Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NEHEMIAH TO ARTAXERSES, by WILLIAM KNOX



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NEHEMIAH TO ARTAXERSES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Tis sorrow, o king! Of the heart
Last Line: With those sorrows that melt and consume.
Subject(s): Jews; Nehemiah (5th Century B.c.); Judaism


'TIS sorrow, O King! of the heart,
Not anguish of body or limb,
That causes the hue from my cheek to depart,
And mine eye to grow rayless and dim.

'Tis the mem'ry of Salem afar,
Of Salem the city of God,
In darkness now wrapped like the moon and the star
When the tempests of night are abroad.

The walls of the city are razed,
The gates of the city are burned;
And the temple of God, where my fathers have praised,
To the ashes of ruin are turned.

The palace of kings is consumed,
Where the timbrels were wont to resound;
And the sepulchre domes, like the bones they entombed,
Are mould'ring away in the ground.

And the fugitive remnant that breathe
In the land that their fellows have trod,
Sit in sorrow and gloom; for a shadow like death
O'erhangs every wretched abode.

I have wept, I have fasted, and prayed
To the great and terrible God,
For this city of mine that in ruin is laid,
And my brethren who smart by His rod.

And now I beseech thee, O King!
If favor I find in thy sight,
That I may revisit my home, where the wing
Of destruction is spread like the night.

And when I to Shushan return
From rebuilding my forefathers' tomb,
No more shall the heart of thy cup-bearer burn
With those sorrows that melt and consume.





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