Филип Джеймс Бэйли (Philip James Bailey)
Текст оригинала на английском языке
Festus - 40
The skies, the skies reclaim us. Earth dissolved, God's will prevails now sole. As when o'er vast And shoreward flats at murkiest noon of night, No single element, not high heaven, not earth, Not sea is visible; one wide searching wind, Sign solitary of life, blows; blows; so sweeps Through death's unsubstanced state, God's vital thought. He, as he will, builds, rebuilds; but to all Create, most just, the soul--world opes, that time Foreclosed, unthought of men, as by some huge Judgment self--wrought of nature, each spirit might make Of evil or good, preponderant choice. Behold The war all souls must wage; war justified By God, forefixed; for good fought; war divine; War spiritual; war heavenly:--and because The good forgive the evil, all justice done, God too forgives the good; and hope weds joy. After inferior nature is subdued The all--evil see confined. Earth's elements Conglobe themselves from chaos, purified. The Skies. Deity, Angels, Angel of Earth, Luniel, Guardian Angel, Festus, Lucifer. God. The age of matter consummates itself. All things that are shall end, save that is mine. As with one world so shall it be with all; For all false, human, fallible, as towards Creator creature must be, while defect Of separate life their being vitiates, are. Prepare ye not the less for all at last, Grade upon grade of glory, sons of God! Angels. Lord! we thy souls ministrant but to effect Thy loveable will in all things, live. Angel of Earth. One sphere Yon prophet of perdition, who saw not In it destroyed, his own discomfiture, Space lacks already; and life the great retreat Begins. Angels. Thy hand regenerative, we wait Author of all, its place to fill in heaven. Angel of Earth. Earth's annals are accomplished, and her tale Told in the eternal archives, closed for good. Behold the ruinous rudiments of a star, Once mine; nor let repose in death; but since, Tortured and torn by hands malevolent. See! Hath any seen discerption like to this Titanic, of an orb's once radiant limbs? Angels. Despair not thou, the nucleate heart still is, Doubtless: and, purified, may yet revive. Luniel. Meanst thou yon mass unsphered, suspense 'tween heaven's Calm upward, and these detrimental deeps, Down dragging, all destructive, part without Mine orbit, part within; was that once earth? I see no feature, like. Angel of Earth. Ah, yes! not quite Void, yet, of nature's cardinal shapes, each hour Tending to wonted settlements, waiting still The word compulsory, quickening, to reform; Or, to disperse, permissive, earth it was. Luniel. Seems something wanting to perfection. Lacks Force, may be for inception of new worlds; Lacks will; perchance mislike feels deity towards That mould of being. Angel of Earth. I go. Earth! man, farewell. Luniel. One moment, angel, fold thy wing. Stay yet Thy star--flight; and,--if gained God's leave, while thus Colleagued, we parle, we, hosts ubiquitous, soon Eradiated, to part, on quests divine, From this spot, God's now presence central makes To the whole unlimited,--say, we all would know Who circling with the whirlwind of our wings Yon rude compost, the earth, have, curious, marked,-- What mean these grouped below us; that side, fiend, And man, this? this triumphant, that abject? What, too, yon guardian spirit, hovering near? Why silent all in God? To most it bodes Mystery; nor me can these, consociate here, But for the hour, from spheres far off, inform Touching events strange, vast, late happed in heaven. Speak, friendliest spirit; for, when thine orb, dispersed In fiery fragments, lessening more and more By self--resolvent forces from all claim Cohaesive, robbed my memory of a form I once so dearly loved, tears so mine eyes Drowned, grief my heart so panged, I fled; yes, far Space--winging, fled that world--wrack. But now say Ere yet, sweet angel--ward of earth, thou joinest Again, thy charge, say, heard not I resound Late on these aëry shores, the shock of war? For view I might not, since the sun's bright ball Rayless, upon his ebon throne, the void, Between me and this dread combat intervened? Angel of Earth. War, Luniel? Yes! I there. Not I could quit Even earth's ashes: nor was't for me to shrink From sharing all her woe. Nor only this Knew I, but all predestined in the passed; The hostile forces, good and evil, each Head in man's spirit contentious, wisely framed For advance perpetual, conflict consecrate By virtue's laws whose powers preponderant tend Through nature, Godwards; if to ill devote Wrenched therefore culpably 'gainst God's end,--and all To that grand crisis pertinent, whose just Effect, as earth with heaven reharmonized, Foretold, we have yet to see. Meanwhile, be sure 'Twas a fair foughten fight, this field of fields. Luniel. Rehearse, dear spirit, this contest, for the sense Intense of joy in extreme action makes Wish one had there been. Angel of Earth. War unmatched in time; Holiest of wars, and best, the war of good 'Gainst evil. Phanuel. O amiablest of angels, say As thou beheldst, it may be, sharedst the strife, Its varying course. Angel of Earth. Slight part in this was mine, O angel of salvation! but to encheer The heaven--prized spirits with hope and holy strength. Nor is it I can tell ye best. Behold! Couched 'neath yon cloudy precipice, the soul War--proven, who watch keeps o'er the conquered fiend, Heaven's late antagonist, and earth's; he, best, He, or the fiend, how fared the fight, can say. For need I show that in yon prostrate shape, Lies evil o'erthrown, its doom from God's just lips Here waiting; not with weak reproach, nor shame Boisterous, nor mock contempt; but as evil sage, Not wholly execrable, nor yet to be Deemed desperate infinitely; but aptest sense His of necessitate being, and consciousness While gaining all his limited ends, of ends Wider opposed, his mastering; we, not he, Unless through blind and fluttering instinct, him Knowing by alchemy of force divine, God's sole will, yet transformable. Luniel. Draw nigh, Mortal. And, if I err not, we, ere now, Have met, traversed and seen together much. Much joy I, that such good conceived hath borne In thee, though late enough, fair fruit. And now Wouldst me repay for favours passed, or these Spirits of amity please; and if of deeds Glorious at once and good, thou lovest to tell Not less than aid,--speak on! that we, informed, With all benevolent souls, that joy which crowns And sums celestial life may share whene'er, And in what spheres soever, through all space Good prospers, good in all because of God. Guardian Angel. Approach, my Festus, spirit beloved, nor fear Trespass again of evil, nor dread escape From God's unmeasured grasp. This conflict passed, Know all ye angels, earth's, with time, with life Coördinate, and the victory God's, of good. Festus. O heavenly angels, denizens of state Celestial, pardon ye, if words of mine, Conceptions human failing to translate, Fall shorter miserably of minds divine; But that ye part, made wise in order due Of all things, hear, bright spirits this tale in few: And may the all present, but invisible One, Inspire me to declare what sole is true! Ere yet, and this ye wot of, earth attained Her supreme end, man's race,--so gracious grown Their instinct of perfection to be gained In all things, had, in outward life, so won Comfort refined, and moderate plenty, ease, Free faith, and learning's temperate luxuries, That, in self--flattery, they would whisper, none Of souls create, or kinds to be, unknown, In social law, weal, polity, might proceed Further; scarce 'scaped they angels to become, In charity and all knowledge. Underneath This outward life of mind was spirit--death, Wide spread, not tainting all. Heaven saw the need,-- Here, prophecy and pagan foresight one,-- Of a great purifying strife, the doom Self--wrought, of woe or bliss, from good or ill Practised by fallible souls but free, wherein God's aims they might adopt, or side with sin: And conscience so with fate, one end fulfil. Earth's final scenes avails not now to unroll; Her agony was o'er, and death's, mine own, For we had died together: and my soul, Freed from life's bonds, God's universal throne Touched instant, and the immaterial whole Henceforth intuitive grasped; and knowing, knew Some all composing purgatorial strife, Conclusive of all contests passed through life, Some vast impending struggle foredoomed and due. Such conflict God permitting for his ends To be deferred till earth had ceased, outburned, The bliss of his elect from first decerned, Secured, that souls all else might prove themselves his friends Or foes, self--judged; and ere these hellwards turned, Those heavenwards, each their principles foreshow To all their fellow spirits on high, below; And if to wisdom's godlier life inclined, Or ignorance dark and selfish lusts their mind. I had passed then through death's cloud; my spirit dilate; Like to a flower which suddenly expands Seemed with all force fraught fourfold, and the fate Of life--worlds trembling in my single hands. I looked around; and though earth's sphere no more Loomed 'neath my feet as memory sought, nor wore The masque impenetrable she wont before, Yet to my spiritual sense seemed all as when First conscious, nature knew I, matter, men. Save that the elements midst transition seemed Somewhat; incongruous; bent to interchange; Not friends, not foes, but each to other strange, Unfixed, unfinished, as things had but dreamed Their passed life over again; with many a gap Of orderly sequence blanked; faults still, mayhap, Of unrecognizant mind; to be disesteemed. Thus, then the prospect stood; an obscure plain Showed spread far out before the face of heaven, Where solitude, if generable, once given To life, might have presumed an endless reign,-- When, suddenly, on either hand, arose And marvellously, as though compact of air, Ere the whole eye were of the fact made 'ware, A world in arms, though mixed, instinctive foes. Souls, these, humane, which filled earth's every land, When death's stern angel, at a sign, life's scroll, Stretched 'tween his hands, did ruthlessly uproll;-- Not numbered 'mongst the chosen, but free to prove By virtuous tests, amenable to love, Who, foes of God, would fall, or, friends, would stand: Sufficing thus to vindicate the end God in creating free doth aye perpend;-- That good should master ill; heaven's hoped for life Mere death outworth; God's peace, all creatural strife. For every soul, unwittingly in the passed Self--quit or self--condemned,--no proofless plea Of faith in carnal gods, no unbased trust To magical words or symbols in the eye 'Vailing, of God the Father, kind as just Towards all his children, he uplifting none At cost of others; asking not of one More than his strength or light could owe; this last Of all earth's human generations, he Mildliest of all, as cut off timelessly, Would treat. His ways how holy, and how fair! Quick as by passion's step, that vast array,-- By trumpets silver or brazen, which each one told Inly, beneath what pennons to repair, That either side their visible tongues unrolled, Divided, sought its side and took its way. Soon, distant hills gleamed with long ranks of foes, Illimitable, as sunset lines which bar Eve's skies, or sphere broad belted, as for war, Eager to outlap or with the opponent close: Each gorged horizon tremulous with the crowds, O'er plain and mount self--urged like armied clouds. On either side, two eminences I viewed, Tall, ominous, like twin monsters on the plain, Fallen brooding. Each vast mound, of arms was reared Carnal and spiritual mingled; bright appeared Those, with a sickly polish which by use Wears off; by use, a dazzling hue these gain, Intensitive, that of dulness dares accuse The glareful lightnings earth midst all her path Fronts: and 'tween these the ghostly multitude By brotherly love commoved, or scorn, which hath With hell fell concert, each, his arms to choose, Passed and repassed. Whiles marked I, unconcerned, The gathering tempest rolling down the hills, And storm of men their hurricane way that burned Before them; and though, time now passed, averse From war, and deeming it earth's crowning curse, Her worst and least defensible of all ills, Yet now it sacred seemed; and, strange fatality! Who should be vanquished, or who victor, while My course and choice awaiting to decide, Borne in, it seemed, upon me as a tide O'erwrothed, that all the blood--feuds which defile Earth's annals, were but mocks of this reality, Their end, their antitype; yet, so secure My trust in good passed all things framed to endure, No fear my heart from steadiest state might lure; Nor mote I marvel more what should create Such mighty armaments, should thus draw forth Those, as of southern fire--gloom born, with hate Hot, these, as storms of splendour from the north Issuant, in long keen lines o'er half the earth, When I beheld in these commilitant bands Men of all faiths, all tongues, all strains, all lands, All names; on that side all co--variants massed Votaries of error, falsehood, mystery, each Leagued 'gainst the faith on this, earth's first, earth's last; Held by the wise of every age and speech; Which saints sing, angels celebrate and teach, God's unity, and his love; man's deathless soul Judged with just mercy; so that he, the whole, Who made, made pure, will ultimately ally With him. Not long stood dallying with suspense. I, who had `whither,' alway paired with `whence,' While pondering on man's end, as source, like high;-- When, hark! from form invisible, but close by, An angel voice-- Guardian Angel. 'Twas I, dear Festus, I, Thy soul--ward! Festus. Thou!--cried, `Arm, for thy defence; The idolaters, thy foes, and truth's, appear; And all the hosts of evildom, since life Began, revived to wage earth's deadliest strife.' And, in a moment, ere the anxious eye Could glance around, a shadowy hand was near; Dight me in armour; gave a glittering brand Which, lurid as the flash tempestuous heaven Hurls to sea, queller of cloud--sundering levin,-- Shook forth its permanent lightnings in mine hand; Soul--trenchant; wrought of star--steel which endures,-- Even as of old the mystic meteor sword, By nomad Scythian idolwise adored,-- No sheath; its ingrained fire all cloak combures Disdainful; gave this spiky shield; this spear, Floweret of fight, of war's keen crop bright ear: Then, vanished visibly. I wordless stand, Waiting the approach of some one to dispel The mist of doubt upon my spirit that fell. While thus I stood expectant, from on high Yon angel came,--oh! can I ever tell His guardian love?--and touching thrice mine eye, With force endowed it prism--wise, whereby All motives to themselves men justify As stimulating their acts, it could disblend, Even to their innate elements which the soul, With either host, according to their end Coördinated, and lawed to sin's control, Or virtue's. Thus apprised, I straightways view, Who served false gods, if but with piety, drew Toward us; who homaged even the sole and true, As hypocrites, sought the enemy; and so knew, God just, self--doomed all. There, with those, I eyed All selfish passions, envy, avarice, hate, Impiety and impurity close allied, Sloth, wrath, intemperance, cruelty and false pride, Within the enemy's breast self--generate, Each several vice the bad have deified Corrupting inwardly; each contagious side To his neighbour's heart infecting. Here, elate, The pure determining reasons when I saw, The love of God, of mercy, virtue's law, Truth, wisdom and their friends impersonate, Though fewer than the foe, of loftier state, I, as by rational gravitation, sped Swift towards the array of light, and made mine own The cause they served. No sooner joined, than head Stood I, meseemed, o'er all, leave asked of none, Nor of sway wishful: for no longer fired With love of place pre--eminent as desired Erstwhile, nathless these ends my seekers sought Prizing, ends virtue sanctioned, wisdom loved, To save from error's doom, give heaven its aught, Predestined; capture in pure mercy; win The soul self--blinded to the effects of sin Godwards; ends worthy of him, by him approved; And truth's friends:--all resistlessly concurred My soul to attract. Their foemen, rebels vile Showed, who his rule spurned, scorned his power and word; Strove aye his works to depreciate, defile; Colleagued to impair the just; to impugn the true; To blacken every fault thought had but blurred:-- To vaunt their arms could all the Gods subdue, Or chase them out of heaven,--an atheist crew, And disbeliefful host,--and their seats give To creatural born pretenders, fortune, chance; Developed force, wed atoms with the expanse; To mere material powers that be, not live; All godliest truths ignored;--such, these who fought-- So learned I, from the spiritual inview given Mine eye,--for falsehood, and, for God, would nought. And now, nor time for more served; for, self--massed, With treacherous speed, and ranked, their lines as driven By inward tempests, on, the foe came fast; From every eye--ball rage and malice gleamed; Like burning floods along the plain they passed. High on their ensigns strange devices beamed Forbidden, of blackest magic scrolled in light Of vicious glamour; spells of murderous might; And weapons weird, with mottoes base bedight, Such as around the lips of Circe's bowl, Or on siren's tongues suffice to slay the soul; Here, as though stolen from the heraldry of hell, On many a shield, `eternal death,' imblazed; Here, the illumined lie, `no God!' we gazed, Imbannered. Still no terror us befell. But as when earth's forceful orb, ancient of night, Rolling serene on her foresmoothened way, Some dimly insultant shower of meteor light Breasts listless, undeflect; so our array Dense, but with crush of splendours, all their charge Hurled on us, each receives, contemns at large; So certain seem we of our ultimate day. But not too wisely this, nor then. Still on, On sweeping still, with shouts and cursings dire, Their brows as brass, their squadrons swift as storm When arrowy lightnings nature's face deform; Before them darkness, and behind them fire, They, hosted, rushed; and as a sea its banks Strikes foaming, thundering, smote our faithful ranks. Then closed the armies. Cloud 'gainst cloud when thrown By adverse winds, first straggles into thin strife From different levels, till, storm--crushed in one, Darkness 'mid darkness wedged, with horrors rife, The gloomy concave no distinction shows; So blended in one vast intricate fray, These, bellowing, called destruction on their foes, And with a terrible onset nought could stay, Left havoc scarcely room his arm to play. From our own hearts unspoken prayers arose; And praise of God who the beginnings knows Of all things from the end; and to defeat Ever subjects, at first, the cause he hath chose. Reeled earth beneath the madness of the shock; The mountains smoked; the hills broke from their seat; Their banks streams leaped; groans burst from hardest rock; The seas convulsed against their barriers beat; The sun, like one who, fear--struck, drops his hands, Withdraws his beams, and all astonied stands, Rayless; re--waked, lifts her red torch the moon, Lest all should yet be lost in total night. The trembling stars, unchecked by fervid noon, Rush from their bowers, with censers burning bright; Even hell was moved, and weltering where he lay, A howl of joy sent forth commingled with dismay. Scarce was a pause bethought of, either side, And fiercelier e'er the war waxed, for betide What might of conflict or conquest, ere long The sun; all saw, must set;--incentive strong With us to fight so as to win, who light Even as God's shadow love; to them, too, night Who worship as the friend of fraud. Now, 'mong The traitor ranks whose leaders we had guessed Nowise, nor knew what griefs their manifest Of war set forth,--a chief had late appeared, Of towering stature, and of visage fell, Who in his hand a dreadful weapon reared Macelike, entwined with serpents, seed of hell; While round his neck a burnished shield its blaze Far o'er the war--field flashed with blinding rays. Quailed all the faithful 'neath the impending might Of this impersonate awe; a withering spell Bode in his eyes that struck with deathly blight Men's souls; scarce 'scaping one, a fatal daze Who on those wide--scanning orbs but paused to gaze. As when, through sheaf--piled fields, a ball of fire, Elanced from cloud electric, speeds its way, Scorching and wasting with unwavering ire, Each feeble obstacle nought but surer prey; So, through ranks prostrated, the eye might trace His devastations by a trenchèd tract Of souls slain seemingly; and still his pace, Precipitate as a lava cataract, Death--fraught, he urged; now, as he nearlier drew, Amazed, I gazed; for well that form I knew; And, hailing, would have stayed; in vain; for aye The desolation round him graver grew. His step, his mien alas! I could but know, His ominous air; and from his eye's deep glow, Pulsant, requickening like to ember fanned By the owlet's wing, all sequent things in hand My soul conceives, undeeded, done, foreplanned. `Hold, spirit;' I cried; grant all thy doomed array One moment's truce, and these just proffers weigh. God willeth not the death ye seek this day; But that ye live. Submit yourselves to heaven, Quit evil, and all sin's false pretence eschew; Repent, believe, be good and be forgiven. 'Tis God's will.' `Art thou,' quoth the fiend, `the man I stood by, late?' `I am,' I said. `And can These souls, think'st thou, who live beyond the grave, Freed from death's law, who now destruction brave, To other will subject them than their own? Speak, all ye hosts!' `We serve ourselves alone'; Broke in low thunders from those lurid lines, Shadowy. `Accept thy answer, nor again Obstruct,' the demon said, `with projects vain, Our course.'--Grieved, scarce surprised, retain All ours, perseverant, one sublime consent, One fixed resolve; through all our columns shines On every face the firm but sweet intent To prove, by love's resistless argument God kind as just; and how sin's worst endeavour Being finite, must at last fail all to outbrave His boundless goodness which, perforce, for ever Endures; not he more prone to love than save The souls he hath made. This too we let them hear By herald's lips; and vowed to persevere While life remained. Like hardly obstinate, they, Motive and end impugned, word sent to say No God they knew; nor, if they won their way O'er us, should we great nature's mysteries Traduce, and live. Forewarned by taunts like these We nerve ourselves once more to war, and strain Our strength to o'erthrow the mountainous juggleries They forge against us. Strange and monstrous shows Of all imaginary ills, portents, Such only as inventive madness knows, Forbye their own, of hideous armaments O'erhead in air; seemed even to join the fray The elements bodily; and whilst fieriest rain And winds sulphureous storms contrariant threw 'Gainst our firm--footed forces, earth and main By turns retaliating dismay, now drew Hither, the fight, now thither. Fixed retain Both hosts the intent, as yet, the day to gain. As when some ocean--flood to circumvent An island obstacle, its strifeful tides, Though to collide at last doomed, first, divides, This polewards, linewards that, while each intent On its own course, half with its rival's blent, Conscious not yet of check, nor rise nor fall Brooks, till at last, one turbulent level all In vast libration holds;--so we this war And strenuous aequipoise of discontent Wage, doubt--crowned, nor, who victors know thus far. We most had suffered; ours, most wounded, showed. Yet still meseemed we had gained the ground where stood Their streamy standards first; and gained for good. But as when athwart some broad far--stretching beach The seaward wind ascendant, hour by hour, With huge and inexhaustible greed of death, Sweep sand--clouds suicidal, mad to reach The invasive waves white plumed who at every breath A land born levy engulph, insatiate;--so Like endless, fruitless like, this strife of power With power, to feud eternal threats to grow; As though even fate prevaricated. Again From point to point the rebel chieftains flew And, passing, on us faithful, looks oft threw Of proud contempt, to mark the swathes of slain; So seemed our vanquished to their treacherous view. In splendid mien and lofty port they shone, Dazzling the eye; and as from out the mass, They sudden broke, and then were lost anon, Like stars they showed, when tempests break and pass In quivering fragments of dark clouds away, Casting around a brief but baleful ray. The faithful checked, a moment, now resumed Hotlier the fight; and though the rebel arms Bright bannered, far and wide, the field illumed, In guise triumphant, brooked no base alarms. No foot now flinched; no hand now failed; no heart Grew faint, of those who filled, still firm, our throng, Of sacred ranks; each soul, inspired, his part Heaven--named, performed, in zeal and reason strong; For reason strengthened every hand that fought That day for faith. How tense the strain was ours One moment proved extatic, when, faith--brought; Truth, virtue, 'like their cause, their ends, their powers, Our camp seek; stay; and midst our vaunt--guard bide; In panoply of proof, with hosts allied, Givers of victory; choosers they of all Whose choice is life eternal; by our ranks Hailed rapturously, and their pure aid with thanks; Maids of immortal sanctity, we forestal Their triumph; and regard half--deified;-- Invincible, they at least. By our content, So audibly voiced, the foe at last alarmed, And at such access of high powers, so armed, To madness wrought, and upon nought less bent Than us to at once annihilate, formed behind Each wing, fresh myriads massed; and passion--blind Our lines unmoved assail; till, flagging they, We, our main strength reserved, renew the affray: Impatient, dreadless, on the enemy rush, And 'neath our might, in turn, their legions crush. As when 'neath spring's bright sun, clouds broken fly Before the impulsive wind, and, through the sky Routed, as by rejoicing gusts of light, Pass, shamed and dulled, so these their fated flight, Beneath our swift assaults, speed sullenly. Exultant we pursue our conquests; yield They seem to do on all sides; everywhere We spread our terror; overrun the field; Surrender some; some clamour to be led 'Gainst their late friends;--too weary we, instead, These guard for later discipline;--but the snare We are in, mark not; for, as a rock--foiled wave, Instinct with treachery, scoops an envious grave For the pursuing surge; so us, our foe Had into straits enticed we could not know Aforewhile. Sudden spread around our feet Quicksands, where hollower hills redoubled cheat With hope of fugitive rest. And some, no few, By deftest witchery dazed and drawn, pursue A high--road broad, which brings their camp in view, Rich in all luxuries, tent and provant there, Tempting repose, refreshment. `O beware!' Our angel cried, o'er watchful in the sky, `'Tis all illusion, 'tis a visible lie. Retreat, reframe yourselves.' Ashamed in time, They 'scape the torments of remembered crime, And seek circuitously their peers and friends; When lo! their backs scarce turned, the enchantment ends As suddenly. But the enemy boastful now Of least success, thought even to countervail Our vantage late, by aids that could not fail, Suborned of all the powers unjust below; Sin, superstition, passion, vice, hate, pain; He called, and hell's delusions thronged the inane: Phantoms and fiendish spectres, such as glow Preposterous, on the horizon long and low, Where lies, cloud--stifled, on his golden bed The tyrant sun; shapes, that from foot to head, Distort themselves fanatically, and change Their misconceived proportions every breath They draw, ere throes of self--dissolving death Scatter o'er space their writhing limbs. So strange And to distract our spirits, these shapes appear, Foul, threatening, that on high assailed by fear, Below by force, we might less mightily ply Our arms, this wise enfeebled;--arm nor eye Quailed, or to phalanxed host, or imminent sky. Not impious force, not ghastliest wizardry, Prevailed. The tempest of enchantment passed, Calm, we resumed our freer, safer ground; Defend, and for reward brief respite found. `Hear, fellow--warriors,' soon I cried, `not long Behoves us to recruit our strength with rest. 'Tis action, and its sole end, fair conquest, Heaven of our arms demands; 'twere like them wrong, To stand not ever and instantly on guard.' Assent all eagerly. Thus, not unprepared The enemy find us; but still bent to wage What war they might, who fought because we spared, In mean, sparse, unsustained attacks they cast Their failing strategy 'gainst us; till, at last, Not daring longer openly to engage Our conquering standards, they for parle applied; But parley served not; for we, loyal, pressed Now keenly on, and all their wiles defied; More traitorous than we knew them yet untried. As vulture trapped our enemy found too late, Strife nor submission freed from fore--fixed fate, Of them unthought; of us, yet unconfessed. Anon, our faithful pause; for now the foe Desperate, turned 'gainst each other, nor expressed One plan, but for their Head hate sole possessed; Whose errors grossest ignorance seemed to show And whose misfeats all ills to premonstrate;-- Less seriously concerned our force to wreck They, than their own league;--crazed! More potent check, No more sufficing punishment could know, 'Twas plain, the adversary. Blow now 'gainst blow Answering no more from ours, war lulled. While thus In separate commonalties resolved, and while By open conflict or by scarce hidden guile, Each thwarting other, gradually they wound Their battle from off this world--contested ground, As though some likelier schemes to rediscuss. Their leader, prompt to prove his weight in war, To every foe, or open or envious, In face of all his gleamy squadrons round, Stood, as in summer's dawn the morning star Is wont, in the young orient to protect Night's astral troops, retreating nigh and far Into heaven's fastnesses, ere o'ermastering light All rout; and seems, while any shadows are, With his sole tutelar spear, day's whole effect To outworth; such craft of bravery in sight Of our chafed legions, haughtily dared deploy Their chief, who would our hopes, God's ends, destroy. Yet seize we not the moment to embroil Our arms afresh; but pause from battailous toil. For now day dimmed, though long seemed dark delayed; And hills, themselves but shadowy, shadows made. Now, set the sun; but who of all forecast That sunset he beheld was nature's last? Man's little day, foreweighted on the beam Of God's eternal poise, time's day supreme, Closed now for aye on that aetherial field; And all to night primaeval looked to yield; That strife of strengths supernal, once of old, Time's twilight, and the god--war, seer foretold; That contest so to conquest near, as deemed, Our hosts, thus ended, worse than doubtful seemed, In pardonable distrust; and some forebode, The world's passed, they should see no day of God: Not reckoning how all being our God can bend To his vast aim, nor whither all things tend. Now 'mongst the opposing powers strange factions showed, And 'gainst their chief in mutinous hatred glowed. Plot plot supplanted: each malign device This one a feint proposing, that, a snare, Foiled by his craft they sought to sacrifice; He, pondering all, all deems unworth his care. Till, galled at bruited failure of his plans, The cause of good to ruin, God's and man's, As boasted of in hell, and hatched first there, Swells ultimately within the demon's breast Lust for one more, one crucial, last contest. His scheme imparted, animates the rest. 'Tis fixed; the friendly powers of darkness aid Their columns thickening 'neath night's fraudful shade. Yet not such secret guile was theirs to vaunt, But Virtue,--who an eminence hard by Had conquered, whence she might unseen descry All hostile evildom,--she, aye vigilant, Forewarned us; nay, presentient, had divined From ominous silence what dumb fiend stood nigh; And thence what proximate peril to first defy. As therefore, when, times passed, to obey man's mind, The electric harpstrings humming in the wind, With latent lightning charged, strange news of birth Imperial, peace, war, or loved patriot's death, In viewless miracle flashed o'er half the earth, By land, by sea, while one could hold his breath, So through our serried squares the tidings passed, Presignalled by the rise of time--fixed star,-- From the pure power--`The foe prepares a last Assault. Be equal all, anear, afar; Nor doubt the event, God's champions as ye are.' And soon, in full extent of all their host, On us they advance, wide--horned; as rock--bound coast, Curved crescent--wise, shuts in some helpless bay; Though cheered by wavelets bright which know nathless A spell to check their enemies' forwardness;-- So we the impending foe abide, and pray. With a shock they burst upon us, as a cloud, Rampant in air, hail--fraught, no mean that knows 'Tween the still step of its aerial snows From this to that horizon, and the breach Of all heaven's laws by abruptest thunder--speech In burning bolts articulated, they blast Our ranks, not foreadvised for nought. Allowed Scarce time our files again to form, such blows Dealt they, as might to all subjection teach, Save their born masters. We, our foes irate, Instinctive foes, by birth these, those by fate, By reason more, but all as foes self--classed, Fight leniently; nor strive to exterminate, So much as to chastise and teach. Vain care! Roused by one wide tempestuous thunder--blast, Wild brief of all the discordry of war, They bore down on us, with the sickening sweep Of an eclipse's wing, which, shadowy, chilled To its fiery heart, the sphere, and the storm stilled Of foregone strife; down on us, in the deep The murk, unmorrowing, darkness, as it seemed; Cleared all mid spatial checks; closed for the fray; Singled every soul his man, as who should say Each spirit hath sworn its separate sheaf to reap From that stupendous tilth, fate's harvest field, Where all the vanquished, to perdition sealed, Sank down, to horrible ruin unrepealed Unmatched; or so they opined. Not one but dreamed Of worsting us by truculent rage, or sheer O'erbearingness; nor knew their doom how near. Through all their vast platoons, as lightning ploughs Black storm--clouds, pierce we; all our forces rouse In flying raids their wings clip, and attack, Lighter, their masses dense and dazed; drive back To where their main reserves, not yet too late For one grand stroke, in ignorance stand of fate. We pause. They form; charge; but not all the weight Their force disorderly could accumulate, Nor vehement fury gave them, our array Indented permanently. At this, abashed, As one who by sheer selfwill hath lost his way, Our rebels round them glared with dumb dismay, Like to a storm whose last faint lightnings flashed Soundless, ere yet it ceased, mid heaven's blithe vault, In impotent vapourings. We, meanwhile, who rest, With one sole resolute purpose prepossessed, Such thankful tears shed, each on other's breast, As one life hazarding 'gainst some grim assault Of the elements, and still extant, sternly glad Despite the escape from judgment lately had, To know his vital virtue not at fault, Nor all his lifelong training at last vain, Who feels that not to have lost is all to gain; Now, like elate, from rank to rank we tossed,-- As waves the columned shadow of the sun, From this to that spray--crested, ever lost In rearward depths, fresh framed in front,--the smile Self--luminous of success, so dearly won, So scarcely, that disdainful of all wile, All force, presumptuous, I at length began To accredit fate with faith's too facile plan, And dream all might to one sole duel bend This battlefield of good and evil man. How act? `Stand forth, fell foe; man's, God's,' I cried, `Who dost to both all ill, dost more intend. Thy praepotence dread not I; but fortified Built up and towered in spirit by strength divine, I wait to seal this woe, thine end or mine, With mine all these!' As glides a cloud from far, Lone scout of tempests, towards some paly star, Pale, not appalled, in silence one may feel Perfusive even to fainting, ere it rend Its heart in fiery thunders, so reveal Our foe storm--massed 'gainst us, their mighty head, Towards me advancing on slow foot;--but ere That occultation, crowds on either hand Between us rush, and each to his command Deliberately returned, reform instead Their front, their lines redress. Fell now from heaven, As I the event sought of this strife in prayer, These words, space--sundering; `To nought made is given This war to end, but to God sole. Persever Ye righteous souls. Ye win, if late, win ever.' Heart warm with joy I heard. To us who know We no defection have to mourn, to show,-- With growth of disciplined forces everywhere, No breast but glows recuperative, no arm But touched one moment by the sacred charm Of that soul--medicine, he, within his tent The great Physician, gives to all who will; To us, of strength vouchsafed proud, ardent, still, As warriors of the light to fight 'gainst ill, Scarce other plan than this seemed left, untried, God's mind, diffused abroad in us, our guide, The enemy now to charge in chief; and while Their force by ours outmastering, force and guile Alike crushed, bind, in love's constraining bands; For in our camp was store of griefless chains Unloosenable, which nought, not pride withstands, Of golden patience wrought and purest pains,-- Nor slay, but relegate solely to God's hands. This vow by each partook, and ministered Mutually, as though by comforting wine and bread, Refreshed, each heaven--devote battalion stands; One moment pray we silently; then form; Then forward, by one impulse, like a storm. But oh! a storm of tenderness and fear For them, not of them, even as streams o'erbear, But not uproot, the sedgy crop they hold; Thus irresistibly we outsweep, enfold, Thus, peace--inspired, we war; pass hope; each hand Mightier than aught known evil might gainstand, Evil, cloud--lifed. Boots not to tell how last O'erthrown, cowed, conquered, 'neath our yoke they passed, Nor how, heaven therefor thanked, we testified Our boundless joy. But as the earth--conquering tide,-- Who many a green and purple braid, at large, Twist gorgeously in trebly tincted strand, Like desert sanctuary's symbolic band, Casts careless on the shore's wide shining marge; With giant globelets gemmed of rainbow foam, Seed of the sea, whence beauty first was born;-- A mass ingarlanded of jewelled weeds; His prostrate foe thus decked in divine scorn Of strength, strength sterner had o'erborne;--so we All honours quartering with the enemy, Nor longer counting possible strife to come, Our vanquished load with spoil of generous deeds; Drive, jubilant, all our glittering triumph home, With song, and loud conclaim of victory. Thus warred, thus win we. Time shall sink in night But never shall from memory pass the sight Transcendant, when the foe their sign first gave Of full submission. Like the smile of light, The silent lightning of the moonlipped wave, Which, lengthening gradual, parts now, now extends; Beams from far points at once, there central breaks; Here from the midst its flight extremeward takes; Then, sudden ceased; revives; revives, nor ever ends;-- Gleamed forth the inexhaustible joy, now ours Through all our dazzling lines. There are, meanwhile, With our changed adversaries, no longer powers Of ill, who fain with fate would reconcile Their late discomfited chief. He, too, in mien By sudden sorcery changed, both hosts between, On wing malefic hung, as, poised o'er sands, Shadowy, a black and jagged cloud will lie, Monstrous and solitary. Too fierce to fly But, braving doom, with uplift impious hands Clenched, clubbed with threats, he glowered upon the sky, The great infortune of the universe; All winding, man and God, in one unuttered curse. `O thou All--good!' I cried, `to yon dark power, Malevolent, in the air, betwixt thy throne And us, our cause arraigning in thine own, Be thy miraculous might, conversive, shown, And all thy mercy usward, this dread hour; Or show us how our foe to annihilate.' Presumptuous, thus, impatient, if I prayed Yet not unacceptably all, as fate To the world reveals. For lo! all life create, As warrior's breast of arrowy bolt relieved Flesh racking,--groaned with joy, as down he fell,-- God's passive hand withdrawn, without whose aid Things nathless evil, were all of force bereaved,-- With thunderous shock, reverberant even in hell, The spirit, disrealmed, of ill; there stirless laid. All being seemed now aswound, and smitten as dumb. Grew a presage in every breast of some Solemn and saintly act of God to come. As when, at eve, some cloud, which long hath lain The oppression of the heavens, and of a realm The terror,--fled,--redeemed from nameless fear, Anarchal, of earth--quakings, and the train Of ills conflagrant, which by larcenous wile By chance, by lightning, oft whole states o'erwhelm;-- Make glad the citizens, seeing, slow, appear In air, a pearly calm, as though of sphere Happier than theirs; the young moon's maiden smile Lands, sullen late, lights up; the tranquil main Rests to its roots;--so we, war gone, heaven's peace, Coheir of bliss, and all their vast release, Welcome. The day of God, to us the day Of joy, to theirs destined of dire dismay, Dawned o'er our heads; the sun of justice, sphere Of righteousness, no setting more to fear, Beamed manwards; and his seat assumed for aye. All now the end of ends knew nigh; and lo! Each eye intent on heaven's aspect, there shone Instant, on light's enlargening horizon, As crystalled by the spirit which round us blew Perfect, in symmetry divine to view A long slim cloudlet, like to a golden bow Knapped just i' the midst; its loose and listless chord Tangled about it. Thus showed God the Lord That fight was finished; good's great victory won; Earth's war of spiritual light and darkness done; The strife of ages closed. Then all the sun Helped us to note our foemen's piteous state, And know thereby our victory half achieved Onely, while charity failed to renovate With hope those fallen; with faith those sin--deceived; With trust in God those erst who misbelieved. These humbled now, submissive, silent, gave Ruth first its power to amend, grace, hope to save; Us, spirit to help that ardent multitude 'Gainst ours so lately arrayed, but whom we viewed Now, burying out of sight, in one deep grave, Their carnal arms, ashamed. Disharnessed, nude They watched their banners burn. Then first we saw, Glancing on our own arms, each arm a law Of God, each weapon a virtue; shield and glaive A truth divine, strong to subdue or save; Wrought of God's hand, God's art! without a flaw; Forged in heaven's fire; impenetrable, alike, This, faith to guard; by reason, that, to strike. While myriads thus their arms laid down, subdued By kindness, patience, grace, love, mansuetude; All human excellences and God's combined; And while truth, wisdom, virtue all things viewed Approvingly, and holped one mighty mind From all to mould, some few start out, of kind Indomitable, and for meet punishment, Conform to holy reason's just intent, And his, divine, reserved,--who from the age Initial of the world, life's every stage Hath loved to advance and sought to ameliorate. We, these things knowing, and with the great effect Secured, well pleased, thanks first to God direct;-- Which done, in every wound we pour the balm Of heavenly all--heal; every conscience calm With mercy's anodyne; strengthen every mind With just belief of strife man's vital need By one all wise, who good and ill so twined With freedom, that his fate man rules,--decreed Until to nature's war heaven's peace succeed; And God's pure truth triumphant prove the intent He, world--wise providence, from the first hath planned, That good, 'gainst ill, in free arbitrement Of spirit, fair fought, should final conqueror stand; Reason, faith serving, sin and self command; And bale and bliss, life's vast contrariant whole, One cause confess, one universal soul. Now all earth's old distinctions ceased; sea, land Lapsing into their primal essence grew Ætherial, and the wind, world--warning, threw-- As wretched seer who some state--ruinous ill Foretelling, helps his woeful weird fulfil, The popular mind distraught by such sad skill,-- Into each dying gust, as breathed of fate, Force, our mixed tribes once more to segregate; Soul winnowing far from soul. These banned,--the word Compellant, sternly mild, in fatherly tone Said, as by one who willed to amend their state, Not utterly ruined nor all reprobate, Who favoured error, sin, the imperfect,--heard Wistful: not ignorant how to reatone With God the spirit, and knowing so concurred In their just doom; knew, all the long career Of pains abstersive, pains heaven's nether sphere Opes aye to all, ere filled the soul's great year Before them; knew their kind remedial end Necessitated; and went. As one by one Like rags of darkness from night's mantle riven, Eve's tempest slackened, clouds, the face of heaven Long shadowingly deform, loath to be gone; But all at last mass up the horizon, So they: their chief in bonds, once seeming friend, Prey of my falchion, spoil now of this spear, Out--taken; he, still reserved for judgment here:-- God's will so said. Meanwhile we, warned, attend A further sign; and instantly 'twas given; A fire--voice; gathering gradual out of heaven, Sense hallowing, mind transfiguring, round us came; A voice; as when within some homely shrine Our God comes down in answer to his name Invoked, and with a wordlessness divine Holds converse inmostly; and us, who had striven Through this soul conflict, calling, straight we know,-- As lived things dead, touched, erst, by prophet's rod, In us the spirit regenerant's deathless glow; A fire, that all with purifying zest Before it, burned; consuming, midst our breast Nature's whole evil; and this fire was God. I, then:--`As reeflet, long from parent shore Orphaned, that save at hollowest ebb of all Year--tides, peers not the savage surges o'er, Nor airs her pearl and coral, childish store, I' the golden light; nor ever,--while befal Others, such less joys oft,--rejoins, by chance Her kindred lands; gift compensative none Desiring for life--long suppression more Than this, eternized to her,--the sun's glance; So, from time's deeps emergent, and the flood Refluous, of life and death, my soul, in thine, O God! sole spirit of universal good, Oned with all blessed, the unnumbered multitude; Immortal, mystic, militant, and divine, Would in thine eye--light bask, thy governance.' No after sound nor sign. The renovate sphere Good thus world victor, evil o'erthrown,--us, here Biding God's ends, see, angels! Dost not fear Fiend! late my foe, fate's future, deadlier pass? Lucifer. Have not I triumphed o'er the world that was? God. Prince of the powers of air, thy doom is nigh. The prison and place of spirits shall be for thee As for all these guilt 'complices thine, thou hast wronged For a time one proper mansion: they in pain Emendative: thou, evil! Lucifer. And what if I Heart--hardened, still endure? While lasts the world, Thou mayst restrain, confine; not make to cease. God. Him lead ye angels into Hades, there To await my will while the world's sabbath lasts. These souls elect, self purified, fore--called Who die not, nor, who through my favour, lose Unconscious, by death's intermediate sleep, Nor expiative amercement, joy in me, Who, righteous souls of all earth's epochs passed, All faiths, all grades of mind, here from the tomb First--born, the truth, in heaven once gospelled, prove; That faith should conquer misbelief, the good All ill subject, virtue all sin; and these Led by one sampling soul, forechosen of love, First fruits of life celestial which their breast Fills,--shall the earth, now renovated, indwell. Angels. Be it Lord as thou dost will, with us, with all. God. Angel of earth, and thou bright Phanuel, sole In the infinite presence, visible of thyself, And you, ye astral souls, who, latewhile, here, Earth's end, as rise, saw, and this unfixed mean Of seeming chaos; who still animate, guide, Or train the orblets to your genial care Consigned, and in your charge as in my love Happy, know, all, if, sumless times now gone Earth's mountainous frame to upbuild, from central base, To airiest battlement once I willed, 'twas not Necessity clogged my hands, nor forced compute Of infinite atomies; no, my power as choice Untrammelled, see, angel of starry earth, My special promise once in heaven's records Enrolled, shall be fulfilled. While time beholds Orbs vaster, scattered into particles, dim The surface of eternity's flood, conjoin The casual meteor, or for ages drift Through space extenuate, to minutest motes Dissolved, even lucent dust, and radiant mist, Prime manifest of the invisible essence, thine, Regathering all its elements shall again Brighten the vital air, fierily refined. Lo! earth shall live again and, with her sons, Have resurrection to a brighter being; And wakening like a bride, or like a morning, With a long blush of love, to a new life, Another race of souls shall rule in her, Creatures all loving, beautiful and holy; Such,--see them!--as, evil quelled, and justice wrought, Have vanquished bound and trampled under foot Their souls' defect, by self--set tendence towards The absolute good; whom death holds therefore not In more than freshening slumber, and who, prime Resurgents of all life, haste now to live. Luniel. Heard'st thou the word? Angel of Earth. The word I heard, Earth, be! And earth meseemed in echoing, learned to live. Phanuel. So swift the omnific word, scarce syllabled, lo! The perfect orb, in shape as erst, but made Purer, aetherial, instantly restored, As these glad eyes but now behold, to form, And purified, by God's sole actful word. Angel of Earth. Be glad with me, ye angels! Earth from sleep Regenerative, awakening, all her powers Her beauties, spring spontaneous; gum and pine Entwine their shadows; lily and violet blend Odours; and myrtle and bay on morning gales Eve's perfumes, stored with starry jasmin, musk, And rose in amicable exchange, shall strew. Guardian Angel. See paradise her growth of nectarous flowers Revives, to crown the eternal season's hours! Away, ill; pain, away! Creation, burst Into one orderly hymn of joy; all life Sing, voluntary, his love, who willed to make From evil all good, as all from nothing, first; Henceforth with changeless boons and beauties rife For his own glory, and for his creatures' sake; Of him so loved, all his with rational hope Endowed that they might trace in nature's scope Presage of perfectness all lives should take. No fire, no sea; all elements to one form Final, of universal use, and plan, Reverting; air invulnerable of storm; Earth, pure, transpicuous, shadowless; and man Apt for commune with God, as he began. Angels. The world begins and ends with paradise, The garden and the city of the blessed; Begins with paradise and ends with heaven. Angel of Earth. Thee, thank we, Lord! all powers of spiritual light, Concerned thy counsels to partake, and spread Wideliest we may allwhere the holy ends Of thy benevolence. Most, earth's warden, I. God. Go, angel! guide her as erewhile through heaven. Luniel. Sometime my half--gloomed sphere, again may live. Angel of Earth. On! on! my world again! Again we fly Through heaven's blue plain, As thought through the eye; Ye angels keep your heaven. I earth. For that with God I have striven; And have prevailed, I come once more; I come to thee, earth! Like a ship to shore.
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