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VISION OF THE MA I HD OF OR LEAN.S.

Whose whole existence the next cloud may blast,
Believes himself the care of heavenly powers,
That God regards man, miserable man,
And, preaching thus of power and providence,
Will crush the reptile that may cross his path!

• Fool that thou art! the Being that permits
Existence, gives to man the worthless boon:
A goodly gift to those who, fortune-blest,
Bask in the sunshine of prosperity;
And such do well to keep it. But to one
Sick at the heart with misery, and sore
With many a hard unmerited affliction,
It is a hair that chains to wretchedness
The slave who dares not burst it!
Thinkest thou,
The parent, if his child should unrecall'd
Return and fall upon his neck, and cry,
“Oh! the wide world is comfortless, and full
Of vacant joys and heart-consuming cares,
I can be only happy in my home
With thee—my friend! my father!' Thinkest thou,
That he would thrust him as an outcast forth 13
Oh! he would clasp the truant to his heart,
And love the trespass.”
Whilst he spake, his eye
Dwelt on the Maiden's cheek, and read her soul
Struggling within. In trembling doubt she stood,
Even as the wretch, whose famish'd entrails crave
Supply, before him sees the poison'd food
In greedy horror. -
Yet, not silent long:
- Eloquent tempter, cease!» the Maiden cried;
• What though astliction be my portion here,
Think'st thou I do not feel high thoughts of joy,
Of heart-ennobling joy, when I look back
Upon a life of duty well perform'd,
Then lift mine eyes to Heaven, and there in faith,
Know my reward?—I grant, were this life all,
was there no morning to the tomb's long night,
If man did mingle with the senseless clod,
Himself as senseless, then wert thou indeed
A wise and friendly comforter!—But, fiend,
There is a morning to the tomb's long night,
A dawn of glory, a reward in heaven,
He shall not gain who never merited.
If thou didst know the worth of one good deed
In life's last hour, thou wouldst not bid rue lose
The power to benefit! if I but save
A drowning fly, I shall not live in vain.
I have great duties, fiend me France expects,
Her heaven-doom'd champion.”
* Maiden, thou hast done
Thy mission here,” the unbaffled fiend replied;
• The foes are fled from Orleans: thou, perchance,
Exulting in the pride of victory,
Forgettest him who perish'd yet albeit
Thy harden'd heart forget the gallant youth,
That hour allotted canst thou not cscape,
That dreadful hour, when contumely and shame
Shall sojourn in thy dungeon. Wretched Maid!

Destined to drain the cup of bitterness,
Even to its dregs! England's inhuman chiefs

Shall scoff thy sorrows, blacken thy pure fame,
Wit-wanton it with lewd barbarity,
And force such burning blushes to the cheek

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Of virgin-modesty, that thou shalt wish
The earth might cover thee! In that last hour,
When thy bruis'd breast shall heave beneath the chains
That link thee to the stake; when o'er thy form
Exposed unmantled, the brute multitude
Shall gaze, and thou shalt hear the ribald taunt,
More painful than the circling flames that scorch
Each quivering member; wilt thou not in vain
Then wish my friendly aid? then wish thine ear
Had drank my words of comfort” that thy hand
Ilad grasp'd the dagger, and in death preserved
Insulted modesty to
Her glowing cheek
Blush'd crimson; her wide eye on vacancy
Was fix'd; her breath short panted. The cold fiend,
Grasping her hand, exclaim'd, “Too timid Maid,
So long repugnant to the healing aid
My friendship proffers, now shalt thou behold
The allotted length of life.”
He stamp'd the earth,
And, dragéing a huge coffin as his car,
Two Gouls came on, of form more fearful-foul
Than ever palsied in her wildest dream
Hag-ridden Superstition. Then Despair
Seized on the Maid whose curdling blood stood still,
And placed her in the seat, and on they pass'd
Adown the deep descent. A meteor light
Shot from the daemons, as they dragg'd along
The unwelcome load, and mark'd their brethren feast
On carcasses.
Below, the vault dilates
Its ample bulk. a Look here!”—Despair addrest
The shuddering Virgin, a see the dome of Death!”
It was a spacious cavern, hewn amid
The entrails of the earth, as though to form
The grave of all mankind: no eye could reach,
Though gifted with the eagle's ample ken,
Its distant bounds. There, throned in darkness, dwelt
The unseen power of Death.
Here stopt the Gouls,
Reaching the destined spot. The fiend leapt out,
And from the coffin as he led the Maid,
Exclaim'd, “Where never yet stood mortal man,
Thou standest: look around this boundless vault:
Observe the dole that Nature deals to man,
And learn to know thy friend.”
She not replied,
Observing where the Fates their several tasks
Plied ceaseless. • Mark how long the shortest web
Allow'd to man!» he cried; w observe how soon,
Twined round yon never-resting wheel, they change
Their snowy hue, darkening through many a shade,
Till Atropos relentless shuts the shears!»

Too true he spake, for of the countless threads,
Drawn from the heap, as white as unsunn'd snow,
Or as the lovely lily of the vale,
Was never one beyond the little span
Of infancy untainted: few there were
But lightly tinged; more of deep crimson hue,
Or deeper sable dyed.4 Two genii stood,
Still as the web of being was drawn forth,
Sprinkling their powerful drops. From ebon urn,
The one unsparing dash'd the bitter wave
Of woe; and as he dash'd, his dark-brown brow
Relax'd to a hard smile. The milder form

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She spake, and lo! celestial radiance beam'd
Amid the air, such odours wafting now
As erst came blended with the evening gale,
From Eden's bowers of bliss. An angel form
Stood by the Maid; his wings, ethereal white,
Flash'd like the diamond in the noon-tide sum,
Dazzling her mortal eye: all else appeard
Her Theodore.

Amazed she saw: the fiend
Was fled, and on her ear the well-known voice
Sounded, though now more musically sweet
Than ever yet had thrill'd her charmed soul,
when eloquent affection fondly told
The day-dreams of delight.

« Beloved Maid!

Lo! I am with thee! still thy Theodore!
Hearts in the holy bands of love combined,
Death has no power to sever. Thou art mine!
A little while and thou shalt dwell with me,
In scenes where sorrow is not. Cheerily
Tread thou the path that leads thee to the grave,
Rough though it be and painful, for the grave
ls but the threshold of eternity.

• Favour'd of Heaven; to thee is given to view
These secret realms. The bottom of the abyss
Thou treadest, Maiden! Here the dungeons are
Where bad men learn repentance! souls diseased
Must have their remedy; and where disease
Isrooted deep, the remedy is long
Perforce, and painful.”

Thus the spirit spake,
And led the Maid along a narrow path,
Dark gleaming to the light of far-off flames,
More dread than darkness. Soon the distant sound
Of clanking anvils, and the lengthen'd breath
Provoking fire are heard; and now they reach
A wide-expanded den, where all around
Tremendous furnaces, with hellish blaze,

Flamed dreadful. At the heaving bellows stood
The meagre form of Care, and as he blew
To augment the fire, the fire augmented scorch'd
His wretched limbs: sleepless for ever thus
He toil'd and toil'd, of toil no end to know,
But endless toil and never-ending woe.

An aged man went round the infernal vault,
Urging his workmen to their ceaseless task:
White were his locks, as is the wintry snow
On hoar Plimlimmon's head. A golden staff
His steps supported; powerful talisman,
Which whoso feels shall never feel again
The tear of pity, or the throb of love.
Touch'd but by this, the massy gates give way,
The buttress trembles, and the guarded wall,
Guarded in vain, submits. Him heathens erst
Ilad deified, and bowed the suppliant knee
To Plutus. Nor are now his votaries few,
Even though the blessed Teacher of mankind
Hath said, that easier through the needle's eye
Shall the huge camel pass,” than the rich man
Enter the gates of heaven. “ Ye cannot serve
Your God, and worship Mammon.”
« Mission'd Maid!"

So spake the angel, it know that these, whose hands
Round each white furnace ply the unceasing toil,
were Mammon's slaves on earth. They did not spare
To wring from poverty the hard-earn'd mite,
They robb'd the orphan's pittance, they could see
Want's asking eye unmoved; and therefore these,
Ranged round the furnace, still must persevere
In Mammon's service; scorch'd by these fierce fires,
And frequent deluged by the o'erboiling ore:
Yet still so framed, that oft to quench their thirst
Unquenchable, large draughts of molten gold"
They drink insatiate, still with pain renew’d,
Pain to destroy.”

So saying, her he led
Forth from the dreadful cavern to a cell,
Brilliant with gem-born light. The rugged walls
Part gleam'd with gold, and part with silver ore
In milder radiance shone. The carbuncle
There its strong lustre like the flamy sun
Shot forth irradiate; from the earth beneath,
And from the roof there stream'd a diamond light;
Rubies and amethysts their glows commixd
With the gay topaz, and the softer ray
Shot from the sapphire, and the emerald's hue,
And bright pyropus.

There on golden seats,

A numerous, sullen, melancholy train
Sat silent. “Maiden, these,” said Theodore,
* Are they who let the love of wealth absorb
All other passions; in their souls that vice
Struck deeply-rooted, like the poison-tree
That with its shade spreads barrenness around.
These, Maid! were men by no atrocious crime
Blacken'd, no fraud, nor ruffian violence:
Men of fair dealing, and respectable
On earth, but such as only for themselves
Heap'd up their treasures, deeming all their wealth
Their own, and given to them, by partial Heaven,
To bless them only: therefore here they sit,
Possess'd of gold enough, and by no pain
Tormented, save the knowledge of the bliss

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They lost, and vain repentance. Here they dwell, Loathing these useless treasures, till the hour Of general restitution.” Thence they pass'd, And now arrived at such a gorgeous dome, As even the pomp of eastern opulence Could never equal: wander'd through its halls A numerous train; some with the red-swoln eye Of riot, and intemperance-bloated cheek; Some pale and nerveless, and with feeble step, And eyes lack-lustre. • Maiden on said her guide, • These are the wretched slaves of Appetite, Curst with their wish enjoyd. The epicure | Here pampers his foul frame, till the pall'd sense | Loathes at the banquet; the voluptuous here Plunge in the tempting torrent of delight, And sink in misery. All they wish'd on earth, Possessing here, whom have they to accuse But their own folly, for the lot they chose? Yet for that these injured themselves alone, They to the house of Penitence may hie, And, by a long and painful regimen, To wearied Nature her exhausted powers Restore, till they shall learn to form the wish Of wisdom, and Almighty Goodness grants That prize to him who seeks it.” Whilst he spake, The board is spread. With bloated paunch, and eye Fat swoln, and legs whose monstrous size disgraced The human form divine, their caterer, Hight Gluttony, set forth the smoking feast. | And by his side came on a brother form, With fiery cheek of purple hue, and red And scurfy-white, mix d motley; his gross bulk, Like some huge hogshead shapen'd, as applied. Him had antiquity with mystic rites Adored; to him the sons of Greece, and thine, Imperial Rome, on many an altar pour'd The victim blood, with godlike titles graced, facehus, or Dionusus; son of Jove Deem'd falsely, for from Folly's idiot form He sprung, what time Madness, with furious hand, Seized on the laughing female. At one birth She brought the brethren, menial here below, Though sovereigns upon earth, where of they hold High revels: 'mid the monastery's gloom, Thy palace, Gluttony, and oft to thee The sacrifice is spread, when the grave voice Episcopal proclaims approaching day Of visitation, or churchwardens meet To save the wretched many from the gripe Of poverty, or 'mid thy ample halls Of London, mighty mayor' rich aldermen, Of coming feast hold converse. Otherwhere, For though allied in nature as in blood, They hold divided sway, his brother lifts His spungy sceptre. In the noble domes Of princes, and state-wearied ministers, Maddening he reigns; and when the affrighted mind Casts o'er a long career of guilt and blood Its eye reluctant, then his aid is sought To lull the worm of conscience to repose. He, too, the halls of country-squires frequents, But chiefly loves the learned gloom that shades

Thy offspring, Rhedycina! and thy walls,
Granta! nightly libations there to him
Profuse are pour'd, till from the dizzy brain
Triangles, circles, parallelograms,
Moods, tenses, dialects, and demigods,
And logic, and theology, are swept
By the red deluge.

Unmolested there
He revels; till the general feast comes round,
The sacrifice septennial, when the sons
Of England meet, with watchful care to chuse
Their delegates, wise, independent men,
Unbribing and unbribed, and chosen to guard
Their rights and charters from the encroaching grasp
Of greedy power; then all the joyful land
Join in his sacrifices, so inspired
To make the important choice.

The observing Maid
Address'd her guide: “ These, Theodore, thou say'st
Are men, who pampering their foul appetites,
Injured themselves alone. But where are they,
The worst of villains, viper-like, who coil
Around the guileless female, so to sting
The heart that loves them on
• Them,” the spirit replied,
• A long and dreadful punishment awaits.
For when, the prey of want and infamy,
Lower and lower still the victim sinks,
Even to the depth of shame, not one lewd word,
One impious imprecation from her lips
Escapes, may not a thought of evil lurks
In the polluted mind, that does not plead
Before the throne of justice, thunder-tongued
Against the foul seducer.”
Now they reach'd

The house of Penitence. Credulity
Stood at the gate, stretching her eager head
As though to listen; on her vacant face,
A smile that promised premature assent:
Though her Regret behind, a meagre fiend,
Disciplined sorely.

Here they enter'd in,
And now arrived where, as in study tranced,
They saw the mistress of the dome. Her face
Spake that composed severity, that knows
No angry impulse, no weak tenderness,
Resolved and calm. Before her lay that Book
Which hath the words of life; and as she read,
Sometimes a tear would trickle down her cheek,
Though heavenly joy beam'd in her eye the while.

Leaving her undisturb'd, to the first ward
Of this great lazar-house, the angel led
The favour'd Maid of Orleans. Kneeling down
On the hard stone which their bare knees had worn,
In sackcloth robed, a numerous train appeard:
Hard-featured some, and some demurely grave;
Yet such expression stealing from the eye,
As though, that only naked, all the rest
Was one close-fitting mask. A scoffing fiend,
For fiend he was, though wisely serving here,
Mock'd at his patients, and did often pour
Ashes upon them, and them bid them say
Their prayers aloud, and then he louder laugh'd;
For these were hypocrites, on earth revered
As holy ones, who did in public tell

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Their beads, and make long prayers, and cross them-
selves,
And call themselves most miserable sinners,
That so they might be deem'd most pious saints:
And go all filth, and never let a smile
Bend their stern muscles: gloomy, sullen men,
Barren of all affection, and all this
To please their God, forsooth ! and therefore Scorn
Grinn'd at his patients, making them repeat
Their solemn farce, with keenest raillery
Tormenting; but if earnest in their prayer,
They pour'd the silent sorrows of the soul
To heaven, then did they not regard his mocks
Which then came painless, and Humility
Soon rescued them, and led to Penitence,
That she might lead to heaven.
From thence they came
Where, in the next ward, a most wretched band
Groan'd underneath the bitter tyranny
Of a fierce demon. His coarse hair was red,
Pale grey his eyes, and blood-shot: and his face
Wrinkled by such a smile as malice wears
In ecstacy. Well-pleased he went around,
Plunging his dagger in the hearts of some,
Or probing with a poison'd lance their breasts,
Or placing coals of fire within their wounds;
Or seizing some within his mighty grasp,
He fix'd them on a stake, and then drew back
And laugh'd to see them writhe.
• These,” said the spirit,
“Are taught by Cruelty, to loathe the lives
They led themselves. Here are those wicked inen
Who loved to exercise their tyrant power
On speechless brutes; bad husbands undergo
A long purgation here; the traffickers
In human flesh here too are disciplined,
Till by their suffering they have equall'd all
The miseries they inflicted, all the mass
Of wretchedness caused by the wars they waged,
The villages they burnt, the widows left
In want, the slave or led to suicide,
Or murder'd by the foul infected air
Of his close dungeon, or, more sad than all,
His virtue lost, his very soul enslaved,
And driven by woe to wickedness.
These next,
Whom thou beholdest in this dreary room,
So sullen, and with such an eye of hate
Each on the other scowling, these have been
False friends. Tormented by their own dark thoughts,
Here they dwell: in the hollow of their hearts
There is a worm that feeds, and though thou seest
That skilful leech who willingly would heal
The ill they suffer, judging of all else
By their own evil standard, they suspect
The aid he vainly proffers, lengthening thus
By vice its punishment.”
• But who are these,”
The Maid exclaim’d, “ that, robed in flowing lawn,
And mitred, or in scarlet, and in caps,
Like cardinals, I see in every ward,
Performing menial service at the beck
Of all who bid them?”
Theodore replied,
• These men are they who in the name of Christ
Have heap'd up wealth, and arrogating power,

Have made men bow the knee, and call'd themselves
Most reverend graces and right reverend lords.
They dwelt in palaces, in purple clothed,
And in fine linen: therefore are they here;
And though they would not minister on earth,
Here penanced they perforce must minister:
Did not the Holy One of Nazareth
Tell them, his kingdom is not of the world?”

So saying, on they pass'd, and now arrived
Where such a hideous ghastly group abode,
That the Maid gazed with half-averting eye,
And shudder'd: each one was a loathly corpse,
The worm did banquet on his putrid prey,
Yet had they life and feeling exquisite,
Though motionless and mute.

« Most wretched men
Are these,” the angel cried. “ These, JOAN, are bards
Whose loose lascivious lays perpetuated
Their own corruption. Soul-polluted slaves,
Who sate them down, deliberately lewd,
So to awake and pamper lust in minds
Unborn; and therefore foul of body now
As then they were of soul, they here abide
Long as the evil works they left on earth
Shall live to taint mankind. A dreadful doom '
Yet amply merited by that bad man
Who prostitutes the sacred gift of song ' " :

And now they reach'd a huge and massy pile,
Massy it seem’d, and yet in every blast l
As to its ruin shook. There, porter fit,
Remorse for ever his sad vigils kept.
Pale, hollow-eyed, emaciate, sleepless wretch,
Inly he groan'd, or, starting, wildly shriek'd,
Aye as the fabric tottering from its base,
Threatened its fall, and so expectant still
Lived in the dread of danger still delay'd.
They enter'd there a large and lofty dome,
O'er whose black marble sides a dim drear light
|

Struggled with darkness from the unfrequent lamp.
Enthroned around, the murderers of mankind,
Monarchs, the great! the glorious ! the august!
Each bearing on his brow a crown of fire,
Sat stern and silent. Nimrod, he was there,
First king, the mighty hunter; and that chief
Who did belie his mother's fame, that so |
He might be called young Ammon. In this court |
Caesar was crown'd, accurst liberticide;
And he who murdered Tully, that cold villain,
Octavius, though the courtly minion's lyre
Hath hymn'd his praise, though Maro sang to him, |
And when death levell'd to original clay
The royal carcass, Flattery, fawning low, |
Fell at his feet, and worshipped the new god.
Titus was here," the conqueror of the Jews,
He the delight of human kind mis-named;
Cesars and Soldans, emperors and kings,
Here they were all, all who for glory fought,
Here in the court of glory, reaping now
The meed they merited.

As gazing round
The Virgin mark'd the miserable train,
A deep and hollow voice from one went forth;
«Thou who art come to view our punishment,
Maiden of Orleans! hither turn thine eye,

For I am he whose bloody victories
Thy power hath rendered vain. Lo! I am here,
The hero conqueror of Agincourt,
Henry of England!—wretched that I am,
I might have reign'd in happiness and peace,
My coffers full, my subjects undisturb’d,
And Plenty and Prosperity had loved
To dwell amongst them : but mine eye beheld
The realm of France, by faction tempest-torn,
And therefore I did think that it would fall
An easy prey. I persecuted those
Who taught new doctrines, though they taught the
truth:
And when I heard of thousands by the sword
Cut off, or blasted by the pestilence,
I calmly counted up my proper gains,
And sent new herds to slaughter. Temperate
Myself, no blood that mutinied, no vice
Tainting my private life, I sent abroad
Murder and rape; and therefore am I doom'd,
Like these imperial sufferers, crown'd with fire,
Here to remain, till man's awaken'd eye
Shall see the genuine blackness of our deeds,
And warn'd by them, till the whole human race,
Equalling in bliss the aggregate we caused
Of wretchedness, shall form one brotherhood,
One universal family of love.”

BOOK III.

The Maiden, musing on the warrior's words,
Turn'd from the hall of glory. Now they reach'd
A cavern, at whose mouth a genius stood,
In front a beardless youth, whose smiling eye
Beaua'd promise, but behind, wither'd and old,
And all unlovely. Underneath his feet
Lay records trampled, and the laurel-wreath
Now rent and faded: in his hand he held
An hour-glass, and as fall the restless sands,
So pass the lives of men. By him they pass'd
Along the darksome cave, and reach'd a stream,
Still rolling onward its perpetual waves,
Noiseless and undisturb’d. Ilere they ascend
A bark unpiloted, that down the flood,
Borne by the current, rush'd. The circling stream,
Returning to itself, an island form'd;
Nor had the Maiden's footsteps ever reach'd
The insulated coast, eternally
Rapt round the endless course; but Theodore
Drove with an angel's will the obedient bark.

They land; a mighty fabric meets their eyes,
Seen by its gem-born light. Of adamant
The pile was fram’d, for ever to abide
Firm in eternal strength. Before the gate
Stood eager Expectation, as to list
The half-heard murmurs issuing from within,
Her mouth half-open'd and her head stretch'd forth
On the other side there stood an aged crone,
Listening to every breath of air; she knew
Wague suppositions and uncertain dreams,
Of what was soon to come, for she would mark
The little glow-worm's self-created light,
And argue thence of kingdoms overthrown,

And desolated nations; ever fill'd
With undetermined terror, as she heard
Or distant screech-owl, or the regular beat
Of evening death-watch.
• Maid,” the spirit cried,
• Here, robed in shadows, dwells Futurity.
There is no eye hath seen her secret form,
For round the Mother of Time eternal mists
Hover. If thou wouldst read the book of fate,
Go in on
The Damscl for a moment paused,
Then to the angel spake: “ All-gracious Heaven!
Benignant in withholding, hath denied
To man that knowledge. I, in faith assured,
That he, my heavenly Father, for the best
Ordaineth all things, in that faith remain
Contented.”
• Well and wisely hast thou said,"
So Theodore replied; “ and now, O Maid!
Is there amid this boundless universe
One whom thy soul would visit? Is there place
To memory dear, or vision'd out by hope,
Where thou wouldst now be present? Form the wish,
And I am with thee, there.”
His closing speech
Yet sounded on her ear, and lo! they stood
Swift as the sudden thought that guided them,
Within the little cottage that she loved.
• He sleeps! the good man sleeps!» enrapt she cried,
As bending o'er her uncle's lowly bed
Her eye retraced his features. “See the beads
Which never morn nor night he fails to tell,
Remembering me, his child, in every prayer.
Oh! quiet be thy sleep, thou dear old man!
Good angels guard thy rest' and when thine hour
Is come, as gently mayest thou wake to life,
As when through yonder lattice the next sun
Shall bid thee to thy morning orisons!”

• Thy voice is heard,” the angel guide rejoin'd,
• He sees thee in his dreams, he hears thee breathe
Blessings, and happy is the good man's rest.
Thy fame has reach'd him, for who has not heard
Thy wondrous exploits? and his aged heart
Hath felt the deepest joy that ever yet
Made his glad blood flow fast. Sleep on, old Claude!
Peaceful, pure spirit, be thy sojourn here,
And short and soon thy passage to that world
Where friends shall part no more
Does thy soul own

No other wish” or sleeps poor Madelon
Forgotten in her grave? . . . Seest thou yon star,”
The spirit pursued, regardless of her eye
That look'd reproach; a seest thou that evening star
Whose lovely light so often we beheld
From yonder woodbine porch” how have we gazed
Into the dark deep sky, till the baffled soul,
Lost in the infinite, return'd, and felt
The burthen of her bodily load, and yearn'd
For freedom! Maid, in yonder evening star
Lives thy departed friend. I read that glance,
And we are there!»

He said, and they had past
The immeasurable space.

Then on her ear

The lonely song of adoration rose,

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