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No. 12. Judah. ... I knelt with them, and mingled my tears with theirs. Prayer calmed my spirit; and before I left the height, I stopped to look again upon the wondrous expanse below. The clear atmosphere of the East singularly diminishes distance, and I seemed to stand close to the Roman camps. The valley at my feet was living with the new population of Jerusalem clustering thick as bees, and sending up the perpetual hum of their mighty hive. The sight was superb; and I involuntarily exulted in the strength that my country was still able to display in the face of her enemies. “Here were the elements of mutual havoc; but, might they not be the elements of preservation?” The thought occured, that now was the time to make an effort for peace.— “We had, by the repulse of the legionaries, shown the price' which they must pay for conquest. Even since that repulse, a new force had started forward, armed with an enthusiasm that would perish only with the last man, and tenfold increasing the difficulties of the conquest.” I turned again to the ruins, where I joined myself to some venerable and influential men, who alike shuddered at the excesses of the crowd below, and the catastrophe that prolonged war must bring. My advice produced an impression. The remnant of the Sanhedrim were speedily collected; and my proposal was adopted, that a deputation should immediately be sent to Titus, to ascertain how far he was disposed to an armistice. The regular pacification might then follow with a more solemn ceremonial. From the top of Mount Moriah, we anxiously watched the passage of our envoys through the multitude that wandered over the space from Jerusalem to the foot of the enemy's position. We saw them pass unmolested, and enter the Roman lines; and from the group of officers of rank who came forward to meet them, we gladly conjectured that their reception was favorable. Within an hour we saw them moving down the side of the hill on their return; and at some distance behind, a cluster of horsemen slowly advanc
The deputation had executed its task with success. It was received by Titus with Italian urbanity. To its representations of the power subsisting in Judea to sustain the war he fully assented; and, giving high praise to the fortitude of the people, only lamented the necessary havoc of war. To give the stronger proof of his wish for peace, his answer was to be conveyed formally by a mission of his chief counsellors and officers to the Sanhedrim.
The tidings were soon propagated among the people, and proud of their strength, and
Beauties of Salathiel.
irritated against the invader as they were, the prospect of relief from their innumerable privations was welcomed with undisguised joy. The hope was as cheering to the two prominent leaders of the factions, as to any man among us. John of Giscala had been stimulated into daring by circumstances alone; nature neverintended him for a warrior. Wily, grasping and selfish; cruel without boldness, and keen without intellectual vigor; his only purpose was to accumulate money, and to enjoy power. The loftier objects of public life were beyond his narrow capacity. He had been rapidly losing even his own meaner objects; his followers were deserting him; and a continuance of the war involved equally the personal peril which he feared, and the fall of that tottering authority, whose loss would leave him to insulted iustice. Simon, the son of Gioras, was altogether of a higher class of mankind. He was by nature a soldier; and might have, in other times, risen to a place among the celebrated names of war. But the fierceness of the period inflamed his bold spirit into savage atrocity. In the tumults of the city he had distinguished himself by that unhesitating hardihood, which values neither his own life nor that of others; and his boldness threw the hollow and artificial character of his rival deeply into the shade. But he found a different adversary in the Romans. His brute bravery was met by intelligent valor; his rashness was punished by the discipline of the legions; and, weary of conflicts in which he was sure to be defeated, he had long left the field to the irregular sallies of the tribes; and contented himself with prowess in city feud, and the preservation of his authority against the dagger. Peace with Rome would have relieved both John and Simon from the danger which threatened to overwhelm them alike: to the citizens it would have given an instant change from the terrors of assault to tranquility: to the nation, the hope of an existence made splendidly secure and honorable, by its having been won from the sovereign of the world. The movement of the Roman mission through the plain was marked by loud shouts. As it approached the gates, our little council descended from the Temple-porch to meet it, where one of the open places in the centre of the city was appointed for the conference. The applauding roar of the people followed the troop through the streets; and when the tribunes and senators entered the square, and gave us the right hand of amity, the universal acclamation shook the air. A gleam of joy revisited my heart; and I was on the point of ascending an elevation in the centre, to announce the terms of this fortunate arm
2S6 t Beauties of Salathiel. Vol. II. istice;7—to my astonishment I saw the spot |the earth was dark: the heaven was thine, pre-occupied. the earth was at thy feet. Thou didst thun
Whence came the intruder no one could tell. But there he stood, a figure that fixed the universal eye. He was of lofty stature, brown as an Indian, and thin as one worn to the last extremity by sorrow or famine. Conjecture was busy. He seemed, alternately, the fugitive from a dungeon—one of the halfsavage recluses that sometimes came from their dens in the wilderness, to exhibit among us the last humiliation of mind and body—a dealer in forbidden arts, attempting to impose on the rude credulity of the populace—and a prophet armed with the fearful knowledge of our approaching fall. But to me there was an expression in his countenance that partook of all; yet I gazed with an indefinable feeling that there was a something different from all in the glaring eye, the fixed and livid scorn of the lip, and the stern and grand outline of features, that appeared alike overflowing with malignity and majesty. No man thought of interrupting him. A powerful interest hushed every voice of the multitude; and the only impulse was eagerness to hear the lofty wisdom, or the fatal tidings, that must be deposited with such a being. He himself seemed overwhelmed with the magnitude of the thoughts that he was commissioned to disclose. He stood for a while with the look of one oppressed by a fearful dream; his bosom heaving, his teeth gnashing, every muscle of his meagre frame swelling and quivering. He strongly clasped his bony arms across his breast, as if to repress the agitation that impeded his words; then, stamping on the ground, in wrath at the faculties which thus sank under him at the important moment, the tempest of his soul broke forth. “Judah! thou wert as a lion—thou wert as the king of the forest when he went up to the mountains to slay, and from the mountains came down to devour. Thou wert as the garden of Eden, every precious stone was thy covering; the sardine, the topaz, and the beryl, were thy pavements; thy fountains were of silver, and thy daughters that walked in thy groves were as the cherubim and the seraphim. “Judah! thy temple was glorious as the sun-rising, and thy priests were the wise of the earth. Kings came against thee, and their bones were an offering; the fowls of the air devoured them; the foxes brought their young, and feasted them upon the mighty. “Judah : thou wert as a fire in the midst of the nations—a fire upon an altar; who shall quench thee?—A sword over the neck of the heathen ; who shall say unto thee, smite no more! Thou wert as the thunder and the lightning: thou camest from thy place, and
der, and the nations shook; and the fire of thy indignation consumed them.” The voice in which this extraordinary being uttered those words was like the thunder. The multitude listened with breathless awe. The appeal in the languag' of their own prophets was to them a renewal of the times of inspiration; and they awaited with outstretched and quivering countenances the sentence, that their passions interrupted into the will of heaven. The figure lifted up his glance, that had hitherto been fixed on the ground; and, whether it was the work of fancy or reality, I thought that the glance threw an actual beam of fire across the upturned visages of the myriads that filled every spot on which a foot could rest; roof, wall, and ground. Bowing his head, and raising his hands in the most solemn adoration towards the temple, he pursued, in a voice scarcely above a whisper, yet indescribably impressive— “Sons of the faithful Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob ; people chosen of God, elect and holy! Will you suffer that house of holiness to be the scoff of the idolater? Will you see the polluted sacrifice laid upon its altars? Will you be slaves and victims in the presence of the house of David " A rising outcry of the multitude showed how deeply they felt his words. A fierce smile lightened across his features at the sound. He erected his colossal form; and cried out, like the roar of the whirlwind, “Then, men of Judah, be strong, and follow the hand that led you through the sea and through the desert. Is that hand shortened, that it cannot save? Break off this accursed league with the sons of Belial. Fly every . man to arms, for the glory of the mighty people. Will the Most High desert his people? Go; and let the sword that smote the Canaanite smite the Roman.” He was answered with furious exultation. Swords and poniards were brandished in the air. The safety of the Roman officers became . endangered; and I, with some of the elders, dreading a result which must throw fatal obstacles in the way of pacification, attempted to control the popular violence by reason and – entreaty. But the spirit of the Romans, haughty with conquest, and long contempt of rabble prowess, disdained to take precautions with a mob: and they awaited with palpable contempt in their faces the subsiding of this city effervescence. But this silent scorn, which probably stung the deeper for its silence, was retorted to by clamors of unequivocal rage; the mysterious disturber saw the storm coming; and flinging a furious gesture towards the Roman camps, which lay glitter
Beauties of Salathiel.
ing in the sunshine along the hills, he rushed into the loftiest language of malediction.
“Take up a lament for the Roman,” he shouted. “He comes like a leviathan; he troubleth the waters with his presence; and the rivers behold him, and are afraid.
“Thus saith the king, he who holdeth Is. rael in the hollow of his hand: I will spread my net over thee, and my people shall drag thee upon the shore; I will leave thee to rot upon the land; I will fill the beasts of the earth with thee, until they shall come and find thee dry bones and dust, even thy glory turned into a taint and a scorn.
“Lift up a cry over Rome, and say:—Thou -art the leopard; thy jaws are red with blood, and thy claws are meavy because of the multitude of the slain; thy spots are glorious, and thy feet are like wings for swiftness. Butthy time is at hand. My arrow shall smite through thee: my steel shall go through thee: I will lay thy flesh upon the hills, thy blood shall be : in the rivers, the pits shall be full of ee.
“For, thus saith the king, I have not forsaken my children. For my pleasure, I have given them over for a little while to the hands of the oppressor; but they have loved me— they have come before me, and offered up sacrifices; and shall I desert the land of the chosen, the sons of the glorious, my people Israel !” A universal cry of sorrow, wrath, and triumph, followed this allusion to the national sufferings.
“Ho!” exclaimed the figure. “Men of Israel, hear the words of wisdom. The burden of Rome. By the swords of the mighty will I cause her multitude to fall; the terrible and the strong shall be on thee, city of the idolater; they shall hew off thy cuirasses, as the hewer of wood; and of thy shields, they shall make vessels of water. There shall be fire in thy palaces, and the sword. Thy sons and thy daughters shall they consume; and thy precious things shall be a spoil, when the king shall give the sign from the sanctuary.” He paused, and lifting up his fleshless arm, stood like a giant bronze pointing to the temple.
To the utter astonishment of all, a vapor was seen to ascend from the summit of Mount Moriah, wreathing and white like the smoke that used to mark the daily sacrifice. Our first conception was, that this great interrupted rite was resumed; and the shout of joy was on our lips. But the vapor had scarcely parted from the crown of the hill, when it blackened, and began to whirl with extraordinary rapidity; it thenceforth less ascended than shot up, perpetually darkening and distending. The horizon grew dim, the cloudy canopy above continued to spread and revolve;
lightning began to quiver through; and we heard at intervals, long low peals of thunder. But no rain fell, and the wind was lifelessNothing could be more complete than the calm; not a hair of our heads was moved; yet the heart of the countless multitude was penetrated with the dread of some impending catastrophe, that restrained every voice; and the silence itself was awful. In the climate of Judea we had been accustomed to the rapid rise and violent devastations of tempests. But the rising of this storm, so closely connected with the appearance of the strange summoner, that it almost followed his command, invested a phenomenon, at all times fearful, with a character that might have struck firmer minds than those of the enthusiasts round him. To heighten the wonder, the progress of the storm was still faithful to the command, wherever this man of mystery waved his arm, there rushed a sheet of cloud. The bluest tract of heaven was black as night the moment he turned his ominous presence towards it, until there was no more sky to be obliterated, and, but for the fiery streaks that tore through, we should have stood under a canopy of solid gloom. At length the whirlwind that we had seen driving and rolling the clouds, like billows, burst upon us; roaring as it came: scattering fragments of the buildings far and wide, and cutting a broad way through the overthrown multitude. Then superstition and terror were
loud-mouthed. The populace, crushed and
dashed down, exclaimed that a volcano was throwing up flame from the mount of the temple; that sulphurous smokes were rising through the crevices of the ground; that the rocking of an earthquake was felt; and, still more terrible, that beings not to be looked on, nor even to be named, were hovering round them in the storm. The general rush of the multitude, in which ho were trampled down, and in which, nothing but the most violent efforts could keep any on their feet, bore me away for awhile. The struggle was sufficient to absorb all my senses, for nothing could be more perilous.The darknes was intense. The peals of the storm were deafening; and the howling and fury of the crowd, trampling and being trampled on, and fighting for life in blindness and despair, with hand, foot, and dagger, made an uproar louder than that of the storm. In this conflict rather of demons than of men, I was whirled away in eddy after eddy, until chance brought me again to the foot of the elevation. There I beheld a new wonder. A column of livid fire stood upon it, reaching to the clouds. I could discern the outline of a human form within. But while I expected to see it drop dead, or blasted to a cinder, the flame spread over the ground, and I saw its
The Days of Youth.
strange inhabitant making signs like those of incantation. He drew a circle upon the burning soil, poured out some unguent, which diffused a powerful and rich odor, razed the skin of his arm with a dagger, and let fall some drops of blood into the blaze.
I shuddered at the sight of those palpable appeals to the power of evil; but I was pressed upon by thousands, and retreat was impossible. The magician then, with a ghastly smile of triumph, waved the weapon towards the Roman camps. “Behold,” he cried, “the beginning of vengeance!” A thunder-roll, that almost split the ear, echoed round the hills. The darkness passed away with it.— Above Jerusalem the sky cleared, and cleared into a translucence and blue splendor, unrivaled by the brightest sunshine. The people, wrought up to the highest expectancy, shouted at this promise of a prouder deliverance, and exclaiming, “Goshen Goshen " looked breathlessly for the completion of the plague upon the more than Egyptian oppressor. They were not held long in suspense.
The storm had cleared away from above our heads only to gather in deeper terrors round the circle of the hills, on which we could see the enemy in the most overwhelming state of uncertainty and alarm. clouds rushed on, ridge over ridge, till the whole horizon seemed shut in by a wall of night towering to the skies. I heard the deep voice of the magician; at the utterance of some wild words, a gleam played round the dagger's point, and the wall of darkness was instantly a wall of fire. The storm was let loose in its rage. While we stood in daylight and in perfect calm, the lightning poured like sheets of rain, or gushes of burning metal from a furnace, upon the enemy. The vast circuit of the camps was one blaze. The wind tore every thing before it with irresistible violence. We saw the tents swept off the ground, and driven far over the hills in flames, like meteors; the piles of arms and banners blown away; the soldiery clinging to the rocks, or flying together in helpless crowds, or scattering, like maniacs, with hair and garments on fire; the baggage and military machines, the turrets and ramparts sinking in flames; the beasts of burden plunging and rushing through the lines, or lying in smouldering heaps where the lightning first smote them.
Education is a better safeguard for liberty than a standing army. If we retrench the wages of the schoolmaster, we must raise the wages of the recruiting sergeant.—Ed. Everett.
A young girl, scarcely yet awake to the mysteries of her nature, and fluttering over the first demonstrations of Love, is like a child sporting on the rippling strand of the sea when a high tide is about coming in.