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The shining footprints of her Deity,
Nor feel those godlike breathings in the air,
Which mutely told her spirit had been there?
Not he, that youthful warrior, - no, too well
For his soui's quiet work'd the awakening spell;
And now, returning to his own dear land,
Full of those dreams of good that, vainly grand,
Haunt the young heart, — proud views of human-kind,
Of men to Gods exalted and refined,
False views, like that horizon's fair deceit,
Where earth and heaven but seem, alas, to meet !
Soon as he heard an Arm Divine was rais’d
To right the nations, and beheld, emblaz’d
On the white flag MOKANNA's host unfurld,
Those words of sunshine, "Freedom to the World,"
At once his faith, his sword, his soul obey'd
The inspiring summons; every chosen blade
That fought beneath that banner's sacred text
Seem'd doubly edg’d, for this world and the next;
And ne'er did Faith with her smooth bandage bind
Eyes more devoutly willing to be blind,
In virtue's cause ;
never was soul inspir'd
With livelier trust in what it most desir’d,
Than his, the enthusiast there, who kneeling, pale
With pious awe, before that Silver Veil,
Believes the form, to which he bends his knee,
Some pure, redeeming angel, sent to free
This fetter'd world from every bond and stain,
And bring its primal glories back again!
Low as young Azim knelt, that motley crowd
Of all earth's nations sunk the knee and bow'd,
With shouts of "ALLA!" echoing long and loud;
While high in air, above the Prophet's head,
Hundreds of banners, to the sunbeam spread,
Wav'd, like the wings of the white birds that fan
The flying throne of star-taught SOLIMAN.40
Then thus he spoke:-“Stranger, though new the
Thy soul inhabits now, I've track'd its flame
For many an age, 41 in every chance and change
Of that existence, through whose varied range, -
As through a torch-race, where, from hand to hand,
The flying youths transmit their shining brand, -
From frame to frame the unextinguish'd soul
Rapidly passes, till it reach the goal!
“Nor think ’tis only the gross Spirits, warm’d With duskier fire and for earth's medium form’d, That run this course; -Beings, the most divine, Thus deign through dark mortality to shine. Such was the Essence that in Adam dwelt, To which all Heaven, except the Proud One, knelt : 42 Such the refin'd Intelligence that glow'd In Moussa's 43 frame, -and, thence descending, flow'd Through many a Prophet's breast ; 44 - in Iss A 45 shone, And in MOHAMMED burn'd; till, hastening on, (As a bright river that, from fall to fall In many a maze descending, bright through all, Finds some fair region where, each labyrinth past, In one full lake of light it rests at last!) That Holy Spirit, settling calm and free From lapse or shadow, centres all in me!"
Again, throughout the assembly, at these words,
Thousands of voices rung: the warriors' swords
Were pointed up to heaven; a sudden wind
In the open banners play'd, and from behind
Those Persian hangings, that but ill could screen
The Haram's loveliness, white hands were seen
Waving embroider'd scarves, whose motion gave
A perfume forth ;— like those the Houris wave
When beck’ning to their bowers the immortal Brave.
“But these," pursued the Chief, "are truths sublime,
That claim a holier mood and calmer time
Than earth allows us now; - this sword must first
The darkling prison-house of Mankind burst
Ere Peace can visit them, or Truth let in
Her wakening daylight on a world of sin.
But then, celestial warriors, then, when all
Earth's shrines and thrones before our banner fall;
When the glad Slave shall at these feet lay down
His broken chain, the tyrant Lord his crown,
The Priest his book, the Conqueror his wreath,
And from the lips of Truth one mighty breath
Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in its breeze
That whole dark pile of human mockeries;
Then shall the reign of mind commence on earth,
And starting fresh, as from a second birth,
Man, in the sunshine of the world's new spring,
Shall walk transparent, like some holy thing!
Then, too, your Prophet from his angel brow
Shall cast the Veil that hides its splendors now,
And gladden'd Earth shall, through her wide expanse,
Bask in the glories of this countenance !
For thee, young warrior, welcome! -- thou hast yet
Some tasks to learn, some frailties to forget,
Ere the white war-plume o'er thy brow can wave;
But, once my own, mine all till in the grave !”
The pomp is at an end
the crowds are gone.
Each ear and heart still haunted by the tone
Of that deep voice, which thrill'd like ALLA's own!
The Young all dazzled by the plumes and lances,
The glittering throne, and Haram's half-caught glances;
The Old deep pondering on the promis'd reign
peace and truth; and all the female train
Ready to risk their eyes, could they but gaze 25
A moment on that brow's miraculous blaze!
But there was one, among the chosen maids,
Who blush'd behind the gallery's silken shades,
One, to whose soul the pageant of to-day
Has been like death:- you saw her pale dismay,
Ye wondering sisterhood, and heard the burst
Of exclamation from her lips, when first
She saw that youth, too well, too dearly known,
Silently kneeling at the Prophet's throne.
Ah ZELICA! there was a time, when bliss
Shone o'er thy heart from every look of his;
When but to see him, hear him, breathe the air
In which he dwelt, was thy soul's fondest prayer;
When round him hung such a perpetual spell,
Whate'er he did none ever did so well.
Too happy days! when, if he touch'd a flower
Or gem of thine, 'twas sacred from that hour;
When thou didst study him till every tone
And gesture and dear look became thy own,
Thy voice like his, the changes of his face
In thine reflected with still lovelier grace:
Like echo, sending back sweet music, fraught
With twice the aërial sweetness it had brought!
Yet now he comes, — brighter than even he
E’er beam'd before, — but, ah! not bright for thee;
No- dread, unlook'd for, like a visitant
From the other world, he comes as if to haunt
Thy guilty soul with dreams of lost delight,
Long lost to all but memory's aching sight:
Sad dreams! as when the Spirit of our Youth
Returns in sleep, sparkling with all the truth
And innocence once ours, and leads us back,
In mournful mockery, o'er the shining track
Of our young life, and points out every ray
Of hope and peace we've lost upon the way!
Once happy pair; — in proud BOKHARA's groves,
Who had not heard of their first youthful loves ?
Born by that ancient flood,46 which from its spring
In the dark Mountains swiftly wandering,
Enrich'd by every pilgrim brook that shines
With relics from BUCHARIA's ruby mines,
And lending to the CASPIAN half its strength,
In the cold Lake of Eagles sinks at length;
There, on the banks of that bright river born,
The flowers, that hung above its wave at morn,
Bless'd not the waters, as they murmur'd by,
With holier scent and lustre, than the sigh
And virgin-glance of first affection cast
Upon their youth's smooth current, as it pass’d !
But war disturb'd this vision,
From her fond eyes summon’d to join the array
Of PERSIA's warriors on the hills of THRACE,
The youth exchang'd his sylvan dwelling-place
For the rude tent and war-field's deathful clash;
His ZELICA's sweet glances for the flash
Of Grecian wild-fire, and Love's gentle chains
For bleeding bondage on BYZANTIUM's plains.
Month after month, in widowhood of soul Drooping, the maiden saw two summers roll Their suns away — but ah! how cold and dim Even summer suns, when not beheld with him! From time to time ill-omen'd rumors came,