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Our surgeon told this legend of the days
Ere Christ was known and Belah held her rule.
And many a sigh the sad narrator heaved
While, leaning on the taffrail, looking down
On the unnumber'd thousands in the boats,
And countless swimmers raising watchful eyes
All round the ship,—he told the piteous tale.

Hast thou, O man! when midnight, girt with storms,
Shrieks through the wood and heralds Belah's path,
No dread that in the pauses of the wind
The shapeless lips shall syllable thy name?

Paomi waked,—and trembled as he lay;
For in the howlings of that midnight gust
Rose to his ear the name he loved the best,
BanoolahWhat? Banoolah, with rich hair,
Giving its tint to the white brow and neck,
Like crimson sunset on the snowhis child!
He wakes the dark-eyed mother of his babe,

"Belah has called Banoolah!" was the word
That smote her ear and still'd her beating heart,
While with wide nostril, and pale, parted lips,
He sate and listen'd for the awful sound.
"Rightly," that wife replied, and smote her breast,
"Rightly has Belah called,—for are we not
Servants of Belah? Are we not the work
Of Belah's hands? and trampled 'neath her heel
Since we forgot the tribute to her shrine?"
"What tribute?" answered tremblingly the man.
"All that we love! Have we not kept the child,
Vowed ere its birth, Banoolah, yellow-hair'd?"
Silent the man lay, shaking all the couch
With the strong agony of remorseful fear.
"Three years our crops have fail'd, our boat return'd
Empty, and now the sea contains it all
Riven plank and broken mast, and shiver'd oar.
Belah's hot breath o'erwhelm'd it, and it sank,
And beggars us."

                                 " What remedy?"
                                                                    "But one!"
In silence lay they both; and fresh arose
The sweeping wind. The trees bent crashing boughs,
Rock'd the frail hut.—"But one!" again she said,
"She calls! Hark!"

                                Terror gave articulate voice,
And through the tranced caverns of their hearts
They heard, " Banoolahfeed me on her life,
Or you and all your house shall surely die."

Meanwhile, in shudderings of a fearful dream,
The child, which lay, leaf-cover'd, on the floor,
Sighed "Mother! mother!" and relapsed to sleep.
"But must we die?" whispered the wife,—" or, worse,
Live 'neath the curse of Belah, in the scorn
Of happier mothers, who have paid the price
Of Belah's love, and walk in innocence
For that they have fulfill'd her holy law? "—
"When? " said Paomi, with a start of thought
That pierced the future.

                                             " To delay is death,"
Replied Nooravah. And again the dream
Pass'd through the shaken fancies of the child,
"Oh! father! father! take Banoolah home!
The waves are rough." So said she as she dream'd.

Loud as 'mid shouts of battle when the spear
Shakes ere it flies, his voice burst through the gloom.
"Now!—ere the deed has time to pass beyond
The shade it casts upon my soul! Now! Now!"
Has fury seized him? He has left his lair,
Cast his short mantle round, and elutcli'd the child.—
From slumber with a shriek of pain she woke,
For his hot grasp was on her shoulder laid,
And dinted all his fingers in her flesh.
At one fierce drag he raised her from the ground:
"Help, mother!" cried the child with piteous sobs.
But silent in the stragglings of her soul
And breathing wildlywith convulsive clasp,
Guarding the blanket which immured her face,
The mother lay. " Will you not look on her,
On the sweet flower you punctured on her breast,
Sign of our house, the daisy yellow-ring'd?"
"Go! go! I will not see her lest I die.
Spare not the richest of your goods, the child,—
Belah will smile. Go! go!"—And he was gone.

There was no moon that night; the land lay dead
Beneath the wood, thick matted, which by day
Made midnight on the path to Belah's home.
Through the thick shrubs Paomi led the child;
Up the steep hill Paomi led the child;
Close to the edge he led the child, and stopt.
"Home go, Banoolah! " said the tottering voice,
"Home to Nooravah! Home, Banoolah, go!"
Paomi shudder'd as he heard the words,
And fancied the sweet eyes he could not see.
He felt the timid clinging of her hand,—
The little hand that lay so close in his.
"Home! ay, Banoolah shall go home," he said,
And lift his eyes and saw a gush of flame
Pierce the red cloud. " Banoolah shall go home
And dwell with mighty gods and famous men,
And never thirst nor hunger any more.
Come onward! "—On the giddy brink they stood,
And heard far down the billows of dark fire
Dashing, like ocean, 'gainst a rocky shore.
"Banoolah, do you love me?" in quick words
Paomi said, and touch'd her on the arm.
"Banoolah loves Paomi," said the child,
"And loves Nooravah too."—Down the black chasm
He look'd, and upward rose, with hideous bound,
Black fringed and red within, a flood of fire,
And closed him round, and stifled all his breath;
And shuddering, shaken in his limbs, he slept
Backward a space, and panted, and revived.
Then, struggling with himself, and mad with rage,
He grasp'd the child and hurried to the abyss.
But silent through the darkness moved a form,
With noiseless step, and touched him where he stood.
"Stay, murderer!" said the voice,—"repent and live!
God is not here."—" Who speaks?" Paomi said.

"I, Melville, your king's friend, and yoursthe man
That tells you how to live and how to die
I've seen you in the crowd when I've proclaim'd
Christ our RedeemerChrist our only King!"
"I know not ChristBelah demands my child,"
Paomi said. " But Christ is mightier far;
Mighty to save," said Melville. " Leave with me
The innocent child; leave her to me and God!"
"And BelahHark! she thunders!"

                                                              With soft hand
Melville has drawn Banoolah to his side.
"Will you love Christ, my little maid? " he said,
"And he will give you life." Upon her knee
Sank the frail child, and kiss'd the preacher's hand:
"Banoolah will love Christ." " Then come with me,"
He said, and raised her in his loving arms,
And bore her gently to the downward path.
And rack'd 'tween love and fear, the father stood,
Unable to resist the yearning thought
That his Banoolah should be saved, yet wild
With terror at the doom Banoolak sends.

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