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Compass'd him round, and, ere he could repeat
His message through, fell lifeless at her feet!
Shudd'ring she went-a soul-felt pang of fear,
A presage that her own dark doom was near,
Roused ev'ry feeling, and brought Reason back
Once more, to writhe her last upon the rack.
All round seem'd tranquil-ev'n the foe had ceased,
As if aware of that demoniac feast,
His fiery bolts; and though the heav'ns look'd red,
'Twas but some distant conflagration's spread.
But hark-she stops-she listens dreadful tone!
"Tis her Tormentor's laugh-and now, a groan,
A long death-groan comes with it :-can this be
The place of mirth, the bower of revelry?
She enters-Holy ALLA, what a sight
Was there before her! By the glimm'ring light
Of the pale dawn, mix'd with the flare of brands
That round lay burning, dropp'd from lifeless hands,
She saw the board, in splendid mockery spread,
Rich censers breathing-garlands overhead-
The urns, the cups, from which they late had quaff'd
All gold and gems, but-what had been the draught?
Oh! who need ask, that saw those livid guests,
With their swoll'n heads sunk black'ning on their breasts,
Or looking pale to Heav'n with glassy glare,
As if they sought but saw no mercy there;
As if they felt, though poison rack'd them through,
Remorse the deadlier torment of the two!
While some, the bravest, hardiest in the train
Of their false Chief, who on the battle plain
Would have met death with transport by his side,
Here mute and helpless grasp'd ;-but, as they died,
Look'd horrible vengeance with their eyes' last strain,
And clench'd the slack'ning hand at him in vain.
OUD rings the pond'rous ram against the walls;
Now shake the ramparts, now a buttress falls,
But still no breach-"Once more, one mighty swing
Of all your beams, together thundering!"
There the wall shakes-the shouting troops exult,
"Quick, quick discharge your weightiest catapult
Right on that spot, and NEKSHEB is our own!"
'Tis done the battlements come crashing down,
And the huge wall, by that stroke riv'n in two,
Yawning, like some old crater, rent anew,
Shows the dim, desolate city smoking through.
But strange no signs of life-nought living seen
Above, below-what can this stillness mean?
A minute's pause suspends all hearts and eyes-
"In through the breach," impetuous AZIM cries;
But the cool CALIPH, fearful of some wile
In this blank stillness, checks the troops awhile,-
Just then, a figure, with slow step, advanced
Forth from the ruin'd walls, and, as there glanced
A sunbeam over it, all could see
The well-known Silver Veil !""Tis He, 'tis He, MOKANNA, and alone!" they shout around;
Young AZIM from his steed springs to the ground
Mine, Holy Caliph! mine," he cries, "the task
To crush yon daring wretch-'t is all I ask."
Eager he darts to meet the demon foe,
Who still across wide heaps of ruin slow
And falteringly comes, till they are near;
Then, with a bound, rushes on AzIM's spear,
And, casting off the Veil in falling, shows-
Oh!-'tis his ZELICA's life-blood that flows!
"I meant not, AZIM," soothingly she said, As on his trembling arm she lean'd her head, And, looking in his face, saw anguish there Beyond all wounds the quiv'ring flesh can bear"I meant not thou shouldst have the pain of this :— Though death, with thee thus tasted, is a bliss
Thou wouldst not rob me of, didst thou but know,
How oft I've pray'd to God I might die so!
But the fiend's venom was too scant and slow ;-
To linger on were madd'ning-and I thought
If once that Veil-nay, look not on it—caught
The eyes of your fierce soldiery, I should be
Struck by a thousand death-darts instantly.
But this is sweeter-oh! believe me, yes-
I would not change this sad, but dear caress,
This death within thy arms I would not give
For the most smiling life the happiest live!
All that stood dark and drear before the eye
Of my stray'd soul, is passing swiftly by ;
A light comes o'er me from those looks of love,
Like the first dawn of mercy from above;
And if thy lips but tell me I'm forgiv'n,
Angels will echo the blest words in Heav'n!
But live, my AZIM;-oh! to call thee mine
Thus once again! my Azıм-dream divine!
Live, if thou ever lovedst me, if to meet
Thy ZELICA hereafter would be sweet,
Oh, live to pray for her-to bend the knee
Morning and night before that Deity,
To whom pure lips and hearts without a stain,
As thine are, AZIM, never breath'd in vain,--
And pray that He may pardon her,—may take
Compassion on her soul for thy dear sake,
And, nought rememb'ring but her love to thee,
Make her all thine, all His, eternally!
Go to those happy fields where first we twined
Our youthful hearts together-every wind
That meets thee there, fresh from the well-known flow'rs,
Will bring the sweetness of those innocent hours
Back to thy soul, and thou mayst feel again
For thy poor ZELICA as thou didst then.
So shall thy orisons, like dew that flies
To Heav'n upon the morning's sunshine, rise
With all love's earliest ardour to the skies!
And should they-but, alas! my senses fail—
Oh for one minute!-should thy prayers prevail-
If pardon'd souls may, from that World of Bliss,
Reveal their joy to those they love in this-
I'll come to thee-in some sweet dream-and tell-
Oh Heav'n-I die-dear love! farewell, farewell."
Time fleeted-years on years had pass'd away, And few of those who, on that mournful day, Had stood, with pity in their eyes, to see The maiden's death, and the youth's agony, Were living still-when, by a rustic grave, Beside the swift Amoo's transparent wave, An aged man, who had grown aged there By that lone grave, morning and night in prayer, For the last time knelt down; and though the shade Of death hung dark'ning over him, there play'd A gleam of rapture on his eye and cheek, That brighten'd even Death-like the last streak Of intense glory on the' horizon's brim, When night o'er all the rest hangs chill and dim. His soul had seen a Vision, while he slept; She, for whose spirit he had pray'd and wept So
many years, had come to him, all drest
In angel smiles, and told him she was blest!
For this the old man breath'd his thanks, and died.--
And there, upon the banks of that loved tide,
He and his ZELICA sleep side by side.