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Female Scriptural Characters: Esther

By Mrs. R. Hyneman

No. VI.

“The matter of which dreams are made,
Not more endowed with actual life
Than this phantasmal portraiture
Of wandering human thought.”—Shelley.

“Lo, midway along my wild, lone course,
A swift-winged spirit detains my flight.”—Schiller.

Ye are passing away, passing away,
   Like the midnight dream of a fevered brain,
That fadeth with reason’s returning sway,
   And the wearied slumberer striveth in vain

Again to recall.

Ye are passing away, ye fade like the wreath
   Of a summer cloud that pageants the sun,
As he speeds to his setting, and sinks beneath
   The burnished wave when his race is run,

And dark shadows fall.

Oh! leave me not thus, while my spirit clings
   To the hallowed memories of the past,
And every trace of its history flings
   A shadow of beauty that fleeting fast

Returns not again.

Must ye fade from my sight, ye forms of air?
   Will that glorious vision for ever depart?­—
Yet one gentle spirit seems lingering there,
   As if loath to add to a human heart

One pang of pain.

The vision hath changed, a palace uprears
   Its proud front, dazzling and bright in the sun.
Who are they that come with wild gestures and tears?
   What evil hath chanced them, what deed hath been done

That paleth the cheek?

And causeth the stern, proud man to bow,
   While the damps of death pass over his frame,
And his heart thrills with anguish?—Shield them now,
   Oh! Father, they call on thy holy name,

Those righteous and meek.

“We are the last of a mighty race,
   Redeemer of Israel, hear our cry,
Oh! though in high heaven thy dwelling-place,
   Pass not the prayer of affliction by

Hear us, O God.

“If our steps have strayed in the paths of shame,
   Yet now, when the floods of affliction roll,
We come to thee, Father, we call on thy name,—
   The billows dash wild o’er the desolate soul,

Save us, O God.”

Crush’d, humbled, trodden down unto the earth,
   Have ye no hope, is no deliverer high?
Hath Israel then no champion to stand forth,
   And shield her, in her hour of agony

And bitter wo?

Like moonlight breaking upon deepest night,
   Like ocean calm’d amid its wildest storm,
Hath fall’n the balm of peace. What arm of might
   Wrought their deliverance, what warrior form

Claims homage now?

No slaughter marks the path the conqueror trod,
   No blood-stained trophies prove the victor’s power;
Woman’s meek prayer breath’d fervently to God
   Hath burst the bonds in dark affliction's hour,

Of those who mourn.

Now fades the vision, and the clouds of night
   Roll back before the coming orb of day,
And all those fair, ethereal forms of light,
   Melt into air, and fading pass away,

Ne’er to return.