Slike stranica

From the recess a dazzling blaze

Poured on the fear-struck throng its rays;
Then, forth a flaming pillar leapt ;
The altar and the offering swept;
And swift the reeking flesh devoured:
Next, in a fiery torrent poured,
The circumjacent stones consumed;
Last, its resistless course resumed;

Spread through the scooped and flooded ground;
And licked clean up the circling streams around.

They saw; conviction, like a dart, Transfixed th' apostate people's heart: Straight from those myriads rose a cry That shook the earth, and rent the sky; That made the fanes of Baal reel,

And on his worship set death's seal;

Through the whole realm its echoes hurled,
And roused to dread an idol-world:
The cry, like beach-borne billows, rolled,
And, in a voice of thunder, told,
"Jehovah shall alone be Israel's Lord,
"Alone by Israel honoured and adored !”

But what, for the false priestly race, Which tended Baal's worship base? What, but the righteous doom remained, By Heaven, and by His laws ordained?

Who dare th' Eternal penalty,

Eternal Justice dooms to die:

And He who, to His prophet's prayer
Gave orphan-life, and widowed care;
And, to the land that roused His wrath,
In pity showers and dew sent forth;
Made him His wrath's executor,

On those who caused a state to err;
And, for the deed His soul abhorred,
Dealt the retributary sword!



YET slept the wayworn persecuted saint;
But not, as at the first, with furrowed brow,
And aspect worn, and stagnant tear, within
The shaded eye, or on the faded cheek
Arrested trickling. And, perchance, he dreamed;
But no more were his dreams of hate and strife,
And rites abhorred, and vengeance-seeking priests
And kings. Now through his spirit flowed
Visions of angel-visitants and tendings;

And on his curtained eye, and sleep-bound ear,
Swept sights and sounds celestial; while each sense
Seemed as suffused with flower-steeped gales from Heaven.

Still by his side, with looks of pitying love,
As a fond nurse bends o'er her sleeping charge,
To fend from ills, and interruption rude
Of healing rest, the watchful cherub sat;
Guardian of holiness, of age, and grief!

But now was come the hour to recommence His desert-path. Again, with gentle touch,

And in mild tones, th' angelic minister
Proffered the simple food; again with words
Of holy comfort cheered his spirit, and sped
The pilgrim on his way; then into air

Melted, and winged his flight to the blest seats;
There meekly to receive th' august approval
Of his great Master, for his ministry
And gracious office faithfully achieved.

Once more the traveller to his weary way
Addressed his lonely steps. Rude was the soil;
Fierce beat upon his head the noon-tide beams;
Thick fell, in evening-hours, unwholesome dews:
Yet now, no rugged path, nor burning beams,
Nor noxious dew, had aught of power to harm;
Nor-greater marvel yet-did hunger's pangs,
Or thirst, consume his renovated frame.
Some secret force, some new-given energy,
Sustained his powers, and silenced nature's wants.
His frame was adamant; his stiffened limbs
Brass-cased; his rigid sinews bound with iron:
He trod elastic o'er the burning sands,

And rocky pathways; food, drink, needed nought;
And if, in midnight darkness, slumbers brief
Came at his call, he quickly woke again
Buoyant, and traced untired his desert route.

Thus was the body comforted; but thought Of his loved country's deep rebellion; thought

Of the dire conflict waged between God's truth
And idol-blasphemy; thought, that (as he deemed,
Yet deemed in error) he, alone-all else
Faithless--'gainst bands infuriated stood,
Monarchs and priests, on his destruction bent ;
Filled yet his soul with deep, though chastened grief.

Thus forty days and nights were past; and now

Came Horeb's mighty solitudes in view.

The rugged peaks which heaven defied, and towered
Aloft, like hosts in serried ranks; the rocks
Heaped, pile on pile, as massy ruins, torn

And hurled from their deep bases; plains rude, bare,
Unclothed with dew-steeped verdure, unadorned
With leafy stems, or spreading branches; caves,
Murky and deep, which, in their entrails huge,
Could cities' populations hold; all these—
Not to his venturous foot unknown-yet now,
With deeper impress on the spirit, met
His awe-struck eye. He knew the sacred place,
Where, erst, Jehovah called his chosen tribes,
To learn, midst lightning-blazes, thrilling blasts
From Heaven-blown trumpets, devastating flames,
Tempests, and earthquakes, His eternal laws;
And, with their God, to knit in solemn bonds
That sacred covenant, immutable

On His part, but on theirs, blown to the winds;
Effaced, like characters in shifting sand,

How soon! He paused; and knew, by secret impulse,

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