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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,"
“ 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,
Of all the Congregation :
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.
Said Basil, “ beheld in the sky,
Therein our victory!”
The Church is fill’d, so great the faith
That City in its Bishop hath;
And now the Congregation
And terrible expectation.
Emmelia and her sisterhood
Have taken there their seat ;
Are station'd in order meet.
In sackcloth clad, with ashes strewn
Upon his whiter hair,
Beside him Cyra stood, in weal
Or woe, in good or ill,
His faithful helpmate still.
Dishevell’d were her raven locks,
As one in mourner's guise ;
Had now relumed her eyes.
At the altar Basil took his stand;
And in his ardent eye
And strength for victory.
At his command the Chorister
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 Sun was high in a bright blue sky,
But a chill came over the crowd,
As if by a passing cloud.
A sound as of a tempest rose,
Which did not then feel fear.
In the sound of the storm came the dreadful Form ;
The Church then darken'd more,
Over the Holy Door.
Day-light had sicken'd at his sight;
And the gloomy Presence threw
Like a cheerless twilight hue.
“ I come hither," said the Demon,
Mine is he, body and soul.
The fatal signature appear'd
To all the multitude,
Had traced it with fresh blood.
And then his claim pursued.
6 I ask for justice! I prefer
An equitable suit !
Admitteth of no dispute.
“If there be justice here,
this Bond Must then for me be given.
“What to my rightful claim,
Basil, canst thou gainsay,
And carry him quick away ?
“The writing is confess'd ; .,,
The forfeiture is mine,
“ 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 ;