Слике страница


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 ?
Now the jocund song is thine,

Bride of David's kingly line!

It was but now
How thy dove-like bosom trembleth, I sate within the Temple, in the court
And thy shrouded eye resembleth

That’s consecrate to mine office-Your eyes wander-
Violets, when the dews of eve

A moist and tremulous glitter leave

Go on!
On the bashful sealed lid!

Close within the bride-reil hid,

Why hearken, then-Upon a sudden
Motionless thou sit'st, and mute;

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.
of each entering maiden friend

And there, within the very Holy of Holies,
Thou dost rise and softly bend.

There, from behind the winged Cherubim,

Where the Ark stood, a noise, hurried and tumultuous,
Hark! a brisker, merrier glee!

Was heard, as when a king with all his host
The door unfolds,-'t is he, 't is he.

Doth quit his palace. And anon, a voice,
Thus we lift our lamps to meet him,

Or voices, half in grief, half anger, yet
Thus we touch our lutes to greet him.

Nor human grief nor anger, even it seem'd
Thou shalt give a fonder meeting,

As though the hoarse and rolling thunder spake
Thou shalt give a tenderer greeting.

With the articulate voice of man, it said,

Woe! woe!

A voice from the East! a voice from the West !

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?


Under a happy planet art thou led,
Look'd he on us as he spake ? Oh, chosen Virgin! to thy bridal bed.
FIRST JEW (to the Second returning.)

So put thou off thy soft and bashful sadness,
Thou follow'dst him! what now?

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!

Wherefore? Where went he?

Hark-hark! an armed tread!
To the outer wall;

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,
Have met you wandering, and have pointed at you From out your drowsy beds Away! I say.
With ominous designation; yet I scoff

Your poor and trivial terrors-Know ye Michol ? Simon, thou knowst not the dark signs abroad.


Ay! is 't not fearful and most ominous

That the sun shines not at deep midnight? Mark me,
The noble lady, she whose fathers

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
Yes, we know her, Our valiant city, we 'll nor leave you limbs
The tender and the delicate of women, (19)

To shake, nor voices to complain-T' your homes. That would not set her foot upon the ground

Simox, John.
For delicacy and very tenderness,

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
Whom we had plunder'd oft, laugh'd in their agony Before mine eyes, like to a new-fledged eagle,
To see us baffled. At her door she met us,

And stoopeth from her heavens with palms ne'er wom
And “We have feasted together heretofore," By brows of Israel. Glory mounts with her,
She said, “ most welcome warriors !" and she led us, Her deep seraphic trumpet swelling loud
And bade us sit like clear and honour'd guests, O'er Zion's gladdening towers.
While she made ready. Some among us wonder'd,

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!
But ever as she busily minister'd,
Quick, sudden sobs of laughter broke from her. Brave John, farewell! and I'll to rest, and dream
At length the vessel's covering she raised up, Upon the coming honours of to-morrow.
And there it lay-

What lay !—Thou rt sick and pale.

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
Oh, God of Mercies! this was once thy city!

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,
The above, Simon, John.

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
Why shouldst thou wake? thy foe is in the heavens. The tardy throes of human birth. Messiah,
Yea, thy judicial slumber weighs thee down, I know thee now, I know yon lightning fire,
And gives thee, oh! lost city, to the Gentile Thy robe of glory, and thy steps in heaven
Defenceless, unresisting.

Incessant thundering.
It rolls down,

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
The universal world in our destruction ;

Art jealous, nor endurest that human arm
And all mankind were destined for a sacrifice Intrude on thy deliverance. I forswear them,
On Israel's funeral pile. Oh Crucified !

I cast them from me. Helmless, with nor shield
Here, here, where thou didst suffer, I beseech thee Nor sword, I stand, and in my nakedness
Even by thy Cross!

Wait thee, victorious Roman
Hark! now in impious rivalry
Man thunders. In the centre of our streets

To the Temple!
The Gentile trumpet, the triumphant shouts

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
Oh, now ye wake,

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
Many Jews.

That breaks at length o'er the long night of Judah.



To the Temple! To the Temple! Israel! Israel !
Your walls are on the earth, your houses burn
Like fires amid the autumnal olive grounds.
The Gentile's in the courts of the Lord's house.
To the Temple! save or perish with the Temple!

To the Temple! haste, oh all ye circumcised !
Stay not for wise or child, for gold or treasure!
Pause not for light! the heavens are all on fire,
The Universal City burns !


Arms! Arms!
Our women fall like doves into the nets
of the fowler, and they dash upon the stones
Our innocent babes. Arms! Arms! before we die
Let's reap a bloody harvest of revenge.
To the Temple!

Simon! lo, the valiant Simon.

Chorus, of Jews flying towards the temple.

Fly! fly! fly!
Clouds, not of incense, from the Temple rise,
And there are altar-fires, but not of sacrifice.

And there are victims, yet nor bulls nor goats ;
And Priests are there, but not of Aaron's kin;
And he that doth the murtherous rite begin,

To stranger Gods his hecatomb devotes ;
His hecatomb of Israel's chosen race
All foully slaughter'd in their Holy Place.
Break into joy, ye barren, that ne'er bore! (20)

Rejoice, ye breasts, where ne'er sweet infant hung!

from you no smiling babes are wrung,
Ye die, but not amid your children's gore.
But howl and weep, oh ye that are with child,

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!
Fly not, I say, for Death is every where,

To keen-eyed Lust all places are the same:
There's not a secret chamber in whose lair
Our wives can shroud them from th' abhorred

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
He look'd on us, the infuriate multitude.




On to the Temple! Brethren, Israel on!

Didst thou not fall and worship?
Though every slippery street with carnage swims,
Ho! spite of famish'd hearts and wounded limbs,

Still, still, while yet there stands one holy stone,

I had call'd Fight for your God, his sacred house to save,

The curse upon my head, my voice had cried
Or have its blazing ruins for your grave!

Unto the Roman, “On us be his blood,
And on our children!"-and on us it hath been-
My children and my children's children, all,

The Gentile sword hath reap'd them one by one,
The Streets of Jerusalem.

And I, the last dry wither'd shock, await

The gleaning of the slaughterer.
Thou hard firm earth, thou wilt not break before me,
And hide me in thy dark and secret bosom!

Couldst thou see
Ye burning towers, ye fall upon your children
With a compassionate ruin—not on me-

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,
And I might now have been by that sweet fountain And every voice was howling “Crucify him!"-
Where the winds whisper through the moonlight I dared not be alone the apostate child

Of Abraham
I might have been with Javan there-Off, off-
These are not thoughts for one about to die-

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.
Behold him manifest!


Ha !—but now, oh! now,
Oh! aged man

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
The Man of Nazareth whom thou mean'st--I saw him Bears horrible witness.
When he went labouring up the accursed hill.

Heavily on his scourged and bleeding shoulders

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.




[ocr errors]






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
Believe, and thou shalt live!

Unto the chamber-door, and he look'd out

Into the city-
Back, insolent!

What! wouldst thou school these grey hairs, and be-

Well !—Nay, let not fall

Thy insufficient raiment — Merciful Heaven,
Mine age's teacher?

Thy bosom bleeds! What rash and barbarous hand


Hath not God ordain'd
Wisdom from babes and sucklings?

He came back and kiss'd me, and he said

I know not what he said—but there was something
Back, I say ;

or Gentile ravisher, and his beauteous bride, -
I have lived a faithful child of Abraham,

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,
For ever! He is gone,

Methought, he smote me with the sword, but then
Yet he looks round, and shakes his hoary head

He fell A pon my neck, and wept upon me,
In dreadful execration 'gainst himself

And I felt nothing but his burning tears.
And me— dare not follow him.

What's here?

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
O'er which the flames climb up with such fierce haste.

Are fixing-she awakes-she speaks again.
Lo, lo! they burst from that house-top, where oft
My sister and myself have sale and sang

Ah! brides, they say, should be retired, and dwell
Our pleasant airs of gladness! Ah, Salone!

Within in modest secresy; yet here
Where art thou now? These, these are not the lights Am I, a this night's bride, in the open street,
That should be shining on a marriage-bed.

My naked feet on the cold stones, the wind
Oh! that I had been call'd to dress thy bier,

Blowing my raiment off—it's

To pour sweet ointments on thy shrouded corpse,

Oh, Amariah! let me lay my head,
Rather than thus to weave thee bridal chaplets

Upon thy bosom, and so fall asleep.
To be so madly worn, so early wither'd !
Where art thou ? I dare only wish thee dead,

There is no Amariah here—'t is I,
Even as I wish myself.

Thy Miriam.
"Tis she, herself!

The Christian Miriam!
Thank God, she hath not perish'd in the flames !

'Tis she-she's here—she's here—the unfaded crown Oh! that thou too wert Christian! I could give thee
Hanging from her loose tresses, and her raiment

A cold and scanty baptism of my tears.
Only the bridal veil wrapt round her—Sister!

Oh! shrink not from me, lift not up thy head,
Oh! by my mother's blessings on us both,

Thy dying head, from thy loved sister's lap.
Stay, stay and speak to me-Salone !

Off! set me free! the song is almost done,

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,
The exquisite music cease, and hath put out

And find me sad and cold, as I am now,
The gentle lamps, and with a jealous voice

He will not love me as he did.
Hath called him from me.


Too true,
Seest thou not, Salone,

Thou growest cold indeed.
The city's all on fire, the foe's around us ?

Night closes rouna,
The fire! the foe! what's fire or foe to me?

Slumber is on my soul. If Amariah
What's aught but Amariah? He is mine,

Return with morning, glorious and adorn'd
The eagle-eyed, the noble and the brave,

In spoil, as he is wont, thou 'lt wake me, sister?
The Man of Men, the glory of our Zion,

-Ah! no, no, no! this is no waking sleep.
And ye have rent him from me.

It bursts npon me-Yes, and Simon's daughter,

The bride of Amariah, may not fear,
Dearest, who?

Nor shrink from dying. My half-failing spirit

Comes back, my soft love

melted heart is strong :
I tell thee, he was mine, oh! mine so fondly, I know it all, in mercy and in love
And I was his—I had begun to dare

Thou'st wounded me to death and I will bless thee,
The telling how I loved him and the night True lover! noble husband! my last breath
It was so rapturously still around us-

Is thine in blessing-Amariah Love!





« ПретходнаНастави »