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They are walking on with a trembling tread,
But aye, as they paused for breath, the part
The gallanter spirit, now quail and cower,
Grew courage when kept thro' the perilous hour.
The jungle is cleared, and the moon shines bright
On a broad and silent plain ;
Sleeps, hushed on a giant Fane !
No late-built, gay, and glittering shrine, *
* The massy and antique solemnity of the Hindoo temple, compared with those devoted to the Boudhist religion, covered as the latter are with gilding, and grotesque ornaments made of the most gaudy and least durable materials, never fails to strike every traveller in the countries where the two religions are found together.
But simple-lone-grey-vast—and hoar,
All darkly-eloquent of Eld!
That temple had beheld.
There while the brothers gazing stood,
Their youthful blood grew chill,
The Sternness and the Still !
They have gain’d the sacred bound,
They have pass'd its broken wall; And they quail as they walk, when they hear the sound
Of their steps in the temple fall !
They stand in a desolate place,
An altar at their feet, o'erthrown !
Typing a past world's fate.
* “They (the Hindoo temples) were dreary and comfortless places, and there was no mistaking the religion which had the countenance and protection of the state.”-Crauford's Embassy, p. 119.
And still, as if himself had grown
The dark Magician sate !
The calmness of the crowned Dead,
When Night makes Silence dread. The calmness of some God reclin'd
On high-and brooding o'er Earth's doom, Or of some Cloud ere yet the wind
Hath voiced the breathless gloom.
It is done !—with a glassy eye
In a chaunting tone, reply.
“ Ten years ago, and the Book of Light “ Was oped at the page that is bared to-night, “ And the Moon had buried her mother old, “ And the Dragon was up from his mountain-hold,
“ And the Spirits who feast on a mortal's woe
“ And I burn 'd for the spell of the conquer'd tomb ; “ And I sate by the grave they had dug that day, “ For a woman whose spirit had passed away
66 When the babe was in her womb.*
“ And the grave was bared—and the rite prepared,
“ And the dark rhyme slowly said,
“The belief in the agency of evil spirits is universal, and though disclaimed by the religion of Budha, they are more frequently worshipped than the latter. Nor will the darkest periods of German necromancy and pretended divination be found to exceed, in point of the incredible and horrible, what is to be observed among the Siamese of the present day. It is usual to inter women that have died pregnant: the popular belief is, that the necromancers have the power of performing the most extraordinary things, when possessed of the infant which had been thus interred in the womb of the mother : it is customary to watch the grave of such persons, in order to prevent the infant being carried off. The Siamese tell the tale of horror in the most solemn manner. All the hobgoblins, wild and ferocious animals, all the infernal spirits, are said to oppose the unhallowed deed; the perpetrator, well charged with cabalistic terms, which he must recite in a certain fixed order, and with nerves well braced to the daring task, proceeds to the grave, which he lays open. In proportion as he advances in his work, the opposing spirits become more daring; he cuts off the head, hands, and feet of the in. fant, with which he returns home. A body of clay is adapted to these, and this new compound is placed in a sort of temple; the matter is now accomplished, the possessor has become master of the past, present, and future.”—Finlayson's Mission to Siam and Cochin China, p. 239.