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" What then ! before the strife is done

Would ye of victory boast ?” Said a Voice above: “ they reckon too soon,

Who reckon without their host!”

“ Mine is he by a Bond Which holds him fast in law :

I drew it myself for certainty, And sharper than me must the Lawyer be

Who in it can find a flaw !

“ Before the Congregation,

And in the face of day, Whoever may pray, and whoever gainsay, I will challenge him for my Bondsman,

And carry him quick away !"

“ Ha, Šatan ! dost thou in thy pride,"
With righteous anger Basil cried,

“ Defy the force of prayer ? In the face of the Church wilt thou brave it?

Why then we will meet thee there!

There mayest thou set forth thy right,
With all thy might before the sight

Of all the Congregation :
And they that hour shall see the power

Of the Lord unto salvation !"

A challenge fair! We meet then there,” Rejoin'd the Prince of the Powers of the Air;

- The Bondsman is mine by right. Let the whole city come at thy call : And great and small, in face of them all,

I will have him in thy despite !"

So having said, he tarried not

To hear the Saint's reply.
“ Beneath the sign which Constantine,”

Said Basil, “ beheld in the sky,
We strive, and have our strength therein,

Therein our victory!”

IX.

The Church is fill’d, so great the faith

That City in its Bishop hath;

And now the Congregation
Are waiting there in trembling prayer

And terrible expectation.

Emmelia and her sisterhood

Have taken there their seat ;
And Choristers and Monks and Priests
And Psalmists there, and Exorcists,

Are station'd in order meet.

In sackcloth clad, with ashes strewn

Upon his whiter hair,
Before the steps of the altar,
His feet for penance bare,
Eleëmon stands, a spectacle
For men and Angels there.

Beside him Cyra stood, in weal

Or woe, in good or ill,
Not to be sever'c from his side,

His faithful helpmate still.

Dishevell’d were her raven locks,

As one in mourner's guise ;
And pale she was, but faith and hope

Had now relumed her eyes.

At the altar Basil took his stand;
He held the Gospel in his hand,

And in his ardent eye
Sure trust was seen, and conscious power,

And strength for victory.

At his command the Chorister
Enounced the Prophet's song,
6 To God our Saviour mercies
And forgivenesses belong.".

Ten thousand voices join'd to raise

The holy hymn on high, And hearts were thrill'd and eyes were fillid

By that full harmony.

And when they ceased, and Basil's hand

A warning signal gave,
The whole huge multitude was hush'd
In a stillness like that of the

grave.

The Sun was high in a bright blue sky,

But a chill came over the crowd,
And the Church was suddenly darken'd,

As if by a passing cloud.

A sound as of a tempest rose,
Though the day was calm and clear;
Intrepid must the heart have been

Which did not then feel fear.

In the sound of the storm came the dreadful Form ;

The Church then darken'd more,
And He was seen erect on the screen

Over the Holy Door.

Day-light had sicken'd at his sight;

And the gloomy Presence threw
A shade profound over all around,

Like a cheerless twilight hue.

“ I come hither," said the Demon,
“For my Bondsman Eleëmon!

Mine is he, body and soul.
See all men !” and with that on high
He held the open

scroll.

The fatal signature appear'd

To all the multitude,
Distinct as when the accursed pen

Had traced it with fresh blood.
“ See all men ! ” Satan cried again,

And then his claim pursued.

6 I ask for justice! I prefer

An equitable suit !
I appeal to the Law, and the case

Admitteth of no dispute.

“If there be justice here,
If Law have place in Heaven,
Award

upon

this Bond Must then for me be given.

What to my rightful claim,

Basil, canst thou gainsay,
That I should not seize the Bondsman,

And carry him quick away ?

“The writing is confess'd ; .,,
No plea against it shown;

The forfeiture is mine,
And now I take my own!”

“ Hold there ! ” cried Basil, with a voice

That arrested him on his way, When from the screen he would have swoopt

To pounce upon his prey ;

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