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And still we gaze,
and gaze, and yearn, And, with mysterious pinings, feel The soul-perchance your offspring-burn
For what your voices can reveal ! Mute-mute--ye from your height survey
Our longings vague, our visions vain; And, drawn to earth, we turn away,
And sicken to ourselves again.
Still linger in the vast abode,
Feeding strange thoughts in loneliness; And, in one empty science, weaving
The threads of each unhallowed guess. Gaunt Fast and sternest Penance joined To the great AwE, which is the soul
Or demon of all solitude,
Into a grim and gathering mood,
Such is the stuff from which is made
The mould of those in half-lit climes, Whom hooded millions have obeyed,
Drunk with the lust of fire and scathe,
And mailed to mercy by a faith, That
sprung from Phrensy's densest shade,
A madness modell’d to a trade,
And grown a creed by crimes !
To one of these wild seers the Twins
Are bound, and ere the earliest ray
Behold them on their unwatch'd way.
They pass d along by the Menam's side,
They have left the city behind them now;
And, along the gladden'd ground,
In the thousand orchards round. I
Bridges, they gliding go ;
* The reader will bear in mind, that both in the Boudhic and Hindoo superstitions, the time of the new moon is one of peculiar and mystic power.
+ “ On each side of the river (Menam) there was a row of floating habitations resting on rafts of bamboo moored to the shore. These appeared the neatest and best description of buildings; they were occupied by good Chinese shops.” --Crauford's Embassy to Siam, p. 79.
# Bancok is surrounded by orchards.
And the maw of the crocodile waits their fall,
As he watcheth them from below. For two-and-twenty comely fanes
In sight, the wealth of the town bespeak ; But the purse of the burgher-man never contains
Enough for a bridge o'er a single creek.* The night hath advanced ; and the sharp, shrill cry
Of the geckot breaks forth from the herbage dark ; And out, o'er the hush of the breathless sky,
Sweeps the Moon in her stately bark, They see (in Siam a frequent sight
A drollish sort of a constitution hers!) A robber, who should have been hang'd that night,
Walking coolly off with his executioners. I
*“ The town (Bancok) is built on a rich tract, &c., intersected by numerous creeks and canals.
We had to pass under a bridge, which, after the profusion of expense which we had lately witnessed in the temples, afforded a surprising example of the stupid inattention of a despotic government and a superstitious people, to all objects of public convenience and utility: the value of a very few of the brass images which we saw yesterday, would have been sufficient to build a noble bridge at this place, where it was so much required; but the one which we now saw, consisted of a single plank, and was elevated to the giddy height of at least thirty feet. We proceeded in all about five miles. In our route, we counted no less than twenty-two temples.”—Crauford's Embassy, 127—130.
† A sort of lizard of nocturnal habits—made on purpose to disturb Captain Crauford at night.
† “A celebrated gang robber, whose apprehension had cost the Siamese government a great deal of trouble, and who was placed in charge of the
In the heart of the plain they have past, and there
The moon on a temple shone,
By some embers employ'd alone :
With a tool like a gardener's prong;
And was closing his task with a cheerful song.*
They have gone many miles since the night begun,
Prah-klang, took this opportunity to effect his escape. The mode in which he accomplished this, afforded some insight into the character of the servants of the Siamese government. The robber seduced the whole guard, and walked off with them ; thus not only effecting his own escape, but taking with him an armed and organized body of depredators.” -Crauford's Embassy, p. 176.
Returning home one day from an excursion on the Menam, my attention was attracted by observing a Chinese all alone stirring up some embers within the enclosures of a temple, with an instrument resembling a pitchfork. On landing, we found that he was completing the funeral rights of some relative. He was stirring the fire to complete the destruction of some of the larger bones, and was either cheering or consoling himself with a song !"-Crauford's Embassy, p. 450.