Imatges de pàgina

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

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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!
Dodona's forest to an acorn's cup

All is contained in each.

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


Wild, wilder thoughts convulse

My spirit !-Did not Mahomet the Second

Win Stamboul?


The written fortunes of thy house and faith.

Thou wouldst cite one out of the grave to tell

Thou wouldst ask that giant spirit

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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 engineery;
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,

As of a joyous infant waked, and playing

With its dead mother's breast, and now more loud

The mingled battle-cry-ha! hear I not

• Ἐν τούτῳ νίκη ! " Allah-illa-Allah?"

Ahasuerus. The sulphurous mist is raised-thou seest-

A chasm,

As of two mountains, in the wall of Stamboul;
And in that ghastly breach the Islamites,

Like giants on the ruins of a world,
Stand in the light of sunrise.

In the dust

Glimmers a kingle ss diadem, and one
Of regal port has cast himself beneath
The stream of war. Another, proudly clad
In golden arms, spurs a Tartarian barb
Into the gap, and with his iron mace
Directs the torrent of that tide of men,-
And seems-he is -Mahomet !


What thou seest

Is but the ghost of thy forgotten dream. less, perhaps, than that

A dream itself, yet

Thou call'st reality. Thou mayst behold

How cities on which Empire sleeps enthroned

Bow their towered crests to mutability.

Poised by the flood, e'en on the height thou holdest,

Thou mayst now learn how the full tide of power

Ebbs to its depths.-In heritor of glory,

The past

Conceived in darkness, born in blood, and nourished
With tears and toil, thou seest the mortal throes
Of that whose birth was but the same.
Now stands before thee like an Incarnation
Of the To-come; yet, wouldst thou commune with
That portion of thyself which was ere thou
Didst start for this brief race whose crown is death,
Dissolve, with that strong faith and fervent passion
Which called it from the uncreated deep,
Yon cloud of war with its tempestuous phantoms
Of raging death; and draw with mighty will
The Imperial Shade hither.




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Thence whither thou must go. The grave is fitter
To take the living than give up the dead;
Yet has thy faith prevailed, and I am here.
The heavy fragments of the power which fell

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When I arose, like shapeless crags and clouds,
Hang round my throne on the abyss, and voices
Of strange lament soothe my supreme repose,
Wailing for glory never to return.

A later Empire nods in its decay;

The autumn of a greener faith is come;
And wolfish change, like winter, howls to strip
The foliage in which Fame, the eagle, built
Her aerie, while Dominion whelped below.
The storm is in its branches, and the frost
Is on its leaves, and the blank deep expects
Oblivion on oblivion, spoil on spoil,
Ruin on ruin: thou art slow, my son;

The anarchs of the world of darkness keep
A throne for thee, round which thine empire lies
Boundless and mute; and, for thy subjects, thou,
Like us, shalt rule the ghosts of murdered life,
The phantoms of the powers who rule thee now--
Mutinous passions, and conflicting fears,
And hopes that sate themselves on dust, and die!
Stripped of their mortal strength, as thou of thine.
Islam must fall; but we will reign together

Over its ruins in the world of death:

And if the trunk be dry, yet shall the seed
Unfold itself even in the shape of that

Which gathers birth in its decay. Woe! woe!
To the weak people tangled in the grasp

Of its last spasms.


Spirit, woe to all!

Woe to the wronged and the avenger! woe

To the destroyer, woe to the destroyed!

Woe to the dupe, and woe to the deceiver !

Woe to the oppressed, and woe to the oppressor!
Woe both to those that suffer and inflict;

Those who are born, and those who die! But say,
Imperial shadow of the thing I am,

When, how, by whom, Destruction must accomplish
Her consummation!


Ask the cold pale Hour,

Rich in reversion of impending death,

When he shall fall upon whose ripe grey hairs

Sit care and sorrow and infirmity

The weight which Crime, whose wings are plumed with years,

Leaves in his flight from ravaged heart to heart

Over the heads of men, under which burden

They bow themselves unto the grave: fond wretch !

He leans upon his crutch, and talks of years

To come, and how in hours of youth renewed

He will renew lost joys, and

Voice without.

Victory! victory! [THE PHANTOM vanishes

Mahmud. What sound of the importunate earth has broken My mighty trance?

Voice without. Victory! victory!

Mahmud. Weak lightning before darkness! poor faint smile

Of dying Islam! voice which art the response

Of hollow weakness !- Do I wake and live?

Were there such things, or may the unquiet brain,

Vexed by the wise mad talk of the old Jew,

Have shaped itself these shadows of its fear?
It matters not!-for nought we see or dream,
Possess, or lose, or grasp at, can be worth
More than it gives or teaches. Come what may,
The future must become the past; and I, -
As they were to whom once this present hour,
This gloomy crag of time to which I cling,
Seemed an Elysian isle of peace and joy
Never to be attained.-I must rebuke
This drunkenness of triumph ere it die,

And, dying, bring despair.-Victory !-Poor slaves!

Voice without. Shout in the jubilee of death!

Are as a brood of lions in the net,

Round which the kingly hunters of the earth
Stand smiling. Anarchs, ye whose daily food
Are curses, groans, and gold, the fruit of death,

From Thule to the girdle of the world,

[Exit MAHMUD. The Greeks

Come, feast! The board groans with the flesh of men;
The cup is foaming with a nation's blood-
Famine and Thirst await: eat, drink, and die!


Victorious Wrong with vulture scream
Salutes the risen sun, pursues the flying day!
I saw her, ghastly as a tyrant's dream,
Perch on the trembling pyramid of night,

Beneath which earth and all her realms pavilioned lay
In visions of the dawning undelight.

Who shall impede her flight?

Who rob her of her prey?

Voice without. Victory! victory! Russia's famished eagles
Dare not to prey beneath the crescent's light!
Impale the remnant of the Greeks! despoil!
Violate! make their flesh cheaper than dust!


Thou voice which art

The herald of the ill in splendour hid!
Thou echo of the hollow heart
Of Monarchy, bear me to thine abode

When desolation flashes o'er a world destroyed.
Oh bear me to those isles of jagged cloud
Which float like mountains on the earthquakes 'mid

The momentary oceans of the lightning,

Or to some toppling promontory proud

Of solid tempest, whose black pyramid,

Riven, overhangs the founts intensely brightening Of those dawn-tinted deluges of fire,

Before their waves expire,

When heaven and earth are light, and only light
In the thunder-night!

Voice without. Victory! victory! Austria, Russia, England,

And that tame serpent, that poor shadow, France,

Cry peace; and that means death when monarchs speak.

Ho there! bring torches, sharpen those red stakes;

These chains are light, fitter for slaves and poisoners Than Greeks!-Kill! plunder! burn! let none remain !


Alas for Liberty,

If numbers, wealth, or unfulfilling years,

Or fate, can quell the free !
Alas for Virtue, when

Torments, or contumely, or the sneers
Of erring-judging men,

Can break the heart where it abides.

Alas! if Love, whose smile makes this obscure world splendid,
Can change, with all its false times and tides,
Like hope and terror-

Alas for Love!

And Truth, who wanderest lone and unbefriended,
If thou canst veil thy lie-consuming mirror
Before the dazzled eyes of Error,
Alas for thee! Image of the Above!


Repulse, with plumes from Conquest torn, Led the Ten-thousand from the limits of the morn Through many a hostile anarchy:

At length they wept aloud and cried "The sea! the sea!"
Through exile, persecution, and despair,

Rome was, and young Atlantis shall become,
The wonder, or the terror, or the tomb,

Of all whose step wakes Power lulled in her savage lair.
But Greece was as a hermit child

Whose fairest thoughts and limbs were built
To woman's growth by dreams so mild

She knew not pain or guilt.

And now... O Victory, blush! and Empire, tremble!
When ye desert the free-

If Greece must be

A wreck, yet shall its fragments re-assemble,
And build themselves again impregnably
In a diviner clime,

To Amphionic music, or some cape sublime
Which frowns above the idle foam of time.


Let the tyrants rule the desert they have made;
Let the free possess the paradise they claim;
Be the fortune of our fierce oppressors weighed
With our ruin, our resistance, and our name!


Our dead shall be the seed of their decay,

Our survivors be the shadows of their pride;

Our adversity a dream to pass away

Their dishonour a remembrance to abide.

Voice without. Victory! victory! The bought Briton sends The keys of ocean to the Islamite.

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