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IV. "Alas, our thoughts flow on with stream, whose For, from the utmost realms of earth, came pouring waters
The banded slaves whom every despot sent Return not to their fountain--Earth and Heaven, At that throned traitor's summons; like the roaring The Ocean and the Sun, the clouds their daughters, Of fire, whose floods the wild deer circumvent Winter, and Spring, and Morn, and Noon, and Even, In the scorch'd pastures of the South; so bent All that we are or know, is darkly driven
The armies of the leagued kings around Towards one gulf-Lo! what a change is come Their files of steel and flame the continent Since I first spake-but time shall be forgiven, Trembled, as with a zone of ruin bound, Though it change all but thee!"-She ceased : Beneath their feet, the sea shook with their Navies' night's gloom
From every nation of the earth they came,
The multitude of moving heartless things, Though she had ceased, her countenance uplifted Whom slaves call men: obediently they came, To Heaven, still spake, with solemn glory bright;
Like sheep whom from the fold the shepherd brings Her dark deep eyes, her lips, whose motions gifted To the stall, red with blood; their many kings The air they breathed with love, her locks undight;
Led them, thus erring, from their native home; "Fair star of life and love!" I cried, “my soul's Tartar and Frank, and millions whom the wings delight!
Of Indian breezes lull, and many a band
The Arctic Anarch sent, and Idumea's sand,
Fertile in prodigies and lies ;-0 there
But smiles of wondering joy his face would fill,
And savage sympathy: those slaves impure, Each one the other thus from ill to ill did lure.
For traitorously did that foul Tyrant robe
His countenance in lies,-even at the hour That thus with his proud voice, ere night was gone, When he was snatch'd from death, then o'er the He broke our linked rest? or do indeed
globe, All living things a common nature own,
With secret signs from many a mountain tower, And thought erect a universal throne,
With smoke by day, and fire by night, the power Where many shapes one tribute ever bear? Of kings and priests, those dark conspirators And Earth, their mutual mother, does she groan He call'd:they knew his cause their own, and
To see her sons contend? and makes she bare Her breast, that all in peace its drainless stores may Like wolves and serpents, to their mutual wars share?
Strange truce, with many a rite which Earth and
Of hired assassins, through the public way, With grief, and sigh'd beneath; from many a dale Choked with his country's dead :-his footsteps reel The Antelopes who flock'd for food have spoken On the fresh blood-he smiles, " Ay, now I feel With happy sounds, and motions, that avail I am a King in truth!” he said, and took
Like man's own speech; and such was now the token His royal seat, and bade the forturing wheel Of waning night, whose calm by that proud neigh Be brought, and fire, and pincers, and the hook was broken.
And scorpions; that his soul on its revenge might look
The victor bands?” he said, “millions yet live,
Go forth, and waste and kill!"_"O king, forgive The dead in horrid truce: their throngs did make My speech," a soldier answer'd—but we fear Behind the steed, a chasm like waves in a ship's wake. The spirits of the night, and morn is drawing near,
Startling the concourse of mankind.—Too well Which flash'd among the stars, past.”—“ Dost thou These signs the coming mischief did foretell :stand
Strange panic first, a deep and sickening dread Parleying with me, thou wretch ?" the king replied; Within each heart, like ice, did sink and swell, "Slaves, bind him to the wheel; and of this band, A voiceless thought of evil, which did spread
Whoso will drag that woman to his side With the quick glance of eyes, like withering lightThat scared him thus, May bumn his dearest soe be nings shed. side;
Day after day, when the year wanes, the frosts “ And gold and glory shall be his.—Go forth!”
Strip its green crown of leaves, till all is bare ;
So on those strange and congregated hosts They rush'd into the plain—Loud was the roar
Came Famine, a swift shadow, and the air of their career: the horsemen shook the earth ;'
Groan'd with the burthen of a new despair; The wheel'd artillery's speed the pavement tore ;
Famine, than whom Misrule no deadlier daughter The infantry, file after file, did pour
Feeds from her thousand breasts, though sleeping Their clouds on the utmost hills. Five days they
there slew Among the wasted fields; the sixth saw gore
With lidless eyes, lie Faith, and Plague, and Slaugh
ter, Stream through the city; on the seventh, the dew Or slaughter became stiff; and there was peace anew:
A ghastly brood ; conceived of Lethe's sullen water
There was no food, the corn was trampled down, Peace in the desert fields and villages,
The flocks and herds had perish'd ; on the shore
The dead and putrid fish were ever thrown: Between the glutted beasts and mangled dead !
The deeps were foodless, and the winds no more Peace in the silent streets! save when the cries
Creak’d with the weight of birds, but as before Of victims to their fiery judgment led,
Those winged things sprang forth, were void of Made pale their voiceless lips who seem'd to dread
shade; Even in their dearest kindred, lest some tongue
The vines and orchards, Autumn's golden store, Be faithless to the fear yet unbetray'd ;
Were burn'd ;-0 that the meanest food was Peace in the Tyrant's palace, where the throng
weigh'd Waste the triumphal hours in festival and song!
With gold, and Avarice died before the god it made. XIII.
XIX. Day after day the burning sun rollid on
There was no corn-in the wide market-place
All lotheliest things, even human flesh, was sold; Over the death-polluted land-it came Out of the east like fire, and fiercely shone
They weigh'd it in small scales—and many a face
Was fix'd in eager horror then: his gold A lamp of Autumn, ripening with its flame
The miser brought, the tender maid, grown bold The few lone ears of corn ;-the sky became Stagnate with heat, so that each cloud and blast
Through hunger, bared her scorned charms in vain Languish'd and died,—the thirsting air did claim
The mother brought her eldest born, controll'd All moisture, and a rotting vapor past
By instinct blind as love, but turn'd again
And bade her infant suck, and died in silent pain. From the unburied dead, invisible and fast.
Then fell blue Plague upon the race of man. First Want, then Plague came on the beasts ; their
“0, for the sheathed steel, so late which gave food
Oblivion to the dead, when the streets ran Faild, and they drew the breath of its decay.
With brother's blood ! O, that the earthquake's Millions on millions, whom the scent of blood
grave Had lured, or who, from regions far away,
Would gape, or Ocean lift its stifling wave!” Had track'd the hosts in festival array,
Vain cries—throughout the streets, thousands purFrom their dark deserts; gaunt and wasting now,
sued Stalk'd like fell shades among their perish'd prey;
Each by his fiery torture howl and rave, In their green eyes a strange disease did glow,
Or sit in frenzy's unimagined mood,
It was not hunger now, but thirst. Each well
Which raged like poison through their bursting In helpless agony gazing; round the City
veins; All night, the lean hyenas their sad case
Naked they were from torture, without shame. Like starving infants wail'd ; a woful ditty! Spotted with nameless scars and lurid blairas, And many a mother wept, pierced with unnatural Childhood, and youth, and age, writhing in savage pity
XXVIII. It was not thirst, but madness! many saw
“O King of Glory! thou alone hast power! Their own lean image everywhere, it went Who can resist thy will? who can restrain A ghastlier self beside them, till the awe
Thy wrath, when on the guilty thou dost shower Of that dread sight to self-destruction sent
The shafts of thy revenge, a blistering rain ! Those shrieking victims; some, ere life was spent, Greatest and best, be merciful again! Sought, with a horrid sympathy, to shed
Have we not stabb'd thine enemies, and made Contagion on the sound; and others rent
The Earth an altar, and the Heavens a fane, Their matted hair, and cried aloud, “ We tread Where thou wert worshipp'd with their blood, and Jn fire! the avenging Power his hell on earth has
Those hearts in dust which would thy searchless
works have weigh'd ?
“ Well didst thou loosen on this impious City Where corpses made a crumbling pyramid
Thine angels of revenge: recall them now; Under the sun, was heard one stifled prayer Thy worshippers, abased, here kneel for pity, For life, in the hot silence of the air;
And bind their souls by an immortal vow: And strange 't was, amid that hideous heap to see
We swear by thee! and to our oath do thou Some shrouded in their long and golden hair,
Give sanction, from thine hell of fiends and flame As if not dead, but slumbering quietly,
That we will kill with fire and torments slow, Like forms which sculptors carve, then love to agony.
The last of those who mock'd thy holy name,
And scorn'd the sacred laws thy prophets did proXXIV.
claim." Famine had spared the palace of the king :
XXX. He rioted in festival the while,
Thus they with trembling limbs and pallid lips He and his guards and priests; but Plague did Worshipp'd their own hearts' image, dim and vast, fling
Scared by the shade wherewith they would eclipse One shadow upon all. Famine can smile
The light of other minds ;- troubled they past On him who brings it food, and pass, with guile From the great Temple ;-fiercely still and fast Of thankful falsehood, like a courtier gray,
The arrows of the plague among them fell, The house-dog of the throne ; but many a mile And they on one another gazed aghast,
Comes Plague, a winged wolf, who lothes alway And through the hosts contention wild befell, The garbage and the scum that strangers make her As each of his own god the wondrous works did tell prey.
And Oromaze, Joshua, and Mahomet,
A tumult of strange names, which never met To luxury, ere the mockery yet had ceased
Before, as watch-words of a single woe, That linger'd on his lips, the warrior's might Arose ; each raging votary 'gan to throw Was loosen'd, and a new and ghastlier night Aloft his armed hands, and each did howl In dreams of frenzy lapp'd his eyes; he tell “Our God alone is God!” and slaughter now Headlong, or with stiff eyeballs sale upright Would have gone forih, when from beneath a cowl Among the guests, or raving mad, did tell
A voice came forth, which pierced like ice through Strange truths; a dying seer of dark oppression's hell. XXVI.
XXXII. The Princes and the Priests were pale with terror;
'Twas an Iberian Priest from whom it came, That monstrous faith wherewith they ruled man
A zealous man, who led the legion'd west kind,
With words which faith and pride bad steep'd in Fell, like a shast loosed by the bownian's error,
flame, On their own hearts; they sought and they could
To quell the unbelievers; a dire guest find,
Even to his friends was he, for in his breast No refuge—'t was the blind who led the blind!
Did hate and guile lie watchful, intertwined, So, through the desolate streets to the high fane,
Twin serpents in one deep and winding nest; The many-tongued and endless armies wind
He lothed all faith beside his own, and pined In sad procession: each among the train
To wreak his fear of Heaven in vengeance on man
kind. To his own Idol lifts his supplications vain.
But more he lothed and hated the clear light
Even where his Idol stood ; for, far and near Thy fearful might; we bend in fear and shame Did many a heart in Europe leap to hear Before thy presence; with the dust we claim That faith and tyranny were trampled down; Kindred ; be merciful, O King of Heaven! Many a pale victim, doom'd for truth to share Most justly have we suffer'd for thy fame
The murderer's cell, or see, with helpless groan. Made dim, but be at length our sins forgiven, The priests his children drag for slaves to serve their Ere to despair and death thy worshippers be driven.
XL He dared not kill the infidels with fire
His voice was like a blast that burst the portal Or steel, in Europe : the slow agonies
Of fabled hell; and as he spake, each one Of legal torture mock'd his keen desire :
Saw gape beneath the chasms of fire immortal, So he made truce with those who did despise And Heaven above seem'd cloves, where, on a The expiation and the sacrifice,
throne That, though detested, Islam's kindred creed Girt round with storms and shadows, sate alone, Might crush for him those deadlier enemies; Their King and Judge-fear kill'd in every breast For fear of God did in his bosóm breed
All natural pity then, a fear unknown A jealous hate of man, an unreposing need.
Before, and with an inward fire possest,
They raged like homeless beasts whom burning XXXV.
woods invest. "Peace! Peace!" he cried, “when we are dead,
XLI. the day
'Twas morn-at noon the public crier went forth, Of judgment comes, and all shall surely know Proclaiming through the living and the dead, Whose God is God, each fearfully shall pay “The Monarch saith, that this great Empire's worth The errors of his faith in endless woe!
Is set on Laon and Laone's head : But there is sent a mortal vengeance now
He who but one yet living here can lead, On earth, because an impious race had spurn'd Or who the life from both their hearts can wring, Him whom we all adore,-a subtile foe,
Shall be the kingdom's heir, a glorious meed!
Ere night the pyre was piled, the net of iron * Think ye, because ye weep, and kneel, and pray,
Was spread above, the fearful couch below, That God will lull the pestilence? it rose
It overtopp'd the towers that did environ Even from beneath his throne, where, many a day
That spacious square ; for Fear is never slow
To build the thrones of Hate, her mate and foe, His mercy soothed it to a dark repose : It walks upon the earth to judge his foes,
So, she scourged forth the maniac multitude And what are thou and I, that he should deign
To rear this pyramid-tottering and slow, To curb his ghastly minister, or close
Plague-stricken, foodless, like lean herds pursued The gates of death, ere they receive the twain
By gad-flies, they have piled the heath, and gums,
and wood. Who shook with mortal spells his undefended reign!
Night came, a starless and a moonless gloom.
Until the dawn, those hosts of many a nation " Ay, there is famine in the gulf of hell, Its giant worms of fire for ever yawn,
Stood round that pile, as near one lover's tomb
Two gentle sisters mourn their desolation; Their lurid eyes are on us! those who fell
And in the silence of that expectation, By the swift shaft of pestilence ere dawn,
Was heard on high the reptiles' hiss and crawlAre in their jaws! they hunger for the spawn
It was so deep, save when the devastation Of Satan, their own brethren, who were sent To make our souls their spoil. See ! see! they fawn Marking its paths with shrieks, among the crowd
Of the swift pest with fearful interval, Like dogs, and they will sleep with luxury spent,
would fall. When those detested hearts their iron fangs have rent!
Morn came,-among those sleepless multitudes,
Madness, and Fear, and Plague, and Famine stil Our God may then lull Pestilence to sleep:
Heap'd corpse on corpse, as in autumnal woods Pile high the pyre of expiation now!
The frosts of many a wind with dead leaves fill A forest's spoil of boughs, and on the heap Earth's cold and sullen brooks; in silence, still Pour venomous gums, which sullenly and slow,
The pale survivors stood; ere noon, the fear When touch'd by flame, shall burn, and melt, and of Hell became a panic, which did kill flow,
Like hunger or disease, with whispers drear, A stream of clinging fire,—and fix on high As “Hush! hark! Come they yet? Just Heaven? A net of iron, and spread forth below
thine hour is near!" A couch of snakes, and scorpions, and the fry
XLV. Of centipedes and worms, earth's hellish progeny!
And Priests rush'd through their ranks, some
The rage they did inspire, some mad indeed " Let Laon and Laone on that pyre,
With their own lies; they said their god was waiting Link'd tight with burning brass, perish then pray To see his enemies writhe, and burn, and bleed, That, with this sacrifice, the withering ire
And that, till then, the snakes of Hell had need Of Heaven may be appeased.” He ceased, and they Of human souls -Three hundred furnaces A space stood silent, as far, far away
Soon blazed through the wide City, where with The echoes of his voice among them died ;
speed, And he knelt down upon the dust, alway
Men brought their infidel kindred to appease Muttering the curses of his speechless pride, God's wrath, and while they burn'd, knelt round on Whilst shame, and fear, and awe, the armies did divide. quivering kaees.
III. The noontide sun was darken'd with that smoke, It was a stream of living beams, whose bank The winds of eve dispersed those ashes gray, On either side by the cloud's cleft was made; The madness which these rites had lull'd, awoke And where its chasms that flood of glory drank, Again at sunset.—Who shall dare to say
Its waves gush'd forth like fire, and as if sway'd The deeds which night and fear brought forth, or By some mute tempest, rollid on her; the shade weigh
Of her bright image floated on the river In balance just the good and evil there?
Of liquid light, which then did end and fadeHe might man's deep and searchless heart display, Her radiant shape upon its verge did shiver;
And cast a light on those dim labyrinths, where Alofi, her tiowing hair like strings of fame did quiver Hope, near imagined chasms, is struggling with despair. XLVII.
IV. 'Tis said, a mother dragg'd three children then, I stood beside her, but she saw me notTo those fierce flames which roast the eyes in the She look'd upon the sea, and skies, and earth; head,
Rapture, and love, and admiration wrought And laugh'd and died; and that unholy men, A passion deeper far than tears, or mirth, Feasting like fiends upon the infidel dead,
Or speech, or gesture, or whate'er has birth Look'd from their meal, and saw an Angel tread From common joy; which, with the speechless feeling The visible floor of Heaven, and it was she! That led her there united, and shot forth And, on that night, one without doubt or dread From her far eyes, a light of deep revealing,
Came to the fire, and said, “ Stop, I am he! All but her dearest self from my regard concealing. Kill me!" they burn'd them both with hellish mockery. XLVIII.
V. And, one by one, that night, young maidens came, Her lips were parted, and the measured breath Beauteous and calm, like shapes of living stone Was now heard there;-her dark and intricate eyes Clothed in the light of dreams, and by the flame Orb within orb, deeper than sleep or death, Which shrank as overgorged, they laid them down, Absorb’d the glories of the burning skies, And sung a slow sweet song, of which alone Which, mingling with her heart's deep ecstasies, One word was heard, and that was Liberty ; Burst from her looks and gestures ;-and a light And that some kiss'd their marble feet, with moan Of liquid tenderness like love, did rise
Like love, and died, and then that they did die From her whole frame, an atmosphere which quite With happy smiles, which sunk in white tranquillity. Array'd her in its beams, tremulous and soft and bright
Upon my languid heart her dearest head;
My soul with their own joy.—One moment yet
I gazed—we parted then, never again to meet! She saw me not-she heard me not-alone
She heard me as I fled-her eager tone
Sunk on my heart, and almost wove a chain Which only clothes the heart in solitude,
Around my will to link it with her own, A thought of voiceless depth ;-she stood alone; So that my stern resolve was almost gone. Above, the Heavens were spread ;-below, the flood “I cannot reach thee! whither dost thou fly?
Was murmuring in its caves;—the wind had blown My steps are faint-Come back, thou dearest one Her hair apart, through which her eyes and forehead Return, ah me! return"—the wind past by shone.
On which those accents died, faint, far, and lingeringly.
VIII. A cloud was hanging o'er the western mountains ; Woe! woe! that moonless midnight-Want and Pest Before its blue and moveless depth were flying Were horrible, but one more fell doth rear, Gray mists pour'd forth from the unresting fountains As in a hydra's swarming lair, its crest Of darkness in the North :—the day was dying: - Eminent among those victims-even the Fear Sudden, the sun shone forth, its beams were lying Of Hell: each girt by the hot atmosphere Like boiling golu on Ocean, strange to see,
Of his blind agony, like a scorpion stung And on the shatter'd vapors, which defying By his own rage upon his burning bier
The power of light in vain, toss'd restlessly of circling coals of fire ; but still there clung in the red Heaven, like wrecks in a tempestuous sea. One hope, like a keen sword on starting threads uphung: