[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

1 [Lord Byron never alludes to his share in these Melodies with complacency. Mr. Moore having, on one occasion, rallied him a little on the manner in which some of them had been set to music, -“Sunburn Nathan,” he exclaims, “why do you always twit me with his Ebrew nasalities 2 Have I not told you it was all Kinnaird's doing, and my own exquisite facility of temper ?”)

* [“Neither the ancient Jews,” says Dr. Burney, “nor the modern, have ever had characters peculiar to music; so that the melodies used in their religious ceremonies have, at all times, been traditional, and at the mercy of the singers.” – Kalkbrenner tells us, that “les Juifs Espagnols lisent et chantent leurs pseaumes bien differemment que les Juifs Hollandais, les Juiss Romains autrement que les Juifs de la Prusse ct de la Hesse ; et tous croient chanter comme on chantait dans le Temple de Jérusalem 1 " Hist. de la Musique, tom. i. p. 34.]

* [These stanzas were written by Lord Byron, on returning from a ball-room, where he had seen Mrs. (now Lady) Wil;not Horton, the wife of his relation, the present Governor of Ceylon. On this occasion Mrs. Wilmot Horton had appeared in mourning, with numerous spangles on her dress.]

* [“In the reign of King David, music was held in the highest estimation by the Hebrews. The genius of that prince for music, and his attachment to the study and practice of it, as well as the great number of musicians appointed by him for the performance of religious rites and ceremonies, could not fail to extend its influence and augment its so ; for it was during this period, that music was first honoured by being

Which Music hallow'd while she wept
O'er tones her heart of hearts had given,
Redoubled be her tears, its chords are riven

It soften’d men of iron mould,
It gave them virtues not their own;

No ear so dull, no soul so cold,
That felt not, fired not to the tone,
Till David's lyre grew mightier than his throne I

It told the triumphs of our King,
It wafted glory to our God ;
It made our gladden'd valleys ring,
The cedars bow, the mountains nod ;
Its sound aspired to Heaven and there abode : *
Since then, though heard on carth no more,
Devotion and her daughter Love,
Still bid the bursting spirit soar
To sounds that seem as from above,
In dreams that day's broad light can not remove. 6


If that high world, which lies beyond
Our own, surviving Love endears;
If there the cherish'd heart be fond,
The eye the same, except in tears–
How welcome those untrodden spheres 1
How sweet this very hour to die
To soar from earth and find all fears,
Lost in thy light–Eternity :

It must be so : "t is not for self
That we so tremble on the brink;
And striving to o'erleap the gulf,
Yet cling to Being's severing link.
Oh I in that future let us think
To hold each heart the heart that shares;
With them the immortal waters drink,
And soul in soul grow deathless theirs 1

admitted in the ministry of sacrifice, and worship of the ark ; as well as by being cultivated by a king.” – Bunsey.] * [“When Lord Byron put the manuscript into my hand, it terminated with this line. As this, however, did not complete the verse, I wished him to help out the melody. ... He replied, ...Why, I have sent you to heaven—it would be difficult to go further ' ' My attention for a few mil ites was called to some other person; and his Lordship, whom I had hardly missed, exclaimed." Here, Nathan, I have brought you down again;" and immediately presented me the beautiful lines which conclude the melody." — NATHAN.j

"[The hymns of David excel no less in sublimity and tenderness of expression, than in lostiness and purity of religious sentiment. In comparison with them, the sacr poetry of all other nations sinks into mediocrity. They have embodied so exquisitely the universal language of religious emotion, that (a few fierce and vindictive passages excepted, natural in the warrior-poet of a sterner age.) they have entered, with unquestionable propriety, into the Christian ritual. The songs which cheered the solitude of the desert caves of Engeli, or resounded from the voice of the Hebrew people as they wound along the glens or the hill-sides of Judea, have been repeated for ages in almost every part of the habitable world,—in the remotest islands of the ocean, amongst the forests of America. or the sands of Africa. How many human hearts have they softened, purified, exalted – of how many wretched beings have they becn the secret consolation : — on how many communities have they drawn down the ble, sings of 1)ivine Providence, by brinzing the affections in unison with their deep devotional servour ! — MulxıAN.]

[ocr errors]


The wild gazelle on Judah's hills
Exulting yet may bound,
And drink from all the living rills
That gush on holy ground;
Its airy step and glorious eye
May glance in tameless transport by : —

A step as fleet, an eye more bright,
Hath Judah witness'd there;
And o'er her scenes of lost delight
Inhabitants more fair.
The cedars wave on Lebanon,
IBut Judah's statelier maids are gone :

More blest each palm that shades those plains
Than Israel's scatter'd race;
For, taking root, it there remains
In solitary grace:
It cannot quit its place of birth,
It will not live in other earth.

But we must wander witheringly,
In other lands to die;
And where our fathers' ashes be,
Our own may never lie:
Our temple hath not left a stone,
And Mockery sits on Salem's throne.

OH ! WEEP FOR THOSE. OH ! weep for those that wept by Babel's stream, Whose shrines are desolate, whose land a dream; Weep for the harp of Judah's broken shell ; [dwell ! Mourn – where their God hath dwelt the Godless

And where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet 7
And when shall Zion's songs again seem sweet?
And Judah's melody once more rejoice
The hearts that leap'd before its heavenly voice 2

Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast,
How shall ye flee away and be at rest :
The wild-dove hath her nest, the fox his cave,
Mankind their country—Israel but the grave :


ON Jordan's banks the Arab's camels stray,
On Sion's hill the False One's votaries pray,
The Baal-adorer bows on Sinai's steep— [sleep:
Yet there — even there – Oh God I thy thunders

There — where thy finger scorch'd the tablet stone :
There — where thy shadow to thy people shone !
Thy glory shrouded in its garb of fire :
Thyself— none living see and not expire I

Oh I in the lightning let thy glance appear;
Sweep from his shiver'd hand the oppressor's spear:
How long by tyrants shall thy land be trod 1
How long thy temple worshipless, Oh God :

1 [Jephtha, a bastard son of Gilead, having been wrongfully expelled from his father's house, had taken refuge in a wild country, and become a noted captain of freebooters. His kindred, groaning under foreign oppression, began to look to their valiant, though lawless compatriot, whose profession, according to their usage, was no more dishonourable than that of a pirate in the elder days of Greece. They sent for hion, and made him head of their city. 13csore he went forth against the Ammonites, he made the memorable vow, that, if he returned victorious, he would sacrifice as a buret offering

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
[blocks in formation]

As clouds from yonder sun receive
A deep and mellow dye,
Which scarce the shade of coming eve
Can banish from the sky,
Those smiles unto the moodiest mind
Their own pure joy impart;
Their sunshine leaves a glow behind
That lightens o'er the heart.


Thy days are done, thy fame begun;
Thy country's strains record

The triumphs of her chosen Son,
The slaughters of his sword :

The deeds he did, the fields he won,
The freedom he restored :

Though thou art fall'n, while we are free Thou shalt not taste of death :

The generous blood that flow'd from thee
Disdain'd to sink beneath :

Within our veins its currents be,
Thy spirit on our breath !

Thy name, our charging hosts along,
Shall be the battle-word 1

Thy fall, the theme of choral song
From virgin voices pour'd :

To weep would do thy glory wrong;
Thou shalt not be deplored.

1 [" It was generally conceived that Lord Byron's reported singularities approached on some occasions to derangement: and at one period, indeed, it was very currently asserted trat his intellects were actually impaired. The report only served to amuse his Lordship. He referred to the circumstance, and declared that he ...i try how a madman could write: seizing the pen with eagerness, he for a moment fixed his eyes in majestic wildness on vacancy; when, like a flash of inspiration, without erasing a single word, the above verses were the result.” — NATHAN.]

* [Haunted with that insatiable desire of searching into the secrets of futurity, inseparable from uncivilised man, Saul knew not to what quarter to turn. The priests, outraged by his cruelty, had forsaken him: the prophets stood aloof; no dreams visited his couch; he had persecuted even the unlawful diviners. He hears at last of a female necromancer, a woman with the spirit of Ob : strangely similar in sound to the Obeah women in the West Indies. To the cave-dwelling of this woman, in Endor, the monarch proceeds in disguise. He commands her to raise the spirit of Samuel. At this laring demand, the woman first recognises, or pretends to recognise, her royal visitor. “Whom seest thou?” says the king. —“Mighty ones ascending from the earth.”—“ Of what for a 2 " – “..An old man covered with a mantle.” Saul, in


WARRIons and chiefs should the shaft or the sword
Pierce me in leading the host of the Lord,
Hced not the corse, though a king's, in your path:
Bury your steel in the bosoms of Gath I

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 !
Minc be the doom which they dared not to meet.

Farcwell to others, but nevcr 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 !

SAUL. 2 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 fixed 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 2
Who is he that calls the dead 7
Is it thou, O King 2 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,
Son and sire, the house of Saul : " 3

terror, bows down his head to the earth ; and, it should secn, not daring to look up, receives from the voice of the spectre the awful intimation of his defeat and death. On the reality of this apparition we pretend not to decide: the figure, if sigure there were, was not seen by Saul : and, excepting the event of the of battle, the spirit said nothing which the living prophet had not said before, repeatedly and publicly. But the fact is curious, as showing the popular belief of the Jews in departed spirits to have been the same with that of most other nations.— MilxıAN.]

3 (“Since we have spoken of witches,” said Lord Byron, at Cephalonia, in 1823, “what think you of the witch of Endor? I have always thought this the finest and most finished witchscene that ever was written or conceived : and you will be of my opinion, if you consider all the circ cs and the actors in the case, together with the gravity, simplicity, and dignity of the language. It beats all the ghost scenes I ever read. The finest conception on a similar subject is that of Goethe's Devil, Mephistopheles; and though, of course, you will give the o to the former, as being inspired, yet the latter, if you W. t, will appear to you — at least it does to me — one of the sinest and most sublime specimens of human conception.”)

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
« 上一頁繼續 »