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SONG OF SAUL BEFORE HIS LAST
WARRIORS and Chiefs! should the shaft or the sword
Pierce me in leading the host of the Lord,
Heed not the corse, though a king's, in
king's, in your path:
Bury your steel in the bosoms of Gath!
Thou who art bearing my buckler and bow,
Should the soldiers of Saul look away from the foe,
Stretch me that moment in blood at thy feet!
Mine be the doom which they dared not to meet.
Farewell to others, but never we part,
Heir to my royalty, son of my heart!
Bright is the diadem, boundless the sway,
Or kingly the death, which awaits us to-day!
THOU whose spell can raise the dead,
Bid the prophet's form appear.
"Samuel, raise thy buried head!
"King, behold the phantom seer!"
Earth yawn'd; he stood the centre of a cloud:
Light changed its hue, retiring from his shroud.
Death stood all glassy in his fixed eye;
His hand was wither'd, and his veins were dry;
His foot, in bony whiteness, glitter'd there,
Shrunken and sinewless, and ghastly bare:
From lips that moved not and unbreathing frame,
Like cavern'd winds, the hollow accents came.
Saul saw, and fell to earth, as falls the oak,
At once, and blasted by the thunder-stroke.
"Why is my sleep disquieted? "Who is he that calls the dead?
"Is it thou, Oh King? Behold
"Bloodless are these limbs, and cold:
"Such are mine; and such shall be "Thine to-morrow, when with me: "Ere the coming day is done, "Such shalt thou be, such thy son. "Fare thee well, but for a day; "Then we mix our mouldering clay. "Thou, thy race, lie pale and low, "Pierced by shafts of many a bow; "And the falchion by thy side "To thy heart, thy hand shall guide : "Crownless, breathless, headless fall, "Son and sire, the house of Saul!"
"ALL IS VANITY, SAITH THE
FAME, wisdom, love, and power were mine,
And health and youth possess'd me;
My goblets blush'd from every vine,
And lovely forms caress'd me;
I sunn'd my heart in beauty's eyes,
And felt soul grow tender;
All earth can give, or mortal prize,
Was mine of regal splendour.
I strive to number o'er what days
Remembrance can discover,
Which all that life or earth displays
Would lure me to live over.
There rose no day, there roll'd no hour
Of pleasure unembitter'd;
And not a trapping deck'd my power
That gall'd not while it glitter'd.
The serpent of the field, by art
And spells, is won from harming; But that which coils around the heart, Oh! who hath power of charming?
It will not list to wisdom's lore,
Nor music's voice can lure it;
But there it stings for evermore
The soul that must endure it.