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[228]
     With mother's offering, to the Fiend's embraces,
Bone of their bone, and blood of their own blood.

Red altars, kindling through that night of error,
     Smoked with warm blood beneath the cruel eye
Of lawless Power and sanguinary Terror,
     Throned on the circle of a pitiless sky;

Beneath whose baleful shadow, overcasting
     All heaven above, and blighting earth below,
The scourge grew red, the lip grew pale with fasting,
     And man's oblation was his fear and woe!

Then through great temples swelled the dismal moaning
     Of dirge-like music and sepulchral prayer;
Pale wizard priests, o'er occult symbols droning,
     Swung their white censers in the burdened air:

As if the pomp of rituals, and the savor
     Of gums and spices could the Unseen One please;
As if His ear could bend, with childish favor,
     To the poor flattery of the organ keys!

Feet red from war-fields trod the church aisles holy,
     With trembling reverence: and the oppressor there,
Kneeling before his priest, abased and lowly,
     Crushed human hearts beneath his knee of prayer.

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