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No workman's steel, no ponderous axes rung!
Lo! star-led chiefs Assyrian odors bring,
Daughter of Sion! virgin queen! rejoice!
Ye hovering ghosts, that throng the starless air,
Weep for your country, for
children weep! Vengeance ! thy fiery wing their race pursued ; Thy thirsty poniard blushed with infant blood. Roused at thy call, and panting still for game, The bird of war, the Latian eagle came. Then Judah raged, by ruffian Discord led, Drunk with the steamy carnage of the dead : He saw his sons by dubious slaughter fall, And war without, and death within the wall. Wide-wasting plague, gaunt famine, mad despair, And dire debate, and clamorous strife were there; Love, strong as death, retained his might no more, And the pale parent drank her children's gore. : Yet they who wont to roam the ensanguined plain, And spurn with fell delight their kindred slain ; E'en they, when, high above the dusty fight, Their burning temple rose in lurid light, To their loved altars paid a parting groan, And in their country's woes forgot their own. As mid the cedar courts and gates of gold The trampled ranks in miry carnage rolled, To save their Temple every hand essayed, And with cold fingers grasped the feeble blade : Through their torn veins reviving fury ran, And life's last anger warmed the dying man !
Ah! fruitful now no more, - an empty coast,
The pilgrim saint his murmuring vespers paid;
ON LEAVING FRANCE FOR THE EAST.
F to the fluttering folds of the quick sail
My all of peace and comfort I impart; If to the treacherous tide and wavering gale
My wife and child I lend, my soul's best part; If on the seas, the sands, the clouds, I cast
Fond hopes, and beating hearts I leave behind, With no returning pledge beyond a mast
That bends with every blast of wind,
'T is not the paltry thirst of gold could fire
A heart that ever glowed with holier flame, Nor glory tempt me with the vain desire
To gild my memory with a fleeting fame. I go not, like the Florentine of old,
The bitter bread of banishment to eat; No wave of faction, in its wildest roar,
Broke on my calm paternal seat.
But in the soul's unfathomable wells,
Unknown, inexplicable longings sleep;
Like that strange instinct which the bird impels
In search of other food athwart the deep. What from those orient climes have they to gain ?
Have they not nests as mossy in our eaves, And, for their callow progeny, the grain
Dropped from a thousand golden sheaves ?
I too, like them, could find my portion here,
Enjoy the mountain slope, the river's foam, My humble wishes seek no loftier sphere;
And yet like them I go, like them I come. Dim longings draw me on and point my path
To Eastern sands, to Shem's deserted shore, The cradle of the world, where God in wrath
Hardened the human heart of yore.
I have not yet felt on the sea of sand
The slumberous rocking of the desert bark; Nor quenched my thirst at eve with quivering hand
By Hebron's well, beneath the palm-trees dark; Nor in the pilgrim's tent my mantle spread,
Nor laid me in the dust where Job hath lain, Nor, while the canvas murmured overhead,
Dreamed Jacob's mystic dreams again.
Of the world's pages one is yet unread :
How the stars tremble in Chaldea's sky, With what a sense of nothingness we tread,
How the heart beats, when God appears so nigh; How on the soul, beside some column lone,
The shadows of old days descend and hover,
How the grass speaks, the earth sends out its moan,
And the breeze wails that wanders over.
I have not heard in the tall cedar-top
The cries of nations echo to and fro,
On Tyre's deep-buried palaces below;
Where Tadmor's temples in the dust decay,
The waste where Memnon's empire lay.
I have not stretched where Jordan's current flows,
Heard how the loud-lamenting river weeps, With moans and cries sublimer even than those
With which the mournful Prophet stirred its deeps; Nor felt the transports which the soul inspire
In the deep grot, where he, the bard of kings, Felt, at the dead of night, a hand of flame
Seize on his harp, and sweep the strings.
I have not wandered o'er the plain whereon,
Beneath the olive-tree, the Saviour wept;
Which jealous angels have not all outswept ;
Where, while the bloody sweat was undergone,
Rung in one listening ear alone.
Nor have I bent my forehead on the spot
Where his ascending footstep pressed the clay;