Obrazy na stronie
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Ye now prepare, for a vain idol wrought Out of the fears and hate which vain desires

have brought.

XVII.

“Ye seek for happiness—alas, the day!
Ye find it not in luxury nor in gold,
Nor in the fame, nor in the envied sway
For which, O willing slaves to Custom old,
Severe task-mistress ! ye your hearts have

sold. Ye seek for peace, and when ye die, to dream No evil dreams: all mortal things are cold.

And senseless then ; if aught survive, I deem It must be love and joy, for they immortal seem.

XVIII. “ Fear not the future, weep not for the past. O, could I win your ears to dare be now Glorious, and great, and calm ! that ye would

cast Into the dust those symbols of your woe, Purple, and gold, and steel ! that ye would go Proclaiming to the nations whence ye came, That Want, and Plague, and Fear, from

slavery flow; And that mankind is free, and that the shame Of royalty and faith is lost in freedom's fame!

XIX. “If thus 'tis well—if not, I come to say That Laon”—while the Stranger spoke,

among The Council sudden tumult and affray Arose, for many of those warriors young, Had on his eloquent accents fed and hung

Like bees on mountain flowers; they knew

the truth, And from their thrones in vindication sprung;

The men of faith and law then without ruth Drew forth their secret steel, and stabbed each

ardent youth.

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They stabbed them in the back and sneered

a slave Who stood behind the throne, those corpses

drew Each to its bloody, dark, and secret grave; And one more daring raised his steel anew To pierce the Stranger: “ What hast thou

to do With me, poor wretch ?”—Calm, solemn,

and severe, That voice unstrung his sinews, and he threw His dagger on the ground, and pale with

fear, Sate silently-his voice then did the Stranger

rear.

XXI. “It doth avail not that I weep for yeYe cannot change, since ye are old and grey, And ye have chosen your lot—your fame

must be A book of blood, whence in a milder day Men shall learn truth, when ye are wrapped

in clay : Now ye shall triumph. I am Laon's friend, And him to your revenge will I betray,

So ye concede one easy boon. Attend ! For now I speak of things which ye can appre

hend.

XXII There is a People mighty in its youth, A land beyond the Oceans of the West, Where, though with rudest rites, Freedom

and Truth Are worshipped; from a glorious Mother's

breast, Who, since high Athens fell, among the rest Sate like the Queen of Nations, but in woe, By inbred inonsters outraged and oppressed, Turns to her chainless child for succour now, It draws the milk of Power in Wisdom's

fullest flow.

XXIII. “That land is like an Eagle, whose young

gaze

Feeds on the noontide beam, whose golden

plume Floats moveless on the storm, and in the blaze Of sun-rise gleams when Earth is wrapped

in gloom; An epitaph of glory for the tomb Of murdered Europe may thy fame be made, Great People: as the sands shalt thou become; Thy growth is swift as morn, when night

must fade; The multitudinous Earth shall sleep beneath

thy shade.

Dust" this the

The

XXIV. “ Yes, in the desert there is built a home For Freedom. Genius is made strong to rear The monuments of man beneath the dome Of a new Heaven; myriads assemble there, Whom the proud lords of man, in rage or fear, Drive from their wasted homes: the boon I

pray Is this,--that Cythna shall be convoyed there

Nay, start not at the name—America ! And then to you this night Laon will I betray.

XXV. “ With me do what ye will. I am your foe!” The light of such a joy as makes the stare Of hungry snakes like living emeralds glow, Shone in a hundred human eyes—" Where,

where Is Laon ?-haste ! fly! drag him swiftly here! We grant thy boon.”—“I put no trust in ye, Swear by your dreadful God.”—“We swear,

we swear!” The Stranger threw his vest back suddenly, And smiled in gentle pride, and said, “Lo! I

am he!”

CANTO TWELFTH.

THE transport of a fierce and monstrous

gladness Spread through the multitudinous streets,

fast flying Upon the winds of fear; from his dull

madness The starveling waked, and died in joy; the

dying, Among the corpses in stark agony lying, Just heard the happy tidings, and in hope Closed their faint eyes; from house to house

replying

With loud acclaim, the living shook Heaven's

cope, And filled the startled Earth with echoes :

morn did ope

II. Its pale eyes then; and lo! the long array Of guards in golden arms, and Priests beside, Singing their bloody hymns, whose garbs

betray The blackness of the faith it seems to hide; And see, the Tyrant's gem-wrought chariot

glide Among the gloomy cowls and glittering

spears—
A Shape of light is sitting by his side,

A child most beautiful. I'the midst appears Laon,-exempt alone from mortal hopes and

fears.

III.

His head and feet are bare, his hands are

bound Behind with heavy chains, yet none do wreak Their scoffs on him, though myriads throng

around ; There are no sneers upon his lip which speak That scorn or hate has made him bold, his

cheek Resolve has not turned pale,-his eyes are mild And calm, and, like the morn about to break,

Smileon mankind-his heart seems reconciled To all things and itself, like a reposing child.

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Tumult was in the soul of all beside,
Ill joy, or doubt, or fear; but those who saw

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