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From the last hill that looks on thy once holy dome,[mg]
I beheld thee, oh Sion! when rendered to Rome:[mh]
'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 come;[mi]
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 Conqueror's head![mj]
But the G.o.ds of the Pagan shall never profane The shrine where Jehovah disdained not to reign; And scattered and scorned as thy people may be, Our worship, oh Father! is only for thee.
BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON WE SAT DOWN AND WEPT.
We sate down and wept by the waters
Of Babel, 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![mk]
May this right hand be withered for ever, Ere it string our high harp for the foe!
On the willow that harp is suspended, Oh Salem! its sound should be free;[ml]
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 droopingly lay, 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 stringlessly hung in the willow's sad tree, As dead as her dead-leaf, those mute harps must be: Our hands may be fettered--our tears still are free For our G.o.d--and our Glory--and Sion, Oh _Thee!_
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB.
The a.s.syrian came down like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
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 and strown.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he pa.s.sed; And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved--and for ever grew still!
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,[mm]
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.[mn]
And there lay the rider distorted and pale, With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:[mo]
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,[mp]
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal; And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,[mq]
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!
Seaham, Feb. 17, 1815.