Crazed with despair, with hollow cheeks and eyes,
Babes on their arms and children at their side,
Pointing their long, thin fingers down at me.
Oh, oh! were but the grim procession o'er!
It is, it is! there flashes from beneath
The storm-cloud's folds the first ray of the sun.
Another, still another. [With ecstasy.] Welcome, Light!
But can this really be the sun? Oh, no!
[With horror.] The bright reflex of lightning-bolts, it is,
Which, starting from an unseen, far-off height,
Grow every moment more in glare and strength
And pierce the massive curtain of the storm.
Distinct before, their flashes now are blent.
And cross each other's pathways here and there;
The thunder's voice, erst by the tempest drowned,
Now shakes the very ground by constant roar.
And nigher still sinks down the fiery orb
Whence flow those lightning-bolts,—their source
A golden chariot's red-hot wheels, whose spokes
Whirl through the blinding light their fiery rounds,
And from the chariot wave the ample robes
Of One whose form and face are veiled from me
'Mid all the brilliancy, that dims my sight;
Not so His will; for unrolled from His hand
A radiant scroll floats downward evermore.
Emblazed with fiery signs. Not yet I can
Discern them:—Now I can—the strange inscription