To The New-Born
A BLESSING on thy head, thou child of many hopes and fears!
A rainbow-welcome thine hath been, of mingled smiles and tears.
Thy father greets thee unto life, with a full and chasten'd heart,
For a solemn gift from God thou com'st, all precious as thou art!
I see thee not asleep, fair boy, upon thy mother's breast,
Yet well I know how guarded there shall be thy rosy rest;
And how her soul with love, and prayer, and gladness, will o'erflow,
While bending o'er thy soft-seal'd eyes, thou dear one, well I know!
A blessing on thy gentle head! and bless'd thou art in truth,
For a home where God is felt, awaits thy childhood and thy youth:
Around thee pure and holy thoughts shall dwell as light and air,
And steal unto thine heart, and wake the germs now folded there.
Smile on thy mother! while she feels that unto her is given,
In that young day-spring glance the pledge of a soul to rear for heaven!
Smile! and sweet peace be o'er thy sleep, joy o'er thy wakening shed!
Blessings and blessings evermore, fair boy! upon thy head.
The Child's Last Sleep
Thou sleepest but when wilt thou wake, fair child?
When the fawn awakes in the forest wild?
When the lark's wing mounts with the breeze of morn?
When the first rich breath of the rose is born?
Lovely thou sleepest, yet something lies
Too deep and still on thy soft-seal'd eyes,
Mournful, tho' sweet, is thy rest to see
When will the hour of thy rising be?
Not when the fawn wakes, not when the lark
On the crimson cloud of the morn floats dark
Grief with vain passionate tears hath wet
The hair, shedding gleams from thy pale brow yet;
Love with sad kisses, unfelt, hath press'd
Thy meek dropt eyelids and quiet breast;
And the glad spring, calling out bird and bee,
Shall colour all blossoms, fair child! but thee.
Thou'rt gone from us, bright one! that thou shouldst die,
And life be left to the butterfly!
Thou'rt gone, as a dew-drop is swept from the bough
Oh! for the world where thy home is now!
How may we love but in doubt and fear,
How may we anchor our fond hearts here;
How should e'en joy but a trembler be,
Beautiful dust! when we look on thee?
A Monarch's Death-Bed
A monarch on his death-bed lay -
Did censors waft perfume,
And soft lamps pour their silvery ray,
Thro' his proud chamber's gloom?
He lay upon a greensward bed,
Beneath a dark'ning sky -
A lone tree waving o'er his head,
A swift stream rolling by.
Had he then fall'n as warriors fall,
Where spear strikes fire with spear?
Was there a banner for his pall,
A buckler for his bier?
Not so;â€“nor cloven shields nor helms
Had strewn the bloody sod,
Where he, the helpless lord of realms,
Yielded his soul to God.
Were there not friends with words of cheer,
And princely vassals nigh?
And priests, the crucifix to rear
Before the glazing eye?
A peasant girl that royal head
Upon her bosom laid,
And, shrinking not for woman's dread,
The face of death survey'd.
Alone she sat: -â€“ from hill and wood
Red sank the mournful sun;
Fast gush'd the fount of noble blood, -
Treason its worst had done!
With her long hair she vainly press'
The wounds, to staunch their tide -
Unknown, on that meek humble breast,
Imperial Albert died!
The Graves Of A Household
They grew in beauty, side by side,
They fill'd one home with glee;
Their graves are sever'd, far and wide,
By mount, and stream, and sea.
The same fond mother bent at night
O'er each fair sleeping brow;
She had each folded flower in sight,
Where are those dreamers now?
One, midst the forests of the west,
By a dark stream is laid,
The Indian knows his place of rest,
Far in the cedar shade.
The sea, the blue lone sea, hath one,
He lies where pearls lie deep;
He was the lov'd of all, yet none
O'er his low bed may weep.
One sleeps where southern vines are drest
Above the noble slain:
He wrapt his colours round his breast,
On a blood-red field of Spain.
And one o'er her the myrtle showers
Its leaves, by soft winds fann'd;
She faded midst Italian flowers,
The last of that bright band.
And parted thus they rest, who play'd
Beneath the same green tree;
Whose voices mingled as they pray'd
Around one parent knee!
They that with smiles lit up the hall,
And cheer'd with song the hearth,
Alas! for love, if thou wert all,
And nought beyond, oh earth!
To The Head-Ach
THOU tyrant of the ling'ring hour!
Ah, why with me delight to rest?
Hence far away, tormenting pow'r
With thee, sad visitant! I prove
The long, the melancholy day;
Ah! foe to peace! from me remove,
Thy dreaded sway.
Oft when I'd court ideal themes,
'Tis then thy leaden wings o'erspread
That seat of wild, fantastic dreams,
My weary head.
And when in Fancy's fiery car,
With her and with the muse I'd fly;
To realms beyond the morning-star,
The earth and sky;
Not long in these illusions blest,
Through fairy-palaces I roam;
Thy wand recals, unwelcome guest!
My visions home.
Ah, foe to peace! When thou art nigh,
Farewell the dew-balm of repose;
Then slumber's fled—the languid eye
Forgets to close.
I ne'er my midnight vigils keep,
To ponder by the taper's light;
Nor waste in downy arms of sleep,
The morning bright.
'Tis mine to rove the hill, the dale,
To wander through embow'ring trees;
The soul of freshness to inhale,
Then, tyrant of the ling'ring hour,
Ah! why with me delight to rest?
Hence far away, tormenting pow'r,
COME, gentle muse! now all is calm,
The dew descends, the air is balm;
Unruffled is the glassy deep,
While moon-beams o'er its bosom sleep;
The gale of summer mildly blows,
The wave in soothing murmur flows;
Unclouded Vesper shines on high,
And ev'ry flow'r has clos'd its tearful eye.
Oh! at this hour, this placid hour,
Soft music, wake thy magic pow'r!
Be mine to hear thy dulcet measure,
Thy warbling strains, that whisper, pleasure;
Thy heavenly airs, of cadence dying,
And harp to every zephyr sighing;
When roving by the shadowy beam,
That gilds the fairy-bow'r and woodland-stream!
But all is still! no mellow sound
Floats on the breeze of night around ;
Yet fancy, with some airy spell,
Can wake 'sweet Echo' from her cell;
Can charm her pensive votary's ear,
With plaintive numbers melting near;
And bid celestial spirits rise,
To pour their wild, enchanted melodies.
I love the rosy dawn of day,
When Zephyr wakes the laughing May;
I love the summer-evening's close,
That lulls the mind in calm repose;
But sweeter far the hour serene,
When softer colours paint the scene;
When Vesper sheds a dewy ray,
And o'er the sleeping wave the moon-beams play.
WHEN twilight's grey and pensive hour
Brings the low breeze, and shuts the flower,
And bids the solitary star
Shine in pale beauty from afar;
When gathering shades the landscape veil,
And peasants seek their village-dale,
And mists from river-wave arise,
And dew in every blossom lies;
When evening's primrose opes, to shed
Soft fragrance round her grassy bed;
When glow-worms in the wood-walk light
Their lamp, to cheer the traveller's sight;
At that calm hour, so still, so pale,
Awakes the lonely Nightingale;
And from a hermitage of shade
Fills with her voice the forest-glade.
And sweeter far that melting voice,
Than all which through the day rejoice;
And still shall bard and wanderer love
The twilight music of the grove.
Father in Heaven! oh! thus when day
With all its cares hath passed away,
And silent hours waft peace on earth,
And hush the louder strains of mirth;
Thus may sweet songs of praise and prayer
To Thee my spirit's offering bear;
Yon star, my signal, set on high,
For vesper-hymns of piety.
So may thy mercy and thy power
Protect me through the midnight hour;
And balmy sleep and visions blest
Smile on thy servant's bed of rest.
DEEP, fiery clouds o'ercast the sky,
Dead stillness reigns in air,
There is not e'en a breeze, on high
The gossamer to bear.
The woods are hushed, the waves at rest,
The lake is dark and still,
Reflecting, on its shadowy breast,
Each form of rock and hill.
The lime-leaf waves not in the grove,
Nor rose-tree in the bower;
The birds have ceased their songs of love,
Awed by the threatening hour.
'T is noon;–yet nature's calm profound
Seems as at midnight deep;
–But hark! what peal of awful sound
Breaks on creation's sleep?
The thunder bursts!–its rolling might
Seems the firm hills to shake;
And in terrific splendor bright,
The gathered lightnings break.
Yet fear not, shrink not thou, my child!
Though by the bolt's descent
Were the tall cliffs in ruins piled,
And the wide forests rent.
Doth not thy God behold thee still,
With all-surveying eye?
Doth not his power all nature fill,
Around, beneath, on high?
Know, hadst thou eagle-pinions free,
To track the realms of air,
Thou couldst not reach a spot where He
Would not be with thee there!
In the wide city's peopled towers,
On the vast ocean's plains,
'Midst the deep woodland's loneliest bowers,
Alike th' Almighty reigns!
Then fear not, though the angry sky
A thousand darts should cast;–
Why should we tremble, e'en to die,
And be with Him at last?
The Conqueror's Sleep
Sleep 'midst thy banners furl'd!
Yes! thou art there, upon thy buckler lying,
With the soft wind unfelt around thee sighing,
Thou chief of hosts, whose trumpet shakes the world!
Sleep while the babe sleeps on its mother's breast-
-Oh! strong is night-for thou too art at rest!
Stillness hath smooth'd thy brow,
And now might love keep timid vigils by thee,
Now might the foe with stealthy foot draw nigh thee,
Alike unconscious and defenceless thou!
Tread lightly, watchers!-now the field is won,
Break not the rest of nature's weary son!
Perchance some lovely dream
Back from the stormy fight thy soul is bearing,
To the green places of thy boyish daring,
And all the windings of thy native stream;
-Why, this were joy!-upon the tented plain,
Dream on, thou Conqueror!-be a child again!
But thou wilt wake at morn,
With thy strong passions to the conflict leaping,
And thy dark troubled thoughts, all earth o'ersweeping,
-So wilt thou rise, oh! thou of woman born!
And put thy terrors on, till none may dare
Look upon thee-the tired one, slumbering there!
Why, so the peasant sleeps
Beneath his vine!-and man must kneel before thee,
And for his birthright vainly still implore thee!
Shalt thou be stay'd because thy brother weeps?
-Wake! and forget that 'midst a dreaming world,
Thou hast lain thus, with all thy banners furl'd!
Forget that thou, ev'n thou,
Hast feebly shiver'd when the wind pass'd o'er thee,
And sunk to rest upon the earth which bore thee,
And felt the night-dew chill thy fever'd brow!
Wake with the trumpet, with the spear press on!
-Yet shall the dust take home its mortal son.
The Wild Huntsman
Thy rest was deep at the slumberer's hour
If thou didst not hear the blast
Of the savage horn, from the mountain-tower,
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd,
And the roar of the stormy chase went by,
Through the dark unquiet sky!
The stag sprung up from his mossy bed
When he caught the piercing sounds,
And the oak-boughs crash'd to his antler'd head
As he flew from the viewless hounds;
And the falcon soar'd from her craggy height,
Away through the rushing night!
The banner shook on its ancient hold,
And the pine in its desert-place,
As the cloud and tempest onward roll'd
With the din of the trampling race;
And the glens were fill'd with the laugh and shout,
And the bugle, ringing out!
From the chieftain's hand the wine-cup fell,
At the castle's festive board,
And a sudden pause came o'er the swell
Of the harp's triumphal chord;
And the Minnesinger's thrilling lay
In the hall died fast away.
The convent's chanted rite was stay'd,
And the hermit dropp'd his beads,
And a trembling ran through the forest-shade,
At the neigh of the phantom steeds,
And the church-bells peal'd to the rocking blast
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd.
The storm hath swept with the chase away,
There is stillness in the sky,
But the mother looks on her son to-day,
With a troubled heart and eye,
And the maiden's brow hath a shade of care
Midst the gleam of her golden hair!
The Rhine flows bright, but its waves ere long
Must hear a voice of war,
And a clash of spears our hills among,
And a trumpet from afar;
And the brave on a bloody turf must lie,
For the Huntsman hath gone by!
Address To Thought
OH thou! the musing, wakeful pow'r,
That lov'st the silent, midnight hour,
Thy lonely vigils then to keep,
And banish far the angel, sleep,
With all his lovely train;
Come, pensive thought! with thee I'll rove,
Through forest wild, sequestered grove,
Or twilight plain.
The lone recluse, in hermit-cell,
With thee, oh nymph! delights to dwell;
Forsakes the world, and all its charms,
Forsakes the syren pleasure's arms,
In peaceful shades to rest;
And oft with thee, entranc'd, may hear,
Celestial voices warbling near,
Of spirits blest!
When slow declines the rosy day
And ev'ning smiles with parting ray,
When twilight spreads her magic hues,
When moon-beams tremble on the dews,
Be mine to rove retir'd;
By fairy bower, or dimpled stream,
To muse with thee some heavenly theme,
Oh! maid inspir'd!
'Tis thine on eagle-wings to soar,
Unknown, unfathom'd realms explore;
Below the deeps, above the sky,
Beyond the starry orbs on high;
(Can aught restrain thy flight?)
To pierce the veil of future time,
And rise, in Fancy's car sublime,
To realms of light:
At midnight, to the guilty breast,
Thou com'st, a fear'd, appalling guest;
While lightnings flash and thunders roll,
Accusing conscience wakes the soul,
And bids each fear increase;
And, while benignant slumber flies,
With awful voice, in whisper cries,
Farewell to peace!
But oh, dread pow'r! how sweet thy reign,
To Virtue's mild and hallow'd train!
The storm around may wildly rave,
And winter swell the mountain wave,
Yet soft their calm repose!
Their minds unruffled and serene,
And guardian-seraphs watch unseen,
Their eyes to close!
Woman On The Field Of Battle
Where hath not a woman stood,
Strong in affection's might? a reed, upborne
By an o'er mastering current!
GENTLE and lovely form,
What didst thou here,
When the fierce battle-storm
Bore down the spear?
Banner and shiver'd crest
Beside thee strown,
Tell, that amidst the best,
Thy work was done!
Yet strangely, sadly fair,
O'er the wild scene,
Gleams, through its golden hair,
That brow serene.
Low lies the stately head,–
Earth-bound the free;
How gave those haughty dead
A place to thee?
Friends should have crown'd,
Many a flower and tear
Soft voices, clear and young,
Mingling their swell,
Should o'er thy dust have sung
Earth's last farewell.
Sisters, above the grave
Of thy repose,
Should have bid violets wave
With the white rose.
How must the trumpet's note,
Savage and shrill,
For requiem o'er thee float,
Thou fair and still!
And the swift charger sweep
In full career,
Trampling thy place of sleep–
Why camest thou here?
Why?–ask the true heart why
Woman hath been
Ever, where brave men die
Unto this harvest ground
Proud reapers came,–
Some, for that stirring sound,
A warrior's name;
Some, for the stormy play
And joy of strife;
And some, to fling away
A weary life;–
But thou, pale sleeper, thou,
With the slight frame,
And the rich locks, whose glow
Death cannot tame;
Only one thought, one power,
could have led,
So, through the tempest's hour,
To lift thy head!
Only the true, the strong,
The love, whose trust
Woman's deep soul too long
Pours on the dust!
The Farewell To The Dead
Come near!-ere yet the dust
Soil the bright paleness of the settled brow,
Look on your brother, and embrace him now,
In still and solemn trust!
Come near!-once more let kindred lips be press'd
On his cold cheek; then bear him to his rest!
Look yet on this young face!
What shall the beauty, from amongst us gone,
Leave of its image, ev'n where most it shone,
Gladdening its hearth and race?
Dim grows the semblance on man's heart impress'd-
-Come near, and bear the beautiful to rest!
Ye weep, and it is well!
For tears befit earth's partings!-Yesterday
Song was upon the lips of this pale clay,
And sunshine seem'd to dwell
Where'er he mov'd-the welcome and the bless'd!
-Now gaze! and bear the silent unto rest!
Look yet on him, whose eye
Meets yours no more, in sadness or in mirth!
Was he not fair amidst the sons of earth,
The beings born to die?
-But not where death has power may love be bless'd--
Come near! and bear ye the belov'd to rest!
How may the mother's heart
Dwell on her son, and dare to hope again?
The spring's rich promise hath been given in vain,
The lovely must depart!
Is he not gone, our brightest and our best?
Come near! and bear the early-call'd to rest!
Look on him! is he laid
To slumber from the harvest or the chase?
-Too still and sad the smile upon his face,
Yet that, ev'n that, must fade!
Death holds not long unchang'd his fairest guest,-
Come near! and bear the mortal to his rest!
His voice of mirth hath ceas'd
Amidst the vineyards! there is left no place
For him whose dust receives your vain embrace,
At the gay bridal feast!
Earth must take earth to moulder on her breast;
Come near! weep o'er him! bear him to his rest!
Yet mourn ye not as they
Whose spirit's light is quench'd!-for him the past
Is seal'd. He may not fall, he may not cast
His birthright's hope away!
All is not here of our belov'd and bless'd-
-Leave ye the sleeper with his God to rest!
Address To Fancy
OH, queen of dreams! 'tis now the hour,
Thy fav'rite hour of silence and of sleep;
Come, bring thy wand, whose magic pow'r,
Can wake the troubled spirits of the deep!
And while around, on ev'ry eye
The 'honey-dews of slumber' lie,
Oh! guide me to the wild retreat,
Where fays in nightly revel meet;
And gaily sport in mystic ring,
By lonely glen, or haunted spring!
Now ev'ry sound has died away,
The winds and waves are lull'd to rest;
The sighing breeze forgets to play,
And moon-beams tremble o'er the ocean's breast—
Come, Fancy! come, creative pow'r!
That lov'st the tranquil reign of night:
Perhaps in such a silent hour,
Thy visions charm'd the bard of Avon's sight;
Oh, poet blest! thy guiding hand
Led him thro' scenes of fairy-land;
To him, thy favor'd child, alone,
Thy bright, Elysian worlds were shown!
Come, Fancy, come; with lov'd control,
Bewitch thy votary's pensive soul!
Come, sportive charmer! lovely maid!
In rainbow-colored vest array'd;
Invoke thy visionary train,
The subjects of thy gentle reign.
If e'er ethereal spirits meet,
On earth; to pour their dirges sweet;
Now might they hover on the moon-beam pale,
And breathe celestial music on the gale.
And hark! from yonder distant dell,
I hear angelic numbers swell!
Ah! sure some airy sylph is nigh,
To wake such heav'nly melody!
Now soft the dulcet notes decay,
Float on the breeze and melt away;
Again they fall—again they rise,
Ah! now the soft enchantment dies!
The charm is o'er—the spell is past,
The witching spell, too sweet to last!
Hail, Fancy, hail! around thy hallow'd shrine,
What sylphid bands, what radiant forms appear!
Ah! bless thy votary with thy dreams divine,
Ah! wave thy wand, and call thy visions dear!
Bear me, oh! bear me, to thy realms unknown,
Enchantress! waft me in thy car sublime!
To bend, entranc'd, before thy shadowy throne,
To view the wonders of thy fairy-clime!
Evening Prayer At A Girl's School
HUSH! 'tis a holy hour-the quiet room
Seems like a temple, while yon soft lamp sheds
A faint and starry radiance, through the gloom
And the sweet stillness, down on fair young heads,
With all their clustering locks, untouch'd by care,
And bow'd, as flowers are bow'd with night, in prayer.
Gaze on-'tis lovely!-Childhood's lip and cheek,
Mantling beneath its earnest brow of thought-
Gaze-yet what seest thou in those fair, and meek,
And fragile things, as but for sunshine wrought?-
Thou seest what grief must nurture for the sky,
What death must fashion for eternity!
O! joyous creatures! that will sink to rest,
Lightly, when those pure orisons are done,
As birds, with slumber's honey-dew opprest,
'Midst the dim folded leaves, at set of sun-
Life up your hearts! though yet no sorrow lies
Dark in the summer-heaven of those clear eyes.
Though fresh within your breasts the untroubled springs
Of hope make melody where'er ye tread,
And o'er your sleep bright shadows, from the wings
Of spirits visiting but youth, be spread;
Yet in those flute-like voices, mingling low,
Is woman's tenderness-how soon her woe!
Her lot is on you-silent tears to weep,
And patient smiles to wear through suffering's hour,
And sumless riches, from affection's deep,
To pour on broken reeds-a wasted shower!
And to make idols, and to find them clay,
And to bewail that worship-therefore pray!
Her lot is on you-to be found untired,
Watching the stars out by the bed of pain,
With a pale cheek, and yet a brow inspired,
And a true heart of hope, though hope be vain;
Meekly to bear with wrong, to cheer decay,
And oh! to love through all things-therefore pray!
And take the thought of this calm vesper time,
With its low murmuring sounds and silvery light,
On through the dark days fading from their prime,
As a sweet dew to keep your souls from blight!
Earth will forsake-O! happy to have given
The unbroken heart's first fragrance unto Heaven.
The Queen Of Prussia's Tomb
In sweet pride upon that insult keen
She smiled; then drooping mute and broken-hearted,
To the cold comfort of the grave departed. ~ Milman.
It stands where northern willows weep,
A temple fair and lone;
Soft shadows o'er its marble sweep,
From cypress-branches thrown;
While silently around it spread,
Thou feel'st the presence of the dead.
And what within is richly shrined?
A sculptur'd woman's form,
Lovely in perfect rest reclined,
As one beyond the storm:
Yet not of death, but slumber, lies
The solemn sweetness on those eyes.
The folded hands, the calm pure face,
The mantle's quiet flow,
The gentle, yet majestic grace,
Throned on the matron brow;
These, in that scene of tender gloom,
With a still glory robe the tomb.
There stands an eagle, at the feet
Of the fair image wrought;
A kingly emblem–nor unmeet
To wake yet deeper thought:
She whose high heart finds rest below,
Was royal in her birth and wo.
There are pale garlands hung above,
Of dying scent and hue;–
She was a mother–in her love
How sorrowfully true!
Oh! hallow'd long be every leaf,
The record of her children's grief!
She saw their birthright's warrior-crown
Of olden glory spoil'd,
The standard of their sires borne down,
The shield's bright blazon soil'd:
She met the tempest meekly brave,
Then turn'd o'erwearied to the grave.
She slumber'd; but it came–it came,
Her land's redeeming hour,
With the glad shout, and signal flame
Sent on from tower to tower!
Fast thro' the realm a spirit moved–
'Twas hers, the lofty and the loved.
Then was her name a note that wrung
To rouse bold hearts from sleep;
Her memory, as a banner flung
Forth by the Baltic deep;
Her grief, a bitter vial pour'd
To sanctify th' avenger's sword.
And the crown'd eagle spread again
His pinion to the sun;
And the strong land shook off its chain–
So was the triumph won!
But wo for earth, where sorrow's tone
Still blends with victory's!–She was gone!
The Last Wish
Go to the forest-shade,
Seek thou the well-known glade,
Where, heavy with sweet dew, the violets lie,
Gleaming thro' moss-tufts deep,
Like dark eyes fill'd with sleep,
And bath'd in hues of summer's midnight sky.
Bring me their buds, to shed
Around my dying bed,
A breath of May, and of the wood's repose;
For I in sooth depart,
With a reluctant heart,
That fain would linger where the bright sun glows.
Fain would I stay with theeâ€“
Alas! this may not be;
Yet bring me still the gifts of happier hours!
Go where the fountain's breast
Catches in glassy rest
The dim green light that pours thro' laurel bowers.
I know how softly bright,
Steep'd in that tender light,
The water-lilies tremble there ev'n now;
Go to the pure stream's edge,
And from its whisp'ring sedge,
Bring me those flowers to cool my fever'd brow!
Then, as in Hope's young days,
Track thou the antique maze
Of the rich garden to its grassy mound;
There is a lone white rose,
Shedding, in sudden snows,
Its faint leaves o'er the emerald turf around.
Well know'st thou that fair treeâ€“
A murmur of the bee
Dwells ever in the honey'd lime above;
Bring me one pearly flower
Of all its clustering showerâ€“
For on that spot we first reveal'd our love.
Gather one woodbine bough,
Then, from the lattice low
Of the bower'd cottage which I bade thee mark,
When by the hamlet last,
Thro' dim wood-lanes we pass'd,
While dews were glancing to the glowworm's spark.
Haste! to my pillow bear
Those fragrant things and fair;
My hand no more may bind them up at eve,
Yet shall their odour soft
One bright dream round me waft
Of life, youth, summer,â€“all that I must leave!
And oh! if thou wouldst ask
Wherefore thy steps I task,
The grove, the stream, the hamlet-vale to trace;
'Tis that some thought of me,
When I am gone, may be
The spirit bound to each familiar place.
I bid mine image dwell,
(Oh! break not thou the spell!)
In the deep wood and by the fountain-side;
Thou must not, my belov'd!
Rove where we two have rov'd,
Forgetting her that in her spring-time died!
Lines To The Memory Of A Very Amiable Young Lady, Who Died At The Age Of Eighteen
AT length, departed saint! thy pangs are o'er,
And earthly suff'ring shall be thine no more;
Like some young rose-bud, blighted in its May,
Thy virtues bloom'd, to wither soon away!
Around thy grave let Spring her off'ring strew,
Her drooping lilies, bath'd in fragrant dew;
Emblems of thee, thou sweet, lamented maid;
Thou spotless lily, doom'd so soon to fade!
Angelic sweetness, piety refin'd,
Within thy gentle bosom were enshrin'd.
Thy heav'nly mind display'd, in early youth,
The fairest blossom of celestial truth—
How oft, sweet girl! thy soothing tears would flow,
In sacred sympathy with others' woe!
Yet Patience taught thee to sustain thy own,
Suppress the sigh, and hush the rising moan;
'Midst anguish, still to wear the placid mien,
Mild Resignation's smile and look serene!
Ye who have watch'd beside the mournful bed,
And rais'd, with anxious care, the languid head;
Gaz'd on the pallid cheek, the faded eye,
And heard the breathings of the parting sigh;
Ye who have mourn'd a sister's early doom,
Or bent in sorrow o'er a daughter's tomb;
Oh! weep for those, who sadly now deplore,
The fate, the virtues, of the maid no more.
What pow'r can sooth a tender parent's grief,
Or bring the friend's, the sister's woes relief?
Religion pure, ineffably divine,
Angel of peace, that heav'nly pow'r is thine,
Though spreading glooms the beam of joy may shroud,
Still, still thy rainbow brightens in the cloud;
Dispels the mist of error and of night,
Till fairer prospects open on the sight;
The blissful regions of eternal rest,
The calm, Elysian mansions of the blest.
—There too, each pang, each earthly suff'ring o'er,
Her gentle spirit soars, to weep no more!
'Mourn not for me,' the happy seraph cries,
'Exulting, lo! I gain my native skies!
A golden harp enraptur'd now I bear,
A wreath of bright, unfading palms I wear!
Mourn not for me, escap'd from ev'ry woe!
I gaze with pity, on the scenes below!
And bless the hour, when, freed from mortal clay,
My spirit mounted to the realms of day!
Oh! think, when past, a few eventful years,
Of toil and sorrow in the vale of tears;
Then shall we meet, releas'd from ev'ry pain,
Then shall we meet—nor ever part again!'
The Cavern Of The Three Tells
Oh! enter not yon shadowy cave,
Seek not the bright spars there,
Though the whispering pines that o'er it wave,
With freshness fill the air:
For there the Patriot Three,
In the garb of old array'd,
By their native Forest-sea
On a rocky couch are laid.
The Patriot Three that met of yore
Beneath the midnight sky,
And leagued their hearts on the Grütli shore,
In the name of liberty!
Now silently they sleep
Amidst the hills they freed;
But their rest is only deep,
Till their country's hour of need.
They start not at the hunter's call,
Nor the Lammer-geyer's cry,
Nor the rush of a sudden torrent's fall,
Nor the Lauwine thundering by!
And the Alpine herdsman's lay,
To a Switzer's heart so dear
On the wild wind floats away,
No more for them to hear.
But when the battle-horn is blown
Till the Schreckhorn's peaks reply,
When the Jungfrau's cliffs send back the tone
Through their eagles' lonely sky;
When spear-heads light the lakes,
When trumpets loose the snows,
When the rushing war-steed shakes
The glacier's mute repose;
When Uri's beechen woods wave red
In the burning hamlet's light ;-
Then from the cavern of the dead,
Shall the sleepers wake in might!
With a leap, like Tell's proud leap,
When away the helm he flung,
And boldly up the steep
From the flashing billow sprung!
They shall wake beside their Forest-sea,
In the ancient garb they wore
When they link'd the hands that made us free,
On the Grütli's moonlight shore:
And their voices shall be heard,
And be answer'd with a shout,
Till the echoing Alps are stirr'd,
And the signal-fires blaze out.
And the land shall see such deeds again
As those of that proud day,
When Winkelried, on Sempach's plain,
Through the serried spears made way;
And when the rocks came down
On the dark Morgarten dell,
And the crowned casques* , o'erthrown,
Before our fathers fell!
For the Kühreihen's+ notes must never sound
In a land that wears the chain,
And the vines on freedom's holy ground
Untrampled must remain!
And the yellow harvests wave
For no stranger's hand to reap,
While within their silent cave
The men of Grütli sleep!
The Spanish Chapel
I made a mountain-brook my guide
Thro' a wild Spanish glen,
And wandered, on its grassy side,
Far from the homes of men.
It lured me with a singing tone,
And many a sunny glance,
To a green spot of beauty lone,
A haunt for old romance.
A dim and deeply-bosom'd grove
Of many an aged tree,
Such as the shadowy violets love,
The fawn and forest-bee.
The darkness of the chestnut bough
There on the waters lay,
The bright stream reverently below,
Check'd its exulting play;
And bore a music all subdued,
And led a silvery sheen,
On thro' the breathing solitude
Of that rich leafy scene.
For something viewlessly around
Of solemn influence dwelt,
In the soft gloom and whispery sound,
Not to be told, but felt;
While sending forth a quiet gleam
Across the wood's repose,
And o'er the twilight of the stream,
A lowly chapel rose.
A pathway to that still retreat
Thro' many a myrtle wound,
And there a sightâ€“how strangely sweet!
My steps in wonder bound.
For on a brilliant bed of flowers,
Even at the threshold made,
As if to sleep thro' sultry hours,
A young fair child was laid.
To sleep?â€“oh! ne'er on childhood's eye,
And silken lashes press'd,
Did the warm living slumber lie,
With such a weight of rest!
Yet still a tender crimson glow
Its cheek's pure marble dyedâ€“
'Twas but the light's faint streaming flow
Thro' roses heap'd beside.
I stoop'dâ€“the smooth round arm was chill,
The soft lip's breath was fled,
And the bright ringlets hung so stillâ€“
The lovely child was dead!
'Alas!' I cried, 'fair faded thing!
Thou hast wrung bitter tears,
And thou hast left a wo, to cling
Round yearning hearts for years!'
But then a voice came sweet and lowâ€“
I turn'd, and near me sate
A woman with a mourner's brow,
Pale, yet not desolate.
And in her still, clear, matron face,
All solemnly serene,
A shadow'd image I could trace
Of that young slumberer's mien.
'Stranger! thou pitiest me,' she said,
With lips that faintly smil'd,
'As here I watch beside my dead,
My fair and precious child.
'But know, the time-worn heart may be
By pangs in this world riven,
Keener than theirs who yield, like me,
An angel thus to Heaven!'
Korner And His Sister
Green wave the oak for ever o'er thy rest,
Thou that beneath its crowning foliage sleepest,
And, in the stillness of thy country's breast,
Thy place of memory, as an altar keepest;
Brightly thy spirit o'er her hills was pour'd,
Thou of the Lyre and Sword!
Rest, bard! rest, soldier! by the father's hand
Here shall the child of after years be led,
With his wreath-offering silently to stand,
In the hush'd presence of the glorious dead.
Soldier and bard! for thou thy path hast trod
With freedom and with God.
The oak wav'd proudly o'er thy burial-rite,
On thy crown'd bier to slumber warriors bore thee,
And with true hearts thy brethren of the fight
Wept as they vail'd their drooping banners o'er thee.
And the deep guns with rolling peal gave token,
That Lyre and Sword were broken.
Thou hast a hero's tomb: a lowlier bed
Is hers, the gentle girl beside thee lying,
The gentle girl, that bow'd her fair, young head
When thou wert gone, in silent sorrow dying.
Brother, true friend! the tender and the brave
She pined to share thy grave.
Fame was thy gift from others; but for her,
To whom the wide world held that only spot,
She loved thee! lovely in your lives ye were,
And in your early deaths divided not.
Thou hast thine oak, thy trophy:–What hath she?
Her own blest place by thee!
It was thy spirit, brother! which had made
The bright earth glorious to her thoughtful eye,
Since first in childhood midst the vines ye play'd,
And sent glad singing thro' the free blue sky.
Ye were but two and when that spirit pass'd,
Wo to the one, the last!
Wo, yet not long! She linger'd but to trace
Thine image from the image in her breast,
Once, once again to see that buried face
But smile upon her, ere she went to rest.
Too sad a smile! its living light was o'er,
It answer'd hers no more.
The earth grew silent when thy voice departed,
The home too lonely whence thy step had fled;
What then was left for her, the faithful-hearted?
Death, death, to still the yearning for the dead!
Softly she perish'd: be the Flower deplor'd
Here with the Lyre and Sword!
Have ye not met ere now? so let those trust
That meet for moments but to part for years,
That weep, watch, pray, to hold back dust from dust,
That love, where love is but a fount of tears.
Brother, sweet sister! peace around ye dwell:
Lyre, Sword, and Flower, farewell!
The Sea-king woke from the troubled sleep
Of a vision-haunted night,
And he look'd from his bark o'er the gloomy deep,
And counted the streaks of light;
For the red sun's earliest ray
Was to rouse his bands that day,
To the stormy joy of fight!
But the dreams of rest were still on earth,
And the silent stars on high,
And there wav'd not the smoke of one cabin-hearth
'Midst the quiet of the sky;
And along the twilight bay
In their sleep the hamlets lay,
For they knew not the Norse were nigh!
The Sea-king look'd o'er the brooding wave:
He turn'd to the dusky shore,
And there seem'd, through the arch of a tide-worn cave,
A gleam, as of snow, to pour;
And forth, in watery light,
Mov'd phantoms, dimly white,
Which the garb of woman bore.
Slowly they mov'd to the billow side;
And the forms, as they grew more clear,
Seem'd each on a tall pale steed to ride,
And a shadowy crest to rear,
And to beckon with faint hand
From the dark and rocky strand,
And to point a gleaming spear.
Then a stillness on his spirit fell,
Before th' unearthly train,
For he knew Valhalla's daughters well,
The choosers of the slain!
And a sudden rising breeze
Bore across the moaning seas
To his ear their thrilling strain:
'There are songs in Odin's Hall,
For the brave, ere night to fall!
Doth the great sun hide his ray?-
He must bring a wrathful day!
Sleeps the falchion in its sheath?-
Swords must do the work of death!
Regner!-sea-king!-thee we call!
There is joy in Odin's Hall.
'At the feast and in the song,
Thou shalt be remember'd long!
By the green isles of the flood
Thou hast left thy track in blood!
On the earth and on the sea,
There are those will speak of thee!
'Tis enough-the war-gods call-
There is mead in Odin's Hall!
'Regner! tell thy fair-hair'd bride
She must slumber at thy side!
Tell the brother of thy breast
Ev'n for him thy grave hath rest!
Tell the raven-steed which bore thee,
When the wild wolf fled before thee,
He too with his lord must fall-
There is room in Odin's Hall!
'Lo! the mighty sun looks forth-
Arm! thou leader of the north!
Lo! the mists of twilight fly-
We must vanish, thou must die!
By the sword and by the spear,
By the hand that knows not fear,
Sea-king! nobly shalt thou fall!-
There is joy in Odin's Hall!'
There was arming heard on land and wave,
When afar the sunlight spread,
And the phantom forms of the tide-worn cave
With the mists of morning fled.
But at eve, the kingly hand
Of the battle-axe and brand,
Lay cold on a pile of dead!
Indian Woman's Death-Song
Non, je ne puis vivre avec un coeur brisé® Il faut que je retrouve la joie, et que je m'unisse aux esprits libres de l'air.
Bride of Messina
Madame De Stael
Let not my child be a girl, for very sad is the life of a woman.
DOWN a broad river of the western wilds,
Piercing thick forest glooms, a light canoe
Swept with the current: fearful was the speed
Of the frail bark, as by a tempest's wing
Borne leaf-like on to where the mist of spray
Rose with the cataract's thunder. Yet within,
Proudly, and dauntlessly, and all alone,
Save that a babe lay sleeping at her breast,
A woman stood. Upon her Indian brow
Sat a strange gladness, and her dark hair wav'd
As if triumphantly. She press'd her child,
In its bright slumber, to her beating heart,
And lifted her sweet voice that rose awhile
Above the sound of waters, high and clear,
Wafting a wild proud strain, her Song of Death.
Roll swiftly to the Spirit's land, thou mighty stream and free!
Father of ancient waters, 5 roll! and bear our lives with thee!
The weary bird that storms have toss'd would seek the sunshine's calm,
And the deer that hath the arrow's hurt flies to the woods of balm.
Roll on! my warrior's eye hath look'd upon another's face,
And mine hath faded from his soul, as fades a moonbeam's trace;
My shadow comes not o'er his path, my whisper to his dream,
He flings away the broken reed roll swifter yet, thou stream!
The voice that spoke of other days is hush'd within his breast,
But mine its lonely music haunts, and will not let me rest;
It sings a low and mournful song of gladness that is gone,
I cannot live without that light. Father of waves! roll on!
Will he not miss the bounding step that met him from the chase?
The heart of love that made his home an ever sunny place?
The hand that spread the hunter's board, and deck'd his couch of yore?
He will not! roll, dark foaming stream, on to the better shore!
Some blessed fount amidst the woods of that bright land must flow,
Whose waters from my soul may lave the memory of this wo;
Some gentle wind must whisper there, whose breath may waft away
The burden of the heavy night, the sadness of the day.
And thou, my babe! tho' born, like me, for woman's weary lot,
Smile! to that wasting of the heart, my own! I leave thee not;
Too bright a thing art thou to pine in aching love away,
Thy mother bears thee far, young Fawn! from sorrow and decay.
She bears thee to the glorious bowers where none are heard to weep,
And where th' unkind one hath no power again to trouble sleep;
And where the soul shall find its youth, as wakening from a dream,
One moment, and that realm is ours. On, on, dark rolling stream!
Ulla, Or The Adjuration
'Thou'rt gone!–thou'rt slumb'ring low,
With the sounding seas above thee;
It is but a restless wo,
But a haunting dream to love thee!
Thrice the glad swan has sung,
To greet the spring-time hours,
Since thine oar at parting flung
The white spray up in showers.
There's a shadow of the grave on thy hearth and round thy home;
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–thou'rt surely of them–come!'
'Twas Ulla's voice–alone she stood
In the Iceland summer night,
Far gazing o'er a glassy flood,
From a dark rock's beetling height.
'I know thou hast thy bed
Where the sea-weed's coil hath bound thee;
The storm sweeps o'er thy head,
But the depths are hush'd around thee.
What wind shall point the way
To the chambers where thou'rt lying?
Come to me thence, and say
If thou thought'st on me in dying?
I will not shrink to see thee with a bloodless lip and cheek–
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–thou'rt surely of them–speak!'
She listen'd–'twas the wind's low moan,
'Twas the ripple of the wave,
'Twas the wakening osprey's cry alone,
As it started from its cave.
'I know each fearful spell
Of the ancient Runic lay,
Whose mutter'd words compel
The tempest to obey.
But I adjure not thee
By magic sign or song,
My voice shall stir the sea
By love,–the deep, the strong!
By the might of woman's tears, by the passion of her sighs,
Come to me from the ocean's dead!–by the vows we pledg'd–arise!'
Again she gazed with an eager glance,
Wandering and wildly bright;–
She saw but the sparkling waters dance
To the arrowy northern light.
'By the slow and struggling death
Of hope that loath'd to part,
By the fierce and withering breath
Of despair on youth's high heart;
By the weight of gloom which clings
To the mantle of the night,
By the heavy dawn which brings
Nought lovely to the sight,
By all that from my weary soul thou hast wrung of grief and fear,
Come to me from the ocean's dead–awake, arise, appear!'
Was it her yearning spirit's dream,
Or did a pale form rise,
And o'er the hush'd wave glide and gleam,
With bright, still, mournful eyes?
'Have the depths heard?–they have!
My voice prevails–thou'rt there,
Dim from thy watery grave,
Oh! thou that wert so fair!
Yet take me to thy rest!
There dwells no fear with love;
Let me slumber on thy breast,
While the billow rolls above!
Where the long-lost things lie hid, where the bright ones have their home,
We will sleep among the ocean's dead–stay for me, stay!–I come!'
There was a sullen plunge below,
A flashing on the main,
And the wave shut o'er that wild heart's wo,
Shut,–and grew still again.
A Voyager's Dream Of Land
His very heart athirst
To gaze at nature in her green array,
Upon the ship's tall side he stands, possess'd
With visions prompted by intense desire;
Fair fields appear below, such as he left
Far distant, such as he would die to find:
He seeks them headlong, and is seen no more. ~ Cowper
The hollow dash of waves!–the ceaseless roar!
Silence, ye billows! vex my soul no more.
There's a spring in the woods by my sunny home,
Afar from the dark sea's tossing foam;
Oh! the fall of that fountain is sweet to hear,
As a song from the shore to the sailor's ear!
And the sparkle which up to the sun it throws,
Thro' the feathery fern and the olive boughs,
And the gleam on its path as it steals away
Into deeper shades from the sultry day,
And the large water-lilies that o'er its bed
Their pearly leaves to the soft light spread,
They haunt me! I dream of that bright spring's flow,
I thirst for its rills, like a wounded roe!
Be still, thou sea-bird, with thy clanging cry!
My spirit sickens, as thy wing sweeps by.
Know ye my home, with the lulling sound
Of leaves from the lime and the chestnut round?
Know ye it, brethren! where bower'd it lies,
Under the purple of southern skies?
With the streamy gold of the sun that shines
In thro' the cloud of its clustering vines,
And the summer-breath of the myrtle-flowers,
Borne from the mountain in dewy hours,
And the fire-fly's glance thro' the dark'ning shades,
Like shooting stars in the forest-glades,
And the scent of the citron at eve's dim fall
Speak! have ye known, have ye felt them all?
The heavy rolling surge! the rocking mast!
Hush! give my dream's deep music way, thou blast!
Oh! the glad sounds of the joyous earth!
The notes of the singing cicala's mirth,
The murmurs that live in the mountain pines,
The sighing of reeds as the day declines,
The wings flitting home thro' the crimson glow
That steeps the wood when the sun is low,
The voice of the night-bird that sends a thrill
To the heart of the leaves when the winds are still
I hear them! round me they rise, they swell,
They call back my spirit with Hope to dwell,
They come with a breath from the fresh spring-time,
And waken my youth in its hour of prime.
The white foam dashes high away, away!
Shroud my green land no more, thou blinding spray!
It is there! down the mountains I see the sweep
Of the chestnut forests, the rich and deep,
With the burden and glory of flowers that they bear,
Floating upborne on the blue summer-air,
And the light pouring thro' them in tender gleams,
And the flashing forth of a thousand streams!
Hold me not, brethren! I go, I go,
To the hills of my youth, where the myrtles blow,
To the depths of the woods, where the shadows rest,
Massy and still, on the greensward's breast,
To the rocks that resound with the water's play
I hear the sweet laugh of my fount give way!
Give way! the booming surge, the tempest's roar,
The sea-bird's wail, shall vex my soul no more.
The Isle Of Founts
Son of the stranger! wouldst thou take
O'er yon blue hills thy lonely way,
To reach the still and shining lake
Along whose banks the west-winds play?
-Let no vain dreams thy heart beguile,
Oh! seek thou not the Fountain-Isle!
Lull but the mighty serpent king,
'Midst the grey rocks, his old domain;
Ward but the cougar's deadly spring,
-Thy step that lake's green shore may gain;
And the bright Isle, when all is pass'd,
Shall vainly meet thine eye at last!
Yes! there, with all its rainbow streams,
Clear as within thine arrow's flight,
The Isle of Founts, the Isle of dreams,
Floats on the wave in golden light;
And lovely will the shadows be
Of groves whose fruit is not for thee!
And breathings from their sunny flowers,
Which are not of the things that die,
And singing voices from their bowers
Shall greet thee in the purple sky;
Soft voices, e'en like those that dwell
Far in the green reed's hollow cell.
Or hast thou heard the sounds that rise
From the deep chambers of the earth?
The wild and wondrous melodies
To which the ancient rocks gave birth?
-Like that sweet song of hidden caves
Shall swell those wood-notes o'er the waves.
The emerald waves!-they take their hue
And image from that sunbright shore;
But wouldst thou launch thy light canoe,
And wouldst thou ply thy rapid oar,
Before thee, hadst thou morning's speed,
The dreamy land should still recede!
Yet on the breeze thou still wouldst hear
The music of its flowering shades,
And ever should the sound be near
Of founts that ripple through its glades;
The sound, and sight, and flashing ray
Of joyous waters in their play!
But woe for him who sees them burst
With their bright spray-showers to the lake!
Earth has no spring to quench the thirst
That semblance in his soul shall wake,
For ever pouring through his dreams,
The gush of those untasted streams!
Bright, bright in many a rocky urn,
The waters of our deserts lie,
Yet at their source his lip shall burn,
Parch'd with the fever's agony!
From the blue mountains to the main,
Our thousand floods may roll in vain.
E'en thus our hunters came of yore
Back from their long and weary quest;
-Had they not seen th' untrodden shore,
And could they 'midst our wilds find rest?
The lightning of their glance was fled,
They dwelt amongst us as the dead!
They lay beside our glittering rills,
With visions in their darken'd eye,
Their joy was not amidst the hills,
Where elk and deer before us fly;
Their spears upon the cedar hung,
Their javelins to the wind were flung.
They bent no more the forest-bow,
They arm'd not with the warrior-band,
The moons wan'd o'er them dim and slow-
-They left us for the spirit's land!
Beneath our pines yon greensward heap
Shows where the restless found their sleep.
Son of the stranger! if at eve
Silence be 'midst us in thy place,
Yet go not where the mighty leave
The strength of battle and of chase!
Let no vain dreams thy heart beguile,
Oh! seek thou not the Fountain-Isle!
The Wife Of Asdrubal
The sun sets brightly - but a ruddier glow
O'er Afric's heaven the flames of Carthage throw;
Her walls have sunk, and pyramids of fire
In lurid splendour from her domes aspire;
Swayed by the wind, they wave - while glares the sky
As when the desert's red simoom is nigh;
The sculptured altar and the pillared hall
Shine out in dreadful brightness ere they fall;
Far o'er the seas the light of ruin streams,
Rock, wave, and isle are crimsoned by its beams;
While captive thousands, bound in Roman chains,
Gaze in mute horror on their burning fanes;
And shouts in triumph, echoing far around,
Swell from the victors' tents with ivy crowned.
But mark! from yon fair temple's loftiest height
What towering form bursts wildly on the sight,
All regal in magnificent attire,
And sternly beauteous in terrific ire?
She might be deemed a Pythia in the hour
Of dread communion and delirious power;
A being more than earthly, in whose eye
There dwells a strange and fierce ascendancy.
The flames are gathering round - intensely bright,
Full on her features glares their meteor-light;
But a wild courage sits triumphant there,
The stormy grandeur of a proud despair;
A daring spirit, in its woes elate,
Mightier than death, untameable by fate.
The dark profusion of her locks unbound,
Waves like a warrior's floating plumage round;
Flushed in her cheek, inspired her haughty mien,
She seems the avenging goddess of the scene.
infants, that with suppliant cry
Cling round her, shrinking as the flame draws nigh,
Clasp with their feeble hands her gorgeous vest,
And fain would rush for shelter to her breast?
Is that a mother's glance, where stern disdain,
And passion, awfully vindictive, reign?
Fixed is her eye on Asdrubal, who stands
Ignobly safe amidst the conquering bands;
On him who left her to that burning tomb,
Alone to share her children's martyrdom;
Who, when his country perished, fled the strife,
And knelt to win the worthless boon of life.
'Live, traitor, live!' she cries, 'since dear to thee,
E'en in thy fetters, can existence be!
Scorned and dishonoured live! - with blasted name,
The Romans triumph not to grace, but shame.
O slave in spirit! bitter be thy chain
With tenfold anguish to avenge my pain!
Still may the manes of thy children rise
To chase calm slumber from thy wearied eyes;
Still may their voices on the haunted air
In fearful whispers tell thee to despair,
Till vain remorse thy withered heart consume,
Scourged by relentless shadows of the tomb!
E'en now my sons shall die - and thou, their sire,
In bondage safe, shalt yet in them expire.
Think'st thou I love them not? - 'Twas thine to fly -
'Tis mine with these to suffer and to die.
Behold their fate! - the arms that cannot save
Have been their cradle, and shall be their grave.'
Bright in her hand the lifted dagger gleams,
Swift from her children's hearts the life-blood streams;
With frantic laugh she clasps them to the breast
Whose woes and passions soon shall be at rest;
Lifts one appealing, frenzied glance on high,
Then deep 'midst rolling flames is lost to mortal eye.
The Coronation Of Inez De Castro
There was music on the midnight;
From a royal fane it roll'd,
And a mighty bell, each pause between,
Sternly and slowly toll'd.
Strange was their mingling in the sky,
It hush'd the listener's breath;
For the music spoke of triumph high,
The lonely bell, of death.
There was hurrying through the midnight:-
A sound of many feet;
But they fell with a muffled fearfulness,
Along the shadowy street;
And softer, fainter, grew their tread,
As it near'd the Minster-gate,
Whence broad and solemn light was shed
From a scene of royal state.
Full glow'd the strong red radiance
In the centre of the nave,
Where the folds of a purple canopy
Sweep down in many a wave;
Loading the marble pavement old
With a weight of gorgeous gloom;
For something lay 'midst their fretted gold,
Like a shadow of the tomb.
And within that rich pavilion
High on a glittering throne,
A woman's form sat silently,
Midst the glare of light alone.
Her Jewell'd robes fell strangely still-
The drapery on her breast
Seem'd with no pulse beneath to thrill,
So stone-like was its rest.
But a peal of lordly music
Shook e'en the dust below,
When the burning gold of the diadem
Was set on her pallid brow!
Then died away that haughty sound,
And from th' encircling band,
Stept Prince and Chief, 'midst the hush profound,
With homage to her hand.
Why pass'd a faint cold shuddering
Over each martial frame,
As one by one, to touch that hand,
Noble and leader came?
Was not the settled aspect fair?
Did not a queenly grace,
Under the parted ebon hair.
Sit on the pale still face?
Death, Death! canst
Unto the eye of Life?
Is not each pulse of the quick high breast
With thy cold mien at strife?
-It was a strange and fearful sight,
The crown upon that head,
The glorious robes and the blaze of light,
All gather'd round the Dead!
And beside her stood in silence
One with a brow as pale,
And white lips rigidly compress'd,
Lest the strong heart should fail;
King Pedro with a jealous eye
Watching the homage done
By the land's flower and chivalry
To her, his martyr'd one.
But on the face he look'd not
Which once his star had been:
To every form his glance was turn'd,
Save of the breathless queen;
Though something, won from the grare's embrace,
Of her beauty still was there,
Its hues were all of that shadowy place,
'Twas not for
Alas! the crown, the sceptre,
The treasures of the earth,
And the priceless love that pour'd those gifts,
Alike of wasted worth!
The rites are closed-bear back the Dead
Unto the chamber deep,
Lay down again the royal head,
Dust with the dust to sleep.
There is music on the midnight-
A requiem sad and slow.
As the mourners through the sounding aisle
In dark procession go,
And the ring of state, and the starry crown,
And all the rich array,
Are borne to the house of silence down,
With her, that queen of clay.
And tearlessly and firmly,
King Pedro led the train-
But his face was wrapt in his folding robe,
When they lower'd the dust again.
-'Tis hush'd at last, the tomb above,
Hymns die, and steps depart:
Who call'd thee strong as Death, O Love?
thou wert and art!
Greek Funeral Chant Or Myriologue
A WAIL was heard around the bed, the death-bed of the young,
Amidst her tears the Funeral Chant a mournful mother sung.
-'Ianthis! dost thou sleep?-Thou sleep'st!-but this is not the rest,
The breathing and the rosy calm, I have pillow'd on my breast!
I lull'd thee not to this repose, Ianthis! my sweet son!
As in thy glowing childhood's time by twilight I have done!
-How is it that I bear to stand and look upon thee now?
And that I die not, seeing death on thy pale glorious brow?
'I look upon thee, thou that wert of all most fair and brave!
I see thee wearing still too much of beauty for the grave!
Though mournfully thy smile is fix'd, and heavily thine eye
Hath shut above the falcon-glance that in it lov'd to lie;
And fast is bound the springing step, that seem'd on breezes borne,
When to thy couch I came and said,-'Wake, hunter, wake! 'tis morn!'
Yet art thou lovely still, my flower! untouch'd by slow decay,
-And I, the wither'd stem remain-I would that grief might slay!
'Oh! ever when I met thy look, I knew that this would be!
I knew too well that length of days was not a gift for thee!
I saw it in thy kindling cheek, and in thy bearing high;-
A voice came whispering to my soul, and told me thou must die!
That thou must die, my fearless one! where swords were flashing red.-
-Why doth a mother live to say-my first-born and my dead?
They tell me of thy youthful fame, they talk of victory won-
-Speak thou, and I will hear! my child, Ianthis! my sweet son!'
A wail was heard around the bed, the deathbed of the young,
A fair-hair'd bride the Funeral Chant amidst her weeping sung.
-'Ianthis! look'st thou not on me? -Can love indeed be fled?
When was it woe before to gaze upon thy stately head?
I would that I had follow'd thee, Ianthis, my belov'd!
And stood as woman oft hath stood where faithful hearts are prov'd!
That I had bound a breastplate on, and battled at thy side-
-It would have been a blessed thing together had we died!
'But where was I when thou didst fall beneath the fatal sword?
Was I beside the sparkling fount, or at the peaceful board?
Or singing some sweet song of old, in the shadow of the vine,
Or praying to the saints for thee, before the holy shrine?
And thou wert lying low the while, the life-drops from thy heart
Fast gushing like a mountain-spring!-and couldst thou thus depart?
Couldst thou depart, nor on my lips pour out thy fleeting breath?
-Oh! I was with thee but in joy, that should have been in death!
'Yes! I was with thee when the dance through mazy rings was led,
And when the lyre and voice were tun'd, and when the feast was spread;
But not where noble blood flow'd forth, where sounding javelins flew-
-Why did I hear love's first sweet words, and not its last adieu?
What now can breathe of gladness more, what scene, what hour, what tone?
The blue skies fade with all their lights, they fade, since thou art gone!
Ev'n that must leave me, that still face, by all my tears unmov'd-
-Take me from this dark world with thee, Ianthis! my belov'd!'
A wail was heard around the bed, the death-bed of the young,
Amidst her tears the Funeral Chant a mournful sister sung.
'Ianthis! brother of my soul!-oh! where are now the days
That laugh'd among the deep green hills, on all our infant plays?
When we two sported by the streams, or track'd them to their source,
And like a stag's, the rocks along, was thy fleet fearless course!
-I see the pines there waving yet, I see the rills descend,
I see thy bounding step no more-my brother and my friend!
'I come with flowers-for spring is come!-Ianthis! art thou here?
I bring the garlands she hath brought, I cast them on thy bier!
Thou shouldst be crown'd with victory's crown-but oh! more meet they seem,
The first faint violets of the wood, and lilies of the stream!
More meet for one so fondly lov'd, and laid thus early low-
-Alas! how sadly sleeps thy face amidst the sunshine's glow:
The golden glow that through thy heart was wont such joy to send,
-Woe, that it smiles, and not for thee!-my brother and my friend!'
The Lady Of The Castle
Thou see'st her pictured with her shining hair,
(Famed were those tresses in Provencal song,)
Half braided, half o'er cheek and bosom fair
Let loose, and pouring sunny waves along
Her gorgeous vest. A child's light hand is roving
Midst the rich curls; and, oh! how meekly loving
Its earnest looks are lifted to the face,
Which bends to meet its lip in laughing grace!
Yet that bright lady's eye methinks hath less
Of deep, and still, and pensive tenderness,
Than might beseem a mother's; on her brow
Something too much there sits of native scorn,
And her smile kindles with a conscious glow,
As from the thought of sovereign beauty born.
These may be dreams but how shall woman tell
Of woman's shame, and not with tears?–She fell!
That mother left that child! went hurrying by
Its cradle haply, not without a sigh,
Haply one moment o'er its rest serene
She hung but no! it could not thus have been,
For she went on! forsook her home, her hearth,
All pure affection, all sweet household mirth,
To live a gaudy and dishonour'd thing,
Sharing in guilt the splendours of a king.
Her lord, in very weariness of life,
Girt on his sword for scenes of distant strife;
He reck'd no more of glory: grief and shame
Crush'd out his fiery nature, and his name
Died silently. A shadow o'er his halls
Crept year by year; the minstrel pass'd their walls;
The warder's horn hung mute: meantime the child
On whose first flowering thoughts no parent smiled,
A gentle girl, and yet deep-hearted, grew
Into sad youth; for well, too well, she knew
Her mother's tale! Its memory made the sky
Seem all too joyous for her shrinking eye;
Check'd on her lip the flow of song, which fain
Would there have linger'd; flush'd her cheek to pain
If met by sudden glance; and gave a tone
Of sorrow, as for something lovely gone,
Ev'n to the spring's glad voice. Her own was low
And plaintive Oh! there lie such depths of wo
In a young blighted spirit! Manhood rears
A haughty brow, and age has done with tears;
But youth bows down to misery, in amaze
At the dark cloud o'ermantling its fresh days,
And thus it was with her. A mournful sight
In one so fair for she indeed was fair
Not with her mother's dazzling eyes of light,
Hers were more shadowy, full of thought and prayer,
And with long lashes o'er a white-rose cheek,
Drooping in gloom, yet tender still and meek,
Still that fond child's–and oh! the brow above,
So pale and pure! so form'd for holy love
To gaze upon in silence! But she felt
That love was not for her, tho' hearts would melt
Where'er she mov'd, and reverence mutely given
Went with her; and low prayers, that call'd on Heaven
To bless the young Isaure.
One sunny morn
With alms before her castle gate she stood,
Midst peasant-groups; when, breathless and o'erworn,
And shrouded in long weeds of widowhood,
A stranger thro' them broke: the orphan maid
With her sweet voice, and proffer'd hand of aid,
Turn'd to give welcome; but a wild sad look
Met hers; a gaze that all her spirit shook;
And that pale woman, suddenly subdued
By some strong passion in its gushing mood,
Knelt at her feet, and bath'd them with such tears
As rain the hoarded agonies of years
From the heart's urn; and with her white lips press'd
The ground they trod; then, burying in her vest
Her brow's deep flush, sobb'd out 'Oh! undefiled!
I am thy mother spurn me not, my child!'
Isaure had pray'd for that lost mother; wept
O'er her stain'd memory, while the happy slept
In the hush'd midnight: stood with mournful gaze
Before yon picture's smile of other days,
But never breath'd in human ear the name
Which weigh'd her being to the earth with shame.
What marvel if the anguish, the surprise,
The dark remembrances, the alter'd guise,
Awhile o'erpower'd her? from the weeper's touch
She shrank 'twas but a moment yet too much
For that all humbled one; its mortal stroke
Came down like lightning, and her full heart broke
At once in silence. Heavily and prone
She sank, while o'er her castle's threshold-stone,
Those long fair tresses they still brightly wore
Their early pride, though bound with pearls no more
Bursting their fillet, in sad beauty roll'd,
And swept the dust with coils of wavy gold.
Her child bent o'er her call'd her 'twas too late
Dead lay the wanderer at her own proud gate!
The joy of courts, the star of knight and bard,
How didst thou fall, O bright-hair'd Ermengarde!
Madeline. A Domestic Tale
My child, my child, thou leav'st me!â€“I shall hear
The gentle voice no more that blest mine ear
With its first utterance; I shall miss the sound
Of thy light step amidst the flowers around,
And thy soft-breathing hymn at twilight's close,
And thy 'Good-night' at parting for repose.
Under the vine-leaves I shall sit alone,
And the low breeze will have a mournful tone
Amidst their tendrils, while I think of thee,
My child! and thou, along the moonlight sea,
With a soft sadness haply in thy glance,
Shalt watch thine own, thy pleasant land of France,
Fading to air.â€“Yet blessings with thee go!
Love guard thee, gentlest! and the exile's wo
From thy young heart be far! And sorrow not
For me, sweet daughter! in my lonely lot,
God shall be with me.â€“Now, farewell! farewell!
Thou that hast been what words may never tell
Unto thy mother's bosom, since the days
When thou wert pillow'd there, and wont to raise
In sudden laughter thence thy loving eye
That still sought mine:â€“these moments are gone by,
Thou too must go, my flower!â€“Yet with thee dwell
The peace of God!â€“One, one more gazeâ€“farewell!'
This was a mother's parting with her child,
A young meek bride, on whom fair fortune smil'd,
And wooed her with a voice of love away
From childhood's home; yet there, with fond delay,
She linger'd on the threshold, heard the note
Of her cag'd bird thro' trellis'd rose-leaves float,
And fell upon her mother's neck, and wept,
Whilst old remembrances, that long had slept,
Gush'd o'er her soul, and many a vanish'd day,
As in one picture traced, before her lay.
But the farewell was said; and on the deep,
When its breast heav'd in sunset's golden sleep,
With a calm'd heart, young Madeline ere long,
Pour'd forth her own sweet solemn vesper-song,
Breathing of home: thro' stillness heard afar,
And duly rising with the first pale star,
That voice was on the waters; till at last
The sounding ocean-solitudes were pass'd,
And the bright land was reach'd, the youthful world
That glows along the West: the sails were furl'd
In its clear sunshine, and the gentle bride
Look'd on the home that promis'd hearts untried
A bower of bliss to come.â€“Alas! we trace
The map of our own paths, and long ere years
With their dull steps the brilliant lines efface,
On sweeps the storm, and blots them out with tears.
That home was darken'd soon: the summer breeze
Welcom'd with death the wanderers from the seas,
Death unto one, and anguishâ€“how forlorn!
To her, that widow'd in her marriage-morn,
Sat in her voiceless dwelling, whence with him
Her bosom's first belov'd, her friend and guide,
Joy had gone forth, and left the green earth dim,
As from the sun shut out on every side,
By the close veil of misery!â€“Oh! but ill,
When with rich hopes o'erfraught, the young high heart
Bears its first blow!â€“it knows not yet the part
Which life will teachâ€“to suffer and be still,
And with submissive love to count the flowers
Which yet are spared, and thro' the future hour;
To send no busy dream!â€“She had not learn'd
Of sorrow till that hour, and therefore turn'd
In weariness from life: then came th' unrest,
The heart-sick yearning of the exile's breast,
The haunting sounds of voices far away,
And household steps: until at last she lay
On her lone couch of sickness, lost in dreams
Of the gay vineyards and blue-rushing streams
In her own sunny land, and murmuring oft
Familiar names, in accents wild, yet soft,
To strangers round that bed, who knew not aught
Of the deep spells wherewith each word was fraught.
To strangers?â€“Oh! could strangers raise the head
Gently as hers was raised?â€“did strangers shed
The kindly tears which bath'd that feverish brow
And wasted cheek with half-unconscious flow?
Something was there, that thro' the lingering night
Outwatches patiently the taper's light,
Something that faints not thro' the day's distress,
That fears not toil, that knows not weariness;
Love, true, and perfect love!â€“Whence came that power,
Uprearing thro' the storm the drooping flower?
Whence?â€“who can ask?â€“the wild delirium pass'd,
And from her eyes the spirit look'd at last
Into her mother's face, and wakening knew
The brow's calm grace, the hair's dear silvery hue,
The kind sweet smile of old!â€“and had she come,
Thus in life's evening, from her distant home,
To save her child?â€“Ev'n soâ€“nor yet in vain:
In that young heart a light sprung up again,
And lovely still, with so much love to give,
Seem'd this fair world, tho' faded; still to live
Was not to pine forsaken. On the breast
That rock'd her childhood, sinking in soft rest,
'Sweet mother! gentlest mother! can it be?'
The lorn one cried, 'and do I look on thee?
Take back thy wanderer from this fatal shore,
Peace shall be ours beneath our vines once more.'
The Peasant Girl Of The Rhone
There is but one place in the world:
–Thither where he lies buried!
There, there is all that still remains of him,
That single spot is the whole earth to me.
Alas! our young affections run to waste,
Or water but the desert.
THERE went a warrior's funeral thro' the night,
A waving of tall plumes, a ruddy light
Of torches, fitfully and wildly thrown
From the high woods, along the sweeping Rhone,
Far down the waters. Heavily and dead,
Under the moaning trees, the horse-hoof's tread
In muffled sounds upon the greensward fell,
As chieftains pass'd; and solemnly the swell
Of the deep requiem, o'er the gleaming river
Borne with the gale, and with the leaves' low shiver
Floated and died. Proud mourners there, yet pale,
Wore man's mute anguish sternly;–but of one,
Oh! who shall speak? What words his brow unveil?
A father following to the grave his son!
That is no grief to picture! Sad and slow,
Thro' the wood-shadows, moved the knightly train,
With youth's fair form upon the bier laid low,
Fair even when found, amidst the bloody slain,
Stretch'd by its broken lance. They reached the lone
Baronial chapel, where the forest gloom
Fell heaviest, for the massy boughs had grown
Into thick archways, as to vault the tomb.
Stately they trod the hollow ringing aisle,
A strange deep echo shuddered thro' the pile,
Till crested heads at last, in silence bent
Round the De Coucis' antique monument,
When dust to dust was given:–and Aymer slept
Beneath the drooping banners of his line,
Whose broider'd folds the Syrian wind had swept
Proudly and oft o'er fields of Palestine:
So the sad rite was clos'd. The sculptor gave
Trophies, ere long, to deck that lordly grave,
And the pale image of a youth, arrayed
As warriors are for fight, but calmly laid
In slumber on his shield.–Then all was done,
All still around the dead.–His name was heard
Perchance when wine-cups flow'd, and hearts were stirr'd
By some old song, or tale of battle won,
Told round the hearth: but in his father's breast
Manhood's high passions woke again, and press'd
On to their mark; and in his friend's clear eye
There dwelt no shadow of a dream gone by;
And with the brethren of his fields, the feast
Was gay as when the voice whose sounds had ceas'd
Mingled with theirs.–Ev'n thus life's rushing tide
Bears back affection from the grave's dark side:
Alas! to think of this!–the heart's void place
Fill'd up so soon!–so like a summer-cloud,
All that we lov'd to pass and leave no trace!–
He lay forgotten in his early shroud.
Forgotten?–not of all!–the sunny smile
Glancing in play o'er that proud lip erewhile,
And the dark locks whose breezy waving threw
A gladness round, whene'er their shade withdrew
From the bright brow; and all the sweetness lying
Within that eagle-eye's jet radiance deep,
And all the music with that young voice dying,
Whose joyous echoes made the quick heart leap
As at a hunter's bugle:–these things lived
Still in one breast, whose silent love survived
The pomps of kindred sorrow.–Day by day,
On Aymer's tomb fresh flowers in garlands lay,
Thro' the dim fane soft summer-odours breathing,
And all the pale sepulchral trophies wreathing,
And with a flush of deeper brilliance glowing
In the rich light, like molten rubies flowing
Thro' storied windows down. The violet there
Might speak of love–a secret love and lowly,
And the rose image all things fleet and fair,
And the faint passion-flower, the sad and holy,
Tell of diviner hopes. But whose light hand,
As for an altar, wove the radiant band?
Whose gentle nurture brought, from hidden dells.
That gem-like wealth of blossoms and sweet bells,
To blush through every season?–Blight and chill
Might touch the changing woods, but duly still.
For years, those gorgeous coronals renewed,
And brightly clasping marble spear and helm,
Even thro' mid-winter, filled the solitude
With a strange smile, a glow of summer's realm.
–Surely some fond and fervent heart was pouring
Its youth's vain worship on the dust, adoring
In lone devotedness!
One spring-morn rose,
And found, within that tomb's proud shadow laid–
Oh! not as midst the vineyards, to repose
From the fierce noon–a dark-hair'd peasant maid:
Who could reveal her story?–That still face
Had once been fair; for on the clear arch'd brow,
And the curv'd lip, there lingered yet such grace
As sculpture gives its dreams; and long and low
The deep black lashes, o'er the half-shut eye–
For death was on its lids–fell mournfully.
But the cold cheek was sunk, the raven hair
Dimm'd, the slight form all wasted, as by care.
Whence came that early blight? Her kindred's place
Was not amidst the high De Couci race;
Yet there her shrine had been!–She grasp'd a wreath–
The tomb's last garland!–This was love in death.
The Troubadour And Richard Coeur De Lion
The Troubadour o'er many a plain
Hath roamed unwearied, but in vain.
O'er many a rugged mountain-scene
And forest wild his track hath been;
Beneath Calabria's glowing sky
He hath sung the songs of chivalry;
His voice hath swelled on the Alpine breeze,
And wrung through the snowy Pyrenees;
From Ebro's banks to Danube's wave,
He hath sought his prince, the loved, the brave;
And yet, if still on earth thou art,
Oh, monarch of the lion-heart!
The faithful spirit, which distress
But heightens to devotedness,
By toil and trial vanquished not,
Shall guide thy minstrel to the spot.
He hath reached a mountain hung with vine,
And woods that wave o'er the lovely Rhine:
The feudal towers that crest its height
Frown in unconquerable might;
Dark is their aspect of sullen state -
No helmet hangs o'er the massy gate
To bid the wearied pilgrim rest,
At the chieftain's board a welcome guest;
Vainly rich evening's parting smile
Would chase the gloom of the haughty pile,
That 'midst bright sunshine lowers on high,
Like a thunder-cloud in a summer sky.
Not these the halls where a child of song
Awhile may speed the hours along;
Their echoes should repeat alone
The tyrant's mandate, the prisoner's moan,
Or the wild huntsman's bugle-blast,
When his phantom-train are hurrying past.
The weary minstrel paused - his eye
Roved o'er the scene despondingly:
Within the lengthening shadow, cast
By the fortress-towers and ramparts vast,
Lingering he gazed. The rocks around
Sublime in savage grandeur frowned;
Proud guardians of the regal flood,
In giant strength the mountains stood -
By torrents cleft, by tempests riven,
Yet mingling still with the calm blue heaven.
Their peaks were bright with a sunny glow,
But the Rhine all shadowy rolled below;
In purple tints the vineyards smiled,
But the woods beyond waved dark and wild
Nor pastoral pipe, nor convent's bell,
Was heard on the sighing breeze to swell;
But all was lonely, silent, rude,
A stern, yet glorious solitude.
But hark! that solemn stillness breaking,
The Troubadour's wild song is waking.
Full oft that song, in days gone by,
Hath cheered the sons of chivalry;
It hath swelled o'er Judah's mountains lone,
Hermon! thy echoes have learned its tone;
On the Great Plain its notes have rung,
The leagued Crusaders' tents among;
'Twas loved by the Lion-heart, who won
The palm in the field of Ascalon;
And now afar o'er the rocks of Rhine
Peals the bold strain of Palestine.
The Troubadour's Song
'Thine hour is come, and the stake is set,'
The Soldan cried to the captive knight,
'And the sons of the Prophet in throngs are met
To gaze on the fearful sight.
'But be our faith by thy lips professed,
The faith of Mecca's shrine,
Cast down the red-cross that marks thy vest,
And life shall yet be thine.'
'I have seen the flow of my bosom's blood,
And gazed with undaunted eye;
I have borne the bright cross through fire and flood
And think'st thou I fear to die?
'I have stood where thousands, by Salem's towers,
Have fallen for the name Divine;
And the faith that cheered
Shall be the light of mine.'
'Thus wilt thou die in the pride of health,
And the glow of youth's fresh bloom?
Thou art offered life, and pomp, and wealth,
Or torture and the tomb.'
'I have been where the crown of thorns was twined
For a dying Saviour's brow;
spurned the treasures that lure mankind,
And I reject them now!'
'Art thou the son of a noble line
In a land that is fair and blest?
And doth not thy spirit, proud captive! pine,
Again on its shores to rest?
'Thine own is the choice to hail once more
The soil of thy father's birth,
Or to sleep, when thy lingering pangs are o'er
Forgotten in foreign earth.'
'Oh! fair are the vine-clad hills that rise
In the country of my love;
But yet, though cloudless my native skies,
There's a brighter clime above!'
The bard hath paused - for another tone
Blends with the music of his own;
And his heart beats high with hope again,
As a well-known voice prolongs the strain.
'Are there none within thy father's hall,
Far o'er the wide blue main,
Young Christian! left to deplore thy fall
With sorrow deep and vain?'
'There are hearts that still, through all the past,
Unchanging have loved me well;
There are eyes whose tears were streaming fast
When I bade my home farewell.
Better they wept o'er the warrior's bier
Than the apostate's living stain;
There's a land where those who loved when here,
Shall meet to love again.'
'Tis he! thy prince - long sought, long lost,
The leader of the red-cross host!
'Tis he! to none thy joy betray,
Young Troubadour! away, away!
Away to the island of the brave,
The gem on the bosom of the wave;
Arouse the sons of the noble soil,
To win their Lion from the toil;
And free the wassail-cup shall flow,
Bright in each hall the hearth shall glow;
The festal board shall be richly crowned,
While knights and chieftains revel round,
And a thousand harps with joy shall ring,
When merry England hails her king.
She knelt in prayer. A stream of sunset fell
Thro' the stain'd window of her lonely cell,
And with its rich, deep, melancholy glow
Flushing her cheek and pale Madonna brow,
While o'er her long hair's flowing jet it threw
Bright waves of goldâ€“the autumn forest's hueâ€“
Seem'd all a vision's mist of glory, spread
By painting's touch around some holy head,
Virgin's or fairest martyr's. In her eye,
Which glanced as dark, clear water to the sky,
What solemn fervour lived! And yet what wo,
Lay like some buried thing, still seen below
The glassy tide! Oh! he that could reveal
What life had taught that chasten'd heart to feel,
Might speak indeed of woman's blighted years,
And wasted love, and vainly bitter tears!
But she had told her griefs to heaven alone,
And of the gentle saint no more was known,
Than that she fled the world's cold breath, and made
A temple of the pine and chestnut shade,
Filling its depths with soul, whene'er her hymn
Rose thro' each murmur of the green, and dim,
And ancient solitude; where hidden streams
Went moaning thro' the grass, like sounds in dreams,
Music for weary hearts! Midst leaves and flowers
She dwelt, and knew all secrets of their powers,
All nature's balms, wherewith her gliding tread
To the sick peasant on his lowly bed,
Came and brought hope; while scarce of mortal birth
He deem'd the pale fair form, that held on earth
Communion but with grief.
Ere long a cell,
A rock-hewn chapel rose, a cross of stone
Gleam'd thro' the dark trees o'er a sparkling well,
And a sweet voice, of rich, yet mournful tone,
Told the Calabrian wilds, that duly there
Costanza lifted her sad heart in prayer.â€“
And now 'twas prayer's own hour. That voice again
Thro' the dim foliage sent its heavenly strain,
That made the cypress quiver where it stood,
In day's last crimson soaring from the wood
Like spiry flame. But as the bright sun set,
Other and wilder sounds in tumult met
The floating song. Strange sounds!â€“the trumpet's peal,
Made hollow by the rocks; the clash of steel,
The rallying war cry.â€“In the mountain-pass,
There had been combat; blood was on the grass,
Banners had strewn the waters; chiefs lay dying,
And the pine-branches crash'd before the flying.
And all was chang'd within the still retreat,
Costanza's home:â€“there enter'd hurrying feet,
Dark looks of shame and sorrow; mail-clad men,
Stern fugitives from that wild battle-glen,
Scaring the ringdoves from the porch-roof, bore
A wounded warrior in: the rocky floor
Gave back deep echoes to his clanging sword,
As there they laid their leader, and implor'd
The sweet saint's prayers to heal him; then for flight,
Thro' the wide forest and the mantling night,
Sped breathlessly again.â€“They pass'dâ€“but he,
The stateliest of a hostâ€“alas! to see
What mother's eyes have watch'd in rosy sleep
Till joy, for very fullness, turn'd to weep,
Thus chang'd!â€“a fearful thing! His golden crest
Was shiver'd, and the bright scarf on his breastâ€“
Some costly love-giftâ€“rent:â€“but what of these?
There were the clustering raven-locksâ€“the breeze
As it came in thro' lime and myrtle flowers,
Might scarcely lift themâ€“steep'd in bloody showers,
So heavily upon the pallid clay
Of the damp cheek they hung! the eyes' dark rayâ€“
Where was it?â€“and the lips!â€“they gasp'd apart,
With their light curve, as from the chisel's art,
Still proudly beautiful! but that white hueâ€“
Was it not death's?â€“that stillnessâ€“that cold dew
On the scarr'd forehead? No! his spirit broke
From its deep trance ere long, yet but awoke
To wander in wild dreams; and there he lay,
By the fierce fever as a green reed shaken,
The haughty chief of thousandsâ€“the forsaken
Of all save one!â€“She fled not. Day by dayâ€“
Such hours are woman's birthrightâ€“she, unknown,
Kept watch beside him, fearless and alone;
Binding his wounds, and oft in silence laving
His brow with tears that mourn'd the strong man's raving.
He felt them not, nor mark'd the light, veil'd form
Still hovering nigh; yet sometimes, when that storm
Of frenzy sank, her voice, in tones as low
As a young mother's by the cradle singing,
Would sooth him with sweet aves, gently bringing
Moments of slumber, when the fiery glow
Ebb'd from his hollow cheek.
At last faint gleams
Of memory dawn'd upon the cloud of dreams,
And feebly lifting, as a child, his head,
And gazing round him from his leafy bed,
He murmur'd forth, 'Where am I? What soft strain
Pass'd, like a breeze, across my burning brain?
Back from my youth it floated, with a tone
Of life's first music, and a thought of oneâ€“
Where is she now? and where the gauds of pride
Whose hollow splendour lured me from her side?
All lost!â€“and this is death!â€“I cannot die
Without forgiveness from that mournful eye!
Away! the earth hath lost her. Was she born
To brook abandonment, to strive with scorn?
My first, my holiest love!â€“her broken heart
Lies low, and Iâ€“unpardon'd I depart.'
But then Costanza rais'd the shadowy veil
From her dark locks and features brightly pale,
And stood before him with a smileâ€“oh! ne'er
Did aught that smiled so much of sadness wearâ€“
And said 'Cesario! look on me; I live
To say my heart hath bled, and can forgive.
I loved thee with such worship, such deep trust
As should be Heaven's aloneâ€“and Heaven is just!
I bless theeâ€“be at peace.'
But o'er his frame
Too fast the strong tide rush'dâ€“the sudden shame,
The joy, th' amaze!â€“he bow'd his headâ€“it fell
On the wrong'd bosom which had lov'd so well;
And love still perfect, gave him refuge there,â€“
His last faint breath just wav'd her floating hair.
The Sword Of The Tomb : A Northern Legend
'Voice of the gifted elder time!
Voice of the charm and the Runic rhyme!
Speak! from the shades and the depths disclose,
How Sigurd may vanquish his mortal foes;
Voice of the buried past!
'Voice of the grave! 'tis the mighty hour,
When night with her stars and dreams hath power,
And my step hath been soundless on the snows,
And the spell I have sung hath laid repose
On the billow and the blast.'
Then the torrents of the North,
And the forest pines were still,
While a hollow chant came forth
From the dark sepulchral hill.
'There shines no sun 'midst the hidden dead,
But where the day looks not the brave may tread;
There is heard no song, and no mead is pour'd,
But the warrior may come to the silent board
In the shadow of the night.
'There is laid a sword in thy father's tomb,
And its edge is fraught with thy foeman's doom;
But soft be thy step through the silence deep,
And move not the urn in the house of sleep,
For the viewless have fearful might!'
Then died the solemn lay,
As a trumpet's music dies,
By the night-wind borne away
Through the wild and stormy skies.
The fir-trees rock'd to the wailing blast,
As on through the forest the warrior pass'd,-
Through the forest of Odin, the dim and old,
The dark place of visions and legends, told
By the fires of Northern pine.
The fir-trees rock'd, and the frozen ground
Gave back to his footstep a hollow sound;
And it seem'd that the depths of those awful shades,
From the dreary gloom of their long arcades,
Gave warning, with voice and sign.
But the wind strange magic knows
To call wild shape and tone
From the grey wood's tossing boughs
When night is on her throne.
The pines clos'd o'er him with deeper gloom,
As he took the path to the monarch's tomb;
The pole-star shone, and the heavens were bright
With the arrowy streams of the northern light,
But his road through dimness lay!
He pass'd, in the heart of that ancient wood,
The dark shrine stain'd with the victim's blood:
Nor paus'd, till the rock where a vaulted bed
Had been hewn of old for the kingly dead,
Arose on his midnight way.
Then first a moment's chill
Went shuddering through his breast,
And the steel-clad man stood still
Before that place of rest.
But he cross'd at length, with a deep-drawn breath,
The threshold-floor of the hall of Death,
And look'd on the pale mysterious fire
Which gleam'd from the urn of his warrior-sire,
With a strange and solemn light.
Then darkly the words of the boding strain
Like an omen rose on his soul again,
-'Soft be thy step through the silence deep,
And move not the urn in the house of sleep,
For the viewless have fearful might!'
But the gleaming sword and shield
Of many a battle-day
Hung o'er that urn, reveal'd
By the tomb-fire's waveless ray.
With a faded wreath of oak-leaves bound,
They hung o'er the dust of the far-renown'd,
Whom the bright Valkyriur's warning voice
Had call'd to the banquet where gods rejoice,
And the rich mead flows in light.
With a beating heart his son drew near,
And still rang the verse in his thrilling ear,
-'Soft be thy step through the silence deep,
And move not the urn in the house of sleep,
For the viewless have fearful might!'
And many a Saga's rhyme,
And legend of the grave,
That shadowy scene and time
Call'd back, to daunt the brave.
But he rais'd his arm-and the flame grew dim,
And the sword in its light seem'd to wave and swim,
And his faltering hand could not grasp it well-
From the pale oak-wreath, with a clash it fell
Through the chamber of the dead!
The deep tomb rang with the heavy sound,
And the urn lay shiver'd in fragments round;
And a rush, as of tempests, quench'd the fire,
And the scatter'd dust of his warlike sire
Was strewn on the Champion's head.
One moment-and all was still
In the slumberer's ancient hall,
When the rock had ceas'd to thrill
With the mighty weapon's fall.
The stars were just fading, one by one,
The clouds were just ting'd by the early sun,
When there stream'd through the cavern a torch's flame,
And the brother of Sigurd the valiant came
To seek him in the tomb.
Stretch'd on his shield, like the steel-girt slain
By moonlight seen on the battle-plain,
In a speechless trance lay the warrior there,
But he wildly woke when the torch's glare
Burst on him through the gloom.
'The morning wind blows free,
And the hour of chase is near:
Come forth, come forth, with me!
What dost thou, Sigurd, here?'
'I have put out the holy sepulchral fire,
I have scatter'd the dust of my warrior-sire!
It burns on my head, and it weighs down my heart;
But the winds shall not wander without their part
To strew o'er the restless deep!
'In the mantle of death he was here with me now,-
There was wrath in his eye, there was gloom on his brow;
And his cold still glance on my spirit fell
With an icy ray and a withering spell-
Oh! chill is the house of sleep!'
'The morning wind blows free,
And the reddening sun shines clear;
Come forth come forth, with me!
It is dark and fearful here!'
'He is there, he is there, with his shadowy frown!
But gone from his head is the kingly crown,
The crown from his head, and the spear from his hand,-
They have chas'd him far from the glorious land
Where the feast of the gods is spread!
'He must go forth alone on his phantom steed;
He must ride o'er the grave-hills with stormy speed;
His place is no longer at Odin's board,
He is driven from Valhalla without his sword!
But the slayer shall avenge the dead!'
That sword its fame had won
By the fall of many a crest,
But its fiercest work was done
In the tomb on Sigurd's breast!
The Last Banquet Of Antony And Cleopatra
Thy foes had girt thee with their dead array,
O stately Alexandra! - yet the sound
Of mirth and music, at the close of day,
Swelled from thy splendid fabrics, far around
O'er camp and wave. Within the royal hall,
In gay magnificence the feast was spread;
And, brightly streaming from the pictured wall,
A thousand lamps their trembling lustre shed
O'er many a column, rich with precious dyes,
That tinge the marble's vein, 'neath Afric's burning skies.
And soft and clear that wavering radiance played
O'er sculptured forms, that round the pillared scene
Calm and majestic rose, by art arrayed
In goldlike beauty, awfully serene.
Oh! how unlike the troubled guests reclined
Round that luxurious board! - in every face
Some shadow from the tempest of the mind
Rising by fits, the searching eye might trace,
Though vainly masked in smiles which are not mirth,
But the proud spirit's veil thrown o'er the woes of earth.
Their brows are bound with wreaths, whose transient bloom
May still survive the wearers - and the rose
Perchance may scarce be withered when the tomb
Receives the mighty to its dark repose!
The day must dawn on battle, and may set
In death - but fill the mantling wine-cup high!
Despair is fearless, and the Fates e'en yet
Lend her one hour for parting revelry.
They who the empire of the world possessed,
Would taste its joys again, ere all exchanged for rest.
Its joys! oh, mark yon proud triumvir's mien,
And read their annals on that brow of care;
'Midst pleasure's lotus-bowers his steps have been;
Earth's brightest pathway led him to despair.
Trust not the glace that fain would yet inspire
The buoyant energies of days gone by;
There is delusion in its meteor-fire,
And all within is shame, is agony!
Away! the tear in bitterness may flow,
But there are smiles which bear a stamp of deeper woe.
Thy cheek is sunk, and faded as thy fame,
O lost, devoted Roman! yet thy brow
To that ascendant and undying name,
Pleads with stern loftiness that right e'en now.
Thy glory is departed, but hath left
A lingering light around thee - in decay
Not less than kingly, though of all bereft,
Thou seem'st as empire had not passed away
Supreme in ruin! teaching hearts elate,
A deep, prophetic dread of still mysterious fate!
But thou, enchantress-queen! whose love hath made
His desolation - thou art by his side,
In all thy sovereignty of charms arrayed,
To meet the storm with still unconquered pride.
Imperial being! e'en though many a stain
Of error be upon thee, there is power
In thy commanding nature, which shall reign
O'er the stern genius of misfortune's hour;
And the dark beauty of thy troubled eye
E'en now is all illumed with wild sublimity.
Thine aspect, all impassioned, wears a light
Inspiring and inspired - thy cheek a dye,
Which rises not from joy, but yet is bright
With the deep glow of feverish energy.
Proud siren of the Nile! thy glance is fraught
With an immortal fire - in every beam
It darts, there kindles some heroic thought,
But wild and awful as a sibyl's dream;
For though with death hast communed, to attain
Dread knowledge of the pangs that ransom from the chain.
And the stern courage by such musings lent,
Daughter of Afric! o'er thy beauty throws
The grandeur of a regal spirit, blent
With all the majesty of mighty woes;
While he, so fondly, fatally adored,
Thy fallen Roman, gazes on thee yet,
Till scarce the soul, that once exulting soared,
Can deem the day-star of its glory set;
Scarce his charmed heart believes that power can be
In sovereign fate, o'er him thus fondly loved by thee.
But there is sadness in the eyes around,
Which marked that ruined leader, and survey
His changeful mien, whence oft the gloom profound
Strange triumph chases haughtily away.
'Fill the bright goblet, warrior guests!' he cries;
'Quaff, ere we part, the generous nectar deep!
Ere sunset gild once more the western skies,
Your chief in cold forgetfulness may sleep,
While sounds of revel float o'er shore and sea,
And the red bowl again is crowned - but not for me.
'Yet weep not thus - the struggle is not o'er,
O victors of Philippi! many a field
Hath yielded palms to us; - one effort more,
By one stern conflict must our doom be sealed!
Forget not, Romans! o'er a subject world
How royally your eagle's wing hath spread,
Though, from his eyrie of dominion hurled,
Now bursts the tempest on his crested head!
Yet sovereign still, if banished from the sky,
The sun's indignant bird, he must not droop - but die.'
The feast is o'er. 'Tis night, the dead of night -
Unbroken stillness broods o'er earth and deep;
From Egypt's heaven of soft and starry light
The moon looks cloudless o'er a world of sleep.
For those who wait the morn's awakening beams,
The battle signal to decide their doom,
Have sunk to feverish rest and troubled dreams -
Rest that shall soon be calmer in the tomb,
Dreams, dark and ominous, but
When sleep the lords of war in solitude and peace.
Wake, slumberers, wake! Hark! heard ye not a sound
Of gathering tumult? - Near and nearer still
Its murmur swells. Above, below, around,
Bursts a strange chorus forth, confused and shrill.
Wake, Alexandria! through thy streets the tread
Of steps unseen is hurrying, and the note
Of pipe and lyre and trumpet, wild and dread,
Is heard upon the midnight air to float;
And voices, clamorous as in frenzied mirth,
Mingle their thousand tones, which are not of the earth.
These are no mortal sounds - their thrilling strain
Hath more mysterious power, and birth more high;
And the deep horror chilling every vein
Owns them of stern, terrific augury.
Beings of worlds unknown! ye pass away,
O ye invisible and awful throng!
Your echoing footsteps and resounding lay
To Caesar's camp exulting move along.
Thy gods forsake thee, Antony! the sky
By that dread sign reveals thy doom - 'Despair and die!'
The young forgot the lessons they had learnt,
And lov'd when they should hate, like thee, Imelda! ~
Italy, a Poem
Passa la bella Donna, e par che dorma. ~
We have the myrtle's breath around us here,
Amidst the fallen pillars; this hath been
Some Naiad's fane of old. How brightly clear,
Flinging a vein of silver o'er the scene,
Up thro' the shadowy grass, the fountain wells,
And music with it, gushing from beneath
The ivy'd altar! that sweet murmur tells
The rich wild-flowers no tale of wo or death;
Yet once the wave was darken'd, and a stain
Lay deep, and heavy drops but not of rain?
On the dim violets by its marble bed,
And the pale shining water-lily's head.
Sad is that legend's truth. A fair girl met
One whom she lov'd, by this lone temple's spring,
Just as the sun behind the pine-grove set,
And eve's low voice in whispers woke, to bring
All wanderers home. They stood, that gentle pair
With the blue heaven of Italy above,
And citron-odours dying on the air,
And light leaves trembling round, and early love
Deep in each breast. What reck'd their souls of strife
Between their fathers? Unto them young life
Spread out the treasures of its vernal years;
And if they wept, they wept far other tears
Than the cold world wrings forth. They stood, that hour,
Speaking of hope, while tree, and fount, and flower,
And star, just gleaming thro' the cypress boughs,
Seem'd holy things, as records of their vows.
But change came o'er the scene. A hurrying tread
Broke on the whispery shades. Imelda knew
The footstep of her brother's wrath, and fled
Up where the cedars make yon avenue
Dim with green twilight: pausing there, she caught-
Was it the clash of swords? a swift dark thought
Struck down her lip's rich crimson as it pass'd,
And from her eye the sunny sparkle took
One moment with its fearfulness, and shook
Her slight frame fiercely, as a stormy blast
Might rock the rose. Once more, and yet once more,
She still'd her heart to listen all was o'er;
Sweet summer winds alone were heard to sigh,
Bearing the nightingale's deep spirit by.
That night Imelda's voice was in the song,
Lovely it floated thro' the festive throng
Peopling her father's halls. That fatal night
Her eye look'd starry in its dazzling light,
And her cheek glow'd with beauty's flushing dyes,
Like a rich cloud of eve in southern skies,
A burning, ruby cloud. There were, whose gaze
Follow'd her form beneath the clear lamp's blaze,
And marvell'd at its radiance. But a few
Beheld the brightness of that feverish hue,
With something of dim fear; and in that glance
Found strange and sudden tokens of unrest,
Startling to meet amidst the mazy dance,
Where thought, if present, an unbidden guest,
Comes not unmask'd. Howe'er this were, the time
Sped as it speeds with joy, and grief, and crime
Alike: and when the banquet's hall was left
Unto its garlands of their bloom bereft,
When trembling stars look'd silvery in their wane,
And heavy flowers yet slumber'd, once again
There stole a footstep, fleet, and light, and lone,
Thro' the dim cedar shade; the step of one
That started at a leaf, of one that fled,
Of one that panted with some secret dread:
What did Imelda there? She sought the scene
Where love so late with youth and hope had been;
Bodings were on her soul?a shuddering thrill
Ran thro' each vein, when first the Naiad's rill
Met her with melody?sweet sounds and low;
We hear them - yet they live along its flow -
Her voice is music lost! The fountain-side
She gain'd?the wave flash'd forth?'twas darkly dyed
Ev'n as from warrior-hearts; and on its edge,
Amidst the fern, and flowers, and moss-tufts deep,
There lay, as lull'd by stream and rustling sedge,
A youth, a graceful youth. 'Oh! dost thou sleep,
Azzo?' she cried, 'my Azzo! is this rest?'
?But then her low tones falter'd: 'On thy breast
Is the stain - yes, 'tis blood! and that cold cheek -
That moveless lip! thou dost not slumber? speak,
Speak, Azzo, my belov'd - no sound - no breath -
What hath come thus between our spirits? Death!
Death? I but dream - I dream!' and there she stood,
A faint, frail trembler, gazing first on blood,
With her fair arm around yon cypress thrown,
Her form sustain'd by that dark stem alone,
And fading fast, like spell-struck maid of old,
Into white waves dissolving, clear and cold;
When from the grass her dimm'd eye caught a gleam?
'Twas where a sword lay shiver'd by the stream,?
Her brother's sword! - she knew it; and she knew
'Twas with a venom'd point that weapon slew!
Wo for young love! But love is strong. There came
Strength upon woman's fragile heart and frame,
There came swift courage! On the dewy ground
She knelt, with all her dark hair floating round,
Like a long silken stole; she knelt, and press'd
Her lips of glowing life to Azzo's breast,
Drawing the poison forth. A strange, sad sight!
Pale death, and fearless love, and solemn night!
So the moon saw them last.
The Morn came singing
Thro' the green forests of the Appenines,
With all her joyous birds their free flight winging,
And steps and voices out amongst the vines.
What found that day-spring here? Two fair forms laid
Like sculptured sleepers; from the myrtle shade
Casting a gleam of beauty o'er the wave,
Still, mournful, sweet. Were such things for the grave?
Could it be so indeed? That radiant girl,
Deck'd as for bridal hours!?long braids of pearl
Amidst her shadowy locks were faintly shining,
As tears might shine, with melancholy light;
And there was gold her slender waist entwining;
And her pale graceful arms how sadly bright!
And fiery gems upon her breast were lying,
And round her marble brow red roses dying.
But she died first! the violet's hue had spread
O'er her sweet eyelids with repose oppress'd,
She had bow'd heavily her gentle head,
And on the youth's hush'd bosom sunk to rest.
So slept they well! the poison's work was done;
Love with true heart had striven?but Death had won.
Alaric In Italy
Heard ye the Gothic trumpet's blast?
The march of hosts as Alaric passed?
His steps have tracked that glorious clime,
The birth-place of heroic time;
But he, in northern deserts bred,
Spared not the living for the dad,
Nor heard the voice, whose pleading cries
From temple and from tomb arise.
He passed - the light of burning fanes
Hath been his torch o'er Grecian plains;
And woke they not, the brave, the free,
To guard their own Thermopylae?
And left they not their silent dwelling,
When Scythia's note of war was swelling?
No! where the bold Three Hundred slept,
Sad freedom battled not - but wept!
For nerveless then the Spartan's hand,
And Thebes could rouse no Sacred Band;
Nor one high soul from slumber broke,
When Athens owned the Northern yoke.
But was there none for thee to dare
The conflict, scorning to despair?
O city of the seven proud hills!
Whose name e'en yet the spirit thrills,
As doth a clarion's battle-call-
Didst thou too, ancient empress, fall?
Did no Camillus from the chain
Ransom thy Capitol again?
Oh! who shall tell the days to be,
No patriot rose to bleed for thee?
Heard ye the Gothic trumpet's blast?
The march of hosts, as Alaric passed?
That fearful sound, at midnight deep,
Burst on the eternal city's sleep:
How woke the mighty? She, whose will
So long had bid the world be still,
Her sword a sceptre, and her eye
The ascendant star of destiny!
She woke - to view the dread array
Of Scythians rushing to their prey,
To hear her streets resound the cries
Poured from a thousand agonies!
While the strange light of flames, that gave
A ruddy glow to Tiber's wave,
Bursting in that terrific hour
From fane and palace, dome and tower,
Revealed the throngs, for aid divine
Clinging to many a worshiped shrine:
Fierce fitful radiance wildly shed
O'er spear and sword, with carnage red,
Shone o'er the suppliant and the flying,
And kindled pyres for Romans dying.
Weep, Italy! alas, that e'er
Should tears alone thy wrongs declare!
The time hath been when thy distress
Had roused up empires for redress!
Now, her long race of glory run,
Without a combat Rome is won,
And from her plundered temples forth
Rush the fierce children of the north,
To share beneath more genial skies
Each joy their own rude clime denies.
Ye who on bright Campania's shore
Bade your fair villas rise of yore,
With all their graceful colonnades,
And crystal baths, and myrtle shades,
Along the blue Hesperian deep,
Whose glassy waves in sunshine sleep;
Beneath your olive and your vine
Far other inmates now recline,
And the tall plane, whose roots ye fed
With rich libations duly shed,
O'er guests, unlike your vanished friends,
Its bowery canopy extends.
For them the southern heaven is glowing,
The bright Falernian nectar flowing;
For them the marble halls unfold,
Where nobler beings dwelt of old,
Whose children for harbarian lords
Touch the sweet lyre's resounding chords,
Or wreaths of Paestan roses twine,
To crown the sons of Elbe and Rhine,.
Yet, though luxurious they repose
Beneath Corinthian porticoes,
While round them into being start
The marvels of triumphant art;
Oh! not for them hath genius given
To Parian stone the fire of heaven,
Enshrining in the forms he wrought
A bright eternity of thought.
In vain the natives of the skies
In breathing marble round them rise,
And sculptured nymphs of fount or glade
People the dark-green laurel shade;
Cold are the conqueror's heart and eye
To visions of divinity;
And rude his hand which dares deface
The models of immortal grace.
Arouse ye from your soft delights!
Chieftains! the war-note's call invites;
And other lands must yet be won,
And other deeds of havoc done.
Warriors! your flowery bondage break,
Sons of the stormy north, awake!
The barks are launching from the steep
Soon shall the Isle of Ceres weep,
And Afric's burning winds afar
Waft the shrill sounds of Alaric's war.
Where shall his race of victory close?
When shall the ravaged earth repose?
But hark! what wildly mingling cries
From Scythia's camp tumultuous rise?
Why swells dread Alaric's name on air?
A sterner conqueror hath been there!
A conqueror - yet his paths are peace,
He comes to bring the world's release;
He of the sword that knows no sheath,
The avenger, the deliverer - Death!
Is then that daring spirit fled?
Doth Alaric slumber with the dead?
Tamed are the warrior's pride and strength,
And he and earth are calm at length.
The land where heaven unclouded shines,
Where sleep the sunbeams on the vines;
The land by conquest made his own,
Can yield him now - a grave alone.
But his - her lord from Alp to sea -
No common sepulchre shall be!
Oh, make his tomb where mortal eye
Its buried wealth may ne'er descry!
Where mortal foot may never tread
Above a victor-monarch's bed.
Let not his royal dust be hid
'Neath star-aspiring pyramid;
Nor bid the gathered mound arise,
To bear his memory to the skies.
Years roll away - oblivion claims
Her triumph o'er heroic names;
And hands profane disturb the clay
That once was fired with glory's ray;
And Avarice, from their secret gloom,
Drags e'en the treasures of the tomb.
But thou, O leader of the free!
That general doom awaits not thee:
Thou, where no step may e'er intrude,
Shalt rest in regal solitude,
Till, bursting on thy sleep profound,
The Awakener's final trumpet sound.
Turn ye the waters from their course,
Bid Nature yield to human force,
And hollow in the torrent's bed
A chamber for the mighty dead.
The work is done - the captive's hand
Hath well obeyed his lord's command.
Within that royal tomb are cast
The richest trophies of the past,
The wealth of many a stately dome,
The gold and gems of plundered Rome;
And when the midnight stars are beaming,
And ocean waves in stillness gleaming,
Stern in their grief, his warriors bear
The Chastener of the Nations there;
To rest, at length, from victory's toil,
Alone, with all an empire's spoil!
Then the freed current's rushing wave
Rolls o'er the secret of the grave;
Then streams the martyred captives' blood
To crimson that sepulchral flood,
Whose conscious tide alone shall keep
The mystery in its bosom deep.
Time hath passed on since then - and swept
From earth the urns where heroes slept.
Temples of gods and domes of kings,
Are mouldering with forgotten things;
Yet shall not ages e'er molest
The viewless home of Alaric's rest:
Still rolls, like them, the unfailing river,
The guardian of his dust for ever.
The Death Of Conradin
No cloud to dim the splendour of the day
Which breaks o'er Naples and her lovely bay,
And lights that brilliant sea and magic shore
With every tint that charmed the great of yore-
The imperial ones of earth, who proudly bade
Their marble domes e'en Ocean's realm invade.
That race is gone - but glorious Nature here
Maintains unchanged her own sublime career,
And bids these regions of the sun display
Bright hues, surviving empires pass away.
The beam of heaven expands - its kindling smile
Reveals each charm of many a fairy isle,
Whose image floats, in softer colouring drest,
With all its rocks and vines, on Ocean's breast.
Misenum's cape hath caught the vivid ray,
On Roman streamers there no more to play;
Still, as of old, unalterably bright,
Lovely it sleeps on Posilippo's height,
With all Italia's sunshine to illume
The ilex canopy of Virgil's tomb.
Campania's plains rejoice in light, and spread
Their gay luxuriance o'er the mighty dead;
Fair glittering to thine own transparent skies,
Thy palaces, exulting Naples! rise:
While, far on high, Vesuvius rears his peak,
Furrowed and dark with many a lava streak.
Oh, ye bright shores of Circe and the Muse!
Rich with all Nature's and all fiction's hues;
Who shall explore your regions, and declare
The poet erred to paint Elysium there?
Call up his spirit, wanderer! bid him guide
Thy steps, those siren-haunted seas beside;
And all the scene a lovelier light shall wear,
What though his dust be scattered, and his urn
Long from its sanctuary of slumber torn,
Still dwell the beings of his verse around,
Hovering in beauty o'er the enchanted ground:
His lays are murmured in each breeze that roves
Soft o'er the sunny waves and orange-groves;
His memory's charm is spread o'er shore and sea,
The soul, the genius of Parthenope;
Shedding o'er myrtle shade and vine-clad hill
The purple radiance of Elysium still.
Yet that fair soil and calm resplendent sky
Have witnessed many a dark reality.
Oft o'er those bright blue seas the gale hath borne
The sighs of exiles never to return.
There with the whisper of Campania's gale
Hath mingled oft affection's funeral-wail,
Mourning for buried heroes - while to her
That glowing land was but her sepulchre.
And there, of old, the dread mysterious moan
Swelled from strange voices of no mortal tone
And that wild trumpet, whose unearthly note
Was heard, at midnight, o'er the hills to float
Around the spot where Agrippina died,
Denouncing vengeance on the matricide.
Passed are those ages - yet another crime,
Another woe, must stain the Elysian clime.
There stands a scaffold on the sunny shore -
It must be crimsoned ere the day is o'er!
There is a throne in regal pomp arrayed, -
A scene of death from thence must be surveyed.
Marked ye the rushing throngs? - each mien is pale,
Each hurried glance reveals a fearful tale:
But the deep workings of the indignant breast,
Wrath, hatred, pity, must be all suppressed;
The burning tear awhile must check its course,
The avenging thought concentrate all its force;
For tyranny is near, and will not brook
Aught but submission in each guarded look.
Girt with his fierce Provencals, and with mien
Austere in triumph, gazing on the scene,
And in his eye a keen suspicious glance
Of jealous pride and restless vigilance,
Behold the conqueror! Vainly in his face,
Of gentler feeling hope would seek a trace;
Cold, proud, severe, the spirit which hath lent
Its haughty stamp to each dark lineament;
And pleading mercy, in the sternness there,
May read at once her sentence - to despair!
But thou, fair boy! the beautiful, the brave,
Thus passing from the dungeon to the grave,
While all is yet around thee which can give
A charm to earth, and make it bless to live;
Thou on whose form hath swelt a mother's eye,
Till the deep love that not with thee shall die
Hath grown too full for utterance - Can it be?
And is this pomp of death prepared for
Young, royal Conradin! who shouldst have known
Of life as yet the sunny smile alone!
Oh! who can view thee, in the pride and bloom
Of youth, arrayed so richly for the tomb,
Nor feel, deep swelling in his inmost soul,
Emotions tyranny may ne'er control?
Bright victim! to Ambition's altar led,
Crowned with all flowers that heaven on earth can shed
Who, from the oppressor towering in his pride,
May hope for mercy - if to thee denied?
There is dead silence on the breathless throng,
Dead silence all the peopled shore along,
As on the captive moves - the only sound,
To break that calm so fearfully profound,
The low, sweet murmur of the rippling wave.
Soft as it glides, the smiling shore to lave;
While on that shore, his own fair heritage,
The youthful martyr to a tyrant's rage
Is passing to his fate: the eyes are dim
Which gaze, through tears that dare not flow, on him
He mounts the scaffold - doth his footstep fail?
Doth his lip quiver? doth his cheek turn pale?
Oh! it may be forgiven him if a thought
Cling to that world, for him with beauty fraught,
To all the hopes that promised glory's meed,
And all the affections that with him shall bleed
If, in his life's young dayspring, while the rose
Of boyhood on his cheek yet freshly glows,
One human fear convulse his parting breath,
And shrink from all the bitterness of death!
But no! the spirit of his royal race
Sits brightly on his brow - that youthful face
Beams with heroic beauty, and his eye
Is eloquent with injured majesty.
He kneels - but not to man - his heart shall own
Such deep submission to his God alone!
And who can tell with what sustaining power
That God may visit him in fate's dread hour?
How the still voice, which answers every moan,
May speak of hope - when hope on earth is gone.
That solemn pause is o'er - the youth hath given
One glance of parting love to earth and heaven:
The sun rejoices in the unclouded sky,
Life all around him glows - and he must die!
Yet 'midst his people, undismayed, he throws
The gage of vengeance for a thousand woes;
Vengeance that, like their own volcano's fire,
May sleep suppressed a while - but not expire.
One softer image rises o'er his breast,
One fond regret, and all shall be at rest!
'Alas, for thee, my mother! who shall bear
To thy sad heart the tidings of despair,
When thy lost child is gone?' - that thought can thrill
His soul with pangs one moment more shall still.
The lifted axe is glittering in the sun -
It falls - the race of Conradin is run!
Yet, from the blood which flows that shore to stain,
A voice shall cry to heaven - and not in vain!
Gaze thou, triumphant from thy gorgeous throne,
In proud supremacy of guilt alone,
Charles of Anjou! - but that dread voice shall be
A fearful summoner e'en yet to thee!
The scene of death is closed - the throngs depart,
A deep stern lesson graved on every heart.
No pomp, no funeral rites, no streaming eyes,
High-minded boy! may grace thine obsequies.
Oh, vainly royal and beloved! thy grave,
Unsanctified, is bathed by Ocean's wave;
Marked by no stone, a rude, neglected spot,
Unhonoured, unadorned - but
For thy deep wrongs in tameless hearts shall live,
Now mutely suffering - never to forgive!
The sun fades from purple heavens away -
A bark hath anchored in the unruffled bay;
Thence on the beach descends a female form,
Her mien with hope and tearful transport warm;
But life hath left sad traces on her cheek,
And her soft eyes a chastened heart bespeak,
Inured to woes - yet what were all the past!
sank not feebly 'neath affliction's blast,
While one bright hope remained - who now shall tell
The uncrowned, the widowed, how her loved one fell?
To clasp her child, to ransom and to save,
The mother came - and she hath found his grave!
And by that grave, transfixed in speechless grief,
Whose deathlike trance denies a tear's relief,
Awhile she kneels - till roused at length to know,
To feel the might, the fulness of her woe,
On the still air a voice of anguish wild,
A mother's cry is heard - 'My Conradin! my child!'
The Lady Of Provence
'Courage was cast about her like a dress
Of solemn comeliness,
A gathered mind and an untroubled face
Did give her dangers grace.' ~ Donne.
The war-note of the Saracen
Was on the winds of France;
It had stilled the harp of the Troubadour,
And the clash of the tourney's lance.
The sounds of the sea, and the sounds of the night,
And the hollow echoes of charge and flight,
Were around Clotilde, as she knelt to pray
In a chapel where the mighty lay,
On the old Provencal shore;
Many a Chatillon beneath,
Unstirred by the ringing trumpet's breath,
His shroud of armour wore.
And the glimpses of moonlight that went and came
Through the clouds, like bursts of a dying flame,
Gave quivering life to the slumber pale
Of stern forms crouched in their marble mail,
At rest on the tombs of the knightly race,
The silent throngs of that burial-place.
They were imaged there with helm and spear,
As leaders in many a bold career -
And haughty their stillness looked and high,
Like a sleep whose dreams were of victory.
But meekly the voice of the lady rose
Through the trophies of their proud repose;
Meekly, yet fervantly, calling down aid,
Under their banners of battle she prayed;
With her pale fair brow, and her eyes of love,
Upraised to the Virgin's portrayed above,
And her hair flung back, till it swept the grave
Of a Chatillon with its gleamy wave.
And her fragile frame, at every blast,
That full of the savage war-horn passed,
Trembling, as trembles a bird's quick heart,
When it vainly strives from its cage to part -
So knelt she in her woe;
A weeper alone with the tearless dead -
Oh! they reck not of tears o'er their quiet shed,
Or the dust that stirred below!
Hark! a swift step! she hath caught its tone,
Through the dash of the sea, through the wild wind's moan
Is her lord returned with his conquering bands?
No! a breathless vassal before her stands!
- 'Hast thou been on the field? - Art thou come from the host?'
- 'from the slaughter, lady! - All, all is lost!
Our banners are taken, our knights laid low,
Our spearmen chased by the Paynim foe;
And thy lord,' his voice took a sadder sound-
'Thy lord - he is not on the bloody ground!
There are those who tell that the leader's plume
Was seen on the flight through the gathering gloom.'
- A change o'er her mien and her spirit passed;
She ruled the heart which had beat so fast,
She dashed the tears from her kindling eye,
With a glance, as of sudden royalty:
The proud blood sprang in a fiery flow,
Quick o'er bosom, and cheek, and brow,
And her young voice rose till the peasant shook
At the thrilling tone and the falcon-look:
- 'dost thou stand by the tombs of the glorious dead,
And fear not to say that their son hath fled?
Away! he is lying by lance and shield, -
Point me the path to his battle-field!'
The shadows of the forest
Are about the lady now;
She is hurrying through the midnight on,
Beneath the dark pine-bough.
There's a murmur of omens in every leaf,
There's a wail in the stream like the dirge of a chief;
The branches that rock to the tempest strife
Are groaning like things of troubled life;
The wind from the battle seems rushing by
With a funeral-march through the gloomy sky
The pathway is rugged, and wild, and long,
But her fame in the daring of love is strong,
And her soul as on swelling seas upborne,
And girded all fearful things to scorn.
And fearful things were around her spread,
When she reached the field of the warrior dead.
There lay the noble, the valiant, low -
word speaks of deeper woe;
There lay the
- on each fallen head
Mothers' vain blessings and tears had shed;
Sisters were watching in many a home
For the fettered footstep, no more to come;
Names in the prayer of that night were spoken,
Whose claim unto kindred prayer was broken;
And the fire was heaped, and the bright wine poured
For those, now needing nor hearth nor board;
Only a requiem, a shroud, a knell,
And oh! ye beloved of women, farewell!
Silently, with lips compressed,
Pale hands clasped above her breast,
Stately brow of anguish high,
Deathlike cheek, but dauntless eye;
Silently, o'er that red plain,
Moved the lady 'midst the slain.
Sometimes it seemed as a charging cry,
Or the ringing tramp of a steed, came nigh;
Sometimes a blast of the Paynim horn,
Sudden and shrill from the mountain's borne;
And her maidens trembled; - but on
No meaning fell with those sounds of fear;
They had less of mastery to shake her now,
Than the quivering, erewhile, of an aspen-bough.
She searched into many an unclosed eye,
That looked, without soul, to the starry sky;
She bowed down o'er many a shattered breast,
She lifted up helmet and cloven crest -
Not there, not there he lay!
'Lead where the most hath been dared and done,
Where the heart of the battle hath bled, - lead on!'
And the vassal took the way.
He turned to a dark and lonely tree
That waved o'er a fountain red;
had the currents free
From noble veins been shed.
Thickest there the spear-heads gleamed,
And the scattered plumage streamed,
And the broken shields were tossed,
And the shivered lances crossed,
And the mail-clad sleepers round
Made the harvest of that ground.
He was there! the leader amidst his band
Where the faithful had made their last vain stand;
He was there! but affection's glance alone
The darkly-changed in that hour had known;
With the falchion yet in his cold hand grasped,
And a banner of France to his bosom clasped,
And the form that of conflict bore fearful trace,
And the face - oh! speak not of that dead face!
As it lay to answer love's look no more,
Yet never so proudly loved before!
She quelled in her soul the deep floods of woe,
The time was not yet for their waves to flow:
She felt the full presence, the might of death,
Yet there came no sob with her struggling breath,
And a proud smile shone o'er her pale despair,
As she turned to his follower - 'Your lord is there!
Look on him! know him by scarf and crest! -
Bear him away with his sires to rest!'
Another day, another night,
And the sailor on the deep
Hears the low chant of a funeral rite
From the lordly chapel sweep.
It comes with a broken and muffled tone,
As if that rite were in terror done:
Yet the song 'midst the seas hath a thrilling power,
And he knows 'tis a chieftain's burial hour.
Hurriedly, in fear and woe,
Through the aisle the mourners go;
With a hushed and stealthy tread,
Bearing on the noble dead;
Sheathed in armour of the field -
Only his wan face revealed,
Whence the still and solemn gleam
Doth a strange sad contrast seem
To the anxious eyes of that pale band,
With torches wavering in every hand,
For they dread each moment the shout of war,
And the burst of the Moslem scimitar.
There is no plumed head o'er the bier to bend,
No brother of battle, no princely friend:
No sound comes back like the sounds of yore,
Unto sweeping swords from the marble floor;
By the red fountain the valiant lie,
The flower of Provencal chivalry;
free step, and one lofty heart,
Bear through that scene to the last their part.
She hath led the death-train of the brave
To the verge of his own ancestral grave;
She hath held o'er her spirit long rigid sway,
But the struggling passion must now have way;
In the cheek, half seen through her mourning veil,
By turns does the swift blood flush and fail;
The pride on the lip is lingering still,
But it shakes as a flame to the blast might thrill;
Anguish and triumph are met at strife,
Rending the cords of her frail young life;
And she sinks at last on her warrior's bier,
Lifting her voice, as if death might hear.
'I have won thy fame from the breath of wrong,
My soul hath risen for thy glory strong!
Now call me hence, by thy side to be,
The world thou leavest has no place for me.
The light goes with thee, the joy, the worth-
Faithful and tender! Oh! call me forth!
Give me my home on thy noble heart, -
Well have we loved, let us both depart!' -
And pale on the breast of the dead she lay,
The living cheek to the cheek of clay;
cheek! - Oh! it was not vain,
That strife of the spirit to rend its chain;
She is there at rest in her place of pride,
In death how queen-like - a glorious bride!
Joy for the freed one! - she might not stay
When the crown had fallen from her life away;
She might not linger - a weary thing,
A dove with no home for its broken wing,
Thrown on the harshness of alien skies,
That know not its own land's melodies,
From the long heart-withering early gone;
She hath lived - she hath loved - her task is done!