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[GOLIATH advances clad in complete armour. One bear.

ing his shield precedes him. The opposing armies are seen at a distance, drawn up on each side of the valley. Goliath begins to speak before he comes on. David stands in the same place with an air of indifference.]

Gol. Where is the mighty man of war, who dares Accept the challenge of Philistia's chief? What victor king, what gen’ral drench’d in blood, Claims this high privilege? What are his rights ? What proud credentials does the boaster bring To prove his claim? What cities laid in ashes ? What ruin'd provinces? What slaughter'd realms ? What heads of heroes, and what hearts of kings, In battle kill'd, or at his altars slain, Has he to boast? Is his bright armoury Thick set with spears and swords, and coats of mail Of vanquish'd nations, by his single arm Subdued? Where is the mortal man so bold, So much a wretch, so out of love with life, To dare the weight of this uplifted spear, Which never fell innoxious ? Yet I swear, I grudge the glory to his parting soul To fall by this right hand. 'Twill sweeten death, To know he had the honour to contend With the dread son of Anak. Latest time From blank oblivion shall retrieve his name Who dar'd to perish in unequal fight . With Gath's triumphant champion. Come, advance. Philistia's gods to Israel's. Sound, my herald — Sound for the battle straight.

[Herald sounds the trumpet.

Dav.

Behold thy foe!
Gol. I see him not.
Dav.

Behold him here!
Gol.

Say, where! Direct my sight. I do not war with boys.

Dav. I stand prepar'd: thy single arm to mine. Gol. Why this is mockery, minion! it may chance To cost thee dear. Sport not with things above thee! But tell me who of all this num'rous host Expects his death from me? Which is the man Whom Israel sends to meet my bold defiance ?

Dav. Th’ election of my sov'reign falls on me.
Gol. On thee ! on thee! By Dagon, 'tis too much,
Thou curled minion ! thou a nation's champion !
"Twould move my mirth at any other time;
But trifling's out of tune. Begone, light boy!
And tempt me not too far.
Dav.

I do defy thee,
Thou foul idolater! Hast thou not scorn'd
The armies of the living God I serve ?
By me he will avenge upon thy head

Thy nation's sins and thine. Arm’d with his name,
Unshrinking, I dare meet the stoutest foe
That ever bath'd his hostile spear in blood.
Gol. [ironically.] Indeed! 'tis wondrous well. Now,

by my gods,
The stripling plays the orator! Vain boy!
Keep close to that same bloodless war of words,
And thou shalt still be safe. Tongue-valiant warrior!
Where is thy sylvan crook, with garlands hung
Of idle field-flowers? Where thy wanton harp ?
Thou dainty-finger'd hero! Better strike

Its notes lascivious, or the lulling lute
Touch softly, than provoke the trumpet's rage.
I will not stain the honour of my spear
With thy inglorious blood. Shall that fair cheek
Be scarr'd with wounds unseemly ? Rather go
And bold fond dalliance with the Syrian maids;
To wanton measures dance, and let them braid
The bright luxuriance of thy golden hair;
They for their lost Adonis may mistake
Thy dainty form.
Dar.

Peace, thou unhallow'd railer !
Oh, tell it not in Gath, nor let the sound
Reach Askelon, how once your slaughter'd lords
By mighty Samson * found one common grave,
When his broad shoulders the firm pillars heard,
And to its base the tott'ring fabric shook.

Gol. Insulting boy ! perhaps thou hast not heard
The infamy of that inglorious day,
When your weak hosts at Eben-ezer + pitch'd
Their quick-abandon'd tents? Then, when your ark,
Your talisman, your charm, your boasted pledge
Of safety and success, was tamely lost:
And yet not tamely, since by me 'twas won.
When with this good right arm I thinn'd your ranks,
And bravely crush'd, beneath a single blow,
The chosen guardians of this vaunted shrine,
Hophni I and Phineas. The fam'd ark itself
I bore to Ashdod.
* Judges, xvi.

+ 1 Samuel, v. | Commentators say, that the Chaldee Paraphrase makes Goliath boast that he had killed Hophni and Phineas, and taken the ark prisoner.

Dav.

I remember, too, Since thou provok'st th’ unwelcome truth, how all Your blushing priests beheld their idol's shame; When prostrate Dagon fell before the ark, And your frail god was shiver’d. Then Philistia, Idolatrous Philistia, flew for succour To Israel's help, and all her smitten nobles Confess'd the Lord was God; and the blest ark, Gladly, with reverential awe restor’d. Gol. By Ashdod's fane thou ly'st. Nor will I meet

thee,
Thou insect warrior, since thou dar’st me thus !
Already I behold thy mangled limbs,
Dissever'd each from each, ere long to feed
The fierce blood-snuffing vulture. Mark me well,
Around my spear I'll twist thy shining locks,
And toss in air thy head all gash'd with wounds,
Thy lip yet quiv’ring with the dire convulsion
Of recent death! — Art thou not terrified ?
Dav.

No:
True courage is not mov'd by breath of words :
While the rash bravery of boiling blood,
Impetuous, knows no settled principle.
A fev'rish tide, it has its ebbs and flows,
As spirits rise or fall, as wine inflames,
Or circumstances change: but inborn courage,
The gen'rous child of Fortitude and Faith,
Holds its firm empire in the constant soul;
And like the steadfast pole-star, never once
From the same fix'd and faithful point declines.

Gol. The curses of Philistia's gods be on thee! This fine-drawn speech is meant to lengthen out That little life thy words pretend to scorn.

Dav. Ha! say'st thou so? Come on, then. Mark

us well. Thou com’st to me with sword, and spear, and

shield: — In the dread name of Israel's God I come ; The living Lord of Hosts, whom thou defiest! Yet though no shield I bring, no arms except These five smooth stones I gather'd from the brook, With such a simple sling as shepherds use — Yet all expos’d, defenceless as I am, The God I serve shall give thee up a prey To my victorious arm. This day I mean To make th' uncircumcised tribes confess There is a God in Israel. I will give thee, Spite of thy vaunted strength and giant bulk, To glut the carrion kites. Nor thee alone : The mangled carcasses of your thick hosts Shall spread the plains of Elah, till Philistia, Through all her trembling tents and flying bands, Shall own that Judah's God is God indeed !

I dare thee to the trial.
Gol.

Follow me —
In this good spear I trust.
Dar.

I trust in Heav'n!
The God of battle stimulates my arm,
And fires my soul with ardour not its own.

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