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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1715. Robert Southey to Walter Savage Landor, [25/26 November 1809] ⁠* 

22.

The strong foundations of the inmost Earth
Rest upon Padalon. That icy mound
Which girt the mortal Ocean round
Reachd the profound;
Ice in the region of the upper air.
Crystal midway, & adamant below,
Whose strength sufficed to bear
The weight of all this upper world of ours,
And with its rampart closd to the Realm of Woe.
Eight gates hath Padalon, eight heavenly Powers
Have them in charge, each alway at his post,
Lest from their penal caves the accursed host
Maugre the might of Bali & the God
Should break & carry ruin all abroad.

Those gates stand ever open, night & day,
And Souls of mortal men
For ever throng the way.
Some from the dolorous den
Children of sin & wrath, no more return.
Others whose deeds create
For them a happier fate,
Pass joyfully beyond this glowing bourn
The dread sojourn
Of guilt & twin-born punishment & woe,
And wild remorse, here linkd with worse despair,
They to the Eastern Gate rejoicing go,
The Ship of Heaven awaits their coming there,
And on they sail, greeting the blessed light
Thro realms of upper air,
Bound for the Swerga once. But now no more
Their voyage rests upon that happy shore,
Since Indra by the dreadful Rajahs might
Compelld hath taken flight:
On to the second World their way they wend;
And there in trembling hope await the doubtful end.

Yet still in them doth Hope predominate
Faiths precious privilege, while higher Powers
Give way to fear in these portentous hours.
Behold the Wardens eight,
Each silent at his gate
Expectant stands! They turn their anxious eyes
Within, & listening to the distant din
Of mutinous uproar, each in all his hands
Holds all his weapons, ready for the fight.
For hark! what clamorous cries
Upon Kehama for deliverance vile!
Come Rajah! they exclaim, too long to groan
In torments. Come Deliverer! yonder throne
Awaits thee, – now Kehama – Rajah now,
Earthly Almighty wherefore tarriest thou?
Such were the sound which rung in wild uproar
Oer all the echoing vaults of Padalon,
And as the asuras from the brazen floor
Struggling against their fetters, strove to rise,
Their clashing chains were heard, & shrieks & cries
With curses mixd, against the Fiends who urge
Fierce on their rebel limbs the avenging scourge.

These were the sounds which at the Southern gate
Assaild Ereenias ear. Alighting here
He laid before Neroodi’s feet the Maid
Who pale & cold with fear
Hung on his neck, well nigh a lifeless weight.

Who & what art thou, cried the Guardian Power
Sight so unwonted wondering to behold,
O Son of Light!
Who comest here at this portentous hour,
When Yamens throne
Trembles, & all our might can scarce keep down
The rebel race from seizing Padalon!
Who & what art thou? & what wild despair
Or wilder hope, from realms of upper air
Tempts thee to bear
This mortal Maid to our forlorn abode?
Fitter for her I ween the Swerga Bowers
And sweet society of Heavenly Powers
Than this, a doleful scene,
Even in securest hours.
And whither would ye go?
Alas! can human or celestial ear
Unmaddend hear
The shrieks & yellings of infernal woe.
Can living flesh & blood
Endure the passage of the Fiery Flood!

Lord of the Gate, replied the Glendoveer
We come obedient to the will of Fate
And happy doomd to bring
Hope & salvation to the Infernal King,
For Seeva sends us here.
Even He to whom futurity is known
The Holiest bade us go to Yamens throne
Thou seest my precious charge.
With thee secure from harm, I leave her
While I ascend to bear her father down.
Beneath the shelter of thy arm receive her!

Then quoth he to the Maid
Be of good chear my Kalyal! dearest dear
In faith subdue thy dread,
Anon I shall be here. So having said,
Aloft with vigorous bound the Glendoveer,
Sprung in celestial might,
And soaring up in spiral circles wound
His indefatigable flight.

But as he thus departed,
The Maid who at Neroodi’s feet was lying
Like one entranced or dying,
Recovering strength from sudden terror started
And gazing after him with straining sight
And straining arms she stood
As if in attitude
To woo him back from flight.
Yea she had shapd his name
For utterance, to recall & bid him stay
Nor leave her thus alone; but virtuous shame
Repressd the unbidden sounds upon their way,
And calling faith to aid
Even in that fearful hour the pious Maid
Collected courage, till she seemd to be
Calm & in hope, such power hath piety.
Before the Giant Keeper of the Gate
She crost her patient arms, & at his feet
Prepared to meet
The aweful will of Fate with equal mind
She took her seat resignd.

Even the stern trouble of Neroodis brow
Relaxd as he beheld the valiant Maid.
Hope long unfelt till now
Rose in his heart reviving, & a smile
Dawnd in his brightening countenance the while
He gazd on her with wonder & delight
The blessing of the Powers of the Padalon,
Virgin, be on thee! cried the admiring God,
And blessed be the hour that gave thee birth
Daughter of Earth!
For thou to this forlorn abode hast brought
Hope who too long hath been a stranger here.
And certes for no lamentable lot
Natures, who erreth not,
To thee that heart of fortitude hath given
Those eyes of purity, that face of love,
There is no truth above
If thou be’est not the inheritrix of heaven.

Thus as Naroodi spake, his brow severe
Shone with an inward joy; for sure he thought
When Seeva sent so fair a creature here
In this momentous hour
Ere long the Worlds deliverance would be wrought
And Padalon escape the Rajahs power
With pious mind the Maid, in humble guise
Inclin’d, receivd his blessing silently,
And raisd her grateful eyes
A moment, then again
Abas’d them at his presence. Hark! on high
The sound of coming wings: her anxious ears
Have caught the distant sound. Ereenia brings
His burden down. Up starting from her seat
How joyfully she rears
Her eager head! & scarce upon the ground
Ladurlads giddy feet their footing found,
When with her trembling arms she clasps him round
No word of greeting
Nor other sign of joy at that strange meeting
Expectant of their fate,
Silent & hand in hand,
Before the Imperial Gate
The Father & his heavenly Daughter stand

Then to Neroodi said the Glendoveer,
No heaven-born eer hath visited
This region drear & dread, but I the first
Who tread the World accurst.
Lord of the Gate to whom these realms are known
Direct my fated way to Yamens throne

Bring forth my chariot, Carmala! quoth
The Keeper of the way –
It was the Car wherein
On Yamens festal day
When all the Powers of Hell attend their King,
Yearly to Yamenpur did he repair
To pay his homage there
Poisd on a single wheel it movd along
Instinct with motion: by what wonderous skill
Compact, no human tongue could tell
Nor human wit devise; but on that wheel
Moving or still,
As if an inward life sustaind its weight
Supported stood the Car of miracle.

Then Carmela brought forth two mantles wide
As the swans breast, & bright as mountain snow
When from the wintry sky
The Sun, late-rising shines upon the height
And willing vapours fill the vale below
Not without pain the unacustomd sight
That brightness could sustain,
For neither mortal stain
Nor parts corruptible remain,
Nor aught that time could touch or force destroy
In that pure web whereof the robes were wrought.
So long had it in tenfold fires been tried,
And blanchd & to that brightness purified.
Apparelld thus alone,
Children of Earth, Neroodi cried
In safety may ye pass to Yamens throne.
Thus only can your living flesh & blood
Endure the passage of the Fiery Flood.

Of other frame, O Son of Heaven, art thou,
Yet hast thou now to go
Thro regions which thy heavenly mould will try.
Glory unutterably bright I know,
And beams intense of empyrean light
Thine eye divine can bear. But fires of woe
The sight of torments, & the cry
Of absolute despair,
Might not these things dismay thee on thy flight,
And thy strong pennons flag & fail thee then?
Trust not thy good heart, which horror might assail
And pity quail.
Pity, in these abodes of no avail.
But take thy seat this mortal pair beside,
And Carmela the infernal car will guide,
Go, & may happy end your way betide!
So as he spake the self-movd Car rolld on,
And lo! they pass the Gate of Padalon.

____

23.

___

Whoeer hath lovd with venturous step to tread
The chamber dread
Of some deep cave, & see his tapers beam
Lost in the arch of darkness overhead,
And mark its gleam
Playing afar upon the silent stream.
Where from their secret bed
And course unknown & inaccessible
The sunless waters well:
Whoeer hath trod such caves of endless night,
When measuring back the way
He knows with what delight refreshd his eye
Perceives the shadow of the light of day,
Thro the far portal slanting where it falls
Dimly reflected on the watry walls
How heavenly seems the sky
And how with quickened feet he hastens up,
Eager again to greet
The living World & blessed sunshine there,
And drink as from a cup
Of joy, with thirsty lips the open air

Far other light than that of day there shone
Upon the travellers entering Padalon
They too in darkness entered on their way,
But far before the Car
A glow as of a fiery furnace light
Fill’d all before them. Twas a light which made
Darkness itself appear
A thing of comfort, & the sight dismayd
Shrunk inward from the molten atmosphere.
Their way was thro the adamantine rock
Which girt the World of Woe; on either side
Its massive walls arose, & overhead
Archd the long passage. Onward as they ride
With stronger glare the light around them spread
And lo! the regions dread
The World of Woe before them, opening wide.

There rolls the Fiery Flood
Girding the realms of Padalon around.
A sea of flame it seemd to be
Sea without bound
For neither mortal nor immortal sight
Could pierce across thro that intensest light.
A single rib of steel
Keen as the edge of keenest scymetar
Spread this wide gulph of fire. The infernal Car
Rolld to the gulph, & on its single wheel
Self-balanced rose upon that edge of steel.
Red quivering float the vapours overhead,
The fiery gulph beneath them spread,
Tosses its billowing blaze with rush & roar,
Steady & swift the self-movd Chariot went
Winning the long ascent,
Then downward rolling gaind the farther shore.

But Oh what sounds & sights of woe
What sights & sounds of fear,
Assail the mortal travellers here.
Their way was on a causey straight & wide,
Where penal vaults on either side were seen
Ranged like the cells wherein
Those wonderous winged alchemists infold
Their luscious stores of liquid gold.
Thick walls of adamant divide
The dungeons, & from yonder circling flood
Off streams of fire thro secret channels glide,
And wind among them, & in each provide
An everlasting food
Of righteous torments for the accursed brood.

Different the dole of torments to the sum
Of their offences portiond rightfully.
In baths of fire the worst Offenders lie
Immerst, or upon beds of molten ore
Welter eternally.
Others are fastend prone upon the floor
With adamantine chains,
While on their substance inconsumable
Leeches of fire for ever hang & pull,
And worms of fire for ever gnaw their food
That still renewd,
Freshens for ever their perpetual pains.

These were the race who in their might
Confiding impiously, would fain have driven
The Deities supreme from highest Heaven.
But by the Suras in celestial fight
Oppposd & put to flight
Here in their penal dens the accursed crew
Not for its crime, but for its failure rue
Their wild ambition: yet again they long
The contest to renew,
And wield their arms again in happier hour,
And with united power
Following Kehamas triumph to press on
From World to World, & Heaven to Heaven, & Sphere
To Sphere, till Hemakoot shall be their own,
And Meru mount, & Indras Swerga Bowers
And Bramas region where the year-long Hours
Weave the vast circle of his ample day.
Even over Veeshnoos empyreal seat
They trust the Rajah shall extend their sway,
And that the hundred-headed Snake whereon
The strong Preserver sets his conquering feet,
Will rise & shake him headlong from his throne,
When with their irresistible array,
Amid the milky Sea they force their way,
Even higher yet their frantic thoughts aspire,
Yea, on their beds of torment as they lie
The highest holiest Seeva they defy
And tell him they shall have anon their day
When they will storm his throne, & seize Mount Calasay.
Such impious hopes torment
Their raging hearts, impious & impotent,
And now with unendurable desire
And lust of vengeance, that like inward fire
Doth aggravate their punishment, they rave
Upon Kehama; him the accursed rout
Acclaim with furious cries & maddening shout
They call on him to save
Kehama they exclaim,
Thundering the dreadful echo rolls about,
And Hells wide arch repeats Kehamas name

Over these dens of punishment the host
Of Padalon maintain eternal guard,
Keeping upon the wall their vigilant ward.
At every angle stood
A watch tower, the Decurion Demons post,
Where raisd on high he viewd with sleepless eye
His trust, that all was well. And over these
Such was the perfect discipline of Hell,
Captains of fifties & of hundreds held
Authority, each in his loftier tower
And Chiefs of legions over them had power
And that all Hell with towers was girt around
Aloft the brazen turrets shone
In the red light of Padalon,
And on the walls between
Dark moving the infernal guards were seen.
Gigantic Demons, pacing to & fro,
Who ever & anon
Spreading their crimson pennons plunged below
Faster to rivet down the Asuras chains,
And with the snaky scourge & fiercer pains
Repress their rage rebellious. Loud around
In mingled sound the echoing lash, the clash
Of chains, the ponderous hammers iron stroke
With execrations, groans, & shrieks & cries
And thro the din their broke
Like thunder heard thro all the roaring winds
The dreadful name. Kehama! still they rave
Hasten & save!
Now – now Deliverer, now Kehama now
Earthly Almighty, wherefore tarriest thou

Oh if that name abhorrd
Thus utterd could well-nigh
Dismay the powers of Hell & daunt their Lord
How fearfully to Kalyals ear it came!
She as the Car rolld on its rapid way
Bent down her head, & closd her eyes for dread
And deafening with strong effort from within
Her ears against the din,
Covered & prest them close with both her hands
Sure if the mortal Maiden had not fed
On heavenly food & long been strengthened
With heavenly converse for such end vouchsafd
Her human heart had faild, & she had died
Beneath the horrors of this aweful hour.
But Heaven supplied a power
Beyond her earthly nature, to the measure
Of need infusing strength,
And Fate whose secret & unerring pleasure
Appointed all, decreed
An ample meed & recompense at length
High-fated Maid the righteous hour is nigh,
The all-embracing eye
Of Retribution still beholdeth thee,
Bear onward to the end O Maid courageously.

On rolls the Car, & lo! afar
Upon its height the Towers of Yamenpur
Rise on the astonishd sight.
Behold the Infernal City, Yamens seat
Of empire. In the midst of Padalon
Where the eight causeys meet,
There on a rock of adamant it stood
Resplendent far & wide,
Itself of solid diamond edified,
And all around it rolld the fiery flood.
Eight bridges arched the stream; huge piles of brass
Magnificent, such structures as beseem
The seat & capital of such great God
Worthy of Yamens own august abode.
A brazen tower & gateway at each end
Of each was raisd, where Giant Wardens stood
Stationed in arms the passage to defend,
That never foe might cross the fiery flood.

Oh what a gorgeous sight it was to see
The Diamond City blazing on its height
With more than mid-sun splendour, by the light
Of its own fiery river, –
Its towers & domes & pinnacles & spires,
Turrets & battlements, that flash & quiver
Thro the red, restless, atmosphere for ever.
And hovering over head
The smoke & vapours of all Padalon,
Fit firmament for such a world, were spread,
With surge & swell & everlasting motion,
Heaving & opening like tumultuous ocean.

Nor were there wanting there
Such glories as beseemd such region well,
For tho with our blue heaven & genial air
The firmament of Hell might not compare,
As little could our earthly tempests vie
With the dread storms of that infernal sky,
Whose clouds of all metallic elements
Sublimd, were full. For when its thunders broke,
Not all the united worlds artillery
In one discharge could equal that loud stroke,
And tho the Diamond towers & battlements
Stood firm upon their adamantine rock,
Yet while it vollied round the vault of Hell,
Earths solid arch was shaken with the shock,
And cities in one mighty ruin fell.
Thro the red sky terrific meteors scour,
Huge stones come hailing down, or sulphur shower,
Floating amid the lurid air like snow,
Kindles in its descent
And with blue fire-drops rains on all below
At times the whole, supernal element
Igniting, burst in one vast sheet of flame.
And roard as with the sound
Of rushing winds, above, below, around.
Anon the flame was spent & overhead
A heavy cloud of moving darkness spread.

Straight to the brazen bridge & gate
The self-moved chariot bears its mortal load.
At sight of Carmala
On either side the Great Guards divide
And give the chariot way
Up yonder winding road it rolls along
Swift on its course & strong
That not with steeper nor with swifter flight
Rising on spiral wing
The bittern soareth to her heavenly height, –
And lo the Palace of the Infernal King.

Two forms inseperable in unity
Hath Yamen; even as with hope or fear
The Soul regardeth him doth he appear,
For Hope & Fear
Here from prophets conscience spring
And err not in their bodings. Therefore some
They who polluted with offences come,
Behold him as the King
Of Terrors, black of aspect, red of eye,
Reflecting back upon the sinful mind,
Heightend with vengeance & the wrath divine
Its own inborn deformity.
But to the righteous Spirit how benign
His aweful countenance, where parental love
And heavenly goodness, tempering mercy shine
Yet is he still
Himself the same, one form, one face, one will.
And these his two foldx aspects are but one
And change is none
In him, for change in Yamen could not be
The immutable is he.

He sate upon a marble sepulchre
Massive & huge, where at the monarchs feet
The righteous Bali had his judgement seat.
A golden throne before them vacant stood
Three human forms sustaind its ponderous weight
With lifted hands outspread & shoulders bowd
Bending beneath their load
A fourth was wanting. They were of the hue
Of coals of fire; yet were they flesh & blood,
And living breath they drew,
And their red eye balls rolld with ghastly stare,
As thus for their misdeeds they stood tormented there.

Here issuing from the Car the Glendoveer
Did homage to the God, – then raisd his head.
Suppliants we come, he said,
I need not tell thee by what wrongs opprest,
For nought can pass on earth to thee unknown,
Sufferers from tyranny we seek for rest
And Seeva bade us go to Yamens throne
Here he hath said all wrongs shall be redrest.
Yamen replied, Even now the hour draws nigh near
When Fate its hidden will ways will manifest.
Not for light purpose would the Holiest send
His suppliants here when we in doubt & fear
The aweful issue of the hour attend.
Wait ye in patience & faith the end.

___

24.

___

So spake the Lord of Padalon when lo!
The voice of lamentation ceasd in Hell
And sudden silence all around them fell,
Silence more wild & terrible
Than all the infernal dissonance before.
Thro that portentous stillness far away
Unwonted sounds were heard, advancing on
And deepening on their way
For now the inexorable hour
Was come, & in the fullness of his power,
Now that his dreadful rites had all been done,
Kehama from the Swerga hastened down
To seize upon the throne of Padalon.

He came in all his might & majesty
With all his terrors-clad, & all his pride.
And by the attribute of Deity
Which he had won from Heaven, self multiplied
The dreadful One appeard at on every side.
In the same indivisible point of time
At the eight gates he stood at once, & beat
The Warden Gods of Hell beneath his feet,
Then in his brazen car of triumph straight
At the same moment drove thro every gate.
By Aullays hugest of created kind
Fiercest, & fleeter than the viewless wind
His cars were drawn, ten yokes of ten abreast,
What less sufficed for such almighty weight?
Eight bridges from the fiery flood arose
Growing before his way as on he goes,
And drives the thundering chariot wheels along,
At once oer all the roads of Padalon

Silent & motionless remain
The Asuras on their bed of pain
Waiting with breathless hope the great event.
All Hell was hushd in dread
Such was that omnipresent coming spread;
Nor had its voice been heard, tho all its rout
Innumerable had lighted up one shout;
Nor if the infernal firmament
Had in one unimaginable burst
Spent its collected thunders, had the sound
Been audible, such louder terrors went
Before his forms substantial. Round about
The presence scattered lightnings far & wide
That quenchd on every side
With their intensest blaze the feebler fire
Of Padalon, even as the stars go out,
When with prodigious light
Some blazing meteor fills the astonishd night.

The Diamond City shakes,
The Adamantine Rock
Is loosend with the shock;
From its foundation movd it reels & quakes,
The brazen portals crumbling fall to dust.
Prone fall the Giant Guards
Beneath the Aullays crusht.
On on thro Yamenpur their thundering feet
Speed from all points to Yamens judgement-seat
And lo where multiplied
Before, behind him, & on every side
Shaking all weapons in his countless hands
Around the Lord of Hell Kehama stands
He too put forth his might,
Thick darkness blacker than the blackest night
Rose from their wrath & veild
The unutterable fight.
The power of Fate & Sacrifice prevaild
And soon the strife was done.
Then did the Man-God reassume
His unity, absorbing into one
The consubstantiate shapes: & as the gloom
Opened, fallen Yamen on the ground was seen
His neck beneath the conquering Rajahs feet
Who on the marble tomb
Had his triumphal seat.

Silent the Man-Almighty sate, a smile
Gleamd on his dreadful lips, the while
Dallying with power, he paused from following up
His conquest, as a man in social hour
Sips of the grateful cup,
Again & yet again with curious taste
Searching its subtle flavour ere he drink
Even so Kehama now forbore his haste,
Having within his reach whateer he sought
On his own haughty power he seemd to muse
Pampering his swelling heart with arrogant thought
Before him stood the Golden Throne in sight
Right opposite; he could not chuse but see
Nor seeing chuse but wonder. Who are ye
Who bear the Golden Throne tormented there
He cried, for whom doth Destiny prepare
The Imperial Seat, & why are ye but Three?

1st Bearer
I of the Children of mankind was first
Me miserable! who adding store to store
Heapt up superfluous wealth; & now accurst
For ever I the frantic crime deplore.
2d Bearer
I oer my brethren of mankind the first
Usurping power, set up a throne sublime,
A King & Conquerer; therefore thus accurst
For ever I in vain repent the crime.
3d Bearer
I on the Children of mankind the first
In Gods most holy name imposed a tale tale
Of impious falshood; therefore thus accurst
For ever I in vain the sin {crime} bewail.

Even as thou here beholdest us
Here we have stood tormented thus,
Such countless ages that they seem to be
Long as eternity,
And still we are but Three.
A fourth will come to share
Our pain, at yonder vacant corner bear
His portion of the burthen & complaint
The Imperial Throne for Yamens judgement-seat.
Thus hath it been appointed: he must be
Equal in guilt to us, the guilty Three, –
Kehama come! too long we wait for thee!

Thereat with one accord
The Three took up the word like choral song,
Come Rajah! Man-God! Earths Almighty Lord!
Kehama come! we wait for thee too long.

A short & sudden laugh of wondering pride
Burst from him in his triumph: to reply
Scornful he deignd not; but with altered eye
Wherein some doubtful meaning seemed to lie,
He turnd to Kalyal. Maiden, thus he cried,
I need not bid thee see
How vain it is to strive with Fates decree,
When hither thou hast fled to fly from me,
And lo even here thou findst me at thy side.
Mine thou must be, being doomd with me to share
The Aureate cup of immortality,
Yea by myself I swear
It hath been thus appointed. Joyfully
Join then thy hand & heart & will with mine,
Nor at such glorious destiny repine,
Nor in thy folly more provoke my wrath divine.

She answered I have said. It must not be.
Almighty as thou art,
Thou hast put all things underneath thy feet,
But still the resolute heart
And virtuous will are free.
Never, oh, never – never – can there be
Communion Rajah, between thee & me.

Once more, quoth he, I urge, & once alone
Thou seest yon Golden Throne
Where I anon shall set thee by my side.
Take thou thereon thy seat
Kehamas willing bride,
And I will place the Kingdoms of the Earth
Beneath thy Fathers feet,
Appointing him the King of mortal Men.
Else underneath that throne
The fourth supporter he shall stand & groan,
Prayers will be vain to move my mercy then

Again the Virgin answerd I have said,
Ladurlad caught her in his proud embrace,
While on his neck she hid
In agony her face

Bring forth the Amreeta cup, Kehama cried,
To Yamen, rising sternly in his pride.
It is within the marble sepulchre,
The vanquishd Lord of Padalon replied.
Bid that be opened. Give thy treasure up!
Exclaimd the Man Almighty to the Tomb.
And at his voice & look
The massy fabric shook, & opend wide.
A huge Anatomy was seen reclind
Within its marble womb. Give me the Cup
Again Kehama cried, nor other charm
Was needed than that voice of stern command.
From his repose the ghastly form arose,
Put forth his long & gigantic arm,
And gave the Amreeta to the Rajahs hand.
Take! Drink! With accents dread the Spectre said
For thee & Kalyal hath it been assignd,
Ye only of the Children of Mankind.

Then was the Man Almightys heart elate,
This is the consummation he exclaimd,
Thus have I triumphd over Death & Fate.
Now Seeva look to thine abode!
Henceforth on equal footing we engage,
Alike immortal now, & we shall wage
Our warfare, God to God.
Joy filld his impious soul
And to his lips he raisd the fatal bowl.
With that the fiery Three
Again in one accord renewd their strain,
Kehama come, too long we wait for thee.

O fool of drunken hope & frantic vice!
Madman to seek for power beyond thy scope
Of knowledge & to deem
Less than omniscience could suffice
To wield omnipotence! O fool to dream
That immortality could be
The meed of evil! yea thou hast it now,
Victim of thine own wicked hearts device,
Thou has thine object now, & thou must pay the price

He did not know the aweful mystery
Of that divinest cup, that as the lips
Which touch it, even such its quality
Good or malignant: Madman & he thinks
The blessed prize is won
And joyfully he drinks.

Then Seeva opened on the Accursed One
His Eye of Anger; upon him alone
The wrath-beam fell. He shudders but too late
The deed is done.
The dreadful liquor works the will of Fate.
Immortal he would be
Immortal he remains, but thro his veins,
Torture at once & immortality,
A stream of poison doth the Amreeta run,
Infinite everlasting agony.
And while within the burning anguish flows
H           His outward body glows.
Like molten ore beneath the Avenging Eye,
So doomd to live & burn eternally.
The fiery Three
Beholding him set up a fiendish cry
A song of jubilee,
Come Brother come! too long
Have we expected thee
Henceforth we bear no more
The unequal weight, come Brother! we are Four.

Vain his Almightiness, for mightier pain
Subdued all power, pain reignd supreme alone.
And yielding to the bony hand
The unemptied cup he movd toward the throne,
There the Fourth Bearer took his fated stand
Behold the Golden Throne at length compleat,
And Yamen silently ascends the Judgement seat.

For two alone of all mankind to me
The Amreeta cup was given.
Exclaimd the Anatomy
The Man hath drank, the Womans turn is next.
Come Kalyal come receive thy doom
And do the will of Heaven.
Wonder & doubt & Awe at once perplext
The mortal Maidens heart, but over all
Hope rose triumphant. With a trembling hand
Obedient to his call,
She took the fated cup, & raising up
Here eyes where xxx holy tears began to swell,
Is it not your command
Ye heavenly Powers? as on her knees she fell
The Virgin cried. Ye know my innocent will
My heart sincere,
Ye govern all things still,
And wherefore should I fear?

She said & drank. The Eye of Mercy beamd
Upon the Maid: a cloud of odour steamd
Like incense smoke, as all her mortal former part frame
Dissolvd beneath the potent agency
Of that mysterious draught, such quality
From her pure hand the fated Cup partook.
Like one entranced she knelt,
Feeling her body melt,
Till all but what was heavenly passed away.
Yet still she felt
Her spirit strong within her, the same heart
With the same loves, & all her heavenly part
Unchanged, & ripend to such perfect state
In the miraculous birth as here on earth
Dimly our holiest hopes anticipate.

Mine – mine – with rapturous joy Ereenia cried
Immortal now, & yet not more divine
My heavenly Bride, mine – mine – for ever mine
The immortal Maid replied
For ever ever thine.

Thus hath the will of Destiny been done,
Then said the Lord of Padalon
Thus are the secret ways of Heaven {Fate} made known
And justified. Ye heirs of Heavenly bliss
Go to the Swerga Bowers
And there recall the hours
Of endless happiness.
For thee Ladurlad there is yet in store
One glorious task. Return to Earth, restore
Justice & Peace by tyranny put down,
Then shalt thou have thine everlasting Crown
And join thy best-belovd for ever more. [1] 

__________


Notes

* MS: Victoria and Albert Museum, National Art Library Manuscripts, MS Forster 48 G.31 1/26–29
Unpublished.
Dating note: In his letter to Thomas Southey, dated 25 November 1809 (Letter 1713), Southey says he has ‘this day finished Kehama’ and in this letter he sends Landor the final books of the poem. BACK

[1] The Curse of Kehama (1810), Books 22–24. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013