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A JEWISH FAMILY

IN A SMALL VALLEY OPPOSITE ST. GOAR, UPON THE RHINE

          GENIUS of Raphael! if thy wings
            Might bear thee to this glen,
          With faithful memory left of things
            To pencil dear and pen,
          Thou would'st forego the neighbouring Rhine,
            And all his majesty--
          A studious forehead to incline
            O'er this poor family.

          The Mother--her thou must have seen,
            In spirit, ere she came                                   10
          To dwell these rifted rocks between,
            Or found on earth a name;
          An image, too, of that sweet Boy,
            Thy inspirations give--
          Of playfulness, and love, and joy,
            Predestined here to live.

          Downcast, or shooting glances far,
            How beautiful his eyes,
          That blend the nature of the star
            With that of summer skies!                                20
          I speak as if of sense beguiled;
            Uncounted months are gone,
          Yet am I with the Jewish Child,
            That exquisite Saint John.

          I see the dark-brown curls, the brow,
            The smooth transparent skin,
          Refined, as with intent to show
            The holiness within;
          The grace of parting Infancy
            By blushes yet untamed;                                   30
          Age faithful to the mother's knee,
            Nor of her arms ashamed.

          Two lovely Sisters, still and sweet
            As flowers, stand side by side;
          Their soul-subduing looks might cheat
            The Christian of his pride:
          Such beauty hath the Eternal poured
            Upon them not forlorn,
          Though of a lineage once abhorred,
            Nor yet redeemed from scorn.                              40

          Mysterious safeguard, that, in spite
            Of poverty and wrong,
          Doth here preserve a living light,
            From Hebrew fountains sprung;
          That gives this ragged group to cast
            Around the dell a gleam
          Of Palestine, of glory past,
            And proud Jerusalem!
                                                              1828.


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