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Poetry: Novelty

Psalm 51 -- An Early Draft

Be merciful to me, O people,
Because of the good economy.
Because of your great ambivalence
Wipe my record clean.

I have admitted my faults. Why does that not satisfy my enemies?
(Even though I am no worse than anybody else.)
Still I have not really sinned, because Bathsheba consented
And because what I previously said, although misleading, was technically true.
If you press me further, I could give all sorts of reasons you should forgive.
But mostly I understand your intense desire to forget this whole messy affair.

I repeat that I never, NEVER told anyone to cover up the matter.
I sympathize with the family of Uriah whose heroic death was a credit to us all.
And yet this noble sacrifice has been overshadowed
By an unnatural focus on the publicity surrounding his wife.

Too many innocent people have been hurt,
And I therefore call for an end to the office of independent prophet.
Nathan appears to be on a witch hunt,
Probing my personal life and matters that are no business
Of the people of this great nation,
Especially when there is much work still to be done.

So, I say, leave this issue to me and my family
(And my God -- I almost forgot)
And practice the virtue of selective apathy,
Ignoring what I do but holding my enemies' feet to the fire.

You do not want resignation, but I would not give it to you even if you did.
Removal is more than the nobles would dare to attempt.
My sacrifice is to humble myself to the extent that I must
At the same time as I remind you of who the real villains are.

Be kind to the office of King.
Let us rebuild this great nation
And continue creating a world where no one has to sacrifice
The good life just because of a private indiscretion of no lasting significance.

(A previously unpublished early draft of an address to the nation by David)

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