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The TALE of CUSHI.

From II. Samuel, Chap. xviii.

1 HOW fares my Son? the trembling Monarch cry'd,
2 Why wouldst thou ask? afflicted Cush reply'd;
3 A Fate like his may all that hate thee feel,
4 Whose Blood, alas! has stain'd the guilty Steel.
5 He fell beneath the Hand of David's Friend,
6 But to my Story let my Lord attend.
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7 When the pale Morning shew'd her languid Face,
8 And the dim Sun began his usual Race;
9 Whose sullen Orb receiv'd a crimson Dye,
10 And Tempests hover'd in the frowning Sky,
11 As tho' the Heavens wept a Mortal's Fate,
12 And Nature trembl'd at domestick Hate;
13 Within the Shade of Ephraim's dusky Wood,
14 In just Array the meeting Armies stood;
15 The frowning Hosts with equal Fury glow,
16 And each to Death defy'd his meeting Foe;
17 All tender Thoughts were lost in horrid Rage,
18 And with a Shout the charging Hosts engage:
19 Then Clouds of Arrows hide the darken'd Sky,
20 And hissing Lances lighten as they fly:
21 Dreadful the Sight and horrid was the Cry.
22 Here groan'd a Steed that felt its smarting Wound,
23 And there a Soldier pinion'd to the Ground:
24 At length, proud Israel began to fail,
25 Our juster Cause cou'd o'er their Strength prevail;
26 The vanquish'd Army rais'd a fearful Cry,
27 And thro' the Wood their mighty Numbers fly;
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28 There horrid Brambles tore their Wounds anew,
29 And thousand Deaths their flying Heels pursue:
30 Then rag'd our Gen'ral thro' the dreadful Gloom,
31 Pale Terror hover'd on his waving Plume;
32 From his known Spear the shrieking Numbers run,
33 And from his Fury fled your conquer'd Son;
34 Grim Danger urg'd him on with fatal Speed,
35 And thro' black Shades he lash'd the weary Steed:
36 In the dark Center of this Forest stood
37 A lofty Oak, which overlook'd the Wood.
38 Thro' its thick Arms he ventur'd careless in,
39 They springing caught him by the beauteous Chin;
40 His curling Locks among the Branches flew;
41 His Spirit fails him, and his Foes pursue;
42 Around in vain he cast a mournful Eye,
43 And wish'd a Friend; for none, alas! was nigh:
44 But hostile Shouts invade his frighted Ears,
45 And soon beneath him shone a Grove of Spears:
46 Now, Traitor, fall our mighty Leader cries:
47 (While glowing Vengeance sparkl'd in his Eyes)
48 Then step'd a Captain of the loyal Band,
49 And vainly strove to stay his fatal Hand.
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50 That cruel Arm impell'd the flying Dart,
51 And the keen Weapon sunk within his Heart:
52 Then those fair Cheeks resign'd their rosy Dye,
53 Yet Life a Moment struggl'd in his Eye;
54 As from so fair a Mansion loth to fly,
55 Till the red Torrent stain'd his throbbing Tide;
56 Then with a Groan the beauteous Rebel dy'd.
57 Hold, "stop thy Story," cries the weeping King,
58 Thy horrid Tale has left a mortal Sting;
59 My Soul tho' practis'd in the Paths of Woe,
60 Grows sick and staggers at this mighty Blow:
61 From its cold Fountain Life forgets to run;
62 Oh Absalom Oh Absalom, my Son,
63 Eternal Shade has seal'd thy chearful Eyes;
64 And on the Ground thy breathless Beauty lies:
65 Curst be the Hand that all my Hopes beguil'd,
66 And left a Parent to lament his Child:
67 Without a Tear let none his Story tell,
68 But curse the Forest where my Darling fell:
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69 While these wan Eyes with lasting Sorrows run,
70 Lost to the World, and Strangers to the Sun;
71 Let milder Songs attend his noon-tide Ray,
72 For mine will best become the closing Day,
73 While round my Lyre afflicted Fathers throng,
74 And Orphans listen to the mournful Song.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The TALE of CUSHI. From II. Samuel, Chap. xviii.
Author: Mary Leapor
Themes:
Genres: heroic couplet

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Source edition

Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor of Brackley in Northamptonshire. London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 243-247. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413; OTA K101776.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Mary Leapor