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Now for the king she looks far east away,
And now she turns unto the setting day;
She rails her dazzled face, her garments shine
With molten gold, like angel robes divine,
Touched by the sun, as large he stoops to rest
Beyond th' Assyrian kingdoms in the west.
Eastward again she looked; she cleared her eye-
Ha! yes, she sees come o'er yon mountain high
A courser white; swift dogs are on his rear;
Upcoming hunters on the hill appear.
Can that be Zublon ? From the mountain fails
The chase now swallowed by the nearer vales,
Perplexed and wide; again it comes in sight,
And lo! 'tis Zublon sure that leads the flight.
He takes the river, stems it with disdain,
Paws the near shore, forth springs, comes on amain.
The yielding dogs float down athwart the flood,
Swarm on the bank, renew their yells for blood,
Regain their track; inextricable, dense,
With crowding heads they wedge their way intense.
In fear majestic on the charger drew;
White clouds of smoke his seething nostrils blew;
Now streamed his tail on high, now swept the plain;
Abroad were driven the terrors of his mane.
He toiled, he strained, he neared the well-known maid,
Beheld his rock, and turning proudly neighed,
Went reeking past, and rushed into his cave;
And Cyra ran the gallant horse to save.
Quick dipped in oil, and lit, in either hand
Of gummy pine she bore a waving brand,
Forth held them, hasted to the entrance back,
There met the brindled leaders of the pack,
Scorched their dry tongues, and blinded them with fire,
Still kept them back, still forced them to retire.
One minute more! impell’d by crowding power
And hungry rage, the damsel they'll devour.
Great God of love! that moment to the den
With axes came a company of men,
Who on the mountains fell the stately trees:
Homeward returning, on the evening breeze
They heard the tumult, ran, and joy'd to bring
Swift aid to her, the handmaid of their king.
Close banded now within the entrance, they,
With brands and axes kept the hounds at bay,
Smote down the foremost, that with tusky ire,
High fretted necks and boiling eyes of fire,
Came leaping headlong in their lust of food,
And parched desire to dip their mouths in blood;
Till Chud the hunter came with smarting thong,
And down the mountain lashed the yelling throng.
The lovely moon came up the east, and shone
Sweetly above the hills of Babylon;
And forth young Cyra wandered by her light,
And wet her sandals in the dews of night;
Oft pausing she to strike her harp's clear string,
Through the still vales to lure the homeward king.
VOL. XXXV. NO. CCXIX.
Long hours she roamed, but ne'er her wild lord came;
The keener heavens breathed chilly tbrough her frame;
Then back she slowly went, and to divide
The lonely hours, her scented fire supplied.
Nor yet, her hope though fainting, did she leave
Undone the filial duty of each eve;
But mixed his bowls of milk and tempered wine,
With drops infused, the pith of flowers divine,
In gentle wisdom that their healing dew
In nightly sleep his spirit might renew.
A foot, a shadow came, uprose the maid,
'Tis he !-she forward springs-is she afraid ?-
Awed she draws back, she stands in mute surprise,
To see that solemn light within his eyes
The strict concentred check--the lucid reins
Of reason, ruler o'er ecstatic pains. .
With silent love on Cyra long he gazed,
Till came some quick sense of his life abased;
Gleamed his proud tears; into his cave's recess
He strode away in his sublime distress,
As in pale Hades midst dim-visioned things
Stalk the proud shadows of forgotten kings.
Her lamp the maid replenished with the oils
Of fragrant trees, to work her lovely toils.
Too newly, deeply glad for this, she stood
Entranced, till startled by a groan subdued.
Noiseless her footsteps as the falling snows,
With shaded lamp unto the king she goes;
Lets fall the shifting light by mild degrees,
Till now the features of her lord she sees.
He sleeps, yet brokenly; those sultry gleams
Betray a spirit toiling in his dreams.
Forth Cyra hastes, but soon she reappears
With mingled balms; with these, and with her tears
That dropped the while, she washed those dews away
From off his forehead, till refreshed he lay;
Then kissed his cheek, and with a daughter's care
Arranged the wild heaps of his raven hair;
And strewed the opiate herbs around his head,
Their healing virtue on his soul to shed;
And oft withdrew, yet oft came back again,
Till clear he lay from every print of pain..
Then sate the maid, unrolling, white as milk,
Down from her knee a web of Persian silk,
Flower'd by her needle, as her shaping mind
Thereon the King's young conquests had design'd,
From Nile victorious to the glimmering North,
Whose pictured form with keys of ice came forth;
O'er Tyre triumphant, o'er Damascus, o'er
Great kingdoms eastward to the Indian shore:
All here portrayed in glory and in gloom,
Rich as the work of an enchanted loom.
Her heart a silent covenant bad made,
The finish'd gift before him should be laid
That solemn day, when he should leave that den,
Raised up by God again to govern men;
That to his heart, his humbled sense, his awe
Of Him who ruled him with a wondrous law-
His fear from this-his joy, redeem'd-his thought
Of her who loved him, and that picture wrought,
A lasting great memorial it might be,
That he for all should Zion's captives free.
His reason comes; her half-wrought cloth demands
The sleepless haste of her unwearied hands.
Forth came the King; his worn and awful face,
On Cyra bent, began to melt apace
To gleams-how tender! farther still subdued
To mingled tears of more than gratitude.
Stung by some fierce remembrance, fiercely changed,
With sudden strides throughout the cave he ranged;
Like toil-caught lion of his prey bereaved,
The mighty buckles of his bosom heaved;
Wild few his locks; and darkness o'er his face
Settled, like night upon the desert place.
But trembling came : he knelt with humbled brow,
Solemn as when the ancient forests bow,
Smote by the cardinal winds:-"I know thee well,”
Uprising, said he,“ God of Israel!
The bright stars are the dust beneath thy feet!
Vast ages dim not thine essential seat!
Under thy dread permission, in thy sight
I rise a king; but I shall reign aright.
Though greatly wronged, to-day though galled my pride,
Yet to my heart shall vengeance be denied.
Yea, by their insults of this day extreme,
My foes have chased my madness like a dream.
Their's no excuse; yet, by thy grace upraised,
To me thy mercy, shall by mine be praised :
For I am humbled; ne'er shall be forgot
Thy power, that curbed me down to such a lot.
0! hear me now for her, this precious child,
More than my daughter on the mountains wild !
For me her dear eyes faint: Great God of Heaven,
Be health, be gladness to young Cyra given !
Let her but live, that I to her may prove
At least a father for her boundless love!”
He ceased: young reverence her eyes abased;
With trembling joy a cup to him she raised.
He took the cup, with murmured love he blessed
The virgin, drank, retired, and lay at rest;
For she had spiced it with the sovereign flowers
Of sleep, to soothe him through the midnight hours.
There sits young Cyra: as her work is sped
Waves the redundant glory of her head,
Her dark and heavy locks. O! more than wife !
O! bold and lavish of thy generous life
For him, thy lord! What though by cares subduedo
Pale is thy cheek, O! virgin greatly good,
All fair art thou as the accomplished eve,
Whose finished glories not a wish can leave;
Yea, more than eve consummate, as her skies
Where lurk the cognate morrow's glorious dyes :
So wears thy youth still promise, still when won
The perfect grace of every duty done !
Yea, who can see thee in this holy hour,
Nor deem thee guarded by supernal power ?
Nor deem he sees of watchers here divine,
Incessant gleams around this cavern shine ?
Light speed thy task, young Cyra, happy be,
Here angel wings are visitant for thee!
But hush! but hark ! ha! see—a stealthy shape!
A second, third !-O! how may she escape ?
She starts—is seized-she struggles-shrieks for aid,
In vain ; the king in charmed sleep is laid.
Masked forms around her throng, with many a foot
Th' emblazoned web of beauty they pollute.
Even Zublon's help she craves in her dismay;
But yielding, fainting, quick is borne away.
TA' immortal sun from ocean bounds away, And from his forehead gives the flaming day. Long eastward looks from off his terrace high, The King Chaldean with an anxious eye, Troubled his brow, for lo ! afar descried Comes on the Persian war sun-glorified. His shortened gaze in nearer view commands Th' embattled might of Babylonian lands, In gorgeous ferment. From the city pour Fresh hosts continuous through th' impatient hour: There jostling chariots leap; the tide runs high With all the pomp of flowing chivalry, Arabian camels, and Nisæan steeds Bearing a province of auxiliar Medes. Onward they scour; for westward o'er the plain The flower of Persian kingdoms draws its train, From where its world of waters Indus brings To Ocean, upwards by his hoary springs, To where the Tartar's winking hordes look forth Over the snowy bastions of the North, An army great and terrible: Earth seems To be on fire beneath their brazen gleams.
Near waxed the fronting lines; intensely keen
They paused, and sternest silence was between.
Loud blew the Persian trumpets; wide the heaven
By one great shout from all iheir hosts was riven.
Chaldea answered on the west. At once
Th' Immortal Band of Persia's youth advance,
Flanked by a cloudy stir on either side,
Of swarming horse and archers opening wide.
Came o'er each army, darkening like a shroud,
The crossing texture of the arrowy cloud.
Beneath, the vans were locked together grim,
Were interfused the battle's ridges dim,
There opening, closing here, till form gave way,
Forgot th’imposing beauty of array.
How gazed the king, intensely forward bow'd,
As thick and thicker grew the battle-cloud,
Still darker waxed, now broke in lightened seams,
Again devoured the momentary gleams !
Forth rushed a western wind, backwards it rolled
The heavy battle's slow-uplifted fold.
O! beauty terrible ! he saw afar
The sultry ridges of the heaving war;
Saw down long avenues of disarray
The harsh-scythed chariots mow their levelled way.
'Twas doubtful long, but now the struggle pressed
With weight slow-whelming, gaining on the west;
Far back are swayed the wide Chaldean swarms,
They bow, they faint before the Persian arms.
But hark! a mighty trumpet in the west!
But lo! a warrior for the combat dressed
In mail refulgent, on a milk-white steed,
Comes dashing east with earth-devouring speed !
Started the prince, pale grew his forehead, shook
His knees, as stood he still constrained to look;
For, ha! his father's form that champion shewed,
And plunging deep into the battle rode.
Far waved his sway, stemmed the Chaldean rout,
And changed their terror to a mighty shout,
By thousand thousands on the turrets thronged,
And lofty walls of Babylon prolonged.
A sultrier ferment stirred the field: a band
Thickened behind that arm of high command,
As onward, eastward, with the whirlpool's might,
It sucked the reflux of the scattered fight;
Till with its full concentrated attack,
It bore the centre of the Persians back.
Nor this alone : in shouldered masses wide
Their van was cleared away on either side.
And deep was pushed that column unwithstood;
And age that waste collateral was renewed,
Till eastward far the Babylonian host
More than regained the ground which they had lost.
Then reeled the Persian power; it wavered, broke,
Was forced, was driven in one commingled shock.
Their camels fled, their Indian archers ceased,
Their chariots rolled away into the east;
Far chased their host, consumed, like stubble sere
Wide fired when withering east-winds close the year.
III. The Prince his chamber sought, bade bring with speed Narses and Merdan, counsellors of need. They came :-“ We task you not,” he cried, " to say, Not even to guess that Victor of this day. Slaves ! slaves! we'll hear you not. This night at least, This one night more, we'll be a king and feast. Our palace guards be doubled : Then when we Are flown with cups, and filled with midnight glee, Be Cyra brought; we'll make her drink old wine, Her heart to warm, to make her beauty shine : Long have we loved her; and, by Bel above! Ere morn shall we be happy in her love."
Come to the banquet ! Lift your dazzled eyes,
Survey the glory that before you lies!,