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From the quick, ardent Priestess, whose light bound
Upon his couch the Veiled Mokanna lay, While lamps around — not such as lend their ray, Glimmering and cold, to those who nightly pray In holy Koom', or Mecca's dim arcades,—. But brilliant, soft, such lights as lovely maids Look loveliest in, shed their luxurious glow Upon his mystic Veil's white glittering flow. Beside him, 'stead of beads and books of prayer, Which the world fondly thought he mused on there, Stood Vases, filled with KiSHMEE's ? golden wine,, And the red weepings of the SHIRAZ vine; Of which his curtain'd lips full many a draught Took zealously, as if each drop they quaff'd,
1 The cities of Com (or Koom) and Cashan are full of mosques, mausoleums, and sepulchres of the descendants of Ali, the Saints of Persia. — Chardin. 2 An island in the Persian Gulf, celebrated for its white wine.
Like ZEMZEM's Spring of Holiness?, had power To freshen the soul's virtues into flower! And still he drank and ponder'd - nor could see Th’ approaching maid, so deep his reverie ; At length, with fiendish laugh, like that which broke From EBlis at the Fall of Man, he spoke: 66 Yes, ye vile race, for hell's amusement given, . 66 Too mean for earth, yet claiming kin with heaven; 66 God's images, forsooth! - such gods as he 66 Whom INDIA serves, the monkey deity;4 — 66 Ye creatures of a breath, proud things of clay, 66 To whom if LUCIFER, as grandams say, 66 Refus'd, though at the forfeit of Heaven's light, 66 To bend in worship, LUCIFER was right! 66 Soon shall I plant this foot upon the neck “ Of your foul race, and without fear or check, 6 Luxuriating in hate, avenge my shame, “ My deep-felt, long-nurst loathing of man's name!“ Soon, at the head of myriads, blind and fierce 66 As hooded falcons, through the universe
3 The miraculous well at Mecca; so called, says Sale, from the murmuring of its waters.
4 The god Hannaman.
66 I'll sweep my darkening, desolating way,
66 Ye wise, ye learn’d, who grope your dull way on 66 By the dim twinkling gleams of ages gone, - Like superstitious thieves, who think the light “ From dead men's marrow guides them best at nights66 Ye shall have honours — wealth, — yes, Sages, yes6 I know, grave fools, your wisdom's nothingness; 66 Undazzled it can track yon starry sphere, 66 But a gilt stick, a bauble blinds it here. “ How I shall laugh, when trumpetted along, 66 In lying speech, and still more lying song, 6 By these learn'd slaves, the meanest of the throng;) 66 Their wits bought up, their wisdom shrunk so small, ¢ A sceptre's puny point can wield it all!
Ye too, believers of incredible creeds, 66 Whose faith inshrines the monsters which it breeds;
s A kind of lantern formerly used by robbers, called the Hand of Glory, the candle for which was made of the fat of a dead malefactor. This, however, was rather a western than an eastern superstition.
6 Who, bolder ev'n than NEMROD, think to rise, 66 By nonsense heap'd on nonsense to the skies; 6 Ye shall have miracles, aye, sound ones too, 66 Seen, heard, attested, every thing -- but true. “ Your preaching zealots, too inspir'd to seek 6 One grace of meaning for the things they speak; " Your martyrs, ready to shed out their blood, 66 For truths too heavenly to be understood; 6 And your State Priests, sole venders of the lore, 66 That works salvation ; - as on Ava's shore, 6. Where none but priests are privileg'd to trade « In that best marble of which Gods are made ;6 — “ They shall have mysteries — aye, precious stuff - For knaves to thrive by — mysteries enough; 66 Dark, tangled doctrines, dark as fraud can weave, 66 Which simple votaries shall on trust receive, “ While craftier feign belief, till they believe. 66 A Heav'n too ye must have, ye lords of dust, 66 A splendid Paradise, — pure souls, ye must: 66 That Prophet ill sustains his holy call, “ Who finds not Heav'ns to suit the tastes of all; “ Houris for boys, omniscience for sages, 56 And wings and glories for all ranks and ages.
6 Symes's Ava, vol. ii. p. 376.
6. Vain things ! — as lust or vanity inspires, 66 The Heav'n of each is but what each desires, 66 And, soul or sense, whate'er the object be, “ Man would be man to all eternity! 66 So let him — EBlis! grant this crowning curse, 66 But keep him what he is, no Hell were worse.” —
“ Oh my lost soul!” exclaim'd the shuddering maid, Whose ears had drunk like poison all he said, MOKANNA started — not abash'd, afraid, He knew no more of fear than one who dwells Beneath the tropics knows of icicles ! But, in those dismal words that reach'd his ear, 66 Oh my lost soul !" there was a sound so drear, So like that voice, among the sinful dead, In which the legend o'er Hell's Gate is read, That, new as 'twas from her, whom nought could dim Or sink till now, it startled even him.
66 Ha, my fair Priestess !” — thus, with ready wile, Th’impostur turn’d to greet her — " thou, whose smile 66 Hath inspiration in its rosy beam “ Beyond th' Enthusiast's hope or Prophet's dream!