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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.
Behold thy foe!
Behold him here!
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.
I do defy thee,
Thy nation's sins and thine. Arm’d with his name,
by my gods,
Its notes lascivious, or the lulling lute
Peace, thou unhallow'd railer !
Gol. Insulting boy ! perhaps thou hast not heard
+ 1 Samuel, v. | Commentators say, that the Chaldee Paraphrase makes Goliath boast that he had killed Hophni and Phineas, and taken the ark prisoner.
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
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.
Follow me —
I trust in Heav'n!