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X. • For we were slaying still without remorse, And now that dreadful chief beneath my hand Defenceless lay, when, on a hell-black horse, An Angel bright as day, waving a brand Which flash'd among the stars, past.”—- Dost thou stand Parleying with me, thou wretch - the king replied; • Slaves, bind him to the wheel; and of this band, Whoso will drag that woman to his side That scared him thus, may burn his dearest foe beside; XI. • And gold and glory shall be his.-Go forth!. They rush'd into the plain.—Loud was the roar Of their career: the horsemen shook the earth; The wheel'd artillery's speed the pavement tore; The infantry, file after file, did pour Their clouds on the utmost hills. Five days they slew Among the wasted fields: the sixth saw gore Stream through the city; on the seventh, the dew Of slaughter became stiff; and there was peace anew :
XIi. Peace in the desert fields and villages, Between the glutted beasts and mangled dead! Peace in the silent streets! save when the cries Of victims to their fiery judgment led, Made pale their voiceless lips who seem'd to dread Even in their dearest kindred, lest some tongue Be faithless to the fear yet unbetray'd; Peace in the Tyrant's palace, where the throng Waste the triumphal hours in festival and song!
xiii. Day after day the burning Sun rolled on Over the death-polluted land—it came Out of the east like fire, and fiercely shone A lamp of Autumn, ripening with its Ilame The few lone ears of corn;—the sky became Stagnate with heat, so that each cloud and blast Languish'd and died,—the thirsting air did claim All moisture, and a rotting vapour past From the unburied dead, invisible and fast.
xi W. First Want, then Plague came on the beasts; their food Failed, and they drew the breath of its decay. Millions on millions, whom the scent of blood Had lured, or who, from regions far away, Had track'd the hosts in festival array, From their dark deserts; gaunt and wasting now, Stalk'd like fell shades among their perish'd prey; In their green eyes a strange disease did glow, They sank in hideous spasm, or pains severe and slow.
XV, The fish were poison'd in the streams; the birds In the green woods perish'd; the insect race Was wither'd up; the scatter'd flocks and herds who had survived the wild beasts' hungry chace Died moaning, each upon the other's face In helpless agony gazing; round the City All night, the lean hyenas their sad case Like starving infants wailed; a woeful ditty!
And many a mother wept, pierced with unnatural pity.
xWi. Amid the aerial minarets on high, The AEthiopian vultures fluttering fell From their long line of brethren in the sky, Startling the concourse of mankind.—Too well These signs the coming mischief did foretell:— Strange panic first, a deep and sickening dread Within each heart, like ice, did sink and dwell, A voiceless thought of evil, which did spread With the quick glance of eyes, like withering lightnings shed. XVII. Day after day, when the year wanes, the frosts Strip its green crown of leaves, till all is bare; So on those strange and congregated hosts Came Famine, a swift shadow, and the air Groaned with the burthen of a new despair; Famine, than whom Misrule no deadlier daughter Feeds from her thousand breasts, though sleeping there With lidless eyes, lie Faith, and Plague, and Slaughter, A ghastly brood; conceived of Lethe's sullen water.
XXXVI. “All is not lost! there is some recompense For hope whose fountain can be thus profound, Even throned Evil's splendid impotence, Girt by its hell of power, the secret sound Of hymns to truth and freedom—the dread bound of life and death past fearlessly and well, Dungeons wherein the high resolve is found, Racks which degraded woman's greatness tell, And what may else be good and irresistible.
XXXVII. . Such are the thoughts which, like the fires that flare In storm-encompass'd isles, we cherish yet In this dark ruin–such were mine even there; As in its sleep some odorous violet, While yet its leaves with nightly dews are wet, Breathes in prophetic dreams of day's uprise, Or, as ere Scythian frost in fear has met Spring's messengers descending from the skies, The buds foreknow their life—this hope must ever rise.
XXXVIII. “So years had past, when sudden earthquake rent The depth of ocean, and the cavern crackt With sound, as if the world's wide continent Had fallen in universal ruin wrackt; And through the cleft stream'd in one cataract, The stifling waters:–when I woke, the flood Whose banded waves that crystal cave had sack'd Was ebbing round me, and my bright abode Before me yawn'd—a chasm desert, and bare, and broad.
XXXIX. • Above me was the sky, beneath the sea: l stood upon a point of shattered stone, And heard loose rocks rushing tumultuously With splash and shock into the deep—anon All ceased, and there was silence wide and lone. I felt that I was free the Ocean-spray Quiver'd beneath my feet, the broad Heaven shone Around, and in my hair the winds did play Lingering as they pursued their unimpeded way.
XL. • My spirit moved upon the sea like wind Which round some thymy cape will lag and hover, Though it can wake the still cloud, and unbind The strength of tempest: day was almost over, When through the fading light I could discover A ship approaching—its white sails were fed With the north wind—its moving shade did cover The twilight deep;-the mariners in dread Cast anchor when they saw new rocks around them spread. XLI. • And when they saw one sitting on a crag, They sent a boat to me;—the sailors row'd In awe through many a new and fearful jag Of overhanging rock, through which there flow'd The foam of streams that cannot make abode. They came and questioned ine, but when they heard My voice, they became silent, and they stood And moved as men in whom new love had stirr'd Deep thoughts: so to the ship we past without a word.
CAN TO WIII.
1. * I sate beside the steersman then, and gazing Upon the west, cried, “Spread the sails' behold ! The sinking moon is like a watch-tower blazing Over the mountains yet;-the City of Gold Yon Cape alone does from the sight withhold; The stream is fleet—the north breathes steadily Beneath the stars, they tremble with the cold ! Ye cannot rest upon the dreary sea!— Haste, haste to the warm home of happier destiny"
II. “The Mariners obeyed—the Captain stood Aloof, and whispering to the Pilot, said, ‘Alas, alas! I fear we are pursued By wicked ghosts : a Phantom of the Dead, The night before we sail'd, came to my bed In dream, like that "-The Pilot then replied, “It cannot be—she is a human Maid— Her low voice makes you weep—she is some bride, Or daughter of high birth—she can be nought beside.
III. * We past the islets, borne by wind and stream, And as we sail'd, the Mariners came near And throng'd around to listen;–in the gleam Of the pale moon I stood, as one whom fear May not attaint, and my calm voice did rear: Ye all are human—yon broad moon gives light To millions who the self-same likeness wear, Even while I speak—beneath this very night, Their thoughts flow on like ours, in sadness or delight.
IW. “What dream ye? Your own hands have built a home, Even for yourselves on a beloved shore: For some, fond eyes are pining till they come, How they will greet him when his toils are o'er, And laughing babes rush from the well-known door! Is this your care? ye toil for your own good— Ye feel and think—has some immortal power Such purposes? or in a human mood, Dream ye some Power thus builds for man in solitude?
W. “What is that Power? ye mock yourselves, and give A human heart to what ye cannot know : As if the cause of life could think and live! 'T were as if man's own works should feel, and show The hopes, and fears, and thoughts from which they flow, And he be like to them. Lo! Plague is free To waste, Blight, Poison, Earthquake, Hail, and Snow, Disease, and Want, and worse Necessity Of hate and ill, and Pride, and Tear, and Tyranny.
Wi. “What is that Power? Some moon-struck sophiststood Watching the shade from his own soul upthrown Fill Heaven and darken Earth, and in such mood The Form he saw and worshipp'd was his own, His likeness in the world's vast mirror shown ; And 't were an innocent dream, but that a faith Nursed by fear's dew of poison, grows thereon, And that men say, that Power has chosen Death On all who scorn its laws, to wreak immortal wrath.
Wii. • Men say that they themselves have heard and seen, Or known from others who have known such things, A Shade, a Form, which Earth and Heaven between Wields an invisible rod—that Priests and Kings, Custom, domestic sway, aye, all that brings Man's free-born soul beneath the oppressor's heel, Are his strong ministers, and that the stings Of death will make the wise his vengeance feel, Though truth and virtue arm their hearts with tenfold steel. Will. • And it is said, this Power will punish wrong; Yes, add despair to crime, and pain to pain! And deepest hell, and deathless snakes among, Will bind the wretch on whom is fix’d a stain, Which, like a plague, a burthen, and a bane, Clung to him while he lived;—for love and hate, Virtue and vice, they say are difference vain— The will of strength is right—this human state Tyrants, that they may rule, with lies thus desolate.
Ix. • Alas, what strength opinion is more frail Than yon dim cloud now fading on the moon Even while we gaze, though it awhile avail To hide the orb of truth—and every throne Of Earth or Heaven, though shadow rests thereon, One shape of many names:—for this ye plough The barren waves of ocean, hence each one Is slave or tyrant; all betray and bow, Command, or kill, or fear, or wreak, or suffer woe.
x. • Its names are each a sign which maketh holy All power—aye, the ghost, the dream, the shade, Of power—lust, falsehood, hate, and pride, and folly; The pattern whence all fraud and wrong is made, A law to which mankind has been betray'd; And human love, is as the name well known Of a dear mother, whom the murderer laid In bloody grave, and into darkness thrown, Gather'd her wilder'd babes around him as his own.'
xi. • 0 love! who to the hearts of wandering men Art as the calm to Ocean's weary waves! Justice, or truth, or joy! thou only can From slavery and religion's labyrinth caves Guide us, as one clear star the seaman saves. To give to all an equal share of good, To track the steps of freedom though through graves She pass, to suffer all in patient mood, To weep for crime, though stain'd with thy friend's
XII. • To feel the peace of self-contentment's lot, To own all sympathies, and outrage none, And in the inmost bowers of sense and thought, Until life's sunny day is quite gone down, To sit and smile with Joy, or, not alone, To kiss salt tears from the worn cheek of Woe; To live, as if to love and live were one,— This is not faith or law, nor those who bow To thrones on Heaven or Earth, such destiny may know.
XIII. - But children near their parents tremble now, Because they must obey—one rules another, And as one Power rules both high and low, So man is made the captive of his brother, And Hate is throned on high with Fear her mother, Above the Highest—and those fountain-cells, Whence love yet flow’d when faith had choked ali other, Are darkened—Woman, as the bond-slave, dwells Of man, a slave; and life is poisoned in its wells. XIV. “Man seeks for gold in mines, that he may weave A lasting chain for his own slavery;— In fear and restless care that he may live He toils for others, who must ever be The joyless thralls of like captivity; He murders, for his chiefs delight in ruin; He builds the altar, that its idol's fee May be his very blood; he is pursuing O, blind and willing wretch his own obscure undoing.
xW. - Woman!—she is his slave, she has become A thing I weep to speak—the child of scorn, The outcast of a desolated home, Falsehood, and fear, and toil, like waves have worn Channels upon her cheek, which smiles adorn, As calm decks the false Ocean:—well ye know What Woman is, for none of Woman born Can chuse but drain the bitter dregs of woe, Which ever from the oppress'd to the oppressors flow.
XVI. • This need not be; ye might arise, and will That gold should lose its power, and thrones their glory; That love, which none may bind, be free to fill The world, like light; and evil faith, grown hoary with crime, be quench'd and die.—Yon promontory Even now eclipses the descending moon l— Dungeons and palaces are transitory— High temples fade like vapour—Man alone Remains, whose will has power when all beside is gone.
XVII. « Let all be free and equal!—from your hearts I feel an echo; through my inmost frame Like sweetest sound, secking its mate, it darts— Whence come ye, friends? alas, I cannot name All that I read of sorrow, toil, and shame, On your worn faces; as in legends old Which make immortal the disastrous fame Of conquerors and impostors false and bold, The discord of your hearts, I in your looks behold.
xxiv. • ‘Yes—I must speak—my secret should have perish'd Even with the heart it wasted, as a brand Fades in the dying flame whose life it cherish'd, But that no human bosom can withstand Thee, wondrous Lady, and the mild command Of thy keen eyes –yes, we are wretched slaves, Who from their wonted loves and native land Are reft, and bear o'er the dividing waves The unregarded prey of calm and happy graves.
XXV. “We drag afar from pastoral vales the fairest, Among the daughters of those mountains lone, We drag them there, where all things best and rarest Are stain’d and trampled:—years have come and gone Since, like the ship which bears me, I have known No thought;-but now the eyes of one dear Maid On mine with light of mutual love have shone— She is my life, I am but as the shade of her, a smoke sent up from ashes, soon to fade.
XXVI. • ‘For she must perish in the tyrant's hall— Alas, alas"—He ceased, and by the sail Sate cowering—but his sobs were heard by all, And still before the ocean and the gale The ship fled fast till the stars 'gan to fail, And round me gathered with mute countenance, The Seamen gated, the Pilot, worn and pale With toil, the Captain with grey locks, whose glance Met mine in restless awe-they stood as in a trance.
Xvvil. • Recede not pause not now! thou art grown old, but liope will make thee young, for Hope and Youth Are children of one mother, even Love—behold! The eternal stars gate on us!—is the truth Within your soul: care for your own, or ruth For other's sufferings do ye thirst to bear A heart which not the serpent custom's tooth Max violate"—he free! and even here, Swear to be firm till death: they cried, “We swear! we swear" vv Will. • The very darkness shook, as with a blast of subterranean thunder at the cry; The hollow shore its thousand echoes cast into the nont, as if the sea, and sky. And earth, rescored with new-born liberty, For in that name they swore! Bolts were undrawn, And on the deck, with unaccustom'd eye The captives garing stood, and every one
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