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DARKNESS.

BYRON.

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came, and went--and came, and brought no

day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings--the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons : cities were consumed,
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch :
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded--and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash—and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down

And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howld: the wild birds

shriek'd,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food:
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again ;-a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought—and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails-men
Died—and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse,

and kept The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay, Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,

But with a piteous and perpetual moan
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress-he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies; they met beside
The dying members of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their

cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects--saw, and shriek’d, and died
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless-
A lump of death, a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down peacemeal; as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge-
The waves were dead; the tides were in their

grave, The moon their mistress had expired before; The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,

And the clouds perish'd ; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them-She was the universe.

CURRAN, IN DEFENCE OF OWEN KIR

WAN.

It has become my painful duty to state to the court and jury the defence of the prisoner. I was chosen for this very unpleasant task without my concurrence or knowledge—but as soon as I was apprized of it, I accepted it without hesitation. To assist a human being labouring under the most awful of all situations, trembling in the dreadful alternative of honorable life, or ignominious death, is what no man, worthy of the name ought to refuse. I cannot, however, but confess, that I feel no small consolation when I compare my present with my former situations upon similar occasions. In those sad times, to which I allude, it was frequently my fate to come forward to the spot where I now stand, with a body sinking under infirmity and disease, and a mind broken with the consciousness of public calamity, created and exasperated by public folly. It has pleased heaven that I should live to survive both these afflictions, and I am grateful for its mercy. I now come here through a quiet and peaceful city. I read no expression in any face, save such as mark the ordinary feelings of social life, or the various characters of civil occupation. I see no frightful spectacle of infuriated power or suffering

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humanity.--I see no tortures.--I hear no shrieks.--
I no longer see the human heart charr'd in the flame
of its own vile and angry passionsblack and blood-
less--capable only of catching and communicating that
destructive fire by which it devours and is itself de-
voured. I no longer behold the ravages of that odi-
"ous bigotry by which we were deformed, and degrad-
ed, and disgraced ;-a bigotry against which no hon-
est man should ever miss an opportunity of putting
his countrymen of all sects and denominations upon
their guard ;-—it is the accursed and promiscuous pro-
geny of servile hypocrisy—of remorseless lust of
power-of insatiate thirst of gain-labouring for the
destruction of man, under the specious pretence of re-
ligion : her banner stolen from the altar of God, and
her allies congregated from the abysses of hell, she
acts by votaries to be restrained by no compunctions
of humanity-for they are dead to mercy; to be re-
claimed by no voice of reason for refutation is the
bread on which their folly feeds; they are outlawed
alike from their species and their God; the object of
their crime is social life-and the wages of their sin is
social death ; for though it may happen that a guilty
individual should escape from the law which he has
broken, it cannot be so with nations ;– their guilt is
too extensive and unweildy for such escape;—they
may rest assured it has in the natural connexion be-
tween causes and effects, established a system of retri-
butive justice, by which the crimes of nations are soon-

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