Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM, by ROBERT SOUTHEY

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THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The rage of babylon is roused
Last Line: Alas, more dreadful thy remember'd guilt!
Subject(s): Babylon; Christianity; Guilt; Prophecy & Prophets; Punishment; Repentance; Penitence

THE rage of Babylon is rous'd,
The king puts forth his strength;
And Judah bends the bow,
And points her arrows for the coming war.

Her walls are firm, her gates are strong,
Her youth gird on the sword;
High are her chiefs in hope,
For Egypt soon will send the promised aid.

But who is he whose voice of woe
Is heard amid the streets?
Whose ominous voice proclaims
Her strength and arms and promised succours vain?

His meagre cheek is pale and sunk,
Wild is his hollow eye,
Yet fearful its strong glance;
And who could bear the anger of his frown?

Prophet of God! in vain thy lips
Proclaim the woe to come!
In vain thy warning voice
Summoned her rulers timely to repent!

The Ethiop changes not his skin.
Impious and idiot still,
The rulers spurn thy voice,
And now the measure of their crimes is full.

And now around Jerusalem
The countless foes appear;
Far as the eye can reach
Spreads the wide horror of the circling siege.

Why is the warrior's cheek so pale?
Why droops the gallant youth
Who late so high of heart
Made sharp his javelin for the welcome war?

'Tis not for terror that his eye
Swells with the struggling woe;
Oh! he could bear his ills,
Or rush to death, and in the grave have peace

His parents do not ask for food,
But they are weak with want;
His wife has given her babes
Her wretched meal,—she utters no complain

The consummating hour is come!
Alas for Solyma!
How is she desolate,–
She that was great among the nations fallen!

And thou–thou miserable king–
Where is thy trusted flock,
Thy flock so beautiful,
Thy father's throne, the temple of thy God?

Repentance calls not back the past;
It will not wake again
Thy murdered sons to life,
Or bring back vision to thy blasted sight!

Thou wretched, childless, blind, old man–
Heavy thy punishment!
Dreadful thy present woes–
Alas, more dreadful thy remember'd guilt!

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