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THE DESTRUCTION OF BABEL.
Forth walked the king upon the terraced height
Of Babel ;—forth he walked, and saw how fair
Shone all its palaces, its hanging groves,
Its massy sculptures, and its waters broad
Beating its walls, and glad with many a sail.
And as his eye now upward glanced, and viewed
The heaven-ascending tower— his wondrous work,
And downwards whence the hum of myriads came--
Proudly his heart did question of itself,
As one long after on the self-same spot
“Is not this Babel, that my hand hath built
For the great house of my unbounded realm,
And for the honour of my majesty?”.
Oh! 't was a glorious scene !—Throughout the earth Lay one wide solitude. No people now Did till its flood-depopulated fields, – But here, the work of his imperial power,
Babel arose, sole city of the earth,
Sole home of man, the mother of all realms;
And through its wide fair streets, and on its roofs,
And up its marble flight of many steps
Streamed its gay population all abroad,
Gold-sandalled, silken-robed, the festival
Holding of great Nehushtan, serpent-god,
Whose vast form, wreathed upon his pillared height,
Gleamed o'er the city far. Glad was the king,
And gladly did he smile, as on he trod
Amid the city crowd ; when, lo! his eye
Fell on a form at which his mien grew dark.
To and fro paced, with hoary, streaming beard,
And in his girdled robe of camelet,
That wild shape, with stern air, and downward eyes;
And ever as the light and laughing crowd
Drew near,— they started wide, with sudden hush
And livid lips, that scarce could breath the name
Of Hud! the fearful Hud! Not so the king !
He saw him, and he forward sprang, and cried
“Oh prophet! hast thou left thy reedy bed,
Thy ghastly cave beside the desert Frat,
Once more to look abroad with envious eyes;
Once more to tell us thy perpetual tale
Of a destruction that doth never come ?
Seest thou that thousand-times-denounced tower ?
How gloriously it stands, and soars aloft
Into heaven's shine, and soon shall reach its height!
Seest thou these guardian gods—these happy crowds --
And dost thou feel no shame?” Then flashed the eye
Of the old prophet sternly, and he spoke :-
“I see thy tower - I see thy guardian gods-
I see these happy crowds -- and yet I come
To tell once more that oft-repeated tale.
Yet what have I to say which was not said
By Noah to the nations ere the flood ?
And what are all thy merry mockeries,
But such as fell through many a patient year
On him ?— And yet it came !- the deluge came!
Oh monarch! what dost thou, that was not done
By the Zamzummin,— by the Nephelim,-
Gigantic monsters, in their impious might
Who vainly hoped, in their huge mountain towers,
God to defy, as they had conquered men ?
Hast thou not fought, and slaughtered, and laid waste ?
Hast thou not crushed thy fellows to thy yoke ?
Hast thou not filled them with a foolish fear
Of thy brute gods,—and made them pile thy towers -
Thy elephantine towers, with servile hands;
And now dost hope to scale the very heavens
With that vain structure? What! think'st thou that God
Quenched all his burning thunders in the flood,
And now will calmly bear thy taunting pride?
I tell thee, nay, they come!” Then laughed the king,
And many a voice did cry—“Where? where?
Good prophet, tell us where?” And then he turned,