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To stem the torrent of descending time;
The spirit that lifts the slave before his lord
Stalks through the capitals of armed kings,
And spreads his ensign in the wilderness ;
Exults in chains; and, when the rebel falls,
Cries like the blood of Abel from the dust;
And the inheritors of the earth, like beasts
When earthquake is unleashed, with idiot fear
Cower in their kingly dens - as I do now.
What were Defeat, when Victory must appall ?
Or Danger, when Security looks pale ?
How said the messenger, who from the fort
Islanded in the Danube saw the battle
Of Bucharest ? that

HASSAN

Ibrahim's scimitar Drew with its gleam swift victory from heaven To burn before him in the night of battle — A light and a destruction.

MAHMUD

Ay! the day

Was ours; but how?

HASSAN

The light Wallachians, The Arnaut, Servian, and Albanian allies, Fled from the glance of our artillery Almost before the thunder-stone alit; One half the Grecian army made a bridge Of safe and slow retreat with Moslem dead ; The other —

MAHMUD

Speak — tremble not.

HASSAN

soon

Islanded By victor myriads formed in hollow square With rough and steadfast front, and thrice flung

back
The deluge of our foaming cavalry;
Thrice their keen wedge of battle pierced our lines.
Our baffled army trembled like one man
Before a host, and gave

them
space ;

but
From the surrounding hills the batteries blazed,
Kneading them down with fire and iron rain.
Yet none approached ; till, like a field of corn
Under the hook of the swart sickle-man,
The band, entrenched in mounds of Turkish dead,
Grew weak and few. Then said the Pacha,

“Slaves, Render yourselves — they have abandoned you — What hope of refuge, or retreat, or aid ? We grant your lives.” — “Grant that which is

thine own!” Cried one, and fell upon his sword and died ! Another God, and

man, and hope abandon me; But I to them and to myself remain Constant;” he bowed his head and his heart burst. A third exclaimed, “There is a refuge, tyrant, Where thou darest not pursue, and canst not harm, Shouldst thou pursue ; there we shall meet again.” Then held his breath, and, after a brief spasm, The indignant spirit cast its mortal garment

Among the slain - dead earth upon the earth!
So these survivors, each by different ways,
Some strange, all sudden, none dishonorable,
Met in triumphant death; and, when our army
Closed in, while yet wonder, and awe, and shame
Held back the base hyenas of the battle
That feed upon the dead and fly the living,
One rose out of the chaos of the slain;
And if it were a corpse which some dread spirit
Of the old saviors of the land we rule
Had lifted in its anger, wandering by ;
Or if there burned within the dying man
Unquenchable disdain of death, and faith
Creating what it feigned, - I cannot tell ;
But he cried, “ Phantoms of the free, we come!
Armies of the Eternal, ye who strike
To dust the citadels of sanguine kings,
And shake the souls throned on their stony hearts,
And thaw their frost-work diadems like dew;
O ye who float around this clime, and weave
The garment of the glory which it wears,
Whose fame, though earth betray the dust it

clasped,
Lies sepulchred in monumental thought;
Progenitors of all that yet is great,
Ascribe to your bright senate, oh, accept
In your high ministrations, us, your sons —
Us first, and the more glorious yet to come!
And

ye, weak conquerors! giants, who look pale When the crushed worm rebels beneath your

tread The vultures, and the dogs, your pensioners tame, Are overgorged ; but, like oppressors, still

They crave the relic of Destruction's feast.
The exhalations and the thirsty winds
Are sick with blood; the dew is foul with death;
Heaven's light is quenched in slaughter; thus

where'er
Upon your camps, cities, or towers, or fleets,
The obscene birds the reeking remnants cast
Of these dead limbs,

upon your streams and mountains, Upon your fields, your gardens, and your house

tops, Where'er the winds shall creep, or the clouds fly, Or the dews fall, or the angry sun look down With poisoned light — Famine, and Pestilence, And Panic, shall wage war upon our side! Nature from all her boundaries is moved Against ye; Time has found ye light as foam. The Earth rebels; and Good and Evil stake Their empire o'er the unborn world of men On this one cast; but ere the die be thrown, The renovated genius of our race, Proud umpire of the impious game, descends, A seraph-wingèd Victory, bestriding The tempest of the Omnipotence of God, Which sweeps all things to their appointed doom, And you to oblivion!” — More he would have said, But

MAHMUD

Died — as thou shouldst ere thy lips had painted Their ruin in the hues of our success. A rebel's crime, gilt with a rebel's tongue ! Your heart is Greek, Hassan.

455 Your || Thy, Rossetti.

HASSAN

be so:

It

may
A spirit not my own wrenched me within,
And I have spoken words I fear and hate;
Yet would I die for-

MAHMUD

Live! oh, live! outlive Me and this sinking empire. But the fleet

HASSAN

Alas!

MAHMUD

The fleet which, like a flock of clouds Chased by the wind, flies the insurgent banner! Our winged castles from their merchant ships ! Our myriads before their weak pirate bands! Our arms before their chains ! our years of empire Before their centuries of servile fear! Death is awake! Repulse is on the waters; They own no more the thunder-bearing banner Of Mahmud, but, like hounds of a base breed, Gorge from a stranger's hand, and rend their

master.

HASSAN

Latmos, and Ampelos, and Phanæ, saw
The wreck

MAHMUD

The caves of the Icarian isles Told each to the other in loud mockery,

466 Repulse is, Shelley Errata || Repulsed, Shelley, 1822.

472 Told, Shelley Errata, Williams transcript || Hold, Shelley,

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