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That extends to the second enclosure, I groped my way on 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 tent-roof, 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

star Into 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

elate Till for boldness they fight one another : and then, what

has weight To set the quick jerboa a-musing outside his sand houseThere 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



Then I played the help-tune of our reapers, their wine

song, 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 “ 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


VIII 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 a



All its lordly male-sapphires, and rubies courageous at

heart. So the head : but the body still moved not, still hung

there erect. And I bent once again to my playing, pursued it un

checked, As I sang,


“Oh, our manhood's prime vigour! No

spirit feels waste, “ Not a muscle is stopped in its playing nor sinew un

braced. “ 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 kiss 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

attest, “o I have lived, seen God's hand thro' a lifetime, 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 “ Such result as, from seething grape-bundles, the spirit

strained true ;

“ And the friends of thy boyhood—that boyhood of

wonder and hope, “ Present promise and wealth of the future beyond the

eye's scope,« Till lo, thou art grown to a monarch ; a people is

thine : " And all gifts, which the world offers singly, on one head

combine ! “On one head, all the beauty and strength, love and rage

(like the throe “ That, a-work in the rock, helps its labour and lets the

gold go) “ High ambition and deeds which surpass it, fame

crowning them,-all “ Brought to blaze on the head of one creature-King

Saul !"

x And lo, with that leap of my spirit,-heart, hand, harp

and voice, Each lifting Saul's name out of sorrow, each bidding

rejoice Saul's fame in the light it was made for—as when, dare

I say, The Lord's army, in rapture of service, strains through

its array, And upsoareth the cherubim-chariot—"Saul !” cried I,

and stopped, And waited the thing that should follow. Then Saul,

who hung propped By the tent's cross-support in the centre, was struck by

his name. Have ye seen when Spring's arrowy summons goes right

to the aim, And some mountain, the last to withstand her, that held

(he alone,

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