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ESTHER, THE JEWESS.
The monarch of Persia has wrapped o’er his breast
The vesture whose jewels emblazoned the throne; His lovely, young queen, who in sackcloth is dressed,
Is far from his presence, and sighing alone.
Deceived by his minion's base falsehood and art,
The king through his empire has issued the word, Condemning the Jews, who shall fail to depart
At once from the realm, to be put to the sword.
And who, in their cause, is for mercy to sue ?
To whose pleading voice will the sovereign give ear ? 'Tis death in his kingdom to be now a Jew
'Tis death in his presence, uncalled, to appear.
The wife of his bosom that peril shall take!
The helpless young Jewess, so gentle and fair, To live with her people, or die for their sake, Will go to her lord, and her nation declare.
For little he dreams that his idolized bride,
The joy of his heart, the delight of his eyes, Is born of that race whom the Persians deride
The people his nation oppress and despisc.
There's wine at the palace, and feasting, and mirth;
In Esther's still chamber there's fasting and prayer. While he with the crown, has the homage of earth,
She calls on her God, her doomed people to spare.
She thinks of her fathers in Egypt's dark land
She thinks of the bush, as on Horeb it burned; And Who hath the hearts of the kings in his hand,
To turn them, as rivers of water are turned.
To Him, for support, and for light to her mind,
She sends up the cries of her soul from the dust ;
Then, rising to go to the king, is resigned
To do this and perish, if perish she must,
With fasting and tears she is languid and pale,
But o'er her young face beams the sunrise of soul; And flesh, though but feeble and ready to fail,
Is urged to its point by the spirit's control.
The woman within her is timid and faint;
The holy believer, unawed and serene.
And, bowed as a lily oppressed by a shower,
She leans on her maidens for nature's support. In beauty and silence, the delicate flower,
She's now at the palace, and stands in the court.
She looks to the throne, where the sovereign sits high,
Arrayed in his glory-alone in his state.
That chides her approach, show him fearfully great.