Thalaba the Destroyer

The following extract from Southey's Thalaba the Destroyer is taken from Southey's Poetical Works [1838].


                   A night of darkness and of storms!		102
                     Into the Chamber of the Tomb
                        Thalaba led the Old Man, 
                      To roof him from the rain.
                       A night of storms! the wind
                     Swept through the moonless sky,
                And moan'd among the pillar'd sepulchres;
                     And in the pauses of its sweep
                        They heard the heavy rain		110
                       Beat on the monument above.
                      In silence on Oneiza's grave
                    Her Father and her husband sate.


                       The Cryer from the Minaret
                      Proclaim'd the midnight hour.
                       "Now, now!" cried Thalaba;
                     And o'er the chamber of the tomb
                       There spread a lurid gleam,
                 Like the reflection of a sulphur fire;
                        And in that hideous light		120
                 Oneiza stood before them. It was She,..
                 Her very lineaments,..and such as death
            Had changed them, livid cheeks, and lips of blue;
                       But in her eyes there dwelt
                        Brightness more terrible
                  Than all the loathsomeness of death.
                    "Still art thou living, wretch?"
                  In hollow tones she cried to Thalaba;
                   "And must I nightly leave my grave
                      To tell thee, still in vain,		130
                        God hath abandon'd thee?"


                "This is not she!" the Old Man exclaim'd;
                      "A Fiend; a manifest Fiend!"
                   And to the youth he held his lance;
                      "Strike and deliver thyself!"
                      "Strike her!" cried Thalaba,
                       And, palsied of all power,
                  Gazed fixedly upon the dreadful form.
              "Yea, strike her!" cried a voice, whose tones
            Flow'd with such sudden healing through his soul,	140
                        As when the desert shower
                        From death deliver'd him;
                But unobedient to that well-known voice,
                         His eye was seeking it,
                       When Moath, firm of heart,
            Perform'd the bidding: through the vampire corpse
                      He thrust his lance; it fell,
                       And howling with the wound,
                        Its fiendish tenant fled.
                     A sapphire light fell on them,			150
                And garmented with glory, in their sight
                         Oneiza's Spirit stood.


                         "O Thalaba!" she cried,
                          "Abandon not thyself!
             Would'st thou for ever lose me?..O my husband,
                        Go and fulfil thy quest,
                     That in the Bowers of Paradise
                         I may not look for thee
                      In vain, nor wait thee long."


                        To Moath then the Spirit			160
              Turn'd the dark lustre of her heavenly eyes:
                      "Short is thy destined path,
                O my dear Father! to the abode of bliss.
                            Return to Araby,
                     There with the thought of death
                         Comfort thy lonely age,
                     And Azrael, the Deliverer, soon
                       Will visit thee in peace."


                      They stood with earnest eyes,
                    And arms out-reaching, when again			170
                    The darkness closed around them.
                      The soul of Thalaba revived;
                     He from the floor his quiver took,
                    And as he bent the bow, exclaim'd,
                   "Was it the over-ruling Providence
                 That in the hour of frenzy led my hands
                         Instinctively to this?
                 To-morrow, and the sun shall brace anew
           The slacken'd cord, that now sounds loose and damp;
               To-morrow, and its livelier tone will sing			180
                In tort vibration to the arrow's flight.
                  I...but I also, with recovered health
                       Of heart, shall do my duty.
              My Father! here I leave thee then!" he cried,
                         "And not to meet again,
                      Till at the gate of Paradise
                 The eternal union of our joys commence.
              We parted last in darkness!"...and the youth
                     Thought with what other hopes;
                       But now his heart was calm,				190
               For on his soul a heavenly hope had dawn'd.

                The Old Man answered nothing, but he held
                      His garment, and to the door
                    Of the Tomb Chamber followed him.
                 The rain had ceased, the sky was wild,
                  Its black clouds broken by the storm.
                 And, lo! it chanced, that in the chasm
                       Of Heaven between, a star,
                Leaving along its path continuous light,
              Shot eastward. "See my guide!" quoth Thalaba;		200
                        And turning, he received
                        Old Moath's last embrace,
               And the last blessing of the good Old Man.