There Is An Hour, A Pensive Hour
THERE is an hour, a pensive hour;
(And oh! how dear its soothing pow'r!)
It is, when twilight spreads her veil,
And steals along the silent dale;
'Tis when the fading blossoms close,
When all is silence and repose;
Then memory wakes, and loves to mourn,
For days—that never shall return!
There is a strain, a plaintive strain,
The source of joy and yet of pain;
It is the song, whose dying measure,
Some friend belov'd has heard with pleasure;
Some friend—who ne'er again may hear,
The melting lay, to memory dear;
Ah! then, her magic spells restore,
Visions of blissful days no more!
There is a tear of sweet relief,
A tear—of rapture and of grief;
The feeling heart alone can know
What soft emotions bid it flow!
It is when memory charms the mind,
With tender images refin'd;
'Tis when her balmy spells restore,
Departed friends, and joys no more!
A Monarch's Death-Bed
A monarch on his death-bed lay -
Did censors waft perfume,
And soft lamps pour their silvery ray,
Thro' his proud chamber's gloom?
He lay upon a greensward bed,
Beneath a dark'ning sky -
A lone tree waving o'er his head,
A swift stream rolling by.
Had he then fall'n as warriors fall,
Where spear strikes fire with spear?
Was there a banner for his pall,
A buckler for his bier?
Not so;â€“nor cloven shields nor helms
Had strewn the bloody sod,
Where he, the helpless lord of realms,
Yielded his soul to God.
Were there not friends with words of cheer,
And princely vassals nigh?
And priests, the crucifix to rear
Before the glazing eye?
A peasant girl that royal head
Upon her bosom laid,
And, shrinking not for woman's dread,
The face of death survey'd.
Alone she sat: -â€“ from hill and wood
Red sank the mournful sun;
Fast gush'd the fount of noble blood, -
Treason its worst had done!
With her long hair she vainly press'
The wounds, to staunch their tide -
Unknown, on that meek humble breast,
Imperial Albert died!
The Death-Day Of Korner
A song for the death-day of the brave
A song of pride!
The youth went down to a hero's grave,
With the sword, his bride.
He went, with his noble heart unworn,
And pure, and high;
An eagle stooping from clouds of morn,
Only to die!
He went with the lyre, whose lofty tone
Beneath his hand
Had thrill'd to the name of his God alone,
And his Father-land.
And with all his glorious feelings yet
In their first glow,
Like a southern stream that no frost hath met
To chain its flow.
A song for the death-day of the brave
A song of pride!
For him that went to a hero's grave,
With the sword, his bride.
He hath left a voice in his trumpet-lays
To turn the flight,
And a guiding spirit for after days,
Like a watch-fire's light.
And a grief in his father's soul to rest,
Midst all high thought;
And a memory unto his mother's breast,
With healing fraught.
And a name and fame above the blight
Of earthly breath,
Beautiful beautiful and bright,
In life and death!
A song for the death-day of the brave
A song of pride!
For him that went to a hero's grave,
With the sword, his bride!
To The Memory Of Heber
If it be sad to speak of treasures gone,
Of sainted genius call'd too soon away,
Of light, from this world taken, while it shone
Yet kindling onward to the perfect day;
How shall our grief, if mournful these things be,
Flow forth, oh, Thou of many gifts! for thee?
Hath not thy voice been here amongst us heard?
And that deep soul of gentleness and power,
Have we not felt its breath in every word,
Wont from thy lip, as Hermon's dew, to shower?
Yes, in our hearts thy fervent thoughts have burn'd
Of heaven they were, and thither have return'd.
How shall we mourn thee? With a lofty trust,
Our life's immortal birthright from above!
With a glad faith, whose eye, to track the just,
Thro' shades and mysteries lifts a glance of love,
And yet can weep! for nature thus deplores
The friend that leaves us, tho' for happier shores.
And one high tone of triumph o'er thy bier,
One strain of solemn rapture be allow'd!
Thou, that rejoicing on thy mid career,
Not to decay, but unto death, hast bow'd;
In those bright regions of the rising sun,
Where victory ne'er a crown like thine had won.
Praise! for yet one more name with power endow'd,
To cheer and guide us, onward as we press;
Yet one more image on the heart bestow'd,
To dwell there, beautiful in holiness!
Thine, Heber, thine! whose memory from the dead,
Shines as the star which to the Saviour led.
ST. ASAPH, Sept. 1826.
The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.
The flames roll'd on...he would not go
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
He call'd aloud..."Say, father,say
If yet my task is done!"
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.
"Speak, father!" once again he cried
"If I may yet be gone!"
And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames roll'd on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death,
In still yet brave despair;
And shouted but one more aloud,
"My father, must I stay?"
While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud
The wreathing fires made way,
They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And stream'd above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.
There came a burst of thunder sound...
The boy-oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea.
With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part;
But the noblest thing which perished there
Was that young faithful heart.
To A Departed Spirit
From the bright stars, or from the viewless air,
Or from some world unreached by human thought,
Spirit, sweet spirit! if thy home be there,
And if thy visions with the past be fraught,
Answer me, answer me!
Have we not communed here of life and death?
Have we not said that love, such love as ours,
Was not to perish as a rose's breath,
To melt away, like song from festal bowers?
Answer me, answer me!
Thine eye's last light was mine - the soul thtat shone
Intensely, mournfully, through gathering haze -
Didst thou bear with thee to the shore unknown,
Nought of what lived in that long, earnest gaze!
Hear, hear, and answer me!
Thy voice - its low, soft, fervent, farewell tone
Thrilled through the tempest of the parting strife,
Like a faint breeze: - oh, from that music flown,
sound, if love's be quenchless life,
But once, oh! answer me!
In the still noontide, in the sunset's hush,
In the dead hour of night, when thought grows deep,
When the heart's phantoms from the darkness rush,
Fearfully beautiful, to strive with sleep -
Spirit! then answer me!
By the remembrance of our blended prayer;
By all our tears, whose mingling made them sweet
By our last hope, the victor o'er despair; -
Speak! if our souls in deathless yearnings meet;
Answer me, answer me!
The grave is silent: - and the far-off sky,
And the deep midnight - silent all, and lone!
Oh! if thy buried love make no reply,
What voice has earth! - Hear, pity, speak, mine own!
Answer me, answer me!
The Treasures Of The Deep
What hid'st thou in thy treasure-caves and cells?
Thou hollow-sounding and mysterious main!
-Pale glistening pearls, and rainbow-colour'd shells,
Bright things which gleam unreck'd-of, and in vain!
-Keep, keep thy riches, melancholy sea!
We ask not such from thee.
Yet more, the depths have more!-what wealth untold,
Far down, and shining through their stillness lies!
Thou hast the starry gems, the burning gold,
Won from ten thousand royal Argosies!
-Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful main!
Earth claims not these again.
Yet more, the depths have more!-thy waves have roll'd
Above the cities of a world gone by!
Sand hath fill'd up the palaces of old,
Sea-weed o'ergrown the halls of revelry.
-Dash o'er them, ocean! in thy scornful play!
Man yields them to decay.
Yet more! the billows and the depths have more!
High hearts and brave are gather'd to thy breast!
They hear not now the booming waters roar,
The battle thunders will not break their rest.
-Keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave!
Give back the true and brave!
Give back the lost and lovely!-those for whom
The place was kept at board and hearth so long,
The prayer went up through midnight's breathless gloom,
And the vain yearning woke 'midst festal song!
Hold fast thy buried Isles, thy towers o'erthrown-
But all is not thine own.
To thee the love of woman hath gone down,
Dark flow thy tides o'er manhood's noble head,
O'er youth's bright locks, and beauty's flowery crown,
-Yet must thou hear a voice-restore the dead!
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee!
-Restore the dead, thou sea!
War-Song Of The Spanish Patriots
YE who burn with glory's flame!
Ye who love the Patriot's fame;
Ye who scorn oppressive might,
Rise! in freedom's cause unite;
Hark! Iberia calls, ye brave!
Haste! your bleeding country save:
Be the palm of bright renown,
Be th' unfading laurel-crown,
The hero's prize!
High the crimson banner wave!
Ours be conquest or the grave!
Spirits of our noble sires,
Lo! your sons, with kindred fires,
See them once again advance,
Crush the pride of hostile France;
See their hearts, with ardor warm,
See them, with triumphant arm,
Repel the foe!
By the Cid's immortal name,
By Gonsalvo's deathless fame;
By the chiefs of former time,
By the valiant deeds sublime,
Of ancient days;
Brave Castilians! grasp the spear!
Gallant Andalusians, hear!
Glory calls you to the plain,
Future bards, in lofty strain,
Shall sing your praise!
Shades of mighty warriors dead,
Ye who nobly fought and bled;
Ye whose valor could withstand,
The savage Moor's invading band
Untaught to yield;
Bade victorious Charlemagne,
Own the patriot-arms of Spain;
Ye, in later times renown'd,
Ye who fell with laurels crown'd,
On Pavia's field!
Teach our hearts like yours to burn;
Lawless pow'r like you to spurn;
Teach us but like you to wield,
Freedom's lance and Freedom's shield
With daring might:
Tyrant! soon thy reign is o'er,
Thou shalt waste mankind no more;
Boast no more thy thousands slain,
Jena's, or Marengo's plain;
Lo! the sun that gilds thy day,
Soon will veil its parting ray,
In endless night!
The Rock Of Cader Idris
I LAY on that rock where the storms have their dwelling,
The birthplace of phantoms, the home of the cloud;
Around it for ever deep music is swelling,
The voice of the mountain-wind, solemn and loud.
'Twas a midnight of shadows all fitfully streaming,
Of wild waves and breezes, that mingled their moan;
Of dim shrouded stars, as from gulfs faintly gleaming;
And I met the dread gloom of its grandeur alone.
I lay there in silence–a spirit came o'er me;
Man's tongue hath no language to speak what I saw:
Things glorious, unearthly, passed floating before me,
And my heart almost fainted with rapture and awe.
I viewed the dread beings around us that hover,
Though veil'd by the mists of mortality's breath;
And I called upon darkness the vision to cover,
For a strife was within me of madness and death.
I saw them–the powers of the wind and the ocean,
The rush of whose pinion bears onward the storms;
Like the sweep of the white-rolling wave was their motion,
I felt their dim presence,–but knew not their forms !
I saw them–the mighty of ages departed–
The dead were around me that night on the hill:
From their eyes, as they passed, a cold radiance they darted,–
There was light on my soul, but my heart's blood was chill.
I saw what man looks on, and dies–but my spirit
Was strong, and triumphantly lived through that hour;
And, as from the grave, I awoke to inherit
A flame all immortal, a voice, and a power !
Day burst on that rock with the purple cloud crested,
And high Cader Idris rejoiced in the sun;–
But O ! what new glory all nature invested,
When the sense which gives soul to her beauty was won !
Woman On The Field Of Battle
Where hath not a woman stood,
Strong in affection's might? a reed, upborne
By an o'er mastering current!
GENTLE and lovely form,
What didst thou here,
When the fierce battle-storm
Bore down the spear?
Banner and shiver'd crest
Beside thee strown,
Tell, that amidst the best,
Thy work was done!
Yet strangely, sadly fair,
O'er the wild scene,
Gleams, through its golden hair,
That brow serene.
Low lies the stately head,–
Earth-bound the free;
How gave those haughty dead
A place to thee?
Friends should have crown'd,
Many a flower and tear
Soft voices, clear and young,
Mingling their swell,
Should o'er thy dust have sung
Earth's last farewell.
Sisters, above the grave
Of thy repose,
Should have bid violets wave
With the white rose.
How must the trumpet's note,
Savage and shrill,
For requiem o'er thee float,
Thou fair and still!
And the swift charger sweep
In full career,
Trampling thy place of sleep–
Why camest thou here?
Why?–ask the true heart why
Woman hath been
Ever, where brave men die
Unto this harvest ground
Proud reapers came,–
Some, for that stirring sound,
A warrior's name;
Some, for the stormy play
And joy of strife;
And some, to fling away
A weary life;–
But thou, pale sleeper, thou,
With the slight frame,
And the rich locks, whose glow
Death cannot tame;
Only one thought, one power,
could have led,
So, through the tempest's hour,
To lift thy head!
Only the true, the strong,
The love, whose trust
Woman's deep soul too long
Pours on the dust!
The Grave Of A Poetess
I stood beside thy lowly grave;
Spring-odours breath'd around,
And music, in the river-wave,
Pass'd with a lulling sound.
All happy things that love the sun,
In the bright air glanc'd by,
And a glad murmur seem'd to run
Thro' the soft azure sky.
Fresh leaves were on the ivy-bough
That fring'd the ruins near;
Young voices were abroad–but thou
Their sweetness couldst not hear.
And mournful grew my heart for thee,
Thou in whose woman's mind
The ray that brightens earth and sea,
The light of song was shrined.
Mournful, that thou wert slumbering low,
With a dread curtain drawn
Between thee and the golden glow
Of this world's vernal dawn.
Parted from all the song and bloom
Thou wouldst have lov'd so well,
To thee the sunshine round thy tomb
Was but a broken spell.
The bird, the insect on the wing,
In their bright reckless play,
Might feel the flush and life of spring,–
And thou wert pass'd away!
But then, ev'n then, a nobler thought
O'er my vain sadness came;
Th' immortal spirit woke, and wrought
Within my thrilling frame.
Surely on lovelier things, I said,
Thou must have look'd ere now,
Than all that round our pathway shed
Odours and hues below.
The shadows of the tomb are here,
Yet beautiful is earth!
What see'st thou then where no dim fear,
No haunting dream hath birth?
Here a vain love to passing flowers
Thou gav'st–but where thou art,
The sway is not with changeful hours,
There love and death must part.
Thou hast left sorrow in thy song,
A voice not loud, but deep!
The glorious bowers of earth among,
How often didst thou weep!
Where couldst thou fix on mortal ground
Thy tender thoughts and high?–
Now peace the woman's heart hath found,
And joy the poet's eye.
Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world with kings,
The powerful of the earth the wise the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. ~ BRYANT.
AND shrink ye from the way
To the spirit's distant shore?
Earth's mightiest men, in arm'd array,
Are thither gone before.
The warrior kings, whose banner
Flew far as eagles fly,
They are gone where swords avail them not,
From the feast of victory.
And the seers who sat of yore
By orient palm or wave,
They have pass'd with all their starry lore
Can ye still fear the grave?
We fear! we fear! the sunshine
Is joyous to behold,
And we reck not of the buried kings,
Nor the awful seers of old.
Ye shrink! the bards whose lays
Have made your deep hearts burn,
They have left the sun, and the voice of praise,
For the land whence none return.
And the beautiful, whose record
Is the verse that cannot die,
They too are gone, with their glorious bloom,
From the love of human eye.
Would ye not join that throng
Of the earth's departed flowers,
And the masters of the mighty song
In their far and fadeless bowers?
Those songs are high and holy,
But they vanquish not our fear;
Not from our path those flowers are gone
We fain would linger here!
Linger then yet awhile,
As the last leaves on the bough!
Ye have lov'd the light of many a smile,
That is taken from you now.
There have been sweet singing voices
In your walks, that now are still;
There are seats left void in your earthly homes,
Which none again may fill.
Soft eyes are seen no more,
That made spring-time in your heart;
Kindred and friends are gone before
And ye still fear to part?
We fear not now, we fear not!
Though the way thro' darkness bends;
Our souls are strong to follow them,
Our own familiar friends!
The Farewell To The Dead
Come near!-ere yet the dust
Soil the bright paleness of the settled brow,
Look on your brother, and embrace him now,
In still and solemn trust!
Come near!-once more let kindred lips be press'd
On his cold cheek; then bear him to his rest!
Look yet on this young face!
What shall the beauty, from amongst us gone,
Leave of its image, ev'n where most it shone,
Gladdening its hearth and race?
Dim grows the semblance on man's heart impress'd-
-Come near, and bear the beautiful to rest!
Ye weep, and it is well!
For tears befit earth's partings!-Yesterday
Song was upon the lips of this pale clay,
And sunshine seem'd to dwell
Where'er he mov'd-the welcome and the bless'd!
-Now gaze! and bear the silent unto rest!
Look yet on him, whose eye
Meets yours no more, in sadness or in mirth!
Was he not fair amidst the sons of earth,
The beings born to die?
-But not where death has power may love be bless'd--
Come near! and bear ye the belov'd to rest!
How may the mother's heart
Dwell on her son, and dare to hope again?
The spring's rich promise hath been given in vain,
The lovely must depart!
Is he not gone, our brightest and our best?
Come near! and bear the early-call'd to rest!
Look on him! is he laid
To slumber from the harvest or the chase?
-Too still and sad the smile upon his face,
Yet that, ev'n that, must fade!
Death holds not long unchang'd his fairest guest,-
Come near! and bear the mortal to his rest!
His voice of mirth hath ceas'd
Amidst the vineyards! there is left no place
For him whose dust receives your vain embrace,
At the gay bridal feast!
Earth must take earth to moulder on her breast;
Come near! weep o'er him! bear him to his rest!
Yet mourn ye not as they
Whose spirit's light is quench'd!-for him the past
Is seal'd. He may not fall, he may not cast
His birthright's hope away!
All is not here of our belov'd and bless'd-
-Leave ye the sleeper with his God to rest!
The Queen Of Prussia's Tomb
In sweet pride upon that insult keen
She smiled; then drooping mute and broken-hearted,
To the cold comfort of the grave departed. ~ Milman.
It stands where northern willows weep,
A temple fair and lone;
Soft shadows o'er its marble sweep,
From cypress-branches thrown;
While silently around it spread,
Thou feel'st the presence of the dead.
And what within is richly shrined?
A sculptur'd woman's form,
Lovely in perfect rest reclined,
As one beyond the storm:
Yet not of death, but slumber, lies
The solemn sweetness on those eyes.
The folded hands, the calm pure face,
The mantle's quiet flow,
The gentle, yet majestic grace,
Throned on the matron brow;
These, in that scene of tender gloom,
With a still glory robe the tomb.
There stands an eagle, at the feet
Of the fair image wrought;
A kingly emblem–nor unmeet
To wake yet deeper thought:
She whose high heart finds rest below,
Was royal in her birth and wo.
There are pale garlands hung above,
Of dying scent and hue;–
She was a mother–in her love
How sorrowfully true!
Oh! hallow'd long be every leaf,
The record of her children's grief!
She saw their birthright's warrior-crown
Of olden glory spoil'd,
The standard of their sires borne down,
The shield's bright blazon soil'd:
She met the tempest meekly brave,
Then turn'd o'erwearied to the grave.
She slumber'd; but it came–it came,
Her land's redeeming hour,
With the glad shout, and signal flame
Sent on from tower to tower!
Fast thro' the realm a spirit moved–
'Twas hers, the lofty and the loved.
Then was her name a note that wrung
To rouse bold hearts from sleep;
Her memory, as a banner flung
Forth by the Baltic deep;
Her grief, a bitter vial pour'd
To sanctify th' avenger's sword.
And the crown'd eagle spread again
His pinion to the sun;
And the strong land shook off its chain–
So was the triumph won!
But wo for earth, where sorrow's tone
Still blends with victory's!–She was gone!
The Statue Of The Dying Gladiator
COMMANDING pow'r! whose hand with plastic art
Bids the rude stone to grace and being start;
Swell to the waving line the polish'd form,
And only want Promethean fire to warm ;—
Sculpture, exult! thy triumph proudly see,
The Roman slave immortalized by thee!
No suppliant sighs, no terrors round him wait,
But vanquish'd valor soars above his fate!
In that fix'd eye still proud defiance low'rs,
In that stern look indignant grandeur tow'rs!
He sees e'en death, with javelin barb'd in pain,
A foe but worthy of sublime disdain!
Too firm, too lofty, for one parting tear,
A quiv'ring pulse, a struggle, or a fear!
Oh! fire of soul! by servitude disgrac'd,
Perverted courage! energy debas'd!
Lost Rome! thy slave, expiring in the dust,
Tow'rs far above Patrician rank, august!
While that proud rank, insatiate, could survey
Pageants that stain'd with blood each festal day!
Oh! had that arm, which grac'd thy deathful show,
With many a daring feat and nervous blow,
Wav'd the keen sword and rear'd the patriot-shield,
Firm in thy cause, on Glory's laureate field;
Then, like the marble form, from age to age,
His name had liv'd in history's brightest page;
While death had but secur'd the victor's crown,
And seal'd the suffrage of deserv'd renown!
That gen'rous pride, that spirit unsubdu'd,
That soul, with honor's high-wrought sense imbu'd,
Had shone, recorded in the song of fame,
A beam, as now, a blemish, on thy name!
Yet here, so well has art majestic wrought,
Sublimed expression, and ennobled thought;
A dying Hero we behold, alone,
And Mind's bright grandeur animates the stone!
'Tis not th' Arena's venal champion bleeds,
No! 'tis some warrior, fam'd for matchless deeds!
Admiring rapture kindles into flame,
Nature and art the palm divided claim!
Nature (exulting in her spirit's pow'r,
To rise victorious in the dreaded hour,)
Triumphs, that death and all his shadowy train,
Assail a mortal's constancy—in vain!
And Art, rejoicing in the work sublime,
Unhurt by all the sacrilege of time,
Smiles o'er the marble, her divine control
Moulded to symmetry, and fir'd with soul!
Lines To The Memory Of A Very Amiable Young Lady, Who Died At The Age Of Eighteen
AT length, departed saint! thy pangs are o'er,
And earthly suff'ring shall be thine no more;
Like some young rose-bud, blighted in its May,
Thy virtues bloom'd, to wither soon away!
Around thy grave let Spring her off'ring strew,
Her drooping lilies, bath'd in fragrant dew;
Emblems of thee, thou sweet, lamented maid;
Thou spotless lily, doom'd so soon to fade!
Angelic sweetness, piety refin'd,
Within thy gentle bosom were enshrin'd.
Thy heav'nly mind display'd, in early youth,
The fairest blossom of celestial truth—
How oft, sweet girl! thy soothing tears would flow,
In sacred sympathy with others' woe!
Yet Patience taught thee to sustain thy own,
Suppress the sigh, and hush the rising moan;
'Midst anguish, still to wear the placid mien,
Mild Resignation's smile and look serene!
Ye who have watch'd beside the mournful bed,
And rais'd, with anxious care, the languid head;
Gaz'd on the pallid cheek, the faded eye,
And heard the breathings of the parting sigh;
Ye who have mourn'd a sister's early doom,
Or bent in sorrow o'er a daughter's tomb;
Oh! weep for those, who sadly now deplore,
The fate, the virtues, of the maid no more.
What pow'r can sooth a tender parent's grief,
Or bring the friend's, the sister's woes relief?
Religion pure, ineffably divine,
Angel of peace, that heav'nly pow'r is thine,
Though spreading glooms the beam of joy may shroud,
Still, still thy rainbow brightens in the cloud;
Dispels the mist of error and of night,
Till fairer prospects open on the sight;
The blissful regions of eternal rest,
The calm, Elysian mansions of the blest.
—There too, each pang, each earthly suff'ring o'er,
Her gentle spirit soars, to weep no more!
'Mourn not for me,' the happy seraph cries,
'Exulting, lo! I gain my native skies!
A golden harp enraptur'd now I bear,
A wreath of bright, unfading palms I wear!
Mourn not for me, escap'd from ev'ry woe!
I gaze with pity, on the scenes below!
And bless the hour, when, freed from mortal clay,
My spirit mounted to the realms of day!
Oh! think, when past, a few eventful years,
Of toil and sorrow in the vale of tears;
Then shall we meet, releas'd from ev'ry pain,
Then shall we meet—nor ever part again!'
Gertrude, Or Fidelity Till Death
Dark lowers our fate,
And terrible the storm that gathers o'er us;
But nothing, till that latest agony
Which severs thee from nature, shall unloose
This fix'd and sacred hold. In thy dark prison-house,
In the terrific face of armed law,
Yea, on the scaffold, if it needs must be,
I never will forsake thee.
HER hands were clasp'd, her dark eyes rais'd,
The breeze threw back her hair;
Up to the fearful wheel she gaz'd–
All that she lov'd was there.
The night was round her clear and cold,
The holy heaven above,
Its pale stars watching to behold
The might of earthly love.
'And bid me not depart,' she cried,
'My Rudolph, say not so!
This is no time to quit thy side,
Peace, peace! I cannot go.
Hath the world aught for me to fear,
When death is on thy brow?
The world!–what means it?–mine is here–
I will not leave thee now.
'I have been with thee in thine hour
Of glory and of bliss;
Doubt not its memory's living power
To strengthen me thro' this!
And thou, mine honour'd love and true,
Bear on, bear nobly on!
We have the blessed heaven in view,
Whose rest shall soon be won.'
And were not these high words to flow
From woman's breaking heart?
Thro' all that night of bitterest woe
She bore her lofty part;
But oh! with such a glazing eye,
With such a curdling cheek–
Love, love! of mortal agony,
Thou, only thou, should'st speak!
The wind rose high–but with it rose
Her voice, that he might hear:
Perchance that dark hour brought repose
To happy bosoms near;
While she sat striving with despair
Beside his tortured form,
And pouring her deep soul in prayer
Forth on the rushing storm.
She wiped the death-damps from his brow
With her pale hands and soft,
Whose touch upon the lute-chords low
Had still'd his heart so oft.
She spread her mantle o'er his breast,
She bath'd his lips with dew,
And on his cheek such kisses press'd
As hope and joy ne'er knew.
Oh! lovely are ye, Love and Faith,
Enduring to the last!
She had her meed–one smile in death–
And his worn spirit pass'd.
While ev'n as o'er a martyr's grave
She knelt on that sad spot,
And, weeping, bless'd the God who gave
Strength to forsake it not!
Korner And His Sister
Green wave the oak for ever o'er thy rest,
Thou that beneath its crowning foliage sleepest,
And, in the stillness of thy country's breast,
Thy place of memory, as an altar keepest;
Brightly thy spirit o'er her hills was pour'd,
Thou of the Lyre and Sword!
Rest, bard! rest, soldier! by the father's hand
Here shall the child of after years be led,
With his wreath-offering silently to stand,
In the hush'd presence of the glorious dead.
Soldier and bard! for thou thy path hast trod
With freedom and with God.
The oak wav'd proudly o'er thy burial-rite,
On thy crown'd bier to slumber warriors bore thee,
And with true hearts thy brethren of the fight
Wept as they vail'd their drooping banners o'er thee.
And the deep guns with rolling peal gave token,
That Lyre and Sword were broken.
Thou hast a hero's tomb: a lowlier bed
Is hers, the gentle girl beside thee lying,
The gentle girl, that bow'd her fair, young head
When thou wert gone, in silent sorrow dying.
Brother, true friend! the tender and the brave
She pined to share thy grave.
Fame was thy gift from others; but for her,
To whom the wide world held that only spot,
She loved thee! lovely in your lives ye were,
And in your early deaths divided not.
Thou hast thine oak, thy trophy:–What hath she?
Her own blest place by thee!
It was thy spirit, brother! which had made
The bright earth glorious to her thoughtful eye,
Since first in childhood midst the vines ye play'd,
And sent glad singing thro' the free blue sky.
Ye were but two and when that spirit pass'd,
Wo to the one, the last!
Wo, yet not long! She linger'd but to trace
Thine image from the image in her breast,
Once, once again to see that buried face
But smile upon her, ere she went to rest.
Too sad a smile! its living light was o'er,
It answer'd hers no more.
The earth grew silent when thy voice departed,
The home too lonely whence thy step had fled;
What then was left for her, the faithful-hearted?
Death, death, to still the yearning for the dead!
Softly she perish'd: be the Flower deplor'd
Here with the Lyre and Sword!
Have ye not met ere now? so let those trust
That meet for moments but to part for years,
That weep, watch, pray, to hold back dust from dust,
That love, where love is but a fount of tears.
Brother, sweet sister! peace around ye dwell:
Lyre, Sword, and Flower, farewell!
The Kaiser's Feast
The Kaiser feasted in his hall,
The red wine mantled high;
Banners were trembling on the wall,
To the peals of minstrelsy:
And many a gleam and sparkle came
From the armour hung around,
As it caught the glance of the torch's flame,
Or the hearth with pine-boughs crown'd.
Why fell there silence on the chord
Beneath the harper's hand?
And suddenly, from that rich board,
Why rose the wassail-band?
The strings were hush'dâ€“the knights made way
For the queenly mother's tread,
As up the hall, in dark array,
Two fair-hair'd boys she led.
She led them even to the Kaiser's place,
And still before him stood;
Till, with strange wonder, o'er his face
Flush'd the proud warrior-blood:
And 'Speak, my mother! speak!' he cried,
'Wherefore this mourning vest?
And the clinging children by thy side,
In weeds of sadness drest?'
'Well may a mourning vest be mine,
And theirs, my son, my son!
Look on the features of thy line
In each fair little one!
Tho' grief awhile within their eyes
Hath tamed the dancing glee,
Yet there thine own quick spirit liesâ€“
Thy brother's children see!
'And where is he, thy brother, where?
He, in thy home that grew,
And smiling, with his sunny hair,
Ever to greet thee flew?
How would his arms thy neck entwine,
His fond lips press thy brow!
My son! oh, call these orphans thineâ€“
Thou hast no brother now!
'What! from their gentle eyes doth nought
Speak of thy childhood's hours,
And smite thee with a tender thought
Of thy dead father's towers?
Kind was thy boyish heart and true,
When rear'd together there,
Thro' the old woods like fawns ye flewâ€“
Where is thy brotherâ€“where?
'Well didst thou love him then, and he
Still at thy side was seen!
How is it that such things can be
As tho' they ne'er had been?
Evil was this world's breath, which came
Between the good and brave!
Now must the tears of grief and shame
Be offer'd to the grave.
'And let them, let them there be pour'd!
Though all unfelt below,
Thine own wrung heart, to love restor'd,
Shall soften as they flow.
Oh! death is mighty to make peace;
Now bid his work be done!
So many an inward strife shall ceaseâ€“
Take, take these babes, my son!'
His eye was dimm'dâ€“the strong man shook
With feelings long suppress'd;
Up in his arms the boys he took,
And strain'd them to his breast.
And a shout from all in the royal hall
Burst forth to hail the sight;
And eyes were wet, midst the brave that met
At the Kaiser's feast that night.
The Sea-king woke from the troubled sleep
Of a vision-haunted night,
And he look'd from his bark o'er the gloomy deep,
And counted the streaks of light;
For the red sun's earliest ray
Was to rouse his bands that day,
To the stormy joy of fight!
But the dreams of rest were still on earth,
And the silent stars on high,
And there wav'd not the smoke of one cabin-hearth
'Midst the quiet of the sky;
And along the twilight bay
In their sleep the hamlets lay,
For they knew not the Norse were nigh!
The Sea-king look'd o'er the brooding wave:
He turn'd to the dusky shore,
And there seem'd, through the arch of a tide-worn cave,
A gleam, as of snow, to pour;
And forth, in watery light,
Mov'd phantoms, dimly white,
Which the garb of woman bore.
Slowly they mov'd to the billow side;
And the forms, as they grew more clear,
Seem'd each on a tall pale steed to ride,
And a shadowy crest to rear,
And to beckon with faint hand
From the dark and rocky strand,
And to point a gleaming spear.
Then a stillness on his spirit fell,
Before th' unearthly train,
For he knew Valhalla's daughters well,
The choosers of the slain!
And a sudden rising breeze
Bore across the moaning seas
To his ear their thrilling strain:
'There are songs in Odin's Hall,
For the brave, ere night to fall!
Doth the great sun hide his ray?-
He must bring a wrathful day!
Sleeps the falchion in its sheath?-
Swords must do the work of death!
Regner!-sea-king!-thee we call!
There is joy in Odin's Hall.
'At the feast and in the song,
Thou shalt be remember'd long!
By the green isles of the flood
Thou hast left thy track in blood!
On the earth and on the sea,
There are those will speak of thee!
'Tis enough-the war-gods call-
There is mead in Odin's Hall!
'Regner! tell thy fair-hair'd bride
She must slumber at thy side!
Tell the brother of thy breast
Ev'n for him thy grave hath rest!
Tell the raven-steed which bore thee,
When the wild wolf fled before thee,
He too with his lord must fall-
There is room in Odin's Hall!
'Lo! the mighty sun looks forth-
Arm! thou leader of the north!
Lo! the mists of twilight fly-
We must vanish, thou must die!
By the sword and by the spear,
By the hand that knows not fear,
Sea-king! nobly shalt thou fall!-
There is joy in Odin's Hall!'
There was arming heard on land and wave,
When afar the sunlight spread,
And the phantom forms of the tide-worn cave
With the mists of morning fled.
But at eve, the kingly hand
Of the battle-axe and brand,
Lay cold on a pile of dead!
Indian Woman's Death-Song
Non, je ne puis vivre avec un coeur brisé® Il faut que je retrouve la joie, et que je m'unisse aux esprits libres de l'air.
Bride of Messina
Madame De Stael
Let not my child be a girl, for very sad is the life of a woman.
DOWN a broad river of the western wilds,
Piercing thick forest glooms, a light canoe
Swept with the current: fearful was the speed
Of the frail bark, as by a tempest's wing
Borne leaf-like on to where the mist of spray
Rose with the cataract's thunder. Yet within,
Proudly, and dauntlessly, and all alone,
Save that a babe lay sleeping at her breast,
A woman stood. Upon her Indian brow
Sat a strange gladness, and her dark hair wav'd
As if triumphantly. She press'd her child,
In its bright slumber, to her beating heart,
And lifted her sweet voice that rose awhile
Above the sound of waters, high and clear,
Wafting a wild proud strain, her Song of Death.
Roll swiftly to the Spirit's land, thou mighty stream and free!
Father of ancient waters, 5 roll! and bear our lives with thee!
The weary bird that storms have toss'd would seek the sunshine's calm,
And the deer that hath the arrow's hurt flies to the woods of balm.
Roll on! my warrior's eye hath look'd upon another's face,
And mine hath faded from his soul, as fades a moonbeam's trace;
My shadow comes not o'er his path, my whisper to his dream,
He flings away the broken reed roll swifter yet, thou stream!
The voice that spoke of other days is hush'd within his breast,
But mine its lonely music haunts, and will not let me rest;
It sings a low and mournful song of gladness that is gone,
I cannot live without that light. Father of waves! roll on!
Will he not miss the bounding step that met him from the chase?
The heart of love that made his home an ever sunny place?
The hand that spread the hunter's board, and deck'd his couch of yore?
He will not! roll, dark foaming stream, on to the better shore!
Some blessed fount amidst the woods of that bright land must flow,
Whose waters from my soul may lave the memory of this wo;
Some gentle wind must whisper there, whose breath may waft away
The burden of the heavy night, the sadness of the day.
And thou, my babe! tho' born, like me, for woman's weary lot,
Smile! to that wasting of the heart, my own! I leave thee not;
Too bright a thing art thou to pine in aching love away,
Thy mother bears thee far, young Fawn! from sorrow and decay.
She bears thee to the glorious bowers where none are heard to weep,
And where th' unkind one hath no power again to trouble sleep;
And where the soul shall find its youth, as wakening from a dream,
One moment, and that realm is ours. On, on, dark rolling stream!
Ulla, Or The Adjuration
'Thou'rt gone!–thou'rt slumb'ring low,
With the sounding seas above thee;
It is but a restless wo,
But a haunting dream to love thee!
Thrice the glad swan has sung,
To greet the spring-time hours,
Since thine oar at parting flung
The white spray up in showers.
There's a shadow of the grave on thy hearth and round thy home;
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–thou'rt surely of them–come!'
'Twas Ulla's voice–alone she stood
In the Iceland summer night,
Far gazing o'er a glassy flood,
From a dark rock's beetling height.
'I know thou hast thy bed
Where the sea-weed's coil hath bound thee;
The storm sweeps o'er thy head,
But the depths are hush'd around thee.
What wind shall point the way
To the chambers where thou'rt lying?
Come to me thence, and say
If thou thought'st on me in dying?
I will not shrink to see thee with a bloodless lip and cheek–
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–thou'rt surely of them–speak!'
She listen'd–'twas the wind's low moan,
'Twas the ripple of the wave,
'Twas the wakening osprey's cry alone,
As it started from its cave.
'I know each fearful spell
Of the ancient Runic lay,
Whose mutter'd words compel
The tempest to obey.
But I adjure not thee
By magic sign or song,
My voice shall stir the sea
By love,–the deep, the strong!
By the might of woman's tears, by the passion of her sighs,
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–by the vows we pledg'd–arise!'
Again she gazed with an eager glance,
Wandering and wildly bright;–
She saw but the sparkling waters dance
To the arrowy northern light.
'By the slow and struggling death
Of hope that loath'd to part,
By the fierce and withering breath
Of despair on youth's high heart;
By the weight of gloom which clings
To the mantle of the night,
By the heavy dawn which brings
Nought lovely to the sight,
By all that from my weary soul thou hast wrung of grief and fear,
Come to me from the ocean's dead–awake, arise, appear!'
Was it her yearning spirit's dream,
Or did a pale form rise,
And o'er the hush'd wave glide and gleam,
With bright, still, mournful eyes?
'Have the depths heard?–they have!
My voice prevails–thou'rt there,
Dim from thy watery grave,
Oh! thou that wert so fair!
Yet take me to thy rest!
There dwells no fear with love;
Let me slumber on thy breast,
While the billow rolls above!
Where the long-lost things lie hid, where the bright ones have their home,
We will sleep among the ocean's dead–stay for me, stay!–I come!'
There was a sullen plunge below,
A flashing on the main,
And the wave shut o'er that wild heart's wo,
Shut,–and grew still again.
Ivan The Czar
He sat in silence on the ground,
The old and haughty Czar;
Lonely, tho' princes girt him round,
And leaders of the war:
He had cast his jewell'd sabre,
That many a field had won,
To the earth beside his youthful dead,
His fair and first-born son.
With a robe of ermine for its bed,
Was laid that form of clay,
Where the light a stormy sunset shed,
Thro' the rich tent made way:
And a sad and solemn beauty
On the pallid face came down,
Which the Lord of nations mutely watch'd,
In the dust, with his renown.
Low tones at last of wo and fear
From his full bosom broke;–
A mournful thing it was to hear
How then the proud man spoke!
The voice that thro' the combat
Had shouted far and high,
Came forth in strange, dull, hollow tones,
Burden'd with agony.
'There is no crimson on thy cheek,
And on thy lip no breath,
I call thee, and thou dost not speak–
They tell me this is death!
And fearful things are whispering
That I the deed have done–
For the honour of thy father's name,
Look up, look up, my son!
'Well might I know death's hue and mien,
But on thine aspect, boy!
What, till this moment, have I seen
Save pride and tameless joy?
Swiftest thou wert to battle,
And bravest there of all–
How could I think a warrior's frame
Thus like a flower should fall?
'I will not bear that still, cold look–
Rise up, thou fierce and free!
Wake as the storm wakes! I will brook
All, save this calm, from thee!
Lift brightly up, and proudly,
Once more thy kindling eyes!
Hath my word lost its power on earth?
I say to thee, arise!
'Didst thou not know I lov'd thee well?
Thou didst not! and art gone
In bitterness of soul, to dwell
Where man must dwell alone.
Come back, young fiery spirit!
If but one hour, to learn
The secrets of the folded heart,
That seem'd to thee so stern.
'Thou wert the first, the first, fair child,
That in mine arms I press'd;
Thou wert the bright one, that hast smil'd
Like summer on my breast!
I rear'd thee as an eagle,
To the chase thy steps I led,
I bore thee on my battle-horse,
I look upon thee–dead!
'Lay down my warlike banners here,
Never again to wave,
And bury my red sword and spear,
Chiefs! in my first-born's grave!
And leave me!–I have conquer'd,
I have slain–my work is done!
Whom have I slain?–ye answer not–
Thou too art mute, my son!'
And thus his wild lament was pour'd
Thro' the dark resounding night,
And the battle knew no more his sword,
Nor the foaming steed his might.
He heard strange voices moaning
In every wind that sigh'd;
From the searching stars of heaven he shrank–
Humbly the conqueror died.
The Crusader's Return
Rest pilgrim, rest!-thou'rt from the Syrian land,
Thou'rt from the wild and wondrous east, I know
By the long-withered palm-branch in thy hand,
And by the darkness of thy sunburnt brow.
Alas! the bright, the beautiful, who part,
So full of hope, for that far country's bourne!
Alas! the weary and the chang'd in heart,
And dimm'd in aspect, who like thee return!
Thou'rt faint-stay, rest thee from thy toils at last,
Through the high chesnuts lightly plays the breeze,
The stars gleam out, the Ave hour is pass'd,
The sailor's hymn hath died along the seas.
Thou 'rt faint and worn-hear'st thou the fountain welling
By the grey pillars of yon ruin'd shrine?
Seest thou the dewy grapes, before thee swelling?
-He that hath left me train'd that loaded vine!
He was a child when thus the bower he wove,
(Oh! hath a day fled since his childhood's time?)
That I might sit and hear the sound I love,
Beneath its shade-the convent's vesper-chime.
And sit thou there!-for he was gentle ever;
With his glad voice he would have welcomed thee,
And brought fresh fruits to cool thy parch'd lips' fever-
-There in his place thou 'rt resting-where is he?
If I could hear that laughing voice again,
But once again!-how oft it wanders by,
In the still hours, like some remember'd strain,
Troubling the heart with its wild melody!
-Thou hast seen much, tired pilgrim! hast thou seen
In that far land, the chosen land of yore,
A youth-my Guido-with the fiery mien,
And the dark eye of this Italian shore?
The dark, clear, lightning eye!-on Heaven and earth
It smiled-as if man were not dust-it smiled!
The very air seem'd kindling with his mirth,
And I-my heart grew young before my child!
My blessed child!-I had but him-yet he
Fill'd all my home ev'n with o'erflowing joy,
Sweet laughter, and wild song, and footstep free-
-Where is he now?-my pride, my flower, my boy!
His sunny childhood melted from my sight,
Like a spring dew-drop-then his forehead wore
A prouder look-his eye a keener light-
-I knew these woods might be his world no more!
He loved me-but he left me!-thus they go,
Whom we have rear'd, watch'd, bless'd, too much adored!
He heard the trumpet of the red-cross blow,
And bounded from me, with his father's sword!
Thou weep'st-I tremble-thou hast seen the slain
Pressing a bloody turf; the young and fair,
With their pale beauty strewing o'er the plain
Where hosts have met-speak! answer!-was he there?
Oh! hath his smile departed?-Could the grave
Shut o'er those bursts of bright and tameless glee?
-No! I shall yet behold his dark locks wave-
That look gives hope-I knew it could not be!
Still weep'st thou, wanderer?-some fond mother's glance
O'er thee too brooded in thine early years-
Think'st thou of her, whose gentle eye, perchance,
Bath'd all thy faded hair with parting tears?
Speak, for thy tears disturb me!-what art thou?
Why dost thou hide thy face, yet weeping on?
Look up!-oh! is it-that wan cheek and brow!-
Is it-alas! yet joy!-my son, my son!
The Wife Of Asdrubal
The sun sets brightly - but a ruddier glow
O'er Afric's heaven the flames of Carthage throw;
Her walls have sunk, and pyramids of fire
In lurid splendour from her domes aspire;
Swayed by the wind, they wave - while glares the sky
As when the desert's red simoom is nigh;
The sculptured altar and the pillared hall
Shine out in dreadful brightness ere they fall;
Far o'er the seas the light of ruin streams,
Rock, wave, and isle are crimsoned by its beams;
While captive thousands, bound in Roman chains,
Gaze in mute horror on their burning fanes;
And shouts in triumph, echoing far around,
Swell from the victors' tents with ivy crowned.
But mark! from yon fair temple's loftiest height
What towering form bursts wildly on the sight,
All regal in magnificent attire,
And sternly beauteous in terrific ire?
She might be deemed a Pythia in the hour
Of dread communion and delirious power;
A being more than earthly, in whose eye
There dwells a strange and fierce ascendancy.
The flames are gathering round - intensely bright,
Full on her features glares their meteor-light;
But a wild courage sits triumphant there,
The stormy grandeur of a proud despair;
A daring spirit, in its woes elate,
Mightier than death, untameable by fate.
The dark profusion of her locks unbound,
Waves like a warrior's floating plumage round;
Flushed in her cheek, inspired her haughty mien,
She seems the avenging goddess of the scene.
infants, that with suppliant cry
Cling round her, shrinking as the flame draws nigh,
Clasp with their feeble hands her gorgeous vest,
And fain would rush for shelter to her breast?
Is that a mother's glance, where stern disdain,
And passion, awfully vindictive, reign?
Fixed is her eye on Asdrubal, who stands
Ignobly safe amidst the conquering bands;
On him who left her to that burning tomb,
Alone to share her children's martyrdom;
Who, when his country perished, fled the strife,
And knelt to win the worthless boon of life.
'Live, traitor, live!' she cries, 'since dear to thee,
E'en in thy fetters, can existence be!
Scorned and dishonoured live! - with blasted name,
The Romans triumph not to grace, but shame.
O slave in spirit! bitter be thy chain
With tenfold anguish to avenge my pain!
Still may the manes of thy children rise
To chase calm slumber from thy wearied eyes;
Still may their voices on the haunted air
In fearful whispers tell thee to despair,
Till vain remorse thy withered heart consume,
Scourged by relentless shadows of the tomb!
E'en now my sons shall die - and thou, their sire,
In bondage safe, shalt yet in them expire.
Think'st thou I love them not? - 'Twas thine to fly -
'Tis mine with these to suffer and to die.
Behold their fate! - the arms that cannot save
Have been their cradle, and shall be their grave.'
Bright in her hand the lifted dagger gleams,
Swift from her children's hearts the life-blood streams;
With frantic laugh she clasps them to the breast
Whose woes and passions soon shall be at rest;
Lifts one appealing, frenzied glance on high,
Then deep 'midst rolling flames is lost to mortal eye.
The night-wind shook the tapestry round an ancient palace-room,
And torches, as it rose and fell, waved thro' the gorgeous gloom,
And o'er a shadowy regal couch threw fitful gleams and red,
Where a woman with long raven hair sat watching by the dead.
Pale shone the features of the dead, yet glorious still to see,
Like a hunter or a chief struck down while his heart and step were free;
No shroud he wore, no robe of death, but there majestic lay,
Proudly and sadly glittering in royalty's array.
But she that with the dark hair watch'd by the cold slumberer's side,
On her wan cheek no beauty dwelt, and in her garb no pride;
Only her full impassion'd eyes as o'er that clay she bent,
A wildness and a tenderness in strange resplendence blent.
And as the swift thoughts cross'd her soul, like shadows of a cloud,
Amidst the silent room of death, the dreamer spoke aloud;
She spoke to him who could not hear, and cried, 'Thou yet wilt wake,
And learn my watchings and my tears, belov'd one! for thy sake.
'They told me this was death, but well I knew it could not be;
Fairest and stateliest of the earth! who spoke of death for thee?
They would have wrapp'd the funeral shroud thy gallant form around,
But I forbadeâ€“and there thou art, a monarch, robed and crown'd!
'With all thy bright locks gleaming still, their coronal beneath,
And thy brow so proudly beautifulâ€“who said that this was death?
Silence hath been upon thy lips, and stillness round thee long,
But the hopeful spirit in my breast is all undimm'd and strong.
'I know thou hast not loved me yet; I am not fair like thee,
The very glance of whose clear eye threw round a light of glee!
A frail and drooping form is mineâ€“a cold unsmiling cheek,â€“
Oh! I have but a woman's heart, wherewith thy heart to seek.
'But when thou wak'st, my prince, my lord! and hear'st how I have kept
A lonely vigil by thy side, and o'er thee pray'd and wept;
How in one long, deep dream of thee my nights and days have past,
Surely that humble, patient love must win back love at last!
'And thou wilt smileâ€“my own, my own, shall be the sunny smile,
Which brightly fell, and joyously, on all but me erewhile!
No more in vain affection's thirst my weary soul shall pineâ€“
Oh! years of hope deferr'd were paid by one fond glance of thine!
'Thou'lt meet me with that radiant look when thou com'st from the chase,
For me, for me, in festal halls it shall kindle o'er thy face!
Thou'lt reck no more tho' beauty's gift mine aspect may not bless;
In thy kind eyes this deep, deep love, shall give me loveliness.
'But wake! my heart within me burns, yet once more to rejoice
In the sound to which it ever leap'd, the music of thy voice:
Awake! I sit in solitude, that thy first look and tone,
And the gladness of thine opening eyes, may all be mine alone.'
In the still chambers of the dust, thus pour'd forth day by day,
The passion of that loving dream from a troubled soul found way,
Until the shadows of the grave had swept o'er every grace,
Left midst the awfulness of death on the princely form and face.
And slowly broke the fearful truth upon the watcher's breast,
And they bore away the royal dead with requiems to his rest,
With banners and with knightly plumes all waving in the wind,â€“
But a woman's broken heart was left in its lone despair behind.
Coeur De Lion At The Bier Of His Father
Torches were blazing clear,
Hymns pealing deep and slow,
Where a king lay stately on his bier,
In the church of Fontevraud.
Banners of battle o'er him hung,
And warriors slept beneath,
And light, as Noon's broad light, was flung
On the settled face of death.
On the settled face of death
A strong and ruddy glare,
Through dimm'd at times by the censer's breath,
Yet it fell still brightest there:
As if each deeply-furrow'd trace
Of earthly years to show,-
-Alas! that sceptred mortal's race
Had surely clos'd in woe!
The marble floor was swept
By many a long dark stole,
As the kneeling priests round him that slept,
Sang mass for the parted soul;
And solemn were the strains they pour'd
Through the stillness of the night,
With the cross above, and the crown and sword,
And the silent king in sight.
There was heard a heavy clang,
As of steel-girt men the tread,
And the tombs and the hollow pavement rang
With a sounding thrill of dread;
And the holy chant was hush'd awhile,
As by the torch's flame,
A gleam of arms, up the sweeping aisle,
With a mail-clad leader came.
He came with haughty look,
An eagle-glance and clear,
But his proud heart through its breast-plate shook,
When he stood beside the bier!
He stood there still with a drooping brow,
And clasp'd hands o'er it rais'd;-
For his father lay before him low,
It was Coeur-de-Lion gazed!
And silently he strove
With the workings of his breast,
-But there's more in late repentant love
Than steel may keep suppress'd!
And his tears brake forth, at last, like rain-
-Men held their breath in awe,
For his face was seen by his warrior-train,
And he reck'd not that they saw.
He look'd upon the dead,
And sorrow seem'd to lie,
A weight of sorrow, ev'n like lead,
Pale on the fast-shut eye.
He stoop'd-and kiss'd the frozen cheek,
And the heavy hand of clay,
Till bursting words-yet all too weak-
Gave his soul's passion way.
'Oh, father! is it vain,
This late remorse and deep?
Speak to me, father! once again,
I weep-behold, I weep!
Alas! my guilty pride and ire!
Were but this work undone,
I would give England's crown, my sire!
To hear thee bless thy son.
'Speak to me! mighty grief
Ere now the dust hath stirr'd!
Hear me, but hear me!-father, chief,
My king! I must be heard!
-Hush'd, hush'd-how is it that I call,
And that thou answerest not?
When was it thus?-woe, woe for all
The love my soul forgot!
'Thy silver hairs I see,
So still, so sadly bright!
And father, father! but for me,
They had not been so white!
I bore thee down, high heart! at last,
No longer couldst thou strive;-
Oh! for one moment of the past,
To kneel and say-'forgive!'
'Thou wert the noblest king,
On royal throne e'er seen;
And thou didst wear, in knightly ring,
Of all, the stateliest mien;
And thou didst prove, where spears are prov'd
In war, the bravest heart-
-Oh! ever the renown'd and lov'd
Thou wert-and there thou art!
'Thou that my boyhood's guide
Didst take fond joy to be!-
The times I've sported at thy side,
And climb'd thy parent-knee!
And there before the blessed shrine,
My sire! I see thee lie,-
-How will that sad still face of thine
Look on me till I die!'
The Coronation Of Inez De Castro
There was music on the midnight;
From a royal fane it roll'd,
And a mighty bell, each pause between,
Sternly and slowly toll'd.
Strange was their mingling in the sky,
It hush'd the listener's breath;
For the music spoke of triumph high,
The lonely bell, of death.
There was hurrying through the midnight:-
A sound of many feet;
But they fell with a muffled fearfulness,
Along the shadowy street;
And softer, fainter, grew their tread,
As it near'd the Minster-gate,
Whence broad and solemn light was shed
From a scene of royal state.
Full glow'd the strong red radiance
In the centre of the nave,
Where the folds of a purple canopy
Sweep down in many a wave;
Loading the marble pavement old
With a weight of gorgeous gloom;
For something lay 'midst their fretted gold,
Like a shadow of the tomb.
And within that rich pavilion
High on a glittering throne,
A woman's form sat silently,
Midst the glare of light alone.
Her Jewell'd robes fell strangely still-
The drapery on her breast
Seem'd with no pulse beneath to thrill,
So stone-like was its rest.
But a peal of lordly music
Shook e'en the dust below,
When the burning gold of the diadem
Was set on her pallid brow!
Then died away that haughty sound,
And from th' encircling band,
Stept Prince and Chief, 'midst the hush profound,
With homage to her hand.
Why pass'd a faint cold shuddering
Over each martial frame,
As one by one, to touch that hand,
Noble and leader came?
Was not the settled aspect fair?
Did not a queenly grace,
Under the parted ebon hair.
Sit on the pale still face?
Death, Death! canst
Unto the eye of Life?
Is not each pulse of the quick high breast
With thy cold mien at strife?
-It was a strange and fearful sight,
The crown upon that head,
The glorious robes and the blaze of light,
All gather'd round the Dead!
And beside her stood in silence
One with a brow as pale,
And white lips rigidly compress'd,
Lest the strong heart should fail;
King Pedro with a jealous eye
Watching the homage done
By the land's flower and chivalry
To her, his martyr'd one.
But on the face he look'd not
Which once his star had been:
To every form his glance was turn'd,
Save of the breathless queen;
Though something, won from the grare's embrace,
Of her beauty still was there,
Its hues were all of that shadowy place,
'Twas not for
Alas! the crown, the sceptre,
The treasures of the earth,
And the priceless love that pour'd those gifts,
Alike of wasted worth!
The rites are closed-bear back the Dead
Unto the chamber deep,
Lay down again the royal head,
Dust with the dust to sleep.
There is music on the midnight-
A requiem sad and slow.
As the mourners through the sounding aisle
In dark procession go,
And the ring of state, and the starry crown,
And all the rich array,
Are borne to the house of silence down,
With her, that queen of clay.
And tearlessly and firmly,
King Pedro led the train-
But his face was wrapt in his folding robe,
When they lower'd the dust again.
-'Tis hush'd at last, the tomb above,
Hymns die, and steps depart:
Who call'd thee strong as Death, O Love?
thou wert and art!
The Ruin And Its Flowers
Sweets of the wild! that breathe and bloom,
On this lone tow'r, this ivy'd wall;
Lend to the gale a rich perfume,
And grace the ruin in its fall;
Tho' doom'd, remote from careless eye,
To smile, to flourish, and to die,
In solitude sublime,
Oh! ever may the spring renew,
Your balmy scent and glowing hue,
To deck the robe of time!
Breathe, fragrance! breathe, enrich the air,
Tho' wasted on its wing unknown!
Blow, flow'rets! blow, tho' vainly fair,
Neglected and alone!
These tow'rs, that long withstood the blast,
These mossy tow'rs are mouldering fast,
While Flora's children stay;
To mantle o'er the lonely pile,
To gild destruction with a smile,
And beautify decay!
Sweets of the wild! uncultur'd blowing,
Neglected in luxuriance glowing;
From the dark ruins frowning near,
Your charms in brighter tints appear,
And richer blush assume;
You smile with softer beauty crown'd,
Whilst, all is desolate around,
Like sun-shine on a tomb!
Thou hoary pile! majestic still,
Memento of departed fame!
While roving o'er the moss-clad hill,
I ponder on thine ancient name!
Here grandeur, beauty, valour, sleep,
That here, so oft have shone supreme;
While glory, honor, fancy, weep,
That vanish'd is the golden dream!
Where are the banners, waving proud,
To kiss the summer-gale of ev'n?
All purple as the morning-cloud,
All streaming to the winds of heav'n!
Where is the harp, by rapture strung,
To melting song, or martial story?
Where are the lays the minstrel sung,
To loveliness, or glory?
Lorn echo of these mouldering walls,
To thee no festal measure calls;
No music thro' the desert-halls,
Awakes thee to rejoice!
How still thy sleep! as death profound,
As if, within this lonely round,
A step-a note-a whisper'd sound,
Had ne'er arous'd thy voice!
Thou hear'st the zephyr murmuring, dying,
Thou hear'st the foliage waving, sighing;
But ne'er again shall harp, or song,
These dark, deserted courts along,
Disturb thy calm repose;
The harp is broke, the song is fled,
The voice is hush'd, the bard is dead;
And never shall thy tones repeat,
Or lofty strain, or carol sweet,
With plaintive close!
Proud castle! tho' the days are flown,
When once thy tow'rs in glory shone;
When music thro' thy turrets rung,
When banners o'er thy ramparts hung,
Tho' 'midst thine arches, frowning lone,
Stern desolation rear his throne;
And silence, deep and awful, reign,
Where echoed once the choral strain;
Yet oft, dark ruin! ling'ring here,
The muse will hail thee with a tear;
Here, when the moon-light, quiv'ring, beams,
And thro' the fringing ivy streams,
And softens ev'ry shade sublime,
And mellows ev'ry tint of time,
Oh ! here shall contemplation love,
Unseen, and undisturb'd, to rove;
And bending o'er some mossy tomb,
Where valor sleeps, or beauties bloom,
Shall weep for glory's transient day,
And grandeur's evanescent ray!
And list'ning to the swelling blast,
Shall wake the spirit of the past,
Call up the forms of ages fled,
Of warriors and of minstrels dead;
Who sought the field, who struck the lyre,
With all ambition's kindling fire!
Nor wilt thou, Spring! refuse to breathe,
Soft odours on this desert-air;
Refuse to twine thine earliest wreath,
And fringe these tow'rs with garlands fair
Sweets of the wild, oh! ever bloom,
Unheeded on this ivy'd wall!
Lend to the gale a rich perfume,
And grace the ruin in its fall!
Thus, round Misfortune's holy head,
Would Pity wreaths of honor spread;
Like you, thus blooming on this lonely pile,
She seeks despair, with heart-reviving smile!
The American Forest Girl
Wildly and mournfully the Indian drum
On the deep hush of moonlight forests broke;
'Sing us a death-song, for thine hour is come,
So the red warriors to their captive spoke.
Still, and amidst those dusky forms alone,
A youth, a fair-hair'd youth of England stood,
Like a king's son; tho' from his cheek had flown
The mantling crimson of the island-blood,
And his press'd lips look'd marble. Fiercely bright,
And high around him, blaz'd the fires of night,
Rocking beneath the cedars to and fro,
As the wind pass'd, and with a fitful glow
Lighting the victim's face: But who could tell
Of what within his secret heart befel,
Known but to heaven that hour? Perchance a thought
Of his far home then so intensely wrought,
That its full image, pictur'd to his eye
On the dark ground of mortal agony,
Rose clear as day! and he might see the band,
Of his young sisters wand'ring hand in hand,
Where the laburnums droop'd; or haply binding
The jasmine, up the door's low pillars winding;
Or, as day clos'd upon their gentle mirth,
Gathering with braided hair, around the hearth
Where sat their mother; and that mother's face
Its grave sweet smile yet wearing in the place
Where so it ever smiled!Perchance the prayer
Learn'd at her knee came back on his despair;
The blessing from her voice, the very tone
Of her 'Good-night' might breathe from boyhood gone!
He started and look'd up: thick cypress boughs
Full of strange sound, wav'd o'er him, darkly red
In the broad stormy firelight; savage brows,
With tall plumes crested and wild hues o'erspread,
Girt him like feverish phantoms; and pale stars
Look'd thro' the branches as thro' dungeon bars,
Shedding no hope. He knew, he felt his doom
Oh! what a tale to shadow with its gloom
That happy hall in England! Idle fear!
Would the winds tell it? Who might dream or hear
The secret of the forests? to the stake
They bound him; and that proud young soldier strove
His father's spirit in his breast to wake,
Trusting to die in silence! He, the love
Of many hearts! the fondly rear'd, the fair,
Gladdening all eyes to see! And fetter'd there.
He stood beside his death-pyre, and the brand
Flamed up to light it, in the chieftain's hand.
He thought upon his God. Hush! hark! a cry
Breaks on the stern and dread solemnity,
A step hath pierc'd the ring! Who dares intrude
On the dark hunters in their vengeful mood?
A girl a young slight girl a fawn-like child
Of green Savannas and the leafy wild,
Springing unmark'd till then, as some lone flower,
Happy because the sunshine is its dower;
Yet one that knew how early tears are shed,
For hers had mourn'd a playmate brother dead.
She had sat gazing on the victim long,
Until the pity of her soul grew strong;
And, by its passion's deep'ning fervour sway'd,
Ev'n to the stake she rush'd, and gently laid
His bright head on her bosom, and around
His form her slender arms to shield it wound
Like close liannes; then rais'd her glittering eye
And clear-toned voice that said, 'He shall not die!'
'He shall not die!' the gloomy forest thrill'd
To that sweet sound. A sudden wonder fell
On the fierce throng; and heart and hand were still'd,
Struck down, as by the whisper of a spell.
They gaz'd their dark souls bow'd before the maid,
She of the dancing step in wood and glade!
And, as her cheek flush'd thro' its olive hue,
As her black tresses to the night-wind flew,
Something o'ermaster'd them from that young mienâ€“
Something of heaven, in silence felt and seen;
And seeming, to their child-like faith, a token
That the Great Spirit by her voice had spoken.
They loos'd the bonds that held their captive's breath;
From his pale lips they took the cup of death;
They quench'd the brand beneath the cypress tree;
'Away,' they cried, 'young stranger, thou art free!'
Greek Funeral Chant Or Myriologue
A WAIL was heard around the bed, the death-bed of the young,
Amidst her tears the Funeral Chant a mournful mother sung.
-'Ianthis! dost thou sleep?-Thou sleep'st!-but this is not the rest,
The breathing and the rosy calm, I have pillow'd on my breast!
I lull'd thee not to this repose, Ianthis! my sweet son!
As in thy glowing childhood's time by twilight I have done!
-How is it that I bear to stand and look upon thee now?
And that I die not, seeing death on thy pale glorious brow?
'I look upon thee, thou that wert of all most fair and brave!
I see thee wearing still too much of beauty for the grave!
Though mournfully thy smile is fix'd, and heavily thine eye
Hath shut above the falcon-glance that in it lov'd to lie;
And fast is bound the springing step, that seem'd on breezes borne,
When to thy couch I came and said,-'Wake, hunter, wake! 'tis morn!'
Yet art thou lovely still, my flower! untouch'd by slow decay,
-And I, the wither'd stem remain-I would that grief might slay!
'Oh! ever when I met thy look, I knew that this would be!
I knew too well that length of days was not a gift for thee!
I saw it in thy kindling cheek, and in thy bearing high;-
A voice came whispering to my soul, and told me thou must die!
That thou must die, my fearless one! where swords were flashing red.-
-Why doth a mother live to say-my first-born and my dead?
They tell me of thy youthful fame, they talk of victory won-
-Speak thou, and I will hear! my child, Ianthis! my sweet son!'
A wail was heard around the bed, the deathbed of the young,
A fair-hair'd bride the Funeral Chant amidst her weeping sung.
-'Ianthis! look'st thou not on me? -Can love indeed be fled?
When was it woe before to gaze upon thy stately head?
I would that I had follow'd thee, Ianthis, my belov'd!
And stood as woman oft hath stood where faithful hearts are prov'd!
That I had bound a breastplate on, and battled at thy side-
-It would have been a blessed thing together had we died!
'But where was I when thou didst fall beneath the fatal sword?
Was I beside the sparkling fount, or at the peaceful board?
Or singing some sweet song of old, in the shadow of the vine,
Or praying to the saints for thee, before the holy shrine?
And thou wert lying low the while, the life-drops from thy heart
Fast gushing like a mountain-spring!-and couldst thou thus depart?
Couldst thou depart, nor on my lips pour out thy fleeting breath?
-Oh! I was with thee but in joy, that should have been in death!
'Yes! I was with thee when the dance through mazy rings was led,
And when the lyre and voice were tun'd, and when the feast was spread;
But not where noble blood flow'd forth, where sounding javelins flew-
-Why did I hear love's first sweet words, and not its last adieu?
What now can breathe of gladness more, what scene, what hour, what tone?
The blue skies fade with all their lights, they fade, since thou art gone!
Ev'n that must leave me, that still face, by all my tears unmov'd-
-Take me from this dark world with thee, Ianthis! my belov'd!'
A wail was heard around the bed, the death-bed of the young,
Amidst her tears the Funeral Chant a mournful sister sung.
'Ianthis! brother of my soul!-oh! where are now the days
That laugh'd among the deep green hills, on all our infant plays?
When we two sported by the streams, or track'd them to their source,
And like a stag's, the rocks along, was thy fleet fearless course!
-I see the pines there waving yet, I see the rills descend,
I see thy bounding step no more-my brother and my friend!
'I come with flowers-for spring is come!-Ianthis! art thou here?
I bring the garlands she hath brought, I cast them on thy bier!
Thou shouldst be crown'd with victory's crown-but oh! more meet they seem,
The first faint violets of the wood, and lilies of the stream!
More meet for one so fondly lov'd, and laid thus early low-
-Alas! how sadly sleeps thy face amidst the sunshine's glow:
The golden glow that through thy heart was wont such joy to send,
-Woe, that it smiles, and not for thee!-my brother and my friend!'
A sound of music, from amidst the hills,
Came suddenly, and died; a fitful sound
Of mirth, soon lost in wail.â€“Again it rose,
And sank in mournfulness.â€“There sat a bard,
By a blue stream of Erin, where it swept
Flashing thro' rock and wood; the sunset's light
Was on his wavy, silver-gleaming hair,
And the wind's whisper in the mountain-ash,
Whose clusters droop'd above. His head was bow'd,
His hand was on his harp, yet thence its touch
Had drawn but broken strains; and many stood,
Waiting around, in silent earnestness,
Th' unchaining of his soul, the gush of song,â€“
Many, and graceful forms! yet one alone
Seem'd present to his dream; and she indeed,
With her pale, virgin brow, and changeful cheek,
And the clear starlight of her serious eyes,
Lovely amidst the flowing of dark locks
And pallid braiding flowers, was beautiful,
Ev'n painfully!â€“a creature to behold
With trembling midst our joy, lest aught unseen
Should waft the vision from us, leaving earth
Too dim without its brightness!â€“Did such fear
O'ershadow, in that hour, the gifted one,
By his own rushing stream?â€“Once more he gaz'd
Upon the radiant girl, and yet once more
From the deep chords his wandering hand brought out
A few short festive notes, an opening strain
Of bridal melody, soon dash'd with grief,
As if some wailing spirit in the strings
Met and o'ermaster'd him: but yielding then
To the strong prophet-impulse, mournfully,
Like moaning waters o'er the harp he pour'd
The trouble of his haunted soul, and sangâ€“
Voice of the grave!
I hear thy thrilling call;
It comes in the dash of the foaming wave,
In the sear leaf's trembling fall!
In the shiver of the tree,
I hear thee, O thou voice!
And I would thy warning were but for me,
That my spirit might rejoice.
But thou art sent
For the sad earth's young and fair,
For the graceful heads that have not bent
To the wintry hand of care!
They hear the wind's low sigh,
And the river sweeping free,
And the green reeds murmuring heavily,
And the woodsâ€“but they hear not thee!
Long have I striven
With my deep foreboding soul,
But the full tide now its bounds hath riven,
And darkly on must roll.
There's a young brow smiling near,
With a bridal white-rose wreath,â€“
Unto me it smiles from a flowery bier,
Touch'd solemnly by death!
Fair art thou, Morna!
The sadness of thine eye
Is beautiful as silvery clouds
On the dark-blue summer sky!
And thy voice comes like the sound
Of a sweet and hidden rill,
That makes the dim woods tuneful roundâ€“
But soon it must be still!
Silence and dust
On thy sunny lips must lie,
Make not the strength of love thy trust,
A stronger yet is nigh!
No strain of festal flow
That my hand for thee hath tried,
But into dirge-notes wild and low
Its ringing tones have died.
Young art thou, Morna!
Yet on thy gentle head,
Like heavy dew on the lily's leaves,
A spirit hath been shed!
And the glance is thine which sees
Thro' nature's awful heartâ€“
But bright things go with the summer-breeze,
And thou too, must depart!
Yet shall I weep?
I know that in thy breast
There swells a fount of song too deep,
Too powerful for thy rest!
And the bitterness I know,
And the chill of this world's breathâ€“
Go, all undimm'd, in thy glory go!
Young and crown'd bride of death!
Take hence to heaven
Thy holy thoughts and bright,
And soaring hopes, that were not given
For the touch of mortal blight!
Might we follow in thy track,
This parting should not be!
But the spring shall give us violets back,
And every flower but thee!
There was a burst of tears around the bard:
All wept but one, and she serenely stood,
With her clear brow and dark religious eye,
Rais'd to the first faint star above the hills,
And cloudless; though it might be that her cheek
Was paler than before.â€“So Morna heard
The minstrel's prophecy.
And spring return'd,
Bringing the earth her lovely things again,
All, save the loveliest far! A voice, a smile,
A young sweet spirit gone.
To die for what we love! Oh! there is power
In the true heart, and pride, and joy, for this;
It is to live without the vanish'd light
That strength is needed. -
Così ´rapassa al trapassar d'un Giorno
Della vita mortal il fiore e'l verde. -
ALONG the star-lit Seine went music swelling,
Till the air thrill'd with its exulting mirth;
Proudly it floated, even as if no dwelling
For cares or stricken hearts were found on earth;
And a glad sound the measure lightly beat,
A happy chime of many dancing feet.
For in a palace of the land that night,
Lamps, and fresh roses, and green leaves were hung,
And from the painted walls a stream of light
On flying forms beneath soft splendour flung:
But loveliest far amidst the revel's pride
Was one, the lady from the Danube-side.
Pauline, the meekly bright! tho' now no more
Her clear eye flash'd with youth's all tameless glee,
Yet something holier than its dayspring wore,
There in soft rest lay beautiful to see;
A charm with graver, tenderer sweetness fraught
The blending of deep love and matron thought.
Thro' the gay throng she moved, serenely fair,
And such calm joy as fills a moonlight sky,
Sate on her brow beneath its graceful hair,
As her young daughter in the dance went by,
With the fleet step of one that yet hath known
Smiles and kind voices in this world alone.
Lurk'd there no secret boding in her breast?
Did no faint whisper warn of evil nigh?
Such oft awake when most the heart seems blest
Midst the light laughter of festivity:?
Whence come those tones!?Alas! enough we know,
To mingle fear with all triumphal show!
Who spoke of evil, when young feet were flying
In fairy-rings around the echoing hall
Soft airs thro' braided locks in perfume sighing,
Glad pulses beating unto music's call
Silence!?the minstrels pause?and hark! a sound,
A strange quick rustling which their notes had drown'd!
And lo! a light upon the dancers breaking
Not such their clear and silvery lamps had shed!
From the gay dream of revelry awaking,
One moment holds them still in breathless dread;
The wild fierce lustre grows?then bursts a cry?
Fire! thro' the hall and round it gathering fly!
And forth they rush as chased by sword and spear
To the green coverts of the garden-bowers;
A gorgeous masque of pageantry and fear,
Startling the birds and trampling down the flowers:
While from the dome behind, red sparkles driven
Pierce the dark stillness of the midnight heaven.
And where is she, Pauline? the hurrying throng
Have swept her onward, as a stormy blast
Might sweep some faint o'er wearied bird along
Till now the threshold of that death is past,
And free she stands beneath the starry skies,
Calling her child?but no sweet voice replies.
'Bertha! where art thou??Speak, oh! speak my own!'
Alas! unconscious of her pangs the while,
The gentle girl, in fear's cold grasp alone,
Powerless hath sunk within the blazing pile;
A young bright form, deck'd gloriously for death,
With flowers all shrinking from the flame's fierce breath!
But oh! thy strength, deep love! there is no power
To stay the mother from that rolling grave,
Tho' fast on high the fiery volumes tower,
And forth, like banners, from each lattice wave.
Back, back she rushes thro' a host combined?
Mighty is anguish, with affection twined!
And what bold step may follow, midst the roar
Of the red billows, o'er their prey that rise?
None!?Courage there stood still?and never more
Did those fair forms emerge on human eyes!
Was one brief meeting theirs, one wild farewell?
And died they heart to heart? Oh! who can tell?
Freshly and cloudlessly the morning broke
On that sad palace, midst its pleasure-shades;
Its painted roofs had sunk yet black with smoke
And lonely stood its marble colonnades:
But yester-eve their shafts with wreaths were bound?
Now lay the scene one shrivell'd scroll around!
And bore the ruins no recording trace
Of all that woman's heart had dared and done
Yes! there were gems to mark its mortal place,
That forth from dust and ashes dimly shone!
Those had the mother, on her gentle breast,
Worn round her child's fair image, there at rest.
And they were all! the tender and the true
Left this alone her sacrifice to prove,
Hallowing the spot where mirth once lightly flew,
To deep, lone, chasten'd thoughts of grief and love.
Oh! we have need of patient faith below,
To clear away the mysteries of such wo!
The Sicilian Captive
The champions had come from their fields of war,
Over the crests of the billows far,
They had brought back the spoils of a hundred shores,
Where the deep had foam'd to their flashing oars.
They sat at their feast round the Norse-king's board;
By the glare of the torch-light the mead was pour'd;
The hearth was heap'd with the pine-boughs high,
And it flung a red radiance on shields thrown by.
The Scalds had chaunted in Runic rhyme,
Their songs of the Sword and the olden time,
And a solemn thrill, as the harp-chords rung,
Had breath'd from the walls where the bright spears hung.
But the swell was gone from the quivering string,
They had summon'd a softer voice to sing,
And a captive girl, at the warriors' call,
Stood forth in the midst of that frowning hall.
Lonely she stood:â€“in her mournful eyes
Lay the clear midnight of southern skies,
And the drooping fringe of their lashes low,
Half veil'd a depth of unfathom'd wo.
Stately she stoodâ€“tho' her fragile frame
Seem'd struck with the blight of some inward flame,
And her proud pale brow had a shade of scorn,
Under the waves of her dark hair worn.
And a deep flush pass'd, like a crimson haze,
O'er her marble cheek by the pine-fire's blaze;
No soft hue caught from the south-wind's breath,
But a token of fever, at strife with death.
She had been torn from her home away,
With her long locks crown'd for her bridal day,
And brought to die of the burning dreams
That haunt the exile by foreign streams.
They bade her sing of her distant landâ€“
She held its lyre with a trembling hand,
Till the spirit its blue skies had given her, woke,
And the stream of her voice into music broke.
Faint was the strain, in its first wild flow;
Troubled its murmur, and sad, and low;
But it swell'd into deeper power ere long,
As the breeze that swept over her soul grew strong.
'They bid me sing of thee, mine own, my sunny land! of thee!
Am I not parted from thy shores by the mournful-sounding sea?
Doth not thy shadow wrap my soul?â€“in silence let me die,
In a voiceless dream of thy silvery founts, and thy pure, deep sapphire sky;
How should thy lyre give here its wealth of buried sweetness forth?
Its tones of summer's breathings born, to the wild winds of the north?
'Yet thus it shall be once, once more!â€“my spirit shall awake,
And thro' the mists of death shine out, my country, for thy sake!
That I may make thee known, with all the beauty and the light,
And the glory never more to bless thy daughter's yearning sight!
Thy woods shall whisper in my song, thy bright streams warble by,
Thy soul flow o'er my lips againâ€“yet once, my Sicily!
'There are blue heavensâ€“far hence, far hence! but oh! their glorious blue!
Its very night is beautiful, with the hyacinth's deep hue!
It is above my own fair land, and round my laughing home,
And arching o'er my vintage-hills, they hang their cloudless dome;
And making all the waves as gems, that melt along the shore,
And steeping happy hearts in joyâ€“that now is mine no more.
'And there are haunts in that green landâ€“oh! who may dream or tell,
Of all the shaded loveliness it hides in grot and dell!
By fountains flinging rainbow-spray on dark and glossy leaves,
And bowers wherein the forest-dove her nest untroubled weaves;
The myrtle dwells there, sending round the richness of its breath,
And the violets gleam like amethysts, from the dewy moss beneath.
'And there are floating sounds that fill the skies thro' night and day,
Sweet sounds! the soul to hear them faints in dreams of heaven away!
They wander thro' the olive-woods, and o'er the shining seas,
They mingle with the orange-scents that load the sleepy breeze;
Lute, voice, and bird, are blending there;â€“it were a bliss to die,
As dies a leaf, thy groves among, my flowery Sicily!
'I may not thus departâ€“farewell! yet no, my country! no!
Is not love stronger than the grave? I feel it must be so!
My fleeting spirit shall o'ersweep the mountains and the main,
And in thy tender starlight rove, and thro' thy woods again.
Its passion deepensâ€“it prevails!â€“I break my chainâ€“ I come
To dwell a viewless thing, yet blestâ€“in thy sweet air, my home!'
And her pale arms dropp'd the ringing lyre,
There came a mist o'er her eye's wild fire,
And her dark rich tresses, in many a fold,
Loosed from their braids, down her bosom roll'd.
For her head sank back on the rugged wall,â€“
A silence fell o'er the warriors' hall;
She had pour'd out her soul with her song's last tone;
The lyre was broken, the minstrel gone!
The Mourner For The Barmecides
Fall'n was the House of Giafar; and its name,
The high romantic name of Barmecide,
A sound forbidden on its own bright shores,
By the swift Tygris' wave. Stern Haroun's wrath,
Sweeping the mighty with their fame away,
Had so pass'd sentence: but man's chainless heart
Hides that within its depths which never yet
Th' oppressor's thought could reach.
Where Giafar's halls, beneath the burning sun,
Spread out in ruin lay. The songs had ceas'd;
The lights, the perfumes, and the genii-tales
Had ceas'd; the guests were gone. Yet still one voice
Was there–the fountain's; thro' those eastern courts,
Over the broken marble and the grass,
Its low clear music shedding mournfully.
And still another voice!–an aged man,
Yet with a dark and fervent eye beneath
His silvery hair, came day by day, and sate
On a white column's fragment; and drew forth,
From the forsaken walls and dim arcades,
A tone that shook them with its answering thrill
To his deep accents. Many a glorious tale
He told that sad yet stately solitude,
Pouring his memory's fulness o'er its gloom,
Like waters in the waste; and calling up,
By song or high recital of their deeds,
Bright solemn shadows of its vanish'd race
To people their own halls: with these alone,
In all this rich and breathing world, his thoughts
Held still unbroken converse. He had been
Rear'd in this lordly dwelling, and was now
The ivy of its ruins, unto which
His fading life seem'd bound. Day roll'd on day,
And from that scene the loneliness was fled;
For crowds around the grey-hair'd chronicler
Met as men meet, within whose anxious hearts
Fear with deep feeling strives; till, as a breeze
Wanders thro' forest branches, and is met
By one quick sound and shiver of the leaves,
The spirit of his passionate lament,
As thro' their stricken souls it pass'd, awoke
One echoing murmur.–But this might not be
Under a despot's rule, and, summon'd thence,
The dreamer stood before the Caliph's throne:
Sentenced to death he stood, and deeply pale,
And with his white lips rigidly compress'd;
Till, in submissive tones, he ask'd to speak
Once more, ere thrust from earth's fair sunshine forth.
Was it to sue for grace?–His burning heart
Sprang, with a sudden lightning, to his eye,
And he was changed!–and thus, in rapid words,
Th' o'ermastering thoughts, more strong than death, found way.
'And shall I not rejoice to go, when the noble and the brave,
With the glory on their brows, are gone before me to the grave?
What is there left to look on now, what brightness in the land?–
I hold in scorn the faded world, that wants their princely band!
'My chiefs! my chiefs! the old man comes that in your halls was nurs'd,
That follow'd you to many a fight, where flash'd your sabres first;
That bore your children in his arms, your name upon his heart:–
Oh! must the music of that name with him from earth depart?
'It shall not be!–a thousand tongues, tho' human voice were still,
With that high sound the living air triumphantly shall fill;
The wind's free flight shall bear it on, as wandering seeds are sown,
And the starry midnight whisper it, with a deep and thrilling tone.
'For it is not as a flower whose scent with the dropping leaves expires,
And it is not as a household lamp, that a breath should quench its fires;
It is written on our battle-fields with the writing of the sword,
It hath left upon our desert-sands a light in blessings pour'd.
'The founts, the many gushing founts, which to the wild ye gave,
Of you, my chiefs, shall sing aloud, as they pour a joyous wave!
And the groves, with whose deep lovely gloom ye hung the pilgrim's way,
Shall send from all their sighing leaves your praises on the day.
'The very walls your bounty rear'd for the stranger's homeless head,
Shall find a murmur to record your tale, my glorious dead!
Tho' the grass be where ye feasted once, where lute and cittern rung,
And the serpent in your palaces lie coil'd amidst its young.
'It is enough! mine eye no more of joy or splendour sees,
I leave your name in lofty faith, to the skies and to the breeze!
I go, since earth her flower hath lost, to join the bright and fair,
And call the grave a kingly house, for ye, my chiefs, are there!'
But while the old man sang, a mist of tears
O'er Haroun's eyes had gathered, and a thought–
Oh! many a sudden and remorseful thought–
Of his youth's once-lov'd friends, the martyr'd race,
O'erflow'd his softening heart.–'Live! live!' he cried,
'Thou faithful unto death! live on, and still
Speak of thy lords; they were a princely band!'
The Funeral Day Of Sir Walter Scott
A GLORIOUS voice hath ceased!-
Mournfully, reverently-the funeral chant
Breathe reverently! There is a dreamy sound,
A hollow murmur of the dying year,
In the deep woods. Let it be wild and sad!
A more Aeolian melancholy tone
Than ever wail'd o'er bright things perishing!
For that is passing from the darken'd land,
Which the green summer will not bring us back-
Though all her songs return. The funeral chant
Breathe reverently!-They bear the mighty forth,
The kingly ruler in the realms of mind-
They bear him through the household paths, the groves,
Where every tree had music of its own
To his quick ear of knowledge taught by love-
And he is silent!-Past the living stream
They bear him now; the stream, whose kindly voice
On alien shores his true heart burn'd to hear-
And he is silent! O'er the heathery hills,
Which his own soul had mantled with a light
Richer than autumn's purple, now they move-
And he is silent!-he, whose flexile lips
Were but unseal'd, and lo! a thousand forms,
From every pastoral glen and fern-clad height,
In glowing life upsprang:-Vassal and chief,
Rider and steed, with shout and bugle-peal,
Fast rushing through the brightly troubled air,
Like the wild huntsman's band. And still they live,
To those fair scenes imperishably bound,
And, from the mountain mist still flashing by,
Startle the wanderer who hath listen'd there
To the seer's voice: phantoms of colour'd thought,
Surviving him who raised.-O eloquence!
O power, whose breathings thus could wake the dead!
Who shall wake thee? lord of the buried past!
And art thou there-to those dim nations join'd,
Thy subject-host so long?-The wand is dropp'd
The bright lamp broken, which the gifted hand
Touch'd, and the genii came!-Sing reverently
The funeral chant!-The mighty is borne home-
And who shall be his mourners?-Youth and age,
For each hath felt his magic-love and grief,
For he hath communed with the heart of each:
Yes-the free spirit of humanity
May join the august procession, for to him
Its mysteries have been tributary things,
And all its accents known:-from field or wave,
Never was conqueror on his battle bier,
By the vail'd banner and the muffled drum,
And the proud drooping of the crested head,
More nobly follow'd home.-The last abode,
The voiceless dwelling of the bard is reach'd:
A still majestic spot: girt solemnly
With all the imploring beauty of decay;
A stately couch 'midst ruins! meet for him
With his bright fame to rest in, as a king
Of other days, laid lonely with his sword
Beneath his head. Sing reverently the chant
Over the honour'd grave!-the grave!-oh, say
Rather the shrine!-An alter for the love,
The light, soft pilgrim steps, the votive wreaths
Of years unborn-a place where leaf and flower,
By that which dies not of the sovereign dead,
Shall be made holy things-where every weed
Shall have its portion of the inspiring gift
From buried glory breathed. And now, what strain,
Making victorious melody ascend
High above sorrow's dirge, befits the tomb
Where he that sway'd the nations thus is laid-
The crown'd of men?
A lowly, lowly, song.
Lowly and solemn be
Thy children's cry to Thee,
A hymn of suppliant breath,
Owning that life and death
Alike are Thine!
A spirit on its way,
Sceptred the earth to sway,
From Thee was sent:
Now call'st Thou back Thine own-
Hence is that radiance flown-
To earth but lent.
Watching in breathless awe,
The bright head bow'd we saw,
Beneath Thy hand!
Fill'd by one hope, one fear,
Now o'er a brother's bier,
Weeping we stand.
How hath he pass'd!-the lord
Of each deep bosom chord,
To meet Thy sight,
Unmantled and alone,
On Thy bless'd mercy thrown,
So, from his harvest home,
Must the tired peasant come;
So, in one trust,
Leader and king must yield
The naked soul, reveal'd
To Thee, All Just!
The sword of many of a fight-
What then shall be its might?
The lofty lay,
That rush'd on eagle wing-
What shall its memory bring?
What hope, what stay?
O Father! in that hour,
When earth all succouring power
When spear, and shield, and crown,
In faintness are cast down-
Sustain us, Thou!
By Him who bow'd to take
The death-cup for our sake,
The thorn, the rod;
From whom the last dismay
Was not to pass away-
Aid us, O God!
Tremblers beside the grave,
We call on thee to save.
Hear, hear our suppliant breath,
Keep us, in life and death,
Thine, only Thine!
The Call Of Liberty. May 1809
YE nations of Europe! arising to war,
And scorning submission to tyranny's might
Oh! follow the track of my bright blazing car,
Diffusing a path-way of radiance afar,
Dispelling the shadows of night!
And, hark! the destroyer has summon'd his band,
He waves the proud sceptre, his magical wand;
In legions they rush to the field!
'Tis the voice of destruction that swells in the storm,
The cloud and the tempest envelop his form.
O patriots! O heroes! O chiefs of renown!
Awake in my cause, and contend for my crown,
And vict'ry shall hallow your shield!
Oh! think of your fathers, how nobly they fought!
Disdaining each peril, the combat they sought,
And round me intrepid they stood!
They worshipp'd the beam of my sun-darting eye,
Exalted my banner, all-dreadful, on high;
'Twas their pillar of glory! and kindling with pride,
Around it they conquer'd, around it they died,
And ting'd the bright streamer in blood!
To you is intrusted the fire-flashing sword,
For ages defended, for ages ador'd;
The sword that has slumber'd too long!
'Tis the weapon of Liberty! sacred its aid,
For heav'n, truth, and justice, have hallow'd the blade;
Oh! seize it with ecstacy, wield it, ye brave!
Oh! seize it to punish, to conquer, to save!
Oh, hail it, ye minstrels, in song!
Fair, dazzling, unblemish'd, its lustre is pure,
For martyrs have died to preserve it secure,
And heroes to guard it have bled!
'Twas this that illumin'd the fields of the fight,
When the Chief of Vimeira was matchless in might;
In lightning effulgence at Baylen it stream'd,
At Corunna, the zenith of glory, it beam'd
O'er the warrior, the patriot, the dead!
O Albion! my throne, and my temple of rest,
Fair light of the waves! lovely star of the west!
Ever steady, resplendent, the same;
Thou shrine of my spirit! thou land of my heart!
Where life, inspiration, and hope I impart;
Behold where my cynosure brilliant appears,
And beams thro' the mist-veil of darkness and tears,
To guide thee to conquest and fame!
Oh! thou art my guardian! supreme o'er the sea!
Still foremost, undaunted, to combat for me,
Thou planet! thou empress of isles!
Oh! fearless in danger, awake at my call:
Shall the standard, the altar of Liberty, fall?
No, never, fair queen! while thy sons of the main,
My trophies, my rights, and my banners maintain,
And live in the heav'n of my smiles!
Ye nations of Europe! all rous'd by alarms,
Oh! imitate Albion, the peerless in arms,
Who kindles my torch from afar!
Her children are mine, an invincible band,
My look is the sun-beam that brightens their land!
And never, oh! never, that sun-beam shall cease,
And ne'er shall the light of my presence decrease,
While they follow my bright blazing car!
O Austrian warriors! who rise in my cause,
Ye fight with my falchion, ye fight for my laws!
And your's is the armour of right!
Then rush to the battle-field, scorning a fear,
And Justice and Freedom shall frown on your spear;
In valor, in truth, and in ardor the same,
All kindling with energy, breathing with flame,
Ye shall conquer—a torrent of might!
The slain shall exult in resigning their breath,
They shall smile, they shall burn, they shall triumph in death;
And who might not envy their bier?
The living, victorious, shall strew o'er their tomb
The garlands of conquest, unfading in bloom;
And glory's fair Amaranth proudly shall wave,
In beauty unsullied adorning their grave,
Too bright to be stain'd with a tear!
And you, brave Iberians! oh! ever disdain,
The sword of oppression; and tyranny's chain!
Be free, gallant Spaniards, or die!
For you, when surrounded by darkness and foes,
The day-spring of Freedom in radiance arose:
Tho' shadows and clouds may obscure it awhile,
Oh! yet it may brighten, oh! yet it may smile,
And beam in meridian on high!
But where is the patriot, undaunted and bold,
Whose name is immortal, whose deeds are enroll'd
On adamant, high in my fame?
My Palafox! oft must I weep to recal
Thy trophies, my hero! thy fame, and thy fall!
Thy sabre was lightning! thy spirit was fire!
Thy arm and thy bosom 'twas mine to inspire,
Young martyr to glory and Spain!
O Heav'n! when he fought undismay'd by my side,
Why, why was thine aid, was thine armour deny'd?
Were justice and vengeance no more?
Yet, yet let me hope that the flame of his soul
Will burn in his countrymen, scorning control;
The foes of mankind and religion consume,
The dark'ning horizon of Europe illume,
And the days of her triumph restore!
Ye realms and ye nations, your legions unite!
Oh! righteous and hallow'd your war!
Unfurl the red standard, fair Hope is your light,
And this be your watch-word in danger and fight,
'O Liberty! thou art our star!'
The Parting Song
A youth went forth to exile, from a home
Such as to early thought gives images,
The longest treasur'd, and most oft recall'd,
And brightest kept, of love;-a mountain home,
That, with the murmur of its rocking pines
And sounding waters, first in childhood's heart
Wakes the deep sense of nature unto joy,
And half unconscious prayer;-a Grecian home,
With the transparence of blue skies o'erhung,
And, through the dimness of its olive shades,
Catching the flash of fountains, and the gleam
Of shining pillars from the fanes of old.
And this was what he left!-Yet many leave
Far more:-the glistening eye, that first from theirs
Call'd out the soul's bright smile; the gentle hand,
Which through the sunshine led forth infant steps
To where the violets lay; the tender voice
That earliest taught them what deep melody
Lives in affection's tones.-He left not these.
-Happy the weeper, that but weeps to part
With all a mother's love!-A bitterer grief
Was his-To part unlov'd! -of her unlov'd,
That should have breath'd upon his heart, like Spring,
Fostering its young faint flowers!
Yet had he friends,
And they went forth to cheer him on his way
Unto the parting spot-and she too went,
That mother, tearless for her youngest-born.
The parting spot was reach'd:-a lone deep glen,
Holy, perchance, of yore, for cave and fount
Were there, and sweet-voiced echoes; and above,
The silence of the blue, still, upper Heaven
Hung round the crags of Pindus, where they wore
Their crowning snows.-Upon a reck he sprung,
The unbelov'd one, for his home to gaze
Through the wild laurels back; but then a light
Broke on the stern proud sadness of his eye,
A sudden quivering light, and from his lips
A burst of passionate song.
'I hear thee, O thou rushing stream!-thou 'rt from my native dell,
Thou 'rt bearing thence a mournful sound-a murmur of farewell!
And fare thee well-flow on, my stream!-flow on, thou bright and free!
I do but dream that in thy voice one tone laments for me;
But I have been a thing unlov'd, from childhood's loving years,
And therefore turns my soul to thee, for thou hast known my tears;
The mountains, and the caves, and thou, my secret tears have known:
The woods can tell where he hath wept, that ever wept alone!
'I see thee once again, my home! thou 'rt there amidst thy vines,
And clear upon thy gleaming roof the light of summer shines.
It is a joyous hour when eve comes whispering through thy groves,
The hour that brings the son from toil, the hour the mother loves!
-The hour the mother loves!-for me belov'd it hath not been;
Yet ever in its purple smile, thou smil'st, a blessed scene!
Whose quiet beauty o'er my soul through distant years will come-
-Yet what but as the dead, to thee, shall I be then, my home?
'Not as the dead!-no, not the dead!-We speak of them -we keep
Their names, like light that must not fade, within our bosoms deep!
We hallow ev'n the lyre they touch'd, we love the lay they sung,
We pass with softer step the place they fill'd our band among!
But I depart like sound, like dew, like aught that leaves on earth
No trace of sorrow or delight, no memory of its birth!
I go!-the echo of the rock a thousand songs may swell
When mine is a forgotten voice.-Woods, mountains, home, farewell!
'And farewell, mother!-I have borne in lonely silence long,
But now the current of my soul grows passionate and strong!
And I will speak! though but the wind that wanders through the sky,
And but the dark deep-rustling pines and rolling streams reply.
Yes! I will speak!-within my breast whate'er hath seem'd to be,
There lay a hidden fount of love, that would have gush'd for thee!
Brightly it would have gush'd, but thou, my mother! thou hast thrown
Back on the forests and the wilds what should have been thine own!
'Then fare thee well! I leave thee not in loneliness to pine,
Since thou hast sons of statelier mien and fairer brow than mine!
Forgive me that thou couldst not love!-it may be, that a tone
Yet from my burning heart may pierce, through thine, when I am gone!
And thou perchance mayst weep for him on whom thou ne'er hast smil'd,
And the grave give his birthright back to thy neglected child!
Might but my spirit then return, and 'midst its kindred dwell,
And quench its thirst with love's free tears!-'tis all a dream-farewell!'
'Farewell!'-the echo died with that deep word,
Yet died not so the late repentant pang
By the strain quicken'd in the mother's breast!
There had pass'd many changes o'er her brow,
And cheek, and eye; but into one bright flood
Of tears at last all melted; and she fell
On the glad bosom of her child, and cried
'Return, return, my son!'-the echo caught
A lovelier sound than song, and woke again,
Murmuring-'Return, my son!'--
The Peasant Girl Of The Rhone
There is but one place in the world:
–Thither where he lies buried!
There, there is all that still remains of him,
That single spot is the whole earth to me.
Alas! our young affections run to waste,
Or water but the desert.
THERE went a warrior's funeral thro' the night,
A waving of tall plumes, a ruddy light
Of torches, fitfully and wildly thrown
From the high woods, along the sweeping Rhone,
Far down the waters. Heavily and dead,
Under the moaning trees, the horse-hoof's tread
In muffled sounds upon the greensward fell,
As chieftains pass'd; and solemnly the swell
Of the deep requiem, o'er the gleaming river
Borne with the gale, and with the leaves' low shiver
Floated and died. Proud mourners there, yet pale,
Wore man's mute anguish sternly;–but of one,
Oh! who shall speak? What words his brow unveil?
A father following to the grave his son!
That is no grief to picture! Sad and slow,
Thro' the wood-shadows, moved the knightly train,
With youth's fair form upon the bier laid low,
Fair even when found, amidst the bloody slain,
Stretch'd by its broken lance. They reached the lone
Baronial chapel, where the forest gloom
Fell heaviest, for the massy boughs had grown
Into thick archways, as to vault the tomb.
Stately they trod the hollow ringing aisle,
A strange deep echo shuddered thro' the pile,
Till crested heads at last, in silence bent
Round the De Coucis' antique monument,
When dust to dust was given:–and Aymer slept
Beneath the drooping banners of his line,
Whose broider'd folds the Syrian wind had swept
Proudly and oft o'er fields of Palestine:
So the sad rite was clos'd. The sculptor gave
Trophies, ere long, to deck that lordly grave,
And the pale image of a youth, arrayed
As warriors are for fight, but calmly laid
In slumber on his shield.–Then all was done,
All still around the dead.–His name was heard
Perchance when wine-cups flow'd, and hearts were stirr'd
By some old song, or tale of battle won,
Told round the hearth: but in his father's breast
Manhood's high passions woke again, and press'd
On to their mark; and in his friend's clear eye
There dwelt no shadow of a dream gone by;
And with the brethren of his fields, the feast
Was gay as when the voice whose sounds had ceas'd
Mingled with theirs.–Ev'n thus life's rushing tide
Bears back affection from the grave's dark side:
Alas! to think of this!–the heart's void place
Fill'd up so soon!–so like a summer-cloud,
All that we lov'd to pass and leave no trace!–
He lay forgotten in his early shroud.
Forgotten?–not of all!–the sunny smile
Glancing in play o'er that proud lip erewhile,
And the dark locks whose breezy waving threw
A gladness round, whene'er their shade withdrew
From the bright brow; and all the sweetness lying
Within that eagle-eye's jet radiance deep,
And all the music with that young voice dying,
Whose joyous echoes made the quick heart leap
As at a hunter's bugle:–these things lived
Still in one breast, whose silent love survived
The pomps of kindred sorrow.–Day by day,
On Aymer's tomb fresh flowers in garlands lay,
Thro' the dim fane soft summer-odours breathing,
And all the pale sepulchral trophies wreathing,
And with a flush of deeper brilliance glowing
In the rich light, like molten rubies flowing
Thro' storied windows down. The violet there
Might speak of love–a secret love and lowly,
And the rose image all things fleet and fair,
And the faint passion-flower, the sad and holy,
Tell of diviner hopes. But whose light hand,
As for an altar, wove the radiant band?
Whose gentle nurture brought, from hidden dells.
That gem-like wealth of blossoms and sweet bells,
To blush through every season?–Blight and chill
Might touch the changing woods, but duly still.
For years, those gorgeous coronals renewed,
And brightly clasping marble spear and helm,
Even thro' mid-winter, filled the solitude
With a strange smile, a glow of summer's realm.
–Surely some fond and fervent heart was pouring
Its youth's vain worship on the dust, adoring
In lone devotedness!
One spring-morn rose,
And found, within that tomb's proud shadow laid–
Oh! not as midst the vineyards, to repose
From the fierce noon–a dark-hair'd peasant maid:
Who could reveal her story?–That still face
Had once been fair; for on the clear arch'd brow,
And the curv'd lip, there lingered yet such grace
As sculpture gives its dreams; and long and low
The deep black lashes, o'er the half-shut eye–
For death was on its lids–fell mournfully.
But the cold cheek was sunk, the raven hair
Dimm'd, the slight form all wasted, as by care.
Whence came that early blight? Her kindred's place
Was not amidst the high De Couci race;
Yet there her shrine had been!–She grasp'd a wreath–
The tomb's last garland!–This was love in death.
She knelt in prayer. A stream of sunset fell
Thro' the stain'd window of her lonely cell,
And with its rich, deep, melancholy glow
Flushing her cheek and pale Madonna brow,
While o'er her long hair's flowing jet it threw
Bright waves of goldâ€“the autumn forest's hueâ€“
Seem'd all a vision's mist of glory, spread
By painting's touch around some holy head,
Virgin's or fairest martyr's. In her eye,
Which glanced as dark, clear water to the sky,
What solemn fervour lived! And yet what wo,
Lay like some buried thing, still seen below
The glassy tide! Oh! he that could reveal
What life had taught that chasten'd heart to feel,
Might speak indeed of woman's blighted years,
And wasted love, and vainly bitter tears!
But she had told her griefs to heaven alone,
And of the gentle saint no more was known,
Than that she fled the world's cold breath, and made
A temple of the pine and chestnut shade,
Filling its depths with soul, whene'er her hymn
Rose thro' each murmur of the green, and dim,
And ancient solitude; where hidden streams
Went moaning thro' the grass, like sounds in dreams,
Music for weary hearts! Midst leaves and flowers
She dwelt, and knew all secrets of their powers,
All nature's balms, wherewith her gliding tread
To the sick peasant on his lowly bed,
Came and brought hope; while scarce of mortal birth
He deem'd the pale fair form, that held on earth
Communion but with grief.
Ere long a cell,
A rock-hewn chapel rose, a cross of stone
Gleam'd thro' the dark trees o'er a sparkling well,
And a sweet voice, of rich, yet mournful tone,
Told the Calabrian wilds, that duly there
Costanza lifted her sad heart in prayer.â€“
And now 'twas prayer's own hour. That voice again
Thro' the dim foliage sent its heavenly strain,
That made the cypress quiver where it stood,
In day's last crimson soaring from the wood
Like spiry flame. But as the bright sun set,
Other and wilder sounds in tumult met
The floating song. Strange sounds!â€“the trumpet's peal,
Made hollow by the rocks; the clash of steel,
The rallying war cry.â€“In the mountain-pass,
There had been combat; blood was on the grass,
Banners had strewn the waters; chiefs lay dying,
And the pine-branches crash'd before the flying.
And all was chang'd within the still retreat,
Costanza's home:â€“there enter'd hurrying feet,
Dark looks of shame and sorrow; mail-clad men,
Stern fugitives from that wild battle-glen,
Scaring the ringdoves from the porch-roof, bore
A wounded warrior in: the rocky floor
Gave back deep echoes to his clanging sword,
As there they laid their leader, and implor'd
The sweet saint's prayers to heal him; then for flight,
Thro' the wide forest and the mantling night,
Sped breathlessly again.â€“They pass'dâ€“but he,
The stateliest of a hostâ€“alas! to see
What mother's eyes have watch'd in rosy sleep
Till joy, for very fullness, turn'd to weep,
Thus chang'd!â€“a fearful thing! His golden crest
Was shiver'd, and the bright scarf on his breastâ€“
Some costly love-giftâ€“rent:â€“but what of these?
There were the clustering raven-locksâ€“the breeze
As it came in thro' lime and myrtle flowers,
Might scarcely lift themâ€“steep'd in bloody showers,
So heavily upon the pallid clay
Of the damp cheek they hung! the eyes' dark rayâ€“
Where was it?â€“and the lips!â€“they gasp'd apart,
With their light curve, as from the chisel's art,
Still proudly beautiful! but that white hueâ€“
Was it not death's?â€“that stillnessâ€“that cold dew
On the scarr'd forehead? No! his spirit broke
From its deep trance ere long, yet but awoke
To wander in wild dreams; and there he lay,
By the fierce fever as a green reed shaken,
The haughty chief of thousandsâ€“the forsaken
Of all save one!â€“She fled not. Day by dayâ€“
Such hours are woman's birthrightâ€“she, unknown,
Kept watch beside him, fearless and alone;
Binding his wounds, and oft in silence laving
His brow with tears that mourn'd the strong man's raving.
He felt them not, nor mark'd the light, veil'd form
Still hovering nigh; yet sometimes, when that storm
Of frenzy sank, her voice, in tones as low
As a young mother's by the cradle singing,
Would sooth him with sweet aves, gently bringing
Moments of slumber, when the fiery glow
Ebb'd from his hollow cheek.
At last faint gleams
Of memory dawn'd upon the cloud of dreams,
And feebly lifting, as a child, his head,
And gazing round him from his leafy bed,
He murmur'd forth, 'Where am I? What soft strain
Pass'd, like a breeze, across my burning brain?
Back from my youth it floated, with a tone
Of life's first music, and a thought of oneâ€“
Where is she now? and where the gauds of pride
Whose hollow splendour lured me from her side?
All lost!â€“and this is death!â€“I cannot die
Without forgiveness from that mournful eye!
Away! the earth hath lost her. Was she born
To brook abandonment, to strive with scorn?
My first, my holiest love!â€“her broken heart
Lies low, and Iâ€“unpardon'd I depart.'
But then Costanza rais'd the shadowy veil
From her dark locks and features brightly pale,
And stood before him with a smileâ€“oh! ne'er
Did aught that smiled so much of sadness wearâ€“
And said 'Cesario! look on me; I live
To say my heart hath bled, and can forgive.
I loved thee with such worship, such deep trust
As should be Heaven's aloneâ€“and Heaven is just!
I bless theeâ€“be at peace.'
But o'er his frame
Too fast the strong tide rush'dâ€“the sudden shame,
The joy, th' amaze!â€“he bow'd his headâ€“it fell
On the wrong'd bosom which had lov'd so well;
And love still perfect, gave him refuge there,â€“
His last faint breath just wav'd her floating hair.