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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Rebecca’s Hymn

Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

WHEN Israel of the Lord beloved

Out from the land of bondage came,

Her fathers’ God before her moved,

An awful guide in smoke and flame.

By day, along the astonished lands

The cloudy pillar glided slow;

By night, Arabia’s crimsoned sands

Returned the fiery column’s glow.

There rose the choral hymn of praise,

And trump and timbrel answered keen;

And Zion’s daughters poured their lays,

With priest’s and warrior’s voice between.

No portents now our foes amaze,

Forsaken Israel wanders lone:

Our fathers would not know Thy ways,

And Thou hast left them to their own.

But present still, though now unseen,

When brightly shines the prosperous day,

Be thoughts of Thee a cloudy screen

To temper the deceitful ray!

And O, when stoops on Judah’s path

In shade and storm the frequent night,

Be Thou, long-suffering, slow to wrath,

A burning and a shining light!

Our harps we left by Babel’s streams,

The tyrant’s jest, the Gentile’s scorn;

No censer round our altar beams,

And mute are timbrel, harp, and horn,

But Thou hast said, The blood of goat,

The flesh of rams I will not prize;

A contrite heart, a humble thought,

Are mine accepted sacrifice.