« ZurückWeiter »
Of empire, in the midst of Padalon, Where the eight causeys meet. There on a rock of adamant it stood, Resplendent far and wide, Itself of solid diamond edifică, And all around it roll'd the fiery flood. Eight bridges arch'd the stream; huge piles of brass Magnificent, such structures as beseem The Seat and Capital of such great God, Worthy of Yamen's own august abode. A brazen tower and gateway at each end Of each was rais'd, where Giant Wardens stood, Station'd in arms the passage to defend, That never foe might cross the fiery flood.
Oh what a gorgeous sight it was to see The Diamond City blazing on its height With more than mid-sun splendour, by the light Of its own fiery river! Its towers and domes and pinnacles and spires, Turrets and battlements, that flash and quiver Through the red restless atmosphere for ever; And hovering over head,
The smoke and vapours of all Padalon, Fit firmament for such a world, were spread, With surge and swell, and everlasting motion, heaving and opening like tumultuous ocean.
Nor were there wanting there Such glories as beseem'd such region well; For though with our blue heaven and genial air The firmament of Hell might not compare, As little might our earthly tempests vie With the dread storms of that infernal sky, Whose clouds of all metallic elements Sublim’d were full. For, when its thunder broke, Not all the united World's artillery, In one discharge, could equal that loud stroke; And though the Diamond Towers and Battlements Stood firm upon their adamantine rock, Yet, while it volleyed round the vault of Hell, Earth's solid arch was shaken with the shock, And Cities in one mighty ruin fell. Through the red sky terrific meteors scour; IIuge stones come hailing down; or sulphur-shower, Floating amid the lurid air like snow, Kindles in its descent, And with blue fire-drops rains on all below. At times the whole supernal element Igniting, burst in one vast sheet of slame, And roard as with the sound Of rushing winds, above, below, around; Anon the flame was spent, and overhead A heavy cloud of moving darkness spread.
Straight to the brazen bridge and gate The self-mov'd Chariot bears its mortal load. At sight of Carmala, On either side the Giant guards divide, And give the chariot way.
Up yonder winding road it rolls along, Swift as the bittern soars on spiral wing, And lo! the Palace of the Infernal King!
Two forms inseparable in unity Hath Yamen;* even as with hope or fear
The Soul regardeth him doth he appear, For hope and fear, At that dread hour, from ominous conscience spring, And err not in their bodings. Therefore some, They who polluted with offences come, Behold him as the King Of Terrors, black of aspect, red of eye,89 Reflecting back upon the sinful mind, Heighten’d with vengeance, and with wrath divine, Its own inborn deformity. But to the righteous Spirit how benign His awful countenance, Where, tempering justice with parental love, Goodness and heavenly grace And sweetest mercy shine! Yet is he still Himself the same, one form, one face, one will; And these his twofold aspects are but one; And change is none In him, for change in Yamen could not be, The Immutable is he. He sate upon a marble sepulchre Massive and huge, where at the Monarch's feet, The righteous Baly had his judgment-seat. A golden throne before them vacant stood; Three human forms sustain'd its ponderous weight, With lifted hands outspread, and shoulders bowd Bending beneath the load. A fourth was wanting. They were of the hue Of coals of fire ; yet were they flesh and blood, And living breath they drew; And their red eye-balls roll'd with ghastly stare, As thus, for their misdeeds, they stood tormented there.
On steps of gold those fiery Statues stood, Who bore the Golden Throue. A cloud behind Immoveable was spread; not all the light Of all the flames and fires of Padalou Could pierce its depth of night. There Azyoruca 9" veil'd her awful form In those eternal shadows: there she sate, And as the trembling Souls, who crowd around The Judgment-Scat, receiv'd the doom of fate, Her giant arms, extending from the cloud, Drew them within the darkness. Moving out, To grasp and bear away the innumerous rout, For ever and for ever, thus were seen The thousand mighty arms of that dread Queen.
Here, issuing from the car, the Glendoveer Did homage to the God, then rais'd his head. Suppliants we come, he said, I need not tell thee by what wrongs opprest, For nought can pass on earth to thee unknown; Sufferers from tyranny we seek for rest, And Seeva bade us go to Yamen's throne; Here, he hath said, all wrongs shall be redrest. Yamen replied, Even now the hour draws near, When Fate its hidden ways will manifest. Not for light purpose would The Wisest send His suppliants here, when we, in doubt and fear, The awful issue of the hour attend. Wait ye in patience and in faith the end!
So spake the King of Padalon, when, lo! The voice of lamentation ceas'd in Hell, And sudden silence all around them fell, Silence more wild and terrible Than all the infernal dissonance before. Through that portentous stillness, far away, Unwonted sounds were heard, advancing on And deepening on their way; For now the inexorable hour Was come, and, in the fulness of his power, Now that the dreadful rites had all been done, Kehama from the Swerga hastened down, To seize upon the throne of Padalon.
He came in all his might and majesty,9. With all his terrors clad, and all his pride; And, by the attribute of Deity, Which he had won from Heaven, self-multiplied, The dreadful One appeard on every side.9% In the same indivisible point of time, At the eight Gates he stood at once, and beat The Warden-Gods of Hell beneath his feet; Then, in his brazen Cars of triumph, straight, At the same moment, drove through every gate. By Aullays, hugest of created kind, Fiercest, and fleeter than the viewless wind, His Cars were drawn, ten yokes of ten abreast— What less sufficed for such almighty weight? Eight bridges from the fiery flood arose Growing before his way; and on he goes, And drives the thundering Chariot-wheels along, At once o'er all the roads of Padalon.
Silent and motionless remain The Azuras on their bed of pain, Waiting, with breathless hope, the great event. All Hell was hush'd in dread, Such awe that Omnipresent coming spread: Nor had its voice been heard, though all its rout Inmunerable had lifted up one shout; Nor if the infernal firmament Had, in one unimaginable burst, Spent its collected thunders, had the sound Been audible, such louder terrors went Before his forms substantial. Round about The presence scattered lightnings far and wide, That quench'd on every side, With their intensest blaze, the feebler fire Of Padalon, even as the stars go out, When, with prodigious light, Some blazing meteor fills the astonish'd night. The Diamond City shakes! The adamantine Rock Is loosen'd with the shock! From its foundation mov’d, it heaves and quakes; The brazen portals crumbling fall to dust; Prone fall the Giant Guards Beneath the Aullays crush'd; On, on, through Yamenpur, their thundering feet Speed from all points to Yamen's judgment-seat. And lo! where multiplied,
Behind, before him, and on every side, Wielding all weapons in his countless hands, Around the Lord of Hell Kehama stands! Then, too, the Lord of Hell put forth his might: Thick darkness, blacker than the blackest night, Rose from their wrath, and veil'd The unutterable fight. The power of Fate and Sacrifice prevail'd, And soon the strife was done. Then did the Man-God re-assume His unity, absorbing into one The consubstantiate shapes; and as the gloom Opened, fallen Yamen on the ground was seen, His neck beneath the conquering Rajah's feet, Who on the marble tomb Had his triumphal seat.
Silent the Man-Almighty sate; a smile Gleam'd on his dreadful lips, the while Dallying with power, he paused from following up His conquest, as a man in social hour Sips of the grateful cup, Again and yet again, with curious taste, Searching its subtle flavour ere he drink: Even so Kehama now forbore his laste: Having within his reach whate'er he sought, On his own haughty power he seem'd to muse, Pampering his arrogant heart with silent thought Before him stood the Golden throne in sight, Right opposite; he could not chuse but see, Nor seeing chuse but wonder. Who are ye Who bear the Golden Throne, tormented there? He cried; for whom doth Destiny prepare The imperial seat, and why are ye but Three ?
Finst statur. I of the Children of Mankind was first, Me miserable' who, adding store to store, Heapt up superfluous wealth; and now accurst, For ever 1 the frantic crime deplore.
second statue. I o'er my Brethren of Mankind the first Usurping power, set up a throne sublime, A King and Conqueror: therefore thus accurst, For ever I in vain repent the crime.
third statue. I on the Children of Mankind the first, In God's most holy name, impos'd a tale Of impious falsehood; therefore thus accurst, For ever I in vain the crime bewail. Even as thou here beholdest us, Here we have stood, tormented thus, Such countless ages, that they seem to be Long as eternity, And still we are but Three. A Fourth will come to share Our pain, at yonder vacant corner bear His portion of the burthen, and complete The golden Throne for Yamen's judgment-seat. Thus hath it been appointed: he must be Equal in guilt to us. the guilty Three. Kehama, come! too long we wait for thee!
Thereaf, with one accord,
The Three took up the word, like choral song, Come, Rajah! Man-God! Earth's Almighty Lord! Kehama, come! we wait for thee too long.
A short and sudden laugh of wondering pride Burst from him in his triumph: to reply Scornful he deign'd not; but with alter'd eye Wherein some doubtful meaning seem'd to lie, He turn'd to Kailyal. Maiden, thus he cried, I need not bid thee see How vain it is to strive with Fate's decree, When hither thou hast fled to fly from me, And lo! even here thou find'st me at thy side. Mine thou must be, being doom'd with me to share The Amreeta-cup of immortality; 99 Yea, by Myself I swear It hath been thus appointed. Joyfully Join then thy hand and heart and will with mine, Nor at such glorious destiny repine, Nor in thy folly more provoke my wrath divine. She answer'd; I have said. It must not be Almighty as thou art, Thou hast put all things underneath thy feet, But still the resolute heart And virtuous will are free. Never, oh! never, never—can there be Communion, Rajah, between thce and me. Once more, quoth lie, I urge, and once alone. Thou seest yon Golden Throne, Where I anon shall set thee by my side; Take thou thy seat thereon, Kehanna's willing bride, And I will place the Kingdoms of the World Beneath thy Father's feet, Appointing him the King of mortal men: Else underneath that Throne, The Fourth supporter, he shall stand and groan; Prayers will be vain to move my mercy then.
Again the Virgin answerd, I have said! Ladurlad caught her in his proud embrace, While on his neck she hid In agony her face.
Bring forth the Amreeta-cup! Kehama cried To Yamen, rising sternly in his pride. It is within the Marble Sepulchre, The vanquish'd Lord of Padalon replied; Bid it be opened. Give thy treasure up ! Exclaim'd the Man-Almighty to the Tomb. And at his voice and look The massy fabric shook, and opened wide. A huge Anatomy was seen reclin'd Within its marble womb. Give me the Cup! Again Kehama cried; no other charm Was needed than that voice of stern command. From his repose the ghastly form arose, Put forth his bony and gigantic arm, And gave the Amreeta to the Rajah's hand. Take! drink! with accents dread the Spectre said, For thee and Kailyal hath it been assign'd, Ye only of the Children of Mankind.
Then was the Man-Almighty's heart clate; This is the consummation! he exclaim'd ; Thus have I triumphed over Death and Fate.
Now, Seeva look to thine abode! Henceforth, on equal footing we engage, Alike immortal now, and we shall wage Our warfare, God to God! Joy fill'd his impious soul, And to his lips he rais'd the fatal bowl.
Thus long the Glendoveer had stood Watching the wonders of the eventful hour, Amaz'd but undismay’d; for in his heart Faith, overcoming fear, maintain'd its power. Nor had that faith abated, when the God Of Padalon was beaten down in fight; For then he look d to see the heavenly might Of Seeva break upon them. But when now He saw the Amreeta in Kehama's hand, An impulse which defied all self-command In that extremity Stung him, and he resolved to seize the cup, And dare the Rajah's force in Seeva's sight. Forward he sprung to tempt the unequal fray, When lo! the Anatomy, With warning arm, withstood his desperate way, And from the Golden Throne the fiery Three Again, in one accord, renew d their song, Kehama, come ! we wait for thee too long.
O fool of drunken hope and frantic vice! Madman! to seek for power beyond thy scope Of knowledge, and to deem Less than omniscience could suffice To wield omnipotence! O fool, to dream That immortality could be The meed of evil!—yea thou hast it now, Victim of thine own wicked heart's device,
Thou hast thine object now, and now must pay the price.
He did not know the awful mystery Of that divinest cup, that as the lips Which touch it, even such its quality, Good or malignant; Madman' and he thinks The blessed prize is won, and joyfully he drinks.
Then Seeva opened on the Accursed One His Eye of Anger: upon him alone The wrath-beam fell. He shudders—but too late; The deed is done, The dreadful liquor works the will of Fate. Immortal he would be, Immortal he remains; but through his veins Torture at once, and immortality, A stream of poison doth the Amreeta run, Infinite everlasting agony. And while within the burning anguish flows, His outward body glows Like molten ore, beneath the avenging eye, Doom'd thus to live and burn eternally. The fiery Three, Beholding him, set up a fiendish cry, A song of jubilee: Come, Brother, come! they sung; too long Have we expected thee, Henceforth we bear no more The unequal weight; Come, Brother, we are Four!
Vain his almightiness, for mightier pain
Subdued all power; pain ruled supreme alone. And yielding to the bony hand The unemptied cup, be mov'd toward the throne, And at the vacant corner took his stand. Behold the Golden Throne at length complete, And Yamen silently ascends the Judgment-Seat.
For two alone, of all mankind, to me The Amreeta-Cup was given, Exclaim'd the Anatomy; The Man hath drunk, the Woman's turn is next. Come, Kailyal, come, receive thy doom, And do the Will of Heaven!— Wonder, and Fear, and Awe at once perplext The mortal Maiden's heart, but over all Hope rose triumphant. With a trembling hand, Obedient to his call, She took the fated Cup; and, lifting up Her eyes, where holy tears began to swell, Is it not your command, Ye heavenly Powers: as on her knees she fell, The pious Virgin cried: Ye know my innocent will, my heart sincere, Ye govern all things still, And wherefore should I fear! She said, and drank. The Eye of Mercy beam'd Upon the Maid: a cloud of fragrance steam'd Like incense-smoke, as all her mortal frame Dissolved beneath the potent agency Of that mysterious draught; such quality, From her pure touch, the fated Cup partook. Like one entranced she knelt, Feeling her body melt Till all but what was heavenly past away: Yet still she felt Her Spirit strong within her, the same heart, With the same loves, and all her heavenly part, Unchang'd, and ripen'd to such perfect state, In this miraculous birth, as here on Earth Dimly our holiest hopes anticipate.
Mine! mine! with rapturous joy Ereenia cried,
Then Yamen said, O thou to whom, by Fate, Alone of all mankind, this lot is given, Daughter of Earth, but now the Child of Heaven! Go with thy heavenly Mate, Partaker now of his immortal bliss; Go to the Swerga Bowers, And there recall the hours Of endless happiness.
But that sweet Angel, for she still retain'd Her human loves and human piety, As if reluctant at the God's commands, Linger'd, with anxious eye Upon her father fix’d and spread her hands Toward him wistfully. Go! Yamen cried, nor cast that look behind Upon Ladurlad at this parting hour, For thou shalt find him in thy Mother's Bower. The Car, for Carmala his word obey'd,
Mov'd on, and bore away the Maid, While from the Golden Throne the Lord of Death With love benignant, on Ladurlad smil'd, And gently on his head his blessing laid. As sweetly as a Child, Whom neither thought disturbs nor care encumbers, Tir'd with long play, at close of summer day, Lies down and slumbers, Even thus as sweet a boon of sleep partaking By Yamen blest, Ladurlad sunk to rest. Blessed that sleep! more blessed was the waking! For on that night a heavenly morning broke, The light of heaven was round him when he woke, And in the Swerga, in Yedillian's Bower, All whom he lov'd he met, to part no more.
Note 1, page 307, col. 1.
She, says Bernier, whom I saw burn herself, when I parted from Surat to travel into Persia, in the presence of Monsieur chardin of Paris, and of many English and Dutch, was of a middle age, and not unhandsome. To represent unto you the undaunted cheerfulness that appeared in her countenance, the resolution with which she marched, washed herself, spoke to the people; the considence with which she looked upon us, viewed her little cabin, made up of very dry millet-straw and small wood, went into this cabin, and sat down upon the pile, and took her husband's head into her lap, and a torch into her own hand, and kindled the cabin, whilst I know not how many Brahmans were busy in kindling the fire round about : to represent to you, I say, all this as it ought, is not possible for me; I can at present scarce believe it myself, though it be but a few days since I saw it.
Note 2, page 307, col. 1. They strip her ornaments away. She went out again to the river, and taking up some
water in her hands, muttered some prayers, and offered it to the sun. All her ornaments were then taken from her; and her armlets were broken, and chaplets of white flowers were put upon her neck and hands. Her hair was tucked up with five combs; and her forehead was marked with clay in the same manner as that of her husband.—SrAvor INUs.
Note 3, page 3oz, col. 1.
When the time for consummating the marriage is come, they light the fire Homan with the wood of Ravasitou. The Bramin blesses the former, which, being done, the bridegroom takes three handfuls of rice, and throws it on the bride's head, who does the same to him. Afterwards the bride's father clothes her in a dress according to his condition, and washes the bridegroom's feet; the bride's mother observing to pour out the water. This being done, the father puts his daughter's hand in his own, puts water into it, some pieces of money, and, giving it to the bridegroom, says, at the same time, I have no longer anything to do with you, and I give you up to the power of another. The Tali, which is a ribbon with a golden head hanging at it, is held ready; and, being shown to the company, some prayers and blessings are pronounced; after which the bridegroom takes it, and hangs it about the bride's neck. This knot is what particularly secures his possession of her; for, before he had had the Tali on, all the rest of the ceremonies might have been made to no purpose; for it has sometimes happened, that, when the bridegroom was goin 6 to fix it on, the bride's father has discovered his not being satisfied with the bridegroom's gift, when another, offering more, has carried off the bride with her father's consent. But, when once the Tali is put on, the marriage is indissoluble; and, whenever the husband dies, the Tali is burnt along with him, to shew that the marriage bands are broke. Besides these particular ceremonies, the people have notice of the wedding by a Pandal, which is raised before the bride's door some days before. The whole concludes with an entertainment which the bride's father gives to the common friends; and during this festivity, which continues five days, alms are given to the poor, and the fire Homan is kept in. The seventh day, the new-married couple set out for the bridegroom's house, whither they frequently go by torchlight. The bride and bridegroom are carried in a sedan, pass through the chief streets of the city, and are accompanied by their friends, who are either on horseback or mounted on elephants.-A. Rogen.
Note 4, page 3oz, col. 1.
T is true, says Bernier, that I have seen some of them, which, at the sight of the pile and the fire, appeared to have some apprehension, and that, perhaps, would have gone back. Those demons, the Bramins, that are there with their great sticks, astonish them, and hearten them up, or even thrust them in ; as I have seen it done to a young woman that retreated five or six paces from the pile, and to another, that was much disturbed when she saw the fire take hold of her clothes, these executioners thrusting her in with their long poles.
At Lahor, I saw a very handsome and a very young woman burnt; I believe she was not above twelve years of age. This poor unhappy creature appeared rather dead than alive when she came near the pile; she shook and wept bitterly. Meanwhile, three or four of these executioners, the Bramins, together with an old hat; that held her under the arm, thrust her on, and made her sit down upon the wood; and, lest she should run away, they tied her legs and hands; and so they burnt her alive. I had enough to do to contain myself for indignation.—BERN i ea.
Pietro Della Valle conversed with a widow, who was about to burn herself by her own choice. She told him, that, generally speaking, women were not forced to burn thenselves; but sometimes, among people of rank, when a young woman, who was handsome, was left a widow, and in danger of marrying again, (which is never practised among them, because of the confusion and disgrace which are inseparable from such a thing) or of falling into other irregularities, then, indeed, the relations of the husband, if they are at all tenacious of the honour of the family, compel her to burn herself, whether she likes it or no, merely to prevent the inconveniencies which might take place.
Dellon also, whom I consider as one of the best travellers in the East, expressly asserts, that widows are burnt there a de gré, ou de force. L’on n'en voit que trop qui après avoir desiré et demandé la mort avec un courage intrepide, et après avoir obtenu et acheté la permission de se brûler, ont tremblé à la vue du bucher, se sont repenties, mais trop tard, de leur imprudence, et ont fait d'inutiles efforts pour se retracter. Mais lorsque cela arrive, bien loin que les Bramenes soient touchés
daucune pitié, ils lient cruellement ces malheureuses, et
les brûlent par force, sans avoir aucun egard a leurs plaintes, ni a leurs cris."—Tom. i, p. 138.
It would be easy to multiply authorities upon this point. Let it suffice to mention one important historical fact: When the great Albuquerque had established himself at Goa, he forbade these accursed sacrifices, the women extolled him for it as their benefactor and deliverer, (Commentarios de Alb. ii. 20,) and no European in India was ever so popular, or so revered by the natives. Yet, if we are to believe the anti-missionaries, none but fools, famatics, and pretenders to humanity, would wish to deprive the Ilindoo women of the right of burning theinselves: « It may be useful (says Colonel Mark Wilks) to examine the reasonableness of interfering with the most exceptionable of all their institutions. It has been thought an abomination not to be tolerated, that a widow should immolate herself on the funeral pile of her deceased husband. But what judgment should we form of the Hindoo, who (if any of our institutions admitted the parallel) should forcibly pretend to stand between a Christian and the hope of eternal salvation? And shall we not hold him to be a driveller in politics and morals, a fanatic in religion, and a pretender in humanity, who would forcibly wrest this hope from the Hindoo widow on —Historical Sketches of the South of India, vol. i. p. 499.
Such opinions, and such language, may safely be left to the indignation and pity which they cannot fail to excite. I shall only express my astonishment, that any thing so monstrous, and so miserably futile, should have proceeded from a man of learning, great good sense, and general good feelings, as Colonel Wilks evidently appears to be.
Note 5, page 307, col. 1.
When Bernier was passing from Amad-Avad to Agra, there came news to him in a borough, where the caravan rested under the shade ( staying for the cool of the evening to march on their journey), that a woman was then upon the point of burning herself with the body of her husband. I presently rose, says he, and ran to the place where it was to be done, which was a great pit, with a pile of wood raised in it, whereon I saw laid a dead corpse and a woman, which, at a distance, seemed to me pretty fair, sitting near it on the same pile, besides four or five Bramins, putting the fire to it from all sides; five women of a middle age, and well enough dressed, holding one another by the hand, and dancing about the pit, and a great crowd of people, men and women, looking on. The pile of wood was presently all on fire, because store of oil and butter had been thrown upon it: and I saw, at the same time, through the flames, that the fire took hold of the clothes of the woman, that were imbued with well-scented oils, mingled with powder of sandal and saffron. All this I saw.