« AnteriorContinuar »
"Thou return with the joyful assurance the King liveth yet,
"Shall our lip with the honey be bright, with the water be wet.
"For out of the black mid-tent's silence, a space of three days,
"Not a sound hath escaped to thy servants, of prayer nor of praise,
"To betoken that Saul and the Spirit have ended their strife,
“And that, faint in his triumph, the monarch sinks back upon life.
"Yet now my heart leaps, O beloved! God's child with his dew
"On thy gracious gold hair, and those lilies still living and blue
"Just broken to twine round thy harpstrings, as if no wild heat
"Were now raging to torture the desert!"
Then I, as was meet, Knelt down to the God of my fathers, and rose on my feet,
And ran o'er the sand burnt to powder. The tent was unlooped;
I pulled up the spear that obstructed, and under I stooped; Hands and knees on the slippery grass-patch, all withered and gone,
That extends to the second enclosure, I groped my way
Till I felt where the foldskirts fly open. Then once more I prayed,
And opened the foldskirts and entered, and was not afraid But spoke, "Here is David, thy servant!" And no voice replied.
At the first I saw nought but the blackness; but soon I descried
A something more black than the blackness-the vast, the upright
Main prop which sustains the pavilion: and slow into sight
Grew a figure against it, gigantic and blackest of all. Then a sunbeam, that burst thro' the tentroof, showed Saul.
He stood as erect as that tent-prop, both arms stretched out wide
On the great cross-support in the centre, that goes to each side;
He relaxed not a muscle, but hung there as, caught in his pangs
And waiting his change, the king-serpent all heavily hangs, Far away from his kind, in the pine, till deliverance come With the spring-time,—so agonized Saul, drear and stark, blind and dumb.
Then I tuned my harp,-took off the lilies we twine round its chords
Lest they snap 'neath the stress of the noontide—those sunbeams like swords!
And I first played the tune all our sheep know, as, one after one,
So docile they come to the pen-door till folding be done. They are white and untorn by the bushes, for lo, they have fed
Where the long grasses stifle the water within the stream's bed;
And now one after one seeks its lodging, as star follows
Int eve and the blue far above us,—so blue and so far!
—Then the tune, for which quails on the cornland will each leave his mate
To fly after the player; then, what makes the crickets
Till for boldness they fight one another: and then, what has weight
To set the quick jerboa1 a-musing outside his sand house
There are none such as he for a wonder, half bird and half mouse!
God made all the creatures and gave them our love and our fear,
To give sign, we and they are his children, one family here.
Then I played the help-tune of our reapers, their winesong, when hand
Grasps at hand, eye lights eye in good friendship, and great hearts expand
And grow one in the sense of this world's life.-And then, the last song
When the dead man is praised on his journey-"Bear, bear him along
1 The jumping hare.
"With his few faults shut up like dead flowerets! Are balm-seeds not here
"To console us? The land has none left such as he on the bier.
“Oh, would we might keep thee, my brother!”—And then, the glad chaunt
Of the marriage,-first go the young maidens, next, she whom we vaunt
As the beauty, the pride of our dwelling.-And then, the great march
Wherein man runs to man to assist him and buttress an arch
Nought can break; who shall harm them, our friends? -Then, the chorus intoned
As the Levites go up to the altar in glory enthroned. But I stopped here: for here in the darkness Saul groaned.
And I paused, held my breath in such silence, and listened apart;
And the tent shook, for mighty Saul shuddered: and sparkles 'gan dart
From the jewels that woke in his turban, at once with
All its lordly male-sapphires, and rubies courageous at
So the head: but the body still moved not, still hung there erect.
And I bent once again to my playing, pursued it unchecked,
As I sang,
"Oh, our manhood's prime vigour! No spirit feels waste,
"Not a muscle is stopped in its playing nor sinew un
"Oh, the wild joys of living! the leaping from rock up to rock,
"The strong rending of boughs from the fir-tree, the cool silver shock
“Of the plunge in a pool's living water, the hunt of the bear,
"And the sultriness showing the lion is couched in his lair.
"And the meal, the rich dates yellowed over with gold dust divine,
"And the locust-flesh steeped in the pitcher, the full draught of wine,
"And the sleep in the dried river-channel where bulrushes tell
"That the water was wont to go warbling so softly and well.
"How good is man's life, the mere living! how fit to employ
"All the heart and the soul and the senses for ever in joy!
"Hast thou loved the white locks of thy father, whose sword thou didst guard
"When he trusted thee forth with the armies, for glorious reward?
"Didst thou see the thin hands of thy mother, held up as men sung
"The low song of the nearly-departed, and hear her faint tongue
"Joining in while it could to the witness, 'Let one more
“I have lived, seen God's hand thro' a life-time, and all was for best??
"Then they sung thro' their tears in strong triumph, not much, but the rest.
‘And thy brothers, the help and the contest, the working whence grew