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XXXV. “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 spurned Him whom we all adore,—a subtile foe

By whom for ye this dread reward was earned,
And thrones, which rest on faith in God, nigh overturned.

“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?

Aye, there is famine in the gulph of hell,
Its giant worms of fire for ever yawn, —
Their lurid eyes are on us! those who fell
By the swift shafts 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 touched 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!

XXXIX. “Let Laon and Laone on that pyre, Linked tight with burning brass, perish! then pray That, with this sacrifice, the withering ire Of God 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 did divide.

XL. His voice was like a blast that burst the portal Of fabled hell; and as he spake, each one Saw gape beneath the chasms of fire immortal, And Heaven above seemed cloven, where, on a throne With storms and shadows girt, sate God, alone, Their King and Judge—fear killed in every breast All natural pity then, a fear unknown

Before, and with an inward fire possest,
They raged like homeless beasts whom burning woods invest.

'Twas morn-at noon the public crier went forth,
Proclaiming thro' the living and the dead,
“The Monarch saith, that his great Empire's worth
Is set on Laon and Laone's head:
He who but one yet living here can lead,
Or who the life from both their hearts can wring,
Shall be the kingdom's heir, a glorious meed !

But he who both alive can hither bring,
The Princess shall espouse, and reign an equal King."

Ere night the pyre was piled, the net of iron
Was spread above, the fearful couch below,
It overtopped the towers that did environ
That spacious square; for Fear is never slow
To build the thrones of Hate, her mate and foe,
So, she scourged forth the maniac multitude
To rear this pyramid-tottering and slow,

Plague-stricken, foodless, like lean herds pursued
By gad-flies, they have piled the heath, and gums, and wood.

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.

Morn came,-among those sleepless multitudes,
Madness, and Fear, and Plague, and Famine still
Heaped 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 [is near!" As “hush! hark! Come they yet? God, God, thine hour

XLV. And Priests rushed thro' their ranks, some counterfeiting The rage they did inspire, some mad indeed With their own lies; they said their God was waiting To see his enemies writhe, and burn, and bleed, And that, till then, the snakes of hell had need Of human souls :-three hundred furnaces Soon blazed thro' the wide City, where, with speed,

Men brought their atheist kindred to appease God's wrath, and while they burned, knelt round on quivering knees.

XLVI. The noontide sun was darkened with that smoke, The winds of eve dispersed those ashes grey, The madness which these rites had lulled, 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 straggling with despair.

XLVII. 'Tis said, a mother dragged three children then, To those fierce flames which roast the eyes in the head, And laughed, and died; and that unholy men, Feasting like fiends upon the infidel dead, Looked from their meal, and saw an Angel tread The threshold of God's throne, 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 burned them both with hellish mockery.

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 low sweet song, of which alone
One word was heard, and that was Liberty;
And that some kist their marble feet, with moan

Like love, and died, and then that they did die
With happy smiles, which sunk in white tranquillity.

Canto Eleventh.

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 poured 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 shattered vapours, which defying

The power of light in vain, tossed restlessly
In the red Heaven, like wrecks in a tempestuous sea.

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 gushed forth like fire, and as if swayed
By some mute tempest, rolled 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.

I stood beside her, but she saw me not-
She looked 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.


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,
Absorbed the glories of the burning skies,
Which, mingling with her heart's deep ecstasies,
Burst from her looks and gestures;—and a light
Of liquid tenderness like love, did rise

From her whole frame, an atmosphere which quite Arrayed her in its beams, tremulous and soft and bright

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