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From “ The Fall of Jerusalem.”—MILMAN.
The air is still and cool. It comes not yet:
I thought that I had felt it in my sleep,
Weighing upon my choked and laboring breast,
That did rejoice beneath the stern oppression ;
I thought I saw its lurid gloom o'erspreading
The starless waning night. But yet it comes not,
The broad and sultry thunder-cloud, wherein
The God of Israel evermore pavilions
The chariot of his vengeance. I look out,
And still, as I have seen, morn after morn,
The hills of Judah flash upon my sight
Th' accursed radiance of the Gentile arms.
But oh! ye sky-descending ministers,
That on invisible and soundless wing
Stoop to your earthly purposes, as swift
As rushing fire, and terrible as the wind
the tentless desert -
Shrouded in secrecy as in a robe,
With gloom of deepest midnight, the vaunt-courier
dread presence! will ye not reveal ?
Will ye not one compassionate glimpse vouchsafe,
By what dark instruments 't is now your charge
To save the Holy City ? — Lord of Israel !
Thee too I ask, with bold yet holy awe,
Which now of thy obsequious elements
Choosest thou for thy champion and thy combatant?
For well they know, the wide and deluging Waters,
The ravenous Fire, and the plague-breathing Air,
Yea, and the yawning and wide-chasmed Earth,
They know thy bidding, by fixed habit bound
To the usage of obedience. Or the 'rather,
Look we in weary yet undaunted hope
To Him that is to come, the Mighty Arm,
The Wearer of the purple robe of vengeance,
The Crowned with dominion ? Let him haste;
The wine-press waits the trampling of his wrath,
And Judah yearns to unfurl the Lion banner
Before the terrible radiance of his coming.
Speech of Simon to Titus.—MILMAN.
I speak to thee,
Titus, as warrior should accost a warrior.
The world, thou boastest, is Rome's slave; the sun
Rises and sets upon no realm but yours;
Ye plant your giant foot in either ocean,
And vaunt that all which ye o'erstride is Rome's.
But think ye then, because the common earth
Surfeits your pride with homage, that our land,
Our separate, peculiar, sacred land,
Portioned and sealed unto us by the God
Who made the round world and the crystal heavens;
A wondrous land, where Nature's common course
Is strange and out of use, so oft the Lord
Invades it with miraculous intervention;
Think this land shall be a Heathen heritage,
A high place for your Moloch ? Haughty Gentile,
Even now ye walk on ruin and on prodigy.
The air ye breathe is heavy, and o'ercharged
dark, gathering doom; and if our earth
Do yet in its disdain endure the footing
Of your armed legions, 't is because it labors
With silent throes of expectation, waiting
The signal of your scattering. Lo! the mountains
Bend o'er you with their huge and lowering shadows,
Ready to rush and overwhelm : the winds
Do listen, panting for the tardy presence
Of Him that shall avenge. And there is scorn,
Yea, there is laughter, in our fathers' tombs,
To think that Heathen conqueror doth aspire
To lord it over God's Jerusalem!
Yea, in hell's deep and desolate abode,
Where dwell the perished kings, the chief of earth;
They whose idolatrous warfare erst assailed
The Holy City, and the chosen people;
They wait for thee, the associate of their hopes
And fatal fall, to join their ruined conclave.
He whom the Red Sea 'whelmed with all his host,
Pharaoh, the Egyptian; and the kings of Canaan;
The Philistine, the Dagon worshipper;
Moab, and Edom, and fierce Amalek ;
And he of Babylon, whose multitudes,
Even on the hill where gleam your myriad spears,
In one brief night the invisible Angel swept
With the dark, noiseless shadow of his wing,
And morn beheld the fierce and riotous camp
One cold, and mute, and tombless cemetery ;
Sennacherib: all, all are risen, are moved ;
Yea, they take up their taunting song of welcome
To him'who, like themselves, hath madly warred
'Gainst Zion's walls, and miserably fallen
Before the avenging God of Israel !
* The camp of Titus comprehended the space called the “ Assyrian's Camp."
Flowers, the Gift of Divine Benignity.—Mrs. HEMANS.
Yes, there shall still be joy,
Where God hath poured forth beauty; and the voice
Of human love shall still be heard in praise
Over His glorious gifts ! — O Father, Lord !
The All-Beneficent! I bless Thy name,
That Thou hast mantled the green earth with flowers,
Linking our hearts to nature ! By the love
Of their wild blossoms, our young footsteps first
Into her deep recesses are beguiled
Her minster cells - dark glen and forest bower:
Where, thrilling with its earliest sense of Thee,
Amidst the low, religious whisperings,
And shivery leaf-sounds of the solitude,
The spirit wakes to worship, and is made
Thy living temple. By the breath of flowers,
Thou callest us from city throngs and cares,
Back to the woods, the birds, the mountain streams,
That sing of Thee ! — back to free childhood's heart,
Fresh with the dews of tenderness ! — Thou bidd'st
The lilies of the field with placid smile
Reprove man's feverish heart-strings, and infuse
Through his worn soul a more unworldly life,
With their soft, holy breath. Thou hast not left
His purer nature, with its fine desires,
Uncared for in this universe of Thine !
The glowing rose attests it, the beloved
Of poet hearts, — touched by their fervent dreams
With spiritual light, and made a source
Of heaven-ascending thoughts. E'en to faint age
Thou lend'st the vernal bliss :- - The old man's eye
Falls on the kindling blossoms, and his soul
Remembers youth and love, and hopefully
Turns unto Thee, who call'st earth's buried germs
From dust to splendor; as the mortal seed
Shall, at Thy summons, from the grave spring up
To put on glory, — to be girt with power,
And filled with immortality. Receive
Thanks, blessings, love, for these, Thy lavish boons,
And, most of all, their heavenward influences, –
O Thou that gav'st us flowers !
“ Show us the Father.”—MRS. SIGOURNEY.
1. Have ye not seen Him, when through parted snows
Wake the first kindlings of the vernal green ? When 'neath its modest veil the arbutus blows,
And the blue violet bursts its mossy screen ? When the wild rose, that asks no florist's care, Unfoldeth its rich leaves, have ye not seen Him there?
2. Have ye not seen Him, when the infant's eye,
Through its bright sapphire window, shows the mind ? When in the trembling of the tear or sigh
Floats forth that essence, trembling and refined ? Saw ye not Him, - the Author of our trust, Who breathed the breath of life into a frame of dust?
ye not heard Him, when the tuneful rill
Casts off its icy chains, and leaps away?
In thunders, echoing loud from hill to hill ?