Wednesday, July 12, 2023

And the Sun Sank Upon the Fallen Foe!

 The Plain of Rephidim
by Mrs. G. G. Richardson

The hosts of Amalek are on the plain;
 Israel's selected strength, by Joshua led,
 Join battle with the mighty-nor in vain!
 A mightier arm unseen is o'er them spread;-- 
Yet seem'd the issue doubtful, giant Power
 Full-fed and godless, Ruthlessness and Pride,
Were the fierce weapons of their darken'd hour,
Who there, the Chosen of the Lord defied!

 Moses, the people's priest, ascends the hill,
 Divinely taught, and as he holds on high
 The rod, Prayer's symbol, the invaders still
 Are smitten back, or dying fall, or fly; 

But long the contest-and when nature fails,
 And droop in weariness his aged hands,
 Lo! o'er the battle Amalek prevails,
 And driven like scatter'd clouds are Israel's bands;

 So Hur and Aaron, rang'd on either side,
 Like Friendship strengthening Piety, bestow
 Their kindly aid his arms to prop and guide,
 And the sun sank upon the fallen foe!

The battle of the Plain of Rephidim is described in Exodus 17 and Deuteronomy 25:17. Mrs. G. G. Richardson is the name that Caroline Eliza Richardson (whose name may actually have been Catherine Eliza Richardson) almost always used in publication. Her poems were not particularly well received by critics -- the evaluations mostly ranged from dismissal to damning with faint praise although every so often a critic would praise her -- but they sold moderately well, and quite steadily. She's almost forgotten today, but I think she's an underappreciated poet.