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So, near the throne, amid the gorgeous feast, And Oromaze, Joshua, and Mahomet, [Foh,
Sheathed in resplendent arms, or loosely dight Moses, and Buddh, Zerdusht, and Brahm, and
To luxury, ere the mockery yet had ceased A tumult of strange names, which never met
That lingered on his lips, the warrior's might Before, as watch-words of a single woe,
Was loosened, and a new and ghastlier night Arose. Each raging votary 'gan to throw
In dreams of frenzy lapped his eyes; he fell Aloft his armed hands, and each did howl
Headlong, or with stiff' eyeballs sate upright

Our God alone is God !” and slaughter now Among the guests, or raving mad, did tell

Would have gone forth, when, from beneath a cowl, Strange truths; a dying seer of dark oppression's A voice came forth, which pierced like ice through


every soul.



The Princes and the Priests were pale with terror;
That monstrous faith wherewith they ruled man-
Fell, like a shaft loosed by the bowman's error, kind
On their own hearts: they sought and they could
No refuge—'twas the blind who led the blind! [find
So, through the desolate streets to the high fane,
The many-tongued and endless armies wind
In sad procession : each among the train
To his own Idol lifts his supplications vain.

'Twas an Iberian Priest from whom it came,
A zealous man, who led the legioned west
With words which faith and pride had steeped in
To quell the unbelievers; a dire guest [flame,
Even to his friends was he, for in his breast
Did hate and guile lie watchful, intertwined,
Twin serpents in one deep and winding nest;
He loathed all faith beside his own, and pined
To wreak his fear of Heaven in vengeance on




“ () God!" they cried, “ we know our secret pride But more he loathed and hated the clear light Has scorned thee, and thy worship, and thy name; Of wisdom and free thought, and more did fear, Secure in human power, we have defied

Lest, kindled once, its beams might pierce the night, Thy fearful might; we bend in fear and shame Even where his Idol stood ; for, far and near Before thy presence; with the dust we claim Did many a heart in Europe leap to hear Kindred. Be merciful, 0 King of Heaven! That faith and tyranny were trampled down ; Most justly have we suffered for thy fame Many a pale victim, doomed for truth to share Made dim, but be at length our sins forgiven, The murderer's cell, or see, with helpless groan, Ere to despair and death thy worshippers be The priests his children drag for slaves to serve driven.

their own.

XXXIV. “ O King of Glory! Thou alone hast power! He dared not kill the infidels with fire Who can resist thy will? who can restrain Or steel, in Europe : the slow agonies Thy wrath, when on the guilty thou dost shower Of legal torture mocked his keen desire : The shafts of thy revenge,--a blistering rain? So he made truce with those who did despise Greatest and best, be merciful again!

The expiation, and the sacrifice, Have we not stabbed thine enemies, and made That, though detested, Islam's kindred creed The Earth an altar, and the Heavens a fane, [laid Might crush for him those deadlier enemies ; Where thou wert worshipped with their blood, and For fear of God did in his bosom breed Those hearts in dust which would thy searchless A jealous hate of man, an unreposing need.

works have weighed ?




“ Well didst thou loosen on this impious City
Thine angels of revenge: recall them now;
Thy worshippers abased, here kneel for pity,
And bind their souls by an immortal vow :
We swear by thee! And to our oath do thou
Give sanction, from thine hell of fiends and fame,
That we will kill with fire and torments slow,
The last of those who mocked thy holy name,
And scorned the sacred laws thy prophets did


« Peace! Peace !" he cried. “When we are dead,

the Day
Of Judgment comes, and all shall surely know
Whose God is God, each fearfully shall pay
The errors of his faith in endless woe!
But there is sent a mortal vengeance now
On earth, because an impious race had spurned
Him whom we all adore,-a subtile foe,
By whom for ye this dread reward was earned,
And kingly thrones, which rest on faith, nigh over-




“Think ye, because we weep, and kneel, and pray, Ere night the pyre was piled, the net of iron That God will lull the pestilence? It rose

Was spread above, the fearful couch below; Even from beneath his throne, where, many a day It overtopped the towers that did environ His mercy soothed it to a dark repose :

That spacious square ; for Fear is never slow It walks upon the earth to judge his foes,

To build the thrones of Hate, her mate and foe, And what art thou and I, that he should deign So, she scourged forth the maniac multitude To curb his ghastly minister, or close

To rear this pyramid--tottering and slow, The gates of death, ere they receive the twain Plague-stricken, foodless, like lean herds pursued Who shook with mortal spells his undefended reign? By gad-flies, they have piled the heath, and gums,

and wood.

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“ Aye, there is famine in the gulf of hell,

Night came, a starless and a moonless gloom. Its giant worms of fire for ever yawn,

Until the dawn, those hosts of many a nation Their lurid eyes are on us ! Those who fell Stood round that pile, as near one lover's tomb By the swift shafts of pestilence ere dawn, Two gentle sisters mourn their desolation; Are in their jaws ! They hunger for the spawn

And in the silence of that expectation, Of Satan, their own brethren, who were sent Was heard on high the reptiles' hiss and crawlTo make our souls their spoil. See! see! they fawn It was so deep, save when the devastation Like dogs, and they will sleep with luxury spent, Of the swift pest with fearful interval, When those detested hearts their iron fangs have Marking its path with shrieks, among the crowd rent!

would fall.

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His voice was like a blast that burst the portal
Of fabled hell ; and as he spake, each one

The noontide sun was darkened with that smoke, Saw gape beneath the chasms of fire immortal, The winds of eve dispersed those ashes grey. And Heaven above seemed cloven, where, on a The madness which these rites had lulled, awoke throne

Again at sunset.-Who shall dare to say Girt round with storms and shadows, sate alone The deeds which night and fear brought forth, or Their King and Judge. Fear killed in every breast In balance just the good and evil there? (weigh All natural pity then, a fear unknown

He might man's deep and searchless heart display, Before, and with an inward fire possest,

And cast a light on those dim labyrinths, where They raged like homeless beasts whom burning Hope, near imagined chasms, is struggling with woods invest.




'Twas morn.- At noon the public crier went forth, 'Tis said, a mother dragged three children then, Proclaiming through the living and the dead, To those fierce flames which roast the eyes in the “ The Monarch saith, that his great empire's worth And laughed and died; and that unholy men, (head, Is set on Laon and Laone's head :

Feasting like fiends upon the infidel dead, He who but one yet living here can lead,

Looked from their meal, and saw an Angel tread Or who the life from both their hearts can wring, The visible floor of Heaven, and it was she ! Shall be the kingdom's heir,-a glorious meed! And, on that night, one without doubt or dread But he who both alive can hither bring,

Came to the fire, and said, “ Stop, I am he! The Princess shall espouse, and reign an equal Kill me!”—They burned them both with hellish King."


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A cloud was hanging o'er the western mountains ; Woe! woe! that moonless midnight.-Want and
Before its blue and moveless depth were flying (tains Were horrible, but one more fell doth rear,[Pest
Grey mists poured forth from the unresting foun As in a hydra's swarming lair, its crest
Of darkness in the North :-the day was dying: Eminent among those victiins-even the Fear
Sudden, the sun shone forth; its beams were lying Of Hell: each girt by the hot atmosphere
Like boiling gold on Ocean, strange to see, Of his blind agony, like a scorpion stung
And on the shattered vapours, which, defying By his own rage upon his burning bier
The power of light in vain, tossed 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: It was a stream of living beams, whose bank Not death-death was no more refuge or rest; On either side by the cloud's cleft was made ; Not life—it was despair to be !--not sleep, And where its chasms that food of glory drank, For fiends and chasins of fire had dispossessed Its waves gushed forth like fire, and, as if swayed All natural dreams ; to wake was not to weep, By some mute tempest, rolled on her. The shade But to gaze mad and pallid, at the leap Of her bright image floated on the river

To which the Future, like a snaky scourge, Of liquid light, which then did end and fade Or like some tyrant's eye, which aye doth keep Her radiant shape upon its verge did shiver ; Its withering beam upon his slaves, did urge Aloft, her flowing hair like strings of flame did Their steps :--they heard the roar of Hell's sul. quiver.

phureous surge. I stood beside her, but she saw me not

Each of that multitude alone, and lost She looked upon the sea, and skies, and earth. To sense of outward things, one hope yet knew; Rapture, and love, and admiration, wrought As on a foam-girt crag some seaman tost, A passion deeper far than tears, or mirth,

Stares at the rising tide, or like the crew[through, Or speech, or gesture, or whate'er has birth Whilst now the ship is splitting through and From common joy ; which, with the speechless Each, if the tramp of a far steed was heard, That led her there, united, and shot forth [feeling Started from sick despair, or if there flew From her far eyes, a light of deep revealing, One murmur on the wind, or if some word All but her dearest self from my regard concealing. Which none can gather yet, the distant crowd has



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Of rushing feet? laughter ? the shout, the scream, “ Fear not the future, weep not for the past.
Of triumph not to be contained ? See ! bark! Oh, could I win your ears to dare be now
They come, they come ! give way! Alas, ye deem Glorious, and great, and calm! that ye would cast
Falsely—'tis but a crowd of maniacs stark

Into the dust those symbols of your woe, Driven, like a troop of spectres, through the dark Purple, and gold, and steel ! that ye would go From the choked well, whence a bright death-tire Proclaiming to the nations whence ye came, sprung,

That Want, and Plague, and Fear, from slavery A lurid earth-star, which dropped many a spark

flow; From its blue train, and spreading widely, clung And that mankind is free, and that the shame To their wild hair, like mist the topmost pines of royalty and faith is lost in freedom's fame.


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“ Yes, in the desert then is built a home
For Freedom. Genius is made strong to rear
The monuments of man beneath the dome
Of a new heaven; myriads assemble there,
Whom the proud lords of man, in rage or fear,
Drive from their wasted homes. The boon I pray
Is this,—that Cythna shall be convoyed there,-
Nay, start not at the name-America !
And then to you this night Laon will I betray.

And see! beneath a sun-bright canopy,
Upon a platform level with the pile,
The anxious Tyrant sit, enthroned on high,
Girt by the chieftains of the host. All smile
In expectation, but one child ; the while
I, Laon, led by mutes, ascend my bier
Of fire, and look around. Each distant isle
Is dark in the bright dawn ; towers far and near
Pierce like reposing flames the tremulous atmo-




“ With me do what ye will. I am your foe!”
The light of such a joy as makes the stare
Of hungry snakes like living emeralds glow,
Shone in a hundred human eyes.—“Where, where
Is Laon ? haste ! fly! drag him swiftly here !
We grant thy boon."_“I put no trust in ye,
Swear by the Power ye dread.”—“ We swear, we
TheStranger threw his vest back suddenly,{swear!"
And smiled in gentle pride, and said, “ Lo! I am


There was such silence through the host, as when
An earthquake, trampling on some populous

Has crushed ten thousand with one tread, and men
Expect the second ; all were mute but one,
That fairest child, who, bold with love, alone
Stood up before the king, without avail,
Pleading for Laon's life—her stifled groan
Was heard-she trembled like an aspen pale
Among the gloomy pines of a Norwegian vale.

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What were his thoughts linked in the morning

Among those reptiles, stingless with delay,
Even like a tyrant's wrath !--The signal-gun
Roared-hark, again! In that dread pause he lay
As in a quiet dream-the slaves obey-
A thousand torches drop,—and hark, the last
Bursts on that awful silence. Far away
Millions, with hearts that beat both loud and fast,
Watch for the springing flame expectant and

They fly—the torches fall-a cry of fear
Has startled the triumphant !--they recede !
For ere the cannon's roar has died, they hear
The tramp of hoofs like earthquake, and a steed
Dark and gigantic, with the tempest's speed,
Bursts through their ranks: a woman sits thereon,
Fairer it seems than aught that earth can breed,
Calm, radiant, like the phantom of the dawn,
A spirit from the caves of day-light wandering gone.



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His head and feet are bare, his hands are bound Behind with heavy chains, yet none do wreak Their scoffs on him, though myriads throng around; There are no sneers upon his lip which speak That scorn or hate has made him bold; his cheek Resolve has not turned pale, his eyes are mild And calm, and like the morn about to break, Smile on mankind-his heart seems reconciled To all things and itself, like a reposing child.

All thought it was God's Angel come to sweep
The lingering guilty to their fiery grave;
The tyrant from his throne in dread did leap,
Her innocence his child from fear did save.
Scared by the faith they feigned, each priestly slave
Knelt for his mercy whom they served with blood,
And, like the refluence of a mighty wave
Sucked into the loud sea, the multitude
With crushing panic, fled in terror's altered mood.



Tumult was in the soul of all beside,

They pause, they blush, they gaze; a gathering shout Ill joy, or doubt, or fear ; but those who saw Bursts likeone sound from the ten thousand streams Their tranquil victim pass, felt wonder glide Of a tempestuous sea :—that sudden rout Into their brain, and became calm with awe.- One checked, who never in his mildest dreams See, the slow pageant near the pile doth draw. Felt awe from grace or loveliness, the seams A thousand torches in the spacious square,

Of his rent heart so hard and cold a creed Borne by the ready slaves of ruthless law, Had seared with blistering ice-but he misdeems Await the signal round : the morning fair

That he is wise, whose wounds do only bleed Is changed to a dim night by that unnatural glare. Inly for self; thus thought the Iberian Priest

indeed ;

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