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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
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
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
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, Scattering its bounty, like a summer rain,
Still keeps their graves and their remem
How came they here? What burst of Chris
tian 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 ob
scure, 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
street; At every gate the accursed Mordecai Was mocked and jeered, and spurned by
Pride and humiliation hand in hand
Walked with them through the world wher
e'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 rose sublime,