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THE CAPTIVE JEWS IN BABYLON.
LET the broad veil of darkness be roll'd from before thee,
Oh, Lord! and descend on the wings of the storm!
Dispersed or enslaved are the saints that adore thee,
And the rude hands of strangers thy temple deform ;
And Salem, our Salem, lies low and degraded,
While far from her ruins in exile we pine;
Yet still is the hope of thy "remnant” unfaded—
The hand which implants it, Jehovah, is thine!
Alas! we were warn'd, but we reck'd not the warning,
Till our warriors grew weak in the day of despair ;
And our glory was fled, as the light cloud of morning,
That gleams for a moment, and melts into air.
As the proud heathens trampled o'er Zion's sad daughter,
She wept tears of blood in her guilt and her woe ;
For the voice of her God had commission'd the slaughter;
The rod of his vengeance had pointed the blow.
Though foul are the sins, oh, thou lost one! which stain thee,
The tear of repentance can wash them away;
Though galling and base are the bonds that enchain thee, The God who imposed them can lighten their sway :
For a star yet shall rise o'er the darkness of Judah,
A branch yet shall flourish on Jesse's proud stem;
And Zion shall triumph o'er those that subdued her,
Yea! triumph in giving a Saviour to them!
In the deep stillness of a summer even,
Rising behind a thick and lofty grove,
Burns, like an unconsuming fire of light,
In the green trees; and, kindling on all sides
Their leafy umbrage, turns the dusky veil
Into a substance glorious as her own,—
Yea, with her own incorporated, by power
Capacious and serene ; like power abides
In man's celestial spirit; virtue thus
Sets forth and magnifies herself; thus feeds
A calm, a beautiful, and silent fire,
From the incumbrances of mortal life,
From error, disappointment,―nay, from guilt;
And sometimes, so relenting justice wills,
From palpable oppressions of despair.
Now I gain the mountain's brow,
What a landscape lies below!
No clouds, no vapours intervene ;
But the gay, the open scene,
Does the face of nature show
In all the hues of heaven's bow,
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.
Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly tow'ring in the skies;
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires;
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain-heads,
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks,
And glitters on the broken rocks.
Below me trees unnumber'd rise, Beautiful in various dyes; The gloomy pine, the poplar blue, The yellow beech, the sable yew, The slender fir, that taper grows, The sturdy oak, with broad-spread boughs;
And beyond the purple grove,
Haunt of Phyllis, queen of love,
Gaudy as the op'ning dawn,
Lies along a level lawn,
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wand'ring eye:
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood;
His sides are clothed with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his brow,
That cast an awful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps :
So both a safety from the wind
On mutual dependence find!
'Tis now the raven's bleak abode;
'Tis now th' apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds;
And there the pois'nous adder breeds,
Conceal'd in ruins, moss, and weeds;
While, ever and anon, there fall
Huge heaps of hoary, moulder'd wall.
Yet time has seen-that lifts the low,
And level lays the lofty brow-
Has seen this broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state:
But transient is the smile of fate!
A little rule, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.
SAY, watchman, what of the night?
Do the dews of the morning fall?
Have the orient skies a border of light,
Like the fringe of a funeral pall?
"The night is fast waning on high,
And soon shall the darkness flee,
And the morn shall spread o'er the blushing sky,
And bright shall its glories be."
But, watchman, what of the night,
When sorrow and pain are mine,
And the pleasures of life, so sweet and bright,
No longer around me shine?
"That night of sorrow thy soul
May surely prepare to meet,
But away shall the clouds of thy heaviness roll,
And the morning of joy be sweet.”
But, watchman, what of that night,
When the arrow of death is sped,
And the grave, which no glimmering star can light, Shall be my sleeping-bed?