny his faith.
Then, to difpel thy fears, and crown thy joy,
Hear farther wonders-Know, the gen'rous Princefs 'To thine own care thy darling child commits.
Speak, while my joy will give me leave to li'len!
By her commillion'd, thou behold'ft me here, To feek a matron of the Hebrew race To
A SACRED DRAMA. 4!
To nurfe him; thou, my mother, art that matron.I faid, I knew thee well; that thou wou'd'ft rear him Ev'n with a mother's fondnefs; the, who bare him, (I told the Princefs) could not love him more.
Fountain of Mercy! whofe pervading eye Beholds the heart, and fees what paffis there, Accept my thoughts for thanks I have no wordsHow poor were human language to exprefs My gratitude, my wonder, and my joy !
Yes, thou halt pour into his infant mind The pureft precepts of the pureft faith.
O I will fill his tender foul with virtue, And warm his bofom with devotion's flame! Aid me, celeffial Spirit! with thy grace, And be my labours with thy influence crown'd: Without it they were vain. Then, then, my Miriam,
42. MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES: When '- is furnifl-1*d, 'zainfl t1he cvil day, Vvitl- Gcd's vi-hoic ar-1-icur it with faced truth And as a breaft-p!atc, rif htcoufhefs'
A!Tfl d with the fni it of God, the filield. of Faith, 'I "Id w;' h, the 1iclaict of vat'on crowned,
d to watching and difposd to prayer Then Tn-v i fend h!'m to a dangerous court, And safely truft him in a perilous world, Toofall of tpiTipt;m- fha"es and fond delusions
IM I R I A IAI/1.
N'Iay bountzoiis He,,v'n thy pious cares reward
0 Amram 0 my huffiand when thou com'ft, Wearied at nilglht, to rct thee from the toils Impos'd by haughty Pharaoh ; what a tale Have I to tc1l thee yes-thy marlin., fon lVas lof-, and :is refflor'd ; was dead, and lives
Tlic' cli p. v. Alfb, EpheE ch.,p. vi.
T M. p
A SACRED DRAMA. 43
How joyful hall we fpend the live-long night In praifes to JEHOVAH ; who thus mocks All human forefight, and converts the means Of feeming ruin into great deliverance!
Had not my child been doom'd to fuch ftrange perils, As a fond mother trembles to recal Hlie had not been preferv'd.
And mark flill farther : Had he been fav'd by any other hand, He had been fill expos'd to equal ruin.
Then let us join to blefs the hand of Heaven, That this poor outcaft of the houfe of Ifracl, Condemn'd to die by Pharaoh, kept in fecret By my advent'rous fondnefs; then expos'd Ev'n
44 MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES.
Ev'n by that very fondnefs which conceal'd him,
Is now, to fill the wondrous round of mercy,
Preferv'd from perishing by Pharaoh's daughter,
Sav'd by the very hand which fought to crufh him
VWife and unfearchable are all thy ways,
Thou GOD of MERcIEs !-Lead me to my child!
DAVID AND GOLIATH:
S A CRE D D RA MA.
0 bienheureux mille fbi ,
L'Enfant que le Seigneur aime,
Qui de bonne heure intend fa voix,
Et que ce Dieu daigne inftruire lui-m6me
Loin du monde 6lev6; de tous les dons des Cieu--z,
11 eft orn6 d s fa naiffance
Et du m6chant Pabord contagieux
N'altere point fon innocence.
PERSONS of the DRAMA,
SAU L, King of ISRAEL.
AB NE R, his General.
J E S S E.
GOLIATH, the PHILISTINE Giant.
PHILISTINES, ISRAELITES, &C. &C.
CHORUS of HEBREW WOMEN.
The SCENE lies in the Camp, in the Valle
of ELAH, and the adjacent Plain.
a The fubjec of the Drama is taken from the Seventeenth Chapter of the Firft Book of Samuel.
DAVID AND GOLIATH.
SCENE, a Shepherd's Tent on a Plain.
D AV I D, under a fpreading tree, plays on his harp,
G REAT Lord of all things! Pow'r divine!
Breathe on this erring heart of mine
Thy grace ferene and pure;
Defend my frail, my errirng youth, And teach me this important truth,
The humble are fecure.
48 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
H Teach me to blefs my lowly lot
Confin'd to this paternal cot,
Remote from regal flate;
Content to court the cooling glade, Inhale the breeze, enjoy the fhade,
And love my humble fate.
No anxious vigils here I keep,
No dreams of gold diffraa my fleep,
Nor lead my heart affray;
Nor blaffing Envy's tainted gale Pollutes the pleafures of the vale,
To vex my harmlefs day.
Yon' tow'r, which rears its head fo high
And bids defiance to the fky,
A SACRED DRAMA. 49
Invites the hoffile winds:
Yon' branching oak extending wide,
Provokes deftruaion by its pride,
And courts the fall it finds.
Then let me fhun th' ambitious deed,
And all the dangerous paths which lead
To honours falsely won :
Lord in thy fure protection bleff,
Submiffive will I ever reft,
And may thy will be done!
[He lays down his harp, and rifes.
This shepherd's life were dull and taftelefs all, Without the charm of foothing fong or harp: With it, not undelightful is the haunt Of wood, or lonely grove, or ruffet plain, Made vocal by the mule. With this lov'd harp, This daily folace pf my cares, I footh'd E The
jo DAVID AND GOLIATH:
The melancholy monarch, when he lay, Smit by the chill and fpirit-quenching hand Of blank defpair. GoD of my fathers! hear me: Here I devote my harp, my verfe, myfelf, To thy bleft fervice gladly to proclaim Glory to Goo on high, on earth good-will To man; to pour my grateful foul before thee To fing thy pow'r, thy wifdom, and thy love, And every gracious attribute: to paint The charms of heav'n-born virtue So fhall I, (Tho' with long interval of worth) afpire To imitate the work of faints above, Of Cherub and of Seraphim. My heart, My talents, all I am, and all I have, Is thine, 0 Father! Gracious LORD, accept The humble dedication Offer'd gifts Of flaughter'd bulls, and goats facrifical, Thou haft refus'd: but lo! I come, 0 LORD, To do thy will! the living facrifice Of an obedient heart I lay before thee 1 This humble offering more fhall pleafe Thee, Lo nD Th
A SACRED DRAMA. 51
Than horned bullocks, ceremonial rites, New moons, appointed paffovers, and fails Yet thofe I too will keep; but not infiead Of holinefs fubftantial, inward worth ; As commutation cheap for pious deeds, And purity of life. But as the types Of better things; as fair external figns Of inward holinefs and fecret truth.
But fee, my father, good old Jeffe comes! To cheer the fetting evening of whofe life, Content, a fimple shepherd here I dwell, Tho' Ifrael is in arms; and royal Saul, Encamp'd in yonder field, defies Philiflia.
Left be the gracious Pow'r, who gave my age To boaft a fon like thee Thou art the flaff Which props my bending years, and makes me bear E 2 The
52 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
The heavy burthen of declining age WVith fond complacence. How unlike thy fate,
0 venerable Eli But two fons, But only two, to gild the dim remains Of life's departing day, and blefs thy age, And both were curfes to thee Witnefs, Heav'n! In all the tedious catalogue of pains Humanity turns o'er, if there be one So terrible to human tendernefs, As an unnatural child
O, my lov'd father! Long may'f thou live, in years and honours rich' To tafte, and to communicate the joys, The thoufand fond, endearing charities Of tendernefs domestic; Nature's beft And loveliest gift, with which fihe well atones The niggard boon of fortune.
A SACRED DRAMA. 53
O, my fon!
Of all the graces which adorn thy youth, I, with a father's fondnefs, muft commend Thy tried humility. For tho' the Seer Pour'd on thy chofen head the facred oil, In fign of future greatnefs, in fure pledge Of higheff dignity; yet here thou dwell'ft, Content with toil, and carelefs of repofe; And (harder fill for an ingenuous mind) Content to be obfcure : content to watch, With careful eye, thine humble father's flock O, earthly emblem of celestial things So Ifrael's shepherd watches o'er his fold : The weak ones in his foft'ring bofom bears; And gently leads, in his fuftaining hand, The feeble ones with young.
Know'ft thou, my father, Ought from the field ? for tho' fo near the camp, E 3 T h
54- DAVID AND GOLIATH:
Tho' war's proud enfigns firearn on yonder plain And all Philiftia's fwarming hofts encamp, Oppos'd to royal Saul, beneath whole banners My brothers lift the fpear; I have not left My fleecy charge, by thee committed to me, To learn the prefent fortune of the war.
And wifely haftl thou done. Thrice happy realm,
Who hall fubmit one day to his command Who can fo well obey Obedience leads
To certain honours. Not the tow'ring wing
Of eagle-plum'd ambition mounts fo furely To Fortune's higheft fummit, as obedience.
(A dfantfound of trumpas, But why that fudden ardour, 0 my fon ?
That trumpet's found (tho' fo remote its voice,
We hardly catch the echo as it dies)
Has rous'd the mantling crimfon in thy cheek:
Kindled the martial fpirit in thine eye,
And my young shepherd feels an hero's fire!
A SACRED DRAMA. 55
Thou haft not told the pofture of the war, And much my beating boom pants to hear.
J E S S E.
Uncertain is the fortune of the field. I tremble for thy brothers, thus expos'd To constant peril; nor for them alone, Does the quick feeling agonize my heart. I too lament, that defolating war Hangs his fell banner o'er my native land, Belov'd Jerufalem O war, what art thou ? After the brighteft conquest, what remains Of all thy glories ? For the vanquifh'd, chains! For the proud vi6or, what? Alas to reign O'er defolated nations a drear wake, By one man's crime, by one man's luff of pow'r, Unpeopled! Naked plains and ravag'd fields Succeed to fmiling harvelfs, and the fruits Of peaceful olive, lufcious fig and vine !
E 4 Here,
56 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
Here, rifled temples are the cavern'd dens Of favage beafts, or haunt of birds obfcene. There, populous cities blacken in the fun, And, in the gen'ral wreck, proud palaces Lie undiftinguilfh'd, fave by the dun fmoke Of recent conflagration. When the fong Of dear-bought joy, with many a triumph fwell'd, Salutes the vicor's ear, and fooths his pride; How is the grateful harmony profan'd With the fad diffonance of virgins' cries, Who mourn their brothers flain! Of matrons hoar Who clafp their wither'd hands, and fondly afk, With iteration fhrill, their flaughter'd fons How is the laurel's verdure flain'd with blood, And foil'd with widows' tears !
Thrice mournful truth Yet when our country's rights, her faced laws, Her holy faith are fcorn'd and trampled on, Then, then religion calls; then God himfelf Command
A SACRED DRAMA. 57
Commands us to defend his injur'd name. 'Twere then inglorious weaknefs, mean felf-love, To lie inactive, when the ftirring voice Of the thrill trumpet wakes to defp'rate deeds; Nor with heroic valour boldly dare Th' idolatrous heathen bands, ev'n to the death.
GoD and thy country claim the life they gave, No other caufe can fancify refentment.
Sure virtuous friendship is a noble caufe!
0 were the princely Jonathan in danger, How wou'd I die, well-pleas'd, in his defence! When ('twas long fince, then but a firipling boy) I made fhort fojourn in his father's palace, (At firft to footh his troubled mind with fong, His armour-bearer next) ; I well remember The gracious bounties of the gallarit prince. How wou'd he fit, attentive to my firain; While
58 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
While to my harp I fung the harmlefs joys, Which crown a shepherd's life! How wou'd he cry, Blefs'd youth far happier in thy native worth, Far richer in the talent Heav'n has lent thee, Than if a crown hung o'er thy anxious brow. The jealous monarch mark'd our growing friendfhipi And as my favour grew with thofe about him, His royal bounty leffen'd, till at length, For Bethl'hem's farer shades I left the court. Nor wou'd there alter'd features now be known, Grown into manly ftrength; nor, this chang'd form, Enlarg'd with age, and clad in ruffet weed.
I have employment for thee, my lov'd fon, WVill pleafe thy alive fpirit. Go, my boy! Hafle to the field of war, to yonder camp, Where, in the vale of Elah, mighty Saul Commands the hofts of Ifrael. Greet thy brothers: Obferve their deeds; note their demeanor well; And mark if wifdomn on their actions waits.
A SACRED DRAMA. 59
Bear to them too (for well the wafte of war Will make it needful) fuch plain healthful viands, As furnifh out our frugal shepherd's meal. And to the valiant captain of their hoff, Present fuch rural gifts as fuit our fortune. Heap'd on the board within my tent thou'It find them.
With joy I'll bear thy prefents to my brothers; And to the valiant captain of their hoff, The rural gifts thy gratitude affigns him. What tranfport to behold the tented field, The pointed fpear, the blaze of shields and arms, And all the proud accoutrements of war! But, oh far dearer tranfport wou'd it yield me, Cou'd this right arm alone avenge the caufe Of injur'd Ifrael, and preferve the lives Of guiltlefs thoufands, doom'd perhaps to bleed !
Let not thy youth be dazzled, 0 my fon With deeds of bold emprize, as valour only Were
6o DAVID AND GOLIATH:
WVere virtue; and the gentle arts of peace, Of truth and juflice, were not worth thy care. K When thou halt view the fplendors of the war, The gay caparifon, the burnifih'd field, The plume-crown'd helmet, and the glitt'ring fpe Scorn not the humble virtues of the fhade ; Nor think that Heav'n views only with applaufe The aaive merit, and the bufy toil Of heroes, fatefmen, and the bustling fons Of public care. There have their juft reward In wealth, in honours, and the well-earn'd fame Their high atchievements bring. 'Tis in this vie' That virtue is her proper recompence. WVealth, as its natural confequence, will flow From induffry; toil with fuccefs is crown'd: From splendid a&ions high renown will spring. Such is the ufual courfe of human things. For Wifdom Infinite permits, that thus EEfas to caufes be proportionate, And nat'ral ends by nat'ral means atchiev'd. But in the future eflimate, which Heav'n wil
A SACRED DRAMA. 61
Will make of things terreffrial, know, my fon, That no inferior bleffing is referv'd For the mild pafive virtues; meek Content, Heroic felf-denial, nobler far Than all th' atchievements noify Fame reports, When her thrill trump proclaims the proud fuccefs Which defolates the nations. But, on earth, There are not always fortunate; becaufe Eternal Juftice keeps them for the blifs Of final recompence, for the dread day Of gen'ral retribution. O my fon The oftentatious virtues, which fill prefs For notice, and for praife; the brilliant deeds, Which live but in the eye of obfervation, There have their meed at once. But there's a joy, To the fond votaries of Fame unknown; To hear the fill fmall voice of confcience fpeak Its whifp'ring plaudit to the filent foul. Heav'n notes the figh affliOed Goodnefs heaves; Hears the low plaint by human ear unheard, And
62 DAVID AND GOLIATH .
And from the cheek of patient Sorrow wipes The tear, by mortal eye unfeen or fcorn'd.
As Hermon's dews their grateful frefhnefs fhed, And cheer the herbage, and the flow'rs renew; So do thy words a quick'ning balm infufe, And grateful link in my delighted foul.
j E S S E.
Go then, my child and may the Gracious Gon, Who blefs'd our fathers, blefs my much-lov'd fon DAVID.
Farewell, my father! and of this be fure, That not a precept from thy honour'd lips Shall fall, by me unnoticed; not one grace, One venerable virtue, which adorns Thy daily life, but I, with watchful care, And due obfervance, will in mine tranfplant it.
A SACRED DRAMA. 63
J E S S E.
He's gone! and f ill my aching eyes purfue, And train their orbs ftill longer to behold him. Oh! who can tell, when I may next embrace him? Who can declare the counfels of the Lord ? Or when the moment pre-ordain'd by Heav'n To fill his great defigns may come ? This fon, This blefling of my age, is fet apart For high exploits; the chofen infirument Of all-difpofing Heav'n for mighty deeds. Still I recal the day, and to my mind The fcene is ever prefent; when the Seer, Illuftrious Samuel, to the humble fhades Of Bethlehem came, pretending facrifice, To fcreen his errand from the jealous king. He fanaify'd us firft, me, and my fons; For fan&ity increas'd fhould fill precede Increafe of dignity. When he declar'd He came, commiflion'd from on High, to find, Among the fons of Jeffe, Ifrael's king; Aflonifiment
64 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
Ailoniflhment entranc'd my wond'ring foul. Yet was it not a wild tumultuous blifs Such rafh delight as promis'd honours yield To light, vain minds : no, 'twas a doubtful joy Chaftis'd by tim'rous virtue, left a gift So fplendid, and fo dang'rous, might deftroy Him it was meant to raife. My eldeft born, Young Eliab, tall of flature, I prefented But GOD, who judges not by outward form, But tries the heart, forbad the holy prophet To chufe my eldeft born. For Saul, he laid, Gave proof, that fair proportion, and the grace Of limb or feature, ill repaid the want Of virtue. All my other fonrs alike By Samuel were rejeaed : till, at laft, On my young boy, on David's chofen head, The prophet pour'd the confecrated oil. Yet ne'er did pride elate him, ne'er did fcorn For his reje&ed elders fwell his heart. Not in fuch gentle charity to him His haughtier brothers live but all he pardons.
A SACRED DRAMA. 6j
To meditation, and to humble toil, To pray'r, and praife devoted, here he dwells. O may the Graces which adorn retreat, One day delight a court! record his name With faints and prophets, dignify his race, Inftru& mankind, and fan&ify a world !
[ 66 ]
DAVID AND GOLIAT
S C E N E, The Camp.
ELIAB, ABINADAB, ABNER
T I L L is th'event of this long war uncertain:
SStill do the adverfe hoffs, on either fide,
Protra&, with ling'ring caution, an encounter,
WVhich muf' to one be fatal.
This defcent, Thus to the very confines of our land,
DAVID AND GOLIATH. 67
Proclaims the fanguine hope that fires the foe. In Ephes-dammim boldly they encamp: Th' uncircumcis'd Philiftines pitch their tents On Judah's hallow'd earth.
Full forty days
Has the infulting giant, proud Goliath, The champion of Philiffia, fiercely challeng'd Some Ifraelitifh foe. But who fo vain To dare fuch force unequal ? who fo bent On fure deftru6 tion, to accept his terms; And rufh on death, beneath the giant force Of his enormous bulk ?
'Tis near the time,
When, in th' adjacent valley which divides Th' oppofing armies, he is wont to make His daily challenge.
F 2 ~E L I A B.
68 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
Much I marvel, brother No greetings from our father reach our ears. With eafe and plenty blefs'd, he little recks The daily hardfhips which his fonis endure. But fee! behold his darling fon approaches !
How, David here? whence this unlook'd-for gueft
A fpy upon our aaions; fent, no doubt, To fcan our deeds, with beardlefs gravity Affe&ing wifdom; to observe each word, To magnify the venial faults of youth, And conftrue harmlefs mirth to foul offence.
Enter D AV I D.
All hail, my deareft brothers
A SACRED DRAMA. 69
Means thy greeting
True love, or arrogant fcorn?
Oh, moft true love!
Sweet as the precious ointment, which bedew'd The facred head of Aaron, and defcended Upon his hallow'd veft; fo fweet, my brothers, Is fond fraternal amity; fuch love As my touch'd bofom feels at your approach.
Still that fine glozing fpeech, thofe holy faws, And all that trick of fludied fanelity, Of fmooth-turn'd periods, and trim eloquence, Which charms thy doating father. But confefs, What doff thou here ? Is it to foothe thy pride, And gratify thy vain defire to roam, In queft of pleafures unallow'd ? or com'fl thou, A willing fpy, to note thy brother's deeds ? Where haft thou left thofe few poor firaggling fheep ?
F 3 More
70 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
More fuited to thy ignorance and years The care of thole, than here to wander idly. V.hy cam'ft thou hither ?
Is there not a caufe ? Why that difpleafure kindling in thine eye, MIy angry brother ? why thofe taunts unkind ? Not idly bent on fport; not to delight Mine eye with all this gay parade of war To gratify a roving appetite, Or fondly to in ulge a curious ear With any tale of rumour, am I come: B4ut to approve myfelf a loving brother. I bring the bleffing of your aged fire, WVith gifts of fuch plain cates, and rural viands, As fait hi rufgal fortune. Tell me now, Where the bold captain of your hoR encamps ?
WVherefore enquire ? what boots it thee to know ? Behold him there: great Abner, fam'd in arms?
A SACRED DRAMA. 71
I bring thee, mighty Abner, from my father, (A fimple shepherd fwain in yonder vale) Such humble gifts as fhepherd fwains below.
Thanks, gentle youth with pleafure I receive The grateful off'ring. Why does thy quick eye Thus wander with unfatisfied delight ?
New as I am to all the trade of war, Each found has novelty; each thing I fee Attracs attention ; every noife I hear Awakes confus'd emotions; indiafin, Yet full of charming tumult, fweet diffrac.ion. 'Tis all delightful hurry Oh the joy Of young ideas painted on the mind, In the warm glowing colours fancy fpreads On objeLs not yet known, when all is new, And all is lovely I Ah what warlike found Salutes my ravifh'd ear ? [Sound of trumn2pet.
F 4 ABNER.
72 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
'Tis the Philifline, Proclaiming, by his herald, through the ranks, His near approach. Each morning he repeats
His challenge to our bands.
Ha! what Philifline? Who is he ?
Wherefore afk ? for thy raw youth, And rufflic ignorance, 'twere fitter learn Some rural art; fome fecret to prevent
Contagion in thy flocks; forne better means
To fave their fleece immaculate. There mean arts,
Of foft inglorious peace, far better fuit
Thy low obfcurity, than thus to feek
High things, pertaining to exploits of arms.
Urg'd as I am, I will not anfwer thee.
Who conquers his own fpirit, O my brother
A SACRED DRAMA. 73
fie is the only conqueror.-Again That fhout myftierious Pray you, tell me who This proud Philiftine is, who fends defiance To Ifrael's hardy chieftains?
So lovely and fo mild is thy demeanor, So gentle, and fo patient; fuch the air Of candor and of courage, which adorns Thy blooming features, thou haft won my love; And I will tell thee.
Mighty Abner! thanks!
Thrice, and no more, he founds, his daily rule. This man of war, this champion of Philiftia, Is of the fons of Anak's giant-race. Goliath is his name. His fearful feature, Unparallel'd in Ifrael, meafures more Than twice three cubits. On his tow'ring head A helm
a I I I I I ..
74 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
A helm of burniflh'd brafs the giant wears, So pond'rous, it wou'd crufhl the flouteft man In all our hofts. A coat of mailed armour Guards his capacious trunk; compar'd with which The ample oak, that spreads his rugged arms In Bafhan's groves, were fmall. About his neck A fhining corflet hangs. On his vaft thigh The plaited cuirafs firmly jointed flands. But who fall tell the wonders of his fpear, And hope to gain belief ? of mafive iron Its temper'd frame ; not lefs than the broad beam To which the bury weaver hangs his loom; Not to be wielded by a mortal hand, Save by his own. An armour-bearer walks Before this mighty champion, in his hand Bearing the giant's fnield. Thrice, every morn, His herald founds the trumpet of defiance; Off'ring at once to end the long-drawn war, In single combat, 'gainfl that hardy foe Who dares encounter him.
A SACRED DRAMA. 75
Say, mighty Abner!
What are the haughty terms of his defiance ?
Proudly he flalks around th' extremeff bounds Of Elah's valley. His herald founds the note Of offer'd battle. Then the furious giant, With fuch a voice as from the troubled fky, In vollied thunder, breaks, thus fends his challenge: Why do you fet your battle in array, Ye men of Ifrael ? Wherefore wafle the lives Of needlefs thoufands ? Ihy protra&i a war, Which may at once be ended ? Are not you Servants to Saul your king ? and am not I, With triumph let me fpeak it, a Philifline? Chufe out a man from all your armed hofls, Of courage moft approv'd; and I will meet him, His fingle arm to mine. Th'event of this Shall fix the fate of Ifrael and Philiftia.
t5 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
1 vidiory favour him, then will we live
Yo ir tributary, flaves; bu ifiy arm
I' Be crowned with conquefl, you fhalI then live our%
Give me a man, if your efeminate bands
A rman can boaft. Your armies I defy.
What lhl be done to him, who fhal"I fubdue
This vilc idolater?
A AB N ER.
K' Sch aple ountesHe ihzli receive
Suchampe buntis, uchprofufec rewards,
Amiht in echil ag e, or cowardice,
Veenot thle odds fo defpcratc.
D A VID.
Say, what are they
The royal Saul has promnis'd that bold hero,
~Vho fai counter and fibdue Geliath,
All dignity and favour; that his houfe
A SACRED DRAMA. 7Shall be fet free from tribute, and ennobled With the firft honours Ifrael has to give. And for the gallant conqueror himself, No lefs a recompence than the fair princefs, Our monarch's peerlefs daughter.
It is indeed a boon which kings might firive for. And has none anfwer'd yet this bold defiance ? What, all this goodly hofe of Iraelites, GOD'S own peculiar people I all afraid T'affert Gon's injur'd honour, and their own ? The king himfelf, who in his early youth Wrought deeds of fame! the princely Jonathan! Not fo the gallant youth P'iliftia fear'd At Bozez and at Seneh ; when the earth Shook from her deep foundations, to behold The wond'rous carnage of his fingle hand
I Samuel, xiv.
78 DAVID AND GOLIATIH:
On the uncircumcis'd. When he exclaim'd, With glorious confidnce-" Shall numbers awe GOD will protect his own: with him to fave, It boots not, friends, by many or by few." This was an hero! Why does he delay To meet this boafter ? For thy courtefy, Thrice noble Abner, I am bound to thank thee! Wou'd'1t thou complete thy gen'rous offces ? I dare not afk it.
Speak thy wifhes freely: My foul inclines to ferve thee.
Then, O Abner,
Condu& me to the king -! There is a caufe Will juflify this boldnefs.
A SACRED DRAMA. 79
I take thee at thy word; and will, with fpeed, Condu6 thee to my royal mafter's prefence. In yonder tent, the anxious monarch waits Th' event of this day's challenge.
Accept my thanks. Now to thy private ear, If fo thy grace permit, I will unfold My fecret foul; and eafe my lab'ring breaff, Which pants with high defigns, and beats for glory.
[ o80 ]
DAVID AND GOLIAT
P A R T III.
S CENE, SAU L'S Tent.
W H Y was I made a king? what I have gain'
In envy'd greatnefs and uneafy pow'r, I've loft in peace of mind, in virtue loft! Why dd deceitful tranfports fire my foul, When Samuel plac'd upon my youthful brow The crown of Ifrael ? I had known content, Nay happinefs, if happinefs unmix'd
A SACRED DRAMA. 8i
To mortal man were known; had I fill liv'd
Among the humble tents of Benjamin.
A shepherd's occupation was my joy,
And ev'ry guiltlefs day was crown'd with peace.
But now, a fullen cloud for ever hangs
O'er the faint funfhine of my brighteft hours,
Dark'ning the golden promife of the morn.
I ne'er hall tafte the dear domeftic joys
My meaneft fubjefs know. True, I have fons,
Whofe virtues wou'd have charm'd a private man,
And drawn down bleffings on their humble fire.
I love their virtues too; but 'tis a love,
Which jealoufy has poifon'd. Jonathan
Is all a father's fondnefs cou'd conceive
Of amiable and good-Of that no more!
He is too popular; the people doat
Upon th' ingenuous graces of his youth.
Curs'd popularity which makes a father
Deteft the merit of a fon he loves.
How did their fond idolatry perforce,
Refcue his fentenc'd life, when doom'd by lot
82 JDAVID AND GOLIATH:
To perifh at Beth-aven*, for the breach Of ftri& injunction, that of all my bands, Not one that day thou'd tafte of food, and live. My fubjeas clamour at this tedious war, Yet of my num'rous armed chiefs, not one Has courage to engage this man of Gath. O for a champion bold enough to face This giant-boafter, whole repeated threats Strike thro' my inmoft foul! There was a timeOf that no more !-I am not what I was. Shou'd valiant Jonathan accept the challenge, 'Twould but increafe his favour with the people, And make the crown fit loofely on my brow. Ill cou'd my wounded fpirit brook the voice Of harfh comparifon 'twixt fire and fon.
What meditation holds thee thus engaged, O king! and keeps thine aaive fpirit bound;
i Samuel, xiv,
A SACRED DRAMA. 83
When bury war far other cares demands Than ruminating thought, and pale defpair ?
Abner, draw near. My weary foul finks down Beneath the heavy preffure of misfortune. O for that fpirit, which inflam'd my breaft With fudden fervor; when, among the feers, And holy fages, my prophetic voice Was heard attentive, and th'affoniih'd throng, Wond'ring, exclaim'd, Is Saul among the prophets? Where's that bold arm which quell'd th' Amalekite, And nobly fpar'd fierce Agag and his flocks? 'Tis paft; the light of Ifrael now is quench'd; Shorn of his beams, my fun of glory fets i Rife Moab, Edom, angry Ammon, rife! Come Gaza, Afhdod come! let Ekron boat, And Afkelon rejoice, for Saul- is nothing.
I bring thee news, O king!
84 DAVID AND GOLIATH:
My valiant uncle!
What can avail thy news ? A foul opprefs'd, Refufes fill to hear the charmer's voice, Howe'er enticingly he charm. What news Can footh my fickly foul, while Gath's fell giant Repeats each morning to my frighten'd hoffs His daring challenge-none accepting it ?
ABN E R.
It is accepted.
Ha by whom? how? when? WVhat prince, what general, what illuftrious hero, What vet'ran chief, what warrior of renown, WVill dare to meet the haughty foe's defiance ? Speak, my brave gen'ral! noble Abner, fpeak
A SACRED DRAMA. S5
No prince, no warrior, no illuftrious chief, No vet'ran hero dares accept the challenge; But what will move thy wonder, mighty king! One train'd to peaceful deeds, and new to arms, A fimple shepherd fwain.
O mockery !
No more of this light tale, it fits lut ill Thy bearded gravity: or rather tell it To credulous age, or weak believing women, They love whate'er is marvellous, and don't On deeds prodigious and incredible, Which fober fenfe rejeLs. I laugh to think Of thy extravagance. A fhepherd's boy Encounter him, whom nations dread to meet !
Is valour, then, peculiar to high birth ? If Heav'n had fo decreed, know, fcornful king, G 3 That