Page images
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



SWEPT. (4) The subsequent poems were written at the re- The harp the monarch minstrel swept, quest of my friend, the Hon. D. Kinnaird, for a Selec The king of men, the loved of Heaven, tion of Hebrew Melodies, and have been published Which Music hallow'd while she wropt with the music, arranged by Mr. Braham and O'er tones her heart of hearts had given, Mr. Nathan.(2)

Redoubled be her tears, its chords are riven! January, 1815.

It soften'l men of iron mould,

It gave them virtues not their own;

No ear so dull, no soul so cold,

That felt not, fired not to the tone,
Till David's lyre grew mightier than his throne!

It told the triumphs of our king,

It wafted glory to our God;
She walks in beauty, like the night

It made our gladden'd valleys ring,
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

The cedars bow, the mountains nod;
And all that's best of dark and bright

Its sound aspired to heaven and there abode! Meet in her aspect and her eyes :

Since then, though heard on earth no more, Thus mellow'd to that tender light

Devotion, and her daughter Love
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Still bid the bursting spirit soar

To sounds that seem as from abovc, One shade the more, one ray the less,

In dreams that day's broadlight can not remove(5). Had hali impaird the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o'er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

If that high world, which lies beyond
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

Our own, surviving Love endears;
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,

If there the cherish'd heart be fond,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The eye the same, except in tears-
The siniles that win, the tints that glow,

How welcome those untrodden spheres !
But tell of days in goodness spent,

How sweet this very hour to die!
A mind at peace with all below,

To soar from earth, and find all fears
A heart whose love is innocent!

Lost in thy light-Eternity!

(1) Lord Byron never alludes to his share in these Melodies niscences of Lord Byron, says:-"It is most probable, from the with complacency. Mr. Moore having, on one occasion, rallied fervent altachment he fete towards his sister, whose countenance bin a little on the manner in which some of them had been set to was as beautiful as her disposition was amiable, and the unceasing music, -" Sunburn Nathan!” he exclaims, “why do you always i tenderness with which he seemed on all occasions lo view her, iwit me with his Ebrew nasalities? Have I not told you it was that they (the lines in question) were directed to thal lady alone. all Kinnaird's doing, and my own exquisite facility of lemper ?" This opinion is much strengthened by the anxiely he belrayed

whenever the composition was executed in her presence."-E. (2) "Nei her the ancient Jews,” says Dr. Burney, “por the (1) In the reign of King David, music was held in the highest modern, have ever had characters peculiar lo music; so that the estimation by the Hebrews. The genius of that prince for music, melodies used in their religious ceremonies have, at all times, and his altachment to the study and practice of it, as well as the been traditional, and at the mercy of the singers.” – Kalkbrenner great number of musicians appointed by him for the performance tells us, that “ les Juifs espagnols lisent et chantent leurs psaumes of religious rites and ceremonies, could not fail to extend its inbien diséremment que les Juifs hollandais, les juifs romains au- fluence and augment its perfections: for it was during this period, trement que les Juifs de la Prusse et de la llesse; et lous croient that music was first honoured by being admilted in the ministry chanter comme on chantait dans le Temple de Jérusalem !”-llist. of sacrilice, and worship of the ark; as well as by being cultivated de la Musique, lom. I. p. 34.-E.

by a king." Burney. (5) These stanzas were written by Lord Byron, on returning (5) "The hymns of David excel no less in sublimity and tenderfrom a ball-room, where he had seen Mrs. (now lady) Wilmot ness of expression, than in loftiness and purity of religious senHorton, the wise of his relation, the present Governor of Ceylon. timent. In comparison with them, the sacred poetry of all other On this occasion Mrs. H. had appeared in mourning, with nume- nations siuks into mediocrity. They have embo ied so exquisiterous spangles on her dress.-E.

ly the universal language of religious emotion, that (a few fierce On the other and, Nathan, in his Fugitive Pieces and Remi- and vindic ivc passages exceplei, natural in the warrior-port of

It must be so: 't is not for self

That we so tremble on the brink, And, striving to o'erleap the gulf,

Yet cling to Being's severing link. Oh! in that future let us think

To hold each heart the heart that shares, With them the immortai waters drink,

And soul in soul grow (leathless theirs !

And where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet ?
And when shall Zion's songs again seem sweet?
And Judah's melody once more rejoice
The hearts that leap'd before its heavenly voice?
Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast,
How shall ye flee it voy ar.d be at rest!
The wild-dove hath her nest, the fox his cave,
Mankind their country-Israell but the grave!


The wild gazelle on Judah's hills

On Jordau's banks the Arab's camels stray,
Exulting yet may bound,

On Sion's bill the false One's votaries pray,
And drink from all the living rills

The Baal-adorer bows on Sinai's steep-
That gush on holy ground;

Yet there—even there—0 God! thy thunders sleep:
Its airy step and glorious eye
May glance in tameless transport by:--

There—where thy finger scorch'd the tablet stone! A step as fleet, an eye more bright,

There-where thy shadow to thy people shoue! Haih Judah witness'd there;

Thy glory shrouded in its garb of fire:
And o'er her scenes of lost delight

Thyself,none living see and not expire!
Inhabitants more fair.

Oh! in the lightning let thy glance appear;
The cedars wave on Lebanon,

Sweep from his shiver'd hand the oppressor's spear. But Judah's statelier maids are gone!

How long by tyrants shall thy land be trod !
More blest each palm that shades those plains How long thy temple worshipless, O God!

Than Israel's scatter'd race;
For, taking root, it there remains

In solitary grace:
It cannot quit its place of birth,

Since our country, our God-0 my sire!

Demand that thy daughter expire; Il will not live in other earth.

Since thy triumph was bought by thy vow, But we must wander witheringly,

Strike the bosom that's bared for thee now! In other lands to die;

And the voice of my mourning is o'er,
And where our fathers' ashes be,

And the mountains behold me no more:
Our own may never lie:

If the hand that I love lay me low,
Our temple hath not left a stone,

There cannot be pain in the blow! And Mockery sits on Salem's throne.

And of this, O my father! be sure—

That the blood of thy child is as pure

As the blessing I beg ere it flow,
Ou! weep for those that wept by Babel's stream,

And the last thought that soothes me Lelow. Whose shrines are desolate, whose land a dream; Though the virgins of Salem lament, Weep for the harp of Judah's broken shell;

Be the judge and the hero unbent! Mourn-- where their God hath dwelt the godless I have won the great battle for thee, dwell!

And my father and country!

a slerner age) they have entered with unquestionable propriely help out the melody. He replied, "Why, I have sent you to into the Christian ritual. The songs which cheered the solitude heaven-it would be difficult to go further ! My altention for a of the desert caves of Engedi, or resounded from the voice of the rew moments was called to some other person, and his Lordship, Hebrew people as they wound along the glen ; or the hill-sides of whom I had hardly missed, exclaimed— Here, Nathan, I have Judea, have been repeated for ages in almost every part of the brought you down again;'and immediately presented me the beauhabitable world,-in the remulest islands of the ocean, among the tiful and sublime lines which conclude the meloly.” Nathan. forests of America, or the sands of Africa. How many human (1) “Jephtha, a bastard sou of Gilead, having been wrongfully hearts have they softened, purifier, exalted !--of how many expelled from his father's house, bad taken refuge in a wild courwretched beings have they been the secret consolation !-on how try, and become a noted captain of freebooters. His kindred, inany communities have they drawn down the blessings of Divine groaning under foreign oppression, began to look to their vaProvidence, by bringing the affections in unison with their deep liant though lawless compatriol, whose profession, according to devotional servour!" Millman.

their usage, was no more dishonourable than that of a pirale iu "When his Lordship put the copy into my hand, it terminated the elder days of Greece. They sent for him, and made him head thus:

of their city. Before he went forth against the Ammoniles, he • Its sound aspired to heaven, and there abode.'

made the memorable vow, that, if he returned victorious, be

would sacrilice as a burnt-offering whatever first met him on his This bowever did not complete the verse, and I wished him lo entrance into his native city. He gained a splendid victory. A

When this blood of thy giving hath gush'd,
When the voice that thou lovest is husli'd,
Let my memory still be thy pride,
And forget not I smiled as I died!

I saw thee smile--the sapphire's blaze

Beside thee ceased to shine;
It could not match the living rays

That fill'd that glance of thihe.
As clouds from yonder sun receive

A deep and mellow dye,
Which scarce the shade of coming eve

Can banish from the sky,
Those smiles unto the moodiest mind

Their own pure joy impart:
Their sunshine leaves a glow behind

That lightens o'er the heart.

OH! snatch'd away in beauty's bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb;

But on thy turf shall roses rear

Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom :
And oft by yon blue gushing stream

Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head, And feed deep thought with many a dream, 1 And lingering pause and lightly tread;

Fond wretch! as if her step disturb’d the dead. Away! we know that tears are vain,

That death nor heeds nor hears distress : Will this unteach us to complain ?

Or make one mourner weep the less ? | And thou—who tellst me to forget, | Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wel.


[ocr errors]

The days are done, thy fame begun;

Thy country's strains record
The triumphs of her chosen Son,

The slaughters of his sword!
The deeds he did, the fields he won,

The freedom he restored !
Though thou art fall’n, while we are free

My soul is dark-Oh! quickly string

The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling

Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear. If in this heart a hope be dear,

That sound shall charm it forth again, If in these eyes there lurk a tear,

'T will flow, and cease to burn my brain. But bid the strain be itti and depp,

Nor let thy noles of joy be first: I tell thee, minstrel! I must weep,

Or else this heavy heart will burst; For it hath been by sorrow nursed,

And ached in sleepless silence long; And now 't is doom'd to know the worst,

And break at once-or yield to song. (15*

Thou shall not laste of death!
The generous blood that flow'd from thee

Disdain'd to sink beneath;
Within our veins its currents be,

Thy spirit on our breath!
Thy name, our charging hosts along,

Shall be the battle-word!
Thy fall, the theme of choral song

From virgin voices pour'd!
To weep would do thy glory wrong;

Thou shalt not be deplored.

WARRIORS and chiefs ! should the shaft or the sword
Pierce me in leading the host of the Lord,
Heed not the corse, though a king's, in your path:
Bury your steel in the bosoms of Gath!
Thou who art bearing my buckler and bow,
Should the soldiers of Saul look away from the foe,
Stretch me that moment in blood at thy feet!
Mine be the doom which they dared not to meet.
Farewell to others, but never we part,
Heir to my royalty, son of my heart!
Bright is the diadem, boundless the sway,
Or kingly the death, which awaits us to-day!

I saw thee weep—the big bright tear

Came o'er thmeye of-blue;
And then methought it did appear

A violet dropping dew:

the news of it, his only daughter came dancing forth, in the glad-gularities approached on some occasions to derangement, and at less of her heart, and with jocund instruments of music, to salute one. period, indeed, it was very currently asserted that his intelthe deliverer of his people. The miserable father rent his clothes lects were actually impaired. The report only served to amuse

in agony; but the noble-spirited maiden would not hear of the dis- his Lordship. He referred to the circumstance, and declared | regard of the vow: she only demanded a short period to bewail that he would try how a madman could write: seizing the pen upon the mountains, like the Antigone of Sophocles, her dying with eagerness, he for a moment fixed his eyes in majestic without hope of becoming a bride or mother, and then submitted wildoess on vacancy; when, like a flash of inspiration, without to her fate." Millman.

erasing a sjogle word, the above verses were the result." Nom (1) “It was generally conceived that Lord Byron's reported sin than.

Which all that life or earth displays

Would lure me to live over.
There rose no day, there rollid no hour

Of pleasure unembitter'd;
And not a trapping deck'd my power

That gall’d not while it glitterd.
The serpent of the field, by art

And spells, is won from harming;
But that which coils around the heart,

Oh! who hath power of charming?
It will not list to wisdom's lore,

Nor music's voice can lure it;
But there it stings for evermore

The soul that must endure it.

SAUL. (1)
Thou whose spell can raise the dead,

Bid the prophet's form appear.
'Samuel, raise thy buried head!

King, behold the phantom seer !"
Earth yawn’d; he stood the centre of a cloud:
Light changed its hue, retiring from his shroud.
Dealh stood all glassy in his fixed eye;
His hand was wither'd, and his veins were dry;
His foot, in bony whiteness, glitter'd there,
Shrunken and sinewless, and ghastly bare ;
From lips that moved not and unbreathing frame,
Like cavern'd winds, the hollow accents came.
Saul saw, and fell to earth, as falls the oak,
At once, and blasted by the thunder-stroke.

“Why is my sleep disquieted
Who is he that calls the dead?.
Is it thou, O king? Behold,
Bloodless are these limbs, and cold;
Such are mine; and such shall be
Thine to-morrow when with me;
Ere the coming day is done,
Such shalt thou be, such thy son.
Fare thee well, but for a day,
Then we mix our mouldering clay.
Thou, thy race, lie pale and low,
Pierced by shafts of many a bow;
And the falchion by ihy side
To thy heart thy hand shall guide:
Crownless, breathless, headless fall,
Son and sire, the house of Saul! (2)



When coldness wraps this suffering clay,

Ah! whither strays the immortal mind ?
It cannot die, it cannot stay,

But leaves its darken'd dust behind.
Then, unembodied, doth it trace

By steps each planet's heavenly way?
Or fill at once the realms of space,

A thing of eyes, that all survey ?
Eternal, houndless, undecay'd,

A thought unseen, but seeing all,
All, all in earth, or skies display'd,

Shall it survey, shall it recall:
Each fainter trace that memory holds

So darkly of departed years,
In one broad glance the soul beholds,

And all, that was, at once appears.
Before Creation peopled earth,

Its eye shall roll through chaos back;
And where the furthest heaven had birth,

The spirit trace its rising track.
And where the future mars or makes,

Its glance dilate o'er all to be,
While sun is quench'd or system breaks,

Fix'd in its own eternity.
Above or love, hope, hate, or fear,

It lives all passionless and pure :

“ALL IS VANITY, SAITH THE PREACHER." FAME, wisdom, love, and power were mine,

And health and youth possess'd me;
My goblets blush'd from every vine,

And lovely forms caress'd me:
I sunn'd my heart in beauty's eyes,

And felt my soul grow tender;
All earth can give, or mortal prize,

Was mine of regal splendour.
I sirive to number o'er what days

Remembrance can discover,

(1) " Haunted with that iusatiable desire of searching into the daring to look up, receives from the woice of the speclre the aw secrels of futurity, inseparable from uncivilised man, Saul knew intimation of his defeat and death. On the reality of this app not lo what quarter to turn. The priests, outraged by his cruelly, rition we pretend not to decide: the figure, il figure there wer had forsaken him: the prophets stood aloos: no dreams visited was not seen by Saul; and excepting the event of the approachi his couch; he had persecuted even the unlawful diviners. He battle, the spirit said nothing which the living prophet had r hears at last of a female necromancer, a woman with the spirit of said before, repeatedly and publicly. But the fact is curious, Ob; strangely similar in sound to the Obeah .women in the West showing the popular belief of the Jews in departed spirits to ha Indies. To the cave-dwelling of this woman, in Endor, the mo- been the same with that of most other nations.” Millman. narch proceeds in disguise. He commands her to raise the spirit (2) “Since we have spoken of witches," said Lord Byron of Samuel. Al this daring demand, the woman first recognises, Cephalonia, in 1823, "what think you of the witch of Endors or pretends to recognise, her royal visitor. "Whom seest thou m' have always thought this the finest and most finished witch-sce says the king.–Mighly ones ascending from the earth.'— of that ever was written or conceived; and you will be of my op what form!'-'An old man covered with a mantle.' Saul, in nion, if you consider all the circumstances and the actors in L terror, bows down his bead to the earth; and, it should seem, not case, together with the gravity, simplicity, and diguily of

“ Belshazzar's grave is made,

His kingdom pass'd away, He, in the balance weigh’d,

Is light and worthless clay. The shroud, his robe of state,

His canopy the stone; The Mede is at his gate!

The Persian on his throne!”

SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS! Sun of the sleepless! melancholy star! Whose tearful beam glows tremulously far, That show'st the darkness thou canst not dispel, How like art thou to joy remember'd well! So gleams the past, the light of other days, Which shines, but warms not with its powerless A night-beam Sorrow watcheth to behold, (rays; Distinct, but distant-clear-but, oh how cold!


DEEM'ST IT TO BE. WERE my bosom as false as thou deem'st it to be, I need not have wander'd from far Galilee ; It was but abjuring my creed to efface The curse which, thou say’st, is the crime of my race. If the bad never triumph, then God is with thee! If the slave only sin, thou art spotless and free! If the exile on earth is an oulcast on high, Live on in thy faith, but in mine I will die. I have lost for that faith more than thou canst bestow, As the God who permits thee to prosper doth know; In his hand is my heart and my hope-and in thine The land and the life which for him I resign.

HEROD'S LAMENT FOR MARIAMNE. (1) Ou, Mariamne! now for thee

The heart for which thou bled'st is bleeding; Revenge is lost in agony,

And wild remorse to rage succeeding. Oh, Mariamne! where art thou ?

Thou canst not hear my bitter pleading: Ah! couldst thou-lhou wouldst pardon now,

Though Heaven were to my prayer unbeeding. And is she dead ?-and did they dare

Obey my frenzy's jealous raving?
My wrath but doom'd my own despair:

The sword that smote her 's o'er me waving.

An age shall fleet like earthly year;

Its years as moments shall endure.
Away, away, without a wing,

O’er all, through all, its thought shall fly;
A nameless and eternal thing,

Forgetting what it was to die.



The king was on his throne,

The satraps throng’d the hall;
A thousand bright lamps shone

O’er that high festival.
A thousand cups of gold,

In Judah deem'd divine-
Jehovah's vessels-hold

The godless heathen's wine!
In that same hour and hall,

The fingers of a band
Came forth against the wall,

And wrote, as if on sand:
The fingers of a man-

A solitary hand-
Along the letters ran,

And traced them like a wand.
The monarch saw, and shook,

And bade no more rejoice;
All bloodless wax'd his look,

And tremulous his voice :
“Let the men of lore appear,

The wisest of the earth,
And expound the words of fear,

Which mar our royal mirth."
Chaldea's seers are good,

Bul here they have no skill;
And the unknown letters stood

Untold and awful still.
And Babels men of aye

Are wise and deep in lore;
But now they were not sage,

They saw—bul knew no more.
A captive in the land,

A stranger and a youth,
He heard the king's command,

He saw that writing's truth.
The lamps around were bright,

The prophecy in view;
He read it on that night,-

The morrow proved it true.

language. It beats all the gbost-scenes I ever read. The finest (1) “ Mariamne, the wife of Herod the Great, falling under the conceplion on a similar subject is that of Goethe's devil, Mephis- suspicion of infidelity, was put to death by his order. She was a lopheles; and though, of course, you will give the priority to the woman of unrivalled beauty, and a haughty spirit: unhappy in formes, as being inspired, yet the latter, if you know il, will ap- being the object of passionate attachment, which bordered on pear to you—at least it does lo me-one of the finest and most frenzy, to a man who had more or less concern in the murder sublime specimens of human conception." Kennedy's Conver. of her grandfather, father, brother, and uncle, and who had twice salions on Religion, etc., with Lord Byron.

commanded her death, in case of his own. Ever after, Herod


« PreviousContinue »