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And with it all its holy memories,
And thoughts of Zion and Jerusalem ;
And, breeze-like from the hills of heaven, again
The echo of angelic harmonies,
And rushing of the wings of cherubim
Swept o'er thy spirit. Then thy tongue was loosed;
Nor longer mute, the harp of prophecy
Woke to thy raptured touch its strains of fire.
“ Woe to the wicked! he shall surely die;
Woe to the iron heart, and right hand clench'd
Against the widow and the fatherless!
Woe to the murderer, the rebellious son,
The daughter revelling in harlotry,
The faithless wife, the dark adulterer,
The sin-polluted homes of Israel !
Woe unto him who leaves the living God,
Insensate, to adore upon the hills
His idol deities of lust and blood !”
Woe to the land that hath abandon’d God;
God hath abandon’d her: His glittering sword
Is whetted, and His winged arrow lies
Upon the string. The sentence is gone forth.
The messengers of death are on their way,
The sword of noon, the pestilence that walks
In darkness, and the ravening beasts of prey.
Behold the fury of Omnipotence,
The wrath of the Eternal ! who shall stand
His vengeance? for the roll of fate is fill'd
With mourning and lament and wrath and woe.
It ceased awhile, that wail of prophecy;
But fraught with darker mysteries ere long
Swell’d, like the moanings of the wintry wind
Again and yet again around the stones
Of crumbling sepulchres. Thine eyes have seen,
O Lord, the chambers of dark imagery,
The women weeping at the idol shrine
Of Tammuz, and those worshippers who kneel
In vile prostration to the rising sun.
Woe for the bloody city! seeing not
Those awful watchers standing at her gates
White-robed, and girt with weapons keen as death : ?
Nor hearing in her giddy mirth the words
That fell, Ezekiel, on thy anguish'd soul —
"Go through the gates, go through the streets, and
Slay old and young, virgin and suckling child,
Spare not, but slay ye every thing that breathes;
Save those few sealed ones who sigh and cry
In secret bitterly before their God.”
Woe for apostate Salem! she forsakes
Her glory, and the glory of the Lord
Forsakes His temple. Lingering and slow1
As loath to leave His chosen heritage,
From court to court the cloud of brightness swept,
And on the threshold brooded, awfully
Reluctant; but anon the cherubim
And wheels, and sapphire throne, and firmament
Of crystal, moving silently, forsook
Thy gates, O Zion: and a little space
Resting upon the brow of Olivet,
When the last sands of mercy had run out,
Rose like a golden sunset-cloud, impress’d
With living light, and as it vanish’d left
A track of glory in the desolate heaven.
Joy once for beautiful Jerusalem !
Hers was the time of love, when cast abroad
A helpless infant in her blood, she wept
And soon had wept her last: but lo! the Lord
Pass'd by, and o'er her His wide mantle threw,
And chose her, and embraced her with the arms
Of mercy. And she grew in loveliness
And love: her breasts like sculptured ivory
Or roes that feed among the lilies : 2 grace
Flow'd in her movements; and her golden hair
About her like a veil transparent waved.
Her raiment was of broider'd needlework,
And silks of richest dyes ; and Ophir hung
Her hands with bracelets, and her neck with chains;
And jewels, sparkling as the dew-drops, lit
Her coronet of gold. But none may tell
Her trancing and unearthly comeliness,
For Heaven apparell’d her in robes divine,
Hers was the perfect beauty of her God.
Ah, woe for faithless Salem! where is now
The love of her espousals? guilt and grief
Have written on her brow their frequent tale.
It was a picture too unstain'd for earth,
And sin has marr'd a second Paradise,
When she the loveliest, most beloved of brides,
Sank harlot-like in base adulterous arms.
The curse has fallen on thee: bitter tears
Of blood and anguish have been wept: thy bloom
Is trampled in the dust, thy charms exposed
To every gazer's ridicule; and none
But God could pardon thee. But hark! He speaks 1
Of pardon, and of early covenants
Of free forgiveness, and a happier home
Of silent love and humble trustfulness.
But Israel was not lonely in her guilt,
Nor lonely was her chastisement. Beside
The flowing waves of Chebar rose the.strains
Of prophecy which after years have sung
As dirges of the fall of many lands.
Proud Moab sunk before those prescient words,
More terrible than thunder, or the shout