Yet once an earlier David took Smooth pebbles from the brook: Out between the lines he went To that one-sided tournament, A shepherd boy who stood out fine And young to fight a Philistine Clad all in brazen mail. He swears That heâ€™s killed lions, heâ€™s killed bears, And those that scorn the God of Zion Shall perish so like bear or lion. But â€¦ the historian of that fight Had not the heart to tell it right.
Striding within javelin range, Goliath marvels at this strange Goodly-faced boy so proud of strength. Davidâ€™s clear eye measures the length; With hand thrust back, he cramps one knee, Poises a moment thoughtfully, And hurls with a long vengeful swing. The pebble, humming from the sling Like a wild bee, flies a sure line For the forehead of the Philistine; Then â€¦ but there comes a brazen clink, And quicker than a man can think Goliathâ€™s shield parries each cast. Clang! clang! and clang! was Davidâ€™s last. Scorn blazes in the Giantâ€™s eye, Towering unhurt six cubits high. Says foolish David, â€œDamn your shield! And damn my sling! but Iâ€™ll not yield.â€ He takes his staff of Mamre oak, A knotted shepherd-staff thatâ€™s broke The skull of many a wolf and fox Come filching lambs from Jesseâ€™s flocks. Loud laughs Goliath, and that laugh Can scatter chariots like blown chaff To rout; but David, calm and brave, Holds his ground, for God will save. Steel crosses wood, a flash, and oh! Shame for beautyâ€™s overthrow! 40 (Godâ€™s eyes are dim, His ears are shut.) One cruel backhand sabre-cutâ€” â€œIâ€™m hit! Iâ€™m killed!â€ young David cries, Throws blindly forward, chokes â€¦ and dies. And look, spike-helmeted, grey, grim, Goliath straddles over him.