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CHORUS OF MAIDENS.
A voice against all people of the land !
LEVITE. Woe! woe! woe!
It is the High-Priest. SECOND JEW.
The ephod gleams through the pale lowering night; They are the very words, the very voice
The breastplate gems, and the pure mitre-gold, Which we have heard so long. And yet, methinks, Shine larplike, and the bells that fringe his robe There is a mournful triumph in the tone
Chime faintly. Ne'er heard before. His eyes, that were of old
HIGH-PRIEST. Fix'd on the earth, now wander all abroad,
Israel, hear! I do beseech you, As though the tardy consummation
Brethren, give ear! Afflicted him with wonder-Hark! again.
Who's he that will not hear
The words of God's High-Priest ?
It was but now
That’s consecrate to mine office-Your eyes wander-
Why hearken, then-Upon a sudden
The pavement seem'd to swell beneath my feet, Save that at the soft salute
And the Veil shiver'd, and the pillars rock'd.
And there, within the very Holy of Holies,
There, from behind the winged Cherubim,
Where the Ark stood, a noise, hurried and tumultuous,
Was heard, as when a king with all his host
Doth quit his palace. And anon, a voice,
Or voices, half in grief, half anger, yet
Nor human grief nor anger, even it seem'd
As though the hoarse and rolling thunder spake
With the articulate voice of man, it said,
LET US DEPART!"
Most terrible! What follow'd ? From the four winds a voice against Jerusalem!
Speak on! speak on! A voice against the Temple of the Lord !
HIGH-PRIEST. A voice against the Bridegrooms and the Brides !
I know not why, I felt A voice against all people of the land !
As though an outcast from the abandon'd Temple, Woe! woe! [Bursts away, followed by Second Jew. And fled.
Oh God! and Father of our Fathers, Didst speak ?
Dost thou desert us?
CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND MAIDENS.
Under a happy planet art thou led,
So put thou off thy soft and bashful sadness,
And wipe away the timid maiden tear,
Lo! redolent with the Prophet's oil of gladness, SECOND JEW.
And mark'd by heaven, the Bridegroom Youth is 'T was a True Prophet!
Hark-hark! an armed tread!
The bold Ben Cathla. And there he suddenly cried out and sternly,
BEN CATHLA. “A voice against the son of Hananiah!
Ay, ye are met, all met, as in a mart, Woe, woe!” and at the instant, whether struck
To exchange against each other your dark tales By a chance stone from the enemy's engines, down
Of this night's fearful prodigies. I know it, He sank and died !
By the inquisitive and half-suspicious looks
With which ye eye each other, ye do wish There's some one comes this way, To disbelieve all ye have heard, and yet Art sure he died indeed?
Ye dare not. If ye have seen the moon unsphered,
And the stars fall; if the pale sheeted ghosts When the horn summons to the morning's war,
Ay! is 't not fearful and most ominous
That the sun shines not at deep midnight? Mark me,
Ye men with gasping lips and shivering limbs, Dwelt beyond Jordan
Thou mitred priest, and ye misnamed warriors,
If ye infect with your pale aguish fears
To shake, nor voices to complain-T' your homes. That would not set her foot upon the ground
In truth, good Simon, I am half your proselyte; The same!-We had gone forth in quest of food :
Your angels, that do bear such excellent wine, And we had enter'd many a house, where men Might shake a faith more firm than ours. Were preying upon meagre herbs and skins; And some were sating upon loathsome things
Brave John, Unutterable, the ravening hunger. Some,
My soul is jocund. Expectation soars
And stoopeth from her heavens with palms ne'er wom
JOHN. And some spake jeeringly, and thank'd the lady
Why, then, to sleep. That she had thus with provident care reserved This fight by day, and reyel all the night, The choicest banquet for our scarcest days.
Needs some repose-I'll to my bed-Farewell!
To-morrow! will that morrow dawn upon thee ! By earth and heaven, the remnant of a child !
I've warn'd them, I have lifted up my voice A human child! --Ay, start! so started we
As loud as 't were an angel's, and well nigh Whereat she shriek'd aloud, and clapp'd her hands,
Had I betray'd my secret: they but scofl'd, “O! dainty and fastidious appetites !
And ask'd how long I had been a prophetess? The mother feasts upon her babe, and strangers
But that injurious John did foully taunt me, Loathe the repast"—and then—“My beautiful child!" As though I envied my lost sister's bridal. The treasure of my womb! my bosom's joy !"
And when I clung to my dear father's neck, And then in her cool madness did she spurn us
With the close fondness of a last embrace, Out of her doors. Oh still-oh sull I hear her,
He shook me from him. And I shall hear her till my day of death.
But, ah roe! how strange!
This moment, and the hurrying streets were full HIGH-PRIEST.
As at a festival, now all's so silent
That I might hear the footsteps of a child.
The sound of dissolute mirth hath ceased, the lamps Joy to thee, beautiful and bashful Bride!
Are spent, the voice of music broken off. Joy! for the thrills of pride and joy become thee; No watchman's tread comes from the silent wall,
'Thy curse of barrenness is taken from thee, There are nor lights nor voices in the towers. And thou shalt see the rosy infant sleeping
The hungry have given up the idle search Upon the snowy fountain of thy breast ;
For food, the gazers on the heavens are gone, And thou shalt feel how mothers' hearts are blest Even fear 's at rest—all still as in a sepulchre ! By hours of bliss for moments' pain and weeping.
And thou liest sleeping, oh Jerusalem! Joy to thee!
A deeper slumber could not fall upon thee
If thou wert desolate of all thy children,
And thy razed streets a dwelling-place for owls.
I do mistake! this is the Wilderness, Away! what do ye in our midnight streets
The Desert, where winds pass and make no sound, Go sleep! go sleep! or we shall have to lash you, And not the populous city, the besieged
And overhung with tempest. Why, my voice, Ay, strike, proud Roman! fall, thou useless wall! My motion, breaks upon the oppressive stillness And vail your heads, ye towers, that have discharged Like a forbidden and disturbing sound.
Your brief, your fruitless duty of resistance. The very air 's asleep, my feeblest breathing I've heard thee long, fierce Gentile! th' earthquake Is audible--I'll think my prayers—and then
shocks -Ha! 't is the thunder of the Living God! or thy huge engines smote upon my soul, It peals! it crashes! it comes down in fire!
And my soul scornd them. Oh! and hear'st not thou Again! it is the engine of the soe,
One mightier than thyself that shakes the heavens ? Our walls are dust before itWake-oh wake Oh pardon, that I thought that He, whose coming Oh Israel!-Oh Jerusalem, a wake!
Is promised and reveal'd, would calmly wait
I had brought mine arms, As though the Everlasting raged not now
Mine earthly arms, my breastplate and my sword, Against our guilty Zion, but did mingle
To cover and defend me-Oh! but thou
Art jealous, nor endurest that human arm
I cast them from me. Helmless, with nor shield
Wait thee, victorious Roman
To the Temple!
SIMON. Of onset; and 1,-1, a trembling girl
Ay, well thou say'st, " to the Temple"-there't will be Alone, awake, abroad.
Most visible. In his own house the Lord
Will shine most glorious. Shall we not behold Now ye pour forth, and hideous Massacre,
The Fathers bursting from their yielding graves, Loathing his bloodless conqnest, joys to see you Patriarchs and Priests, and Kings and Prophets, met Thus naked and unarm'd-But where 's my father? A host of spectral watchmen, on the towers Upon his couch in dreams of future glory.
Of Zion to behold the full accomplishing Oh! where 's my sister? in her bridal bed.
of every Type and deep Prophetic word?
Ay, 10 the Temple! thither will I too,
There bask in all the fulness of the day
That breaks at length o'er the long night of Judah.
To the Temple! To the Temple! Israel! Israel !
Chorus, of Jews flying towards the temple.
Fly! fly! fly!
And there are victims, yet nor bulls nor goats ;
To stranger Gods his hecatomb devotes ;
Rejoice, ye breasts, where ne'er sweet infant hung!
from you no smiling babes are wrung,
Ye on whose bosoms unwean'd babes are laid; The sword that's with the mother's blood defiled
Still with the infant gluts the insatiate blade.
The above, Simoy.
He cornes! he comes ! the black night blackens with
him, And the winds groan beneath his chariot wheelsHe comes from heaven, the Avenger of Jerusalem!
Fly! fly! fly!
To keen-eyed Lust all places are the same:
Where the sword fails, the fire will find us there,
All, all is death-the Gentile or the flame.
Was shaken off, as with a patient pity
On to the Temple! Brethren, Israel on!
Didst thou not fall and worship?
I had call'd Fight for your God, his sacred house to save,
The curse upon my head, my voice had cried
Unto the Roman, “On us be his blood,
The Gentile sword hath reap'd them one by one,
And I, the last dry wither'd shock, await
The gleaning of the slaughterer.
Couldst thou see
The Cross, the Agony, and still hard of heart?
OLD MAN Ye spare me only, I alone am mark'd And seal’d for life : death cruelly seems to shun me, He look'd around him, even in that last anguish,
Fond child, I tell thee, ere the Cross was raised Me, who am readiest and most wish to die. Oh! I have sat me by the ghastly slain
With such a majesty of calm compassion, In envy of their state, and wept a prayer
Such solemn adjuration to our souls That I were cold like them, and safe from th' hands
But yet 't was not reproachful, only sadOf the remorseless conqueror. I have fled,
As though our guilt had been the bitterest pang And fled, and Red, and still I Ay the nearer
Of suffering. And there dwelt about him still, To the howling ravagers—they are every where.
About his drooping head and fainting limb, I've closed mine eyes, and rush'd I know not whither, A sense of power; as though he chose to die, And still are swords and men and furious faces
Yet might have shaken off the load of death Before me, and behind me, and around me.
Without an effort. Awful breathlessness But ah! the shrieks that come from out the dwell- Spread round, too deep and too intense for tears. ings
MIRIAM Of my youth's loved companions—every where
Thou didst believe ?I hear some dear and most familiar voice
OLD MAN. In its despairing frantic agonies.
Away! Men glared upon me Ah me! that I were struck with leprosy,
As though they did detect my guilty pity; That sinful men might loathe me and pass on.
Their voices roar'd around me like a tempest,
Ah! thou didst not join the cry! Oh, Lord and Saviour Christ!
Woman, I did, and with a voice so audible
Men turn'd to praise my zeal. And when the dark
ness, Who spake of Christ? The noonday darkness, fell upon the earth, What hath that name to do with saving here? And the earth's self shook underneath my feet, He's here, he's here, the Lord of desolation, I stood before the Cross, and in my pride Begirt with vengeance! in the fire above,
Rejoiced that I had shaken from my soul And fire below! in all the blazing city
The soft compunction.
Ha !—but now, oh! now,
Thou own'st him for the eternal Son of God, And miserable, on the verge of the grave
The mock'd, and scourged, and crown'd and crucified Thus lingering to behold thy country's ruin
Thou dost believe the blazing evidence What know'st thou of the Christ?
Of yon fierce flames! thou bow'st thyself before OLD MAN.
The solemn preacher, Desolation,
I, I beheld him, That now on Zion's guilty ruins seated
Maiden, I believe them, Press'd the rough cross, and from his crowned brow I dare not disbelieve; it is my curse, (Crown'd with no kingly diadem) the pale blood My agony, that cleaves to me in death.
When, even as though he heard a voice, and yet Oh! not a curse, it is a gracious blessing
There was no sound I heard, he sprung from me
Unto the chamber-door, and he look'd out
Into the city-
Well !—Nay, let not fall
Thy insufficient raiment — Merciful Heaven,
Thy bosom bleeds! What rash and barbarous hand
He came back and kiss'd me, and he said
I know not what he said—but there was something
or Gentile ravisher, and his beauteous bride, -
Me, me he meant, he call'd me beauteous bride, And so will die.
And he stood o'er me with a sword so bright
My dazzled eyes did close. And presently,
Methought, he smote me with the sword, but then
He fell A pon my neck, and wept upon me,
And I felt nothing but his burning tears.
She faints! Look up, sweet sister! I have stanch'd It is mine home, the dwelling of my youth,
The blood awhile—but her dim wandering eyes
Are fixing-she awakes-she speaks again.
Ah! brides, they say, should be retired, and dwell
Within in modest secresy; yet here
My naked feet on the cold stones, the wind
Blowing my raiment off—it's
Oh, Amariah! let me lay my head,
Upon thy bosom, and so fall asleep.
There is no Amariah here—'t is I,
The Christian Miriam!
A cold and scanty baptism of my tears.
Oh! shrink not from me, lift not up thy head,
Thy dying head, from thy loved sister's lap.
The bridegroom 's at the door, and I must meet him, 'Tis all thy bitter envy, that hath made
Though my knees shake and tremble. If he come,
And find me sad and cold, as I am now,
He will not love me as he did.
Thou growest cold indeed.
Night closes rouna,
Slumber is on my soul. If Amariah
Return with morning, glorious and adorn'd
In spoil, as he is wont, thou 'lt wake me, sister?
-Ah! no, no, no! this is no waking sleep.
It bursts npon me-Yes, and Simon's daughter,
The bride of Amariah, may not fear,
Nor shrink from dying. My half-failing spirit
Comes back, my soft love
melted heart is strong :
Thou'st wounded me to death and I will bless thee,
Is thine in blessing-Amariah Love!