THOU wast hard pressed, yet God concealed this thing
From me; and thou wast wounded very sore,
And beaten down, O son of Israel’s king,
Like wheat on threshing-flour.
Thou, that from courtly and from wise for friend
Didst choose me, and in spite of ban and sneer,
Rebuke and ridicule, until the end
Didst ever hold me dear!
All night thy body on the mountain lay:
At morn the heathen nailed thee to their wall.
Surely their deaf gods hear the songs to-day
O’er the slain House of Saul!
Oh! if that witch were here thy father sought,
Methinks I e’en could call thee from thy place,
To shift thy mangled image from my thought,
Seeing thy soul’s calm face.
I sorrowed for the words the prophet spoke,
That set me rival to thy father’s line;
But o’er thy spirit no repining broke
For what had else been thine.
Thou wast not like to me, so rude, so hot;
The world was not in thine, as in my sight,
Like the proud giant who from Israel sought
A champion to fight.
I thought to ask—nor looked to be denied—
Of God, that in my days there might ascend
His House; not from my hands, so redly dyed,
But thine, pure-hearted friend.
My friend, within God’s House thou dwellest now;
Thy wounds are healed—thou need’st no Gilead-balm;
Defeated and degraded, yet thy brow
Is crowned,—with death and calm.
O God, this is Thy black and bitter sea
Which buffets so and blinds my struggling soul:
Out of the depths I cry, O God, to Thee,
Whose grief-waves o’er me roll.
God give to me the spirit that was his—
The patience, that he needs no more—to blend
With the wild eagerness that mars my bliss;
I would be like my friend.
Through the dark valley soon, to where he stands,
God summon me! Till then the sword shall shine
That comes from his dead grasp into my hands:
His children be as mine!