Imatges de pÓgina
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Let every part depending on the chain
That links it to the whole, point to the hand
That grasps its term! let every seed that falls
In silent eloquence unfold its store

Of argument: infinity within,
Infinity without, belie creation;
The exterminable spirit it contains
Is nature's only God; but human pride
Is skilful to invent most serious names
To hide its ignorance.

The name of God

Has fenced about all crime with holiness,

Himself the creature of his worshippers,

Whose names, and attributes, and passions change, Seeva, Buddh, Foh, Jehovah, God, or Lord,

Even with the human dupes who build his shrines,
Still serving o'er the war-polluted world

For desolation's watch-word; whether hosts
Stain his death-blushing chariot-wheels, as on
Triumphantly they roll, whilst Brahmins raise
A sacred hymn to mingle with the groans;
Or countless partners of his powers divide
His tyranny to weakness; or the smoke

Of burning towns, the cries of female helplessness,
Unarmed old age, and youth, and infancy,
Horribly massacred, ascend to heaven

In honour of his name; or, last and worst,
Earth groans beneath religion's iron age,
And priests dare babble of a God of peace,
Even whilst their hands are red with guiltless blood,
Murdering the while, uprooting every germ
Of truth, exterminating, spoiling all,
Making the earth a slaughter-house!

O Spirit! through the sense

By which thy inner nature was apprised
Of outward shows, vague dreams have rolled,
And varied reminiscences have waked
Tablets that never fade;

All things have been imprinted there,
The stars, the sea, the earth, the sky,
Even the unshapeliest lineaments
Of wild and fleeting visions

Have left a record there
To testify of earth.

These are my empire, for to me is given

The wonders of the human world to keep,

And fancy's thin creations to endow

With manner, being, and reality;

Therefore a wondrous phantom, from the dreams

Of human errors dense and purblind faith, will evoke, to meet thy questioning.

Ahasuerus, rise!

A strange and woe-worn wight

Arose beside the battlement,

And stood unmoving there.
His inessential figure cast no shade

Upon the golden floor;

His port and mien bore mark of many years,
And chronicles of untold ancientness
Were legible within his beamless eye:

Yet his cheek bore the mark of youth;
Freshness and vigour knit his manly frame;
The wisdom of old age was mingled there
With youth's primæval dauntlessness;
And inexpressible woe,

Chastened by fearless resignation, gave
An awiul grace to his all-speaking brow.

SPIRIT.

Is there a God?

AHASUERUS.

Is there a God?-ay, an almighty God,

And vengeful as almighty! Once his voice

Was heard on earth: earth shuddered at the sound

The fiery-visaged firmament expressed

Abhorrence, and the grave of nature yawned

To swallow all the dauntless and the good

That dared to hurl defiance at his throne,

Girt as it was with power.

None but slaves

Survived, -cold-blooded slaves, who did the work

Of tyrannous omnipotence; whose souls

No honest indignation ever urged

To elevated daring, to one deed

Which gross and sensual self did not pollute.

These slaves built temples for the omnipotent fiend,

Gorgeous and vast: the costly altars smoked

With human blood, and hideous pæans rung

Through all the long-drawn aisles. A murderer heard
His voice in Egypt, one whose gifts and arts
Had raised him to his eminence in power,

Accomplice of omnipotence in crime,
And confidant of the all-knowing one.
These were Jehovah's words.

From an eternity of idleness

I, God, awoke; in seven days' toil made earth
From nothing; rested, and created man :
I placed him in a paradise, and there
Planted the tree of evil, so that he

Might eat and perish, and my soul procure
Wherewith to sate its malice, and to turn,

The tradition of the "Wandering Jew" is, that when our Lord was wearied with the burthen of his ponderous cross, and wanted to rest before the door of Ahasuerus, the unfeeling wretch drove him away with brutality. The Saviour of mankind staggered, sinking under the heavy load, but uttered no complaint. An angel of death appeared before Ahasuerus, and exclaimed indignantly, "Barbarian! thou hast denied rest to the Son of Man: be it denied thee also, until he comes to judge the world."

Even like a heartless conqueror of the earth,
All misery to my fame. The race of men
Chosen to my honour, with impunity

May sate the lusts I planted in their heart.
Here I command thee hence to lead them on,
Until, with hardened feet, their conquering troops
Wade on the promised soil through woman's blood
And make my name be dreaded through the land.
Yet ever burning flame and ceaseless woe
Shall be the doom of their eternal souls,
With every soul on this ungrateful earth,
Virtuous or vicious, weak or strong-even all
Shall perish, to fulfil the blind revenge
(Which you, to men, call justice) of their God.

The murderer's brow

Quivered with horror.

God omnipotent,

Is there no mercy? must our punishment

Be endless? will long ages roll away,

And see no term? Oh! wherefore hast thou made

In mockery and wrath this evil earth?

Mercy becomes the powerful-be but just :

O God! repent and save.

One way remains :

I will beget a son, and he shall bear

The sins of all the world; he shall arise

In an unnoticed corner of the earth,

And there shall die upon a cross and purge

The universal crime; so that the few

On whom my grace descends, those who are marked
As vessels to the honour of their God,

May credit this strange sacrifice, and save
Their souls alive millions shall live and die,
Who ne'er shall call upon their Saviour's name,
But, unredeemed, go to the gaping grave.
Thousands shall deem it an old woman's tale,
Such as the nurses frighten babes withal:
'These in a gulf of anguish and of flame,
Shall curse their reprobation endlessly,

Yet tenfold pangs shall force them to avow,

Even on their beds of torment, where they howl,

My honour, and the justice of their doom.

What then avail their virtuous deeds, their thoughts Of purity, with radiant genius bright,

Or lit with human reason's earthly ray?

Many are called, but few will I elect.

Do thou my bidding, Moses!

Even the murderer's cheek

Was blanched with horror, and his quivering lips
Scarce faintly uttered-O almighty one,

I tremble and obey !

O Spirit! centuries have set their scal

On this heart of many wounds, and loaded brain,

D

Since the Incarnate came: humbly he came,
Veiling his horrible Godhead in the shape

Of man, scorned by the world, his name unheard,
Save by the rabble of his native town,

Even as a parish demagogue. He led

The crowd; he taught them justice, truth, and peace,

In semblance; but he lit within their souls

The quenchless flames of zeal, and blest the sword

He brought on earth to satiate with the blood

Of truth and freedom his malignant soul.
At length his mortal frame was led to death.
I stood beside him on the torturing cross
No pain assailed his unterrestrial sense;
And yet he groaned. Indignantly, .I summed
The massacres and miseries which his name
Had sanctioned in my country, and I cried,
Go! go! in mockery.

A smile of godlike malice re-illumined
His fading lineaments.-I go, he cried,
But thou shalt wander o'er the unquiet earth
Eternally.
-The dampness of the grave
Bathed my imperishable front. I fell,
And long lay tranced upon the charmed soil.
When I awoke hell burned within my brain,
Which staggered on its seat; for all around
The mouldering relics of my kindred lay,
Even as the Almighty's ire arrested them,
And in their various attitudes of death
My murdered children's mute and eyeless skulls
Glared ghastily upon me.

But my soul,
From sight and sense of the polluting woe
Of tyranny, had long learned to prefer
Hell's freedom to the servitude of heaven,
Therefore I rose, and dauntlessly began
My lonely and unending pilgrimage,
Resolved to wage unweariable war
With my almighty tyrant, and to hurl
Defiance at his impotence to harm

Beyond the curse I bore. The very hand
That barred my passage to the peaceful grave
Has crushed the earth to misery, and given
Its empire to the chosen of his slaves.
These have I seen, even from the earliest dawn
Of weak, unstable, and precarious power;
Then preaching peace, as now they practise war,
So, when they turned but from the massacre
Of unoffending infidels, to quench
Their thirst for ruin in the very blood

That flowed in their own veins, and pitiless zeal
Froze every human feeling, as the wife
Sheathed in her husband's heart the sacred steel,
Even whilst its hopes were dreaming of her love
And friends to friends, brothers to brothers stood
Opposed in bloodiest battle-field, and war,
Scarce satiable by fate's last death-draught waged,
Drunk from the winepress of the Almighty's wrath;

Whilst the red cross in mockery of peace,
Pointed to victory! When the fray was done,
No remnant of the exterminated faith
Survived to tell its ruin, but the flesh,

With putrid smoke poisoning the atmosphere,
That rotted on the half-extinguished pile.

Yes! I have seen God's worshippers unsheathe
The sword of his revenge, when grace descended,
Confirming all unnatural impulses,

To sanctify their desolating deeds;

And frantic priests waved the ill-omened cross
O'er the unhappy earth; then shone the Sun
On showers of gore from the upflashing steel
Of safe assassination, and all crime
Made stingless by the spirits of the Lord,
And blood-red rainbows canopied the land.
Spirit! no year of my eventful being

Has passed unstained by crime and misery,

Which flows from God's own faith. I've marked his slaves

With tongues whose lies are venomous, beguile

The insensate mob, and whilst one hand was red

With murder, feign to stretch the other out
For brotherhood and peace; and that they now
Babble of love and mercy, whilst their deeds
Are marked with all the narrowness and crime
That freedom's young arm dare not yet chastise;
Reason may claim our gratitude, who now
Establishing the imperishable throne

Of truth, and stubborn virtue, maketh vain
The unprevailing malice of my foe,

Whose bootless rage heaps torments for the brave,

Adds impotent eternities to pain,

Whilst keenest disappointment racks his breast

To see the smiles of peace around them play,

To frustrate, or to sanctify their doom.

Thus have I stood,-through a wild waste of years
Struggling with whirlwinds of mad agony,
Yet peaceful, and serene, and self-enshrined,
Mocking my powerless tyrant's horrible curse
With stubborn and unalterable will,

Even as a giant oak, which heaven's fierce flame
Had scathed in the wilderness, to stand

A monument of fadeless ruin there;
Yet peacefully and movelessly it braves
The midnight conflict of the wintry storm,
As in the sunlight's calm it spreads
Its worn and withered arms on high
To meet the quiet of a summer's noon.

The Fairy waved her wand:
Ahasuerus fled

Fast as the shapes of mingled shade and mist,
That lurk in the glens of a twilight grove,

Flee from the morning beam:

The matter of which dreams are made
Not more endowed with actual life

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