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That crowd about the pilot in the storm.
Ay, strike the foremost shorter by a head.
They weary me, and I have need of rest.
Kings are like stars: they rise and set, they have
The worship of the world, but no repose. [Exeunt severally.
Worlds on worlds are rolling ever
From creation to decay,
Like the bubbles on a river,
Sparkling, bursting, borne away.
But they are still immortal
Who, through birth's orient portal
And death's dark chasm hurrying to and fro,
Clothe their unceasing flight
In the brief dust and light
Gathered around their chariots as they go:
New shapes they still may weave,
New gods, new laws, receive:
Bright or dim are they, as the robes they last
On Death's bare ribs had cast.
A Power from the unknown God,
A Promethean Conqueror, came;
Like a triumphal path he trod
The thorns of death and shame.
A mortal shape to him
Was like the vapour dim
Which the orient planet animates with light.
Hell, sin, and slavery, came,
Like bloodhounds mild and tame,
Nor preyed until their lord had taken flight.
The moon of Mahomet
Arose, and it shall set:
While, blazoned as on heaven's immortal noon,
The cross leads generations on.
Swift as the radiant shapes of sleep
From one whose dreams are paradise
Fly, when the fond wretch wakes to weep,
And Day peers forth with her blank eyes;
So fleet, so faint, so fair,
The Powers of Earth and Air
Fled from the folding-star of Bethlehem:
Apollo, Pan, and Love,
And even Olympian Jove,
Grew weak, for killing Truth had glared on them.
Our hills and seas and streams,
Dispeopled of their dreams,
Their waters turned to blood, their dew to tears,
Wailed for the golden years.
Enter Mahmud, Hassan, Daood, and others.
Mahmud. More gold? Our ancestors bought gold with victory, And shall I sell it for defeat?
Daood. The Janizars
Clamour for pay.
Mahmud. Go bid them pay themselves
With Christian blood I Are there no Grecian virgins
Whose shrieks and spasms and tears they may enjoy?
No infidel children to impale on spears?
No hoary priests after that Patriarch
Who bent the curse against his country's heart,
Which clove his own at last? Go bid them kill:
Blood is the seed of gold.
Daood. It has been sown,
And yet the harvest to the sicklemen
Is as a grain to each.
Mahmud. Then take this signet:
Unlock the seventh chamber, in which lie
The treasures of victorious Solyman,
An empire's spoils stored for a day of ruin:
O spirit of my sires I is it not come?
The prey-birds and the wolves are gorged and sleep;
But these, who spread their feast on the red earth,
Hunger for gold, which fills not.—See them fed;
Then lead them to the rivers of fresh death. [Exit Daood.
Oh ! miserable dawn, after a night
More glorious than the day which it usurped I
O faith in God! O power on earth! O word
Of the great Prophet, whose o'ershadowing wings
Darkened the thrones and idols of the west,
Now bright!—for thy sake cursed be the hour,
Even as a father by an evil child,
When the orient moon of Islam rolled in triumph
From Caucasus to white Ceraunia!
Ruin above, and anarchy below;
Terror without, and treachery within;
The chalice of destruction full, and all
Thirsting to drink; and who among us dares
To dash it from his lips? and where is hope?
Hassan. The lamp of our dominion still rides high;
One God is God—Mahomet is his Prophet.
Four hundred thousand Moslems, from the limits
Of utmost Asia, irresistibly
Throng, like full clouds at the sirocco's cry,
But not, like them, to weep their strength in tears;
They bear destroying lightning, and their step
Wakes earthquake, to consume and overwhelm,
And reign in ruin. Phrygian Olympus,
Tmolus, and Latmos, and Mycale, roughen
With horrent arms; and lofty ships even now,
Like vapours anchored to a mountain's edge,
Freighted with fire and whirlwind, wait at Scala
The convoy of the ever-veering wind.
Samos is drunk with blood ;—the Greek has paid
Brief victory with swift loss and long despair.
The false Moldavian serfs fled fast and far
When the fierce shout of Allah-ilia-Allah
Rose like the war-cry of the northern wind,
Which kills the sluggish clouds, and leaves a flock
Of wild swans struggling with the naked storm:
So were the lost Greeks on the Danube's day!
If night is mute, yet the returning sun
Kindles the voices of the morning birds;
Nor at thy bidding less exultingly
Than birds rejoicing in the golden day
The Anarchies of Africa unleash
Their tempest-winged cities of the sea,
To speak in thunder to the rebel world.
Like sulphurous clouds half-shattered by the storm,
They sweep the pale ^Egean; while the Queen
Of Ocean, bound upon her island throne
Far in the west, sits mourning that her sons,
Who frown on freedom, spare a smile for thee.
Russia still hovers, as an eagle might
Within a cloud near which a kite and crane
Hang tangled in inextricable fight,
To stoop upon the victor; for she fears
The name of freedom, even as she hates thine.
But recreant Austria loves thee as the grave
Loves pestilence, and her slow dogs of war,
Fleshed with the chase, come up from Italy,
And howl upon their limits: for they see
The panther freedom fled to her old cover
Amid seas and mountains, and a mightier brood
Crouch round. What anarch wears a crown or mitre,
Or bears the sword, or grasps the key of gold,
Whose friends are not thy friends, whose foes thy foes?
Our arsenals and our armouries are full;
Our forts defy assault; ten thousand cannon
Lie ranged upon the beach, and hour by hour
Their earth-convulsing wheels affright the city;
The galloping of fiery steeds makes pale
The Christian merchant, and the yellow Jew
Hides his hoard deeper in the faithless earth.
Like clouds, and like the shadows of the clouds,
Over the hills of Anatolia,
Swift in wide troops the Tartar chivalry
Sweep;—the far-flashing of their starry lances
Reverberates the dying light of day.
We have one God, one king, one hope, one law;
But many-headed Insurrection stands
Divided in itself, and soon must fall.
Mahmud. Proud words, when deedscome short, are seasonable! Look, Hassan, on yon crescent moon emblazoned Upon that shattered flag of fiery cloud Which leads the rear of the departing day, Wan emblem of an empire fading now. See how it trembles in the bloodred air, And, like a mighty lamp whose oil is spent, Shrinks on the horizon's edge; while, from above, One star with insolent and victorious light Hovers above its fall, and with keen beams, Like arrows through a fainting antelope, Strikes its weak form to death.
Hassan. Even as that moon
Mahmud. Shall we be not renewed!
Far other bark than ours were needed now
To stem the torrent of descending time.
The Spirit that lifts the slave before his lord
Stalks through the capitals of armed kings,
And spreads his ensign in the wilderness;
Exults in chains; and, when the rebel falls,
Cries like the blood of Abel from the dust;—
And the inheritors of earth, like beasts
When earthquake is unleashed, with idiot fear
Cower in their kingly dens—as I do now.
What were defeat, when victory must appall!
Or danger, when security looks pale!
How said the messenger who, from the fort
Islanded in the Danube, saw the battle
Of Bucharest ?—that—
Hassan. Ibrahim's scimitar
Drew with its gleam swift victory from heaven,
To bur n before him in the night of battle—
A light and a destruction.
Mahmud. Ay, the day
Was ours; but how?
Hassan. The light Wallachians,
The Arnaut, Servian, and Albanian allies,
Fled from the glance of our artillery
Almost before the thunderstone alit;
One half the Grecian army made a bridge
Of safe and slow retreat, with Moslem dead;
Mahmud. Speak—tremble not—
By victor myriads, formed in hollow square
With rough and steadfast front, and thrice flung back
The deluge of our foaming cavalry;
Thrice their keen wedge of battle pierced our lines.
Our baffled army trembled like one man
Before a host, and gave them space; but soon
From the surrounding hills the batteries blazed,
Kneading them down with fire and iron rain.
Yet none approached ; till, like a field of corn
Under the hook of the swart sickleman,
The band, intrenched in mounds of Turkish dead,
Grew weak and few. Then said the Pacha, "Slaves,
Render yourselves—they have abandoned you—