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But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nurst,
And ached in sleepless silence long;
And now 'tis doom'd to know the worst,
And break at once-or yield to song.
I SAW thee weep-the big bright tear
Came o'er that eye of blue;
And then methought it did appear
A violet dropping dew:
I saw thee smile-the sapphire's blaze
Beside thee ceased to shine;
It could not match the living rays
That fill'd that glance of thine.
As clouds from yonder sun receive
A deep and mellow die,
Which scarce the shade of coming eve
Can banish from the sky,
THY days are done, thy fame begun;
Thy country's strains record
The triumphs of her chosen Son,
The slaughters of his sword!
The deeds he did, the fields he won,
The freedom he restored!
Though thou art fall'n, while we are free Thou shalt not taste of death!
The generous blood that flow'd from thee
Disdain'd to sink beneath:
Within our veins its currents be,
Thy spirit on our breath!
Thy name, our charging hosts along,
Shall be the battle-word!
Thy fall, the theme of choral song
From virgin voices pour'd!
To weep would do thy glory wrong;
Thou shalt not be deplored.
SONGS 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 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 my 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 of earth displays
Would lure me to live over.