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History: King David

Next to the mural depicting Saint Cecilia the patroness of Music, is that of another divine singer, the psalmist David, accompanied by an angel bearing a laurel crown, the symbol of poetic genius. Crowned as the second King of Israel, as a psalmist, as a prophet, as a type of the Messias, the great grandson of Boaz and Ruth and the youngest of eight sons of Jesse, the noble root whence the Lily of Israel blossomed, David, her illustrious ancestor, like her Divine Son was born at Bethlehem. Of David's life and character we know from the Scriptures, that he walked in the ways of the Lord and kept His Commandments and the Lord of Hosts was with him; that he reigned forty years over Israel; that he played his harp for the refreshment of Saul; that his son Solomon succeeded him; that he fought with the Philistines; that he encouraged the people to contribute to the building of the Temple, since it was for the service of the Lord. Many other things David did, but no accomplishment excelled in sublimity his psalms.

David is a facile invention with a lucid ordering of elements from his actual life; his own figure, the symbols of things which he exemplifies, the mountain distance, the sky, the holy city, all are invested with a gracious play of mass and line and color and reverent sentiment. It is an unforgettable portrait of David, the unforgettable singer of thousands of beautiful and poetical lines. Never have there been any lines of poetry like the timeless, melodious, rhythmic, lyrical, sheerly beautiful lines of the familiar psalms. Daily we have said on our knees before the Crucifix, with David the prophet: "They have pierced my Hands and Feet, they have numbered all my bones." Hymns of praise and adoration, songs of sorrow for sin, psalms to the majesty and glory of God, paeans of joy that rival those of the "lark that sings at heaven's gate" make an incomparable anthology of lyric poetry that we know as "The Psalms of David." With Moses and Isaiah he has stood as the grandest of the prophets of Israel.

The mural of David is one of ideal beauty, astounding youth in alert pose, a Biblical David yet a forceful and vigorous young man playing a harp. It is touched with imaginative power' with an inspired, a free, a suave, a broad and a majestic presence. There is a suggestion of the romantic with dignity and intelligent feeling in this agreeably and originally painted composition, compelling, picturesque and distinctive, very definite in detail, full of meaning and variety, of quiet tone color, transfigured with the glory of life itself.

 


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