Awake! oh, Israel! awake! and fear,
Let prayer, and fast, and penitence now prove
To your offended Maker that ye hear,
That ye still bear the memory of his love;
Although for ages ye have shunn’d the road,
The path which leads to his divine abode.
Warnings were sent in vain; the heavens gave signs
That were unheeded by a sleeping race;
Ye marked them not, but sought at heathen shrines,
In wild and fearful orgies, for a place,
(Oh, vain and sinful ones,) where ye might stand
Safe from the power of his avenging hand.
Awake! awake! think not to stay his wrath;
It bursts upon you, and your strength is gone.
Ah! who shall stem the torrent? O’er your path
It sweeps, and ye are desolate and lone;
Your homes forsaken, and in grief and shame,
Ye gather now, and call upon his name.
Could naught arouse ye from your slothful sleep,
When you indulged in deadly sin and crime,
O’er which your children yet unborn shall weep?
Scatter’d, dispersed, aliens in every clime,
Their hearts shall turn, in bitterness and tears,
Back to the memory of those vanish’d years.
Mourn! mourn! oh, Israel! for your house of prayer,
Your sanctuary, lies in ruins now!
’Mid sounds of anguish that now rend the air,
There comes a whisper faint, and each doth bow
His head in fear and shame, while o’er his soul
The bitter waters of repentance roll.
That voice, which whispers us of misspent time,
Of altars raised, and idols made of clay,—
Of youth neglected, manhood’s wasted prime,
And all earth’s fleeting pleasures of a day;
’Tis faint and low, yet every one must start
To feel that whisper stealing to his heart.
Oh! hour of grace! pass it not idly by;
but let its influence dispel our fears,
And know that Israel’s God will hear our cry,
He will requite his stricken children’s tears:
And think not, oh! ye doubting and faint-hearted,
That Israel’s hope of pardon is departed.
Hath He not sworn by his right hand, to save,
And to protect his children, for whose sake
The waters were divided, while a grave
They proved to their pursuers,—and to slake
Their burning thirst, the fountain from the rock
Gush’d forth in gladness for his fainting flock?
Is his arm shortened, that it cannot save?
Or will He not redeem his promise given?
Oh! hear and answer;—for thy children brave
The thorny paths of faith that lead to heaven;
Protect and guide them; may their sufferings prove
A passport to thy pardon and thy love.