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Yet do I feel at times my mind decline,
But with a sense of its decay:-I see
Unwonted lights along my prison shine,
And a strange demon, who is vexing me
With pilfering pranks and petty pains, below
The feeling of the healthful and the free;
But much to one, who long hath suffer'd so,
Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place,
And all that may be borne, or can debase.
I thought mine enemies had been but man,
But spirits may be leagued with them-all earth
Abandons-Heaven forgets me ;—in the dearth
Of such defence the powers of evil can,
It may be, tempt me further, and prevail
Against the outworn creature they assail.
Why in this furnace is my spirit proved
Like steel in tempering fire! because I loved!
Because I loved what not to love, and see,
Was more or less than mortal, and than me.
I once was quick in feeling-that is o'er ;-
My scars are callous, or I should have dash'd
My brain against these bars as the sun flash'd
In mockery through them ;-if I bear and bore
The much I have recounted, and the more
Which hath no words, 't is that I would not die
And sanction with self-slaughter the dull lie
Which snared me here, and with the brand of shame
Stamp madness deep into my memory,
And woo compassion to a blighted name,
Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim.
No-it shall be immortal!-and I make
A future temple of my present cell,
Which nations yet shall visit for my sake.
While thou Ferrara! when no longer dwell
The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down,
And crumbling piece-meal view thy hearthless halls,
A poet's wreath shall be thine only crown,
A poet's dungeon thy most far renown,
While strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled walls!
And thou, Leonora! thou- who wert ashamed
That such as I could love-who blush'd to hear
To less than monarchs that thou couldst be dear,
Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed
By grief, years, weariness-and it may be
A taint of that he would impute to me,
From long infection of a den like this,
Where the mind rots congenial with the abyss,—
Adores thee still;-and add-that when the towers
And battlements which guard his joyous hours
Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgot,
Or left untended in a dull repose,
This-this shall be a consecrated spot!
But thou-when all that birth and beauty throws
Of magic round thee is extinct-shalt have
One half the laurel which o'ershades my grave.
No power in death can tear our names apart,
As none in life could rend thee from my heart.
Yes, Leonora ! it shall be our fate
To be entwined for ever-but too late!
THE subsequent poems were written at the request of my friend, the Hon. D. Kinnaird, for a Selection of Hebrew Melodies, and have been published, with the music, arranged by Mr BRAHAM and Mr NATHAN.
SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY.
SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes :
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent.
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
THE HARP THE MONARCH MINSTREL SWEPT.
THE harp the monarch minstrel swept,
The king of men, the loved of Heaven,
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!
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 earth 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.
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.
On! 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
Mourn where their God hath dwelt the godless dwell!
And where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet?
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?
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!
IF THAT HIGH WORLD.
If that high world, which lies beyond
Our own, surviving love endears;
If there the cherish'd heart be fond,
eye the same, except in tears-
How welcome those untrodden spheres!
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! 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!
THE WILD GAZELLE.
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,
But 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.
ON JORDAN'S BANKS.
ON Jordan's banks the Arabs' camels stray,
On Sion's hill the False One's votaries pray,
The Baal-adorer bows on Sinai's steep-
Yet there even there-Oh God! thy thunders sleep :
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!
Oh! 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?
How long thy temple worshipless, Oh God!
SINCE Our country, our God-Oh, my sire!
Demand that thy daughter expire;
Since thy triumph was bought by thy vow-
Strike the bosom that 's bared for thee now!
And the voice of my mourning is o'er,
And the mountains behold me no more:
If the hand that I love lay me low,
There cannot be pain in the blow!
And of this, oh, my father! be sure-
That the blood of thy child is as pure
As the blessing I beg ere it flow,
And the last thought that soothes me below.
Though the virgins of Salem lament,
Be the judge and the hero unbent!
I have won the great battle for thee,
And my father and country are free!
When this blood of thy giving hath gush'd,
When the voice that thou lovest is hush'd,
Let my memory still be thy pride,
And forget not I smiled as I died!
OH! SNATCH'D AWAY IN BEAUTY'S BLOOM.
On! snatch'd away in beauty's bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb;
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom:
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall sorrow Jean her drooping head, And feed deep thought with many a dream; And lingering pause, and lightly tread, Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead!
Away! we know that tears are vain,
That death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain?
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou-who tell'st me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.
MY SOUL IS DARK.
My soul is dark.-Oh! quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers tling
Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear.
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again; If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
'T will flow, and cease to burn my
But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nurst,
And ached in sleepless silence long; And now 't is doom'd to know the worst, And break at once-or yield to song.
I SAW THEE WEEP.
I SAW thee weep-the big bright tear
Came o'er that eye of blue;
And then methought it did appear
A violet dropping dew:
I saw thee smile-the sapphire's blaze
Beside thee ceased to shine,
It could not match the living rays
That fill'd that glance of thine.
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 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!
Thy fall, the theme of choral song From virgin voices pour'd!
To weep would do thy glory wrong; Thou shalt not be deplored.
SONG OF SAUL BEFORE HIS LAST BATTLE.
WARRIORS and chiefs! should the shaft or the sword
Pierce me in leading the host of the Lord,
Heed not the corse, though a king's, in your path
Bury your steel in the bosoms of Gath!
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!
Mine be the doom which they dared not to meet.
Farewell to others, but never 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'
Thor 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; flis 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.
And the falchion by thy side
To thy heart thy hand shall guide: Crownless, breathless, headless fall, Son and sire, the house of Saul!»
ALL IS VANITY, SAITH THE PREACHER. »
FAME, wisdom, love, and power were mine,
And health and youth possess'd me;
My goblets blush'd from every vine,
And lovely forms caress'd me;
I sunn'd my heart in beauty's eyes,
And felt my soul grow tender;
All earth can give, or mortal prize,
Was mine of regal splendour.
I strive to number o'er what days
Remembrance can discover,
Which all that life or earth displays
Would lure me to live over.
There rose no day, there roll'd no hour
Of pleasure unembitter'd;
And not a trapping deck'd my power
That gall'd not while it glitter'd.
The serpent of the field, by art
And spells, is won from harming;
But that which coils around the heart,
Oh! who hath power of charming?
It will not list to wisdom's lore,
Nor music's voice can lure it;
But there it stings for evermore
The soul that must endure it.
WHEN COLDNESS WRAPS THIS SUFFERING
WHEN Coldness wraps this suffering clay, Ah, whither strays the immortal mind?
It cannot die, it cannot stay,
But leaves its darken'd dust behind.
Then, unembodied, doth it trace
By steps each planet's heavenly way?
Or fill at once the realms of space,
A thing of eyes, that all survey!
Eternal, boundless, undecay'd,
A thought unseen, but seeing all,
All, all in earth, or skies display'd,
Shall it survey, shall it recal:
Each fainter trace that memory holds,
So darkly of departed years,
In one broad glance the soul beholds,
And all, that was, at once appears.
Before creation peopled earth,
Its eye shall roll through chaos back :
And where the furthest heaven had birth,
The spirit trace its rising track.
And where the future mars or makes,
Its glance dilate o'er all to be,
While sun is quench'd or system breaks,
Fix'd in its own eternity.
Above or love, hope, hate, or fear,
It lives all passionless and pure:
An age shall fleet like earthly year;
Its years as moments shall endure.
Away, away, without a wing,
O'er all, through all, its thoughts shall fly; A nameless and eternal thing, Forgetting what it was to die.
VISION OF BELSHAZZAR
THE king was on his throne,
The satraps throng'd the hall;
A thousand bright lamps shone
O'er that high festival.
A thousand cups
In Judah deem'd divine-
Jehovah's vessels hold
The godless heathen's wine!
In that same hour and hall,
The fingers of a hand
Came forth against the wall,
And wrote as if on sand:
The fingers of a man,
A solitary hand
Along the letters ran,
And traced them like a wand.
The monarch saw, and shook,
And bade no more rejoice;
All bloodless wax'd his look,
Aud tremulous his voice.
« Let the men of lore appear,
The wisest of the earth,
And expound the words of fear
Which mar our royal mirth.»>
Chaldea's seers are good,
But here they have no skill;
And the unknown letters stood,
Untold and awful still. And Babel's men of age
Are wise and deep in lore; But now they were not sage, They saw-but knew no more.
A captive in the land,
A stranger and a youth,
He heard the king's command,
He saw that writing's truth.
The lamps around were bright,
The prophecy in view;
He read it on that night,-
The morrow proved it true.
« Belshazzar's grave is made,
His kingdom pass'd away;
He, in the balance weigh'd,
Is light and worthless clay.
The shroud, his robe of state,
His canopy, the stone;
The Mede is at his gate!
The Persian on his throne!»>
SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS!
SUN of the sleepless! melancholy star! Whose tearful beam glows tremulously far,
That show'st the darkness thou canst not dispel,
How like art thou to joy remember'd well!
So gleams the past, the light of other days,
Which shines, but warms not with its powerless rays;
A night-beam sorrow watcheth to behold,
Distinct, but distant-clear-but, oh how cold!
WERE MY BOSOM AS FALSE AS THOU
DEEM'ST IT TO BE.
WERE my bosom as false as thou deem'st it to be,
I need not have wander'd from far Galilee;
It was but abjuring my creed to efface
The curse which, thou sayest, is the crime of my race.
If the bad never triumph, then God is with thee!
If the slave only sin, thou art spotless and free!
If the exile on earth is an outcast on high,
Live on in thy faith, but in mine I will die.
I have lost for that faith more thau thou canst bestow.
As the God who permits thee to prosper doth know;
In his hand is my heart and my hope-and in thine
The land and the life which for him I resign.
HEROD'S LAMENT FOR MARIAMNE.
On, Mariamne! now for thee
The heart for which thou bled'st is bleeding; Revenge is lost in agony,
And wild remorse to rage succeeding. Oh, Mariamne! where art thou?
Thou canst not hear my bitter pleading:
Ah, couldst thou-thou wouldst pardon now,
Though Heaven were to my prayer unheeding.
And is she dead?-and did they dare
Obey my frenzy's jealous raving?
My wrath but doom'd my own despair :
The sword that smote her 's o'er me waving.But thou art cold, my murder'd love!
And this dark heart is vainly craving
For her who soars alone above,
And leaves my soul unworthy saving.
She's gone, who shared my diadem!
She sunk, with her my joys entombing:
I swept that flower from Judah's stem
Whose leaves for me alone were blooming.
And mine 's the guilt, and mine the hell,
This bosom's desolation dooming:
And I have earn'd those tortures well,
Which unconsumed are still consuming!
ON THE DAY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF
JERUSALEM BY TITUS.
FROM the last bill that looks on thy once holy dome
I beheld thee, oh Sion! when render'd to Rome :
'T was thy last sun went down, and the flames of thy fall
Flash'd back on the last glance I gave to thy wall.
I look'd for thy temple, I look'd for my home,
And forgot for a moment my bondage to come ;
I beheld but the death-fire that fed on thy fane,
And the fast-fetter'd hands that made vengeance in vain.
On many an eve, the high spot whence I gazed
Hlad reflected the last beam of day as it blazed;
While I stood on the height, and beheld the decline
Of the rays from the mountain that shone on thy shrine.
And now on that mountain I stood on that day,
But I mark'd not the twilight beam melting away:
Oh! would that the lightning had glared in its stead,
And the thunderbolt burst on the conqueror's head!
But the gods of the Pagan shall never profane
The shrine where Jehovali disdain'd not to reign;
And scatter'd and scorn'd as thy people may be,
Our worship, oh Father! is only for thee.
BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON WE SAT DOWN
WE sat down and wept by the waters
Of Babel, and thought of the day
When our foe, in the hue of his slaughters,
Made Salem's high places his prey;
And ye, oh her desolate daughters!
Were scatter'd all weeping away.
While sadly we gazed on the river
Which roll'd on in freedom below,
They demanded the song; but, oh never
That triumph the stranger shall know!
May this right hand be wither'd for ever,
Ere it string our high harp for the foe!
On the willow that harp is suspended, -
Oh Salem! its sound should be free;
And the hour when thy glories were ended,
But left me that token of thee:
Aud ne'er shall its soft tones be blended
With the voice of the spoiler by me!
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 in 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 heaved, 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 ou 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'