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Is but a vision :- all that it inherits
Are motes of a sick eye, bubbles, and dreams;
Thought is its cradle and its grave, nor less
The future and the past are idle shadows
of thought's eternal tight-they have no being,
Nought is but that it feels itself to be.
Mah. What meanest thou ? thy words stream like
Of dazzling mist within my brain-they shake
The earth on wbich I stand, and hang like night
On heaven above me. What can they avail ?
They cast on all things, surest, brightest, best,
Doubt, insecurity, astonishment.
Ahas. Mistake me not! All is contain'd in each,
Dodona's forest to an acorn's cup,
Is that which has been or will be, to that
Which is the abseni to the present. Thought
Alone, and its quick elements, Will, Passion,
Reason, Imagination, cannot die;
They are what that which they regard appears,
The stuff whence mutability can wea e
All that it hath dominion o'er,--Worlds, worms,
Empires, and superstitions. What has thought
To do with time, or place, or circumstance ?
Wouldst thou behold the future ?-ask and have !
Knock and it shall be open'd-look, and lo!
The coming age is shadow'd on the past
As on a glass.
Mah Wild, wilder thoughts convulse
My spirit-Did not Mahomet the Second
Win Stamboul ?
Ahas, Thou wouldst ask that giant spirit
The written fortunes of thy house and faith.
Thou wouldst cite one out of the grave to tell
How what was born in blood must die.
Have power on me! I see
What hearest thou ?
Mah. A far whisper
What succeeds ?
As of the assault of an imperial city,
The hiss of inextinguishable fire,
Throar of giant cannon ;-the earthquaking
Fall of vast bastions and precipitous towers,
The shock of crags shot from strange enginery,
The clash of wheels, and clang of armed hoofs,
And crash of brazen mail, as of the wreck
of adamantine mountains-the mad blast
of trumpets, and the neigh of raging steeds,
And shrieks of women whose thrill jars the blood,
Aud one sweet laugh, most horrible to hear,
As of a joyous infant waked and playing
With its dead mother's breast; and now more loud
The mingled battle-cry-ha! hear I not
EV TOUTā vixn. Allah, illah, Allah!
Ahas. The sulphureous mist is raised--thou seest--
As of two mountains, in the wall of Stamboul;
And in that ghastly breach the Islamites,
Like giants on the ruins of a world,
S and in the light of sunrise. In the dust
Glimmers a kingless diadem, and one
of regal port has cast himself beneath
The steam of war. Another, proudly clad
In golden arms, spurs a Tartarian barb
Into the gap, and with his iron mace
Directs the torrent of that tide of men,
And seems he is-Mahomet.
What thou seest
Is but the ghost of thy forgotten dream ;
A dream itself, yet less, perhaps, than that
Thou call'st reality. Thou mayst behold
How cities, on which empire sleeps enthroned,
* For the vision of Mahmud of the taking of Constar. tinople in 1445, see Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Ron an Empire, vol xii, p. 223.
Bow their tower'd crests to mutability.
Poised by the flood, e'en on the height thou holdest,
Thou may'st now learn how the full tide of power
Ebbs to its depths.-Inheritor ofglory,
Conceived in darkness, born in blood, and nourish'd
With tears and toil, thou seest the mortal thrves
of that whose birth was but the same. The past
Now stands before thee like an Incarnation
Of the To-come; yet wouldst thou commune with
That portion of thyself which was, ere thou
Didst start for this brief race whose crown is death;
Dissolve with that strong faith and fervent passion
Which call'd it from the uncreated deep,
Yon cloud of war, with its tempestuous phantoms
Of raging death; and draw with mighty will
The imperial shade hither.
[Exit Ahasuerus. Mah.
Thence whither thou must go! The grave is fitter
To take the living than give up the dead;
Yet has thy faith prevail'd, and I am here.
The heavy fragments of the power which fell
When I arose, like shapeless crags and clouils,
Hang round my throne on the abyss, and voices
of strange lament soothe my supreme repose,
Wailing for glory never to return.-
A later empire nods in its decay ;
The autumn of a greener faith is come
And wolfish change, like winter, howls to strip
The foliage in which Fame, the eagle, built
Her aery, while Dominion whelp'd below.
The storm is in its branches, and the frost
Is on its leaves, and the blank deep expects
Oblivion on oblivion, spoil on spoil,
Ruin on ruin: thou art slow, my son ;
The anarchs of the world of darkness keep
A throne for thee, round which thine empire lies
Boundless and mute; and for thy subjects thou,
Like us, shall rule the ghosts of murder'd life,
The phantoms of the powers wlio rule thee now-
Mutinous passions, and confiicting fears,
And hopes that sate themselves on dust and die!
Stript of their mortal strength, as thou of thing
Islam must fall, but we will reign together,
Over its ruins in the world of death :-
And, if the trunk be dry, yet shall the seed
Unfold itself even in the shape of that
Which gathers birth in its decay. Woe! woe!
To the weak people tangled in the grasp
ofits last spasms.
Spirit, woe to all!
Woe to the wrong'd and the avenger! Woe
To the destroyer, woe to the destroy'd!
Woe to the dupe, and woe to the deceiver!
Woe to the oppress'd, and woe to the oppressor!
Woe both to those that suffer and in Aict!
Those who are born, and those who die! But say,
Imperial shadow of the thing I am,
When, how, by whom, Destruction must accomplish
Her consummation ?
Ask the cold pale Hour
Rich in reversion of impending death,
When he shall fall upon whose ripe grey hairs
Sit care, and sorrow, and infirmity-
The weight which crime, whose wings are plumed with
Leaves in his fight from ravaged heart to heart
Over the heads of men, under which burthen
They bow themselves unto the grave; fond wretch!
He leans upon his crutch, and talks of years
To come, and how in hours of youth renew'd
He will renew lost joys, and
[ The phantom vanishes. Mah. What sound of the importunate earth has broken My mighty trance ?
Voice without. Victory! victory!
Mah. Weais lightning before darkness! poor faint
of dying Islam Voice which art the response
of hollow weakness ! Do I wake and live ?
Were there such things ? or may the unquiet brain,
Vex'd by the wise mad talk of the old Jew,
Have shaped itself these shadows of its fear?
It matters not !-for nought we see or dream,
Possess, or lose, or grasp at, can be worth
More than it gives or teaches. Come what may,
The future must become the past, and I,
As they were, to whom once this present hour,
This gloomy crag of time to which I cling,
Seem’d an Elysian isle of peace and joy
Never to be attain'd.-I must rebuke
This drunkenness of triumph ere it die.
And, dying, bring despair.--Victory !-poor slaves !
(Exit Mahmud Voice without. Shout in the jubilee of death! The
Greeks Are as a brood of lions in the net, Round which the kingly hunters of the earth Stand smiling Anarchs, ye whuse daily food Are curses, groans, and gold, the fruit of death, From Thule to the girdle of the world, Come, feast! the board of groans with the flesh of menThe cup is foaming with a nation's blood, Famine and thirst await ;-eat, drink, and die !
Semicho. I. Victorious Wrong, with vulture scream, Salutes the risen sun, pursues the flying day !
I saw her, ghastly as a tyrant's dream, Perch on the trembling pyramid of night,
Beneath which earth and all her realms pavilion'd lay In visions of the dawning undelight.
Who shall impede her flight ?
Who rob her of her prey ?
Voice without Victory! victory! Russia's famish'd
Dare not to prey beneath the crescent's light.
Impale the remnant of the Greeks ! despoil!
Violate! make their flesh cheaper than dust!
Semicho. II. Thou voice which art
The herald of the ill in splendor bid!
Thou echo of the hollow heart
of monarchy, bear me to thine abode
When desolation fashes v'er a world destroy'd.