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"This is Mohammed, I, the Lord of Heaven,
Proclaim to all this people I have given
To him to preach my law, that he should be
My prophet to all nations under Me!"
And, as the voice ceased, suddenly a streak
Of forkt fire flicker'd from a riven creek
In the spent cloud, which, splitting overhead,
Bellow'd. And all the people cried, and said:
"The Voice of God!" And then did each man fall
Flat at the Prophet's feet, and, grovelling, call
On Heaven's Appointed ..." Speak, Mohammed,

Mohammed spoke not All the Prophet's cheek
Was wan with supernatural ravage: down
In curdling wrinkles cold, a creepy frown
Drawn to the ruffled eyebrow, bath'd his brow
With clammy change; his eyeballs harden'd slow,
Fixt to some freezing fancy . . . Gabriel
Watching, dismay'd, or Iblis (who shall tell?)
Mocking approval: then a shudder past
Over his face, and left it calm at last
As battle-fields where battles have been won,
Or lost, and Death lies smiling.

Blocks of stone,
Tumbled by ages in the rifted sand,
Burn'd white about the lion-colour'd land,
And, beaten by a blinding sunlight, made
Blots, in a glaring blank, of sprinkled shade.
Mohammed stretcht his hand (not Moses' rod
Won easier reverence!) . . . " Ay, the Voice of God
Hath spoken, not to be misunderstood,
This day unto us. Therefore it seems good
To build, O friends, an altar to the Lord,
Here on the spot from whence the wondrous word
Hath issued. And see! Nature, warn'd before
Of this forecast event, hath furnisht store
Of stone to build with. Never, from this day,
Be it averr'd that any beast of prey
Or reptile base hath been allow'd to dwell
Where God first housed His holy oracle!
Cram every crevice of this mountain flaw.
Leave not a loophole for the libbard's paw,
A cranny that a mouse could wriggle through!
If anything unclean hath crept into
This mouth of earth, where Heaven's high Voice
Ere while,—  rat, viper, adder, worm, or toad,
There let it perish 'neath a costlier tomb
Than ever reptile own'd. Seal up the womb
Of this dread prodigy. Hark! from yon cloud
Above us, Spirits of the thunder, bow'd
To watch, grow wild, impatient to be gone.
Begin the work. Pile strong with ponderous stone
The altar. Bear ye each his burthen. Nay,
None but myself the first firm stone shall lay
Unto this sacred fabric!" . . .

Then, himself,
Fiercely dislodging from its sandy shelf
A mighty mountain fragment, roll'd with might
And main the rock-surrender'd offering right
Against the cave; and turn'd himself about,
And hid his face ... (in prayer, aa who shall
And when the people heard this, they were glad
Exceedingly: not only to have had
No heavier task enjoin'd them; but because,
If any man profane had dared to pause
And doubt till then, he certes had no choice
But to believe henceforth: for, if the voice
Were nothing more than human, the command
Was something less. Could mere Ambition stand
Thus, calmly contemplating stone by stone,
The immurement of some creature of its own?
And so they hearten'd to the work, until
The rocky altar rose against the hill,
And then Mohammed blest it.

And that day,
Upon that altar, Providence, they say,
Founded a new Religion; which, thus reared
In the lone desert, spread, and soon ensphered
The quadripartite world. But, from that day,
Mohammed went no more to pray
On Hara, as his wont had been before.
For him the sweet of solitude was o'er.

[It is but just to the memory of the Prophet to
mention that this poem is grounded on an uncha-
ritable Christian legend, which is supported by no
shadow of authority in any Mohammedan record. It
is mentioned in one of the dialogues of Vanini (de
admirandis Naturae, reginae deseque mortalium Ar-
canis), and Vanini, no doubt, made use of it with-
out scruple, to serve a general purpose.]


My comrades and I were underground and
hard at work two full hours before sunrise.
Our work lay in a part of the coal mine, far
away from where the general work was carried
on, and was on this account comparatively lonely
and remote. We were employed in driving a
pair of drifts through a barrier of coal winch
divided the workings of two coal-pits situate in
the north of England. But before I proceed
further, it will oe necessary to describe the
workings of the two pits, and their relation to
each other.

The pit by which we descended was sunk near
the dip of the mining property, so as to allow the
water to flow in all directions towards the pump,
by which it was raised to the surface. The air
for ventilating the mine descended this down-
cast pit. Alter traversing the underground
workings and  galleries, it was conveyed, by
means of a short shaft or staple, into a coal
seam lying sixty-five feet above, and then found
its way by an air-course to the ventilating furnaces
at the bottom of the up-cast pit. The up-
cast  was distant from the down-cast about one
mile, and its lowest seam of coal was worked for a
considerable distance down the incline or to dip
ward, the strata dipping regularly to the east, at
an angle of about eight degrees. All these workings
which were open and extensive, had been
for a number of years filled with water, through
the insufficiency of the pumping engine to maintain
a constant and complete drainage of the
mine. And it had been thought better by the
managers to suspend the working of this pit,
and erect a more powerful engine at the down-
cast, which was accordingly accomplished.

In order to draw off the water from the inundated
works, drifts were started to be driven
through the barrier which divided the workings
of the two pits. They were to be driven to
within twenty or thirty feet of the water, and
the remaining portion of coal to be pierced
by large bore-holes supplied with stopcocks, so
that the water could be drained off at pleasure.
Eighteen of us were employed in these drifts,