Abbildungen der Seite

the nuptial ceremonies have begun. Songs are sung ilustrative of the forms of a Jewish bridal; and their rich and luxurious harmony forms a terrible contrast with the surrounding desolation and danger. What follows, it is impossible to abridge, and, long as the extract is, our readers, we are convinced, will thank us for it :

(At a distance.) 'To the sound of timbrels sweet,

Moving slow our solemn feet,
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,
As the bridegroom's entering in,
Entering in a welcome guest
To the chamber of his rest.

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 times dispensing with the rigour
Of ancient usage-

Voice within.

First Jew.

Woe! woe! woe!

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?*


* That fearful man!' as he is here admirably described from the historian of the Jews, is thus introduced by Crowne:


We in Jerusalem did daily see

A greater and a living prodigy;

A man like Echo pined into a sound,

A walking vault that does one tone rebound;
And night and day does in our streets proclaim
With restless soul, Woe to Jerusalem!



Fourth Jew. Speak! speak! we know not all.
Second Jew.

Why thus it was :
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 scoff'd 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
angry persecutors. When they freed him,
"Twas still the same, the incessant Woe, woe, woe!
But when our siege began, awhile he ceased,
As though his prophecy were fulfill'd; till now
We had not heard his dire and boding voice.
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

of old

Which we have heard so long. And yet, methinks,
There is a mournful triumph in the tone
Ne'er heard before. His eyes, that were
Fix'd on the earth, now wander all abroad,
As though the tardy consummation
Afflicted him with wonder-Hark! again.

(The prophet enters.) Joshua.


Now the jocund song is thine,
Bride of David's kingly line!

From the four winds, and the earth's hollow womb,
A voice, a voice-a dreadful voice is come!

A voice against our elders, priests and scribes,

Our city, temple, and our holiest tribes;
Against the bridegroom and the joyful bride,
And all that in Jerusalem reside,
Woe! woe! woe!



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.
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

First Jew. Didst speak?



Fourth Jew. Look'd he on us as he spake?

First Jew (to the Second returning.) Thou followed'st him! what now?
Second Jew. 'Twas a true prophet!
The Jews. Wherefore? Where went he?
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?

[Bursts away, followed by Second Jew.

'Tis the High-priest.
The ephod gleams through the pale lowering night;
The breast-plate gems, and the pure mitre-gold,
Shine lamplike, and the bells that fringe his robe
Chime faintly.


Israel, hear! I do beseech you,
Brethren, give ear!-
Second Jew.

The words of God's High-priest?


Who's he that will not hear

It was but now

I sate within the Temple, in the court
That's consecrate to mine office-Your eyes wander-





Go on!

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
As though the hoarse and rolling thunder spake
With the articulate voice of man-it said,


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


I know not why, I felt
As though an outcast from the abandon'd Temple,
And fled.

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


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.
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

* This fearful incident is thus curiously dramatized by Crowne: Phineas. Hark! a voice does from the vault rebound.




(A great voice is heard from under the stage, like a tube.)
A voice! 'tis thunder, or some pagan god
Groans here tormented, chaced from his abode.
'Let us depart,' the horrid voice does cry!
What art that call'st? and whither shall we fly?

The Temple lives! it moved before and broke
The bars that fettered it, and now it spoke.

It rather dies! and these affrightful groans
Are its departing soul's contending moans.

With ominous designation; yet I scoff
Your poor and trivial terrors-Know ye

Ben Cathla.


The noble lady, she whose fathers
Dwelt beyond Jordan

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.
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—


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

hear her,

And I shall hear her till my day of death.
High-Priest. Oh, God of Mercies! this was once thy city!


Joy to thee, beautiful 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;

And thou shalt feel how mothers' hearts are blest
By hours of bliss for moment's pain and weeping.
Joy to thee!'-p. 107-120.


« ZurückWeiter »