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Blest land of Judea ! thrice hallowed of song
Where the holiest of memories pilgrim-like throng ;
In the shade of thy palms, by the shores of thy sea,
On the hills of thy beauty, my heart is with thee.
With the eye of a spirit I look on that shore,
Where pilgrim and prophet have lingered before ;
With the glide of a spirit I traverse the sod
Made bright by the steps of the angels of God.
Blue sea of the hills !-- in my spirit I hear
Thy waters, Genesaret, chime on my ear ;
Where the Lowly and Just with the people sat down,
And thy spray on the dust of His sandals was thrown.
Beyond are Bethulia's mountains of green,
And the desolate hills of the wild Gadarene ;
And I pause on the goat-crags of Tabor to see
The gleam of thy waters, O dark Galilee !
Hark, a sound in the valley! where, swollen and strong,
Thy river, O Kishon, is sweeping along;
Where the Canaanite strove with Jehovah in vain,
And thy torrent grew dark with the blood of the slain.
There down from his mountains stern Zebulon came,
And Napthali's stag, with his eye-balls of flame,
And the chariots of Jabin rolled harmlessly on,
For the arm of the Lord was Abinoam's son!
There sleep the still rocks and the caverns which rang
To the song which the beautiful prophetess sang,
When the princes of Issachar stood by her side,
And the shout of a host in its triumph replied.
Hill-site belo and then and the
Lo, Bethlehem's hill-site before me is seen,
With the mountains around, and the valleys between ;
There rested the shepherds of Judah, and there
The song of the angels rose sweet on the air.
And Bethany's palm trees in beauty still throw
Their shadows at noon on the ruins below;
But where are the sisters who hastened to greet
The lowly Redeemer, and sit at His feet?
I tread where the TWELVE in their way-faring trod ;
I stand where they stood with the CHOSEN OF GOD
Where His blessing was heard and His lessons were taught,
Where the blind were restored and the healing was wrought.
Oh, here with His flock the sad Wanderer came —
These hills He toiled over in grief, are the same —
The founts where He drank by the wayside still flow,
And the same airs are blowing which breathed on His brow!
And throned on her hills sits Jerusalem yet,
But with dust on her forehead, and chains on her feet ;
For the crown of her pride to the mocker hath gone,
And the holy Shechinah is dark where it shone.
But wherefore this dream of the earthly abode
Of Humanity clothed in the brightness of God ?
Were my spirit but turned from the outward and dim,
It could gaze, even now, on the presence of Him !
Not in clouds and in terrors, but gentle as when,
In love and in meekness, He moved among men ;
And the voice which breathed peace to the waves of the sea,
In the hush of my spirit would whisper to me!
And what if my feet may not tread where He stood,
Nor my ears hear the dashing of Galilee's flood,
Nor my eyes see the cross which He bowed him to bear,
Nor my knees press Gethsemane's garden of prayer.
Yet loved of the Father, Thy Spirit is near
To the meek, and the lowly, and penitent here ;
And the voice of Thy love is the same even now,
As at Bethany's tomb, or on Olivet's brow.
Oh, the outward hath gone ! — but in glory and power,
The SPIRIT surviveth the things of an hour ;
Unchanged, undecaying, its Pentecost flame
On the hearts secret altar is burning the same!
THEY hear thee not, O God I nor see :
Beneath Thy rod they mock at Thee ;
The princes of our ancient line
Lie drunken with Assyrian wine ;
The priests around Thy altar speak
The false words which their hearers seek ;
And hymns which Chaldea's wanton maids
Have sung in Dura's idol-shades,
Are with the Levites' chant ascending,
With Zion's holiest anthems blending !
On Israel's bleeding bosom set,
The heathen heel is crushing yet ;
The towers upon our holy hill
Echo Chaldean footsteps still.
Our wasted shrines — who weeps for them?
Who mourneth for Jerusalem ?
Who turneth from his gains away?
Whose knee with mine is bowed to pray ?
Who, leaving feast and purpling cup,
Takes Zion's lamentation up ?
A sad and thoughtful youth, I went
With Israel's early banishment ;
And where the sullen Chebar crept,
The ritual of my fathers kept.
The water for the trench I drew,
The firstling of the flock I blew,
And, standing at the altar's side,
I shared the Levites' lingering pride,
That still amidst her mocking foes,
The smoke of Zion's offering rose.
In sudden whirlwind, cloud and flame,
The Spirit of the Highest came !
Before mine eyes a vision passed,
A glory terrible and vast ;
With dreadful eyes of living things,
And sounding sweep of angel wings,
With circling light and sapphire throne,
And flame-like form of One thereon,
And voice of that dread Likeness sent
Down from the crystal firmament !
The burden of a prophet's power
Fell on me in that fearful hour ;
From off unutterable woes
The curtain of the future rose ;
I saw far down the coming time
The fiery chastisement of crime ;
With noise of mingling hosts, and jar
Of falling towers and shouts of war,
I saw the nations rise and fall,
Like fire-gleams on my tent's white wall.
In dream and trance, I saw the slain
Of Egypt heaped like harvest grain ;
I saw the walls of sea-born Tyre
Swept over by the spoiler's fire ;
And heard the low, expiring moan
Of Edom on his rocky throne ;
And, woe is me! the wild lament
From Zion's desolation sent ;
And felt within my heart each blow
Which laid her holy places low.
In bonds and sorrow, day by day,
Before the pictured tile I lay ;