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The heav'ns 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 ev'ry starry sphere;
Nor at thy presence brake the voice of song
From all the cherub choirs,
And seraph's burning lyres
Poured through the host of heav'n the charmed clouds
One angel troop the strain began,
Of all the race of man,
By simple shepherds heard alone,
That soft Hosanna's tone.
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
[tombs. With all thine own redeem'd outbursting from their
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 break,
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 beneath the tomb, Consenting to thy doom, Ere yet the white robed Angel shone Upon the sealed stone.
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.
ABRAHAM AND ISAAC ON MOUNT MORIAH.
Ere the rich morning on the mountains flung
A robe of beauty,--in that primest hour
When birds are darting from the dewy ground,
And Nature, soft as sleeping life, begins
To waken, and the spell of day to wear;
Unseen, the patriarch and his cherish'd boy
Uprose; the sacrificial wood prepared,
And then, companion'd by his household youths,
They onward journey'd with the laden ass.
Through piny glens and green acacia vales
The pilgrims wound their unreluctant way.
Oft as he went, upon his child adored
The sire of future nations look’d, and thought;
And felt the father in his bosom rise,
As bound and bloody on the altar stretch'd,
He vision’d him ;-—the long-hoped, destin'd son,
Who fond and dutiful had ever been,
And guiltless of a parent's tear !—But faith
Triumphant in the power of Mercy proved.-
Twice had the sun around the pilgrims drawn
His evening veil, when o'er a distant mount,
Upon Moriah's steep and rocky clime,
A vision of the Lord reposed, and shone,-
A cloudy signal, shaped for Abram's eye
Alone to see, and there his altar raise ;
The patriarch bowed, and o'er the mountain path
Both child and parent took their solemn way,
But each was silent, for they thought of Heaven.--
So on they went, till at the mount ordain'd
Arriving, with enamour'd gaze they saw
The hills of glory capp'd with sunset hues,
And willow'd plains; and drank the balmy air,
And cool'd their foreheads in the breeze, that fell
Light as the tremor of an angel's wing;
So still the hour, so calm the scene, that God
Himself seem'd waiting there to welcome man !
THE SEVENTH PLAGUE OF EGYPT.
When life is forgot, and night hath power,
And mortals feel no dread;
When silence and slumber rule the hour,
And dreams are round the head;
God shall smite the first-born of Egypt's race,
The destroyer shall enter each dwelling-place-
Shall enter and choose his dead.
“ To your homes,” said the leader of Israel's host,
“ And slaughter a sacrifice: Let the life-blood be sprinkled on each door-post,
Nor stir till the morn arise; And the Angel of Vengeance shall pass you by, He shall see the red stain, and shall not come nigh
Where the hope of your household lies.”
The people hear, and they bow them low
Each to his house hath flown :
The lamb is slain, and with blood they go,
And sprinkle the lintel-stone;
And the doors they close when the sun hath set,
But few in oblivious sleep forget
The judgment to be done.
'Tis midnight-yet they hear no sound
Along the lone still street;
No blast of a pestilence sweeps the ground,
No tramp of unearthly feet,
Nor rush as of harpy wings goes by,
But the calm moon floats in the cloudless sky,
'Mid her wan light clear and sweet.
Once only, shot like an arrowy ray,
A pale-blue flash was seen,
It pass'd so swift, the eye scarce could say
That such a thing had been :