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His honors nothing teas'd him from himself;

And he but fill'd his fortunes like a man
Who did intend to honor them as much
As they could honor him.


To each his country dearer far

Than the throne of Solomon: Thorns from home, too, dearer are Than myrtle or than cinnamon. Joseph, in the pride of State,

Ruling over Egypt's strand, Sighed, and would have changed his fate,

For poverty in Canaan's Land. Translated by ROBERT NEEDHAM CUST.


SLOW glides the Nile; amid the margin flags,

Closed in a bulrush ark, the babe is left,

Left by a mother's hand. His sister waits

Far off; and pale, 'tween hope and fear, beholds

The royal maid, surrounded by her train, Approach the river bank,-approach the spot

Where sleeps the innocent: She sees them stoop

With meeting plumes; the rushy lid is oped,

And wakes the infant, smiling in his tears,

As when along a little mountain lake The summer south-wind breathes, with gentle sigh,

And parts the reeds, unveiling, as they bend,

A water-lily floating on the wave.

JAMES GRAHAME (1765-1811).


So the sad mother at the noon of night, From bloody Memphis stole her silent flight;

Wrapped her dear babe beneath her folded vest,

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And trusts the scaly monsters of the Nile.

Erewhile majestic from his lone abode, Ambassador of heaven, the prophet trod;

Wrenched the red scourge from proud oppression's hands,

And broke, cursed slavery! thy iron bands.

Hark! heard ye not that piercing cry, Which shook the waves and rent the sky?

E'en now, e'en now, on yonder western shores,

Weeps pale despair, and writhing anguish roars;

E'en now in Afric's groves, with hideous yell.

Fierce slavery stalks, and slips the dogs of hell;

From vale to vale the gathering cries rebound,

And sable nations tremble at the sound! Ye bands of senators! whose suffrage


Britannia's realms, whom either Ind obeys;

Who right the injured, and reward the brave,

Stretch your strong arm, for ye have power to save!

Throned in the vaulted heart, his dread resort,

Inexorable conscience holds his court; With still small voice the plots of guilt alarms,

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What mother cruel could thus her child confide

To these rude waves? With arms outstretched he lies,

A few frail reeds 'twixt him and the threatening tide:

Heartless was she who placed
Thee on this water-waste
By death to be effaced!"

VICTOR HUGO (1802-1885). (Translated by WALTER HART BLUMENTHAL.)


THIS picture does the story express
Of Moses in the bulrushes,
How livelily the painter's hand
By colors makes us understand!

Moses that little infant is.
This figure is his sister. This
Fine stately lady is no less
A personage than a princess,
Daughter of Pharaoh, Egypt's king;
Whom Providence did hither bring
This little Hebrew child to save.
See how near the perilous wave
He lies exposed in the ark,

His rushy cradle, his frail bark!
Pharaoh, king of Egypt land,
In his greatness gave command
To his slaves, they should destroy
Every new-born Hebrew boy.
This Moses was an Hebrew's son;
When he was born, his birth to none
His mother told, to none revealed,
But kept her goodly child concealed.
Three months she hid him; then she

With bulrushes this ark, and brought
Him in it to this river's side,
Carefully looking far and wide
To see that no Egyptian eye
Her ark-hid treasure should espy.
Among the river-flags she lays
The child. Near him his sister stays.
We may imagine her affright,
When the king's daughter is in sight.
Soon the princess will perceive
The ark among the flags, and give
Command to her attendant maid
That its contents shall be displayed.
Within the ark the child is found,
And now he utters mournful sound.
Behold he weeps, as if he were
Afraid of cruel Egypt's heir!
She speaks, she says. "This little one
I will protect, though he the son
Be of an Hebrew." Every word
She speaks is by the sister heard.-
And now observe, this is the part
The painter chose to show his art.
Look at the sister's eager eye,
As here she seems advancing nigh.
Lowly she bends, says, "Shall I go
And call a nurse to thee? I know
A Hebrew woman liveth near.
Great lady, shall I bring her here?"
See! Pharaoh's daughter answers,


No more the painter's art can show;
He cannot make his figures move.-
On the light wings of swiftest love
The girl will fly to bring the mother
To be the nurse, she'll bring no other.

To her will Pharaoh's daughter say,
"Take this child from me away:
For wages nurse him. To my home
At proper age this child may come.
When to our palace he is brought,
Wise masters shall for him be sought
To train him up, befitting one

I would protect as my own son.
And Moses be a name unto him
Because I from the waters drew him."
(1775-1834) (1765-1847)


Go where a foot hath never trod, Through unfrequented forests flee: The wilderness is full of God,

His presence dwells in every tree.

To Israel and to Egypt dead,
Moses the fugitive appears;
Unknown he lived, till o'er his head
Had fallen the snow of fourscoure

But God the wandering exile found,
In his appointed time and place;
The desert sand grew holy ground,
And Horeb's rock a throne of grace.

The lonely bush a tree became,
A tree of beauty and of light,
Involved with unconsuming flame,

That made the moon around it night.

Then came the Eternal voice that spake Salvation to the chosen seed; Thence went the Almighty arm that brake

Proud Pharaoh's yoke, and Israel freed.

By Moses, old and slow of speech,
These mighty miracles were shown;
Jehovah's messenger! to teach
That power belongs to God alone.

WHEN Moses once on Horeb's rocky steep,

A banished man, was keeping Jethro's sheep,

What time his flocks along the hills and dells

Made music with their bleatings and their bells,

He, by the thoughts that stirred within him drawn

Deep in the mountain, heard at early dawn

One who in prayer did all his soul outpour,

With deep heart-earnestness, but nothing more;

For strange his words were, savage and uncouth,

And little did he know in very sooth Of that great Lord to whom his vows were made.

The other for a moment listening stayed,

Until his patience altogether spent"Good friend, for whom are these

same noises meant?

For Him who dwells on high? This babbling vain,

Which vexes even a mortal ear with pain?

Oh, peace! this is not God to praise, but blame; Unmannerly

shame :

applause brings only

Oh, stop thy mouth; thou dost but heap up sin,

Such prayer as this can no acceptance win,

But were enough to make God's blessings cease."

Rebuked, the simple herdsman held his

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That poor man's words were rougher husks than thine,

Which yet might hold a kernel more divine,

Rude vessels guarding a more precious wine.

All prayer is childlike; falls as short of Him

The wisdom of the wisest Seraphim, As the child's small conceit of heavenly things;

A line of sound His depths no creature brings.

Before the Infinite, the One, the All, Must every difference disappear and fall,

There is no wise nor simple, great nor small.

For Him the little clod of common earth

Has to the diamond no inferior worth; Nor doth the Ocean, world-encompassing.

Unto His thoughts more sense of vastness bring

Than tiny dew-drop; atoms in His eye, A sun and a sun-mote dance equally; Not that the great (here understand aright)

Is worthless as the little in His sight, Rather the little precious as the great, And, pondered in His scales, of equal weight;

So that herein lies comfort, not despair,

As though we were too little for His


God is so great, there can be nothing small

To Him-so loving He embraces all.
So wise, the wisdom and simplicity
Of man for Him must on a level be:
But being this, more prompt to feel
the wrong,

And to resent it with displeasure strong,

When from Him there is rudely,

proudly turned

The meanest soul that loved Him, and that yearned

After His grace. Oh, haste then and begone,

Rebuild the altar thou hast overthrown; Replace the offering which on that did stand,

Till rudely scattered by thy hasty hand

Removing, if thou canst, what made it rise

A faulty and imperfect sacrifice: And, henceforth, in this gloomy world and dark,

Prize every taper yielding faintest spark,

And if perchance it burn not clear and bright,

Trim, if thou canst, but do not quench it quite."

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"Thou'rt come," at length the Monarch spoke;

Haughty and high the words outbroke: "Is Israel weary of its lair,

The forehead peeled, the shoulder bare?

Take back the answer to your band; Go, reap the wind; go, plough the sand;

Go, vilest of the living vile,
To build the never-ending pile,
Till, darkest of the nameless dead,
The vulture on their flesh is fed!
What better asks the howling slave
Than the base life our bounty gave?"

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