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The Vision Of The Maid Of Orleans: The Second Book
by [?]

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, tho’ the courtly minion’s lyre
Hath hymn’d his praise, tho’ Maro sung to him,
And when Death levelled to original clay
The royal carcase, FLATTERY, fawning low,
Fell at his feet, and worshipped the new God.
Titus [3] was here, the Conqueror of the Jews,
He the Delight of human-kind misnamed;
Caesars 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 eyes,
For I am he whose bloody victories
Thy power hath rendered vain. Lo! I am here,
The hero conqueror of Azincour,
HENRY OF ENGLAND!–wretched that I am,
I might have reigned 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, tho’ 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 caus’d
Of wretchedness, shall form ONE BROTHERHOOD,

[Footnote 1: In the former edition I had substituted ‘cable’ instead of ‘camel’. The alteration would not be worth noticing were it not for the circumstance which occasioned it. ‘Facilius elephas per foramen acus’, is among the Hebrew adages collected by Drusius; the same metaphor is found in two other Jewish proverbs, and this appears to determine the signification of [Greek (transliterated): chamaelos]. Matt. 19. 24.]

[Footnote 2: The same idea, and almost the same words are in an old play by John Ford. The passage is a very fine one:

Ay, you are wretched, miserably wretched,
Almost condemn’d alive! There is a place,
(List daughter!) in a black and hollow vault,
Where day is never seen; there shines no sun,
But flaming horror of consuming fires;
A lightless sulphur, choak’d with smoaky foggs
Of an infected darkness. In this place
Dwell many thousand thousand sundry sorts
Of never-dying deaths; there damned souls
Roar without pity, there are gluttons fed
With toads and adders; there is burning oil
Pour’d down the drunkard’s throat, ‘the usurer
Is forced to sup whole draughts of molten gold’;
There is the murderer for ever stabb’d,
Yet can he never die; there lies the wanton
On racks of burning steel, whilst in his soul
He feels the torment of his raging lust.

”Tis Pity she’s a Whore.’

I wrote this passage when very young, and the idea, trite as it is, was new to me. It occurs I believe in most descriptions of hell, and perhaps owes its origin to the fate of Crassus.

After this picture of horrors, the reader may perhaps be pleased with one more pleasantly fanciful:

O call me home again dear Chief! and put me
To yoking foxes, milking of he-goats,
Pounding of water in a mortar, laving
The sea dry with a nutshell, gathering all
The leaves are fallen this autumn–making ropes of sand,
Catching the winds together in a net,
Mustering of ants, and numbering atoms, all
That Hell and you thought exquisite torments, rather
Than stay me here a thought more. I would sooner
Keep fleas within a circle, and be accomptant
A thousand year which of ’em, and how far
Outleap’d the other, than endure a minute
Such as I have within.

B. JONSON. ‘The Devil is an Ass.’]

[Footnote 3: During the siege of Jerusalem, “the Roman commander, ‘with a generous clemency, that inseparable attendant on true heroism, ‘laboured incessantly, and to the very last moment, to preserve the place. With this view, he again and again intreated the tyrants to surrender and save their lives. With the same view also, after carrying the second wall the siege was intermitted four days: to rouse their fears, ‘prisoners, to the number of five hundred, or more were crucified daily before the walls; till space’, Josephus says, ‘was wanting for the crosses, and crosses for the captives’.”

From the Hampton Lectures of RALPH CHURTON.

If any of my readers should enquire why Titus Vespasian, the Delight of Mankind, is placed in such a situation,–I answer, for “HIS GENEROUS CLEMENCY, THAT INSEPARABLE ATTENDANT ON TRUE HEROISM!]