Page images

what could be seen immediately below? Beyond the engines what were seen? What on Olivet? What did the Jews expect to happen to this array? What is said of the Romans as regards these expectations ? What did they see rising amid the tumult in the temple? What did this lead Titus to do? What were the consequences of the digging of the trench? As the siege went on what became of Antonia ? The outer court? The colonnades? Where was the final resistance made? What became of the survivors ? Of the city?

Gibeon, in the tribe of Benjamin, north from Jerusalem, about 6} miles by the main road.

Antonia, a fortress on the north-west corner of the temple, built by Herod and named after Antony.

shields, &c., the Roman testudo or tortoise, a protection formed for troops advancing against a hostile wall by locking together their shields above their heads.

Vespasian, father of Titus, proclaimed emperor on the 1st of July, A.D. 69. He had been sent to conduct the Jewish war in the end of the year A.D. 66.


The Front of the Temple.


1. They fight around the altar, and the dead

Heap the chok'd pavement. Israel tramples Israel,
And Gentile Gentile, rushing where the Temple
Like to a pit of frantic gladiators
Is howling with the strife of men, that fight not

For conquest, but the desperate joy of slaying. 2. Priests, Levites, women, pass and hurry on,

At least to die within the sanctuary.
I only wait without-I take my stand
Here in the vestibule--and though the thunders
High and aloof o'er the wide arch of heaven

Hold their calm march, nor deviate to their venge


On earth, in holy patience, Lord, I wait,


Jerusalem-the Great Reservoir still existing under the site of the Temple.


Defying thy long lingering to subdue
The faith of Simon.

'Twas but now I pass'd
The corpse of Amariah, that displayed
In the wild firelight all its wounds, and lay
Embalmed in honour. John of Galilee
Is prisoner; I beheld him fiercely gnashing
His ponderous chains. Of me they take no heed
For I disdain to tempt them to my death,
And am not arm’d to slay.

The light within
Grows redder, broader. 'Tis a fire that burns



To save or to destroy. On Sinai's top,
Oh Lord! thou didst appear in flames, the mountain
Burnt round about thee. Art thou here at length,
And must I close mine eyes, lest they be blinded
By the full conflagration of thy presence ?


Titus, Placidus, Terentius, Soldiers, Simon.


Save, save the Temple! Placidus, Terentius,
Haste, bid the legions cease to slay; and quench
Yon ruining fire.

Who's this, that stands unmoved
Mid slaughter, flame and wreck, nor deigns to bow
Before the conqueror of Jerusalem ?
What art thou?



Titus, dost thou think that Rome Shall quench the fire that burns within yon temple? Ay, when your countless and victorious cohorts, Ay, when your Cæsar's throne, your Capitol Have fallen before it.


Madman, speak! what art thou?


The uncircumcised have known me heretofore,
And thou mayest know hereafter.



It is he-
The bloody Captain of the Rebels, Simon,
The Chief Assassin. Seize him, round his limbs

Bind straight your heaviest chains. An unhoped

For Cæsar's high ovation. We'll not slay him
Till we have made a show to the wives of Rome
Of the great Hebrew Chieftain.




Knit them close, See that ye rivet well their galling links.

(Holding up the chains.) And ye’ve no finer flax to gyve me with ?


Burst these, and we will forge thee stronger then.

SIMON. Fool, 'tis not yet the hour.



it wraps

Hark! hark! the shrieks Of those that perish in the flames. Too late I came to spare,

the fabric round. Fate, Fate, I feel thou’rt mightier than Cæsar, He cannot save what thou hast doom'd! Back, Romans, Withdraw your angry cohorts, and give place To the inevitable ruin. Destiny, It is thine own, and Cæsar yields it to thee. Lead off the prisoner.

[blocks in formation]

Can it be? the fire Destroys, the thunders cease. I'll not believe, And yet how dare I doubt?

A moment, Romans. Is't then thy will, Almighty Lord of Israel,

That this thy temple be a heap of ashes?
Is't then thy will, that I, thy chosen Captain,

Put on the raiment of captivity?
11. By Abraham, our father! by the Twelve,

The Patriarch Sons of Jacob! by the Law
In thunder spoken! by the untouch'd Ark!
By David, and the Anointed Race of Kings!
By great Elias, and the gifted Prophets !
I here demand a sign!

'Tis there—I see it. The fire that rends the Veil!

We are then of thee Abandon'd—not abandon'd of ourselves. Heap woes upon us, scatter us abroad, Earth's scorn and hissing; to the race of men A loathsome proverb; spurn’d by every foot, And curs’d by every tongue; our heritage And birthright bondage; and our very brows Bearing, like Cain's, the outcast mark of hate: Israel will still be Israel, still will boast Her fallen Temple, her departed glory; And, wrapt in conscious righteousness, defy Earth’s utmost hate, and answer scorn with scorn.


-H. H. Milman.


« PreviousContinue »