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Lake of Destiny

TerritorialMale • • • Friday, May 26, 2006
Satan bow’d, and was silent. “Well, if you,

With amiable modesty, decline
My offer, what says Michael? There are few
Whose memoirs could be render’d more divine.
Mine is a pen of all work; not so new
As it was once, but I would make you shine
Like your own trumpet. By the way, my own
Has more of brass in it, and is as well blown.

He ceased, and drew forth an MS.; and no
Persuasion on the part of devils, saints,
Or angels, now could stop the torrent; so
He read the first three lines of the contents;
But at the fourth, the whole spiritual show
Had vanish’d, with variety of scents,
Ambrosial and sulphureous, as they sprang,
Like lightning, off from his “melodious twang.”

Saint Peter, who has hitherto been known
For an impetuous saint, upraised his keys,
And at the fifth line knock’d the poet down;
Who fell like Phaeton, but more at ease,
Into his lake, for there he did not drown;
A different web being by the Destinies
Woven for the Laureate’s final wreath, whene’er
Reform shall happen either here or there.

He first sank to the bottom – like his works,
But soon rose to the surface – like himself;
For all corrupted things are buoy’d like corks,
By their own rottenness, light as an elf,
Or wisp that flits o’er a morass: he lurks,
It may be, still, like dull books on a shelf,
In his own den, to scrawl some “Life” or “Vision,”
As Welborn says – “the devil turn’d precisian.”

As for the rest, to come to the conclusion
Of this true dream, the telescope is gone
Which kept my optics free from all delusion,
And show’d me what I in my turn have shown;
All I saw farther, in the last confusion,
Was, that King George slipp’d into heaven for one;
And when the tumult dwindled to a calm,
I left him practicing the hundredth psalm.

Excerpt from ‘The Vision of Judgment’ by Lord Byron.


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