waving of banners, the flourish of trumpets, the neighing of steeds,
and the glitter of spears! On the distant horizon they gleam like
the morning, when the gloom of the night shivers bright into day.
Hark! the tramp of the foemen, like the tide of the ocean, flows
onward and onward, and conquers the shore. From the brow of the
mountain, like the rush of a river, the column defiling melts into
Warriors of Judah! holy men that battle for the Lord! The land
wherein your fathers wept, and touched their plaintive psaltery;
the haughty city where your sires bewailed their cold and distant
hearth; your steeds are prancing on its plain, and you shall fill
its palaces. Warriors of Judah! Holy men that battle for the Lord!
March, onward march, ye valiant tribes, the hour has come, the
hour has come! All the promises of ages, all the signs of sacred
sages, meet in this ravishing hour. Where is now the oppressor’s
chariot, where your tyrant's purple robe? The horse and the rider
are both overthrown, the horse and the rider are both overthrown!
Rise, Rachel, from thy wilderness, arise, and weep no more.*
No more thy lonely palm-tree’s shade need shroud thy secret sorrowing.
The Lord hath heard the widow's sigh, the Lord hath stilled the
widow's tear. Be comforted, be comforted, thy children live again!
Yes! yes! upon the bounding plain fleet Asriel glances like a star,
and stout Scherirah shakes his spear by stern Jabaster's scimetar.
And He is there, the chosen one, hymned by prophetic harps, whose
life is like the morning dew on Sion's holy hill: the chosen one,
the chosen one, that leads his race to victory; warriors of Judah;
holy men that battle for the Lord! They come, they come, they come!
The ramparts of the city were crowded with the inhabitants, the
river sparkled with ten thousand boats, the bazaars were shut, the
streets lined with the populace, and the terrace of every house
covered with spectators. In the morning, Ithamar had entered with
his division and garrisoned the city. And now the vanguard of the
Hebrew army, after having been long distinguished in the distance,
approached the walls. A large body of cavalry dashed forward at
full speed from the main force. Upon a milk-white charger, and followed
by a glittering train of warriors, amid the shouts of the vast multitude,
Alroy galloped up to the gates.
He was received by Ithamar and the members of the deputation, but
Honain was not there. Accompanied by his staff and a strong detachment
of the Sacred Guard, Alroy was conducted through the principal thoroughfares
of the city, until he arrived at the chief entrance of the serail,
or palace, of the caliph. The vast portal conducted him into a large
quadrangular court, where be dismounted, and where he was welcomed
by the captain of the eunuch guard. Accompanied by his principal
generals and his immediate attendants, Alroy was then ushered through
a suite of apartments which reminded him of his visit with Honain,
until he arrived at the grand council-chamber of the caliphs.
The conqueror threw himself upon the gorgeous divan of the Commander
of the Faithful.
‘An easy seat after a long march,’ said Alroy, as he touched with
his lips the coffee, which the chief of the eunuchs presented to
him in a cup of transparent pink porcelain, studded with pearls.65
‘Ithamar, now for your report. What is the temper of the city? Where
is his sultanship of Roum?’
‘The city, sire, is calm, and I believe content. The sultan and
the caliph are still hovering on the borders of the province.'
‘So I supposed. Scherirah will settle that. Let the troops be encamped
without the walls, the garrison, ten thousand strong, must be changed
monthly. Ithamar, you are governor of the city: Asriel commands
the forces. Worthy Jabaster, draw up a report of the civil affairs
of the capital. Your quarters are the College of the Dervishes.
Brave Scherirah, I cannot afford you a long rest. In three days
you must have crossed the river with your division. It will be quick
work. I foresee that they will not fight. Meet me all here in council
by to-morrow's noon. Farewell.'
The chieftains retired, the high priest lingered.
‘Were it not an intrusion, sire, I would fain entreat a moment's
‘My own Jabaster, you have but to speak.'
‘Sire, I would speak of Abidan,*
as valiant a warrior as any in the host. It grieves me much, that
by some fatality, his services seem ever overlooked.'
‘Abidan! I know him well, a valiant man, but a dreamer, a dreamer.'
‘A dreamer, sire! Believe me, a true son of Israel, and one whose
faith is deep.'
‘Good Jabaster, we are all true sons of Israel. Yet let me have
men about me who see no visions in a mid-day sun. We must beware
'Dreams are the oracles of God.'
‘When God sends them. Very true, Jabaster. But this Abidan, and
the company with whom he consorts, are filled with high-flown notions,
caught from old traditions, which, if acted on, would render government
impracticable, in a word, they are dangerous men.'
‘The very flower of Israel! Some one has poisoned your sacred ear
‘No one, worthy Jabaster. I have no counsellor except yourself.
They may be the flower of Israel, but they are not the fruit. Good
warriors, bad subjects: excellent means, by which we may accomplish
greater ends. I'll have no dreamers in authority. I must have practical
men about me, practical men. See how Abner, Asriel, Ithamar, Medad,*
see how these conform to what surrounds them, yet invincible captains,
invincible captains. But then they are practical men, Jabaster;
they have eyes and use them. They know the difference of times and
seasons. But this Abidan, he has no other thought but the rebuilding
of the temple: a narrow-souled bigot, who would sacrifice the essence
to the form. The rising temple soon would fall again with such constructors.
Why, sir, what think you, this same Abidan preached in the camp
against my entry into what the quaint fanatic chooses to call Babylon,
because he had seen what he calls a vision.’
‘There was a time your Majesty thought not so ill of visions.’
‘Am I Abidan, sir? Are other men to mould their conduct or their
thoughts by me? In this world I stand alone, a being of a different
order from yourselves, incomprehensible even to you. Let this matter
cease. I'll hear no more, and have heard too much. To-morrow at
The high priest withdrew in silence.
‘He is gone; at length I am alone.*
I cannot bear the presence of these men, except in action. Their
words, even their looks, disturb the still creation of my brooding
thought. I am once more alone, and loneliness hath been the cradle
of my empire. Now I do feel inspired. There needs no mummery now
to work a marvel.
‘The sceptre of Solomon! It may be so. What then? Here's now the
sceptre of Alroy. What’s that without his mind? The legend said
that none should free our people but he who bore the sceptre of
great Solomon. The legend knew that none could gain that sceptre,
but with a mind to whose supreme volition the fortunes of the world
would bow like fate. I gained it; I confronted the spectre monarchs
in their sepulchre; and the same hand that grasped their shadowy
rule hath seized the diadem of the mighty caliphs by the broad rushing
of their imperial river.
‘The world is mine: and shall I yield the prize, the universal
and heroic prize, to realise the dull tradition of some dreaming
priest, and consecrate a legend? He conquered Asia, and he built
the temple. Are these my annals? Shall this quick blaze of empire
sink to a glimmering and a twilight away over some petty province,
the decent patriarch of a pastoral horde? Is the Lord of hosts so
slight a God, that we must place a barrier to His sovereignty, and
fix the boundaries of Omnipotence between the Jordan and the Lebanon?
It is not thus written: and were it so, I'll pit my inspiration
against the prescience of my ancestors. I also am a prophet, and
Bagdad shall be my Sion. The Daughter of the Voice! Well, I am clearly
summoned. I am the Lord’s servant, not Jabaster’s. Let me make His
worship universal as His power; and where's the priest shall dare
impugn my faith, because His altars smoke on other hills than those
‘I must see Honain. That man has a great mind. He alone can comprehend
my purpose. Universal empire must not be founded on sectarian prejudices
and exclusive rights. Jabaster would massacre the Moslemin like
Amalek; the Moslemin, the vast majority, and most valuable portion,
of my subjects. He would depopulate my empire, that it might not
be said that Ishmael shared the heritage of Israel. Fanatic! I’ll
send him to conquer Judah. We must conciliate. Something must be
done to bind the conquered to our conquering fortunes. That bold
Sultan of Roum: I wish Abner had opposed him. To run off with the
harem! I have half a mind to place myself at the head of the pursuing
force, and—Passion and policy alike combine: and yet Honain
is the man; I might send him on a mission. Could we make terms?
I detest treaties. My fancy flies from all other topics. I must
see him. Could I but tell him all I think! This door, whither leads
it? Hah! methinks I do remember yon glittering gallery! No one in
attendance. The discipline of our palace is somewhat lax. My warriors
are no courtiers. What an admirable marshal of the palace Honain
would make! Silence everywhere. So! ’tis well. These saloons I have
clearly passed through before. Could I but reach the private portal
by the river side, unseen or undetected! ’Tis not impossible. Here
are many dresses. I will disguise myself. Trusty scimetar, thou
hast done thy duty, rest awhile. ’Tis lucky I am beardless. I shall
make a capital eunuch. So! a handsome robe. One dagger for a pinch,
slippers powdered with pearls,66
a caftan of cloth of gold, a Cashmere girdle, and a pelisse of sables.
One glance at the mirror. Good! I begin to look like the conqueror
of the world!’