Reft of thy sons, amid thy foes forlorn,
Mourn, widow’d Queen, forgotten Sion, mourn!
Is this thy place, sad city, this thy throne,
Where the wild desert rears its craggy stone;
While suns unblest their angry lustre fling,
And wayworn pilgrims seek the scanty spring!–
Where now thy pomp, which kings with envy view’d?
Where now thy might, which all those kings subdued?
No martial myriads muster in thy gate ;
No suppliant nations in thy Temple wait :
No prophet bards, thy glittering courts among,
Wake the full lyre, and swell the tide of song :
But lawless Force, and meager Want are there,
And the quick-darting eye of restless Fear,
While cold Oblivion, ‘mid thy ruins laid,
Folds his dark wing beneath thy ivy shade.
Ye guardian saints! ye warrior sons of Heaven,
To whose high care Judaea’s state was given!
O wont of old your nightly watch to keep,
A host of gods, on Sion’s towery steep!
If e’er your secret footsteps linger still
By Siloa’s fount or Tabor’s echoing hill;
If e’er your song on Salem’s glories dwell,
And mourn the captive land you loved so well ;
(For oft, ’tis said, in Kedron’s palmy vale
Mysterious harpings swell the midnight gale,
And, blest as balmy dews that Hermon cheer,
Melt in soft cadence on the pilgrim’s ear) ;
Forgive, blest spirits, if a theme so high
Mock the weak notes of mortal minstrelsy!
Yet, might your aid this anxious breast inspire
With one faint spark of Milton’s seraph fire,
Then should my Muse ascend with bolder flight,
And wave her eagle-plumes exulting in the light.
O happy once in Heaven’s peculiar love,
Delight of men below, and saints above!
Though, Salem, now the spoiler’s ruffian hand
Has loosed his hell-hounds o’er thy wasted land ;
Though weak, and whelm’d beneath the storms of fate,
Thy house is left unto thee desolate ;
Though thy proud stones in cumbrous ruin fall,
And seas of sand o’ertop thy mouldering wall ;
Yet shall the Muse to fancy’s ardent view
Each shadowy trace of faded pomp renew :
And as the seer on Pisgah’s topmost brow
With glistening eye beheld the plain below,
With prescient ardour drank the scented gale,
And bade the opening glades of Canaan hail ;
Her eagle eye shall scan the prospect wide,
From Carmel’s cliffs to Almotana’s tide ;
The flinty waste, the cedar-tufted hill,
The liquid health of smooth Ardeni’s rill ;
The grot, where, by the watch-fire’s evening blaze,
The robber riots or the hermit prays ;
Or where the tempest rives the hoary stone,
The wintry top of giant Lebanon.
Fierce, hardy, proud, in conscious freedom bold,
Those stormy seats the warrior Druses hold ;
From Norman blood their lofty line they trace,
Their lion courage proves their generous race ;
They, only they, while all around them kneel
In sullen homage to the Thracian steel,
Teach their pale despot’s waning Moon to fear
The patriot terrors of the mountain spear.
Yes, valorous chiefs, while yet your sabres shine
The native guard of feeble Palestine,
Oh, ever thus, by no vain boast dismay’d,
Defend the birthright of the cedar shade!
What though no more for you th’ obedient gale
Swells the white bosom of the Tyrian sail?
Though now no more your glittering marts unfold
Sidonian dyes and Lusitanian gold ;
Though not for you the pale and sickly slave
Forgets the light in Ophir’s wealthy cave ;
Yet yours the lot, in proud contentment blest,
Where cheerful labour leads to tranquil rest.
No robber rage the ripening harvest knows ;
And unrestrain’d the generous vintage flows ;
Nor less your sons to manliest deeds aspire,
And Asia’s mountains glow with Spartan fire.
So when, deep sinking in the rosy main,
The western sun forsakes the Syrian plain,
His watery rays refracted lustre shed,
And pour their latest light on Carmel’s head.
Yet shines your praise, amid surrounding gloom,
As the lone lamp that trembles in the tomb :
For few the souls that spurn a tyrant’s chain,
And small the bounds of freedom’s scanty reign.
As the poor outcast on the cheerless wild,
Arabia’s parent, clasp’d her fainting child,
And wander’d near the roof, no more her home,
Forbid to linger, yet afraid to roam;
My sorrowing fancy quits the happier height,
And southward throws her half-averted sight.
For sad the scenes Judaea’s plains disclose,
A dreary wast of undistinguish’d woes :
See War untired his crimson pinions spread,
And foul revenge that tramples on the dead.
Lo, where from far the guarded fountains shine,
Thy tents, Nebaioth, rise, and Kedar, thine!
‘Tis yours the boast to mark the stranger’s way,
And spur your headlong chargers on the prey,
Or rouse your nightly numbers from afar,
And on the hamlet pour the waste of war ;
Nor spare the hoary head, nor bid your eye
Revere the sacred smile of infancy.
Such now the clans, whose fiery coursers feed
Where waves on Kishon’s bank the whispering reed ;
And theirs the soil, where, curling to the skies,
Smokes on Samaria’s mount her scanty sacrifice ;
While Israel’s sons, by scorpion curses driven,
Outcasts of earth, and reprobate of heaven,
Through th wide world in friendless exile stray,
Remorse and shame sole comrades of their way,
With dumb despair their country’s wrongs behold,
And, dead to glory, only burn for gold.
O Thou, their Guide, their Father, and their Lord,
Loved for Thy mercies, for Thy power adored!
If at Thy name the waves forgot their force,
And refluent Jordan sought his trembling source;
If at Thy name like sheep the mountains fled,
And haughty Sirion bow’d his marble head ;–
To Israel’s woes a pitying ear incline,
And raise from earth Thy long neglected vine!
Her rifled fruits behold the heathen bear,
And wild-wood boars her mangled clusters tear.
Was it for this she stretch’d her peopled reign
From far Euphrates to the western main?
For this o’er many a hill her bows she threw,
And her wide arms like goodly cedars grew?
For this proud Edom slept beneath her shade,
And o’er th’ Arabian deep her branches play’d?
Oh feeble boast of transitory power!
Vain, fruitless trust of Judah’s happier hour!
Not such their hope when through the parted main
The cloudy wonder led the warrior train :
Not such their hope, when through the fields of night
The torch of heaven diffused its friendly light :
Not, when fierce conquest urged the onward war,
And hurl’d stern Canaan from his iron car :
Nor, when five monarchs led to Gibeon’s fight,
In rude array, the harness’d Amorite :
Yes — in that hour, by mortal accents stay’d,
The lingering sun his fiery wheels delay’d ;
The moon, obedient, trembled at the sound,
Curb’d her pale car and check’d her mazy round!
Let Sinai tell — for she beheld His might,
And God’s own darkness veil’d her mystic height:
(He, cherub-borne upon the whirlwind rode,
And the red mountain like furnace glow’d) ;
Let Sinai tell — but who shall dare recite
His praise, His power, eternal, infinite?–
Awe-struck I cease ; nor bid my strains aspire,
Or serve His altar with unhallowed fire.
Such were the cares that watch’d o’er Israel’s fate,
And such the glories of their infant state.
— Triumphant race! and did your power decay?
Fail’d the bright promise of your early day?
No :– by that sword, which, red with heathen gore,
A giant spoil, the stripling champion bore ;
By him, the chief to farthest India known,
The mighty master of the ivory throne :
In Heaven’s own strength, high towering o’er her foes,
Victorious Salem’s lion banner rose;
Before her footstool prostrate nations lay,
And vassal tyrants crouch’d beneath her sway.
And he, the kingly sage, whose restless mind
Through nature’s mazes wandered unconfined ;
Who every bird, and beast, and insect knew,
And spake of every plant that quaffs the dew ;
To him were known — so Hagar’s offspring tell–
The powerful sigil and the starry spell,
The midnight call, hell’s shadowy legions dread,
And sounds that burst the slumbers of the dead.
Hence all his might ; for who could these oppose?
And Tadmor thus, and Syrian Balbec rose.
Yet e’en the works of toiling genii fall,
And vain was Estakhar’s enchanted wall.
In frantic converse with the mournful wind
There oft the houseless Santon rests reclined ;
Strange shapes he views, and drinks with wondering ears
The voices of the dead, and songs of other years.
Such, the faint echo of departed praise,
Still sound Arabia’s legendary lays ;
And thus their fabling bards delight to tell
How lovely were thy tents, O Israel!
For thee his ivory load Behemoth bore,
And far Sofala teem’d with golden ore ;
Thine all the arts that wait on wealth’s increase,
Or bask and wanton in the beam of peace.
When Tyber slept beneath the cypress gloom,
And silence held the lonely woods of Rome ;
Or e’er to Greece the builder’s skill was known,
Or the light chisel brush’d the Parian stone ;
Yet here fair Science nursed her infant fire,
Fann’d by the artist aid of friendly Tyre.
Then tower’d the palace, then in awful state
The temple rear’d its everlasting gate :
No workman steel, no ponderous axes rung!
Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprung.
Majestic silence! — then the harp awoke,
The cymbal clang’d, the deep-voiced trumpet spoke ;
And Salem spread her suppliant arms abroad,
View’d the descending flame, and bless’d the present God.
Nor shrunk she then, when, raging deep and loud,
Beat o’er her soul the billows of the proud.
E’en they who, dragg’d to Shinar’s fery sand,
Till’d with reluctant strength the stranger’s land ;
Who sadly told the slow revolving years,
And steep’d the captive’s bitter bread with tears :–
Yet oft their hearts with kindling hopes would burn,
Their destined triumphs, and their glad return,
And their sad lyres, which, silent and unstrung,
In mournful ranks on Babel’s willows hung,
Would oft awake to chant their future fame,
And from the skies their lingering Saviour claim.
His promised aid could every fear control;
This nerved warrior’s arm, this steel’d the martyr’s soul!
Nor vain their hope :– bright beaming through the sky,
Burst in full blaze the Day-spring from on high ;
Earth’s utmost isles exulted at the sight,
And crowding nations drank the orient light.
Lo! star-led chiefs Assyrian odours bring,
And bending Magi seek their infant King!
Mark’d ye, where hovering o’er his radiant head,
The dove’s white wings celestial glory shed?
Daughter of Sion! virgin queen! rejoice!
Clap the glad hand and lift th’ exulting voice!
He comes, — but not in regal splendour drest,
The haughty diadem, the Tyrian vest ;
Not arm’d in flame, all-glorious from afar,
Of hosts the chieftain, and the lord of war,
Messiah comes! — let furious discord cease;
Be pease on earth before the Prince of peace!
Disease and anguish feel His blest control,
And howling fiends release the tortured soul ;
The beams of gladness hell’s dark caves illume,
And Mercy broods above the distant gloom.
Thou palsied earth, with noonday night o’erspread!
Thou sickening sun, so dark, so deep, so red!
Ye hovering ghosts, that throng the starless air,
Why shakes the earth? why fades the light? declare!
Are those His limbs, with ruthless scourges torn?
His brows, all bleeding with the twisted thorn?
His the pale form, the meek forgiving eye
Raised from the cross in patient agony?
— Be dark, thou sun, — thou noonday night arise,
And hide, oh hide, the dreadful sacrifice!
Ye faithful few, by bold affection led,
Who round the Saviour’s cross your sorrows shed,
Not for His sake your tearful vigils keep ;–
Weep for your country, for your children weep!
— Vengeance! thy fiery wing their race pursued ;
Thy thirsty poniard blush’d with infant blood.
Roused at thy call, and panting still for game,
The bird of war, the Latian eagle, came.
Then Judah raged, by ruffian Discord led,
Drunk with the steamy carnage of the dead :
He saw his sons by dubious slaughter fall,
And war without, and death within the wall.
Wide-wasting plague, gaunt famine, mad despair,
And dire debate, and clamorous strife was there ;
Love, strong as death, retain’d his might no more,
And the pale parent drank her children’s gore.
Yet they, who wont to roam the ensanguined plain,
And spurn with fell delight their kindred slain ;
E’en they, when, high above the dusty fight,
Their burning Temple rose in lurid light,
To their loved altars paid a parting groan,
And in their country’s woes forgot their own.
As ‘mid the cedar courts and gates of gold
The trampled ranks in miry carnage roll’d,
To save their Temple every hand essay’d,
And with cold fingers grasp’d the feeble blade :
Through their torn veins reviving fury ran,
And life’s last anger warm’d the dying man!
But heavier far the fetter’d captives’ doom!
To glut with sighs the iron ear of Rome :
To swell, slow-pacing by the car’s tall side,
The stoic tyrant’s philosophic pride ;
To flesh the lion’s ravenous jaws, or feel
The sportive fury of the fencer’s steel;
Or pant, deep plunged beneath the sultry mine,
For the light gales of balmy Palestine.
Ah! fruited now no more,– an empty coast,
She mourn’d her sons enslaved, her glories lost:
In her wide streets the lonely raven bred,
There bark’d the wolf, and dire hyaenas fed.
Yet ‘midst her towery fanes, in ruin laid,
The pilgrim saint his murmuring vespers paid ;
‘Twas his to climb the tufted rocks, and rove
The chequer’d twilight of the olive grove ;
‘Twas his to bend beneath the sacred gloom,
And wear with many a kiss Messiah’s tomb :
While forms celestial fill’d his tranced eye,
The daylight dreams of pensive piety,
And softer sorrows charm’d the mourner’s soul.
Oh, lives there one who mocks his artless zeal–
Too proud to worship, and too wise to feel?
Be his the soul with wintry reason blest,
The dull, lethargic sovereign of the breast!
Be his the life that creeps in dead repose,
No joy that sparkles, and no tear that flows!
Far other they who rear’d yon pompous shrine,
And bade the rock with Parian marble shine.
Then hallow’d Peace renew’d her wealthy reign,
Then altars smoked, and Sion smiled again.
There sculptured gold and costly gems were seen,
And all the bounties of the British queen ;
There barbarous kings their sandall’d nations led,
And steel-clad champions bow’d the crested head.
There, when her fiery race the desert pour’d,
And pale Byzantium fear’d Medina’s sword,
When coward Asia shook in trembling woe,
And bent appall’d before the Bactrian bow ;
From the moist regions of the western star
The wandering hermit waked the storm of war.
Their limbs all iron, and their souls all flame,
A countless host, the red-cross warriors came ;
E’en hoary priests the sacred combat wage,
And clothe in steel the palsied arm of age ;
While beardless youths and tender maids assume
The weighty morion and the glancing plume.
In sportive pride the warrior damsels wield
The ponderous falchion and the sun-like shield,
And start to see their armour’s iron gleam
Dance with blue lustre in Tabaria’s stream.
The blood-red banner floating o’er their van,
All madly blithe the mingled myriads ran :
Impatient Death beheld his destined food,
And hovering vultures snuff’d the scent of blood.
Not such the numbers, nor the host so dread,
By northern Brenn or Scythian Timur led ;
Nor such the heart-inspiring zeal that bore
United Greece to Phyrgia’s reedy shore!
There Gaul’s proud knights with boastful mien advance,
Form the long line, and shake the cornel lance ;
Here, link’d with Thrace, in close battalions stand
Ausonia’s sons, a soft inglorious band ;
There the stern Norman joins the Austrian train,
And the dark tribes of late-reviving Spain;
Here in black files, advancing firm and slow,
Victorious Albion twangs the deadly bow :–
Albion,– still prompt the captive’s wrong to aid,
And wield in Freedom’s cause the freeman’s generous blade!
Ye sainted spirits of the warrior dead,
Whose giant force Britannia’s armies led!
Whose bickering falchions, foremost in the fight,
Still pour’d confusion on the Soldan’s might ;
Lords of the biting axe and beamy spear,
Wide-conquering Edward, lion Richard, hear!
At Albion’s call your crested pride resume,
And burst the marble slumbers of the tomb!
Your sons behold, in arm, in heart the same,
Still press the footsteps of parental fame,
To Salem still their generous aid supply,
And pluck the palm of Syrian chivalry!
When he, from towery Malta’s yielding isle,
And the green waters of reluctant Nile,
Th’ apostate chief,– from Misraim’s subject shore
To Acre’s walls his trophied banners bore ;
When the pale desert mark’d his proud array,
And desolation hoped an ampler sway ;
What hero then triumphant Gaul dismay’d?
What arm repell’d the victor Renegade?
Britannia’s champion!– bathed in hostile blood,
High on the breach the dauntless Seaman stood :
Admiring Asia saw th’ unequal fight,–
E’en the pale Crescent bless’d the Christian’s might.
Oh day of death! Oh thirst beyond control,
Of crimson conquest in th’ Invader’s soul!
The slain, yet warm by social footsteps trod,
O’er the red moat supplied a panting road ;
O’er the red moat our conquering thunders flew
And loftier still the grisly rampire grew.
While proudly glow’d above the rescued tower
The wavy cross that mark’d Britannia’s power.
Yet still destruction sweeps the lonely plain,
And heroes lift the generous sword in vain.
Still o’er her sky the clouds of anger roll,
And God’s revenge hangs heavy on her soul.
Yet shall she rise;– but not by war restored,
Not built in murder,– planted by the sword:
Yes! Salem, thou shalt rise : thy Father’s aid
Shall heal the wound His chastening hand has made ;
Shall judge the proud oppressor’s ruthless sway,
And burst his brazen bonds, and cast his cords away.
Then on your tops shall deathless verdure spring,
Break forth, ye mountains, and ye valleys, sing!
No more your thirsty rocks shall frown forlorn,
The unbeliever’s jest, the heathen’s scorn;
The sultry sands shall tenfold harvests yield,
And a new Eden deck the thorny field.
E’en now, perchance, wide-waving o’er the land,
That mighty Angel lifts his golden wand,
Courts the bright vision of descending power,
Tells every gate, and measures every tower ;
And chides the tardy seals that yet detain
Thy Lion, Judah, from his destined reign.
And who is He? the vast, the awful form,
Girt with the whirlwind, sandall’d with the storm ;
A western cloud around His limbs is spread,
His crown a rainbow, and a sun His head.
To highest Heaven He lifts his kingly hand,
And treads at once the ocean and the land ;
And, hark! His voice amid the thunder’s roar,
His dreadful voice, that Time shall be no more!
Lo! cherub hands the golden courts prepare,
Lo! thrones arise, and every saint is there ;
Earth’s utmost bounds confess their awful sway,
The mountains worship, and the isles obey ;
Nor sun nor moon they need,– nor day, nor night ;–
God is their temple, and the Lamb their light :
And shall not Israel’s sons exulting come,
Hail the glad beam, and claim their ancient home?
On David’s throne shall David’s offspring reign,
And the dry bones be warm with life again.
Hark! white-robed crowds their deep hosannas raise,
And the hoarse flood repeats the sound of praise ;
Ten thousand harps attune the mystic song,
Ten thousand thousand saints the strain prolong ;
“Worthy the Lamb! omnipotent to save,
Who died, who lives, triumphant o’er the grave!”
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Based on Keywords: pisgah, hermon, behemoth, steamy, boars, malta, manliest, sun-like, renegade, fabling, hagar