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TRIBUNAL OF THE AREOPAGUS.
Listen, that voice! upon the hill of Mars,
Rolling in bolder thunders, than e'er pealed
From lips that shook the Macedonian throne;
Behold his dauntless outstretched arm, his face
Illumed of heaven :-he knoweth not the fear
Of man, of principalities, of powers.
The Stoic's moveless frown; the vacant stare
Of Epicurus' herd; the scowl and gnash malign
Of Superstition, stopping both her ears;
The Areopagite tribunal dread,
From whence the doom of Socrates was uttered ;
This hostile throng dismays him not; he seems,
As if no worldly object could inspire
A terror in his soul;—as if the vision,
Which, when he journeyed to Damascus, shone
From heaven, still swam before his eyes,
Out-dazzling all things earthly; as if the voice,
That spake from out the effulgence, ever rang
Within his ear, inspiring him with words,
Burning, majestic, lofty, as his theme,
The resurrection, and the life to come.
The Judge ascended to the judgment-seat.
Amid a gleam of spears the Apostle stood.
Dauntless, he forward came; and looked around,
And raised his voice, at first, in accents low,
Yet clear; a whisper spread among the throng:-
So when the thunder mutters, still the breeze
Is heard, at times, to sigh; but when the peal,
Tremendous, louder rolls, a silence dead
Succeeds each pause,-moveless the aspen leaf.
Thus fixed, and motionless, the listening band
Of soldiers forward leaned, as from the man,
Inspired of God, truth's awful thunders rolled.
No more he feels, upon his high raised arm,
The ponderous chain, than does the playful child
The bracelet, formed of many a flowery link.
Heedless of self, forgetful that his life
Is now to be defended by his words,
He only thinks of doing good to them
Who seek bis life; and, while he reasons high
Of justice, temperance, and the life to come,
The Judge shrinks trembling at the prisoner's voice.