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HEBER.

PALESTINE,

A PRIZE POEM.

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Recited in the Theatre, Oxford, June 15, 1803.
REFT of thy fons, amid thy foes forlorn,
Mourn, widow'd queen, forgotten Sion, mourn!
Is this thy place, sad City, this thy throne,
Where the wild desert rears its craggy stone ?
While funs unbleft their angry lustre fing,
And way-worn pilgrimś seek the scanty spring?
Where now thy pomp, which kings with

envy

view'd ? Where now thy might, which all those kings fubdu'd ? No martial myriads muser in thy gate; No suppliant nations in ihy Temple wait ; No prophet bards thy glittering courts among, Wake the full lyre, and swell the tide of song : But lawless Fórce, and meagre Want is there, And the quick-darting eye of restless Fear ; While cola Oblivion, 'mid thy ruins laid, Folds his dank wing beneath the ivy shade. (1)

Ye guardian Saints! ye warrior sons of heaven, (2) To whose high care Judæa’s state was given!

(1) Alluding to the usual manner in which Sleep is represented in ancient statues. See also Pindar, Pyth. 1. v. 16, 17. «« κνώσσων ΥΓρον νωτον αιωρϊι.

(2) Authorities tor these celestial warriors may be found, Jok v. 13. 2 Kings vi. 2. 2. Macc. v. 3. Ibid. xi. &c.

O wont of old your nightly watch to keep,
A host of gods, on Sion's towery steep!
If e'er your secret footsteps linger still
By Siloa's fount, or Tabor's echoing hill,
If e'er your song on Salem's glories dwell,
And mourn the captive land you lov'd so well;
(For, oft, 'tis faid, in Kedron's palmy vale,
Mysterious harpings swell the midnight gale,
And, bleft as balmy dews that Hermon cheer,
Melt in soft cadence on the pilgrim's ear ;)
Forgive, bleft fpirits, if a theme so high
Mock the weak notes of mortal minstrelfy !
Yet, might your aid this anxious breast inspire
With one faint spark of Milton's seraph fire,
Then should my Muse ascend with bolder flight,
And weave her eagle-plumes, exulting in the light.

O happy once in heaven's peculiar love,
Delight of men below, and saints above !
Though, Salem, now the spoiler's ruffian hand
Has loos’d his hell-hounds o'er thy wasted land;
Tho'weak, and whelm'd beneath the storms of Fate,
Thy house is left unto thee defolate;
Though thy proud stones in cumb'rous ruin fall,
And seas of sand o'er-top thy mouldering wall ;
Yet shall the Mure to Fancy's ardent view
Each shadowy trace of faded pomp renew :
And as the Seer (3) on Pisgah's topmost brow
With glistening eye beheld the plain below,
With prescient ardour drank the scented gale,
And bade the opening glades of Canaan hail;

(3) Moses.

Her eagle-eye fall fean the profpect wide,
From Carmel's cliffs to Almotana's tide ; (4)
The Ainty waste, the cedar-tufted hill,
The liquid health of smooth Ardeni's rill';
The grot, where, by the watch-fire's ev'ning blaze, (5)
The robber riots, or the hermit prays;
Or where the tempeft-rives the hoary stone,
The wintry top of giant Lebanon.

Fierce, hardy, proud, in conscious freedom bold,
Those stormy seats the warrior Druses hold ; (6)
From Norman blood their lofty line they trace,
Their lion courage proves their generous race.
They, only they, while all around them kneel
In sullen homage to the Thracian Ateel,
Teach their pale despot's waning moon to fear
The patriot terrors of the mountain fpear.

Yes, valorous chiefs, while yet your fabres shine,
The native guard of feeble Palestine,
0.ever thus, by no vain boaft dismay'd,
Defend the birthright of the cedar shade!
What though no more for you th' obedient gale
Swells the white bofom of the Tyrian fail ;

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(4) Almotana is the oriental name for the Dead Sea, as Ardeni is for Jordan.

(5) The mountains of Palestine are full of caverns, which are generally occupied in one or other of the methods here mentioned.

(6) The untameable spirit, feodal customs, and affection for Europeans, which distinguish this extraordinary race, who boast themselves to be a remnant of the Crusaders, are well described in Pagees.

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Though now go more your glitt'ring marts unfold
Sidonian dyes and Lusitanian gold; (7)
Though not for you the pale and fickly Nave
Forgets the light in Ophir's wealthy cave ;
Yet your's the lot, in proud contentment bleft,
Where cheerful labour leads to tranquil reft.
No robber rage the ripening harvest knows;
And unrestrain d the generous vintage flows:
Nor less your sons to manließt deeds aspire,
And Afia's mountains glow with Spartan fire.

So when, deep linking in the rosy main,
The western Sun forsakes the Syrian plain,
His watery rays refracted luftre shed,
And pour their latest light on Carmel's head.

Yet shines your praise, amid surrounding gloom,
As the lone lamp that trembles in the tomb :
For, few the souls that spurn a tyrant's chain,
And small the bounds of Freedom's scanty reiga.
As the poor outcast on the cheerless wild, (8)
Arabia's parent, clafp'a her fainting child,
And wander'd near the roof no more ber home,
Forbid to linger, yet afraid to roam :
My sorrowing Fancy quits the happier height,
And southward throws her half-averted light.
For fad the scenes Judæa's plains disclose,
A dreary waste of undiftinguish'd woes :
See War untir'd his crimson pinions spread,
And foul Revenge that tramples on the dead !

7) The gold of the Tyrians chiefly came from Portugal, which was probably their Tarshisha,

8) Hagar.

Lo, where from far the guarded fountains thinc,(9)
Thy tents, Nebaioth, rife, and Kedar, thine !
"Tis your's the boast to mark the stranger's way,
And spur your headlong chargers on the prey,
Or rouse your nightly numbers from afar,
And on the hamlet pour the waste of war;
Nor spare the hoary head, nor bid your eye
Revere the facred smile of infancy.
Such now the clans whose fiery coursers feed
Where waves on Kifhon's bank the whispering reed;
And their's the soil, where, curling to the skies,
Smokes' on Gerizim's mount Samaria's facrifice. (10)
While Israel's fons, by scorpion curses driven,
Outcasts of earth, and reprobate of heaven,
Through the wide world in friendless exile Aray,
Remorse and shame, sole comrades of their way,
With dumb defpair their country's wrongs behold,
And, dead to glory, only burn for gold.

O Thou, their Guide, their, Father, and their Lord,
Lov'd for Thy mercies, for Thy pow'r ador'd!
If ac Thy name the waves forgot their force,
And refuent Jordan fought his trembling source ;
Jf at Thy name like sheep the mountains Aed,
And haughty Sirion bow'd his marble head;
To Israel's woes a pitying ear incline,
And raise from earth thy long-neglected vine !
Her rifled fruits behold the heathen bear,
And wild-wood boars her mangled clusters tear.

9) The watering places are generally beset with Arabs, who exact toll from all comers.

10) Á miserable remnant of Samaritan worship still exists on Mount Gerizim.

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