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"O fools and mad!" your Christians cry;
Yet wise, methinks, are those who die:
For me,—if Juggernaut were God,—
Rather than writhe beneath his rod;
Rather than live his devotee,
And bow to such a brute the knee;
Rather than be his favourite priest,
Wallow in wantonness, and feast
On tears and blood, on groans and cries,
The fume and fat of sacrifice;
Rather than share his love, or wrath,
I'd fling my carcass in his path,
And almost bless his name to feel
The murdering mercy of his wheel!

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No. III.


There was in Christendom, of yore,—
And would to heaven it were no more!—
There was an Inquisition-Court,
Where priestcraft made the demons sport.
Priestcraft—in form a giant monk,
With wine of Rome's pollutions drunk,
Like captive Samson, bound and blind,
In chains and darkness of the mind—
There show' d such feats of strength and skill
As made it charity to kill,
And well the blow of death might pass
For what he call'd it—coup de grace;
While, in his little hell on earth,
The foul fiends quaked amidst their mirth:
But not like him, who to the skies
Turn'd the dark embers of his eyes,
(Where lately burn'd a fire divine,
Where still it burn'd, but could not shine,')

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And one by violence of prayer

(Hope's dying accents in despair),

Power to demolish, from its base,

Dagon's proud fane, on Dagon's race;

Not thus like Samson (false of heart,

The tonsured juggler play'd his part,

God's law in God's own name made void,

Men for their Saviour's sake destroy'd,

Made pure religion his pretence

To rid the earth of innocence;

While spirits from the infernal flood

Cool'd their parch'd tongues in martyrs' blood,

And half forgot their stings and flames

In conning, at those hideous games,

Lessons,—which he who taught should know

How well they had been learn'd below.

Among the engines of his power
Most dreaded in the trying hour,
When impotent were fire and steel,
All but almighty was the Wheel,
Whose harrowing revolution wrung
Confession from the slowest tongue;
From joints unlock'd made secrets start,
Twined with the cordage of the heart;
From muscles in convulsion drew
Knowledge the sufferer never knew;
From failing flesh, in Nature's spite,
Brought deeds that ne'er were done to light;
From snapping sinews wrench'd the lie,
That gain'd the victim leave to die;
When, self-accused, condemn'd at length,
His only crime was want of strength;
From holy hands with joy he turn'd,
And kiss'd the stake at which he burn'd.
But from the man, of soul sublime,
Who lived above the world of time,
Fervent in faith, in conscience clear,
Who knew to love,—but not to fear;

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When every artifice of pain
Was wasted on his limbs in vain,
And baffled cruelty could find
No hidden passage to his mind,
The Wheel extorted nought in death
Except forgiveness, and his breath.

Such a victorious death to die
Were prompt translation to the sky:—
Yet, with the weakest, I would meet
Racks, scourges, flames, and count them sweet;
Nay, might I choose, I would not 'scape
"The question," put in any shape.
Rather than sit in judgment there,
Where the false prophet fills the chair:
Rather than turn his torturing Wheel,
Give me its utmost stretch to feel.

No. IV.


Escaped from ancient battle-field,
Though neither with nor on my shield:
Escaped—how terribe the thought
Even of escape!—from Juggernaut;
Escaped from tenfold worse perdition,
In dungeons of the Inquisition;
O with what ecstasy I stand
Once more on Albion's refuge-land!

O with what gratitude I bare
My bosom to that island-air,
Which tyrants gulp and cease to be,
Which slaves inhale and slaves are free!
For though the wheels, behind my back,
Still seem to rumble in my track,
Their sound is music on the breeze;

1 dare them all to cross the seas:—

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The living, that, forewarn'd of fate,
Conscience may force them, ere too late,
Those Wheels of infamy to shun,
Which thousands touch, and are undone:

There,—built by legislative hands,
On Christian ground, an altar stands,—
"Stands? gentle Poet, tell me where!"
Go to Guildhall:—" It stands not there f
True; 'tis my brain that raves and reels
Whene'er it turns on Lottery Wheels:
Such things in youth can I recall,
Nor think of thee,—of thee, Guildhall?
Where erst I play'd with glittering schemes,
And lay entranced in golden dreams. *
Bright round my head those bubbles broke,
Poorer from every dream I 'woke;
Wealth came,—but not the wealth I sought;
Wisdom was wealth to me; and taught
My feet to miss thy gates,—that lay,
Like toll-bars on the old "broad way,"
Where pilgrims paid—O grief to tell!—

, Tribute for going down to hell.

Long on thy floor an altar stood,
To human view unstain'd with blood,
But red and foul in Heaven's pure eyes,

'Groaning with infant sacrifice,

From year to year;—till sense or shame,
Or some strange cause without a name,—
'Twas not the cry of innocence,—
Drove such abomination thence:
Thence drove it,—but destroy^ it not;
It blackens some obscurer spot;
Obscurer,—yet so well defined,
Thither the blind may lead the blind,
While heralds shout in every ear,
"This is the temple,—worship here."
Thither the deaf may read their way;
Tis plain; —to find it, go astray!

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