Night-Scene In Genoa
In Genoa, when the sunset gave
Its last warm purple to the wave,
No sound of war, no voice of fear,
Was heard, announcing danger near:
Though deadliest foes were there, whose hate
But slumber'd till its hour of fate,
Yet calmly, at the twilight's close,
Sunk the wide city to repose.
But when deep midnight reign'd around,
All sudden woke the alarm-bell's sound,
Full swelling, while the hollow breeze
Bore its dread summons o'er the seas.
Then, Genoa, from their slumber started
Thy sons, the free, the fearless-hearted;
Then mingled with th' awakening peal
Voices, and steps, and clash of steel.
Arm, warriors, arm! for danger calls,
Arise to guard your native walls!
With breathless haste the gathering throng
Hurry the echoing streets along;
Through darkness rushing to the scene
Where their bold counsels still convene.
- But there a blaze of torches bright
Pours its red radiance on the night,
O'er fane, and dome, and column playing,
With every fitful night-wind swaying,
Now floating o'er each tall arcade,
Around the pillar'd scene display'd,
In light relieved by depth of shade:
And now, with ruddy meteor-glare,
Full streaming on the silvery hair
And the bright cross of him who stands,
Rearing that sign with suppliant hands;
Girt with his consecrated train,
The hallow'd servants of the fane.
Of life's past woes, the fading trace
Hath given that aged patriarch's face
Expression holy, deep, resign'd,
The calm sublimity of mind.
Years o'er his snowy head have pass'd,
And left him of his race the last;
Alone on earth - yet still his mien
Is bright with majesty serene;
And those high hopes, whose guiding-star
Shines from th' eternal worlds afar,
Have with that light illumed his eye,
Whose fount is immortality,
And o'er his features pour'd a ray
Of glory, not to pass away.
He seems a being who hath known
Communion with his God alone,
On earth by nought but pity's tie
Detain'd a moment from on high!
One to sublimer worlds allied,
One, from all passion purified,
E'en now half-mingled with the sky,
And all prepared - oh! not to die -
But, like the prophet, to aspire,
In heaven's triumphal car of fire.
He speaks - and from the throngs around
Is heard not e'en a whisper's sound;
Awe-struck each heart, and fix'd each glance,
They stand as in a spell-bound trance:
He speaks - oh! Who can hear, nor own
The might of each prevailing tone?
'Chieftains and warriors! ye, so long
Aroused to strife by mutual wrong,
Whose fierce and far-transmitted hate
Hath made your country desolate;
Now by the love ye bear her name,
By that pure spark of holy flame
On freedom's altar brightly burning,
But, once extinguish'd, ne'er returning;
By all your hopes of bliss to come
When burst the bondage of the tomb:
By Him, the God who bade us live
To aid each other, and forgive -
I call upon ye to resign
Your discords at your country's shrine,
Each ancient feud in peace atone,
Wield your keen swords for her alone,
And swear upon the cross, to cast
Oblivion's mantle o'er the past!'
No voice replies - the holy bands
Advance to where you chieftain stands,
With folded arms, and brow of gloom
O'er shadow'd by his floating plume.
To him they lift the cross - in vain,
He turns - oh! say not with disdain,
But with a mien of haughty grief,
That seeks not, e'en from heaven, relief:
He rends his robes - he sternly speaks -
Yet tears are on the warrior's cheeks.
'Father! not thus the wounds may close
Inflicted by eternal foes.
Deem'st thou thy mandate can efface
The dread volcano's burning trace?
Or bid the earthquake's ravaged scene
Be, smiling, as it once hath been?
No! for the deeds the sword hath done
Forgiveness is not lightly won;
The words, by hatred spoke, may not
Be, as a summer breeze, forgot!
'Tis vain - we deem the war-feud's rage
A portion of our heritage.
Leaders, now slumbering with their fame,
Bequeath's us that undying flame;
Hearts that have long been still and cold
Yet rule us from their silent mould;
And voices, heard on earth no more,
Speak to our spirits as of yore.
Talk not of mercy - blood alone
The stain of bloodshed may atone;
Nought else can pay that mighty debt,
The dead forbid us to forget.'
He pauses - from the partiarch's brow
There beams more lofty grandeur now;
His reverend form, his aged hand,
Assume a gesture of command,
His voice is awful, and his eye
Fill's with prophetic majesty.
'The dead! - and deem'st thou they retain
Aught of terrestrial passion's stain?
Of guilt incurr'd in days gone by,
Aught but the fearful penalty?
And say'st thou, mortal! blood alone
For deeds of slaughter may atone?
There hath been blood - by Him 'twas shed
To expiate every crime who bled;
Th' absolving God who died to save,
And rose in victory from the grave!
And by that stainless offering given
Alike for all on earth to heaven;
By that inevitable hour
When death shall vanquish pride and power,
And each departing passion's force
Concentrate all in late remorse;
And by the day when doom shall be
Pass'd on earth's millions, and on thee -
The doom that shall not be repeal'd,
Once utter'd, and for ever seal'd -
I summon thee, O child of clay!
To cast thy darker thoughts away,
And meet thy foes in peace and love,
As thou would'st join the blest above.'
Still as he speaks, unwonted feeling
Is o'er the chieftain's bosom stealing;
Oh! not in vain the pleading cries
Of anxious thousands round him rise;
He yields - devotion's mingled sense
Of faith, and fear, and penitence,
Pervading all his soul, he bows
To offer on the cross his vows,
And that best incense to the skies,
Each evil passion's sacrifice.
Then tears from warriors' eyes were flowing,
High hearts with soft emotions glowing;
Stern foes as long-loved brothers greeting,
And ardent throngs in transport meeting:
And eager footsteps forward pressing,
And accents loud in joyous blessing;
And when their first wild tumults cease,
A thousand voices echo 'Peace!'
Twilight's dim mist hath roll'd away,
And the rich Orient burns with day:
Then as to greet the sunbeam's birth,
Rises the choral hymn of earth;
Th' exulting strain through Genoa swelling,
Of peace and holy rapture telling.
Far float the sounds o'er vale and steep,
The seaman hears them on the deep,
So mellow'd by the gale, they seem
As the wild music of a dream:
But not on mortal ear alone
Peals the triumphant anthem's tone;
For beings of a purer sphere
Bend with celestial joy, to hear.
The Widow Of Crescentius : Part Ii.
Hast thou a scene that is not spread
With records of thy glory fled?
A monument that doth not tell
The tale of liberty's farewell?
Italia! thou art but a grave
Where flowers luxuriate o'er the brave,
And nature gives her treasures birth
O'er all that hath been great on earth.
Yet smile thy heavens as once they smiled,
When thou wert freedom's favoured child:
Though fane and tomb alike are low,
Time hath not dimmed thy sunbeam's glow;
Oh, yet, though by thy sorrows bent,
In nature's pomp magnificent;
What marvel if, when all was lost,
Still on thy bright, enchanted coast,
Though many an omen warned him thence,
Lingered the lord of eloquence?
Still gazing on the lovely sky,
Whose radiance wooed him - but to die:
would not linger there,
Where heaven, earth, ocean, all are fair?
Who 'midst thy glowing scenes could dwell,
Nor bid awhile his griefs farewell?
Hath not thy pure and genial air
Balm for all sadness but despair?
No! there are pangs, whose deep-worn trace
magic can efface!
Hearts by unkindness wrung may learn
The world and all its gifts to spurn:
Time may steal on with silent tread,
And dry the tear that mourns the dead,
May change fond love, subdue regret,
And teach e'en vengeance to forget:
But thou, Remorse! there is no charm,
sting, avenger, to disarm!
Vain are bright suns and laughing skies
To soothe thy victim's agonies:
The heart once made thy burning throne,
Still, while it beats, is thine alone.
In vain for Otho's joyless eye
Smile the fair scenes of Italy,
As through her landscapes' rich array
The imperial pilgrim bends his way.
Thy form, Crescentius, on his sight
Rises when nature laughs in light,
Glides round him at the midnight hour,
Is present in his festal bower,
With awful voice and frowning mien,
By all but him unheard, unseen.
Oh! thus to shadows of the grave
Be every tyrant still a slave!
Where through Gargano's woody dells,
O'er bending oaks the north wind swells,
A sainted hermit's lowly tomb
Is bosomed in umbrageous gloom,
In shades that saw him live and die
Beneath their waving canopy.
'Twas his, as legends tell, to share
The converse of immortals there;
Around that dweller of the wild
There 'bright appearances' have smiled.
And angel-wings, at eve, have been
Gleaming the shadowy boughs between.
And oft from that secluded bower
Hath breathed, at midnight's calmer hour
A swell of viewless harps, a sound
Of warbled anthems pealing round.
Oh, none but voices of the sky
Might wake that thrilling harmony,
Whose tones, whose very echoes made
An Eden of the lonely shade!
Years have gone by; the hermit sleeps
Amidst Gargano's woods and steeps:
Ivy and flowers have half o'ergrown,
And veiled his low sepulchral stone:
Celestial footsteps haunt the hill;
And oft the awe-struck mountaineer
Aerial vesper-hymns may hear
Around those forest-precincts float,
Soft, solemn, clear, but still remote.
Oft will Affliction breathe her plaint
To that rude shrine's departed saint,
And deem that spirits of the blest
There shed sweet influence o'er her breast.
And thither Otho now repairs,
To soothe his soul with vows and prayers;
And if for him, on holy ground,
The lost one, Peace, may yet be found,
'Midst rocks and forests, by the bed,
Where calmly sleep the sainted dead,
She dwells, remote from heedless eye,
With Nature's lonely majesty.
Vain, vain the search - his troubled breast
Nor vow nor penance lulls to rest;
The weary pilgrimage is o'er,
The hopes that cheered it are no more.
Then sinks his soul, and day by day
Youth's buoyant energies decay.
The light of health his eye hath flown,
The glow that tinged his cheek is gone.
Joyless as one on whom is laid
Some baleful spell that bids him fade,
Extending its mysterious power
O'er every scene, o'er every hour
withers; and to him
He withers - in that glorious clime
Where Nature laughs in scorn of Time;
And suns, that shed on all below
Their full and vivifying glow,
From him alone their power withhold,
And leaves his heart in darkness cold.
Earth blooms around him, heaven is fair,
only seems to perish there.
Yet sometimes will a transient smile
Play o'er his faded cheek awhile,
When breathes his minstrel boy a strain
Of power to lull all earthly pain;
So wildly sweet, its notes might seem
The ethereal music of a dream,
A spirit's voice from worlds unknown,
Deep thrilling power in every tone!
Sweet is that lay, and yet its flow
Hath language only given to woe;
And if at times its wakening swell
Some tale of glory seems to tell,
Soon the proud notes of triumph die,
Lost in a dirge's harmony.
Oh! many a pang the heart hath proved
Hath deeply suffered, fondly loved,
Ere the sad strain could catch from thence
Such deep impassioned eloquence! -
Yes! gaze on him, that minstrel boy -
He is no child of hope and joy!
Though few his years, yet have they been
Such as leave traces on the mien,
And o'er the roses of our prime
Breathe other blights than those of time.
Yet seems his spirit wild and proud,
By grief unsoftened and unbowed.
Oh! there are sorrows which impart
A sternness foreign to the heart,
And, rushing with an earthquake's power,
That makes a desert in an hour,
Rouse the dread passions in their course,
As tempests wake the billows' force!-
'Tis sad, on youthful Guido's face,
The stamp of woes like these to trace.
Oh! where can ruins awe mankind,
Dark as the ruins of the mind?
His mien is lofty, but his gaze
Too well a wandering soul betrays:
His full dark eye at times is bright
With strange and momentary light,
Whose quick uncertain flashes throw
O'er his pale cheek a hectic glow:
And oft his features and his air
A shade of troubled mystery wear,
A glance of hurried wildness, fraught
With some unfathomable thought.
Whate'er that thought, still, unexpressed,
Dwells the sad secret in his breast;
The pride his haughty brow reveals,
All other passion well conceals -
He breathes each wounded feeling's tone
In music's eloquence alone;
His soul's deep voice is only poured
Through his full song and swelling chord.
He seeks no friend, but shuns the train
Of courtiers with a proud disdain;
And, save when Otho bids his lay
Its half unearthly power essay
In hall or bower the heart to thrill,
His haunts are wild and lonely still.
Far distant from the heedless throng,
He roves old Tiber's banks along,
Where Empire's desolate remains
Lie scattered o'er the silent plains;
Or, lingering 'midst each ruined shrine
That strews the desert Palatine,
With mournful yet commanding mien,
Like the sad genius of the scene,
Entranced in awful thought appears
To commune with departed years.
Or, at the dead of night, when Rome
Seems of heroic shades the home;
When Tiber's murmuring voice recalls
The mighty to their ancient halls;
When hushed is every meaner sound,
And the deep moonlight-calm around
Leaves to the solemn scene alone
The majesty of ages flown, -
A pilgrim to each hero's tomb,
He wanders through the sacred gloom;
And, 'midst those dwellings of decay,
At times will breathe so sad a lay,
So wild a grandeur in each tone,
'Tis like a dirge for empires gone!
Awake thy pealing harp again,
But breathe a more exulting strain,
Young Guido! for awhile forgot
Be the dark secrets of thy lot,
And rouse the inspiring soul of song
To speed the banquet's hour along! -
The feast is spread, the music's call
Is echoing through the royal hall,
And banners wave and trophies shine
O'er stately guests in glittering line;
And Otho seeks awhile to chase
The thoughts he never can erase,
And bid the voice, whose murmurs deep
Rise like a spirit on his sleep -
The still small voice of conscience - die,
Lost in the din of revelry.
On his pale brow dejection lowers,
But that shall yield to festal hours;
A gloom is in his faded eye,
But that from music's power shall fly:
His wasted cheek is wan with care,
But mirth shall spread fresh crimson there.
Wake, Guido! wake thy numbers high,
Strike the bold chord exultingly!
And pour upon the enraptured ear
Such strains as warriors love to hear!
Let the rich mantling goblet flow,
And banish all resembling woe;
And, if a thought intrude, of power
To mar the bright convivial hour,
Still must its influence lurk unseen,
And cloud the heart - but not the mien!
Away, vain dream! - on Otho's brow,
Still darker lower the shadows now;
Changed are his features, now o'erspread
With the cold paleness of the dead;
Now crimsoned with a hectic dye,
The burning flush of agony!
His lip is quivering, and his breast
Heaves with convulsive pangs oppressed;
Now his dim eye seems fixed and glazed,
And now to heaven in anguish raised;
And as, with unavailing aid,
Around him throng his guests dismayed,
He sings - while scarce his struggling breast,
Hath power to falter - 'This is death!'
Then rushed that haughty child of song,
Dark Guido, through the awe-struck throng:
Filled with a strange delirious light,
His kindling eye shone wildly bright;
And on the sufferer's mien awhile
Gazing with stern vindictive smile,
A feverish glow of triumph dyed
His burning cheek, while thus he cried : -
'Yes! these are death-pangs - on thy brow
Is set the seal of vengeance now!
Oh! well was mixed the deadly draught,
And long and deeply hast thou quaffed;
And bitter as thy pangs may be,
They are but guerdons meet from me!
Yet, these are but a moment's throes,
Howe'er intense, they soon shall close.
Soon shalt thou yield thy fleeting breath -
life hath been a lingering death;
Since one dark hour of woe and crime,
A blood-spot on the page of time!
'Deemest thou my mind of reason void?
It is not frenzied, - but destroyed!
Ay! view the wreck with shuddering thought,
That work of ruin thou hast wrought!
The secret of thy doom to tell,
My name alone suffices well!
Stephania! - once a hero's bride!
Otho! thou knowest the rest -
Yes! trusting to a monarch's word,
The Roman fell, untried, unheard!
And thou, whose every pledge was vain,
trust in aught again?
'He died, and I was changed - my soul,
A lonely wanderer, spurned control.
From peace, and light, and glory hurled,
The outcast of a purer world,
I saw each brighter hope o'erthrown,
And lived for one dread task alone.
The task is closed, fulfilled the vow -
The hand of death is on thee now.
Betrayer! in thy turn betrayed,
The debt of blood shall soon be paid!
Thine hour is come - the time hath been
My heart had shrunk from such a scene;
feeling long is past - my fate
Hath made me stern as desolate.
'Ye that around me shuddering stand,
Ye chiefs and princes of the land!
Mourn ye a guilty monarch's doom?
Ye wept not o'er the patriot's tomb!
sleeps unhonoured - yet be mine
To share his low, neglected shrine.
His soul with freedom finds a home.
His grave is that of glory - Rome!
Are not the great of old with her,
That city of the sepulchre?
Lead me to death! and let me share
The slumbers of the mighty there!'
The day departs - that fearful day
Fades in calm loveliness away:
From purple heavens its lingering beam
Seems melting into Tiber's stream,
And softly tints each Roman hill
With glowing light, as clear and still
As if, unstained by crime or woe,
Its hours had passed in silent flow.
The day sets calmly - it hath been
Marked with a strange and awful scene.
One guilty bosom throbs no more,
And Otho's pangs and life are o'er.
And thou, ere yet another sun
His burning race hath brightly run,
Released from anguish by thy foes,
Daughter of Rome! shalt find repose.
Yes! on thy country's lovely sky
Fix yet once more thy parting eye!
A few short hours - and all shall be
The silent and the past for thee.
Oh! thus with tempests of a day
We struggle, and we pass away,
Like the wild billows as they sweep,
Leaving no vestige on the deep!
And o'er thy dark and lowly bed
The sons of future days shall tread,
The pangs, the conflicts, of thy lot
By them unknown, by thee forgot.
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 Abencerrage : Canto Iii.
Heroes of elder days! untaught to yield,
Who bled for Spain on many an ancient field;
Ye, that around the oaken cross of yore
Stood firm and fearless on Asturia's shore,
And with your spirit, ne'er to be subdued,
Hallowed the wild Cantabrian solitude;
Rejoice amidst your dwellings of repose,
In the last chastening of your Moslem foes!
Rejoice! - for Spain, arising in her strength,
Hath burst the remnant of their yoke at length,
And they, in turn, the cup of woe must drain,
And bathe their fetters with their tears in vain.
And thou, the warrior
born in happy hour,
Valencia's lord, whose name alone was power,
Theme of a thousand songs in days gone by,
Conqueror of kings! exult, O Cid! on high.
For still 'twas thine to guard thy country's weal,
In life, in death, the watcher for Castile!
Thou, in that hour when Mauritania's bands
Rushed from their palmy groves and burning lands,
E'en in the realm of spirits didst retain
A patriot's vigilance, remembering Spain!
Then, at deep midnight, rose the mighty sound,
By Leon heard, in shuddering awe profound,
As through her echoing streets, in dread array,
Beings, once mortal, held their viewless way:
Voices from worlds we know not - and the tread
Of marching hosts, the armies of the dead,
Thou and thy buried chieftains - from the grave
Then did thy summons rouse a king to save,
And join thy warriors with unearthly might
To aid the rescue in Tolosa's fight.
Those days are past - the crescent on thy shore,
O realm of evening! sets, to rise no more.
What banner of streams afar from Vela's tower?
The cross, bright ensign of Iberia's power!
What the glad shout of each exulting voice?
Castile and Aragon! rejoice, rejoice!
Yielding free entrance to victorious foes,
The Moorish city sees her gates unclose,
And Spain's proud host, with pennon, shield, and lance,
Through her long streets in knightly garb advance.
Oh! ne'er in lofty dreams hath Fancy's eye
Dwelt on a scene of statelier pageantry,
At joust or tourney, theme of poet's lore,
High masque, or solemn festival of yore.
The giled cupolas, that proudly rise
O'erarched by cloudless and cerulean skies;
Tall minarets, shining mosques, barbaric skies;
Fountains, and palaces, and cypress bowers:
And they, the splendid and triumphant throng,
With helmets glittering as they move along
With broidered scarf, and gem-bestudded mail,
And graceful plumage streaming on the gale;
Shields, gold-embossed, and pennons floating far,
And all the gorgeous blazonry of war,
All brightened by the rich transparent hues
That southern suns o'er heaven and earth diffuse;
Blend in one scene of glory, formed to throw
O'er memory's page a never-fading glow.
And there, too, foremost 'midst the conquering brave,
Your azure-plumes, O Aben-Zurrahs! wave.
There Hamet moves; the chief whose lofty port
Seems nor reproach to shun, nor praise to court;
Calm, stern, collected - yet within his breast
Is there no pang, no struggle, unconfessed?
If such there be, it still must dwell unseen,
Nor cloud a triumph with a sufferer's mien.
Hear'st thou the solemn yet exulting sound
Of the deep anthem floating far around?
The choral voices, to the skies that raise
The full majestic harmony of praise?
Lo! where, surrounded by their princely train,
They come, the sovereigns of rejoicing Spain,
Borne on their trophied car - lo! bursting thence
A blaze of chivalrous magnificence!
Onward their slow and stately course they bend
To where the Alhambra's ancient towers ascend,
Reared and adorned by Moorish kings of yore,
Whose lost descendants there shall dwell no more.
They reached those towers - irregularly vast
And rude they seem, in mould barbaric cast:
They enter - to their wondering sight is given
A genii palace - an Arabian heaven!
A scene by magic raised, so strange, so fair,
Its forms and colour seem alike of air.
Here, by sweet orange-bows, half shaded o'er,
The deep clear bath reveals its marble floor,
Its margin fringed with flowers, whose glowing hues
The calm transparence of its wave suffuse.
There, round the court, where Moorish arches bend,
Aerial columns, richly decked, ascend;
Unlike the models of each classic race,
Of Doric grandeur, or Corinthian grace,
But answering well each vision that portrays
Arabian splendour to the poet's gaze:
Wild, wondrous, brilliant, all - a mingling glow
Of rainbow-tints, above, around, below;
Bright streaming from the many-tinctured veins
Of precious marble, and the vivid stains
Of rich mosaics o'er the light arcade,
In gay festoons and fairy knots displayed.
On through the enchanted realm, that only seems
Meet for the radiant creatures of our dreams,
The royal conquerors pass - while still their sight
On some new wonder dwells with fresh delight.
Here the eye roves through slender colonnades,
O'er bowery terraces and myrtle shades;
Dark olive-woods beyond, and far on high
The vast sierra mingling with the sky.
There, scattering far around their diamond spray,
Clear streams from founts of alabaster play,
Through pillared halls, where exquisitely wrought,
Rich arabesques, with glittering foliage fraught,
Surmount each fretted arch, and lend the scene
A wild, romantic, Oriental mien:
While many a verse, from Eastern bards of old,
Borders the walls in characters of gold.
Here Moslem luxury, in her own domain,
Hath held for ages her voluptuous reign
'Midst gorgeous domes, where soon shall silence brood,
And all be lone - a splendid solitude.
Now wake their echoes to a thousand songs,
From mingling voices of exulting throngs;
Tambour, and flute, and atabal, are there,
And joyous clarions pealing on the air;
While every hall resounds, 'Granada won!
Granada! for Castile and Aragon!'
'Tis night - from dome and tower, in dazzling maze,
The festal lamps innumerably blaze;
Through long arcades their quivering lustre gleams
From every lattice their quivering lustre gleams
'Midst orange-gardens plays on fount and rill,
And gilds the waves of Darro and Xenil;
Red flame the torches on each minaret's height,
And shines each street an avenue of light;
And midnight feasts are held, and music's voice
Through the long night still summons to rejoice.
Yet there, while all would seem to heedless eye
One blaze of pomp, one burst of revelry,
Are hearts unsoothed by those delusive hours,
Galled by the chain, though decked awhile with flowers;
Stern passions working in the indignant breast,
Deep pangs untold, high feelings unexpressed,
Heroic spirits, unsubmitting yet -
Vengeance, and keen remorse, and vain regret.
From yon proud height, whose olive-shaded brow
Commands the wide, luxuriant plains below,
Who lingering gazes o'er the lovely scene,
Anguish and shame contending in his mien?
He, who, of heroes and of kings the son,
Hath lived to lose whate'er his fathers won;
Whose doubt and fears his people's fate have sealed,
Wavering alike in council and in field;
Weak, timid ruler of the wise and brave,
Still a fierce tyrant or a yielding slave.
Far from these vine-clad hills and azure skies,
To Afric's wilds the royal exile flies;
Yet pauses on his way, to weep in vain
O'er all he never must behold again.
Fair spreads the scene around - for him
Each glowing charm but deepens his despair.
The Vega's meads, the city's glittering spires,
The old majestic palace of his sires,
The gay pavillions, and retired alcoves,
Bosomed in citron and pomegranate groves;
Tower-crested rocks, and streams that wind in light,
All in one moment bursting on his sight,
Speak to his soul of glory's vanished years,
And wake the source of unavailing tears.
- Weepest thou, Abdallah? - Thou dost well to weep,
O feeble heart! o'er all thou couldst not keep!
Well do a woman's tears befit the eye
Of him who knew not, as a man, to die.
The gale sighs mournfully through Zayda's bower,
The hand is gone that nursed each infant flower.
No voice, no step, is in her father's halls,
Mute are the echoes of their marble walls;
No stranger enters at the chieftain's gate,
But all is hushed, and void, and desolate.
There, through each tower and solitary shade,
In vain doth Hamet seek the Zegri maid:
Her grove is silent, her pavilion lone,
Her lute forsaken, and her doom unknown;
And through the scene she loved, unheeded flows
The stream whose music lulled her to repose.
But oh! to him, whose self-accusing thought
that desolation wrought -
He, who his country and his faith betrayed,
And lent Castile revengeful, powerful aid -
A voice of sorrow swells in every gale,
Each wave, low rippling, tells a mournful tale;
And as the shrubs, untended, unconfined,
In wild exuberance rustle to the wind;
Each leaf hath language to his startled sense,
And seems to murmur, 'Thou hast driven her hence!'
- Where hath lost love been once recalled again?
In her pure breast, so long by anguish torn,
His name can rouse no feeling now - but scorn.
O bitter hour! when first the shuddering heart
Wakes to behold the void within - and start!
To feel its own abandonment, and brood
O'er the chill bosom's depth of solitude:
The stormy passions that in Hamet's breast
Have swayed so long, so fiercely, are at rest;
The avenger's task is closed : - he finds, too late,
It hath not changed his feelings, but his fate.
He was a lofty spirit, turned aside
From its bright path by woes, and wrongs, and pride,
And onward, in its new tumultuous course,
Borne with too rapid and intense a force
To pause one moment in the dread career,
And ask - if such could be its native sphere?
Now are those days of wild delirium o'er,
Their fears and hopes excite his soul no more;
The feverish energies of passion close,
And his heart sinks in desolate repose,
Turns sickening from the world, yet shrinks not less
From its own deep and utter loneliness.
There is a sound of voices on the air,
A flash of armour to the sunbeam's glare,
'Midst the wild Alpuxarras; - there, on high,
Where mountain-snows are mingling with the sky,
A few brave tribes, with spirit yet unbroke,
Have fled indignant from the Spaniard's yoke.
O ye dread scenes! where Nature dwells alone,
Severely glorious on her craggy throne;
Ye citadels of rock, gigantic forms,
Veiled by the mists, and girdled by the storms, -
Ravines, and glens, and deep resounding caves,
That hold communion with the torrent-waves;
And ye, the unstained and everlasting snows,
That dwell above in bright and still repose;
To you, in every clime, in every age,
Far from the tyrant's or the conqueror's rage,
Hath Freedom led her sons - untired to keep
Her fearless vigils on the barren steep.
She, like the mountain eagle, still delights
To gaze exulting from unconquered heights,
And build her eyrie in defiance proud,
To dare the wind, and mingle with the cloud.
Now her deep voice, the soul's awakener, swells,
Wild Alpuxarras, through your inmost dells.
There, the dark glens and lonely rocks among,
As at the clarion's call, her children throng.
She with enduring strength had nerved each frame,
And made each heart the temple of her flame,
Her own resisting spirit, which shall glow
Unquenchably, surviving all below.
There high-born maids, that moved upon the earth
More like bright creatures of aerial birth,
Nurslings of palaces, have fled to share
The fate of brothers and of sires; to bear,
All undismayed, privation and distress,
And smile the roses of the wilderness:
And mothers with their infants, there to dwell
In the deep forest or the cavern cell,
And rear their offspring 'midst the rock, to be,
If now no more the mighty, still the free.
And 'midst that band are veterans, o'er whose head
Sorrows and years their mingled snow have shed?
They saw thy glory, they have wept thy fall,
O royal city! and the wreck of all
They loved and hallowed most: - doth aught remain
For these to prove of happiness or pain?
Life's cup is drained - earth fades before their eye;
Their task is closing - they have but to die.
Ask ye, why fled they hither? - that their doom
Might be, to sink unfettered to the tomb.
And youth, in all its pride of strength, is there,
And buoyancy of spirit, formed to dare
And suffer all things - fallen on evil days,
Yet darting o'er the world an ardent gaze,
As on the arena where its powers may find
Full scope to strive for glory with mankind.
Such are the tenants of the mountain-hold,
The high in heart, unconquered, uncontrolled:
The day, the huntsmen of the wild - by night,
Unwearied guardians of the watch-fire's light,
They from their bleak majestic home have caught
A sterner tone of unsubmitting thought,
While all around them bids the soul arise
To blend with Nature's dread sublimities.
- But these are lofty dreams, and must not be
Were tyranny is near: - the bended knee,
The eye whose glance no inborn grandeur fires,
And the tamed heart, are tributes she requires;
Nor must the dwellers of the rock look down
On regal conquerors, and defy their frown.
What warrior-band is toiling to explore
The mountain-pass, with pine-wood shadowed o'er,
Startling with martial sounds each rude recess,
Where the deep echo slept in loneliness!
These are the sons of Spain! - Your foes are near,
O exiles of the wild sierra! hear!
Hear! wake! arise! and from your inmost caves
Pour like the torrent in its might of waves!
Who leads the invaders on? - his features bear
The deep-worn traces of a calm despair;
Yet his dark brow is haughty - and his eye
Speaks of a soul that asks not sympathy.
'Tis he! 'tis he again! the apostate chief;
He comes in all the sternness of his grief.
He comes, but changed in heart, no more to wield
Falchion for proud Castile in battle field.
Against his country's children - though he leads
Castilian bands again to hostile deeds;
His hope is but from ceaseless pangs to fly,
To rush upon the Moslem spears, and die.
So shall remorse and love the heart release,
Which dares not dream of joy, but sighs for peace.
The mountain-echoes are awake - a sound
Of strife is ringing through the rocks around.
Within the steep defile that winds between
Cliffs piled on cliffs, a dark, terrific scene,
Where Moorish exile and Castilian knight
Are wildly mingling in the serried fight.
Red flows the foaming streamlet of the glen,
Whose bright transparence ne'er was stained till then;
While swell the war-note and the clash of spears
To the bleak dwellings of the mountaineers,
Where thy sad daughters, lost Granada! wait,
In dread suspense, the tidings of their fate.
But he - whose spirit, panting for its rest,
Would fain each sword concentrate in his breast -
Who, where a spear is pointed, or a lance
Almed at another's breast, would still advance -
Courts death in vain; each weapon glances by,
As if for him 'twas bliss too great to die.
Yes, Aben-Zurrah! there are deeper woes
Reserved for thee ere Nature's last repose;
Thou knowest not yet what vengeance fate can wreak,
Nor all the heart can suffer ere it break.
Doubtful and long the strife, and bravely fell
The sons of battle in that narrow dell;
Youth in its light of beauty there hath past,
And age, the weary, found repose at last;
Till, few and faint, the Moslem tribes recoil,
Borne down by numbers, and o'erpowered by toil.
Dispersed, disheartened, through the pass they fly,
Pierce the deep wood, or mount the cliff on high;
While Hamet's band in wonder gaze, nor dare
Track o'er their dizzy path the footsteps of despair.
Yet he, to whom each danger hath become
A dark delight, and every wild a home,
Still urges onward - undismayed to tread
Where life's fond lovers would recoil with dread.
But fear is for the happy -
From the steep precipice, or torrent's brink;
They to whom earth is paradise - their doom
Lends to stern courage to approach the tomb:
Not such his lot, who, schooled by fate severe,
Were but too blest if aught remained to fear.
Up the rude crags, whose giant masses throw
Eternal shadows o'er the glen below;
And by the fall, whose many-tinctured spray
Half in a mist of radiance veils its way,
He holds his venturous track: - supported now
By some o'erhanging pine or ilex bough;
Now by some jutting stone, that seems to dwell
Half in mid-air, as balanced by a spell.
Now hath his footstep gained the summit's head,
A level span, with emerald verdure spread,
A fairy circle - there the heath-flowers rise,
And the rock-rose unnoticed blooms and dies;
And brightly plays the stream, ere yet its tide
In foam and thunder cleave the mountain-side;
But all is wild beyond - and Hamet's eye
Roves o'er a world of rude sublimity.
That dell beneath, where e'en at noon of day
Earth's chartered guest, the sunbeam, scarce can stray;
Around, untrodden woods; and far above,
Where mortal footstep ne'er may hope to rove,
Bare granite cliffs, whose fixed, inherent dyes
Rival the tints that float o'er summer skies;
And the pure glittering snow-realm, yet more high,
That seems a part of Heaven's eternity.
There is no track of man where Hamet stands
Pathless the scene as Lybia's desert sands;
Yet on the calm still air a sound is heard
Of distant voices, and the gathering-word
Of Islam's tribes, now faint and fainter grown,
Now but the lingering echo of a tone.
That sound, whose cadence dies upon his ear,
He follows, reckless if his bands are near.
On by the rushing stream his way he bends,
And through the mountain's forest zone ascends;
Piercing the still and solitary shades
Of ancient pine, and dark luxuriant glades,
Eternal twilight's reign: - those mazes past,
The glowing sunbeams meet his eyes at last,
And the lone wanderer now hath reached the source
Whence the wave gushes, foaming on its course.
But there he pauses -for the lonely scene
Towers in such dread magnificence of mien,
And, mingled oft with some wild eagle's cry,
From rock-built eyrie rushing to the sky,
So deep the solemn and majestic sound
Of forests, and of waters murmuring round -
That, rapt in wondering awe, his heart forgets
Its fleeting struggles and its vain regrets.
- What earthly feeling unabashed can dwell
In Nature's mighty presence? - 'midst the swell
Of everlasting hills, the roar of floods,
And frown of rocks, and pomp of waving woods?
These their own grandeur on the soul impress,
And bid each passion feel its nothingness.
'Midst the vast marble cliffs, a lofty cave
Rears its broad arch beside the rushing wave;
Shadowed by giant oaks, and rude and lone,
It seems the temple of some power unknown,
Where earthly being may not dare intrude
To pierce the secrets of the solitude.
Yet thence at intervals a voice of wail
Is rising, wild and solemn, on the gale.
Did thy heart thrill, O Hamet! at the tone?
Came it not o'er thee as a spirit's moan?
As some loved sound, that long from earth had fled,
The unforgotten accents of the dead?
E'en thus it rose - and springing from his trance
His eager footsteps to the sound advance.
He mounts the cliffs, he gains the cavern floor;
Its dark green moss with blood is sprinkled o'er;
He rushes on - and lo! where Zayda rends
Her locks, as o'er her slaughtered sire she bends
Lost in despair; - yet, as a step draws nigh,
Disturbing sorrow's lonely sanctity,
She lifts her head, and, all-subdued by grief,
Views with a wild sad smile the once-loved chief;
While rove her thoughts, unconscious of the past,
And every woe forgetting - but the last.
'Comest thou to weep with me? - for I am left
Alone on earth, of every tie bereft.
Low lies the warrior on his blood-stained bier;
His child may call, but he no more shall hear.
He sleeps - but never shall those eyes unclose;
'Twas not my voice that lulled him to repose;
Nor can it break his slumbers. - Dost thou mourn?
And is thy heart, like mine, with anguish torn?
Weep, and my soul a joy in grief shall know,
That o'er his grave my tears with Hamet's flow!'
But scarce her voice had breathed that well-known name
When, swiftly rushing o'er her spirit, came
Each dark remembrance - by affliction's power
Awhile effaced in that o'erwhelming hour,
To wake with tenfold strength: 'twas then her eye
Resumed its light, her mien its majesty,
And o'er her wasted cheek a burning glow
Spreads, while her lips' indignant accents flow.
'Away! I dream! Oh, how hath sorrow's might
Bowed down my soul, and quenched its native light -
That I should thus forget! and bid
With mine be mingled o'er a father's bier!
Did he not perish, haply by thy hand,
In the last combat with thy ruthless band?
The morn beheld that conflict of despair: -
'Twas then he fell - he fell! - and thou wert there!
Thou! who thy country's children hast pursued
To their last refuge 'midst these mountains rude.
Was it for this I loved thee? - Thou hast taught
My soul all grief, all bitterness of thought!
'Twill soon be past - I bow to Heaven's decree,
Which bade each pang be ministered by thee.'
'I had not deemed that aught remained below
For me to prove of yet untasted woe;
But thus to meet thee, Zayda! can impart
One more, one keener agony of heart.
Oh, hear me yet! - I would have died to save
My foe, but still thy father, from the grave
But, in the fierce confusion of the strife,
In my own stern despair and scorn of life,
Borne wildly on, I saw not, knew not aught,
Save that to perish there in vain I sought.
And let me share thy sorrows! - hadst thou known
All I have felt in silence and alone,
mightst then relent, and deem, at last,
A grief like mine might expiate all the past.
'But oh! for thee, the loved and precious flower,
So fondly reared in luxury's guarded bower,
From every danger, every storm secured,
suffered! what hast thou endured!
Daughter of palaces! and can it be
That this bleak desert is a home for thee!
dwelling! thou, who shouldst have known
Of life the sunbeam and the smile alone!
Oh, yet forgive! be all my guilt forgot,
Nor bid me leave thee to so rude a lot!'
'That lot is fixed; 'twere fruitless to repine:
Still must a gulf divide my fate from thine.
I may forgive - but not at will the heart
Can bid its dark remembrances depart.
No, Hamet, no! - too deeply are these traced,
Yet the hour comes when all shall be effaced!
Not long on earth, not long, shall Zayda keep
Her lonely vigils o'er the grave to weep:
E'en now, prophetic of my early doom,
Speaks to my soul a presage of the tomb;
And ne'er in vain did hopeless mourner feel
That deep foreboding o'er the bosom steal!
Soon shall I slumber calmly by the side
Of him for whom I lived, and would have died;
Till then, one thought shall soothe my orphan lot,
In pain and peril - I forsook him not.
'And now, farewell! - behold the summer-day
Is passing like the dreams of life, away.
Soon will the tribe of him who sleeps draw nigh,
With the last rites his bier to sanctify.
Oh, yet in time, away! - 'twere not
This hour they come - and dost thou scorn to fly?
Save me that one last pang - to see thee die!
E'en while she speaks is heard their echoing tread,
Onward they move, the kindred of the dead.
They reach the cave - they enter - slow their pace,
And calm, deep sadness marks each mourner's face,
And all is hushed, till he who seems to wait
In silent, stern devotedness, his fate,
Hath met their glance - then grief to fury turns;
Each mien is changed, each eye indignant burns,
And voices rise, and swords have left their sheath:
Blood must atone for blood, and death for death!
They close around him; lofty still his mien,
His cheek unaltered, and his brow serene.
Unheard, or heard in vain, is Zayda's cry;
Fruitless her prayer, unmarked her agony,
But as his foremost foes their weapons bend
Against the life he seeks not to defend,
Wildly she darts between - each feeling past,
Save strong affection, which prevails at last.
Oh, not in vain its daring! - for the blow
Aimed at his heart hath bade her life-blood flow;
And she hath sunk a martyr on the breast,
Where, in that hour, her head may calmly rest,
For he is saved! Behold the Zegri band,
Pale with dismay and grief, around her stand:
While, every thought of hate and vengeance o'er,
They weep for her who soon shall weep no more.
She, she alone is calm: - a fading smile,
Like sunset, passes o'er her cheek the while;
And in her eye, ere yet it closes, dwell
Those last faint rays, the parting soul's farewell.
'Now is the conflict past, and I have proved
How well, how deeply thou hast been beloved!
Yes! in an hour like this 'twere vain to hide
The heart so long and so severely tried:
Still to thy name that heart hath fondly thrilled,
But sterner duties called - and were fulfilled:
And I am blest! - To every holier tie
My life was faithful, - and for thee I die!
Nor shall the love so purified be vain;
Severed on earth, we yet shall meet again.
Farewell! - And ye, at Zayda's dying prayer,
Spare him, my kindred tribe! forgive and spare!
Oh! be his guilt forgotten in his woes,
While I, beside my sire, in peace repose.'
Now fades her cheek, her voice hath sunk, and death:
Sits in her eye, and struggles in her breath.
One pang - 'tis past - her task on earth is done,
And the pure spirit to its rest hath flown.
But he for whom she died - Oh! who may paint
The grief, to which all other woes were faint?
There is no power in language to impart
The deeper pangs, the ordeals of the heart,
By the dread Searcher of the soul surveyed;
These have no words - nor are by words portrayed.
A dirge is rising on the mountain-air,
Whose fitful swells its plaintive murmurs bear
Far o'er the Alpuxarras; - wild its tone,
And rocks and caverns echo, 'Thou art gone!'
Daughter of heroes! thou art gone
To share his tomb who gave thee birth;
Peace to the lovely spirit flown!
It was not formed for earth.
Thou wert a sunbeam in thy race,
Which brightly passed, and left no trace.
But calmly sleep! - for thou art free,
And hands unchained thy tomb shall raise.
Sleep! they are closed at length for thee,
Life's few and evil days!
Nor shalt thou watch, with tearful eye,
The lingering death of liberty.
Flower of the desert! thou thy bloom
Didst early to the storm resign:
We bear it still - and dark
Who cannot weep for thine!
For us, whose every hope is fled,
The time is past to mourn the dead.
The days have been when o'er thy bier
Far other strains than these had flowed;
Now, as a home from grief and fear,
We hail thy dark abode!
We, who but linger to bequeath
Our sons the choice of chains or death.
Thou art with those, the free, the brave,
The mighty of departed years;
And for the slumberers of the grave
Our fate hath left no tears.
Though loved and lost, to weep were vain
For thee, who ne'er shalt weep again.
Have we not seen, despoiled by foes,
The land our fathers won of yore?
And is there yet a pang for those
Who gaze on
Oh, that like them 'twere ours to rest!
Daughter of heroes! thou art blest!
A few short years, and in the lonely cave
Where sleeps the Zegri maid, is Hamet's grave.
Severed in life, united in the tomb -
Such, of the hearts that loved so well, the doom!
Their dirge, of woods and waves the eternal moan;
Their sepulchre, the pine-clad rocks alone.
And oft beside the midnight watch-fire's blaze,
Amidst those rocks, in long departed days
(When freedom fled, to hold, sequestered there,
The stern and lofty councils of despair),
Some exiled Moor, a warrior of the wild,
Who the lone hours with mournful strains beguiled,
Hath taught his mountain-home the tale of those
Who thus have suffered, and who thus repose.