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Keep, seald with precious musk, for those they
I will myself uncurtain in your sight
The wonders of this brow's ineffable light;
Then lead you forth, and with a wink disperse
Yon myriads, howling through the universe!”
Eager they listen, while each accent darts New life into their chill'd and hope-sick hearts; Such treacherous life as the cool draught supplies To him upon the stake, who drinks and dies ! Wildly they point their lances to the light Of the fast sinking sun, and shout “ To-night!” “ To-night!" their Chief re-echoes in a voice Of fiend-like mockery that bids hell rejoice. Deluded victims ! never hath this earth Seen mourning half so mournful as their mirth. Tere, to the few, whose iron frames had stood This racking waste of famine and of blood, Faint, dying wretches clung, from whom the shout Of triumph like a maniac's laugh broke out:There, others, lighted by the smould'ring fire, Danc'd like wan ghosts about a funeral pyre, Among the dead and dying, strew'd around; While some pale wretch look'd on, and from his
wound Plucking the fiery dart by which he bled, In ghastly transport wav'd it o'er his head!
'Twas more than midnight now
a fearful pause Had follow'd the long shouts, the wild applause, That lately from those Royal Gardens burst, Where the Veild demon held his feast accurst, When ZELICA alas, poor ruin’d heart, In every horror doom’d to bear its part !
Was bidden to the banquet by a slave,
Who, while his quivering lip the summons gave,
Grew black, as though the shadows of the grave
Compass'd him round, and, ere he could repeat
His message through, fell lifeless at her feet!
Shuddering she went — a soul-felt pang of fear,
A presage that her own dark doom was near,
Rous'd every feeling, and brought Reason back
Once more, to writhe her last upon the rack. 7*.lūs
All round seem'd tranquil — even the foe had ceas'd,
As if aware of that demoniac feast,
His fiery bolts; and though the heavens look'd red,
'Twas but some distant conflagration's spread.
But hark - she stops - she listens — dreadful tone,
'Tis her Tormentor's laugh and now, a groan,
A long death-groan comes with it:
can this be
The place of mirth, the bower of revelry?
She enters Holy Alla, what a sight
Was there before her! By the glimmering light
Of the pale dawn, mix'd with the flare of brands
That round lay burning, dropp'd from lifeless hands,
She saw the board, in splendid mockery spread,
Rich censers breathing - garlands overhead –
The urns, the cups, from which they late had quaff'd,
All gold and gems, but — what had been the draught ?
Oh! who need ask, that saw those livid guests,
With their swoll'n heads sunk black’ning on their
Or looking pale to Heaven with glassy glare,
As if they sought but saw no mercy there;
As if they felt, though poison rack'd them through,
Remorse the deadlier torment of the two!
While some, the bravest, hardiest of the train
Of their false Chief, who on the battle-plain
Would have met death with transport by his side,
Here mute and helpless gaspåd ; — but, as they died,
Look'd horrible vengeance with their eyes' last strain,
And clench'd the slack’ning hand at him in vain.
Dreadful it was to see the ghastly stare,
The stony look of horror and despair,
Which some of these expiring victims cast
Upon their souls' tormentor to the last;
Upon that mocking Fiend, whose Veil, now rais'd,
Show'd them, as in death's agony they gazed,
Not the long promis'd light, the brow, whose beaming
Was to come forth, all conquering, all redeeming,
But features horribler than Hell e'er trac'd
On its own brood; no Demon of the Waste,146
No churchyard Ghole, caught lingering in the light
Of the blest sun, e'er blasted human sight
With lineaments so foul, so fierce as those
The Impostor, now in grinning mockery, shows:-
There, ye wise Saints, behold your Light, your
Ye would be dupes and victims, and ye are.
Is it enough ? or must I, while a thrill
Lives in your sapient bosoms, cheat you still ?
Swear that the burning death ye feel within
Is but the trance with which Heaven's joys begin;
That this foul visage, foul as e'er disgrac'd
Even monstrous man, is — after God's own taste;
And that — but see! . ere I have half-way said
My greetings through, the uncourteous souls are fled.
Farewell, sweet spirits ! not in vain ye die,
If Ellis loves you half so well as I.
Ha, my young bride! — 'tis well — take thou thy seat;
Nay, come no shuddering — didst thou never meet
The dead before ? — they grac'd our wedding, sweet;
And these, my guests to-night, have brimm'd so true
Their parting cups, that thou shalt pledge one too.
But how is this ? - all empty ? all drunk up?
Hot lips have been before thee in the cup,
Young bride, - yet stay - one precious drop remains,
Enough to warm a gentle Priestess' veins :
Here, drink and should thy lover's conquering arms
Speed hither, ere thy lip lose all its charms,
Give him but half this venom in thy kiss,
And I'll forgive my haughty rival's bliss !
“For me- I too must die — but not like these
Vile, rankling things, to fester in the breeze;
To have this brow in ruffian triumph shown,
With all Death's grimness added to its own,
And rot to dust beneath the taunting eyes
Of slaves, exclaiming, “There his Godship lies!'
No— cursed race since first my soul drew breath,
They've been my dupes, and shall be e'en in death.
Thou see'st yon cistern in the shade— 'tis fill'd
With burning drugs, for this last hour distill’d: 147
There will I plunge me, in that liquid flame
Fit bath to lave a dying Prophet's frame !
There perish, all — ere pulse of thine shall fail —
Nor leave one limb to tell mankind the tale.
So shall my votaries, wheresoe'er they rave,
Proclaim that Heaven took back the Saint it gave;
That I've but vanish'd from this earth awhile,
To come again, with bright, unshrouded smile!
So shall they build me altars in their zeal,
Where knaves shall minister, and fools shall kneel;
Where Faith may mutter o'er her mystic spell,
Written in blood -- and Bigotry may swell
The sail he spreads for Heaven with blasts from hell !
So shall my banner, through long ages, be
The rallying sign of fraud and anarchy:-
Kings yet unborn shall rue MOKANNA's name,
And, though I die, my spirit, still the same,
Shall walk abroad in all the stormy strife,
And guilt, and blood, that were its bliss in life.
But, hark! their battering engine shakes the wall
Why, let it shake thus I can brave them all.
No trace of me shall greet them, when they come,
And I can trust thy faith, for — thou’lt be dumb.
Now mark how readily a wretch like me,
In one bold plunge, commences Deity!”
He sprung and sunk, as the last words were said –
Quick clos'd the burning waters o'er his head,
And ZELICA was left — within the ring
Of those wide walls the only living thing;
The only wretched one, still curs’d with breath,
In all that frightful wilderness of death!
More like some bloodless ghost — such as, they tell,
In the lone Cities of the Silent 148 dwell,
And there, unseen of all but ALLA, sit
Each by its own pale carcase, watching it.
But morn is up, and a fresh warfare stirs
Throughout the camp of the beleaguerers. kehas/ Their globes of fire (the dread artillery lent
By GREECE to conquering MAHADT) are spent;
And now the scorpion's shaft, the quarry sent
From high ballistas, and the shielded throng
Of soldiers swinging the huge ram along,
All speak the impatient Islamite's intent
at length, if tower and battlement
And bastion’d wall be not less hard to win,
Less tough to break down than the hearts within.
First in impatience and in toil is he,
The burning AZIM - oh! could he but see