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Ab. No more, myson; now more than half the night O’er us forgetful of the hours, and held In sweet discourse, hath past. Thee the desire Of knowledge, me the love to see thee thus Hang on my lips attentive, hath so long Beguiled from sleep. Dear Isaac, to thy couch. Now ask not further. To their wonted rest Give we our weary limbs. Some other time, What yet remains I will in full recount.
Is. Whene'er, O Father, thou resumest the tale, In its miraculous order, of thy life, Such pleasing wonder wraps my spirit round, I feel no sense of weariness, nor wish For rest. My being I forget : with thee Borne on through each event, beside thee ever I could assert myself to be. When first, Obedient to the call of the Most High, Thy native soil forsaking, I with thee Leave the Chaldean plains : in woods and hills Of Charran and of Palestine, with thee A stranger I sojourn. And when there comes A famine in that land, and thou dost rove Far, seeking food, I journey on with thee To Gerar and to Egypt, shuddering still
At thine and at my mother's perilous way.
Ab. Those promises
Is. Then my issue
Ab. Than the stars, And than the sands shall be more numerous. Them Will the Most High declare his chosen race, Will make them kings and princes of the earth ; And all that dwell therein, that yet shall come, Through the long future, shall be blest in us.
Is. What glory, fortune, happiness !
Ab. Ah! my son,
Is. I feel my soul from such contagion free.
Knows thoroughly his own heart? Thou didst' not
Ab. (O holy fear of God, the true beginning
The Angel appears.
Angel. Hearken to the commandment which I bring
For a burnt-offering, on that mountain's top
Thine innocent child, in thy late years,
Vouchsafed by heaven to thy desires,
God at thy hand requires ;
Beneath thy sacrificing knife,
Who gave the victim life.
ABRAHAM, alone. Eternal God! how sudden thy command ! How terrible its purport. 'Tis thy will That I should slay my son ; and thou art pleased Even in thine awful message to rehearse The exceeding value of the gift recalled ; Repeating all the names that can awake The tenderest yearnings towards the thing I lose. But Thou commandest it: It is enough. I bow my forehead to the dust. I adore Thine awful mandate. I will shed his bloodBut Isaac dead-my hopes—where then are they? Runs not the promise counter to the command ? No! for Thou canst not lie, and I am bound To hearken and obey. To doubt is sin; 'Tis sin to search thy ways, past finding out. My God! I do obey, believe, and hope. But in this terrible strait, be Thou my help,
Oh Lord ! behold me ready for the work
But who can tell ?
-Oh God! She comes. How shall I speak ?
Ab. Sarah, I am bound to offer up to God
Sar. May I not bear thee company ?
Sar. And have I walked with thee so many years, Partner in all thy joys, and all thy griefs,