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Lovely Thaïs sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee. The many rend the skies with loud applause ; So Love was crowned, but Music won the cause. The prince, unable to conceal his pain,
Gazed on the fair
Who caused his care,
And sighed and looked, sighed and looked,
Sighed and looked, and sighed again :
At length, with love and wine at once oppressed,
The vanquished victor sunk upon her breast.
Now strike the golden lyre again ;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him like a rattling peal of thunder.
Hark! hark! the horrid sound
Has raised up his head,
As awaked from the dead,
And, amazed, he stares around.
Revenge! revenge ! Timotheus cries,
See the Furies arise !
See the snakes that they rear !
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes !
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand !
These are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain,
And unburied remain,
Inglorious on the plain :
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high !
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittering temples of their hostile gods ! .
The princes applaud, with a furious joy ;
And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy ;
Thaïs led the way,
To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy!
Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learned to blow,
While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute,
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown;
He raised a mortal to the skies ;
She drew an angel down.
MEETING OF DEATH AND SATAN.
MEANWHILE the Adversary of God and Man,
Satan with thoughts inflamed of highest design,
Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of Hell
Explores his solitary flight; sometimes
He scours the right-hand coast, sometimes the left,
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars
Up to the fiery concave towering high
As when far off at sea a fleet descried
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles
Or Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs : they on the trading flood
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape
Ply stemming nightly toward the pole. So seemed
Far off the flying fiend. At last appear
Hell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof,
And thrice three-fold the gates, three folds were brass,
Three iron, three of adamantine rock,
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire,
Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat
On either side a formidable shape;
The one seemed woman to the waist, and fair,
But ended foul in many a scaly fold
Voluminous and vast, a serpent armed
With mortal sting: about her middle round
A cry of hell-hounds never ceasing barked
With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung
A hideous peal.
Far less abhorred than these
Vexed Scylla bathing in the sea that parts
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore :
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, called
In secret, riding through the air she comes,
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance
With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon
Eclipses at their charms. The other shape,
If shape it might be called that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed,
For each seemed either ; black it stood as Night,
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful durt; what seemed his head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast
With horrid strides, Hell trembled as he strode.
The undaunted Fiend what this might be admired,
Admired, not feared ; God and his Son except,
Created thing naught valued he nor shunned ;
And with disdainful look thus first began :
“Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,
That darest, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way
To yonder gates ? through them I mean to pass,
That be assured, without leave asked of thee.
Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof,
Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heaven!”
To whom the goblin full of wrath replied, “ Art thou that traitor Angel, art thou he, Who first broke peace in heaven and faith, till then Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons Conjured against the Highest, for which both thou And they, outcast from God, are here condemned To waste eternal days in woe and pain ? And reckonest thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven, Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here and scorn Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more, Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment, False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings, Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before."
So spake the grisly terror, and in shape, So speaking and so threatening, grew ten-fold More dreadful and deformed : on the other side, Incensed with indignation, Satan stood Unterrified, and like a comet burned, That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands
No second stroke intend,-and such a frown
Each cast at the other, as when two black clouds
With heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on
Over the Caspian, then stand front to front
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow
To join their dark encounter in mid air :
So frowned the mighty combatants, that hell
Grew darker at their frown, so matched they stood;
For never but once more was either like
To meet so great a foe : and now great deeds
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung,
Had not the snaky sorceress that sat
Fast by Hell-gate, and kept the fatal key,
Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between.
Wizard. LOCHIEL, Lochiel ! beware of the day When the Lowlands shall meet thee in battle array ! For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight, And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight: They rally, they bleed, for their kingdom and crown; Woe, woe to the riders that trample them down! Proud Cumberland prances, insulting the slain, And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plain. But hark! through the fast-flashing lightning of war, What steed to the desert flies frantic, and far ? 'Tis thine, oh Glenullin! whose bride shall await, Like a love-lighted watch-fire, all night at the gate.