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Their attitude and aspect were the same,
Alike their features and their robes of white; But one was crowned with amaranth, as with flanie,
And one with asphodels, like flakes of light.
I saw them pause on their celestial way;
Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppressed, “ Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray
The place where thy beloved are at rest !”
And he who wore the crown of asphodels,
Descending, at my door began to knock, And my soul sank within me, as in wells
The waters sink before an earthquake's shock.
I recognized the nameless agony,
The terror and the tremor and the pain, That oft before had filled or haunted me,
And now returned with threefold strength again.
The door I opened to my heavenly guest,
And listened, for I thought I heard God's voior; And, knowing whatsoe'er he sent was best,
Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice.
Then with a smile, that filled the house with light
My errand is not Death, but Life," he said; And ere I answered, passing out of sight,
On his celestial embassy he sped.
T was at thy door, O friend ! and not at mine,
The angel with the amaranthine wreath, l'ausing, descended, and with voice divine,
Whispered a word that had a sound like Derth
Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
A shadow on those features fair and thir. ; And softly, from that hushed and darkened room,
Two angels issued, where but one went in.
All is of God! If he but wave his hand,
The mists collect, the rain falls thick and loud, Till, with a smile of light on sea and land,
Lo! he looks back from the departing cloud.
Angels of Life and Death alike are his;
Without his leave they pass no threshold o'er; Who, then, would wish or dare, believing this,
Against his messengers to shut the door?
DAYLIGHT AND MOONLIGHT.
In broad daylight, and at noon,
In broad daylight, yesterday,
But at length the feverish day
Then the moon, in all her pride,
And the Poet's song again
THE JEWISH CEMETERY AT NEWPORT.
How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their
graves, Close by the street of this fair seaport town, Silent beside the never-silent waves,
At rest in all this moving up and down!
The trees are white with dust, that o'er their sleep Wave their broad curtains in the south-wind's
breath, While underneath such leafy tents they keep
The long, mysterious Exodus of Death.
And these sepulchral stones, so old and brown,
That pave with level flags their burial-place, Seem like the tablets of the Law, thrown down
And broken by Moses at the mountain's base.
The very names recorded here are strange,
Of foreign accent, and of different climes; Alvares and Rivera interchange
With Abraham and Jacob of old times.
6 Blessed be God! for he created Death ! ” The mourners said, “and Death is rest and
peace”; Then added, in the certainty of faith,
“ And giveth Life that never more shall cease."
Closed are the portals of their Synagogue,
No Psalms of David now the silence break, No Rabbi reads the ancient Decalogue
In the grand dialect the Prophets spake.
Gone are the living, but the dead remain,
And not neglected; for a hand unseen,
376 THE JEWISH CEMETERY AT NEWPORT.
Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain,
How came they here? What burst of Christian
hate, What persecution, merciless and blind, Drove oʻér the sea -- that desert desolate
These Ishmaels and Hagars of mankind ?
They lived in narrow streets and lanes obscure,
Ghetto and Judenstrass, in mirk and mire; Taught in the school of patience to endure
The life of anguish and the death of fire.
All their lives long, with the unleavened bread
And bitter herbs of exile and its fears, The wasting famine of the heart they fed,
And slaked its thirst with marah of their tears.
Anathema maranatha ! was the cry
That rang from town to town, from street to street; At every gate the accursed Mordecai Was mocked and jeered, and spurned by Chris
Pride and humiliation hand in hand
And yet unshaken as the continent.
For in the background figures vague and vast
Of patriarchs and of prophets rose sublime, And all the great traditions of the Past
They saw reflected in the coming time.
And thus for ever with reverted look
The mystic volume of the world they read,
Spelling it backward, like a Hebrew book,
Till life became a Legend of the Dead.
But ah! what once has been shall be no more !
The groaning earth in travail and in pain Brings forth its races, but does not restore,
And the dead nations never rise again.
In the Valley of the Vire
Still is seen an ancient mill,
On the stone,
These words alone :
Far above it, on the steep,
Ruined stands the old Château;
Its vacant eyes
Stare at the skies,
Once a convent, old and brown,
Looked, but ah! it looks no more,
Of the stream
Whose sunny gleam
In that darksome mill of stone,
To the water's dash and din,