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 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!'
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 young forgot the lessons they had learnt,
And lov'd when they should hate, like thee, Imelda! ~
Italy, a Poem
Passa la bella Donna, e par che dorma. ~
We have the myrtle's breath around us here,
Amidst the fallen pillars; this hath been
Some Naiad's fane of old. How brightly clear,
Flinging a vein of silver o'er the scene,
Up thro' the shadowy grass, the fountain wells,
And music with it, gushing from beneath
The ivy'd altar! that sweet murmur tells
The rich wild-flowers no tale of wo or death;
Yet once the wave was darken'd, and a stain
Lay deep, and heavy drops but not of rain?
On the dim violets by its marble bed,
And the pale shining water-lily's head.
Sad is that legend's truth. A fair girl met
One whom she lov'd, by this lone temple's spring,
Just as the sun behind the pine-grove set,
And eve's low voice in whispers woke, to bring
All wanderers home. They stood, that gentle pair
With the blue heaven of Italy above,
And citron-odours dying on the air,
And light leaves trembling round, and early love
Deep in each breast. What reck'd their souls of strife
Between their fathers? Unto them young life
Spread out the treasures of its vernal years;
And if they wept, they wept far other tears
Than the cold world wrings forth. They stood, that hour,
Speaking of hope, while tree, and fount, and flower,
And star, just gleaming thro' the cypress boughs,
Seem'd holy things, as records of their vows.
But change came o'er the scene. A hurrying tread
Broke on the whispery shades. Imelda knew
The footstep of her brother's wrath, and fled
Up where the cedars make yon avenue
Dim with green twilight: pausing there, she caught-
Was it the clash of swords? a swift dark thought
Struck down her lip's rich crimson as it pass'd,
And from her eye the sunny sparkle took
One moment with its fearfulness, and shook
Her slight frame fiercely, as a stormy blast
Might rock the rose. Once more, and yet once more,
She still'd her heart to listen all was o'er;
Sweet summer winds alone were heard to sigh,
Bearing the nightingale's deep spirit by.
That night Imelda's voice was in the song,
Lovely it floated thro' the festive throng
Peopling her father's halls. That fatal night
Her eye look'd starry in its dazzling light,
And her cheek glow'd with beauty's flushing dyes,
Like a rich cloud of eve in southern skies,
A burning, ruby cloud. There were, whose gaze
Follow'd her form beneath the clear lamp's blaze,
And marvell'd at its radiance. But a few
Beheld the brightness of that feverish hue,
With something of dim fear; and in that glance
Found strange and sudden tokens of unrest,
Startling to meet amidst the mazy dance,
Where thought, if present, an unbidden guest,
Comes not unmask'd. Howe'er this were, the time
Sped as it speeds with joy, and grief, and crime
Alike: and when the banquet's hall was left
Unto its garlands of their bloom bereft,
When trembling stars look'd silvery in their wane,
And heavy flowers yet slumber'd, once again
There stole a footstep, fleet, and light, and lone,
Thro' the dim cedar shade; the step of one
That started at a leaf, of one that fled,
Of one that panted with some secret dread:
What did Imelda there? She sought the scene
Where love so late with youth and hope had been;
Bodings were on her soul?a shuddering thrill
Ran thro' each vein, when first the Naiad's rill
Met her with melody?sweet sounds and low;
We hear them - yet they live along its flow -
Her voice is music lost! The fountain-side
She gain'd?the wave flash'd forth?'twas darkly dyed
Ev'n as from warrior-hearts; and on its edge,
Amidst the fern, and flowers, and moss-tufts deep,
There lay, as lull'd by stream and rustling sedge,
A youth, a graceful youth. 'Oh! dost thou sleep,
Azzo?' she cried, 'my Azzo! is this rest?'
?But then her low tones falter'd: 'On thy breast
Is the stain - yes, 'tis blood! and that cold cheek -
That moveless lip! thou dost not slumber? speak,
Speak, Azzo, my belov'd - no sound - no breath -
What hath come thus between our spirits? Death!
Death? I but dream - I dream!' and there she stood,
A faint, frail trembler, gazing first on blood,
With her fair arm around yon cypress thrown,
Her form sustain'd by that dark stem alone,
And fading fast, like spell-struck maid of old,
Into white waves dissolving, clear and cold;
When from the grass her dimm'd eye caught a gleam?
'Twas where a sword lay shiver'd by the stream,?
Her brother's sword! - she knew it; and she knew
'Twas with a venom'd point that weapon slew!
Wo for young love! But love is strong. There came
Strength upon woman's fragile heart and frame,
There came swift courage! On the dewy ground
She knelt, with all her dark hair floating round,
Like a long silken stole; she knelt, and press'd
Her lips of glowing life to Azzo's breast,
Drawing the poison forth. A strange, sad sight!
Pale death, and fearless love, and solemn night!
So the moon saw them last.
The Morn came singing
Thro' the green forests of the Appenines,
With all her joyous birds their free flight winging,
And steps and voices out amongst the vines.
What found that day-spring here? Two fair forms laid
Like sculptured sleepers; from the myrtle shade
Casting a gleam of beauty o'er the wave,
Still, mournful, sweet. Were such things for the grave?
Could it be so indeed? That radiant girl,
Deck'd as for bridal hours!?long braids of pearl
Amidst her shadowy locks were faintly shining,
As tears might shine, with melancholy light;
And there was gold her slender waist entwining;
And her pale graceful arms how sadly bright!
And fiery gems upon her breast were lying,
And round her marble brow red roses dying.
But she died first! the violet's hue had spread
O'er her sweet eyelids with repose oppress'd,
She had bow'd heavily her gentle head,
And on the youth's hush'd bosom sunk to rest.
So slept they well! the poison's work was done;
Love with true heart had striven?but Death had won.
Alaric In Italy
Heard ye the Gothic trumpet's blast?
The march of hosts as Alaric passed?
His steps have tracked that glorious clime,
The birth-place of heroic time;
But he, in northern deserts bred,
Spared not the living for the dad,
Nor heard the voice, whose pleading cries
From temple and from tomb arise.
He passed - the light of burning fanes
Hath been his torch o'er Grecian plains;
And woke they not, the brave, the free,
To guard their own Thermopylae?
And left they not their silent dwelling,
When Scythia's note of war was swelling?
No! where the bold Three Hundred slept,
Sad freedom battled not - but wept!
For nerveless then the Spartan's hand,
And Thebes could rouse no Sacred Band;
Nor one high soul from slumber broke,
When Athens owned the Northern yoke.
But was there none for thee to dare
The conflict, scorning to despair?
O city of the seven proud hills!
Whose name e'en yet the spirit thrills,
As doth a clarion's battle-call-
Didst thou too, ancient empress, fall?
Did no Camillus from the chain
Ransom thy Capitol again?
Oh! who shall tell the days to be,
No patriot rose to bleed for thee?
Heard ye the Gothic trumpet's blast?
The march of hosts, as Alaric passed?
That fearful sound, at midnight deep,
Burst on the eternal city's sleep:
How woke the mighty? She, whose will
So long had bid the world be still,
Her sword a sceptre, and her eye
The ascendant star of destiny!
She woke - to view the dread array
Of Scythians rushing to their prey,
To hear her streets resound the cries
Poured from a thousand agonies!
While the strange light of flames, that gave
A ruddy glow to Tiber's wave,
Bursting in that terrific hour
From fane and palace, dome and tower,
Revealed the throngs, for aid divine
Clinging to many a worshiped shrine:
Fierce fitful radiance wildly shed
O'er spear and sword, with carnage red,
Shone o'er the suppliant and the flying,
And kindled pyres for Romans dying.
Weep, Italy! alas, that e'er
Should tears alone thy wrongs declare!
The time hath been when thy distress
Had roused up empires for redress!
Now, her long race of glory run,
Without a combat Rome is won,
And from her plundered temples forth
Rush the fierce children of the north,
To share beneath more genial skies
Each joy their own rude clime denies.
Ye who on bright Campania's shore
Bade your fair villas rise of yore,
With all their graceful colonnades,
And crystal baths, and myrtle shades,
Along the blue Hesperian deep,
Whose glassy waves in sunshine sleep;
Beneath your olive and your vine
Far other inmates now recline,
And the tall plane, whose roots ye fed
With rich libations duly shed,
O'er guests, unlike your vanished friends,
Its bowery canopy extends.
For them the southern heaven is glowing,
The bright Falernian nectar flowing;
For them the marble halls unfold,
Where nobler beings dwelt of old,
Whose children for harbarian lords
Touch the sweet lyre's resounding chords,
Or wreaths of Paestan roses twine,
To crown the sons of Elbe and Rhine,.
Yet, though luxurious they repose
Beneath Corinthian porticoes,
While round them into being start
The marvels of triumphant art;
Oh! not for them hath genius given
To Parian stone the fire of heaven,
Enshrining in the forms he wrought
A bright eternity of thought.
In vain the natives of the skies
In breathing marble round them rise,
And sculptured nymphs of fount or glade
People the dark-green laurel shade;
Cold are the conqueror's heart and eye
To visions of divinity;
And rude his hand which dares deface
The models of immortal grace.
Arouse ye from your soft delights!
Chieftains! the war-note's call invites;
And other lands must yet be won,
And other deeds of havoc done.
Warriors! your flowery bondage break,
Sons of the stormy north, awake!
The barks are launching from the steep
Soon shall the Isle of Ceres weep,
And Afric's burning winds afar
Waft the shrill sounds of Alaric's war.
Where shall his race of victory close?
When shall the ravaged earth repose?
But hark! what wildly mingling cries
From Scythia's camp tumultuous rise?
Why swells dread Alaric's name on air?
A sterner conqueror hath been there!
A conqueror - yet his paths are peace,
He comes to bring the world's release;
He of the sword that knows no sheath,
The avenger, the deliverer - Death!
Is then that daring spirit fled?
Doth Alaric slumber with the dead?
Tamed are the warrior's pride and strength,
And he and earth are calm at length.
The land where heaven unclouded shines,
Where sleep the sunbeams on the vines;
The land by conquest made his own,
Can yield him now - a grave alone.
But his - her lord from Alp to sea -
No common sepulchre shall be!
Oh, make his tomb where mortal eye
Its buried wealth may ne'er descry!
Where mortal foot may never tread
Above a victor-monarch's bed.
Let not his royal dust be hid
'Neath star-aspiring pyramid;
Nor bid the gathered mound arise,
To bear his memory to the skies.
Years roll away - oblivion claims
Her triumph o'er heroic names;
And hands profane disturb the clay
That once was fired with glory's ray;
And Avarice, from their secret gloom,
Drags e'en the treasures of the tomb.
But thou, O leader of the free!
That general doom awaits not thee:
Thou, where no step may e'er intrude,
Shalt rest in regal solitude,
Till, bursting on thy sleep profound,
The Awakener's final trumpet sound.
Turn ye the waters from their course,
Bid Nature yield to human force,
And hollow in the torrent's bed
A chamber for the mighty dead.
The work is done - the captive's hand
Hath well obeyed his lord's command.
Within that royal tomb are cast
The richest trophies of the past,
The wealth of many a stately dome,
The gold and gems of plundered Rome;
And when the midnight stars are beaming,
And ocean waves in stillness gleaming,
Stern in their grief, his warriors bear
The Chastener of the Nations there;
To rest, at length, from victory's toil,
Alone, with all an empire's spoil!
Then the freed current's rushing wave
Rolls o'er the secret of the grave;
Then streams the martyred captives' blood
To crimson that sepulchral flood,
Whose conscious tide alone shall keep
The mystery in its bosom deep.
Time hath passed on since then - and swept
From earth the urns where heroes slept.
Temples of gods and domes of kings,
Are mouldering with forgotten things;
Yet shall not ages e'er molest
The viewless home of Alaric's rest:
Still rolls, like them, the unfailing river,
The guardian of his dust for ever.
Edith: A Tale Of The Woods
Du Heilige! rufe dein Kind zur?ch habe genossen das irdische Gl?ch habe gelebt und geliebet. ~
The woods? oh! solemn are the boundless woods
Of the great Western World, when day declines,
And louder sounds the roll of distant floods,
More deep the rustling of the ancient pines;
When dimness gathers on the stilly air,
And mystery seems o'er every leaf to brood,
Awful it is for human heart to bear
The might and burden of the solitude!
Yet, in that hour, midst those green wastes, there sate
One young and fair,?and oh! how desolate!
But undismay'd; while sank the crimson light,
And the high cedars darken'd with the night,
Alone she sate; tho' many lay around,
They, pale and silent on the bloody ground,
Were sever'd from her need and from her wo,
Far as Death severs Life. O'er that wild spot
Combat had rag'd, and brought the valiant low,
And left them, with the history of their lot,
Unto the forest oaks. A fearful scene
For her whose home of other days had been
Midst the fair halls of England! but the love
Which fill'd her soul was strong to cast out fear,
And by its might upborne all else above,
She shrank not?mark'd not that the dead were near.
Of him alone she thought, whose languid head
Faintly upon her wedded bosom fell;
Memory of aught but him on earth was fled,
While heavily she felt his life-blood well
Fast o'er her garments forth, and vainly bound
With her torn robe and hair the streaming wound,
Yet hoped, still hoped!?Oh! from such hope how long
Affection wooes the whispers that deceive,
Ev'n when the pressure of dismay grows strong,
And we, that weep, watch, tremble, ne'er believe
The blow indeed can fall! So bow'd she there
Over the dying, while unconscious prayer
Fill'd all her soul. Now pour'd the moonlight down,
Veining the pine-stems thro' the foliage brown,
And fire-flies, kindling up the leafy place,
Cast fitful radiance o'er the warrior's face,
Whereby she caught its changes: to her eye,
The eye that faded look'd through gathering haze,
Whence love, o'ermastering mortal agony,
Lifted a long, deep, melancholy gaze,
When voice was not: that fond, sad meaning pass'd?
She knew the fulness of her wo at last!
One shriek the forests heard,?and mute she lay,
And cold; yet clasping still the precious clay
To her scarce-heaving breast. O Love and Death!
Ye have sad meetings on this changeful earth,
Many and sad! but airs of heavenly breath
Shall melt the links which bind you, for your birth
Is far apart.
Now light, of richer hue
Than the moon sheds, came flushing mist and dew;
The pines grew red with morning; fresh winds play'd,
Bright-colour'd birds with splendour cross'd the shade,
Flitting on flower-like wings; glad murmurs broke
From reed, and spray, and leaf, the living strings
Of Earth's Eolian lyre, whose music woke
Into young life and joy all happy things.
And she too woke from that long dreamless trance,
The widow'd Edith: fearfully her glance
Fell, as in doubt, on faces dark and strange,
And dusky forms. A sudden sense of change
Flash'd o'er her spirit, ev'n ere memory swept
The tide of anguish back with thoughts that slept;
Yet half instinctively she rose, and spread
Her arms, as 'twere for something lost or fled,
Then faintly sank again. The forest-bough,
With all its whispers, wav'd not o'er her now,?
Where was she? Midst the people of the wild,
By the red hunter's fire: an aged chief,
Whose home look'd sad?for therein play'd no child?
Had borne her, in the stillness of her grief,
To that lone cabin of the woods; and there,
Won by a form so desolately fair,
Or touch'd with thoughts from some past sorrow sprung,
O'er her low couch an Indian matron hung;
While in grave silence, yet with earnest eye,
The ancient warrior of the waste stood by,
Bending in watchfulness his proud grey head,
And leaning on his bow.
And life return'd,
Life, but with all its memories of the dead,
To Edith's heart; and well the sufferer learn'd
Her task of meek endurance, well she wore
The chasten'd grief that humbly can adore,
Midst blinding tears. But unto that old pair,
Ev'n as a breath of spring's awakening air,
Her presence was; or as a sweet wild tune
Bringing back tender thoughts, which all too soon
Depart with childhood. Sadly they had seen
A daughter to the land of spirits go,
And ever from that time her fading mien,
And voice, like winds of summer, soft and low,
Had haunted their dim years; but Edith's face
Now look'd in holy sweetness from her place,
And they again seem'd parents. Oh! the joy,
The rich deep blessedness?tho' earth's alloy,
Fear, that still bodes, be there?of pouring forth
The heart's whole power of love, its wealth and worth
Of strong affection, in one healthful flow,
On something all its own!?that kindly glow,
Which to shut inward is consuming pain,
Gives the glad soul its flowering time again,
When, like the sunshine, freed.?And gentle cares
Th' adopted Edith meekly gave for theirs
Who lov'd her thus: her spirit dwelt the while,
With the departed, and her patient smile
Spoke of farewells to earth;?yet still she pray'd,
Ev'n o'er her soldier's lowly grave, for aid
One purpose to fulfil, to leave one trace
Brightly recording that her dwelling-place
Had been among the wilds; for well she knew
The secret whisper of her bosom true,
Which warn'd her hence.
And now, by many a word
Link'd unto moments when the heart was stirr'd,
By the sweet mournfulness of many a hymn,
Sung when the woods at eve grew hush'd and dim,
By the persuasion of her fervent eye,
All eloquent with child-like piety,
By the still beauty of her life, she strove
To win for heaven, and heaven-born truth, the love
Pour'd out on her so freely.?Nor in vain
Was that soft-breathing influence to enchain
The soul in gentle bonds: by slow degrees
Light follow'd on, as when a summer breeze
Parts the deep masses of the forest shade
And lets the sunbeam through:?her voice was made
Ev'n such a breeze; and she, a lowly guide,
By faith and sorrow rais'd and purified,
So to the Cross her Indian fosterers led,
Until their prayers were one. When morning spread
O'er the blue lake, and when the sunset's glow
Touch'd into golden bronze the cypress-bough,
And when the quiet of the Sabbath time
Sank on her heart, tho' no melodious chime
Waken'd the wilderness, their prayers were one.
?Now might she pass in hope, her work was done!
And she was passing from the woods away;
The broken flower of England might not stay
Amidst those alien shades; her eye was bright
Ev'n yet with something of a starry light,
But her form wasted, and her fair young cheek
Wore oft and patiently a fatal streak,
A rose whose root was death. The parting sigh
Of autumn thro' the forests had gone by,
And the rich maple o'er her wanderings lone
Its crimson leaves in many a shower had strown,
Flushing the air; and winter's blast had been
Amidst the pines; and now a softer green
Fring'd their dark boughs; for spring again had come,
The sunny spring! but Edith to her home
Was journeying fast. Alas! we think it sad
To part with life, when all the earth looks glad
In her young lovely things, when voices break
Into sweet sounds, and leaves and blossoms wake:
Is it not brighter then, in that far clime
Where graves are not, nor blights of changeful time,
If here such glory dwell with passing blooms,
Such golden sunshine rest around the tombs?
So thought the dying one. 'Twas early day,
And sounds and odours with the breezes' play,
Whispering of spring-time, thro' the cabin-door,
Unto her couch life's farewell sweetness bore;
Then with a look where all her hope awoke,
'My father!'?to the grey-hair'd chief she spoke?
'Know'st thou that I depart?'?'I know, I know,'
He answer'd mournfully, 'that thou must go
To thy belov'd, my daughter!'?'Sorrow not
For me, kind mother!' with meek smiles once more
She murmur'd in low tones; 'one happy lot
Awaits us, friends! upon the better shore;
For we have pray'd together in one trust,
And lifted our frail spirits from the dust
To God, who gave them. Lay me by mine own,
Under the cedar-shade: where he is gone,
Thither I go. There will my sisters be,
And the dead parents, lisping at whose knee
My childhood's prayer was learn'd?the Saviour's prayer
Which now ye know?and I shall meet you there,
Father and gentle mother!?ye have bound
The bruised reed, and mercy shall be found
By Mercy's children.'?From the matron's eye
Dropp'd tears, her sole and passionate reply;
But Edith felt them not; for now a sleep,
Solemnly beautiful, a stillness deep,
Fell on her settled face. Then, sad and slow,
And mantling up his stately head in wo,
'Thou'rt passing hence,' he sang, that warrior old,
In sounds like those by plaintive waters roll'd.
'Thou'rt passing from the lake's green side,
And the hunter's hearth away;
For the time of flowers, for the summer's pride,
Daughter! thou canst not stay.
Thou'rt journeying to thy spirit's home,
Where the skies are ever clear!
The corn-month's golden hours will come,
But they shall not find thee here.
And we shall miss thy voice, my bird!
Under our whispering pine;
Music shall midst the leaves be heard,
But not a song like thine.
A breeze that roves o'er stream and hill,
Telling of winter gone,
Hath such sweet falls?yet caught we still
A farewell in its tone.
But thou, my bright one! thou shalt be
Where farewell sounds are o'er;
Thou, in the eyes thou lov'st, shalt see
No fear of parting more.
The mossy grave thy tears have wet,
And the wind's wild moanings by,
Thou with thy kindred shalt forget,
Midst flowers?not such as die.
The shadow from thy brow shall melt,
The sorrow from thy strain,
But where thine earthly smile hath dwelt,
Our hearts shall thirst in vain.
Dim will our cabin be, and lone,
When thou, its light, art fled;
Yet hath thy step the pathway shown
Unto the happy dead.
And we will follow thee, our guide!
And join that shining band;
Thou'rt passing from the lake's green side?
Go to the better land!'
The song had ceas'd, the listeners caught no breath,
That lovely sleep had melted into death.
And is not love in vain,
Torture enough without a living tomb?
Fermossi al fin il cor che balzò tanto.
'TWAS but a dream!–I saw the stag leap free,
Under the boughs where early birds were singing,
I stood, o'ershadowed by the greenwood tree,
And heard, it seemed, a sudden bugle ringing
Far thro' a royal forest: then the fawn
Shot, like a gleam of light, from grassy lawn
To secret covert; and the smooth turf shook,
And lilies quiver'd by the glade's lone brook,
And young leaves trembled, as, in fleet career,
A princely band, with horn, and hound, and spear,
Like a rich masque swept forth. I saw the dance
Of their white plumes, that bore a silvery glance
Into the deep wood's heart; and all pass'd by
Save one–I met the smile of one clear eye,
Flashing out joy to mine. Yes, thou wert there,
Seymour! a soft wind blew the clustering hair
Back from thy gallant brow, as thou didst rein
Thy courser, turning from that gorgeous train,
And fling, methought, thy hunting-spear away,
And, lightly graceful in thy green array,
Bound to my side; and we, that met and parted,
Ever in dread of some dark watchful power,
Won back to childhood's trust, and fearless-hearted,
Blent the glad fulness of our thoughts that hour,
Even like the mingling of sweet streams, beneath
Dim woven leaves, and midst the floating breath
Of hidden forest flowers.
'Tis past!–I wake,
A captive, and alone, and far from thee,
My love and friend!–Yet fostering, for thy sake,
A quenchless hope of happiness to be,
And feeling still my woman's spirit strong,
In the deep faith which lifts from earthly wrong
A heavenward glance. I know, I know our love
Shall yet call gentle angels from above,
By its undying fervour; and prevail,
Sending a breath, as of the spring's first gale,
Thro' hearts now cold; and, raising its bright face,
With a free gush of sunny tears, erase
The characters of anguish. In this trust,
I bear, I strive, I bow not to the dust,
That I may bring thee back no faded form,
No bosom chill'd and blighted by the storm,
But all my youth's first treasures, when we meet,
Making past sorrow, by communion, sweet.
And thou too art in bonds!–yet droop thou not,
Oh, my belov'd!–there is one hopeless lot,
But one, and that not ours. Beside the dead
There sits the grief that mantles up its head,
Loathing the laughter and proud pomp of light,
When darkness, from the vainly-doting sight,
Covers its beautiful! 1 If thou wert gone
To the grave's bosom, with thy radiant brow,–
If thy deep-thrilling voice, with that low tone
Of earnest tenderness, which now, ev'n now,
Seems floating thro' my soul, were music taken
For ever from this world,–oh! thus forsaken,
Could I bear on?–thou liv'st, thou liv'st, thou'rt mine!
–With this glad thought I make my heart a shrine,
And, by the lamp which quenchless there shall burn,
Sit, a lone watcher for the day's return.
And lo! the joy that cometh with the morning,
Brightly victorious o'er the hours of care!
I have not watch'd in vain, serenely scorning
The wild and busy whispers of despair!
Thou hast sent tidings, as of heaven.–I wait
The hour, the sign, for blessed flight to thee.
Oh! for the skylark's wing that seeks its mate
As a star shoots!–but on the breezy sea
We shall meet soon.–To think of such an hour!
Will not my heart, o'erburdened by its bliss,
Faint and give way within me, as a flower
Borne down and perishing by noontide's kiss?
–Yet shall I fear that lot?–the perfect rest,
The full deep joy of dying on thy breast,
After long-suffering won? So rich a close
Too seldom crowns with peace affection's woes.
Sunset!–I tell each moment–from the skies
The last red splendour floats along my wall,
Like a king's banner!–Now it melts, it dies!
I see one star–I hear–'twas not the call,
Th' expected voice; my quick heart throbb'd too soon.
I must keep vigil till yon rising moon
Shower down less golden light. Beneath her beam
Thro' my lone lattice pour'd, I sit and dream
Of summer-lands afar, where holy love,
Under the vine or in the citron-grove,
May breathe from terror.
Now the night grows deep,
And silent as its clouds, and full of sleep.
I hear my veins beat.–Hark! a bell's slow chime.
My heart strikes with it.–Yet again–'tis time!
A step!–a voice!–or but a rising breeze?
–Hark! haste!–I come, to meet thee on the seas.
Now never more, oh! never, in the worth
Of its pure cause, let sorrowing love on earth
Trust fondly–never more!–the hope is crush'd
That lit my life, the voice within me hush'd
That spoke sweet oracles; and I return
To lay my youth, as in a burial-urn,
Where sunshine may not find it.–All is lost!
No tempest met our barks–no billow toss'd;
Yet were they sever'd, ev'n as we must be,
That so have lov'd, so striven our hearts to free
From their close-coiling fate! In vain–in vain!
The dark links meet, and clasp themselves again,
And press out life.–Upon the deck I stood,
And a white sail came gliding o'er the flood,
Like some proud bird of ocean; then mine eye
Strained out, one moment earlier to descry
The form it ached for, and the bark's career
Seem'd slow to that fond yearning: it drew near,
Fraught with our foes!–What boots it to recall
The strife, the tears? Once more a prison-wall
Shuts the green hills and woodlands from my sight,
And joyous glance of waters to the light,
And thee, my Seymour, thee!
I will not sink!
Thou, thou hast rent the heavy chain that bound thee;
And this shall be my strength–the joy to think
That thou mayst wander with heaven's breath around thee;
And all the laughing sky! This thought shall yet
Shine o'er my heart, a radiant amulet,
Guarding it from despair. Thy bonds are broken,
And unto me, I know, thy true love's token
Shall one day be deliverance, tho' the years
Lie dim between, o'erhung with mists of tears.
My friend! my friend! where art thou? Day by day,
Gliding, like some dark mournful stream, away,
My silent youth flows from me. Spring, the while,
Comes and rains beauty on the kindling boughs
Round hall and hamlet; Summer, with her smile,
Fills the green forest;–young hearts breathe their vows;
Brothers, long parted, meet; fair children rise
Round the glad board; Hope laughs from loving eyes;
–All this is in the world!–These joys lie sown,
The dew of every path. On one alone
Their freshness may not fall–the stricken deer,
Dying of thirst with all the waters near.
Ye are from dingle and fresh glade, ye flowers!
By some kind hand to cheer my dungeon sent;
O'er you the oak shed down the summer showers,
And the lark's nest was where your bright cups bent,
Quivering to breeze and rain-drop, like the sheen
Of twilight stars. On you Heaven's eye hath been,
Thro' the leaves pouring its dark sultry bIue
Into your glowing hearts; the bee to you
Hath murmur'd, and the rill.–My soul grows faint
With passionate yearning, as its quick dreams paint
Your haunts by dell and stream,–the green, the free,
The full of all sweet sound,–the shut from me!
There went a swift bird singing past my cell–
O Love and Freedom! ye are lovely things!
With you the peasant on the hills may dwell,
And by the streams; but I–the blood of kings,
A proud unmingling river, thro' my veins
Flows in lone brightness,–and its gifts are chains!
–Kings!–I had silent visions of deep bliss,
Leaving their thrones far distant, and for this
I am cast under their triumphal car,
An insect to be crushed.–Oh! Heaven is far,–
Dost thou forget me, Seymour? I am prov'd
So long, so sternly! Seymour, my belov'd!
There are such tales of holy marvels done
By strong affection, of deliverance won
Thro' its prevailing power! Are these things told
Till the young weep with rapture, and the old
Wonder, yet dare not doubt,–and thou, oh! thou,
Dost thou forget me in my hope's decay?–
Thou canst not!–thro' the silent night, ev'n now,
I, that need prayer so much, awake and pray
Still first for thee.–Oh! gentle, gentle friend!
How shall I bear this anguish to the end?
Aid!–comes there yet no aid?–the voice of blood
Passes Heaven's gate, ev'n ere the crimson flood
Sinks thro' the greensward!–is there not a cry
From the wrung heart, of power, thro' agony,
To pierce the clouds? Hear, Mercy! hear me! None
That bleed and weep beneath the smiling sun,
Have heavier cause!–yet hear!–my soul grows dark–
Who hears the last shriek from the sinking bark,
On the mid seas, and with the storm alone,
And bearing to th' abyss, unseen, unknown,
Its freight of human hearts?–th' o'ermastering wave!
Who shall tell how it rush'd–and none to save?
Thou hast forsaken me! I feel, I know,
There would be rescue if this were not so.
Thou'rt at the chase, thou'rt at the festive board,
Thou'rt where the red wine free and high is pour'd,
Thou'rt where the dancers meet!–a magic glass
Is set within my soul, and proud shapes pass,
Flushing it o'er with pomp from bower and hall;–
I see one shadow, stateliest there of all–
Thine! What dost thou amidst the bright and fair,
Whispering light words, and mocking my despair?
It is not welI of thee!–my love was more
Than fiery song may breathe, deep thought explore;
And there thou smilest while my heart is dying,
With all its blighted hopes around it lying;
Ev'n thou, on whom they hung their last green leaf–
Yet smile, smile on! too bright art thou for grief.
Death!–what, is death a lock'd and treasur'd thing,
Guarded by swords of fire? 2 a hidden spring,
A fabled fruit, that I should thus endure,
As if the world within me held no cure?
Wherefore not spread free wings–Heaven, Heaven! control
These thoughts–they rush–I look into my soul
As down a gulf, and tremble at th' array
Of fierce forms crowding it! Give strength to pray,
So shall their dark host pass.
The storm is still'd.
Father in Heaven! Thou, only thou, canst sound
The heart's great deep, with floods of anguish fill'd,
For human line too fearfully profound.
Therefore, forgive, my Father! if Thy child,
Rock'd on its heaving darkness, hath grown wild,
And sinn'd in her despair! It well may be,
That Thou wouldst lead my spirit back to Thee–
By the crush'd hope too long on this world pour'd,
The stricken love which hath perchance ador'd
A mortal in Thy place! Now, let me strive
With Thy strong arm no more! Forgive, forgive!
Take me to peace!
And peace at last is nigh.
A sign is on my brow, a token sent
Th' o'erwearied dust, from home: no breeze flits by,
But calls me with a strange sweet whisper, blent
Of many mysteries.
Hark! the warning tone
Deepens–its word is Death. Alone, alone,
And sad in youth, but chasten'd, I depart,
Bowing to heaven. Yet, yet my woman's heart
Shall wake a spirit and a power to bless,
Ev'n in this hour's o'ershadowing fearfulness,
Thee, its first love!–oh! tender still, and true!
Be it forgotten if mine anguish threw
Drops from its bitter fountain on thy name,
Tho' but a moment.
Now, with fainting frame,
With soul just lingering on the flight begun,
To bind for thee its last dim thoughts in one,
I bless thee! Peace be on thy noble head,
Years of bright fame, when I am with the dead!
I bid this prayer survive me, and retain
Its might, again to bless thee, and again!
Thou hast been gather'd into my dark fate
Too much; too long, for my sake, desolate
Hath been thine exiled youth; but now take back,
From dying hands, thy freedom, and re-track
(After a few kind tears for her whose days
Went out in dreams of thee) the sunny ways
Of hope, and find thou happiness! Yet send,
Ev'n then, in silent hours, a thought, dear friend!
Down to my voiceless chamber; for thy love
Hath been to me all gifts of earth above,
Tho' bought with burning tears! It is the sting
Of death to leave that vainly-precious thing
In this cold world! What were it, then, if thou,
With thy fond eyes, wert gazing on me now?
Too keen a pang!–Farewell! and yet once more,
Farewell!–the passion of long years I pour
Into that word: thou hear'st not,–but the woe
And fervour of its tones may one day flow
To thy heart's holy place; there let them dwell–
We shall o'ersweep the grave to meet–Farewell!
The Abencerrage : Canto Ii.
Fair land! of chivalry the old domain,
Land of the vine and olive, lovely Spain!
Though not for thee with classic shores to vie
In charms that fix the enthusiast's pensive eye;
Yet hast thou scenes of beauty, richly fraught
With all that wakes the glow of lofty thought;
Fountains, and vales, and rocks, whose ancient name
High deeds have raised to mingle with their fame.
Those scenes are peaceful now: the citron blows,
Wild spreads the myrtle, where the brave repose.
No sound of battle swells on Douro's shore,
And banners wave on Ebro's banks no more.
But who, unmoved, unawed, shall coldly tread
Thy fields that sepulchre the mighty dead?
Blest be that soil! where England's heroes share
The grave of chiefs, for ages slumbering there;
Whose names are glorious in romantic lays,
The wild, sweet chronicles of elder days -
By goathered lone, and rude serrano sung,
Thy cypress dells, and vine-clad rocks among:
How oft those rocks have echoed to the tale
Of knights who fell in Roncesvalles' vale;
Of him, renowned in old heroic lore,
First of the brave, the gallant Campeador;
Of those, the famed in song, who proudly died
When 'Rio Verde' rolled a crimson tide;
Or that high name, by Garcilaso's might,
On the green Vega won in single fight.
Round fair Granada, deepening from afar,
O'er that green Vega rose the din of war.
At morn or eve no more the sunbeams shone
O'er a calm scene, in pastoral beauty lone;
On helm and corslet tremulous they glanced,
On shield and spear in quivering lustre danced,
Far as the sight by clear Xenil could rove,
Tents rose around, and banners glanced above.
And steeds in gorgeous trappings, armour bright
With gold, reflecting every tint of light,
And many a floating plume, and blazoned shield
Diffused romantic splendour o'er the field.
There swell those sounds that bid the life-blood start
Swift to the mantling cheek and beating heart.
The clang of echoing steel, the charger's neigh,
The measured tread of hosts in war's array;
And, oh! that music, whose exulting breath
Speaks but of glory on the road of death;
In whose wild voice there dwells inspiring power
To wake the stormy joy of danger's hour;
To nerve the arm, the spirit to sustain,
Rouse from despondence, and support in pain;
And, 'midst the deepening tumults of the strife,
Teach every pulse to thrill with more than life.
High o'er the camp, in many a broidered fold,
Floats to the wind a standard rich with gold:
There, imaged on the cross,
Who drank for man the bitter cup of tears -
form, whose word recalled the spirit fled,
Now borne by hosts to guide them o'er the dead!
O'er yon fair walls to plant the cross on high,
Spain hath sent forth her flower of chivalry.
Fired with that ardour which, in days of yore,
To Syrian plains the bold crusaders bore;
Elate with lofty hope, with martial zeal,
They come, the gallant children of Castile;
The proud, the calmly dignified: - and there
Ebro's dark sons with haughty mien repair,
And those who guide the fiery steed of war
From yon rich province of the western star.
But thou, conspicuous 'midst the glitt'ring scene,
Stern grandeur stamped upon thy princely mien;
Known by the foreign garb, the silvery vest,
The snow-white charger, and the azure crest,
Young Aben-Zurrah! 'midst that host of foes,
helm, thy Moorish lance? Disclose
Why rise the tents where dwell thy kindred train,
O son of Afric, 'midst the sons of Spain?
Hast thou with these thy nation's fall conspired,
Apostate chief! by hope of vengeance fired?
How art thou changed! Still first in every fight,
Hamet, the Moor! Castile's devoted knight!
There dwells a fiery lustre in thine eye,
But not the light that shone in days gone by
There is wild ardour in thy look and tone,
But not the soul's expression once thine own,
Nor aught like peace within. Yet who shall say
What secret thoughts thine inmost heart may sway?
No eye but Heaven's may pierce that curtained breast,
Whose joys and griefs alike are unexpressed.
There hath been combat on the tented plain;
The Vega's turf is red with many a stain;
And, rent and trampled, banner, crest, and shield,
Tell of a fierce and well-contested field:
But all is peaceful now - the west is bright
With the rich splendour of departing light;
Mulhacen's peak, half lost amidst the sky,
Glows like a purple evening-cloud on high,
And tints, that mock the pencil's art, o'erspread
The eternal snow that crowns Veleta's head;
While the warm sunset o'er the landscape throws
A solemn beauty, and a deep repose.
Closed are the toils and tumults of the day,
And Hamet wanders from the camp away,
In silent musings wrapt: - the slaughtered brave
Lie thickly strewn by Darro's rippling wave.
Soft fall the dews - but other drops have dyed
The scented shrubs that fringe the river side,
Beneath whose shade, as ebbing life retired,
The wounded sought a shelter - and expired,
Lonely, and lost in thoughts of other days,
By the bright windings of the stream he strays,
Till, more remote from battle's ravaged scene,
All is repose, and solitude serene.
There, 'neath an olive's ancient shade reclined,
Whose rustling foliage waves in evening's wind,
The harassed warrior, yielding to the power,
The mild sweet influence of the tranquil hour,
Feels, by degrees, a long-forgotten calm
Shed o'er his troubled soul unwonted balm;
His wrongs, his woes, his dark and dubious lot,
The past, the future, are awhile forgot;
And Hope, scarce owned, yet stealing o'er his breast,
Half dares to whisper, 'Thou shalt yet be blest!'
Such his vague musings - but a plaintive sound
Breaks on the deep and solemn stillness round;
A low, half-stifled moan, that seems to rise
From life and death's contending agonies.
He turns: Who shares with him that lonely shade?
- A youthful warrior on his deathbed laid.
All rent and stained his broidered Moorish vest,
The corslet shattered on his bleeding breast;
In his cold hand the broken falchion strained,
With life's last force convulsively retained;
His plumage soiled with dust, with crimson dyed,
And the red lance, in fragments, by his side;
He lies forsaken - pillowed on his shield,
His helmet raised, his lineaments revealed.
Pale is that quivering lip, and vanished now
The light once throned on that commanding brow;
And o'er that fading eye, still upward cast,
The shades of death are gathering dark and fast.
Yet, as yon rising moon her light serene
Sheds the pale olive's waving boughs between,
Too well can Hamet's conscious heart retrace,
Though changed thus fearfully, that pallid face,
Whose every feature to his soul conveys
Some bitter thought of long-departed days.
'Oh! is it thus,' he cries, 'we meet at last?
Friend of my soul in years for ever past!
Hath fate but led me hither to behold
The last dread struggle, ere that heart is cold, -
Receive thy latest agonising breath,
And, with vain pity, soothe the pangs of death?
Yet let me bear thee hence; while life remains,
E'en though thus feebly circling through thy veins,
Some healing balm thy sense may still revive,
Hope is not lost - and Osmyn yet may live!
And blest were he, whose timely care should save
A heart so noble, e'en from glory's grave.'
Roused by those accents, from his lowly bed
The dying warrior faintly lifts his head;
O'er Hamet's mien, with vague, uncertain gaze,
His doubtful glance awhile bewildered strays;
Till, by degrees, a smile of proud disdain
Lights up those features late convulsed with pain;
A quivering radiance flashes from his eye,
That seems too pure, too full of soul to die;
And the mind's grandeur, in its parting hour,
Looks from that brow with more than wonted power.
'Away!' he cries, in accents of command,
And proudly waves his cold and trembling hand.
'Apostate, hence! my soul shall soon be free,
E'en now it soars, disdaining aid from thee:
'Tis not for thee to close the fading eyes
Of him who faithful to his country dies;
hand to raise the drooping head
Of him who sinks to rest on glory's bed.
Soon shall these pangs be closed, this conflict o'er,
And worlds be mine where thou canst never soar;
Be thine existence with a blighted name,
Mine the bright death which seals a warrior's fame!'
The glow hath vanished from his cheek - his eye
Hath lost that beam of parting energy;
Frozen and fixed it seems - his brow is chill;
One struggle more - that noble heart is still.
Departed warrior! were thy mortal throes,
Were thy last pangs, ere Nature found repose,
More keen, more bitter, than the envenomed dart
Thy dying words have left in Hamet's heart?
pangs were transient;
shall sleep no more
Till life's delirious dream itself is o'er;
But thou shalt rest in glory, and thy grave
Be the pure altar of the patriot brave.
Oh, what a change that little hour hath wrought
In the high spirit and unbending thought!
Yet, from himself each keen regret to hide,
Still Hamet struggles with indignant pride;
While his soul rises, gathering all its force,
To meet the fearful conflict with remorse.
To thee, at length, whose artless love hath been
His own, unchanged, through many a stormy scene;
Zayda! to thee his heart for refuge flies;
Yes! let the world upbraid, let foes contemn,
Thy gentle breast the tide will firmly stem;
And soon thy smile, and soft consoling voice,
Shall bid his troubled soul again rejoice.
Within Granada's walls are hearts and hands
Whose aid in secret Hamet yet commands;
Nor hard the task, at some propitious hour,
To win his silent way to Zayda's bower,
When night and peace are brooding o'er the world,
When mute the clarions, and the banners furled.
That hour is come - and, o'er the arms he bears,
A wandering fakir's garb the chieftain wears:
Disguise that ill from piercing eye could hide
The lofty port, and glance of martial pride;
But night befriends - through paths obscure he passed,
And hailed the lone and lovely scene at last;
Young Zayda's chosen haunt, the fair alcove,
The sparkling fountain, and the orange grove:
Calm in the moonlight smiles the still retreat,
As formed alone for happy hearts to meet.
For happy hearts? - not such as hers, who there
Bends o'er her lute, with dark, unbraided hair;
That maid of Zegri race, whose eye, whose mien,
Tell that despair her bosom's guest hath been.
So lost in thought she seems, the warrior's feet
Till his known accents every sense restore -
'My own loved Zayda! do we meet once more?'
She starts, she turns - the lightning of surprise,
Of sudden rapture, flashes from her eyes;
But that is fleeting - it is past - and now
Far other meaning darkens o'er her brow:
'Hence, Aben-Zurrah! death surrounds thee here!'
What mean those words, and that unwonted tone?
I will not deem thee changed - but in thy face
It is not joy, it is not love, I trace!
It was not thus in other days we met:
Hath time, hath absense, taught thee to forget?
Oh! speak once more - these rising doubts dispel;
One smile of tenderness, and all is well!'
'Not thus we met in other days! - oh, no!
Thou wert not, warrior then thy country's foe!
Those days are past - we ne'er shall meet again
With hearts all warmth, all confidence, as then.
dark soul no gentler feelings sway,
Leader of hostile bands! away, away!
On in thy path of triumph and of power,
Nor pause to raise from earth a blighted flower.'
too changed! thine early vow forgot!
This, this alone was wanting to my lot!
Exiled and scorned, of every tie bereft,
Thy love, the desert's lonely fount, was left;
And thou, my soul's last hope, its lingering beam,
Thou, the good angel of each brighter dream,
Wert all the barrenness of life possest,
To wake one soft affection in my breast!
That vision ended - fate hath nought in store
Of joy or sorrow e'er to touch me more.
Go, Zegri maid! to scenes of sunshine fly,
From the stern pupil of adversity!
And now to hope, to confidence, adieu!
If thou are faithless, who shall e'er be true?'
'Hamet! oh, wrong me not! - too could speak
Of sorrows - trace them on my faded cheek,
In the sunk eye, and in the wasted form,
That tell the heart hath nursed a canker-worm!
But words were idle - read my sufferings there,
Where grief is stamped on all that once was fair.
'Oh, wert thou still what once I fondly deemed,
All that thy mien expressed, thy spirit seemed,
My love had been devotion - till in death
Thy name had trembled on my latest breath.
But not the chief who leads a lawless band,
To crush the altars of his native land;
The apostate son of heroes, whose disgrace
Hath stained the trophies of a glorious race;
I loved - but one whose youthful name
Was pure and radiant in unsullied fame.
Hadst thou but died, ere yet dishonour's cloud
O'er that young name gathered as a shroud,
I then had mourned thee proudly, and my grief
In its own loftiness had found relief;
A noble sorrow, cherished to the last,
When every meaner woe had long been past.
Yes! let Affection weep - no common tear
She sheds, when bending o'er a hero's bier.
Let Nature mourn the dead - a grief like this,
To pangs that rend
bosom, had been bliss!'
'High-minded maid! the time admits not now
To plead my cause, to vindicate my vow.
That vow, too dread, too solemn to recall,
Hath urged me onward, haply to my fall.
Yet this believe - no meaner aim inspires
My soul, no dream of poor ambition fires.
No! every hope of power, of triumph, fled,
Behold me but the avenger of the dead!
One whose changed heart no tie, no kindred knows,
And in thy love alone hath sought repose.
his stern accuser be?
False to his country, he is true to thee!
Oh, hear me yet! - if Hamet e'er was dear,
By our first vows, our young affection, hear!
Soon must this fair and royal city fall,
Soon shall the cross be planted on her wall;
Then who can tell what tides of blood may flow,
While her fanes echo to the shrieks of woe?
Fly, fly with me, and let me bear thee far
From horrors thronging in the path of war:
Fly! and repose in safety - till the blast
Hath made a desert in its course - and passed!'
'Thou that wilt triumph when the hour is come,
Hastened by thee, to seal thy country's doom,
from scenes of death shall Zayda fly
To peace and safety? - Woman, too, can die!
And die exulting, though unknown to fame,
In all the stainless beauty of her name!
Be mine, unmurmuring, undismayed, to share
The fate my kindred and my sire must bear.
When the clouds gather and the blasts assail,
Thou hast but known me ere the trying hour
Called into life my spirit's latent power;
While withering o'er my silent woes I wept;
And now, when hope and happiness are fled,
My soul is firm - for what remains to dread!
Who shall have power to suffer and to bear,
If strength and courage dwell not with Despair?
Hamet, farewell - retrace thy path again,
To join thy brethren on the tented plain.
There wave and wood, in mingling murmurs, tell
How, in far other cause, thy fathers fell!
Yes! on that soil hath Glory's footstep been,
Names unforgotten consecrate the scene!
Dwell not the souls of heroes round thee there,
Whose voices call thee in the whispering air?
Unheard, in vain, they call - their fallen son
Hath stained the name those mighty spirits won,
And to the hatred of the brave and free
Bequethed his own, through ages yet to be!
Still as she spoke, the enthusiast's kindling eye
Was lighted up with inborn majesty,
While her fair form and youthful features caught
All the proud grandeur of heroic thought,
Severely beauteous; awe-struck and amazed,
In silent trance a while the warrior gazed,
As on some lofty vision - for she seemed
One all inspired - each look with glory beamed,
While, brightly bursting through its cloud of woes,
Her soul at once in all its light arose.
Oh! ne'er had Hamet deemed there dwelt enshrined
In form so fragile that unconquered mind;
And fixed, as by some high enchantment, there
He stood - till wonder yielded to despair.
'The dream is vanished - daughter of my foes!
Reft of each hope, the lonely wanderer goes.
Thy words have pierced his soul - yet deem thou not
Thou couldst be once adored, and e'er forgot!
Oh, formed for happier love, heroic maid!
In grief sublime, in danger undismayed,
Farewell, and be thou blest! - all words were vain
From him who ne'er may view that form again;
Him, whose sole thought resembling bliss must be
been loved, once fondly loved by, thee!',
And is the warrior gone? - doth Zayda hear
His parting footstep, and without a tear?
Thou weepest not, lofty maid! - yet who can tell
What secret pangs within thy heart may dwell?
feel not least, the firm, the high in soul,
Who best each feeling's agony control.
Yes, we may judge the measure of the grief
Which finds in Misery's eloquence relief;
But who shall pierce those depths of silent woe
Whence breathes no language, whence no tears may flow?
The pangs that many a noble breast hath proved,
Scorning itself that thus it
He, He alone, the inmost heart who knows,
Views all its weakness, pities all its throes,
He who hath mercy when mankind contemn,
Beholding anguish - all unknown to them.
Fair city! thou that midst thy stately fanes
And gilded minarets, towering o'er the plains,
In Eastern grandeur proudly dost arise
Beneath thy canopy of deep-blue skies:
While streams that bear thee treasures in their wave,
Thy citron-groves and myrtle-gardens have:
Mourn, for thy doom is fixed - the days of fear,
Of chains, of wrath, of bitterness, are near!
Within, around thee, are the trophied graves
Of kings and chiefs - their children shall be slaves.
Fair are thy halls, thy domes majestic swell,
But there a race that reared them not shall dwell;
For midst thy councils Discord still presides,
Degenerate fear thy wavering monarch guides -
Last of a line whose regal spirit flown
Hath to their offspring but bequeathed a throne,
Without one generous thought, or feeling high,
To teach his soul how kings should live and die.
A voice resounds within Granada's wall,
The hearts of warriors echo to its call,
Whose are those tones, with power electric fraught,
To reach the source of pure exalted thought!
See, on a fortress tower, with beckoning hand,
A form, majestic as a prophet, stand!
His mien is all impassioned - and his eye
Filled with a light whose fountain is on high;
Wild on the gale his silvery tresses flow,
And inspiration beams upon his brow;
While, thronging round him, breathless thousands gaze,
As on some mighty seer of elder days.
'Saw ye the banners of Castile displayed,
The helmets glittering, and the line arrayed?
Heard ye the march of steel-clad hosts?' he cries;
'Children of conquerors! in your strength arise!
O high-born tribes! O names unstained by fear!
Azarques, Zegris, Almoradis, hear!
Be every feud forgotten, and your hands
Dyed with no blood but that of hostile bands.
Wake, princes of the land! the hour is come,
And the red sabre must decide your doom.
Where is that spirit which prevailed of yore,
When Tarik's bands o'erspread the western shore?
When the long combat raged on Xere's plain,
And Afric's tecbir swelled through yielding Spain?
Is the lance broken, is the shield decayed,
The warrior's arm unstrung, his heart dismayed?
Shall no high spirit of ascendant worth
Arise to lead the sons of Islam forth?
To guard the regions where our fathers' blood
Hath bathed each plain, and mingled with each flood;
Where long their dust hath blended with the soil
Won by their swords, made fertile by their toil!
'O ye sierras of eternal snow!
Ye streams that by the tombs of heroes flow,
Woods, fountains, rocks of Spain! ye saw their might
In many a fierce and unforgotten fight -
Shall ye behold their lost, degenerate race,
Dwell 'midst your scenes in fetters and disgrace?
With each memorial of the past around,
Each mighty monument of days renowned?
May this indignant heart ere then be cold,
This frame be gathered to its kindred mould!
And the last life-drop circling through my veins
Have tinged a soil untainted yet by chains!
'And yet one struggle ere our doom is sealed,
One mighty effort, one deciding field!
If vain each hope, we still have choice to be,
In life the fettered, or in death the free!'
Still while he speaks, each gallant heart beats high,
And ardour flashes from each kindling eye;
Youth, manhood, age, as if inspired, have caught
The glow of lofty hope and daring thought,
And all is hushed around - as every sense
Dwelt on the tones of that wild eloquence.
But when his voice hath ceased, the impetuous cry
Of eager thousands bursts at once on high;
Rampart, and rock, and fortress, ring around,
And fair Alhambra's inmost halls resound.
'Lead us, O chieftain! lead us to the strife,
To fame in death, or liberty in life!'
O zeal of noble hearts! in vain displayed!
Now, while the burning spirit of the brave
Is roused to energies that yet might save,
E'en now, enthusiasts! while ye rush to claim
Your glorious trial on the field of fame,
Your king hath yielded! Valour's dream is o'er;
Power, wealth, and freedom, are your own no more;
And for your children's portion,
That bitter heritage - the stranger's chains.
The Abencerrage : Canto I.
Lonely and still are now thy marble halls,
Thou fair Alhambra! there the feast is o'er;
And with the murmur of thy fountain-falls,
Blend the wild tones of minstrelsy no more.
Hushed are the voices that in years gone by
Have mourned, exulted, menaced, through thy towers,
Within thy pillared courts the grass waves high,
And all uncultured bloom thy fairy bowers.
Unheeded there the flowering myrtle blows,
Through tall arcades unmarked the sunbeam smiles,
And many a tint of softened brilliance throws
O'er fretted walls and shining peristyles.
And well might Fancy deem thy fabrics lone,
So vast, so silent, and so wildly fair,
Some charmed abode of beings all unknown,
Powerful and viewless, children of the air.
For there no footstep treads the enchanted ground,
There not a sound the deep repose pervades,
Save winds and founts, diffusing freshness round,
Through the light domes and graceful colonnades.
For other tones have swelled those courts along,
In days romance yet fondly loves to trace;
The clash of arms, the voice of choral song,
The revels, combats, of a vanished race.
And yet awhile, at Fancy's potent call,
Shall rise that race, the chivalrous, the bold;
Peopling once more each fair, forsaken hall,
With stately forms, the knights and chiefs of old.
- The sun declines - upon Nevada's height
There dwells a mellow flush of rosy light;
Each soaring pinnacle of mountain snow
Smiles in the richness of that parting glow,
And Darro's wave reflects each passing dye
That melts and mingles in the empurpled sky.
Fragrance, exhaled from rose and citron bower,
Blends with the dewy freshness of the hour:
Hushed are the winds, and Nature seems to sleep
In light and stillness; wood, and tower, and steep,
Are dyed with tints of glory, only given
To the rich evening of a southern heaven;
Tints of the sun, whose bright farewell is fraught
With all that art hath dreamt, but never caught.
-Yes, Nature sleeps; but not with her at rest
The fiery passions of the human breast.
Hark! from the Alhambra's towers what stormy sound,
Each moment deepening, wildly swells around?
Those are no tumults of a festal throng,
Not the light zambra, nor the choral song:
The combat rages - 'tis the shout of war,
'Tis the loud clash of shield and scimitar.
Within the Hall of Lions, where the rays
Of eve, yet lingering, on the fountain blaze;
There, girt and guarded by his Zegri bands,
And stern in wrath, the Moorish monarch stands;
There the strife centres - swords around him wave;
There bleed the fallen, there contend the brave,
While echoing domes return the battle-cry,
'Revenge and freedom! let the tyrant die!'
And onward rushing, prevailing still,
Court, hall, and tower, the fierce avengers fill.
But first the bravest of that gallant train,
Where foes are mightiest, charging ne'er in vain;
In his red hand the sabre glancing bright,
His dark eye flashing with a fiercer light,
Ardent, untired, scarce conscious that he bleeds,
His Aben-Zurrahs there young Hamet leads;
While swells his voice that wild acclaim on high,
'Revenge and freedom! let the tyrant die!'
Yes! trace the footsteps of the warrior's wrath
By helm and corslet shattered in his path,
And by the thickest harvest of the slain,
And by the marble's deepest crimson stain:
Search through the serried fight, where loudest cries
From triumph, anguish, or despair, arise;
And brightest where the shivering falchions glare,
And where the ground is reddest - he is there.
Yes, that young arm, amidst the Zegri host,
Hath well avenged a sire, a brother, lost.
They perished - not as heroes should have died,
On the red field, in victory's hour of pride,
In all the glow and sunshine of their fame,
And proudly smiling as the death-pang came:
Oh! had they
expired, a warrior's tear
Had flowed, almost in triumph, o'er their bier.
For thus alone the brave should weep for those
Who brightly pass in glory to repose.
- Not such their fate - a tyrant's stern command
Doomed them to fall by some ignoble hand,
As, with the flower of all their high-born race,
Summoned Abdallah's royal feast to grace,
Fearless in heart, no dream of danger nigh,
They sought the banquet's gilded hall - to die.
Betrayed, unarmed, they fell - the fountain wave
Flowed crimson with the life-blood of the brave,
Till far the fearful tidings of their fate
Through the wide city rang from gate to gate,
And of that lineage each surviving son
Rushed to the scene where vengeance might be won.
For this young Hamet mingles in the strife,
Leader of battle, prodigal of life,
Urging his followers till their foes, beset,
Stand faint and breathless, but undaunted yet.
Brave Aben-Zurrahs, on! one effort more,
Yours is the triumph, and the conflict o'er.
But lo! descending o'er the darkened hall,
The twilight shadows fast and deeply fall,
Nor yet the strife hath ceased - though scarce they know
Through that thick gloom, the brother from the foe;
Till the moon rises with her cloudless ray,
The peaceful moon, and gives them light to slay.
Where lurks Abdallah? - 'midst his yielding train,
They seek the guilty monarch, but in vain.
He lies not numbered with the valiant dead,
His champions round him have not vainly bled;
But when twilight spread her shadowy veil,
And his last warriors found each effort fail,
In wild despair he fled - a trusted few,
Kindred in crime, are still in danger true;
And o'er the scene of many a martial deed
The Vega's green expanse, his flying footsteps lead.
He passed the Alhambra's calm and lovely bowers,
Where slept the glistening leaves and folded flowers
In dew and starlight - there, from grot and cave,
Gushed, in wild music, many a sparkling wave;
There, on each breeze, the breath of fragrance rose,
And all was freshness, beauty, and repose.
But thou, dark monarch! in thy bosom reign
Storms that, once roused, shall never sleep again.
Oh! vainly bright is Nature in the course
Of him who flies from terror or remorse!
A spell is round him which obscures her bloom,
And dims her skies with shadows of the tomb;
There smiles no Paradise on earth so fair,
But guilt will raise avenging phantoms there.
Abdallah heeds not, though the light gale roves
Fraught with rich odour, stolen from orange-groves;
Hears not the sounds from wood and brook that rise,
Wild notes of Nature's vesper-melodies;
Marks not how lovely, on the mountain's head,
Moonlight and snow their mingling lustre spread
But urges onward, till his weary band,
Worn with their toil, a moment's pause demand.
He stops, and turning, on Granada's fanes
In silence gazing, fixed awhile remains
In stern, deep silence - o'er his feverish brow,
And burning cheek, pure breezes freshly blow,
But waft, in fitful murmurs, from afar,
Sounds, indistinctly fearful, - as of war.
What meteor bursts, with sudden blaze, on high,
O'er the blue clearness of the starry sky?
Awful it rises, like some Genie-form,
Seen 'midst the redness of the desert storm,
Magnificently dread - above, below,
Spreads the wild splendour of its deepening glow.
Lo! from the Alhambra's towers the vivid glare
Streams through the still transparence of the air!
Avenging crowds have lit the mighty pyre,
Which feeds that waving pyramid of fire;
And dome and minaret, river, wood, and height,
From dim perspective start to ruddy light.
Oh Heaven! the anguish of Abdallah's soul,
The rage, though fruitless, yet beyond control!
Yet must he cease to gaze, and raving fly
For life - such life as makes it bliss to die!
On yon green height, the mosque, but half revealed
Through cypress-groves, a safe retreat may yield.
Thither his steps are bent - yet oft he turns,
Watching that fearful beacon as it burns.
But paler grow the sinking flames at last,
Flickering they fade, their crimson light is past;
And spiry vapours, rising o'er the scene,
Mark where the terrors of their wrath have been.
And now his feet have reached that lonely pile,
Where grief and terror may repose awhile;
Embowered it stands, 'midst wood and cliff on high,
Through the grey rocks, a torrent sparkling nigh;
He hails the scene where every care should cease,
And all - except the heart he brings - is peace.
There is a deep stillness in those halls of state
Where the loud cries of conflict rang so late;
Stillness like that, when fierce the Ramsin's blast
Hath o'er the dwellings of the desert passed.
Fearful the calm - nor voice, nor step, nor breath,
Disturbs that scene of beauty and of death:
Those vaulted roofs re-echo not a sound,
In ceaseless melodies of plaintive tone,
Through chambers peopled by the dead alone
O'er the mosaic floors, with carnage red,
Breastplate, and shield, and cloven helm are spread
In mingled fragments - glittering to the light
Of yon still moon, whose rays, yet softly bright,
Their streaming lustre tremulously shed,
And smile, in placid beauty, o'er the dead:
O'er features where the fiery spirit's trace
E'en death itself is powerless to efface;
O'er those who, flushed with ardent youth, awoke,
When glowing morn in bloom and radiance broke,
Nor dreamt how near the dark and frozen sleep
Which hears not Glory call, nor Anguish weep;
In the low silent house, the narrow spot,
Home of forgetfulness - and soon forgot.
But slowly fade the stars - the night is o'er -
Morn beams on those who hail her light no more;
Slumberers who ne'er shall wake on earth again,
Mourners, who call the loved, the lost, in vain.
Yet smiles the day - oh! not for mortal tear
Doth nature deviate from her calm career;
Nor is the earth less laughing or less fair,
Though breaking hearts her gladness may not share.
O'er the cold urn the beam of summer glows,
O'er fields of blood the zephyr freshly blows;
Bright shines the sun, though all be dark below,
And skies are cloudless o'er a world of woe,
And flowers renewed in spring's green pathway bloom,
Alike to grace the banquet and the tomb.
Within Granada's walls the funeral-rite
Attends that day of loveliness and light;
And many a chief, with dirges and with tears,
Is gathered to the brave of other years;
And Hamet, as beneath the cypress-shade
His martyred brother and his sire are laid,
Feels every deep resolve, and burning thought
Of ampler vengeance, e'en to passion wrought;
Yet is the hour afar - and he must brood
O'er those dark dreams awhile in solitude.
Tumult and rage are hushed - another day
In still solemnity hath passed away,
In that deep slumber of exhausted wrath,
The calm that follows in the tempest's path.
And now Abdallah leaves yon peaceful fane,
His ravaged city traversing again.
No sound of gladness his approach precedes,
No splended pageant the procession leads;
Where'er he moves the silent streets along,
Broods a stern quiet o'er the sullen throng.
No voice is heard; but in each altered eye,
Once brightly beaming when his steps were nigh,
And in each look of those whose love hath fled
From all on earth to slumber with the dead,
Those by his guilt made desolate, and thrown
On the bleak wilderness of life alone -
In youth's quick glance of scarce-dissembled rage,
And the pale mien of calmly-mournful age,
May well be read a dark and fearful tale
Of thought that ill the indignant heart can veil,
And passion, like the hushed volcano's power,
That waits in stillness its appointed hour.
No more the clarion from Granada's walls,
Heard o'er the Vega, to the tourney calls;
No more her graceful daughters, throned on high,
Bend o'er the lists the darkly-radiant eye;
Silence and gloom her palaces o'erspread,
And song is hushed, and pageantry is fled.
- Weep fated city! o'er thy heroes weep -
Low in the dust the sons of glory sleep!
Furled are their banners in the lonely hall,
Their trophied shields hang mouldering on the wall,
Wildly their charges range the pastures o'er,
Their voice in battle shall be heard no more;
And they, who still thy tyrant's wrath survive,
Whom he hath wronged too deeply to forgive,
That race, of lineage high, of worth approved,
The chivalrous, the princely, the beloved -
Thine Aben-Zurrahs - they no more shall wield
In thy proud cause the conquering lance and shied;
Condemned to bid the cherished scenes farewell
Where the loved ashes of their fathers dwell,
And far o'er foreign plains, as exiles, roam,
Their land the desert, and the grave their home.
Yet there is one shall see that race depart,
In deep, though silent, agony of heart;
One whose dark fate must be to mourn alone,
Unseen her sorrows, and their cause unknown,
And veil her heart, and teach her cheek to wear
That smile, in which the spirit hath no share;
Like the bright beams that shed their fruitless glow
O'er the cold solitude of Alpine snow.
Soft, fresh, and silent, is the midnight hour,
And the young Zayda seeks her lonely bower;
That Zegri maid, within whose gentle mind
One name is deeply, secretly enshrined.
That name in vain stern Reason would efface:
Hamet! 'tis thine, thou foe to all her race!
And yet not hers in bitterness to prove
The sleepless pangs of unrequited love;
Pangs, which the rose of wasted youth consume,
And make the heart of all delight the tomb,
Check the free spirit in its eagle-flight,
And the spring-morn of early genius blight;
Nor such her grief - though now she wakes to weep,
While tearless eyes enjoy the honey-dews of sleep.
A step treads lightly through the citron shade,
Lightly, but by the rustling leaves betrayed -
Doth her young hero seek that well-known spot,
Scene of past hours that ne'er may be forgot?
'Tis he - but changed that eye, whose glance of fire
Could, like a sunbeam, hope and joy inspire,
As, luminous with youth, with ardour fraught,
It spoke of glory to the inmost thought;
Thence the bright spirit's eloquence hath fled,
And in its wild expression may be read
Stern thoughts and fierce resolves - now veiled in shade,
And now in characters of fire portrayed.
Changed e'en his voice - as thus its mournful tone
Wakes in her heart each feeling of his own.
'Zayda, my doom is fixed - another day
And the wronged exile shall be far away;
Far from the scenes where still his heart must be,
His home of youth, and more than all - from thee.
Oh! what a cloud hath gathered o'er my lot,
Since last we met on this fair tranquil spot!
Lovely as then, the soft and silent hour,
And not a rose hath faded from thy bower;
But I - my hopes the tempest hath o'erthrown,
And changed my heart, to all but thee alone.
Farewell, high thoughts! inspiring hopes of praise!
Heroic visions of my early days!
In my the glories of my race must end -
The exile hath no country to defend!
E'en in life's morn my dreams of pride are o'er
Youth's buoyant spirit wakes for me no more,
And one wild feeling in my altered breast
Broods darkly o'er the ruins of the rest.
Yet fear not thou - to thee in good or ill,
The heart, so sternly tried, if faithful still!
But when my steps are distant, and my name
Thou hearest no longer in the song of fame;
When Time steals on in silence to efface
Of early love each pure and sacred trace,
Causing our sorrows and our hopes to seem
But as the moonlight pictures of a dream, -
Still shall thy soul be with me, in the truth
And all the fervour of affection's youth?
If such thy love, one beam of heaven shall play
In lonely beauty o'er thy wanderer's way.'
'Ask not, if such my love! Oh! trust the mind
To grief so long, so silently resigned!
Let the light spirit, ne'er by sorrow taught
The pure and lofty constancy of thought,
Its fleeting trials eager to forget,
Rise with elastic power o'er each regret!
Fostered in tears,
young affection grew,
And I have learned to suffer and be true.
Deem not my love a frail, ephemeral flower,
Nursed by soft sunshine and the balmy shower;
No! 'tis the child of tempests, and defies,
And meets unchanged, the anger of the skies!
Too well I feel, with grief's prophetic heart,
That ne'er to meet in happier days, we part.
We part! and e'en this agonising hour,
When love first feels his own o'erwhelming power,
Shall soon to Memory's fixed and tearful eye
Seem almost happiness - for thou wert nigh!
Yes! when this heart in solitude shall bleed,
As days to days all wearily succeed,
When doomed to weep in loneliness, 'twill be
Almost like rapture to have wept with thee.
'But thou, my Hamet, thou canst yet bestow
All that of joy my blighted lot can know.
Oh! be thou still the high-souled and the brave,
To whom my first and fondest vows I gave,
In thy proud fame's untarnished beauty still
The lofty visions of my youth fulfil.
So shall it soothe me, 'midst my heart's despair,
To hold undimmed one glorious image there!'
'Zayda, my best-loved! my words too well,
Too soon, thy bright illusions must dispel;
Yet must my soul to thee unveiled be shown,
And all its dreams and all its passions known,
Thou shalt not be deceived - for pure as heaven
Is thy young love, in faith and fervour given.
I said my heart was changed - and would thy thought
Explore the ruin by thy kindred wrought,
In fancy trace the land whose towers and fanes,
Crushed by the earthquake, strew its ravaged plains;
And such that heart - where desolation's hand
Hath blighted all that once was fair or grand!
But Vengeance, fixed upon her burning throne,
Sits, 'midst the wreck, in silence and alone;
And I, in stern devotion at her shrine,
Each softer feeling, but my love, resign.
-Yes! they whose spirits all my thoughts control,
Who hold dread converse with my thrilling soul;
They, the betrayed, the sacrificed, the brave,
Who fill a blood-stained and untimely grave,
Must be avenged! and pity and remorse
In that stern cause are banished from my course.
Zayda, thou tremblest - and thy gentle breast
Shrinks from the passions that destroy my rest;
Yet shall thy form, in many a stormy hour,
Pass brightly o'er my soul with softening power,
And, oft recalled, thy voice beguile my lot,
Like some sweet lay, once heard, and ne'er forgot.
'But the night wanes - the hours too swiftly fly,
The bitter moment of farewell draws nigh;
Yet, loved one! weep not thus - in joy or pain,
Oh! trust thy Hamet, we shall meet again!
Yes, we shall meet! and haply smile at last
On all the clouds and conflicts of the past.
On that fair vision teach thy thoughts to dwell,
Nor deem these mingling tears our last farewell!'
Is the voice hushed, whose loved, expressive tone
Thrilled to her heart - and doth she weep alone?
Alone she weeps; that hour of parting o'er,
When shall the pang it leaves be felt no more?
The gale breathes light, and fans her bosom fair,
Showering the dewy rose-leaves o'er her hair;
But ne'er for her shall dwell reviving power
In balmy dew, soft breeze, or fragrant flower,
To wake once more that calm, serene delight,
The soul's young bloom, which passion's breath could blight -
The smiling stillness of life's morning hour,
Ere yet the day-star burns in all his power.
Meanwhile, through groves of deep luxurious shade,
In the rich foliage of the South arrayed,
Hamet, ere dawns the earliest blush of day,
Bends to the vale of tombs his pensive way.
Fair is that scene where palm and cypress wave
On high o'er many an Aben-Zurrah's grave.
Lonely and fair, its fresh and glittering leaves
With the young myrtle there the laurel weaves,
To canopy the dead; nor wanting there
Flowers to the turf, nor fragrance to the air,
Nor wood-bird's note, nor fall of plaintive stream -
Wild music, soothing to the mourner's dream.
There sleep the chiefs of old - their combats o'er,
The voice of glory thrills their hearts no more.
Unheard by them the awakening clarion blows;
The sons of war at length in peace repose.
No martial note is in the gale that sighs,
Where proud their trophied sepulchres arise,
'Mid founts, and shades, and flowers of brightest bloom,
As, in his native vale, some shepherd's tomb.
There, where the trees their thickest foliage spread
Dark o'er that silent valley of the dead;
Where two fair pillars rise, embowered and lone,
Not yet with ivy clad, with moss o'ergrown,
Young Hamet kneels - while thus his vows are poured
The fearful vows that consecrate his sword:
- 'Spirit of him who first within my mind
Each loftier aim, each nobler thought enshrined,
And taught my steps the line of light to trace,
Left by the glorious fathers of my race,
Hear thou my voice - for mine is with me still,
In every dream its tones my bosom thrill,
In the deep calm of midnight they are near,
'Midst busy throngs they vibrate on my ear,
Still murmuring 'vengeance!' - nor in vain the call,
Few, few shall triumph in a hero's fall!
Cold as thine own to glory and to fame,
Within my heart there lives one only aim;
There, till the oppressor for thy fate atone,
Concentring every thought, it reigns alone.
I will not weep - revenge, not grief, must be,
And blood, not tears, an offering meet for thee;
But the dark hour of stern delight will come,
And thou shall triumph, warrior! in thy tomb.
'Thou, too, my brother! thou art passed away
Without thy fame, in life's fair-dawning day.
Son of the brave! of thee no trace will shine
In the proud annals of thy lofty line;
Nor shall thy deeds be deathless in the lays
That hold communion with the after-days.
Yet, by the wreaths thou mightst have nobly won
Hadst thou but lived till rose thy noontide sun;
By glory lost, I swear! by hope betrayed,
Thy fate shall amply dearly, be repaid;
War with thy foes I deem a holy strife,
And, to avenge thy death, devote my life.
'Hear ye my vows, O spirits of the slain!
Hear, and be with me on the battle-plain!
At noon, at midnight, still around me bide,
Rise on my dreams, and tell me how ye died!'
War And Peace—a Poem
THOU, bright Futurity! whose prospect beams,
In dawning radiance on our day-light dreams;
Whose lambent meteors and ethereal forms
Gild the dark clouds, and glitter thro' the storms;
On thy broad canvas fancy loves to trace,
Her brilliant Iris, drest in vivid grace;
Paints fair creations in celestial dyes,
Tints of the morn and blushes of the skies;
And bids her scenes perfection's robe assume,
The mingling flush of light, and life, and bloom.
Thou bright Futurity! whose morning-star
Still beams unveil'd, unclouded, from afar;
Whose lovely vista smiling Hope surveys,
Thro' the dim twilight of the silvery haze;
Oh! let the muse expand her wing on high,
Thy shadowy realms, thy worlds unknown descry;
Let her clear eye-beam, flashing lucid light,
Chase from thy forms th' involving shades of night;
Pierce the dark clouds that veil thy noontide rays,
And soar, exulting, in meridian blaze!
In bliss, in grief, thy radiant scenes bestow,
The zest of rapture, or the balm of woe!
For, as the sun-flower to her idol turns,
Glows in his noon, and kindles as he burns;
Expands her bosom to th' exalting fire,
Lives but to gaze, and gazes to admire;
E'en so to thee, the mind incessant flies,
From thy pure source the fount of joy supplies;
And steals from thee the sunny light that throws
A brighter blush on pleasure's living rose!
To thee pale sorrow turns her eye of tears,
Lifts the dim curtain of unmeasur'd years;
And hails thy promis'd land, th' Elysian shore,
Where weeping virtue shall bewail no more!
Now, while the sounds of martial wrath assail,
While the red banner floats upon the gale;
While dark destruction, with his legion-bands,
Waves the bright sabre o'er devoted lands;
While war's dread comet flashes thro' the air,
And fainting nations tremble at the glare;
To thee, Futurity! from scenes like these,
Pale fancy turns, for heav'n-imparted ease;
Turns to behold, in thy unclouded skies,
The orb of peace in bright perspective rise;
And pour around, with joy-diffusing ray,
Life, light, and glory, in a flood of day!
Thou, whose lov'd presence and benignant smile
Has beam'd effulgence on this favour'd isle;
Thou! the fair seraph, in immortal state,
Thron'd on the rainbow, heaven's emblazon'd gate;
Thou! whose mild whispers in the summer-breeze
Control the storm, and undulate the seas;
Spirit of mercy! oh! return, to bring
Palm in thy wreath, and 'healing on thy wing!'
Compose each passion to th' eternal will,
Say to the hurricane of war,— 'Be still!'
'Vengeance, expire! thy reign, ambition, cease!
Beam, light of heaven! triumphant star of peace!'
Is this the muse's wild, illusive dream,
An airy picture, an ideal theme?
Shall death still ride victorious o'er the slain,
And his 'pale charges' desolate the plain?
Ne'er shall revenge her vulture-pinion fold,
Close her dark eye, her lightning-arm withhold?'
Still must oppression cause th' eternal strife,
And breathe dire mildew o'er the blooms of life?
Must war still ravage with his car of fire,
And victim myriads in the blaze expire?
Supernal Pow'r! on suffering earth look down,
Tyrannic might shall perish in thy frown!
Oh! deign to speed that blest, appointed time,
When peace and faith shall smile on ev'ry clime!
But first in clouds, the dark, eventful day
Of wrath, avenging wrath! must roll away!
Thy sword, oh, Justice! o'er the world must wave,
Ere mercy dawn, to triumph and to save!
Shades of the prophet-bards! majestic train,
Who seiz'd the harp from Inspiration's fane,
And, fir'd, and guided by divine control,
Woke ev'ry chord to rapture and to soul!
Shades of the prophet-bards! in days of old,
Whose gifted hands the leaf of fate unroll'd;
Whose prescient eyes, undimm'd by age or tears,
Explor'd the avenue of distant years;
Did those blest eyes th' enchanted scene survey,
Of smiling concord's universal sway?
And did your hearts with joy exulting burn,
To see her Paradise on earth return?
Yes! hallow'd seers! to you the bliss was given,
To read, unveil'd, the dread decrees of heaven!
You saw th' oppressor's might in judgment hurl'd,
A storm of vengeance on the guilty world!
Beheld his throne revers'd, his empire past,
And peace and joy descend, serene, at last!
So when impetuous winds forget to rave,
And sun-set radiance trembles o'er the wave;
Sweet Eve, advancing o'er the summer-deep,
Charms every billow, ev'ry breeze, to sleep!
Dawn, age of bliss! but e'er thy morn shall rise,
And waft a train of cherubs from the skies;
The foes of man, who mark their deathful way,
With tears of blood, and earthquakes of dismay;
These, these must fall, a desolating band,
Fall by the darts in Retribution's hand;
And tyrants vanquish'd, humbled in the dust,
Kneel at her shrine, and own the sentence just!
Then wave, oh, Albion! wave thy sword again,
Call thy brave champions to the battle-plain!
Rise, might of nations! ardent to oppose
The rushing torrent of unpitying foes!
Soon shall they own that freedom's cause inspires,
Undaunted spirit and resistless fires!
Rise! all combin'd, 'in arms, in heart, the same,'
The arms of honor and the heart of flame!
Nor check th' avenging sword, the patriot-spear;
Till stern Ambition falls, in mid career!
Then let the falchion sleep, the combat cease,
The sun of conquest light the path of peace!
Let the green laurel with the palm entwine,
And rear on trophies bright, her firm, eternal shrine!
Dawn, age of bliss! the wounds of discord close,
Furl the red standard, bid the sword repose!
Then o'er the globe let worshipp'd freedom smile,
Bright as in Albion's truth-illumin'd isle!
Her Grecian temple rear on every shore,
Where every knee shall bend and heart adore!
Queen of the valiant arm, the warrior-breast,
Light of the ocean! day-star of the west!
Oh! Albion! Liberty's immortal fane,
Empress of isles! palladium of the main!
Tho' thy loud thunders thro' the world resound,
Tho' thy red lightnings flash victorious round;
Tho' nations own, in many a distant clime,
Thy arm triumphant, as thy name sublime;
Rock of the waves! tho' proud, from zone to zone,
Extend the pillars of thy naval throne;
Around thy coast tho' wild destruction roars,
Yet calm and fertile smile thy favor'd shores;
In emerald verdure blooms thy sunny plain,
And the dark war-blast rolls without—in vain!
Tho' flames of valor, kindling in thine eye,
Brave every storm, and every foe defy;
Yet soft, beneath its milder beam, serene,
Luxuriance blossoms o'er the glowing scene;
Fair laugh thy vales! no deathful sounds assail,
Mirth warbles free, and music swells the gale;
While firm in might, thy victor-arm extends,
Death to thy foes, and succour to thy friends!
Thus potent Prospero's creative spell
Bade the wild surge in mountain-fury swell;
Call'd up the spirits of the raging deep,
Arous'd the whirlwind, o'er the waves to sweep;
But on th' enchanted isle, his fair domain,
Rais'd the bright vision of the sylphid train;
And bade soft notes, and fairy-warbled airs,
Melt o'er the sense, and lull corroding cares!
Yet, Queen of Isles! tho' peace, with angel-form,
Smile on thy cliffs, regardless of the storm;
Favor'd of heaven! e'en thou, tho' distant far,
Hast wept the horrors of relentless war;
E'en thou hast mourn'd o'er many a hero's bier,
Grac'd with thy laurels, hallow'd with thy tear!
For those whose arms, whose blood preserv'd thee free,
(Who would not bleed, O peerless isle! for thee?)
For those who, falling on their subject-wave,
Made the dark billow glory's proudest grave;
How oft has anguish taught thy tears to flow,
Thy sighs, despondence, and thine accents, woe!
Yes! thou hast mourn'd the brave, illustrious dead,
Martyrs for thee, by faith and valor led!
When he, the warrior of the patriot-glow,
Whose ebbing life-blood stain'd Canadian snow;
When thy own Wolfe, by all thy spirit fir'd,
Triumphant fought, exulted, and expir'd;
Gave to thy fame the last, the lingering breath,
The joy in agony, the smile in death,
How swell'd thy heart with blended feeling's tide,
How sorrow paled the kindling cheek of pride!
And the bright garland, purchas'd by his doom,
Seem'd half despoil'd, and withering in its bloom!
Yes! when thy Nelson, matchless in the fight,
Bade nations own thee of resistless might;
And pouring on their heads destruction's flame,
Clos'd in its dreadful blaze a life of fame;
When the red star of conquest and of pow'r
Beam'd in full zenith on his parting hour;
Dispers'd the shadows of surrounding gloom,
And shed meridian lustre—on his tomb;
Then the sad tears which mourn'd thy gallant son,
Dimm'd the fair trophies by his prowess won;
Then patriot-sighs and consecrated grief,
Embalm'd the memory of th' undaunted chief;
Pale, weeping victory tore her laurel-crown,
And tun'd to sorrow's dirge the clarion of renown!
And thou, firm leader of th' intrepid host,
Which brav'd each peril on Iberia's coast,
Thy name, oh, Moore! thro' long, succeeding years,
Shall claim the tribute of thy country's tears!
Oh! firm in faith, in countless dangers prov'd,
In spirit lofty, and by death unmov'd!
Thine was the towering soul, disdaining fear,
And fatal valor, clos'd thy bright career!
Illustrious Leader! in that hour of fate,
When hope and terror near the suff'rer wait;
When the pale cheek and fading eye proclaim
The last, long struggle of the trembling frame;
When the fierce death-pang vibrates every sense,
And fainting nature shudders in suspense;
E'en then thy bosom felt the patriot-flame,
Still beat the quivering pulse at Albion's name!
In that dread hour thy thoughts to Albion flew,
Thy parting thrill of life, thy latest throb was true!
Illustrious Leader! on that awful day,
When war and horror frown'd, in dark array;
When vengeance wav'd her fire-flag o'er the slain,
And carnage hover'd o'er Corunna's plain;
Faint with fatigue and streaming with their blood,
How nobly firm thy band of heroes stood!
'Twas their's unmov'd, unconquer'd, to oppose
Pain, famine, danger, and unnumber'd foes!
Nor toil, nor want, nor sickness then subdu'd,
The 'Lion-heart' of British fortitude!
E'en then those humbled foes their might deplor'd,
And own'd that conquest wav'd Britannia's sword!
E'en then they fought, intrepid, undismay'd,
Death in their charge and lightning on their blade!
Yes! warrior-band! by noblest ardor led,
True to the last, ye triumph'd while ye bled!
Serene in pain, exulting 'midst alarms,
Bold, firm, invincible, your matchless arms!
Then Freedom rear'd her victor-flag on high,
Glow'd in each heart and flash'd from every eye;
England! thy glory every bosom swell'd,
England! thy spirit every arm impell'd!
MOORE! thy bright sun in fame, in victory set,
Tho' dimm'd with tears, tho' clouded with regret!
Yet shall thy trophies rear, to distant time,
High on thy native shore a Cenotaph sublime.
But, ah! bold Victory! can thy festal train,
Thy purple streamers, or thy choral strain;
Can thy proud spear, in wreaths immortal drest,
Thy radiant panoply, thy wavy crest;
Can these one grief, one bosom-pang beguile,
Or teach despair one heart-reviving smile?
Tint the pale cheek with pleasure's mantling hue,
Light the dim eye with joy and lustre new?
Or check one sigh, one sad, yet fruitless tear,
Fond love devotes to martyr'd valor's bier?
Lo! where, with pallid look and suppliant hands,
Near the cold urn th' imploring mother stands!
Fix'd is her eye, her anguish cannot weep!
There all her hopes with youthful virtue sleep!
There sleeps the son, whose op'ning years display'd
Each flatt'ring promise, doom'd so soon to fade.
Too brave, too ardent, on the field he fell,
Fame hover'd near, and Conquest rung his knell.
But could their pomp console her wounded breast,
Dispel one sigh, or lull one care to rest?
Ah! suff'ring Parent! fated still to mourn,
Ah! wounded heart!—he never shall return.
He fell!—that eye of soft and varying ray,
Where warm expression kindled into day;
Where ardor sparkled, where affection beam'd,
And youth and hope in living lustre stream'd;
That voice belov'd, whose bliss-imparting-tone,
Bade her fond heart its thrilling magic own;
That mantling cheek, where animation glow'd,
Spread the rich bloom, the vivid flush bestow'd;
That brilliant eye is clos'd in shades of night,
That voice is hush'd, that cheek no longer bright!
'Twas her's, when hope one meteor-beam had giv'n,
(Fair form of light! sweet fugitive of heav'n!)
To see dark clouds obscure the rainbow-dream,
Watch its pale sun-set, and its closing gleam!
To see the last, the lingering bliss depart,
The lonely Day-star of her widow'd heart!
He fell!—her woe, her soul-consuming grief,
Mourns in no language, seeks for no relief;
Forbids the mind in sympathy to glow,
The voice to murmur, and the tear to flow;
But deep within, enshrin'd in silent sway,
Dwells on each nerve—and withers life away!
Or see you Orphan-maid, in beauty's bloom,
Fair lovely mourner o'er a Father's tomb!
For him, far distant on the battle-plain,
She pray'd, and wish'd, and wept—alas!—in vain!
No tender friend receiv'd his parting breath,
No filial sweetness cheer'd the hour of death—
For, ah! when nature most demands to share
The smile of tenderness, the hand of care;
E'en then, deserted on the field, he bled,
Unknown, unmark'd, his gallant spirit fled!
Lo! where she weeps forlorn, in anguish lost,
A frail Mimosa, blighted by the frost!
Who now shall guard the blossom of her youth,
The gem of innocence, the flower of truth?
Sweet hapless Maid! thy only friend is gone,
Hope lingering smiles, and points to heav'n alone!
Ah! who can tell the thousands doom'd to moan,
Condemn'd by war, to hopeless grief unknown!
Thou, laureate Victor! when thy blazon'd shield,
Wears the proud emblems of the conquer'd field;
When trophies glitter on thy radiant car,
And thronging myriads hail thee from afar;
When praise attunes her spirit-breathing lyre,
Swells every tone, wakes every chord of fire;
Then could thine eyes each drooping mourner see,
Behold each hopeless anguish, caus'd by thee;
Hear, for each measure of the votive strain,
The rending sigh that murmurs o'er the slain;
See, for each banner fame and victory wave,
Some sufferer bending o'er a soldier's grave;
How would that scene, with grief and horror fraught,
Chill the warm glow, and check th' exulting thought!
E'en in that hour, that gay, triumphal hour,
'Midst the bright pageants of applause and pow'r;
When at thy name th' adoring Pæans rise,
And waft thy deeds in incense to the skies;
Fame in thine eyes, would veil her towering plume,
And victory's laurels lose their fairest bloom!
Power of the ruthless arm, the deathful spear,
Unmov'd, unpitying, in thy dread career;
Whom no sad cries, no mournful scenes impede,
Melt thy proud heart, or curb thy lightning-speed;
Around whose throne malignant spirits wait,
Whose path is ruin, and whose arm is fate!
Stern, dark Ambition! Typhon of the world!
Thine are the darts, o'er man in vengeance hurl'd!
'Tis thine, where nature smiles with young delight,
With fiery wing, to spread Oppression's blight;
To blast the realms with rich profusion crown'd,
Like the dire Upas, tainting all around!
Thus o'er the southern climes, luxuriant lands,
Where spreads the olive, where the vine expands;
The dread volcano bids the torrent sweep,
Rolls the fierce lava burning down the steep;
Life, beauty, verdure, fated to destroy,
Blast every bloom, and wither every joy!
Sweet orange-groves, with fruits and blossoms fair,
Which breath'd the soul of fragrance on the air;
Vineyards that blush'd, with mantling clusters grac'd,
Gay domes, erected by the hand of taste;
These mingled all in one resistless fire,
Flame to the skies, fair nature's funeral pyre!
Ambition! vainly wouldst thou gild thy name,
With specious rays of conquest and of fame;
Truth waves her wand! from her all-piercing eye,
From her Ithuriel-spear, thy glories fly!
In vain to thee may suppliant mercy kneel,
Plead with soft voice, and deprecate the steel!
Look up, with seraph-eye, in tears benign,
Smile thro' each tear, with eloquence divine;
In vain implore thee to relent and spare,
With cherub-mien and soul-dissolving pray'r:
Lost are those accents of melodious charms,
'Midst the loud clangor of surrounding arms;
Thy heart of adamant repels the strain,
Mercy! thy pray'r, thy tear, thy hope, is vain!
But can remorse, despotic pow'r! prevail,
And wound thy bosom thro' the 'twisted mail?'
Say, can his frown, by shudd'ring conscience felt,
Pierce the dark soul which mercy cannot melt?
No, tyrant! no, when conquest points thy way,
And lights thy track—the blood-path of dismay;
E'en then his darts, tho' barb'd with fiery pain,
Fall from thy woundless heart, averted by disdain!
Pow'r of the ruthless arm! we see thy form,
Tow'r 'midst the darkness of the gath'ring storm;
We see thy sabre with portentous blaze,
Flash o'er the nations, trembling as they gaze;
And lo! we hear thine awful voice resound,
While fear and wonder faint, thro' empires round:
'Realms of the globe, submit! adore my pow'r!
Mine the red falchion, practis'd to devour!
Mine, dark destruction's torch of lucid light,
Mine, her keen scymitar's resistless might!
Chiefs! patriots! heroes! kneeling at my shrine,
Your arms, your laurels, and your fame, resign!
Bend, ye proud isles! my dread behest obey!
Yield, prostrate nations! and confess my sway!
Lo! the bright ensigns of supreme command,
Flame on my brow, and glitter in my hand!
Lo! at my throne what vanquish'd myriads wait,
My look, decision! and my sceptre, fate!
Ye lands, ye monarchs! bow the vassal-knee!
World, thou art mine! and I alone am free;
For who shall dare, with dauntless heart advance,
Rouse my dread arm, and brave my potent lance?'
Relentless pow'r! thy deeds from age to age,
Stain the fair annals of th' impartial page!
O'er the mild beam of order, silvery bright,
Long have thy votaries pour'd the clouds of night,
And chang'd the loveliest realms, where plenty smil'd,
To the lone desert and abandon'd wild!
Ye western regions of a brighter zone,
Ye lands that bow'd at Montezuma's throne;
Where vivid nature wears the richest dyes,
Matur'd to glory by exalting skies;
Scenes of luxuriance! o'er your blooming pride,
How ruin swept the desolating tide!
When the fierce Cortes pour'd his faithless train,
O'er the gay treasures of your fervid reign;
Taught the pure streams with crimson stains to flow,
Made the rich vales a wilderness of woe!
And swell'd each breeze of soft, ambrosial air,
With cries of death and murmurs of despair!
Peruvian realms! where wealth resplendent shines,
Thron'd in full glory, 'midst your diamond mines;
Where vegetation spreads her brightest hues,
Nurs'd by soft airs, and balm-descending dews;
Where all his beams, the worshipp'd sun bestows,
And Flora's empire to perfection glows;
O'er your gay plains, ambition spread alarms,
When stern Pizarro rush'd with conquering arms,
Despoil'd your wealth, and ravag'd all your charms!
Ferocious leader! his aspiring soul,
Nor fear could tame, nor social ties control!
Ardent and firm, in countless dangers bold,
Dark—savage—fierce—to faith, to mercy—cold!
Then was the sword to dire oppression giv'n,
Her vulture-wing obscur'd the light of heav'n!
Thro' many a plantain-shade, and cedar-grove,
Where the blest Indian caroll'd joy and love;
The war-note swell'd upon the zephyr's calm,
The wood-nymph, Peace, forsook her bow'rs of palm!
And Freedom fled, to Andes' heights unknown,
Majestic Solitude's primæval throne!
Where Echo sleeps, in loneliness profound,
Hears not a step, nor quivers at a sound!
Yet there the genius of eternal snows,
Mark'd far beneath, a scene of death disclose!
Saw the red combat raging on the plain,
Heard the deep dirge that murmur'd o'er the slain!
While stern Ambition wak'd th' exulting cry,
And wav'd his blazing torch, and meteor-flag, on high!
Yet, ah! not there, vindictive pow'r! alone,
Has lawless carnage rear'd thy towering throne;
For Europe's polish'd realms, thro' every age,
Have mourn'd thy triumphs and bewail'd thy rage!
Tho' soft refinement there, o'er ev'ry land,
Spread the mild empire of her silver wand;
Erect supreme, her light Corinthian fane,
Tune the sweet lyre, and modulate the strain;
Tho' Genius there, on Rapture's pinions soar,
And worlds of ether and of fire, explore;
There, tho' Religion smile with seraph-eye,
And shed her gifts, like manna, from the sky;
While Faith and Hope, exulting in her sight,
Pour the full noon of glory's living light;
There still Ambition bids his victims bleed,
Still rolls his whirlwind, with destructive speed!
Still in his flame, devoted realms consume,
Fled is their smile and wither'd is their bloom!
With every charm has Nature's lavish hand
Adorn'd, sweet Italy! thy favor'd land!
There Summer laughs, with glowing aspect fair,
Unfolds her tints, and 'waves her golden hair;'
Bids her light sylphs delicious airs convey,
On their soft pinions, waving as they play;
O'er cluster'd grapes, the lucid mantle throw,
And spread gay life in one empurpling glow?
Paint all the rainbow on perennial flow'rs,
And shed exuberance o'er thy myrtle-bow'rs!
Verdure in ev'ry shade thy woods display,
Where soft gradations melt in light away!
And vernal sweets, in rich profusion blow,
E'en 'midst the reign of solitude and snow!
Yet what avail the bright ambrosial stores,
Which gay redundance o'er thy region pours?
Devoted land! from long-departed time,
The chosen theatre of war and crime!
What tho' for thee transcendent suns arise,
The myrtle blossoms, and the zephyr sighs;
What tho' for thee again Arcadia blooms,
And cloudless radiance all thy realm illumes;
There still has Rapine seiz'd her yielding prey,
There still Oppression spreads th' unbounded sway;
There oft has War each blooming charm effac'd,
And left the glowing vale, a bleak, deserted waste!
Is there a land, where halcyon peace has reign'd,
From age to age, in glory unprofan'd?
Has dwelt serenely in perpetual rest,
'Heav'n in her eye,' and mercy in her breast?
Ah, no! from clime to clime, with ruthless train,
Has war still ravag'd o'er the blasted plain!
His lofty banner to the winds unfurl'd,
And swept the storm of vengeance o'er the world!
Yet, oh! stern GOD! if ever conscious right,
If ever justice arm'd thee for the fight;
If e'er fair truth approv'd thy dread career,
Smil'd on thy track and curb'd thy deathful spear;
Now may the generous heart exulting see,
Those righteous powers in amity with thee!
For never, never, in a holier cause,
Nor sanction'd e'er by purer, nobler laws;
Has Albion seiz'd the sabre and the shield,
Or rush'd impetuous to th' ensanguin'd field!
Oh! when that cause triumphant shall prevail,
And Freedom's foes her ark no more assail;
Then might thy smile, sweet Peace! thy angel-form,
Beam thro' the clouds, and tranquillize the storm!
Lo! to the Muse's bright, prophetic eyes,
What scenes unfold! what radiant visions rise!
See hand in hand, and wafted from above,
Celestial Mercy, and angelic love!
Lo! from the regions of the morning-star,
Descending seraphs bear their sun-bright car!
'High the peaceful streamers wave!
'Lo!’ they sing, 'we come to save!
'Come to smile on ev'ry shore,
'Truth and Eden to restore!
'Come, the balm of joy to bring,
'Borne on softest gales of spring!
'Rapture! swell the choral voice,
'Favor'd earth! rejoice, rejoice!
'Now the work of death is o'er,
'Sleep, thou sword! to wake no more!
'Never more Ambition's hand
'Shall wave thee o'er a trembling land!
'Never more, in hopeless anguish,
'Caus'd by thee, shall virtue languish!
'Rapture! swell the choral voice,
'Favor'd earth, rejoice, rejoice!
'Cease to flow, thou purple flood,
'Cease to fall, ye tears of blood!
'Swell no more the clarion's breath,
'Wake no more the song of death!
'Rise, ye hymns of concord, rise,
'Incense, worthy of the skies!
'Wake the Pæan, tune the voice,
'Favor'd earth, rejoice, rejoice!
'Nature, smile! thy vivid grace,
'Now no more shall war deface;
'Airs of spring, oh! sweetly breathe,
'Summer! twine thy fairest wreath!
'Not the warrior's bier to spread,
'Not to crown the victor's head;
'But with flowers of every hue,
'Love and mercy's path to strew!
'Swell to heaven the choral voice,
'Favor'd earth! rejoice, rejoice!
'Sleep, Ambition! rage, expire!
'Vengeance! fold thy wing of fire!
'Close thy dark and lurid eye,
'Bid thy torch, forsaken, die!
'Furl thy banner, waving proud,
'Dreadful as the thunder-cloud!
'Shall destruction blast the plain?
'Shall the falchion rage again?
'Shall the sword thy bands dissever?
'Never, sweet Affection! never!
'As the halcyon o'er the ocean,
'Lulls the billow's wild commotion,
'So we bid dissension cease.
'Bloom, O Amaranth of peace!
'Twine the spear with vernal roses!
'Now the reign of discord closes!
'Goddess of th' unconquer'd isles,
'Freedom! triumph in our smiles!
'Blooming youth, and wisdom hoary,
'Bards of fame, and sons of glory;
'Albion! pillar of the main!
'Monarchs! nations! join the strain!
'Swell to heav'n th' exulting voice;
'Mortals, triumph! earth, rejoice!'
Oh! blissful song! and shall thy notes resound,
While joy and wonder bend entranc'd around?
And shall thy music float on every breeze,
Melt on the shores and warble o'er the seas?
Oh! mercy! love! ambassadors of heav'n!
And shall your sunshine to mankind be giv'n?
Hope! is thy tale a visionary theme?
Oh! smile, supernal pow'r! and realize the dream!
And thou, the radiant messenger of truth,
Deck'd with perennial charms, unfading youth!
Oh! thou, whose pinions as they wave, diffuse
All Hybla's fragrance and all Hermon's dews;
Thou! in whose cause have martyrs died serene,
In soul triumphant, and august in mien!
Oh! bright Religion! spread thy spotless robe,
Salvation's mantle, o'er a guilty globe!
Oh! let thine ark, where'er the billows roll,
Borne on their bosom, float from pole to pole!
Each distant isle and lonely coast explore,
And bear the olive-branch to ev'ry shore!
Come, Seraph! come: fair pity in thy train,
Shall sweetly breathe her soul-dissolving strain;
While her blue eyes thro' tears benignly beam,
Soft as the moon-light, quivering on the stream!
Come, Seraph! come, around thy form shall play,
Diffusive glories of celestial day!
Oh! let each clime thy noon of lustre share,
And rapture hail the perfect and the fair!
Let peace on earth resound from heav'n once more,
And angel-harps th' exulting anthems pour;
While faith, and truth, and holy wisdom bind,
One hallow'd zone—to circle all mankind!
The Forest Sanctuary - Part Ii.
Bring me the sounding of the torrent-water,
With yet a nearer swell-fresh breeze, awake!
And river, darkening ne'er with hues of slaughter
Thy wave's pure silvery green,-and shining lake,
Spread far before my cabin, with thy zone
Of ancient woods, ye chainless things and lone!
Send voices through the forest aisles, and make
Glad music round me, that my soul may dare,
Cheer'd by such tones, to look back on a dungeon's air!
Oh, Indian hunter of the desert's race!
That with the spear at times, or bended bow,
Dost cross my footsteps in thy fiery chase
Of the swift elk or blue hill's flying roe;
Thou that beside the red night-fire thou heapest,
Beneath the cedars and the star-light sleepest,
Thou know'st not, wanderer-never may'st thou know!-
Of the dark holds wherewith man cumbers earth,
To shut from human eyes the dancing seasons' mirth.
There, fetter'd down from day, to think the while
How bright in Heaven the festal sun is glowing,
Making earth's loneliest places, with his smile,
Flush like the rose; and how the streams are flowing
With sudden sparkles through the shadowy grass,
And water-flowers, all trembling as they pass;
And how the rich dark summer-trees are bowing
With their full foliage;-this to know, and pine
Bound unto midnight's heart, seems a stern lot-'twas mine.
Wherefore was this?-Because my soul had drawn
Light from the book whose words are grav'd in light!
There, at its well-head, had I found the dawn,
And day, and noon of freedom:-but too bright
It shines on that which man to man hath given,
And call'd the truth-the very truth, from Heaven!
And therefore seeks he, in his brother's sight,
To cast the mote; and therefore strives to bind
With his strong chains to earth, what is not earth's-the mind!
It is a weary and a bitter task
Back from the lip the burning word to keep,
And to shut out Heaven's air with falsehood's mask,
And in the dark urn of the soul to heap
Indignant feelings-making even of thought
A buried treasure, which may but be sought
When shadows are abroad-and night-and sleep.
I might not brook it long-and thus was thrown
Into that grave-like cell, to wither there alone.
And I a child of danger, whose delights
Were on dark hills and many-sounding seas-
I that amidst the Cordillera heights
Had given Castilian banners to the breeze,
And the full circle of the rainbow seen
There, on the snows; and in my country been
A mountain wanderer, from the Pyrenees
To the Morena crags-how left I not
Life, or the soul's life quench'd, on that sepulchral spot?
Because Thou didst not leave me, oh, my God!
Thou wert with those that bore the truth of old
Into the deserts from the oppressor's rod,
And made the caverns of the rock their fold,
And in the hidden chambers of the dead,
Our guiding lamp with fire immortal fed,
And met when stars met, by their beams to hold
The free heart's communing with Thee,-and Thou
Wert in the midst, felt, own'd-the strengthener then as now!
Yet once I sank. Alas! man's wavering mind!
Wherefore and whence the gusts that o'er it blow?
How they bear with them, floating uncombin'd,
The shadows of the past, that come and go,
As o'er the deep the old long-buried things,
Which a storm's working to the surface brings!
Is the reed shaken, and must we be so,
With every wind?-So, Father! must we be,
Till we can fix undimm'd our stedfast eyes on Thee.
Once my soul died within me. What had thrown
That sickness o'er it?-Even a passing thought
Of a clear spring, whose side, with flowers o'ergrown,
Fondly and oft my boyish steps had sought!
Perchance the damp roof's water-drops, that fell
Just then, low tinkling through my vaulted cell,
Intensely heard amidst the stillness, caught
Some tone from memory, of the music, welling
Ever with that fresh rill, from its deep rocky dwelling.
But so my spirit's fever'd longings wrought,
Wakening, it might be, to the faint sad sound,
That from the darkness of the walls they brought
A lov'd scene round me, visibly around.
Yes! kindling, spreading, brightening, hue by hue,
Like stars from midnight, through the gloom it grew,
That haunt of youth, hope, manhood!-till the bound
Of my shut cavern seem'd dissolv'd, and I
Girt by the solemn hills and burning pomp of sky.
I look'd-and lo! the clear broad river flowing,
Past the old Moorish ruin on the steep,
The lone tower dark against a Heaven all glowing,
Like seas of glass and fire!-I saw the sweep
Of glorious woods far down the mountain side,
And their still shadows in the gleaming tide,
And the red evening on its waves asleep;
And midst the scene-oh! more than all-there smil'd
My child's fair face, and hers, the mother of my child!
With their soft eyes of love and gladness rais'd
Up to the flushing sky, as when we stood
Last by that river, and in silence gaz'd
On the rich world of sunset:-but a flood
Of sudden tenderness my soul oppress'd,
And I rush'd forward with a yearning breast,
To clasp-alas! a vision!-Wave and wood,
And gentle faces, lifted in the light
Of day's last hectic blush, all melted from my sight.
Then darkness!-oh! th' unutterable gloom
That seem'd as narrowing round me, making less
And less my dungeon, when, with all its bloom,
That bright dream vanish'd from my loneliness!
It floated off, the beautiful!-yet left
Such deep thirst in my soul, that thus bereft,
I lay down, sick with passion's vain excess,
And pray'd to die.-How oft would sorrow weep
Her weariness to death, if he might come like sleep!
But I was rous'd-and how?-It is no tale
Even midst thy shades, thou wilderness, to tell!
I would not have my boy's young cheek made pale,
Nor haunt his sunny rest with what befel
In that drear prison-house.-His eye must grow
More dark with thought, more earnest his fair brow,
More high his heart in youthful strength must swell;
So shall it fitly burn when all is told:-
Let childhood's radiant mist the free child yet enfold!
It is enough that through such heavy hours,
As wring us by our fellowship of clay,
I liv'd, and undegraded. We have powers
To snatch th' oppressor's bitter joy away!
Shall the wild Indian, for his savage fame,
Laugh and expire, and shall not truth's high name
Bear up her martyrs with all-conquering sway?
It is enough that Torture may be vain-
I had seen Alvar die-the strife was won from Pain.
And faint not, heart of man! though years wane slow!
There have been those that from the deepest caves,
And cells of night, and fastnesses, below
The stormy dashing of the ocean-waves,
Down, farther down than gold lies hid, have nurs'd
A quenchless hope, and watch'd their time, and burst
On the bright day, like wakeners from the graves!
I was of such at last!-unchain'd I trod
This green earth, taking back my freedom from my God!
That was an hour to send its fadeless trace
Down life's far sweeping tide!-A dim, wild night,
Like sorrow, hung upon the soft moon's face,
Yet how my heart leap'd in her blessed light!
The shepherd's light-the sailor's on the sea-
The hunter's homeward from the mountains free,
Where its lone smile makes tremulously bright
The thousand streams!-I could but gaze through tears-
Oh! what a sight is Heaven, thus first beheld for years!
The rolling clouds!-they have the whole blue space
Above to sail in-all the dome of sky!
My soul shot with them in their breezy race
O'er star and gloom!-but I had yet to fly,
As flies the hunted wolf. A secret spot,
And strange, I knew-the sunbeam knew it not;-
Wildest of all the savage glens that lie
In far sierras, hiding their deep springs,
And travers'd but by storms, or sounding eagles' wings.
Ay, and I met the storm there!-I had gain'd
The covert's heart with swift and stealthy tread:
A moan went past me, and the dark trees rain'd
Their autumn foliage rustling on my head;
A moan-a hollow gust-and there I stood
Girt with majestic night, and ancient wood,
And foaming water.-Thither might have fled
The mountain Christian with his faith of yore,
When Afric's tambour shook the ringing western shore!
But through the black ravine the storm came swelling-
Mighty thou art amidst the hills, thou blast!
In thy lone course the kingly cedars felling,
Like plumes upon the path of battle cast!
A rent oak thunder'd down beside my cave-
Booming it rush'd, as booms a deep sea-wave;
A falcon soar'd; a startled wild-deer pass'd;
A far-off bell toll'd faintly through the roar-
How my glad spirit swept forth with the winds once more!
And with the arrowy lightnings!-for they flash'd,
Smiting the branches in their fitful play,
And brightly shivering where the torrents dash'd
Up, even to crag and eagle's nest, their spray!
And there to stand amidst the pealing strife,
The strong pines groaning with tempestuous life,
And all the mountain-voices on their way,-
Was it not joy?-'twas joy in rushing might,
After those years that wove but one long dead of night!
There came a softer hour, a lovelier moon,
And lit me to my home of youth again,
Through the dim chesnut shade, where oft at noon,
By the fount's flashing burst, my head had lain,
In gentle sleep: but now I pass'd as one
That may not pause where wood-streams whispering run,
Or light sprays tremble to a bird's wild strain,
Because th' avenger's voice is in the wind,
The foe's quick rustling step close on the leaves behind.
My home of youth!-oh! if indeed to part
With the soul's lov'd ones be a mournful thing,
When we go forth in buoyancy of heart,
And bearing all the glories of our spring
For life to breathe on,-is it less to meet,
When these are faded?-who shall call it sweet?
-Even though love's mingling tears may haply bring
Balm as they fall, too well their heavy showers
Teach us how much is lost of all that once was ours!
Not by the sunshine, with its golden glow,
Nor the green earth, nor yet the laughing sky,
Nor the faint flower-scents, as they come and go
In the soft air, like music wandering by;
-Oh! not by these, th' unfailing, are we taught
How time and sorrow on our frames have wrought,
But by the sadden'd eye, the darken'd brow,
Of kindred aspects, and the long dim gaze,
Which tells us we are chang'd,-how chang'd from other days!
Before my father-in my place of birth,
I stood an alien. On the very floor
Which oft had trembled to my boyish mirth,
The love that rear'd me, knew my face no more!
There hung the antique armour, helm and crest,
Whose every stain woke childhood in my breast,
There droop'd the banner, with the marks it bore
Of Paynim spears; and I, the worn in frame
And heart, what there was I?-another and the same!
Then bounded in a boy, with clear dark eye-
-How should he know his father?-when we parted,
From the soft cloud which mantles infancy,
His soul, just wakening into wonder, darted
Its first looks round. Him follow'd one, the bride
Of my young days, the wife how lov'd and tried!
Her glance met mine-I could not speak-she started
With a bewilder'd gaze;-until there came
Tears to my burning eyes, and from my lips her name.
She knew me then!-I murmur'd 'Leonor!'
And her heart answer'd!-oh! the voice is known
First from all else, and swiftest to restore
Love's buried images with one low tone,
That strikes like lightning, when the cheek is faded,
And the brow heavily with thought o'ershaded,
And all the brightness from the aspect gone!
-Upon my breast she sunk, when doubt was fled,
Weeping as those may weep, that meet in woe and dread.
For there we might not rest. Alas! to leave
Those native towers, and know that they must fall
By slow decay, and none remain to grieve
When the weeds cluster'd on the lonely wall!
We were the last-my boy and I-the last
Of a long line which brightly thence had pass'd!
My father bless'd me as I left his hall-
-With his deep tones and sweet, tho' full of years,
He bless'd me there, and bath'd my child's young head with tears.
I had brought sorrow on his grey hairs down,
And cast the darkness of my branded name
(For so he deem'd it) on the clear renown,
My own ancestral heritage of fame.
And yet he bless'd me!-Father! if the dust
Lie on those lips benign, my spirit's trust
Is to behold thee yet, where grief and shame
Dim the bright day no more; and thou wilt know
That not thro' guilt thy son thus bow'd thine age with woe!
And thou, my Leonor! that unrepining,
If sad in soul, didst quit all else for me,
When stars-the stars that earliest rise-are shining,
How their soft glance unseals each thought of thee!
For on our flight they smil'd;-their dewy rays,
Thro' the last olives, lit thy tearful gaze
Back to the home we never more might see;
So pass'd we on, like earth's first exiles, turning
Fond looks where hung the sword above their Eden burning.
It was a woe to say-'Farewell, my Spain!
The sunny and the vintage land, farewell!'
-I could have died upon the battle plain
For thee, my country! but I might not dwell
In thy sweet vales, at peace.-The voice of song
Breathes, with the myrtle scent, thy hills along;
The citron's glow is caught from shade and dell;
But what are these?-upon thy flowery sod
I might not kneel, and pour my free thoughts out to God!
O'er the blue deep I fled, the chainless deep!
-Strange heart of man! that ev'n midst woe swells high,
When thro' the foam he sees his proud bark sweep,
Flinging out joyous gleams to wave and sky!
Yes! it swells high, whate'er he leaves behind;
His spirit rises with the rising wind;
For, wedded to the far futurity,
On, on, it bears him ever, and the main
Seems rushing, like his hope, some happier shore to gain.
Not thus is woman. Closely her still heart
Doth twine itself with ev'n each lifeless thing,
Which, long remember'd, seem'd to bear its part
In her calm joys. For ever would she cling,
A brooding dove, to that sole spot of earth
Where she hath loved, and given her children birth,
And heard their first sweet voices. There may Spring
Array no path, renew no flower, no leaf,
But hath its breath of home, its claim to farewell grief.
I look'd on Leonor, and if there seem'd
A cloud of more than pensiveness to rise,
In the faint smiles that o'er her features gleam'd,
And the soft darkness of her serious eyes,
Misty with tender gloom; I call'd it nought
But the fond exile's pang, a lingering thought
Of her own vale, with all its melodies
And living light of streams. Her soul would rest
Beneath your shades, I said, bowers of the gorgeous west!
Oh! could we live in visions! could we hold
Delusion faster, longer, to our breast,
When it shuts from us, with its mantle's fold,
That which we see not, and are therefore blest!
But they, our lov'd and loving, they to whom
We have spread out our souls in joy and gloom,
Their looks and accents, unto ours address'd,
Have been a language of familiar tone
Too long to breathe, at last, dark sayings and unknown.
I told my heart 'twas but the exile's woe
Which press'd on that sweet bosom;-I deceiv'd
My heart but half:-a whisper faint and low,
Haunting it ever, and at times believ'd,
Spoke of some deeper cause. How oft we seem
Like those that dream, and know the while they dream,
Midst the soft falls of airy voices griev'd,
And troubled, while bright phantoms round them play,
By a dim sense that all will float and fade away!
Yet, as if chasing joy, I woo'd the breeze,
To speed me onward with the wings of morn.
-Oh! far amidst the solitary seas,
Which were not made for man, what man hath borne,
Answering their moan with his!-what thou didst bear,
My lost and loveliest! while that secret care
Grew terror, and thy gentle spirit, worn
By its dull brooding weight, gave way at last,
Beholding me as one from hope for ever cast!
For unto thee, as thro' all change, reveal'd
Mine inward being lay. In other eyes
I had to bow me yet, and make a shield,
To fence my burning bosom, of disguise;
By the still hope sustain'd, ere long to win
Some sanctuary, whose green retreats within,
My thoughts unfetter'd to their source might rise,
Like songs and scents of morn.-But thou didst look
Thro' all my soul, and thine even unto fainting shook.
Fall'n, fall'n, I seem'd-yet, oh! not less belov'd,
Tho' from thy love was pluck'd the early pride,
And harshly, by a gloomy faith reproved,
And sear'd with shame!-tho' each young flower had died,
There was the root,-strong, living, not the less
That all it yielded now was bitterness;
Yet still such love as quits not misery's side,
Nor drops from guilt its ivy-like embrace,
Nor turns away from death's its pale heroic face.
Yes! thou hadst follow'd me thro' fear and flight;
Thou wouldst have follow'd had my pathway led
Even to the scaffold; had the flashing light
Of the rais'd axe made strong men shrink with dread,
Thou, midst the hush of thousands, wouldst have been
With thy clasp'd hands beside me kneeling seen,
And meekly bowing to the shame thy head-
-The shame!-oh! making beautiful to view
The might of human love-fair thing! so bravely true!
There was thine agony-to love so well
Where fear made love life's chastener.-Heretofore
Whate'er of earth's disquiet round thee fell,
Thy soul, o'erpassing its dim bounds, could soar
Away to sunshine, and thy clear eye speak
Most of the skies when grief most touch'd thy cheek.
Now, that far brightness faded! never more
Couldst thou lift heavenwards for its hope thy heart,
Since at Heaven's gate it seem'd that thou and I must part.
Alas! and life hath moments when a glance
(If thought to sudden watchfulness be stirr'd,)
A flush-a fading of the cheek perchance.
A word-less, less-the cadence of a word,
Lets in our gaze the mind's dim veil beneath,
Thence to bring haply knowledge fraught with death!
-Even thus, what never from thy lip was heard
Broke on my soul.-I knew that in thy sight
I stood-howe'er belov'd-a recreant from the light!
Thy sad sweet hymn, at eve, the seas along,-
-Oh! the deep soul it breath'd!-the love, the woe,
The fervor, pour'd in that full gush of song,
As it went floating through the fiery glow
Of the rich sunset!-bringing thoughts of Spain,
With all her vesper-voices, o'er the main,
Which seem'd responsive in its murmuring flow.
-' Ave sanctissima! '-how oft that lay
Hath melted from my heart the martyr-strength away!
'Tis night-fall on the sea;
Ora pro nobis!
Our souls rise to thee!
Watch us, while shadows lie
O'er the dim water spread;
Hear the heart's lonely sigh,
-Thine , too, hath bled!
Thou that hast look'd on death,
Aid us when death is near!
Whisper of Heaven to faith;
Sweet mother, hear!
Ora pro nobis!
The wave must rock our sleep,
Ora, mater, ora!
Thou star of the deep!
'Ora pro nobis, mater!' -What a spell
Was in those notes, with day's last glory dying
On the flush'd waters!-seem'd they not to swell
From the far dust, wherein my sires were lying
With crucifix and sword?-Oh! yet how clear
Comes their reproachful sweetness to mine ear!
'Ora!' -with all the purple waves replying,
All my youth's visions rising in the strain-
-And I had thought it much to bear the rack and chain!
Torture!-the sorrow of affection's eye,
Fixing its meekness on the spirit's core,
Deeper, and teaching more of agony,
May pierce than many swords!-and this I bore
With a mute pang. Since I had vainly striven
From its free springs to pour the truth of Heaven
Into thy trembling soul, my Leonor!
Silence rose up where hearts no hope could share:
-Alas! for those that love, and may not blend in prayer!
We could not pray together midst the deep,
Which, like a floor of sapphire, round us lay,
Through days of splendour, nights too bright for sleep,
Soft, solemn, holy!-We were on our way
Unto the mighty Cordillera-land,
With men whom tales of that world's golden strand
Had lur'd to leave their vines.-Oh! who shall say
What thoughts rose in us, when the tropic sky
Touch'd all its molten seas with sunset's alchemy?
Thoughts no more mingled!-Then came night-th' intense
Dark blue-the burning stars!-I saw thee shine
Once more, in thy serene magnificence,
O Southern Cross! as when thy radiant sign
First drew my gaze of youth.-No, not as then;
I had been stricken by the darts of men
Since those fresh days, and now thy light divine
Look'd on mine anguish, while within me strove
The still small voice against the might of suffering love.
But thou, the clear, the glorious! thou wert pouring
Brilliance and joy upon the crystal wave,
While she that met thy ray with eyes adoring,
Stood in the lengthening shadow of the grave!
-Alas! I watch'd her dark religious glance,
As it still sought thee through the Heaven's expanse,
Bright Cross!-and knew not that I watch'd what gave
But passing lustre-shrouded soon to be-
A soft light found no more-no more on earth or sea!
I knew not all-yet something of unrest
Sat on my heart. Wake, ocean-wind! I said;
Waft us to land, in leafy freshness drest,
Where through rich clouds of foliage o'er her head,
Sweet day may steal, and rills unseen go by,
Like singing voices, and the green earth lie
Starry with flowers, beneath her graceful tread!
-But the calm bound us midst the glassy main;
Ne'er was her step to bend earth's living flowers again.
Yes! as if Heaven upon the waves were sleeping,
Vexing my soul with quiet, there they lay,
All moveless through their blue transparence keeping,
The shadows of our sails, from day to day;
While she-oh! strongest is the strong heart's woe-
And yet I live! I feel the sunshine's glow-
And I am he that look'd, and saw decay
Steal o'er the fair of earth, th' ador'd too much!
-It is a fearful thing to love what death may touch.
A fearful thing that love and death may dwell
In the same world!-She faded on-and I-
Blind to the last, there needed death to tell
My trusting soul that she could fade to die!
Yet, ere she parted, I had mark'd a change,
-But it breath'd hope-'twas beautiful, though strange:
Something of gladness in the melody
Of her low voice, and in her words a flight
Of airy thought-alas! too perilously bright!
And a clear sparkle in her glance, yet wild,
And quick, and eager, like the flashing gaze
Of some all wondering and awakening child,
That first the glories of the earth surveys.
-How could it thus deceive me?-she had worn
Around her, like the dewy mists of morn,
A pensive tenderness through happiest days,
And a soft world of dreams had seem'd to lie
Still in her dark, and deep, and spiritual eye.
And I could hope in that strange fire!-she died,
She died, with all its lustre on her mien!
-The day was melting from the waters wide,
And through its long bright hours her thoughts had been,
It seem'd, with restless and unwonted yearning,
To Spain's blue skies and dark sierras turning
For her fond words were all of vintage-scene,
And flowering myrtle, and sweet citron's breath-
-Oh! with what vivid hues life comes back oft on death!
And from her lips the mountain-songs of old,
In wild faint snatches, fitfully had sprung;
Songs of the orange bower, the Moorish hold,
The 'Rio verde', on her soul that hung,
And thence flow'd forth.-But now the sun was low,
And watching by my side its last red glow,
That ever stills the heart, once more she sung
Her own soft 'Ora, mater!' -and the sound
Was even like love's farewell-so mournfully profound.
The boy had dropp'd to slumber at our feet;-
-'And I have lull'd him to his smiling rest
Once more!' she said:-I rais'd him-it was sweet,
Yet sad, to see the perfect calm which bless'd
His look that hour;-for now her voice grew weak;
And on the flowery crimson of his cheek,
With her white lips a long, long kiss she press'd,
Yet light, to wake him not.-Then sank her head
Against my bursting heart.-What did I clasp?-the dead!
I call'd-to call what answers not our cries-
By that we lov'd to stand unseen, unheard,
With the loud passion of our tears and sighs
To see but some cold glistering ringlet stirr'd,
And in the quench'd eye's fixedness to gaze,
All vainly searching for the parted rays;
This is what waits us!-Dead!-with that chill word
To link our bosom-names!-For this we pour
Our souls upon the dust-nor tremble to adore!
But the true parting came!-I look'd my last
On the sad beauty of that slumbering face;
How could I think the lovely spirit pass'd,
Which there had left so tenderly its trace?
Yet a dim awfulness was on the brow-
No! not like sleep to look upon art Thou,
Death, death!-She lay, a thing for earth's embrace,
To cover with spring-wreaths.-For earth's?-the wave
That gives the bier no flowers-makes moan above her grave!
On the mid-seas a knell!-for man was there,
Anguish and love-the mourner with his dead!
A long low-rolling knell-a voice of prayer-
Dark glassy waters, like a desert spread,-
And the pale-shining Southern Cross on high,
Its faint stars fading from a solemn sky,
Where mighty clouds before the dawn grew red;-
Were these things round me?-Such o'er memory sweep
Wildly when aught brings back that burial of the deep.
Then the broad lonely sunrise!-and the plash
Into the sounding waves!-around her head
They parted, with a glancing moment's flash,
Then shut-and all was still. And now thy bed
Is of their secrets, gentlest Leonor!
Once fairest of young brides!-and never more,
Lov'd as thou wert, may human tear be shed
Above thy rest!-No mark the proud seas keep,
To show where he that wept may pause again to weep.
So the depths took thee!-Oh! the sullen sense
Of desolation in that hour compress'd!
Dust going down, a speck, amidst th' immense
And gloomy waters, leaving on their breast
The trace a weed might leave there!-Dust!-the thing
Which to the heart was as a living spring
Of joy, with fearfulness of love possess'd,
Thus sinking!-Love, joy, fear, all crush'd to this-
And the wide Heaven so far-so fathomless th' abyss!
Where the line sounds not, where the wrecks lie low,
What shall wake thence the dead?-Blest, blest are they
That earth to earth entrust; for they may know
And tend the dwelling whence the slumberer's clay
Shall rise at last, and bid the young flowers bloom,
That waft a breath of hope around the tomb,
And kneel upon the dewy turf to pray!
But thou, what cave hath dimly chamber'd thee?
Vain dreams!-oh! art thou not where there is no more sea?
The wind rose free and singing:-when for ever,
O'er that sole spot of all the watery plain,
I could have bent my sight with fond endeavour
Down, where its treasure was, its glance to strain;
Then rose the reckless wind!-Before our prow
The white foam flash'd-ay, joyously-and thou
Wert left with all the solitary main
Around thee-and thy beauty in my heart,
And thy meek sorrowing love-oh! where could that depart?
I will not speak of woe; I may not tell-
Friend tells not such to friend-the thoughts which rent
My fainting spirit, when its wild farewell
Across the billows to thy grave was sent,
Thou, there most lonely!-He that sits above,
In his calm glory, will forgive the love
His creatures bear each other, ev'n if blent
With a vain worship; for its close is dim
Ever with grief, which leads the wrung soul back to Him!
And with a milder pang if now I bear
To think of thee in thy forsaken rest,
If from my heart be lifted the despair,
The sharp remorse with healing influence press'd,
If the soft eyes that visit me in sleep
Look not reproach, though still they seem to weep;
It is that He my sacrifice hath bless'd,
And fill'd my bosom, through its inmost cell,
With a deep chastening sense that all at last is well.
Yes! thou art now-Oh! wherefore doth the thought
Of the wave dashing o'er thy long bright hair,
The sea-weed into its dark tresses wrought,
The sand thy pillow-thou that wert so fair!
Come o'er me still?-Earth, earth!-it is the hold
Earth ever keeps on that of earthy mould!
But thou art breathing now in purer air,
I well believe, and freed from all of error,
Which blighted here the root of thy sweet life with terror.
And if the love which here was passing light
Went with what died not-Oh! that this we knew,
But this!-that through the silence of the night,
Some voice, of all the lost ones and the true,
Would speak, and say, if in their far repose,
We are yet aught of what we were to those
We call the dead!-their passionate adieu,
Was it but breath, to perish?-Holier trust
Be mine!-thy love is there, but purified from dust!
A thing all heavenly!-clear'd from that which hung
As a dim cloud between us, heart and mind!
Loos'd from the fear, the grief, whose tendrils flung
A chain, so darkly with its growth entwin'd.
This is my hope!-though when the sunset fades,
When forests rock the midnight on their shades,
When tones of wail are in the rising wind,
Across my spirit some faint doubt may sigh;
For the strong hours will sway this frail mortality!
We have been wanderers since those days of woe,
Thy boy and I!-As wild birds tend their young,
So have I tended him-my bounding roe!
The high Peruvian solitudes among;
And o'er the Andes-torrents borne his form,
Where our frail bridge hath quiver'd midst the storm.
-But there the war-notes of my country rung,
And, smitten deep of Heaven and man, I fled
To hide in shades unpierc'd a mark'd and weary head.
But he went on in gladness-that fair child!
Save when at times his bright eye seem'd to dream,
And his young lips, which then no longer smil'd,
Ask'd of his mother!-that was but a gleam
Of Memory, fleeting fast; and then his play
Through the wide Llanos cheer'd again our way,
And by the mighty Oronoco stream,
On whose lone margin we have heard at morn,
From the mysterious rocks, the sunrise-music borne.
So like a spirit's voice! a harping tone,
Lovely, yet ominous to mortal ear,
Such as might reach us from a world unknown,
Troubling man's heart with thrills of joy and fear!
'Twas sweet!-yet those deep southern shades oppress'd
My soul with stillness, like the calms that rest
On melancholy waves: I sigh'd to hear
Once more earth's breezy sounds, her foliage fann'd,
And turn'd to seek the wilds of the red hunter's land.
And we have won a bower of refuge now,
In this fresh waste, the breath of whose repose
Hath cool'd, like dew, the fever of my brow,
And whose green oaks and cedars round me close,
As temple-walls and pillars, that exclude
Earth's haunted dreams from their free solitude;
All, save the image and the thought of those
Before us gone; our lov'd of early years,
Gone where affection's cup hath lost the taste of tears.
I see a star-eve's first-born!-in whose train
Past scenes, words, looks, come back. The arrowy spire
Of the lone cypress, as of wood-girt fane,
Rests dark and still amidst a heaven of fire;
The pine gives forth its odours, and the lake
Gleams like one ruby, and the soft winds wake,
Till every string of nature's solemn lyre
Is touch'd to answer; its most secret tone
Drawn from each tree, for each hath whispers all its own.
And hark! another murmur on the air,
Not of the hidden rills, or quivering shades!
-That is the cataract's, which the breezes bear,
Filling the leafy twilight of the glades
With hollow surge-like sounds, as from the bed
Of the blue mournful seas, that keep the dead:
But they are far!-the low sun here pervades
Dim forest-arches, bathing with red gold
Their stems, till each is made a marvel to behold,
Gorgeous, yet full of gloom!-In such an hour,
The vesper-melody of dying bells
Wanders through Spain, from each grey convent's tower
O'er shining rivers pour'd, and olive-dells,
By every peasant heard, and muleteer,
And hamlet, round my home:-and I am here,
Living again through all my life's farewells,
In these vast woods, where farewell ne'er was spoken,
And sole I lift to Heaven a sad heart-yet unbroken!
In such an hour are told the hermit's beads;
With the white sail the seaman's hymn floats by:
Peace be with all! whate'er their varying creeds,
With all that send up holy thoughts on high!
Come to me, boy!-by Guadalquivir's vines,
By every stream of Spain, as day declines,
Man's prayers are mingled in the rosy sky.
-We, too, will pray; nor yet unheard, my child!
Of Him whose voice we hear at eve amidst the wild.
At eve?-oh! through all hours!-From dark dreams oft
Awakening, I look forth, and learn the might
Of solitude, while thou art breathing soft,
And low, my lov'd one! on the breast of night:
I look forth on the stars-the shadowy sleep
Of forests-and the lake, whose gloomy deep
Sends up red sparkles to the fire-flies' light.
A lonely world!-even fearful to man's thought,
But for His presence felt, whom here my soul hath sought.