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The subsequent poems were written at the request of my friend the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird for a Selection
of Hebrew Melodies.
SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY. SHE walks in beauty, like the night
of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies. One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A heart whose love is innocent!
How welcome those untrodden spheres!
How sweet this very hour to die ! To soar from earth, and find all fears
Lost in thy light-Eternity! It must be so : 'tis not for self
That we so tremble on the brink ; And striving to o'erleap the gulf,
Yet cling to Being's severing link. Oh! in that future let us think
To hold each heart the heart that shares; With them the immortal waters drink,
And soul in soul grow deathless theirs !
THE HARP THE MONARCH MINSTREL
The King of men, the loved of Heaven,
O'er tones her heart of hearts had given, Redoubled be her tears, its chords are riven! It softend men of iron mould,
It gave them virtues not their own;
That felt not, fired not to the tone,
THE WILD GAZELLE.
Exulting yet may bound,
That gush on holy ground:
Hath Judah witness'd there;
Inhabitants more fair. The cedars wave on Lebanon, But Judah's statelier maids are gone! More blest each palm that shades those plains
Than Israel's scatter'd race;
In solitary grace:
In other lands to die;
Our own may never lie:
It told the triumphs of our King,
It wafted glory to our God;
The cedars bow, the mountains nod;
Its sound aspired to heaven and there abode! Since then, though heard on earth no more,
Devotion and her daughter Love,
To sounds that seern as from above,
OH! WEEP FOR THOSE.
IF THAT HIGH WORLD. IF that high world, which lies beyond
Our own, surviving Love endears; If there the cherish'd heart be fond.
The eye the same, except in tears
OH! weep for those that wept by Babel's stream,
And Judah's melody once more rejoice
Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast,
Away! we know that tears are vain,
That death nor hсeds nor hears distress : Will this unteach us to complain ?
Or make one mourner weep the less ?
ON JORDAN'S BANKS. ON Jordan's banks the Arab's camels stray, On Sion's hill the False One's votaries pray, The Baal-adorer bows on Sinai's steepYet there-even there-O God! Thy thunders sleep There-where Thy finger scorch'd the tablet stone! There-where Thy shadow to thy people shone ! Thy glory shrouded in its garb of fire : Thyself--none living see and not expire ! Oh! in the lightning let thy glance appear; Sweep from his shiver'd hand the oppressor's spear: How long by tyrants shall Thy land be trod ? How long Thy temple worshipless, O God!
MY SOUL IS DARK. My soul is dark-oh! quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear; And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear. If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again : If in these eyes there lurk a tear, 'Twill flow, and cease to burn my brain.
But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first: I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst; For it hath been by sorrow nursed,
And ached in sleepless silence long; And now 'tis doom'd to know the worst,
And break at once-or yield to song.
JEPHTHA'S DAUGHTER. SINCE our Country, our God-oh, my sire! Demand that thy daughter expire; Since thy triumph was bought by thy vowStrike the bosom that's bared for thee now! And the voice of my mourning is o'er, And the mountains behold me no more : If the hand that I love lay me low, There cannot be pain in the blow! And of this, O my father! be sureThat the blood of thy child is as pure As the blessing I beg ere it flow, And the last thought that soothes me below. Though the virgins of Salem lament, Be the judge and the hero unbent ! I have won the great battle for thee, And my father and country are free! When this blood of thy giving hatli gush'd, When the voice that thou lovest is hush'd, Let my memory still be thy pride, And forget not I sın:led as I died !
I SAW THEE WEEP.
Came o'er that eye of blue;
A violet dropping dew:
Beside thee ceased to shine ;
That fill'd that glance of thine.
As clouds from yonder sun receive
A deep and mellow dye, Which scarce the shade of coming eve
Can banish from the sky,
Their own pure joy impart;
That lightens o'er the heart.
OH! SNATCH'D AWAY IN BEAUTY'S
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
THY DAYS ARE DONE. THY days are done, thy fame begun;
Thy country's strains record The triumphs of her chosen son,
The slaughters of his sword ! The deeds he did, the fields he won,
The freedom he restored !
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Though thou art fall'n, while we are free
Thou shalt not taste of death! The generous blood that flow'd from thee
Disdain'd to sink beneath : Within our veins its currents be,
Thy spirit on our breath!
Thy name, our charging hosts along,
My goblets blush'd from every vine,
And lovely forms caress'd me:
I sunnd my heart in beauty's eyes,
And felt my soul grow tender;
All earth can give, or mortal prize,
Was mine of regal splendour.
Bid the prophet's form appcar.
I strive to number o'er what days
Remembrance can discover,
Would lure me to live over.
Of pleasure unembi:terd;
That galld not while it glitter'd.
Earth yawn'd; he stood the centre of a cloud :
The serpent of the field, by art
And spells, is won from harining; But that which coils around the heart,
Oh! who hath power of charming ?
Nor music's voice can lure it;
The soul that must endure it.
WHEN COLDNESS WRAPS THIS
Why is my sleep disquieted?
WHEN coldness wraps this suffering clay,
Ah! whither strays the immortal mind? It cannot die, it cannot stay,
But leaves its darkend dust behind. Then, uneníbodied, doth it trace
By steps each planet's heavenly way? Or fill at once the realms of space,
A thing of eyes, that all survey?
Eternal, boundless, undecay'd,
A thought unseen, but sceing all,
Shall it survey, shall it recall :
So darkly of departed years,
And all that was at once appears.
SONG OF SAUL BEFORE HIS LAST
Before Creation peopled earth,
Its cye shall roll through chaos back ;
The spirit trace its rising track.
Its glance dilate o'er all to be,
Fix'd in its own eternity.
Farewell to others, but never we part,
Above or Love, Hope, Hate, or Fear,
It lives all passionless and pure :
Its years as moments shall endure.
O'er all, through all, its thought shall fly, A nameless and eternal thing,
Forgetting what it was to die.
ALL IS VANITY, SAITH THE PREACHER.)
And health and youth possess d me;
WERE MY BOSOM AS FALSE AS THOU
DEEM'ST IT TO BE.
WERE my bosom as false as thou deem'st it to be,
I need not have wandered from far Galilee;
It was but abjuring my creed to efface
The curse which, thou say'st, is the crime of my race.
If the bad never triumph, then God is with thee!
If the slave only sin, thou art spotless and free!
If the exile on earth is an outcast on high,
Live on in thy faith, but in mine I will die.
I have lost for that faith more than thou canst bestow,
As the God who permits thee to prosper doth know : And wrote as if on sand:
In His hand is my heart and my hope-and in thine
The land and the life which for Him I resign.
HEROD'S LAMENT FOR MARIAMNE.
OH, Mariamne! now for thee
The heart for which thou bled'st is bleeding :
Revenge is lost in agony,
And wild remorse to rage succeeding.
Oh, Mariamne! where art thou ?
Thou canst not hear my bitter pleading :
Ah! couldst thou-thou wouldst pardon now,
Though Heaven were to my prayer unheeding
And is she dead ?-and did they dare
Obey my frenzy's jealous raving ?
My wrath but doom'd my own despair:
The sword that smote her 's o'er me waving.
But thou art cold, my murder'd love !
And this dark heart is vainly craving
For her who soars alone above,
And leaves my soul unworthy saving.
She's gone, who shared my diadem;
She sunk, with her my joys entombing,
I swept that flower from Judah's stem,
Whose leaves for me alone were blooming i
And mine's the guilt, and mine the hell,
This Losom's desolation dooming;
And I have earn'd those tortures well,
Which unconsumed are still consuming!
His kingdom pass'd away,
ON THE DAY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF
JERUSALEM BY TITUS.
FROM the last hill that looks on thy once holy dome,
I beheld thee, O Sion, when render'd to Rome : The Persian on his throne
Twas thy last sun went down, and the flames of thy
Flash'd back on the last glance ! gave to thy wall. SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS! SUN of the sleepless! melancholy star!
I look'd for thy temple, I look'd for my home, Whose tearful beam glows treinulously far,
And forgot for a moment my bondage to come ; That show'st the darkness thou canst not dispel,
I beheld but the death-fire that fed on thy fane, How like art thou to joy remember'd well!
And the fast-fetter'd hands that made vengeance in So gleams the past, the light of other days,
vain. Which shines, but warms not with its powerless rays; A night-beam Sorrow watcheth to behold,
On many an eve, the high spot whence I gazed Distinct, but distant-clear, but oh, how cold! Had reflected the last beam of day as it blazed ;
While I stood on the height, and beheld the decline Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green, of the rays from the mountain that shone on thy That host with their banners at sunset were seen: shrine.
Like the loaves of the forest when Autumn hath
blown, And now on that mountain I stood on that day,
That host on the morrow lay wither'd and strewn. But I mark'd not the twilight beam melting away! Oh! would that the lightning had glared in its stead,
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And the thunderbolt burst on the conqueror's head!
And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass'd; But the gods of the Pagan shall never profane And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill, The shrine where Jehovah disdain'd not to reign; And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew And scatter'd and scorn'd as Thy people may be,
still ! Our worship, O Father I is only for Thee.
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON WE SAT
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail; When our foe, in the hue of his slaughters! And the tents were all silent, the banners alone, Made Salem's high places his prey ;
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail, While sadly we gazed on the river
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, They demanded the song , but, oh, never
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord ! That triumph the stranger shall know ! May this right hand be wither'd for ever, Ere it string our high harp for the foe!
A SPIRIT PASSED BEFORE ME.
A SPIRIT pass'd before me: I beheld
The face of iminortality unveil'd-
Deep sleep came down on every eye save mineAnd ne'er shall its soft tones be blender!
And there it stood-all forinless, but divine:
Along my bones the creeping flesh did quake;
And as my damp hair stiffen'd, thus it spake: THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB.
'Is man more just than God? Is man more pure THE Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, Than He who deems even Seraphs insecure? And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; Creatures of clay-vain dwellers in the dust! And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the The moth survives you, and are ye more just ? soa,
Things of a day! you wither ere the night, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. Heedless and blind to Wisdom's wasted light!'