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maritans. It was about this period, prob- he relieved them by procuring from their ably, that there occurred the striking creditors either the total remission of their events recorded in the Book of Esther— liabilities, or at least exemption from the that beautiful episode in Hebrew history payment of interest. Nehemiah, after a —and it was through the favor of Arta- time, revisited Babylon, probably on busixerxes that the Jews were at length re- ness connected with his country, but believed from their troublesome and malig-fore long returned again to Jerusalem. nant neighbors ; though it is remarkable Numerous families, no doubt, accompanied that his decrees relate only to the build- him. Though we have not a detailed acing of “the house of the God of heaven," count of numbers, and other circumstances not to the fortification of the city. This in connection with Nehemiah's expeditions, decree belongs to the seventh year of his as we have in the case of Ezra, yet most reign, and may be dated 458 B.C. It likely he was a leader of parties to Judea, was the period, too, when the second succeeded perhaps by others at different great caravan of exiles marched to their times, until the whole of the old country own land. They amounted, in this case, was repopulated. to 5000 persons, including 113 who had It has been remarked by Jahn, that the married heathen wives in their captivity. invitation of Cyrus to rebuild the temple This party, too, was four months going to was addressed not only to the Jews in Jerusalem.
Babylon, but also to the exiles scattered The year 445 B. C. is another memora- over the Persian empire. From this he ble date in connection with the return, for concludes that not a few of the ten tribes then it was that Artaxerxes gave Nehe- returned to Palestine. We apprehend he miah, his cupbearer, permission to journey exaggerates the number, but certainly it is to the “land of his fathers' sepulchres," probable that some might attach themand to make Jerusalem a walled city. selves to the caravans of their brethren The history of his adventures in the prog- proceeding to the fatherland; the old aniress of the work so long suspended, is mosities between the different tribes being recorded with great simplicity by himself; subdued by long years of separation and and he also informs us of the impoverished distance from the country of their ancient condition of the inhabitants of the city common faith and worship. It is possible through mortgage and debt, from which even that there were Israelites in the com
pany of those who followed Zerubbabel, in 516 B.C., thus giving just seventy but most, we consider, would follow after- years between the two events. But the ward at different times; at any rate, the conclusion in which we are disposed to history of later periods mentions Israelites concur, is, that the seventy years comas settled in Galilee and Perea long before menced at the time when Jeremiah utthe time of Christ. Many, however—the tered his prophecy. It was in the first great majority we should suppose—of the year of Nebuchadnezzar, synchronizing people forming the nation of Israel never with the fourth of Jehoiakim, king of Jureturned at all, and the subsequent history dah, that the prophet declared :of the lost tribes, as they are termed, has been of late, especially, a subject of much
“Because ye have not heard my words, beinquiry and speculation. We cannot
hold, I will send and take all the families of the
north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar enter upon it here, yet it will not be for the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring eign to our purpose to observe, that not them against this land, and against the inhabonly did a large proportion of the ten itants thereof, and against all these nations
round about,” &c.
“ And these natribes remain in foreign lands, but a con
tions shall serve the king of Babylon seventy siderable nber of the Jews in Babylon
8-11. actually declined to avail themselves of the Persian decree of liberation. We Here, then, we have a plain fulfillment know that the Jews of Babylonia, in after of prophecy, and one which of all others ages, included some of the élite of the is the most convincing; because, in referHebrew nation, and were regarded with ence to the future, there is nothing more much respect and honor by those who remote from human ken than the exact dwelt in Palestine. Among those who period of time when any line of eventsremained under the Persian dominion, such as those before us-shall have run some even submitted to torture rather than out their course. And while the pillar of deny their religion by assisting in the divine prophecy stands at the head of that erection of a heathen temple. We trace pathway of calamity, through which for Jews in Babylonia under the Roman su- seventy weary years we track the steps premacy, and we find them involved in re- of the sinning Jews, the hand of divine bellion and civil war.
providence is no less plainly seen in the Hebrew travelers visited Babylon in whole treatment of the nation. Nor the third century, and recorded their ob- should this chapter of Hebrew history be servations. The Babylonian Talmud be- read as if it exhibited a phase of the Al. longs to the sixth century, and contains mighty's government belonging only to an notices of the Jews at that period, men- age of miraculous or extraordinary intertioning not less than two hundred towns, positions. We miss the most important in the Persian empire, inhabited by Jewish practical instructions of the annals of our families. In the twelfth century, Benja- holy Bible, if we do not remember that min of Tuleda found twenty thousand the displays of righteousness and mercy Jews dwelling within twenty miles of they contain are not erceptional, but repBabylon.
resentative-representative of what the We have not yet touched on the chron- Lord and King of all the earth is evet doological question of the sevenTY YEARS, ing among the children of men. nor can we now enter upon it at any length. as well as to them, the story of Israel's As both the carrying captive and the re- chastisement speaks with a voice of warnturn of the Jews were events involving a ing, and shows how great privileges insuccession of circumstances, and as each crease responsibility and aggravate punof them covered a considerable period of | ishment. It shows how in wrath he time, some learned men have fixed upon remembers mercy, and how he makes one date as the commencement of the suffering a means of correcting his people. Captivity, and some on another; these According to the beautiful words of the authorities varying accordingly in opinion prophet: “He stayeth his rough wind in as to the date when the calamity might be the day of his east wind. By this, theresaid to close. It is remarkable that the fore, shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged ; destruction of the first temple was in 588 and this is all the fruit—to take away his B. C., and the finishing of the second was sin."
R. FIELDS was born in New Hamp- | culture of two European tours, the last
that it was a good state from which to the first he passed several months in emigrate. His native town was the England, Scotland, France, and Germany, Queen of the Piscataqua, Portsmouth, the visiting the principal places of interest, charming and only seaport of the state. and forming delightful and profitable His father was a sea-captain, and, like intimacies with the most distinguished many of this noble, but continually exposed littérateurs of the day. He was a freclass of men, died when James, his eldest quent guest at the world-known “breakson, was about four years of age. The fasts” of the great banker-poet of “The admirable public schools of the town af- Pleasures of Memory” and of “Italy," forded young Fields a good preliminary and listened or added his own contribution training; and at the age of thirteen he to the exuberant riches of the hour, when graduated from the high school, having such visitors as Talfourd, Dickens, Moore, taken several prizes, during his course, and Landor were the talkers. Our handfor his Greek and Latin compositions. some poet seems to have made a very An English poem in blank verse, written lively impression upon that charming inat the age of twelve, attracted the atten- valid—the late Mary Mitford. He was tion of the late Chief Justice Woodbury, for some time her guest at her cottage in then Governor of New-Hampshire, and the country; and in her“ Reminiscences," resident of Portsmouth. He advised the published some years since by Bentley, she young poet to prosecute his studies further, has referred in the most flattering terms and to enter Harvard University. For to this acquaintance. She says :reasons, however, that seemed at the time sufficiently weighty, he decided to go at had made this acquisition, (referring to a copy
“One fine summer afternoon, shortly after I once into business; and coming to Boston, of Motherwell's Poems,) two young Americans he entered as the youngest clerk in the made their appearance with letters of introduosame book establishment over which he tion from some honored friends. There was no now presides as one of the partners.
mention made of profession or calling; but I
soon found that they were not only men of Mr. Fields has enjoyed the valuable intelligence and education, but of literary taste
and knowledge; one especially had the look, my side. He sends me charming letters, verses the air, the conversation of a poet. We talked which are fast ripening into true poetry, exon many subjects, and got at last to the delicate cellent books, and this autumn he brought back question of American reprints of English au- himself, and came to pay me a second visit; thors, on which, much to their delight, and a and he must come again, for of all the kindlittle to their surprise, there was no disagree- nesses with which he loaded me, I like his ment; I, for my poor part, pleading guilty to the taking pleasure in such a diffusion of my humble works. • Besides, continued I, you
At Rydal Mount he paid bis devoirs to send us better things—things otherwise unat- the grand presiding genius of the place, tainable. I could only procure the tine poems of Wordsworth, and was affectionately welMotherwell in this Boston edition.' My two visitors smiled at each other. This is a most comed to its penetralia. This interview singular coincidence,' cried the one whom I with the author of the “ Excursion” knew, by instinct, to be a poet; ‘I am a younger Mr. Fields has thus gracefully commempartner in this Boston house, and at my press- orated :: ing instance this book was reprinted.' Mr. Fields's visit was necessarily brief; but that “The grass hung wet on Rydal's banks, short interview has laid the foundation of a The golden day with pearls adorning, friendship which will, I think, last as long as When side by side with him we walked my frail life, and of which the benefit is all on To meet midway the summer morning.
“ The west wind took a softer breath,
" So we shudder'd there in silenceThe sun himself seemed brighter shining,
For the stoutest held his breath, As through the porch the minstrel stepped,
While the hungry sea was roaring, His eye sweet nature's look enshrining.
And the breakers talk'd with death. “He pass'd along the dewy sward,
“As thus we sat in darkness, The blue-bird sang aloft, 'Good morrow!'
Each one busy in his prayersHe pluck'd a bud; the flower awoke,
• We are lost !' the captain shouted, Aud smiled without one pang of sorrow.
As he stagger'd down the stairs. " He spoke of all that graced the scene,
“But his little daughter whisper'd, In tones that fell like music round us;
As she took his icy hand : We felt the charm descend, nor strove
*Is n't God upon the ocean, To break the rapturous spell that bound us.
Just the same as on the land? “We listen'd with mysterious awe,
“ Then we kiss'd the little maiden, Strange feelings mingling with our pleasure ;
And we spoke in better cheer; And heard that day prophetic words-
And we anchor'd safe in harbor High thoughts the heart must always treasure. When the morn was shining clear." “Great nature's priest ! thy calm career With that sweet morn on earth has ended;
Of the playful vein, the last ballad in But who shall say thy mission died
the elegant edition of Mr. Fields's poems, When, wing'd for heaven, thy soul ascended ?"
published about a year since, is a good
illustration. It is entitled " The Alarmed On his return passage from the first
Skipper," and thus opens :tour, Mr. Fields came near anticipating the fate of poor Read of Philadelphia, in “Many a long, long year ago, the Arctic. The vessel in which he
Nantucket skippers had a plan
Of finding out, though .lying low,' sailed struck on the coast of Newfound.
How near New-York their schooners ran. land, while running in a fog. The leak caused by this disaster was so severe that
• They greased the lead before it fell,
And then, by sounding through the night, it was with great difficulty the ship was
Knowing the soil that stuck so well, kept afloat and carried into port. His
They always guess'd their reckoning right." sea voyages, with their attendant perils, have afforded Mr. Fields some fine sub An old skipper, it seems,
“ whose eyes jects for his shorter poems and for pa were dim," professed to tell by“ tasting” thetic ballads. The two special veins in just their position on the coast :which his genius produces its richest ores
“Snug in his berth, at eight o'clock, are the playful and the pathetic—not the
This ancient skipper might be found; broad comic or the sharply witty, but No matter how his craft would rock, the quiet and genial humored-happily He slept—for skippers' naps are sound. vailed in smooth lines, and affording con
" The watch on deck would now and then tinually mirthful surprises. The other
Run down and wake him, with the lead : vein is the pathetic, and many of his He'd up, and taste, and tell the men shorter poems are fine illustrations of his How many miles they went ahead. 'well-subdued power to touch the minor
“One night 't was Jotham Marden's watch, chords of the heart. In the ballad which
A curious wag—the peddler's sonwas suggested to our memory by the sea And so he mused, (the wanton wretch,) peril to which our author was subjected To night I'll have a grain of fun.' this characteristic appears, accompanied with a rapidity of movement and deep
" And so he took the well-greased lead, solemnity of tone peculiarly adapted to give proper expression to the scene it That stood on deck—a parsnip bed
And rubbed it o'er a box of earth describes :
And then he sought the skipper's berth. “We were crowded in the cabin,
“Where are we now, sir ? Please to taste.' Not a soul would dare to sleep
The skipper yawn'd, put out his tongue,
Then ope'd his eyes in wondrous haste,
And then upon the floor he sprung!
“ The skipper storm'd, and tore his hair, To be shatter'd in the blast,
Thrust on his boots, and roared to Marden.
Nantucket's sunk, and here toe are
Right over old Marm Hackett's garden.'”