Imágenes de páginas



That day the spirit of the monarch fled,
His hand was nerveless, and his heart was dead :
Around him thousands in their armour stood,
And, marvelling, watched their gloomy leader's mood.
On his strong limbs the jointed brass was hung,
The tempered falchion on his harness rung ;
Strapped to his arm, the plaited buckler shone,
And spear and jav’lin at his feet were thrown.
From his dark front the frowning plume descends,
On his brow waves, and o'er his shoulder bends ;
And such a brow ! while all around, elate
With triumph shone, or wrinkled black with hate,
His, his alone of all the martial crew,
Retained a ghastly and a craven hue.
Yet not from fear th’ unusual colour came,
Nor deadly hatred, nor consuming shame :
No longer these had interest or control ;
The fit, the horror is upon his soul !*

Shall the harp ring his flagging spirits on?
Ah no! the harper that could soothe is gone :
The harp rejected for the vengeful brand,
The son of Jesse leads the hostile band.t

* But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. 1 Samuel, c. xvi. v 14.

+ " David and his men passed on in the rearward with Achish.” (1

Then sound the clarion, wake the timbrel shrill
Pale and abstracted is his aspect still.
Strike then the cymbal and the rolling drum !
His God has left him, and his hour is come.



His captains spoke ; the warrior raised his eye,-
“And these," the gloomy prophet said, “ must die.”
His sons rebuked him,“ Ye must also fall,
And they, and I, and Israel, and all.”+
u Know


that bear in hand ?”
The wistful monarch looked upon his brand :
Ay, sons, my steel—a warrior's work has done,
And soon shall finish what the Lord begun.
Ye gaze on it, and then survey the foe;
Ye know 'twill smite, but that is all ye

Proud steel ! the prophet tells me what thou art, —
The night shall find thee in a monarch's heart.
Why stand I here to descant on my shame?
He told me not that I was lost to fame !
He told me not, my sinews should deny
Their wonted office, or be stretched to fly!
Come, chiefs, array ! light up your martial fire ;
Like Saul ye conquer, or like Saul expire !"

[ocr errors]

As rocks that topple from some mountain hoar,
Crash in the waves, and drive them to the shore ;
Or howling torrents that from high hills leap,
And o'er the valleys with destruction sweep;

Sam. xxix. 2.) The jealousy of the Philistine lords, however, caused
Achish to send David back into the land of the Philistines; and he
did not appear in this battle.
* The Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy.

Samuel, ch. xxviii. v. 16.
+ Ch. xxviii. v. 19.

The Lord shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. 1 Samuel, xxviii, 16-20,

So from Gilboa's reverend slope they fly,
Charge with the Gentiles, with the Gentiles die,
Batter'd and dripping with the scarlet gore,
Their shields and swords reflect the sun no more ;
Fierce through the ranks the scythed chariots flash,
And mow out alleys wheresoe'er they dash:
The prancing charger neighs and springs in air,
And treads down hundreds that the sabres spare ;
By furious arms opposing spears are thrust,
And man and steed together bite the dust.-
Hark! hark! a shriek ! 'twas loud, and wild, and shrill,
Echoed in thunder from the shuddering hill ;
And caverned silence, maddened with the sound,
Opes his scared lips, and pours the yell around.
Ah me! how yonder spouting rills are dyed
With crimson issue from the Hebrew's side ;
And the green grass, with dew late sprinkled o'er,
Smokes up to heaven, a sacrifice of gore !

“ Back, back, great king! Gilboa's caves shall show
Some present refuge from the unsparing foe.”
“Said I not thus ?" the desperate chief replied,
The winged arrow trembling in his side;
“Said I not thus, the godless should prevail
And Israel fall, like corn before the hail ?
Where are my sons?"__". These corses !"_" Said I not
A monarch's children like a beggar's rot.
Away, away ! degenerate Hebrews fly!-
But Saul -Begone! nor see a monarch die.
The dreadful phantom, vainly now implored,
Unmann'd my spirit and unedged my sword,
Else fled not Saul before the haughty foe,
Nor on his back received the Gentile blow.-
Haste, slave-strike, strike :* the victor shall not say

* Ch. xxxi. v. 4.

The chief of Israel was a living prey :
Strike the sharp weapon through my mangled breast,
One better wound be added to the rest."
“O fly, great chief! a happier day"

“ Away,
Thou poor pale coward : this is Saul's last day!
This is the day-Said I not?-this is the hour:
Saul not outlives his glory and his power........
Eternity! how dark the waves that roll
In booming discord on my frighted soul !
Eternity! how filled with wrack and gloom ! -
Creation's vast and never-closing tomb!
Billows that float in awful shade and fire,
Black lowering horror, and fierce flashing ire ;
Mystic and hideous, yet unshunn'd by me,
Thy dismal desert, O Eternity !"

He said: the weapon made its furious way
And night and horror closed the fatal day.



For the high and holy duty of serving his country, he begins by deep and solitary studies of its constitution and laws, and all its great interests. These studies are extended over the whole circumference of knowledge—all the depths and shoals of the human passions are sounded to acquire the mastery over them. The solid structure is then strengthened and embellished by familiarity with ancient and modern languages-with history, which supplies the treasures of old experience—with eloquence, which gives them attraction—and with the whole of that wide miscellaneous literature, which spreads over them all a perpetual freshness and variety. These acquirements are sometimes reproached by the ignorant as being pedantry. They would be pedantic if they intruded into public affairs inappropriately, but in subordination to the settled habits of the individual, they add grace to the strength of his general character, as the foliage ornaments the fruit that ripens beneath it. They are again denounced as weakening the force of native talent, and contrasted disparagingly with what are called rough and strong minded men. But roughness is no necessary attendant on strength; the true steel is not weakened by the highest polishjust as the scymetar of Damascus, more flexible in the hands of its master, inflicts a keener wound than the coarsest blade. So far from impairing the native strength

« AnteriorContinuar »