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JAMES TAYLOR SMITH & CO.
EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY W. BURNESS.
THE HARP OF SALEM.
, holy muse of Zion! child of heav'n!
A mortal vot'ress bends before thy shrine,
And suppliant sues, pure spirit! for thine aid.
Hail, heav'nly power! again I bid thee hail!
Descend in holy fervour on my soul;
Shed that celestial influence o'er my head,
And rouse within me the inspiring flame
Which glow'd within the heart of Jesse's son;
Till, fir'd like him, I strike the sounding lyre,
In tones of rapture, to Jehovah's praise.
Hail, power sublime! my inmost spirit owns
They sacred inspiration. Bold I seize
The Harp of Salem, and with daring hand
Sweep o'er its golden strings,--and wake once more
Its solemn chords, with trembling, ardent zeal.
power! how wond'rous was the might,
Which called from non-existence, by a word,
This lovely world! which said, "Let there be light,"
While darkness spread its ebon wing abroad.
God said, "Let there be light," and from on high
The new born radiance shot its infant ray,
Ere crimson, gold, or sapphire, arch'd the sky,
Or the bright sun diffus'd the glorious day.
Then o'er the deep he rear'd the vault of heav'n,
And stretch'd the floating, silvery clouds on air.
He spake, and wild confusion's waves were driv'n
Before his bidding; and so sweetly fair
Young Order reign'd, that even the Sov'reign Power
Pronounc'd it good, and bade the new-form'd land
Bear on its bosom, herb, and tree, and flower,
In blooming plenty, scatter'd by his hand.
Then in the firmament of heav'n, on high,
He said, "Let there be light to rule the world;"
And the Sun roll'd his car thro' the blue sky,
And the young Moon her silver crest unfurl'd;
And all the starry train that gem the night,
In sparkling glory, shed their gentle beams,--
Orion, giant warrior, flamed in light,
And Hesper's golden light serenely streams.
Then said he, "Let the waters of the main
Teem with abundant life;" and as he spoke,
The tenants of the deep--a numerous train--
To being, and its active joys awoke.
And the wing'd people of the woods and vales
Then also ow'd existence to his power;
From the bold eagle, monarch of the hills,
To the sweet warblers of the woodland bower.
Again his word went forth, and the green earth
Brought forth the creatures of the sylvan reign;
At once it gave the lordly lion birth,
And the meek flocks which graze the flow'ry plain.
Then highest over all thy works, O Lord,
Thou formed'st man--the offspring of the clod,
But placed him sovereign, and with powerful word,
Bade him stand forth--the image of his God.
Now were thy seven days' works complete; and high
The shouts of cherubim, in rapture, rose;
The morning stars together sang for joy,
And music in celestial sweetness flows.
and pure was the noontide ray
That shot thro' heaven, serenely bright,
Of a lovely, cloudless summer day,
And a morn which dawn'd in golden light.
But thunder roll'd thro' darken'd heaven,
And lightnings glar'd athwart the sky,
When twilight brought the hour of even,
And night commenc'd her reign on high.
Bright rose the sun at morning dawn,
And bright was his meridian beam;
Sweet was his smile on daisied lawn,
And sweet his glance on limpid stream.
But when he set, it was in gloom,
Amid the tears of th' troubl'd sky;
For blood had stain'd the flow'ret's bloom,
And vengeance threaten'd from on high.
The pale moon hid in clouds her face;
The shrouded stars refus'd to shine;
For the first-born of Adam's race
Had shed the blood of Adam's line.
A brother, by a brother's arm,
Lay stretch'd in death, upon the sod;
Earth shudder'd at the life-tide warm,
And murder rous'd an angry God.
Envy, dire passion! was it thou
That scowled'st in the murd'rer's eyes,
When he beheld his brother bow
Before th' accepted sacrifice?
Yes; he had seen the flame of Heaven
Bright o'er the shepherd's altar glow;
With token that to him was given
The beam which lightens human woe.
Dark, baleful malice! child of hell!
'Twas thou that fir'd'st his madden'd brain,
And nerv'd'st his hand when Abel fell,
And human gore first dyed the plain.
But mark him now--that murd'rer, lost
In all the agony of guilt!
Behold his troubl'd bosom toss'd
In anguish--till that hour unfelt.
By the pale dead he stands, and calls--
"Abel, my brother, Abel, rise;"
O'er the cold corpse he prostrate falls,
Whilst wild despair glar'd in his eyes.
He sees the crimson stream of life
Hath sprinkled many a blushing flower;
He rushes from the scene of strife,
And flies from his domestic bower.
He seeks the deepest, darkest shades,
And wanders 'mid the gloom of night:
He haunts the wildest forest glades,
And trembles at returning light.
But hark! what thunders rend the sky;
Clouds, roll'd on clouds, the night deform;
The voice of God resounds on high,
In majesty, amid the storm.
"Cain! why so dismal is thy brow?
Where is thy brother Abel, where?"
Behold the dread-struck sinner bow
Before his judge, in dark despair.
"I know not;--me, unhappy man!
My brother's keeper mak'st thou me?"--
"What hast thou done, lost, guilty one?
Earth loathes, and Heaven abandons thee!
"Even from the ground thy brother's blood
Loud calls for vengeance on thy head:
The dust received the vital flood,
By thee, fierce, daring sinner shed.
"Earth, stained with the blood of man,
Air, tainted with foul murder's breath,
Are leagu'd against thee, guilty one!--
Toil is thy doom--toil unto death.
"The ground, accursed for thy crime,
No more shall wave with golden grain,
Till woe and labour bring the time
When harvest crowns the cultur'd plain.
"Go, gloomy murd'rer--lost one go!
A vagabond, an exile roam,--
Abandon'd to thy bosom's woe;
A wanderer without a home.
"And lo! though years may pass away,
And a new race of mortals rise,
Cain still shall shrink before the ray
Of innocence, in human eyes.
"And all who view his guilt-stain'd check,
And all who mark his haggard eye,
Abhorring, shall their horror speak,
And shudd'ring from his presence fly."
night--a night so calmly fair,
That scarce a zephyr fann'd the trees;
So mild, so pure the midnight air,
That heaven seem'd breathing on the breeze.
The call'd of God, on tranquil bed,
Lay softly wrapt in balmy rest;
Almighty power watch'd o'er his head;
No fears disturb'd his peaceful breast.
When lo! a voice, in stilly night,
In solemn sounds broke on his ear;
He started, and beheld the light
Which blaz'd on man when God was near.
"Abraham," it called;--the faithful man
Arose, and knelt before his Lord,--
"Behold thy servant! here I am;
Almighty One, I wait thy word."
But chilly beat the father's heart,
When the Highest One commanding, said--
"Arise, and with the morn depart
For far Moriah's distant shade:
"And take thy age's darling hope,
And seek the mountain's lonely wild,
And offer, on its rugged top,
A sacrifice--thine only child!
"It is thy will, my King! my God!
It is thy will, and I obey;
I yield, and kiss the chast'ning rod:
O guide my path,--direct my way!"
Paternal feeling tore his heart,
Anguish enforc'd the starting tear;--
Oh! must his own hand raise the dart,
And shed the blood of one so dear?
It must,--his fault'ring tongue must bid
His servants and the youth arise:--
"We seek Moriah's tow'ring head,
Our God demands a sacrifice."
They journey'd till the dawning light
Of the third day appear'd in heav'n;
Then to the prophet's shudd'ring sight,
The place of suffering was given.
"My son, behold yon mountain rise,
We seek alone its savage wild;
Such is the mandate of the skies--
We go alone, my darling child."
The wond'ring son obeys the sire,
And bears the fuel for the flame;
The anguish'd parent holds the fire,
And does not, dares not, ev'n complain
"Behold the wood-- behold the fire--
Behold the knife, "young Isaac cries;
"But thou must have forgot, my sire,
The lambkin for the sacrifice."
"No," Abraham answer'd; "God, my son,
Doth for himself a lamb provide;
And be his just commandment done--
It fits not man his will to chide."
The son gaz'd in his father's eyes,
And marvell'd at his hidden woe:
The sire averts his face and sighs;
For still the struggling tears would flow.
"This is the spot, the destin'd wild"--
The much enduring parent cries--
"And, O, my own beloved child!
'Tis thou that art the sacrifice."
"Then, lo, my father! lo, I kneel!
A cheerful offering," Isaac said;
"Devoted I await the steel--
God can awake the sleeping dead."
The altar now is rear'd; the knife
Is trembling in the parent's hand;
The willing victim offers life,
And bows to the supreme command.
The arm is rais'd--behold, it falls!
What stays the faithful? Is it fear?
No;--hark! from heav'n an angel calls,
And sounds of mercy bless the ear.
Serenely sweet the gentle word
Fell from the sky in accents mild:
"Stay, chosen servant of the Lord,
Touch not, nor harm, thy prostrate child.
"Thy well tried faith, the Eternal views--
Well pleased; and here once more, by me,
His gracious promises renews,
And o'er all mortals blesseth thee.
"As numerous as the stars on high,
Which spangle o'er night's sable vest;--
As numerous as the sands which lie
Upon the sea-shore's trackless breast,
"Shall be thy seed; and blest shall be,
Ev'n to the earth's remotest climes,
All nations of the world in thee,--
Blest thro' all ages' varying times."
dawning day with crimson ting'd the east,
And bright the sun rose over Gibeon's towers,
Gilding its palaces and temples proud
With all the radiance of the morn's first beams;
Whose bright rays sparkl'd on the dewy grass--
Glitter'd and glow'd upon the opening flowers
Which painted Canaan's lovely fields;--the rose
Of Sharon, and that sweet, pale, snowy gem,
The lily of the valley--type of all
In virgin innocence that fairest seems,
Withdrawing modesty and spotless truth.
Nor these alone were brighten'd; on the dash
Of waterfall the sunbeams danc'd, and turned
The liquid spray into a diamond shower;
And all the still, cold bosom of the lake
Glow'd like a sea of molten gold, and gave
The orient clouds reflected on its breast.
But what long line of light from Gilgal comes,
Winding among yon mountains and yon vales?
'Tis Israel's heroes--the belov'd of heaven!
Onward they march to Gibeon's foe-girt walls:
Commanded of the Highest, on they move,
Fearless of danger--not a dread is theirs--
No heart among them quakes--no cheek is pale:
Their strength is in their God; he is their shield
In hour of deadly danger, and their sword
That fights for them, and lays their mighty foes
Prone in the dust--all prostrate at their feet.
Secure in heaven's protection, and secure
Of coming victory, they view their foes,
In formidable numbers, proudly stand
In all the pomp of martial honours drest:
Five warlike nations, headed by their kings;
Men of high stature, and of giant strength,
Whose sword puissant rear'd appears a flash
Of vivid glory darting through the sky.
The men of Gibeon see the friendly troops
Advancing to their rescue;--soon they see
The awful conflict dark'ning on the plain,
And rolling mid the hills. They sally forth,
Eager to join the combat: fierce they rush,
Panting for vengeance, on their ruthless foes.
Now shouts of men ascend; the din of war
Rages in all its horror; spear on spear
Gleams dreadfully; the iron clang of swords
Echoes around; the groans of death rise wild,
And hollow sounds of woe;--the victor's shout;
The vanquish'd's piercing cry for mercy; and
The sights of human agony which strew
The ensanguin'd turf; the ghastly heaps of slain
That, pile on pile, still swell and frown around;--
These are thy terrors, War--thy trophies these!
The joy of warriors, and the pride of kings.
Trophies, alas! the desolated land,
The burning cottage, and its inmates slain;--
Its joys--the wailing parent, widow'd bride,
And weeping orphans mourning o'er the bier--
Th' untimely bier--of him who was their all;
O, short lived pride! soon sullied in the dust!
Almighty One! how dreadful is thine ire,
When stretch'd in vengeance o'er the guilty lands
That have provok'd thy long-forbearing wrath!
Dreadful in majesty; thy frown then falls
In awful justice on the sinners, and
Hurls them, and name and nation, from the world.
Fierce was the fight at Gibeon, but the kings
Of Canaan, and their hosts must yield to heaven.
Jehovah wars for Israel. Lightnings flash,
And thunders roll, in dreadful majesty,
And headlong cat'racts dash from their high rocks;
The brooks are swell'd to rivers, and their streams
Sweep through the vales, and, as they rush along,
O'erwhelm the trembling foes of the Most High.
Now had the son gain'd his meridian height,
And from his bright throne in the sapphire sky
Beheld the dreadful conflict;--Till his course
Is run in space, and the eternal day,
That needs no sun, beam bright for evermore,--
Will he no more behold such day of strange
And awful wonders; nor at man's weak voice
Will he, arrested, stop his rapid race,
And, as spell-bound, at mortal bidding chain
His flaming steeds for a long summer day.
For, as he roll'd along, the madd'ning war
Still, still more fiercely rag'd;--tho' many sons
Of Canaan gasp'd in death; tho' many bent,
Vanquish'd, and own'd the force of Israel's sword;
Tho' lightnings glar'd thro' heaven, and thunders roll'd;
Tho' hailstones rattl'd on their broken shields,
Or, falling on their heads, the affrighted souls
Drove from their earthly homes to other worlds;
Tho' whelming waters others gulph'd, and bore
The struggling wretches down to death and ruin;--
Yet still the awful work had much to do.
Jehovah's mandate had gone forth, and said--
"Destroy these scorners of my name; let none
Escape, nor prince nor peasant, bond nor free.
Joshua, my chosen hero! till the night
Sink in deep gloom upon the field of blood,
Pursue them thro' Beth-horon--smite them to
Azehah, and Makkedah's distant land:
Stay not thy hand, nor slack, till all is done."
The sun still flaming in heaven's arch appear'd;
The moon rose on Ajelon's lonely vale:
The leader of the hosts of Jacob lifts
His eyes to the blue vault; inspir'd he seems,
And raises high his supplicating arms
To Abraham's God, and prays he may be heard,--
When he entreats for light to guide his way,
Till he avenge the people on their foes.
Upon an eminence Joshua stands,
Close by the ark of God; the priests by it
In all their holy vestments are arrayed;
Those sacred trumpets of ram's horns they bear,
Which sounded, Jericho, thy final knell!
Their hands are also raised to heaven; they pray
For Israel: but mark the warrior chief;
What holy fervour animates his eyes!
He speaks;--that awful adjuration hear,
Which made the sun forbear his onward course,
And stay'd the pale moon's lamp in middle heav'n.
"Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon," he exclaims;
"And thou, moon, on the vale of Ajelon:
Stand still ye luminaries of this world,
I conjure you! stand still,--nor move from thence
Until your Maker on the sons of men
(Who, turning from him, bend to other gods)
Hath hurl'd his wrath, and dash'd them from his sight."
He ceas'd; and, wondrous strange! the sun stood still
On Gibeon's princely palaces and towers;
And the pale moon on Ajelon's deep vale--
Till Israel's returning shouts proclaim'd
The triumph of their arms, and rose-crown'd maids
To hail their fathers, brothers, lovers, danc'd
To dulcet tones of richest harmony,
Still mingling with the lovely strains which flow'd
From lips so fondly lov'd, and rather seem'd
To their devoted warriors like the notes
Of angel melody, in those bright realms
Where rapture never ends, and joy for ever reigns.
leader of Israel had vow'd to the Lord,
When his marshall'd hosts against Ammon were led,
That if victory crowned his battling sword,
On the altar of heav'n should an off'ring be laid.
And O what an off'ring! the first who should come
To hail his return from victorious strife;
The first that appear'd from his own happy home,
Should bleed by his hand--be it daughter or wife.
His daughter! that soft and affectionate child?
The loveliest blossom of Gilead's bough!
The pride of the hero! the beauteous! the mild?--
And the trembling warrior shrunk from his vow.
The wife of his bosom! Oh, should it be she!
His partner in exile--his soother in care!
Avert it kind heaven--oh, such doom may not be!--
And the conqueror shudder'd, in boding despair.
The children of Ammon are vanquished now,
And the glad shouts of Israel echo afar;
The wreath of the victor encircles his brow,
And his kindred proclaim him their chieftain in war.
In triumph returning, now homeward they bend,
Each bosom beats high for its dear native vale;
'Mid yon hills now the turrets of Mizpah ascend,
And music at distance streams sweet on the gale.
Whose dwelling is yon 'neath the sycamore's shade,
Which the vine and the olive encompass around;
Where the myrtle and rose rear their fragrant head,
And the flowers of the valley besprinkle the ground?
What maiden is she who springs from that bower,
Whose dark tresses chaplets of roses entwine?
'Tis thy lovely child, Jephthah, proud Gilead's flow'r!
That embowered dwelling, rash father, is thine.
The fair one is first--for she rushes to hail
The steps of a parent and conquering chief;
The harp and the timbrel resound thro' the vale,--
But Jephthah stands fix'd in the silence of grief.
The maid is before him--enraptur'd she flies--
"All hail to my father, the dread of the foe!"
The horror-struck hero in agony cries,
" 'Tis my child,--then alas! I am destin'd to woe.
"Sole offspring of Jephthah! delight of my eyes!
My hand is unnerv'd, and my life's blood is cold:
My daughter, alas! 'tis my daughter that dies!
'Tis recorded in heav'n, and who dare withhold?
A moment the rosy blush fled from her cheek,
She raised her dark eyes in anguish to heav'n;
The pulse in her bosom was trembling and weak,
The current of life from its fountain was driv'n.
She must die that the fame of her father might live;
And courage returns--she feareth not death:
"Thou hast vowed to Jehovah, my father--then give
The forfeit to heav'n--'tis a fast-fleeting breath.
"Yet spare me a space on the mountains to roam,
With my weeping companions, that fair virgin train,
That we may amid their wild solitudes moan
My youth's early doom, ere I sink on the plain."
O daughter of Jephthah! soon wither'd thy bloom;
Fair hands with fresh flow'rs are adorning thine urn;
Thy ashes repose 'mid the peace of the tomb,
Thy fate the sad daughters of Israel mourn.
ye gales round Mizpah blowing,
Weep ye clouds that hover there;
Flow'rets cease, O cease your glowing;
Droop your heads, and woo despair!
For the fairest now is sleeping
Low in an untimely grave,
Whilst the dews of heav'n are weeping
On the boughs which o'er her wave.
Her harp's soft strain no more ascending,
Floats in music on the gale;
Her seraph voice in sweetness blending,
Warbles not now thro' the vale.
A spotless off'ring to Jehovah
Fell the loveliest of our land:
Mourn her fate, ye dames of Mizpah,
Weep, O weep, ye virgin band!
Calmly she the blow received,
Meekly bent to meet her doom;
Less than all around she grieved,
Fearless hail'd a bloody tomb.
Warriors' eyes were dim with weeping,
Blooming cheeks were pale with fear;
But the maid, now lowly sleeping,
Heav'd no sigh, and shed no tear.
She knelt--she fell.--The stroke is given--
Childless is our conquering chief;
Her angel spirit rose to heaven,
Jephthah, calm, O calm thy grief!
Low thou liest, hapless maiden;
Cold is the turf upon thy breast;
The roses o'er thy urn are fading,--
Silent is thy place of rest.
prophet of the Lord in Ramah mourn'd
For his offending king, before his God;
For Saul, rebellious, had the mandate spurn'd
Of heav'n--and Heav'n now frown'd on his abode.
Far more Jehovah loves obedience, than
A thousand off'rings on his altars laid:
The righteous judge of angels, and of men,
Humbles the proud, and lifts the lowly head.
And Saul had disobey'd the dread command;
And the Most Holy, from his throne on high,
Rejected him from ruling o'er his land,
And call'd on Samuel from the midnight sky.
"Samuel, my servant! say why dost thou mourn
O'er the rebellious king of Jacob's line?
I have abandon'd him who dar'd to scorn
The sacred bidding of the Pow'r divine,
"Fill now thine horn with oil; arise, and go
To Jesse, in Bethlehem's rural dale--
My future king is of his sons: and lo
He feeds his flocks amid the woody vale."
The prophet went; and now Bethlehem's plains
Are glowing with the altar's hallow'd fires;
The seer exclaims--"Among thy youthful swains,
Jesse, our God his future king desires."
The happy father calls his sons; and lo
The eldest, Eliab, pass'd with lofty stride:
"Is this the captain of the Highest?" No;
God chooseth not the haughty eye of pride;
He seeth not as seeth blinded man;
He judgeth not by the fair outward part:
Mortals alone the mortal fabric scan,--
Th' Omniscient views the secrets of the heart.
Abinadab and Shammah came; but still
The prophet answer'd--" 'Tis not this, nor this:"
Seven sons at once obey their father's will;
Nor one of them the future monarch is,
"Are these now all thy sons? the prophet said;
"Are all thy children here upon the plain?"
"No; still another loiters in the shade,--
He is the youngest, and a shepherd swain.
Far in the distant vale he tends the flocks;
It cannot be the Lord would call the child;
Few days have darken'd o'er his sunny locks--
I thought not of him in the lonely wild."
"Send now and fetch him," Samuel answering cries;
"We may not rest until the boy appears."
He came, the youthful favourite of the skies!
Lovely, and graceful in his blooming years.
The prophet bent to meet him--"Hail!" he said;
"The chosen of Almighty God art thou;
I pour the sacred oil upon thy head;
Our subject land must to thy sceptre bow.
"Above thy brethren I thee chief proclaim--
Head of our tribes, on mountain, dale, and vale;
Blest of the Lord shall be thy prosp'rous reign;
Sov'reign of Israel, hail! King David, hail!
"Thy throne and sceptre shall for ever stand;
Thy offspring earth's remotest regions sway:
From thee shall come the pride of Judah's land,
The Sun that sheds on man immortal day.
"Hail, father of the Saviour of our race!
Hail, root from which the holy Branch shall spring!
Heav'n shields thee ever in its fond embrace,
Father of Zion's everlasting King."
clouds of war were gathering o'er the land;
The marshall'd Philistine had pitch'd his tent
In Ephis-dammim; Saul and Israel lay
Array'd for combat by lone Elah's vale.
Two craggy mountains rais'd their shaggy tops
With threat'ning frown to heav'n; on each the host
Of rival nations were encamp'd; the vale
Which stretch'd between them gave its flowery breast
(So soon to be the scene of blood and death)
Regardless of the future, to the glow
Of the sweet sun-beams of a placid sky.
But mark yon warrior striding thro' the vale,
How proudly daring is his threat'ning port!
Gigantic is his stature--and how fierce
The lightning glances of his eagle eye!
It is Goliah--Gath's far-dreaded chief--
The champion of the hosts of Palestine.
Array'd in brass the dreadful warrior stands
(Like some high tow'r) in shining armour bound;
His spear is in his hand,--its staff appears
Like the proud pine of woody Lebanon;
Its head tremendous glares in polish'd steel--
No common arm could raise its pond'rous weight.
But hark, he speaks!--his voice re-echoes loud;
Like thunder, how it vibrates on the ear!
What says the infidel? hark, how he dares
The listening armies of the living God.
"Servants of Saul! ye tribes of Israel hear!
Why stretch ye forth your dwarfish squadrons there?
Why war ye with the sons of Palestine?
Submit your legions to our greater arms;
Or if ye have a warrior in your camp
Who dare encounter me with spear and shield,
Behold I wait your champion--let him come;
And, if he conquer me in deadly strife,
Our country shall be yours, and we your slaves;
But if my spear prevail, then must ye bow
Obedient to our yoke, and serve our lords.
Your bands, ye men of Israel, I defy--
To mortal strife your boldest warriors call!"
Israel is dumb with terror;--not a man,
From prince, to peasant, dares the vaunting foe.
Saul is unman'd--his soul is dark with fear:
Even Abner trembles for the tott'ring throne.
Almighty King of Jacob, where art thou?
Hast thou, just God, forgot thine heritage?
Hast thou abandon'd them, Eternal One?
And are thy chosen people doom'd to die?
No;--for behold the anointed of the Lord,--
The appointed conqueror seeks the tented field.
It cannot be that blooming shepherd boy,--
The tuneful minstrel of Bethlehem's plains?
No armour shrouds his person, still he wears
The simple habit of rustic swain;
No helmet guards his head, his bright locks fly
In wanton ringlets on the fluttering breeze:
No sword, no shield be bears;--his shield is God,
His sword the mighty arm that rules the sky;
His shepherd's staff supports his youthful steps,
His shepherd's scrip is cross his shoulders hung;
A sling is in his hand; five pebbles smooth,
From the pure brook, are all his arms of war.
But mark, Goliah! doth the youth grow pale?
Doth one foreboding horror heave his breast?
No--for his confidence is plac'd in heav'n;
The Highest nerves his bosom. David smiles--
The hand that sav'd him from the lion's paw--
That sav'd him from the bear's devouring mouth--
Is still stretch'd forth for him;--he fears not man,
And less than all, the heathen who could thus
Defy the armies of the Omnipotent.
But see, the giant scowls upon the youth,
And frowns upon him with a fierce disdain.
Hear how he curses him by all his gods:--
"Art thou come forth against me, beardless boy?
Art thou the champion of the hosts of Saul?
Back to the wilderness and feed thy sheep,--
Thou harping minion of a frenzied king!
Dost thou come forth against me as against
A dog--arm'd with thy sling and shepherd's crook?
Come, and I'll give thy flesh to feed the fowls
Of yon blue sky, and feast the beasts of earth."
But hear the answer of the dauntless youth,
As fearlessly he looks upon his foe:
"Thou com'st against me arm'd with sword and spear--
Thou com'st against me arm'd with helm and shield:
But I oppose thee in the awful name
Of the Almighty God--the Lord of Hosts--
The powerful King of Israel's armed bands,
Whom thou, vain-glorious heathen, hast defied.
The living God, who heard thy vaunting voice,
Shall vanquish thee--even by my feeble hand:
That all the nations of the world may know
That Israel hath a great--a dreadful God;
And that all tribes may learn he saveth not
By sword and spear, but by his might alone.
The battle is the Lord's, and he will give
The Philistine's proud ranks into our hands."
Dark frown'd the giant, and he rush'd to crush
The blooming hero with one awful stroke.
The fearless stripling whirls the fatal sling--
A pebble sinks into Goliah's brain.
The giant staggers--see, he falls to earth--
He groans--the hills re-echo to the sound.
Champion of Judah, thou hast bravely done!
The grim head now adorns thy victor hand.
Hark how the armed tribes of Israel shout!
See how they chase the flying Philistine!
How dreadful is the rout! the conquer'd foe
Strew Shaaraim with their dying bands.
Still, still the havock rages--wide it spreads
Through the far vale, to Ekron's gates, and Gath's.
Loud is the triumph now--the rescu'd land
Hails its deliverer with tumultuous joy.
Daughters of Israel! how your voices swell
In strains of rapture to the tabret's sound!
But hush! ye rouse the envy of your King;
Point not his hate against that youthful head,
Nor make the monarch jealous of your love.
to our monarch returning victorious!
Hail to his champion, our leader in war!
Bright be the sun that has risen so glorious--
Be the fame of the conqueror echo'd afar.
Thousands have fall'n by the hand of our sovereign--
Ten thousands are low by his champion's sword;
Joy o'er the banners of Israel is hovering:
Victory crowned the hosts of the Lord
Strike, strike the harp in measures harmonious;
Let music resound through our cities afar:
Hail, hail our King in numbers melodious!
Hail to his champion, our leader in war!
Saul vanquish'd thousands--his foes fly before him;
David of Judah ten thousands hath slain;
He rescued our country, the virgins adore him,--
The warrior shepherd, the pride of the plain.
Hail to our monarch returning victorious!
Hail to his champion, our leader in war!
Bright be the Sun that has risen so glorious--
Be the fame of the conqueror echo'd afar.
warrior shepherd before Israel's king
Struck the high harp with sweet bewitching hand;
Melodious numbers warbl'd on its string,
To soothe the wretched monarch of the land.
A fiend malignant rag'd within his breast,
And sway'd triumphant o'er his madden'd brain;
But harmony could lull his cares to rest,
And chase the demon spirit from its reign.
The son of Jesse woke the tuneful lyre,
And softest music floated on the gale;
His youthful bosom glow'd with minstrel fire,--
The royal bard of Bethlehem's woody vale.
Sadness had clouded o'er Saul's troubl'd soul,
Ideal terrors trembl'd in his heart,
Futurity before his eye would roll,--
He saw his glory and his crown depart.
Sweet sung the warlike favourite of the land,
But still the monarch frown'd with alter'd eye;
The pointed javelin glitters in his hand--
'Tis aim'd at David--must the anointed die?
No; harmless on the wall the weapon rings,
The jealous king is foil'd, the minstrel gone;
Safe from the royal presence quick he springs,--
And seeks the desert mournful and alone.
! thou holy, tender tie!
Sweet soother of the human breast!
How lovely is thy beaming eye!
How tranquil is thy bosom's rest!
Oh, what were man if thou wert gone!
A pilgrim in a wilderness:
But thou illuminat'st his home
With sun-beams of celestial bliss.
Even love torments, with tyrant power,
When most he rules the captive heart;
But thou art like the lily flower,
Which bears no thorn, and leaves no dart.
Thou wert more priz'd in David's eyes,
Than all a monarch could bestow;
Far dearer were thy precious ties,
Than victory o'er a powerful foe.
His fate was brighten'd by thy bloom,
When favourite of a royal head;
By thee was lightened his doom,
When from a jealous king he fled.
When conquest crown'd his daring arm
Thou hail'd'st him from the field of strife;
When envy threaten'd him with harm,
Thou watched'st anxious o'er his life.
His prince still shar'd his every joy,
Or sooth'd affliction's festering dart:
Nought could the firm regard destroy,
Of the lov'd brother of his heart.
Brothers by a more tender tie
Than that which leagues the kindred pair;
The prince and champion of the land
In secret meet,--part in despair.
The prince fears not that David's hand
Will grasp from him the regal sway,
Kingless ere then must be the land,
Cold, Jonathan--in mould'ring clay.
Ere then Gilboa's mountain side
Must be the scene of death and woe;
For there--even there, shall Israel's pride
Fall humbl'd by an haughty foe.
Low sleeping 'mid the silent dead,
Their eye-balls dark, their bosoms chill,
The prince and sovereign shall be laid
All prostrate on the bloody hill.
For Saul and Jonathan must fall,--
In the lost battle's scene of dread;
Heav'n will not hear, tho' Israel call,
Nor save the people's royal head.
Then shall the grief of David flow--
Friendship and hate alike are gone;
For side by side his friend and foe
Repose, and leave a vacant throne.
And he shall grasp the fallen spear,
And rush for vengeance to the field:
Saul's conquerors then shall shake with fear,
The enemies of Israel yield.
, arise--'tis dead of night,
Thine enemy is sleeping laid;
Arise, the moon gives feeble light--
Saul's thousands slumber round his bed.
But who will David's steps attend,
And share with him the perilous hour?
"Come, Abishai--come, my friend,
And dare with me the tyrant's pow'r."
The pair arose; the moon-beams guide
Them on to where the monarch lay;
Round him array'd, in martial pride,
His sleeping thousands wait the day.
"A death-like slumber chains the band;
See, persecuted hero, see
Thy ruthless foe beneath thy hand:
Strike, outlaw'd chief, and thou art free;
"Or let thy servant give the blow."
In vengeance Abishai cries:
"I lift my spear against a foe--
I strike but once, and lo! he dies.
"Are we not like the hunted roe,
Still flying, chas'd from place to place?
Art thou not like the timid doe,
That coucheth in the wilderness?
"Strike, and a sceptre waits thy hand;
Strike, and a crown adorns thy head:
Behold, the God of Israel's land
Thy foe beneath thy feet hath laid!"
"No," David answer'd; "God forbid
That I should raise a guilty hand
Against the oil-anointed head--
Against the monarch of the land.
"Destroy him not; for who shall dare
Thus smite the Lord's anointed King?
Such foul rebellious deed forbear:
Stain not thy soul with such a thing.
"As the Lord liveth, and beholds
The actions of the sons of men;
Even Jehovah, who upholds
The upright from the sinner's ken--
"Saul yet shall fall, tho' not by me;
Another hand shall lay him low:
Our God himself shall set us free--
His arm shall rid us of our foe.
"But bring, my Abishai, bring
The cruse of water, and the spear
Which rest beside the sleeping king,
And haste away--why stand we here?"
Morn dawn'd upon Hachilah hill--
Morn dawn'd upon the desert lone--
The sun-beams danced upon the vale;
But David and his friend were gone.
But seest thou yonder rock arise?
The outlaw'd warriors on it stand;
The chief to his pursuers cries--
"Lo! your king's spear is in my hand.
"Abner, first of the hosts of Saul,
Say, art not thou a valiant man?
Even by thy side thy lord might fall,
And thou sleep--thou careless one!
"At dead of night, even by his bed,
I stood, unscar'd at midnight hour:
None watch'd their sov'reign's sleeping head;
He lay expos'd to vengeful power.
"But Heav'n forbid that I should harm
The Lord's anointed, sacred one;
That I should lift a traitor arm
Against the monarch and the man.
"My lord, my father! thou dost know
Thy servant would not injure thee;
Why art thou then my deadly foe?
Why dost thou hatred bear to me?
"What is the evil I have done?
What guiltiness is in my hand,
That thou should'st chase thy faithful son
O'er ev'ry mountain of the land?
"Thou huntest me thro' wood and dale,
With unrelenting, cruel strife;
Thou huntest me o'er hill and vale,
Yet lo! I would not touch thy life."
Saul heard the voice--he saw the spear
Gleam bright in David's distant hand;
Remorse awoke a transient tear--
He stood confus'd before his band.
"Forgive me, O my son!" he cries;
"No more my hand shall injure thee;
My life was precious in thine eyes,
And thou art safe henceforth with me."
'Tis night,--the azure vault is dim,
Scarce twinkles in its arch a star;
The moon, half veil'd, looks from the sky
In pity on the sons of war.
Gilboa, scene of coming death!
Clouds darkly shroud thy mountain head;
To-morrow's sun shall see thee groan
Beneath the dying, and the dead.
'Tis night in yonder vaulted sky,
'Tis night upon Gilboa's hill,
'Tis night in Endor's wizard wild,
'Tis night in Shunem's tented vale.
But who is he, that thro' the gloom,
Seeks Endor, to unveil his fate?
'Tis Saul, deserted of his God,--
The king who dar'd Jehovah's hate.
In hour of rage, the priests of heav'n
Before the ruthless monarch fell;
And heaven will now no answer give,
And Saul implores the powers of hell.
He bids the witch rouse from the dead
The sleeping prophet to his view;
And lo! the shrouded seer appears,
All pale, in chill death's ghastly hue.
But yet, even thro' death's fearful veil,
The monarch knew the holy man,
And bending he implores the sage
His future destinies to scan.
With hollow voice the spirit cries,
"How hast thou dar'd to trouble me?
Or why invoke my feeble aid,
Seeing thy God abandons thee?
"And, as he spake while yet I liv'd,
He rends the kingdom from thy hand,
And giv'st it to the man thou hat'st,--
Even to the exile of the land.
"To David, Jesse's warlike son,
Whom thou pursu'st with cruel power;
To him thy throne, thy might is given--
Lo! nigh is thy last regal hour.
"To-morrow is a day of dread,
And tho' its sun shall dawn on thee,
Yet ere its last declining beam,
Thou, and thy sons, shall be with me.
"Jehovah frowns upon thy war,
And Israel, vanquished and low,
Shall heap Gilboa with their slain,
And sink before a heathen foe.
"To-morrow--mark me!" Samuel said,
"Ere sinks the bright sun's golden light--
To-morrow thou shalt be with me,
Wrapt in the shades of death and night!"
Prone fell the horror-stricken king,
And shudder'd at his coming doom:
He shrunk in anguish from his fate;
Yet rush'd upon an opening tomb.
beauty of Israel is wither'd and low,
It hath fall'n in blood on yon dark mountain's side;
The mighty have sunk 'neath the hand of the foe,
And the sons of the Philistine triumph in pride.
O tell not in Gath the cause of our sorrow;
In Askelon name not our grief or our shame--
Nor let the proud daughters of Palestine borrow,
From the depth of our anguish, the height of their fame.
Ye hills of Gilboa! dire fields of the slain!
May no dew-drop sprinkle your mountainous head;
May rain never bless your stain'd herbage again,
May your foliage be blasted--your soft verdure fled.
For on you was broken the shield of the brave--
The shield of the valiant thrown vilely away;
Our glory engulph'd in dishonour's dark wave,
And black clouds of ruin roll'd over our day.
Our monarch is fallen, he sleeps with the slain;
As oil had not sprinkl'd his hallowed head:
The glory of Jacob is sought for in vain--
It is buried in dust--it is low with the dead.
From blood of the slain, from the mighty in war,
Thy fatal bow, Jonathan, turn'd not away;
And the bright sword of Saul shed vengeance afar,
When it flash'd, like a sun-beam, on victory's day.
How lovely, how pleasant, in life's glowing hour,
Were the sov'reign and prince of our desolate lands;
Together they march'd in the pomp of their pow'r,
Together they sleep, 'mid their vanquished bands.
They were swifter than eagles, when tow'ring on high;
All fearless they soar, 'mid the clouds of the storm;
They were stronger than lions, as dauntless their eye,
When they rush'd on the foes that our country deform.
O'er Saul, then, ye daughters of Israel weep,
Who cloth'd you in scarlet, and gem'd you with gold;
With the low-lying dead our warriors sleep,
The pride of the battle are silent and cold.
O how are ye fallen, ye chiefs of the brave!
O how are ye fallen, ye dread of the foe!
Gilboa, O Jonathan, now is thy grave;
On thy mountains thou liest all breathless and low!
In anguish my bosom is heaving for thee,
O brother, and friend of my now lonely breast;
How sweet, O how dear was thy friendship to me!--
My spirit is mournful, my soul is distress'd.
Thy love, O my brother, was wond'rous for me!
The fondness of woman it even surpass'd;
But now my harp wakes its sad numbers for thee,
For thy stately head sunk 'mid the deep howling blast.
O how aye the mightiest fallen and gone!
The weapons of battle are faded away:
Raise, daughters of Israel, raise the sad moan,
For your glory hath sunk in Gilboa's dark day.
the fierce fury of the heathen Queen
Of the degen'rate race of Israel's land,
Elijah, just and holy, fled, to save
His threaten'd life from her revengeful hate.
His hand, embolden'd by his zeal for heav'n,
Had slain the prophets of her idol god;
And she pursues with unrelenting rage,
The chosen servant of the Eternal One.
Lonely and sad, amid the wilderness,
Behold the persecuted prophet kneel,
In agony of soul, before his God;
Hark! from his lips what words of anguish flow!
"Almighty One! O let me die," he cries,
"What am I better than my fathers were?
And lo! they sleep in dust, and so would I --
How welcome to my soul would be the quiet,
The calm repose of the still house of death!"
Jehovah heard his servant; and he bent
A pitying eye from heav'n, and bade a sweet
And gentle slumber veil his weeping eyes.
Elijah sleeps; above his hoary head,
A juniper extends its friendly shade,
And angel guardians watch o'er his repose;
When lo! descending from the courts of heaven,
A glorious seraph wings his rapid way;
And stooping o'er the lonely spot, where rests
The persecuted servant of his Lord,
He droops his starry wings, and stays his flight.
A smile celestial plays upon his lips,
Brightens his polish'd brow, and glows upon
The heavenly roses of his beauteous cheek;
As, bending o'er the holy man, he wakes
The sleeping mortal, and in accents soft
As summer breezes, bids him rise, and eat.
Starting, the prophet opes his heavy eyes,
And sees beside him heav'n-provided food,
And water also; for the God who fed
The wand'ring tribes of Israel forty years,
In the lone desert's wild and sterile waste,
Feeds also now his servant, and hath sent
His angel with this meal to mortal man.
Almighty God! how marvellous is thy love
To the frail sons of Adam's guilty race!
Thou know'st their feeble frames of breathing dust
Are but the flowers of earth,--but transient flowers,
Which bloom and blossom but to fade and die.
And liberally thou dost provide for all
Their little wants, and watchest o'er them still.
Again sleep seals Elijah's weary eyes;
Again the food prepar'd of heaven is sent;
Again the seraph rouses him, and bids
Him rise and eat, and for the road prepare;
For far and lonely is the barren rout
Of his impending journey; for his course
Is order'd through the wilderness, and he
Must bend his footsteps to the mount of God.
Now forty days and forty nights are past,
And view Elijah in the dreary cave
Of Horeb's sacred mountain. Hark! the voice
Of the Eternal sounds amid the storm--
"What dost thou here, Elijah? -- why do I
Behold thee wand'ring in the wilderness?"
"Because, O Lord, thy faithful servant hath
Been very jealous for thy holy name
For the abandon'd sons of Jacob have
Forsaken thee, their Maker, and have thrown
Down thy most holy altars, and have bent
The knee to Baal, and with unhallow'd sword
Have slain thy prophets; and even I alone
Have scap'd their fury, and they seek my life."
But hush! again the voice of God resounds
Amid the echoes of the mountain wild:
"Go forth, Elijah, stand upon the mount,--
Even in the awful presence of thy God."
The seer obeys; and lo! the Lord passed by,
And a fierce tempest rag'd on Horeb's side,
And brake the rocks, and rent the trembling hills
But the Almighty was not in the storm.
And now an earthquake shakes the groaning earth:
Can this declare the presence of the just,
The dreadful sovereign of the universe?
No, nor in this Jehovah is confest.
But see, a liquid flame spreads far and wide,
Rolls o'er the rocky ground, and floats on air:
O! can the high and holy one in this
Bright, blazing torrent, flash on human ken?
O no!--but hush! hark to that still, small voice,--
How sweet its tones of mildness and of love!
And now the prophet owns the voice divine!
Not in the raging storm, nor in the dread,
Devouring earthquake, nor in the fierce flame,
The Almighty Majesty of Heav'n appears:
No--but in mercy's soft and stilly voice,
The great and glorious Godhead smiles on man.
on the prophets wander'd. As they walk'd
They spake of things celestial. The hour
Which was to snatch Elijah from the earth
Was come, and his pure soul was wrapt in bliss,
And holy expectation of the joys--
His bright reward of glory--by the throne
Of the Omniscient Majesty of heaven.
O highly favour'd mortal!--if we dare
To call thee mortal--who undying gain'd
Th' immortal pleasures of th' angelic world.
Behold yon brilliant star, which shoots
Its rapid course across the sapphire vault:
How swift its progress to our nether world!
'Tis now so near, it seems a cloud of gold.
Near and more near it draws. What can it be,
That glorious pageant from the realms above?
Elijah, favour'd son of earth! 'tis thine--
Thy car triumphal to thy home on high.
Swift darts the blazing chariot to its goal;
The fiery steeds of heav'n disdain the earth,
Nor will they deign to tread its tainted soil;
Cloud-borne, it hangs in air;--an unseen pow'r
Conveys the prophet to his radiant seat,
And whirlwinds waft him from Elisha's view.
and sad by Babel's streams
The exiles of Judea rov'd,
And wept o'er the departed scenes
Of that dear land--the land they lov'd.
Proud Babylon! thy fields were fair,
Thy flow'rets crimson, azure, gold;
Their sweets perfum'd the ambient air,
Thy streams in living silver roll'd.
But all these charms were lost on them,
Or notic'd but to rouse their woe:
The flow'r bloom'd idly on its stem,
Unheeded purest waters flow.
Their harps upon the willow trees,
Which overhung the limpid wave,
They useless hung, and to the breeze
The voice of sighs and sorrow gave.
But when their spoilers call'd for joy,
And bade them strike the harp again,
To songs of bliss without alloy,--
To Zion's sweet and holy strain,--
How could they wake the silent string
With trembling and unwilling hand?
O, how the Lord's song could they sing
Within a heathen, foreign land?
"No," they exclaim'd, "when we no more
Remember Salem's ruin'd towers,
Within our breast life's pulse is o'er,
And the cold grave alone is ours."
queen of night! thou silver crescent moon,
That float'st in azure clouds 'mid fields of light!
What was the wond'rous scene which thou survey'dst,
From thy bright throne on high, that awful night
The Babylonian empire sunk in dust?
A lovely night it was--'mid eastern nights
One deem'd most lovely--scarce a cloud obscur'd
The beauty of heav'n's calm refulgent arch;
Or when a vapour pass'd, 'twas silv'ry, light,
And floated o'er the sapphire, vision-like,
And then was lost in the immense expanse
Of the pure sky.
Far worshipp'd star of even!
Thy golden lamp, and light-surrounded car,
Beam'd bright in space, and near the moon's fair orb
Roll'd in a sea of splendour. Gem of heav'n!
Say, didst thou glory in the rose-crown'd crowds,
Who, hast'ning to thy temple, fill'd thy halls
With love-devoted worshippers--O say!
From thy bright sphere didst thou exult to see
The joyous multitudes that bent to thee?
Infatuated fools! they little thought
That night of guilty madness was their last:--
They little thought the Persian hosts but stay'd
Till, sunk in sleep and wine--an easy prey!
They lay expos'd to the victorious bands
That panted for the hour which was to give
Them and their fated monarchy to ruin.
Secure they feasted--not a thought was theirs
Of the impending danger frowning nigh,
And soon to fall all-dreadful on their heads.
Belshazzar, impious king! tho' God had given
His fav'rite people to thy father's sword,--
How could'st thou, worm of earth! how could'st thou dare
T' insult th' Almighty Majesty of Heav'n?
Didst thou not know that for their sins they fell;
That for their sins their God had given them o'er
Unto thy father's power, and made them feel
The exile's miseries--the captive's woes--
The throes of anguish which the slave must bear--
The conquer'd slave, that serves a foreign lord?
Vain man! didst thou imagine 'twas their God
Who yielded to proud Bab'lon's victor spear?
No; the Almighty Ruler of the storm,
The power that moveth in the whirlwind's blast--
That bids the lightnings flash, the thunders roll--
That awful pow'r makes bare his 'venging arm
Against the nations that provoke his wrath;
And raiseth tyrant kings to be the scourge
With which he punisheth the guilty lands
That tempt his justice, and his mercy scorn.
He bids proud empires fall, and be no more,
And raiseth others from the lowly dust;
And now, even now--when thou, and all thy lords,
Thy queen, and the fair minions of thy court,
In oriental splendour crowd thy board;
When the rich feast is spread, the wine is pour'd,
And all is gaiety, and wanton mirth;
When music from a thousand golden harps,
Pours its enchantment on the thoughtless throng;--
Even now his arm hangs o'er thee--great in might,
And, terrible in justice, points at thee.
The thunders of the Eternal lower above thee,
Ready to burst in fury on thy head.
Even while thy guilty hand that golden cup--
The holy vessel of his temple!--lifts,
Sparkling with wine, to thy polluted lips;
His arm is rais'd to dash it from thy grasp,
Ere lips impure have stain'd its sacred brim.
Ah, see, it falls!--monarch! why tremblest thou?
Why is thy gaze fix'd on the light which streams
In rays of awful glory from yon wall?
What can it be, that supernatural light?
It is not the reflected glow which glares
From the high altars of th' Assyrian gods,
Nor yet from yon bright chandelier which stands,
With seven lamps crown'd--another holy spoil
From the fallen temple of Jehovah's land:
No, no! it is more wond'rous--brighter far
Than all their beams concentred could reflect
On the pure polish of yon marble hall.
The moon looks pale, the vesper star is blanch'd
In the unwonted blaze; the serpent writhes,
In seeming agony, beneath its fires;
Of Zion's candlestick the lights grow dim,
And only give a sick, blue, livid glare.
What can it be?
It is the God of heaven--
The God thou hast offended, child of dust!
'Tis he hath given his angel charge to write
Thy pending doom in characters of flame.
See, see that hand!--'tis as the hand of man;
But man--poor feeble man! man cannot read,
Unless illum'd by heaven, these words of fire.
Belshazzar, call thy magi,--thy wise men--
Thy soothsayers--thy astrologers; call these--
Perchance they can interpret yon strange tongue--
Yon language of the deity; perchance
Unfold the secrets of the Eternal, and
Reveal the fate of Babylon's wond'ring king.
In vain they come,--not theirs such mystic lore--
They stand in strange astonishment, or sit
In stupid silence--poring o'er the page
Of some dark magic parchment;--vain their search!
They must confess their ignorance--must own
Yon burning prodigy beyond their powers.
Now, terror-stricken sov'reign! haste proclaim
Thy royal gifts and high rewards to him
Who can decipher what thou dread'st to hear,
And what thou well may'st dread. But see, the queen
Approaches;--hark! she speaks, and speaks to thee:
"O king, for ever live!--among the bands
Of princely captives from Judea brought
By the great father's arms, was one fair youth,
In whom the spirit of the living gods
Remain'd in awful majesty, and fill'd
His mighty mind with knowledge far above
The sons of human race. This man thy sire
Made prince o'er all the wise men of the east.
Send now for him, and he will tell thee, king,
What these far-beaming characters import."
Here ceas'd the fair. The willing nobles fly
For Daniel. Lonely on Euphrates' banks
The favour'd captive dwelt;--there, scorning courts,
Their folly, and their noise, he serv'd his God,
And pass'd his harmless life in prayer and praise.
There Babylon's princes found the holy man
In rapt devotion, communing with heav'n.
A sacred fervour beam'd o'er his pale face--
His eyes were upward turn'd--his thoughts were fix'd
On other worlds, and events far remov'd
From the dark present;--his mind's eye survey'd
The Persian monarch's triumph, and his reign:
He saw the victor prince predicted once,
Nam'd by Isaiah in his vision'd song,
Smile on his country's exiles; he beheld
Their fetters broken, and their glad return
To that sweet land, which now neglected lay,--
Its fields uncultur'd, and its vines unpruned.
"God of my fathers!" he exclaim'd, "receive
Thy servant's gratitude,--his hymn of praise."
Then, falling prostrate on the ground, ador'd
Th' omniscient power which rules the earth and sky.
Thus was he found. "Hail, Daniel, hail!" they cried,
"The king demands thy presence: omens strange
Have fill'd the astrium with signs of dread.
Haste, Belteshazzar, and if thou declar'st
The import of those words the gods have trac'd,
In awful characters of living fire,
The king decrees a gorgeous robe, and chain
Of gold to thee, and names thee third in power
Through all the realms which own his regal sway."
"His gifts be to himself," the seer returned,
"Such toys of earth I only count as dross;--
Yet I obey, and hasten to your Lord,
That I may give before th' assembl'd state,
Glory to Israel's God--the God I serve,
The just, almighty, and all-present One;
'Tis he will give his servant power to read
'The lightning-graven lines of which you speak."
Now see the prophet in the imperial hall;
In sable robe he stands,--his reverend beard,
Silver'd by years of grief, falls on his breast;
His look is solemn, mournful, but compos'd--
Alone compos'd amid the list'ning crowds--
His arm is rais'd--he points to that bright sign
Which scatters horror o'er the heathen throng.
Mark how they press around him!--on each face
Anxiety and fear sit deep impress'd;
Shudd'ring, the monarch listens to his doom;--
A fainting princess clasps his knees, and falls
In speechless agony upon the floor;--
A lover, trembling for the life most dear
To his fond heart, grasps the fair hand of her
Who clings to him;--forgetful of all else,
He rushes to the prophet, and implores
The sage to save, to shield his beauteous love.
Lo, the inspir'd man of God now speaks!
Hear the decrees of dread Omnipotence!
"Belshazzar, hear the message of the God
Thou hast provok'd by thy impiety
To hurl on thee his desolating wrath.
"Child of mortality! yon writing speaks
To thee in words of woe:--'Mene, mene ;'
God hath thy kingdom number'd and dissolv'd:
'Tekel; '--and thou art weigh'd, and thou art found
Light as a feather in the scale of justice.
Thy wide empire soon must be divided:
God hath given it, and its regal glory,
To the Medes and Persians, who surround
Thy ponderous walls, and scorn thy gates of brass."
Here ceas'd the prophet. The astonish'd king
Bends in mute horror to his coming fate;
But bids them clothe the sage of Judah's land
In all the princely gifts he had ordain'd.
Oh, what a scene of anguish and dismay
That lately joyous royal hall displays!
The board, array'd in eastern luxury,
Is left a splendid monument to man,
That tho' the feast is spread, the wine-cup rais'd,--
The lips may never taste its dainties;--no,
Nor quaff the mirth-inspiring draught;--to man,
Nought but eternity and death are sure.
Despair is deep impress'd on every face;
Alarm and mis'ry glare in ev'ry eye:
The throne is vacant--a Chaldean prince
No more may press its crimson seat, nor give
Imperial lustre to its sinking pride.
The lovely queen, all pale and fearful, kneels,
Upon the ground, and casts a timid glance
To yon portentous characters, which dart
Their rays, like arrows dipt in fire, on all
The woe-struck crowds, that fly, and stop, and gaze.
Alternately, then shudd'ring fall on earth,
And prostrate call to their false gods for aid
They cannot give; for they must share the fate
Of their deluded worshippers, and sink
In the vast ruin which envelopes all.
Proud Babylon! Queen of many nations!
Where, where art thou?
What, what art thou?
The nest of serpents, and the dismal den
Of things impure,--where rav'ning beasts of prey
Howl in dire concert, 'neath the sick'ning moon:
Thy palaces, thy splendour sunk in dust;
Thy glory turn'd to shame;--the prophet's voice
Which spoke thy fall hath awfully been true.
Where are thy hanging gardens?
They are gone.
Where Babel's tower, that threatened the skies?
Where Bel's proud temple?
They are fall'n--all gone,
Nor left a wreck, to tell where once they stood.
Daughter of Babylon! thy fate should teach
The empires of this world,--should cry aloud,
"Children of clay! O think what I was once!
What I am now! and what ye all must be!"
shepherds, in Bethlehem's rural plains,
Watch'd o'er their fleecy charge by the pale moon,
They, stretch'd upon the grass, under the shade
Of sycamore and cedar, spake of him--
The root and branch of Jesse's royal tree.
They said th' expected time at length was come
When Judah was again to hail her king,
And, longing for the blissful period, rais'd
Their supplicating voice in songs to heav'n.
"God of our fathers! God of Abraham!
O listen to thy chosen people's prayers!
Give us the promis'd Saviour--the king
Who is to free us from oppressive foes."
But as their anthem rose in choral swell,
Angelic music mingled with the hymn,
And high above their heads, and all around,
Celestial glory brightened the scene:
An angel stood before them, on the ground:
O'ercome with terror fell the sons of men;
But with a voice as soft as summer showers,
As sweet and fragrant as the breath of spring,
When the young zephyrs woo the opening flow'rs,
And shake the perfume from the blushing rose,
The beauteous seraph spake: a smile divine
Glow'd on his lovely cheek; his tresses wav'd
In golden ringlets on the ambient air;
His radiant wings sparkl'd with all the hues
Of the seven-tinctur'd arch that paints the skies:
"Fear not, ye sons of Abram's race, fear not--
Good tidings of great joy I bring to you--
And not to you alone--to all mankind:
To you and them is born, in David's town,
A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord of might--
A Shepherd, who shall guide his chosen flock
To flow'r-enamell'd meads and shady groves.
Go, seek the holy stranger; ye shall find
The virgin mother and the heav'nly babe
Lodg'd in a stable--in a manger laid."
Here ceas'd the messenger of peace to man:
The shepherds, re-assur'd, stood gazing on
The glorious visitant: when, lo!--a train
Of heav'n's inhabitants appear'd enthron'd
On clouds of rosy hue, glowing with gold,
And gem'd with sapphire, emerald, and beryl;--
A light more dazzling far than of the sun,
When, hung in middle heav'n, he darts his rays
In floods of splendour on the brighten'd world,
Illumin'd Bethlehem's plains, and fully shew'd
Angelic loveliness to mortal ken:
Eternal youth smil'd on each cherub's face,
Unmingl'd pleasure sparkl'd in their eyes,
Crowns wreath'd with roses circled their brows,
And robes of lightning flow'd around their forms;
Celestial harmony thrill'd thro' the air;
A thousand harps of gold, by seraphs struck,
Rose in full swell upon the ear of night:
"Glory to God," they sung, "good will to man,
And peace on earth for ever: God hath given
His son to live and die for sinful dust:
Glory to God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit--Glory in the highest!"
solemn is this silence!--not a sound
Is heard, save the faint moaning of the breeze,
And the low sob that bursts from speechless grief,
Or the soft trembling sigh which swells the heart,
When pity's gentle influence sways the soul.
The scene around us is the field of graves,--
The dead are slumb'ring here, and silence spreads
Her chilly wing to shroud the bed of death.
Whose are those deep low sobs? whose are those sighs,
That mingle with the whispers of the gale,
And tell of sorrow for some friend now gone?
Who are those crowds of mourners, and whose is
The lowly narrow house they weep around?
It is the tomb of Lazarus, and those
Deep sobs, that speak of woe, burst from the hearts,
Of his bereaved sisters, and those sighs--
The offspring of sweet pity!--heave the breasts
Of sympathizing neighbours--who have come
To soothe the anguish of the drooping pair.
But who is he, conspicuous o'er the rest
For dignity of mein, and look of kind
And soft benevolence?--whose mild bright eye
Is rais'd in calm, confiding love to heav'n,
Or gently bent compassionate on man?
It is the Saviour of the human race--
The holy Lamb of God--the lov'd of heav'n--
The spotless Son of Man,--whose breast divine
No sinful passion, nor dark thought e'er stain'd.
His chosen twelve are round him; and behold
The weeping sisters kneeling at his feet:
And strangers too are there--Jews who have come
To comfort those that mourn, and share their woe.
The Saviour sees their sorrow, and he feels
Compassion's tender tide o'erwhelm his soul;--
For see, he weeps. Amazing proof of love
To frail mortality! Lo! Jesus weeps!
Weeps to behold the ravages of death--
Weeps to behold the woes--the piercing woes--
That rend the bosoms of the sons of earth:
And deep within those bosoms' deepest core,
Th' incarnate eye beholds each thought that lurks
Within its dark recesses; and the foul,
The guilty murmurs of our rebel race
Shroud in a cloud of tears its lucid beams.
He weeps! the Jews behold the falling drops,
And, wond'ring, bid each other mark his love.
"See how he loved him; and could not he
Who hath with awful pow'r--even by a word--
Pour'd light upon the eye-balls of the blind,
And given this glorious world unto their gaze--
Say, could not he have caus'd that even this man,
The tenant of that tomb, should not have died?"
The great Redeemer reads their inmost thoughts:
Again he weeps, then bids them roll the stone
From the dark cavern's mouth, where lay his friend.
The stone is roll'd away; and now to heav'n
The Just One lifts his supplicating eyes:
"Father," he cries, "I thank thee, O my God,
That thou hast heard me; and I know that thou
Hearest me always: but for those who stand
Around me, I said so; that they may know
That thou hast sent me, and I come from thee."
The Jews gaze on him;--in his heav'nward eye
A glory more than mortal shines, and high
Commanding majesty illumes his form;--
Celestial beauty glows upon his check,
And the soft lustre of the sunshine gilds
His amber ringlets with a radiant light.
"Lazarus, come forth," he cries; and lo! the dead
Obeys the powerful voice--which yet shall bid
All Adam's slumb'ring sons and daughters rise.
The Jews start back, awe-struck, and dumb with fear;--
The chosen twelve exulting mark the power
Of their meek Lord;--the raptur'd sisters rush
With one quick cry of joy toward the tomb;--
The lately dead, rous'd from his still, cold sleep,
From his low bed comes forth, still fetter'd by
The ghastly vestments of the narrow house;
And his first gaze instinctively is bent
Upon the mild, benignant face of him
Who stands alone--calm and collected, 'mid
The strange emotions of th' impassion'd scene.
was the sightless man: the glorious sun
Had never dawn'd to glad his rayless eyes;
He ne'er had seen that beauteous orb of day
Brighten the sapphire concave of the sky,
And throw a livelier green athwart the mead,
Or pour a flood of silver o'er the stream:
No--but alas! oft as he heard them tell
Of bright unclouded sun, or clear blue sky,
Or the gay em'rald tincture of the mead,
Or varied scenery of hill and dale--
The forest's deeply pleasing, solemn gloom--
The little groves that clothe the wooded vales,
Or the sweet flowers that spangle nature's breast,
Or the stern grandeur which sublimely reigns
O'er the lone desert; or the mountain hoar,
With rugged rocks; or where the ocean spreads
Its dark blue world of wonders to the sky;--
Or when they spake of nature's simpler charms--
The mountain streamlet, or the limpid wave
Of some pure river, o'er whose silver tide
Embow'ring woodlands threw a pleasing shade;--
The darken'd one would sigh--a burning tear
Would tremble on his cheek, and he would groan
In mental wretchedness, as the sad thought
Darted across his brain: "These, these alas!
Must never glad my darken'd, sightless eyes:
Unhappy I must wander my lone way,
Thro' life's long pilgrimage, and glean with tears
A scanty pittance from the niggard hand
Of man's cold charity. Alas! for me
No sun looks glorious from his throne on high--
No landscape smiles, no summer day looks fair."
But when he heard of Jesus--when he heard
His word alone could call from the dark tomb
Its cold inhabitant; and when he heard
That those who once were strangers like himself
To light, and the gay beauties of the world,
Now saw, and joy'd--transported with their change;
O how the blind man's heart with rapture throbb'd!
O how his sightless eyes were turn'd to heav'n,
In ardent supplication that his God
Would send the wond'rous prophet to his aid!
Poor Bartimeus! thou art dark and sad,--
Hard-hearted man heeds little for thy plaint;
But the Almighty hears it: thou art set,
Begging by the way side--the anxious wish,
Still highest in thy breast, that David's son,
Supreme in mercy, might be sent to thee.
Thou startest from thy seat! say, what is that--
That distant sound which strikes thy list'ning ear?
'Tis like the tread of coming, countless feet;
'Tis like the hum of many voices blent
In glad acclaim, to hail some friend of man.
Thy anxious heart beats high: "O were it he!"
Is still thy oft, and oft repeated cry.
The crowd is gathering round, and thou hast ask'd,
In trembling expectation,--"What may mean
Th' approaching multitude?" and many a voice
Replies, " 'Tis Jesus." Welcome, welcome sound!
The blind man falls, kneeling and suppliant,
On the ground, and calls in breathless ardour,
"Jesus, O son of David! pity me."
Yes, Bartimeus, 'tis in vain they bid
Thee cease thy supplications; still the more
Thou call'st, "Have mercy, David's son, on me."
And he hath heard thee. Hark! the gentle voice,
Compassionate, which calls thee to his side,
And asks, benignant, "What thy suit may be?"
"Lord, that I may receive my sight," is thy
Delighted answer; and the son of God,
Smiling in pity on the child of man,
Replies, in tones of mildness and of love,
"As is thy faith, so be it unto thee."
Rejoice, O son of Timeus! for what
A flood of glory bursts upon thy view!
The golden light of day is bright on thee,--
Hills, vales, and meadows smile around, and the
Blue sky stretches its placid arch above,
Whilst the fair sun, now first beheld, flames o'er
The varied landscape, in a sea of light.
But hills, nor vales, nor meads, nor glorious sun,
Tho' now but first beheld can draw thy gaze
From the mild face of him who gave them to
Thy gladden'd eyes;--to thee he stands supreme
In loveliness, unpeer'd by all around.
Meekly the Saviour stands: he seems to share
The bliss which he hath given; he smiles upon
Thee, Bartimeus, with celestial love,
And thou, like those his mercy saves from woes,
And blindness of a darker nature, hang'st
Upon his footsteps, and still follow'st where
His hand directs thee thro' life's thorny way.
of Zion, shout! behold thy King,
All meek and lowly, seated on an ass.
Jerusalem! thy sov'reign seeks thy towers--
His bosom fill'd with pitying love for thee--
And not for thee alone--for all mankind:
And tho' the hour approaches when he must
Hang on the cross,--a bleeding sacrifice
For the impure--himself without a stain!
Yet he looks down on all the fallen race
With eyes that, beaming mercy, shed their rays--
Beneficent, compassionate, and kind.
Shout, sons of Adam!--shout! he comes, he comes!
The promis'd Saviour comes--no regal pomp
Bespeaks the long-expected, long-desir'd
Offspring of David--both his son and Lord.
Tho' angels hail'd him, and bright from the sky
Descending, sung the heavenly infant's birth,
Glory to God, and peace and love to man,
Yet man, the ingrate!--man, for whom he came
To spend his days in pain--his nights in tears--
His life in sorrow; and at length to die--
O wond'rous love!--to die that he might live;
Hear it, with indignation, highest heaven!
Tremble, and groan with horror, O thou earth!
Wonder, ye ministers of the Most High!
Blush, children of the clay! and in the dust
Hide, hide your guilty faces from the day!
Man--rebel man alone, knew not his Lord:
Earth's high ones slighted him--few, very few,
Follow'd the houseless Saviour of the world,--
And these were but its humblest,--yet he still--
Still labour'd on amongst them--still he gave
Health to the sick, sight to the blind, and life
To many the grim king had made his prey.
Children of Salem! your king comes--at length
O let your stony hearts confess his pow'r!
Pour forth to meet him--hail the Prince of Peace!
And with your garments strew Immanuel's way.
They come, they come!--see, see the rushing crowds!
Hark, how they shout--"Zion, behold thy king!"
Lo! the triumphal palms, how high they wave!
Green branches strew his path; and children run
And scatter fragrant roses on the ground.
He smiles on them--his placid face now shines
In all its heavenly beauty, and his eye
Is brighten'd with a beam of sacred joy;--
His triumph is begun o'er sin and hell:
Legions of angels, by all else unseen,
Throng round him, and the hallelujah join;--
The sons of darkness fly, and the arch-fiend
At distance low'rs, and writhes beneath his doom.
Hark, hark the glad hosannah--how it swells!
Old men, and maids, and infants join the song:
"Hosannah! blessed be the King who comes
In the all-glorious name of the Most High:
Hail, son of David! glory to the Lord,
And peace to man--Hosannah in the highest!
"David, our father, blessed is thy throne;
Thy kingdom bless'd, that is to know no end!--
Bless'd--for it is establish'd in the name,
The great name of the Lord. Hosannah still!
Glory to God: Hosannah in the highest!"
The Saviour smiles; but yet he smiles through tears:
Alas! he knows those voices which now shout--
"Hosannah to the chief of David's line;"
Alas! he knows those voices soon will cry--
"On us, and on our offspring, be his blood."
His eyes o'erflow with grief. Zion, he sees
The Roman eagles hov'ring o'er thy walls:
He sees thy temple one vast sheet of flame;
Thy palaces, thy tow'rs--all wrapt in fire;
Thy children butcher'd, and thy glory gone.
He weeps not for himself, he weeps for thee;
He mourns thy awful doom: hark! he laments
Thy coming fate--"Jerusalem!" he cries;
"Thou who hast slain the prophets--O that thou,
In this thy day of visitation, knew'st
The things which most belong unto thy peace:
But they are hid, involv'd in darkness, from
Thy sight, and thou abandon'd to thy fate!
For soon the dreadful period must arrive,
When thy fierce foes, encompassing thy walls,
Shall cast a trench around thee, and inclose
Thee in with hostile mounds on ev'ry side,
And lay thee even with the ground; and stretch
Thy children pale in death amid thy flames.
"Of all thy splendid temple, not one stone
Shall be left on another--burnt, and raz'd
To the foundation;--for thou hast not known
This thy last hour of mercy;--therefore thou,
Forsaken of thy God--art left to ruin."
, luminaries, suns of other worlds!
And thou fair moon, chaste empress of the night!
Say, did ye hide your heads in clouds and gloom,
That night the Saviour of the human race
Strove, in Gethsemane, with death and hell?
O awful night! O sight of woe and dread!
When he, the pure, the spotless Lamb of God,
Pour'd forth his soul in agonizing groans,
And bore the sins of a lost, guilty world.
O wond'rous condescension! love divine!
Did he, the God of mercy, bleed for man?
O goodness, infinite! even angels bent,
Astonish'd, from th' empyrean, and survey'd
The dreadful scene, and trembl'd, and ador'd.
When Adam fell, and the first sinner's life
Stern justice claim'd--Son of the highest! then
Thy mercy interpos'd, and sued to save:
"Father! I've found a ransom." Highest heaven
Had heard the gracious promise:--silence reign'd
Around th' eternal throne, till angels broke
The awful stillness, by loud shouts of joy.
Great surety of th' undone--the beggar'd debtors,
Art thou come to pay the mighty sum, and
Break the chains which bind the slaves of Satan?
Saviour of mankind! prostrate on the turf
Thou ly'st,--in agony unknown before:
Thy bosom heaves with sighs, thine eyes o'erflow
With tears of anguish,--on thy pallid brow
Large drops of sweat appear;--but torture ne'er
From mortal forehead forc'd such drops of woe.
Angels behold that crimson sweat, and gaze
In trembling wonder at the dreadful sight,
And listen to the groans which rend the heart
Of God's own son, and shudder at the crimes
Which forc'd heaven's justice to a deed so stern,--
That, for the guilty, the most pure must bleed,
Or mercy still must mourn o'er fallen man.
But hark these plaintive accents Jesus speaks,--
"Father, this bitter cup!--Oh! can it pass?
No; I must drink it--drink it to the dregs,--
And not my will,--but thine, my God, be done!"
darkness shrouds the world: the sun is lost
In the expanse of heav'n--he hides his face
Even in his noontide glory--veils in clouds
His golden beams,--as if he sought to fly
A scene of horror, and a guilty world.
An earthquake shakes the ground; the rocks are rent;
The dead start from their graves; and Salem sees
The ransom'd tenants of the dust arise;
The mystic veil of the most holy place
Is rent in twain;--the priest, even as he bends
Before the altar, drops the censer from
His palsied hand, as, trembling, he beholds
Th' awful presage, that his ritual now
Has gain'd its solemn, and its final close;
For now upon an holier altar bleeds--
The last, best sacrifice for fallen man:
And what a sacrifice! the heav'ns are dumb
With horror at the scene, and tenfold night
In sable curtains wraps the azure sky.
But, hark that voice of agony which comes
In piercing anguish from the victim's soul!
"My God! my God! Oh why, why hast thou thus
Forsaken me?"--Whose is that cry of woe?
Listen, ye angels--hear ye courts of heaven--
It bursts in suffering from the Son of God!
Amazing cry! Fall, guilty, rebel man,
Fall prostrate in the dust; it is for thee
The spotless Lamb of God thus groans and dies.
Hard-hearted Jews! ye wretches among whom
The holy Jesus spent his blameless life!
Ye were his countrymen;--ye saw him still,
Beneficent and kind, unwearying toil
For you and for your children: Now he pour'd
Light on the sightless eyeballs of the blind,
And now, in awful majesty, he drives
The sons of darkness from their seat in man:
He speaks--the leprous man is clean once more;
The palsied trembler walks erect and firm:
The feeble fever'd wretch, whose burning blood
Boils thro' his throbbing veins,--whose languid eye
Is dim and ghastly with approaching death,--
Even he revives, and rosy health once more
Glows in full lustre on his alter'd cheek;
And, stranger still, the dead, even those who slept
Within the cold, dark precincts of the tomb,--
Even they have heard his voice: yes, they have rous'd
Them from their leaden slumbers, and have broke
The icy fetters of the ghastly king,
And sprung to life at his almighty word:--
Monsters! ye saw all this, and yet ye dar'd
Condemn and crucify that glorious one--
And yet ye dar'd call down upon your heads,
And on the heads even of your unborn babes,
The guiltless blood your impious fury shed--
"On us and on our offspring be his blood."
Unhallow'd prayer! and oh, how fully has
That prayer been heard, and answer'd by just heav'n!
On you and on your offspring, fated ones!
The wrath of heav'n hath pour'd its bitterest cup.
What is your nation now? An exil'd race,
Driven from their once sweet land, and forc'd to roam--
Wand'rers thro' all the kingdoms of the world.
Where is your temple now--that sacred pile--
The pride, the glory of fallen Jacob's land?
Raz'd to the ground, even by a heathen's hand,
Whilst lost Jerus'lem blazed one ruin round.
But turn, my soul--turn thou from them, and from
The desolation of fair Canaan's land;
Turn thou to where th' expiring Saviour hangs,
And buys the world's redemption with his blood.
'Tis awful silence--even his murd'rers stand
Amid the gloom, and, shuddering, ask their hearts
If the meek sufferer is not more than man.
Blest Lamb of God! thy racking pains have parch'd
Thy burning lips; and now thou call'st, "I thirst."
What is it that they give thee? Mingled gall,
Hyssop, and vinegar--the final drop
Of bitterness in thy full cup of woe.
'Tis raised to thy lips; thou call'st aloud,
" 'Tis finish'd." Yes, just one, thy woes are o'er,
And mankind's great redemption is complete!
The vanquish'd pow'rs of hell, o'erthrown, aghast,
From thy dread scene of suffering triumph fly,
And seek the caverns of their deepest hell,
Whilst thy victorious soul triumphant smiles.
Deep groans the earth--convulsions shake the ground,
And nature mourns, dismay'd, around her Lord;
And distant heathens, who behold the gloom
That spreads o'er all her darkened empire, cry,
"Either the world is hast'ning to its close,
Or else the God of nature now sustains
Sufferings which none but deity could bear."
And even the vet'ran warrior who commands
The Roman band, station'd to guard the cross,
Starts when he hears the dying victim's voice--
Unchang'd, unfault'ring 'mid the throes of death,
And, struck with wonder and with terror, cries,
"This surely was a righteous man;--most sure
This was, this must have been the Son of God."
The very wretches who so lately gave
Their voices to that imprecation dire,
"His blood be on us, and our children's heads,"
In bitter penitence now smite their breasts
In unavailing anguish,--wailing o'er
A deed so fraught with frenzy and with crime.
now the twilight dawn of the third morn
Since the Redeemer slumber'd in the dust:
The Roman soldiers watch around the gate
Of his dark sepulchre--a pond'rous rock
From human footstep bars the sacred cave:
The Saviour sleeps within. O come with me
And view the Holy One!--All pale he lies
On earth's cold lap; but, even amid the gloom
Of death which hovers o'er him, mark the meek,
The placid smile his marble features wear,--
As if his lips in death's last pangs had worn
A glow of heav'nly triumph, as he cried,
"Tis finished,"--and bow'd, and died for man.
O my Redeemer, prostrate in the dust--
As guilty creatures ought--let me behold
This dread, stupendous miracle of love:
Immortal deity--as mortal laid
In frail mortality's cold icy band--
The victim to eternal justice given--
Eternal mercy's sacrifice for man.
But mark that smile which slumbers on his cheek,--
As sleeps the watery sunbeam on the breast
Of waveless lake, in an autumnal morn--
Lifeless and chill. Mark! now it 'gins to break
In lucid radiance cross his bright'ning face;
And now it glows--ah! how unlike that ray,
Wat'ry and cold, it erst in sadness wore!
It glows in all the splendid lustre of
The noontide glance the summer sunbeam sheds
In sparkling glory on the dancing stream.
An earthquake shakes the hallow'd house of death;
Angels descend upon the lightning's wing--
And nature thunders with triumphant voice.
Imperial Rome's proud guard, forgetful
Of the haughty terror of their warlike name,
And trembling with an unknown horror, fall--
Pale, breathless, to the ground--whilst he who lay
In death's dire vestments, wakes amid the shouts
Of hailing seraphim, who proudly name
MESSIAS victor over death and hell.
was the azure of the lovely sky;
Transcendent splendour blaz'd around the car
Of the bright lamp of day: em'rald the hue
Of sacred Olivet; and beauty glow'd
In virgin loveliness on every flow'r
That gem'd its mountain side--and Sharon's rose
With gayer colour bloom'd: the lily fair,
Pride of the valley, breath'd more fragrant sweets,
When on the green side of the favour'd hill
Th' immortal Saviour of our ransom'd race
Stood, 'mid his little band--as father stands
Amid his children, ere to some far land
He bends his course, full sure he will return:
He says farewell--but, as he bids adieu,
He cheers their drooping hearts with gladd'ning smile,
And sweet assurance of his homeward speed:
So stood Immanuel; as he rais'd his hands
To bless his chosen, smiles of heav'nly love
Play'd in celestial, glory o'er his face;
Yet not on them alone the Saviour smil'd:
His eye omniscient view'd the wide-spread world--
Its varied nations, and its num'rous tribes:
He saw earth's utmost bounds--he saw the isles
Of the blue sea, rejoicing, hail his name:
And thee, my native island! distant far
From flowery Canaan's then more favour'd land;
He saw thee--proudest island of the deep!
He saw thee--but he saw thee lie in night--
The sternest superstition's willing slave;
Yet he,--before whose piercing, awful ken
The past, the present, and the future lie
Expos'd and open,--saw thy warlike sons
Forsake their idol gods, and kneel to him:
He saw thy mountains bloom, thy deserts smile,
With the fair coming harvest of his power:
He heard thy valleys ring with songs of praise;
Thy wild rocks echo back the holy hymn.
O yes, victorious Saviour, thou beheld'st
Thy crown of recompense, and didst rejoice:
Thou saw'st the glorious harvest, and didst send
Thy willing labourers to the plenteous fields:
Thou bad'st them go--but, with the high command,
Thou also gav'st the promise of thine aid:
"Go, my apostles--o'er the nations wide
Diffuse my gospel; teach the sons of men
The open'd track to heav'n: go and baptize
The soul that gives assurance of its faith:
Go, my belov'd, my chosen ones!--and lo!
I, even I, am with you to the end."
They heard the gracious mandate, and they rais'd
Their joy-bright eyes to him from whom it flow'd;
But as they gaz'd upon their glorious Lord,
They saw a lum'nous cloud, descending, float
Above his sacred head--radiant it seem'd,
As throne imperial of the heav'n of heav'ns;
More bright than purest gold--more brilliant far
Than rock of diamond glitt'ring in the sun;
More dazzling than the keenest lustre of
The mid-day sun, meridian hung on high:
Wond'ring they gaz'd, and wond'ring saw their Lord
Rising above this world's sin-tainted soil,--
And that bright cloud descend to bear him king,
Triumphant and victorious, to his throne.
is now my harp--my feeble hand
No more essays to strike its quiv'ring string;
Abash'd at my temerity, I stand
And view the eagle-height my soul aspir'd.
Led by the muse of Zion, I have sought
To gather flow'rets in celestial fields,
And throw my garland on my Saviour's cross.
Inspir'd with deepest awe, with panting heart
I've stretch'd my vent'rous wing, to snatch a wreath
(Perchance of fading flowers), unworthy of
That glorious altar--holy love would crown.
Prompted by this, my daring hand has struck
The Harp of Salem in Immanuel's praise;
But ah! that hand, inferior to the task,
Hath swept the warbling chords with timid touch:
My trembling voice, even as I rais'd the song,
In conscious weakness, fault'ring, hath confess'd
Its powers unequal to the mighty lay;
And Salem's ancient harp,--which erst obey'd
The thrilling numbers of the shepherd king,
And scatter'd o'er the world th' inspired songs
Of heav'n-wrapt sages in prophetic fire,
Indignant at the feeble touch, which now
Would wake again its bold seraphic tones,--
Is silent, and the heav'nly muse which led
My wing to dare the bright ethereal way,
Must leave me, mourning as she mounts on high,
That I must lag behind, nor soar with her
Amid the stars, and glories of the sky.
But yet the sweet celestial, as she quits
Her drooping mortal charge, with angel smile
Whispers in soothing accents to my soul--
"Daughter of Adam! tho' thy lowly song
Is all unworthy of its awful theme,
And tho' these earthly flow'rs but form a wreath
Of fading honours for thy Saviour's cross,
Yet when a few short years have roll'd away,
And summer scatters sunbeams on the spot
Where sleeps thy mortal frame, th' immortal part
Shall mount unfetter'd by its chains of clay,
And catching tones of rapture from the harps
Of seraphim around th' eternal throne,
Shall strike thy golden lyre, and join the choir
Of tuneful voices in the realms of day:
There, there shalt thou resume the glorious lay--
No more unworthy of the wond'rous theme:
There, in those fields of never-dying flow'rs,
Thy ransom'd soul shall twine a wreath of joy,
And in the bright, the amaranthine bowers
Of sweet celestial blessedness, shalt hang
Th' unwith'ring garland of eternal praise.
of the dust! poor heir of clay!
How chequer'd is thy dubious way,
In this sad vale of tears!
To-day thou lift'st a sanguine eye
Unto a pure, an azure sky,
And nought but bliss appears:
To-morrow all is wrapt in gloom,
And anguish points thee to the tomb,
As mis'ry's only rest,
Where she may sleep--her sorrows o'er,
And dream of guilt and pain no more,
In earth's cold, peaceful breast.
Victim and dupe of hopes and fears,
As vain as are thy smiles and tears,
How wond'rous is thy lot!
The prey of death--thou liest in dust,
The memory of thy being lost,--
Forgetting and forgot.
The daisy decks thy covering sod,
The rank grass whistles o'er the clod
Which haps thy mould'ring breast;
Loathsome to view, thou'rt hid from sight,
Thy narrow house involv'd in night,
And lone thy place of rest.
No comrade but the hideous worm,
That riots on thine alter'd form,
And feasts and fattens there;
"How valu'd once, avails thee not,"--
How lovely, alters not thy lot,
Nor face however fair.
All share alike the common fate;
Corruption spareth not the great,
Nor yields to beauty's sway;
The lilies wither--roses die--
And dimm'd is the most brilliant eye,
And all their charms decay.
But tho' thou art the child of earth,
And but to die received'st thy birth,
Thou art immortal too;
The power that form'd thee of the clay,
Form'd thee to taste eternal day,
And joys for ever new;
And made this varying scene the path,
Through toils and suff'rings, life and death--
Through gleams of woe and bliss--
To realms where joy for ever reigns--
Where angels crowd the glorious plains,
And all is happiness.
Grief there is lost amid the rays
Of glory, streaming from the blaze
Which shrines th' eternal throne:
Then say, for such a bright reward,
Who would not struggle long and hard,
And hush each rebel groan?
O mortal, and immortal man!
Who can his marv'llous being scan,
Nor start at what he is?
Offspring at once of earth and heav'n!
Creature to whom at once 'tis given
To taste of woe and bliss!
Thy body slumbers in the clay--
Thy spirit wings its rapid way,
To regions yet unknown:
If good--to soar in cloudless light,
Amid the countless orders bright,
That compass heav'ns dread throne:
If bad--in deepest gloom to dwell,
Among the rebel hosts of hell,
In never-ending night;--
Banish'd from the pure source of day,
Without one lone--one cheering ray--
Of happiness or light.
Then tho' prosperity should smile,
And hope should every care beguile,
And thou may'st hardly know
That such a thing as misery is;
And thou may'st scarce a blessing miss,
Or feel a pang of woe;
O guard of thy weak heart the springs,
Lest bliss should give thy passions wings
To lead thy soul astray;
To taste those pleasures which allure
The yielding soul to streams impure,
And smile but to betray.
And tho' adversity should frown,
And all thy golden prospects drown
In life's tempestuous main;
Tho' every day should darker scowl,
And every blast should deeper howl,
And rack thy tortur'd brain--
Still keep the straight, the narrow path,
Which leads from darkness and from death,
Tho' rugged be the way:
Then, when thy mortal course is trode,
Angels shall bear thee to thy God,
And pure celestial day.
who reign'st supreme above!
Almighty, awful source of love!
Receive, O God! the grateful lay
Which rises from a form of clay;
Whose feeble, but ambitious song,
Would join the bright seraphic throng,
Whose voices swell the choirs on high,
And sound triumphant thro' the sky.
O that I had an angel's lyre,
And soul inflam'd with heav'nly fire,
That I might to thy glory raise
My song of thanks--my hymn of praise!
But oh, the love how weak, how cold,
That glows in heart of human mould!
Oh, how unworthy of the high,
Angelic raptures of the sky!
But thou, most gracious Lord of heav'n.
To thee eternal praise be given!
Thou deign'st to bend a willing ear,
The feeble fault'ring song to hear,
That rises from the human breast,
When suppliant sinners cry for rest;
Or when they raise the strain to heav'n
For peace, or health, or comfort given.
When late sweet rosy health had fled,
And sickness bent my languid head,
I rais'd to thee my humble prayer,
And thou, all gracious! deign'd to hear:
I pray'd, if death aim'd at my heart
His ruthless, never-failing dart,
That thou would'st give my suff'ring breast
A calm release to eternal rest,
And make me bend, unmurm'ring, low,
To the mighty hand that gave the blow,--
Without one guilty rebel word
Against thy will, my sov'reign Lord!
And half resigned was my heart,
With all it lov'd on earth to part;
And faith rejoic'd in pardon given
For sins on earth, thro' grace in heaven;
When thou once more, even from the tomb,
Didst snatch me from an early doom:
Almighty King! still may I be
Resolv'd to live or die for thee;
Still as thou will'st to shape my way
From this dark world to realms of day,--
Tho' thou should'st strew with thorns the path
That leads me to the gates of death.
In health or sickness, weal or woe,
Be thou my trust--my guard below;
And when at last the hour shall come
That calls me to my final home,
O then may burst, unclouded, bright,
The heavenly world upon my sight;
And my freed spirit from its dust
Spring to the regions of the just.
God alone that can bestow
A balm to heal our ev'ry woe;
Tis he alone can give relief,
When man is sunk in sin or grief.
The humble soul before his throne
Can pour its prayer, or raise its moan;
In hour of anguish lift its eyes
In faith, and fix them on the skies.
Nor vain that faith, nor lost that pray'r--
He feels for every human care;
With all the father in his breast,
He soothes the troubled mind to rest,
Yields comfort to distress and tears,
Gives blessed hopes, instead of fears;
And when at length the aching head
Reposes with the prostrate dead,
Bestows that crowning gift of love,
The immortal joys of those above.
thy burden on the Lord,
He will thy protector prove;
Trust in his almighty grace--
God is life, and light, and love.
Should the parent throw the child
Careless on the world's rude frown,
Then the eternal father claims
The deserted as his own.
When the darkest clouds of woe,
Gathering, portentous low'r,
They, by his omniscient arm,
Are scattered before his pow'r.
Child of suffering, and the dust,
Bending low before his throne,
Place thy confidence and trust
On almighty love alone.
upon the bed of death,
See the ransom'd sinner lies;
Faint and fault'ring is his breath--
Dim and ghastly are his eyes.
Tis the last, the dreadful hour,--
Friends are weeping, hope is fled:
What can be the unseen power
That supports yon feeble head?
See, unto that livid cheek
One triumphant smile is given;
Mark that hand so pale, so weak,--
Its silent movement points to heav'n.
Hush! the final sigh is o'er--
Sweetly seems the dead to sleep:
Sin or suffering can no more
Cause those closed eyes to weep.
Where, O Death! is here thy sting?
Where, O Grave! thy triumph here?
That freed spirit spreads its wing
Far beyond your narrow sphere.
As through the arch of darken'd heav'n
The rushing whirlwind flies,
And gath'ring clouds on clouds are driv'n,
Athwart the troubl'd skies:
So is the sinner's madd'ning course,
His turbulence the same;
His wild career no mortal force
Can stay, subdue, or tame.
And as the whirlwind, when 'tis past,
Leaves no trace in the sky:
The clouds are gone, and hush'd the blast,
And bright the sun on high:
So is the sinner's fleeting hour,--
As quickly is it gone;
He yields to an o'erwhelming pow'r,
Unpitied and alone.
No stay, no hope, no trust has he,
But in his own weak breath;
And oh! how vain such hope must be
For man--the prey of death!
But as a tow'r that firmly stands,
Founded on some vast rock,
Preserv'd alike from hostile hands
And from the tempest's shock:
So is the righteous man: his hope
Is fix'd on God alone;
The rock of ages is his prop,--
His trust th' eternal throne.
Then may contending tempests wage
Their elemental war;
He smiling eyes their futile rage,
Nor heeds their idle jar.
Whirlwinds may rush with threat'ning storm,
And swift-wing'd lightnings fly,--
The darkest clouds heav'n's arch deform,
And thunders rend the sky.
He knows his father rules the whole,
And owns his sov'reign rod;
And in calm confidence of soul,
He rests upon his God.
life, O man, is as the flow'r
That blossoms in the summer morn,--
A rose that blooms its little hour,
Then withers on its parent thorn.
Or like the green and verdant grass,
Which springs beneath warm summer skies,--
At morn it smiles,--at noon, alas!
Cut down, it languishes and dies.
Or like the bright, but transient dew,
Which sparkles in the morning ray:
'Tis gone before the sky's deep blue
Is gilded by meridian day.
And oh! how oft thy little span
Is darken'd o'er by clouds and gloom
How often to ill-fated man
Rough is the journey to the tomb!
All radiant may his sun arise,
And he may'st heedless bask in light;
But sudden storms oft cloud his skies,
And overwhelm his soul in night.
His joys are like a passing dream,
Which gladden but the hour of sleep:
But ah! how often do I deem,
He waketh but to feel and weep.
Then since thou art so frail a thing,
Mortal, improve thy fleeting hour!
Thy short life may have pass'd its spring,--
Already may thine ev'ning low'r.
'Tis not in this vain mortal state
That thou can'st find substantial bliss;
Here change and suff'ring are thy fate,
And where--oh, where is happiness?
Behold yon azure field of light,
Refulgent with the orb of day!
Beyond yon sky, in realms where bright
A sun more glorious pours his ray.
There roses bloom that never fade--
There morning dawns that cannot fly--
There cloudless joy crowns every head--
There storms no more o'ercast the sky:
There, when the ills of life are o'er,
In sinless, endless, perfect bliss;
The pure in spirit weep no more,
And there--oh, there is happiness!
! the fleeting, chequer'd span
Of mortal life allow'd to man,--
How is it clouded o'er!
By countless ills--a various train--
That rend the breast, and rack the brain,
Till he can feel no more.
O were this life man's only home--
Had he no glimpse of bliss to come,--
How bitter were his lot!
Then woe without alloy would reign,
From royal court to hamlet plain--
In palace, and in cot.
But God with bounteous hand hath given
A star which points from earth to heav'n,
And cheers our dreary path;
Without its light--alas! how wild
Would be that path to misery's child,
In journeying on to death.
Each anguish'd bosom then would smart
Beneath a more impoison'd dart,
Without a ray of hope;
With nought but suff'ring 'fore our eyes--
Without a stay beyond the skies,
Our sinking hearts to prop.
When those we love are snatch'd away,
And laid to sleep in mould'ring clay--
Their earthly sojourn o'er;
Upon their ripe, or early biers,
In agony would stream our tears--
No hope to meet them more:
But the bright beam of pitying heav'n
To our benighted eyes hath given
A glimpse of future bliss;
When life's dark wilderness is past,
Eternal sunshine dawns at last,
In bow'rs of happiness.
Oh! may this nerve our bleeding hearts
Nobly to meet time's piercing darts,
And more than conqu'rors prove,
At that last dreaded, awful hour,
When we must stoop to death's dread pow'r,
And part with those we love.
Then why, O man, dost thou repine
Because thou wear'st the common chain
Which galls the human breast?
Still struggle onward, fainting soul,
Thou soon shalt win the happy goal,
And scenes of glorious rest.
How various is the lot of man,
In this dark world of woe!
How narrow is the little span,
That bounds his course below!
And from the cradle to the tomb,
Troubles on troubles rise;
And few the buds of bliss which bloom,
Beneath his wintry skies.
He cannot count this world his home--
He sees no place of rest;
Unsatisfied his wishes roam--
An aching void his breast.
He grasps at pleasure, and it flies,
And often leaves behind
Tears of regret, repentant sighs,
A rack'd and guilty mind.
But to the man whose hopes are plac'd
Beyond this chequer'd scene,
This fleeting life appears at best
A transitory dream.
He views the rough path he must tread,
The dangers he must brave;
He hears the winds howl round his head--
He sees the foaming wave,--
Which dashes on life's dang'rous coast,
Where many a found'ring bark,
'Mid tempests, rocks, and shoals, is lost,--
While all around is dark.
No friendly beacon to direct
Its course along the main;
Unaided, all its joys are wreck'd,
And all its hopes are vain.
He marks its fate with pitying sigh,
And weeps its hapless doom;
But faith directs his anxious eye
Where brighter prospects bloom.
Faith spreads before his raptur'd sight
A haven from the blast--
A land of refuge, and of light,
Where he may rest at last.
She points him out an anch'rage where
His bark may safely rest,--
Beneath a sky all purely fair,
On tide of calmest breast
And tho' unnumber'd toils may mark
His course to that sweet shore,--
Faith flames a watch-fire in the dark,
And winds unheeded roar.
And tho' that land of brightness lie
Beyond th' appalling grave;
Yet he with firm undaunted eye
Can death's dread monarch brave.
He views that grave but as a bed
Where he may sweetly sleep;
A couch where he can lay his head,
Whilst whirlwinds o'er him sweep.
Tho' mouldering in the narrow house
His slumbering body lie,
It shall awake, and he rejoice
For ever in the sky.
Upon his God his faithful breast
Does all its hopes repose;
And now he finds in him a rest
From all his toils and woes.
The ghastly king is conquer'd now,
And gain'd the heavenly shore;
To death again he may not bow--
A mortal now no more.
Yes,--for God's people there remains
A glorious rest above,
Where happiness for ever reigns,
And all is peace and love.
There, when the storms of life are past,
On golden harps they raise,
To him who sav'd them 'mid the blast,
Their grateful song of praise.
How dark is the fate of the wicked, tho' bright
His fortunes may seem to flourish around;
This moment they glow amid sunbeams and light,
And the next they lie blighted and dead on the ground.
His children around him in beauty may bloom,
And he may delight in their youth's rosy grace;
But the sword or the blast lays them low in the tomb,
And forgetfulness broods o'er their dark resting-place.
He may lay up his riches in heaps as the dust,
And grandeur and honour may wait on his name;
But storms gather o'er him--his riches are lost--
His grandeur is gone, and his honour is shame.
The wealth he hath toil'd for and sinn'd for shall fly
As the dew of the morn from the full-blossom'd flow'r,--
When the bright sun of heav'n looks in light from the sky,
And the scorch'd vales are sad 'neath his fierceness and pow'r.
To the lowly and just shall his riches be given;
His wide-spread possessions shall know him no more:
He is laid in the dust by the quick bolt of heav'n,
And the pride and the pomp of his short race are o'er.
Terrors thicken around--he would fly from the storm;
But the wild tempests roar, and the torrents rush on:
The blackness of darkness heav'n's sunshine deform,
He sinks in the dust--all his fond hopes are gone.
Unlamented he falls--none weep o'er his urn--
All rejoice that the tyrant oppressor is gone:
O'er his low-lying head no faithful friends mourn;
No fond widow pours her disconsolate moan.
From the hand of his God this his portion shall be,
Whose joy is oppression, whose glory is crime;
His wealth may extend as the sands of the sea,
But 'tis short and uncertain--more transient than time.
is he?--In the land of graves
His pallid, mould'ring clay is laid;
O'er his lone home the rank grass waves,
And whistles o'er his low-laid head.
But that bright spark which lit his eye,
And sparkled there, a mental light--
Oh! can that heavenly radiance lie
Extinguish'd in eternal night?
The dust which now in silence sleeps
In the lone church-yard's narrow bed,--
Is't that o'er which fond mem'ry weeps,
And soft affection hangs her head?
Was it not something nobler far
That bound the bosom to its friend,--
Which shone thro' life love's guiding star,
Or bless'd us when we sooth'd its end?
Yes, the gay rosy blush which plays
On beauty's cheek may win our smile;
Fair earthly forms attract our gaze,
And charm the fetter'd mind a while:
But that which beam'd in heavenly light,
Illum'ning lip, and brow, and eye,
Glow'd on the cheek serenely bright,
Or swell'd the bosom with a sigh:
'Twas that we lov'd--'tis that we mourn;
Tis for its loss our sorrows rise;
Tis gone, alas!--nor will return,
And where is it?--'Tis in the skies.
Then wipe each selfish drop that streams
For those belov'd ones that are gone;
On high the immortal spirit beams
In holiness before the throne.
, mortals! raise, in stilly night,
Unto yon star-bespangl'd sky,
Your wond'ring gaze, and mark where bright
Unnumber'd worlds are hung on high.
Raise to these orbs, O raise your eyes!
And view in them their author's might;
Behold his pow'r o'erspreads the skies
With all these globes of golden light.
He call'd the sun, who pours the day
In radiant light o'er hill and dale;
He call'd the moon, whose silver ray
Beams softly o'er the midnight vale.
From non-existence, by his might,
He call'd them all, and bade them roll
Each in his sphere--and ambient light
Shed at his word from pole to pole.
He form'd each star that gems the sky,
And hung it with creating hand,--
A lamp of fire, a world on high,
The subject of his dread command.
And tho' amid unbounded space,
In countless throngs they seem to shine,--
Yet he directs their rapid race,
And guides them all with force divine.
He knows the number of their host--
He calls them all, each by his name;
Thro' air's vast fields by him is toss'd
The wand'ring comet's threat'ning flame.
Save by his voice, no twinkling star
Thro' heav'n can dart its lovely rays;
Or none without his bidding dare
One moment cease its glorious blaze.
The everlasting God on high--
The monarch of the seats of bliss--
In sleep ne'er shuts his watchful eye,--
He neither faints, nor weary is.
His wisdom all research confounds;
His secret counsels who can know?
To fallen man his love abounds--
He saves the lost from endless woe.
evening--and Judea's prophet stray'd,
Beneath the influence of a placid sky;
The sun had set, and twilight's gath'ring clouds
Were thick'ning o'er that slowly dying blush
Yet ling'ring in the west: Anon his beam
Sunk down in soft tranquillity, and left
To the still shades of night the azure vault.
The prophet wander'd on;--the moon arose,
And the bright stars gemm'd with their sparkling orbs
The wide-spread firmament; the fragrant breeze
Brought gently on its wing the balmy breath
Of cedar, sycamore, and that bright rose,
The pride of Sharon; and that flow'ret lone,
The lily of the valley, whose fair bells
In snowy beauty light its dark green leaves.
Haggai look'd to heav'n,--his soul arose
In rapture to his God, and, bending low
Upon the flow'ry sward, his evening song
Of mingl'd prayer and praise arose on high.
Th' Almighty heard his servant, and he bent
From his high throne, where, in the awful shade
Of heaven's dread majesty, th' Omniscient reigns.
The prophet felt the presence of his God;
The still, small voice of inspiration came
In gentle whispers o'er his love-fraught mind:
He heard the eternal voice,--the solemn sound,
In awful grandeur broke upon his ear.
"Return, Haggai, to the paths of men;
Go to the fleeting children of the dust,
Whose days are as a shadow, and whose years
Pass swifter than yon silver clouds that float
In rapid race across the full-orb'd moon,--
Say to them, 'Sons of men, consider well
The paths which lie before you,--one is deck'd
With blooming roses, and bland pleasure's smiles:
Lur'd by the treach'rous phantom, thousands rush
Thro' this broad way to ruin, and to death.
The other's girt with thorns,--no blushing flow'rs
Are there to lull the senses--rocks frown round
The weary pilgrim, and rude storms assail
Him on his toilsome journey;--happy he
Who meekly struggles on; he shall at length
Arrive in safety at those blest abodes,
Where earth-born cares and sorrows are no more.'
"Return, my servant, say to those that stray
In the smooth paths of pleasure, that they build
Their houses on the sand, and that they sow
Their future hopes upon the whirlwind's wing;
That they sit down to tables richly spread,
Yet are not satisfied; and that they toil
For vanities which mock their eager grasp;
That unsubstantial, sublunary joys
Exist but for a moment, and then sink
Down, down for ever 'mid the wreck of time."
How excellent, Lord, thro' the earth is thy name!
Thy glory how great--how exalted afar
O'er the blue vault of heaven's bespangled frame,
Where, rolling in splendour, each sparkling star
Thro' space guides the path of his luminous car:
Lord, thou hast ordained that thy praises should be
By the lips of mere infants extended afar,--
That thy foes might be humbled in dust before thee,
And malice and envy o'erpow'red might be.
O God! when I raise to the night-clouded heav'n
My eyes, and behold there the trace of thy hands,
How the silvery moon to that still hour is given,
To shed her pale light o'er the darkened lands--
And the planets obey in their course thy commands:
Then, struck at the view, in amazement I cry,--
How wond'rous, my Lord, are the works of thy hands!
And O, what is man to thee, King of the sky;
Man, the child of an hour--thou, the monarch on high!
Or, what is the son of a mortal, that thou
Should'st think of the worm in the midst of thy pow'r?
That to hear his requests Jehovah should bow,
And snatch him from ruin and misery's hour,
And clothe him with honour and joy as a dow'r?
O, how little beneath the sons of the sky
Thou hast made him, and crown'd him with glory and pow'r!
O'er earth thou hast plac'd him, and set him on high,
Regarding him ever with merciful eye.
Thou hast plac'd him o'er herds which browze on the plain--
O'er the flocks which adorn the hill and the vale;
O'er the fish which delight in the stormy main,
O'er birds which may float on the wings of the gale,
Or raise in the desert their murmuring wail.
Thy name, Lord of Hosts! how glorious, how great!
Thy might and thy majesty never can fail:
'Bove the clouds of the sky is the throne of thy state;
Thy reign is eternal--thy mandate is fate.
! cast thine eyes o'er the landscape afar,
And its varied beauties behold and admire;
From the sapphire of heaven, where each sparkling star
Swims in glory--an orbit of splendour and fire,
To the green earth beneath, where each lowly flow'r
From the turf sheds its sweets on the breezes of morn;
Where the rose blooms in fragrance its own little hour,
And smiles like a queen from her proud parent thorn.
Behold where the heads of dark mountains arise
To the clouds, and appear as the pillars of heav'n,
As if their stern brows to the o'er-arching skies
For props by the almighty builder were given.
Behold where the ocean in majesty rolls,
And stretches its floods round the peopled shores;
A dark world of wonders surrounding the poles;
Now it slumbers in peace--now in fury it roars.
Behold verdant meadows in mild beauty lie,
The gentle flocks see, that o'erscatter the vale;
Behold the broad streams that translucid roll by,
And the trees which wave o'er them, from rock and from dale.
Then remember the deserts--those parched sterile wastes,
The footsteps of man hath ne'er wandered o'er,
From which e'en the bird of the wilderness hastes,
And turns from them gladly, to view them no more.
See all the wide world as it stretches before thee,
View space, if thou canst--think of all it contains;
Suns rolling unnumber'd in grandeur above thee,
And round thee huge mountains and green smiling plains.
The world and its fulness belongs to the Lord,
Unlimited space and its creatures are his;
They were called into life by the might of his word;
They owe him existence, and honour, and bliss.
Then who dare ascend to the hill of his might?
Or who in his holy place dare to appear?
His glory there glows in effulgence and light,
And his praises are heard from sphere rolling to sphere.
The being whose hands are unspotted and clean,
Whose heart is as pure as the breath of the spring,
Whose bosom untainted by malice is seen,
And o'er whose soul envy ne'er stretch'd her dark wing;
Who never in falsehood and treachery vow'd,
Whose brow black deceit hath ne'er branded with shame,
Who to folly and vanity never hath bow'd,
Nor raised his spirit to light pleasure's flame.
Upon such shall descend the blessing of heaven,
And righteousness gild like a sunbeam their path;
To such shall the smile of the Highest be given,
To cheer them in sorrow, and light them in death.
O offspring of Jacob! this people are they
Who kneel down before thee in silence and awe;
Who bend to a Saviour's sceptre and sway,
And make his mild precepts their joy and their law:
Who seek for thy face, O Redeemer of man!
Who place all their trust, all their comfort in thee;
Who have found in thy mercy the glorious plan
Which ransom'd their souls, and from guilt set them free.
Holy lover of souls! thou hast conquer'd alone,
And broken the bands of the captive and slave;
Thy sacred blood flow'd their guilt to atone,
And they triumph in thee over hell and the grave.
O lift then your heads, ye portals of heaven!
Ye doors everlasting, be lifted on high!
Ye gates, be wide open'd, that way may be given
To the Monarch of Glory--the King of the sky!
But who is the Monarch of Glory?--The King
Who unmatch'd and almighty in battle is found;
Before whom the legions of darkness take wing,
And the strong holds of wickedness fall to the ground.
O lift then, ye gates everlasting, your heads!
Ye doors of eternity, open on high!
See, the blaze of his glory its radiance sheds,
And the light of his splendour illumines the sky.
But who is the Monarch of Glory?--The King
Unmatch'd and almighty, who reigneth alone;
The Lord, with whose praises heaven's high arches ring,--
The earth is his footstool, and heav'n is his throne.
, ye heirs of sorrow! come
Ye mortals--children of the clod!
Ye feeble race, who transient roam
On earth, then sink into the sod!
O come, even in your saddest mood!
Come, taste, and see that God is good!
The man is blest who trusts in him,
Who builds his hopes beyond the skies;
Our days on earth are dark and dim,
But heaven's bright sunshine never dies:
O blessed is the man who fears
The Lord, for he shall wipe his tears.
There is no want for those who love
His name, and worship him with awe;
Our God looks smiling from above
On such as keep his holy law:
O then his saints, with one accord,
Fear, love, and trust heaven's mighty Lord!
The monarch of the woody waste--
The lions young on Afric's plains,
May be with gnawing hunger prest,
Or struggle in a captive's chains;--
But those who seek thy face, our King,
Shall want no good, no needful thing.
O come, ye children! and to me
Listen with an attentive ear,
And I will teach you how that ye
May heaven's Almighty Monarch fear;--
How ye may praise his glorious name,
Who spread on high yon spangl'd frame.
What man is he who loveth life,
And wisheth many days to see--
Days unalloy'd with madd'ning strife--
Days glowing with prosperity?
O, let that man his lips refrain
From speaking guile, or giving pain:
Let him depart from ill, and cease
From wickedness, and good pursue;
Let him delight in deeds of peace,
And mercy shall his life renew:
For to the upright man is giv'n
The guardian care of highest heav'n.
But frowns of anger hide God's face
From those who fearlessly go on
In acts of wickedness, and place
Their happiness on earth alone:
'Gainst such he sets himself, that they
May fade like morning dews away.
But when the righteous cry, the Lord
Bends from his throne a gracious ear;
The clouds roll back before his word--
Dark clouds of anguish and of fear:
The storm is past, and they once more
Behold a sweet, a smiling shore.
The Lord our God is ever nigh
To such as are of broken heart;
The ruler of the wide-spread sky
Alleviates misery's burning dart:
For the contrite and humble soul
He bids unnumber'd pleasures roll.
How many the afflictions are
That gloomily surround the just!
Fierce o'er his head they spread afar;
Yet in his God he puts his trust:
Nor vainly;--God commands--they fly,
And sunbeams brighten o'er the sky.
His mercy ne'er abandons those
Who are the children of his love;
Unshaken, they defy their foes--
Their Saviour is the Lord above:
But wicked men his arm shall slay,
Before his breath they pass away.
Those who the righteous man despise,
Who on the godly pour their hate,
Shall vanish from beneath the skies;
Their dwellings shall be desolate:
But to the man whose hope is heav'n,
The love of God is freely giv'n.
The Lord his servant's soul redeems;
The man whose help is God alone,
On him heaven's mercy brightly streams,
In splendour from its golden throne:
That man can ne'er an outcast be,
Whose hopes are plac'd, O God! on thee.
At thy command thine angels spread
Their wings around him, and on high
Hover in legions o'er his head,
And guard him till the storm is by.
Even when anguish wrings his breast,
In thee he finds support and rest.
not thyself, thou offspring of sorrow,
That the wicked above thee exalted are set;--
Fret not thyself with the ills of to-morrow,
God orders thy path, tho' he seem to forget.
Envy not the bad man his riches and power,
He blossoms and withers away like a flower.
O trust in thy God, and he will protect thee;
In justice and mercy walk carefully on:
Thy hopes place on him, and he will direct thee;
Delight in his precepts, and wickedness shun.
In plenty shall then thine inheritance blossom,
And thou shalt rejoice in the wish of thy bosom.
Thy honour--thy truth, thy God will display
In all the effulgence and glory of light;
Thy faithfulness too, like the noontide of day,
Shall glow o'er the landscape unclouded and bright:
O rest on the Lord! let not wrath rouse thy spirit--
The meek and the patient the earth shall inherit.
Small tho' the lot of the righteous seemeth,
Yet 'tis greater than that of the wicked by far;
The blessing of heaven on his little beameth,
And shines on his path like a luminous star;--
His foes shall the wrath of Jehovah destroy,--
God's arm shall uphold him, and guide him to joy.
Once youth shone around my head in gladness,
But age now my forehead hath silvered o'er,
Yet I ne'er saw the just forsaken in sadness,
Nor his offspring, in sorrow, a morsel implore:
His hand was still stretch'd to the poor in their anguish--
His children are bless'd, nor in poverty languish.
I've seen the ungodly in splendour and pow'r,
Like the bay tree in beauty his green branches spread:
I looked again; as a withered flow'r,
His beauty was gone, and his fragrance had fled;
I sought him, but found not--return he can never--
Like the dew on the blast, he is gone, and for ever.
But mark the just man, and behold the upright,--
The perfect man see--for in mildness and peace
His day shall decline, and his sun amid light
Shall sink to repose when the shadows increase:
Calm, calm is his setting; heaven's visions shall brighten
The valley of gloom, and its darkness enlighten.
Lord our God is girt with pow'r,
He stilleth ocean's angry breast;
The tumult of the nations he
Soothes by his word to tranquil rest.
Thy signs, Lord, as they roll thro' heav'n,
The people view with anxious eye;
Even all the kingdoms which afar
In earth's remotest limits lie.
The morning rising in the east,
Thou gildest with refulgent light,
And closing evening's latest rays,
Rejoicing usher in the night.
The thirsty ground thou visitest
With gentle show'rs and fruitful rain;
And beauteously the waving corn
In plenty smiles along the plain.
The spring is blest by thee, O God,
The year is by thy goodness crown'd;
We trace thy steps, Almighty One,
In the rich verdure of the ground.
Even in the desert's sterile waste,
Thine hand adorns the lonely vale;
The hills diffuse delight around,
And fragrance loads the mountain gale.
The pastures green are cloth'd with flocks,
The fields are clad with yellow grain;
Joy reigns supreme in loveliness,
And triumphs o'er the smiling plain.
The hills and vales and meadows sing
To thee, O thou that dwell'st on high!
And warbling woodland melody
Floats on the breezes of the sky.
heaven's almighty monarch rise--
Let his opposers scatter'd be--
Let thunders echo thro' the skies--
Let those who hate Jehovah flee.
As smoke is by the whirlwind toss'd,
So be they by thy fury hurl'd;
As wax before the fire is lost,
So let them perish from the world.
But let the righteous rejoice;
Let joy resound thro' their abode--
Let them exult with tuneful voice,
And glory in their Saviour, God.
Unto the Almighty praises sing--
Extol in songs his awful name,
Who rides on heav'n enthroned as king;
Triumph in Jah's immortal fame.
The father of the fatherless,
The widow's righteous judge is he,
Even on his throne of holiness;
Praise to the Lord our God give ye!
Among ten thousand legions bright
Of angels the Eternal is;
And flaming in refulgent light;
Heav'n's golden chariots are his.
In midst of them our God appears,
As on Mount Sinai's holy ground,
Lord over all;--archangels' spears,
In might, encircle thee around!
Thou hast ascended up on high,--
Almighty conqueror! thou hast led
Captive through heaven captivity:
Thine enemies before thee fled!
Thou hast for Adam's rebel race
Received gifts of pard'ning love,--
That they might claim thy promis'd grace,
And reign with thee, O Lord, above.
Blest be Immanuel, God with us!
For ever blest our victor king;
He hath salvation brought to us:
Ye ransom'd hosts, hosannahs sing!
, O my soul, O bless thy God!
Almighty King, how great art thou!
Thy glory fills the world abroad--
Celestial hosts before thee bow.
As with a mantle, thou with light
Art cover'd in thy majesty;
And as a curtain glowing bright,
Thou stretchest forth the vaulted sky.
Thou of thy chambers lay'st the beams
Within the water's secret deep;
Before thy course fierce lightning streams--
Beneath thy footsteps whirlwinds sweep.
Thou walkest, sovereign of the sky,
Upon the swift wings of the wind!
Thy chariot is the clouds on high;
Who can thy paths, Jehovah, find?
Heaven's radiant armies spirits are--
Thy ministers a blazing flame;
Thy awful glory shines afar:
Who can aright exalt thy name?
The earth's foundations thou hast laid,
That they can never moved be;
O'er them the ocean thou hast spread,--
Like garment stretched forth the seas.
The waters stood above the hills--
At thy rebuke they fled away;
They hasted to the distant vales,
And roll'd thro' them their murmuring way.
Upon the mountain's rugged side
The limpid springs of waters rise;
In rills they to the valleys glide,
And nature blooms in vernal dyes.
The flocks that gambol o'er the mead,
The wild beasts of the wood and dale,
The herds which on the mountains feed,
The birds that wanton on the gale,--
By instinct led, all seek their brink,
And quench their thirst in the pure wave:
Divine provider! food and drink
To all thou liberally gave.
Sweet by the rivers woodlands grow,
And music warbles through the shade;
On their green margins flow'rets blow,
And willows wave their drooping head.
The woodbine with its clustering flower,
And jess'mine with its silver star,
Twine gayly round the perfum'd bower,
And shed their mingled sweets afar.
The rock, the turf, the primrose gems
With its soft buds of paley hue;
The rose glows on her briary stems--
The violet smiles in heaven's deep blue.
When hills, and vales, and wide-spread plains,
Are scorch'd by summer's sultry beams,--
To crown the labour of their swains,
From heav'n thou pour'st reviving streams.
Then grass the smiling meads adorns--
The cattle rove in plenteous fields;
The plains are rich with yellow corns,
And harvest her abundance yields.
The olive-trees with fruit are clad,
The purple grape hangs on the vine;
Wine flows to make the mournful glad,
And oils in balmy currents shine.
No human hand the forest glades
Hath planted, Lord,--for they are thine;
Thou giv'st the cedar's friendly shades
To Lebanon, and rear'st the pine.
Amongst their boughs the birds of heav'n
Chaunt o'er their loves, or form their nest;
As for the stork, to her is given
The fir tree for a place of rest.
Upon the mountain's frowning rocks,
The wild goat skips, and finds a home;
Amid the sheltering crags, in flocks,
The feeble coneys safely roam.
As the revolving seasons change,
God hangs the moon, a sign on high;
And the bright sun his annual range
Knows, 'mid the planets of the sky.
He sinks in the far-glowing west,
And darkness shrouds the world in night;
Then fierce, by gnawing hunger prest,
The wild beast yells till dawning light.
The lions young roar for their prey--
In blood their ravenous jaws they steep
Till in the east returning day
In crimson dawns, and then they sleep.
And man, refresh'd by the repose
Which nature to his frame hath given,
Awakes anew to toils and woes,
And labours till the close of even.
O Lord thy works how manifold!
In wisdom thou hast made them all;
Earth's veins are fill'd with shining gold--
Health blooms round the terrestrial ball.
Behold the ocean spreading wide;
Here breathing things unnumber'd are:
What monsters sport within its tide!
What wonders clothe its deeps afar!
See gallant navies floating o'er
The world of waters--proudly ride;
And bearing high from shore to shore,
Their country's honours far and wide.
And he--that monarch of the sea--
Leviathan, 'mid briny waves:
Even he, O God, awaits on thee!
Thou feedest him--by thee he lives.
Thou from thy creatures hid'st thy face--
Their breath departs--they faint--they die;
Sunk in the dust, they end their race,--
They fade like clouds which tinge the sky.
Thou breathest--they created are;
The earth renews her loveliest smiles;
Joy beams like evening's lucid star,
And pleasure sheds her sweetest wiles.
The glory of our God shall stream
Forever through infinite space;
Bliss shall around Jehovah beam,
And mercy raise our fallen race.
He bendeth from his throne, the sky,
And looketh on our guilty world;
Earth trembleth before his eye--
The mountains smoke, in ruin hurl'd.
Almighty One! to thee I'll raise,
As long as I have life and breath,
Weak tho' I am, my song of praise--
My feeble song--yea, even in death.
O, I will sing to thee, my God,
For thou my being gav'st to me;
Thou art the light of my abode--
My humble harp I wake to thee.
How sweet, Lord, are the visions bright
Which crowd my thoughts when on my bed;
Even in the lonely hours of night,
By thee my soul to joy is led.
Let sinners vanish from the world;
O let the wicked fade away,
Like chaff before the whirlwind hurl'd--
Like mist before the morning ray.
Bless the Omnipotent, my soul!
With awe the Harp of Salem raise;
While yon bright orbs in heaven roll,
Ye nations, shout Jehovah's praise!
O, what am I, poor child of pain,
Offspring of sin and feebleness,
That I should dare so high a strain,--
A theme so full of holiness?
My harp emits a faultering tone,
My trembling tongue is dumb with fear:
I kneel in dust before thy throne,
All Holy One! and wilt thou hear?
, raise your voices, ye servants of heaven!
To Jehovah all prayer, all praises be given,
By you, ye blest number, who call on the name
Of the Lord, in the courts of the hallowed fane--
Whose abode is his temple, who raise to the sky,
In nightly devotion, the love-beaming eye--
O still, still unto him in gratitude raise
Your hands and your voices in transports of praise.
Then from Zion, the hill of his glory and might,
Shall your God beam upon you in blessing and light;
That powerful, eternal, and all-present Lord,
Who form'd heav'n and earth by the might of his word.
the Harp of Salem, bring,
And strike to heaven's Almighty King
The loud resounding lays!
O, all ye servants of the Lord,
Your voices raise with one accord,
And sound aloud his praise.
O let the rapturous strain arise
In sweet hosannahs to the skies;
And as it mounts to heaven,
May angels, bending from their sphere,
Our mortal hymns applauding hear;
And may each note be given,
In rich harmonious melody,
Eternal, Sov'reign Power, to thee;
For O how sweet it is,
With all the force of sacred song,
To roll th' ecstatic tide along
Of the soul's grateful bliss,
To him who, in his wond'rous grace,
Hath chosen Adam's guilty race,
And mark'd them as his own;
And them, all worthless as they are,
Hath' made his treasure and his care--
The jewels of his crown!
O praise our God, for he is great
Above all gods, in awful state,
He sits enthron'd on high--
And as he willeth, so doth he;
Eternal is the dread decree,
On earth, or sea, or sky.
And as his will so is his might:
He calls the shades of dark'ning night,
And bids the dawn of morn
Glow o'er the east serenely bright,
And hail, with the sun's golden light,
Another day's return.
At his command the lightnings fly
In awful grandeur thro' the sky,
And the loud thunder rolls:
He speaks,--the rains of heaven descend,
The forests 'neath the tempests bend,
And darkness shrouds the poles.
Sound, Harp of Salem, sound on high,
Thy tones of transport thro' the sky;
And as thy measures roll
In solemn numbers, may they throw
A gleam of light, to gild the woe
That broods o'er many a soul.
ye the Lord! even from the highest heaven
Let praises to the Almighty Sov'reign flow!
Let hallelujahs to our God be given,
From angel voices, and from man below:
Ye seraphim, your harps celestial raise!
Ye hosts angelic, shout Jehovah's praise!
Sun, blazing thro' the sky in golden light,
Or sinking amid roseate clouds to rest--
Moon, silver queen, and starry gems of night,
Swimming in splendour on heaven's azure breast--
Resound his praises, as ye roll on high,
And speak his glory from the sparkling sky!
O heaven of heavens, and ye pure streams above,
Waters that float high o'er the fields of air,--
Praise ye the Lord, who, in omniscient love,
But spake the word, and ye created were:
He hath establish'd you of old for ever;
And what he hath decreed, shall pass--no never.
From earth, frail man's abode, the Eternal praise,
Ye dragons, and ye floods, and awful deeps--
Fire, hail, and snow, and dusky vapours raise
Plaudits to him, even, when the tempest sleeps;
And when it raves in dreadful wrath on high,
Echo his glory thro' the darken'd sky.
Mountains, and hills, and vales, and fruitful trees--
Cedars that rear to heav'n your lofty heads--
Each bush and branch that quivers in the breeze--
Each flower that on the air its fragrance sheds--
Each beast that roams the forest or the hill,
And every bird that flutters in the gale;
Kings of the nations--people of their sway--
Judges and princes of the subject earth--
Young men and maids in beauty's blooming day,
Ag'd, near the tomb, and infants at the birth;
Let all that live, or move, or breathe, declare
His wondrous majesty--his powerful care.
O let them praise the Lord, the God of heav'n,
For his great name alone is full of might!
By trumpet, harp, and psaltery be given
Glory to him who is enthron'd in light!
The infinite, eternal King, before
Let every creature tremble and adore!
the sun flames in light in the blue sky,
And man recounts on earth revolving years;
Whilst yon bright planets roll their course on high,
And glory in the splendour of their spheres,--
Man--emmet man--the creature of an hour,
Against his brother man, in wrath or scorn,
Will raise his hand, or trample, in his power,
A being, like himself, to changes born.
But it must be--even the Just One hath said,
"It must be that offences flow on man:
Yet woe to him who lifts an impious head,
And proudly would another's failings scan.
"And woe to him, who, in his day of might,
Against a lowly brother raiseth high
Oppression's iron rod, or, with delight,
Views his misfortunes with a gladden'd eye."
Poor and oppress'd one, if thy hopes and fears
Are plac'd on high, above this troubl'd land,
Thy God himself, will wipe away thy tears,
And judge thy cause with just unerring hand.
Then it were better that thy proud, vain foe,
Had sunk in ocean's raging wintry wave,
When the lorn seaman's hopes are wreck'd and low--
No star in heav'n to guide, no hand on earth to save.