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Of late none found such favor in his sight As the young Priestess; and though, since that night When the death-caverns echoed every tone Of the dire oath that made her all his own, The' Impostor, sure of his infatuate prize, Had, more than once, thrown off his soul's disguise, And uttered such unheavenly, monstrous things, As ev’n across the desperate wanderings Of a weak intellect, whose lamp was out, Threw startling shadows of dismay and doubt;Yet zeal, ambition, her tremendous vow, The thought, still haunting her, of that bright brow Whose blaze, as yet from mortal eye concealed, Would soon, proud triumph! be to her revealed, To her alone; — and then the hope, most dear, Most wild of all, that her transgression here Was but a passage through earth's grosser fire, From which the spirit would at last aspire, Ev'n purer than before, -as perfumes rise Thro’ flame and smoke, most welcome to the skies And that when Azim's fond, divine embrace Should circle her in heaven, no darkening trace Would on that bosom he once loved remain, But all be bright, be pure, be his again ! These were the wildering dreams, whose cursed deceit Had chained her soul beneath the tempter's feet, And made her think ev'n damning falsehood sweet. But now that Shape, which had appalled her view, That Semblance - 0 how terrible, if true!Which came across her frenzy's full career With shock of consciousness, cold, deep, severe, As when, in northern seas, at midnight dark, An isle of ice encounters some swift bark,
And, startling all its wretches from their sleep,
Wan and dejected, through the evening dusk, She now went slowly to that small kiosk, Where, pondering alone his impious schemes, MOKANNA waited her — too wrapped in dreams Of the fair-ripening future's rich success, To heed the sorrow, pale and spiritless, That sat upon his victim's downcast brow, Or mark how slow her step, how altered now From the quick, ardent Priestess, whose light bound Came like a spirit's o'er the unechoing ground, — From that wild ZELICA, whose every glance Was thrilling fire, whose every thought a trance !
Upon his couch the Veiled MOKANNA lay, While lamps around — not such as lend their ray, Glimmering and cold, to those who nightly pray In holy Koom, or Mecca's dim arcades, — But brilliant, soft, such lights as lovely maids Look loveliest in, shed their luxurious glow Upon his mystic Veil's white glittering flow. Beside him, 'stead of beads and books of prayer, Which the world fondly thought he mused on there, Stood Vases, filled with KISHMEE's ? golden wine, And the red weepings of the Shiraz vine ;
1 The cities of Com (or Koom) and Cashan are full of mosques, mausoleums, and sepulchres of the descendants of Ali, the Saints of Persia. Chardin.
2 An island in the Persian Gulf, celebrated for its white wine.
Of which his curtained lips full many a draught Took zealously, as if each drop they quaffed, Like ZEMZEM's Spring of Holiness,' had power To freshen the soul's virtues into flower! And still he drank and pondered — nor could see The approaching maid, so deep his reverie; At length, with fiendish laugh, like that which broke From Ellis at the Fall of Man, he spoke :“ Yes, ye vile race, for hell's amusement given, “ Too mean for earth, yet claiming kin with heaven; “God's images, forsooth; — such gods as he - Whom India serves, the monkey deity;2 — “Ye creatures of a breath, proud things of clay, " To whom if LUCIFER, as grandams say, " Refused, though at the forfeit of heaven's light, 66 To bend in worship, LUCIFER was right !3 — “Soon shall I plant this foot upon the neck “Of your foul race, and without fear or check, “Luxuriating in hate, avenge my shame, “My deep-felt, long-nursed loathing of man's name!
1 The miraculous well at Mecca; so called, says Sale, from the murmuring of its waters.
Ž The god Hannaman. " Apes are in many parts of India highly venerated, out of respect to the God Hannaman, a deity partaking of the form of that race.” – Pennant's Hindoostan.
See a curious account, in Stephen's Persia, of a solemn embassy from some part of the Indies to Goa, when the Portuguese were there, offering vast treasures for the recovery of a monkey's tooth, which they held in great veneration, and which had been taken away upon the conquest of the kingdom of Jafanapatan.
3 This resolution of Eblis not to acknowledge the new creature, man, was, according to Mahometan tradition, thus adopted :-“The earth (which God had selected for the materials of his work) was carried into Arabia to a place between Mecca and Tayef, where, being first kneaded by the angels, it was afterwards fashioned by God himself into a human form, and left to dry for the space of forty days, or, as others say, as many years; the angels, in the mean time, often visiting it, and Eblis (then one of the angels nearest to God's presence, afterwards the devil) among the rest; but he, not contented with looking at it, kicked it with his foot till it rung; and knowing God designed that crea
signed that creature to be his superior, took a secret resolution never to acknowledge him as such." - Sale, on the Koran.
“ Soon at the head of myriads, blind and fierce " As hooded falcons, through the universe “I'll sweep my darkening, desolating way, “Weak man my instrument, curs'd man my prey !
“Ye wise, ye learned, who grope your dull way on “By the dim twinkling gleams of ages gone, “Like superstitious thieves, who think the light "From dead men's marrow guides them best at
night“Ye shall have honors — wealth, — yes, Sages, yes, “I know, grave fools, your wisdom's nothingness; “ Undazzled it can track yon starry sphere, “But a gilt stick, a bawble blinds it here. “How I shall laugh, when trumpeted along, “In lying speech, and still more lying song, “By these learned slaves, the meanest of the throng; “ Their wits bought up, their wisdom shrunk so small, “A sceptre's puny point can wield it all!
“Ye too, believers of incredible creeds, " Whose faith enshrines the monsters which it breeds ; “Who, bolder ev'n than NEMROD, think to rise, “By nonsense heaped on nonsense, to the skies; “Ye shall have miracles, ay, sound ones too, “Seen, heard, attested, every thing, — but true. 6 Your preaching zealots, too inspired to seek “One grace of meaning for the things they speak; “ Your martyrs, ready to shed out their blood, “For truths too heavenly to be understood;
1 A kind of lantern formerly used by robbers, called the Hand of Glory, the candle for which was made of the fat of a dead malefactor. This, however, was rather a western than an eastern superstition.
"And your State Priests, sole vendors of the lore, " That works salvation; — as, on Ava's shore, “Where none but priests are privileged to trade "In that best marble of which Gods are made ; ! “ They shall have mysteries — ay, precious stuff “For knaves to thrive by — mysteries enough; “ Dark, tangled doctrines, dark as fraud can weave, " Which simple votaries shall on trust receive, “While craftier feign belief, till they believe. “A Heaven too ye must have, ye lords of dust, — “A splendid Paradise, — pure souls, ye must: “ That Prophet ill sustains his holy call, “Who finds not heavens to suit the tastes of all ; “Houris for boys, omniscience for sages, “And wings and glories for all ranks and ages. “ Vain things! — as lust or vanity inspires, “ The heaven of each is but what each desires, “And, soul or sense, whate'er the object be, “Man would be man to all eternity! “So let him — Eblis! grant this crowning curse, “But keep him what he is, no Hell were worse.”
“O my lost soul !” exclaimed the shuddering maid, Whose ears had drunk like poison all he said:MOKANNA started — not abashed, afraid, He knew no more of fear than one who dwells Beneath the tropics knows of icicles ! But, in those dismal words that reached his ear, “O my lost soul!” there was a sound so drear,
1 The material of which images of Gaudma (the Birman Deity) are made, is held sacred. “Birmans may not purchase the marble in mass, but are suffered, and indeed encouraged, to buy figures of the Deity ready made." = Symes's Ava, vol, ii. p. 376,