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Pharaoh.-- What of her ?
Rameses.- Is dead.
Pharaoh.—And soon shall be revenged, Rameses.
For every life of an Egyptian lost
Ten Hebrew lives shall pay the forfeit.
I'm a bereft and broken-hearted father.
The joy of life is gone. I seek no vengeancê.
O hear the counsel of your friends, and make
No more feeble resistance. All the wise
Condemn this undertaking. Pause and think ;
Nor drag all Egypt with you into ruin.
Speak but one word-say you have changed your purpose ;
And I will bless you.
I read too well that silence ;
And too well also read your awful doom.
Pharaoh.-By all the gods, you trifle with your life.
It is in danger.
Rameses. --That I reckoned on Before I ventured in the lion's den. Proud monarch, thou shalt hear the truth for once. Thou hast been a tyrant, and a withering curse, To Egypt and the world. More than men fear They hate thee. Prayers from widowed wives, and orphans, Rise daily for thy death. The blood of thousands, Thy murdered victims, cries aloud for vengeance. Look where thou wilt, the soil is steeped and drenched With bitter tears; and reeking with the gore Shed by thy tyranny. Hard-hearted man ! Thou hast a human form ; but the blood-thirstiness Of the fell tiger.
Pharaoh.—Spare me, I beseech thee.
Rameses.-Spare thee? Whom didst thou ever spare?
Nor man, nor woman, nor the helpless babe.
All have been sacrificed, remorseless king,
To thy fierce selfishness. But now the time
Of retribution comes. The stars of heaven,
And elements of nature, fight against thee.
Thy days are numbered. In thy mad attempt,
A nation's curses follow thee—and mine.
Pharaoh (alone).—There wanted only this. My cup is full.
I have shed blood, till its red wave pursues me
Like a broad ocean. The sweet voice of nature
Is stifled in my bosom. Men and gods
Are leagued against me; twice ten thousand spirits,
My murdered victims, haunt me in my dreams;
Or when I am awake, peep through the shadows
Of the dark night. All mock and threaten me,
My own soul is prophetic, and forebodes
Some mighty evil.-Well, I must fulfil
My destiny. But awful solitude,
And night, I hate you :--and I dare not sleep.
O for the morning light to scatter all
These shadowy phantoms!
Ha! What being art thou,
That comest thus in likeness of the dead?
Thy form is thin and misty; thy pale face
Is that of Asia. Speak! Why art thou here?
Is this reality? Or is't illusion ?
Did there but now a disembodied spirit
Stand here before me? All my members quake;
And a cold sweat bedews my frame. What cowards
Do night and darkness make us !
Attendant.-Did the king speak?
Pharaoh.- Again! who art thou :—No, I called thee not. Yet stay. Went no one from the tent?
Attendant.—What means My lord, the king ?
Pharaoh.-Passed there none by you now;
Now, as you entered ?
Attendant.—No one passed, my lord.
Pharaoh.—You may be
But keep strict watch. This is another warning
That menaces my life. It may be true.
What then ? the less of life that's left, more reason
Is there for action. And if death is near,
I must be busy.-I'll set forth to-night :
And let death come, it will go hard with Pharaoh,
But he will first have vengeance on the Hebrews.
MORNING. ETHAM. A VAST PLAIN.
The Hebrews encamped. Moses, Joshua, and other Hebrews.
Moses.--Here to the confines of our land of bondage
Our God hath safely brought us: endless praise
Be to our Saviour and our leader! God,
To comfort and assure us, hath vouchsafed
His visible presence, as is manifest
In this dense cloudy pillar ; which by night
Issues a steady flame to guide our steps.
With such assurance, Israel cannot doubt,
Ought not to fear. Before us lies the desert
Which leads to Canaan. But a little while,
And we might enter that fair land, the portion
of your fathers--but the way is dangerous.
your deliverer in pity leads
Your families a longer, but a safer
Journey. You are not used to war; and fear
Might lead you to despair. Turn backwards, then,
And march to Baal-zephon, by the sea.
You must encamp before the narrow pass
Of Pihahiroth, opposite the fortress.
Give orders now to march.
Joshua.–See that you keep
In compact order, and in ranks of five,
As you left Egypt. Let none leave his place,
Nor wander, lest you fall into confusion.
Now give the word to march, through all the tribes.
The pass of Pihahiroth between rugged masses of rock. In the foreground
the watch tower of Migdol. At a distance, through the pass, the Red Sea. The Israelites encamped. Rachel in the opening of a tent.
Far o'er the cloud-tipped mountains,
Beyond the milky way,
Spreads a blest world all pure and bright,
Sparkling with gems, and steeped in light,
Whose ever-flowing fountains
With living waters play:
And, 'mid perennial bloom, the trees supply
Ripe fruits whose taste is immortality.
There heaven's fair city towers
Built of transparent gold;
Its walls of precious stones are laid;
Angels its pearly gates parade,
To guard those holy bowers
Where saints their banquets hold.
A sapphire throne, with emerald rainbow crowneá,
Sheds from the midst its nightless day around.
Whence came this happy nation ?
From earth, and sin, and fears;
From dungeon's gloom, and martyr's flame;
From hunger, thirst, and pain, and shame,
Sickness and tribulation;
From poverty, and tears.
But they have conquered, and their robes are white ;
They live in music, and they walk in light.
I shout Hosanna
Among that happy throng;
A fair and noble spirit stand,
With crown on head, and harp in hand;
Eat of the immortal manna;
Pour the untiring song ;
And, high enthroned among the heavenly peers,
In growing raptures pass the eternal years.
(Looking at the sun.)
Beautiful ! beautiful! slow-sinking orb,
How the earth smiles, bathed in thy rosy flood !
O pomp! O gorgeous colouring, beyond
All that young fancy pictures in its dreams.
The world of mind too hath its sun, fairer
Than thou, and brighter ; though invisible
To mortal eye. Thou great Unseen, thy beams
Pour through the universe, life, love, and bliss.
But O! the lustre of that paradise,
Sunless and shadowless, lighted by thee!
How blest to wander ’mid those nightless hills
And groves ; to see those glowing fruits and flowers,
Tinted and ripened by the unclouded God!
But still more blest to bask beneath thy rays,
Whose smile is rapture, and whose love is life.
Brightness ineffable! Divinest light !
I feel thee now, my rapturous spirit feels
Thy presence and thy smiles. Even now thou shinest
On Israel's ransomed hosts, and every heart
Is jocund with delight and transport.
Pheron, look with me on this glorious sight. It seems
A new creation. See those lovely clouds
Spread like an ocean, studded everywhere
With island gems, and woods, and cities, fairer
Than those of earth. Surely, heaven's pearly gates
Are opened to us ; and the golden streets,
And jewelled walls, and towers, and trees of life,
And angels' many-coloured wings, compose
This supernatural picture. I could fancy
The chorus of the morning stars repeated,
And the sweet voices of the sons of God
Shouting for joy.
Pheron. It is a splendid sight.
Rachel.—You still are sad. You grieve too much, my Pheron.
Pheron.— I mourn the fondest and most faithful friend
Heaven ever gave to mortal. O his love
To me was wonderful ; that purest love,
A league between two souls that know no sex ;
The intercourse and bliss of angels.
I will be to you
And Menes is not lost: he is but gone
To that bright world where he awaits your coming.
Pherox.-And, but for thee, would I migbt join him soon!
O 'tis the charm of paradise, it holds
All was most precious here; and, when we enter,
Fond and familiar forms will spring to greet us.-
But, dearest, sing that song of love, whose tone
Suits well with this fair evening.
Say not that bliss is only found
In marble hall, or gilded dome;
In pleasure's bright and magic ground,
Or wealth's enchanted home.
Bliss visits every mortal's lot;
The beggar's lair, and monarch's throne;
The court, the mansion, and the cot:
But dwells with love alone.
Love! the sweet music of that name
Thrills through each happy soul above.
The seraph feels the quickening flame,
And God himself is love.
The choirs that hymn the eternal throne,
Taste of no higher joy than this :
For heaven is filled with love alone,
And love itself is bliss.
When the lost world was veiled in night,
Love lingered with benignant ray ;
Tinging the ruins with soft light,
Pledge of a coming day.
Love brings down angels from the skies,
To guide the steps of erring men ;
And love invites fallen man to rise
To life and God again,