Henry O'Meara Ballads of America

Poetry is the music of thought
conveyed to us in the music of
language. CHATFIELD


Mourn not the Muse of Israel's children
0 Sons, that nigh her Wall of Wailing moan -
Deem not her tuneful day forever fled,
Her Cantors gone - tbeir vibrant grandeur dead,
For Judah lives while Levi's Songs are sung.
Or love or grief from lyre of David wrung -
While captive chants o'er Babylon Waters' side-
As timbrels over Egypt's yawning Tide,
Plaintive in cadence of their long ago,
Enchain the soul with psalteries of woe!
Sweet through the Age's air she breathes again
The rhythmic charm by her bequeathed to men;
And still her harp its theme harmonious brings,
Though ruthless hands essay to rend the strings;
Rossini, Mendelssohn, and Meyerbeer -
With such her Genius fills the Century's ear;
Her dulcet melody enchanting floats
On Pasta's wave - on Grisi's liquid notes -
On voiceful grace of ranks that resonant throng
To blend her chords of psalmody and song -
From joys that Miriam's jubilation rang
To sorrows Jephtha's daughter dolorous sang.
O Israel's marvelled Muse, what deathless power
Invests thy pensive life with vital dower -
Æolian harp hung o'er one race alone,
Whence is the breeze that wafts thy stayless tone?
'Tis that which bore the Sire at Heaven's command
Across Euphrates to thy hallowed Land,
His Spirit bids thee sad or buoyant be -
His Canticles of Zion sigh and sing through thee!


Edited and formatted by Sheldon Brown

updated Wednesday, April 19, 2000
URL: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/omeara/israel.html
Copyright © 2000 Sheldon Brown