When slipped from their leash by the huntress moon;
As wayward spirits that ride the back
Of the headlong, dismal, hurricane-track
Come sweeping down over hill and plain,
With their lightning swords and their arrowy rain;
Thus cataract-like with his host and his brand
The father returns on the robber-band;
And he rushes still, though his banner is torn,
And still his shout on the wind is borne.
Like a comet fierce with a floating mane
On he comes with his fiery train;
The beaded foam on each charger's side
With spots of a ruddier hue is dyed.
The horsemen's lances are thickly drest
With ruby studs from each robber's breast.
To the charge like storms that are onward driven
Blackening the face of the midnight heaven,
Scattering their brands through the darkened sky
On maniac spirits that are hurrying by,
Bidding their loud artillery rattle
And thicken the din of th' ethereal battle,
On they rush ; and that ancient form
Still madly directs the madder storm,
The storm of slaughter wilder far
Than ever raged elemental war.
The sabres clash, and the lances ring,
And the demon of death has flapped his wing.
Hark to the shout of the royal band,
"Behold he falls—the curse of the land!"--
And though erewhile with heaps of the slain
His own right arm had strewed the plain,
Like the mountain torrent dashed aside
In its rush of destructive wrath and pride,
An unseen hand with a glittering lance
Checked the Chieftain's fierce advance.
And forth the blood from his bosom streamed,
And quenched hope's latest ray as it beamed!--