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Or sterner hate, than IRAN's outlawed men,
Such was the wild and miscellaneous host, That high in air their motley banners tossed Around the Prophet-Chief — all eyes still bent Upon that glittering Veil, where'er it went, That beacon through the battle's stormy flood, That rainbow of the field, whose showers were
Twice hath the sun upon their conflict set, And risen again, and found them grappling yet; While streams of carnage, in his noontide blaze, Smoke up to heaven - hot as that crimson haze,
1 The Ghebers or Guebres, those original natives of Persia, who adhered to their ancient faith, the religion of Zoroaster, and who, after the conquest of their country by the Arabs, were either persecuted at home, or forced to become wanderers abroad.
2 “ Yezd, the chief residence of those ancient natives, who worship the Sun and the Fire, which latter they have carefully kept lighted, without being once extinguished for a moment, about 3000 years, on a mountain near Yezd, called Ater Quedah, signifying the House or Mansion of the Fire. He is reckoned very unfortunate who dies off that mountain." Stephen's Persia.
3*« When the weather is hazy, the springs of Naphtha (on an island near Baku) boil up the higher, and the Naphtha often takes fire on the surface of the earth, and runs in a flame into the sea to a distance almost incredible.'' - Hanway on the Everlasting Fire at Baku.
By which the prostrate Caravan is awed, In the red Desert, when the wind's abroad. “On, Swords of God!” the panting Caliph calls, – “ Thrones for the living— heaven for him who
falls !” – "On, brave avengers, on,” MOKANNA cries, “And Ellis blast the recreant slave that flies!” Now comes the brunt, the crisis of the day — They clash — they strive — the Caliph's troops give
way! MOKANNA's self plucks the black Banner down, And now the Orient World's Imperial crown Is just within his grasp — when, hark, that shout! Some hand hath checked the flying Moslem's rout; And now they turn, they rally — at their head A warrior, (like those angel youths who led, In glorious panoply of Heaven's own mail, The Champions of the Faith through BEDER's vale,3) Bold as if gifted with ten thousand lives, Turns on the fierce pursuers' blades, and drives At once the multitudinous torrent back While hope and courage kindle in his track; And, at each step, his bloody falchion makes Terrible vistas through which victory breaks ! In vain MOKANNA, midst the general flight, Stands, like the red moon, on some stormy night,
i Savary says of the south wind, which blows in Egypt from February to May, “ Sometimes it appears only in the shape of an impetuous whirlwind, which passes rapidly, and is fatal to the traveller, surprised in the middle of the deserts. Torrents of burning sand roll before it, the firmament is enveloped in a thick veil, and the sun appears of the color of blood. Sometimes whole caravans are buried in it.”
2 In the great victory gained by Mahomed at Beder, he was assisted, say the Mussulmans, by three thousand angels, led by Gabriel, mounted on his horse Hiazım. - See The Koran and its Commentators.
Among the fugitive clouds that, hurrying by,
Right towards MOKANNA now he cleaves his path, Impatient cleaves, as though the bolt of wrath He bears from Heaven withheld its awful burst From weaker heads, and souls but half way cursed, To break o'er Him, the mightiest and the worst ! But vain his speed — though, in that hour of blood, Had all God's seraphs round MOKANNA stood, With swords of fire, ready like fate to fall, MOKANNA's soul would have defied them all, Yet now, the rush of fugitives, too strong For human force, hurries ev’n him along ; In vain he struggles 'mid the wedged array Of Aying thousands — he is borne away; And the sole joy his baffled spirit knows, In this forced flight, is — murdering as he goes ! As a grim tiger, whom the torrent's might Surprises in some parched ravine at night, Turns, ev’n in drowning, on the wretched focks, Swept with him in that snow-flood from the rocks,
And, to the last, devouring on his way,
“ Alla illa Alla!” – the glad shout renew “ Alla Akbar!”1 — the Caliph's in MEROU. Hang out your gilded tapestry in the streets, And light your shrines and chant your ziraleets.? The Swords of God have triumphed — on his throne Your Caliph sits, and the Veiled Chief hath flown. Who does not envy that young warrior now, To whom the Lord of Islam bends his brow, In all the graceful gratitude of power, For his throne's safety in that perilous hour ? Who doth not wonder, when, amidst the acclaim Of thousands, heralding to heaven his name, 'Mid all those holier harmonies of fame, Which sound along the path of virtuous souls, Like music round a planet as it rolls, — He turns away — coldly, as if some gloom Hung o'er his heart no triumphs can illume; Some sightless grief, upon whose blasted gaze Though glory's light may play, in vain it plays. Yes, wretched Azim! thine is such a grief, Beyond all hope, all terror, all relief; A dark, cold calm, which nothing now can break, Or warm or brighten, - like that Syrian Lake,3 Upon whose surface morn and summer shed Their smiles in vain, for all beneath is dead !
1 The Tecbir, or cry of the Arabs. “ Alla Acbar!” says Ockley, means, “God is most mighty."
2 The ziraleet is a kind of chorus, which the women of the East sing upon joyful occasions. - Russel.
3 The Dead Sea, which contains neither animal nor vegetable life.
Hearts there have been, o'er which this weight of woe
One sole desire, one passion now remains
The wreaths that Glory on his path lets fall;
But safe as yet that Spirit of Evil lives; With a small band of desperate fugitives, The last sole stubborn fragment, left unriven, Of the proud host that late stood fronting Heaven,