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With duskier fire and for earth's medium form'd,
That run this course; Beings the most divine
Thus deign through dark mortality to shine.
Such was the Essence that in Adam dwelt,
To which all Heaven, except the Proud One, knelt :
Such the refined Intelligence that glow'd
In Moussa's frame, and, thence descending, flow'd
Through many a Prophet's breast;-in Issa shone,
And in Mohammed burn'd; till, hastening on,
(As a bright river that, from fall to fall
In many a maze descending, bright through all,
Finds some fair region where, each labyrinth past,
In one full lake of light it rests at last!)
That Holy Spirit, settling calm and free
From lapse or shadow, centres all in me!'
Again, throughout the assembly, at these words,
Thousands of voices rung: the warriors' swords
Were pointed up to heaven; a sudden wind
In the open banners play'd, and from behind
Those Persian hangings that but ill could screen
The Haram's loveliness, white hands were seen
Waving embroider'd scarves, whose motion gave
A perfume forth; —like those the Houris wave
When beckoning to their bowers the immortal Brave.
'But these,' pursued the Chief, 'are truths sublime,
That claim a holier mood and calmer time
Than earth allows us now; - this sword must first
The darkling prison-house of Mankind burst,
Ere Peace can visit them, or Truth let in
Her wakening daylight on a world of sin.
But then, celestial warriors, then, when all
Earth's shrines and thrones before our banner fall;
When the glad Slave shall at these feet lay down
His broken chain, the tyrant Lord his crown,
The Priest his book, the Conqueror his wreath,
And from the lips of Truth one mighty breath
Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in its breeze
That whole dark pile of human mockeries;
Then shall the reign of Mind commence on earth,
And starting fresh, as from a second birth,
Man, in the sunshine of the world's new spring,
Shall walk transparent, like some holy thing!
Then, too, your Prophet from his angel brow
Shall cast the Veil that hides its splendours now,
And gladden'd Earth shall, through her wide expanse,
Bask in the glories of this countenance !
For thee, young warrior, welcome! thou hast yet
Some tasks to learn, some frailties to forget,
Ere the white war-plume o'er thy brow can wave;
But, once mine own, mine all till in the grave!'
The pomp is at an end. the crowds are goneEach ear and heart still haunted by the tone Of that deep voice, which thrill'd like Alla's own! The Young all dazzled by the plumes and lances, The glittering throne, and Haram's half-caught
The Old deep pondering on the promised reign
Of peace and truth; and all the female train
Ready to risk their eyes, could they but gaze
A moment on that brow's miraculous blaze!
But there was one, among the chosen maids, Who blush'd behind the gallery's silken shades, One, to whose soul the pageant of to-day Has been like death;—you saw her pale dismay, Ye wondering sisterhood, and heard the burst Of exclamation from her lips, when first She saw that youth, too well, too dearly known, Silently kneeling at the Prophet's throne.
Ah, Zelica! there was a time, when bliss Shone o'er thine heart from every look of his; When but to see him, hear him, breathe the air In which he dwelt, was thy soul's fondest prayer; When round him hung such a perpetual spell, Whate'er he did none ever did so well. Too happy days! when, if he touch'd a flower Or gem of thine, 't was sacred from that hour: When thou didst study him till every tone And gesture and dear look became thine own,— Thy voice like his, the changes of his face In thine reflected with still lovelier grace: Like echo, sending back sweet music, fraught With twice the aërial sweetness it had brought! Yet now he comes, brighter than even he
E'er beam'd before, but ah! not bright for thee;
No-dread, unlook'd for, like a visitant
From the other world, he comes as if to haunt
Thy guilty soul with dreams of lost delight,
Long lost to all but memory's aching sight;-
Sad dreams! as when the Spirit of our Youth
Returns in sleep, sparkling with all the truth
And innocence once ours, and leads us back,
In mournful mockery, o'er the shining track
Of our young life, and points out every ray
Of hope and peace we've lost upon the way !
Once happy pair! in proud Bokhara's groves, Who had not heard of their first youthful loves? Born by that ancient flood, which from its spring In the Dark Mountains swiftly wandering, Enrich'd by every pilgrim brook that shines With relics from Bucharia's ruby mines, And lending to the Caspian half its strength, In the cold Lake of Eagles sinks at length; There, on the banks of that bright river born, The flowers that hung above its wave at morn Bless'd not the waters, as they murmur'd by, With holier scent and lustre, than the sigh And virgin-glance of first affection cast Upon their youth's smooth current, as it pass'd! But war disturb'd this vision,-- far away From her fond eyes summon'd to join the array Of Persia's warriors on the hills of Thrace, The youth exchanged his sylvan dwelling-place For the rude tent and war-field's deathful clash; His Zelica's sweet glances for the flash
Of Grecian wild-fire, and Love's gentle chains
For bleeding bondage on Byzantium's plains.
Month after month, in widowhood of soul
Drooping, the maiden saw two summers roll
Their suns away
- but ah! how cold and dim
Even summer suns, when not beheld with him!
From time to time ill-omen'd rumours came,
Like spirit-tongues muttering the sick man's name,
Just ere he dies: at length those sounds of dread
Fell withering on her soul, Azim is dead!'
O Grief, beyond all other griefs, when fate
First leaves the young heart lone and desolate
In the wide world, without that only tie
For which it loved to live or fear'd to die;
Lorn as the hung-up lute, that ne'er hath spoken
Since the sad day its master-chord was broken!
Fond maid, the sorrow of her soul was such,
Even reason sunk,- blighted beneath its touch:
And though, ere long, her sanguine spirit rose
Above the first dead pressure of its woes,
Though health and bloom return'd, the delicate chain
Of thought, once tangled, never clear'd again.
Warm, lively, soft as in youth's happiest day,
The mind was still all there, but turn'd astray;
A wandering bark, upon whose pathway shone
All stars of heaven, except the guiding one!
Again she smiled, nay, much and brightly smiled,
But it was a lustre, strange, unreal, wild;
And when she sung to her lute's touching strain,