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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.
“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; topit
In the grand dialect the Prophets spake. /
Gone are the living, but the dead remain,
And not neglected; for a hand unseen, Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain,
Still keeps their graves and their remembrance green.
How came they here? What burst of Christian hate,
What persecution, merciless and blind, Drove o'er the sea-that desert desolate
These Ishmaels and Hagars of mankind?
They lived in narrow streets and lanes obscure, "si .: Ghetto and Judenstrass, in mirk and mire;
syre Taught in the school of patience to endure foss of
The life of anguish and the death of fire." Asor
All their lives long, with the unleavened bread" t !
And bitter herbs of exile and its fears!!!! ESIT The wasting famine of the heart they fed, filips
And slaked its thirst with marah of their tearsbut
Anathema maranatha!was the cry in JS"
That rang from town to town, from street to street; At every gate the accursed Mordecai
Was mocked and stered, and spurned by Christian feet.
Pride and humiliation hand in hand
Walked with them through the world where'er they went; Trampled and beaten were they as the sand,
And yet unshaken as the continent.
For in the background figures vague and vast
Of patriarchs and of prophets roše 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 Deadori
*T 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.
Once a convent, old and brown,
Looked, but ah! it looks no more, From the neighboring hillside down On the rushing and the roar
Of the stream
Whose sunny gleam Cheers the little Norman town.
In that darksome mill of stone,
To the water's dash and din, Careless, humble, and unknown, Sang the poet Basselin
Songs that fill
That ancient mill With a splendor of its own.
Never feeling of unrest
Broke the pleasant dream he dreamed; Only made to be his nest, All the lovely valley seemed;
Of soaring higher
True, his songs were not divine;
Were not songs of that high art, Which, as winds do in the pine, Find an answer in each heart;
But the mirth
Of this green earth Laughed and revelled in his line.
From the alehouse and the inn,
Came the loud, convivial din,
The laughing lays
That in those days
Knights, who fought at Agincourt,
Songs that rang
Sat the monks in lonely cells,
But his rhymes
Found other chimes, Nearer to the earth than they.
Gone are all the barons bold,
Gone are all the knights and squires, Gone the abbot stern and cold, And the brotherhood of friars;
Not a name
Remains to fame,
But the poet's memory here
Of the landscape makes a part; Like the river, swift and clear, Flows his song through many a heart;