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A DIVINE POEM.
Sweep headlong to destruction; thou, the while, And thinks the season yet shall come, when Time
Far from the unquietness of life—from noise
And tumult far-beyond the flying clouds, Thy signet on them, and they rise no more. Beyond the stars, and all this passing scene, Who shall contend with Time-unvanquish'd Time, Where change shall cease, and time shall be no more. The conquerer of conquerors, and lord of desolation ?-Lo! the shadows fly, The hours and days, and years and centuries, They fly, they fly, and nations rise and fall.
THE CHRISTIAD, The young are old, the old are in their graves. Heard'st thou that shout! It rent the vaulted skies ; It was the voice of people,-mighty crowdsAgain! 't is hush'd-Time speaks, and all is hush'd; This was the work which the author had most at heart. His
riper judgment would probably have perceived that the subIn the vast multitude now reigns alone
ject was ill chosen. What is said so well in the Censura Unruffled solitude. They all are still ;
Literaria of all Scriptural subjects for narrative poetry, apAll-yea, the whole-the incalculable mass, plies peculiarly to this. “Any thing taken from it, leaves Still as the ground that clasps their cold remains.
the story imperfect; any thing added to it, disgusts and almost shocks us as impious. As Omar said of the Alexan
drian Library, we may say of such writings; if they contain Rear thou aloft thy standard-Spirit, rear
only what is in the Scriptures, they are superfluous; if what Thy flag on high! and glory in thy strength.
is not in them, they are false."-It may be added, that the
mixture of mythology makes truth itself appear fabulous. But dost thou know the season yet shall come, When from its base thine adamantine throne
There is great power in the execution of this fragment.-In
editing these remains, I have, with that decorum which it Shall tumble; when thine arm shall cease to strike,
is to be wished all editors would observe, abstained from inThy voice forget its petrifying power;
forming the reader what he is to admire and what he is not ; When saints shall shout, and Time shall be no more! but I cannot refrain from saying that the two last stanzas Yea, He doth come—the mighty champion comes,
greatly affected me, when I discovered them written on the
leaf of a different book, and apparently long after the first Whose potent spear shall give thee thy death-wound,
canto; and greatly shall I be mistaken if they do not affect Shall crush the conqueror of conquerors,
the reader also.-R. Southey.
I sing the Cross —Ye white-robed angel choirs, Even from their graves they spring, and burst the
Who know the chords of harmony to sweep, chains
Ye who o'er holy David's varying wires Of torpor-He has ransom'd them,
Were wont of old your hovering watch to keep,
Oh, now descend! and with your harpings deep, Forgotten generations live again,
Pouring sublime the full symphonious stream Assume the bodily shapes they own'd of old,
Of music, such as soothes the saint's last sleep, Beyond the flood :-the righteous of their times
Awake my slumbering spirit from its dream, Embrace and weep, they weep the tears of joy.
And teach me how to exalt the high mysterious
theme. The sainted mother wakes, and in her lap Clasps her dear babe, the partner of her grave,
II. And heritor with her of heaven,-a flower
Mourn! Salem, mourn! low lies thine humbled state, Wash'd by the blood of Jesus from the stain
Thy glittering fanes are levell’d with the ground! Of native guilt, even in its early bud.
Fallen is thy pride Thine halls are desolate! And hark! those strains, how solemnly serene
Where erst was heard the timbrel's sprightly They fall, as from the skies--at distance fall
sound, Again more loud-the hallelujahs swell:
And frolic pleasures tripp'd the nightly round, The newly-risen catch the joyful sound;
There breeds the wild fox lonely,—and aghast They glow, they burn; and now with one accord
Stands the mute pilgrim at the void profound, Bursts forth sublime from every mouth the song
Unbroke by noise, save when the hurrying blast Of praise to God on high, and to the Lamb
Sighs, like a spirit, deep along the cheerless waste. Who bled for mortals.
It is for this, proud Solyma! thy towers Yet there is peace for man. —Yea, there is peace Lie crumbling in the dust ; for this forlorn Even in this noisy, this unsettled scene;
Thy genius wails along thy desert bowers, When from the crowd, and from the city far,
While stern Destruction laughs, as if in scorn, Haply he may be set (in his late walk
That thou didst dare insult God's eldest-born: O'ertaken with deep thought) beneath the boughs And with most bitter persecuting ire, Of honeysuckle, when the sun is gone,
Pursued his footsteps till the last day-dawn And with fixt eye, and wistful, he surveys
Rose on his fortunes and thou saw'st the fire The solemn shadows of the Heavens sail,
That came to light the world, in one great flash expire.
X. Oh! for a pencil dipt in living light,
"T was there, yet shuddering from the burning late, To paint the agonies that Jesus bore !
Satan had fix'd their next consistory, Oh! for the long-lost harp of Jesse's might,
When parting last he fondly hoped to shake To hymn the Savior's praise from shore to shore, Messiah's constancy,—and thus to free While seraph hosts the lofty paan pour,
The powers of darkness from the dread decree And Heaven enraptured lists the loud acclaim! Of bondage brought by him, and circumvent
May a frail mortal dare the theme explore ? The unerring ways of Him whose eye can see May he to human ears his weak song frame? The womb of Time, and, in its embryo pent, Oh! may he dare to sing Messiah's glorious name? Discern the colors clear of every dark event. V.
XI. Spirits of pity! mild crusaders, come!
Here the stern monarch stay'd his rapid flight Buoyant on clouds around your minstrel float,
And his thick hosts, as with a jetty pall.
Hovering, obscured the north star's peaceful light, And thou, Urania! who dost still devote
Waiting on wing their haughty chiefiain's call. Thy nights and days to God's eternal shrine,
He, meanwhile, downward, with a sullen fall, Whose mild eyes ’lumined what Isaiah wrote,
Dropt on the echoing ice. Instant the soued
Of their broad vans was hush'd, and o'er the ball, Throw o'er thy Bard that solemn stole of thine,
Vast and obscure, the gloomy cohorts bound, And clothe him for the fight with energy divine.
Till, wedged in ranks, the seat of Satan they surVI.
round. When from the temple's lofty summit prone,
XII. Satan, o'ercome, fell down; and, throned there,
High on a solium of the solid wave, The son of God confest, in splendor shone ;
Prankt with rude shapes by the fantastic frost, Swift as the glancing sunbeam cuts the air,
He stood in silence ;-now keen thoughts engrave Mad with defeat, and yelling his despair,
Dark figures on his front; and, tempest-tost, Fled the stern king of Hell—and with the glare
He fears to say that every hope is lost.
Meanwhile the multitude as death are mute: Of gliding meteors, ominous and red,
So, ere the tempest on Malacca's coast,
Sweet Quiet, gently touching her soft late,
Sings to the whispering waves the prelude to dispute Right o'er the Euxine, and that gulf which late
At length collected, o'er the dark Divan
The arch-fiend glanced, as by the Boreal blaze
Their downcast brows were seen, and thus began augment, Clothed in dark mists, upon their way they went;
His fierce harangue :-Spirits ! our better days While, as they pass'd w regions more severe,
Are now elapsed; Moloch and Belial's praise The Lapland sorcerer swell'd with loud lament
Shall sound no more in groves by myriads trod. The solitary gale, and, fill'd with fear,
Lo! the light breaks !—The astonish'd nations The howling dogs bespoke unholy spirits near.
For us is listed high the avenging rod!
For, spirits, this is He,—this is the Son of God!
XIV. There ice-rocks piled aloft, in order rude,
What then shall Satan's spirit crouch to fear! Form a gigantic hall, where never sound
Shall he who shook the pillars of God's reign Startled dull Silence' ear, save when profound Drop from his unnerved arm the hostile spear? The smoke-frost mutter'd: there drear Cold for aye Madness! The very thought would make me fain
Thrones him,—and, fix'd on his primeval mound, To tear the spanglets from yon gaudy plain, Ruin, the giant, sits; while stern Dismay
And hurl them at their Maker!-Fix'd as fate, Stalks like some woe-struck man along the desert way. I am his Foe! —Yea, though his pride should deign
To soothe mine ire with half his regal state,
Still would I burn with fixt, unalterable hate.
Would freoze to marble.--Mingling day and night When from our last sad synod I took flight,
To tempt this vaunted Holy One to write Are there unknown; while in the summer skies His own self-condemnation; in the plight
The sun rolls ceaseless round his heavenly height, Of aged man in the lone wilderness, Nor ever sets till from the scene he fies,
Gathering a few stray sticks, I met his sight, And leaves the long bleak night of half the year to And, leaning on my staff, seem'd much to guess rise.
What cause could mortal bring to that forlorn recesi.
XXII. Then thus in homely guise I featly framed Senseless and stunn'd I lay: till, casting round
My lowly speech:-"Good sir, what leads this way My half-unconscious gaze, I saw the foe
By volant angels; and as sailing slow
Here have I dwelt for many a lingering day, While on the tall spire slept the slant sunbeam, Nor trace of man have seen; but how! methought Sweet on the enamour'd zephyr was the flow
Thou wert the youth on whom God's holy ray Of heavenly instruments. Such strains oft seem, I saw descend in Jordan, when John taught On star-light hill, to soothe the Syrian shepherd's That he to fallen man the saving promise brought.” dream. XVII.
XXIII. "I am that man," said Jesus, “ I am He!
I saw blaspheming. Hate renewid my strength; But truce to questions-Canst thou point my feet
I smote the ether with my iron wing, To some low hut, if haply such there be
And left the accursed scene.--Arrived at length In this wild labyrinth, where I may meet
In these drear halls, to ye, my peers! I bring With homely greeting, and may sit and eat;
The tidings of defeat. Hell's haughty king For forty days I have tarried fasting here,
Thrice vanquish'd, baffled, smitten and dismay'd! Hid in the dark glens of this lone retreat,
O shame! Is this the hero who could fling And now I hunger; and my fainting ear
Defiance at his Maker, while, array'd Longs much to greet the sound of fountains gushing High o'er the walls of light, rebellion's banners playd! near."
Yet shall not Heaven's bland minions triumph long; Then thus I answer'd wily :-“ If, indeed,
Hell yet shall have revenge.-0 glorious sight! Son of our God thou be'st, what need to seek
Prophetic visions on my fancy throng. For food froin men ?-Lo! on these flint stones feed, I see wild Agony's lean finger write
Bid them be bread! Open thy lips and speak, Sad figures on his forehead !Keenly bright
And living rills from yon parch'd rock will break.” Revenge's flambeau burns! Now in his eyes Instant as I had spoke, his piercing eye
Stand the hot tears,—immantled in the night, Fix'd on my face ;-the blood forsook my cheek,
Lo! he retires to mourn I hear his cries ! I could not bear his gaze! my mask slipp'd by; He faints—he falls—and, lo!
-t is true, ye powers, I would have shunn'd his look, but had not power to fly. he dies. XIX.
XXV. Then he rebuked me with the holy word
Thus spake the chieftain,—and, as if he view'd Accursed sounds! but now my native pride The scene he pictured, with his foot advanced, Return'd, and by no foolish qualm deterr'd, And chest inflated, motionless he stood,
I bore him from the mountain's woody side, While under his uplifted shield he glanced
With straining eye-ball fix’d, like one entranced, Kingdoms and cities, palaces and fanes,
On viewless air ;-thither the dark platoon Bright sparkling in the sunbeams, were descried; Gazed wondering, nothing seen, save when there And in gay dance, amid luxuriant plains,
danced Tripp'd to the jocund reed the emasculated swains. The northern flash, or fiend late fled from noon,
Darken'd the disk of the descending moon. XX. * Behold,” I cried, " these glories! scenes divine !
XXVI. 'Thou whose sad prime in pining want decays;
Silence crept stilly through the ranks.—The breeze And these, O rapture! these shall all be thine,
Spake most distinctly. As the sailor stands,
When all the midnight gasping from the seas
Break boding sobs, and to his sight expands Is not thy portion peril here and pain!
High on the shrouds the spirit that commands Oh! leave his temples, shun his wounding ways:
The ocean-farer's life ; so stiff-50 sear Seize the tiara! these mean weeds disdain,
Stood each dark power ;-while through their Kneel, kneel, thou man of woe, and peace and
numerous bands splendor gain."
Beat not one heart, and mingling hope and fear XXI.
Now told them all was lost, now bade revenge appear. " Is it not written," sternly he replied, “ Tempt not the Lord thy God?" Frowning he
One there was there, whose loud defying tongue And instant sounds, as of the ocean tide,
Not hope nor fear had silenced, but the swell Rose, and the whirlwind from its prison brake, Of over-boiling malice. Utterance long And caught me up aloft, till in one flake,
His passion mock'd, and long he strove to tell The sidelong volley met my swift career,
His laboring ire; still syllable none fell And smote me earth ward. - Jove himself might From his pale quivering lip; but died away quake
For very fury; from each hollow cell At such a fall: my sinews crack'd, and near Half sprang his eyes, that cast a flamy ray, Obscure and dizzy sounds seem'd ringing in mine ear. And
which lost us Heaven, that we are inferior to the " This comes," at length burst from the furious chief, Thunder-bearer: In subtlety—in subtlety alone we
“ This comes of distant counsels! Here behold are his equals. Open war is impossible. The fruits of wily cunning! the relief
Which coward policy would fain unfold,
Which as himself he loves ; thus if we fall, And, lo! our prince—the mighty and the bold,
We fall not with the anguish, the disgrace There stands he, spell-struck, gaping at the air,
Of falling unrevenged. The stirring call While Heaven subverts his reign, and plants her
Of vengeance rings within me! Warriors all, standard there."
The word is vengeance, and the spur despair.
Away the coward wiles ! -Death's coal-black XXIX.
pall Here, as recover'd, Satan fix'd his eye
Be now our standard -Be our torch the glare Full on the speaker; dark it was and stern: or cities fired! our fifes, the shrieks that fill the air! He wrapt his black vest round him gloomily, And stood like one whom weightiest thoughts
Him answering rose Mecasphim, who of old,
Far in the silence of Chaldea's groves, Him Moloch mark’d, and strove again to turn
Was worshipp'd, God of Fire, with charms untold His soul to rage. “Behold, behold," he cried, And mystery. His wandering spirit roves, « The lord of Hell, who bade these legions spurn
Now vainly searching for the flame it loves, Almighty rule-behold, he lays aside
And sits and mourns like some white-robed sire The spear of just revenge, and shrinks, by man defied."
Where stood his temple, and where fragrant
And cinnamon upheap'd the sacred pyre, Thus ended Moloch, and his (burning) tongue And nightly magi watch'd the everlasting fire.
Hung quivering, as if (mad) to quench its heat In slaughter. So, his native wilds among,
He waved his robe of flame, he crossid his breast, The famish'd tiger pants, when, near his seat, And sighing_his papyrus scarf survey'd,
Press'd on the sands, he marks the traveller's feet. Woven with dark characters, then thus aduresa'd Instant low murmurs rose, and many a sword The troubled council:
Had from its scabbard sprung; but toward the seat Of the arch-fiend all turn'd with one accord,
1. As loud he thus harangued the sanguinary horde. Thus far have I pursued my solemn theme
With self-rewarding toil, thus far have sung
Of godlike deeds, far loftier than beseem Ye powers of Hell, I am no coward. I proved this
The lyre which I in early days have strung; of old. Who led your forces against the armies of
And now my spirits faint, and I have hung Jehovah? Who coped with Ithuriel and the thunders
The shell, that solaced me in saddest hour, of the Almighty ? Who, when stunned and confused
On the dark cypress! and the strings which rung ye lay on the burning lake, who first awoke and
With Jesus' praise, their harpings now are o'er, collected your scattered powers ? Lastly, who led Or, when the breeze comes by, moan, and are heard you across the unfathomable abyss to this delightful world, and established that reign here which now totters to its base? How, therefore, dares yon treach- And must the harp of Judah sleep again? erous fiend to cast a stain on Satan's bravery? he Shall I no more reanimate the lay! who preys only on the defenceless—who sucks the Oh! thou who visitest the sons of men, blood of infants, and delights only in acts of ignoble Thou who dost listen when the humble pray, cruelty and unequal contention. Away with the One little space prolong my moumful day! boaster who never joins in action, but, like a cormo- One little lapse suspend thy last decree! rant, hovers over the field to feed upon the wounded, I am a youthful traveller in the way, and overwhelm the dying. True bravery is as remote And this slight boon would consecrate to thee, from rashness as from hesitation ; let us counsel coolly, Ere I with Death shake hands, and smile that I am free. but let us execute our counselled purposes determinately. In power we have learnt, by that experiment