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Now comes the brunt, the crisis of the day—
They clash-they strive-the Caliph's troops give way!
Mokanna's self plucks the black banner down,
And now the Orient World's imperial crown
Is just within his grasp—when, hark, that shout!
Some hand hath check'd the flying Moslems' rout,
And now they turn-they rally—at their head
A warrior (like those angel youths, who led,
In glorious panoply of heaven's own mail,
The Champions of the Faith through Beder's vale),
Bold as if gifted with ten thousand lives,
Turns on the fierce pursuers' blades, and drives
At once the multitudinous torrent back,
While hope and courage kindle in his track,
And, at each step, his bloody falchion makes
Terrible vistas through which victory breaks!
In vain Mokanna, 'midst the general flight,
Stands, like the red moon, on some stormy night,
Among the fugitive clouds that, hurrying by,
Leave only her unshaken in the sky
In vain he yells his desperate curses out,
Deals death promiscuously to all about,
To foes that charge and coward friends that fly,
And seems of all the great Arch-enemy!
The panic spreads "a miracle!" throughout
The Moslem ranks, "a miracle!" they shout,
All gazing on that youth, whose coming seems
A light, a glory, such as breaks in dreams;
And every sword, true as o'er billows dim
The needle tracks the loadstar, following him!

Right tow'rds Mokanna now he cleaves his path, Impatient cleaves, as though the bolt of wrath He bears from heaven withheld its awful burst From weaker heads, and souls but half-way curst, To break o'er him, the mightiest and the worst! But vain his speed-though, in that hour of blood, Had all God's seraphs round Mokanna stood,

With swords of fire, ready like fate to fall,
Mokanna's soul would have defied them all ;-
Yet now, the rush of fugitives, too strong
For human force, hurries even him along;
In vain he struggles 'mid the wedged array
Of flying thousands,-he is borne away;
And the sole joy his baffled spirit knows
In this forced flight is-murdering, as he goes!
As a grim tiger, whom the torrent's might
Surprises in some parch'd ravine at night,
Turns, even in drowning, on the wretched flocks
Swept with him in that snow-flood from the rocks,
And, to the last, devouring on his way,
Bloodies the stream he hath not power to stay!

"Alla illa Alla !"-the glad shout renew"Alla Akbar!"-the Caliph's in Merou. Hang out your gilded tapestry in the streets, And light your shrines and chant your ziraleets; The Swords of God have triumph'd-on his throne Your Caliph sits, and the Veil'd Chief hath flown. Who does not envy that young warrior now, To whom the Lord of Islam bends his brow, In all the graceful gratitude of power, For his throne's safety in that perilous hour? Who doth not wonder, when, amidst th' acclaim Of thousands, heralding to heaven his name 'Mid all those holier harmonies of fame, Which sound along the path of virtuous souls, Like music round a planet as it rolls!— He turns away coldly, as if some gloom Hung o'er his heart no triumphs can illume ;— Some sightless grief, upon whose blasted gaze Though glory's light may play, in vain it plays! Yes, wretched Azim! thine is such a grief, Beyond all hope, all terror, all relief;

A dark, cold calm, which nothing now can break, Or warm or brighten,—like that Syrian Lake,

Upon whose surface morn and summer shed
Their smiles in vain, for all beneath is dead !—
Hearts there have been, o'er which this weight of woe
Came, by long use of suffering, tame and slow;
But thine, lost youth! was sudden-over thee
It broke at once, when all seemed ecstasy;
When Hope look'd up, and saw the gloomy past
Melt into splendour, and Bliss dawn at last-
'Twas then, even then, o'er joys so freshly blown,
This mortal blight of misery came down;
Even then, the full warm gushings of thy heart
Were check'd-like fount-drops, frozen as they start!
And there, like them, cold, sunless relics hang,
Each fix'd and chill'd into a lasting pang!

One sole desire, one passion now remains, To keep life's fever still within his veins,—— Vengeance!-dire vengeance on the wretch who cast O'er him and all he loved that ruinous blast. For this, when rumours reach'd him in his flight Far, far away, after that fatal night,— Rumours of armies, thronging to th' attack Of the Veiled Chief,-for this he wing'd him back, Fleet as the vulture speeds to flags unfurl'd, And came when all seemed lost, and wildly hurl'd Himself into the scale, and saved a world! For this he still lives on, careless of all The wreaths that glory on his path lets fall; For this alone exists-like lightning-fire To speed one bolt of vengeance, and expire!

But safe as yet that Spirit of Evil lives;
With a small band of desperate fugitives,
The last sole stubborn fragment left unriven
Of the proud host that late stood fronting heaven,
He gained Merou-breathed a short curse of blood
O'er his lost throne-then pass the Jihon's flood,
And gathering all, whose madness of belief
Still saw a saviour in their down-fallen Chief,

Raised the white banner within Neksheb's gates,
And there, untamed, th' approaching conqueror waits.

Of all his haram, all that busy hive,
With music and with sweets sparkling alive,
He took but one, the partner of his flight,
One, not for love-not for her beauty's light-
For Zelica stood withering midst the gay,
Wan as the blossom that fell yesterday
From th' Alma tree and dies, while overhead
To-day's young flower is springing in its stead!
No, not for love-the deepest damn'd must be
Touch'd with heaven's glory, ere such fiends as he
Can feel one glimpse of love's divinity!
But no, she is his victim ;-there lie all
Her charms for him-charms that can never pall,
As long as hell within his heart can stir,
Or one faint trace of heaven is left in her.
To work an angel's ruin,-to behold
As white a page as virtue e'er unrolled
Blacken, beneath his touch, into a scroll
Of damning sins, seal'd with a burning soul—
This is his triumph; this the joy accursed,
That ranks him among demons all but first!
This gives the victim, that before him lies
Blighted and lost, a glory in his eyes,
A light like that with which hell-fire illumes
The ghastly, writhing wretch whom it consumes!

But other tasks now wait him-tasks that need
All the deep daringness of thought and deed
With which the Dives have gifted him-for mark,
Over yon plains, which night had else made dark,
Those lanterns, countless as the wingèd lights
That spangle India's fields on showery nights,
Far as their formidable gleams they shed,
The mighty tents of the beleaguerer spread,
Glimmering along th' horizon's dusky line,
And thence in nearer circles, till they shine

Among the founts and groves, o'er which the town
In all its armed magnificence looks down.
Yet, fearless, from his lofty battlements
Mokanna views that multitude of tents;
Nay, smiles to think that, though entoiled, beset,
Not less than myriads dare to front him yet;
That friendless, throneless, he thus stands at bay,
Even thus a match for myriads such as they!
"Oh! for a sweep of that dark Angel's wing,
Who brush'd the thousands of th' Assyrian king
To darkness in a moment, that I might
People hell's chambers with yon host to-night!
But come what may, let who will grasp the throne,
Caliph or prophet, Man alike shall groan;
Let who will torture him, priest-caliph-king-
Alike this loathsome world of his shall ring
With victims' shrieks and howlings of the slave,-
Sounds, that shall glad me even within my grave!"
Thus to himself—but to the scanty train

Still left around him, a far different strain :-
"Glorious defenders of the sacred crown

I bear from heaven, whose light nor blood shall drown

Nor shadow of earth eclipse ;-before whose gems
The paly pomp of this world's diadems,
The crown of Gerashid, the pillar'd throne
Of Parviz, and the heron crest that shone,
Magnificent, o'er Ali's beauteous eyes,
Fade like the stars when morn is in the skies:
Warriors rejoice-the port, to which we've pass'd
O'er destiny's dark wave, beams out at last!
Victory's our own-'tis written in that book
Upon whose leaves none but the angels look,
That Islam's sceptre shall beneath the power
Of her great foe fall broken in that hour,
When the moon's mighty orb, before all eyes,
From Neksheb's Holy Well portentously shall rise !
Now turn and see!"-

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