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He, meanwhile, downward, with a sullen fall, Dropp'd on the echoing ice. Instant the sound
Of their broad vans was hush'd, and o'er the hall, Vast and obscure, the gloomy cohorts bound, Till, wedged in ranks, the seat of Satan they surround.
High on a solium of the solid wave,
Prank'd with rude shapes by the fantastic frost, He stood in silence ;-now keen thoughts engrave Dark figures on his front; and, tempest-toss'd, He fears to say that every hope is lost. Meanwhile the multitude as death are mute: So, ere the tempest on Malacca's coast, Sweet Quiet, gently touching her soft lute, Sings to the whispering waves the prelude to dispute. 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 His fierce harangue :- Spirits! our better days Are now elasped; Moloch and Belial's praise Shall sound no more in groves by myriads trod.
Lo! the light breaks!-The astonished nations
For us is lifted high the avenging rod!
What then!-shall Satan's spirit crouch to fear?
Shall he who shook the pillars of God's reign
Madness! The very thought would make me fain
I am his foe!-Yea, though his pride should deign To soothe mine ire with half his regal state, Still would I burn with fix'd, unalterable hate.
Now hear the issue of my curs'd emprise,
Gathering a few stray sticks, I met his sight, And leaning on my staff, seem'd much to guess What cause could mortal bring to that forlorn recess.
Then thus in homely guise I featly framed
My lowly speech:- Good Sir, what leads this way Your wandering steps? must hapless chance be blamed
That you so far from haunt of mortals stray? Here have I dwelt for many a lingering day, Nor trace of man have seen. But how! methought Thou wert the youth on whom God's holy ray I saw descend in Jordan, when John taught That he to fallen man the saving promise brought?'
'I am that man,' said Jesus; 'I am He!
But truce to questions-Canst thou point my feet To some low hut, if haply such there be
In this wild labyrinth, where I may meet
Hid in the dark glens of this lone retreat,
Then thus I answer'd wily:- - If, indeed,
Son of our God thou be'st, what need to seek
And living rills from yon parch'd rock will break.'
Fix'd on my face;-the blood forsook my cheek,
Accursed sounds! But now my native pride
I bore him from the mountain's woody side,
Bright sparkling in the sunbeams, were descried,
'Behold,' I cried,' these glories! scenes divine!
Thou whose sad prime in pining want decays; And these, O rapture! these shall all be thine,
If thou wilt give to me, not God, the praise. Hath he not given to indigence thy days? Is not thy portion peril here and pain?
Oh! leave his temples, shun his wounding ways, Seize the tiara! these mean weeds disdain;
Kneel, kneel, thou man of woe, and peace and splendour gain.'
Is it not written,' sternly he replied,
Tempt not the Lord thy God!' Frowning he And instant sounds, as of the ocean tide, [spake,
Rose, and the whirlwind from its prison brake,
The sidelong volley met my swift career, [quake
Senseless and stunn'd I lay; till, casting round
By volant angels; and as sailing slow
I saw blaspheming. Hate renew'd my strength; I smote the ether with my iron wing, And left the accursed scene.-Arrived at length In these drear halls, to ye, my peers! I bring The tidings of defeat. Hell's haughty king Thrice vanquish'd, baffled, smitten, and dismay'd! O shame! Is this the hero who could fling Defiance at his Maker, while array'd, High o'er the walls of light rebellion's banners play'd!
Yet shall not Heaven's bland minions triumph long; Hell yet shall have revenge.-O glorious sight, Prophetic visions on my fancy throng,
I see wild Agony's lean finger write
Sad figures on his forehead !—Keenly bright
Stand the hot tears,—immantled in the night,
Thus spake the chieftain,—and, as if he view'd
While under his uplifted shield he glanced,
With straining eye-ball fix'd, like one entranced, On viewless air;-thither the dark platoon [danced Gazed wondering, nothing seen, save when there The northern flash, or fiend late fled from noon, Darken'd the disk of the descending moon,
Silence crept stilly through the ranks-The breeze Spake most distinctly. As the sailor stands, When all the midnight gasping from the seas
Break boding sobs, and to his sight expands High on the shrouds the spirit that commands The ocean-farer's life; so stiff-so sear
Stood each dark power;-while through their numerous bands
Beat not one heart, and mingling hope and fear
His passion mock'd, and long he strove to tell
'This comes,' at length burst from the furious chief, 'This comes of distant counsels! Here behold
The fruits of wily cunning! the relief
Which coward policy would fain unfold,
To soothe the powers that warr'd with Heaven of O wise! O potent! O sagacious snare!
And lo! our prince-the mighty and the bold, There stands he, spell-struck, gaping at the air, While Heaven subverts his reign, and plants her standard there.'