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The Works of Lord Byron Volume III Part 62

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III.

Thy name, our charging hosts along, Shall be the battle-word!

Thy fall, the theme of choral song From virgin voices poured!

To weep would do thy glory wrong: Thou shalt not be deplored.

SAUL.

I.

Thou whose spell can raise the dead, Bid the Prophet's form appear.

"Samuel, raise thy buried head!

King, behold the phantom Seer!"

Earth yawned; he stood the centre of a cloud: Light changed its hue, retiring from his shroud.[lm]

Death stood all glassy in his fixed eye; His hand was withered, and his veins were dry; His foot, in bony whiteness, glittered there, Shrunken and sinewless, and ghastly bare; From lips that moved not and unbreathing frame, Like caverned winds, the hollow accents came.

Saul saw, and fell to earth, as falls the oak, At once, and blasted by the thunder-stroke.[ln]

II.

"Why is my sleep disquieted?

Who is he that calls the dead?

Is it thou, O King? Behold, Bloodless are these limbs, and cold:[lo]

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!"[297]

Seaham, _Feb._, 1815.

SONG OF SAUL BEFORE HIS LAST BATTLE.

I.

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:[lp]

Bury your steel in the bosoms of Gath!

II.

Thou who art bearing my buckler and bow,[lq]

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.

III.

Farewell to others, but never we part, Heir to my Royalty--Son of my heart![lr]

Bright is the diadem, boundless the sway, Or kingly the death, which awaits us to-day!

Seaham, 1815.

"ALL IS VANITY, SAITH THE PREACHER"

I.

Fame, Wisdom, Love, and Power were mine, And Health and Youth possessed me; My goblets blushed from every vine, And lovely forms caressed me; I sunned my heart in Beauty's eyes, And felt my soul grow tender; All Earth can give, or mortal prize, Was mine of regal splendour.

II.

I strive to number o'er what days[ls]

Remembrance can discover, Which all that Life or Earth displays Would lure me to live over.

There rose no day, there rolled no hour Of pleasure unembittered;[298]

And not a trapping decked my Power That galled not while it glittered.

III.[lt]

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.

Seaham, 1815.

WHEN COLDNESS WRAPS THIS SUFFERING CLAY.

I.

When coldness wraps this suffering clay,[lu]

Ah! whither strays the immortal mind?

It cannot die, it cannot stay, But leaves its darkened dust behind.

Then, unembodied, doth it trace By steps each planet's heavenly way?[lv]

Or fill at once the realms of space, A thing of eyes, that all survey?

II.

Eternal--boundless,--undecayed, A thought unseen, but seeing all, All, all in earth, or skies displayed,[lw]

Shall it survey, shall it recall: Each fainter trace that Memory holds So darkly of departed years, In one broad glance the Soul beholds, And all, that was, at once appears.

III.

Before Creation peopled earth, Its eye shall roll through chaos back; And where the farthest heaven had birth, The Spirit trace its rising track.

And where the future mars or makes, Its glance dilate o'er all to be, While Sun is quenched--or System breaks, Fixed in its own Eternity.

IV.

Above or Love--Hope--Hate--or Fear, It lives all passionless and pure: An age shall fleet like earthly year; Its years as moments shall endure.

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The Works of Lord Byron Volume III Part 62 summary

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