Page images
PDF
EPUB

Triumphant music floats along the vale ;
Near, nearer still, it gathers on the gale ;
The growing sound their swift approach declares ;-
Desist, my sons, nor mix the strain with theirs.

Enter CHALDEAN Priests, attended.

First PRIEST.

Air.

Come on, my companions, the triumph display;

Let rapture the minutes employ;
The sun calls us out on this festival day,

And our monarch partakes in the joy.

Second PRIEST.

Like the sun, our great monarch all rapture supplies,

Both similar blessings bestow :
The sun with his splendor illumines the skies,

And our monarch enlivens below.

A Chaldean WOMAN.

Air.

Haste, ye sprightly sons of pleasure ;
Love presents its brightest treasure,

Leave all other joys for me.

A Chaldean ATTENDANT.

Or rather Love's delights despising,
Haste to raptures ever rising :

Wine shall bless the brave and free.

First PRIEST.

Wine and beauty thus inviting,
Each to different joys exciting,

Whither shall my choice incline ?

Second PRIEST.

I'll waste no longer thought in choosing;
But neither this nor that refusing,

I'll make them both together mine.

Recitative.

But whence, when joy should brighten o'er the land,
This sullen gloom in Judah's captive band ?
Ye sons of Judah, why the lute unstrung?
Or why those harps on yonder willows hung ?
Come, take the lyre, and pour the strain along,
The day demands it ; sing us Sion's song.
Dismiss your griefs, and join our warbling choir;
For who like you can wake the sleeping lyre !

Second PROPHET.

Bow'd down with chains, the scorn of all mankind,
To want, to toil, and every ill consign'd,
Is this a time to bid us raise the strain,
And mix in rites that Heaven regards with pain ?
No, never! May this hand forget each art
That speeds the power of music to the heart,
Ere I forget the land that gave me birth,
Or join with sounds profane its sacred birth,

5

VOL. IV.

First PRIEST.

Insulting slaves ! if gentler methods fail,
The whips and angry tortures shall prevail.

[Exeunt CHALDEANS.

First PROPHET.

Why, let them come, one good remains to cheer ;
We fear the Lord, and know no other fear.

Chorus.

Can whips or tortures hurt the mind
On God's supporting breast reclin'd?
Stand fast, and let our tyrants see,
That fortitude is victory.

[Exeunt.

ACT II.

Scene as before.

Chorus of ISRAELITES.
O peace of mind, angelic guest!
Thou soft companion of the breast !

Dispense thy balmy store:
Wing all our thoughts to reach the skies,
Till earth, receding from our eyes,

Shall vanish as we soar.

First Priest.

Recitative.
No more! Too long has justice been delay'd ;
The king's command must fully be obey'd ;

Compliance with his will your peace secures,
Praise but our gods, and every good is yours.
But if rebellious to his high command,
You
spurn

the favors offer'd at his hand; Think, timely think, what terrors are behind; Reflect, nor tempt to rage the royal mind.

Second PRIEST.

Air.

Fierce is the whirlwind howling

O’er Afric's sandy plain,
And fierce the tempest rolling

Along the furrow'd main :

But storms that fly,

To rend the sky,
Every ill presaging,

Less dreadful show

To worlds below
Than angry monarch's raging.

ISRAELITISH WOMAN.

Recitative.

Ah, me! what angry terrors round us grow:
How shrinks

my

soul to meet the threaten'd blow! Ye prophets, skill'd in Heaven's eternal truth, Forgive my sex's fears, forgive my youth! If shrinking thus, when frowning power appears, I wish for life, and yield me to my fears. Let us one hour, one little hour obey; To-morrow's tears may wash our stains away.

Air.

To the last moment of his breath,

On hope the wretch relies ;
And e'en the pang preceding death

Bids expectation rise.
Hope, like the gleaming taper's light,

Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,

Emits a brighter ray.*

Second PRIEST.

Why this delay ? At length for joy prepare ;
I read your looks, and see compliance there.
Come on, and bid the warbling rapture rise,
Our monarch's fame the noblest theme supplies.
Begin, ye captive bands, and strike the lyre;
The time, the theme, the place and all conspire.

CHALDEAN WOMAN.

See the ruddy morning smiling,
Hear the grove to bliss beguiling;
Zephyrs through the woodland playing,
Streams along the valley straying.

[" Fatigued with life, yet loth to pari,

On hope the wretch relies;
And every blow that sinks the heart,

Bids the deluler ric.

" Hope, like the taper's gleamy light,

Adorns the wretch's way:
And still, as darker grows the night,

Emits a brighter ray."'-- Orig. MS)

« PreviousContinue »