OWHEREFORE was I born? or on the day
That gave these eyes the light—these nostrils breath,
Why did not pangs of infant misery lay
The little sufferer in the bed of DEATH?
Born but to pine, I live but to lament,
Long nights of terror following days of pain;
Ev’n now the STARS start from the firmament!
And shower around me in a burning rain!
The scorpion fiend of ANGUISH, robed in snakes,
Leads on his GOULES,* a grim and grizly band:
All nature groans—wide rends the opening earth,
And on the trembling precipice I stand!
Dark vapors rise! the SUN expires in gloom:
A hollow blast along the valley howls;
Deep thunders roar; while from HELL’s lab’ring womb,
Burst the wild wailings of despondent souls.
Midst a sulphureous gleam of livid light,
Half-clouded met mine eye a giant form:
Then, wrapt in shades of more than tenfold night,
These fearful words he pour’d amidst the storm.
‘While rage the horrors of yon dreadful scene,
Where fiends unnumber’d madd’ning wing their way,
Say, canst thou sit all careless and serene,
A pleased spectator of th’infernal fray?
‘Or wooe with rapture to thine eager arms,
The fury forms obscene that round thee roar:
In each dire visage view immortal charms,
And bid angelic beauties bloom no more?
‘Yet thus, the mind, by sensual sorcery caught,
Quaffs the black venom of profoundest hell;
And mid fierce whirlwinds of distemper’d thought,
Hears with wild joy the fiends infuriate yell:
‘The fiends of passion, of untamed desire,
That roll a torrent of consuming fire,
O’er every fleeting bliss of human life.
‘Till thou the love of all on earth forego,
And with disgust even life itself resign:
Such torturing tempests shall thy bosom know,
FATE form’d the dire decree, the lot is thine.’
Here ceased the KENGOSH:* thro’ my trembling frame
Dismay with horror froze each vital power:
Scarce could my tongue pronounce thy sacred name,
Great GOD of MERCY! in that awful hour.
Where then—Oh! where shall I a refuge find?
Where seek that peace my soul has learnt to prize?
O blest CREATOR! snatch me from mankind,
To hail with Saints thy GLORY in the skies.
Presumptuous wish, extravagant and vain!
All gracious ALLAH! hear a humble prayer:
Instruct my heart those VIRTUES to obtain;
Thro’ which alone thy servants enter there.