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“ Who brush'd the thousands of the’ Assyrian King
“ 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 :-
“ Glorious Defenders of the sacred Crown
“I bear from Heaven, whose light nor blood shall drown,
“ 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,132
“ Magnificent, o'er Ali's beauteous eyes, 133
“ 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
“ Of her great foe fall broken in that hour,
“ When the moon's mighty orb, before all eyes,
“From NEKSHEE's Holy Well portentously shall rise !
“ Now turn and see !”.
They turn'd, and, as he spoke,
A sudden splendour all around them broke,
And they beheld an orb, ample and bright,
Rise from the Holy Well, 134 and cast its light
Round the rich city and the plain for miles, 135.
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-“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
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,137
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,
“ Nor blunt your blades with massacre so mean;
“ There rests the Caliph-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 shade,
And, as the clash is heard, new legions soon
Pour to the spot, like bees of KAUZEROON 139
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 seal'd-up apathy,
Which left her oft, with scarce one living thrill,
The cold, pale victim of her torturer's will.
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,-