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A Hebrew, a prophet-to him it is given
To read and resolve the dark counsels of Heaven.
"Oh haste! let that sage this strange secret unfold, And his be my power with the purple and gold.”
While the king and his nobles, distracted in thought, Their doubts are revolving, the captive is brought; But not in that visage and not in that eye
A captive's dejection and gloom they descry:
For he breathes, as he moves, all the ardour of youth,
"Thy gifts, king, I reck not; now, now is the hour, When the spoiler shall come-when the sword must devour!
Oh, why have cursed idols of wood and of stone
To scathe the proud foes that beleaguer thy walls?
This night-nay, this hour-the last sand in thy glass
In the lake of the Queen, is now rolling his tide;
Thy captains and nobles are falling in gore,
And thy reign and thy life, hapless monarch, are o'er!"
XVI.—THE CAVES OF DAHRA; OR, "VIVE LA GUERRE.”
A WAR-SONG FOR THE FRENCH IN ALGIERS.
For explanation see Prose Extracts, pp. 26 and 70.
DAHRA's caverns hidden hide the Arabs, and delay To yield when they are bidden: so cries brave Pelissier,"Bring fagots of fierce fuel! Frenchmen checked by Arab slaves!
We'll have a vengeance cruel! Roast them in their sacred caves !
We'll make their fond trust falter! Cast in fagots! Let them flare,
Till vengeance hath an altar fitly furnished! Vive la Guerre!"
Rush the sparks in rapid fountains up abroad into the sky! From the bases of the mountains leap the forked flames mountains high!
The flames,-like devils thirsting, like the wind, when crack
Wage hellish warfare, worsting all the still, astonished stars! Ply the furnace, fling the fagots! lo, the flames writhe, rush, and tear!
And a thousand writhe like maggots in among them! Vive la Guerre!
A mighty wind is blowing t'wards the cavern's gaping mouth;
The clear, hot flames are flowing in and out, to glut its drouth;
Flames with winds roar, rave, and battle-wildly battle, rave, and roar ;
And cries of men and cattle through the turmoil sadly soar. We are pale! What! Shall a trifle, a sad sound, our bold hearts scare?
'Tis long before they stifle! Bring more fagots! Vive la Guerre!
With night began the burning; look where yonder comes the day!
Hark! signals for adjourning our brave sport. We must obey.
But be sure the slaves are weary !—as the short and sob-like sigh
Of gusts on moorlands dreary float their sinking voices by ;No sound comes now of shrieking;-let us show what Frenchmen dare!
Force the caves, through vapours reeking like a kitchen! Vive la Guerre!
What's this-and this? Pah! sick'ning, whether woman, man, or beast.
Let us on.
The fumes are thick'ning!-here's that hath shape at least.
How its horny eyes are staring on that infant seeking food From its broad brown breast, still bearing smoke-dried stains
of milk and blood!
At our work do any wonder, saying, "Frenchmen love the fair?"
Such "fair?" Ha! ha! they blunder who thus twit us! Vive la Guerre!
What's that, so tall and meagre -Nay, bold Frenchmen, do not shrink!
'Tis a corpse, with features eager jammed for air into a chink. Whence is that hysteric sobbing?-nay, bold Frenchmen, do not draw!
'Tis an Arab's parched throat throbbing. Frenchmen love sweet mercy's law;—
Make way there! Give him breathing! How he smiles to feel the air!
His breath seems incense wreathing to sweet Mercy! Vive la Guerre!
And now, to crown our glory, get we trophies to display
Blistered blade with Arab mottoes, spear head, bloody yata
Give room now to the raven and the dog, who scent rich fare;
And let these words be graven on the rock side--" Vive la Guerre!"
The trumpet sounds for marching! on, alike amid sweet meads,
Morass, or desert parching, wheresoe'er our captain leads!
Cry "Conquer, kill, and ravage!" Never ask, "Who, what, or where?"
If civilized or savage, never heed, but-Vive la Guerre.