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Of hero-souls who jeoparded their lives. That blood I may not taste. . . To Thee, O Lord,

To Thee I pour it. Thou wilt pardon me For mine unkingly weakness, pardon them

For all rough deeds of war. Their noble love

Shall cover all their sins; for Thou hast claimed,

More than all blood of bulls and goats, the will

That, self-forgetting, lives in deeds like this."

So spake the hero-king, and all the host Looked on and wondered; and those noble three,

The mightiest of the thirty, felt their souls

Knit closer to King David and to God. EDWARD HAYES PLUMPTRE (1821-1891).



THE King was faint with battle; and he stood

With weary face and garments rolled in blood

An exile from the city of his God. The heat and burden of the day were


And he must see, with hope deferred,

once more

The sunshine fade from every hill and dale,

And twilight fold his land of Israel. His captains stood around him; but the king

Forgot the clangour and the glittering Of sword and spear, and all the pomp of war:

Towards the sunset stood the low gray hill

Of Bethlehem afar.

He saw a vision of the old sweet days
When, as the custom is in Israel,
His mother went along the shady ways
By moonlight to the well:

Even in the desert hot and desolate
He felt again the touch of that sweet

He heard the murmur of the olive-trees That wave beside the gate.

Fair vision this for warrior of might, Athirst and weary from the headlong fight!

Above him fiery heavens, and beneath The bitter waters of the Sea of Death: And, "Oh, that one would bring to me," he said,

"Or e'er it be too late,

Of the water from the Well of Bethlehem,

Which is beside the gate!"

Three mighty men, full armed for the fight,

Burst through the foemen with resistless might,

And brought unto the king,

What time the night fell late,

Of the water from the Well of Bethlehem,

Which is beside the gate.

The king once more beside his captains stood,

And to the mighty men he bent his head. "My warriors do great things for me," he said;

"But this cup I do hold for these men's blood:

I may not drink-I pour it out to God."


The Earth was faint with battle; and she lay

With weary face and garments rolled in blood,

An exile from the presence of her God,

Through all the heat and burden of the day.

The noise confused of her great captains, shouting

Hoarsely against each other in the


And the deep voice of all creation


Gave her no rest by either day or night:

And all her pleasant seas were turnèd


To seas of death, and could not cool her brow.

And as she lay, and fevered with the pain

Of her long anguish, in a dream she turned again

To that sweet home which God had laid upon her breast

In the far spring-time for her children's


And His own presence in the garden, and His Word,

Which, mingled with the breeze, her soft trees stirred,

Had given her a fountain ever sweet, And ever springing round His blessed feet,

Where Earth might drink, and smile, and praise her Lord

And in her dream she lifted up her voice,

And, "Oh, that one would bring to me," she said,

"While I in anguish wait,

Of the water from the Well of Paradise, Which is beside the gate!"

A mighty Man, full armèd for the fight, Burst through the foemen with resist less might

Not heeding that the angel of the gate Did pierce Him sorely with his sword of light

And brought unto the Earth,

What time the night fell late,

Of the water from the Well of Paradise,

Which is beside the gate.

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I WILL sing the son of Jesse,
Whom the prophet's voice did call,
Not by haughty-hearted bearing,
Lofty looks, and stature tall;

But by eyes of arrowy brightness,
And by locks of golden hue,
And by limbs of agile lightness,
Fair and comely to the view;

And by earnest, wise demeanour,
And by heart that knew no fear,
And a quick-discerning spirit

When a danger might be near.

Him from watching of the sheep fold,
And from tending of the ewes,
To be ruler of the people,

Samuel's prophet-eye did choose.
From the softly-swelling pasture,

Grassy mead, and rocky scars; From lone converse with the mildfaced

Moon and silent-marching stars;

From the lion and the she-bear, When they leapt the wattled pen, To a fight with worse than lions, Tiger-hearted, bloody men.

To the struggle for a kingdom,
To confusion of his foes,
To the splendid cares of reigning,
Him the God-sent prophet chose;

Chose, nor waited long. A kingship
Reigned in bosom of the boy,
And his hand with kingly instinct
Leapt to find a king's employ.

And he found it when the giant
Philistine of haughty Gath,
With a boastful, proud defiance,
Mailed in insolence, crossed his path.

Quailed the armies of the people,

Quailed King Saul upon his throne, Quailed the marshalled heads of battle; Strength in DAVID lived alone.

And he took nor spear nor harness,
But with calm, composed look,

In his hand he took a sling,

And five smooth pebbles from the brook;

And he prayed the God of battles,

And in 'mid the host alone Prostrate laid the boastful champion With a sling and with a stone.

Now his road was paved to greatness: On the right hand of the throne High he sate; but mighty monarchs Love to reign and rule alone.

Saul pursued the people's darling

With keen hatred's heavy stress, From rock to rock, from cave to cave, Of the houseless wilderness,

Like a hunted thing. He wandered, From all bonds of fealty free, Till the hour to honour DAVID

Came in God's foreknown decree.

Judah claimed him; Israel followed
Judah's trumpet-note; and all,
From Hermon's mount to well of Sheba,
Streamed to royal DAVID's call.

And he stormed the hill of Zion, Where the rock-perched Jebusite From his stiff ancestral fastness

Vainly strove to prove his might.

And he smote the men of Moab, And the fierce Philistian crew, And o'er the ruddy cliffs of Edom Passed, and proudly cast his shoe.

From Damascus' gardened beauty

Home he brought the golden spoil, And Phoenician Hiram sent him

Greeting from his sea-girt isle.

And he brought the ark that shrinèd The God-hewn tables of the Law, Safely on the rock of Zion

To be kept with reverent awe;

Brought it with a pomp of people, With a sounding march of glee, Harp and hymn, and shouts of holy Triumph, billowing like the sea!

Not in mail of forceful warrior,

Not with spear, and not with sword, With a linen ephod girded,

Danced the king before the Lord; Danced with lusty beat, not recking, In the stoutness of his cheer,

How solemn fools and dainty maids
Might curve their lofty lips and jeer.
What remained?-Jehovah honoured,
From all foes a proud release,
What remained to top his fulness?
DAVID now might die in peace.

Only one fair hope was stinted, To the God of DAVID's line On the summit of Moriah

High to pile a costly shrine!

Not all things to all are granted;
To his son, the wisest man,
DAVID left with templed state

To crown his life's high-reaching plan,

Then died. No kinglier king was ever
Seated on a kingly seat,

Shepherd, soldier, minstrel, monarch,
In all sorts a man complete.



(A Legend of the Talmud.)

"LORD, let me know mine end, and of my days

The number, that I may be certified How long I have to live!" So prayed, in heat,

The monarch after God's own heart, whose son

Was wiser than himself. The Voice Divine

Made answer: "I have set behind a veil From man the knowledge of his time of death.

That he must die, he knows, and knows enough."

But David wrestled with the Lord in prayer:

"Let me but know the measure of my days!"

And God said: "Of the measure of his days

May no man know." Yet David urged again

The Lord: "I do beseech Thee, let me know

When I shall cease to be?" "Thy time,"

said God,

"Shall come upon a Sabbath; ask no more."

"Nay; not upon Thy Sabbath day, O, Lord!"

Cried David, "let Thy servant meet his end;

Upon the morrow following let me die!" And God once more made answer: "I have said!

The reigns of Kings are preordained,

nor may

By so much as the breadth of one thin hair

Be lengthened or diminished. Solomon, Thy son, upon the Sabbath mounts thy throne;

I may not take from him to add to thee."

"Nay, then," said David, "let me die, O Lord,

The day before; for in Thy courts, one day

Is better than a thousand spent elsewhere!"

And God made final answer: "Nor from thee

To add to him. But know thou this, one day

Spent by thee in the study of My law, Shall find more favor in My sight than

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