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Mysterivus, secret, To that mysterious * realm, where each shall
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave, at night,
soothed Unfaltering, fearless. By an unfaltering * trust, approach thy grave, so
Like one that draws the drapery * of his couch Drapery, curtains, hangings.
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
DAVID'S * LAMENT FOR ABSALOM.- N. P. Willis. NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS (1817–1867) was born at Portland, Maine, U.S. He was a poet and essayist : best known works are, Pencillings by the way, an account of his travels in Europe, and Inklings of Adventure. His poems are graceful and pleasing, and replete with happy fancies couched in well. chosen language. Pall, shroud, cover. The pall * was settled. He who slept beneath ing of a dead body. Was straightened for the grave; and, as the
Sank to the still proportions, they betrayed
5 of David. He rebelled With trailing through Jerusalem, was laid against his father, Reversed, beside him: and the jewelled hilt, Absalom pursued; Whose diamonds lit the passage of his blade, but was defeated and Rested, like mockery, on his covered brow. killed by Joab, one of David's generals. The soldiers of the king trod to and fro,
to Clad in the garb of Clad in the garb of battle ; * and their chief, battle, armed like sol. The mighty Joab, stood beside the bier, diers for the fight. Bier, a carriage or And gazed upon the dark pall steadfastly, frame of wood for As if he feared the slumberer might stir. bearing the dead to the grave.
A slow step startled him. He grasped his 15
And left him with his dead. The king stood
still cloth garment, worn Till the last echo died; then, throwing off by the Israelites in time of mourning.
The sackcloth* from his brow, and laying back
* David, the son of Isai, was a young shepherd boy, who slew with a sling and a stone the great Philistine giant Goliath, He was afterwards anointed king by Samuel, and became very powerful. He wrote the Book of Psalms, &c.
terance of sorrow io
before his father in
branches of an oak
The pall from the still features of his child,
Eloquence of woe, ut 25 “Alas ! my noble boy! that thou shouldst die ! beautiful language.
Thou, who wert made so beautifully fair !
Clustering hair. Ab.
salom had very long How could he mark thee for the silent tomb,
hair, 30 My proud boy, Absalom !
which he was very
vain. He was punish“ Cold is thy brow, my son ! and I am chill, ed for his vanity, how. As to my bosom I have tried to press thee! ever, for we are told
that when flying from How was I wont to feel my pulses thrill, Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress battle, he was caught
by his hair in the thee, 35 And hear thy sweet “My father !' from those tree, and hung there dumb
till Joab came up and
I am stricken, I am “ And oh! when I am stricken,* and my heart, struck with age
Like a bruised reed,* is waiting to be broken, Reed, a piece of grass 45 How will its love for thee, as I depart,
with a jointed stem. Yearn for thine ear to drink its last deep Yearn, to long for.
token ! It were
80 sweet, amid death's gathering It were, it would be. gloom,
gloom, the mist that To see thee, Absalom !
comes over the eyes
of the dying. And now, farewell! 'Tis hard to give thee up, 50
With death so like a gentle slumber on
thee !And thy dark sin ! *-oh! I could drink the Thy dark sin. Abu сир,
against his father. If from this woe its bitterness had won thee. May God have called thee, like a wanderer, bome,
My lost boy, Absalom !”
He covered up his face, and bowed himself
A look of melting tenderness, he clasped
And, as if strength were given him of God, Composed the pall, ar. He rose up calmly, and composed the pall ranged the covering Firmly and decently,—and left him there, of the dead body.
As if his rest had been a breathing sleep.
THE SAXON AND THE GAEL.*— Scott. The Chief, Roderick THE Chief * in silence strode before, Dhu.
And reached that torrent's sounding shore, Three mighty lakes, Which, daughter of three mighty lakes, * Katrine, Achray, and
From Vennachar in silver breaks, Vennachar; from the
which the And here his course the chieftain stayed, 5 stream in question Threw down his target * and his plaid, flows.
And to the Lowland * warrior said: Target, shield usually made
6 Bold Saxon ! to his promise just, strong leather, and
Vich-Alpine * has discharged his trust. studded with brass or iron.
This murderous Chief, this ruthless man, 1ο Lowland, the part of This head of a rebellious clan,* Scotland south the Grampian hills.
Hath led thee safe through watch and ward, * Vich-Alpine, the des- Far past Clan-Alpine's outmost guard. cendant of Alpine,
Now, man to man, and steel to steel, the family name of Roderick Dhu.
A Chieftain's vengeance thou shalt feel ! 15 Clan, a Scottish
See here, all vantageless * I stand, family or tribe. Watch and ward,
thyself, with single brand : * soldiers on guard. For this is Coilantogle ford, Vantageless, without
And thou must keep thee with thy sword.” advantage. Brand, a sword. Coilantogle ford, on
The Saxon paused :-"I ne'er delayed, the river
When foeman bade me draw my blade; eastern extremity of Loch Vennachar.
Nay, more, brave Chief, I vowed thy death; Life preserved, Ro- Yet sure thy fair and generous faith, derick had had
And my deep debt for life preserved, *
25 Meed, reward.
Can nought but blood our feud * atone ? Feud, quarrel
Are there no means ?”. “No, Stranger,
none ! Flagging, growing And hear,-to fire thy flagging * zeal,spiritless.
The Saxon cause rests on thy steel ;
* The Saxon and the Gael, James V., King of Scotland (Fitz-James), and Roderick Dhu, a Highland chief, who was a robber and murderer.
Fate, destiny. Prophet, one who foretells future events.
Brake, a place over.
30 For thus spoke Fate, * by prophet * bred
Between the living and the dead :
Then, by my word,” the Saxon said, 35 “The riddle is already read.
Seek yonder brake * beneath the cliff,—
Then yield to Fate, and not to me. 40 To James, at Stirling,* let us go ;
When, if thou wilt be still his foe,
I plight * mine honour, oath, and word, 45 That, to thy native strengths restored,
With each advantage shalt thou stand
“Soars thy presumption,* then, so high, 50 Because a wretched kern * ye slew,
Homage * to name to Roderick Dhu?
My clansman's blood demands revenge.55 Not yet prepared! Nay, then, I change
And whose best boast is but to wear 60 A braid of his fair lady's hair.”
“I thank thee, Roderick, for the word !
In the best blood that warms thy vein.
Yet think not that by thee alone,
Start at my whistle clansmen stern, 70 Of this small horn one feeble blast
Would fearful odds against thee cast.
Then each at once his falchion * drew;
Presumption, pride. Kern, a Highland foot soldier armed with a sword
shield. The word is generally used as a term of contempt. Homage, submission.
Carpet knight, one who professes to be a soldier, but who shuns going to battle.
This braid, the lock
Falchion, a sword. Scabbard, sheath, sword.case,
Dubious, doubtful, not sure.
Targe, a target or buckler, a shield.
Peint, to pretend to
Invulnerable, not to
Each looked to sun, and stream, and plain,
Through bars of brass and triple steel !--