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So was it when the Holy One
The garments of the flesh put on !
Men followed where the Highest led
For common gifts of daily bread,
And gross of ear, of vision dim,
Owned not the God-like power of Him.
Vain as a dreamer's words to them
His wail above Jerusalem,
And meaningless the watch He kept
Through which his weak disciples slept.
Yet shrink not thou, whoe'er thou art,
For God's great purpose set apart,
Before whose far discerning eyes,
The Future as the Present lies!
Beyond a narrow-bounded age
Stretches thy prophet-heritage,
Through Heaven's dim spaces angel-trod,
Through arches round the throne of God!
Thy audience, worlds !—all Time to be
The witness of the Truth in thee!
THE WIFE OF MANOAH TO HER
AGAINST the sunset's glowing wall
The city towers rise black and tall,
Where Zorah on its rocky height,
Stands like an armed man in the light.
Down Eshtaol's vales of ripened grain
Falls like a cloud the night amain,
up the hill-sides climbing slow The barley reapers
Look, dearest ! how our fair child's head
The sunset light hath hallowed,
Where at this olive's foot he lies,
Uplooking to the tranquil skies.
Oh! while beneath the fervent heat
Thy sickle swept the bearded wheat,
I've watched with mingled joy and dread,
Joy, which the mother feels alone
Whose morning hope like mine had flown,
When to her bosom, over blessed,
A dearer life than hers is pressed.
Dread, for the future dark and still,
Which shapes our dear one to its will;
Forever in his large calm eyes,
I read a tale of sacrifice.-
The same foreboding awe I felt
When at the altar's side we knelt,
And he, who as a pilgrim came,
Rose, winged and glorious, through the flame
I slept not, though the wild bees made
A dreamlike murmuring in the shade,
And on me the warm-fingered hours
Pressed with the drowsy smell of flowers.
Before me, in a vision, rose
The hosts of Israel's scornful foes,
Rank over rank, helm, shield, and spear,
Glittered in noon's hot atmosphere.
I heard their boast, and bitter word,
Their mockery of the Hebrew's Lord,
I saw their hands his ark assail,
Their feet profane his holy veil.
No angel down the blue space spoke,
No thunder from the still sky broke,
But in their midst, in power and awe,
Like God's waked wrath, our CHILD I saw!
A child no more !_harsh-browed and strong,
He towered a giant in the throng,
And down his shoulders, broad and bare,
Swept the black terror of his hair.
He raised his arm- —he smote amain,
As round the reaper falls the grain,
So the dark host around him fell,
So sank the foes of Israel !
Again I looked. In sunlight shone
The towers and domes of Askelon.
Priest, warrior, slave, a mighty crowd
Within her idol temple bowed.
Yet one knelt not; stark, gaunt, and blind,
His arms the massive pillars twined, -
An eyeless captive, strong with hate,
He stood there like an evil Fate.
The red shrines smoked--the trumpets pealed He stooped--the giant columns reeledReeled tower and fane, sank arch and wall, And the thick dust-cloud closed o'er all !
Above the shriek, the crash, the groan
Of the fallen pride of Askelon,
I heard, sheer down the echoing sky,
A voice as of an angel cry.-
The voice of him, who at our side
Sat through the golden eventide,
Of him, who on thy altar's blaze
Rose fire-winged, with his song of praise!
Rejoice o'er Israel's broken chain,
Gray mother of the mighty slain !
Rejoice !” it cried, “ He vanquisheth !
The strong in life is strong in death!
“ To him shall Zorah's daughters raise
Through coming years their hymns of praise,
And gray old men, at evening tell
Of all he wrought for Israel.
“ And they who sing and they who hear
Alike shall hold thy memory dear,
their blessings on thy head,
Oh, mother of the mighty dead !”
It ceased : and though a sound I heard
As if great wings the still air stirred,
I only saw the barley sheaves,
And hills half hid by olive leaves.
I bowed my face, in awe and fear,
On the dear child who slumbered near,
“ With me, as with my only son,
Oh God!” I said, “ THY WILL BE DONE!"
“Get ye up from the wrath of God's terrible day
Ungirded, unsandalled, arise and away!
'Tis the vintage of blood—'tis the fulness of time,
And vengeance shall gather the harvest of crime!"
The warning was spoken--the righteous had gone,
And the proud ones of Sodom were feasting alone;
All gay was the banquet—the revel was long,
With the pouring of wine and the breathing of song.
Twas an evening of beauty; the air was perfume, The earth was all greenness, the trees were ali
bloom ; And softly the delicate viol was heard, Like the murmur of love or the notes of a bird.
And beautiful maidens moved down in the dance, With the magic of motion and sunshine of glance; And white arms wreathed lightly, and tresses fell
free, As the plumage of birds in some tropical tree. Where the shrines of foul idols were lighted on high, And wantonness tempted the lust of the eye; Midst rites of obsceneness, strange, loathsome, ab
horred, The blasphemer scoffed at the name of the Lord. Hark! the growl of the thunder—the quaking of
earth! Woe-woe to the worship, and woe to the mirth! The black sky has opened—there's flame in the
airThe red arm of vengeance is lifted and bare ! Then the shriek of the dying rose wild where the
song And the low tone of love had been whispered along; For the fierce flames went lightly o’er palace and
bower, like the red tongues of demons, to blast and devour! Down-down, on the fallen, the red ruin rained, And the reveller sank with his wine-cup undrained; The foot of the dancer, the music's loved thrill, And the shout and the laughter grew suddenly still. The last throb of anguish was fearfully given; The last eye glared forth in its madness on Heaven !