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Who scorn Jehovah and his sacred trust.
Who bow the gates of Zion to the dust!
So shall they be: Amazement shall lay bare
Her enemies' souls, and terror, and despair.
So has it been: scarce Edom's name remains.
Soft Syria's loins are wrapped about with pains.
Tyre, where is she? Th' old haughty crocodile
Is he not bridled on the shores of Nile ?
On Ammon's head, on Moab's, Jehovah's doom
Has poured a midnight of unmelted gloom.
God is gone forth! Abroad his swift storms fly,
And strike the mystic birds from out the sky:
Soar, proudly burnished birds of Nineveh,
Home to the windows of your glory flee-
Ha! broke your wings, your trodden plumage rots!
The doves of Ashur lie among the pots!
For him! for yonder outcast-Wol and wo
Yet more to him who thus has brought her low ! -
Beneath her branchless palm must Judah sit,
Her widowed face with pens of sorrow writ,
And round her feet the fetters! But has be
Reaped glory hence ? Earth's proud men, come and see!
At best a royal brute, he even without
The majesty of mischief roams about!
So let him”- “Whelmed beneath Jehovah's ban,
'Tis ours to spare the much-enduring man.
Sore was his hand against us, crushed our state;
And great the blame, as our oppression great:
Yea, curse his pride of warlike youth ; 0! then
Still let me name him midst earth's noblest men.
But he was bowed, and, prostrate in his change,
Followed the wild ox in his boundless range,
And ate the grass ; his head was wet with dew;
Like claws his nails, his hair like feathers grew.
But I have helped him through his years of ill,
And ne'er will leave him, but will love him still.
Bless him, and curse him not!”
With anger shook
The son of Buzi ; tragic waxed his look ;
With vehement force, as if to meet the storm,
He wrapped his rugged mantle round his form.
“Look to me, damsel,” cried he;" are not we
Carried away by our iniquity ?
Shall then the soft desires of women rule
Thy spirit still, and make thee play the fool ?
Because within his silken palaces
He made thee dwell in love's delicious ease,
Thou thought'st it good, and chased him to the hill
In caves of rocks to play the harlot still ?
Lord God of Israel ! shall we count it light
So to be driven from Zion's holy height,
Our princes captives made, our stately men
Hewn down in battle, thy dread courts a den;
And scorning types without, and rites within
Of penitence, conform to Heathen sin;
No thought of our estate, no sigh for it,
Degrading even the dust wherein we sit ?
Happy the slain ones of our people! blest
Who fell in Zion's wars, and are at rest!
Yea, happy they whose shoulders labour sore,
With burdens peeled, or weary with the oar;
For so their manly bodies are not broke
With idle dalliance-slavery's heaviest yoke!
Ye tall and goodly youths, your fate is worse,
Your beauty more than burning is a curse ;
For ye must stand in palaces, soft slaves
Of kings-your brethren lie in noble graves
Until your base shame for your origin,
Beyond your wanton masters make you sin;
For ye upon the mountains, with desire
Upholy, looking towards the Persian fire,
Eat, not Jehovah-wards, forgetting him,
Forgot the gates of old Jerusalem !
Thou too, thou maid of Judah, wo! that thou
Hast lived to be what I must deem thee now!”
He ceased. Like flames that burn the sacrifice
With darting points, shone out the virgin's eyes;
Shook her black locks of youth; drawn back she stood
Dilating high in her indignant mood.
She seized her harp, she swept the chords along,
Forth burst a troubled and tumultuous song;
Till, purified from anger and from shame,
Austere, severely solemn it became;
Yet dashed with leaping notes, as if to tell
Jehovah mighty for his Israel.
Soft gleamed the prophet's eyes; he knew that strain,
Heard in the days of Salem's glorious reign,
When Judah's maids in sacred bands advanced,
With garlands crowned, and to the timbrel danced.
And shone through glazing tears young Cyra's eyes,
Her forehead now uplifted to the skies.
Her harp she dropped; her bosom greatly heaved,
Till words burst forth and thus her heart relieved:-
“ Perish the song, the harp, the hand for aye;
Die the remembrance of our land away;
Ne'er be revived the praises of the Lord
In the glad days of Zion's courts restored,
If I” again she sobbed and hid her face,
“ If I have been the child of such disgrace !
But, ah ! forgive me, great Ezekiel,
Thus to be angry have I done not well;
For thine the spirit that for Israel's weal
Burns with the fires of jealousy and zeal.
O! hear thy handmaid now! For I shall sleep
In death, ere cease I for yon king to weep.
In that dread night-his wars be judged by God -
When o'er our walls victoriously he rode,
He saw me lie amidst the trampled mire,
That bloody glittered to the midnight fire;
Sprung, snatched me from my mother's dead embrace,
Ere the fierce war-steeds trode my infant face;
Smiled on me, to his large mailed bosom pressed;
Home took me with him, with his love caressed,
There made me dwell, there gave to me a name,
And to me there a father all became.
“ Then- for my sacred origin I knewMe, yet a child, Jehovah taught to view With scorn the Gentiles' sins; my opening days Taught, more than theirs, to love our people's ways. The monarch smiled; nor sought he to subdue The spirit honoured whence my choice. I drew; He gave me teachers of our people, charged To see my childhood with their lore enlarged, To compromise not in their captive place, But tell Jehovah's doings for our race,
The ancient glories of our people tell;
And in his Court like princes made them dwell.
“ Nor heavier task was mine, than that the King
A gladsome song oft made me to him sing;
For he was moody, and with dreams perplexed,
With nightly visions from Jehovah vexed :
My harp I touched; when he was cheered, then I
The mournful hymns of our captivity
Did ne'er forget: magnanimous he smiled,
And named me playfully an artful child;
Then was I bold, my prayer he heard with grace,
And gravely promised to restore our race.
God cast him out; I followed to the hills
My more than father, to divide his ills.
On summits high, and in the wastes his lair,
I found him strange and brutish in despair;
But tried my harp, less savage soon he grew,
And softly followed through the falling dew.
Caves in yon rock, our mountain people there
Had helped me first his dwelling to prepare;
There, now less wild, the food of men he finds,
And lies through night unstricken by the winds.
“ In yonder hut, a shepherd of our race
For years has given me an abiding-place.
His daughters love me as their sister; they
My simple service share with me by day,
To feed the flocks; when men their labour leave,
And past is now the milking-time of eve,
I harp before his caye, and from the steep
Comes the wild king and couches down to sleep-
O! not to sleep; with self-accusing blame,
With madness wrestling, and with fitful shame.
Sweet psalms I play him then, till in calm woe
Lies his large heart; then to our cot I go.
“ By Daniel's wise advice, his battle steed
Was brought, with him upon the hills to feed;
Within his inner cavern as he lies,
His armour nightly gleams before his eyes;
Memorials these of his heroic days,
To deeds of men again his soul to raise.
Remembering hence his glory, more because
Th' appointed season to a period draws,
His heart with reason swells, bis ancient men
Of counsel come to seek bim in his den.
Taught by affliction, by our God restored,
Then will he raise the people of the Lord.
• Joy! joy for Zion!' let the captives sing.
Come thou with me, come bless the wandering King.”—
“ True child of Judah! by the Spirit's might
Drawn to these hills, I wait the vision'd night.
Just is thy gratitude. The God of peace
Raise up the king, and make our bondage cease!
My thought injurious turns to solemn praise ;
And if thou keep thy sweet unblenish'd days
In heathen courts, and if thy gentle power
May for our people haste redemption's hour,
High shall thy name in Israel be renown'd,
With praise amidst her loftiest women crown'd;
Yea, more, be praised-thy just and awful pride-
In Heaven, where the great Sanctities abide."
She knelt; he stoop'd her bowing head to bless,
And kiss'd her forehead with a holy kiss,
Then turn'd away; with sobbing joy o'ercome,
Thus high approved, the virgin sought her home.
THE PLOT OF MERDAN AND NARSES.
High rides the summer moon: Away, how slow,
The lordly waters of Euphrates go!
But see! a shadowy form from yonder rank
Of glimmering trees, comes o'er the open bank.
Here Narses meets him :-“Merdan, you are late."
“ Admit the toils that on my office wait,
And say your purpose.”-“ Nay, 'tis mine to hear
What first you promised to my midnight ear.”
Then Merdan spake :-“ Our mutual hearts are known,
Why pause we then ? Our theme be now the throne.
Meet we not here on our appointed way,
To learn from Chardes what the planets say,
Who, nightly standing on his glimpsing towers,
With piercing ken looks through the starry hours ?
Not rivals, twins are we in present sway;
What then? 'tis based upon the passing day.
Can we maintain it? Merodach is weak.
His father now those ancient servants seek-
Reason returns--again he'll sit on high ;
With ours, the Prince his own mean life will buy."'-.
“Ha! yes; he knows his feebleness has fail'd
To back our counsels : these shall be assail'd :
The blame of his misrule must we exbaust;
And if we live, our power at least is past."-
“ His faith, nor might, to us can safety bring :
Who truste him, bides his jewel in a sling,
In heart he is a parricide; but still
His weakness fears to justify his will.
May such be trusted ? Not his innocence ;
He must be guilty, for our hope is thence.
'Tis ours to goad him on to such a length,
Tbat farthest crime alone may seem his strength."-
“Say we at once the outcast monarch slew,
And crush'd our fears?"_“Nay, that his son must do ;
So shall our knowledge of his guilt ensure
Bribes for our silence, and our rule endure.
Well, then at once he must insult his sire,
That fears for life may perfect his desire,
And thus complete the parricide.--On high,
Where vales embosom'd in the mountains lie,
I know a haunt, where comes the desert King
Each noon his limbs beneath the shade to fling.
Beside him feeds his battle-horse, that bore
His youth triumphant on from shore to shore,
A prince's gift, much loved: Near couch'd each night,
Upsprings he neighing with the morning light,
Awakes his lord, again goes forth with him
To range the pastures till the twilight dim.
“Now Parthian Chud, who rules the royal hounds, By me advanced, in gratitude abounds. His tiger-dogs, from India's northern woods, Fell mountain-climbers, glorying in the floods, Three previous days shall hunger, till arise Their bristly necks, and burn their lamping eyes ;
Then shall our monarch hunt; they, famine-clung,
Shall sweep the barren hills with lolling tongue,
Where no prey is, led thither on pretence
That there 'twas seen : it since has wander'd thence.
Then Chud, instructed, shall his sovereign lure
To nearer hills, as if it there were sure;
And in the noon shall he bis beagles lead
To where the wild king loiters with his steed.
Behold them started ! Rush the kindled pack-
Not even unfeign'd restraint could keep them back;
So fiercely hunger pricks their headlong way,
Against their instinct, on the unwonted prey.
Onward they drive : At once, perhaps—’tis well-
The ox-king falls before their crowding yell;
Nor bone, nor scalp, the bloody grass alone
Next moment tells our fears with him are gone.
If Chud from royal game can them restrain,
At least on Zublon shall they go amain;
Or falls the horse, or flees but soon to fall.
The mad king sees his son-has seen it all.
That son away pursues the storm of chase,
And ne'er again dares see his father's face.
What must he do? The rest has been explain'd:
His sire must die: Our place is thus maintain'd."
“This more: Our king, when prince, with bold desire
Loved Cyra, heedless of his angry sire.
When Heaven's decree against the latter sped,
The stag-eyed damsel from the palace fled.
But I have learn'd her haunt; far in the wild
She dwells, a Jewish hind's adopted child,
Th' embruted monarch near; for her's the praise
To love, to tend him through his humbled days.
So let this maid be carried from her place,
Say on the night of our appointed cbase ;
Then, for I know our monarch loves her still,
Shall she become the creature of his will.
Then in his hours of hope unfilial
And mingled fear, shall we declare her thrall -
Thus from the service of his father gained
By force, and in his palace thus detained.
So shall he feel again that father wronged;
And dare be bold, to have his life prolonged.".
“ Our scheme is doubly one, how wisely blent!
It but remains to push it to th' event.
This be in haste; for Persia's menaced war
Against us hangs upon the east afar.
The issue ? Good our plan in any case.
But now our king has leisure for the chase."-
“Behold the first faint shoots of morning light
Breathe upward through the shadowy cone of night,
Sickening the eastern stars : 'Tis now the time,
Old Chardes waits us on his watch sublime;
From him the signs celestial shall we know,
Shape farther plans, and onward safely go.”
Before her cavern stands at eventide
Cyra, her harp clear glittering by her side.