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Saul And David

 It was a villainous spirit, snub-nosed, foul
Of breath, thick-taloned and malevolent,
That squatted within him wheresoever he went
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And possessed the soul of Saul.
There was no peace on pillow or on throne.
In dreams the toothless, dwarfed, and squinny-eyed Started a joyful rumor that he had died .
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Unfriended and alone.
The doctors were confounded.
In his distress, he Put aside arrogant ways and condescended To seek among the flocks where they were tended .
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By the youngest son of Jesse, A shepherd boy, but goodly to look upon, Unnoticed but God-favored, sturdy of limb As Michelangelo later imagined him, .
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Comely even in his frown.
Shall a mere shepherd provide the cure of kings? Heaven itself delights in ironies such As this, in which a boy's fingers would touch .
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Pythagorean strings And by a modal artistry assemble The very Sons of Morning, the ranked and choired Heavens in sweet laudation of the Lord, .
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And make Saul cease to tremble.

by Anthony Hecht
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