MoboReader> Literature > Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning

   Chapter 19 No.19

Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning By Robert Browning Characters: 2115

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

I say then-my song

While I sang thus, assuring the monarch, and ever more strong

Made a proffer of good to console him-he slowly resumed

His old motions and habitudes kingly. The right hand replumed

His black locks to their wonted composure, adjusted the swathes210

Of his turban, and see-the huge sweat that his countenance bathes,

He wipes off with the robe; and he girds now his loins as of yore,

And feels slow for the armlets of price, with the clasp set before.

He is Saul, ye remember in glory-ere error had bent

The broad brow from the daily communion; and still, though much spent215

Be the life and the bearing that front you, the same, God did choose

To receive what a man may waste, desecrate, never quite lose.

So sank he along by the tent-prop till, stayed by the pile

Of his armor and war-cloak and garments, he leaned there awhile,

And sat out my singing-one arm round the tent-prop, to raise220

His bent head, and the other hung slack-till I touched on the praise

I foresaw from all men in all

time, to the man patient there;

And thus ended, the harp falling forward. Then first I was 'ware

That he sat, as I say, with my head just above his vast knees

Which were thrust out on each side around me, like oak-roots which please225

To encircle a lamb when it slumbers. I looked up to know

If the best I could do had brought solace; he spoke not, but slow

Lifted up the hand slack at his side, till he laid it with care

Soft and grave, but in mild settled will, on my brow; through my hair

The large fingers were pushed, and he bent back my head, with kind power-230

All my face back, intent to peruse it, as men do a flower.

Thus held he me there with his great eyes that scrutinized mine-And

oh, all my heart how it loved him! but where was the sign?

I yearned-"Could I help thee, my father, inventing a bliss,

I would add, to that life of the past, both the future and this;235

I would give thee new life altogether, as good, ages hence,

As this moment-had love but the warrant, love's heart to dispense!"

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