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The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/The Anointing

The AnointingEdit

The moon had risen.—Light was o'er the world
With all the freshness of the early day.
The feathery clouds that floated in the east,
Wore a faint tinge of crimson, and the voice
Of forest music; and a scented breath,
Of dewy flowers, came onward through the air.
The men of Bethlehem were gather'd round
The altar of their God; and the deep tones
Of Samuel's voice arose in solemn prayer;
The smoke curl'd upwards from the sacrifice,
In cloudy volumes first, then thin and slow,
Until the last faint wreath had disappear'd.
The prophet rose, and standing in the midst,
Stretch'd out his hands and bless'd them—and then spake—
“Thou, Jesse, son of Obed, of the tribe
Of lion Judah—hearken to my voice:
“Thus saith the Lord: ‘From Saul's anointed brow,
And from his hand, and those of all his sons,
The kingly sceptre and the crown shall pass,
As though he was not chosen of the Lord.'
So cause thy sons to pass before mine eyes,
That I may consecrate whom God hath chosen
To gift with Judah's kingly diadem.”
Then came Eliab forth, the first, and stood
Before the Prophet. His proud head was bow'd,
And his cross'd hands were folded on his breast,
In mute unwonted reverence; yet even thus,
His haughty brow above the mightiest tower'd,
As he were born to be a conqueror.
There was a speaking beauty in his face,
And the bright glorious eye that flash'd beneath
His clustering curls of sable seem'd to tell
Of a high spirit that could plan bold deeds,
Which that strong arm would joy to execute.
The Prophet gazed, and said within his heart,
“Surely, the Lord's anointed is before him!”
But in the still small voice Jehovah spake
Unto the Prophet's ear.—“Regard not thou
The beauty of his countenance, nor yet
His stature, nor the majesty thereof;
For him have I rejected. The Most High
Sees not as mortal; but the secret heart
Is open all before him, and its sins,
And its infirmities, he knoweth all.”
Then came Eliab's brethren, one by one,
And Samuel look'd upon them, but he knew
The chosen from the people was not there.
Then David came, e'en from his fleecy charge,
Himself as innocent, and knelt him down
Before the Prophet. He, that young fair boy,
His mother's treasured one, who had but left
Her fond maternal side, to lay him down
On the flower-studded bank, and watch the wave
Glide on in laughing ripples at his feet,
While his white lambs were sporting on the grass.
Why should the Prophet look on him, as though
He might be chosen to be Israel's king?
He was most beautiful! His timid eye,
With boyish wonder mix'd with holy awe,
Through its bright veil of golden curls look'd up
With a long gaze to Samuel's quiet face;
And feelings wrought intensely, had spread out
A warmer flush upon his downy cheek.
The prophet look'd upon the kneeling boy,
So young—so fair—those parted lips e'en now
Scarcely refraining from their wonted smiles—
The dimple sporting on his rosy cheek,
The snowy brow half shaded by his hair,
And those dark eyes, so bright, so beautiful,—
And a strange thrilling gush came o'er his heart
Even to starting tears. Could this be he,
For whom the Lord would break the power of Saul?
He felt that it was so—and lifting up
His horn of sacred oil, anointed him,
To be the servant of the Holy One.