The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Hebrew Melodies/Saul

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For works with similar titles, see Saul.

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.[1]
Death stood all glassy in his fixéd 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.[2]


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:[3]
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!"[4]

Seaham, Feb., 1815.


  1. He stands amidst an earthly cloud,
    And the mist mantled o'er his floating shroud.—[MS. erased.]

  2. At once and scorched beneath ——.—[MS. Copy (l, 2).]
  3. Bloodless are these bones ——.—[MS.]
  4. ["Since we have spoken of witches," said Lord Byron at Cephalonia, in 1823, "what think you of the witch of Endor? I have always thought this the finest and most finished witch-scene that ever was written or conceived; and you will be of my opinion, if you consider all the circumstances and the actors in the case, together with the gravity, simplicity, and dignity of the language."—Conversations on Religion with Lord Byron, by James Kennedy, M.D., London, 1830, p. 154.]