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With ravish'd ears
The monarch hears,
Assumes the god,
Affects to nod,
And seems to shake the spheres.
The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician sung:
Of Bacchus ever fair and ever young :
The jolly god in triumph comes;
Sound the trumpets; beat the drums;
Flush'd with a purple grace,
He shows his honest face; Now give the hautboys breath: he comes, he comes.
Bacchus, ever fair and young,
Drinking joys did first ordain;
Bacchus' blessings are a treasure,
Drinking is the soldier's pleasure :
Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure ;
Sweet is pleasure after pain.
Soothed with the sound, the king grew vain;
Fought all his battles o'er again ;
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew
The master saw the madness rise; (the slain.
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes ;
And, while he heaven and earth defied,
Changed his hand and check'd his pride.
He chose a mournful Muse,
Soft pity to infuse :
He sung Darius great and good,
By too severe a fate,
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen from his high estate,
And weltering in his blood;
Deserted, at his utmost need,
By those his former bounty fed :
On the bare earth exposed he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast looks the joyless victor sate,
Revolving in his alter'd soul
The various turns of chance below;
And now and then a sigh he stole,
And tears began to flow.
The mighty master smiled to see
That love was in the next degree :
'Twas but a kindred sound to move,
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble ;
Honour but an empty bubble ;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying;
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, oh think it worth enjoying :
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee. The many rend the skies with loud applause; So Love was crown'd, but Music won the cause. The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gazed on the fair
Who caused his care,
And sigh'd and look'd, sigh'd and look'd,
Sigh'd and look'd, and sigh'd again :
At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.
Now strike the golden lyre again:
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark, hark, the horrid sound
Has raised up his head !
As awaked from the dead,
And, amazed, he stares around. Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise :
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand! Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
And unburied remain
Inglorious on the plain :
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high,
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittering temples of their hostile gods.
The princes applaud with a furious joy ;
And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy ;
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.
Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn’d to blow,
While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown;
He raised a mortal to the skies ;
She drew an angel down.
CHARACTER OF SHAFTESBURY.
Or these the false Achitophel was first,
A name to all succeeding ages cursed;
For close designs and crooked counsels fit;
Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit;
Restless, unfix'd in principles and place;
In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace;
A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy body to decay,
And o'er inform d the tenement of clay.
A daring pilot in extremity ;
Pleased with the danger when the waves went high,
He sought the storms; but, for a calm unfit,
Would steer too nigh the sands to boast his wit.
Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide;
Else why should he, with wealth and honour bless'd,
Refuse his age the needful hours of rest?
Punish a body which he could not please ;
Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease;
And all to leave what with his toil he won,
To that unfeather'd two-legg'd thing, a son;
Got while his soul did huddled notions try,
And born a shapeless lump, like anarchy.
In friendship false, implacable in hate;
Resolved to ruin or to rule the state.
To compass this the triple bond he broke,
The pillars of the public safety shook,
And fitted Israel for a foreign yoke;
Then seized with fear, yet still affecting fame,
Usurp'd a patriot's all-atoning name.
So easy still it proves in factious times,
With public zeal to cancel private crimes.
How safe is treason, and how sacred ill,
Where none can sin against the people's will !
Where crowds can wink, and no offence be known,
Since in another's guilt they find their own!
Yet fame deserved no enemy can grudge ;
The statesman we abhor, but praise the judge.
In Israel's courts ne'er sat an Abethdin
With more discerning eyes, or hands more clean,
Unbribed, unsought, the wretched to redress;
Swift of despatch, and easy of access.
Oh! had he been content to serve the crown,
With virtues only proper to the gown;
Or had the rankness of the soil been freed
From cockle, that oppress'd the noble seed;
David for him his tuneful harp had strung,
And heaven had wanted one immortal song.
But wild ambition loves to slide, not stand,
And fortune's ice prefers to virtue's land.
Achitophel, grown weary to possess
A lawful fame and lazy happiness,
Disdain’d the golden fruit to gather free,
And lent the crowd his arm to shake the tree.
Some of their chiefs were princes of the land;
In the first rank of these did Zimri stand :
A man so various, that he seem'd to be
Not one, but all mankind's epitome:
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong ;
Was everything by starts, and nothing long;
But, in the course of one revolving moon,
Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon:
Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking,
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking.
Bless'd madman, who could every hour employ
With something new to wish, or to enjoy!
Railing and praising were his usual themes,
And both, to show his judgment, in extremes ;