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DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM — RIVERS OF BABYLON 419
She's gone, who shared my diadem; She sunk, with her my joys entombing;
I swept that flower from Judah's stem,
This bosom's desolation dooming; And I have earned those tortures well, Which unconsumed are still consuming! Jan. 15, 1815.
ON THE DAY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM BY TITUS. 1.
Fkom the last hill that looks on thy once
holy dome, I beheld thee, oh Sion! when rendered
'Twas thy last sun went down, and the
flames of thy fall Flashed back on the last glance I gave
to thy wall.
I looked for thy temple — I looked for
my home, And forgot for a moment my bondage to
I beheld but the death-fire that fed on thy fane,
And the fast-fettered hands that made vengeance in vain.
On many an eve, the high spot whence I gazed
Had 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 marked not the twilight beam melting away;
Oh! would that the lightning had
glared in its stead, And the thunderbolt burst on the
But the Gods of the Pagan shall never profane
The shrine where Jehovah disdained
not to reign; And scattered and scorned as thy people
Our worship, oh Father! is only for thee. 1815.
BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON WE SAT DOWN AND WEPT.
We sate down and wept by the waters
Of Babe!, 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 scattered all weeping away.
While sadly we gazed on the river
Which rolled on in freedom below, They demanded the song; but, oh never
That triumph the Stranger shall know I
May this right hand be withered for ever,
Ere it string our high harp for the foe! in.
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: And ne'er shall its soft tones be blended
With the voice of the Spoiler by me!
Jan. 15, 1813.
"BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON."
In the valley of waters we wept on the day
When the host of the Stranger made
Salem his prey; And our heads on our bosoms all droop
And our hearts were so full of the land far away!
The song they demanded in vain—it lay still
In our souls as the wind that hath died
on the hill — They called for the harp — but our
blood they shall spill Ere our right hands shall teach them
one tone of their skill.
All stringlcssly hung in the willow's sad tree,
As dead as her dead-leaf, those tnute
harps must be: Our hands may be fettered — our tears
still are free For our God — and our Glory — and
Sion, Oh Thee! 1815. [First published, Fugitive Pieces, by
I. Nathan, 1829.]
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB.
The Assyrian came down like the wolf
on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple
And the sheen of their spears was like
stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on
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 withered
For the angel of Death spread his wings
on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as
he passed; And the eyes of the sleepers waxed
deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved —
and for ever grew still 1
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled 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 on 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
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote
by the sword, Hath melted like snow in the glance of
the Lord 1
Seaham, Feb. 17, 1815.
A SPIRIT PASSED BEFORE ME.
A Spirit passed before me: I beheld
FAREWELL! IF EVER FONDEST
PRAYER —LOVE AND GOLD 421
Deep Sleep came down on every eye
save mine — And .there it stood, — all formless —
but divine: Along my bones the creeping flesh did
And as my damp hair stiffened, thus it spake:
"Is man more just than God? Is man more pure
Than he who deems even Seraphs insecure?
Creatures of clay — vain dwellers in the dust!
The moth survives you, and are ye
more just? Things of a day ! you wither ere the night, Heedless and blind to Wisdom's wasted
FAREWELL! IF EVER FONDEST
Farewell! if ever fondest prayer
Mine will not all be lost in air,
Twere vain to speak — to weep — to sigh:
Oh! more than tears of blood can tell,
When wrung from Guilt's expiring eye, Are in that word — Farewell! — Farewell!
These lips are mute, these eyes are dry;
But in my breast and in my brain, Awake the pangs that pass not by,
The thought that ne'er shall sleep again.
My soul nor deigns nor dares complain,
I only know we loved in vain —
[First published, Corsair, Second Edition, 1814.]
WHEN WE TWO PARTED, t.
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
To sever for years,
Colder thy kiss;
Sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow — It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame: I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.
They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
Why wert thou so dear?
Who knew thee too well: — Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.
In secret we met —
In silence I grieve,
Thy spirit deceive.
After long years,
With silence and tears.
[LOVE AND GOLD.]
I Cannot talk of Love to thee,
There is a spell thou dost not see,
And yet that spell invites each youth,
For thee to sigh, or seem to sigh; Makes falsehood wear the garb of truth,
And Truth itself appear a lie.
If ever doubt a place possest In woman's heart, 'twere wise in thine:
Admit not Love into thy breast, . Doubt others' love, nor trust in mine.
Perchance 'tis feigned, perchance sincere,
But false or true thou canst not tell; So much hast thou from all to fear, In that unconquerable spell.
Of all the herd that throng around,
Come tell me who to thee is bound
In some 'tis Nature, some 'tis Art
But thou deserv'st a better heart,
For thee, and such as thee, behold,
Who doomed thee to be bought or sold,
Each day some tempter's crafty suit
I see thee to the altar's foot
Adieu, dear maid! I must not speak Whate'er my secret thoughts may be;
Though thou art all that man can seek I dare not talk of Love to thee.
[First published, 1900,]
STANZAS FOR MUSIC.1
I Speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name,
There is grief in the sound, there is
guilt in the fame: But the tear which now burns on m>
cheek may impart The deep thoughts that dwell in that
silence of heart.
Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours — can their joy or
their bitterness cease? We repent, we abjure, we will break"
from our chain, — We will part, we will fly to — unite it
Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine
be the guilt! Forgive me, adored one! — forsake, if
thou wilt; — But the heart which is thine shall expire
undebased, And man shall not break it — whatever
And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul, in its bitterest blackness, shall be:
And our days seem as swift, and Out
moments more sweet, With thee by my side, than with worlds
at our feet.
One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thv love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove;
• ["Thou hast asked me for a song, and I enclose you an experiment, which has cost mc something more than trouble, and is, therefore, less likely to be worth your taking any in your proposed setting. Now, if it be so, throw it into the fire without phrast." — Letter to Moore. May 4, 1814.)
ADDRESS TO BE RECITED AT THE CALEDONIAN MEETING 423
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign —
Thy lip shall reply, not to them, but to mine. May 4, 1814.
[First published, Fugitive Pieces, by L Nathan, 1829.]
ADDRESS INTENDED TO BE RECITED AT THE CALEDONIAN MEETING.'
Who hath not glowed above the page
where Fame Hath fixed high Caledon's unconquered
The mountain-land which spurned the
Roman chain, And baffled back the fiery-crested Dane, Whose bright claymore and hardihood
No foe could tame — no tyrant could
command? That race is gone — but still their
children breathe, And Glory crowns them with redoubled
O'er Gael and Saxon mingling banners shine,
And, England! add their stubborn
strength to thine. The blood which flowed with Wallace
flows as free, But now 'tis only shed for Fame and
Oh! pass not by the northern veteran's claim,
But give support — the world hath given him fame!
The humbler ranks, the lowly brave, who bled
While cheerly following where the
Mighty led — Who sleep beneath the undistinguished
'[The "Caledonian Meeting,"at which these lines were, or were intended to be, recited was a meeting of subscribers to the Highland Society, field annually in London, in support of the [Royal] Caledonian Asylum "for educating and supporting children of soldiers, sailors, and marines, natives of Scotland."!
Where happier comrades in their
triumph trod, To us bequeath — 'tis all their fate
The sireless offspring and the lonely spouse:
She on high Albyn's dusky hills may raise
The tearful eye in melancholy gaze, Or view, while shadowy auguries disclose
The Highland Seer's anticipated woes, The bleeding phantom of each martial form
Dim in the cloud, or darkling in the storm;
While sad, she chants the solitary song, The soft lament for him who tarries long —
For him, whose distant relics vainly crave
The Coronach's wild requiem to the brave!
'Tis Heaven — not man — must charm
away the woe, Which bursts when Nature's feelings
newly flow; Yet Tenderness and Time may rob the
Of half its bitterness for one so dear; A Nation's gratitude perchance may spread
A thornless pillow for the widowed head;
May lighten well her heart's maternal care,
And wean from Penury the soldier's heir;
Or deem to living war-worn Valour just Each wounded remnant — Albion's
cherished trust — Warm his decline with those endearing
Whose' bounteous sunshine yet may
gild his days — So shall that Country — while he sinks
to rest —
His hand hath fought for —by his heart be blest!
May, 1814. [First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, i. 559-1