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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 !”
They turn'd, and, as he spoke,
A sudden splendor all around them broke,
And they beheld an orb, ample and bright,
Rise from the Holy Well, 134 and cast its light miracle
Round the rich city and the plain for miles,185 —
Flinging such radiance o'er the gilded tiles
Of many a dome and fair-roof'd minaret
As autumn suns shed round them when they set.
Instant from all who saw the illusive sign
A murmur broke 66 Miraculous ! divine!”
The Gheber bow'd, thinking his idol star
Had wak'd and burst impatient through the bar
Of midnight, to inflame him to the war;
While he of Moussa's creed saw, in that ray,
The glorious Light which, in his freedom's day,
Had rested on the Ark,136 and now again
Shone out to bless the breaking of his chain.
“ To victory!” is at once the cry of all Nor stands MOKANNA loitering at that call; But instant the huge gates are flung aside, And forth, like a diminutive mountain-tide Into the boundless sea, they speed their course Right on into the MOSLEM's mighty force. The watchmen of the camp, — who, in their rounds, Had paus’d, and even forgot the punctual sounds Of the small drum with which they count the night, 187 To gaze upon that supernatural light, Now sink beneath an unexpected arm, And in a death-groan give their last alarm. “On for the lamps, that light yon lofty screen, 188
Nor blunt your blades with massacre so mean;
There rests the CALIPII — speed — one lucky lance
May now achieve mankind's deliverance.”
Desperate the die — such as they only cast
Who venture for a world, and stake their last.
But Fate's no longer with him blade for blade
Springs up to meet them through the glimmering
And, as the clash is heard, new legions soon
Pour to the spot, like bees of KAUZEROON
To the shrill timbrel's summons, — till, at length,
The mighty camp swarms out in all its strength,
And back to NEKSHEB's gates, covering the plain
With random slaughter, drives the adventurous train;
Among the last of whom the Silver Veil
Is seen glittering at times, like the white sail
Of some toss'd vessel, on a stormy night,
Catching the tempest's momentary light!
And hath not this brought the proud spirit low ? Nor dash'd his brow, nor check'd his daring? No. Though half the wretches, whom at night he led To thrones and victory, lie disgrac'd and dead, Yet morning hears him, with unshrinking crest, Still vaunt of thrones and victory to the rest; And they believe him !--- oh, the lover may Distrust that look which steals his soul away; The babe may cease to think that it can play With Heaven's rainbow ; - alchymists may doubt The shining gold their crucible gives out; But Faith, fanatic Faith, once wedded fast To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last.
And well the Impostor knew all lures and arts That LUCIFER e'er taught to tangle hearts ;
Nor, ʼmid these last bold workings of his plot
Against men's souls, is ZELICA forgot.
Ill-fated ZELICA ! had reason been
Awake, through half the horrors thou hast seen,
Thou never couldst have borne it Death had come
At once, and taken thy wrung spirit home.
But 'twas not so a torpor, a suspense
Of thought, almost of life, came o’er the intense
And passionate struggles of that fearful night,
When her last hope of peace and heaven took flight:
And though, at times, a gleam of frenzy broke, –
As through some dull volcano's veil of smoke
Ominous flashings now and then will start,
Which show the fire's still busy at its heart, -
Yet was she mostly wrapp'd in solemn gloom;
Not such as Azim's, brooding o'er its doom,
And calm without, as is the brow of death,
While busy worms are gnawing underneath,
But in a blank and pulseless torpor, free
From thought or pain, a seald-up apathy,
Which left her oft, with scarce one living thrill,
The cold, pale victim of her torturer's will.
Les pot fer muntar
Again, as in MEROU, he had her deck'd
Gorgeously out, the Priestess of the sect;
And led her glittering forth before the eyes
Of his rude train, as to a sacrifice,
Pallid as she, the young, devoted Bride
Of the fierce NILE, when, deck'd in all the pride
Of nuptial pomp, she sinks into his tide.140
And while the wretched maid hung down her head,
And stood, as one just risen from the dead,
Amid that gazing crowd, the fiend would tell
His credulous slaves it was some charm or spell
Possess'd her now,
- and from that darken’d trance
Should dawn ere long their Faith's deliverance.
Or if, at times, goaded by guilty shame,
Her soul was rous'd, and words of wildness came,
Instant the bold blasphemer would translate
Her ravings into oracles of fate,
Would hail Heaven's signals in her flashing eyes,
And call her shrieks the language of the skies!
But vain at length his arts — despair is seen
Gathering around; and famine comes to glean
All that the sword had left unreap'd: - in vain
At morn and eve across the northern plain
He looks impatient for the promis'd spears
Of the wild Hordes and TARTAR mountaineers;
They come not - while his fierce beleaguerers pour
Engines of havoc in, unknown before, 141
And horrible as new; 142 — javelins, that fly
Enwreath'd with smoky flames through the dark sky,
And red-hot globes, that, opening as they mount,
Discharge, as from a kindled Naphtha fount,
Showers of consuming fire o'er all below;
Looking, as through the illumin’d night they go,
Like those wild birds 144 that by the Magians oit,
At festivals of fire, were sent aloft
Into the air, with blazing fagots tied
To their huge wings, scattering combustion wide.
All night the groans of wretches who expire
agony, beneath these darts of fire,
Ring through the city - while, descending o'er
Its shrines and domes and streets of sycamore,
Its lone bazaars, with their bright cloths of gold,
Since the last peaceful pageant left unroll’d,
Its beauteous marble baths, whose idle jets
Now gush with blood, — and its tall minarets,
That late have stood up in the evening glare
Of the red sun, unhallow'd by a prayer; –
O’er each, in turn, the dreadful flame-bolts fall,
And death and conflagration throughout all
The desolate city hold high festival !
MOKANNA sees the world is his no more; One sting at parting, and his grasp is o'er. “What! drooping now?” — thus, with unblushing
cheek, He hails the few, who yet can hear him speak, Of all those famish'd slaves around him lying, And by the light of blazing temples dying; “What!- drooping now? — now, when at length we
Home o'er the very threshold of success;
When ALLA from our ranks hath thinn'd away
Those grosser branches, that kept out his ray
Of favor from us, and we stand at length
Heirs of his light and children of his strength,
The chosen few, who shall survive the fall
Of Kings and Thrones, triumphant over all !
you then lost, weak murmurers as you are,
All faith in him, who was your Light, your Star ?
Have you forgot the eye of glory, hid
Beneath this Veil, the flashing of whose lid
Could, like a sun-stroke of the desert, wither
Millions of such as yonder Chief brings hither?
Long have its lightnings slept - too long — but now
All earth shall feel the unveiling of this brow!
To-night-yes, sainted men! this very night,
I bid you all to a fair festal rite,
Where — having deep refresh'd each weary limb
With viands, such as feast Heaven's cherubim,
And kindled up your souls, now sunk and dim,
With that pure wine the Dark-eyed Maids above