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Oh, scene of fear! the travellers hear The raging of the flood;
They hear how fearfully it roars,
But clouds of darker shade than night
For ever hovering round those shores, Hide all things from their sight;
The Sun upon that darkness pours His unavailing light, Nor ever Moon nor Stars display, Through the thick shade, one guiding ray To shew the perils of the way.
There, in a creek, a vessel lay. Just on the confines of the day, It rode at anchor in its bay, These venturous pilgrims to convey Across that outer Sea. Strange vessel sure it seem'd to be, And all unfit for such wild sea! For through its yawning side the wave Was oozing in; the mast was frail, And old and torn its only sail. How shall that crazy vessel brave The billows, that in wild commotion For ever roar and rave? How hope to cross the dreadful Ocean, O'er which eternal shadows dwell, Whose secrets none return to tell?
Well might the travellers fear to enter: But summon'd once on that adventure, For them was no retreat. Nor boots it with reluctant feet To linger on the strand; Aboard! aboard' An awful voice, that left no choice, Sent forth its stern command, Aboard! aboard! The travellers hear that voice in fear, And breathe to Heaven an inward prayer, And take their seats in silence there. Self-hoisted then, behold the sail Expands itself before the gale; Hands, which they cannot see, let slip The cable of that fated ship; The land breeze sends her on her way, And lo! they leave the living light of day!
The Mighty One hath no dominion here, Starting she cried; O happy, happy hour! We are beyond his power Then raising to the Glendoveer, With heavenly beauty bright, her angel face, Turn’d not reluctant now, and met his dear embrace.
Swift glides the Ship, with gentle motion, Across that calm and quiet ocean; That glassy sea, which seem'd to be The mirror of tranquillity. Their pleasant passage soon was o'er, The Ship hath reach'd its destin'd shore; A level belt of ice which bound, As with an adamantine mound, The waters of the sleeping Ocean round. Strange forms were on the strand Of earth-born spirits slain before their time; Who, wandering over sea and sky and land, Had so fulfill'd their term; and now were met Upon this icy belt, a motley band, Waiting their summons, at the appointed hour, When each before the judgment-seat must stand, And hear his doom from Daly's righteous power.
Foul with habitual crimes, a hideous crew Were there, the race of rapine and of blood. Now, having overpast the mortal flood, Their own deformity they knew, And knew the meed that to their deeds was due. Therefore in fear and agouy they stood, Expecting when the Evil Messenger Among them should appear. But with their fear A hope was mingled now ; O'er the dark shade of guilt a deeper hue It threw, and gave a fiercer character To the wild eye and lip and sinful brow. They hop'd that soon Kehama would subdue The inexorable God, and seize his throne, Reduce the infernal World to his command, And, with his irresistible right hand, Redeem them from the vaults of Padalou.
Apart from these a milder company, The victims of offences not their own,
Look'd when the appointed Messenger should come;
Gather'd together some, and some alone Brooding in silence on their future doom. Widows whom, to their husbands' funeral fire, Force or strong error led, to share the pyre, As to their everlasting marriage-bed: And babes, by sin unstain'd, Whom erring parents vow'd To Ganges, and the holy stream profan'd With that strange sacrifice, rite unordain'd By Law, by sacred Nature unallow'd : Others more hapless in their destiny, Scarce having first inhaled this vital breath, Whose cradles from some tree Unnatural hands suspended, * Then left, till gentle Death, Coming like Sleep, their feeble moanings ended; Or for his prey the ravenous Kite descended; Or, marching like an army from their caves,
The Pismires blacken'd o'er, then bleach'd and bare
Left their unhardcn'd bones to fall asunder there.
Innocent Souls' thus set so early free From sin and sorrow and mortality, Their spotless spirits all-creating Love Receiv'd into its universal breast. Yon blue serene above Was their domain; clouds pillow'd them to rest; The Elements on them like nurses tended, And with their growth etherial substance blended. Less pure than these is that strange Indian bird,85 Who never dips in earthly streams her bill, But, when the sound of coming showers is heard, Looks up, and from the clouds receives her fill. Less pure the footless fowl of Heaven, that never Rest upon earth, but on the wing for ever Hovering o'er flowers, their fragrant food inhale, Drink the descending dew upon its way, And sleep aloft while toating on the gale. And thus these innocents in yonder sky Grow and are strengthen'd, while the allotted years Perform their course, then hitherward they fly, Being free from moral taint, so free from fears, A joyous band, expecting soon to soar To Indra's happy spheres, And mingle with the blessed company Of heavenly spirits there for evermore. A Gulf profound surrounded This icy belt; the opposite side With highest rocks was bounded; But where their heads they hide, Or where their base is founded, None could espy. Above all reach of sight They rose, the second Earth was on their height, Their feet were fix'd on everlasting night.
So deep the Gulf, no eye - Could plumb its dark profundity, Yet all its depth must try; for this the road To Padalon, and Yamen's dread abode. And from below continually Ministrant Demons rose and caught The Souls whose hour yas come; Then, with their burthen fraught, Plunged down, and bore them to receive their doom,
Then might be seen who went in hope, and who Trembled to meet the meed Of many a foul misdeed, as wild they threw Their arms retorted from the Demons' grasp, And look'd around, all eagerly, to seek For help, where help was none; and strove for aid To clasp the nearest shade; Yea, with imploring looks and horrent shriek, Even from one Demon to another bending, With hands extending, Their mercy they essay’d. Still from the verge they strain, And from the dreadful gulph avert their eyes, In vain; down plunge the Demons, and their cries Feebly, as down they sink, from that profound arise.
What heart of living man could, undisturb’d, Bear sight so sad as this! What wonder there If Kailyal's lip were blanch'd with inmost dread! The chill which from that icy belt Struck through her, was less keen than what she felt
| With her heart's-blood through every limb dispread,
Close to the Glendoveer she clung, And clasping round his neck her trembling hands, She clos'd her eyes, and there in silence hung.
Then to Ladurlad said the Glendoveer, These Demons, whom thou seest, the ministers Of Yamen, wonder to behold us here : But for the dead they come, and not for us: Therefore, albeit they gaze upon thee thus, Ilave thou no fear. A little while thou must be left alone, Till I have borne thy daughter down, And placed her safely by the throne Of him who keeps the Gate of Padalon.
Then taking Kailyal in his arms, he said, Be of good heart, Beloved! it is I Who bear thee. Saying this, his wings he spread, Sprung upward in the sky, and pois'd his flight, Then plunged into the Gulf, and sought the World of Night.
THE GATE OF PAD ALON.
The strong foundations of this in most Earth Rest upon Padalon. That icy Mound Which girt the mortal Oceau round, Reach'd the profound,Ice in the regions of the upper air, Crystal midway, and adamant below, Whose strength sufficed to bear The weight of all this upper World of ours, And with its rampart closd the Realm of Woe. Eight gates hath Padalon; eight heavenly Powers Have them in charge, each alway at his post. Lest, from their penal caves, the accursed host, Maugre the might of Baly and the God, Should break, and carry ruin all abroad.
Those gates stand ever open, night and day, And Souls of mortal men For ever throng the way. Some from the dolorous den, Children of sin and wrath, return no more : They, fit companions of the Spirits accurst, Are doom'd, like them in baths of fire immerst. Or weltering upon beds of molten ore, Or, stretch'd upon the brazen floor, Are fasten’d down with adamantine chains; While on their substance inconsumable, Leeches of fire for ever hang and pull, And worms of fire for ever guaw their food, That, still renew’d, s Freshens for ever their perpetual pains. Others there were whom Baly's voice condemnid, By long and painful penance, to atone Their fleshly deeds. Thein, from the judgment-Throne, Dread Azyoruca, where she sat involvd In darkness as a tent, receiv'd, and dealt To each the measure of his punishment: Till, in the central springs of fire, the Will Impure is purged away; and the freed soul, Thus fitted to receive its second birth, Embodied once again, revisits Earth.
But they whom Baly's righteous voice absolv’d, And Yamen, so viewing with benignant eye, Dismiss d to seek their heritage on high, How joyfully they leave this gloomy bourne, The dread sojourn Of Guilt and twin-born Punishment and Woe, And wild Remorse, here link'd with worse Despair! They to the eastern Gate rejoicing go The Ship of Heaven awaits their coming there, And on they sail, greeting the blessed light Through realms of upper air, Bound for the Swerga once; but now no more Their voyage rests upon that happy shore. Since Indra, by the dreadful Rajah's might Compell'd, hath taken flight, On to the second World their way they wend, And there, in trembling hope, await the doubtful end.
For still in them doth hope predominate, Faith's precious privilege, when higher Powers Give way to fear in these portentous hours. Behold the Wardens eight, Each silent at his gate Expectant stands; they turn their anxious eyes Within, and, listening to the dizzy din Of mutinous uproar, each in all his hands Ilolds all his weapons, ready for the fight. For, hark what clamorous cries Upon Kellama, for deliverance, call ! Come, Rajah! they exclaim, too long we groan In torments. Come, Deliverer! Yonder throne Awaits thee—Now, Kehama Rajah, now ! Earthly Almighty, wherefore tarriest thou?— Such were the sounds that rung, in wild uproar, O'er all the echoint; vaults of Padalon; And as the Asuras from the Brazen floor, Struggling against their fetters, strove to rise, Their clashing chains were heard, and shrieks and cries, With curses mix'd, against the Fiends who urge, Fierce on their rebel limbs, the avenging scourge.
These were the sounds which, at the southern gate,
Who and what art thou? cried the Guardian Power,
Can living flesh and blood Endure the passage of the fiery flood?
Lord of the Gate, replied the Glendoveer, We come obedient to the will of Fate; And haply doom'd to bring Hope and salvation to the Infernal King, For Seeva sends us here, Even He to whom futurity is known, The Holiest, bade us go to Yamen's throne. Thou seest my precious charge; Under thy care, secure from harm, I leave her, While I ascend to bear her father down. Beneath the shelter of thine arm receive her '
Then, quoth he to the Maid, Be of good cheer, my Kailyal dearest dear, In faith subdue thy dread, Anon I shall be here. So having said, Aloft, with vigorous bound, the Glendoveer Sprung in celestial might, And soaring up, in spiral circles, wound His indefatigable flight.
But, as he thus departed, The Maid, who at Nerood's feet was lying, Like one entranced or dying, Recovering strength from sudden terror, started; And gazing after him with straining sight, And straining arms, she stood, As if in attitude To win him back from flight. Yea, she had shap'd his name For utterance, to recal and bid him stay, Nor leave her thus alone; but virtuous shame Iteprest the unbidden sounds upon their way; And calling faith to aid, Even in this fearful hour, the pious Maid Collected courage, till she seem'd to be Calm and in hope, such power hath piety. Before the Giant Keeper of the Gate She crost her patient arms, and at his feet, Prepard to meet The awful will of Fate with equal mind, She took her seat resign'd.
Even the stern trouble of Neroodi's brow Relax d as he beheld the valiant Maid. Hope, long unfelt till now, Rose in his heart reviving, and a smile Dawn'd in his brightening countenance, the while Ile gaz'd on her with wonder and delight. The blessing of the Powers of Padalon, Virgin, be on thee! cried the admiring God’; And blessed be the hour that gave thee birth, Daughter of Earth, For thou to this forlorn abode hast brought l!ope, who too long hath been a stranger here. And surely for no lamentable lot, Nature, who erreth not, To thee that heart of fortitude hath given, Those eyes of purity, that face of love — If thou beest not the inheritrix of Heaven, There is no truth above.
Thus as Neroodi spake, his brow severe
Shone with an inward joy; for sure he thought When Seeva sent so fair a creature here, In this momentous hour, Ere long the World's deliverance would be wrought, And Padalon escape the Rajah's power. With pious mind the Maid, in humble guise Inclin'd, receiv'd his blessing silently, And rais'd her grateful eyes A moment, then again Abas'd them at his presence. Hark! on high The sound of coming wings!—her anxious ears Have caught the distant sound. Ereenia brings His burthen down! Upstarting from her seat, How joyfully she rears Her eager head! and scarce upon the ground Ladurlad's giddy feet their footing found,
When, with her trembling arms, she claspt him round.
No word of grecting, Nor other sign of joy at that strange meeting. Expectant of their fate, Silent, and hand in hand, Before the Infernal Gate, The Father and his heavenly Daughter stand.
Then to Neroodi said the Glendoveer, No Heaven-born Spirit eer lath visited This region drear and dread; but I, the first Who tread your World accurst. Lord of the Gate, to whom these realms are known, Direct our fated way to Yamen's throne.
Bring forth my Chariot, Carmala! quoth then The Keeper of the way. It was the Car wherein On Yamen's festal day, When all the Powers of Ilell attend their King, Yearly to Yamenpur did he repair To pay his homage there. Pois'd on a single wheel, it mov’d along, Instinct with motion; by what wondrous skill Compact, no human tongue could tell, Nor human wit devise; but on that wheel Moving or still, As if an inward life sustain'd its weight, Supported, stood the Car of miracle. Then Carmala brought forth two mantles, white As the swan's breast, and bright as mountain snow, When from the wintry sky The sun, late-rising, slines upon the height, And rolling vapours fill the vale below. Not without pain the unaccustom'd sight That brightness could sustain; For neither mortal stain, Nor parts corruptible, remain, Nor aught that time could touch, or force destroy, In that pure web whereof the robes were wrought; So long had it in ten-fold fires been tried, And blanch'd, and to that brightness purified. Apparell'd thus, alone, Children of Earth, Neroodi cried, In safety may ye pass to Yamen's throne. Thus only can your living flesh and blood Endure the passage of the fiery flood.
Of other frame, O son of Heaven, art thou! Yet hast thou now to go
Through regions which thy heavenly mould will try.
Glories unutterably bright, I know, And beams intense of empyrean light, Thine eye divine can bear' but fires of woe, The sight of torments, and the cry Of absolute despair, Might not these things dismay thee on thy flight, And thy strong pennons flag and fail thee there? Trust not thy wings, celestial though thou art, Northy good heart, which horror might assail And pity quail, Pity in these abodes of no avail; But take thy seat this mortal pair beside, And Carmala the infernal Car will guide. Go, and may happy end your way betide! So, as he spake, the self-moved Car roll'd on, And lo! they pass the Gate of Padalon.
Whoe'en hath lov'd with venturous step to tread The chambers dread Of some deep cave, and seen his taper's beam Lost in the arch of darkness overhead, And mark'd its gleam, Playing afar upon the sunless stream, Where, from their secret bed, And course unknown and inaccessible, The silent waters well; Whoe'er hath trod such caves of endless night, He knows, when measuring back the gloomy way, With what delight refreshed, his eye Perceives the shadow of the light of day, Through the far portal slanting, where it falls Dimly reflected on the wat'ry walls; How heavenly seems the sky, And how, with quicken'd feet, he hastens up, Eager again to greet The living World, and blessed sunshine there, And drink, as from a cup Of joy, with thirsty lips, the open air.
Far other light than that of day there shone Upon the travellers, entering Padalon. They, too, in darkness enter'd on their way, But, far before the Car, A glow, as of a fiery furnace light, Fill'd all before them. T was a light which made Darkness itself appear A thing of comfort, and the sight, dismay’d, Shrunk inward from the molten atmosphere. Their way was through the adamantine rock Which girt the World of Woe; on either side Its massive walls arose, and overhead Arch'd the long passage; onward as they ride, With stronger glare the light around them spread, And lo! the regions dread. The World of Woe before them, opening wide.
There rolls the fiery slood, Girding the realms of Padalon around. A sea of flame it seem'd to be, Sea without bound ; For neither mortal, nor immortal sight,
Could pierce across through that intensest light.
But, oh! what sounds and sights of woe, What sights and sounds of fear, Assail the mortal travellers here! Their way was on a causey straight and wide, Where penal vaults on either side were seen, Ranged like the cells wherein Those wonderous winged alchemists infold Their stores of liquid gold. Thick walls of adamant divide The dungeons; and from yonder circling flood, Off-streams of fire through secret channels glide, And wind among them, and in each provide An everlasting food Of righteous torments for the accursed brood.
These were the rebel race, who, in their might Confiding impiously, would fain have driven The Deities supreme from highest Heaven; But by the Suras, in celestial fight, Oppos'd and put to flight, Here, in their penal dens, the accursed crew, Not for its crime, but for its failure, rue Their wild ambition. Yet again they long The contest to renew, And wield their arms again in happier hour; And with united power, Following Kehama's triumph, to press on From world to World, and Heaven to Heaven, and Sphere To Sphere, till Hemakoot shall be their own, And Meru Mount, and Indra's SwerHa-Bowers, And Brama's region, where the heavenly Hours Weave the vast circle of his age-long day.” Even over Veeshnoo's empyreal seat They trust the Rajal, shall extend their sway, And that the seven-headed Snake, whereon The strong Preserver sets his conquering feet, Will rise and shake him headlong from his throne, when, in their irresistible array, Amid the Milky Sea, they force their way. Even higher yet their frantic thoughts aspire, Yea, on their beds of torment as they lie, The highest, holiest Seeva, they defy, And tell him they shall have anon their day, When they will storm his realm, and seize Mount Calasay.
Such impious hopes torment Their raging hearts, impious and impotent; And now, with unendurable desire And lust of vengeance, that, like inward fire, Doth aggravate their punishment, they rave Upon Kehama; him the accursed rout Acclaim; with furious cries and maddening shout They call on him to save;
Kehama! they exclaim; Thundering, the dreadful echo rolls about, And Hell's whole vault repeats Kehama's name.
Over these dens of punishment, the host Of Padalon maintain eternal guard, Keeping upon the walls their vigilant ward. At every angle stood A watch-tower, the decurion Demon's post, Where, rais'd on high, he view’d with sleepless eye His trust, that all was well. And over these, Such was the perfect discipline of Hell, Captains of fifties and of hundreds held Authority, each in his loftier tower; And chiefs of legions over them had power; And thus all Hell with towers was girt around. Aloft the brazen turrets shone In the red light of Padalon, And on the walls between Dark moving, the infernal Guards were seen, Gigantic Demons pacing to and fro; Who ever and anon, Spreading their crimson pennons, plunged below, Faster to rivet down the Asuras' chains; And with the snaky scourge and fiercer pains, Itepress their rage rebellious. Loud around, In mingled sound, the echoing lash, the clash Of chains, the ponderous hammer's iron stroke, With execrations, groans, and shrieks and cries Combin'd, in one wild dissonance, arise; And through the din there broke, Like thunder heard through all the warring winds, The dreadful name. Kehama, still they rave, Hasten and save! Now, now, Deliverer! now, Kehama, now! Earthly Almighty, wherefore tarriest thou!
Oh, if that name abhorr'd, Thus utter'd, could well nigh Dismay the Powers of Hell, and daunt their Lord, How fearfully to Kailyal's ear it came ! She, as the Car roll'd on its rapid way, Bent down her head, and clos'd her eyes for dread: And deafening, with strong effort from within, Her ears against the din, Cover'd and prest them close with both her hands. Sure if the mortal Maiden had not fed On heavenly food, and long been strengthened With heavenly converse for such end vouchsafd, Her human heart had fail'd, and she had died Beneath the horrors of this awful hour. But Heaven supplied a power Beyond her earthly nature, to the measure Of need infusing strength; And Fate, whose secret and unerring pleasure Appointed all, decreed An ample meed and recompense at length. High-fated Maid, the righteous hour is nigh! The all-embracing Eye Of Retribution still beholdeth thee; Bear onward to the end, O Maid, courageously!
On roll'd the Car, and lo! afar Upon its height the Towers of Yamenpur Rise on the astonish'd sight. Behold the infernal City, Yamen's seat