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xxxiv. He dared not kill the infidels with fire Or steel, in Europe: the slow agonies Of legal torture mock'd his keen desire: So he made truce with those who did despise The expiation, and the sacrifice, That, though detested, Islam's kindred creed Might crush for him those deadlier enemies; For fear of God did in his bosom breed A jealous hate of man, an unreposing need.
xxxw. - Peace! Peace!- he cried, - when we are dead, the Day Of judgment comes, and all shall surely know Whose God is God, each fearfully shall pay The errors of his faith in endless woe! But there is sent a mortal vengeance now On earth, because an impious race had spurn'd Him whom we all adore, a subtile foe, By whom for ye this dread reward was earn'd, And kingly thrones, which rest on faith, nigh overturn'd.
xxxvi. • Think ye, because ye weep, and kneel, and pray, That God will lull the pestilence” it rose Even from beneath his throne, where, many a day His mercy soothed it to a dark repose: It walks upon the earth to judge his foes, And what are thou and I, that he should deign To curb his ghastly minister, or close The gates of death, ere they receive the twain Who shook with mortal spells his undefended reign!
xxxWii. • Aye, there is famine in the gulf of hell, Its giant worms of fire for ever yawn, Their lurid eyes are on us! those who fell By the swifts shaft of pestilence ere dawn, Are in their jaws! they hunger for the spawn of Satan, their own brethren, who were sent To make our souls their spoil. See' see! they fawn Like dogs, and they will sleep with luxury spent, When those detested hearts their iron fangs have rent!
XXXVIII. • Our God may then lull Pestilence to sleep : Pile high the pyre of expiation now! A forest's spoil of boughs, and on the heap Pour venomous gums, which sullenly and slow, When touch'd by flame, shall burn, and melt, and flow, A stream of clinging fire, -and fix on high A net of iron, and spread forth below A couch of snakes, and scorpions, and the fry Of centipedes and worms, earth's hellish progeny!
• Let Laon and Laone on that pyre,
Linked tight with burning brass, perish –then pray
That, with this sacrifice, the withering ire Of Heaven may be appeased. He ceased, and they A space stood silent, as far, far away The echoes of his voice among them died; And he knelt down upon the dust, alway Muttering the curses of his speechless pride, Whilst shame, and fear, and awe, the armies Aid divide.
wood XLIII. Night came, a starless and a moonless gloom. Until the dawn, those hosts of many a nation Stood round that pile, as near one lover's tomb Two gentle sisters mourn their desolation; And in the silence of that expectation, was heard on high the reptiles hiss and crawl— It was so deep, save when the devastation Of the swift pest with fearful interval, Marking its path with shrieks, among the crowd would fall. xiiW. Morn came, among those sleepless multitudes, Madness, and Fear, and Plague, and Famine still Heap'd corpse on corpse, as in autumnal woods The frosts of many a wind with dead leaves fill Earth's cold and sullen brooks; in silence, still The pale survivors stood, ere noon, the fear Of Hell became a panic, which did kill Like hunger or disease, with whispers drear, As . Hush hark! Come they yet? Just Heaven' thine hour is near !xLW.
xi.vi. The noontide sun was darken'd with that smoke, The winds of eve dispersed those ashes grey, The madness which these rites had lull'd, awoke Again at sunset.—Who shall dare to say The deeds which night and fear brought forth, or weigh In balance just the good and evil there? He might man's deep and searchless heart display, And cast a light on those dim labyrinths, where Hope, near imagined chasms, is struggling with despair.
XLVii. 'T is said, a mother dragg'd three children then, To those fierce flames which roast the eves in the head, And laugh’d and died; and that unholy men, Feasting like fiends upon the infidel dead, Look'd from their meal, and saw an Angel tread The visible floor of Heaven, and it was she' And, on that night, one without doubt or dread Came to the fire, and said, - Stop, I am he Kill me!» they burn'd them both with hellish mockery.
XLViii. And, one by one, that night, young maidens came, Beauteous and calm, like shapes of living stone Clothed in the light of dreams, and by the flame Which shrank as overgorged, they laid them down, And sung a slow sweet song, of which alone One word was heard, and that was Liberty; And that some kiss'd their marble feet, with moan Like love, and died, and then that they did die With happy smiles, which sunk in white tranquillity.
CAN TO XI.
i. She saw me not—she heard me not—alone Upon the mountain's dizzy brink she stood; She spake not, breathed not, moved not—there was thrown Over her look, the shadow of a mood Which only clothes the heart in solitude, A thought of voiceless depth;-she stood alone; Above, the Heavens were spread;—below, the flood Was murmuring in its caves;—the wind had blown Her hair apart, thro' which her eyes and forehead shone. ii. A cloud was hanging o'er the western mountains; Before its blue and moveless depth were flying Grey mists pour'd forth from the unresting fountains of darkness in the North:—the day was dying:— Sudden, the sun shone forth, its beams were lying Like boiling gold on Ocean, strange to see, And on the shatter'd vapours, which defying The power of light in vain, toss'd restlessly In the red Heaven, like wrecks in a tempestuous sea.
III. It was a stream of living beams, whose bank On either side by the cloud's cleft was made; And where its chasms that flood of glory drank. Its waves gush'd forth like fire, and as if swayed By some mute tempest, roll'd on her; the shade of her bright image floated on the river Of liquid light, which then did end and fade— Her radiant shape upon its verge did shiver; Aloft, her flowing hair like strings of flame did quiver.
iW. I stood beside her, but she saw me not.— She look'd upon the sea, and skies, and earth; Rapture, and love, and admiration wrought A passion deeper far than tears, or mirth, Or speech, or gesture, or whate'er has birth From common joy; which, with the speechless feeling That led her there united, and shot forth From her far eyes, a light of deep revealing, All but her dearest self from my regard concealing.
V. Her lips were parted, and the measured breath Was now heard there;—her dark and intricate eyes Orb within orb, deeper than sleep or death, Absorb’d the glories of the burning skies, Which, mingling with her heart's deep ecstacies, Burst from her looks and gestures;–and a light Of liquid tenderness like love, did rise From her whole frame, an atmosphere which quite Array'd her in its beams, tremulous and soft and bright
Wi. She would have clasp'd me to her glowing frame; Those warm and odorous lips might soon have shed On mine the fragrance and the invisible flame
Which now the cold winds stole;—she would have laid
Upon my languid heart her dearest head; I might have heard her voice, tender and sweet; Her eyes mingling with mine, might soon have fed My soul with their own joy.—One moment yet I gazed—we parted then, never again to meet:
VII. Never but once to meet on Earth again! She heard me as I fled—her eager tone Sunk on my heart, and almost wove a chain Around my will to link it with her own, So that my stern resolve was almost gone. • I cannot reach thee! whither dost thou fly? My steps are faint—Come back, thou dearest one— Return, ah me! returne—the wind past by
On which those accents died, faint, far, and lingeringly.
VIII. Woe! woe! that moonless midnight—Want and Pest Were horrible, but one more fell doth rear, As in a hydra's swarming lair, its crest Eminent among those victims—even the Fear Of Hell: each girt by the hot atmosphere Of his blind agony, like a scorpion stung By his own rage upon his burning bier Of circling coals of fire; but still there clung
One hope, like a keen sword on starting threads uphung IX. Not death—death was no more refuge or rest; Not life—it was despair to be!—not sleep, For fiends and chasms of fire had dispossest All natural dreams: to wake was not to weep, But to gaze mad and pallid, at the leap To which the Future, like a snaky scourge, Or like some tyrant's eye, which aye doth keep Its withering beam upon his slaves, did urge Their steps; they heard the roar of Hell's sulphureous
x. Each of that multitude alone, and lost To sense of outward things, one hope yet knew ; As on a foam-girt crag some seaman tost, Stares at the rising tide, or like the crew Whilst now the ship is splitting through and through; Each, if the tramp of a far steed was heard, Started from sick despair, or if there flew One murmur on the wind, or if some word Which none can gather yet, the distant crowd hasstirred.
XI. Why became cheeks wan with the kiss of death Paler from hope? they had sustained despair. Why watch'd those myriads with suspended breath Sleepless a second night? they are not here The victims, and hour by hour, a vision drear, Warm corpses fall upon the clay-cold dead; And even in death their lips are wreathed with fear.— The crowd is mute and moveless—overhead Silent Arcturus shines—ha! hear'st thou not the tread
XII. Of rushing feet? laughter? the shout, the scream, Of triumph not to be contain'd : see! hark! They come, they come, give way! alas, ye deem Falsely—t is but a crowd of maniacs stark Driven, like a troop of spectres, through the dark, From the choked well, whence a bright death-fire sprung, A lurid earth-star, which dropped many a spark From its blue train, and spreading widely, clung To their wild hair, like mist the topmost pines among. xiii. And many from the crowd collected there, Join'd that strange dance in fearful sympathies; There was the silence of a long despair, When the last echo of those terrible cries Came from a distant street, like agonies Stilled afar.—Before the Tyrant's throne All night his aged Senate sate, their eyes In stony expectation fix'd; when one Sudden before them stood, a Stranger and alone.
XIV. Dark Priests and haughty Warriors gazed on him With baffled wonder, for a hermit's vest Conceal’d his face; but when he spake, his tone, Ere yet the matter did their thoughts arrest, Earnest, benignant, calm, as from a breast Void of all hate or terror, made them start; For as with gentle accents he address'd His speech to them, on each unwilling heart Unusual awe did fall—a spirit-quelling dart.
xW. • Ye Princes of the Earth, ye sit aghast Amid the ruin which yourselves have made; Yes, desolation heard your trumpet's blast, And sprang from sleep!—dark Terror has obeyed Your bidding—0, that I whom ye have made Your foe, could set my dearest enemy free From pain and fear! but evil casts a shade, Which cannot pass so soon, and Hate must be The nurse and parent still of an ill progeny.
XVI. • Ye turn to Heaven for aid in your distress; Alas, that ye, though mighty and the wise, Who, if he dared, might not aspire to less Than ye conceive of power, should fear the lies Which thou, and thou, didst frame for mysteries To blind your slaves:–consider your own thought, An empty and a cruel sacrifice Ye now prepare, for a vain idol wrought Out of the fears and hate which vain desires have brought.
XWii. * Ye seek for happiness—alas, the day ! Ye find it not in luxury nor in gold, Nor in the fame, nor in the envied sway For which, O willing slaves to Custom old Severe task-mistress! ye your hearts have sold. Ye seek for peace, and when ye die, to dream No evil dreams: all mortal things are cold And senseless then ; if aught survive, I deem It must be love and joy, for they immortal seem.
XVIII. • Fear not the future, weep not for the past. O, could I win your ears to dare be now Glorious, and great, and calm that ye would cast Into the dust those symbols of your woe, Purple, and gold, and steel' that ye would go Proclaiming to the nations whence ye came, That Want, and Plague, and Fear, from slavery slow; And that mankind is free, and that the shame Of royalty and faith is lost in freedom's fame.
XIX. • If thus "t is well—if not, I come to say That Laond-while the Stranger spoke, among The Council sudden tumult and affray Arose, for many of those warriors young Had on his eloquent accents fed and hung Like bees on mountain-slowers; they knew the truth, And from their thrones in vindication sprung; The men of faith and law then without ruth Drew forth their secret steel, and stabbed each ardent youth. XX. They stabb'd them in the back and sneer’d—a slave Who stood behind the throne, those corpses drew Each to its bloody, dark and secret grave; And one more daring raised his steel anew To pierce the Stranger: . What hast thou to do With me, poor wretch?--Calm, solemn, and severe, That voice unstrung his sinews, and he threw His dagger on the ground, and pale with fear, Sate silently—his voice then did the Stranger rear.