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Round the marble-crown'd mount
Where the Emperor stood,
Like a silver-scaled snake,
Roll'd the Tiber's bright flood;
Beyond were the vales

Of the rich Persian rose,
All glowing with beauty,
All breathing repose:

And flaming o'er all

In the glow of the hour, The Capitol stood,

Earth's high altar of Power:
A thousand years old,

Yet still in its prime—
A thousand years more
To be conqueror of Time.

But the West was now purple,
The eve was begun :
Like a monarch at rest

On the waves lay the Sun-
About Him the clouds

Their rich canopy roll'd
In pillars of diamond
And curtains of gold.

The Rabbi's proud gesture
Was turn'd to the orb-
"Great King-let that lustre
Thy worship absorb !"
"What! gaze on the sun-
And be blind by the gaze?
No eye but the eagle's

Could look on the blaze!"

"Ho! Emperor of earth,

If thine eye-ball be dim To see but the rays

Of the sun's sinking limb," Cried the Rabbi, "what eye-ball

Could dare but to see

The Sovereign of Him,

And the Sovereign of Thee?"


By WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, the American poet.
OH! could I hope the wise and pure in heart
Might hear my song without a frown, nor deem
My voice unworthy of the theme it tries,—
I would take up the hymn to Death, and say
To the grim power, The world hath slander'd thee
And mock'd thee. On thy dim and shadowy brow
They place an iron crown, and call thee king
Of terrors, and the spoiler of the world,
Deadly assassin, that strikest down the fair,
The loved, the good-that breathest on the lights
Of virtue set along the vale of life,

And they go out in darkness. I am come,
Not with reproaches, not with cries and prayers,
Such as have storm'd thy stern, insensible ear
From the beginning. I am come to speak
Thy praises. True it is, that I have wept
Thy conquests, and may weep them yet again:
And thou from some I love wilt take a life
Dear to me as my own. Yet while the spell
Is on my spirit, and I talk with thee
In sight of all thy trophies, face to face,
Meet is it that my voice should utter forth
Thy nobler triumphs; I will teach the world
To thank thee.-Who are thine accusers?-Who?
The living!-they who never felt thy power,
And know thee not. The curses of the wretch
Whose crimes are ripe, his sufferings when thy hand
Is on him, and the hour he dreads is come,
Are writ among thy praises. But the good-
Does he whom thy kind hand dismiss'd to peace,
Upbraid the gentle violence that took off
His fetters, and unbarr'd his prison cell?

Raise then the hymn to Death, Deliverer!
God hath anointed thee to free the oppress'd
And crush the oppressor. When the armed chief,
The conqueror of nations, walks the world,
And it is changed beneath his feet, and all
Its kingdoms melt into one mighty realm-
Thou, while his head is loftiest and his heart
Blasphemes, imagining his own right hand

Almighty, thou dost set thy sudden grasp
Upon him, and the links of that strong chain

That bound mankind are crumbled; thou dost break
Sceptre and crown, and beat his throne to dust.
Then the earth shouts with gladness, and her tribes
Gather within their ancient bounds again.
Else had the mighty of the olden time,
Nimrod, Sesostris, or the youth who feign'd
His birth from Libyan Ammon, smitten yet
The nations with a rod of iron, and driven
Their chariot o'er our necks. Thou dost avenge,
In thy good time, the wrongs of those who know
No other friend. Nor dost thou interpose
Only to lay the sufferer asleep.

Where he who made him wretched troubles not
His rest-thou dost strike down his tyrant too.
Oh, there is joy when hands that held the scourge
Drop lifeless, and the pitiless heart is cold.
Thou too dost purge from earth its horrible
And old idolatries;-from the proud fanes
Each to his grave their priests go out, till none
Is left to teach their worship; then the fires
Of sacrifice are chill'd, and the green moss
O'ercreeps their altars; the fallen images
Cumber the weedy courts, and for loud hymns,
Chanted by kneeling multitudes, the wind
Shrieks in the solitary aisles. When he
Who gives his life to guilt, and laughs at all
The laws that God or man has made, and round
Hedges his seat with power, and shines in wealth,
Lifts up his atheist front to scoff at Heaven,
And celebrates his shame in open day,
Thou, in the pride of all his crimes, cutt'st off
The horrible example. Touch'd by thine,
The extortioner's hard hand foregoes the gold
Wrung from the o'er-worn poor. The perjurer,
Whose tongue was lithe e'en now, and voluble
Against his neighbour's life, and he who laugh'd
And leap'd for joy to see a spotless fame
Blasted before his own foul calumnies,
Are smit with deadly silence. He who sold
His conscience to preserve a worthless life,
Even while he hugs himself on his escape,

Trembles, as, doubly terrible, at length
Thy steps o'ertake him, and there is no time
For parley-nor will bribes unclench thy grasp.
Oft, too, dost thou reform thy victim, long
Ere his last hour. And when the reveller,
Mad in the chase of pleasure, stretches on,
And strains each nerve, and clears the path of life
Like wind, thou point'st him to the dreadful goal,
And shakest thy hour-glass in his reeling eye,
And check'st him in mid course. Thy skeleton hand
Shows to the faint of spirit the right path,
And he is warn'd, and fears to step aside.
Thou sett'st between the ruffian and his crime
The ghastly countenance, and his slack hand
Drops the drawn knife. But, oh, most fearfully

Dost thou show forth Heaven's justice, when thy shafts
Drink up the ebbing spirit—then the hard

Of heart and violent of hand restores

The treasure to the friendless wretch he wrong'd.
Then from the writhing bosom thou dost pluck

The guilty secret; lips, for ages seal'd,

Are faithless to the dreadful trust at length,
And give it up; the felon's latest breath
Absolves the innocent man who bears his crime;
The slanderer, horror-smitten, and in tears,
Recalls the deadly obloquy he forged

To work his brother's ruin. Thou dost make
Thy penitent victim utter to the air

The dark conspiracy that strikes at life,

And aims to whelm the laws; ere yet the hour
Is come, and the dread sign of murder given.

Thus, from the first of time, hast thou been found
On virtue's side; the wicked, but for thee,
Had been too strong for the good; the great of earth
Had crush'd the weak for ever. School'd in guile
For ages, while each passing year had brought
Its baneful lesson, they had fill'd the world
With their abominations; while its tribes,
Trodden to earth, imbruted, and despoil'd,
Had knelt to them in worship; sacrifice
Had smoked on many an altar, temple roofs
Had echoed with the blasphemous prayer and hymn :
But thou, the great reformer of the world,

Takest off the sons of violence and fraud
In their green pupilage, their lore half learn'd-
Ere guilt had quite o'errun the simple heart
God gave them at their birth, and blotted out
His image. Thou dost mark them flush'd with hope,
As on the threshold of their vast designs

Doubtful and loose they stand, and strikest them down.


Alas! I little thought that the stern power
Whose fearful praise I sung, would try me thus
Before the strain was ended. It must cease-
For he is in his grave who taught my youth
The art of verse, and in the bud of life
Offer'd me to the Muses. Oh, cut off
Untimely! when thy reason in its strength,
Ripen'd by years of toil and studious search,
And watch of Nature's silent lessons, taught
Thy hand to practise best the lenient art
To which thou gavest thy laborious days-
And, last, thy life. And, therefore, when the earth
Received thee, tears were in unyielding eyes

And on hard cheeks, and they who deem'd thy skill
Delay'd their death-hour, shudder'd and turn'd pale
When thou wert gone. This faltering verse, which thou
Shalt not, as wont, o'erlook, is all I have

To offer at thy grave-this-and the hope
To copy thy example, and to leave

A name of which the wretched shall not think
As of an enemy's, whom they forgive

As all forgive the dead. Rest, therefore, thou
Whose early guidance train'd my infant steps-
Rest, in the bosom of God, till the brief sleep
Of death is over, and a happier life

Shall dawn to waken thine insensible dust.

Now thou art not-and yet the men whose guilt
Has wearied Heaven for vengeance-he who bears
False witness-he who takes the orphan's bread,
And robs the widow-he who spreads abroad
Polluted hands in mockery of prayer,
Are left to cumber earth. Shuddering I look
On what is written, yet I blot not out

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