Imatges de pÓgina
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And when man was not, and how man became
The monarch and the slave of this low sphere,
And all its narrow circles - it is much-
I honour thee, and would be what thou art
Were I not what I am; but the unborn hour,
Cradled in fear and hope, conflicting storms,
Who shall unveil? Nor thou, nor I, nor any
Mighty or wise. I apprehended not
What thou hast taught me, but I now perceive
That thou art no interpreter of dreams;
Thou dost not own that art, device, or God
Can make the future present- let it come!
Moreover thou disdainest us and ours;
Thou art as God, whom thou contemplatest.

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AHASUERUS

Disdain thee?-not the worm beneath my feet!

The Fathomless has care for meaner things Than thou canst dream, and has made pride for those

Who would be what they may not, or would

seem

That which they are not. Sultan talk no

more

Of thee and me, the future and the past;

But look on that which cannot change — the

One,

The unborn and the undying. Earth and

ocean,

Space, and the isles of life or light that gem
The sapphire floods of interstellar air,
This firmament pavilioned upon chaos,
With all its cressets of immortal fire,
Whose outwall, bastioned impregnably
Against the escape of boldest thoughts, repels

them

As Calpe the Atlantic clouds-this Whole
Of suns, and worlds, and men, and beasts, and
flowers,

With all the silent or tempestuous workings
By which they have been, are, or cease to be,
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 flight-they have no

being:

Nought is but that which feels itself to be.

MAHMUD

What meanest thou? Thy words stream like

a tempest

Of dazzling mist within my brain — — they shake
The earth on which 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.

AHASUERUS

Mistake me not! All is contained in each.
Dodona's forest to an acorn's cup

Is that which has been, or will be, to that
Which is the absent to the
the present.

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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 weave

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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 opened-look and, lo!
The coming age is shadowed on the past
As on a glass.

MAHMUD

Wild, wilder thoughts convulse My spirit- Did not Mahomet the Second Win Stamboul?

AHASUERUS

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.

MAHMUD

Have power on me! I see —

AHASUERUS

Thy words

What hearest thou?

A far whisper-
Terrible silence.

MAHMUD

AHASUERUS

What succeeds?

MAHMUD

The sound

As of the assault of an imperial city,
The hiss of inextinguishable fire,
The roar of giant cannon; the earthquaking
Fall of vast bastions and precipitous towers,
The shock of crags shot from strange en-

ginery,

The clash of wheels, and clang of armèd

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,

And one sweet laugh, most horrible to hear,

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