Goliath. Where is the mighty man of war, who dares
Accept the challenge of Philistia's chief?
What victor-king, what general drenched 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 ruined provinces, what slaughtered realms,
What heads of heroes, or what hearts of kings,
In battle killed, or at his altars slain,
Has he to boast? Is his bright armory
Thick set with spears, and swords, and coats of mail,
Of vanquished 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?
Philistia's gods to Israel's. Sound, my herald,
Sound for the battle straight!
Gol. Say, where?
Direct my sight. I do not war with boys.
Dav. I stand prepared; 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 numerous host,
Expects his death from me? Which is the man
Whom Israel sends to meet my bold defiance?
Dav. The election of my sovereign falls on me.
Gol. On thee! on thee! by Dagon, 'tis too much!
Thou curled minion! thou a nation's champion!
'Twould move my mirth at any other time;
But trifling's out of tune. Begone, light boy!
And tempt me not too far.
Dav. I do defy thee,
Thou foul idolator! Hast thou not scorned
The armies of the living God I serve!
By me he will avenge upon thy head
Thy nation's sins and thine. Armed with his name,
Unshrinking, I dare meet the stoutest foe
That ever bathed his hostile spear in blood.
Gol. Indeed! 'tis wondrous well! Now, by my gods!
The stripling plays the orator! Vain boy!
Keep close to that same bloodless war of words,
And thou shalt still be safe. Tongue-valiant warrior!
Where is thy sylvan crook, with garlands hung,
Of idle field-flowers? Where thy wanton harp,
Thou dainty-fingered hero?
Now will I meet thee,
Thou insect warrior; since thou dar'st me thus,
Already I behold thy mangled limbs,
Dissevered each from each, ere long to feed
The fierce, blood-snuffing vulture. Mark me well,
Around my spear I'll twist thy shining locks
And toss in air thy head all gashed with wounds.
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 defi'st;
Yet though no shield I bring; no arms, except
These five smooth stones I gathered from the brook
With such a simple sling as shepherds use;
Yet all exposed, defenceless as I am,
The God I serve shall give thee up a prey
To my victorious arm. This day, I mean
To make the 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!
Gol. Follow me.
In this good spear I trust.
Dav. I trust in Heaven!
The God of battles stimulates my arm,
And fires my soul with ardor not its own.
In this dialogue, the first speech of Goliath is simple vaunt. Confident
bulk and strength, he strides occasionally from side to side while
speaking, elevating his arms and throwing his limbs about as if anxious
to display his powerful sinews and muscular proportions. He speaks very
loud, as if willing to terrify all Israel with his voice.
In this second speech, Goliath partly stoops, half shuts his eyes like a
person endeavouring to discern some diminutive object, and, after looking
intently a short time, suddenly straightens himself up to his full height,
and says arrogantly: "I see him not."
In his third speech, Goliath maintains the same ground, till, in the
conclusion, he seems, at last, to have perceived David, and, turning away
contemptuously, adds: "I do not war with boys."
In the latter part of the dialogue, Goliath becomes really furious, and is
in haste to transfix David with his spear; while David, on the other hand,
becomes more calm, collected, and observant as the critical moment
approaches, thus denoting his firm and unwavering trust in the God of
Israel. David makes but few gestures, but always assumes a reverential
attitude when he mentions the name of God—not puritanical by any
means, but expressive of humble hope and smiling confidence.