Category: Ballads and Other Poems
Crossing The Red Sea
|Before them lay the heaving deep
Behind, the foemen pressed;
And every face grew dark with fear,
And anguish filled each breast
Save one, the Leader's, he, serene,
Beheld, with dauntless mind,
The restless floods before them seen.
The foe that pressed behind.
"Why hast thou brought us forth for this?"
The people loudly cry;--
"Were there no graves in Egypt's land,
That here we come to die?"
But calm and clear above the din
Arose the prophet's word,--
"Stand still! stand still!--and ye shall see
The salvation of the Lord!"
"Fear not!--the foes whom now you see,
Your eyes no more shall view!--
Peace to your fears!--your fathers' God
This day shall fight for you;
For Egypt, in her haughty pride
And stubbornness abhorred,
This day, in bitterness shall learn,
Jehovah is the Lord!"
He spake; and o'er the Red Sea's flood
He stretched his awful wand,
And lo! the startled waves retired,
Abashed, on either hand;
And like a mighty rampart rose
To guard the narrow way
Mysterious, that before the hosts
Of ransomed Israel lay!
Oh! strange and solemn was the road
Which they were called to tread,
With myst'ries of the ancient deep
Around their footsteps spread,--
With ocean's unknown floor laid bare
Before their wondering eyes,
And the strange, watery wall that there
On either hand did rise!
Yet fearlessly, with steadfast faith,
Their Leader led them on;
While, from behind, a heavenly light
Through the dread passage shone;--
Light for that lone and trembling band
Gleamed out with radiance clear,
While Egypt's host came groping on
Through darkness dense and drear!
'Tis past; and on Arabia's coast
The tribes of Israel stand,
While fierce and fast Egyptia's host
Approach that quiet strand;--
Though darkness, like a funeral pall,
Hangs o'er that dreary path,
Still on they desperately press
In bitterness and wrath.
Then slowly, once again, arose
The Hebrew prophet's hand,
And o'er the waiting deep outstretched
Once more that awful wand;--
The rushing waters closed in might
Above that pathway lone,
And Pharaoh, in his haughty pride,
And all his hosts were gone!
Wail, Egypt, wail!--thy kingly crown
Is humbled in the dust!
And thou, though late, art forced to own
That Israel's God is just!
And thou, O Israel, lift thy voice
In one triumphant song
Of praise to Him in whom alone
Thy feeble arm is strong!
- Mrs. J. C. Yule