13 APRIL 1889, Page 15




[The rare quadriliteral 1-17?„17) (S'macliir) is found only in Cant. ii., 13-15 ; vii., 13. The highest Rabbinical authorities con- sider that, from its derivation, the word includes both delicacy of odour and beauty of bloom in the vine-blossom. It is thus richer than the pretty Greek °WAIL by which it is rendered in the Septuagint, and which seems to have been a pleasant word to Pindar and the Greek dramatists.] " Semadar !"—An old Rabbi thus :— " Odor et idern floseutus."


HEAVILY my desk upon

Lay a Hebrew Lexicon.

As I pried into the tome I thought me of Saint Hierome, By the Jew tormented sore With his strange triliteral lore,— Words that hiss and pant are those. Torture of the throat and nose Fine of scent and fleet of foot, Coldly obstinate in pursuit, Must he be who hunts the root. I too, weary and athirst, Try the game in volume vast, Where the thousandth page is first, And the first leaf is the last.


So I fell to muse on words.

Ships they are, methought, that bear Cargoes sometimes passing rare ; Little harps with magic chords ; Hives that hide and hush the bees Who in the far summers wrought Sweetest honey of man's thought ; Little song-enfolding birds. But behold ! upon the seas In some voyage the ship is lost ; And the chords one day are broken ; And the dead bird mute, is moss'd, The wan wood-leaves o'er it toss'd ; And away the bees have fled, And the word becomes unspoken. 0 the grief, or soon or late, When a language lieth dead, When the hope and love and hate, And the laughter and the wrath. Multitudinous that it hath, Out of life have perished,— Influences half-divine, Teaching how to do and think, Levigated to a line, Dungeon'd in a drop of ink.

Yet the lost once more is found, When the happy hour arrives.

By the deep, dark sea undrown'd, Lovely thoughts and lofty lives Rise superbly from the wreck, Move once more upon the deck : Cithern-chords are strung again, Summer hums about the hives : The tiny skeleton doth flit, Flashing musical and lit With the new-born life of it :

The speech becomes a speech of men-


Semadar ! Let the word With the breath of life be stirr'd.

Soft ! The poet-king withdrawn, Hush'd in a sweet world of thought, With the music he hath wrought, Like his psalmist-sire awakes

The red pillars of the dawn,—

And an earlier morning takes Than the first flash on the lakes, Or the first-lit laughter-spell Of the sea uncountable.

To his fancy comes and goes Softer scent than that which throws The remembrance of a rose ; Many a delicate blossom makes Along the vineyard-line adust Promise of a red, divine,

• " Btridentia anlielantiagne verbs,"– St. Kieran., Epiet. XVI. (Bd. Belled.). A4 Riudicarn Mcntachum.,– Przf. in Daniel.

Wondrous exuberance of wine. All the Syrian vault of blue; All the dim delightful changes The broad vine-leaves pictured through ; Sunset's fierce and red-gold rust, Moonlights on the mountain-ranges- Where the scent is sweeter growing, Where the blossom daintier blowing, Scent and blossomry in one ; Both, and all the Orient round Sphered and circled in a sound— Quicken in your Lexicon Semadar—and the thing is done I v.

So it is. Then who shall doom To the language of the dead Words with holier meaning said ie In Semadar is there pent Of the passionate Orient Half the beauty and the scent In its little exquisite tomb Waiting but a touch to leap Lovely from its centuried sleep,— Sure in its own turn to find Summer in some happy mind !- Words that once were sent abroad From nearer to the Heart of God : Full of sap and fierce with life, Sweet for love and strong for strife, Not all ages intervening Disenchant them of their meaning. Heaven and earth shall pass away, Nevermore such words as they. Be it near, or be it far, Better resurrections are For such words beneath the sun,— Sweet with an eternal sweetness, Strong with an eternal strength, Finished with a full completeness ; Sure from out the pedant's page, From beneath the wrecks of age, Sure to waken up at length— Splendid with their victory won,— Triumphant from the Lexicon !