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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,
The gates of death, ere they receive the twain
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,
But he who both alive can hither bring,
Plague-stricken, foodless, like lean herds pursued
Of the swift pest with fearful interval,
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!
Like love, and died, and then that they did die
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
Her radiant shape upon its verge did shiver;
From her far eyes, a light of deep revealing,
Her lips were parted, and the measured breath
From her whole frame, an atmosphere which quite Arrayed her in its beams, tremulous and soft and bright