Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Fall of Jericho

A POEM BY C. H. SPURGEON [1834-1892]
The Fall of Jericho

Note: January 31 marks the Anniversary of C. H. Spurgeon's home-going in 1892. As a token in memory of that event, we are reprinting one of Spurgeon's most dramatic poems, "The Fall of Jericho."

The day is come, the seventh morn
Is usher'd in with blast of horn,
Tremble, ye tow'rs of giant height,
This is the day of Israel's might.
Six days ye mock'd the silent band,
This hour their shout shall shake your land.
Old Jordan's floods shall hear the sound.
Yon circling hills with fear shall bound.

Thou palm-tree'd city, at thy gates,
Death in grim form this moment waits;
See, hurrying on the howling blast,
That dreaded hour, thy last, thy last.

Lo at the leader's well-known sign
The tribes their mighty voices join,
With thund'ring noise the heavens are rent,
Down falls the crumbling battlement;
Straight to the prey each soldier goes,
The sword devours his helpless foes.
Now impious! On your idols call;
Prostrate at Baal's altar fall.
In vain your rampart and your pride
Which Jehovah's pow'r defied.

Now Israel, spare not, strike the blade
In heart of man, and breast of maid;
Spare not the old, nor young, nor gay,
Spare not, for justice bids you slay.

Who shall describe that dreadful cry,
These ears shall hear it till they die.
Pale terror shrieks her hideous note,
War bellows from his brazen throat.
Death tears his prey with many a groan,
Nor earth itself restrains a moan.

Ho! Vultures to the banquet haste,
Here ye may feast, and glut your taste;
Ho! Monsters of the gloomy wood,
Here cool your tongues in seas of blood.

But no; the flames demand the whole,
In blazing sheets they upward roll;
They fire the heavens, and cast their light
Where Gibeon pales with sad affright;
A lurid glare o'er earth is cast,
The nations stand with dread, aghast.
The shepherd on the distant plain
Thinks of old Sodom's fiery rain;
He flies a sheltering hill to find,
Nor casts one lingering look behind.

The magian* scans his mystic lore,
Foretells the curse on Egypt's shore;
The Arab checks his frighted horse,
Bends his wild knee, and turns his course.
E'en seas remote behold the glare
And hardy sailors raise their prayer.

Now in dim smoke the flames expire
That lit the city's fun'ral fire,
The glowing embers cease to burn:
Haste, patriot, fill the golden urn!
In crystal tears her dust embalm.
In distant lands, in strife or calm,
Still press the relic to thy heart.
And in the rapture lose the smart!

It must not be; her sons are dead,
They with their mother burned or bled
Not one survives: the vip'rish race
Have perish'd with their lodging-place.
No more lascivious maidens dance,
No youths with lustful step advance,
No drunkard's bowl, no rite unclean,
No idol mysteries are seen.
A warrior stands in martial state,
And thus proclaims her changeless fate.
"Accursed city, blot her name
From mind of man, from lip of fame,
Curs'd be the man, and curs'd his race,
Who dares his house on thee to place;
He founds it on his firstborn's tomb,
And crowns it with the brother's doom."

Thus God rewards the haughty foe,
Great in their sin and overthrow.
He ever reigns immortal King;
With Israel's song the mountains ring.

Yet 'mid the justice dread severe,
Where pity sheds no silv'ry tear,
A gleam of golden mercy strays,
And lights the scene with pleasing rays.

One house escapes, by faith secure,
The scarlet thread a token sure,
Rahab, whose seed in future time
Should bear the virgin's Son sublime.

Thus when the thund'rer grasps his arms,
And fills our earth with just alarms,
His hand still shields the chosen race,
And 'midst his wrath remembers grace.

The Sword and the Trowel, 1865, page 44.


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