“A woman’s well-won fealty
shall give the life he gave,
Love shall redeem the loving, and Sacrifice shall save.
But—God heal the tortured spirit, God calm the maddened mood;
For Death haunts the death-dealer; blood taints the life of blood!”
Relaxing but not releasing her grasp of my own hand, she felt about with her left till Esmo gently placed his own therein. Then, in a tone at first of deep and passionate anxiety and eagerness, passing into one of regretful admiration, and varying with the purport of each utterance, she broke into another chant, in which were repeated over and again phrases familiar in the traditions and prophetic or symbolic formularies of the Zinta:—
“Ever on deadliest peril shines
the Star with steadiest ray;
Ever quail the fiercest hunters when Kargynda turns at bay.
Close, Children of the Starlight! close, for the Emerald Throne!
Close round the life that closeth your life within the zone!
Rests the Golden Circle’s glory, rests the silver gleam on her
Who shall rein Kargynda’s fury with a thread of gossamer.
He metes not mortal measure, He pays not human price,
Who crowns that life’s devotion with the death of sacrifice!
Woe worth the moment’s panic; woe worth the victory won!
But the Night is near the breaking when the Stranger claims his own.
“Ever on deadliest peril shines the Star with steadiest ray; Ever quail the fiercest hunters when Kargynda turns at bay. No life is worth the living that counts each fleeting breath; No eyes from God averted can meet the eyes of Death. Vague fear and spectral terrors haunt the soul that dwells in shade, Nor e’er can crimson conscience confront the crimson blade. From a cloud of shame and sorrow breaks the Light that shines afar, And cold and dark the household spark that lit the Silver Star. The triumph is a death-march; the victor’s voice a moan:—But the Powers of Night are broken when the Stranger wins his own!
“Ever in blackest midnight shines
the Star with brightest ray;
Woe to them that hunt the theme if Kargynda cross the way!
In the Home of Peace, Clavelta, can our fears thy spirit move?
Look down! whence comes the rescue to the household of thy love?
As the All-Commander’s lightning falls the Vengeance from above!
A shriek from thousand voices; a thunder crash; a groan;
A thousand homes in mourning—a thousand deaths in one!
Woe to the Sons of Darkness, for the Stranger wields his own!
Oh, hide that scene of horror in the deepest shades of night!
Look upward to the welkin, where the Vessel fades from sight ...
But the Veil is rent for ever by the Hand that veiled the Shrine;
And, on a peace of ages, the Star of Peace shall shine!”