« PreviousContinue »
And glorious as the regent of the sun,"
An angel came! He spoke, and it was done !
He spoke, and, at his call, a mighty wind,
Not like the fitful blast, with fury blind,
But deep, majestic, in its destined course,
Sprung with unerring, unrelenting force,
From the bright East. Tides duly ebbed and flowed;
Stars rose and set; and new horizons glowed;
Yet still it blew ! As with primeval sway
Still did its ample spirit, night and day,
Move on the waters ! — All, resigned to Fate,
Folded their arms and sate;' and seemed to wait
Some sudden change; and sought, in chill suspense,
New spheres of being, and new modes of sense ;
As men departing, though not doomed to die,
And midway on their passage to eternity.
“What vast foundations in the abyss are there, As of a former world ? Is it not where ATLANTIC kings their barbarous pomp displayed ;? Sunk into darkness with the realms they swayed, When towers and temples, through the closing wave, A glimmering ray of ancient splendor gave – And we shall rest with them ?-Or are we thrown' (Each gazed on each, and all exclaimed as one) " Where things familiar cease and strange begin, All progress barred to those without, within ?
- Soon is the doubt resolved. Arise, behold We stop to stir no more
3 nor will the tale be told.”
The pilot smote his breast; the watchman cried
“Land !” and his voice in faltering accents died."
At once the fury of the prow was quelled ;
And (whence or why from many an age withheld)
Shrieks, not of men, were mingling in the blast;
And arméd shapes of god-like stature passed !
Slowly along the evening-sky they went,
As on the edge of some vast battlement;
Helmet and shield, and spear and gonfalon,
Streaming a baleful light that was not of the sun!
Long from the stern the great adventurer gazed
With awe, not fear; then high his hands he raised.
"Thou All-supreme . . . in goodness as in power,
Who, from his birth to this eventful hour,
Hast led thy servant over land and sea,
Confessing Thee in all, and all in Thee,
O still” — He spoke, and, lo! the charm accurst
Fled whence it came, and the broad barrier burst !
A vain illusion ! (such us mocks the eyes
Of fearful men, when mountains round them rise
From less than nothing) nothing now beheld,
But scattered sedge — repelling, and repelled !
And once again that valiant company
Right onward came, ploughing the unknown sea.
Already borne beyond the range of thought,
With light divine, with truth immortal fraught,
From world to world their steady course they keep,”
Swift as the winds along the waters sweep,
Mid the mute nations of the purple deep.
- And now the sound of harpy-wings they hear;
Now less and less, as vanishing in fear!
And see, the heavens bow down, the waters rise,
And, rising, shoot in columns to the skies,
That stand — and still, when they proceed, retire,
As in the desert burned the sacred fire;
Moving in silent majesty, till Night
Descends, and shuts the vision from their sight.
An Assembly of Evil Spirits.
Though changed my cloth of gold for amice gray? -
In my spring-time, when every month was May,
With hawk and hound I coursed away the hour,
Or sung my roundelay in lady's bower.
And though my world be now a narrow cell
(Renounced forever all I loved so well),
Though now my head be bald, my feet be bare,
And scarce my knees sustain my
0, I was there, one of that gallant crew,
And saw -- and wondered whence his power he drew,
Yet little thought, though by his side I stood,
Of his great foes in earth and air and flood,
Then uninstructed.- But my sand is run,
And the night coming ... and my task not done!..
’T was in the deep, immeasurable cave
Of ANDES, echoing to the Southern wave,
Mid pillars of basalt, the work of fire,
That, giant-like, to upper day aspire,
'T was there that now, as wont in heaven to shine,
Forms of angelic mould and grace divine
Assembled. All, exiled the realms of rest,
In vain the sadness of their souls suppressed;
Yet of their glory many a scattered ray
Shot through the gathering shadows of decay.
Each moved a god; and all, as gods, possessed
One half the globe; from pole to pole confessed !3
O, could I now
but how in mortal verse
Their numbers, their heroic deeds, rehearse!
These in dim shrines and barbarous symbols reign,
Where PLATA and MARAGNON meet the main."
Those the wild hunter worships as he roves,
In the green shade of CHILi's fragrant groves;
Or warrior-tribes with rites of blood implore,
Whose night-fires gleam along the sullen shore
Of HURON or ONTARIO, inland seas,
What time the song of death is in the breeze !
’T was now in dismal pomp and order due, While the vast concave flashed with lightnings blue, On shining pavements of metallic ore, That many an age the fusing sulphur bore, They held high council. All was silence round, When, with a voice most sweet, yet most profound, A sovereign Spirit burst the gates of night, And from his wings of gold shook drops of liquid light ! MERION, commissioned with his host to sweep From age to age the melancholy deep !
Chief of the ZEMI, whom the Isles obeyed,
By Ocean severed from a world of shade.
“Prepare, again prepare."
Thus o'er the soul the thrilling accents came,
"Thrones to resign for lakes of living flame,
And triumph for despair.
He, on whose call afflicting thunders wait,
Has willed it; and his will is fate!
In vain the legions, emulous to save,
Hung in the tempest o'er the troubled main ;' Turned each presumptuous prow that broke the wave,
And dashed it on its shores again. All is fulfilled! Behold, in close array, What mighty banners stream in the bright track of day!
“No voice as erst shall in the desert rise;8
Nor ancient, dread solemnities
With scorn of death the trembling tribes inspire.
Wreaths for the Conqueror's brow the victims bind !
Yet, though we fled yon firmament of fire,
Still shall we fly, all hope of rule resigned ?"
He spoke; and all was silence, all was night! Each had already winged his formidable flight.