Love, to give law unto his subject hearts


Love, to give law unto his subject hearts,
Stood in the eyes of Barsabe the bright,
And in a look anon himself converts
Cruelly pleasant before King David sight;
First dazed his eyes, and further forth he starts
With venomed breath, as softly as he might
Touched his senses, and overruns his bones
With creeping fire sparpled for the nonce.

And when he saw that kindled was the flame,
The moist poison in his heart he lanced
So that the soul did tremble with the same.
And in this branle as he stood and tranced,
Yielding unto the figure and the frame
That those fair eyes had in his presence glanced,
The form that Love had printed in his breast
He honour'th it as thing of things best.

So that forgot the wisdom and forecast
(Which woe to realms when that these kings doth lack)
Forgetting eke God's majesty as fast,
Yea, and his own, forthwith he doth to make
Urie to go into the field in haste —
Urie I say, that was his idol's make —
Under pretence of certain victory,
For en'mies' swords a ready prey to die.

Whereby he may enjoy her out of doubt
Whom more than God or himself he mindeth.
And after he had brought this thing about
And of that lust possessed himself he findeth
That hath and doth reverse and clean turn out
Kings from kingdoms and cities undermindeth,
He, blinded, thinks this train so blind and close
To blind all thing, that naught may it disclose.

But Nathan hath spied out this treachery
With rueful cheer and sets afore his face
The great offence, outrage, and injury
That he hath done to God as in this case —
By murder for to cloak adultery.
He shew'th him eke from heaven the threats, alas,
So sternly sore this prophet, this Nathan,
That all amazed this aged woeful man.

Like him that meets with horror and with fear,
The heat doth straight forsake the limbs cold,
The colour eke droopeth down from his cheer,
So doth he feel his fire manifold,
His heat, his lust, and pleasure all in fear
Consume and waste; and straight his crown of gold,
His purple pall, his sceptre he lets fall
And to the ground he throw'th himself withal.

The pompous pride of state and dignity
Forthwith rebates repentant humbleness.
Thinner vile cloth than clotheth poverty
Doth scantly hide and clad his nakedness,
His fair hoar beard of reverent gravity
With ruffled hair knowing his wickedness.
More like was he the selfsame repentance
Than stately prince of worldly governance.

His harp he taketh in hand to be his guide
Wherewith he offer'th his plaints, his soul to save,
That from his heart distils on every side,
Withdrawing him into a dark cave
Within the ground, wherein he might him hide,
Fleeing the light as in prison or grave,
In which as soon as David entered had,
The dark horror did make his fault adrad.

But he, without prolonging or delay,
Rof that that might his Lord, his God appease,
Fall'th on his knees, and with his harp, I say,
Afore his breast, fraughted with disease
Of stormy sighs, his cheer coloured like clay,
Dressed upright, seeking to counterpoise
His song with sighs, and touching of the strings
With tender heart, lo, thus to God he sings.
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