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FIRST JEWISH PROPIET.
SECOND JEWISH PROPHET.
FIRST CHALDEAN PRIEST.
SECOND CHALDEAN PRIEST.
Chorus OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS.
SCENE.—The Banks of the River Euphrates, near Babylon.
ISRAELITES sitting on the Banks of the Euphrates,
Ye captive tribes, that hourly work and weep,
Where flows Euphrates, murmuring to the deep;
Suspend awhile the task, the tear suspend,
And turn to God, your father and your friend;
Insulted, chain'd, and all the world a foe,
Our God alone is all we boast below.
Our God is all we boast below,
To him we turn our eyes ;
And every added weight of woe
Shall make our homage rise.
And though no temple richly drest,
Nor sacrifice is here;
We'll make his temple in our breast,
And offer up a tear.
'The first stanza repeated by the CHORUS.
That strain once more: it bids remembrance rise,
And brings my long-lost country to mine eyes.
Ye fields of Sharon, dress'd in flowery pride;
Ye plains where Jordan rolls its glassy tide;
Ye hills of Lebanon, with cedars crown'd;
Ye Gilead groves, that fling perfumes around:
These hills how sweet! those plains how wond'rous fair ?
But sweeter still, when Heaven was with us there.
O Memory, thou fond deceiver !
Still importunate and vain ;
To former joys recurring ever,
And turning all the past to pain :
Hence, intruder, most distressing,
Seek the happy and the free;
The wretch who wants each other blessing,
Ever wants a friend in thee.
Yet, why complain? What, though by bonds confin’d,
Should bonds repress the vigor of the mind ?
Have we not cause for triumph, when we see
Ourselves alone from idol-worship free?
Are not this very morn those feasts begun,
Where prostrate error hails the rising sun ?
Do not our tyrant lords this day ordain
For superstitious rites and mirth profane?
And should we mourn? Should coward virtue fly,
When impious folly rears her front on high?
No; rather let us triumph still the more,
And as our fortune sinks, our wishes soar.
The triumphs that on vice attend
Shall ever in confusion end ;
The good man suffers but to gain,
And every virtue springs from pain :
As aromatic plants bestow
No spicy fragrance while they grow,
But crushid or trodden to the ground,
Diffuse their balmy sweets around.
But hush, my sons ! our tyrant lords are near;
The sound of barbarous mirth offends mine ear;
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.
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.
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.
Haste, ye sprightly sons of pleasure ;
Love presents its brightest treasure,
Leave all other joys for me.
Or rather Love's delights despising,
Haste to raptures ever rising :
Wine shall bless the brave and free.