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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Guy Humphrey McMaster (1829–1887)

The Northern Lights

HELL’S gates swing open wide!

Hell’s furious chiefs forth ride!

The deep doth redden

With flags of armies marching through the night,

As kings shall lead their legions to the fight

At Armageddon.

Peers and princes mark I,

Captains and chiliarchi;

Thou burning angel of the Pit, Abaddon!

Charioteers from Hades, land of gloom,

Gigantic thrones, and heathen troopers, whom

The thunder of the far-off fight doth madden.

Lo! Night’s barbaric khans,

Lo! the waste Gulf’s wild clans,

Gallop across the skies with fiery bridles!

Lo! flaming sultanas, internal czars,

In deep-ranked squadrons gird the glowing cars

Of Lucifer and Ammon, towering idols.

See yonder red platoons!

See! see the swift dragoons,

Whirling aloft their sabres to the zenith!

See the tall regiments whose spears incline,

Beyond the circle of that steadfast sign

Which to the streams of ocean never leaneth.

Whose yonder dragon-crest?

Whose that red-shielded breast?

Chieftain Satanas! Emperor of the Furnace!

What bright centurions, what blazing earls,

In mail of hell’s hot ores and burnished pearls,

Alarm the kingdoms with their gleaming harness?

All shades and spectral hosts,

All forms and gloomy ghosts,

All frowning phantoms from the Gulf’s dim gorges,

Follow the kings in wavering multitude;

While savage giants of the night’s old brood

In pagan mirth toss high their crackling torches.

Monarchs, on guarded thrones,

Ruling earth’s southern zones,

Mark ye the wrathful archers of Gehenna;

How gleam, affrighted lords of Europe’s crowns,

Their blood-red arrows o’er your bastioned towns,

Moscow, and purple Rome, and cannon-girt Vienna?

Go bid your prophets watch the troubled skies!

“Why through the vault cleave those infernal glances?

Why, ye pale wizards, do those portents rise,

Rockets and fiery shafts and lurid lances?”

Still o’er the silent Pole

Numberless armies roll,

Columns all plumed and cohorts of artillery;

Still girdled nobles cross the snowy fields

In flashing chariots, and their crimson shields

Kindle afar thy icy peaks, Cordillera!

On, lords of dark despair!

Prince of the powers of air,

Bear your broad banners through the constellations!

Wave, all ye Stygian hordes,

Through the black sky your swords;

Startle with warlike signs the watching nations.

March, ye mailed multitudes, across the deep;

Far shine the battlements on Heaven’s steep.

Dare ye again, fierce thrones and scarlet powers,

Assail with hell’s wild host those crystal towers?

Tempt ye again the angels’ shining blades,

Ithuriel’s spear, and Michael’s circling truncheon,—

The seraph-cavalier, whose winged brigades

Drove you in dreadful rout down to the night’s vast dungeon?