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'Gainst Lara gathering raised at length a storm,

Such as himself might fear, and foes would form,

And he must answer for the absent head Of one that haunts him still, alive or dead.

VIII

Within that land was many a malcontent, Who cursed the tyranny to which he bent; That soil full many a wringing despot saw, Who work'd his wantonness in form of law.

100

Long war without and frequent broil within Had made a path for blood and giant sin, That waited but a signal to begin

New havoc, such as civil discord blends, Which knows no neuter, owns but foes or friends;

Fix'd in his feudal fortress each was lord, In word and deed obey'd, in soul abhorr❜d. Thus Lara had inherited his lands,

And with them pining hearts and sluggish hands;

169 But that long absence from his native clime Had left him stainless of oppression's crime, And now, diverted by his milder sway, All dread by slow degrees had worn away. The menials felt their usual awe alone, But more for him than them that fear was grown;

They deem'd him now unhappy, though at first

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name.

The moment came, the hour when Otho thought Secure at last the vengeance which he sought.

His summons found the destined criminal Begirt by thousands in his swarming hall, Fresh from their feudal fetters newly riven, Defying earth and confident of heaven. That morning he had freed the soil-bound slaves

220

Who dig no land for tyrants but their graves! Such is their cry the fight Must vindicate the wrong and warp the right; Religion, freedom, vengeance, what you will

A word 's enough to raise mankind to kill; Some factious phrase by cunning caught and spread, That guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed!

some watchword for

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The first success to Lara's numbers clung:
But that vain victory hath ruined all;
They form no longer to their leader's call:
In blind confusion on the foe they press,
And think to snatch is to secure success.
The lust of booty and the thirst of hate
Lure on the broken brigands to their fate:
In vain he doth whate'er a chief may do, 290
To check the headlong fury of that crew;
In vain their stubborn ardour he would
tame,

The hand that kindles cannot quench the flame;

The wary foe alone hath turn'd their mood, And shown their rashness to that erring brood.

The feign'd retreat, the nightly ambuscade, The daily harass, and the fight delay'd, The long privation of the hoped supply, The tentless rest beneath the humid sky, The stubborn wall that mocks the leaguer's

art

300

And palls the patience of his baffled heart,

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That fatal gesture left the unguarded side, And Death hath stricken down yon arm of pride.

The word of triumph fainted from his tongue;

That hand, so raised, how droopingly it hung!

But yet the sword instinctively retains, Though from its fellow shrink the falling reins;

These Kaled snatches: dizzy with the blow, And senseless bending o'er his saddle-bow, Perceives not Lara that his anxious page 390 Beguiles his charger from the combat's rage. Meantime his followers charge, and charge again;

Too mix'd the slayers now to heed the slain!

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