The noontide sun streamed brightly down
Moriah’s mountain crest,
The golden blaze of his vivid rays
Tinged sacred Jordan’s breast;
While towering palms and flowerets sweet,
Drooped low ’neath Syria’s burning heat.
In the sunny glare of the sultry air
Toiled up the mountain side
The Patriarch sage in stately age,
And a youth in health’s gay pride,
Bearing in eyes and in features fair
The stamp of his mother’s beauty rare.
She had not known when one rosy dawn,
Ere they started on their way,
She had smoothed with care his clustering hair,
And knelt with him to pray,
That his father’s hand and will alike
Were nerved at his young heart to strike.
The Heavenly Power that with such dower
Of love fills a mother’s heart,
Ardent and pure, that can all endure,
Of her life itself a part,
Knew too well that love beyond all price
To ask of her such a sacrifice.
Though the noble boy with laughing joy
Had borne up the mountain road
The altar wood, which in mournful mood
His sire had helped to load,
Type of Him who dragged up Calvary,
The cross on which he was doomed to die.
The hot breath of noon began, full soon,
On his youthful frame to tell;
On the ivory brow, flushed, wearied now,
It laid its burning spell;
And listless—languid—he journeyed on,
The smiles from his lips and bright eyes gone.
Once did he say, on their toilsome way,
“Father, no victim is near,”
But with heavy sigh and tear-dimmed eye,
In accents sad though clear,
Abraham answered: “The Lord, our guide,
A fitting sacrifice will provide.”
The altar made and the fuel laid,
Lo! the victim stretched thereon
Is Abraham’s son, his only one,
Who at morning’s blushing dawn
Had started with smiles that care defied
To travel on at his father’s side.
With grief-struck brow the Patriarch now
Bares the sharp and glittering knife;
On that mournful pyre, oh hapless sire!
Must he take his darling’s life?
Will fails not, though his eyes are dim,
God gave his boy—he belongs to him.
With anguish riven, he casts towards Heaven
One look, imploring, wild,
That doth mutely pray for strength to slay
His own, his only child;
When forth on the air swells a glad command,
And an angel stays his trembling hand.
The offering done, the sire and son
Come down Moriah’s steep,
Joy gleaming now on Abraham’s brow,
In his heart thanksgiving deep;
While with love from His lofty and glorious Throne
Heaven’s King hath smiled on sire and son.