To Carmen Sylva.

A poem by Emma Lazarus

Oh, that the golden lyre divine
Whence David smote flame-tones were mine!
Oh, that the silent harp which hung
Untuned, unstrung,
Upon the willows by the river,
Would throb beneath my touch and quiver
With the old song-enchanted spell
Of Israel!


Oh, that the large prophetic Voice
Would make my reed-piped throat its choice!
All ears should prick, all hearts should spring,
To hear me sing
The burden of the isles, the word
Assyria knew, Damascus heard,
When, like the wind, while cedars shake,
Isaiah spake.


For I would frame a song to-day
Winged like a bird to cleave its way
O'er land and sea that spread between,
To where a Queen
Sits with a triple coronet.
Genius and Sorrow both have set
Their diadems above the gold -
A Queen three-fold!


To her the forest lent its lyre,
Hers are the sylvan dews, the fire
Of Orient suns, the mist-wreathed gleams
ÊÊÊÊÊÊ Of mountain streams.
She, the imperial Rhine's own child,
Takes to her heart the wood-nymph wild,
The gypsy Pelech, and the wide,
White Danube's tide.


She who beside an infant's bier
Long since resigned all hope to hear
The sacred name of "Mother" bless
Her childlessness,
Now from a people's sole acclaim
Receives the heart-vibrating name,
And "Mother, Mother, Mother!" fills
The echoing hills.


Yet who is he who pines apart,
Estranged from that maternal heart,
Ungraced, unfriended, and forlorn,
The butt of scorn?
An alien in his land of birth,
An outcast from his brethren's earth,
Albeit with theirs his blood mixed well
When Plevna fell?


When all Roumania's chains were riven,
When unto all his sons was given
The hero's glorious reward,
Reaped by the sword, -
Wherefore was this poor thrall, whose chains
Hung heaviest, within whose veins
The oldest blood of freedom streamed,
Still unredeemed?


O Mother, Poet, Queen in one!
Pity and save - he is thy son.
For poet David's sake, the king
Of all who sing;
For thine own people's sake who share
His law, his truth, his praise, his prayer;
For his sake who was sacrificed -
His brother - Christ!

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