There was a noise of weeping and lament;
The words of them that were affrighted, yea,
And cried for grief of heart. There came to him
The mother and her children, and they cried,
“Speak, father, what is this? What hast thou done?”
And when he lifted up his face, he saw
Japhet, his well-beloved, where he stood
Apart; and Amarant leaned upon his breast,
And hid her face, for she was sore afraid;
And lo! the robes of her betrothal gleamed
White in the deadly gloom.
And at his feet
The wives of his two other sons did kneel,
And wring their hands.
“O, speak to us;
We are affrighted; we have dreamed a dream,
Each to herself. For me, I saw in mine
The grave old angels, like to shepherds, walk,
Much cattle following them. Thy daughter looked,
And they did enter here.”
The other lay
And moaned, “Alas! O father, for my dream
Was evil: lo, I heard when it was dark,
I heard two wicked ones contend for me.
One said, ’And wherefore should this woman live,
When only for her children, and for her,
Is woe and degradation?’ Then he laughed,
The other crying, ’Let alone, O prince;
Hinder her not to live and bear much seed,
Because I hate her.’”
But he said, “Rise up,
Daughters of Noah, for I have learned no words
To comfort you.” Then spake her lord to her,
“Peace! or I swear that for thy dream, myself
Will hate thee also.”
And Niloiya said,
“My sons, if one of you will hear my words,
Go now, look out, and tell me of the day,
How fares it?”
And the fateful darkness grew.
But Shem went up to do his mother’s will;
And all was one as though the frighted earth
Quivered and fell a-trembling; then they hid
Their faces every one, till he returned,
And spake not. “Nay,” they cried, “what hast thou seen?
O, is it come to this?” He answered them,
“The door is shut.”
NOTES TO “A STORY OF DOOM.”
The name of the patriarch’s wife is intended
to be pronounced
Of the three sons of Noah,—Shem, Ham, and Japhet,—I have called Japhet the youngest (because he is always named last), and have supposed that, in the genealogies where he is called “Japhet the elder,” he may have received the epithet because by that time there were younger Japhets.
The quivering butterflies in companies,
That slowly crept adown the sandy marge,
Like living crocus beds.
This beautiful comparison is taken from “The Naturalist on the River Amazons.” “Vast numbers of orange-colored butterflies congregated on the moist sands. They assembled in densely-packed masses, sometimes two or three yards in circumference, their wings all held in an upright position, so that the sands looked as though variegated with beds of crocuses.”