ESTHER: O God, my King,
Behold me trembling and alone before Thee!
How oft my father in my childhood taught me
That Thou didst swear a covenant with us
When, to prepare a people for Thyself,
It pleased Thee in Thy love to choose our fathers:
Yea, Thine own holy mouth did promise them
Posterity that should endure for ever.
Alas! This people has despised Thy law;
The nation of Thy choice has been unfaithful;
She has cast off her Husband and her Father,
To pay adulterous vows to other gods;
And now she stoops beneath the stranger's yoke.
But to be slaves is not enough, our lives
Are threaten'd; our proud conquerors mock our tears,
To their own gods ascribe their victories,
And with one mortal blow would fain to-day
Destroy Thy name, Thy people, and Thy worship.
Shall then a traitor, after all Thy deeds
Of wondrous might, make void Thy covenant,
Rob all mankind of Thy most precious gift,
The Holy One, long promised, long expected?
No, no, forbid the Gentiles in their fury,
Drunk with our blood, to shut the only mouths
Which hymn Thy praises throughout all the world;
Confound their gods that are no gods at all.
And as for me whom Thou hast placed among
These infidels, Thou knowest how I hate
Their sinful feasts, and count as profanations
Their table, and their offerings, and rites;
This very pomp to which I am condemn'd,
This diadem, that I am forced to wear
On days of high solemnity and pride,
I trample under foot when all alone,
To these vain gauds preferring dust and ashes,
And take no pleasure but in tears like these.
I have been waiting Thine appointed time
To venture boldly in Thy people's cause.
The hour is come; and I, with prompt submission,
Will brave the dreadful presence of the King.
'Tis in Thy name I go; guide Thou my steps
Before this lion fierce that knows Thee not;
Command his wrath to sleep at sight of me,
And lend me gracious words to charm his ear.
The winds and tempests of the skies obey Thee;
Turn Thou his rage against our enemies.