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The Scourge Of Heaven.
by [?]

The star-king set. The sea, it seemed to hold
In the calm mirror this live globe of gold,
This world, the soul and torchbearer of our own.
In the red sky, and in the purple streak,
Like friendly kings who would each other seek,
Two meeting suns were shown.

“Shall I not stop?” exclaimed the impatient cloud.
“Seek!” trembling Tabor heard the voice of God.


Sand, sand, and still more sand!
The desert! Fearful land!
Teeming with monsters dread
And plagues on every hand!
Here in an endless flow,
Sandhills of golden glow,
Where’er the tempests blow,
Like a great flood are spread.
Sometimes the sacred spot
Hears human sounds profane, when
As from Ophir or from Memphre
Stretches the caravan.
From far the eyes, its trail
Along the burning shale
Bending its wavering tail,
Like a mottled serpent scan.
These deserts are of God!
His are the bounds alone,
Here, where no feet have trod,
To Him its centre known!
And from this smoking sea
Veiled in obscurity,
The foam one seems to see
In fiery ashes thrown.

“Shall desert change to lake?” cried out the cloud.
“Still further!” from heaven’s depths sounded that Voice aloud.


Like tumbled waves, which a huge rock surround;
Like heaps of ruined towers which strew the ground,
See Babel now deserted and dismayed!
Huge witness to the folly of mankind;
Four distant mountains when the moonlight shined
Seem covered with its shade.

O’er miles and miles the shattered ruins spread
Beneath its base, from captive tempests bred,
The air seemed filled with harmony strange and dire;
While swarmed around the entire human race
A future Babel, on the world’s whole space
Fixed its eternal spire.

Up to the zenith rose its lengthening stair,
While each great granite mountain lent a share
To form a stepping base;
Height upon height repeated seemed to rise,
For pyramid on pyramid the strained eyes
Saw take their ceaseless place.

Through yawning walls huge elephants stalked by;
Under dark pillars rose a forestry,
Pillars by madness multiplied;
As round some giant hive, all day and night,
Huge vultures, and red eagles’ wheeling flight
Was through each porch descried.

“Must I complete it?” said the angered cloud.
“On still!” “Lord, whither?” groaned it, deep not loud.


Two cities, strange, unknown in history’s page,
Up to the clouds seemed scaling, stage by stage,
Noiseless their streets; their sleeping inmates lie,
Their gods, their chariots, in obscurity!
Like sisters sleeping ‘neath the same moonlight,
O’er their twin towers crept the shades of night,
Whilst scarce distinguished in the black profound,
Stairs, aqueducts, great pillars, gleamed around,
And ruined capitals: then was seen a group
Of granite elephants ‘neath a dome to stoop,
Shapeless, giant forms to view arise,
Monsters around, the spawn of hideous ties!
Then hanging gardens, with flowers and galleries:
O’er vast fountains bending grew ebon-trees;
Temples, where seated on their rich tiled thrones,
Bull-headed idols shone in jasper stones;
Vast halls, spanned by one block, where watch and stare
Each upon each, with straight and moveless glare,
Colossal heads in circles; the eye sees
Great gods of bronze, their hands upon their knees.
Sight seemed confounded, and to have lost its powers,
‘Midst bridges, aqueducts, arches, and round towers,
Whilst unknown shapes fill up the devious views
Formed by these palaces and avenues.
Like capes, the lengthening shadows seem to rise
Of these dark buildings, pointed to the skies,
Immense entanglement in shroud of gloom!
The stars which gleamed in the empyrean dome,
Under the thousand arches in heaven’s space
Shone as through meshes of the blackest lace.
Cities of hell, with foul desires demented,
And monstrous pleasures, hour by hour invented!
Each roof and home some monstrous mystery bore!
Which through the world spread like a twofold sore!
Yet all things slept, and scarce some pale late light
Flitted along the streets through the still night,
Lamps of debauch, forgotten and alone,
The feast’s lost fires left there to flicker on;
The walls’ large angles clove the light-lengthening shades
‘Neath the white moon, or on some pool’s face played.
Perchance one heard, faint in the plain beneath,
The kiss suppressed, the mingling of the breath;
And the two sister cities, tired of heat,
In love’s embrace lay down in murmurs sweet!
Whilst sighing winds the scent of sycamore
From Sodom to Gomorrah softly bore!
Then over all spread out the blackened cloud,
“‘Tis here!” the Voice on high exclaimed aloud.