Glad as the weary traveller tempest-tost To reach secure at length his native coast, Who wandering long o'er distant lands has sped, The night-blast wildly howling round his head, Known all the woes of want, and felt the storm Of the bleak winter parch his shivering form; The journey o'er and every peril past Beholds his little cottage-home at last, And as he sees afar the smoke curl slow, Feels his full eyes with transport overflow: So from the scene where Death and Anguish reign, And Vice and Folly drench with blood the plain, Joyful I turn, to sing how Woman's praise Avail'd again Jerusalem to raise, Call'd forth the sanction of the Despot's nod, And freed the nation best-belov'd of God. Darius gives the feast: to Persia's court, Awed by his will, the obedient throng resort, Attending Satraps swell the Prince's pride, And vanquish'd Monarchs grace their Conqueror's side. No more the Warrior wears the garb of war, Sharps the strong steel, or mounts the scythed car; No more Judaea's sons dejected go, And hang the head and heave the sigh of woe. From Persia's rugged hills descend the train. From where Orontes foams along the plain, From where Choaspes rolls his royal waves, And India sends her sons, submissive slaves. Thy daughters Babylon to grace the feast Weave the loose robe, and paint the flowery vest, With roseate wreaths they braid the glossy hair. They tinge the cheek which Nature form'd so fair, Learn the soft step, the soul-subduing glance, Melt in the song, and swim adown the dance. Exalted on the Monarch's golden throne In royal state the fair Apame shone; Her form of majesty, her eyes of fire Chill with respect, or kindle with desire. The admiring multitude her charms adore, And own her worthy of the crown she wore. Now on his couch reclin'd Darius lay, Tir'd with the toilsome pleasures of the day; Without Judaea's watchful sons await To guard the sleeping pageant of the state. Three youths were these of Judah's royal race, Three youths whom Nature dower'd with every grace, To each the form of symmetry she gave, And haughty Genius curs'd each favorite slave; These fill'd the cup, around the Monarch kept, Serv'd as he spake, and guarded whilst he slept. Yet oft for Salem's hallowed towers laid low The sigh would heave, the unbidden tear would flow; And when the dull and wearying round of Power Allowed Zorobabel one vacant hour, He lov'd on Babylon's high wall to roam, And stretch the gaze towards his distant home, Or on Euphrates' willowy banks reclin'd Hear the sad harp moan fitful to the wind. As now the perfum'd lamps stream wide their light, And social converse chears the livelong night, Thus spake Zorobabel, "too long in vain "For Sion desolate her sons complain; "In anguish worn the joyless years lag slow, "And these proud conquerors mock their captive's woe. "Whilst Cyrus triumph'd here in victor state "A brighter prospect chear'd our exil'd fate, "Our sacred walls again he bade us raise, "And to Jehovah rear the pile of praise. "Quickly these fond hopes faded from our eyes, "As the frail sun that gilds the wintry skies, "And spreads a moment's radiance o'er the plain, "Soon hid by clouds that dim the scene again. "Opprest by Artaxerxes' jealous reign "We vainly pleaded here, and wept in vain. "Now when Darius, chief of mild command, "Bids joy and pleasure fill the festive land, "Still shall we droop the head in sullen grief, "And sternly silent shun to seek relief? "What if amid the Monarch's mirthful throng "Our harps should echo to the chearful song? "Fair is the occasion," thus the one replied, "And now let all our tuneful skill be tried. "Whilst the gay courtiers quaff the smiling bowl, "And wine's strong fumes inspire the madden'd soul, "Where all around is merriment, be mine "To strike the lute, and praise the power of Wine. "And whilst" his friend replied in state alone "Lord of the earth Darius fills the throne, "Be yours the mighty power of Wine to sing, "My lute shall sound the praise of Persia's King." To them Zorobabel, on themes like these "Seek ye the Monarch of Mankind to please; "To Wine superior or to Power's strong arms, "Be mine to sing resistless Woman's charms. "To him victorious in the rival lays "Shall just Darius give the meed of praise; "The purple robe his honor'd frame shall fold, "The beverage sparkle in his cup of gold; "A golden couch support his bed of rest, "The chain of honor grace his favor'd breast; "His the soft turban, his the car's array "O'er Babylon's high wall to wheel its way; "And for his wisdom seated on the throne, "For the KING'S COUSIN shall the Bard be known." Intent they meditate the future lay, And watch impatient for the dawn of day. The morn rose clear, and shrill were heard the flute, The cornet, sackbut, dulcimer, and lute; To Babylon's gay streets the throng resort, Swarm thro' the gates, and fill the festive court. High on his throne Darius tower'd in pride, The fair Apame grac'd the Sovereign's side; And now she smil'd, and now with mimic frown Placed
Robert Southey
#Poems about Women