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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 5
A TALE OF JERUSALEM
"El Elohim!" ejaculated the Pharisee, as the discordant tones of the centurion rattled up the crags of the precipice, and fainted away against the temple -"El Elohim!--who is the god Phoebus?--whom doth the blasphemer invoke? Thou, Buzi-BenLevi! who art read in the laws of the Gentiles, and hast sojourned among them who dabble with the Teraphim!--is it Nergal of whom the idolater speaketh?----or Ashimah?--or Nibhaz,--or Tartak? --or Adramalech?--or Anamalech?--or Succoth-Benith?---or Dagon?---or Belial?---or Baal-Perith? -or Baal-Peor?---or Baal-Zebub?"
"Verily it is neither-but beware how thou lettest the rope slip too rapidly through thy fingers; for should the wicker-work chance to hang on the projection of Yonder crag, there will be a woful outpouring of the holy things of the sanctuary."
By the assistance of some rudely constructed machinery, the heavily laden basket was now carefully lowered down among the multitude; and, from the giddy pinnacle, the Romans were seen gathering confusedly round it; but owing to the vast height and the prevalence of a fog, no distinct view of their operations could be obtained.
Half an hour had already elapsed.
"We shall be too late!" sighed the Pharisee, as at the expiration of this period he looked over into the abyss-"we shall be too late! we shall be turned out of office by the Katholim."
"No more," responded Abel-Phittim----"no more shall we feast upon the fat of the land-no longer shall our beards be odorous with frankincense--our loins girded up with fine linen from the Temple."
"Racal" swore Ben-Levi, "Racal do they mean to defraud us of the purchase money? or, Holy Moses ! are they weighing the shekels of the tabernacle ?"
"They have given the signal at last!" cried the Pharisee-----"they have given the signal at last!pull away, Abel-Phittim!-and thou, Buzi-Ben-Levi, pull away!-for verily the Philistines have either still hold upon the basket, or the Lord hath softened their hearts to place therein a beast of good weight!" And the Gizbarim pulled away, while their burden swung heavily upward through the still increasing mist.
"Booshoh he!"-as, at the conclusion of an hour, some object at the extremity of the rope became indistinctly visible-"Booshoh he!" was the exclamation which burst from the lips of Ben-Levi.
. . . . . . . . . .
"Booshoh he!--for shame!-it is a ram from the thickets of Engedi, and as rugged as the valley of jehosaphat!"
"It is a firstling of the flock," said Abel-Phittim, "I know him by the bleating of his lips, and the innocent folding of his limbs. His eyes are more beautiful than the jewels of the Pectoral, and his flesh is like the honey of Hebron."
"It is a fatted calf from the pastures of Bashan," said the Pharisee, "the heathen have dealt wonderfully with us ----let us raise up our voices in a psalm --let us give thanks on the shawm and on the psaltery-on the harp and on the huggab-on the cythern and on the sackbut!"
It was not until the basket had arrived within a few feet of the Gizbarim that a low grunt betrayed to their perception a hog of no common size.
"Now El Emanu!" slowly and with upturned eyes ejaculated the trio, as, letting go their hold, the emancipated porker tumbled headlong among the Philistines, "El Emanu!-God be with us---it is _the unutterable flesh!"_