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A like cheer to their sons, who, in turn, fill

the South and the North With the radiance thy deed was the germ

of. Carouse in the past ! But the license of age has its limit; thou

diest at last. As the lion when age dims his eyeball, the

rose at her height, So with man - so his power and his beauty

forever take flight. No! Again a long draught of my soul

wine! Look forth o'er the years! 175 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 gray mountain of marble heaped four

square, 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 stateman's great word Side by side with the poet's sweet com

The river's awave 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!”

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 endeavor,

195 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 dis

tance - 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 sheep, And still fear lest the terrible glory

evanish like sleep! For I wake in the gray 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 205 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 com

posure, 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,

error had bent The broad brow from the daily com

munion; and still, though much spent




— ere

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,





Be the life and the bearing that front you,

the same God did choose To receive what a man may waste, dese

crate, never quite lose. So sank he along by the tent-prop till,

stayed by the pile Of his armor 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 knees 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

225 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 care Soft and grave, but in mild settled will, on

my brow: through 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.

230 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!”

“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,




ever renew


(With that stoop of the soul which, in

bending, upraises it too) The submission of man's nothing-perfect

to God's all-complete, As, by each new obeisance in spirit, I climb

to his feet.
- Yet with all this abounding experi-

ence, this deity known, I shall dare to discover some province,

some gift of my own! 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!



Then the truth came upon me. No'harp

more — no song more! Outbroke:


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the mere


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 hundredth 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, That I doubt his own love can compete

with it? Here, the parts shift? Here, the creature surpass the Creator,

the end, what Began? Would I fain, in my impotent yearning, do

all for this man, And dare doubt He alone shall not help

him, who yet alone can? Would it ever have entered my mind,

the bare will, much less power, To bestow on this Saul what I sang of, the

marvellous dower Of the life he was gifted and filled with?

to make such a soul, Such a body, and then such an earth for

insphering the whole? — And doth it not enter my mind (as

my warm tears attest), These good things being given, to go on,

and give one more, the best? Ay, to save and redeem and restore him,

maintain at the height This perfection, — succeed with life's day

spring death's minute of night? Interpose at the difficult minute, snatch

Saul the mistake,
Saul the failure, the ruin he seems now

and bid him awake From the dream, the probation, the prelude,

to find himself set Clear and safe in new light and new life,

- a new harmony yet To be run, and continued, and ended

who knows? — or endure! The man taught enough by life's dream, of

the rest to make sure:


XVIII "I believe it! 'Tis thou, God, that givest,

'tis I who receive: In the first is the last, in thy will is my

power to believe. All's one gift: thou canst grant it, more

over, as prompt to my prayer As I breathe out this breath, as I open

these arms to the air. From thy will stream the worlds, life and

nature, thy dread Sabaoth: I will?

atoms despise me! Why am I not loth To look that, even that, in the face too?

Why is it I dare Think but lightly of such impuissance?

What stops my despair? This:- 'tis not what man Does which

exalts him, but what man Would

do! See the King — I would help him but can

not, the wishes fall through. Could I wrestle to raise him from sorrow,

grow poor to enrich, To fill up his life, starve my own out, I

would; knowing which, I know that my service is perfect. Oh,

speak through me now! Would I suffer for him that I love? So

wouldst thou – so wilt thou ! So shall crown thee the topmost, in

effablest, uttermost crown And thy love fill infinitude wholly, nor

leave, up nor down, One spot for the creature to stand in! It

is by no breath, Turn of eye, wave of hand, that salvation

joins issue with death! As thy Love is discovered almighty, almighty be proved

305 Thy power, that exists with and for it, of

being Beloved! He who did most, shall bear most: the

strongest shall stand the most weak.




"Tis the weakness in strength, that I cry

for! my flesh, that I seek
In the Godhead! I seek and I find it. O

Saul, it shall be
A Face like my face that receives thee; a
Man like to me,

310 Thou shalt love and be loved by, forever:

a Hand like this hand Shall throw open the gates of new life to

thee! See the Christ stand!”

E'en the serpent that slid away silent, –

he felt the new law. The same stared in the white humid faces

upturned by the flowers, The same worked in the heart of the cedar

and moved the vine-bowers: And the little brooks, witnessing, mur

mured, persistent and low, With their obstinate, all but hushed

voices, — "E'en so, it is so !”




“DE GUSTIBUS — " I know not too well how I found my way

(1855) home in the night. There were witnesses, cohorts, about me,

Your ghost will walk, you lover of trees, to left and to right,

(If our loves remain),

In an English lane, Angels, powers, the unuttered, unseen, the

By a cornfield-side a-futter with poppies. alive, the aware:


Hark, those two in the hazel coppice, – 5 I repressed, I got through them as hardly,

A boy and a girl, if the good fates please, as strugglingly there,

Making love, say As a runner beset by the populace famished

The happier they! for news Life or death. The whole earth was

Draw yourself up from the light of the awakened, hell loosed with her crews;


And let them pass, And the stars of night beat with emotion,

as they will too

soon, and tingled and shot

With the beanflowers' boon, Out in fire the strong pain of pent knowl

And the blackbird's tune, edge. But I fainted not;

320 For the Hand still impelled me at once and

And May, and June! supported, suppressed All the tumult, and quenched it with quiet, What I love best in all the world and holy behest,

Is a castle, precipice-encurled, Till the rapture was shut in itself, and the In a gash of the wind-grieved Apennine. earth sank to rest.

Or look for me, old fellow of mine, Anon at the dawn, all that trouble had (If I get my head from out the mouth withered from earth

O'the grave, and loose my spirit's bands, Not so much, but I saw it die out in the And come again to the land of lands), 20 day's tender birth:

In a sea-side house to the farther South: In the gathered intensity brought to the Where the baked cicala dies of drouth; gray of the hills;

And one sharp tree - 'tis a cypress – In the shuddering forests' held breath; in stands, the sudden wind-thrills;

By the many hundred years red-rusted, In the startled wild beasts that bore off, Rough iron-spiked, ripe fruit-o'ercrusted,each with eye sidling still,

My sentinel to guard the sands Though averted with wonder and dread; in to the water's edge. For, what expands the birds stiff and chill

Before the house, but the great opaque That rose heavily, as I approached them, Blue breadth of sea without a break? made stupid with awe;

While, in the house, forever crumbles

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