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“How beautiful is night! A dewy freshness fills the silent air; No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain,

Breaks the serene of heaven.
In full-orbed glory, yonder moon divine

Rolls through the dark blue depths.
Beneath her steady ray

The desert circle spreads,
Like the round ocean, girdled with the sky.

How beautiful is night!

Who, at this untimely hour,
Wanders o'er the desert sands?

No station is in view,
Nor palm-grove, islanded amid the waste.

The mother and her child,
The widowed mother and the fatherless boy,

They, at this untimely hour,
Wander o'er the desert sands!

“ Alas! the setting sun

Saw Zeinab in her bliss,
Hodeirah's wife beloved.
Alas! the wife beloved,

The fruitful mother late,
Whom, when the daughters of Arabia named,

They wished their lots like hers,—
She wanders o'er the desert sands

A wretched widow now;
The fruitful mother of so fair à raco

With only one preserved,
She wanders o'er the wilderness !

“No tear relieved the burden of her heart;

Stunned with the heavy woe, she felt like one Half-wakened from a midnight dream of blood.

But sometimes, when the boy

Would wet her hand with tears, And, looking up to her fixed countenance, Sob out the name of mother!' then she groaned. At length, collecting, Zeinab turned her eyes

To heaven, and praised the Lord.
• He gave, he takes away !
The pious sufferer cried :
"The Lord our God is good.'

“She cast her eyes around ;

Alas! no tents were there

Beside the bending sands;
No palm-tree rose to spot the wilderness;

The dark blue sky closed round,
And rested like a dome
Upon the circling waste.
She cast her eyes around :

Famine and thirst were there.
And then the wretched mother bowed her bead,

And wept upon her child!"

In vindicating the poem of “Thalaba” from a misapprehension respecting the impression caused by its Arabian framework, I have sought to show that poetryChristian poetry-has the power of rescuing fictions and superstitions from the realms of error and bringing them into the alliance of truth. This leads to a further reflection, which I deem of sufficient importance to justify me in proceeding to it. It is that to Christianity belongs the privilege of appropriating to itself—of taking possession of—whatever is noble and grand and beautiful in the poetry of even paganism. This is the vantageground of our faith ; and, standing there, the Christian imagination may look over all the earth,-over all time, -and, wherever it discovers a sublime aspiration rising from the human soul, even though that soul be not blessed with the light of revelation, it may make that aspiration its own. Broken tones of truth come to us from the odes of Pindar, and from the Greek tragedies, and from the dark allusions in Roman poems to the Sibylline prophecies; and when they strike upon the ear of Faith, they are tuned and harmonized to some celestial melody, and the discords of error mingled with them are lost in the air. It is thus the poetry of the heathen is given to us for an inheritance. All that is good and beautiful in it is part of the perfect truth of a true religion. This subject has been finely treated by the imagination of a living poet,—the Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford. It is the theme of one of the poems in Keble's “ Christian Year.” Faith made the jewels of the Egyptians its own; it made the fertile land of the Canaanites its own; and it has the power to make its own the imaginative wealth of heathendom,—the rich domain of classic poetry :

“See Lucifer like lightning fall,

Dashed from his throne of pride ;
While, answering thy victorious call,

The saints his spoils divide,-
This world of thine, by him usurped too long,
Now opening all her stores to heal thy servants' wrong.

“So, when the first-born of thy foes

Dead in the darkness lay,-
When thy redeemed at midnight rose

And cast their bonds away,--
The orphaned realm threw wide her gates, and told
Into freed Israel's lap her jewels and her gold.

" And when their wondrous march was o'er,

And they had won their homes
Where Abraham fed his flock of yore,

Among their fathers' tombs,

A land that drinks the rain of Heaven at will,
Whose waters kiss the feet of many a vine-clad hill;-

“Oft as they watched, at thoughtful eve,

A gale from bowers of balm
Sweep o'er the billowy corn, and heave

The tresses of the palm,
Just as the lingering Sun had touched with gold,
Far o'er the cedar shade, some tower of giants old ;-

“It was a fearful joy, I ween,

To trace the Heathen's toil :
The limpid wells, the orchards green

Left ready for the spoil,
The household stores untouched, the roses bright
Wreathed o'er the cottage walls in garlands of delight.

“ And now another Canaan yields

To thine all-conquering ark ;-
Fly from the old poetic' fields,

Ye Paynim shadows dark !
Immortal Greece, dear land of glorious lays,
Lo! here “the unknown God' of thy unconscious praise !

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“ The olive wreath, the ivied wand,

• The sword in myrtles drest,' Each legend of the shadowy strand

Now wakes a vision blest: As little children lisp, and tell of Heaven, So thoughts beyond their thought to those high bards were given.

“ And these are ours; Thy partial grace

The tempting treasure lends :
These relics of a guilty race

Are forfeit to thy friends :
What seemed an idol-hymn now breathes of Thee,
Tuned by Faith's ear to some celestial melody.

“ There's not a strain to Memory dear,

Nor flower in classic grove,
There's not a sweet note warbled here,

But minds us of thy Love,
O Lord, our Lord, and spoiler of our foes,
There is no light but thine: with Thee all beauty glows."

To return to “Thalaba :" it would be a delightful task to follow the course of this remarkable and beautiful poem; but, drawing now towards the close of these lectures, I have learned, by repeated experience, some little of the virtue of forbearance, and the necessity of passing over many more things than the large demands I have made on your patience would lead you to suppose. One or two passages I must allude to. No poem is adorned with a more beautiful love-story than that of Thalaba and Oneiza :

“Oneiza called him brother, and the youth
More fondly than a brother loved the maid;
The loveliest of Arabian maidens she.

How happily the years
Of Thalaba went by!

In deep and breathless tenderness,
Oneiza's soul is centred on the youth,
So motionless, with such an ardent gaze,

Save when from her full eyes
She wipes away the swelling tears

That dim his image there.

“She called him brother: was it sister love

For which the silver rings
Round her smooth ankles and her tawny arms
Shone daily brightened? for a brother's eye

Were her long fingers tinged,
As when she trimmed the lam)

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