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To triumph in their torments when they fell!

Earth heard the name; earth trembled, as the smoke

Of his revenge ascended up to heaven,

Blotting the constellations; and the cries

Of millions, butchered in sweet confidence

And unsuspecting peace, even when the bonds

Of safety were confirmed by wordy oaths

Sworn in his dreadful name, rung through the land;

Whilst innocent babes writhed on thy stubborn spear;

And thou didst laugh to hear the mother's shriek

Of maniac gladness, as the sacred steel

Felt cold in her torn entrails!

Religion! thou wert then in manhood's prime:

But age crept on; one God would not suffice

For senile puerility; thou framedst

A tale to suit thy dotage, and to glut

Thy misery-thirsting soul, that the mad fiend

Thy wickedness had pictured, might afford

A plea for sating the unnatural thirst

For murder, rapine, violence, and crime,

That still consumed thy being, even when

Thou heardest the step of fate! that flames might light

Thy funeral scene, and the shrill horrent shrieks

Of parents dying on the pile that burned

To light their children to thy paths, the roar

Of the encircling flames, the exulting cries

Of thine apostles, loud commingling there,

Might sate thine hungry ear

Even on the bed of death!

But now contempt is mocking thy grey hairs;
Thou art descending to the darksome grave,
Unhonoured and unpitied, but by those
Whose pride is passing by like thine, and sheds,
Like thine, a glare that fades before the sun
Of truth, and shines but in the dreadful night
That long has lowered above the ruined world.

Throughout these infinite orbs of mingling light,
Of which yon earth is one, is wide diffused
A spirit of activity and life,
That knows no term, cessation, or decay;
That fades not when the lamp of earthly life,

Extinguished in the dampness of the grave,

Awhile there slumbers, more than when the babe

In the dim newness of its being feels

The impulses of sublunary things,

And all is wonder to unpractised sense:

But, active, stedfast, and eternal, still

Guides the fierce whirlwind, in the tempest roars,

Cheers in the day, breathes in the balmy groves,

Strengthens in health, and poisons in disease;

And in the storm of change, that ceaselessly

Rolls round the eternal universe, and shakes

Its undecaying battlement, presides,

Apportioning with irresistible law

The place each spring of its machine shall fill;

So that when waves on waves tumultuous heap

Confusion to the clouds, and fiercely driven

Heaven's lightnings scorch the uprooted ocean-fords,

Whilst, to the eye of shipwrecked mariner,

Lone sitting on the bare and shuddering rock,

All seems unlinked contingency and chance:

No atom of this turbulence fulfils

A vague and unnecessitated task,

Or acts but as it must and ought to act.

Even the minutest molecule of light,

That in an April sun-beam's fleeting glows,

Fulfils its destined, though invisible work,

The universal Spirit guides; nor less,

When merciless ambition, or mad zeal,

Has led two hosts of dupes to battle-field,

That, blind, they there may dig each other's graves,

And call the sad work—glory, does it rule

All passions: not a thought, a will, an act,

No working of the tyrant's moody mind,

Nor one misgiving of the slaves who boast

Their servitude, to hide the shame they feel,

Nor the events enchaining every will,

That from the depths of unrecorded time

Have drawn all-influencing virtue, pass

Unrecognized, or unforeseen by thee,

Soul of the Universe! eternal spring

Of life and death, of happiness and woe,

Of all that chequers the phantasmal scene

That floats before our eyes in wavering light

Which gleams but on the darkness of our prison,

Whose chains and massy walls
We feel, but cannot see.

Spirit of Nature! all-sufficing power,

Necessity! thou mother of the world!

Unlike the God of human error, thou

Requirest no prayers or praises; the caprice

Of man's weak will belongs no more to thee

Than do the changeful passions of his breast

To thy unvarying harmony: the slave,

Whose horrible lusts spread misery o'er the world,

And the good man, who lifts, with virtuous pride,

His being, in the sight of happiness,

That springs from his own works; the poison-tree,

Beneath whose shade all life is withered up,

And the fair oak, whose leafy dome affords

A temple where the vows of happy love

Are registered, are equal in thy sight:

No love, no hate, thou cherishest; revenge

And favouritism, and worst desire of fame

Thou knowest not; all that the wide world contains

Are but thy passive instruments, and thou

Regardest them all with an impartial eye,

Whose joy or pain thy nature cannot feel,

Because thou hast not human sense,

Because thou art not human mind.

Yes; when the sweeping storm of time Has sung its death-dirge o'er the ruined fanes And broken altars of the almighty fiend, Whose name usurps thy honours, and the blood Through centuries clotted there, has floated down The tainted flood of ages, shalt thou live Unchangeable! A shrine is raised to thee,

Which, nor the tempest-breath of time,

Nor the interminable flood,

Over earth's slight pageant rolling,
Availeth to destroy,—
The sensitive extension of the world,

That wondrous and eternal fane,
Where pain and pleasure, good and evil join,
To do the will of strong necessity,

And life, in multitudinous shapes,
Still pressing forward where no term can be,

Like hungry and unresting flame
Curls round the eternal columns of its strength.

VII.

SPIRIT.

I was an infant when my mother went

To see an atheist burned. She took me there;

The dark-robed priests were met around the pile;

The multitude was gazing silently:

And as the culprit passed with dauntless mein,

Tempered disdain, in his unaltering eye,

Mixed with a quiet smile, shone calmly forth:

The thirsty fire crept round his manly limbs:

His resolute eyes were scorched to blindness soon;

His death-pang rent my heart! the insensate mob

Uttered a cry of triumph, and I wept.

Weep not, child! cried my mother, for that man

Has said, there is no God.

FAIRY.

There is no God! Nature confirms the faith his death-groan sealed: Let heaven and earth, let man's revolving race, His ceaseless generations tell their tale; Let every part depending on the chain That links it to the whole, point to the hand That grasps its term! let every seed that falls In silent eloquence unfold its store Of argument; infinity within, Infinity without, belie creation; The exterminable spirit it contains Is nature's only God; but human pride Is skilful to invent most serious names To hide its ignorance.

The name of God Has fenced about all crime with holiness, Himself the creature of his worshippers, Whose names, and attributes, and passions change, Seeva, Buddh, Foh, Jehovah, God, or Lord, Even with the human dupes who build his shrines, Still serving o'er the war-polluted world For desolation's watch-word; whether hosts Stain his death-blushing chariot-wheels, as on

Triumphantly they roll, whilst Brahmins raise

A sacred hymn to mingle with the groans;

Or countless partners of his power divide

His tyranny to weakness; or the smoke

Of burning towns, the cries of female helplessness,

Unarmed old age, and youth, and infancy,

Horribly massacred, ascend to heaven

In honour of his name; or, last and worst,

Earth groans beneath religion's iron age,

And priests dare babble of a God of peace,

Even whilst their hands are red with guiltless blood,

Murdering the while, uprooting every germ

Of truth, exterminating, spoiling all,

Making the earth a slaughter-house!

0 Spirit! through the sense
By which thy inner nature was apprised
Of outward shews, vague dreams have rolled,
And varied reminiscences have waked

Tablets that never fade;
All things have been imprinted there,
The stars, the sea, the earth, the sky,
Even the unshapeless lineaments
Of wild and fleeting visions
Have left a record there
To testify of earth.

These are my empire, for to me is given
The wonders of the human world to keep,
And fancy's thin creations to endow
With manner, being, and reality;
Therefore a wondrous phantom, from the dreams
Of human error's dense and purblind faith,
I will evoke, to meet thy questioning.
Ahasuerus, riseJ

A strange and woe-worn wight
Arose beside the battlement,

And stood unmoving there.
His inessential figure cast no shade

Upon the golden floor;
His port and mien bore mark of many years,
And chronicles of untold ancicntness
Were legible within his beamless eye:

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