Suggested by a perusal of Lord Lyndsey's Letters on the Holy Land, &c. Vol. i.
sun was sinking, slowly in the west,
Yet filling that fair scene with golden light,
Which, soft and mellow'd, heat intense suppress'd,
Yet gilded rock and wave with radiance bright;
And o'er the lovely azure of the sky,
Clouds, gold and crimson, gorgeously swept by,
But all breathed peace and stillness; not a sound
Broke the full silence lingering around,
Save the low murmur of the rippling wave,
As pensively it came, the shores to lave;
No sea-bird clave the soft yet breezy air;
No note of life, from the huge mountains there;
In smooth repose, the fair and glist'ning plain
Stretched forth from mount to sea; bearing no stain
Of man's disturbing step,—but rock and sea
And mount and wood, in deep repose lay free,
Burden'd with mighty memories—that came
E'en in the thrilling stillness, to proclaim
The God of might and love—and breathe the theme
Of His great deeds—till a bright sunny gleam
Of truth inspir'd, would sudden light impart,
E'en to that thing unknown—an atheist heart!
A voice was cradled in that soft blue sky,
Whisp'ring that the same God of love was nigh,
Who in that heaven had set his shadowy cloud,
And fiery pillar, his beloved to shroud;—
Darkness to Mitzraim's host—but radiant light
To them He saved from slavery's starless night.
A voice had those blue waters, now so still—
Whose rippling, waveless, heart and ear could fill
With melodies of heav'n. That glorious sea!
In its full swelling tide—the glad, the free!
Rushing in thunder to the quiv'ring shore,
Or stilled, and hushed to peace, its wild rage o'er,
Unchained—unsilenced—scorning man's vain call,
Obeying but his will, who measured all
The waters in the hollow of his hand,
And numbered ev'ry grain of the far spreading sand.
He spake! at once their wat'ry depths. upheaving,
As walls on either side—and dry land leaving
Till all had pass'd—the first son of the Lord,
And witness of his truth—again that word—
Back rush'd the mighty waters with a roar,
Which spake their strange restraining yoke was o'er,
And wave on wave came thundering down the steep,
Raised by their upheaved floods, and madly sweep
Th' Egyptian hosts before them—man and horse
Whelm'd 'neath the torrent's wildly rushing course!
Oh! was it but the phantom of the past,
Or did once more the silver clarion's blast
Sound in mine ears, and mount and rock and plain,
'Neath those full notes, are quiv'ring again?
The Jewish hosts are marshalling the ground
From mount to sea—their lines encamping round,
And priests, and warriors, women, children, all—
And stalwart youth, in ranks respective fall,
Their tall spears gleaming in the sunset light,
Till rock and ridge, with sudden radiance bright,
Fling back the song of praise, of glory loud,
That wakes in chorus from the holy crowd.
From north to south it bursts—from east to west
Alternate pealing, echoing e'er suppress'd.
The rushing waves their mighty paean lend,
And deeper tones the tow'ring mountains send—
"Sing, sing ye to the Lord of Hosts, for He
On Mitzraim's hosts hath triumphed gloriously,
The horse and his rider in the seas o'erthrown,
The depths have cover'd them, they sank as stone!
Sing, sing ye to the Lord!" Then soft again
From gentler voices woke th' inspired strain,
And harp and timbrel swell'd the ling'ring chord
Of the rich anthem—"Sing ye to the Lord!"
The very breeze upon his wild flight stay'd,
And whispering responses softly made,
And on his pinions bore the strain along,
Till earth and ocean quiver'd 'neath the song,
And shook before the deep thanksgiving poured,
When the full chorus peal'd, "Sing, sing ye to the Lord!"
vision past! Hush'd was the glorious sound,
The rocks in stillness, solemnly profound,
Hung deepening shadows, on the sandy plain,
And all was hush'd and desolate again.
Spirit of truth! Thou didst my soul enfold,
And wrapt it in thy robe—till scenes of old
Embodied came, to thrill my yearning heart,
And deeper love and thanksgiving impart!
Oh! let the scorner and the sceptic seek,
Where nature's self-inspired love can speak,
Where rock and ocean, mount and moaning, blast,
Proclaim aloud the story of the past.
Hither, oh hither, let the doubting come,
And e 'en thy meanest works, oh God, shall strike the scoffer dumb!