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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 lodestar, 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 wedg'd array
Of flying thousands — he is borne away ;
And the sole joy his baffled spirit knows,
In this forc'd 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.
6 Alla illa Alla!” -the glad shout renew — “ Alla Akbar!” 122 — the Caliph's in MEROU. Hang out your gilded tapestry in the streets, And light your shrines and chant your ziraleets.123 The Swords of God have triumph'd — on his throne Your Caliph sits, and the Veild Chief hath flown. Who does not envy
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 the 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,124
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 -
It broke at once, when all seem'd ecstasy;
When Hope look'd up, and saw the gloomy Past
Melt into splendor, 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
And there, like them, cold, sunless relics hang,
Each fixʼd 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 lov'd that ruinous blast. For this, when rumors reach'd him in his flight Far, far away, after that fatal night, Rumors of armies, thronging to the attack Of the Veil'd Chief, — for this he wing'd him back, Fleet as the vulture speeds to flags unfurl'd, And, when all hope seem'd desperate, 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;
2 With a small band of desperate fugitives, The last sole stubborn fragment, left unriven, Of the proud host that late stood fronting Heaven, He gain’d MEROU — breath'd a short curse of blood O'er his lost throne — then pass'd the Jihon's flood, 126 And gathering all, whose madness of belief Still saw a Saviour in their down-fall’n Chief, Rais'd the white banner within NEKSHEB's gates,126 And there, untam’d, the approaching conqu’ror 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-
No, ZELICA stood withering 'midst the gay,
Wan as the blossom that fell yesterday
From the Alma tree and dies, while overhead
To-day's young flower is springing in its stead. 127
Oh, 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 unroll’d
Blacken, beneath his touch, into a scroll
Of damning sins, seal'd with a burning soul -
This is his triumph; this the joy accurst,
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 128 have gifted him — for mark,
Over yon plains, which night had else made dark,
Those lanterns, countless as the winged lights
That spangle INDIA's fields on showery nights,129
Far as their formidable gleams they shed,
The mighty tents of the beleaguerer spread,
Glimmering along the 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 arm’d magnificence looks down.
Yet, fearless, from his lofty battlements
MOKANNA views that multitude of tents;
Nay, smiles to think that, though entoil'd, 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 the Assyrian King 180
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 :-
66 Glorious Defenders of the sacred Crown
I bear from Heaven, whose light nor blood shall
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,131 and the heron crest that shone, 182
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