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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator
 


 

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THE FALL OF JERUSALEM: A DRAMATIC POEM.

BY THE REV. H. H. MILMAN

VICAR OF ST. MARY'S, READING; AND LATE FELLOW OF BRAZENOSE COLL. OXFORD.

LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE- STREET. 1820.

 
Many thanks to Selina McLachlan

INTRODUCTION.

EVERY reader will at once perceive from the nature of the interest, and from the language, that this drama was neither written with a view to public representation, nor can be adapted to it without being entirely remodelled and rewritten. The critic will draw the same conclusion from certain peculiarities in the composition, irreconcileable with the arrangements of the theatre ; the introducing and dismissing the subordinate characters after a single appearance ; and yet appropriating to them some of the most poetical speeches.

The groundwork of the poem is to be found in Josephus, but the events of a considerable time are compressed into a period of about thirty-six hours. Though their children are fictitious characters, the leaders of the Jews, Simon, John, and Eleazar, are historical. At the beginning of the siege the defenders of the city were divided into three factions. John, however, having surprised Eleazar, who occupied the Temple, during a festival, the party of Eleazar became subordinate to that of John. The character of John the Galilean was that of excessive sensuality, I have therefore considered him as belonging to the sect of the Sadducees ; Simon, on the other hand, I have represented as a native of Jerusalem, and a strict Pharisee ; although his soldiers were chiefly Edomites. The Christians, we learn from Eusebius, abandoned the city previous to the siege (by divine command, according to bur author), and took refuge in Pella, a small town on the further side of the Jordan. The constant tradition of the Church has been, that no one professing that faith perished during all the havoc which attended on this most awful visitation.

It has been my object also to show the full completion of prophecy in this great event; nor do I conceive that the public mind (should this poem merit attention) can be directed to so striking and so incontestable an evidence of the Christian faith without advantage. Those whom duty might not induce to compare the long narrative of Josephus with the Scriptural prediction of the " Abomination of Desolation," may be tempted by the embellishments of poetic language, and the interest of a dramatic fable.

 

THE

FALL OF JERUSALEM.

CHARACTERS.
 

ROMANS.

TITUS.

CAIUS PLACIDUS.

TIBERIUS ALEXANDER.

TERENTIUS RUFUS.

DIAGORAS
a Stoic philosopher.

JOSEPH
(the Historian) with the Roman army.

Soldiers

 

JEWS IN THE CITY.

SIMON
the Assassin.

JOHN
the Tyrant.

ELEAZAR
the Zealot.

AMARIAH
son of John.

The HIGH-PRIEST.

BEN CATHLA
leader of the Edomites.

AARON
a Levite.

ABIRAM
a false Prophet.

JAVAN
A Christian, by birth a Jew.

MIRIAM, SALONS.
Daughters of Simon.

 

THE

FALL OF JERUSALEM.

The Mount of Olives Evening.

TITUS, CAWS PLACIDUS, TIBERIUS ALEXANDER, TERENTIUS RUFUS, DlAGOSAS, &c.

TITUS.

ADVANCE the eagles, Caius Placidus,

Even to the walls of this rebellious city !

What ! shall our bird of conquest, that hath flown

Over the world, and built her nest of glory

Even in the palace tops of proudest kings,

What ! shall she check and pause here in her circle,

Her centre of dominion ? By the gods,

It is a treason to .all-conquering Rome,

That thus our baffled legions stand at bay

Before this hemm'd and famishing Jerusalem.


6 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

PLACIDUS.

Son of Vespasian ! I have been a soldier,

Till the helm hath worn mine aged temples bare.

Battles have been familiar to mine eyes

As is the sunlight, and the angry Mars

Wears not a terror to appal the souls

Of constant men, but I have fronted it.

I have seen the painted Briton sweep to battle

On his scythed car, and when he fell, he fell

As one that honour'd death by nobly dying.

And I have been where flying Parthians shower'd

Their arrows, making the pursuer check

His fierce steed with the sudden grasp of death.

But war like this, so frantic and so desperate,

Man ne'er beheld. Our swords are blunt with slaying,

And yet, as though the earth cast up again

Souls discontented with a single death,

They grow beneath the slaughter. Neither battle,

Nor famine, nor the withering pestilence,

Subdues these prodigals of blood : by day

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 7

They cast their lives upon our swords ; by night They turn their civil weapons on themselves, Even till insatiate War shrinks to behold The hideous consummation.

TITUS.

It must be

And yet it moves me, Romans ! it confounds The counsels of my firm philosophy, That Ruin's merciless ploughshare must pass o'er, And barren salt be sown on yon proud city. As on our olive-crowned hill we stand, Where Kedron at our feet its scanty waters Distils from stone to stone with gentle motion, As through a valley sacred to sweet peace, How boldly doth it front us ! how majestically ! Like a luxurious vineyard, the hill side Is hung with marble fabrics, line o'er line, Terrace o'er terrace, nearer still, and nearer To the blue heavens. Here bright and sumptuous palaces, With cool and verdant gardens interspers'd ;

8 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Here towers of war that frown in massy strength.

While over all hangs the rich purple eve,

As conscious of its being her last farewell

Of light and glory to that fated city.

And, as our clouds of battle dust and smoke

Are melted into air, behold the Temple,

In undisturb'd and lone serenity

Finding itself a solemn sanctuary

In the profound of heaven ! It stands before us 7

A mount of snow fretted with golden pinnacles !

The very sun, as though he worshipp'd there,

Lingers upon the gilded cedar roofs ;

And down the long and branching porticoes,

On every flowery-sculptured capital,

Glitters the homage of his parting beams.

By Hercules ! the sight might almost win

The offended majesty of Rome to mercy.

TIBERIUS ALEXANDER.

Wond'rous indeed it is, great Son of Caesar, But it shall be more wond'rous, when the triumph

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 9

Of Titus marches through those brazen gates, Which seem as though they would invite the world To worship in the precincts of her Temple,

As he in laurell'd pomp is borne along

To that new palace of his pride. TITUS.

Tiberius ! It cannot be

TIBERIUS.

What cannot be, which Rome Commands, and Titus, the great heir of Rome ?

TITUS.

I tell thee, Alexander, it must fall ! Yon lofty city, and yon gorgeous Temple, Are consecrate to Ruin. Earth is weary Of the wild factions of this jealous people, And they must feel our wrath, the wrath of Rome, Even so that the rapt stranger shall admire Where that proud city stood, which was Jerusalem.

10 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

DIAGORAS.

Thy brethren of the Porch, imperial Titus, Of late esteem'd thee at the height of those That with consummate wisdom have tamed down The fierce and turbulent passions which distract The vulgar soul ; they deem'd that, like Olympus, Thou, on thy cold and lofty eminence, Severely didst maintain thy sacred quiet Above the clouds and tumult of low earth. But now we see thee stooping to the thraldom Of every fierce affection, now entranced In deepest admiration, and anon Wrath hath the absolute empire o'er thy soul. Methinks we must unschool our royal pupil, And cast him back to the common herd of men.

TITUS.

'Tis true, Diagoras ; yet wherefore ask not, For vainly have I question'd mine own reason : But thus it is I know not whence or how, There is a stern command upon my soul.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 11

I feel the inexorable fate within

That tells me, carnage is a duty here,

And that the appointed desolation chides

The tardy vengeance of our war. Diagoras,

If that I err, impeach my tenets. Destiny

Is over all, and hard Necessity

Holds o'er the shifting course of human things

Her paramount dominion. Like a flood

j The irresistible stream of fate flows on,

And urges in its vast and sweeping motion

Kings, Consuls, Caesars, with their mightiest armies,

Each to his fix'd, inevitable end.

Yea, even eternal Rome, and Father Jove,

Sternly submissive, sail that onward tide.

And now am I upon its rushing bosom,

I feel its silent billows swell beneath me,

Bearing me and the conquering arms of Rome

'Gainst yon devoted city. On they pass,

And ages yet to come shall pause and wonder

At the utter wreck, which they shall leave behind them.

But, Placidus, I read thy look severe. This is no time nor place for school debates On the high points of wisdom. Let this night Our wide encircling walls complete their circuit ; And still the approaching trenches closer mine Their secret way : the engines and the towers Stand each at their appointed post Terentius, That charge be thine.

TERENTIUS.

There spoke again the Roman. Faith ! like old Mummius, I should give to the flame Whatever opposed the sovereign sway of Caesar, If it were wrought of massy molten gold : And though I wear a beard, I boast not much Of my philosophy. But this I know, That to oppose the omnipotent arms of Rome Is to pluck down and tempt a final doom.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 13

The Fountain of Siloe Night.

JAVAN.

Sweet fountain, once again I visit thee ! And thou art flowing on, and freshening still The green moss, and the flowers that bend to thee, Modestly with a soft unboastful murmur Rejoicing at the blessings that thou bearest. Pure, stainless, thou art flowing on ; the stars Make thee their mirror, and the moonlight beams Course one another o'er thy silver bosom :

And yet thy flowing is through fields of blood,

And armed men their hot and weary brows

Slake with thy limpid and perennial coolness.

Even with such rare and singular purity Mov'st thou, oh Miriam, in yon cruel city. Men's eyes, o'erwearied with the sights of war, With tumult and with grief, repose on thee As on a refuge and a sweet refreshment.

14 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Thou canst o'erawe, thou in thy gentleness, A trembling, pale, and melancholy maid, The brutal violence of ungodly men. Thou glidest on amid the dark pollution In modesty unstain'd, and heavenly influences, More lovely than the light 'of star or moon, As though delighted with their own reflection From spirit so pure, dwell evermore upon thee.

Oh ! how dost thou, beloved proselyte To the high creed of him who died for men, Oh ! how dost thou commend the truths I teach thee, By the strong faith and soft humility

Wherewith thy soul embraces them ! Thou prayest,

And I, who pray with thee, feel my words wing'd,

And holier fervor gushing from my heart,

While heaven seems smiling kind acceptance down

On the associate of so pure a worshipper.

But ah ! why com'st thou not ? these two long nights I've watch'd for thee in vain, and have not felt The music of thy footsteps on my spirit

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 15

VOICE AT A DISTANCE.

Javan !

JAVAN.

It is her voice ! the air is fond of it, And enviously delays its tender sounds From the ear that thirsteth for them Miriam !

JAVAN, MIRIAM.

JAVAN.

Nay, stand thus in thy timid breathlessness, That I may gaze on thee, and thou not chide me Because I gaze too fondly.

MIRIAM.

Hast thou brought me Thy wonted offerings ?

JAVAN.

Dearest, they are here:

The bursting fig, the cool and ripe pomegranate, The skin all rosy with the emprisoned wine ;

16 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

All I can bear thee, more than thou canst bear Home to the city.

MIRIAM.

Bless thee ! Oh my father ! How will thy famish'd and thy toil-bow'd frame Resume its native majesty ! thy words, When this bright draught hath slak'd thy parched lips, Flow with their wonted freedom and command.

JAVAN.

Thy father ! still no thought but of thy father ! Nay, Miriam ! but thou must hear me now, Now ere we part if we must part again,

If my sad spirit must be rent from thine.

the city trembles on the verge

Of utter ruin. Yet a night or two,

And the fierce stranger in our burning streets

Stands conqueror : and how the Roman conquers,

Let Gischala, let fallen Jotapata

Tell, if one living man, one innocent child,

Yet wander o'er their cold and scatter'd ashes.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 17

They slew them, Miriam, the old gray man,

Whose blood scarce tinged their swords (nay, turn not

from me, The tears thou sheddest feel as though I wrung them

From mine own heart, my life-blood's dearest drops)

They slew them, Miriam, at the mother's breast, The smiling infants ; and the tender maid", The soft, the loving, and the chaste, like thee,

They slew her not till

MIRIAM.

Javan, 'tis unkind !

I have enough at home of thoughts like these, Thoughts horrible, that freeze the blood, and make A heavier burthen of this weary life. I hoped with thee t' have pass'd a tranquil hour, A brief, a hurried, yet still tranquil hour ! But thou art like them all ! the miserable Have only Heaven, where they can rest in peace, Without being mock'd and taunted with their misery.

18 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

JAVAN.

Thou know'st it is a lover's wayward joy

To be reproach'd by her he loves, or thus

Thou would'st not speak. But 'twas not to provoke

That sweet reproof, which sounds so like to tenderness

I would alarm thee, shock thee, but to save.

That old and, secret stair, down which thou stealest

At midnight through tall grass and olive trunks,

Which cumber, yet conceal thy difficult path,

It cannot long remain secure and open ;

Nearer and closer the stern Roman winds

His trenches ; and on every side but this

Soars his emprisoning wall. Yet, yet 'tis time,

And I must bear thee with me, where are met

In Pella the neglected church of Christ.

MIRIAM.

With thee ! to fly with thee ! thou mak'st me fear Lest all tliis while I have deceived my soul, Excusing to myself our stolen meetings

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 19

By the fond thought, that for my father's life I labour'd, bearing sustenance from thee, Which he hath deem'd heaven-sent. JAVAN.

Oh ! farewell then

The faithless dream, the sweet yet faithless dream, That Miriam loves me !

MIRIAM.

Love thee ! I am here,

Here at dead midnight by the fountain's side,

Trusting thee, Javan, with a faith as fearless

As that with which the instinctive infant twines

To its mother's bosom Love thee ! when the sounds

Of massacre are round me, when the shouts

Of frantic men hi battle rack the soul

With then importunate and jarring din,

Javan, I think on thee, and am at peace.

Our famish'd maidens gaze on me, and see

That I am famish'd like themselves, as pale,

with lips as parch'd and eyes as wild, yet I

 

20 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Sit patient with an enviable smile

On my wan cheeks, for then my spirit feasts

Contented on its pleasing thoughts of thee.

My very prayers are full of thee, I look

To heaven and bless thee ; for from thee I learnt

The way by which we reach the eternal mansions.

 

But thou, injurious Javan ! coldly doubtest !

And Oh ! but I have said too much ! Oh ! scorn not The immodest maid, whom thou hast vex'd to utter What yet she scarce dared whisper to herself.

JAVAN.

Will it then cease ? will it not always sound Sweet, musical as thus ? and wilt thou leave me ?

MIRIAM. My father !

JAVAN.

Miriam ! is not thy father

(Oh, that such flowers should bloom on such a stock !) The curse of Israel ? even his common name Simon the Assassin ! of the bloody men

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 21

That hold their iron sway within yon city, The bloodiest!

" MIRIAM.

Oh cease ! I pray thee cease ! Javan ! I know that all men hate my father ; Javan ! I fear that all should hate my father ; And therefore, Javan, must his daughter's love, Her dutiful, her deep, her fervent love, Make up to his forlorn and desolate heart

The forfeited affections of his kind.

Is't not so written in our Law ? and He We worship came not to destroy the Law. Then let men rain their curses, let the storm Of human hate beat on his rugged trunjc, I will cling to him, starve, die, bear the scoffs Of men upon my scatter'd bones with him.

JAVAN.

Oh, Miriam ! what a fatal art hast thou Of winding thought, word, act, to thy sole purpose ; The enamouring one even now too much enamour'd !

22 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

I must admire thee more for so denying, Than I had dared if thou hadst fondly granted. Thou dost devote thyself to uttfflrest peril, And me to deepest anguish ; yet even now Thou art lovelier to me in thy cold severity, Flying me, leaving me without a joy, Without a hope on earth, without thyself; Thou art lovelier now than if thy yielding soul Had smiled on me a passionate consent. Go ! for I see thy parting homeward look,

Go in thy beauty ! like a setting star,

The last in all the thick and moonless heavens,

O'er the lone traveller in the trackless desert.

Go ! if this dark and miserable earth

Do jealously refuse us place for meeting,

There is a heaven for those who trust in Christ.

Farewell !

And thou return'st !

MIRIAM.

I had forgot

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 23

The fruit, the wine Oh ! when I part from thee

How can I think of ought but thy last words ?

JAVAN.

Bless thee ! but we may meet again even here ! Thou look'st consent, I see it through thy tears. Yet once again that cold sad word, Farewell !

The House of Simon.

MIRIAM.

Oh God ! thou surely dost approve mine act,

For thou didst bid thy soft and silver moon

To light me back upon my intricate way.

Even o'er each shadowy thing at which I trembled

She pour'd a sober beauty, and my terror

Was mingled with a sense of calm delight.

How changed that way ! when yet a laughing child,

It was my sport to thread that broken stair

24 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

That from our house leads down into the vale,

By which, in ancient days, the maidens stole

To bathe in the cool fountain's secret waters.

In each wild olive trunk, and twisted root

Of sycamore, with ivy overgrown,

I have nestled, and the flowers would seem to welcome me.

I loved it with a child's capricious love,

Because none knew it but myself. Its loneliness

I loved, for still my sole companions there,

The doves, sate murmuring in the noonday sun.

* Ah ! now there broods no bird of peace and love !

'Even as I pass'd, a sullen vulture rose,

And heavily it flagp'd its huge wings o'er me, As though o'ergorged with blood of Israel.

MIRIAM, S ALONE. :

MIRIAM.

Sister, not yet at rest?

SALONE.

At rest! at rest!

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 25

 The wretched and the desperate, let them court

The dull, the dreamless, the unconscious sleep, To lap them in its stagnant lethargy. But oh ! the bright, the rapturous disturbances . That break my haunted slumbers ! Fast they come, They crowd around my couch, and all my chamber Is radiant with them. There I lie and bask In their glad promise, till the oppressed spirit Can bear no more, and I come forth to breathe The cool free air.

MIRIAM.

Dear sister, in our state So dark, so hopeless, dreaming still of glory !

ALONE.

Low-minded Miriam ! I tell thee, oft I have told thee, nightly do the visitations Break on my gifted sight, more golden bright Than the rich morn on Carmel. Of their shape, Sister, I know not ; this I only know, That they pour o'er me like the restless waters

26 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Of some pure cataract in the noontide sun.

There is a mingling of all glorious forms,

Of Angels riding upon cloudy thrones,

And our proud city marching all abroad

Like a crown'd conqueror o'er the trampled Gentiles.

MIRIAM.

Alas ! when God afflicts us in his wrath, 'Tis sin to mock with wild untimely gladness His stern inflictions. Else, beloved Salone, My soul would envy thee thy mad forgetfulness, And dote on the distraction of thy dreams Till it imbibed the infection of their joy.

SALONE. What mean'st thou ?

MIRIAM.

Ah ! thou know'st too well, Salone, How with an audible and imperious voice The Lord is speaking in the streets of Judah, " Down to the dust, proud daughters of Jerusalem ! " The crownings of your head be bitter ashes,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 27

"Your festal garments changed to mourning sackcloth, " Your bridal songs fail into burial wailings."

SALONE.

Our bridal songs ! Away ! I know them now, They were the rich and bursting cadences That thrall'd mine ears. I tell thee, doubting woman ! My spirit drank the sounds of all the city. And there were shriekings for the dead, and sobs Of dying men, and the quick peevish moan Of the half famish'd : there were trumpet sounds Of arming to the battle, and the shouts Of onset, and the fall of flaming houses Crashing around. But in the house of Simon, The silver lute spake to the dulcimer ; The tabret and the harp held sweet .discourse; And all along our roofs, and all about The silence of our chambers flow'd the sweetness. Even yet I hear them Hark ! yet, yet they sound.

MIRIAM.  Alas ! we listen to our own fond hopes,

 

28 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Even till they seem no more Cur fancy's children.

We put them on a prophet's robes, endow them

With prophets' voices, and then Heaven speaks in them,

And that which we would have be, surely shall be.

SALONE.

What, mock'st thou still? still enviously doubtest The mark'd and favour'd of the Everlasting ?

MIRIAM.

Oh gracious Lord ! thou know'at she hath not eaten For two long days, and now her troubled brain is full of strangeness.

SALONE.

Ha ! still unbelieving ! Then, then 'tis true, what I have doubted long.

False traitress to our city, to the race,

The chosen race of Abraham ! loose apostate

From Israel's faith ! Believer in the Crucified !

I know thee, I abjure thee. Thou'rt no child

Of Simon's house, no sister of Salone :

I blot thee from my heart, I wipe away

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 29

.

All memory of our youthful pleasant hours,

Our blended sports and tasks, and joys and sorrows ;

Yea, I'll proclaim thee.

MIRIAM.

Sister ! dearest sister ! Thou seest that I cannot speak for tears.

SALONE.

Away ! thou wilt not speak, thou dar'st not Hark ! My father's armed footstep ! at whose tread Sion rejoices, and the pavement stones Of Salem shout with proud and boastful echos. The Gentiles' scourge, the Christians' tremble, false one !

MIRIAM, SALONE, SIMON.

SALONE. Father !

MIRIAM.

Dear father !

SIMON.

Daughters, I have been

30 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

With Eleazar, and with John of Galilee,

The son of Sadoc. We have search'd the city,

If any rebel to our ordinance

Do traitorously withhold his private hoard

Of stolen provision from the public store.

SALONE.

And found ye any guilty of a fraud

So base on Judah's warriors ?

SIMON.

Yes, my children !

There sate a woman in a lowly house, And she had moulded meal into a cake ; And she sate weeping even in wild delight Over her sleeping infants, at the thought Of how their eyes would glisten to behold The unaccustom'd food. She had not tasted Herself the strange repast ; but she had raised The covering under which the children lay Crouching and clinging fondly to each otter, As though the warmth that breath'd from out their bodies

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 31

Had some refreshment for their wither'd lips.

We bared our swords to slay : but subtle John Snatch'd the food from her, trod it on the ground, And mock'd her.

MIRIAM. But thou didst not smite her, father ?

SIMON.

No ! we were wiser than to bless with death A wretch like her.

But I must seek within, If he that oft at dead of midnight placeth The wine and fruit within our chosen house, Hath minister'd this night to Israel's chief,

MIRIAM, SALONS.

SALONE.

Oh, Miriam ! I dare not tell him now ! For even as those two infants lay together Nestling their sleeping faces on each other, Eve so have we two lain, and I have felt

32 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Thy breath upon my face, and every motion

Of thy soft bosom answering to mine own. .

SIMON, SALONE, MIRIAM.

SIMON.

Come, daughters, I have wash'd my bloody hands, And said. my prayers, and we will eat And thee

First will I bless, thou secret messenger,

That mine ambrosial banquet dost prepare

With gracious stealth : where'er thou art, if yet

Thy unseen presence lingers in our air,

Or walks our earth in beauty, hear me bless thee.

MIRIAM (apart ),

He blesseth me ! me, though he means it not I thought to have "heard his stern heart withering curse, And God hath changed it to a gentle blessing.

SIMON.

Why stands my loving Miriam aloof? Will she not join to thank the God of Israel,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 33

Who thus with signal mercy seals her father His chosen captain.

MIRIAM (apart.)

Yet must I endure For if he knew it came from Christian hands,

While the ripe fruit was bursting at his lips, While the cool wine-cup slaked his burning throat, He'd dash it to the earth, and trample on it ; And then he 'd perish, perish in his sins : Father, I come but I have vow'd to sing A hymn this night, I'll follow thee anon.

SIMON. Come, then, Salone ; while we feast, I'll tell thee

More deeds of justice that mine arm hath wrought Against the foes of Salem, and the renegades That have revolted from the arms of Israel. And thou shalt Wave thy raven locks with pride To hear the stern-told glories of thy father.

MIRIAM, alone. Oh Thou ! thou who canst melt the heart of stone,

34- FALL OF JERUSALEiM.

And make the desert, of the cruel breast A paradise of soft and gentle thoughts ! Ah ! will it ever be, that thou wilt visit The darkness of my father's soul ? Thou knowest In what strong bondage Zeal and ancient Faith, Passion and stubborn Custom, and fierce Pride, Hold th' heart of man. Thou knowest, Merciful ! That knowest all things, and dost ever turn Thine eye of pity on our guilty nature.

For thou wert born of woman ! thou didst come, Oh Holiest ! to this world of sin and gloom, Not in thy dread omnipotent array ; j^nd not by thunders strew'd Was thy tempestuous road ; Nor indignation burnt before thee on thy way. But thee, a soft and naked child,

Thy mother undefiled, In the rude manger laid to rest From off her virgin breast.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 35

The heavens were not commanded to prepare A gorgeous canopy of golden air ; Nor stoop'd their lamps th' enthroned fires on high : A single silent star Came wandering from afar,

Gliding uncheck'd and calm along the liquid sky ; The Eastern Sages leading on

As at a kingly throne, To lay their gold and odours sweet Before thy infant feet.

The Earth and Ocean were not hush'd to hear

Bright harmony from every starry sphere ; Nor at thy presence brake the voice of song From all the cherub choirs, And seraphs' burning lyres

Pour'd thro' the host of heaven the charmed clouds along. One angel troop the strain began,

Of all the race of man By simple shepherds heard alone, That soft Hosanna's tone.

36 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

And when thou didst depart, no car of flame To bear thee hence in lambent radiance came ; Nor visible Angels mourn'd with drooping plumes : Nor didst thou mount on high From fatal Calvary .

With all thine own redeem'd out bursting from their tombs. For thou didst bear away from earth

But one of human birth, The dying felon by thy side, to be In Paradise with thee.

Nor o'er thy cross the clouds of vengeance brake ; A little while the conscious earth did shake At that foul deed by her fierce children done ; A few dim hours of day The world in darkness lay ;

Then bask'd in bright repose beneath the cloudless sun : While thou didst sleep within the tomb,

Consenting to thy doom j Ere yet the white-robed Angel shone Upon the sealed stone.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 37

And when thou didst arise, thou didst not stand

With Devastation in thy red right hand, Plaguing the guilty city's murtherous crew ; But thou didst haste to meet Thy mother's coming feet,

And bear the words of peace unto the faithful few. Then calmly, slowly didst thou rise

Into thy native skies, Thy human form dissolved on high In its own radiancy.

38 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

The House of Simon Break of Day.

SIMON.

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 labouring 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 thundercloud, 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 The accursed radiance of the Gentile arms.

But oh ! ye sky-descending ministers, That on invisible and noiseless wing Stoop to your earthly purposes, as swift As rushing fire, and terrible as the wind

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 39

That sweeps the tentless desert Ye that move Shrouded in secrecy as in a robe, And gloom of deepest midnight the vaunt-courier Of your dread presence ! Will ye not reveal? Will ye not one compassionate glimpse vouchsafe, By what dark instruments 'tis 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 frx'd habit bound

To the usage of obedience. Or the rather,

Look we in weary yet undaunted hope

For 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,

40 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

And Judah yearns t' unfurl the Lion banner Before the terrible radiance of his .coming.

JOHN, ELEAZAR, the HIGH-PRIEST, AMARIAH,

JOHN.

How, Simon ! have we broken on thy privacy ! Thou wert discoursing with the spirits of air. Now, Eleazar, were not holy Simon The just, the merciful, the righteous Simon, A vessel meet for the prophetic trance ? Mi-thinks 'tis on him now !

SIMON.

Ha ! John of Galilee,

Still in the taunting vein ? Reserv'st thou not The bitter overflowings of thy lips For yon fierce Gentiles ? But I will endure.

JOHN.

And then perchance 'twill please the saintly Simon, When he hath mumbled o'er his two-hour prayers,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 4

That we do ope our gates, and sally forth To combat the uncircumcised

SIMON.

Thy scoffs

Fall on me as the thin and scattering rain Upon our Temple. If thou art here to urge That, with confederate valiant resolution, We burst upon the enemies of Jerusalem ; The thunder followeth not the lightning's flash More swiftly than my warlike execution Shall follow the fierce trumpet of thy wrath !

JOHN.

But hast thou ponder'd well, if still there be not Some holy fast, new moon, or rigid sabbath, Which may excuse a tame and coward peace For one day longer to your men of Edom ?

HIGH-PRIEST.

Oh ! 'tis unwise, ye sworded delegates Of Him who watcheth o'er Jerusalem, Thus day by day in angry quarrel meeting

42 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

To glare upon each other, and to waste

In civil strife the blood that might preserve us.

The Roman conquers, but by Jewish arms.

The torrent, that in one broad channel rolling

Bears down the labour'd obstacles of man,

The o'erstriding bridge, the fix'd and ponderous dam,

Being sever'd, in its lazy separate course

Suffers control, and stagnates to its end.

And so ye fall, because ye do disdain

To stand together like the pines of Lebanon,

That when in one vast wood they crown the hill,

From their proud heads shake off the uninjuring tempest ;

But when their single trunks stand bare and naked

Before the rushing whirlwind, one by one

It hurls the uprooted trunks into the vale.

ELEAZAR (apart,)

Curse on his words of peace ! fall John, fall Simon, There falls an enemy of Eleazar.

SIMON. Now, John of Galilee, the* High-Priest speaks wisely.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 48

JOHN.

Why, ay, it is the privilege of their office, The solemn grave distinction of their ephod. Even such discourse as this, so calm, so sage, Did old Mathias hold ; and therefore Simon, Unwilling that the vantage of his wisdom Should rob our valour of its boasted fame, Did slay him with his sons upon our wall !

 

SIMON.

Peace, son of Belial ! or I'll scourge thee back
To the harlot chambers of thy loose adulteries.
I slew my foe, and where's the armed man
That will behold his enemy at his feet,
And spare to set his foot upon his neck ?
The sword was given, and shall the sword not slay ?

HIGH-PRIEST.

Break off! break off! I hear the Gentile horn Winding along the wide entrenched line. Hear ye it not ? hill answers hill, die valleys In their deep channels lengthen out the sound. It rushes down Jehoshaphat, the depths

44 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Of Hinnom answer. Hark ! again they blow, Chiding you, men of Judah, and insulting Your bare and vacant walls, that now oppose not Then* firm array of javelin-hurling men, Slingers, and pourers of the liquid fire.

AMARIAH.

Blow ! blow ! and rend the heavens, thou deep-voiced horn ! I hear thee, and rejoice at thee. Thou summoner To the storm of battle, thpu that dost invite With stern and welcome importunity The warrior soul to that high festival, Where Valour with his armed hand administers The cup of death !

JOHN.

Again, again it sounds ; It doth demand a parley with our chiefs.

AMARIAH.

Ay, father ! and let Israel's chiefs reply

In the brave language of their javelin showers,

And shouts of furious onset.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 45

JOHN.

Hold, hot boy !

That know'st not the deep luxury of scorn. We'll meet them, Simon, but to scoff at them ; We'll dally with their hopes of base surrender, Then mock them, till their haughty captain writhe Beneath the keen and biting contumely.

Now, Eleazar, lead the way ; brave Simon, I follow thee Come, men of Israel, come.

Tfte Walls of the City.

Below TITUS, the Roman Army, JOSEPH qfJotapata, fyc. Above SIMON, JOHN, ELEAZAR, AMARIAH, Jews.

TITUS.

Men of Jerusalem ! whose hardy zeal And valiant patience in a cause less desperate Might force the foe to reverence and admire ; To you thus speaks again the Queen of Earth,

46 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

All-conquering Rome ! whose kingdom is, where'er

The sunshine beams on living men ; beneath

The shadow of whose throne the world reposes,

And glories in being subjected to her,

Even as 'tis subject to the immortal gods

To you, whose mad and mutinous revolt

Hath harrow'd all your rich and pleasant land

With fiery rapine ; sunk your lofty cities

To desolate heaps of monumental ashes ;

Yet with that patience, which becomes the mighty,

The endurance of the lion, that disdains

The foe whose conquest bears no glory with it,

Rome doth command you to lay down your arms,

And bow the high front of your proud rebellion

Even to the common level of obedience,

That holds the rest of humankind. So doing,

Ye cancel all the dark and guilty past :

Silent Oblivion waits to wipe away

The record of your madness arid your crimes ;

And in the stead of bloody Vengeance claiming

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 47

Her penal due of torture, chains, and death, Comes reconciling Mercy.

JOHN.

Mercy ! Roman !

With what a humble and a modest truth Thou dost commend thy unpresuming virtues. Ye want not testimonies to your mildness There, on yon lofty crosses, which surround us, Each with a Jewish corpse sublimely rotting On its most honourable eminence ; There's none in all that long and ghastly avenue Whose wind-bleach'd bones depose not of thy mercy. We know our brethren, and we thank thee too ; A courteous welcome hast thou given them, Roman, Who have abandon'd us in the hour of peril. They fled to 'scape their ruthless countrymen ; And, in good truth, their City of Refuge seems To have found them fair and gentle entertainment.

SIMON. Peace, Jolm of Galilee ! and I will answer

48 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

This purple-mantled Captain of the Gentiles ;

But in far other tone than he is Wont

To hear about his silken couch of feasting

Amid his pamper'd parasites. 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, that because the common earth

Surfeits your pride with homage, that our land,

Our separate, peculiar, sacred land,

Portion'd and seal'd unto us by the God

Who made the round world and the crystal heavens ;

A wond'rous land, where Nature's common course

Is strange and out of use, so oft the Lord

Invades it with miraculous intervention ;

Think ye this land shall be an Heathen heritage,

An high place for your Moloch ? Haughty Gentile !

Even now ye walk on ruin and on prodigy.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 49

The air ye breathe is heavy and o'ercharged

With your dark gathering doom ; and if our earth

Do yet in its disdain endure the footing

Of your arm'd legions, 'tis because it labours

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 perish'd kings, the chief of earth ;

They whose idolatrous warfare erst assail'd

The Holy City, and the chosen people ;

They wait for thee, the associate of their hopes

And fatal fall, to join their ruin'd conclave.

He whom the Red Sea 'whelm'd with all his host,

50 FAtL OF JERUSALEM.

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 hills 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 the taunting song of welcome To him who, like themselves, hath .madly warr'd 'Gainst Zion's walls, and miserably fallen Before the avenging God of Israel !

THE JEWS.

Oh, holy Simon ! Oh, prophetic Simon ! Lead thou, lead thou against the Gentile host, And we will ask no angel breath to blast them. The valour of her children soon shall scatter The spoiler from the rescued walls of Salem,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 51

Even till the wolves of Palestine are glutted With Roman carnage.

AMARIAH.

Blow, ye sacred priests, Your trumpets, as when Jericho of old Cast down its prostrate walls at Joshua's feet !

PLACIDUS.

Let the Jew speak, the captive of Jotapata ; Haply they'll reverence one, and him the bravest Of their own kindred.

TERENTIUS.

See ! he speaks to them ;

And they do listen, though their menacing brows Lower with a darker and more furious hate.

JOSEPH.

Yet, yet a little while ye see me rise, Oh, men of Israel, brethren, countrymen ! Even from the earth ye see me rise, where lone, And sorrowful, and fasting, I have sate These three long days ; sad sackcloth on the limbs

52 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Which once were wont to wear a soldier's raiment,

And ashes on the head, which ye of old

Did honour, when its helmed glories shone

Before you in the paths of battle. Hear me, .

Ye that, as I, adore the Law, the Prophets ;

And at the ineffable thrice-holiest name

Bow down your awe-struck foreheads to the ground.

I am not here to tell you, men of Israel,

*

That it is madness to contend with Rome ;

That it were wisdom to submit and follow

The common fortunes of the universe ;

For ye would answer, that 'tis glorious madness

To stand alone amid the enslaved world

Freedom's last desperate champions : ye would answer,

That the slave's wisdom to the free-born man

Is basest folly. Oh, my countrymen !

Before no earthly king do I command you

To fall subservient, not all-conquering Caesar,

But in a mightier name I summon you,

The King of Kings ! He, he is manifest

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 53

In the dark visitation that is on you. 'Tis He, whose loosed and raging ministers, ' Wild War, gaunt Famine, leprous Pestilence, But execute his delegated wrath. Yea, by the fulness of your crimes, 'tis He. Alas ! shall I weep o'er thee, or go down And grovel in the dust, and hide myself From mine own shame ? Oh, thou defiled Jerusalem !. That drinkest thine own blood as from a fountain ;

That hast piled up the fabric of thy guilt

* To such portentous height, that earth is darken'd

With its huge shadow that dost boast the monuments Of murder'd prophets, and dost make the robes

Of God's High-priest a title and a claim To bloodiest slaughter thou that every day Dost trample down the thunder-given Law, Even with the pride and joy of him that treads The purple vintage And oh thou, our Temple ! That wert of old the Beauty of Holiness, The chosen, unapproachable abode Of Him which dwelt between the cherubim,

54 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

* Thou art a charnel-house, and sepulchre

Of slaughter'^ men, a common butchery Of civil strife ; and hence proclaim I, brethren, It is the Lord who doth avenge his own : The Lord, who gives you over to the wicked, That ye may perish by their wickedness.

Oh ! ye that do disdain to be Rome's slaves, And yet are sold unto a baser bondage, One that, like iron, eats into your souls.

Robbers, and Zealots, and wild Edomites !

Yea, these are they that sit in Moses' seat,

Wield Joshua's sword, and fill the throne of David ; Yea, these are they

AMARIAH.

I'll hear no more the foe Claims from our lips the privilege of reply. Here is our answer to the renegade, A javelin to his pale and coward heart !

JOSEPH.

I am struck, but not to death ! .that yet is wanting To Israel's guilt.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 55

' ft

JEWS.

Oh, noble Amariah !

Well hast thou spoken ! well hast thou replied ! Lead lead we'll follow noble Amariah !

TITUS.

Now, Mercy, to the winds ! I cast thee off My soul's forbidden luxury, I abjure thee ! Thou much-abused attribute of gods And godlike men. 'Twas nature's final struggle ; And now, whate'er thou art, thou unseen prompter ! That hi the secret chambers of my soul Darkly abidest, and hast still rebuked The soft compunctious weakness of mine heart, I here surrender thee myself. Now wield me Thine instrument of havoc and of horror, Thine to the extremest limits of revenge ; Till not a single stone of yon proud city Remain ; and even the vestiges of ruin Be utterly blotted from the face of earth !

56 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

* *

Streets of Jerusalem near the Inner Wall. MIRIAM, SALONS.

MIRIAM.

Sweet sister, whither in such haste ?

SALONE.

And know'st thou not My customary seat, where I look down And see the glorious battle deepen round me ? a 9 Oh ! it is spirit-stirring to behold The crimson garments waving in the dust, The eagles glancing in the clouded sunshine.

MIRIAM. Salone ! in this dark and solemn hour,

Were it not wiser that the weak and helpless, Bearing their portion in the common danger, Should join their feeble efforts to defend

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 57

Should be upon their knees in fervent prayer Unto the Lord of Battles ?

SALONE.

Yes ; I know

That Zion's daughters are set forth to lead Their suppliant procession to the gates Of the Holy Temple. But Salone goes Where she may see the God whom they adore In the stern deeds of valiant men, that war To save that Temple from the dust.

Behold!

I mount my throne, and here I sit the queen Of the majestic tumult that beneath me Is maddening into conflict. Lo ! I bind My dark locks, that they spread not o'er my sight. Now flash the bright sun from your gleaming arms, Shake it in broad sheets from your banner folds, Mine eyes will still endure the blaze, and pierce The thickest !

58 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

..'

MIRIAM.

And thou hast no tears to blind thee?

s ALONE.

Behold ! behold ! from Olivet they pour, Thousands on thousands, in their martial order. ' Kedron's dark valley, like Gennesareth, When over it the cold moon shines through storms, Topping its dark waves with uncertain light, Is tossing with wild plumes and gleaming spears. Solemnly the stern lictors move, and brandish Their rod-bound axes ; and the eagles seem,

With wings dispread, to watch their time for swooping!

**'' . ' A * *

The towers are moving on ; and lo ! the engines,

As though instinct with life, come heavily labouring Upon their ponderous wheels ; they nod destruction Against our walls. Lo ! lo, our gates fly open : There Eleazar there the mighty John Ben Cathla there, and Edom's. crested sons. Oh ! what a blaze of glory gathers round them ! How proudly move they in invincible strength !

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 59

MIRIAM.

And thou canst speak thus with a steadfast voice, When in one hour may death have laid in the dust Those breathing, moving, valiant multitudes ?

SALONE,

And thou ! oh thou, that movest to the battle Even like the mountain stag to the running river, Pause, pause, that I may gaze my fill ! -

MIRIAM.

Our father !

Salone ! is't our father that thou seest ?

SALONE.

Lo ! lo ! the war hath broken off to admire him ! The glory of his presence awes the conflict ! The son of Caesar on his armed steed Rises, impatient of the plumed helms That from his sigjit conceal young Amariah.

MIRIAM.

Alas ! what means she ? Hear me yet a word ! I will return or e'er the wounded men

60 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Require our soft and healing hands to soothe them. Thou'lt not forget, Salone if thou seest Our father in the fearful hour of peril, Lift up thy hands and pray.

SALONE.

To gaze on him It is like gazing on the morning sun, When he comes scattering from his burning orb . The vapourish clouds !

MIRIAM.

She hears, she heeds me not. And here's a sight and sound to me more welcome Than the wild fray of men who slay and die Our maidens on their way to the Holy Temple. I'll mingle with them, and I'll pray with them ; But through a name, by them unknown or scorn'd, My prayers shall mount to heaven*

Behold them here !

Behold them, how unlike to what they were ! Oh ! virgin daughters of Jerusalem !

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 61

Ye were a garden once of Hermon's lilies, That bashfully upon their tremulous stems Bow to the wooing breath of the sweet spring. Graceful ye were ! there needed not the tone Of tabret, harp, or lute, to modulate Your soft harmonious footsteps ; your light tread Fell like a natural music. Ah ! how deeply Hath the cold blight of misery prey'd upon you. How heavily ye drag your weary footsteps, Each like a mother mourning her one child. Ah me ! I feel it almost as a sin, To be so much less sad, less miserable.

CHOEUS.

King of Kings ! and Lord of Lords ! Thus we move, our sad steps timing

To our cymbals' feeblest chiming,

Where thy House its rest accords.

Chased and wounded birds are we, Through the dark air fled to thee ;

FALL OF JERUSALEM.

To the shadow of thy wings,

Lord of Lords ! and King of Kings !

Behold, oh Lord ! the Heathen tread

The branches of thy fruitful vine, That its luxurious tendrils spread -

O'er all the hills of Palestine. And now the wild boar comes to waste Even us, the greenest boughs and last, That, drinking of thy choicest dew, On Zion's hill in beauty grew.

No ! by the marvels of thine hand, Thou still wilt save thy chosen land ! By all thine ancient mercies shown, By all our fathers' foes o'erthrown ; By the Egyptian's car-borne host, Scatter'd on the Red Sea coast ; By that wide and bloodless slaughter Underneath the drowning water.

*

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 63

Like us in utter helplessness, In their last and worst distress On the sand and sea-weed lying, Israel pour'd her doleful sighing ; While before the deep sea flow'd, And behind fierce Egypt rode To their fathers' God they pray'd, To the Lord of Hosts for aid.

On the margin of the flood

With lifted rod the Prophet stood $

And the summon'd east wind blew,

And aside it sternly threw

The gather'd waves, that took their stand,

Like crystal rocks, on either hand,

Or walls of sea-green marble piled

Round some irregular city wild.

Then the light of morning lay On the wonder-paved way,

04 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Where the treasures of the deep In their caves of coral sleep. The profound abysses, where Was never sound from upper air, Rang with Israel's chanted words, King of Kings ! and Lord of Lords !

Then with bow and banner glancing,

On exulting Egypt came, With her chosen horsemen prancing,

And her cars on wheels of flame, In a rich and boastful ring All around her furious king.

But the Lord from out his cloud, The Lord look'd down upon the proud ; And the host drave heavily Down the deep bosom of the sea.

With a quick and sudden swell Prone the liquid ramparts fell ;

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 6'5

Over horse, and over car, Over every man of war, Over Pharaoh's crown of gold, The loud thundering billows roll'd. As the level waters spread Down they sank, they sank like lead, Down sank without a cry or groan. And the morning sun, that shone

On myriads of bright-armed men,

Its meridian radiance then

Cast on a wide sea, heaving as of yore, Against a silent, solitary shore.

Then did Israel's maidens sing,

Then did Israel's timbrels ring, To him, the King of Kings ! that in the sea, The Lord of Lords ! had triumph'd gloriously.

And our timbrels' flashing chords, King of Kings ! and Lord of Lords !

66 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Shall they not attuned be Once again to victory ? _. Lo ! a glorious triumph now !

Lo ! against thy people come A mightier Pharaoh ! wilt not thou

Craze the chariot wheels of Rome ? Will not, like the Red Sea wave,

Thy stern anger overthrow ? And from worse than bondage save,

From sadder than Egyptian woe, Those whose silver cymbals glance, Those who lead the suppliant dance, Thy race, the only race that sings Lord of Lords ! and King of Kings !

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 67

Streets of Jerusalem Evening.

MIRIAM.

Ah me ! ungentle Eve, how long thou lingerest ! Oh ! when it was a grief to me to lose Yon azure mountains, and the lovely vales That from our city walls seem wandering on Under the cedar-tufted precipices ; With what an envious and a hurrying swiftness. Didst thou descend, and pour thy mantling dews And dew-like silence o'er the face of things ; Shrouding each spot I loved the most with suddenest And deepest darkness ; making mute the groves Where the Ijirds nestled under the still leaves ! But now, how slowly, heavily thou fullest I Now, when thou mightest hush the angry din Of battle, and conceal the murtherous foes From mutual slaughter, and pour oil and wine

F2

68 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Into the aching hurts of wounded men ! But is it therefore only that I chide thee With querulous impatience ? will Jhe night Once more, the secret, counsel-keeping night, Veil the dark path which leads to Siloe's fountain ? Which leads why should- 1 blush to add to Javan ?

Oh thou, my teacher ! I forgot thee not This morning hi the Temple I forgot not The name thou taught'st me to adore, nor thee

But what have I to do with thoughts like these, While all around the stunning battle roars Like a gorged lion o'er his mangled prey ? Alas! alas! but the human appetite For shedding blood,- that is insatiate ! Time was, that if I heard a sound of arms, My heart would shudder, and my limbs would fail. When, to have seen a dying man had been A dark event, that with its fearful memory Had haunted many a sad and sleepless night. But now now

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 69

SALONE, MIRIAM.

MIRIAM.

Sister ! my Salone ! Sister ! Why art thou flying with that frantic mien, Thy veil cast back and streaming with thine hair ? Oh, harbinger of misery ! I read A sad disastrous story in thy face ; 'Tis o'er, and God hath given the city of David Unto the stranger.

SALONE,

Oh ! not yet ; our wall, . Our last, our strongest wall, is still unshaken, Though the fierce, engines with their brazen heads Strike at it sternly and incessantly. ..

MIRIAM. Then God preserve the lost ! and oh, our father !

SALONE. All is not lost ! for Amariah stands

70 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Amid the rushing sheets of molten fire, Even like an Angel in the flaming centre

Of the sun's noontide orb

Hark! hark! who comes?

SIMON. .

Back back I say, by

MIRIAM.

'Tis my father's voice ! It sounds in wrath, perhaps in blasphemy ; Yet 'tis my living father's voice He's here.

SIMON, MIRIAM, SALONE,

SIMON.

Now may your native towers rush o'er your heads With horrible downfall, may the treacherous stones Start underneath your footing, cast you down, For the iron wheels of vengeance to rush o'er you Flight ! flight ! still flight ! Oh, infidel renegades !

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 71

The above, JOHN, AMARJAH, HIGH-PRIEST, fyc. .

SIMON.

Now, by the living God of Israel, John !

Your silken slaves, your golden-sandal'd men,

Your men ! I should have said, your girls of Galilee !

They will not soil their dainty hands with blood.

Their myrrh-dew'd locks are all too smoothly curl'd

To let the riotous and dishevelling airs

Of battle violate their crisped neatness.

Oh ! their nice mincing steps are all unfit .

To tread the red and slippery paths of war ;

Yet they can trip it lightly when they turn

To fly

JOHN.

Thou lying and injurious Pharisee ! For every man of thine that in the trenches Hardly hath consented to lay down his life, Twice ten of mine have leap'd from off the walls,

72 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Grappling a Gentile by the shivering helm, And proudly died upon his dying foe. But tell thou me, thou only faithful Simon ! Where are the men of Edom, whom we saw Stretching their amicable hands in parley, And quietly mingling with the unharming foe ?

SIMON.

Where are they ? where the traitors meet, where all The foes of Simon and Jerusalem, In th' everlasting fire ! I slew them, John-,- Thou saw'st my red hand glorious with their blood.

JOHN.

False traitors ! in their very treachery false ! They would betray without their lord In truth, Treason, like empire, brooks not rivalry.

SIMON.

Now, by the bones of Abraham our father, I do accuse thee here, false John of Galilee ! Or, if the title pleas'e thee, John the Tyrant ! Here, in our arm'd, embattled Sanhedrim,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 73

Thou art our fall's prime cause, and fatal origin !

From thee, as from a foul and poisonous fount,

Pour the black waters of calamity

O'er Judah's land 1 God hates thee, man of Belial !

Andi the. destroying bolts that fall on thee

From the insulted heavens, blast all around thee

With spacious and unsparing desolation.

Hear me, ye men of Israel ! do ye wonder

That all your baffled valour hath recoil'd

From the fierce Gentile onset ? that your walls

Are prostrate, and your last hath scarce repell'd

But now the flush'd invader ? 'Tis from this

that the Holy City will not be defended

By womanish men, and loose adulterers.

Hear me, I say, this son of Gisehala,

This lustful tyrant, hath he not defiled

Your daughters, in the open face of day

Done deeds of shame, which midnight hath no darkness

J W" So deep as to conceal ? It is his pride

T' offend high heaven with crimes before unknown

. 74 FALL OF. JERUSALEM.

Hath he nut mock'd the austere and solemn fasts,

And sabbaths of our Law, by revellings

And most heaven-tainting wantonness ? Yea, more,

Hath he not made God's festivals a false

And fraudful pretext for his deeds of guilt ?

Yea, on the day of the Unleaven'd Bread,

Even in the garb and with the speech of worship,

Went he not up into the very Temple ?

And there before the Veil, even in the presence

Of th' Holy of Holies, did he not break forth

With armed and infiiriate violence ?

Then did the pavement, which was never red

But with the. guiltless blood of sacrifice,

Reek with the indelible and thrice-foulest stain

Of human carnage. Yea, with impious steel

He slew the brethren that were kneeling with him

At the same altar, uttering the same prayers.

(Speak, Eleazar, was't not so ? thou dar'st not

Affirm, nor canst deny thine own betrayal.)

And since that cursed hour of guilty triumph

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 75

There hath he held the palace of his lusts, Turning God's Temple to a grove of Belial: Even till men wonder that the pillars start not From their fix'd sockets ; that the offended roof Fall not at once, and crush in his own shame/ The blasphemous invader. Yea, not yet, I have not fathom'd yet his depth of sin. His common banquet is the Bread of Offering, The vessels of the altar are the cups From which he drains his riotous drunkenness. The incense, that was wont to rise to heaven Pure as an infant's breath, now foully stagnates Within the pestilent haunts of his lasciviousness. Can these things be, and yet our favour'd arms Be clad with victory ? Can the Lord of Israel For us, the scanty remnant of his worshippers, Neglect to vindicate his tainted shrine, His sanctuary profaned, his outraged Laws ? JOHN.

Methinks, if Simon had but fought to-day

4

76 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

As valiantly as Simon speaks, the foe Had never seen to-morrow's onset SIMON.

Brethren,

Yet I demand your audience - JEWS.

Hear him ! hear The righteous Simon !

Men of Israel !

Why stand ye thus in wonder ? where the root Is hollow, can the tree be sound ? Man's deeds Are as man's doctrines ; and who hopes for ought But wantonness and foul iniquity From that blaspheming and heretical sect, The serpent spawn of Sadoc, that corrupt The Law of Moses and disdain the Prophets ? That grossly do defraud the eternal soul Of its immortal heritage, and doom it To rot for ever with its kindred clay

FALL OF JERUSALEM.

In the grave's deep unbroken prison-house? Yea, they dispeople with their infidel creed Heaven of its holy Angels ; laugh to scorn That secret band of ministering Spirits ; That therefore, in then* indignation, stand . Aloof, and gaze upon our gathering ruin With a contemptuous and pitiless scorn. They that were wont to range around our towers Their sunlight-wing'd battalia, and to war Upon our part with adamantine arms.

. JOHN.

Oh ! impotent and miserable arguer ! Will he that values not the stake as boldly Confront the peril as the man that feels His all upon the hazard ? Men of Galilee, The cup of life hath sparkled to our lips, And we have drain'd its tide of love, and joy, Till our veins almost burst with b'erwrought rapture. And well we know that generous cup, once dash'd, Shall never mantle more to the cold lipg

78 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Of the earth-bound dead. And therefore do we fight

For life as for a mistress, that being lost,

Is lost for ever. To be what we are

Is all we hope or pray for ; think ye, then,

That we shall tamely yield the contest up, .

And calmly acquiesce in our extinction ?

We know that there stands yawning at our feet

The gulf, where dark Annihilation dwells

With Solitude, her sister ; and we^ fix

' :

Our stedfast footing on the perilous verge,

And grapple to the last with the fierce foe ^

That seeks to plunge us down ; and where's the strength

That can subdue despair ?H For the other charge,

We look not, Simon, to the sky, nor pray

For sightless and impalpable messengers

To spare us the proud peril of the war.

Ourselves are our own Angels ! we implore not

Or supernatural or spiritual aid ;

We have our own good arms, that God hath given us,

And valiant hearts to wield those mighty arms.

dft W

FALL OF JERUSALEM, 79

SIMON.

Oh heavens! oh heavens, ye hear it, and endure it! Outwearied by the all-frequent blasphemy To an indignant patience : and the Just Still, still must suffer the enforced alliance Of men whose fellowship is death and ruin.

'"JOHN.

Why, thou acknowledged Prince of Murderers !

Captain Assassin ! Lord and Chief of Massacre !

That pourest blood like water, yet dost deem

That thou canst wash the foul and scarlet stain

From thy polluted soul, as easily

As from thy dainty ever-dabbling hands,

That wouldst appease with rite and ordinance,

And festival, and slavish ceremony,

And prayers that weary even the stones thou kneel'st on,

The God whose image hourly thou effacest

With mangling and remorseless steel ! 'Tis well

That graves ate silent, and that dead men's bones

Assert not the proud privilege thou wouldst give them ;

80 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

For if they did, Heaven's vaults would ring so loudly With imprecations 'gainst the righteous Simon, That they would pluck by force a plague upon us, To which the Roman, and the wasting famine, Were soft and healing mercies. . SIMON.

Liar and slave !

There is no rich libation to the All-Just So welcome as the blood of renegades

And traitors: -

MIRIAM (apart.} Oh ! I dare not listen longer ! .

The big drops stand upon his brow ; his voice

. Is faint and fails, and there's no food at home.

The night is dark I'll go once more, or perish.

[Departs unperceived.

*

SIMON.

What, John of Galilee ! because my voice

Is hoarse with speaking of thy crimes, dost scoff,

And wag thy head at me, and answer laughter ?

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 81

Ntw, if thy veins run not pure gall, I'll broach Their tide, and prove if all my creed be false ; If traitors' reeking blood smell not to heaven Like a sw;eet sacrifice.

JOHN. .

Why, ay ! the victim

Is bound to th' horns of th' altar ! Strike, I say,

He waits thee Strike !

HIGH-PRIEST.

Hold, Chiefs of Israel!

Just Simon ! valiant John ! once more I dare To cast myself between you, the High-Priest, Who by his holy office calls on you To throw aside your trivial private wrongs, And vindicate offence more .rank and monstrous. Avenge your God ! and then avenge yourselves ! The Temple is polluted Israel's Lord Mock'd in his presence. Prayers even thence have risen, Prayers from the jealous holy Sanctuary, Even to the Crucified Man our fathers slew.

G

82 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

JEWS. p

The Crucified ! the Man of Nazareth !

HIGH-PRIEST.

This morn, as wont, our maidens had gone up

To chant their suppliant hymn ; and they had raised

The song that Israel on the Red Sea shore

Took up triumphant ; and they clos'd the strain,

That, like th' Egyptian and his car-borne host,

The billows of Heaven's wrath might overwhelm

The Gentile foe, and so preserve Jerusalem ;

When at the close and fall a single voice

Linger'd upon the note, with, " Be it done,

" Through Jesus Christ, thine only Soft."

My spirit shrank within me ; horror-struck,

I listen'd ; all was silence ! Then again

I look'd upon the veiled damsels, all

With one accord took up the swelling strain

To him that triumph'd gloriously. I turn'd

To the Ark and Mercy Seat, and then again

I heard that single, soft, melodious voice,

FALL OP JERUSALEM. 83

. . " Lord of Mercies be it done,

" Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son." Here, then, assembled Lords of Israel, Whoever be the victim, I demand her ; Your wisdom must detect, jour justice wreak Fit punishment upon the accursed sacrilege.

SALONE (apart.)

Miriam! Miriam! Ha! She's fled. Guilt! Guilt Prophetic of the damning accusation It doth deserve ! Apostate ! 'twere a sin Against Jerusalem and Heaven to spare thee !

HIGH-PRIEST.

I do commend you, brethren, for your silence ! I see the abhorrence labouring in your hearts, Too deep and too infuriate for words.

SIMON.

Now, if it were my child, my Sarah's child, The child that she died blessing, I'd not sleep

Till the stones crush her. Yea, thus, thus I'd grasp,

,. o

G A

84 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

And hurl destruction on her guilty head.

Here, John, I pledge mine hand to thee, till vengeance

Seize on the false and insolent blasphemer.

(SALONE, half unveiled, rushing forward, stops irresolutely.) Their eyes oppress me my heart chokes my voice

And my lips cling together >Oh ! my mother,

Upon thy death-bed didst thou not beseech us To love each other !

HIGH-FRIEST.

Veiled maid, what art thou ?

SALONE.

Off! off! the blood of Abraham swells within me As I cast down my veil, I cast away All fear, all tenderness, all fond remorse. It is (too good a death for one so guilty To perish for Jerusalem r-

[_She stands unveiled. SIMON.

Salone !

*

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 85

HIGH-PRIEST.

The admired daughter of the noble Simon !

VOICE AT A DISTANCE.

Israel! Israel!

HIGH-PRIEST.

Who is this, that speaks . With such a shrilling accent of command ?

VOICE. Israel! Israel!

m.'

JEWS.

Back ! give place ! the Prophet ! ABIRAM (the false prophet.) Israel! Israel!

HIGH-PRIEST.

Peace !

ABIRAM.

Ay ! peace, I say !

The wounds are bound ; the blood is stanch'd! and hate Is turn'd to love ! and rancorous jealousy To kindred concord ! and the clashing swords

86 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

To bridal sounds! the fury of the feud To revel and the jocund nuptial feast.

HIGH-PRIEST.

What means Abiram ?

ABIRAM.

It is from on High. Brave Amariah, son of John 1 Salone, Daughter of Simon ! thus I join their hands ; And thus I bless the wedded^nd the beautiful ! And thus I bind the Captains of Jerusalem In the strong bonds of unity and peace.

And wherens now the wine for the bridegroom's rosy cup?

And the tabret and the harp for the chamber of the bride ?

Lo ! bright as burnish'd gold the lamps are sparkling up,

And the odours of the incense are breathing far and

wide;

And the maidens' feet are glancing in the virgins'

4t wedding train ;

And the sad streets of Salem are alive with joy again !

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 7

THE JEWS.

Long live Salone ! Long live Amariah !

SALONE.

.*

Am I awake ? how came I here unveil'd Among the bold and glaring eyes of men ?

THE JEWS. Long live Salone ! Long live Amariah !

SIMON.

He speaks from Heaven accept'st thou, John of Galilee, Heaven's terms" of peace ?

JOHN.

From earth or heaven, I care not What says my boy ?

AMARIAH.

Oh ! rather let me ask,

What says the maid ? Oh ! raven-hair'd Salone, Why dost thou crowd thy jealous veil around thee? Look on me freely ; beauteous in thy freedom ;

As when this morn I saw thee, on our walls,

Thy hair cast back, and bare thy marble brow

88 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

To the bright wooing of the enamour'd sun : They were my banner, Beauty, those dark locks ; And in the battle 'twas my pride, my strength, To think that eyes like thine were gazing on me.

SALONE.

Oh no, thou saw'st me not ! Oh, Amariah ! What Prophets speak must be fulfill'd. 'Twere vain T' oppose at once the will of Heaven and thee.

. tf OHN.

Now, if there be enough of generous food, A cup of wine in all the wasted city, We'll have a jocund revel.

SIMON.

Prophet Abiram,

I have a question for thy secret ear. Thou man, whose eyes are purged from earthly film, Seest thou no further down the tide of time Beyond this bridal nothing ? Answer me ! For it should seem this designated union Of two so noble, this conspiring blood

FALL OF JERUSALEM. S9

Of Israel's chiefs, portends some glorious fruit To ripen in the deep futurity. ABIRAM.

Simon, what meanest thou ?

SIMON.

The Hope of Israel !

Shall it not dawn from darkness ? Oh ! begot In Judah's hour of peril, and conceived In her extreme of agony, what birth So meet and fitting for the t great Discomfiter?

ABIRAM. A light falls on me.

SIMON.

Prophet ! what shall dye The robe of purple with so bright a grain As Roman blood ? Before our gates are met The lords of empire, and our walls may laugh Their siege to scorn, even till the BRANCH be grown That's not yet planted Yea, the wrested sceptre Of earth, the sole dominion Back, Abiram,

90 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

To thy prophetic cave kneel, pray, fast, weep; And thou shalt bless us with far nobler tidings, And we will kiss thy feet, thou Harbinger .

Of Judah's glory

Now lead on the Bridal. Blow trumpets 1 shout, exulting Israel ! Shout Amariah ! shout again Salone ! Shout louder yet, the Bridegroom and the Bride ! Rejoice, oh Zion, now on all thy hills ! City of David, through thy streets rejoice !

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 91

Fountain ofSiloe Night An approaching Storm.

MIRIAM.

He is not here ! and yet he might have known That the cold gloom of the tempestuous skies Could never change a faithful heart like mine. He might have known me, not a maid to love Under the melting moonlight, and soft stars, And to fall off in darkness and in storm. Ah ! seal'd for ever be my slanderous lips ! Alas ! it is the bitterest pang of misery That it will force from us unworthy doubts Of the most tried and true. Oh, Javan, Javan ! It was but now that with presumptuous heart I did repine against the all-gracious heavens, That wrapt me round in charitable darkness, Because my erring feet had well-nigh miss'd Their known familiar path.

92 FALL Ot^JERUSALEM.

f, MIRIAM.

JAVAN.

What's there ? I see

A, white and spirit-like gleaming It must be! I see her not, yet feel that it is Miriam, By the indistinct and dimly visible grace That haunts her motions ; by her tread, that falls Trembling and soft like moonlight on the earth. What dost thou here ? now now? where every moment The soldiers prowl, and meeting centinels Challenge each other? I have watch'd for thee

As prisoners for the hour of then* deliverance ;

* % Yet did I pray, love ! that thpu might'st not come,

Even that thou might'st be faithless to thy vows, Rather than meet this peril - Miriam, Why art thou here ?

MIRIAM. Does Javan ask me why ?

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 93

Because I saw my father pine with hunger

Because 1 never hope to come again.

JAVAN.

Too true ! this night, this fatal night, if Heaven Strike not their conquering host, the foe achieves His tardy victory. Round the shatter'd walls There is the smother'd hum of preparation. With stealthy footsteps, and with muffled arms, Along the trenches, round the lowering engines, I saw them gathering : men stood whispering men, As though revealing some portentous secret ; At every sound cried, Hist! and look'd reproachfully Upon each other. Now and then a light From some far part of the encircling camp

A .

Breaks suddenly out, and then is quench'd as suddenly.

The forced unnatural quiet, that pervades

Those myriads of arm'd and sleepless warriors,

Presages earthly tempest ; as yon clouds,

That in their mute and ponderous blackness hang

.*. -

94 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Over our heads, a tumult in the skies The earth and heaven alike are teTribly calm.

MIRIAM.

Alas ! alas ! give me the food ! let's say Farewell as fondly as a dying man Should s% it to a dying woman !

JAVAN.

Miriam!

It shall not be. He, He hath given command, That when the signs are manifest, we should flee Unto the mountains *.

MIRIAM.

Javan, tempt me not,

My soul is weak. Hast thou not said of old, How dangerous 'tis to wrest the words of truth To the excusing our own fond desires ? There's an eternal mandate, unrepeal'd, Nor e'er to be rescinded, " Love thy Father!" God speaks with many voices ; one in the heart, * Matt. xxiv. 16.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 95

True though instinctive ; one in the Holy Law, The first that's coupled with a gracious promise.

JAVAN.

* Yet are his words, " Leave all, and follow me, " Thou shalt not love thy father more than me" * Dar'st disobey them ?

MIRIAM.

Javan, while I tread

The path of duty I am following him,

. And loving whom I ought to love, love him.

JAVAtt.

If thou couldst save or succour rif this night Were not the last

.* ,'. , MIRIAM.

t '

Oh, dearest, think awhile ! It matters little at what hour o' the day The righteous falls asleep, death cannot come To him untimely who is fit to die : The less of this cold world, the more of heaven, * Matt x. 7.

FALL OF JERUSALEM.

The briefer life, the earlier immortality. But every moment to the man of guilt

And bloodshed, one like ah me ! like my father,

Each instant rescued from the grasp of death,

May be a blessed chosen opportunity

For the everlasting mercy Think what 'tis

For time's minutest period to delay

. ^ *

An infidel's death, a murderer's

JAV4N.

Go ! go, dearest ! ^

If I were dying, I would have thee go

Oh ! thou inspher'd, unearthly loveliness !

Danger may gather round thee, like the clouds Round one of heaven's pure stars, thou'lt hold within Thy course unsullied.

MIRIAM.

This is worse than all !

Oh ! mo.ck not thus with wild extravagant praise A very weak and most unworthy girl. Javan, one last, one parting word with thee

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 97

There have been times, when I have said light words, As maidens use, that made thy kind heart bleed ; There have been moments, when I have seen thee sad, And I have cruelly sported with thy sadness : I have been proud, oh ! very proud, to hear Thy fond lips dwell on beauty, when thine eyes Were on this thin and wasted form of mine. Forgive me, oh ! forgive me, for I deem'd The hour would surely come, when the fond bride Might well repay the maiden's waywardness. Oh.! look not thus o'erjoy'd, for if I thought We e'er could meet again this side the grave, Trust me, I had been charier of my tenderness, j Yet one word more I do mistrust thee, Javan, Though coldly thou dost labour to conceal it ; Thou hast some frantic scheme to risk for mine Thy precious life Beseech thee, heap not thou

More sorrows on the o'erburthen'd.

*

JAVAN.

Think'st thou, then, H

98 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

I have no trust but in this arm of flesh To save thee ?

MIRIAM.

Oh, kind Javan ! pray not thou That I may live, that is too wild a prayer ; That I may die unspotted, be thy suit To Him who loves the spotless. JAVAN.

Ha the thought ! It pierces like a sword into my heart !

MIRIAM.

And think'st thou mine unwounded ? Fare thee well ! Our presence does but rack each other's souls. Farewell ! and if thou lovest when I am dead, May she be to thee, all I hoped to be.

JAVAN. Go go

MIRIAM.

Thou bidst me part, and yet detain'st me With clinging grasp ah no, 'tis I clasp thee.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 99

I knew not that my fond unconscious hand

Had been so bold Oh, Javan ! ere the morn

'T will have no power t' offend thee 't will be cold. |

JAVAN.

Offend me ! Miriam, when thou'rt above Among the Saints, and I in the sinful world, How terrible 'twill be if I should forfeit The hope of meeting thee hi blessedness.

MIRIAM.

Forfeit! with faith like thine? JAVAN.

Thou well rebukest me. To thy Redeemer I commit thee now, To leave thee here, or take thee to himself. Farewell, farewell ! the life of this sad heart,

Dearer than life 1 look for thee, and lo !

Nought but blind darkness

Save where yon mad city, As though at peace and in luxurious joy, Is hanging out her bright and festive lamps.

w Q

II 7d

100 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

There have been tears from holier eyes than mine Pour'd o'er thee, Zion ! yea, the Son of Man This thy devoted hour foresaw and wept. And I can I refrain from weeping ? Yes, My country, in thy darker destiny Will I awhile forget mine own distress.

I feel it now, the sad, the coming hour ;

.

The signs are full, and never shall the sun Shine on the cedar roofs of Salem more ;

Her tale of splendor now is told and done: Her, wine-cup of festivity is spilt, And all is o'er, her grandeur and her guilt.

Oh ! fair and favour'd city, where of old The balmy airs were rich with melody, That led her pomp beneath the cloudless sky

In vestments flaming with the orient gold ;

Her gold is dim, and mute her music's voice,

The Heathen o'er her perish'd pomp rejoice.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 101

How stately then was every palm-deck'd street, Down which, the maidens danced with tinkling feet ;

How proud the elders in the lofty gate ! How crowded all her nation's solemn feasts With white-rob'd Levites and high-mitred Priests ;

How gorgeous all her Temple's sacred state! Her streets are razed, her maidens sold for slaves, Her gates thrown down, her elders in their graves; Her feasts age holden 'mid the Gentile's scorn, By stealth her Priesthood's holy garments worn ; And where her Temple crown'd the glittering rock, The wandering shepherd folds his evening flock.

. . When shall the work, the work of death begin ?

When come th' avengers of proud Judah's sin ? Aceldama ! accurs'd and guilty ground, Gird well the city in thy dismal bound,

Her price is paid, and she is sold like thou ; Let every ancient monument and tomb Enlarge the border of its vaulted gloom,

Their spacious chambers all are wanted now.

102 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

j But nevermore shall yon lost city need

Those secret places for her future dead ; Of all her children, when this night is pass'd, Devoted Salem's darkest, and her last, Of all her children none -is left to her,

Save those whose house is in the sepulchre.

Yet, guilty city, who shall mourn for thee ?

Shall Christian voices wail thy devastation ? Look down ! look down, avenged Calvary,

Upon thy late yet dreadful expiation. Oh ! long foretold, though slow accomplish'd fate, " Her house is left unto her desolate ;" Proud Caesar's ploughshare o r er her ruins driven, Fulfils at length the tardy doom of heaven ; The wrathful vial's drops at length are pour'd On the rebellious race that crucified their Lord !

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 103

Streets of Jerusalem Night,

Many JEWS meeting.

FIEST JEW.

Saw ye it, father ? saw ye what the city

Stands gazing at ? As I pass'd through the streets,

There were pale womeji wandering up and down ;

And on the house-tops there were haggard faces

Turn'd to the heavens, where'er the ghostly light

Fell on them. Even the prowling plunderers,

That break our houses for suspected food,

Their quick and stealthful footsteps check, and gasp

In wonder. They, that in deep weariness,

Or wounded in the battle of the morn,

Had cast themselves to slumber on the stones,

Lift up their drowsy heads, and languidly

Do shudder at the sight.

104- FALL OF JERUSALEM.

SECOND JEW.

What sight ? what say'st t^ou ?

FIEST JEW. .

The star, the star, the fiery-tressed star,

That all this fatal year hath hung in the heavens

Above us, gleaming like a bloody sword,

Twice hath it moved. Men cried aloud, " A tempest !"

And there was blackness, as of thunder clouds :

But yet that angry sign glared fiercely through them,

And the third time, with slow and solemn motion,

'Twas shaken and brandish'd.

FIRST JEW.

Timorous boy ! thou speak'st As though these things were strange. Why now weleep

With prodigies ablaze in all the heavens,

.

And the earth teeming with portentous signs, As sound as when the moon and constant stars Beam'd quietly upon the slumbering earth Their customary fires." Dost thou remember, At Pentecost, when all the land of Judah

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 105

Stood round the Altar, at the dead of night, A Light broke out, and all the Temple shone With the meteorous glory? 'twas not like The light of sun or moon, but it was clear And bright as either, only that it wither'd Men's faces to a hue like death.

THIRD JEW.

'Twas strange !

And, if I err not, on that very day, The Priest led forth the spotless sacrifice, And as he led it, it fell down, and cast Its young upon the sacred pavement.

FOURTH JEW.

Brethren,

Have ye forgot the eve, when war broke out Even in the heavens ? all the wide northern sky Was rocking with arm'd men and fiery chariots. With an abrupt and sudden noiselessness, Wildly, confusedly they cross'd and mingled, As when the Red Sea waves dash'd to and fro The crazed cars of Pharaoh

106 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

THIRD JEW.

Who comes here In his white robes so hastily ?

FIRST JEW.

Tis the Levite, The Holy Aaron.

LEVITE. Brethren ! Oh, my Brethren !

THE JEWS. Speak, Rabbi, all our souls thirst for thy words.

LEVITE.

But now within the Temple, as I minister'd, There was a silence round us ; the wild sounds Of the o'erwearied war had fallen asleep. A silence, even as though all earth were fix'd Like us in adoration, when the gate, The Eastern gate, with all its ponderous bars And bolts of iron, started wide asunder, And all the strength of man doth vainly toil To close the stubborn and rebellious leaves.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 107

FIRST JEW.

What now ?

ANOTHER JEW.

What now ! why all things sad and monstrous. The Prophets stand aghast, and vainly seek, Amid the thronging and tumultuous signs Which crowd this wild disastrous night, the intent Of the Eternal. Wonder breaks o'er wonder, As the clouds roll o'er each other in the skies ; And Terror, wantoning with man's perplexity, No sooner hath infix'd the awed attention On some strange prodigy, than it straight distracts it To a stranger and more fearful. THIRD JEW.

Hark! what's there? Fresh horror !

(At a distance.) To the sound of timbrels sweet, Moving slow our solemn feet,

108 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

We have borne thee on the road, To the virgin's blest abode ; With thy yellow torches gleaming, And thy scarlet mantle streaming, And the canopy above Swaying as we slowly move.

Thou hast left the joyous feast, And the mirth and wine have ceast ; And now we set thee down before The jealously-unclosing door ; That the favour'd youth admits Where the veiled virgin sits In the bliss of maiden fear, Waiting our soft tread to hear ; And the. music's brisker din, At the bridegroom's entering in, Entering in a welcome guest To the chamber of his rest.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 109

SECOND JEW.

It is the bridal song of Amariah

And fair Salone. In the house of Simon

The rites are held ; nor bears the Bridegroom home

His plighted Spouse, but there doth deck .his chamber ;

These perilous tunes dispensing with the rigor

Of ancient usage

VOICE WITHIN.

Woe ! woe 1 woe !

FIRST JEW.

Alas! The son of Hananiah ! is't not he ?

THIRD JEW. Whom said'st ?

SECOND JEW.

Art thou a stranger in Jerusalem, That thou rememberest not that fearful man ?

FOURTH JEW.

Speak ! speak ! we know not all.

SECOND JEW.

. Why thus it was :

110 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

A rude and homely dresser of the vine,

He had come up to the Feast of Tabernacles,

When suddenly a spirit fell upon him,

Evil or good we know not. Ever since,

(And now seven years are past since it befell,

Our city then being prosperous and at peace),

He hath gone wandering through the darkling streets

At midnight under the cold quiet stars;

He hath gone wandering through the crowded market

At noonday under the bright blazing sun,

With that one ominous cry of " Woe, woe, woe !"

Some scofFd and mock'd him, some would give him food ;

He neither curs'd the one, nor thank'd the other.

The Sanhedrim bade scourge him, and myself

Beheld him lash'd, till the bare bones stood out

Through the maim'd flesh, still, still he only cried,

Woe to the City, till his patience wearied

The angry persecutors. When they freed him,

'Twas still the same, the incessant Woe, woe, woe.

But when our siege began, awhile he ceased,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. Ill

As though his prophecy were fulfill'd ; till now We had not heard his dire and boding voice.

WITHIN. Woe ! woe ! woe !

JOSHUA, the Son of Hananiah. Woe ! woe !

A voice from the East ! a voice from the West !

From the four winds a voice against Jerusalem !

A voice against the Temple of the Lord !

A voice against the Bridegrooms and the Brides !

A voice against all people of the land ! Woe ! woe ! woe !

- *

SECOND JEW.

They are the very words, the very voice

Which we have heard so long. And yet, methinks,

There is a mournful triumph in the rone

Ne'er heard before. His eyes, that were of old

Fix'd on the earth, now wander all abroad,

As though the tardy consummation

Afflicted him with wonder Hark ! again.

112 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

CHORUS OF MAIDENS.

Now the jocund song is thine, Bride of David's kingly line ! How thy dove-like bosom trembleth, And thy shrouded eye resembleth Violets, when the dews of eve A moist and tremulous glitter leave On the bashful sealed lid ! Close within the bride-veil hid, Motionless thou sit'st and mute ; Save that at the soft salute Of each entering maiden friend Thou dost rise and softly bend.

Hark! a brisker, merrier glee !

The door unfolds; 'tis he, 'tis he.

Thus we lift our lamps to meet him, Thus we touch our lutes to greet him. Thou shalt give a fonder meeting, Thou shalt give a tenderer greeting.

FALL OF JERUSALEM.

JOSHUA.

Woe ! woe !

A voice from the East ! a voice from the West !

From the four winds a voice against Jerusalem !

A voice against the Temple of the Lord !

A voice against the Bridegrooms and the Brides !

A voice against all people of the land !

Woe ! woe [Bursts away, followed by Second Jew.

FIRST JEW.

W . ' :

Didst speak ?

THIED JEW. No.

FOURTH JEW.

Look'd he on us as he spake? FIRST JEW (to the Second returning.) Thou follow'dst him ! what now ? SECOND JEW.

'Twas a True Prophet !

THE JEWS.

Wherefore ? Where went he ?

i

114 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

SECOND JEW.

To the outer wall ;

And there he suddenly cried out and sternly, " A voice against the son of Hananiah ! " Woe, woe !" and at the instant, whether struck By a chance stone from the enemy's engines, down

He sank and died !

THIRD JEW.

There's some one comes this way Art sure he died indeed ?

LEVITE.

It is the High-Priest.

The ephod gleams through the pale lowering night ; The Lreastplate gems, and the pure mitre-gold, Shine lamplike, and the bells that fringe his robe Chime faintly.

HIGH-PRIEST.

Israel, hear ! I do beseech you, Brethren, give ear !

I

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 115

SECOND JEW.

Who's he that will not hear The words of God's High-Priest ?

HIGH-PHIEST.

It was but now

I sate within the Temple, in the court

That's consecrate to mine office Your eyes wander

JEWS. Go on !

HIGH-PRIEST.

Why hearken, then Upon a sudden The pavement seem'd to swell beneath my feet, And the Veil shiver'd, and the pillars rock'd. And there, within the very Holy of Holies, There, from behind the winged Cherubim, Where the Ark .stood, noise, hurried and tumultuous, Was heard, as when a king with all his host Doth quit his palace. And anon, a voice, Or voices, half in grief, half anger, yet Nor human grief nor anger, even it seem'd

116 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

As though the hoarse and rolling thunder spake With the articulate voice of man, it said, " LET us DEPART !"

JEWS.

Most terrible ! What follow'd ? Speak on ! speak on !

HIGH-PRIEST.

I know not why, I felt

As though an outcast from the abandon'd Temple, And fled.

JEWS.

Oh God ! and Father of our Fathers, Dost thou desert us ?

CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND MAIDENS.

Under a happy planet art thou led, Oh, chosen Virgin ! to thy bridal bed. So put thou off thy soft and bashful sadness,

And wipe away the timid maiden tear, Lo ! redolent with the Prophet's oil of gladness,

And mark'd by heaven, the Bridegroom Youth is here.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 117

FIRST JEW.

Hark hark ! an armed tread !

SECOND JEW.

The bold Ben Cathla !

BEN CATHLA.

Ay, ye are met, all met, as in a mart,

T' exchange against each other your dark tales

Of this night's fearful prodigies. I know it,

By the inquisitive and half-suspicious looks

With which ye eye each other, ye do wish

To disbelieve all ye have heard, and yet

Ye dare not. If ye have seen the moon unsphered,

And the stars fall ; if the pale sheeted ghosts

Have met you wandering, and have pointed at you

With ominous designation ; yet I scoff

Your poor and trivial terrors Know ye Michol ?

JEWS. Michol!

BEN CATHLA.

The noble lady, she whose fathers Dwelt beyond Jordan

118 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

SECOND JEW.

Yes, we know her,

The tender and the delicate of women, That would not set her foot upon the ground For delicacy and very tenderness.

BEN CATHLA.

The same ! We had gone forth in quest of food : And we had enter'd many a house, where men Were preying upon meagre herbs and skins ; And some were sating upon loathsome things Unutterable, the ravening hunger. Some, Whom we had plunder'd oft, laugh'd in their agony To see us baffled. At her door she met us, And " We have feasted together heretofore," She said, " most welcome warriors !" and she led us, And bade us sit like dear and honour'd guests,

While she made ready. Some among us wonder'd, .' And some spake jeeringly, and thank'd the lady

That she had thus with provident care reserved The choicest banquet for our scarcest days.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 119

But ever as she busily minister'd, Quick, sudden sobs of laughter broke from her. At length the vessel's covering she rais'd up, And there it lay

HIGH-PBIEST.

What lay ? Thou'rt sick and pale.

BEN CATHLA.

By earth and heaven, the remnant of a child !

A human child ! Ay, start ! so started we

Whereat she shriek'd aloud, and clapp'd her hands,

" Oh ! dainty and fastidious appetites !

" The mother feasts upon her babe, and strangers

" Loathe the repast" and then " My beautiful child !

" The treasure of my womb ! my bosom's joy !"

And then in her cool madness did she spurn us

Out of her doors. Oh still oh still I hear her,

And I shall hear her till my day of death.

HIGH-PBIEST. --

Oh, God of Mercies ! this was once thy city !

120 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

CHORUS.

Joy to thee, beautiM and bashful Bride !

Joy ! for the thrills of pride and joy become thee ;

Thy curse of barrenness is taken from thee. And thou shalt see the rosy infant sleeping

Upon the snowy fountain of thy breast ;

m And thou shalt feel how mothers' hearts are blest

By hours of bliss for moment's pain and weeping. Joy to thee !

The above, SIMON, JOHN.

,

SIMON.

Away ! what do ye in our midnight streets ? Go sleep ! go sleep ! or we shall have to lash you, When the horn summons to the morning's war, From out your drowsy beds Away ! I say.

HIGH-PRIEST.

Simon, thou know'st not the dark signs abroad.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 121

^

JOHN.

Ay ! is't not fearful and most ominous

That the sun shines not at deep midnight. Mark me,

Ye men with gasping lips and shivering limbs,

Thou mitred priest, and ye misnamed warriors,

If ye infect with your pale aguish fears

Our valiant city, we'll nor leave you limbs

To shake, nor voices to complain T' your homes.

SIMON, JOHN.

JOHN.

In truth, good Simon, I am half your proselyte ; Your angels, that do bear such excellent wine, Might shake a faith more firm than ours. SIMON.

Brave John,

My soul is jocund. Expectation soars Before mine eyes, like to a new-fledg'd eagle, And stoopeth from her heavens with palms ne'er worn

122 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

By brows of Israel. Glory mounts with her, Her deep seraphic trumpet swelling loud O'er Zion's gladdening towers.

JOHN.

Why, then, to sleep.

This fight by day, and revel all the night, Needs some repose I'll to my bed Farewell !

SIMON.

Brave John, farewell ! and I'll to rest, and dream Upon the coming honours of to-morrow.

MIRIAM.

To-morrow ! will that morrow dawn upon thee ? I've warn'd them, I have lifted up my voice As loud as 'twere an angel's, and well nigh Had I betray 'd my secret : they but scoff 'd, And ask'd how long I had been a prophetess ? But that injurious John did foully taunt me,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 123

As though I envied my lost sister's bridal. And when I clung to my dear father's neck, With the close fondness of a last embrace, He shook me from him.

But, ah me ! how strange ! This moment, and the hurrying streets were full As at a festival, now all's so silent That I might hear the footsteps of a child. The sound of dissolute mirth hath ceased, the lamps Are spent, the voice of music broken off. No watchman's tread comes from the silent wall, There are nor lights nor voices in the towers. The hungry have given up then* idle search For food, the gazers on the heavens are gone, , . Even fear 's at rest all still as in a sepulchre ! And thou liest sleeping, oh Jerusalem ! A deeper slumber could not fall upon thee, If thou wert desolate of all thy children, And thy razed streets a dwelling-place for owls. I do mistake ! this is the Wilderness,

124 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

The Desert, where winds pass and make no sound,

And not the populous city, the besieged

And overhung with tempest. Why, my voice,

My motion, breaks upon the oppressive stillness

Like a forbidden and disturbing sound.

The very air 's asleep, my feeblest breathing

Is audible I'll think my prayers and then

Ha ! 'tis the thunder of the Living God !

It peals ! it crashes ! it comes down in fire ! Again ! it is the engine of the foe,

Our walls are dust before it Wake oh wake

Oh Israel ! Oh Jerusalem, awake ! Why shouldst thou wake ? thy foe is in the heavens. Yea, thy judicial slumber weighs thee down, And gives thee, oh ! lost city, to the Gentile Defenceless, unresisting.

It rolls down,

'

As though the Everlasting raged not now Against our guilty Zion, but did mingle The universal world in our destruction ;

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 125

And all mankind were destined for a sacrifice

On Israel's funeral pile. Oh Crucified ! r

Here, here, where thou didst suffer, I beseech thee Even by thy Cross !

Hark ! now in impious rivalry Man thunders. In the centre of our streets The Gentile trumpet, the triumphant shouts Of onset ; and I, I, a trembling girl, Alone, awake, abroad.

Oh, now ye wake,

Now ye pour forth, and hideous Massacre, Loathing his bloodless conquest, joys to see you Thus naked and unarm'd But where's my father ? Upon his couch in dreams of future glory. Oh ! where's my sister ? in her bridal bed.

126 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Many JEWS.

FIRST JEW.

To the Temple ! To the Temple ! Israel ! Israel ! Your walls are on the earth, your houses burn Like fires amid the autumnal olive grounds. The Gentile 's hi the courts of the Lord's house. To the Temple ! save or perish with the Temple !

SECOND JEW.

To the Temple ! haste, oh all ye circumcised ! Stay not for wife or child, for gold or treasure ! Pause not for light ! the heavens are all on fire, The Universal City burns !

THIRD JEW.

Arms! Arms!

Our women fall like doves into the nets Of the fowler, and they dash upon the stones Our innocent babes. Arms ! Arms ! before we die

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 127

Let's reap a bloody harvest of revenge. To the Temple !

FOURTH JEW.

Simon ! lo, the valiant Simon. The above, SIMON.

SIMON.

He comes ! he comes ! the black night blackens with him, And the winds groan beneath his chariot wheels He comes from heaven, the Avenger of Jerusalem ! Ay, strike, proud Roman ! fall, thou useless wall ! And vail your heads, ye towers, that have discharg'd Your brief, your fruitless duty of resistance. I've heard thee long, fierce Gentile ! th' earthquake shocks Of thy huge engines smote upon my soul, And my soul scorn'd them. Oh ! and hear'st not thou One mightier than thyself, that shakes the heavens ? Oh pardon, that I thought that He, whose coming

128 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Is promised and reveal'd, would calmly wait The tardy throes of human birth. Messiah,

I know thee now, I know yon lightning fire

* ' Thy robe of glory, and thy steps in heaven

Incessant thundering.

I had brought mine arms, ^ Mine earthly arms, my breastplate and my sword, To cover and defend me Oh ! but thou Art jealous, nor endur'st that human arm Intrude on thy deliverance. I forswear them, I cast them from me. Helmless, with nor shield Nor sword, I stand, and in my nakedness

Wait thee, victorious Roman

JEWS.

To the Temple !

SIMON.

Ay, well thou say'st, " to the Temple" there 'twill be Most visible. In his own house the Lord Will shine most glorious. Shall we not behold

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 129

A

The Fathers bursting from their yielding graves, Patriarchs and Priests, and Kings and Prophets, met A host of spectral watchmen, on the towers Of Zion to behold the full accomplishing Of every Type and deep Prophetic word ?

Ay, to the Temple ! thither will I too, There bask in all the fulness of the day That breaks at length o'er the long night of Judah.

Chortts of Jews flying towards the Temple.

Fly! fly! %!

t

Clouds, not of incense, from the Temple rise, And there are altar-fires, but not of sacrifice.

And there are victims, yet nor bulls nor goats ; And Priests are there, but not of Aaron's kin ; And he that doth the murtherous rite begin,

To stranger Gods his hecatomb devotes ;

K

130 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

His hecatomb of Israel's chosen race All foully slaughtered in their Holy Place.

t Break into joy, ye barren, that ne'er bore !

Rejoice, ye breasts, where ne'er sweet infant hung !

From you, from you no smiling babes are wrung, Ye die, but not amid your children's gore. But howl and weep, oh ye that are with child,

Ye on whose bosoms unwean'd babes are laid ; The sword that's with the mother's blood defiled

Still with the infant gluts the insatiate blade.

Fly! fly! fly! Fly not, I say, for Death is every where,

To keen-eyed Lust all places are the same : There's not a secret chamber in whose lair

Our wives can shroud them from th' abhorred shame. Where the sword fails, the fire will find us there,

All, all is death the Gentile or the flame.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 131

On to the Temple ! Brethren, Israel on !

Though every slippery street with carnage swims, Ho ! spite of famish'd hearts and wounded limbs,

Still, still, while yet there stands one holy stone, Fight for your God, his sacred house to save, Or have its blazing ruins for your grave !

K 2

132 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

The Streets of Jerusalem.

MIRIAM.

Thou hard firm earth, thou wilt not break before me, And hide me in thy dark and secret bosom ! Ye burning towers, ye fall upon your children With a compassionate ruin not on me Ye spare me only, I alone am mark'd And seal'd for life : death cruelly seems to shun me, Me, who am readiest and most wish to die. Oh ! I have sat me by the ghastly slain In envy of then* state, and wept a prayer That I were cold like them, and safe from th' hands Of the remorseless conqueror. I have fled, And fled, and fled, and still I fly the nearer To the howling ravagers they are every where. I've closed mine eyes, and rush'd I know not whither, And still are swords and men and furious faces Before me, and behind me, and around me.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 133

But ah ! the shrieks that come from out the dwellings Of my youth's loved companions every where I hear some dear and most familiar voice In its despairing frantic agonies. Ah me ! that I were struck with leprosy, That sinful men might loathe me, and pass on.

And I might now have been by that sweet fountain Where the winds whisper through the moonlight leaves, I might have been with Javan there Off, off These are not thoughts for one about to die

Oh, Lord and Saviour Christ ! f

An OLD MAN, MIRIAM.

OLD MAN.

Who spake of Christ ?

What hath that name to do with saving here ? He 's here, he 's here, the Lord of desolation, Begirt with vengeance ! in the fire above, And fire below ! in all the blazing city Behold him manifest !

134 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

MIRIAM

Oh ! aged man

And miserable, on the verge of the grave Thus lingering to behold thy country's ruin, What know'st thou of the Christ ?

OLD MAN.

I, I beheld him,

The Man of Nazareth whom thou mean'st I saw him When he went labouring up the accursed hill. Heavily on his scourged and bleeding shoulders Press'd the rough cross, and from his crowned brow (Crown'd with no kingly diadem) the pale blood Was shaken off, as with a patient pity He look'd on us, the infuriate multitude.

MIRIAM. Didst thou not fall and worship ?

OLD MAN.

I had call'd

The curse upon my head, my voice had cried Unto the Roman, " On us be his blood,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 135

" And on our children !" and on us it hath been My children and my children's children, all, The Gentile sword hath reap'd them one by one, And I, the last dry wither'd shock, await The gleaning of the slaughterer. MIRIAM.

Couldst thou see The Cross, the Agony, and still hard of heart ?

. OLD MAN.

Fond child, I tell thee, ere the Cross was raised He look'd around him, even in that last anguish, With such a majesty of calm compassion, Such solemn adjuration to our souls But yet 'twas not reproachful, only sad As though our guilt had been the bitterest pang Of suffering. And there dwelt about him still, About his drooping head and fainting limb, A sense of power ; as though he chose to die, Yet might have shaken off the load of death

136 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Without an effort. Awful breathlessness Spread round, too deep and too intense for tears.

MIRIAM. Thou didst believe ?

OLD MAN.

Away ! Men glar'd upon me As though they did detect my guilty pity ; Their voices roar'd around me like a tempest, And every voice was howling, " Crucify him !" I dared not be alone the apostate child Of Abraham

, MIRIAM.

. Ah ! thou didst not join the cry ?

OLD MAX.

Woman, I did, and with a voice so audible Men turn'd to praise my zeal. And when the darkness, The noonday darkness, fell upon the earth, And the earth's self shook underneath my feet, I stood before the Cross, and in my pride

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 137

Rejoiced that I had shaken from my soul The soft compunction.

MIRIAM.

Ha ! but now, oh ! now, Thou own'st him for the eternal Son of God, The mock'd, and scourged, and crown'd, and crucified. Thou dost believe the blazing evidence Of yon fierce flames ! thou bow'st thyself before The solemn preacher, Desolation, That now on Zion's guilty ruins seated Bears horrible witness.

OLD MAN.

Maiden, I believe them, I dare not disbelieve ; it is my curse, My agony, that cleaves to me in death.

MIRIAM.

Oh ! not a curse, it is a gracious blessing Believe, and thou shalt live !

OLD MAN.

Back, insolent !

138 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

What ! would'st them school these gray hairs, and become Mine age's teacher ?

MIRIAM.

Hath not God ordain'd Wisdom from babes and sucklings ? OLD MAN.

Back, I say ;

I have lived a faithful child of Abraham, And so will die.

MIRIAM.

For ever ! He is gone,

Yet he looks round, and shakes his hoary head In dreadful execration 'gainst himself

And me 1 dare not follow him.

What's here ?

It is mine home, the dwelling of my youth, O'er which the flames climb up with such fierce haste. Lo, lo ! they burst from that house-top, where oft My sister and myself have sate and sang Our pleasant airs of gladness ! Ah, Salone !

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 139

Where art thou now ? These, these are not the lights That should be shining on a marriage-bed. Oh ! that I had been call'd to dress thy bier,

To pour sweet ointments on thy shrouded corpse,

7 * Rather than thus to weave thee bridal chaplets

To be so madly worn, so early wither'd ! Where art thou ? I dare only wish thee dead, Even as I wish myself. '

'Tis she, herself!

Thank God, she hath not perish'd in the flames ! 'Tis she she's here she's here the unfaded crown Hanging from her loose tresses, and her raiment

Only the bridal veil wrapt round her Sister !

Oh ! by my mother's blessings on us both, Stay, stay and speak to me Salone ! SALONE.

Thee!

'Tis all thy bitter envy, that hath made The exquisite music cease, and hath put out The gentle lamps, and with a jealous voice Hath call'd him from me.

140 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

MIRIAM.

Seest thou not, Salone, The city 's all on fire, the foe 's around us ?

SALONE.

The fire ! the foe ! what's fire or foe to me ? What's ought but Amariah ? He is mine, The eagle-eyed, the noble and the brave, The Man of Men, the glory o7 our Zion, And ye have rent him from me.

MIRIAM.

Dearest, who?

SALONE.

I tell thee he was mine, oh ! mine so fondly, And I was his I had begun to dare The telling how I loved him and the night It was so rapturously still around us When, even as though he heard a voice, and yet There was no sound I heard, he sprung from me Unto the chamber-door, and he look'd out Into the city

FALL OF JERUSALEM. HI

MIRIAM.

Well! Nay, let not fall

Thy insufficient raiment Merciful Heaven,

Thy bosom bleeds ! What rash and barbarous hand Hath

SALONE.

He came back and kiss'd me, and he said I know not what he said but there was something f Of Gentile ravisher, and his beauteous bride, Me, me he meant, he call'd me beauteous bride, And he stood o'er me with a sword so bright My dazzled eyes did close. And presently, Methought, he smote me with the sword, but then He fell upon my neck, and wept upon me, And I felt nothing but his burning tears.

MIRIAM.

She faints ! Look up, sweet sister ! I have stanch'd The blood awhile but her dim wandering eyes Are fixing she awakes she speaks again.

142 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

SALONE.

Ah ! brides, they say, should be retired, and dwell
Within in modest secrecy ; yet &ere
Am I, a this night's bride, in the open street,
My naked feet on the cold stones, the wind
Blowing my raiment off it's very cold
Oh, Amariah ! let me lay my head
Upon thy bosom, and so fall asleep.


MIRIAM.

There is no Amariah here 'tis I, Thy Miriam.

SALONE.

The Christian Miriam !

MIRIAM.

Oh ! that thou too wert Christian ! I could give thee A cold and scanty baptism of my tears. Oh ! shrink not from me, lift not up thy head, Thy dying head, from thy loved sister's lap.

SALONE. Off! set me free ! the song is almost done,

FALL OF JERUSALEM.

The bridegroom's at the door, and I must meet him, Though my knees shake and tremble. If he come, And find me sad and cold, as I am now, He will not love me as he did.

MIRIAM.

Too true, Thou growest cold indeed.

SALONE.

Night closes round, Slumber is on my soul. If Amariah Return with morning, glorious and adorn'd In spoil, as he is wont, thou'lt wake me, sister ?

Ah ! no, no, no ! this is no waking sleep,
It bursts upon me Yes, and Simon's daughter,
The bride of Amariah, may not fear,
Nor shrink from dying. My half-failing spirit
Comes back, my soft love-melted heart is strong :
I know it all, in mercy and in love
Thou 'st wounded me to death and I will bless thee,
True lover ! noble husband ! my last breath
Is thine in blessing Amariah ! Love !

144 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

And yet thou shouldst have staid to close mine eyes,

Oh Amariah ! and an hour ago

I was a happy bride upon thy bosom,

And now am Oh God, God ! if he have err'd,

And should come back again, and^find me dead ! }

MIRIAM.

Oh, God of mercies ! she is gone an infidel, An infidel unrepentant, to thy presence, The partner of my cradle and my bed, My own, my only sister ! Oh ! but thou, Lord, knowest that thou hast not drawn her to thee, By making the fond passions of the heart, Like mine, thy ministers of soft persuasion.

She hath not loved a Christian, hath not heard

From lips, whose very lightest breath is dear,

Thy words of comfort.

I will cover her.

Thy bridal veil is now thy shroud, my sister, And long thou wilt not be without a grave. Jerusalem will bury all her children Ere many hours are past.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 145

There's some one comes

A Gentile soldier 'tis the same who oft

Hath crossed me, and I've fled and 'scap'd him. Now,

How can I fly, and whither ? Will the dead

Protect me 2 Ha ! whichever way I turn,

Are others fiercer and more terrible.

I'll speak to him, there's something in his mien

Less hideous than the rest.

'"

MIIUAM, the SOLDIER.

MIRIAM.

Oh ! noble warrior,

I see not that thy sword is wet with blood : And thou didst turn aside lest thou shouldst tread Upon a dying man ; and e'en but now, When a bold ruffian almost seiz'd on me, Thou didst stand forth and scare him from his prey. Hast thou no voice ? perhaps thou art deaf too, And I am pleading unto closed ears

146 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Keep from me ! stand aloof! I am infected.

Oh! if the devil, that haunts the souls of men, They say, with lawless and forbidden thoughts, If he possess thee, here I lift my voice By Jesus Christ of J^azareth, I adjure The evil spirit to depart from thee.

Alas ! I feel thy grasp upon mine arm, And I must follow thee. Oh ! thou hast surely In thine own land, in thine own native home, A wife, a child, a sister : think what 'twere To Jiave a stranger's violent arms around her. . Ha ! every where are more and this man's hand Did surely tremble ; at the holy name He seem'd to bow his head. I'll follow thee, Let me but kiss the body of my sister,

My dead lost sister

Bless thee ! and thou'lt spare me At least thou art less savage than the rest. And He that had a virgin mother, He Will surely listen to a virgin's prayer.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 147

There's hope and strength within my soul ; lead on,

I'll follow thee Salone, oh that thou

Hadst room in thy cold marriage bed for me !

The Front of the Temple.

SIMON.

They fight around the altar, and the dead

Heap the chok'd pavement. Israel tramples Israel,

And Gentile Gentile, rushing where the Temple,

Like to a pit of frantic gladiators,

Is howling with the strife of men, that fight not

For conquest, but the desperate joy of slaying.

Priests, Levites, women, pass and hurry on,

At least to die within the sanctuary.

I only wait without I take my stand

Here in the vestibule and though the thunders

High and aloof o'er the wide arch of heaven

148 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Hold their calm march, nor deviate to their vengeance On earth, in holy patience, Lord, I wait, Defying thy long lingering to subdue The faith of Simon.

'Twas but now I pass'd The corpse of Amariah, that display 'd In the wild firelight all its wounds, and lay Embalm'd in honour. John of Galilee Is prisoner ; I beheld him fiercely gnashing His ponderous chains. Of me they take no heed, For I disdain to tempt them to my death, And am not arm'd to slay.

The light within

Grows redder, broader. 'Tis a fire that burns To save or to destroy. On Sinai's top, Oh Lord ! thou didst appear in flames, the mountain Burnt round about thee. Art thou here at length, And must I close mine eyes, lest they be blinded By the full conflagration of thy presence ?

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 1 49

TITUS, PLACIDUS, TERENTIUS, Soldiers, SIMOX.

TITUS.

Save, save the Temple ! Placidus, Terentius, Haste, bid the legions cease to slay ; and quench Yon ruining fire.

Who 's this, that stands unmoved Mid slaughter, flame, and wreck, nor deigns to bow

; *

Before the Conqueror of Jerusalem ? What art thou?

SIMON.

Titus, dost thou think that Rome Shall quench the fire that burns within yon Temple ? Ay, when your countless and victorious cohorts, Ay, when your Caesar's throne, your Capitol Have fallen before it.

TITUS.

Madman, speak ! what art thou ?

150 PALL OF JERUSALEM.

SIMON.

The uncircumcised have known me heretofore, And thou mayst know hereafter.

PLACIDUS.

It is he

The bloody Captain of the Rebels, Simon, The Chief Assassin. Seize him, round his limbs Bind straight your heaviest chains. An urihop'd pageant

For Caesar's high ovation. We'll not slay him

Till we have made a show to the wives of Rome

Of the great Hebrew Chieftain. SIMON.

Knit them close, See that ye rivet well their galling links!

(Holding up the chains.) And ye Ve no finer flax to gyve me with ?

TERENTIUS.

Burst these, and we will forge thee stronger then.

SIMON. Fool, 'tis not yet the hour.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 151

TITUS.

Hark ! hark ! the shrieks Of those that perish in the flames. Too late ' I came to spare, it wraps the fabric round. Fate, Fate, I feel thou'rt mightier than Caesar, He cannot save what thou hast doom'd ! Back, Romans, Withdraw your angry cohorts, and give place To the inevitable ruin. Destiny, It is thine own, and Caesar yields it to thee. Lead off the prisoner.

SIMON.

Can it be ? the fire

Destroys, the thunders, cease. I'll not believe, And yet how dare I doubt ?

A moment,. Romans.

Is't then thy will, Almighty Lord of Israel, That this thy Temple be a heap of ashes ? Is't then thy will, that I, thy chosen Captain, Put on the raiment of captivity ? By Abraham, our father ! by the Twelve,

152 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

The Patriarch Sons of Jacob ! by the Law, In thunder spoken ! by the untouch'd Ark ! By Davicl, and the Anointed Race of Kings ! By great Elias, and the gifted Prophets !

*

I here demand a sign !

Tis there I see it. The fire that rends the Veil !

We are then of thee

Abandon'd not abandon'd of ourselves.

Heap woes upon us, scatter us abroad, Earth's scorn and hissing ; to the race of men A loathsome proverb ; spurn'd by every foot, And curs'd by every tongue ; our heritage And birthright bondage ; and our very brows Bearing, like Cain's, the outcast mark of hate : Israel will still be Israel, still will boast Her fallen Temple, her departed glory ; And, wrapt in conscious righteousness, defy Earth's utmost hate, and answer scorn with scorn.

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 153

The Fountain ofSiloe.

MIRIAM, the Soldier*

MIKIAM.

Here, here not here oh ! any where but here Not toward the fountain, not by this lone path. If thou wilt bear me hence, I'll kiss thy feet, I'll call down blessings, a lost virgin's blessings Upon thy head. Thou hast hurried me along, Through darkling street, and over smoking ruin, And yet there seem'd a soft solicitude, And an officious kindness in thy violence But I've not heard thy voice.

Oh, strangely cruel !

And wilt thou make me sit even on this stone, "Where I have sate so oft, when the calm moonlight Lay in its slumber on the slumbering fountain ?

154 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Ah ! where art thou, thou that wert ever with me, Oh Javan ! Javan !

THE SOLDIER.

When was Javan call'd By Miriam, that Javan answer'd not ? Forgive me all thy tears, thy agonies. I dar'd not speak to thee, lest the strong joy Should overpower thee, and thy feeble limbs Refuse to bear thee in thy flight. MIRIAM.

What's here ?

Am I in heaven, and thou forehasted thither To welcome me ? Ah, no ! thy warlike garb, And the wild light, that reddens all the air,

Those shrieks and yet this could not be on earth,

The sad, the desolate, the sinful earth.

And thou couldst venture amid fire and death,

Amid thy country'smiins to protect me,

* o

Dear Javan ?

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 155

JAY AN.

'Tis not now the first time, Miriam, That I have held my life a worthless sacrifice For thine. Oh ! all these later days of siege I've slept in peril, and I've woke in peril. For every meeting I've defied the cross, On which the Roman, in his merciless scorn, Bound all the sons of Salem. Sweet, I boast not ; But to thank rightly our Deliverer, We must know all the extent of his deliverance.

MIRIAM. And I can only weep !

JAVAN.

Ay, thou shouldst weep, Lost Zion's daughter.

MIRIAM.

Ah ! I thought not then Of my dead sister, and my captive father Said they not " captive" as we pass'd ? I thought not Of Zion's ruin and the Temple's waste.

156 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Javan, I fear that mine are tears of joy ; Tis sinful at such times but thou art here, And I am on thy bosom, and I cannot Be, as I ought, entirely miserable.

JAVAN.

My own beloved ! I dare call thee mine, For Heaven hath given thee to me chosen out, As we two are, for solitary blessing, While the universal curse is pour'd around us On every head, 'twere cold and barren gratitude To stifle in our hearts the holy gladness.

But, oh Jerusalem ! thy rescued children May not, retir'd within their secret joy, Shut out the mournful sight of thy calamities.

Oh, beauty of earth's cities ! throned queen Of thy milk-flowing valleys ! crown'd with glory ! The envy of the nations ! now no more

A city One by one thy palaces

Sink into ashes, and the uniform smoke

O'er half thy circuit hath brought back the night

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 157

Which the insulting flames had made give place To their untimely terrible day. The flames That in the Temple, their last proudest conquest, Now gather all then: might, and furiously, Like revellers, hold there exulting triumph. Round every pillar, over all the roof, On the wide gorgeous front, the holy depth Of the far sanctuary, every portico, And every court, at once, concentrated, As though to glorify and not destroy,

They burn, they blaze

Look, Miriam, how it stands ! Look!

MIRIAM.

There are men around us ! JAVAN.

They are friends,

Bound here to meet me, and behold the last Of our devoted city. Look, oh Christians ! Still the Lord's house survives man's fallen dwellings,

158 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

And wears its ruin with a majesty

Peculiar and divine. Still, still it stands, All one wide fire, and yet no stone hath fallen.

Hark hark ! The feeble cry of an expiring nation.

Hark hark ! The awe-struck shout of the unboasting conqueror.

Hark hark !

It breaks it severs it is on the earth. The smother'd fires are quench'd in their own ruins : Like a huge dome, the vast and cloudy smoke Hath cover'd all.

And .it is now no more, Nor ever shall be to the end of time,

The Temple of Jerusalem ! Fall down,

My brethren, on the dust, and worship here The mysteries of God's wrath.

Even so shall perish,

In its own ashes, a more glorious Temple, Yea, God's own architecture, this vast world,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 159

This fated universe the same destroyer,

The same destruction Earth, Earth, Earth, behold !

And in that judgment look upon thine own !

HYMN.

Even thus amid thy pride and luxury, Oh Earth ^ shall that lost coming burst on thee,

That secret coming of the Son of Man. When all the cherub-throning clouds shall shine, Irradiate with his bright advancing sign :

When that Great Husbandman shall wave his fan, Sweeping, like chaff, thy wealth and pomp away : Still to the noontide of that nightless day,

Shalf thou thy wonted dissolute course maintain. Along* the busy mart and crowded street, The buyer and the seller still shall meet,

And marriage feasts begin their jocund strain : Still to the pouring out the Cup of Woe ; Till Earth, a drunkard, reeling to and fro, And mountains molten by his burning feet, And Heaven his presence own, all red with furnace heat.

160 FALL OP JERUSALEM.

The hundred-gated Cities then,

The Towers and Temples, nam'd of men

Eternal, and the Thrones of Kings ; The gilded summer Palaces, The courtly bowers of love and ease,

Where still the Bird of pleasure sings ; Ask ye the destiny of them ? Go gaze on fallen Jerusalem ! Yea, mightier names are in the fatal roll,

'Gainst earth and heaven God's standard is unfurl'd, The skies are shrivell'd like a burning scroll.

And the vast common doom ensepulchres the world.

Oh ! who shall then survive ? Oh ! who shall stand and live ? When all that hath been, is no more : When for the round earth hung in air, With all its constellations fair In the sky's azure canopy ;

When for the breathing Earth, and sparkling Sea, Is but a fiery deluge without shore,

FALL OF JERUSALEM. 161

Heaving along the abyss profound and dark, A fiery deluge, and without an Ark.

Lord of all power, when thou art there alone On thy eternal fiery-wheeled throne, That in its high meridian noon Needs not the perish'd sun nor moon : When thou a^rt there in thy presiding state, .

Wide-sceptred Monarch o'er the realm of doom : When from the sea depths, from earth's darkest womb, The dead of all the ages round thee wait : And. when the tribes of wickedness are strewn

Like forest leaves in the autumn of thine ire : Faithful and True ! thou still wilt save thine own ! The Saints shall dwell within th' unharming fire,

Each white robe spotless, blooming every palm.

|

Even safe as we, by this still fountain's side,

So shall the Church, thy bright and mystic Bride, Sit on the stormy gulf a halcyon bird of calm.

M .

I

162 FALL OF JERUSALEM.

Yes, 'mid yon angry and destroying signs, O'er us the rainbow of thy mercy shines, We hail, we bless the covenant of its beam, Almighty to avenge, Almightiest to redeem !

NOTES.

Page 5, line 1.

Advance the eagles, Caius Placidus.

Placidus, though not expressly mentioned as one of the Roman generals engaged, had a command previously in

Syria.

Page 8, line 1O.

A mount of 'snow fretted with golden pinnacles ! ToTf ye jwojv s*<ra<piKvoupEvoi$ xo<, rtoppcvQev opoio; ogei ^10- vo$ TtX^psi xare^a/vero KO,} yap >cafla py xe^f ucrwro XsoxoVaroj ijv. (Joseph, lib. 5. c. 5). See the whole description.

Page 10, line 1.

Thy brethren of the Porch, imperial Titus. Mr. Heber's " Stoic tyrant's philosophic pride" will occur to the memory at least of academic readers.

Page 12, lines 3, 4.

Let this night

Our wide encircling walls complete their circuit. " The days shall come upon thee when thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side." Luke xix. 43. For the remarkable and perfect completion of this prophecy,

164 NOTES.

see the description of the wall built by Titus. Josephus, lib. v. ch. 12.

Page 12, lines 12, 13.

/ should give to thejlame JVhate'er opposed the sovereign sway of Ccesar. Terentius, or Turnus RufuS, is marked with singular de- testation in the Jewish traditions.

Page 13, line 1.

Sweet fountain, once again I visit thee ! The fountain of Siloe was* just without the walls. The upper city, occupied by Simon (Joseph, v. 6.), ended nearly on a line with the fountain. Though, indeed, Simon had pos- session of parts also of the lower city. Joseph, v. 1.

Page 16, line 18. Let Gischala, let fallen Jotapata. Gischala and Jotapata, towns before taken by the Romans.

Page 27, line 3. Our bridal songs, SfC.

It must be recollected, that the unmarried state was looked on with peculiar horror by the Jewish maidens. By marriage there was a hope of becoming the mother of the Messiah.

Page 43, line 5. Did old Mathias hold.

Simon put to death Mathias the High Priest and his sons, by whom he had been admitted into the city.

NOTES.

165

Page 47, line 17.

Ye tvant not testimonies to your mildness. Titus crucified round the city those who fled from the famine and the cruelty of the leaders within. (Joseph. 5. ch. 13.) Sometimes, according to Josephus, (lib. 5. c. 11.) 500 in a day suffered.

Page 50, line 5.

Even on the hills where gleam your myriad spears. The camp of Titus comprehended a space called the " As- syrian's Camp."

Page 54, line 18.

A javelin to his pale and coward heart ! Josephus gives more than one speech which he addressed to his countrymen. They only mocked and once wounded him.

Page 62, line 3.

Behold, oh Lord! the Heathen tread, fyc. See Psalm Ixxx. 7, &c.

Page 74, lines 7, 8.

Even in the garb and with the speech of worship , Went he not up into the very Temple ? This was the mode in which John surprised Eleazar, who before was in possession of the Temple.

16C NOTES.

Page 75, line 1 . There hath he held the palace of his lusts.

j $s rag ofysi;, e<poVwv raX? Ssfyouf, Q 8& Tol$ (3a,8i<r(j,a,(riv efca.'jrlvrjs lyj'vovTo iroAE|w.j<rra. Joseph. lib. 4. c. 9. There is a long passage to the same effect.

Page 86, line 7.

And where is now the wine for the bridegroom's rosy cup.

In the prophecy of our Saviour concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and that of the world, it is said that " as in the days of Noe, they shall marry and be given in marriage." Matth. xxiv.

. Page 70, line 10. That when the signs are manifest.

The prodigies are related by Josephus hi a magnificent page of historic description.

Page 107, line 18. To the sound of timbrels sweet.

The bridal ceremonies are from Calmet, Harmer, and other illustrators of scripture. It is a singular tradition that the use of the crowns was discontinued after the fall of Jerusalem. A few peculiarities are adopted from an account of a Maronite wedding in Harmer.

Page 1 18, line 3.

The tender and the delicate of women. "The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for

NOTES. 167

delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear : for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates." (Deuter. xxviii. 56 and 57) See also Lamentations ii. 20. The account of the unnatural mother is detailed in Josephus.

Page 130, line 3.

Break into joy, ye barren that ne'er bore! " And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days." (Matth. xxiv. 19.)

THE END.  

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