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an insidious eulogy of Hadad upon the beautiful Syrian mythology, and an attempt to make her doubt the goodness of the Being whom she worshipped : “ The garden of ABSALOM's house on Mount Zion, near the palace,
overlooking the city. TAMAR sitting by a fountain.
Tam. How aromatic evening grows! The flowers,
Tam, Nay, Hadad, tell me whence
Had. What sounds, dear Princess ?
Tam. Surely, thou knowest; and now I almost think
Had. I heard no sounds, but such as evening sends.
Tam. The sounds I mean,
Had. When ?
Had. 'Tis but thy fancy, wrought
Tam. But these
Had. Were we in Syria, I might say
Tam. How like my fancy! When these strains precede
Is hovering near, and warns me of thy coming;
Had. Youthful fantasy,
Tam. But how delicious are the pensive dreams
Had. Delicious to behold the world at rest.
Earth and the stars, had power to make eternal.”—pp. 33–36. There is a very pretty and well imagined scene, in which Hadad endeavours to extract from the youthful Solomon the secret of his having received the royal unction to qualify him for being the successor of David on the throne of Israel,and another of admirable splendor and pathos, in which the Syrian discloses his mysterious knowledge mysteriously obtained, of the nature and occupations of the spiritual beings shut out from heaven, who inhabit the air and the chambers of the earth. In the mean time, Hadad, in order to confirm Absalom in the design of seizing his father's crown, contrives a meeting between him and Balaam-Haddon, a Chaldean soothsayer, in the sepulchre, which David had built to receive his own remains, and had filled with treasures and spoils of nations.
“ Nothing but gold of Ophir, pearls, and gems
The marble in whose womb he means to sleep.”—p. 81. Balaam-Haddon performs divers incantations; a phantom appears
and announces himself as the Genius of the Throne of Îsrael, who had built up and maintained the greatness of David. Absalom inquires of him in what manner he might secure his lawful birthright. The spirit answers-
« A hostile planet, near allied to thee,
And length of days, and glory shall be thine.
Hard by the ascendant.”—p. 85. The principal value of this scene lies in the incident which follows the disappearance of the Genius. Balaam-Haddon is seized with a prophetic ecstacy, in which he darkly predicts the future kingdom of the Messiah. The idea is happily taken from the sublime,
but unwilling benediction pronounced by Balaam, the son of Beor, upon the tribes of Israel. As the inspiration passes off, the soothsayer falls into a trance, and the artful Hadad takes this opportunity to persuade Absalom that the prophecy, to which he has just listened, relates to the extent and glory of his own reign. Next, we have the meeting of the conspirators, which is given with great liveliness and spirit. The arrangements for the insurrection are made, and Absalom departs for Hebron, on the pretence of offering a sacrifice, but in reality to take the command of an army of rebels mustered there. In the last scene of the third act, Tamar, from the roof of her father's palace, hears the cry and rush of multitudes, and "eholds the confusion of the city, when Absalom is proclaimed king in Jerusalem, and his father is compelled to seek safety in flight. She leaves the house of her father, and takes refuge in the tabernacle. The search made after her, at midnight, by Hadad and Absalom, gives the author an opportunity of setting before us a striking picture of the licentious and tumultuous riot and violence of a city, that had just changed masters. At last the place of her retreat is discovered; Hadad, attended by several of Absalom's guards, goes to the tabernacle, and while the guards enter to require that she attend her father, Hadad, watched at a distance by Maugrabin, one of his creatures, remains intently looking through the vail, when the following scene ensues :
“ Had. Lo! lo!-the bloody shrine of sacrifice,
Maug: (muttering to himself.) Tempt him, if thou wilt-
Had. Wherefore should I tremble?
How could I front the terrible array
[Re-enter Guards, with TAMAR.]
First Guard. We stayed not.
Second Guard. (aside to his comrade.)
And see, his breast is bloody.”—pp. 148, 149. Absalom is restrained by the advice of Hushai, one of his counsellors, but friendly to the interests of David, from immediately pursuing the latter, by which means he has an opportunity of strengthening his ranks, and preparing for battle. The retreat of David with his followers is represented in a masterly manner, and with a great variety of interesting and affecting circumstances. On the morning, the two armies engage near the wood of Ephraim. Tamar, guarded by an escort of twenty horsemen, is placed by her father inghe charge of Hadad, to whom he had promised her in marriage. With the exception of one or two passages, which seem a little overwrought, the description of the battle is given with infinite spirit, and the reader is made acquainted with its particulars as they occur by a very ingenious and happy method. Hadad and Tamar take shelter in the tent of an Ishmaelite family, who had come to gather spices in the forest of Ephraim, and the Ishmaelites, as they drop in, one by one, with the bloody spoils of the combat, bring intelligence of its progress. At length the troops of Absalom are routed, and himself slain. Hadad contrives to disengage himself from the horsemen, and with Tamar, under the pretence of providing for her safety, penetrates farther into the solitary forest. In the last scene of the drama, the author seems to have put forth all his strength, and we recollect few passages of dramatic poetry, written since the time of Shakspeare, with which this part of the work will not bear an advantageous comparison. “A sequestered place in the wood, surrounded with thick dark trees : a
fountain, near a cave: Enter Hadad and TAMAR.
Had. But we must wait the guard.--Come, sit with me
List the sweet birds nestling among the boughs ;
Tam. No, no,
Had. But whither shall we fiv?
Had. To vassal Geshui !-Who can there protect us?
In lasting peace."--pp. 187, 188. After vainly exhausting every argument which his ingenuity can supply, to persuade her to fly with him from the confines of Israel, and dwell with him in peace and happiness in a distant country, he addresses her with loftier and more thrilling reasons.
Nay, hold ! for thou must listen. And, if deaf
-Confide in me,
Tam. Talk not so madly, Hadad.
Tam. I know not what I fear when I say, No.