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See where the oaks' deep shade that falls *
Around that mystic ring recalls,
With Roman fane and Grecian cave
A tottering faith that could not save.
It seems as though each fleeting power,
The brief creation of an hour,
That boasting once its feeble plan
Has swayed the darkened mind of man,
Found here a meet symbolic grave
Beside the Jordan's gushing wave.
Nor less with mystic meaning rife
That crumbling type of war and strife
Declares that every strife must cease
Beside the streams of love and peace.
Flow down illustrious river
In mighty gladness go; A wondrous music ever
Sounds as thy waters flow :
A music of a sweeter tone
Than echoes from the past alone.
For no rare spot which love may
For courage high or deed of fame,
Wrought nobly on thy hallowed shore
By giant arm in days of yore :
No tale of love nor martial theme
That lives beside thy haunted stream,
But with a strange mysterious power
Enthralled the heart from that first hour
When bending at a mother's knee
We lisp'd the prayer of infancy.
Leave Merom round whose marshy coast t
The gathered force of Canaan's host
Sinai and Palestine, p. 393 and 394.
Till Israel's chieftain from afar
Burst on them in resistless war,
And mangled horse and shattered car,
Chok'd thy empurpled way.
With noiseless ripple gently glide
That memory-hallowed shore beside
Whose hills in stedfast circle set
Look down on still Gennesaret :-
One moment in that stillness stay
Then burst impetuous on thy way :
Through pathless jungle swift descend
Where tamarisks blush and willows bend,
Till all the faint horizon wanes
O'er southern Moab's desert plains.
Then sink amid that waste and gloom
That seems of nature's self the tomb,
Where scarce a living thing draws breath
And life is only life in death.
Yet here not less the mighty past
The treasures of her lore hath cast.
On those dark heights that proudly rise
A purple rampart to the skies,
He stood, that traitor seer, who sold
His prophet voice for Moab's gold.
He saw the goodly tents outspread
As aloes by the river's bed;
Or cedarn branches waving wide
By far Euphrates' eastern tide.
Fain with a curse would he have striven *
To thwart the high decree of heaven,
But how might mortal's cursing rest
On whom the Lord himself had blessed ;
This scene took place on mount Abarim, on the eastern side of Jordan; just
before it falls into the Dead Sea.
Or seer, for wealth of Moab's land,
Speak other than his God's command.
Upon his powerless soul like flame
Again the mighty vision came;
He read with clear prophetic eye,
The page of dark futurity.
Southward he gazed and knew the ills
That lowered o'er Edom's fated hills;
He looked on Amalek and bewailed
His power o'erthrown, his glory paled,
And where from yonder towering rocks
The haughty Kenite vainly mocks
The foes emprize, securely bold
In high Engedi's mountain-hold,
He saw the avenging bolt of heaven,
He saw their vaunting squadrons riven.
Till as he viewed the eastern strand
Where lay his lov'd, his native land,
His ear prophetic caught the wail
Of Asshur, as the conquering sail
Swell'd proudly on Euphrates' breast
From distant Chittim of the west.
And yet once more a prophet stands,
And gazes on those gleaming lands:
He sees the sloping hills where shine
The laughing clusters of the vine;
And bristling ears of bearded grain
The toiling reaper's hoarded gain :
And many a mountain's ancient seat,
And many a valley's cool retreat,
Where sheltering rise mid airs of balm
The fig, the olive, and the palm.
He sees-no more-he may but glance
Awhile in momentary trance,
And he their prophet, teacher, sage,
Their guide to that fair heritage,
Must see the land which they shall share
Nor breathe a sigh to enter there.
No step may tread-no eye may trace
His lone mysterious burial place,
But who shall say what mightier power
Is with him in that final hour,
What angel host bright vigil keeps
Around the spot where Moses sleeps!
What need to sing of him that led
Through parted Jordan's deepening bed
That host to Canaan's side;
Of that great seer to whom 'twas given
To pierce, unscathed of death, to heaven;
And his impetuous pride,
Who sought proud Pharphar's lordly wave
And scorned his leprosy to lave
In Canaan's humble tide.
But higher holier faneies brood
Oe'r Jordan's mystic solitude.
For these on thy untrodden bank
Waved the rich verdure wild and rank,
And silent grandeur loved to reign
Unbroken on thy desert plain.
Hark! from those banks resounds a cry
"Repent ye, for the Lord is nigh!"
And lo! a weird majestic form
That warns to flee the gathered storm.
Not his the mien of those who wait
Upon the footsteps of the great,
Not their's who bask in sluggish ease
Mid pomp of courtly palaces;
Stern is his air, and coarse the vest
Drawn knotted o'er his swarthy breast;
Higher than monarch's call he brings-
The herald of the King of kings.
But who, mid those that haste to lave
Their palsied souls in Jordan's wave,
O'erawes the throngs that onward press,
In majesty of lowliness?
Mark'd ye the ranks before him bow?
Mark'd ye the glory on his brow?
By that descending heavenly dove,
By those dread accents from above-
The Prince of Peace, The God of Love.
Oh! vain for stammering man to try
With his weak utterance theme so high;
Then how unmeet that lay like mine
Should strain to tune with things divine.
For far above our earthward thought
In fierce life-struggle vilely taught,
Above light Fancy's fickle hand
Supremely towers that story grand ;
Nor save when shadow of unrest
Has fled the calm secluded breast
We see in dim uncertain view
That life "beneath the Syrian blue."
These giant forms are passed away,
And prophet, priest, and king
Adorn a grander nobler lay
Than minstrel harp may sing:
But desolation ranges wide
Where Joshua fought and Moses died.
There the lone Arab wanders wild
The desert's solitary child.
Or oft returning loves to stand
The exile from his widowed land,
And mourn with many a bitter sigh
The glory of a day gone by.