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Now ere we part-if we must part again,
If my sad spirit must be rent from thine.
Even now our city trembles on the verge
Of utter ruin. Yet a night or two,
And the fierce stranger in our burning streets,
Stands conqueror: and how the Roman conquers,
Let Gisehala, let fallen Jotapata (7)
Tell, if one living man, one innocent child,
Yet wander o'er their cold and scatter'd ashes.
They slew them, Miriam, the old grey man,
Whose blood scarce tinged their swords-(nay, turn The way by which we reach the eternal mansions.
But thou, injurious Javan! coldly doubtest!
And-Oh! but I have said too much! Oh! scorn not
The immodest maid, whom thou hast vex'd to utter
What yet she scarce dared whisper to herself.
not from me,
The tears thou sheddest feel as though I wrung them
From mine own heart, my life-blood's dearest drops)-
They slew them, Miriam, at the mother's breast,
The smiling infants;-and the tender maid,
The soft, the loving and the chaste, like thee,
They slew her not till-
Javan, 't is unkind!
I have enough at home of thoughts like these,
Thoughts horrible, that freeze the blood, and make
A heavier burthen of this weary life.
I hoped with thee t' have pass'd a tranquil hour,
A brief, a hurried, yet still tranquil hour!
-But thou art like them all! the miserable
Have only Heaven, where they can rest in peace,
Without being mock'd and taunted with their misery.
Thou know'st it is a lover's wayward joy
To be reproach'd by her he loves, or thus
Thou wouldst not speak. But 't was not to provoke
That sweet reproof, which sounds so like to tenderness:
I would alarm thee, shock thee, but to save.
That old and secret stair, down which thou stealest
At midnight through tall grass and olive trunks,
Which cumber, yet conceal thy difficult path,
It cannot long remain secure and open;
Nearer and closer the stern Roman winds
His trenches; and on every side but this
Soars his imprisoning wall. Yet, yet 't is time,
And I must bear thee with me, where are met
In Pella the neglected church of Christ.
With thee! to fly with thee! thou makest me fear
Lest all this while I have deceived my soul,
Excusing to myself our stolen meetings
By the fond thought, that for my father's life
I labour'd, bearing sustenance from thee,
Which he hath deem'd heaven-sent.
Oh! farewell then The faithless dream, the sweet yet faithless dream, That Miriam loves me!
Love thee! I am here,
Here at dead midnight by the fountain's side,
Trusting thee, Javan, with a faith as fearless
As that with which the instinctive infant twines
To its mother's bosom-Love thee! when the sounds
Of massacre are round me, when the shouts
Of frantic men in battle rack the soul
With their importunate and jarring din,
Javan, I think on thee, and am at peace.
Our famish'd maidens gaze on me, and see
That I am famish'd like themselves, as pale,
With lips as parch'd and eyes as wild, yet I
Sit patient with an enviable smile
On my wan cheeks, for then my spirit feasts
Contented on its pleasing thoughts of thee.
My very prayers are full of thee, I look
To heaven and bless thee; for from thee I learnt
Will it then cease? will it not always sound
Sweet, musical as thus? and wilt thou leave me?
Miriam! is not thy father
(Oh, that such flowers should bloom on such a stock)
The curse of Israel? even his common name
Simon the Assassin! of the bloody men
That hold their iron sway within yon city,
Oh cease! I pray thee cease!
Javan! I know that all men hate my father;
Javan! I fear that all should hate my father;
And therefore, Javan, must his daughter's love,
Her dutiful, her deep, her fervent love,
Make up to his forlorn and desolate heart
The forfeited affections of his kind.
Is 't not so written in our Law? and He
We worship came not to destroy the Law.
Then let men rain their curses, let the storm
Of human hate beat on his rugged trunk,
I will cling to him, starve, die, bear the scoffs
Of men upon my scatter'd bones with him.
Oh, Miriam! what a fatal art hast thou
Of winding thought, word, act, to thy sole purpose;
The enamouring one even now too much enamour'd!
I must admire thee more for so denying,
Than I had dared if thou hadst fondly granted.
Thou dost devote thyself to utterest peril,
And me to deepest anguish; yet even now
Thou art lovelier to me in thy cold severity,
Flying me, leaving me without a joy,
Without a hope on earth, without thyself;
Thou art lovelier now than if thy yielding soul
Had smiled on me a passionate consent.
Go! for I see thy parting homeward look,
Go in thy beauty! like a setting star,
The last in all the thick and moonless heavens,
O'er the lone traveller in the trackless desert.
Go! if this dark and miserable earth
Do jealously refuse us place for meeting,
There is a heaven for those who trust in Christ.
And thou return'st!
I had forgotThe fruit, the wine- -Oh! when I part from thee How can I think of aught but thy last words?
Bless thee! but we may meet again even here!
Thou look'st consent, I see it through thy tears.
Yet once again that cold sad word, Farewell!
The House of Simon.
Oh God! thou surely dost approve mine act,
For thou didst bid thy soft and silver moon
To light me back upon my intricate way.
Even o'er each shadowy thing at which I trembled
She pour'd a sober beauty, and my terror
Was mingled with a sense of calm delight.
How changed that way! when yet a laughing child,
It was my sport to thread that broken stair
That from our house leads down into the vale,
By which, in ancient days, the maidens stole
To bathe in the cool fountain's secret waters.
In each wild olive trunk, and twisted root
Our bridal songs! (8) Away! I know them now,
They were the rich and bursting cadences
That thrall'd mine ears. I tell thee, doubting woman!
My spirit drank the sounds of all the city.
Of sycamore, with ivy overgrown,
I have nestled, and the flowers would seem to wol- And there were shriekings for the dead, and sobs
Dear sister, in our state
So dark, so hopeless, dreaming still of glory!
Low-minded Miriam! I tell thee, oft
I have told thee, nightly do the visitations
Break on my gifted sight, more golden bright
Than the rich morn on Carmel. Of their shape,
Sister, I know not; this I only know,
That they pour o'er me like the restless waters
Of some pure cataract in the noontide sun.
There is a mingling of all glorious forms,
Of Angels riding upon cloudy thrones,
And our proud city marching all abroad
Like a crown'd conqueror o'er the trampled Gentiles.
Alas! when God afflicts us in his wrath,
"Tis sin to mock with wild untimely gladness
His stern inflictions! Else, beloved Salone,
My soul would envy thee thy mad forgetfulness,
And dote on the distraction of thy dreams
Till it imbibed the infection of their joy.
What mean'st thou ?
Ah! thou know'st too well, Salone,
How with an audible and imperious voice
The Lord is speaking in the streets of Judah,
"Down to the dust, proud daughters of Jerusalem!
The crownings of your head be bitter ashes,
Your festal garments changed to mourning sackcloth,
Your bridal songs fall into burial wailings."
Of dying men, and the quick peevish moan
Of the half famish'd: there were trumpet sounds
Of arming to the battle, and the shouts
Of onset, and the fall of flaming houses
Crashing around. But in the house of Simon,
The silver lute spake to the dulcimer;
The tabret and the harp held sweet discourse;
And all along our roofs, and all about
The silence of our chambers flow'd the sweetness.
Even yet I hear them-Hark! yet, yet they sound.
Alas! we listen to our own fond hopes,
Even till they seem no more our fancy's children.
We put them on a prophet's robes, endow them
With prophets' voices, and then Heaven speaks in
And that which we would have be, surely shall be.
What, mock'st thou still? still enviously doubtest
The mark'd and favour'd of the Everlasting?
O gracious Lord! thou know'st she hath not eaten
For two long days, and now her troubled brain
Is full of strangeness.
Ha! still unbelieving!
Then, then 't is true, what I have doubted long.
False traitress to our city, to the race,
The chosen race of Abraham! loose apostate
From Israel's faith! Believer in the Crucified!
I know thee, I abjure thee. Thou 'rt no child
Of Simon's house, no sister of Salone:
I blot thee from my heart, I wipe away
All memory of our youthful pleasant hours,
Our blended sports and tasks, and joys and sorrows;
Yea, I'll proclaim thee.
And found ye any guilty of a fraud
So base on Judah's warriors?
Had some refreshment for their wither'd lips.
We bared our swords to slay: but subtle John
Snatch'd the food from her, trod it on the ground,
And mock'd her.
No! we were wiser than to bless with death
A wretch like her.
First will I bless, thou secret messenger,
That mine ambrosial banquet dost prepare
With gracious stealth: where'er thou art, if yet
Thy unseen presence lingers in our air,
Or walks our earth in beauty, hear me bless thee.
But I must seek within, If he that oft at dead of midnight placeth The wine and fruit within our chosen house, Hath minister'd this night to Israel's chief. MIRIAM, SALONE.
Oh, Miriam! I dare not tell him now!
For even as those two infants lay together
Nestling their sleeping faces on each other,
Even so have we two lain, and I have felt
Thy breath upon my face, and every motion
Of thy soft bosom answering to mine own.
SIMON, SALONE, MIRIAM.
Yes, my children!
There sate a woman in a lowly house,
And she had moulded meal into a cake;
And she sate weeping even in wild delight
Over her sleeping infants, at the thought
Of how their eyes would glisten to behold
The unaccustom'd food. She had not tasted
Herself the strange repast: but she had raised
The covering under which the children lay
Crouching and clinging fondly to each other,
O Thou! thou who canst melt the heart of stone
And make the desert of the cruel breast
A paradise of soft and gentle thoughts!
Ah! will it ever be, that thou wilt visit
As though the warmth that breath'd from out their The darkness of my father's soul? Thou knowest
In what strong bondage Zeal and ancient Faith,
Passion and stubborn Custom, and fierce Pride,
Hold th' heart of man. Thou knowest, Merciful!
That knowest all things, and dost ever turn
Thine eye of pity on our guilty nature.
But thou didst not smite her, father?
Come, daughters, I have wash'd my bloody hands,
And said my prayers, and we will eat-And thee
Come, then, Salone; while we feast, I'll tell thee
More deeds of justice which mine arm hath wrought
Against the foes of Salem, and the renegades
That have revolted from the arms of Israel.
And thou shalt wave thy raven locks with pride
To hear the stern-told glories of thy father.
For thou wert born of woman! thou didst come,
Oh Holiest to this world of sin and gloom,
Not in thy dread omnipotent array;
And not by thunders strew'd
Was thy tempestuous road;
Nor indignation burnt before thee on thy way.
But thee, a soft and naked child,
Thy mother undefiled,
In the rude manger laid to rest
From off her virgin breast.
The Earth and Ocean were not hush'd to hear
Bright harmony from every starry sphere;
Nor at thy presence brake the voice of song
As rushing fire, and terrible as the wind
That sweeps the tentless desert-Ye that move
Shrouded in secresy as in a robe,
From all the cherub choirs,
And gloom of deepest midnight the vaunt-courier
Of your dread presence! Will ye not reveal?
And seraphs' burning lyres
Pour'd thro' the host of heaven the charmed clouds Will ye not one compassionate glimpse vouchsafe
One angel troop the strain began,
Of all the race of man
The simple shepherds heard alone,
That soft Hosanna's tone.
Which now of thy obsequious elements
Choosest thou for thy champion and thy combatant?
For well they know, the wide and deluging Waters,
The ravenous Fire, and the plague-breathing Air,
Yea, and the yawning and wide-chasm'd Earth,
And when thou didst depart, no car of flame
To bear thee hence in lambent radiance came;
Nor visible Angels mourn'd with drooping plumes: They know thy bidding, by fix'd habit bound
Nor didst thou mount on high
From fatal Calvary
To the usage of obedience. Or the rather,
Look we in weary yet undaunted hope
With all thine own redeem'd outbursting from their For Him that is to come, the Mighty Arm,
The Wearer of the purple robe of vengeance,
The Crowned with dominion! Let him haste;
The wine-press waits the trampling of his wrath,
And Judah yearns t' unfurl the Lion banner
Before the terrible radiance of his coming.
SIMON, JOHN, ELEAZAR, the HIGH-PRIEST, AMARIAH,
For thou didst bear away from earth
But one of human birth,
The dying felon by thy side, to be
In Paradise with thee.
Nor o'er thy cross the clouds of vengeance brake;
A little while the conscious earth did shake
At that foul deed by her fierce children done;
A few dim hours of day
The world in darkness lay;
Then bask'd in bright repose beneath the cloudless sun:
While thou didst sleep beneath the tomb,
Consenting to thy doom;
Ere yet the white-robed Angel shone
Upon the sealed stone.
And when thou didst arise, thou didst not stand
With Devastation in thy red right hand,
Plaguing the guilty city's murtherous crew;
But thou didst haste to meet
Thy mother's coming feet,
And bear the words of peace unto the faithful few.
Then calmly, slowly didst thou rise
Into thy native skies,
Thy human form dissolved on high
In its own radiancy.
The House of Simon-Break of Day.
The air is still and cool. It comes not yet:
I thought that I had felt it in my sleep
Weighing upon my choked and labouring breast,
That did rejoice beneath the stern oppression;
I thought I saw its lurid gloom o'erspreading
The starless waning night. But yet it comes not,
The broad and sultry thunder-cloud, wherein
The God of Israel evermore pavilions
The chariot of his vengeance. I look out,
And still, as I have seen, morn after morn,
The hills of Judah flash upon my sight
The accursed radiance of the Gentile arms.
But oh! ye sky-descending ministers, That on invisible and soundless wing Stoop to your earthly purposes, as swift
By what dark instruments 't is now your charge
To save the holy city?Lord of Israel!
Thee too I ask, with bold yet holy awe,
The Roman conquers, but by Jewish arms.
The torrent, that in one broad channel rolling
Bears down the labour'd obstacles of man,
Hold, hot boy,
That know'st not the deep luxury of scorn.
The o'erstriding bridge, the fix'd and ponderous dam, We'll meet them, Simon, but to scoff at them;
Being sever'd, in its lazy separate course
Suffers control, and stagnates to its end.
And so ye fall, because ye do disdain
To stand together-like the pines of Lebanon,
That when in one vast wood they crown the hill,
From their proud heads shake off the uninjuring tem-
But when their single trunks stand bare and naked
Before the rushing whirlwind, one by one
It hurls the uprooted trunks into the vale.
Curse on his words of peace! fall John, fall Simon,
There falls an enemy of Eleazar.
Why, ay, it is the privilege of their office,
The solemn grave distinction of their ephod.
Even such discourse as this, so calm, so sage,
Did old Mathias hold; (9) and therefore Simon,
Unwilling that the vantage of his wisdom
Should rob our valour of its boasted fame,
Did slay him with his sons upon our wall!
Break off! break off! I hear the Gentile horn
Winding along the wide entrenched line.
Hear ye it not? hill answers hill, the valleys
In their deep channels lengthen out the sound.
It rushes down Jehoshaphat, the depths
Of Hinnom answer. Hark! again they blow,
Chiding you, men of Judah, and insulting
Your bare and vacant walls, that now oppose not
Their firm array of javelin-hurling men,
Slingers, and pourers of the liquid fire.
Men of Jerusalem! whose hardy zeal
And valiant patience in a cause less desperate
Might force the foe to reverence and admire;
Now, John of Galilee, the High-Priest speaks wisely. To you thus speaks again the Queen of Earth,
All-conquering Rome!-whose kingdom is, where'er
The sunshine beams on living men; beneath
The shadow of whose throne the world reposes,
And glories in being subjected to her,
Even as 't is subject to the immortal gods-
To you, whose mad and mutinous revolt
Hath harrow'd all your rich and pleasant land
With fiery rapine: sunk your lofty cities
To desolate heaps of monumental ashes;
We'll dally with their hopes of base surrender,
Then mock them, till their haughty captain writhe
Beneath the keen and biting contumely.
I hear thee, and rejoice at thee. Thou summoner
To the storm of battle, thou that dost invite
With stern and welcome importunity
The warrior soul to that high festival,
Where valour with his armed hand administers
The cup of death!
Now, Eleazar, lead the way; brave Simon,
I follow thee-Come, men of Israel, come.
Peace, son of Belial! or I'll scourge thee back
To the harlot chambers of thy loose adulteries.
I slew my foe, and where's the armed man
That will behold his enemy at his feet,
The foe whose conquest bears no glory with it,
Rome doth command you to lay down your arms,
And bow the high front of your proud rebellion
And spare to set his foot upon his neck?
The sword was given, and shall the sword not slay? Even to the common level of obedience,
That holds the rest of of human kind. So doing,
Ye cancel all the dark and guilty past:
Silent Oblivion waits to wipe away
The record of your madness and your crimes;
And in the stead of bloody Vengeance claiming
Her penal due of torture, chains, and death,
Comes reconciling Mercy.
Again, again it sounds;
It doth demand a parley with our chiefs.
The Walls of the City.
Below-TITUS, Roman Army, JOSEPH of Jotapata, etc.
Above-SIMON, JOHN, ELEAZAR, AMARIAH, Jews.
Ay, father! and let Israel's chiefs reply
In the brave language of their javelin showers,
And shouts of furious onset.
With what a humble and a modest truth
Thou dost commend thy unpresuming virtues!
Ye want not testimonies to your mildness-(10)
Blow! blow! and rend the heavens, thou deep-voiced There, on yon lofty crosses, which surround us,
Each with a Jewish corpse sublimely rotting
On its most honourable eminence;
Yet with that patience, which becomes the mighty,
The endurance of the lion, that disdains
There's none in all that long and ghastly avenue
Whose wind-bleach'd bones depose not of thy mercy.
We know our brethren, and we thank thee too:
A courteous welcome hast thou given them, Roman,
Who have abandon'd us in the hour of peril.
They fled to 'scape their ruthless countrymen :
And, in good truth, their City of Refuge seems
To have found them fair and gentle entertainment.
Peace, John of Galilee! and I will answer
This purple-mantled Captain of the Gentiles;
But in far other tone than he is wont