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    TO A DECEASED FRIEND   Table of Contents     THEY ARE THE SAME.

Thompson, Priscilla Jane
Ethiope Lays



And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail
because of him; thy servant will go and fight
with this Philistine.
1 Samuel, 17: 32.

KING Saul was disconcerted,
And a gloom was o'er him spread,
As his trusty captain, trembling,
To the fight, his army led.
For now, at the arrival,
Of that dreaded battle hour,
He was loath to 'tack the foeman,
For he felt he lacked the power.

Up from the vale of Elah,
On ones slope his army lay,
While the adverse slope frowns grandly,
With the Philistine's array.
For two score days succeeding,
Morn and eve, he'd seen his men,
Break the ranks and flee as cowards,
From that giant Philistine.

And now, with with great composure,
And bedecked in armor bright,
Again he sees that champion,
Coming proudly forth to fight.
His mammoth head is covered,
With a brazen helmet, grand,
And his coat on mail shines fiercely,
And a spear is in his hand.

The target, 'tween his shoulders,
Loudly grinds his coat of mail,
And the clash of greaves, that mingle,
Sends an echo down the vale.
With pond'rous form erected,
And a demon in his eye,
He stops, and lifts his mighty voice,
And Israel's host defy.

"Why doth ye, O slaves of Saul,
With thy armor and thy din,
Come to victor o'er Goliath,
Am not I a Philistine?
Ho! cowards, from amongst you,
Choose and send one man to me,
If I'm conquered in the conflict,"
Then thy servants we shall be!

"But, if before me bleeding,
He should fall, Goliath's prey,
Then ye Israelites shall serve us,
Humbly, meekly, all thy day."
King Saul was disconcerted,
And a terror o'er him spread,
As with trembling forms, dejected,
From the fight, his army fled.

But now, from 'mongst the soldiers,
With a heart that knows not fears,
Flustered sore with indignation,
Steps a youth, of tender years.
His curly locks flow idly,
And in shepherd's dress he stands,
And his comely face, exalted,
Re-assures each faltering man.

"Who is this great Philistine--
That the host of God, defied?
What is offered by our Sovereign--
To redeem fair Israel's pride?
Thus, freely he converses,
With his elders, close at hands,
And the courage he displayeth,
Seems more fitly for a man.

But Eliab, his brother,
Hears the pond'rous threat he's made,
To attack the mighty giant,
And the youth he sore upbraids,
"Thou'rt but an awkward stripling,
Unused to war and men!
Cease thy vain and idle bragging,
Get thee back to Bethlehem!

"With whom didst thou leave thy sheep,
In the dang'rous wilderness?
Get thee back unto thy duty--
Well I know thy naughtiness!"
But David, never daunted,
Hath with might impressed them all;
And despite his brother's censure,
They've rehearsed his words to Saul.

When to the king he's summoned,
With a boldness that appall,
He tells of his intention,
To revoke the shame of all.
But Saul, with apprehension,
Speaks with confidence and truth--
"He is old and tried in battle,
Thou, art but a tender youth."

"Oh king!" the youth respondeth;
"While I watched my father's flocks,
A great lion snatched a lambkin,
And ran roaring to the rocks;
But I pursued him, fearless,
And we struggled o'er the lamb;
And I seized his tawny beard--
And I slew him with my hand."

"Oh king! the Lord is with me,
And I go at His command;
He hast saved me from the lion,
And He'll arm me for this man."
King Saul is disconcerted--
But a ray of hope, now glow;
And he turneth to the stripling,
With--"The Lord be with thee, go."

With coat of mail and helmet,
Saul, the stripling, least arrayed;
Places in his hand, his own sword,
And the youth to go, assayed.
"I cannot wear thine armor,
For, oh king! they are not tried;
Thy coat of mail, I have not proved;"
And he cast them all aside.

Then, at the brook he searcheth,
And five stones he quickly bring;
And he goes to meet the giant,
With his staff and trusty sling.
Now with surprise, Goliath,
Just beyond his bearer true,
An effeminate, fair stripling,
In a shepherd's dress, doth view.

And as he cometh slowly,
With heavy armor, bright,
He doth ridicule the stripling,
For he scorns with him to fight.
But now his wrath is kindled,
At the boldness of the boy;
Savagely the youth he curses,
And he seeks him, to destroy.

"Come to me!" then cries Goliath;
"With thy flesh a feast I'll yield,
To the wild birds of the heaven,
And the wild beasts of the field."
Young David answers calmly,
"Spear and shield on thee, I see;
In the name of God of Israel,
I have come to conquer thee."

My God shalt thee deliver,
Slain, this day unto my hand;
And thy soldier's mangled bodies,
Feed the creatures of the land.
And now he hastens toward him;
And he whirls his sling around,
The stone Jehovah speedeth,
Brings Goliath to the ground.

The little youth hastens to him,
And the giant's sword, doth take,
Severs head from body, quickly,
While the Philistine doth quake.
And suddenly, Saul's army,
With fierce shouts and battle din,
Fell upon them with great slaughter,
Then, pursued the Philistine.

And they returned in triumph;
And they plundered all their land;
Then to Saul, they bring young David,
With the giant's head in hand.
King Saul is much elated,
And he kindly promise fame;
While he looks on him with favor,
Who's redeemed fair Israel's name.

    TO A DECEASED FRIEND   Table of Contents     THEY ARE THE SAME.