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THE POOR MAN's LAM B.

A PARAPHRASE OF NATHAN'S PARABLE TO DAVID, AFTER THE MURDER OF URIAH, AND HIS MARRIAGE WITH BATHSHEBA.

L

BY THE HONOURABLE ANNE, COUNTESS OF

WINCHILSEA.

NOT

OW spent the fallen king in amorous cares The hours of facred fong and holy prayers; In vain the altar waits his flow returns, Where unattended incenfe faintly burns;

In vain the whispering PRIESTS their fears exprefs,
And of the change a thousand causes guess.
Heedlefs of all their cenfures he retires,
And in his palace feeds his fecret fires ;
Impatient, 'till from RABBAH tidings tell,
That near those walls the poor URIAH fell;
Led to the onset by a chofen few,

Who, at the treacherous fignal, foon withdrew;
Nor to his rescue e'er return'd again,

'Till by fierce Ammon's fword they faw the victim flain.

'Tis pafs'd, 'tis done! the holy marriage knot, Too ftrong to be'unty'd, at laft is cut. And now to BATHSHEBA the king declares, That with his heart, the kingdom too is her's; That ISRAEL's throne and longing monarch's arms -Are to be fill'd but with her widow'd charms;

Nor

Nor muft the days of formal tears fucceed,
To cross the living, and abuse the dead.
This she denies; and figns of grief are worn,
But mourns no more than may her face adorn;
Give to thofe eyes, which love and empire fir'd,
A melting softness, more to be defir'd;
Till the fix'd time, tho' hard to be endur'd,
Was pafs'd, and a fad confort's name procur'd:
When, with a pomp that suits a prince's thought,
By paffion fway'd, and glorious woman taught,
A QUEEN fhe's made, than MICHAL seated higher,
Whilft light unusual airs prophane the hallow'd lyre.

Where art thou, NATHAN? where's that spirit now,
Giv'n to brave vice, tho' on a prince's brow?
In what low cave, or on what desart coast,
Now virtue wants it, is thy presence loft?

And lo! he comes; the reverend bard appears, Defil'd with duft his awful filver hairs,

And his rough garment wet with falling tears.
The KING this mark'd, and confcious would have fled
The healing balm that for his wounds was fhed ;
But the more wary priest with serpent art,
Join'd to the dove-like temper of his heart,
Retards the prince juft ready to depart.

}

"Hear me, the cause between two neighbours hear Thou, who for justice doft the fceptre bear: Help the opprefs'd, nor let me weep alone For him, who calls for fuccour from the throne. Good princes for protection are ador'd, And greater by the fhield, than by the fword."

This

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This clears the doubt, and now no more he fears The cause his own, and therefore stays and hears: When thus the prophet;-in a flowery plain A KING-LIKE man does in full plenty reign; Cafts round his eyes, in vain, to reach the bound, Which JORDAN's flood fets to his fertile ground: Counting his flocks, whilst LEBANON contains A herd as large, kept by his numerous fwains, That fill with bellowings the morning air, And to the fhade at fcorching noon repair. Near to this wood a lowly cottage ftands, Built by the humble owner's painful hands; Fenc'd by a stubble-roof from rain and heat, Secur'd without, without all plain and neat. A field of small extent surrounds the place, In which one fingle EWE did sport and graze : This his whole ftock, till in full time there came To blefs his utmoft hopes, a fnowy LAMB; Which, left the feafon yet too cold might prove, And northern blafts annoy it from the grove, Or tow'ring fowl on the weak prey might seize, (For with his ftore his fears must too increase) He brings it home, and lays it by his fide, At once his wealth, his pleasure, and his pride; Still bars the door, by labour call'd away, And, when returning at the close of day, With one fmall mefs himself and that sustains, And half his difh it fhares, and half his gains.

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-When to the great man's table now there comes A LORD as great, follow'd by hungry grooms:

For

For these must be provided fundry meats,
The best for fome, for others coarser cates!
One fervant diligent above the rest,
To help his mafter to contrive the feaft,
Extols the LAMB, 'twas nourish'd with such care,
So fed, fo lodg'd, it must be princely fare
"And having this, my lord, his own may spare."

;

In hafte he sends, led by no law but will, Not to intreat, or purchase, but to kill. The meffenger arrives; the harmless spoil Unus'd to fly, runs bleating to the toil: Whilft for the innocent the owner fear'd, And, fure, would move, could poverty be heard! "Oh fpare, he cries, the product of my cares! My stock's increase!, the bleffings on my pray'rs! My growing hope, and treasure of my life!'More was he speaking, when the murdering knife Shew'd him his fuit, tho' juft, must be deny'd, And the white fleece in its own scarlet dy'd; While the poor helpless wretch ftands weeping by, And lifts his hands for juftice to the fky.'

"Which he fhall find! th' incenfed KING replies, When for the foul offence th' oppreffor dies. O NATHAN! by the HOLY NAME I swear, Our land fuch wrongs unpunifh'd fhall not bear, If, with the fault, th' offender thou declare."

}

Then, fays the prophet, clofing with the time, "THOU ART THE MAN, and thine th' ill-natur'd Nor think against thy place or state I err, A power above thee does this charge prefer:

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Urg'd

Urg'd by whofe fpirit, hither am I brought,
T'expoftulate his goodness, and thy fault;
To lead thee back to thofe forgotten years,
In labour spent and lowly ruftic cares,
When in the wilderness thy flocks were few,
Thou didft the fhepherd's fimple art pursue,
Thro' crufting frofts, and penetrating dew:
Till wondering JESSE faw fix brothers pass'd,
And thou, elected, thou the least, and last,
A fceptre to thy rural hand convey'd,
And in thy bofom royal beauties laid:
A lovely princefs made thy prize that day,
When on the shaken ground the GIANT lay,
Stupid in death, beyond the reach of cries,
That bore thy fhouted praise to listening skies,
And drove the flying foe as swift away
As winds of old, locufts to EGYPT's fea.

Thy heart with love, thy temples with renown,
Th' all-giving hand of heaven did largely crown,
Whilft yet thy cheek was spread with youthful

down.

}

What more could craving man of GOD implore, Or what for favour'd man could GOD do more? Yet could not thefe, nor ISRAEL's throne suffice Intemperate wishes, drawn thro' wandering eyes. One beauty, not thy own, and seen by chance, Defiles thy GRACE with one alluring glance; Chaces the spirit fed by facred art, And blots the title AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART!

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