Raising the Devil: A Legend of Cornelius Agrippa

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'And hast thou nerve enough?' he said,
That Grey old Man, above whose head
Unnumber'd years had roll'd,--
'And hast thou nerve to view,' he cried,
'The incarnate Fiend that Heaven defied!
-- Art thou indeed so bold?'

'Say, canst Thou, with unshrinking gaze,
Sustain, rash youth, the withering blaze
Of that unearthly eye,
That blasts where'er it lights,-- the breath
That, like the Simoom, scatters death
On all that yet can die!

--'Darest thou confront that fearful form,
That rides the whirlwind, and the storm,
In wild unholy revel!
The terrors of that blasted brow,
Archangel's once,-- though ruin'd now --
-- Ay,-- dar'st thou face THE DEVIL?'--

'I dare!' the desperate Youth replied,
And placed him by that Old Man's side,
In fierce and frantic glee,
Unblench'd his cheek, and firm his limb
--'No paltry juggling Fiend, but HIM!
-- THE DEVIL!-- I fain would see!--

'In all his Gorgon terrors clad,
His worst, his fellest shape!' the Lad
Rejoined in reckless tone.--
--'Have then thy wish!' Agrippa said,
And sigh'd and shook his hoary head,
With many a bitter groan.

He drew the mystic circle's bound,
With skull and cross-bones fenc'd around;
He traced full many a sigil there;
He mutter'd many a backward pray'r,
That sounded like a curse--
'He comes!'-- he cried with wild grimace,
'The fellest of Apollyon's race!'--
-- Then in his startled pupil's face
He dash'd -- an EMPTY PURSE!!

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.