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SONG OF SAUL BEFORE HIS LAST BATTLE.
WARRIORS and chiefs! should the shaft or the sword
Pierce me in leading the host of the Lord,
Heed not the corse, though a king's, in your path:
Bury your steel in the bosoms of Gath!
Thou who art bearing my buckler and bow, Should the soldiers of Saul look away from the foe, Stretch me that moment in blood at thy feet! Mine be the doom which they dared not to meet.
Farewell to others, but never we part,
Heir to my royalty, son of my heart!
Bright is the diadem, boundless the sway,
Or kingly the death, which awaits us to-day.
THOU whose spell can raise the dead,
Bid the prophet's form appear.
"Samuel, raise thy buried head!
King, behold the phantom seer!"
Earth yawn'd he stood the centre of a cloud :
Light changed its hue, retiring from his shroud.
Death stood all glassy in his fixèd eye;
His hand was wither'd, and his veins were dry;
His foot, in bony whiteness, glitter'd there,
Shrunken and sinewless, and ghastly bare;
From lips that moved not, and unbreathing frame
Like cavern'd winds, the hollow accents came.
Saul saw, and fell to earth, as falls the oak,
At once, and blasted by the thunder-stroke.
"Why is my sleep disquieted?
Who is he that calls the dead?
Is it thou, O King? Behold,
Bloodless are these limbs, and cold:
Such are mine; and such shall be
Thine to-morrow, when with me:
Ere the coming day is done,
Such shalt thou be, such thy son.
Fare thee well, but for a day,
Then we mix our mouldering clay.
Thou, thy race, lie pale and low,
Pierced by shafts of many a bow;
And the falchion by thy side
To thy heart thy hand shall guide:
Crownless, breathless, headless fall,
Fon and sire, the house of Saul."
"ALL IS VANITY, SAITH THE PREACHER."
FAME, wisdom, love, and power were mine,
And health and youth possess'd me;
My goblets blush'd from every vine,
And lovely forms caress'd me;
I sunn'd my heart in beauty's eyes,
And felt my soul grow tender;
All earth can give, or mortal prize,
Was mine of regal splendour.
I strive to number o'er what days
Remembrance can discover,
Which all that life or earth displays
Would lure me to live over.
There rose no day, there roll'd no hour
Of pleasure unembitter'd;
And not a trapping deck'd my power,
That gall'd not while it glitter'd.
The serpent of the field, by art
And spells, is won from harming;
But that which coils around the heart,
Oh! who hath power of charming?
It will not list to wisdom's lore,
Nor music's voice can lure it;
But there it stings for evermore
The soul that must endure it.
WHEN COLDNESS WRAPS THIS SUFFERING CLAY
WHEN coldness wraps this suffering clay,
Ah! whither strays the immortal mind?
It cannot die, it cannot stray,
But leaves its darken'd dust behind.
Then, unembodied, 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 seeing all,
All, all in earth, or skies display'd,
Shall it survey, shall it recall:
Each fainter trace that memory holds
So darkly of departed years,
In one broad glance the soul beholds,
And all, that was, at once appears.
Before Creation peopled earth,
Its eye shall roll through chaos back
And where the furthest heaven had birth,
The spirit trace its rising track,
And where the future mars or makes,
Its glance dilate o'er all to be,
While sun is quench'd or system breaks,
Fix'd in its own eternity.
Above or Love, Hope, Hate, or Fear,
It lives all passionless and pure : An age shall fleet like earthly year;
Its years as moments shall endure. Away, away, without a wing,
O'er all, through all, its thought shall fiy; A nameless and eternal thing. Forgetting what it was to die.
SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS.
SUN of the sleepless! melancholy star!
Whose tearful beam glows tremulously far,
That show'st the darkness thou canst not dispel,
How like art thou to joy remember'd well!
So gleams the past, the light of other days,
Which shines, but warms not with its powerless raya;
A night-beam Sorrow watcheth to behold,
Distinct, but distant-clear-but oh, how cold!
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 wander'd 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; 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.
О¤, 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;
And mine's the guilt, and mine the hell,
This bosom's desolation dooming;
And I have earn'd those tortures well,
Which unconsumed are still consuming!
ON THE DAY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF
JERUSALEM BY TITUS.
FROM the last hill that looks on thy once holy dome
I beheld thee, oh Sion! when render'd to Rome :
"Twas thy last sun went down, and the flames of thy fall
Flash'd back on the last glance I gave to thy wall.
I look'd for thy temple, I look'd for my home,
And forgot for a moment my bondage to come;
I beheld but the death-fire that fed on thy fane,
And the fast-fetter'd hands that made vengeance in vain.
On many an eve, the high spot whence I gazed
Had reflected the last beam of day as it blazed:
While I stood on the height, and beheld the decline
Of the rays from the mountain that shone on thy shrine.
And now on that mountain I stood on that day,
But I mark'd not the twilight beam melting away;
Oh! would that the lightning had glared in its stead,
And the thunderbolt burst on the conqueror's head!