Imagens da página

"Thou hast done now with eyes for the actual; begin with the seer's!

"Is Saul dead? In the depth of the vale make his tomb -bid arise

"A grey mountain of marble heaped foursquare, till, built to the skies,

"Let it mark where the great First King slumbers: whose fame would ye know?

"Up above see the rock's naked face, where the record shall go

"In great characters cut by the scribe,-Such was Saul, so he did;

"With the sages directing the work, by the populace chid,

"For not half, they'll affirm, is comprised there! Which fault to amend,

"In the grove with his kind grows the cedar, whereon they shall spend

"(See, in tablets 'tis level before them) their praise, and record

"With the gold of the graver, Saul's story, the statesman's great word

"Side by side with the poet's sweet comment. The

river's a-wave

"With smooth paper-reeds grazing each other when prophet-winds rave:

"So the pen gives unborn generations their due and their part

"In thy being! Then, first of the mighty, thank God that thou art!"



And behold while I sang . . . but O Thou who didst grant me that day,

And before it not seldom hast granted thy help to essay,

Carry on and complete an adventure,-my shield and my sword

In that act where my soul was thy servant, thy word was my word,—

Still be with me, who then at the summit of human endeavour

And scaling the highest, man's thought could, gazed hopeless as ever

On the new stretch of heaven above me-till, mighty

to save,

Just one lift of thy hand cleared that distance-God's throne from man's grave!

Let me tell out my tale to its ending-my voice to my heart

Which can scarce dare believe in what marvels last night I took part,

As this morning I gather the fragments, alone with my

[ocr errors]


And still fear lest the terrible glory evanish like sleep! For I wake in the grey dewy covert, while Hebron upheaves

The dawn struggling with night on his shoulder, and Kidron retrieves

Slow the damage of yesterday's sunshine.


I say then,- my song While I sang thus, assuring the monarch, and ever more strong

Made a proffer of good to console him-he slowly resumed

His old motions and habitudes kingly. The right-hand replumed

His black locks to their wonted composure, adjusted the swathes

Of his turban, and see-the huge sweat that his countenance bathes,

He wipes off with the robe; and he girds now his loins as of yore,

And feels slow for the armlets of price, with the clasp set before.

He is Saul, ye remember in glory, ere error had bent The broad brow from the daily communion; and still, though much spent

Be the life and the bearing that front you, the same, God did choose,

To receive what a man may waste, desecrate, never quite lose.

So sank he along by the tent-prop till, stayed by the pile Of his armour and war-cloak and garments, he leaned there awhile,

And sat out my singing,-one arm round the tent-prop, to raise

His bent head, and the other hung slack-till I touched on the praise

I foresaw from all men in all time, to the man patient there;

And thus ended, the harp falling forward. Then first I was 'ware

That he sat, as I say, with my head just above his vast


Which were thrust out on each side around me, like oak-roots which please

To encircle a lamb when it slumbers. I looked up to know

If the best I could do had brought solace: he spoke not, but slow

Lifted up the hand slack at his side, till he laid it with


Soft and grave, but in mild settled will, on my brow: thro' my hair

The large fingers were pushed, and he bent back my head, with kind power

All my face back, intent to peruse it, as men do a flower. Thus held he me there with his great eyes that scrutinized mine

And oh, all my heart how it loved him! but where was the sign?

I yearned-"Could I help thee, my father, inventing a bliss,

"I would add, to that life of the past, both the future and this;

"I would give thee new life altogether, as good, ages hence,

"As this moment,-had love but the warrant, love's heart to dispense!"


Then the truth came upon me. song more! outbroke

No harp more—no


"I have gone the whole round of creation: I saw and I spoke:

"I, a work of God's hand for that purpose, received in my brain

"And pronounced on the rest of his hand-work-returned him again

"His creation's approval or censure: I spoke as I saw: "I report, as a man may of God's work-all's love, yet

all's law.

"Now I lay down the judgeship he lent me. Each faculty tasked

"To perceive him, has gained an abyss, where a dewdrop was asked.

"Have I knowledge? confounded it shrivels at Wisdom laid bare.

"Have I forethought? how purblind, how blank, to the Infinite Care!

"Do I task any faculty highest, to image success? "I but open my eyes,-and perfection, no more and no less,

"In the kind I imagined, full-fronts me, and God is seen God

"In the star, in the stone, in the flesh, in the soul and the clod.

"And thus looking within and around me, I ever renew "(With that stoop of the soul which in bending upraises it too)

"The submission of man's nothing-perfect to God's allcomplete,

"As by each new obeisance in spirit, I climb to his feet. “Yet with all this abounding experience, this deity known, "I shall dare to discover some province, some gift of my


"There's a faculty pleasant to exercise, hard to hoodwink,

"I am fain to keep still in abeyance, (I laugh as I think)

"Lest, insisting to claim and parade in it, wot ye, I worst "E'en the Giver in one gift.-Behold, I could love if I durst!

"But I sink the pretension as fearing a man may o'ertake

"God's own speed in the one way of love: I abstain for love's sake.

"What, my soul? see thus far and no farther? when doors great and small,

"Nine-and-ninety flew ope at our touch, should the hun

dredth appal?

"In the least things have faith, yet distrust in the greatest of all?

"Do I find love so full in my nature, God's ultimate gift,

« AnteriorContinuar »