« PreviousContinue »
At last the earthquake came-the shock that hurled
To dust, in many fragments dashed and strown,
The throne, whose roots were in another world,
And whose far-stretching shadow awed our own.
From many a proud monastic pile, o’erthrown,
Fear-struck, the hooded inmates rushed and fled;
The web, that for a thousand years had grown
O’er prostate Europe, in that day of dread
Crumbled and fell, -as fire dissolves the flaxen thread.
Thus error's monstrous shapes from earth are driven;
They fade, they fly-but truth survives their flight;
Earth has no shades to quench that beam of heaven :
Each ray that shone, in early time, to light
The faltering footsteps in the path of right,-
Each gleam of clearer brightness shed to aid
In man's maturer day his bolder sight,-
All blended, like the rainbow's radiant braid,-
Pour yet, and still shall pour, the blaze that cannot fade!
THE PASSAGE OF THE RED SEA.
They come—they come!
See, see the sabre flashing through the gloom,
And the deadly scythe from out the battle car,
And the lance-head glittering like a baleful star,
Portending Israel's doom.
Hark! to the rolling of the chariot-wheel,
And the neighing of the war-horse in his ire,
And the fearful straining of his hoof of steel,
Spurning the mountain-flint that flashes fire.
Hark to the booming drum,
The braying of the trumpet and the boastful cheer,
Pealing in horrid echoes on the frighted ear-
They come—they come.
They come—they come !
Now, now they've clambered up the gorge's height,
And for a moment, in its rugged jaws
(Like a fierce mountain-torrent gathering all its might
In one huge billow, ere it bursts its banks at night)
Pennon and scarf, and gallant plumage fair,
Spread out and fluttering on the mountain air,
Like ocean's whitening spray.
Hark! to the hum,
The cheer, the charge, the bursting battle-cry;
Rider and steed and chariot headlong fly,
down the mountain way
They come. “Thou Mighty of Battles, for Israel's sake,
Smite the crest of the horseman, the chariot-wheel break; Check the speed of the swift, crush the arm of the strong, And lead thine own people in safety along."
Lo! 'twixt that dread, exultant host,
And Israel's chastened, timid throng,
The awful pillar-cloud has crossed,
And Egypt, in its shadow lost,
In blind rage gropes along.
Near and more near, with sullen roar,
Beneath their feet the white surge raves;
The prophet-chief stands on the shore,
His eye upturned, his hand stretched 'o'er
The phosphorescent waves.
Deep yawn the ocean's billows wild,
Its coral depths disclosed are seen,
The lashing surge sinks calm and mild,
The mighty waves in walls are piled,
And Israel walks between.
While ever through that fearful night,
God's solemn, lustrous glory beams,
And safe beneath its holy light
His wondering people speed their flight
Between the harmless streams.
Onward the vengeful Pharoah flies,
'Mid Egypt's lordly chivalry-
The mists of heaven are in their eyes,
The greedy waves o’erwhelm their prize,
And roar around in glee.
Slowly and chill, the morning spreads
Its light along the lonely shore;
No billows lift their whitening heads,
The waves sleep in the cavern beds
Of ages long before.
See where the glittering water laves
The high and rugged coral coast;
The sea-bird screams along the waves,
And smells afar the timeless graves
Of Egypt's once proud host.
But Israel's hymn is pealing far
To God, that triumphs gloriously“ The Lord, the mighty man of war, That hurls the captain and his car
Into the hungry sea.”
And Israel's maids, with dance and glee,
And timbrel sweet, take up the strain-
“ The Lord hath triumphed gloriously;
The Lord hath crushed the enemy,
And Israel's free again!"
Dublin University Magazine.
The pall was settled. He who slept beneath
Was straighten’d for the grave; and as the folds
Sunk to the still proportions, they betray'd
The matchless symmetry of Absalom:
The soldiers of the King trod to and fro,
Clad in the garb of battle, and their Chief,
The mighty Joab, stood beside his bier
And gazed upon the dark pall steadfastly,
As if he feard the slumberer might stir.
A low step startled him! but the bent form
Of David enter'd, and he gave command
In a low tone to his few followers,
Who left him with the dead. The king stood still
Till the last echo died; then throwing off
The sackcloth from his brow, and laying back
The pall from the still features of his child,
He bow'd his head upon him, and broke forth
In the resistless eloquence of woe-
“ Alas, my noble boy !-that thou should'st die !
Thou, who wert made so beautifully fairThat death should settle in thy glorious eye,
And leave his stillness in this clustering hair !
How could he mark thee for the silent tomb,
My proud boy, Absalom?
Cold is thy brow, my son !-and I am chill,
As to my bosom I have tried to press theem
wont to feel my pulse's thrill,
Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress thee !.
And hear thy sweet my Father' from these dumb
And cold lips, Absalom !
And oh, when I am stricken, and my heart
Like a bruis'd reed is waiting to be broken,
How will its love for thee, as I depart,
Yearn for thine ear to drink its last deep token ! It were so sweet, amid death's gathering gloom,
To see thee, Absalom !
And now farewell!—'tis hard to give thee up,
With death so like a gentle slumber on thee,
And thy dark sin !-Oh, I could drink the cup,
If from this woe its bitterness had won thee!
May God have called thee like a wanderer home,
My erring Absalom!"
He cover'd up his face, and bow'd himself
A moment on his child-then giving him
A look of melting tenderness, he clasp'd
His hands convulsively as if in prayer;
And, as a strength were given him of God,
He rose up calmly, and composed the pall
Firmly and decently, and left him there
As if his rest had been a breathing sleep.-WILLIS.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB.
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen;
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay wither'd and strown.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed on the face of the foe as he pass’d;
And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heayed, and for ever grew still !
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide!
But through it there roll'd not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
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;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord.
To my soul
The days of old return: I breathe the air
Of the young world: I see her giant sons
Like to a gorgeous pageant in the sky
Of Summer's evening, cloud on fiery cloud
Thronging unheaped before me rise the walls
Of the Titanic city : brazen gates,
Towers, temples, palaces, enormous piled;
Imperial Nineveh, the earthly queen!
In all her golden pomp I see her now;
Her swarming streets; her splendid festivals;
Her sprightly damsels to the timbrels sound
Airily bounding, and their anklets chime;
Her lusty sons, like Summer morning gay
Her warriors stern; her rich robed rulers grave;
I see her halls brightly at midnight shine,
I hear the music of her banquetings.
Again I look : and lo! before the walls
Unnumber'd hosts in flaming panoply;
Chariots like fire,-horsemen with Aashing arms !
I hear the shouts of battle-like the waves
Of a tumultuous sea they roll and dash !
In flame and smoke the imperial city sinks !
Her walls are gone: her palaces are dust :
Within and around her lies the desert:
Oh, how like shadows have all passed away!
THE RUINED CITY.+ The days of old though time has reft
The dazzling splendour which they cast,
Yet many a remnant still is left,
To shadow forth the past.
The warlike deed, the classic page,
The lyric torrent strong and free,
Are lingering o'er the gloom of age,
Like twilight on the sea.
A thousand years have rolled along,
And blasted empires in their pride,
And witnessed scenes of crime and wrong,
Till men by nations died.