The Victory Over Amalek

On red Rephidim's battle plain
The banners sank and rose again;
The tumult of the wild affray
Roll'd round to Horeb's mountain grey,
Roll'd down to thirsty Meribah,
As Israel's host swept past,
And Amalek's fierce battle-cry
Came surging up the blast.

Above the strife the leader hung
With hands upraised, and suppliant tongue,
And still his wearied arm was stay'd,
And still the unceasing prayer was pray'd,
Till evening held the setting sun
Wrapt in her mantle pale,
And Amalek, and all his host
Rush'd routed down the vale.
Then ask us not why day by day
The same sweet morning prayers we say,
Why night by night our evensong
Peals in the same soft strain along,
Why children seek the mother's knee
At eve to lisp their prayer,
While lingers rosy-finger'd sleep
O'er their fringed eyelids fair.

Nor say " ye vex God's patient ear,
And vain the strains that linger here —
A soulless form, a weary round,
A cry that hath no echoing sound, —
Ye hear no voice, — ye see no sign —
Adown Heaven's crystal stair,
No white-robed angels gliding bring
An answer to your prayer. "

Nay, but God loves the constant cry,
He wills the words should never die
That speak our needs. Prayer pushes prayer
Up into Heaven's sublimer air;
There round the throne eternally
They pass, and still repass —
Our whispers are the airs that breathe
Above the sea of glass.

Within His temple shrine of old
He bade the Priests their watches hold;
Still through the carven cedar flowers
The deep chant swell'd at solemn hours,
Still day by day the incense burning
Crush'd out its odours sweet,
Still, morn and eve, the lamps were lighted
Before the mercy-seat.

And Nature with her quiet force
Of powers that keep their order'd course,
And circle on we know not why,
Doth teach a hidden rule more high;
The dews may drop to feed the earth,
But why should planets glow?
Why should the golden daisy cups
Look yearly from below?

Yet night by night, so calmly pale
The stars through Heaven's blue ocean sail,
Yet year by year like scatter'd beads
The wild flowers come to deck our meads.
All have their places and their parts
In Heaven's sublime decrees,
And words that seem'd to wander wide
Shall find their end like these.

A fiercer foe have we to check
Than Israel's dreaded Amalek,
And our dear Church hath many a charm
To prompt the lip, and nerve the arm —
Service, and psalm, and litany,
Strong prayer, and solemn rite —
Like Aaron holding up the hands
That wearied on the height.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.