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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,
The high soul of freedom, the courage of truth.
See! o'er his warm features and round his fair head,
A glory divine seems its radiance to shed;
And that eye's coruscation, so rapid and bright,
Shoots deep to the soul, like an arrow of light;
Not even the monarch its frenzy can brook,
But he bows to the prophet, averting his look:
For the Spirit of God on that prophet is shed,
The page of the future before him is spread;
In his high-panting heart what rapt fervour he feels,
While the truths that inspire him his language reveals!

"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
Gained thy homage-the right of Jehovah alone?
Why yet glows thy heart with idolatrous fire,
Untaught by the judgments that humbled thy sire,
When driven to herd with the beasts of the wild,
Till his pride was subdued and his spirit grew mild?
Now call on thy idols thy arms to prepare—
They see not thy peril, they hear not thy prayer.
Where now is thy Belus, when Babylon calls,

To scathe the proud foes that beleaguer thy walls?
Consumed by that breath which all might can confound,
His shrines and his temples now smoke on the ground:
While thy haughty blasphemings against the Most High
Invoke an avenger—and, lo! he is nigh.

This night-nay, this hour-the last sand in thy glass
Away with thy life and thy kingdom shall pass.
In that writing behold the eternal decree,-
The sentence of God on thy empire and thee:
Thou art weighed in the balance of Justice supreme,
And light art thou found as the dust on the beam;
The wind of destruction to empty thy land,
And the fanners, to fan her with fire, are at hand.
Afar from thy ramparts, Euphrates aside,

In the lake of the Queen, is now rolling his tide;
And through his dried channel the keen Persian lance,
With the red torch of ruin, and Cyrus advance.
E'en now shouts of triumph are rending the air,
The revels of joy turn to shrieks of despair.
Hark! the din at the gates of the hostile array!
The fierce axe of battle is hewing its way;

Thy captains and nobles are falling in gore,

And thy reign and thy life, hapless monarch, are o'er!"




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

ling spars

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
As vouchers for our story, and mementos of this day!
Once more then to the grottoes! gather each one all he


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!
To Pelissier sing praises! praises sing to bold Bugeaud!
Lit up by last night's blazes to all time their names will

Cry "Conquer, kill, and ravage!" Never ask, "Who, what, or where?"

If civilized or savage, never heed, but-Vive la Guerre.


For explanation see Prose Extracts, p. 28.

Alfred Tennyson was born at his father's parsonage in Lincolnshire, in 1810. He was appointed Poet Laureate on the death of Wordsworth.

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