1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Washington Allston

George Croly, "Jacob's Dream. A Picture by Allston, in the Royal Academy" The Literary Gazette (19 June 1819) 396.



The Sun upon the western hills was gone,
That guard thy vales of beauty, Palestine,
Now flaming like a golden, fiery zone,
The Crescent on the eastern Heaven, supine,
Hung on the purple horizontal line.
Up Padanaram's height, abrupt and bare,
A Pilgrim toil'd, and oft on day's decline
Look'd pale, then paused for eve's delicious air,
The summit gain'd, he knelt, and breathed his evening prayer.

He spread his cloak, and slumber'd. Darkness fell
Upon the twilight hills. A sudden sound
Of silver trumpets o'er him seem'd to swell.
Clouds heavy with the tempest gather'd round,
Yet was the whirlwind in its caverns bound.
Still deeper rolled the darkness from on high,
Gigantic volume upon volume wound:
Above, a pillar shooting to the sky,
Below, an ocean spreading on incessantly.

Voices are heard — a choir of golden strings,
Low winds, whose breath is loaded with the rose;
Then chariot-wheels, — the nearer rush of wings;
Pale lightning round the dark pavilion glows;
It thunders — The resplendent gates unclose.
Far as the eye can glance, o'er height o'er height,
Blaze fiery, waving wings, and star crowned brows,
Rank'd by their millions, brighter and more bright,
Till all is lost in one supreme, unmingled light.

But two beside the sleeping Pilgrim stand,
Like cherub Kings with uplift, mighty plume,
Fixed, sun-bright eyes, and looks of high command:
They tell the Patriarch of his glorious doom,
Father of countless myriads, that shall come,
Sweeping the land, like billows of the sea,
Bright as the stars of Heaven from twilight's gloom,
Till HE is given whom Angels long to see,
And Israel's splendid line is crown'd with Deity.