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Their race of glory, and young
Told his first birth-days by the sun;
When, in the light of nature's dawn
Rejoicing, men and angels met
On the high hill and sunny lawn-
Ere sorrow came, or sin had drawn
'Twixt man and heaven her curtain yet?
When earth lay nearer to the skies
Than in these days of crime and woe,
And mortals saw, without surprise,
In the mid-air, angelic eyes
Gazing upon this world below.
Alas, that passion should profane,
Ev'n then, that morning of the earth!
That, sadder still, the fatal stain
Should fall on hearts of heavenly birth-
And that from woman's love should fall
So dark a stain, most sad of all !
One evening, in that time of bloom,
On a hill's side, where hung the ray
Of sunset, sleeping in perfume,
Three noble youths conversing lay,
And, as they look’d, from time to time,
To the far sky, where daylight furl'd
His radiant wing, their brows sublime
Bespoke them of that distant world-
Creatures of light, such as still play,
Like motes in sunshine, round the Lord
And through their infinite array
Transmit each moment, night and day,
The echo of His luminous word !
Some hand hath check'd the flying Moslem's rout,
And now they turn-they rally-at their head
A warrior (like those angel youths, who led
In glorious panoply of heaven's own mail,
The Champions of the Faith through Beder's vale,)
Bold as if gifted with ten thousand lives,
Turns on the fierce pursuers' blades, and drives
At once the multitudinous torrent back,
While hope and courage kindle in his track,
And, at each step, his bloody falchion makes
Terrible vistas through which victory breaks :
In vain Mokanna, midst the general flight,
Stands, like the red moon, on some stormy night,
Among the fugitive clouds that, hurrying by,
Leave only her unshaken in the sky! -
In vain he yells his desperate curses out,
Deals death promiscuously to all about,
To foes that charge and coward friends that fly,
And seems of all the Great Arch enemy!
The panic spreads—“ a miracle !" throughout
The Moslem ranks, " a miracle !" they shout,
All gazing on that youth, whose coming seeins
A light, a glory, such as breaks in dreams;
And every sword, true as o'er billows dim
The needle tracks the load-star, following him!
Right towards Mokanna now he cleaves his path
Impatient cleaves, as though the bolt of wrath
He bears from heaven withheld its awful burst
From weaker heads, and souls but half-way curst,
To break o'er him, the mightiest and the worst !
But vain his speed—though, in that hour of blood
Had all God's seraphs round Mokanna stood,
With swords of fire, ready like fate to fall,
Mokanna's soul would have defied them all ;-
Yet now, the rush of fugitives, too strong
For human force, hurries e’en him along ;
In vain he struggles 'mid the wedged array
Of flying thousands,--he is borne away;
And the sole joy his baffled spirit knows
In this forced flight is--murdering, as he goes
As a grim tiger, whom the torrent’s might
Surprises in some parch'd ravine at night,
Turns, e'en in drowning, on the wretched flocks,
Swept with him in that snow-flood from the rocks,
And, to the last, devouring on his way,
Bloodies the stream he hath not power to stay !
3. THE TRAITOR. There iurk’d one wretch among the few Whom Hafed's eagle eye could count Around him on that Fiery Mount,One miscreant, who for gold betray'd The path-way through the valley's shade To those high towers where freedom stood In her last hold of flame and blood. Left on the field last dreadful night, When, sallying from their Sacred Height, The Ghebers fought hope's farewell fight, He lay-but died not with the brave : That sun, which should have gilt his grave, Saw him a traitor and a slave ;And, while the few, who thence return'd To their high rocky fortress, mourn'd For him among the matchless dead They left behind on glory's bed, He lived, and, in the face of morn, Laugli’d them and faith and heaven to scorn, Oh for a tongue to curse the slave,
Whose treason, like a deadly blight, Comes o'er the councils of the brave,
And blasts them in their hour of might! May life's unblessed cup for him Be drugg'd with treacheries to the brim,With hopes, that but allure to fly,
With joys, that vanish while he sips,
Like Dead-Sea fruits, that tempt the eye,
But turn to ashes on the lips !
His country's curse, his children's shame
Outcast of virtue, peace, and fame,
May he, at last, with lips of flame
On the parch'd desert thirsting die,-
While lakes that shone in mockery nigh
Are fading off, untouch'd, untasted,
Like the once glorious hopes he blasted!
And, when from earth his spirit flies,
Just Prophet, let the damn'd-one dwell
Full in the sight of Paradise,
Beholding heaven, and feeling hell!