Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Triumph of Christianity
By Zygmunt Krasiński (1812–1859)
From ‘The Undivine Comedy’: Translation of Martha Walker Cook

PANCRAS—The hour of rest has not yet struck for me!
The last sad sign of my last enemy
Marks the completion of but half my task.
Look at these spaces, these immensities,
Stretching between my thoughts and me.        5
Earth’s deserts must be peopled, rocks removed,
Swamps drained, and mountains tunneled; trees hewn down;
Seas, lakes, and rivers everywhere connected,
Roads girdle earth, that produce circulate,
And commerce bind all hearts with links of gold.        10
Each man must own a portion of the soil;
Thought move on lightning wings rending old veils;
The living must outnumber all the hosts
Of those who’ve perished in this deadly strife;
Life and prosperity must fill the place        15
Of death and ruin,—ere our work of blood
Can be atoned for! Leonard, this must be done!
If we are not to inaugurate an age
Of social bliss, material ease and wealth,
Our deeds of havoc, devastation, woe,        20
Will have been worse than vain!
  Leonard—The God of liberty will give us power
For these gigantic tasks!
  Pancras—                    You speak of God!
Do you not see that it is crimson here?
Slippery with gore in which we stand knee-deep?        25
Whose gushing blood is this beneath our feet?
Naught is behind us save the castle court;
Whatever is, I see, and there is no one near.—
We are alone—and yet there surely stands
Another here between us!        30
  Leonard—I can see nothing but this bloody corpse!
  Pancras—The corpse of his old faithful servant—dead!
It is a living spirit haunts this spot!
This is his cap and belt; look at his arms;
There is the rock o’erhanging the abyss;        35
And on that spot it was his great heart broke!
  Leonard—Pancras, how pale you grow!
  Pancras—                        Do you not see it?
’Tis there! up there!
  Leonard—                I see a mass of clouds
Wild-drifting o’er the top of that steep rock
O’erhanging the abyss. How high they pile!        40
Now they turn crimson in the sunset rays.
  Pancras—There is a fearful symbol burning there!
  Leonard—Your sight deceives you.
  Pancras—                    Where are now my people?
The millions who revered and who obeyed me?
  Leonard—You hear their acclamations,—they await you.        45
Pancras, look not again on yon steep cliff,—
Your eyes die in their sockets as you gaze!
  Pancras—Children and women often said that He
Would thus appear,—but on the last day only!
  Leonard—Who? Where?
  Pancras—            Like a tall column there he stands,
In dazzling whiteness o’er yon precipice!
With both his hands he leans upon his cross,
As an avenger on his sword! Leonard,
His crown of thorns is interlaced with lightning—
  Leonard—What is the matter?—Pancras, answer me!        55
  Pancras—The dazzling flashes of his eyes are death!
  Leonard—You’re ghastly pale! Come, let us quit this spot!
  Pancras—Oh!—Leonard, spread your hands and shade my eyes!
Press, press them till I see no more! Tear me away!
Oh, shield me from that look! It crushes me to dust!        60
  Leonard  [placing his hands over the eyes]—Will it do thus?
  Pancras—                Your hands are like a phantom’s!—
Powerless—with neither flesh nor bones!
Transparent as pure water, crystal, air,
They shut out nothing! I can see! still see!
  Leonard—Your eyes die in their sockets! Lean on me!        65
  Pancras—Can you not give me darkness? Darkness! Darkness!
He stands there motionless,—piercèd with three nails,—
Three stars!—
His outstretched arms are lightning flashes!—Darkness!—
  Leonard—I can see nothing! Master! Master!
  Pancras—                            Darkness!
  Leonard—Ho! citizens! Ho! democrats! aid! aid!
[He falls stone dead.]

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