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Around, around, in ceaseless circles wheeling With clang of wings and scream, the Eagle sailed Incessantly-sometimes on high concealing
Its lessening orbs, sometimes as if it failed, Drooped thro' the air; and still it shrieked and wailed,
And casting back its eager head, with beak
The wreathed Serpent, who did ever seek
What life what power was kindled and arose
in the void air, far away, Floated the shattered plumes; bright scales did
Where'er the Eagle's talons made their way,
Like sparks into the darkness;—as they sweep, Blood stains the snowy foam of the tumultuous deep.
Swift chances in that combat-many a check,
Then on the white edge of the bursting surge, Where they had sank together, would the Snake Relax his suffocating grasp, and scourge
The wind with his wild writhings; for to break That chain of torment, the vast bird would shake The strength of his unconquerable wings
As in despair, and with his sinewy neck
Dissolve in sudden shock those linkèd rings, Then soar as swift as smoke from a volcano springs.
Wile baffled wile, and strength encountered strength, Thus long, but unprevailing :—the event Of that portentous fight appeared at length: Until the lamp of day was almost spent It had endured, when lifeless, stark, and rent, Hung high that mighty Serpent, and at last Fell to the sea, while o'er the continent, With clang of wings and scream the Eagle past, Heavily borne away on the exhausted blast.
Such is this conflict-when mankind doth strive With its oppressors in a strife of blood,
Or when free thoughts, like lightnings are alive; And in each bosom of the multitude
Justice and truth, with custom's hydra brood Wage silent war;-when priests and kings dissemble
In smiles or frowns their fierce disquietude,
When round pure hearts, a host of hopes assemble, The Snake and Eagle meet-the world's foundations tremble!
Revolt of Islam, canto i. 1817.
THE MASK OF ANARCHY.
WRITTEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE MASSACRE AT MANCHESTER.
As I lay asleep in Italy
There came a voice from over the Sea,
I met Murder on the way—
All were fat; and well they might
For one by one, and two by two,
Next came Fraud, and he had on,
And the little children, who
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.
Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And many more Destructions played
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Last came Anarchy: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
And he wore a kingly crown;
With a pace stately and fast,
And a mighty troop around,
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of their Lord.
And with glorious triumph, they
Rode thro' England proud and gay,
Of the wine of desolation.
O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,
And each dweller, panic-stricken,
For with pomp to meet him came,
"We have waited, weak and lone For thy coming, Mighty One!
Our purses are empty, our swords are cold, Give us glory, and blood, and gold."
Lawyers and priests, a motley crowd,
To the earth their pale brows bowed;
Then all cried with one accord,
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!"
And Anarchy, the Skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.