O, that the years had language! time would
Of one bright night the moon has loved so
For oft in darkness when she hides her
She'll to the stars with energy and grace
Relate in her soft tongue the scenes of yore,
Repeat her strange experience once more.
The night upon which she dotes --' twas
More perfect sure than any other time,
She bathed unsparingly the hill, the brook,
Within its depths a glance of pride she took.
O Juda! if thou wast endowed with power,
Thou would'st describe that grand and solemn
In yonder sacred oratory there,
Thou dost behold a woman strangely fair,
With classic brow and jet-like dreamy eyes,
Whose liquid depth outrivalled Italy's skies';
And pencilled brows 'neath glossy, raven
83Adorned the lids with silken fringes fair.
Though haircloth clothed that form of matchless
It could not hide the beauty of that face.
With hands devoutly clasped she's heard to
"O God! send Holofernes far away;
Let not that tyrant's hand my people slay,
O pity Juda, Lord, again I pray!
My people all in agony and fear,
Dost pray thine anger soon will disappear.
With ashes on their heads they mourn and
Too overcome with anguish e'en to sleep.
Forsake us not, O Lord, for woe is me,
Forget thy wrath, and set my people free."
And while she prayed a ray of heavenly
Upon her soul was shed,--all things were
And with a vision cleared by sacred love,
She saw her mission handed from above,
And rising cast the hair cloth far away,
And 'rayed her form in garments bright as
84To Holofernes' camp with serving maid,
A lengthened visit to that tyrant paid,
And charmed his sense with beauty's dazzling
And waited patiently for victory's hour.
O sound the trumpets; let the bells ring
Their cadence has a mournful sound
To merry hearts a night of joy they tell,
To one they ring a solemn funeral knell.
A banquet Holofernes gives to-night,
And honors Judith who has charmed his
But he and officers have drunk so free,
They fail their imminent danger now to
Upon their couches wrapt in soundest sleep,
Forgetful of the vigils they should keep.
But who is this so near the tyrant's tent,
With eyes uplifted prayerfully is bent?
Then softly rising, near his couch she
85With one wild prayer again to heaven appeals;
Then from its scabbard soon his sword she
And lifts aloft-- and then, one awful pause
Before it falls. She quickly grasps the
For Holofernes, Juda's foe, is dead.
Rejoice, Bethulia, God has pitied thee,
And noble Judith set thy people free.
O, hail to thee, thou joy of Israel!
Thy name o'er nations cast a wholesome
Long live thy valor 'mong the deeds of
And may oblivion never know thy name,
Thou art the glory of Jerusalem,
Of dauntless knights, thou art the queen of
Posterity will ever reverence thee,
Before thy shrine all Juda bends the knee.
Stay any rejoicings yet a longer time,
And honor Judith with anthems divine.