The Death-Day Of Korner
A song for the death-day of the brave
A song of pride!
The youth went down to a hero's grave,
With the sword, his bride.
He went, with his noble heart unworn,
And pure, and high;
An eagle stooping from clouds of morn,
Only to die!
He went with the lyre, whose lofty tone
Beneath his hand
Had thrill'd to the name of his God alone,
And his Father-land.
And with all his glorious feelings yet
In their first glow,
Like a southern stream that no frost hath met
To chain its flow.
A song for the death-day of the brave
A song of pride!
For him that went to a hero's grave,
With the sword, his bride.
He hath left a voice in his trumpet-lays
To turn the flight,
And a guiding spirit for after days,
Like a watch-fire's light.
And a grief in his father's soul to rest,
Midst all high thought;
And a memory unto his mother's breast,
With healing fraught.
And a name and fame above the blight
Of earthly breath,
Beautiful beautiful and bright,
In life and death!
A song for the death-day of the brave
A song of pride!
For him that went to a hero's grave,
With the sword, his bride!
The Shade Of Theseus - Ancient Greek Tradition
Know ye not when our dead
From sleep to battle sprung?
-When the Persian charger's tread
On their cowering greensward rung!
When the trampling march of foes
Had crush'd our vines and flowers,
When jewell'd crests arose
Through the holy laurel-bowers,
When banners caught the breeze,
When helms in sunlight shone,
When masts were on the seas,
And spears on Marathon.
There was one, a leader crown'd,
And arm'd for Greece that day;
But the falchions made no sound
On his gleaming war-array.
In the battle's front he stood,
With his tall and shadowy crest;
But the arrows drew no blood
Though their path was through his breast.
When banners caught the breeze,
When helms in sunlight shone,
When masts were on the seas,
And spears on Marathon.
His sword was seen to flash
Where the boldest deeds were done;
But it smote without a clash;
The stroke was heard by none!
His voice was not of those
That swell'd the rolling blast,
And his steps fell hush'd like snows-
'Twas the Shade of Theseus pass'd!
When banners caught the breeze,
When helms in sunlight shone,
When masts were on the seas,
And spears on Marathon.
Far sweeping through the foe,
With a fiery charge he bore;
And the Mede left many a bow
On the sounding ocean-shore.
And the foaming waves grew red,
And the sails were crowded fast,
When the sons of Asia fled,
As the Shade of Theseus pass'd!
When banners caught the breeze,
When helms in sunlight shone,
When masts were on the seas,
And spears on Marathon.
War-Song Of The Spanish Patriots
YE who burn with glory's flame!
Ye who love the Patriot's fame;
Ye who scorn oppressive might,
Rise! in freedom's cause unite;
Hark! Iberia calls, ye brave!
Haste! your bleeding country save:
Be the palm of bright renown,
Be th' unfading laurel-crown,
The hero's prize!
High the crimson banner wave!
Ours be conquest or the grave!
Spirits of our noble sires,
Lo! your sons, with kindred fires,
See them once again advance,
Crush the pride of hostile France;
See their hearts, with ardor warm,
See them, with triumphant arm,
Repel the foe!
By the Cid's immortal name,
By Gonsalvo's deathless fame;
By the chiefs of former time,
By the valiant deeds sublime,
Of ancient days;
Brave Castilians! grasp the spear!
Gallant Andalusians, hear!
Glory calls you to the plain,
Future bards, in lofty strain,
Shall sing your praise!
Shades of mighty warriors dead,
Ye who nobly fought and bled;
Ye whose valor could withstand,
The savage Moor's invading band
Untaught to yield;
Bade victorious Charlemagne,
Own the patriot-arms of Spain;
Ye, in later times renown'd,
Ye who fell with laurels crown'd,
On Pavia's field!
Teach our hearts like yours to burn;
Lawless pow'r like you to spurn;
Teach us but like you to wield,
Freedom's lance and Freedom's shield
With daring might:
Tyrant! soon thy reign is o'er,
Thou shalt waste mankind no more;
Boast no more thy thousands slain,
Jena's, or Marengo's plain;
Lo! the sun that gilds thy day,
Soon will veil its parting ray,
In endless night!
Swiss Song, On The Anniversary Of An Ancient Battle
Look on the white Alps round!
If yet they gird a land
Where freedom's voice and step are found,
Forget ye not the band,
The faithful band, our sires, who fell
Here, in the narrow battle-dell!
If yet, the wilds among,
Our silent hearts may burn,
When the deep mountain-horn hath rung,
And home our steps may turn,
-Home!-home!-if still that name be dear,
Praise to the men who perish'd here!
Look on the white Alps round!
Up to their shining snows
That day the stormy rolling sound,
The sound of battle rose!
Their caves prolong'd the trumpet's blast,
Their dark pines trembled as it pass'd!
They saw the princely crest,
They saw the knightly spear,
The banner and the mail-clad breast
Borne down, and trampled here!
They saw-and glorying there they stand,
Eternal records to the land!
Praise to the mountain-born,
The brethren of the glen!
By them no steel-array was worn,
They stood as peasant-men!
They left the vineyard and the field
To break an empire's lance and shield!
Look on the white Alps round!
If yet, along their steeps,
Our children's fearless feet may bound,
Free as the chamois leaps:
Teach them in song to bless the band
Amidst whose mossy graves we stand!
If, by the wood-fire's blaze,
When winter-stars gleam cold,
The glorious tales of elder days
May proudly yet be told,
Forget not then the shepherd-race,
Who made the hearth a holy place!
Look on the white Alps round!
If yet the sabbath bell
Comes o'er them with a gladdening sound,
Think on the battle-dell!
For blood first bath'd its flowery sod,
That chainless hearts might worship God!
The Bended Bow
There was heard the sound of a coming foe,
There was sent through Britain a bended Bow,
And a voice was pour'd on the free winds far,
As the land rose up at the sign of war.
'Heard ye not the battle-horn?
-Reaper! leave thy golden corn!
Leave it for the birds of Heaven,
Swords must flash, and spears be riven!
Leave it for the winds to shed-
Arm! ere Britain's turf grow red!'
And the reaper arm'd, like a freeman's son,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.
'Hunter! leave the mountain-chase!
Take the falchion from its place!
Let the wolf go free to-day,
Leave him for a nobler prey!
Let the deer ungall'd sweep by,-
Arm thee! Britain's foes are nigh!'
And the hunter arm'd ere the chase was done,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.
'Chieftain! quit the joyous feast!
Stay not till the song hath ceas'd:
Though the mead be foaming bright,
Though the fires give ruddy light,
Leave the hearth and leave the hall-
Arm thee! Britain's foes must fall.'
And the chieftain arm'd, and the horn was blown,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.
'Prince! thy father's deeds are told,
In the bower and in the hold!
Where the goatherd's lay is sung,
Where the minstrel's harp is strung!
-Foes are on thy native sea-
Give our bards a tale of thee!'
And the prince came arm'd, like a leader's son,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.
'Mother! stay thou not thy boy!
He must learn the battle's joy.
Sister! bring the sword and spear,
Give thy brother words of cheer!
Maiden! bid thy lover part,
Britain calls the strong in heart!'
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on,
And the bards made song for a battle won.
Warrior! whose image on thy tomb,
With shield and crested head,
Sleeps proudly in the purple gloom
By the stain'd window shed;
The records of thy name and race
Have faded from the stone,
Yet, through a cloud of years, I trace
What thou hast been and done.
A banner, from its flashing spear,
Flung out o'er many a fight;
A war-cry ringing far and clear,
And strong to turn the flight;
An arm that bravely bore the lance
On for the holy shrine;
A haughty heart and a kingly glanceâ€“
Chief! were not these things thine?
A lofty place where leaders sate
Around the council-board;
In festive halls a chair of state
When the blood-red wine was pour'd;
A name that drew a prouder tone
From herald, harp, and bard;â€“
Surely these things were all thine own,â€“
So hadst thou thy reward.
Woman! whose sculptur'd form at rest
By the armed knight is laid,
With meek hands folded o'er a breast
In matron robes array'd;
What was thy tale?â€“Oh! gentle mate
Of him, the bold and free,
Bound unto his victorious fate,
What bard hath sung of thee?
He woo'd a bright and burning starâ€“
Thine was the void, the gloom,
The straining eye that follow'd far
His fast-receding plume;
The heart-sick listening while his steed
Sent echoes on the breeze;
The pangâ€“but when did Fame take heed
Of griefs obscure as these?
Thy silent and secluded hours
Thro' many a lonely day,
While bending o'er thy broider'd flowers,
With spirit far away;
Thy weeping midnight prayers for him
Who fought on Syrian plains,
Thy watchings till the torch grew dimâ€“
These fill no minstrel strains.
A still, sad life was thine!â€“long years
With tasks unguerdon'd fraught,
Deep, quiet love, submissive tears,
Vigils of anxious thought;
Prayer at the cross in fervour pour'd,
Alms to the pilgrim givenâ€“
Oh! happy, happier than thy lord,
In that lone path to heaven!
An Hour Of Romance
There were thick leaves above me and around,
And low sweet sighs like those of childhood's sleep,
Amidst their dimness, and a fitful sound
As of soft showers on water; dark and deep
Lay the oak shadows o'er the turf, so still
They seem'd but pictured glooms: a hidden rill
Made music, such as haunts us in a dream,
Under the fern-tufts; and a tender gleam
Of soft green light, as by the glow-worm shed,
Came pouring thro' the woven beech-boughs down,
And steep'd the magic page wherein I read
Of royal chivalry and old renown,
A tale of Palestine. Meanwhile the bee
Swept past me with a tone of summer hours,
A drowsy bugle, wafting thoughts of flowers,
Blue skies, and amber sunshine: brightly free,
On filmy wings the purple dragon-fly
Shot glancing like a fairy javelin by;
And a sweet voice of sorrow told the dell
Where sat the lone wood-pigeon:
But ere long,
All sense of these things faded, as the spell
Breathing from that high gorgeous tale grew strong
On my chain'd soul: 'twas not the leaves I heard
A Syrian wind the Lion-banner stirr'd,
Thro' its proud, floating folds: 'twas not the brook,
Singing in secret thro' its grassy glen;
A wild shrill trumpet of the Saracen
Peal'd from the desert's lonely heart, and shook
The burning air. Like clouds when winds are high,
O'er glittering sands flew steeds of Araby,
And tents rose up, and sudden lance and spear
Flash'd where a fountain's diamond wave lay clear,
Shadow'd by graceful palm-trees. Then the shout
Of merry England's joy swell'd freely out,
Sent thro' an eastern heaven, whose glorious hue
Made shields dark mirrors to its depths of blue:
And harps were there; I heard their sounding strings,
As the waste echoed to the mirth of kings.
The bright masque faded. Unto life's worn track,
What call'd me from its flood of glory, back?
A voice of happy childhood! and they pass'd,
Banner, and harp, and Paynim's trumpet's blast;
Yet might I scarce bewail the splendours gone,
My heart so leap'd to that sweet laughter's tone.
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!
These birds of Paradise but long to flee
Back to their native mansion. ~
Prophecy of Dante
A Requiem! and for whom!
For beauty in its bloom?
For valour fall'n? a broken rose or sword?
A dirge for king or chief,
With pomp of stately grief,
Banner, and torch, and waving plume deplor'd?
Not so, it is not so!
The warning voice I know,
From other worlds a strange mysterious tone;
A solemn funeral air
It call'd me to prepare,
And my heart answer'd secretly my own!
One more then, one more strain,
In links of joy and pain,
Mighty the troubled spirit to inthrall!
And let me breathe my dower
Of passion and of power
Full into that deep lay the last of all!
The last! and I must go
From this bright world below,
This realm of sunshine, ringing with sweet sound!
Must leave its festal skies,
With all their melodies,
That ever in my breast glad echoes found!
Yet have I known it long:
Too restless and too strong
Within this clay hath been th' o'ermastering flame;
Swift thoughts, that came and went,
Like torrents o'er me sent,
Have shaken, as a reed, my thrilling frame.
Like perfumes on the wind
Which none may stay or bind,
The beautiful comes floating thro' my soul;
I strive with yearnings vain,
The spirit to detain
Of the deep harmonies that past me roll!
Therefore disturbing dreams
Trouble the secret streams
And founts of music that o'erflow my breast;
Something far more divine
Than may on earth be mine,
Haunts my worn heart, and will not let me rest.
Shall I then fear the tone
That breathes from worlds unknown?
Surely these feverish aspirations there
Shall grasp their full desire,
And this unsettled fire,
Burn calmly, brightly, in immortal air.
One more then, one more strain;
To earthly joy and pain
A rich, and deep, and passionate farewell!
I pour each fervent thought
With fear, hope, trembling, fraught,
Into the notes that o'er my dust shall swell.
The Statue Of The Dying Gladiator
COMMANDING pow'r! whose hand with plastic art
Bids the rude stone to grace and being start;
Swell to the waving line the polish'd form,
And only want Promethean fire to warm ;—
Sculpture, exult! thy triumph proudly see,
The Roman slave immortalized by thee!
No suppliant sighs, no terrors round him wait,
But vanquish'd valor soars above his fate!
In that fix'd eye still proud defiance low'rs,
In that stern look indignant grandeur tow'rs!
He sees e'en death, with javelin barb'd in pain,
A foe but worthy of sublime disdain!
Too firm, too lofty, for one parting tear,
A quiv'ring pulse, a struggle, or a fear!
Oh! fire of soul! by servitude disgrac'd,
Perverted courage! energy debas'd!
Lost Rome! thy slave, expiring in the dust,
Tow'rs far above Patrician rank, august!
While that proud rank, insatiate, could survey
Pageants that stain'd with blood each festal day!
Oh! had that arm, which grac'd thy deathful show,
With many a daring feat and nervous blow,
Wav'd the keen sword and rear'd the patriot-shield,
Firm in thy cause, on Glory's laureate field;
Then, like the marble form, from age to age,
His name had liv'd in history's brightest page;
While death had but secur'd the victor's crown,
And seal'd the suffrage of deserv'd renown!
That gen'rous pride, that spirit unsubdu'd,
That soul, with honor's high-wrought sense imbu'd,
Had shone, recorded in the song of fame,
A beam, as now, a blemish, on thy name!
Yet here, so well has art majestic wrought,
Sublimed expression, and ennobled thought;
A dying Hero we behold, alone,
And Mind's bright grandeur animates the stone!
'Tis not th' Arena's venal champion bleeds,
No! 'tis some warrior, fam'd for matchless deeds!
Admiring rapture kindles into flame,
Nature and art the palm divided claim!
Nature (exulting in her spirit's pow'r,
To rise victorious in the dreaded hour,)
Triumphs, that death and all his shadowy train,
Assail a mortal's constancy—in vain!
And Art, rejoicing in the work sublime,
Unhurt by all the sacrilege of time,
Smiles o'er the marble, her divine control
Moulded to symmetry, and fir'd with soul!
The Bards, To The Soldiers Of Caractacus
VALIANT sons of freedom's land,
Ardent, firm, devoted band,
Rise, at honor's thrilling call:
Warriors, arm! shall Britain fall?
Bleed, soldiers! bleed,
For Britain's throne, for glory's meed!
Heroes! to the combat fly,
Proud to struggle, blest to die;
Go! should death your efforts crown,
Mount the pinions of renown;
Go! tell our sires,
Their daring fires,
Glow in our lofty souls, till life expires!
Tell them, ne'er shall Britain yield,
Whilst a hand the sword can wield!
Tell them, we the strife maintain,
Tell them, we defy the chain!
In heart the same,
We emulate their brightest fame!
Shades of sainted chiefs! be near,
Frown on Albion's lifted spear!
Point the falchion, guide the car,
Flaming through the ranks of war!
Rise on the field,
With sword and shield,
To British eyes in forms of light reveal'd!
Spark of freedom, blaze on high!
Wilt thou quiver? shalt thou die?
Never, never! holy fire!
Mount, irradiate! beam, aspire!
Our foes consume,
Our swords illume,
And chase the dark horizon's gloom!
Shall the Roman arms invade
Mona's dark and hallow'd shade?
By the dread, mysterious wand,
Waving in the Druid's hand;
By ev'ry rite,
Of Mona's night,
Arm, warriors! arm, in sacred cause unite!
Honor! while thy bands disdain,
Slav'ry's dark, debasing chain;
Britain! while thy sons are free,
Dauntless, faithful, firm, for thee;
Mona! while at thy command,
Ardent, bold, sublime, they stand;
Proud foes in vain,
Prepare the chain,
For Albion unsubdu'd shall reign!
Lo! we see a flame divine
Blaze o'er Mona's awful shrine;
Lo! we hear a voice proclaim,
'Albion, thine, immortal fame!'
Arise, ye brave,
To bleed, to save,
Tho' proud in pomp, yon Roman eagles wave!
Cæsar, come! in ten-fold mail,
Will thine arms like ours avail?
Cæsar! let thy falchions blaze,
Will they dim fair Freedom's rays?
Cæsar! boast thy wide control,
Canst thou chain th' aspiring soul?
What steel can bind,
The soaring mind,
Free as the light, the wave, the wind?
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!
Tasso And His Sister
She sat, where on each wind that sigh'd,
The citron's breath went by,
While the red gold of eventide
Burn'd in th' Italian sky.
Her bower was one where daylight's close
Full oft sweet laughter found,
As thence the voice of childhood rose
To the high vineyards round.
But still and thoughtful, at her knee,
Her children stood that hour,
Their bursts of song and dancing glee,
Hush'd as by words of power.
With bright, fix'd, wondering eyes, that gaz'd
Up to their mother's face,
With brows thro' parted ringlets rais'd,
They stood in silent grace.
While she–yet something o'er her look
Of mournfulness was spread–
Forth from a poet's magic book,
The glorious numbers read;
The proud undying lay, which pour'd
Its light on evil years;
His of the gifted pen and sword,
The triumph–and the tears.
She read of fair Erminia's flight,
Which Venice once might hear
Sung on her glittering seas at night,
By many a gondolier;
Of him she read, who broke the charm
That wrapt the myrtle grove;
Of Godfrey's deeds, of Tancred's arm,
That slew his Paynim love.
Young cheeks around that bright page glow'd,
Young holy hearts were stirr'd;
And the meek tears of woman flow'd
Fast o'er each burning word.
And sounds of breeze, and fount, and leaf,
Came sweet, each pause between;
When a strange voice of sudden grief
Burst on the gentle scene.
The mother turn'd–a way-worn man,
In pilgrim-garb, stood nigh,
Of stately mien, yet wild and wan,
Of proud yet mournful eye.
But drops which would not stay for pride,
From that dark eye gush'd free,
As pressing his pale brow, he cried,
'Forgotten! ev'n by thee!
'Am I so changed?–and yet we two
Oft hand in hand have play'd;–
This brow hath been all bath'd in dew,
From wreaths which thou hast made;
We have knelt down and said one prayer,
And sung one vesper strain;
My soul is dim with clouds of care–
Tell me those words again!
'Life hath been heavy on my head,
I come a stricken deer,
Bearing the heart, midst crowds that bled,
To bleed in stillness here.'–
She gaz'd–till thoughts that long had slept
Shook all her thrilling frame–
She fell upon his neck and wept,
Murmuring her brother's name.
Her brother's name!–and who was he,
The weary one, th' unknown,
That came, the bitter world to flee,
A stranger to his own?–
He was the bard of gifts divine
To sway the souls of men;
He of the song for Salem's shrine,
He of the sword and pen!
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!
Ivan The Czar
He sat in silence on the ground,
The old and haughty Czar;
Lonely, tho' princes girt him round,
And leaders of the war:
He had cast his jewell'd sabre,
That many a field had won,
To the earth beside his youthful dead,
His fair and first-born son.
With a robe of ermine for its bed,
Was laid that form of clay,
Where the light a stormy sunset shed,
Thro' the rich tent made way:
And a sad and solemn beauty
On the pallid face came down,
Which the Lord of nations mutely watch'd,
In the dust, with his renown.
Low tones at last of wo and fear
From his full bosom broke;–
A mournful thing it was to hear
How then the proud man spoke!
The voice that thro' the combat
Had shouted far and high,
Came forth in strange, dull, hollow tones,
Burden'd with agony.
'There is no crimson on thy cheek,
And on thy lip no breath,
I call thee, and thou dost not speak–
They tell me this is death!
And fearful things are whispering
That I the deed have done–
For the honour of thy father's name,
Look up, look up, my son!
'Well might I know death's hue and mien,
But on thine aspect, boy!
What, till this moment, have I seen
Save pride and tameless joy?
Swiftest thou wert to battle,
And bravest there of all–
How could I think a warrior's frame
Thus like a flower should fall?
'I will not bear that still, cold look–
Rise up, thou fierce and free!
Wake as the storm wakes! I will brook
All, save this calm, from thee!
Lift brightly up, and proudly,
Once more thy kindling eyes!
Hath my word lost its power on earth?
I say to thee, arise!
'Didst thou not know I lov'd thee well?
Thou didst not! and art gone
In bitterness of soul, to dwell
Where man must dwell alone.
Come back, young fiery spirit!
If but one hour, to learn
The secrets of the folded heart,
That seem'd to thee so stern.
'Thou wert the first, the first, fair child,
That in mine arms I press'd;
Thou wert the bright one, that hast smil'd
Like summer on my breast!
I rear'd thee as an eagle,
To the chase thy steps I led,
I bore thee on my battle-horse,
I look upon thee–dead!
'Lay down my warlike banners here,
Never again to wave,
And bury my red sword and spear,
Chiefs! in my first-born's grave!
And leave me!–I have conquer'd,
I have slain–my work is done!
Whom have I slain?–ye answer not–
Thou too art mute, my son!'
And thus his wild lament was pour'd
Thro' the dark resounding night,
And the battle knew no more his sword,
Nor the foaming steed his might.
He heard strange voices moaning
In every wind that sigh'd;
From the searching stars of heaven he shrank–
Humbly the conqueror died.
The Crusader's Return
Rest pilgrim, rest!-thou'rt from the Syrian land,
Thou'rt from the wild and wondrous east, I know
By the long-withered palm-branch in thy hand,
And by the darkness of thy sunburnt brow.
Alas! the bright, the beautiful, who part,
So full of hope, for that far country's bourne!
Alas! the weary and the chang'd in heart,
And dimm'd in aspect, who like thee return!
Thou'rt faint-stay, rest thee from thy toils at last,
Through the high chesnuts lightly plays the breeze,
The stars gleam out, the Ave hour is pass'd,
The sailor's hymn hath died along the seas.
Thou 'rt faint and worn-hear'st thou the fountain welling
By the grey pillars of yon ruin'd shrine?
Seest thou the dewy grapes, before thee swelling?
-He that hath left me train'd that loaded vine!
He was a child when thus the bower he wove,
(Oh! hath a day fled since his childhood's time?)
That I might sit and hear the sound I love,
Beneath its shade-the convent's vesper-chime.
And sit thou there!-for he was gentle ever;
With his glad voice he would have welcomed thee,
And brought fresh fruits to cool thy parch'd lips' fever-
-There in his place thou 'rt resting-where is he?
If I could hear that laughing voice again,
But once again!-how oft it wanders by,
In the still hours, like some remember'd strain,
Troubling the heart with its wild melody!
-Thou hast seen much, tired pilgrim! hast thou seen
In that far land, the chosen land of yore,
A youth-my Guido-with the fiery mien,
And the dark eye of this Italian shore?
The dark, clear, lightning eye!-on Heaven and earth
It smiled-as if man were not dust-it smiled!
The very air seem'd kindling with his mirth,
And I-my heart grew young before my child!
My blessed child!-I had but him-yet he
Fill'd all my home ev'n with o'erflowing joy,
Sweet laughter, and wild song, and footstep free-
-Where is he now?-my pride, my flower, my boy!
His sunny childhood melted from my sight,
Like a spring dew-drop-then his forehead wore
A prouder look-his eye a keener light-
-I knew these woods might be his world no more!
He loved me-but he left me!-thus they go,
Whom we have rear'd, watch'd, bless'd, too much adored!
He heard the trumpet of the red-cross blow,
And bounded from me, with his father's sword!
Thou weep'st-I tremble-thou hast seen the slain
Pressing a bloody turf; the young and fair,
With their pale beauty strewing o'er the plain
Where hosts have met-speak! answer!-was he there?
Oh! hath his smile departed?-Could the grave
Shut o'er those bursts of bright and tameless glee?
-No! I shall yet behold his dark locks wave-
That look gives hope-I knew it could not be!
Still weep'st thou, wanderer?-some fond mother's glance
O'er thee too brooded in thine early years-
Think'st thou of her, whose gentle eye, perchance,
Bath'd all thy faded hair with parting tears?
Speak, for thy tears disturb me!-what art thou?
Why dost thou hide thy face, yet weeping on?
Look up!-oh! is it-that wan cheek and brow!-
Is it-alas! yet joy!-my son, my son!
Coeur De Lion At The Bier Of His Father
Torches were blazing clear,
Hymns pealing deep and slow,
Where a king lay stately on his bier,
In the church of Fontevraud.
Banners of battle o'er him hung,
And warriors slept beneath,
And light, as Noon's broad light, was flung
On the settled face of death.
On the settled face of death
A strong and ruddy glare,
Through dimm'd at times by the censer's breath,
Yet it fell still brightest there:
As if each deeply-furrow'd trace
Of earthly years to show,-
-Alas! that sceptred mortal's race
Had surely clos'd in woe!
The marble floor was swept
By many a long dark stole,
As the kneeling priests round him that slept,
Sang mass for the parted soul;
And solemn were the strains they pour'd
Through the stillness of the night,
With the cross above, and the crown and sword,
And the silent king in sight.
There was heard a heavy clang,
As of steel-girt men the tread,
And the tombs and the hollow pavement rang
With a sounding thrill of dread;
And the holy chant was hush'd awhile,
As by the torch's flame,
A gleam of arms, up the sweeping aisle,
With a mail-clad leader came.
He came with haughty look,
An eagle-glance and clear,
But his proud heart through its breast-plate shook,
When he stood beside the bier!
He stood there still with a drooping brow,
And clasp'd hands o'er it rais'd;-
For his father lay before him low,
It was Coeur-de-Lion gazed!
And silently he strove
With the workings of his breast,
-But there's more in late repentant love
Than steel may keep suppress'd!
And his tears brake forth, at last, like rain-
-Men held their breath in awe,
For his face was seen by his warrior-train,
And he reck'd not that they saw.
He look'd upon the dead,
And sorrow seem'd to lie,
A weight of sorrow, ev'n like lead,
Pale on the fast-shut eye.
He stoop'd-and kiss'd the frozen cheek,
And the heavy hand of clay,
Till bursting words-yet all too weak-
Gave his soul's passion way.
'Oh, father! is it vain,
This late remorse and deep?
Speak to me, father! once again,
I weep-behold, I weep!
Alas! my guilty pride and ire!
Were but this work undone,
I would give England's crown, my sire!
To hear thee bless thy son.
'Speak to me! mighty grief
Ere now the dust hath stirr'd!
Hear me, but hear me!-father, chief,
My king! I must be heard!
-Hush'd, hush'd-how is it that I call,
And that thou answerest not?
When was it thus?-woe, woe for all
The love my soul forgot!
'Thy silver hairs I see,
So still, so sadly bright!
And father, father! but for me,
They had not been so white!
I bore thee down, high heart! at last,
No longer couldst thou strive;-
Oh! for one moment of the past,
To kneel and say-'forgive!'
'Thou wert the noblest king,
On royal throne e'er seen;
And thou didst wear, in knightly ring,
Of all, the stateliest mien;
And thou didst prove, where spears are prov'd
In war, the bravest heart-
-Oh! ever the renown'd and lov'd
Thou wert-and there thou art!
'Thou that my boyhood's guide
Didst take fond joy to be!-
The times I've sported at thy side,
And climb'd thy parent-knee!
And there before the blessed shrine,
My sire! I see thee lie,-
-How will that sad still face of thine
Look on me till I die!'
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!
To die for what we love! Oh! there is power
In the true heart, and pride, and joy, for this;
It is to live without the vanish'd light
That strength is needed. -
Così ´rapassa al trapassar d'un Giorno
Della vita mortal il fiore e'l verde. -
ALONG the star-lit Seine went music swelling,
Till the air thrill'd with its exulting mirth;
Proudly it floated, even as if no dwelling
For cares or stricken hearts were found on earth;
And a glad sound the measure lightly beat,
A happy chime of many dancing feet.
For in a palace of the land that night,
Lamps, and fresh roses, and green leaves were hung,
And from the painted walls a stream of light
On flying forms beneath soft splendour flung:
But loveliest far amidst the revel's pride
Was one, the lady from the Danube-side.
Pauline, the meekly bright! tho' now no more
Her clear eye flash'd with youth's all tameless glee,
Yet something holier than its dayspring wore,
There in soft rest lay beautiful to see;
A charm with graver, tenderer sweetness fraught
The blending of deep love and matron thought.
Thro' the gay throng she moved, serenely fair,
And such calm joy as fills a moonlight sky,
Sate on her brow beneath its graceful hair,
As her young daughter in the dance went by,
With the fleet step of one that yet hath known
Smiles and kind voices in this world alone.
Lurk'd there no secret boding in her breast?
Did no faint whisper warn of evil nigh?
Such oft awake when most the heart seems blest
Midst the light laughter of festivity:?
Whence come those tones!?Alas! enough we know,
To mingle fear with all triumphal show!
Who spoke of evil, when young feet were flying
In fairy-rings around the echoing hall
Soft airs thro' braided locks in perfume sighing,
Glad pulses beating unto music's call
Silence!?the minstrels pause?and hark! a sound,
A strange quick rustling which their notes had drown'd!
And lo! a light upon the dancers breaking
Not such their clear and silvery lamps had shed!
From the gay dream of revelry awaking,
One moment holds them still in breathless dread;
The wild fierce lustre grows?then bursts a cry?
Fire! thro' the hall and round it gathering fly!
And forth they rush as chased by sword and spear
To the green coverts of the garden-bowers;
A gorgeous masque of pageantry and fear,
Startling the birds and trampling down the flowers:
While from the dome behind, red sparkles driven
Pierce the dark stillness of the midnight heaven.
And where is she, Pauline? the hurrying throng
Have swept her onward, as a stormy blast
Might sweep some faint o'er wearied bird along
Till now the threshold of that death is past,
And free she stands beneath the starry skies,
Calling her child?but no sweet voice replies.
'Bertha! where art thou??Speak, oh! speak my own!'
Alas! unconscious of her pangs the while,
The gentle girl, in fear's cold grasp alone,
Powerless hath sunk within the blazing pile;
A young bright form, deck'd gloriously for death,
With flowers all shrinking from the flame's fierce breath!
But oh! thy strength, deep love! there is no power
To stay the mother from that rolling grave,
Tho' fast on high the fiery volumes tower,
And forth, like banners, from each lattice wave.
Back, back she rushes thro' a host combined?
Mighty is anguish, with affection twined!
And what bold step may follow, midst the roar
Of the red billows, o'er their prey that rise?
None!?Courage there stood still?and never more
Did those fair forms emerge on human eyes!
Was one brief meeting theirs, one wild farewell?
And died they heart to heart? Oh! who can tell?
Freshly and cloudlessly the morning broke
On that sad palace, midst its pleasure-shades;
Its painted roofs had sunk yet black with smoke
And lonely stood its marble colonnades:
But yester-eve their shafts with wreaths were bound?
Now lay the scene one shrivell'd scroll around!
And bore the ruins no recording trace
Of all that woman's heart had dared and done
Yes! there were gems to mark its mortal place,
That forth from dust and ashes dimly shone!
Those had the mother, on her gentle breast,
Worn round her child's fair image, there at rest.
And they were all! the tender and the true
Left this alone her sacrifice to prove,
Hallowing the spot where mirth once lightly flew,
To deep, lone, chasten'd thoughts of grief and love.
Oh! we have need of patient faith below,
To clear away the mysteries of such wo!
The Sicilian Captive
The champions had come from their fields of war,
Over the crests of the billows far,
They had brought back the spoils of a hundred shores,
Where the deep had foam'd to their flashing oars.
They sat at their feast round the Norse-king's board;
By the glare of the torch-light the mead was pour'd;
The hearth was heap'd with the pine-boughs high,
And it flung a red radiance on shields thrown by.
The Scalds had chaunted in Runic rhyme,
Their songs of the Sword and the olden time,
And a solemn thrill, as the harp-chords rung,
Had breath'd from the walls where the bright spears hung.
But the swell was gone from the quivering string,
They had summon'd a softer voice to sing,
And a captive girl, at the warriors' call,
Stood forth in the midst of that frowning hall.
Lonely she stood:â€“in her mournful eyes
Lay the clear midnight of southern skies,
And the drooping fringe of their lashes low,
Half veil'd a depth of unfathom'd wo.
Stately she stoodâ€“tho' her fragile frame
Seem'd struck with the blight of some inward flame,
And her proud pale brow had a shade of scorn,
Under the waves of her dark hair worn.
And a deep flush pass'd, like a crimson haze,
O'er her marble cheek by the pine-fire's blaze;
No soft hue caught from the south-wind's breath,
But a token of fever, at strife with death.
She had been torn from her home away,
With her long locks crown'd for her bridal day,
And brought to die of the burning dreams
That haunt the exile by foreign streams.
They bade her sing of her distant landâ€“
She held its lyre with a trembling hand,
Till the spirit its blue skies had given her, woke,
And the stream of her voice into music broke.
Faint was the strain, in its first wild flow;
Troubled its murmur, and sad, and low;
But it swell'd into deeper power ere long,
As the breeze that swept over her soul grew strong.
'They bid me sing of thee, mine own, my sunny land! of thee!
Am I not parted from thy shores by the mournful-sounding sea?
Doth not thy shadow wrap my soul?â€“in silence let me die,
In a voiceless dream of thy silvery founts, and thy pure, deep sapphire sky;
How should thy lyre give here its wealth of buried sweetness forth?
Its tones of summer's breathings born, to the wild winds of the north?
'Yet thus it shall be once, once more!â€“my spirit shall awake,
And thro' the mists of death shine out, my country, for thy sake!
That I may make thee known, with all the beauty and the light,
And the glory never more to bless thy daughter's yearning sight!
Thy woods shall whisper in my song, thy bright streams warble by,
Thy soul flow o'er my lips againâ€“yet once, my Sicily!
'There are blue heavensâ€“far hence, far hence! but oh! their glorious blue!
Its very night is beautiful, with the hyacinth's deep hue!
It is above my own fair land, and round my laughing home,
And arching o'er my vintage-hills, they hang their cloudless dome;
And making all the waves as gems, that melt along the shore,
And steeping happy hearts in joyâ€“that now is mine no more.
'And there are haunts in that green landâ€“oh! who may dream or tell,
Of all the shaded loveliness it hides in grot and dell!
By fountains flinging rainbow-spray on dark and glossy leaves,
And bowers wherein the forest-dove her nest untroubled weaves;
The myrtle dwells there, sending round the richness of its breath,
And the violets gleam like amethysts, from the dewy moss beneath.
'And there are floating sounds that fill the skies thro' night and day,
Sweet sounds! the soul to hear them faints in dreams of heaven away!
They wander thro' the olive-woods, and o'er the shining seas,
They mingle with the orange-scents that load the sleepy breeze;
Lute, voice, and bird, are blending there;â€“it were a bliss to die,
As dies a leaf, thy groves among, my flowery Sicily!
'I may not thus departâ€“farewell! yet no, my country! no!
Is not love stronger than the grave? I feel it must be so!
My fleeting spirit shall o'ersweep the mountains and the main,
And in thy tender starlight rove, and thro' thy woods again.
Its passion deepensâ€“it prevails!â€“I break my chainâ€“ I come
To dwell a viewless thing, yet blestâ€“in thy sweet air, my home!'
And her pale arms dropp'd the ringing lyre,
There came a mist o'er her eye's wild fire,
And her dark rich tresses, in many a fold,
Loosed from their braids, down her bosom roll'd.
For her head sank back on the rugged wall,â€“
A silence fell o'er the warriors' hall;
She had pour'd out her soul with her song's last tone;
The lyre was broken, the minstrel gone!
The Mourner For The Barmecides
Fall'n was the House of Giafar; and its name,
The high romantic name of Barmecide,
A sound forbidden on its own bright shores,
By the swift Tygris' wave. Stern Haroun's wrath,
Sweeping the mighty with their fame away,
Had so pass'd sentence: but man's chainless heart
Hides that within its depths which never yet
Th' oppressor's thought could reach.
Where Giafar's halls, beneath the burning sun,
Spread out in ruin lay. The songs had ceas'd;
The lights, the perfumes, and the genii-tales
Had ceas'd; the guests were gone. Yet still one voice
Was there–the fountain's; thro' those eastern courts,
Over the broken marble and the grass,
Its low clear music shedding mournfully.
And still another voice!–an aged man,
Yet with a dark and fervent eye beneath
His silvery hair, came day by day, and sate
On a white column's fragment; and drew forth,
From the forsaken walls and dim arcades,
A tone that shook them with its answering thrill
To his deep accents. Many a glorious tale
He told that sad yet stately solitude,
Pouring his memory's fulness o'er its gloom,
Like waters in the waste; and calling up,
By song or high recital of their deeds,
Bright solemn shadows of its vanish'd race
To people their own halls: with these alone,
In all this rich and breathing world, his thoughts
Held still unbroken converse. He had been
Rear'd in this lordly dwelling, and was now
The ivy of its ruins, unto which
His fading life seem'd bound. Day roll'd on day,
And from that scene the loneliness was fled;
For crowds around the grey-hair'd chronicler
Met as men meet, within whose anxious hearts
Fear with deep feeling strives; till, as a breeze
Wanders thro' forest branches, and is met
By one quick sound and shiver of the leaves,
The spirit of his passionate lament,
As thro' their stricken souls it pass'd, awoke
One echoing murmur.–But this might not be
Under a despot's rule, and, summon'd thence,
The dreamer stood before the Caliph's throne:
Sentenced to death he stood, and deeply pale,
And with his white lips rigidly compress'd;
Till, in submissive tones, he ask'd to speak
Once more, ere thrust from earth's fair sunshine forth.
Was it to sue for grace?–His burning heart
Sprang, with a sudden lightning, to his eye,
And he was changed!–and thus, in rapid words,
Th' o'ermastering thoughts, more strong than death, found way.
'And shall I not rejoice to go, when the noble and the brave,
With the glory on their brows, are gone before me to the grave?
What is there left to look on now, what brightness in the land?–
I hold in scorn the faded world, that wants their princely band!
'My chiefs! my chiefs! the old man comes that in your halls was nurs'd,
That follow'd you to many a fight, where flash'd your sabres first;
That bore your children in his arms, your name upon his heart:–
Oh! must the music of that name with him from earth depart?
'It shall not be!–a thousand tongues, tho' human voice were still,
With that high sound the living air triumphantly shall fill;
The wind's free flight shall bear it on, as wandering seeds are sown,
And the starry midnight whisper it, with a deep and thrilling tone.
'For it is not as a flower whose scent with the dropping leaves expires,
And it is not as a household lamp, that a breath should quench its fires;
It is written on our battle-fields with the writing of the sword,
It hath left upon our desert-sands a light in blessings pour'd.
'The founts, the many gushing founts, which to the wild ye gave,
Of you, my chiefs, shall sing aloud, as they pour a joyous wave!
And the groves, with whose deep lovely gloom ye hung the pilgrim's way,
Shall send from all their sighing leaves your praises on the day.
'The very walls your bounty rear'd for the stranger's homeless head,
Shall find a murmur to record your tale, my glorious dead!
Tho' the grass be where ye feasted once, where lute and cittern rung,
And the serpent in your palaces lie coil'd amidst its young.
'It is enough! mine eye no more of joy or splendour sees,
I leave your name in lofty faith, to the skies and to the breeze!
I go, since earth her flower hath lost, to join the bright and fair,
And call the grave a kingly house, for ye, my chiefs, are there!'
But while the old man sang, a mist of tears
O'er Haroun's eyes had gathered, and a thought–
Oh! many a sudden and remorseful thought–
Of his youth's once-lov'd friends, the martyr'd race,
O'erflow'd his softening heart.–'Live! live!' he cried,
'Thou faithful unto death! live on, and still
Speak of thy lords; they were a princely band!'
The Funeral Day Of Sir Walter Scott
A GLORIOUS voice hath ceased!-
Mournfully, reverently-the funeral chant
Breathe reverently! There is a dreamy sound,
A hollow murmur of the dying year,
In the deep woods. Let it be wild and sad!
A more Aeolian melancholy tone
Than ever wail'd o'er bright things perishing!
For that is passing from the darken'd land,
Which the green summer will not bring us back-
Though all her songs return. The funeral chant
Breathe reverently!-They bear the mighty forth,
The kingly ruler in the realms of mind-
They bear him through the household paths, the groves,
Where every tree had music of its own
To his quick ear of knowledge taught by love-
And he is silent!-Past the living stream
They bear him now; the stream, whose kindly voice
On alien shores his true heart burn'd to hear-
And he is silent! O'er the heathery hills,
Which his own soul had mantled with a light
Richer than autumn's purple, now they move-
And he is silent!-he, whose flexile lips
Were but unseal'd, and lo! a thousand forms,
From every pastoral glen and fern-clad height,
In glowing life upsprang:-Vassal and chief,
Rider and steed, with shout and bugle-peal,
Fast rushing through the brightly troubled air,
Like the wild huntsman's band. And still they live,
To those fair scenes imperishably bound,
And, from the mountain mist still flashing by,
Startle the wanderer who hath listen'd there
To the seer's voice: phantoms of colour'd thought,
Surviving him who raised.-O eloquence!
O power, whose breathings thus could wake the dead!
Who shall wake thee? lord of the buried past!
And art thou there-to those dim nations join'd,
Thy subject-host so long?-The wand is dropp'd
The bright lamp broken, which the gifted hand
Touch'd, and the genii came!-Sing reverently
The funeral chant!-The mighty is borne home-
And who shall be his mourners?-Youth and age,
For each hath felt his magic-love and grief,
For he hath communed with the heart of each:
Yes-the free spirit of humanity
May join the august procession, for to him
Its mysteries have been tributary things,
And all its accents known:-from field or wave,
Never was conqueror on his battle bier,
By the vail'd banner and the muffled drum,
And the proud drooping of the crested head,
More nobly follow'd home.-The last abode,
The voiceless dwelling of the bard is reach'd:
A still majestic spot: girt solemnly
With all the imploring beauty of decay;
A stately couch 'midst ruins! meet for him
With his bright fame to rest in, as a king
Of other days, laid lonely with his sword
Beneath his head. Sing reverently the chant
Over the honour'd grave!-the grave!-oh, say
Rather the shrine!-An alter for the love,
The light, soft pilgrim steps, the votive wreaths
Of years unborn-a place where leaf and flower,
By that which dies not of the sovereign dead,
Shall be made holy things-where every weed
Shall have its portion of the inspiring gift
From buried glory breathed. And now, what strain,
Making victorious melody ascend
High above sorrow's dirge, befits the tomb
Where he that sway'd the nations thus is laid-
The crown'd of men?
A lowly, lowly, song.
Lowly and solemn be
Thy children's cry to Thee,
A hymn of suppliant breath,
Owning that life and death
Alike are Thine!
A spirit on its way,
Sceptred the earth to sway,
From Thee was sent:
Now call'st Thou back Thine own-
Hence is that radiance flown-
To earth but lent.
Watching in breathless awe,
The bright head bow'd we saw,
Beneath Thy hand!
Fill'd by one hope, one fear,
Now o'er a brother's bier,
Weeping we stand.
How hath he pass'd!-the lord
Of each deep bosom chord,
To meet Thy sight,
Unmantled and alone,
On Thy bless'd mercy thrown,
So, from his harvest home,
Must the tired peasant come;
So, in one trust,
Leader and king must yield
The naked soul, reveal'd
To Thee, All Just!
The sword of many of a fight-
What then shall be its might?
The lofty lay,
That rush'd on eagle wing-
What shall its memory bring?
What hope, what stay?
O Father! in that hour,
When earth all succouring power
When spear, and shield, and crown,
In faintness are cast down-
Sustain us, Thou!
By Him who bow'd to take
The death-cup for our sake,
The thorn, the rod;
From whom the last dismay
Was not to pass away-
Aid us, O God!
Tremblers beside the grave,
We call on thee to save.
Hear, hear our suppliant breath,
Keep us, in life and death,
Thine, only Thine!
The Call Of Liberty. May 1809
YE nations of Europe! arising to war,
And scorning submission to tyranny's might
Oh! follow the track of my bright blazing car,
Diffusing a path-way of radiance afar,
Dispelling the shadows of night!
And, hark! the destroyer has summon'd his band,
He waves the proud sceptre, his magical wand;
In legions they rush to the field!
'Tis the voice of destruction that swells in the storm,
The cloud and the tempest envelop his form.
O patriots! O heroes! O chiefs of renown!
Awake in my cause, and contend for my crown,
And vict'ry shall hallow your shield!
Oh! think of your fathers, how nobly they fought!
Disdaining each peril, the combat they sought,
And round me intrepid they stood!
They worshipp'd the beam of my sun-darting eye,
Exalted my banner, all-dreadful, on high;
'Twas their pillar of glory! and kindling with pride,
Around it they conquer'd, around it they died,
And ting'd the bright streamer in blood!
To you is intrusted the fire-flashing sword,
For ages defended, for ages ador'd;
The sword that has slumber'd too long!
'Tis the weapon of Liberty! sacred its aid,
For heav'n, truth, and justice, have hallow'd the blade;
Oh! seize it with ecstacy, wield it, ye brave!
Oh! seize it to punish, to conquer, to save!
Oh, hail it, ye minstrels, in song!
Fair, dazzling, unblemish'd, its lustre is pure,
For martyrs have died to preserve it secure,
And heroes to guard it have bled!
'Twas this that illumin'd the fields of the fight,
When the Chief of Vimeira was matchless in might;
In lightning effulgence at Baylen it stream'd,
At Corunna, the zenith of glory, it beam'd
O'er the warrior, the patriot, the dead!
O Albion! my throne, and my temple of rest,
Fair light of the waves! lovely star of the west!
Ever steady, resplendent, the same;
Thou shrine of my spirit! thou land of my heart!
Where life, inspiration, and hope I impart;
Behold where my cynosure brilliant appears,
And beams thro' the mist-veil of darkness and tears,
To guide thee to conquest and fame!
Oh! thou art my guardian! supreme o'er the sea!
Still foremost, undaunted, to combat for me,
Thou planet! thou empress of isles!
Oh! fearless in danger, awake at my call:
Shall the standard, the altar of Liberty, fall?
No, never, fair queen! while thy sons of the main,
My trophies, my rights, and my banners maintain,
And live in the heav'n of my smiles!
Ye nations of Europe! all rous'd by alarms,
Oh! imitate Albion, the peerless in arms,
Who kindles my torch from afar!
Her children are mine, an invincible band,
My look is the sun-beam that brightens their land!
And never, oh! never, that sun-beam shall cease,
And ne'er shall the light of my presence decrease,
While they follow my bright blazing car!
O Austrian warriors! who rise in my cause,
Ye fight with my falchion, ye fight for my laws!
And your's is the armour of right!
Then rush to the battle-field, scorning a fear,
And Justice and Freedom shall frown on your spear;
In valor, in truth, and in ardor the same,
All kindling with energy, breathing with flame,
Ye shall conquer—a torrent of might!
The slain shall exult in resigning their breath,
They shall smile, they shall burn, they shall triumph in death;
And who might not envy their bier?
The living, victorious, shall strew o'er their tomb
The garlands of conquest, unfading in bloom;
And glory's fair Amaranth proudly shall wave,
In beauty unsullied adorning their grave,
Too bright to be stain'd with a tear!
And you, brave Iberians! oh! ever disdain,
The sword of oppression; and tyranny's chain!
Be free, gallant Spaniards, or die!
For you, when surrounded by darkness and foes,
The day-spring of Freedom in radiance arose:
Tho' shadows and clouds may obscure it awhile,
Oh! yet it may brighten, oh! yet it may smile,
And beam in meridian on high!
But where is the patriot, undaunted and bold,
Whose name is immortal, whose deeds are enroll'd
On adamant, high in my fame?
My Palafox! oft must I weep to recal
Thy trophies, my hero! thy fame, and thy fall!
Thy sabre was lightning! thy spirit was fire!
Thy arm and thy bosom 'twas mine to inspire,
Young martyr to glory and Spain!
O Heav'n! when he fought undismay'd by my side,
Why, why was thine aid, was thine armour deny'd?
Were justice and vengeance no more?
Yet, yet let me hope that the flame of his soul
Will burn in his countrymen, scorning control;
The foes of mankind and religion consume,
The dark'ning horizon of Europe illume,
And the days of her triumph restore!
Ye realms and ye nations, your legions unite!
Oh! righteous and hallow'd your war!
Unfurl the red standard, fair Hope is your light,
And this be your watch-word in danger and fight,
'O Liberty! thou art our star!'
The 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 Angel Of The Sun
WHILE bending o'er my golden lyre,
While waving light my wing of fire ;
Creation's regions to explore,
To gaze, to wonder, to adore:
While faithful to th' eternal will,
My task of glory I fulfil;
To rule the comet's dread career,
To guide the planets on their sphere;
While from this pure, empyreal sky,
I dart my truth-enlighten'd eye;
What mists involve yon changeful scene,
How dark thy views, thou orb terrene!
E'en now compassion clouds awhile
Bright ecstasy's immortal smile!
I see the flames of war consume
Fair scenes that smil'd in glowing bloom;
O'er ev'ry nation, ev'ry land,
I see destruction wave his hand;
How dark thy billows, ocean-flood!
Lo! man has dy'd thy waves in blood!
Nature! how chang'd thy vivid grace!
Vengeance and war thy charms deface.
Oh! scene of doubt, of care, of anguish!
Oh! scene, where virtue's doom'd to languish!
Oh! scene, where death triumphant rides,
The spear, the sword, the javelin guides!
And canst thou be that earth, declare,
That earth so pure, so good, so fair,
O'er which, a new-created globe,
Thy Father spread Perfection's robe?
Oh, Heav'n, how chang'd, how pale, how dim!
Since first arose the choral hymn,
That hail'd, at thy auspicious birth,
A dawning Paradise on earth!
On that sublime, creative morn,
That saw the infant-planet born,
How swell'd the harp, the lyre, the voice,
To bless, to triumph, to rejoice!
How kneeling rapture led the song,
How glow'd th' exulting cherub-throng!
When the fair orb, arising bright,
Sprang into glory, life, and light!
—Oh! Heav'n, how chang'd, a thorny waste,
With shadows dimm'd, with clouds o'ercast!
See passions desolate the ball,
See kingdoms, thrones, and empires fall!
See mad Ambition's whirlwind sweep,
Resistless as the wintry deep!
See, waving thro' the troubled sky,
His crimson banner glare on high!
Blush, Anger! blush, and hide thy sword;
Weep, Conquest! weep, imperious lord!
And mourn, to view thy sullied name
Inscrib'd in blood—emblaz'd in flame!
And are those cries, which rend the air,
Of death, of torture, of despair,
Hymns that should mount on wings above,
To him, the GOD OF PEACE AND LOVE!
And is yon flame of ruthless war,
That spreads destruction's reign afar,
The incense taught by man to blaze,
For him, who dwells in mercy's rays?
Mortals! if angels grief might know,
From angels if a tear might flow,
In yon celestial woes might rise,
And pity dim a seraph's eyes;
Yet, mortals! oft, thro' mists and tears,
Your bright original appears,
Gleams thro' the veil, with radiant smile,
A sun-beam on a ruin'd pile!
Exulting, oft the forms I trace,
Of moral grandeur, beauty, grace;
That speak your pow'rs for glory giv'n,
That still reveal the Heir of Heav'n!
Not yet extinct your heav'nly fire,
For cherubs oft its beams admire!
I see fair virtue nobly rise,
Child, fav'rite, darling, of the skies!
Smile on the pangs that round her wait,
And brave, and bear, the storms of fate!
I see her lift th' adoring eye,
Forbid the tear, suppress the sigh;
Still on her high career proceeding,
Sublime! august!—tho' suff'ring—bleeding!
The thorn, tho' sharp, the blast, tho' rude,
Shake not her lofty fortitude!
Oh! graceful dignity serene,
Faith, glory, triumph on thy mien!
Still, virtue! still the strife maintain,
The smile, the frown of fate, disdain!
Think on that hour, when freed from clay,
Thy soul shall rise to life and day;
Still mount to heav'n—on sorrow's car;
There shine a fix'd unclouded star,
Like me to range, like me to soar,
Suns, planets, worlds of light explore!
Then angel-forms around shall throng,
And greet thee in triumphal song;
'Mount, spirit! mount, thy woes are o'er,
Pain, sickness, trials, now no more!
Hail, sister! hail, thy task is done,
Rise, cherub, rise!—thy crown is won!'
Oh, favor'd mortals! best belov'd,
Ye in stern perils fiercely prov'd;
When faith and truth, with pure control,
Refine, inspire, exalt, your soul;
When firm in brightest, noblest aims,
Your bosoms glow with hallow'd flames;
When still the narrow path you tread,
Nor scorn, nor grief, nor dangers dread;
Tho' fate with ev'ry dart assail,
To pierce your heart's heav'n-temper'd mail;
Nor shrink, tho' death his jav'lin hurl'd,
Scorn'd, yet untainted, by the world!
Then think, ye brave, ye constant few,
To faith, to hope, to virtue, true!
Then think, that seraphs from above,
Behold your deeds, admire, and love!
That those, who heav'n's commands perform,
Who still the wave, who ride the storm;
Who point the lightning's fiery wing,
Or shed the genial dews of spring;
Who fill with balm the zephyr's breath,
Or taint th' avenging winds with death;
That those, who guide the planets' course,
Who bend at light's transcendent source;
Oh! think that those your toil survey,
Your struggling mind, your rugged way!
Oh! think that those, e'en now prepare,
A bow'r of bliss, for you to share!
E'en now, th' immortal wreath entwine,
Around your sainted brows to shine;
E'en now, their golden harps attune,
To greet you in the blaze of noon!
Soon shall your captive souls be free,
To bless, to hymn, to soar, like me!
The fair, the perfect, and the bright,
Shall beam unclouded on your sight;
Soon shall the silver lutes be strung,
Soon shall the Pæan lays be sung;
'Hail, sister, hail! thy task is done;
Rise, cherub, rise! thy palm is won!!'
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 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.
Night-Scene In Genoa
In Genoa, when the sunset gave
Its last warm purple to the wave,
No sound of war, no voice of fear,
Was heard, announcing danger near:
Though deadliest foes were there, whose hate
But slumber'd till its hour of fate,
Yet calmly, at the twilight's close,
Sunk the wide city to repose.
But when deep midnight reign'd around,
All sudden woke the alarm-bell's sound,
Full swelling, while the hollow breeze
Bore its dread summons o'er the seas.
Then, Genoa, from their slumber started
Thy sons, the free, the fearless-hearted;
Then mingled with th' awakening peal
Voices, and steps, and clash of steel.
Arm, warriors, arm! for danger calls,
Arise to guard your native walls!
With breathless haste the gathering throng
Hurry the echoing streets along;
Through darkness rushing to the scene
Where their bold counsels still convene.
- But there a blaze of torches bright
Pours its red radiance on the night,
O'er fane, and dome, and column playing,
With every fitful night-wind swaying,
Now floating o'er each tall arcade,
Around the pillar'd scene display'd,
In light relieved by depth of shade:
And now, with ruddy meteor-glare,
Full streaming on the silvery hair
And the bright cross of him who stands,
Rearing that sign with suppliant hands;
Girt with his consecrated train,
The hallow'd servants of the fane.
Of life's past woes, the fading trace
Hath given that aged patriarch's face
Expression holy, deep, resign'd,
The calm sublimity of mind.
Years o'er his snowy head have pass'd,
And left him of his race the last;
Alone on earth - yet still his mien
Is bright with majesty serene;
And those high hopes, whose guiding-star
Shines from th' eternal worlds afar,
Have with that light illumed his eye,
Whose fount is immortality,
And o'er his features pour'd a ray
Of glory, not to pass away.
He seems a being who hath known
Communion with his God alone,
On earth by nought but pity's tie
Detain'd a moment from on high!
One to sublimer worlds allied,
One, from all passion purified,
E'en now half-mingled with the sky,
And all prepared - oh! not to die -
But, like the prophet, to aspire,
In heaven's triumphal car of fire.
He speaks - and from the throngs around
Is heard not e'en a whisper's sound;
Awe-struck each heart, and fix'd each glance,
They stand as in a spell-bound trance:
He speaks - oh! Who can hear, nor own
The might of each prevailing tone?
'Chieftains and warriors! ye, so long
Aroused to strife by mutual wrong,
Whose fierce and far-transmitted hate
Hath made your country desolate;
Now by the love ye bear her name,
By that pure spark of holy flame
On freedom's altar brightly burning,
But, once extinguish'd, ne'er returning;
By all your hopes of bliss to come
When burst the bondage of the tomb:
By Him, the God who bade us live
To aid each other, and forgive -
I call upon ye to resign
Your discords at your country's shrine,
Each ancient feud in peace atone,
Wield your keen swords for her alone,
And swear upon the cross, to cast
Oblivion's mantle o'er the past!'
No voice replies - the holy bands
Advance to where you chieftain stands,
With folded arms, and brow of gloom
O'er shadow'd by his floating plume.
To him they lift the cross - in vain,
He turns - oh! say not with disdain,
But with a mien of haughty grief,
That seeks not, e'en from heaven, relief:
He rends his robes - he sternly speaks -
Yet tears are on the warrior's cheeks.
'Father! not thus the wounds may close
Inflicted by eternal foes.
Deem'st thou thy mandate can efface
The dread volcano's burning trace?
Or bid the earthquake's ravaged scene
Be, smiling, as it once hath been?
No! for the deeds the sword hath done
Forgiveness is not lightly won;
The words, by hatred spoke, may not
Be, as a summer breeze, forgot!
'Tis vain - we deem the war-feud's rage
A portion of our heritage.
Leaders, now slumbering with their fame,
Bequeath's us that undying flame;
Hearts that have long been still and cold
Yet rule us from their silent mould;
And voices, heard on earth no more,
Speak to our spirits as of yore.
Talk not of mercy - blood alone
The stain of bloodshed may atone;
Nought else can pay that mighty debt,
The dead forbid us to forget.'
He pauses - from the partiarch's brow
There beams more lofty grandeur now;
His reverend form, his aged hand,
Assume a gesture of command,
His voice is awful, and his eye
Fill's with prophetic majesty.
'The dead! - and deem'st thou they retain
Aught of terrestrial passion's stain?
Of guilt incurr'd in days gone by,
Aught but the fearful penalty?
And say'st thou, mortal! blood alone
For deeds of slaughter may atone?
There hath been blood - by Him 'twas shed
To expiate every crime who bled;
Th' absolving God who died to save,
And rose in victory from the grave!
And by that stainless offering given
Alike for all on earth to heaven;
By that inevitable hour
When death shall vanquish pride and power,
And each departing passion's force
Concentrate all in late remorse;
And by the day when doom shall be
Pass'd on earth's millions, and on thee -
The doom that shall not be repeal'd,
Once utter'd, and for ever seal'd -
I summon thee, O child of clay!
To cast thy darker thoughts away,
And meet thy foes in peace and love,
As thou would'st join the blest above.'
Still as he speaks, unwonted feeling
Is o'er the chieftain's bosom stealing;
Oh! not in vain the pleading cries
Of anxious thousands round him rise;
He yields - devotion's mingled sense
Of faith, and fear, and penitence,
Pervading all his soul, he bows
To offer on the cross his vows,
And that best incense to the skies,
Each evil passion's sacrifice.
Then tears from warriors' eyes were flowing,
High hearts with soft emotions glowing;
Stern foes as long-loved brothers greeting,
And ardent throngs in transport meeting:
And eager footsteps forward pressing,
And accents loud in joyous blessing;
And when their first wild tumults cease,
A thousand voices echo 'Peace!'
Twilight's dim mist hath roll'd away,
And the rich Orient burns with day:
Then as to greet the sunbeam's birth,
Rises the choral hymn of earth;
Th' exulting strain through Genoa swelling,
Of peace and holy rapture telling.
Far float the sounds o'er vale and steep,
The seaman hears them on the deep,
So mellow'd by the gale, they seem
As the wild music of a dream:
But not on mortal ear alone
Peals the triumphant anthem's tone;
For beings of a purer sphere
Bend with celestial joy, to hear.
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 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!
The Wrath Of Loyalty
OCTOBER! tho' thy rugged brow,
No vivid wreaths entwine;
Tho' not for thee the zephyr blow,
Tho' not for thee the blossom glow,
Or skies unclouded shine:
Tho' o'er thy dark and russet vest
No rainbow-colors play;
Tho' dim thine eye, tho' cold thy breast,
Yet be thou honor'd, be thou blest,
E'en more than youthful May!
No vernal suns illume thy day,
Fair star of joy! then brighter beam!
No forest-notes attend thy way,
Then strike the lyre, then make the lay,
To one inspiring theme!
Thy steps may blight the roseate plain,
Thy winds may chill the vale;
Yet, blooming 'midst thy shadowy train,
One radiant morn adorns thy reign;
Hail! dark October! hail!
Thine is the day, to Britons dear,
That bids fair Albion dry the tear;
With myrtles wreath her victor-spear,
And ev'ry grief disown.
Oh! let a people's voice prolong,
Proud Loyalty's triumphal song;
And faith, and truth, and valor, throng
Around Britannia's throne!
That still their monarch's heart may feel
How sweet affections grateful zeal
Still kindle with the patriot flame,
And 'glory in a Briton's name!'
O name! by deeds emblazon'd high,
O name! exalted to the sky,
O name! ennobled by the free!
Thou sacred sovereign! worthy thee!
Then wake, fairest Albion! awake to rejoice,
To the Pæan of rapture attuning thy voice,
And suspending thy war-song awhile!
Thou hast mourn'd for the great, thou hast wept o'er the brave,
Thou hast bent in despair o'er the Patriot's grave;
But now from thy bosom repressing the sigh,
Dispelling the tear from thy sun-darting eye,
Let ecstacy dawn in thy smile!
Yet the storm is around thee, the hurricane roars;
But Freedom and Loyalty dwell on thy shores,
Defending a Monarch ador'd!
They are true, they are dauntless, their bosoms are mail;
In vain may Ambition their fortress assail;
And bright is their streamer that plays on the breeze
And crimsons the wave, as it floats o'er the seas,
And keen is their fire-flashing sword!
Thy oak shall be firm till the tempest is past;
Majestic it rises, disdaining the blast,
It is proud, independent, supreme!
The nations around thee are cheerless in night,
And hope has extinguished her quivering light!
But the sun-beam of heaven on thy bosom shall rest,
And the planet of freedom be bright in the west,
Where its ray shall eternally stream!
Thou art like the fair vales, with exuberance crown'd,
Embosom'd in Appenines, cheerless around,
Where dwells Desolation alone!
Thou art like the proud laurel, still blooming and green,
When verdure and life have deserted the scene:
Thou art like a tall column, unmoulder'd by time,
That rises 'midst ruins, imperial, sublime,
So firm is thy rock-pillar'd throne!
Yet the storm is around thee, the hurricane roars;
But valor and loyalty dwell on thy shores,
And long may the guardians remain!
Firm, ardent, intrepid, oh! long may they stand,
The sabre of justice and truth in their hand:
Then the fire-flag of rapine may blaze thro' the air,
The torch of invasion, a comet, may glare,
And the war-tempest threaten—in vain!
O Monarch of Albion! ador'd by the free!
O temple of Liberty! queen of the sea!
What Briton but worships your name?
And where is the spirit that burns not with pride,
For a country to freedom, to glory allied?
And who would not kindle, exulting in death,
And triumph, and glow, in resigning his breath,
For a King, for a land, so exalted in fame?
Yes! ye bands of noble fire,
Dauntless on the plain!
Ye, who firm, in danger try'd,
Thought on England ere ye died,
Mingling blood with Tajo's tide;
Ye, whose memory shall inspire,
Many a bard and many a lyre,
Songs of Spain.
Heroes of Corunna's field!
Ye, who perish'd there,
Be your names for ever dear!
Yes! tho' dew'd with many a tear,
Yet triumphal was your bier!
Who like you the sword could wield?
Deathless trophies grace your shield,
Bright and fair!
Ye, who purchas'd, ere ye fell,
Sainted spirits of the brave,
Lo! immortal o'er your grave,
Glory's amaranth shall wave!
Who your gallant deeds may tell?
Who may ring your thrilling knell?
Faithful friends, who mourn sincere,
Where the brave repose;
Cold and low the mighty sleep.
Yes! ye well may sadly weep,
Well desponding vigils keep!
Yet shall kindling pride be near,
Yet shall triumph gild the tear
By the patriot's holy flame,
Of transcendent rays;
Lyre! by thy sublimest chord,
Freedom! by thy shrine ador'd,
Honor! by thy radiant sword,
O'er the heroes lofty name,
Shall the noon-tide sun of fame
Then let thy tear, O Albion! Shed
Its dew-balm o'er the valiant dead,
(A tear so sad, and yet so proud!)
But let the smile thine eye illume,
But let thy cheek the smile resume,
As the bright rainbow's vivid bloom
Streams o'er the parting cloud!
And form, thy sovereign's brow to shade,
A diadem that shall not fade,
A wreath, of glow eternal!
And there the British oak may shine,
And there let Mercy's palm entwine,
And Science there her bays combine,
That ever shall be vernal!
And come! ye forms of towering mien,
In graceful dignity serene;
Ye fearless guardians of the state,
Superior to the storms of fate!
And round the British throne attending,
Its arms, its fame, its cause defending;
There, firm in faith, united stand,
Invincible, immortal band!
Thou, Freedom! with the lightning-eye,
Be there! unfurl thy flag on high,
And all thy mounting soul impart!
And bid thy living flame expand,
Warm, bright, ethereal, o'er the land.—
Rise, Freedom! rise, with all thy fires,
When Britain's throne thine aid requires
Come! in thy proud, refulgent car,
Whose beam is Albion's guiding star;
And wave that sabre, dazzling bright,
Pure, hallow'd, spotless, as the light;
Whose ray for us a sun-beam glows,
Whose flash is lightning on our foes!
Be near, majestic maid! be near,
Hope in thine eye and justice on thy spear!
And thou, Fidelity! thou angel-form,
True in the combat, stedfast in the storm;
Whose truth shall beam, celestial, constant, pure,
And 'midst the fiery ordeal, smile secure;
Thou! with a cincture of Asbestos wove,
Thou queen of friendship, and thou guide of love!
Seraph, be there! impart thy sacred aid,
Be there! Britannia's glowing soul pervade!
Unite each heart by thy unchanging laws,
Firm, loyal, bold, in one transcendent cause!
Valor! thou, whose burning soul,
Kindles, mounts, beyond control;
Thou! whose ardor death defies;
Rushing to th' immortal prize;
Monarch of the conquering spear,
Dauntless on thy proud career;
Stern defiance on thy crest,
Melting mercy in thy breast;
Thou! with arms emblazon'd fair,
King of Danger!—be thou there!
Bid thy votaries round thee throng,
Wake thy boldest martial song!
Sing in proud, triumphant lay,
Agincourt's victorious day!
Sing the chief of Acre's fame,
Sing of Maida's brilliant name!
Sing Vimeira's high renown,
Talavera's recent crown!
Be thou there! With kindling eye,
Peril, toil, and foes defy;
Raise thy beamy falchion high,
Wave thy banner to the sky!
Sound thy clarion thro' the air,
Bid thy ardent sons be there!
Be their watch-word in the fight,
'Brunswick and Albion! Liberty and Right!!!'
With thee be Fortitude, whose awful mien,
Tow'rs in the blast, collected and serene!
Queen of the cliff! thy look sublimely braves
Fate's wint'ry blast, affliction's mountain-waves;
Thy lofty heart, secure in ten-fold mail,
Misfortune's arrows may in vain assail!
'Tis thine unchang'd, to meet, with proud disdain,
The spectre-forms of danger and of pain!
In glory's track undaunted to proceed,
To smile and suffer—to exult—and bleed!
Derive new spirit from the tempest rude,
And rise august—exalted—unsubdu'd!
And thou, fair Loyalty! be still enshrin'dIn every manly heart, each-patriot-mind:
Lo! in Religion's fane I see thee bend,
I hear thy prayer on fervor's wing ascend!
(While the warm tear-drop glitters on thy cheek,
While faith and hope thy melting eyes bespeak.)
'Sovereign of kings! whose high decree
Controls the storm, subdues the sea!
Who giv'st thy scourge Ambition, pow'r
To spread dismay, his destin'd hour;
To win his blood-stain'd, regal prize,
To reign, to ravage, to chastise;
Look down! on him in mercy smile,
The Monarch of the favor'd Isle!
Undimm'd, unclouded by regret,
May his mild star in glory set!
And peace and joy, with softest ray,
Illume his calm declining day!
Oh! long extend his hallow'd reign,
Oh! long his throne august, maintain!
And when, a mourner o'er his bier,
Sad Albion pours the filial tear;
Around may guardian-seraphs wait,
And waft him to a happier state;
Conduct him to a brighter throne,
A realm of peace, a fairer crown;
Enrich'd with many a spotless gem,
Virtue's illustrious diadem!'
The Bride Of The Greek Isle
Fear! I'm a Greek, and how should I fear death?
A slave, and wherefore should I dread my freedom?
I will not live degraded ~
Come from the woods with the citron-flowers,
Come with your lyres for the festal hours,
Maids of bright Scio! They came, and the breeze
Bore their sweet songs o'er the Grecian seas;?
They came, and Eudora stood rob'd and crown'd,
The bride of the morn, with her train around.
Jewels flash'd out from her braided hair,
Like starry dews midst the roses there;
Pearls on her bosom quivering shone,
Heav'd by her heart thro' its golden zone;
But a brow, as those gems of the ocean pale,
Gleam'd from beneath her transparent veil;
Changeful and faint was her fair cheek's hue,
Though clear as a flower which the light looks through;
And the glance of her dark resplendent eye,
For the aspect of woman at times too high,
Lay floating in mists, which the troubled stream
Of the soul sent up o'er its fervid beam.
She look'd on the vine at her father's door,
Like one that is leaving his native shore;
She hung o'er the myrtle once call'd her own,
As it greenly wav'd by the threshold stone;
She turn'd?and her mother's gaze brought back
Each hue of her childhood's faded track.
Oh! hush the song, and let her tears
Flow to the dream of her early years!
Holy and pure are the drops that fall
When the young bride goes from her father's hall;
She goes unto love yet untried and new,
She parts from love which hath still been true;
Mute be the song and the choral strain,
Till her heart's deep well-spring is clear again!
She wept on her mother's faithful breast,
Like a babe that sobs itself to rest;
She wept yet laid her hand awhile
In his that waited her dawning smile?
Her soul's affianced, nor cherish'd less
For the gush of nature's tenderness!
She lifted her graceful head at last?
The choking swell of her heart was past;
And her lovely thoughts from their cells found way
In the sudden flow of a plaintive lay.
The Bride's Farewell:
Why do I weep? to leave the vine
Whose clusters o'er me bend,
The myrtle yet, oh! call it mine!
The flowers I lov'd to tend.
A thousand thoughts of all things dear,
Like shadows o'er me sweep,
I leave my sunny childhood here,
Oh, therefore let me weep!
I leave thee, sister! we have play'd
Thro' many a joyous hour,
Where the silvery green of the olive shade
Hung dim o'er fount and bower.
Yes, thou and I, by stream, by shore,
In song, in prayer, in sleep,
Have been as we may be no more,
Kind sister, let me weep!
I leave thee, father! Eve's bright moon
Must now light other feet,
With the gather'd grapes, and the lyre in tune,
Thy homeward step to greet.
Thou, in whose voice, to bless thy child,
Lay tones of love so deep,
Whose eye o'er all my youth hath smiled
I leave thee! let me weep!
Mother! I leave thee! on thy breast,
Pouring out joy and wo,
I have found that holy place of rest
Still changeless yet I go!
Lips, that have lull'd me with your strain,
Eyes, that have watch'd my sleep!
Will earth give love like yours again!
Sweet mother! let me weep!
And like a slight young tree, that throws
The weight of rain from its drooping boughs,
Once more she wept. But a changeful thing
Is the human heart, as a mountain spring,
That works its way, thro' the torrent's foam,
To the bright pool near it, the lily's home!
It is well! the cloud, on her soul that lay,
Hath melted in glittering drops away.
Wake again, mingle, sweet flute and lyre!
She turns to her lover, she leaves her sire.
Mother! on earth it must still be so,
Thou rearest the lovely to see them go!
They are moving onward, the bridal throng,
Ye may track their way by the swells of song;
Ye may catch thro' the foliage their white robes' gleam,
Like a swan midst the reeds of a shadowy stream.
Their arms bear up garlands, their gliding tread
Is over the deep-vein'd violet's bed;
They have light leaves around them, blue skies above,
An arch for the triumph of youth and love!
Still and sweet was the home that stood
In the flowering depths of a Grecian wood,
With the soft green light o'er its low roof spread,
As if from the glow of an emerald shed,
Pouring thro' lime-leaves that mingled on high,
Asleep in the silence of noon's clear sky.
Citrons amidst their dark foliage glow'd,
Making a gleam round the lone abode;
Laurels o'erhung it, whose faintest shiver
Scatter'd out rays like a glancing river;
Stars of the jasmine its pillars crown'd,
Vine-stalks its lattice and walls had bound,
And brightly before it a fountain's play
Flung showers thro' a thicket of glossy bay,
To a cypress which rose in that flashing rain,
Like one tall shaft of some fallen fane.
And thither Ianthis had brought his bride,
And the guests were met by that fountain-side;
They lifted the veil from Eudora's face,
It smiled out softly in pensive grace,
With lips of love, and a brow serene,
Meet for the soul of the deep wood-scene.
Bring wine, bring odours! the board is spread?
Bring roses! a chaplet for every head!
The wine-cups foam'd, and the rose was shower'd
On the young and fair from the world embower'd;
The sun looked not on them in that sweet shade,
The winds amid scented boughs were laid;
And there came by fits, thro' some wavy tree,
A sound and a gleam of the moaning sea.
Hush! be still! was that no more
Than the murmur from the shore?
Silence! did thick rain-drops beat
On the grass like trampling feet?
Fling down the goblet, and draw the sword!
The groves are fill'd with a pirate horde!
Thro' the dim olives their sabres shine;
Now must the red blood stream for wine!
The youths from the banquet to battle sprang,
The woods with the shriek of the maidens rang;
Under the golden-fruited boughs
There were flashing poniards and dark'ning brows,
Footsteps, o'er garland and lyre that fled,
And the dying soon on a greensward bed.
Eudora, Eudora! thou dost not fly!
She saw but Ianthis before her lie,
With the blood from his breast in a gushing flow,
Like a child's large tears in its hour of wo,
And a gathering film in his lifted eye,
That sought his young bride out mournfully.
She knelt down beside him, her arms she wound,
Like tendrils, his drooping neck around,
As if the passion of that fond grasp
Might chain in life with its ivy-clasp.
But they tore her thence in her wild despair,
The sea's fierce rovers they left him there;
They left to the fountain a dark-red vein,
And on the wet violets a pile of slain,
And a hush of fear thro' the summer grove,
So clos'd the triumph of youth and love!
Gloomy lay the shore that night,
When the moon, with sleeping light,
Bath'd each purple Sciote hill,
Gloomy lay the shore, and still.
O'er the wave no gay guitar
Sent its floating music far;
No glad sound of dancing feet
Woke, the starry hours to greet.
But a voice of mortal wo,
In its changes wild or low,
Thro' the midnight's blue repose,
From the sea-beat rocks arose,
As Eudora's mother stood
Gazing o'er th' Egean flood,
With a fix'd and straining eye?
Oh! was the spoilers' vessel nigh?
Yes! there, becalm'd in silent sleep,
Dark and alone on a breathless deep,
On a sea of molten silver, dark,
Brooding it frown'd that evil bark!
There its broad pennon a shadow cast,
Moveless and black from the tall, still mast,
And the heavy sound of its flapping sail,
Idly and vainly wooed the gale.
Hush'd was all else: Had ocean's breast
Rock'd e'en Eudora that hour to rest?
To rest? the waves tremble! what piercing cry
Bursts from the heart of the ship on high?
What light through the heavens, in a sudden spire,
Shoots from the deck up? Fire! 'tis fire!
There are wild forms hurrying to and fro,
Seen darkly clear on that lurid glow;
There are shout, and signal-gun, and call,
And the dashing of water, but fruitless all!
Man may not fetter, nor ocean tame
The might and wrath of the rushing flame!
It hath twined the mast like a glittering snake,
That coils up a tree from a dusky brake;
It hath touch'd the sails, and their canvass rolls
Away from its breath into shrivell'd scrolls;
It hath taken the flag's high place in air,
And redden'd the stars with its wavy glare;
And sent out bright arrows, and soar'd in glee,
To a burning mount midst the moonlight sea.
The swimmers are plunging from stern and prow.
Eudora! Eudora! where, where art thou?
The slave and his master alike are gone.
Mother! who stands on the deck alone?
The child of thy bosom! and lo! a brand
Blazing up high in her lifted hand!
And her veil flung back, and her free dark hair
Sway'd by the flames as they rock and flare;
And her fragile form to its loftiest height
Dilated, as if by the spirit's might,
And her eye with an eagle-gladness fraught,
Oh! could this work be of woman wrought?
Yes! 'twas her deed! by that haughty smile
It was hers?She hath kindled her funeral pile!
Never might shame on that bright head be,
Her blood was the Greek's, and hath made her free!
Proudly she stands, like an Indian bride
On the pyre with the holy dead beside;
But a shriek from her mother hath caught her ear,
As the flames to her marriage-robe draw near,
And starting, she spreads her pale arms in vain
To the form they must never infold again.
One moment more, and her hands are clasp'd,
Fallen is the torch they had wildly grasp'd,
Her sinking knee unto Heaven is bow'd,
And her last look rais'd thro' the smoke's dim shroud,
And her lips as in prayer for her pardon move:
Now the night gathers o'er youth and love!
The Indian City
What deep wounds ever clos'd without a scar?
The heart's bleed longest, and but heal to wear
That which disfigures it.
ROYAL in splendour went down the day
On the plain where an Indian city lay,
With its crown of domes o'er the forest high,
Red as if fused in the burning sky,
And its deep groves pierced by the rays which made
A bright stream's way thro' each long arcade,
Till the pillar'd vaults of the Banian stood,
Like torch-lit aisles midst the solemn wood,
And the plantain glitter'd with leaves of gold,
As a tree midst the genii-gardens old,
And the cypress lifted a blazing spire,
And the stems of the cocoas were shafts of fire.
Many a white pagoda's gleam
Slept lovely round upon lake and stream,
Broken alone by the lotus-flowers,
As they caught the glow of the sun's last hours,
Like rosy wine in their cups, and shed
Its glory forth on their crystal bed.
Many a graceful Hindoo maid,
With the water-vase from the palmy shade,
Came gliding light as the desert's roe,
Down marble steps to the tanks below;
And a cool sweet plashing was ever heard,
As the molten glass of the wave was stirr'd;
And a murmur, thrilling the scented air,
Told where the Bramin bow'd in prayer.
There wandered a noble Moslem boy
Through the scene of beauty in breathless joy;
He gazed where the stately city rose
Like a pageant of clouds in its red repose;
He turn'd where birds thro' the gorgeous gloom
Of the woods went glancing on starry plume;
He track'd the brink of the shining lake,
By the tall canes feather'd in tuft and brake,
Till the path he chose, in its mazes wound
To the very heart of the holy ground.
And there lay the water, as if enshrin'd
In a rocky urn, from the sun and wind,
Bearing the hues of the grove on high,
Far down thro' its dark still purity.
The flood beyond, to the fiery west
Spread out like a metal-mirror's breast,
But that lone bay, in its dimness deep,
Seem'd made for the swimmer's joyous leap,
For the stag athirst from the noontide chase,
For all free things of the wild-wood's race.
Like a falcon's glance on the wide blue sky,
Was the kindling flash of the boy's glad eye,
Like a sea-bird's flight to the foaming wave
From the shadowy bank was the bound he gave;
Dashing the spray-drops, cold and white,
O'er the glossy leaves in his young delight,
And bowing his locks to the waters clear–
Alas! he dreamt not that fate was near.
His mother look'd from her tent the while,
O'er heaven and earth with a quiet smile:
She, on her way unto Mecca's fane,
Had staid the march of her pilgrim train,
Calmly to linger a few brief hours
In the Bramin city's glorious bowers;
For the pomp of the forest, the wave's bright fall,
The red gold of sunset–she lov'd them all.
The moon rose clear in the splendour given
To the deep-blue night of an Indian heaven;
The boy from the high-arch'd woods came back–
Oh! what had he met in his lonely track?
The serpent's glance, through the long reeds bright?
The arrowy spring of the tiger's might?
No!–yet as one by a conflict worn,
With his graceful hair all soil'd and torn,
And a gloom on the lids of his darken'd eye,
And a gash on his bosom–he came to die!
He look'd for the face to his young heart sweet,
And found it, and sank at his mother's feet.
'Speak to me!–whence doth the swift blood run?
What hath befall'n thee, my child, my son?'
The mist of death on his brow lay pale,
But his voice just linger'd to breathe the tale,
Murmuring faintly of wrongs and scorn,
And wounds from the children of Brahma born:
This was the doom for a Moslem found
With a foot profane on their holy ground;
This was for sullying the pure waves, free
Unto them alone–'twas their God's decree.
A change came o'er his wandering look–
The mother shriek'd not then, nor shook:
Breathless she knelt in her son's young blood,
Rending her mantle to staunch its flood;
But it rush'd like a river which none may stay,
Bearing a flower to the deep away.
That which our love to the earth would chain,
Fearfully striving with Heaven in vain,
That which fades from us, while yet we hold,
Clasp'd to our bosoms, its mortal mould,
Was fleeting before her, afar and fast;
One moment–the soul from the face had pass'd!
Are there no words for that common wo?
–Ask of the thousands, its depths that know!
The boy had breathed, in his dreaming rest,
Like a low-voiced dove, on her gentle breast;
He had stood, when she sorrow'd, beside her knee,
Painfully stilling his quick heart's glee;
He had kiss'd from her cheek the widow's tears,
With the loving lip of his infant years;
He had smiled o'er her path like a bright spring-day–
Now in his blood on the earth he lay,
Murder'd!–Alas! and we love so well
In a world where anguish like this can dwell!
She bow'd down mutely o'er her dead–
They that stood round her watch'd in dread;
They watch'd–she knew not they were by–
Her soul sat veil'd in its agony.
On the silent lip she press'd no kiss,
Too stern was the grasp of her pangs for this:
She shed no tear as her face bent low,
O'er the shining hair of the lifeless brow;
She look'd but into the half-shut eye,
With a gaze that found there no reply,
And shrieking, mantled her head from sight,
And fell, struck down by her sorrow's might!
And what deep change, what work of power,
Was wrought on her secret soul that hour?
How rose the lonely one?–She rose
Like a prophetess from dark repose!
And proudly flung from her face the veil,
And shook the hair from her forehead pale,
And 'midst her wondering handmaids stood,
With the sudden glance of a dauntless mood.
Ay, lifting up to the midnight sky
A brow in its regal passion high,
With a close and rigid grasp she press'd
The blood-stain'd robe to her heaving breast,
And said–'Not yet–not yet I weep,
Not yet my spirit shall sink or sleep,
Not till yon city, in ruins rent,
Be piled for its victim's monument.
–Cover his dust! bear it on before!
It shall visit those temple-gates once more.'
And away in the train of the dead she turn'd,
The strength of her step was the heart that burn'd;
And the Bramin groves in the starlight smil'd,
As the mother pass'd with her slaughter'd child.
Hark! a wild sound of the desert's horn
Thro' the woods round the Indian city borne,
A peal of the cymbal and tambour afar–
War! 'tis the gathering of Moslem war!
The Bramin look'd from the leaguer'd towers–
He saw the wild archer amidst his bowers;
And the lake that flash'd through the plantain shade,
As the light of the lances along it play'd;
And the canes that shook as if winds were high,
When the fiery steed of the waste swept by;
And the camp as it lay like a billowy sea,
Wide round the sheltering Banian tree.
There stood one tent from the rest apart–
That was the place of a wounded heart.
–Oh! deep is a wounded heart, and strong
A voice that cries against mighty wrong;
And full of death as a hot wind's blight,
Doth the ire of a crush'd affection light!
Maimuna from realm to realm had pass'd,
And her tale had rung like a trumpet's blast;
There had been words from her pale lips pour'd,
Each one a spell to unsheath the sword.
The Tartar had sprung from his steed to hear,
And the dark chief of Araby grasp'd his spear,
Till a chain of long lances begirt the wall,
And a vow was recorded that doom'd its fall.
Back with the dust of her son she came,
When her voice had kindled that lightning flame;
She came in the might of a queenly foe,
Banner, and javelin, and bended bow;
But a deeper power on her forehead sate–
There sought the warrior his star of fate;
Her eye's wild flash through the tented line
Was hail'd as a spirit and a sign,
And the faintest tone from her lip was caught,
As a Sybil's breath of prophetic thought.
Vain, bitter glory!–the gift of grief,
That lights up vengeance to find relief,
Transient and faithless!–it cannot fill
So the deep void of the heart, nor still
The yearning left by a broken tie,
That haunted fever of which we die!
Sickening she turn'd from her sad renown,
As a king in death might reject his crown;
Slowly the strength of the walls gave way–
She wither'd faster, from day to day.
All the proud sounds of that banner'd plain,
To stay the flight of her soul were vain;
Like an eagle caged, it had striven, and worn
The frail dust ne'er for such conflicts born,
Till the bars were rent, and the hour was come
For its fearful rushing thro' darkness home.
The bright sun set in his pomp and pride,
As on that eve when the fair boy died;
She gazed from her couch, and a softness fell
O'er her weary heart with the day's farewell;
She spoke, and her voice, in its dying tone
Had an echo of feelings that long seem'd flown.
She murmur'd a low sweet cradle song,
Strange midst the din of a warrior throng,
A song of the time when her boy's young cheek
Had glow'd on her breast in its slumber meek;
But something which breathed from that mournful strain
Sent a fitful gust o'er her soul again;
And starting as if from a dream, she cried–
'Give him proud burial at my side!
There, by yon lake, where the palm-boughs wave,
When the temples are fallen, make there our grave.'
And the temples fell, tho' the spirit pass'd,
That stay'd not for victory's voice at last;
When the day was won for the martyr-dead,
For the broken heart, and the bright blood shed.
Through the gates of the vanquish'd the Tartar steed
Bore in the avenger with foaming speed;
Free swept the flame thro' the idol fanes,
And the streams flow'd red, as from warrior-veins,
And the sword of the Moslem, let loose to slay,
Like the panther leapt on its flying prey,
Till a city of ruin begirt the shade,
Where the boy and his mother at rest were laid.
Palace and tower on that plain were left,
Like fallen trees by the lightning cleft;
The wild vine mantled the stately square,
The Rajah's throne was the serpent's lair,
And the jungle grass o'er the altar sprung–
This was the work of one deep heart wrung!
A Spirit's Return
……..'This is to be a mortal,
And seek the things beyond mortality!' ~ Manfred.
Thy voice prevails - dear friend, my gentle friend!
This long-shut heart for thee shall be unsealed,
And though thy soft eye mournfully will bend
Over the troubled stream, yet once revealed
Shall its freed waters flow; then rocks must close
For evermore, above their dark repose.
Come while the gorgeous mysteries of the sky
Fused in the crimson sea of sunset lie;
Come to the woods, where all strange wandering sound
Is mingled into harmony profound;
Where the leaves thrill with spirit, while the wind
Fills with a viewless being, unconfined,
The trembling reeds and fountains - our own dwell,
With its green dimness and AEolian breath,
Shall suit the unveiling of dark records well -
Hear me in tenderness and silent faith!
Thou knewest me not in life's fresh vernal morn -
I would thou hadst! - for then my heart on thine
Had poured a worthier love; now, all o'erworn
By its deep thirst for something too divine,
It hath but fitful music to bestow,
Echoes of harp-strings broken long ago.
Yet even in youth companionless I stood,
As a lone forest-bird 'midst ocean's foam;
For me the silver cords of brotherhood
Were early loosed; the voice from my home
Passed one by one, and melody and mirth
Left me a dreamer by a silent hearth.
But, with the fulness of a heart that burned
For the deep sympathies of mind, I turned
From that unanswering spot, and fondly sought
In all wild scenes with thrilling murmurs fraught,
In every still small voice and sound of power,
And flute-note of the wind through cave and bower
A perilous delight! - for then first woke
My life's lone passion, the mysterious quest
Of secret knowledge; and each tone that broke
From the wood-arches or the fountain's breast,
Making my quick soul vibrate as a lyre,
But ministered to that strange inborn fire.
'Midst the bright silence of the mountain dells,
In noontide hours or golden summer-eves,
My thoughts have burst forth as a gale that swells
Into a rushing blast, and from the leaves
Shakes out response. O thou rich world unseen!
Thou curtained realm of spirits! - thus my cry
Hath troubled air and silence - dost thou lie
Spread all around, yet by some filmy screen
Shut from us ever? The resounding woods,
Do their depths teem with marvels? - and the floods,
And the pure fountains, leading secret veins
Of quenchless melody through rock and hill,
Have they bright dwellers? - are their lone domains
Peopled with beauty, which may never still
weary thirst of soul? Cold, weak and cold,
Is earth's vain language, piercing not one fold
Of our deep being! Oh, for gifts more high!
For a seer's glance to rend mortality!
For a charmed rod, to call from each dark shrine
The oracles divine!
I woke from those high fantasies, to know
My kindred with the earth - I woke to love:
O gentle friend! to love in doubt and woe,
Shutting the heart the worshipped name above,
Is to love deeply - and
Was a sad gift, a melancholy power
Of so adoring - with a buried care,
And with the o'erflowing of a voiceless prayer,
And with a deepening dream that day by day,
In the still shadow of the lonely sway,
Folded me closer, till the world held nought
being to my centred thought.
There was no music but his voice to hear;
No joy but such as with
step drew near:
Light was but where he looked - life where he moved:
Silently, fervently, thus, thus I loved.
Oh! but such love is fearful! - and I knew
Its gathering doom: the soul's prophetic sight
Even then unfolded in my breast, and threw
O'er all things round a full, strong, vivid light,
Too sorrowfully clear! - an under-tone
Was given to Nature's harp, for me alone
Whispering of grief. Of grief? - be strong, awake!
Hath not thy love been victory, O my soul?
Hath not its conflict won a voice to shake
Death's fastness? - a magic to control
Worlds far removed? - from o'er the grave to thee
Love hath made answer; and
tale should be
Sung like a lay of triumph! Now return,
And take thy treasure from its bosomed urn,
And lift it once to light!
In fear, in pain,
I said I loved - but yet a heavenly strain
Of sweetness floated down the tearful stream,
A joy flashed through the trouble of my dream!
I knew myself beloved! - we breathed no vow,
No mingling visions might our fate allow,
As unto happy hearts; but still and deep,
Like a rich jewel gleaming in a grave,
Like golden sand in some dark river's wave,
So did my soul that costly knowledge keep
So jealousy! - a thing o'er which to shed,
When stars alone beheld the drooping head,
Lone tears! yet ofttimes burdened with the excess
Of our strange nature's quivering happiness.
But, oh! sweet friend! we dream not of love's might
Till death has robed with soft and solemn light
The image we enshrine! - Before
We have but glimpses of the o'ermastering power
Within us laid! -
doth the spirit-flame
With sword-like lightning rend its mortal frame;
The wings of that which pants to follow fast
Shake their clay-bars, as with a prisoned blast-
The sea is in our souls!
He died, -
On whom my lone devotedness was cast!
I might not keep one vigil by his side,
, whose wrung heart watched with him to the last!
I might not once his fainting head sustain,
Nor bathe his parched lips in the hour of pain,
Nor say to him 'Farewell!' He passed away -
love been there, its conquering sway
Had won him back from death! - but thus removed,
Borne o'er the abyss no sounding-line hath proved,
Joined with the unknown, the viewless - he became
Unto my thoughts another, yet the same -
Changed - hallowed - glorified! - and his low grave
Seemed a bright mournful altar - mine, all mine: -
Brother and friend soon left me
The birthright of the faithful! -
Soon swept them from its brink. Oh! deem thou not
That on the sad and consecrated spot
My soul grew weak! I tell thee that a power
There kindled heart and lip - a fiery shower
My words were made - a might was given to prayer,
And a strong grasp to passionate despair,
And a dread triumph! Knowest thou what I sought?
For what high boon my struggling spirit wrought?
- Communion with the dead! - I sent a cry
Through the veiled empires of eternity,
A voice to cleave them! By the mournful truth,
By the lost promise of my blighted youth,
By the strong chain a mighty love can bind
On the beloved, the spell of mind o'er mind;
By words, which in themselves are magic high,
Armed and inspired, and winged with agony;
By tears, which comfort not, but burn, and seem
To bear the heart's blood in their passion-stream;
I summoned, I adjured - with quickened sense,
With the keen vigil of a life intense,
I watched, an answer from the winds to wring,
I listened, if perchance the stream might bring
Token from worlds afar: I taught
Unto a thousand echoes - one profound
Imploring accent to the tomb, the sky -
One prayer to-night - 'Awake, appear, reply!'
Hast thou been told that from the viewless bourne,
The dark way never hath allowed return?
That all, which tears can move, with life is fled -
That earthly love is powerless on the dead?
Believe it not! - there is a large lone star
Now burning o'er yon western hill afar,
And under its clear light there lies a spot
Which well might utter forth - Believe it not!
I sat beneath that planet - I had wept
My woe to stillness, every night-wind slept;
A hush was on the hills; the very streams
Went by like clouds, or noiseless founts in dreams
And the dark tree o'ershadowing me that hour,
Stood motionless, even as the grey church-tower
Whereon I gazed unconsciously: - there came
A low sound, like the tremor of a flame,
Or like the light quick shiver of a wing,
Flitting through twilight woods, across the air;
And I looked up! Oh! for strong words to bring
Conviction o'er thy thought! Before me there,
He, the departed, stood! Ay, face to face,
So near, and yet how far! His form his mien,
Gave to remembrance back each burning trace
Within: - Yet something awfully serene,
Pure, sculpture-like, on the pale brow, that wore
Of the once beating heart no token more;
And stillness on the lip - and o'er the hair
A gleam, that trembled through the breathless air;
And an unfathomed calm, that seemed to lie
In the gave sweetness of the illumined eye;
Told of the gulfs between our being set,
And, as that unsheathed spirit-glance I met,
Made my soul faint: - with
With the sick feeling that in
love could be as nothing! But he spoke -
How shall I tell thee of the startling thrill
In that low voice, whose breezy tones could fill
My bosom's infinite? O friend! I woke
first to heavenly life! Soft, solemn, clear
Breathed the mysterious accents on mine ear,
Yet strangely seem'd as if the while they rose
From depths of distance, o'er the wide repose
Of slumbering waters wafted, or the dells
Of mountains, hollow with sweet echo-cells;
But, as they murmured on, the mortal chill
Passed from me, like a mist before the morn,
And, to that glorious intercourse upborne
By slow degrees, a calm, divinely still,
Possessed my frame: I sought that lighted eye -
From its intense and searching purity
I drank in
- I questioned of the dead -
Of the hushed, starry shores their footsteps tread,
And I was answered. If remembrance there,
With dreamy whispers fill the immortal air;
If thought, here piled from many a jewel-heap,
Be treasure in that pensive land to keep;
If love, o'ersweeping change, and blight, and blast,
the music of his home at last;
I asked, and I was answered. Full and high
Was that communion with eternity,
Too rich for aught so fleeting! Like a knell
Swept o'er my sense its closing words, 'Farewell,
On earth we meet no more!' And all was gone -
The pale bright settled brow - the thrilling tone,
The still and shining eye! and never more
May twilight gloom or midnight hush restore
That radiant guest! One full-fraught hour of heaven
To earthly passion's wild implorings given,
Was made my own - the ethereal fire hath shivered
The fragile censer in whose mould it quivered,
Brightly, consumingly! What now is left?
A faded world, of glory's hues bereft -
A void, a chain! I dwell 'midst throngs, apart,
In the cold silence of the stranger's heart;
A fixed, immortal shadow stands between
My spirit and life's fast-receding scene;
A gift hath severed me from human ties,
A power is gone from all earth's melodies,
Which never may return: their chords are broken,
The music of another land hath spoken -
No after-sound is sweet! This weary thirst!
And I have heard celestial fountains burst! -
shall quench it?
Dost thou not rejoice,
When the spring sends forth an awakening voice
Through the young woods? Thou dost! And in that birth
Of early leaves, and flowers, and songs of mirth,
Thousands, like thee, find gladness! Couldst thou know
How every breeze then summons
How all the light of love and beauty shed
By those rich hours, but wooes me to the dead!
beautiful that change no more -
The only loved! - the dwellings on the shore
Of spring fulfilled! The dead! -
call we so?
They that breathe purer air, that feel, that know
Things wrapt from us! Away! - within me pent,
That which is barred from its own element
Still droops or struggles! But the day
Over the deep the free bird finds its home,
And the stream lingers 'midst the rocks, yet greets
The sea at last; and the winged flower-seed meets
A soil to rest in: shall not
, too, be,
My spirit-love! upborne to dwell with thee?
Yes! by the power whose conquering anguish stirred
The tomb, whose cry beyond the stars was heard,
Whose agony of triumph won thee back
Through the dim pass no mortal step may track,
Yet shall we meet! - that glimpse of joy divine
Proved thee for ever and for ever mine!
The Domestic Affections
WHENCE are those tranquil joys, in mercy giv'n,
To light the wilderness with beams of Heav'n?
To sooth our cares, and thro' the cloud diffuse,
Their tempered sun-shine, and celestial hues?
Those pure delights, ordain'd on life to throw
Gleams of the bliss ethereal natures know?
Say, do they grace Ambition's regal throne,
When kneeling myriads call the world his own?
Or dwell with luxury, in th' enchanted bow'rs,
Where taste and wealth exert creative pow'rs?
Favor'd of Heav'n! O Genius! are they thine,
When round thy brow the wreaths of glory shine;
While rapture gazes on thy radiant way,
'Midst the bright realms of clear and mental day?
No! sacred joys! 'tis yours to dwell enshrin'd,
Most fondly cherish'd, in the purest mind;
To twine with flowers, those lov'd, endearing ties,
On earth so sweet,—so perfect in the skies!
Nurs'd on the lap of solitude and shade,
The violet smiles, embosom'd in the glade;
There sheds her spirit on the lonely gale,
Gem of seclusion! treasure of the vale!
Thus, far retir'd from life's tumultuous road,
Domestic bliss has fix'd her calm abode,
Where hallow'd innocence and sweet repose
May strew her shadowy path with many a rose:
As, when dread thunder shakes the troubled sky,
The cherub, infancy, can close its eye,
And sweetly smile, unconscious of a tear,
While viewless angels wave their pinions near;
Thus, while around the storms of discord roll,
Borne on resistless wing, from pole to pole;
While war's red lightnings desolate the ball,
And thrones and empires in destruction fall;
Then, calm as evening on the silvery wave,
When the wind slumbers in the ocean-cave,
She dwells, unruffled, in her bow'r of rest,
Her empire, home!—her throne, affection's breast!
For her, sweet nature wears her loveliest blooms,
And softer sun-shine ev'ry scene illumes.
When spring awakes the spirit of the breeze,
Whose light wing undulates the sleeping seas;
When summer, waving her creative wand,
Bids verdure smile, and glowing life expand;
Or autumn's pencil sheds, with magic trace,
O'er fading loveliness, a moon-light grace;
Oh! still for her, thro' Nature's boundless reign,
No charm is lost, no beauty blooms in vain;
While mental peace, o'er ev'ry prospect bright,
Throws mellowing tints, and harmonizing light!
Lo! borne on clouds, in rushing might sublime,
Stern winter, bursting from the polar clime,
Triumphant waves his signal-torch on high,
The blood-red meteor of the northern sky!
And high thro' darkness rears his giant-form,
His throne, the billow!—and his flag, the storm!
Yet then, when bloom and sun-shine are no more,
And the wild surges foam along the shore;
Domestic bliss! thy heaven is still serene,
Thy star, unclouded, and thy myrtle, green!
Thy fane of rest no raging storms invade,
Sweet peace is thine, the seraph of the shade!
Clear thro' the day, her light around thee glows,
And gilds the midnight of thy deep repose!
Hail, sacred home! where soft Affection's hand,
With flow'rs of Eden twines her magic band!
Where pure and bright, the social ardors rise,
Concentring all their holiest energies!
When wasting toil has dimm'd the vital flame,
And ev'ry power deserts the sinking frame;
Exhausted nature still from sleep implores
The charm that lulls, the manna that restores!
Thus, when oppress'd with rude tumultuous cares,
To thee, sweet home! the fainting mind repairs;
Still to thy breast, a wearied pilgrim, flies,
Her ark of refuge from uncertain skies!
Bower of repose! when torn from all we love,
Thro' toil we struggle, or thro' distance rove;
To thee we turn, still faithful, from afar,
Thee, our bright vista! thee, our magnet-star!
And from the martial field, the troubled sea,
Unfetter'd thought still roves to bliss and thee!
When ocean-sounds in awful slumber die,
No wave to murmur, and no gale to sigh;
Wide o'er the world, when peace and midnight reign,
And the moon trembles on the sleeping main;
At that still hour, the sailor wakes to keep,
'Midst the dead calm, the vigil of the deep!
No gleaming shores his dim horizon hound,
All heaven—and sea—and solitude—around!
Then, from the lonely deck, the silent helm,
From the wide grandeur of the shadowy realm;
Still homeward borne, his fancy unconfin'd,
Leaving the worlds of ocean far behind,
Wings like a meteor-flash her swift career,
To the lov'd scene, so distant, and so dear!
Lo! the rude whirlwind rushes from its cave,
And danger frowns—the monarch of the wave!
Lo! rocks and storms the striving bark repel,
And death and shipwreck ride the foaming swell!
Child of the ocean! is thy bier the surge,
Thy grave the billow, and the wind thy dirge?
Yes! thy long toils, thy weary conflicts o'er,
No storm shall wake, no perils rouse thee more!
Yet, in that solemn hour, that awful strife,
The struggling agony for death or life;
E'en then, thy mind, embitt'ring ev'ry pain,
Retrac'd the image so belov'd—in vain!
Still to sweet home, thy last regrets were true,
Life's parting sigh—the murmur of adieu!
Can war's dread scenes the hallow'd ties efface,
Each tender thought, each fond remembrance chase?
Can fields of carnage, days of toil, destroy
The lov'd impressions of domestic joy?
Ye day-light dreams! that cheer the soldier's breast,
In hostile climes, with spells benign and blest;
Sooth his brave heart, and shed your glowing ray,
O'er the long march, thro' desolation's way;
Oh! still ye bear him from th' ensanguin'd plain,
Armour's bright flash, and victory's choral strain;
To that lov'd home, where pure affection glows,
That shrine of bliss! asylum of repose!
When all is hush'd—the rage of combat past,
And no dread war-note swells the moaning blast;
When the warm throb of many a heart is o'er,
And many an eye is clos'd—to wake no more;
Lull'd by the night-wind, pillow'd on the ground,
(The dewy death-bed of his comrades round!)
While o'er the slain the tears of midnight weep,
Faint with fatigue, he sinks in slumbers deep!
E'en then, soft visions, hov'ring round, portray,
The cherish'd forms that o'er his bosom sway!
He sees fond transport light each beaming face,
Meets the warm tear-drop, and the long embrace!
While the sweet welcome vibrates thro' his heart,
'Hail, weary soldier! —never more to part!'
And, lo! at last, releas'd from ev'ry toil,
He comes! the wanderer views his native soil!
Then the bright raptures, words can never speak,
Flash in his eye, and mantle o'er his cheek!
Then love and friendship, whose unceasing pray'r,
Implor'd for him, each guardian-spirit's care;
Who, for his fate, thro' sorrow's lingering year,
Had prov'd each thrilling pulse of hope and fear;
In that blest moment, all the past forget,
Hours of suspense! and vigils of regret!
And, oh! for him, the child of rude alarms,
Rear'd by stern danger, in the school of arms;
How sweet to change the war-song's pealing note,
For woodland-sounds, in summer-air that float!
Thro' vales of peace, o'er mountain-wilds to roam,
And breathe his native gales, that whisper—'Home!'
Hail! sweet endearments of domestic ties,
Charms of existence! angel-sympathies!
Tho' pleasure smile, a soft, Circassian queen!
And guide her votaries thro' a fairy scene;
Where sylphid forms beguile their vernal hours,
With mirth and music, in Arcadian bow'rs;
Tho' gazing nations hail the fiery car,
That bears the son of conquest from afar;
While Fame's loud Pæan bids his heart rejoice,
And ev'ry life-pulse vibrates to her voice;
Yet from your source alone, in mazes bright,
Flows the full current of serene delight!
On Freedom's wing, that ev'ry wild explores,
Thro' realms of space, th' aspiring eagle soars!
Darts o'er the clouds, exulting to admire,
Meridian glory—on her throne of fire!
Bird of the sun! his keen, unwearied gaze,
Hails the full noon, and triumphs in the blaze!
But soon, descending from his height sublime,
Day's burning fount, and light's empyreal clime;
Once more he speeds to joys more calmly blest,
'Midst the dear inmates of his lonely nest!
Thus Genius, mounting on his bright career,
Thro' the wide regions of the mental sphere;
And proudly waving, in his gifted hand,
O'er Fancy's worlds, Invention's plastic wand;
Fearless and firm, with lightning-eye surveys
The clearest heav'n of intellectual rays!
Yet, on his course tho' loftiest hopes attend,
And kindling raptures aid him to ascend;
(While in his mind, with high-born grandeur fraught,
Dilate the noblest energies of thought
Still, from the bliss, ethereal and refin'd,
Which crowns the soarings of triumphant mind,
At length he flies, to that serene retreat,
Where calm and pure, the mild affections meet;
Embosom'd there, to feel and to impart,
The softer pleasures of the social heart!
Ah! weep for those, deserted and forlorn,
From ev'ry tie, by fate relentless torn!
See, on the barren coast, the lonely isle,
Mark'd with no step, uncheer'd by human smile;
Heart-sick and faint, the shipwreck'd wanderer stand,
Raise the dim eye, and lift the suppliant hand!
Explore with fruitless gaze the billowy main,
And weep—and pray—and linger!—but in vain!
Thence, roving wild thro' many a depth of shade!
Where voice ne'er echo'd, footstep never stray'd;
He fondly seeks, o'er cliffs and deserts rude,
Haunts of mankind, 'midst realms of solitude!
And pauses oft, and sadly hears alone,
The wood's deep sigh, the surge's distant moan!
All else is hush'd! so silent, so profound,
As if some viewless power, presiding round,
With mystic spell, unbroken by a breath,
Had spread for ages the repose of death!
Ah! still the wanderer, by the boundless deep,
Lives but to watch,—and watches but to weep!
He sees no sail in faint perspective rise,
His the dread loneliness of sea and skies!
Far from his cherish'd friends, his native shore,
Banish'd from being—to return no more;
There must he die!—within that circling wave,
That lonely isle—his prison and his grave!
Lo! thro' the waste, the wilderness of snows,
With fainting step, Siberia's exile goes!
Homeless and sad, o'er many a polar wild,
Where beam, or flower, or verdure, never smil'd;
Where frost and silence hold their despot-reign,
And bind existence in eternal chain!
Child of the desert! pilgrim of the gloom!
Dark is the path which leads thee to the tomb!
While on thy faded cheek, the arctic air
Congeals the bitter tear-drop of despair!
Yet not, that fate condemns thy closing day,
In that stern clime, to shed its parting ray;
Not that fair Nature's loveliness find light,
No more shall beam enchantment on thy sight;
Ah! not for this, far, far beyond relief,
Deep in thy bosom dwells the hopeless grief;
But that no friend of kindred heart is there,
Thy woes to meliorate, thy toils to share;
That no mild soother fondly shall assuage
The stormy trials of thy lingering age;
No smile of tenderness, with angel-power,
Lull the dread pangs of dissolution's hour;
For this alone, despair, a withering guest,
Sits on thy brow, and cankers in thy breast!
Yes! there, e'en there, in that tremendous clime,
Where desert-grandeur frowns, in pomp sublime;
Where winter triumphs, thro' the polar night,
In all his wild magnificence of might;
E'en there, Affection's hallow'd spell might pour,
The light of heav'n around th' inclement shore!
And, like the vales with bloom and sun-shine grac'd,
That smile, by circling Pyrennees embrac'd,
Teach the pure heart, with vital fires to glow,
E'en 'midst the world of solitude and snow!
The Halcyon's charm, thus dreaming fictions feign,
With mystic power, could tranquillize the main;
Bid the loud wind, the mountain-billow sleep,
And peace and silence brood upon the deep!
And thus, Affection, can thy voice compose
The stormy tide of passions and of woes;
Bid every throb of wild emotion cease,
And lull misfortune in the arms of peace!
Oh! mark yon drooping form, of aged mien,
Wan, yet resign'd, and hopeless, yet serene!
Long ere victorious time had sought to chase
The bloom, the smile, that once illum'd his face;
That faded eye was dimm'd with many a care,
Those waving locks were silver'd by despair!
Yet filial love can pour the sovereign balm,
Assuage his pangs, his wounded spirit calm!
He, a sad emigrant! condemn'd to roam
In life's pale autumn from his ruin'd home;
Has borne the shock of peril's darkest wave,
Where joy—and hope—and fortune—found a grave!
'Twas his, to see destruction's fiercest band,
Rush, like a TYPHON, on his native land,
And roll, triumphant, on their blasted way,
In fire and blood—the deluge of dismay!
Unequal combat rag'd on many a plain,
And patriot-valour wav'd the sword—in vain!
Ah! gallant exile! nobly, long, he bled,
Long brav'd the tempest gath'ring o'er his head!
Till all was lost! and horror's darkening eye,
Rous'd the stern spirit of despair—to die!
Ah! gallant exile! in the storm that roll'd
Far o'er his country, rushing uncontroll'd;
The flowers that grac'd his path with loveliest bloom,
Torn by the blast—were scatter'd on the tomb!
When carnage burst, exulting in the strife,
The bosom ties that bound his soul to life;
Yet one was spar'd! and she, whose filial smile,
Can sooth his wanderings, and his tears beguile,
E'en then, could temper, with divine relief,
The wild delirium of unbounded grief;
And whisp'ring peace, conceal, with duteous art,
Her own deep sorrows in her inmost heart!
And now, tho' time, subduing ev'ry trace,
Has mellow'd all, he never can erase;
Oft will the wanderer's tears in silence flow,
Still sadly faithful to remember'd woe!
Then she, who feels a father's pang alone,
(Still fondly struggling to suppress her own
With anxious tenderness is ever nigh,
To chase the image that awakes the sigh!
Her angel-voice his hinting soul can raise
To brighter visions of celestial days!
And speak of realms, where virtue's wing shall soar
On eagle-plume—to wonder and adore!
And friends, divided here, shall meet at last,
Unite their kindred souls—and smile on all the past!
Yes! we may hope, that Nature's deathless ties,
Renew'd, refin'd—shall triumph in the skies!
Heart-soothing thought! whose lov'd, consoling pow'r,
With seraph-dreams can gild reflection's hour;
Oh! still be near! and bright'ning thro' the gloom,
Beam and ascend! the day-star of the tomb!
And smile for those, in sternest ordeals prov'd,
Those lonely hearts, bereft of all they lov'd!
Lo! by the couch, where pain and chill disease,
In ev'ry vein the ebbing life-blood freeze;
Where youth is taught, by stealing, slow decay,
Life's closing lesson—in its dawning day;
Where beauty's rose is with'ring ere its prime,
Unchang'd by sorrow—and unsoil'd by time;
There, bending still, with fix'd and sleepless eye,
There, from her child, the mother learns—to die!
Explores, with fearful gaze, each mournful trace
Of ling'ring sickness in the faded face;
Thro' the sad night, when ev'ry hope is fled,
Keeps her lone vigil by the suff'rer's bed;
And starts each morn, as deeper marks declare
The spoiler's hand—the blight of death—is there!
He comes! now feebly in th' exhausted frame,
Slow, languid, quiv'ring, burns the vital flame!
From the glaz'd eye-ball sheds its parting ray,
Dim, transient spark! that flutt'ring, fades away!
Faint beats the hov'ring pulse, the trembling heart,
Yet fond existence lingers—ere she part!
'Tis past! the struggle and the pang are o'er,
And life shall throb with agony no more!
While o'er the wasted form, the features pale,
Death's awful shadows throw their silvery veil!
Departed spirit! on this earthly sphere,
Tho' poignant suff'ring mark'd thy short career;
Still could maternal love beguile thy woes,
And hush thy sighs—an angel of repose!
But who may charm her sleepless pang to rest,
Or draw the thorn that rankles in her breast?
And while she bends in silence o'er thy bier,
Assuage the grief, too heart-sick for a tear?
Visions of hope! in loveliest hues array'd,
Fair scenes of bliss! by Fancy's hand portray'd;
And were ye doom'd, with false, illusive smile,
With flatt'ring promise, to enchant awhile?
And are ye vanish'd, never to return,
Set in the darkness of the mouldering urn?
Will no bright hour departed joys restore?
Shall the sad parent meet her child no more;
Behold no more the soul-illumin'd face,
Th' expressive smile, the animated grace?
Must the fair blossom, wither'd in the tomb,
Revive no more in loveliness and bloom?—
Descend, blest Faith! dispel the hopeless care,
And chase the gathering phantoms of despair!
Tell, that the flow'r, transplanted in its morn,
Enjoys bright Eden, freed from every thorn;
Expands to milder suns, and softer dews;
The full perfection of immortal hues!
Tell, that when mounting to her native skies,
By death releas'd, the parent-spirit flies;
There shall the child, in anguish mourn'd so long,
With rapture hail her, 'midst the cherub-throng;
And guide her pinion, on exulting flight,
Thro' glory's boundless realms, and worlds of living light!
Ye gentle spirits of departed friends!
If e'er on earth your buoyant wing descends;
If, with benignant care; ye linger near,
To guard the objects in existence dear;
If hov'ring o'er, ethereal band! ye view
The tender sorrows, to your memory true;
Oh! in the musing hour, at midnight deep,
While for your loss Affection wakes to weep;
While ev'ry sound in hallow'd stillness lies,
But the low murmur of her plaintive sighs;
Oh! then, amidst that holy calm, be near!
Breathe your light whisper softly in her ear!
With secret spells, her wounded mind compose,
And chase the faithful tear—for you that flows!
Be near! when moon-light spreads the charm you lov'd,
O'er scenes where once your earthly footstep rov'd!
Then, while she wanders o'er the sparkling dew,
Thro' glens, and wood-paths, once endear'd by you;
And fondly lingers, in your fav'rite bow'rs,
And pauses oft, recalling former hours;
Then wave your pinion o'er each well-known vale,
Float in the moon-beam, sigh upon the gale!
Bid your wild symphonies remotely swell,
Borne by the summer-wind, from grot and dell;
And touch your viewless harps, and sooth her soul,
With soft enchantments and divine control!
Be near! sweet guardians! watch her sacred rest,
When slumber folds her in his magic vest!
Around her, smiling, let your forms arise
Return'd in dreams, to bless her mental eyes!
Efface the mem'ry of your last farewell,
Of glowing joys, of radiant prospects, tell!
The sweet communion of the past, renew,
Reviving former scenes, array'd in softer hue!
Be near, when death, in virtue's brightest hour,
Calls up each pang, and summons all his pow'r!
Oh! then, transcending Fancy's loveliest dream,
Then let your forms, unveil'd, around her beam!
Then waft the vision of unclouded light,
A burst of glory, on her closing sight!
Wake from the harp of heav'n th' immortal strain,
To hush the final agonies of pain!
With rapture's flame, the parting soul illume,
And smile triumphant thro' the shadowy gloom!
Oh! still be near! when, darting into day,
Th' exulting spirit leaves her bonds of clay;
Be yours to guide her flutt'ring wing on high,
O'er many a world, ascending to the sky!
There let your presence, once her earthly joy,
Tho' dimm'd with tears, and clouded with alloy;
Now form her bliss on that celestial shore,
Where death shall sever kindred hearts no more!
Yes! in the noon of that Elysian clime,
Beyond the sphere of anguish, death, or time;
Where mind's bright eye, with renovated fire,
Shall beam on glories—never to expire;
Oh! there, th' illumin'd soul may fondly trust,
More pure, more perfect, rising from the dust;
Those mild affections, whose consoling light
Sheds the soft moon-beam on terrestrial night;
Sublim'd, ennobled, shall for ever glow,
Exalting rapture—not assuaging woe!
The Abencerrage : Canto Ii.
Fair land! of chivalry the old domain,
Land of the vine and olive, lovely Spain!
Though not for thee with classic shores to vie
In charms that fix the enthusiast's pensive eye;
Yet hast thou scenes of beauty, richly fraught
With all that wakes the glow of lofty thought;
Fountains, and vales, and rocks, whose ancient name
High deeds have raised to mingle with their fame.
Those scenes are peaceful now: the citron blows,
Wild spreads the myrtle, where the brave repose.
No sound of battle swells on Douro's shore,
And banners wave on Ebro's banks no more.
But who, unmoved, unawed, shall coldly tread
Thy fields that sepulchre the mighty dead?
Blest be that soil! where England's heroes share
The grave of chiefs, for ages slumbering there;
Whose names are glorious in romantic lays,
The wild, sweet chronicles of elder days -
By goathered lone, and rude serrano sung,
Thy cypress dells, and vine-clad rocks among:
How oft those rocks have echoed to the tale
Of knights who fell in Roncesvalles' vale;
Of him, renowned in old heroic lore,
First of the brave, the gallant Campeador;
Of those, the famed in song, who proudly died
When 'Rio Verde' rolled a crimson tide;
Or that high name, by Garcilaso's might,
On the green Vega won in single fight.
Round fair Granada, deepening from afar,
O'er that green Vega rose the din of war.
At morn or eve no more the sunbeams shone
O'er a calm scene, in pastoral beauty lone;
On helm and corslet tremulous they glanced,
On shield and spear in quivering lustre danced,
Far as the sight by clear Xenil could rove,
Tents rose around, and banners glanced above.
And steeds in gorgeous trappings, armour bright
With gold, reflecting every tint of light,
And many a floating plume, and blazoned shield
Diffused romantic splendour o'er the field.
There swell those sounds that bid the life-blood start
Swift to the mantling cheek and beating heart.
The clang of echoing steel, the charger's neigh,
The measured tread of hosts in war's array;
And, oh! that music, whose exulting breath
Speaks but of glory on the road of death;
In whose wild voice there dwells inspiring power
To wake the stormy joy of danger's hour;
To nerve the arm, the spirit to sustain,
Rouse from despondence, and support in pain;
And, 'midst the deepening tumults of the strife,
Teach every pulse to thrill with more than life.
High o'er the camp, in many a broidered fold,
Floats to the wind a standard rich with gold:
There, imaged on the cross,
Who drank for man the bitter cup of tears -
form, whose word recalled the spirit fled,
Now borne by hosts to guide them o'er the dead!
O'er yon fair walls to plant the cross on high,
Spain hath sent forth her flower of chivalry.
Fired with that ardour which, in days of yore,
To Syrian plains the bold crusaders bore;
Elate with lofty hope, with martial zeal,
They come, the gallant children of Castile;
The proud, the calmly dignified: - and there
Ebro's dark sons with haughty mien repair,
And those who guide the fiery steed of war
From yon rich province of the western star.
But thou, conspicuous 'midst the glitt'ring scene,
Stern grandeur stamped upon thy princely mien;
Known by the foreign garb, the silvery vest,
The snow-white charger, and the azure crest,
Young Aben-Zurrah! 'midst that host of foes,
helm, thy Moorish lance? Disclose
Why rise the tents where dwell thy kindred train,
O son of Afric, 'midst the sons of Spain?
Hast thou with these thy nation's fall conspired,
Apostate chief! by hope of vengeance fired?
How art thou changed! Still first in every fight,
Hamet, the Moor! Castile's devoted knight!
There dwells a fiery lustre in thine eye,
But not the light that shone in days gone by
There is wild ardour in thy look and tone,
But not the soul's expression once thine own,
Nor aught like peace within. Yet who shall say
What secret thoughts thine inmost heart may sway?
No eye but Heaven's may pierce that curtained breast,
Whose joys and griefs alike are unexpressed.
There hath been combat on the tented plain;
The Vega's turf is red with many a stain;
And, rent and trampled, banner, crest, and shield,
Tell of a fierce and well-contested field:
But all is peaceful now - the west is bright
With the rich splendour of departing light;
Mulhacen's peak, half lost amidst the sky,
Glows like a purple evening-cloud on high,
And tints, that mock the pencil's art, o'erspread
The eternal snow that crowns Veleta's head;
While the warm sunset o'er the landscape throws
A solemn beauty, and a deep repose.
Closed are the toils and tumults of the day,
And Hamet wanders from the camp away,
In silent musings wrapt: - the slaughtered brave
Lie thickly strewn by Darro's rippling wave.
Soft fall the dews - but other drops have dyed
The scented shrubs that fringe the river side,
Beneath whose shade, as ebbing life retired,
The wounded sought a shelter - and expired,
Lonely, and lost in thoughts of other days,
By the bright windings of the stream he strays,
Till, more remote from battle's ravaged scene,
All is repose, and solitude serene.
There, 'neath an olive's ancient shade reclined,
Whose rustling foliage waves in evening's wind,
The harassed warrior, yielding to the power,
The mild sweet influence of the tranquil hour,
Feels, by degrees, a long-forgotten calm
Shed o'er his troubled soul unwonted balm;
His wrongs, his woes, his dark and dubious lot,
The past, the future, are awhile forgot;
And Hope, scarce owned, yet stealing o'er his breast,
Half dares to whisper, 'Thou shalt yet be blest!'
Such his vague musings - but a plaintive sound
Breaks on the deep and solemn stillness round;
A low, half-stifled moan, that seems to rise
From life and death's contending agonies.
He turns: Who shares with him that lonely shade?
- A youthful warrior on his deathbed laid.
All rent and stained his broidered Moorish vest,
The corslet shattered on his bleeding breast;
In his cold hand the broken falchion strained,
With life's last force convulsively retained;
His plumage soiled with dust, with crimson dyed,
And the red lance, in fragments, by his side;
He lies forsaken - pillowed on his shield,
His helmet raised, his lineaments revealed.
Pale is that quivering lip, and vanished now
The light once throned on that commanding brow;
And o'er that fading eye, still upward cast,
The shades of death are gathering dark and fast.
Yet, as yon rising moon her light serene
Sheds the pale olive's waving boughs between,
Too well can Hamet's conscious heart retrace,
Though changed thus fearfully, that pallid face,
Whose every feature to his soul conveys
Some bitter thought of long-departed days.
'Oh! is it thus,' he cries, 'we meet at last?
Friend of my soul in years for ever past!
Hath fate but led me hither to behold
The last dread struggle, ere that heart is cold, -
Receive thy latest agonising breath,
And, with vain pity, soothe the pangs of death?
Yet let me bear thee hence; while life remains,
E'en though thus feebly circling through thy veins,
Some healing balm thy sense may still revive,
Hope is not lost - and Osmyn yet may live!
And blest were he, whose timely care should save
A heart so noble, e'en from glory's grave.'
Roused by those accents, from his lowly bed
The dying warrior faintly lifts his head;
O'er Hamet's mien, with vague, uncertain gaze,
His doubtful glance awhile bewildered strays;
Till, by degrees, a smile of proud disdain
Lights up those features late convulsed with pain;
A quivering radiance flashes from his eye,
That seems too pure, too full of soul to die;
And the mind's grandeur, in its parting hour,
Looks from that brow with more than wonted power.
'Away!' he cries, in accents of command,
And proudly waves his cold and trembling hand.
'Apostate, hence! my soul shall soon be free,
E'en now it soars, disdaining aid from thee:
'Tis not for thee to close the fading eyes
Of him who faithful to his country dies;
hand to raise the drooping head
Of him who sinks to rest on glory's bed.
Soon shall these pangs be closed, this conflict o'er,
And worlds be mine where thou canst never soar;
Be thine existence with a blighted name,
Mine the bright death which seals a warrior's fame!'
The glow hath vanished from his cheek - his eye
Hath lost that beam of parting energy;
Frozen and fixed it seems - his brow is chill;
One struggle more - that noble heart is still.
Departed warrior! were thy mortal throes,
Were thy last pangs, ere Nature found repose,
More keen, more bitter, than the envenomed dart
Thy dying words have left in Hamet's heart?
pangs were transient;
shall sleep no more
Till life's delirious dream itself is o'er;
But thou shalt rest in glory, and thy grave
Be the pure altar of the patriot brave.
Oh, what a change that little hour hath wrought
In the high spirit and unbending thought!
Yet, from himself each keen regret to hide,
Still Hamet struggles with indignant pride;
While his soul rises, gathering all its force,
To meet the fearful conflict with remorse.
To thee, at length, whose artless love hath been
His own, unchanged, through many a stormy scene;
Zayda! to thee his heart for refuge flies;
Yes! let the world upbraid, let foes contemn,
Thy gentle breast the tide will firmly stem;
And soon thy smile, and soft consoling voice,
Shall bid his troubled soul again rejoice.
Within Granada's walls are hearts and hands
Whose aid in secret Hamet yet commands;
Nor hard the task, at some propitious hour,
To win his silent way to Zayda's bower,
When night and peace are brooding o'er the world,
When mute the clarions, and the banners furled.
That hour is come - and, o'er the arms he bears,
A wandering fakir's garb the chieftain wears:
Disguise that ill from piercing eye could hide
The lofty port, and glance of martial pride;
But night befriends - through paths obscure he passed,
And hailed the lone and lovely scene at last;
Young Zayda's chosen haunt, the fair alcove,
The sparkling fountain, and the orange grove:
Calm in the moonlight smiles the still retreat,
As formed alone for happy hearts to meet.
For happy hearts? - not such as hers, who there
Bends o'er her lute, with dark, unbraided hair;
That maid of Zegri race, whose eye, whose mien,
Tell that despair her bosom's guest hath been.
So lost in thought she seems, the warrior's feet
Till his known accents every sense restore -
'My own loved Zayda! do we meet once more?'
She starts, she turns - the lightning of surprise,
Of sudden rapture, flashes from her eyes;
But that is fleeting - it is past - and now
Far other meaning darkens o'er her brow:
'Hence, Aben-Zurrah! death surrounds thee here!'
What mean those words, and that unwonted tone?
I will not deem thee changed - but in thy face
It is not joy, it is not love, I trace!
It was not thus in other days we met:
Hath time, hath absense, taught thee to forget?
Oh! speak once more - these rising doubts dispel;
One smile of tenderness, and all is well!'
'Not thus we met in other days! - oh, no!
Thou wert not, warrior then thy country's foe!
Those days are past - we ne'er shall meet again
With hearts all warmth, all confidence, as then.
dark soul no gentler feelings sway,
Leader of hostile bands! away, away!
On in thy path of triumph and of power,
Nor pause to raise from earth a blighted flower.'
too changed! thine early vow forgot!
This, this alone was wanting to my lot!
Exiled and scorned, of every tie bereft,
Thy love, the desert's lonely fount, was left;
And thou, my soul's last hope, its lingering beam,
Thou, the good angel of each brighter dream,
Wert all the barrenness of life possest,
To wake one soft affection in my breast!
That vision ended - fate hath nought in store
Of joy or sorrow e'er to touch me more.
Go, Zegri maid! to scenes of sunshine fly,
From the stern pupil of adversity!
And now to hope, to confidence, adieu!
If thou are faithless, who shall e'er be true?'
'Hamet! oh, wrong me not! - too could speak
Of sorrows - trace them on my faded cheek,
In the sunk eye, and in the wasted form,
That tell the heart hath nursed a canker-worm!
But words were idle - read my sufferings there,
Where grief is stamped on all that once was fair.
'Oh, wert thou still what once I fondly deemed,
All that thy mien expressed, thy spirit seemed,
My love had been devotion - till in death
Thy name had trembled on my latest breath.
But not the chief who leads a lawless band,
To crush the altars of his native land;
The apostate son of heroes, whose disgrace
Hath stained the trophies of a glorious race;
I loved - but one whose youthful name
Was pure and radiant in unsullied fame.
Hadst thou but died, ere yet dishonour's cloud
O'er that young name gathered as a shroud,
I then had mourned thee proudly, and my grief
In its own loftiness had found relief;
A noble sorrow, cherished to the last,
When every meaner woe had long been past.
Yes! let Affection weep - no common tear
She sheds, when bending o'er a hero's bier.
Let Nature mourn the dead - a grief like this,
To pangs that rend
bosom, had been bliss!'
'High-minded maid! the time admits not now
To plead my cause, to vindicate my vow.
That vow, too dread, too solemn to recall,
Hath urged me onward, haply to my fall.
Yet this believe - no meaner aim inspires
My soul, no dream of poor ambition fires.
No! every hope of power, of triumph, fled,
Behold me but the avenger of the dead!
One whose changed heart no tie, no kindred knows,
And in thy love alone hath sought repose.
his stern accuser be?
False to his country, he is true to thee!
Oh, hear me yet! - if Hamet e'er was dear,
By our first vows, our young affection, hear!
Soon must this fair and royal city fall,
Soon shall the cross be planted on her wall;
Then who can tell what tides of blood may flow,
While her fanes echo to the shrieks of woe?
Fly, fly with me, and let me bear thee far
From horrors thronging in the path of war:
Fly! and repose in safety - till the blast
Hath made a desert in its course - and passed!'
'Thou that wilt triumph when the hour is come,
Hastened by thee, to seal thy country's doom,
from scenes of death shall Zayda fly
To peace and safety? - Woman, too, can die!
And die exulting, though unknown to fame,
In all the stainless beauty of her name!
Be mine, unmurmuring, undismayed, to share
The fate my kindred and my sire must bear.
When the clouds gather and the blasts assail,
Thou hast but known me ere the trying hour
Called into life my spirit's latent power;
While withering o'er my silent woes I wept;
And now, when hope and happiness are fled,
My soul is firm - for what remains to dread!
Who shall have power to suffer and to bear,
If strength and courage dwell not with Despair?
Hamet, farewell - retrace thy path again,
To join thy brethren on the tented plain.
There wave and wood, in mingling murmurs, tell
How, in far other cause, thy fathers fell!
Yes! on that soil hath Glory's footstep been,
Names unforgotten consecrate the scene!
Dwell not the souls of heroes round thee there,
Whose voices call thee in the whispering air?
Unheard, in vain, they call - their fallen son
Hath stained the name those mighty spirits won,
And to the hatred of the brave and free
Bequethed his own, through ages yet to be!
Still as she spoke, the enthusiast's kindling eye
Was lighted up with inborn majesty,
While her fair form and youthful features caught
All the proud grandeur of heroic thought,
Severely beauteous; awe-struck and amazed,
In silent trance a while the warrior gazed,
As on some lofty vision - for she seemed
One all inspired - each look with glory beamed,
While, brightly bursting through its cloud of woes,
Her soul at once in all its light arose.
Oh! ne'er had Hamet deemed there dwelt enshrined
In form so fragile that unconquered mind;
And fixed, as by some high enchantment, there
He stood - till wonder yielded to despair.
'The dream is vanished - daughter of my foes!
Reft of each hope, the lonely wanderer goes.
Thy words have pierced his soul - yet deem thou not
Thou couldst be once adored, and e'er forgot!
Oh, formed for happier love, heroic maid!
In grief sublime, in danger undismayed,
Farewell, and be thou blest! - all words were vain
From him who ne'er may view that form again;
Him, whose sole thought resembling bliss must be
been loved, once fondly loved by, thee!',
And is the warrior gone? - doth Zayda hear
His parting footstep, and without a tear?
Thou weepest not, lofty maid! - yet who can tell
What secret pangs within thy heart may dwell?
feel not least, the firm, the high in soul,
Who best each feeling's agony control.
Yes, we may judge the measure of the grief
Which finds in Misery's eloquence relief;
But who shall pierce those depths of silent woe
Whence breathes no language, whence no tears may flow?
The pangs that many a noble breast hath proved,
Scorning itself that thus it
He, He alone, the inmost heart who knows,
Views all its weakness, pities all its throes,
He who hath mercy when mankind contemn,
Beholding anguish - all unknown to them.
Fair city! thou that midst thy stately fanes
And gilded minarets, towering o'er the plains,
In Eastern grandeur proudly dost arise
Beneath thy canopy of deep-blue skies:
While streams that bear thee treasures in their wave,
Thy citron-groves and myrtle-gardens have:
Mourn, for thy doom is fixed - the days of fear,
Of chains, of wrath, of bitterness, are near!
Within, around thee, are the trophied graves
Of kings and chiefs - their children shall be slaves.
Fair are thy halls, thy domes majestic swell,
But there a race that reared them not shall dwell;
For midst thy councils Discord still presides,
Degenerate fear thy wavering monarch guides -
Last of a line whose regal spirit flown
Hath to their offspring but bequeathed a throne,
Without one generous thought, or feeling high,
To teach his soul how kings should live and die.
A voice resounds within Granada's wall,
The hearts of warriors echo to its call,
Whose are those tones, with power electric fraught,
To reach the source of pure exalted thought!
See, on a fortress tower, with beckoning hand,
A form, majestic as a prophet, stand!
His mien is all impassioned - and his eye
Filled with a light whose fountain is on high;
Wild on the gale his silvery tresses flow,
And inspiration beams upon his brow;
While, thronging round him, breathless thousands gaze,
As on some mighty seer of elder days.
'Saw ye the banners of Castile displayed,
The helmets glittering, and the line arrayed?
Heard ye the march of steel-clad hosts?' he cries;
'Children of conquerors! in your strength arise!
O high-born tribes! O names unstained by fear!
Azarques, Zegris, Almoradis, hear!
Be every feud forgotten, and your hands
Dyed with no blood but that of hostile bands.
Wake, princes of the land! the hour is come,
And the red sabre must decide your doom.
Where is that spirit which prevailed of yore,
When Tarik's bands o'erspread the western shore?
When the long combat raged on Xere's plain,
And Afric's tecbir swelled through yielding Spain?
Is the lance broken, is the shield decayed,
The warrior's arm unstrung, his heart dismayed?
Shall no high spirit of ascendant worth
Arise to lead the sons of Islam forth?
To guard the regions where our fathers' blood
Hath bathed each plain, and mingled with each flood;
Where long their dust hath blended with the soil
Won by their swords, made fertile by their toil!
'O ye sierras of eternal snow!
Ye streams that by the tombs of heroes flow,
Woods, fountains, rocks of Spain! ye saw their might
In many a fierce and unforgotten fight -
Shall ye behold their lost, degenerate race,
Dwell 'midst your scenes in fetters and disgrace?
With each memorial of the past around,
Each mighty monument of days renowned?
May this indignant heart ere then be cold,
This frame be gathered to its kindred mould!
And the last life-drop circling through my veins
Have tinged a soil untainted yet by chains!
'And yet one struggle ere our doom is sealed,
One mighty effort, one deciding field!
If vain each hope, we still have choice to be,
In life the fettered, or in death the free!'
Still while he speaks, each gallant heart beats high,
And ardour flashes from each kindling eye;
Youth, manhood, age, as if inspired, have caught
The glow of lofty hope and daring thought,
And all is hushed around - as every sense
Dwelt on the tones of that wild eloquence.
But when his voice hath ceased, the impetuous cry
Of eager thousands bursts at once on high;
Rampart, and rock, and fortress, ring around,
And fair Alhambra's inmost halls resound.
'Lead us, O chieftain! lead us to the strife,
To fame in death, or liberty in life!'
O zeal of noble hearts! in vain displayed!
Now, while the burning spirit of the brave
Is roused to energies that yet might save,
E'en now, enthusiasts! while ye rush to claim
Your glorious trial on the field of fame,
Your king hath yielded! Valour's dream is o'er;
Power, wealth, and freedom, are your own no more;
And for your children's portion,
That bitter heritage - the stranger's chains.
The Abencerrage : Canto I.
Lonely and still are now thy marble halls,
Thou fair Alhambra! there the feast is o'er;
And with the murmur of thy fountain-falls,
Blend the wild tones of minstrelsy no more.
Hushed are the voices that in years gone by
Have mourned, exulted, menaced, through thy towers,
Within thy pillared courts the grass waves high,
And all uncultured bloom thy fairy bowers.
Unheeded there the flowering myrtle blows,
Through tall arcades unmarked the sunbeam smiles,
And many a tint of softened brilliance throws
O'er fretted walls and shining peristyles.
And well might Fancy deem thy fabrics lone,
So vast, so silent, and so wildly fair,
Some charmed abode of beings all unknown,
Powerful and viewless, children of the air.
For there no footstep treads the enchanted ground,
There not a sound the deep repose pervades,
Save winds and founts, diffusing freshness round,
Through the light domes and graceful colonnades.
For other tones have swelled those courts along,
In days romance yet fondly loves to trace;
The clash of arms, the voice of choral song,
The revels, combats, of a vanished race.
And yet awhile, at Fancy's potent call,
Shall rise that race, the chivalrous, the bold;
Peopling once more each fair, forsaken hall,
With stately forms, the knights and chiefs of old.
- The sun declines - upon Nevada's height
There dwells a mellow flush of rosy light;
Each soaring pinnacle of mountain snow
Smiles in the richness of that parting glow,
And Darro's wave reflects each passing dye
That melts and mingles in the empurpled sky.
Fragrance, exhaled from rose and citron bower,
Blends with the dewy freshness of the hour:
Hushed are the winds, and Nature seems to sleep
In light and stillness; wood, and tower, and steep,
Are dyed with tints of glory, only given
To the rich evening of a southern heaven;
Tints of the sun, whose bright farewell is fraught
With all that art hath dreamt, but never caught.
-Yes, Nature sleeps; but not with her at rest
The fiery passions of the human breast.
Hark! from the Alhambra's towers what stormy sound,
Each moment deepening, wildly swells around?
Those are no tumults of a festal throng,
Not the light zambra, nor the choral song:
The combat rages - 'tis the shout of war,
'Tis the loud clash of shield and scimitar.
Within the Hall of Lions, where the rays
Of eve, yet lingering, on the fountain blaze;
There, girt and guarded by his Zegri bands,
And stern in wrath, the Moorish monarch stands;
There the strife centres - swords around him wave;
There bleed the fallen, there contend the brave,
While echoing domes return the battle-cry,
'Revenge and freedom! let the tyrant die!'
And onward rushing, prevailing still,
Court, hall, and tower, the fierce avengers fill.
But first the bravest of that gallant train,
Where foes are mightiest, charging ne'er in vain;
In his red hand the sabre glancing bright,
His dark eye flashing with a fiercer light,
Ardent, untired, scarce conscious that he bleeds,
His Aben-Zurrahs there young Hamet leads;
While swells his voice that wild acclaim on high,
'Revenge and freedom! let the tyrant die!'
Yes! trace the footsteps of the warrior's wrath
By helm and corslet shattered in his path,
And by the thickest harvest of the slain,
And by the marble's deepest crimson stain:
Search through the serried fight, where loudest cries
From triumph, anguish, or despair, arise;
And brightest where the shivering falchions glare,
And where the ground is reddest - he is there.
Yes, that young arm, amidst the Zegri host,
Hath well avenged a sire, a brother, lost.
They perished - not as heroes should have died,
On the red field, in victory's hour of pride,
In all the glow and sunshine of their fame,
And proudly smiling as the death-pang came:
Oh! had they
expired, a warrior's tear
Had flowed, almost in triumph, o'er their bier.
For thus alone the brave should weep for those
Who brightly pass in glory to repose.
- Not such their fate - a tyrant's stern command
Doomed them to fall by some ignoble hand,
As, with the flower of all their high-born race,
Summoned Abdallah's royal feast to grace,
Fearless in heart, no dream of danger nigh,
They sought the banquet's gilded hall - to die.
Betrayed, unarmed, they fell - the fountain wave
Flowed crimson with the life-blood of the brave,
Till far the fearful tidings of their fate
Through the wide city rang from gate to gate,
And of that lineage each surviving son
Rushed to the scene where vengeance might be won.
For this young Hamet mingles in the strife,
Leader of battle, prodigal of life,
Urging his followers till their foes, beset,
Stand faint and breathless, but undaunted yet.
Brave Aben-Zurrahs, on! one effort more,
Yours is the triumph, and the conflict o'er.
But lo! descending o'er the darkened hall,
The twilight shadows fast and deeply fall,
Nor yet the strife hath ceased - though scarce they know
Through that thick gloom, the brother from the foe;
Till the moon rises with her cloudless ray,
The peaceful moon, and gives them light to slay.
Where lurks Abdallah? - 'midst his yielding train,
They seek the guilty monarch, but in vain.
He lies not numbered with the valiant dead,
His champions round him have not vainly bled;
But when twilight spread her shadowy veil,
And his last warriors found each effort fail,
In wild despair he fled - a trusted few,
Kindred in crime, are still in danger true;
And o'er the scene of many a martial deed
The Vega's green expanse, his flying footsteps lead.
He passed the Alhambra's calm and lovely bowers,
Where slept the glistening leaves and folded flowers
In dew and starlight - there, from grot and cave,
Gushed, in wild music, many a sparkling wave;
There, on each breeze, the breath of fragrance rose,
And all was freshness, beauty, and repose.
But thou, dark monarch! in thy bosom reign
Storms that, once roused, shall never sleep again.
Oh! vainly bright is Nature in the course
Of him who flies from terror or remorse!
A spell is round him which obscures her bloom,
And dims her skies with shadows of the tomb;
There smiles no Paradise on earth so fair,
But guilt will raise avenging phantoms there.
Abdallah heeds not, though the light gale roves
Fraught with rich odour, stolen from orange-groves;
Hears not the sounds from wood and brook that rise,
Wild notes of Nature's vesper-melodies;
Marks not how lovely, on the mountain's head,
Moonlight and snow their mingling lustre spread
But urges onward, till his weary band,
Worn with their toil, a moment's pause demand.
He stops, and turning, on Granada's fanes
In silence gazing, fixed awhile remains
In stern, deep silence - o'er his feverish brow,
And burning cheek, pure breezes freshly blow,
But waft, in fitful murmurs, from afar,
Sounds, indistinctly fearful, - as of war.
What meteor bursts, with sudden blaze, on high,
O'er the blue clearness of the starry sky?
Awful it rises, like some Genie-form,
Seen 'midst the redness of the desert storm,
Magnificently dread - above, below,
Spreads the wild splendour of its deepening glow.
Lo! from the Alhambra's towers the vivid glare
Streams through the still transparence of the air!
Avenging crowds have lit the mighty pyre,
Which feeds that waving pyramid of fire;
And dome and minaret, river, wood, and height,
From dim perspective start to ruddy light.
Oh Heaven! the anguish of Abdallah's soul,
The rage, though fruitless, yet beyond control!
Yet must he cease to gaze, and raving fly
For life - such life as makes it bliss to die!
On yon green height, the mosque, but half revealed
Through cypress-groves, a safe retreat may yield.
Thither his steps are bent - yet oft he turns,
Watching that fearful beacon as it burns.
But paler grow the sinking flames at last,
Flickering they fade, their crimson light is past;
And spiry vapours, rising o'er the scene,
Mark where the terrors of their wrath have been.
And now his feet have reached that lonely pile,
Where grief and terror may repose awhile;
Embowered it stands, 'midst wood and cliff on high,
Through the grey rocks, a torrent sparkling nigh;
He hails the scene where every care should cease,
And all - except the heart he brings - is peace.
There is a deep stillness in those halls of state
Where the loud cries of conflict rang so late;
Stillness like that, when fierce the Ramsin's blast
Hath o'er the dwellings of the desert passed.
Fearful the calm - nor voice, nor step, nor breath,
Disturbs that scene of beauty and of death:
Those vaulted roofs re-echo not a sound,
In ceaseless melodies of plaintive tone,
Through chambers peopled by the dead alone
O'er the mosaic floors, with carnage red,
Breastplate, and shield, and cloven helm are spread
In mingled fragments - glittering to the light
Of yon still moon, whose rays, yet softly bright,
Their streaming lustre tremulously shed,
And smile, in placid beauty, o'er the dead:
O'er features where the fiery spirit's trace
E'en death itself is powerless to efface;
O'er those who, flushed with ardent youth, awoke,
When glowing morn in bloom and radiance broke,
Nor dreamt how near the dark and frozen sleep
Which hears not Glory call, nor Anguish weep;
In the low silent house, the narrow spot,
Home of forgetfulness - and soon forgot.
But slowly fade the stars - the night is o'er -
Morn beams on those who hail her light no more;
Slumberers who ne'er shall wake on earth again,
Mourners, who call the loved, the lost, in vain.
Yet smiles the day - oh! not for mortal tear
Doth nature deviate from her calm career;
Nor is the earth less laughing or less fair,
Though breaking hearts her gladness may not share.
O'er the cold urn the beam of summer glows,
O'er fields of blood the zephyr freshly blows;
Bright shines the sun, though all be dark below,
And skies are cloudless o'er a world of woe,
And flowers renewed in spring's green pathway bloom,
Alike to grace the banquet and the tomb.
Within Granada's walls the funeral-rite
Attends that day of loveliness and light;
And many a chief, with dirges and with tears,
Is gathered to the brave of other years;
And Hamet, as beneath the cypress-shade
His martyred brother and his sire are laid,
Feels every deep resolve, and burning thought
Of ampler vengeance, e'en to passion wrought;
Yet is the hour afar - and he must brood
O'er those dark dreams awhile in solitude.
Tumult and rage are hushed - another day
In still solemnity hath passed away,
In that deep slumber of exhausted wrath,
The calm that follows in the tempest's path.
And now Abdallah leaves yon peaceful fane,
His ravaged city traversing again.
No sound of gladness his approach precedes,
No splended pageant the procession leads;
Where'er he moves the silent streets along,
Broods a stern quiet o'er the sullen throng.
No voice is heard; but in each altered eye,
Once brightly beaming when his steps were nigh,
And in each look of those whose love hath fled
From all on earth to slumber with the dead,
Those by his guilt made desolate, and thrown
On the bleak wilderness of life alone -
In youth's quick glance of scarce-dissembled rage,
And the pale mien of calmly-mournful age,
May well be read a dark and fearful tale
Of thought that ill the indignant heart can veil,
And passion, like the hushed volcano's power,
That waits in stillness its appointed hour.
No more the clarion from Granada's walls,
Heard o'er the Vega, to the tourney calls;
No more her graceful daughters, throned on high,
Bend o'er the lists the darkly-radiant eye;
Silence and gloom her palaces o'erspread,
And song is hushed, and pageantry is fled.
- Weep fated city! o'er thy heroes weep -
Low in the dust the sons of glory sleep!
Furled are their banners in the lonely hall,
Their trophied shields hang mouldering on the wall,
Wildly their charges range the pastures o'er,
Their voice in battle shall be heard no more;
And they, who still thy tyrant's wrath survive,
Whom he hath wronged too deeply to forgive,
That race, of lineage high, of worth approved,
The chivalrous, the princely, the beloved -
Thine Aben-Zurrahs - they no more shall wield
In thy proud cause the conquering lance and shied;
Condemned to bid the cherished scenes farewell
Where the loved ashes of their fathers dwell,
And far o'er foreign plains, as exiles, roam,
Their land the desert, and the grave their home.
Yet there is one shall see that race depart,
In deep, though silent, agony of heart;
One whose dark fate must be to mourn alone,
Unseen her sorrows, and their cause unknown,
And veil her heart, and teach her cheek to wear
That smile, in which the spirit hath no share;
Like the bright beams that shed their fruitless glow
O'er the cold solitude of Alpine snow.
Soft, fresh, and silent, is the midnight hour,
And the young Zayda seeks her lonely bower;
That Zegri maid, within whose gentle mind
One name is deeply, secretly enshrined.
That name in vain stern Reason would efface:
Hamet! 'tis thine, thou foe to all her race!
And yet not hers in bitterness to prove
The sleepless pangs of unrequited love;
Pangs, which the rose of wasted youth consume,
And make the heart of all delight the tomb,
Check the free spirit in its eagle-flight,
And the spring-morn of early genius blight;
Nor such her grief - though now she wakes to weep,
While tearless eyes enjoy the honey-dews of sleep.
A step treads lightly through the citron shade,
Lightly, but by the rustling leaves betrayed -
Doth her young hero seek that well-known spot,
Scene of past hours that ne'er may be forgot?
'Tis he - but changed that eye, whose glance of fire
Could, like a sunbeam, hope and joy inspire,
As, luminous with youth, with ardour fraught,
It spoke of glory to the inmost thought;
Thence the bright spirit's eloquence hath fled,
And in its wild expression may be read
Stern thoughts and fierce resolves - now veiled in shade,
And now in characters of fire portrayed.
Changed e'en his voice - as thus its mournful tone
Wakes in her heart each feeling of his own.
'Zayda, my doom is fixed - another day
And the wronged exile shall be far away;
Far from the scenes where still his heart must be,
His home of youth, and more than all - from thee.
Oh! what a cloud hath gathered o'er my lot,
Since last we met on this fair tranquil spot!
Lovely as then, the soft and silent hour,
And not a rose hath faded from thy bower;
But I - my hopes the tempest hath o'erthrown,
And changed my heart, to all but thee alone.
Farewell, high thoughts! inspiring hopes of praise!
Heroic visions of my early days!
In my the glories of my race must end -
The exile hath no country to defend!
E'en in life's morn my dreams of pride are o'er
Youth's buoyant spirit wakes for me no more,
And one wild feeling in my altered breast
Broods darkly o'er the ruins of the rest.
Yet fear not thou - to thee in good or ill,
The heart, so sternly tried, if faithful still!
But when my steps are distant, and my name
Thou hearest no longer in the song of fame;
When Time steals on in silence to efface
Of early love each pure and sacred trace,
Causing our sorrows and our hopes to seem
But as the moonlight pictures of a dream, -
Still shall thy soul be with me, in the truth
And all the fervour of affection's youth?
If such thy love, one beam of heaven shall play
In lonely beauty o'er thy wanderer's way.'
'Ask not, if such my love! Oh! trust the mind
To grief so long, so silently resigned!
Let the light spirit, ne'er by sorrow taught
The pure and lofty constancy of thought,
Its fleeting trials eager to forget,
Rise with elastic power o'er each regret!
Fostered in tears,
young affection grew,
And I have learned to suffer and be true.
Deem not my love a frail, ephemeral flower,
Nursed by soft sunshine and the balmy shower;
No! 'tis the child of tempests, and defies,
And meets unchanged, the anger of the skies!
Too well I feel, with grief's prophetic heart,
That ne'er to meet in happier days, we part.
We part! and e'en this agonising hour,
When love first feels his own o'erwhelming power,
Shall soon to Memory's fixed and tearful eye
Seem almost happiness - for thou wert nigh!
Yes! when this heart in solitude shall bleed,
As days to days all wearily succeed,
When doomed to weep in loneliness, 'twill be
Almost like rapture to have wept with thee.
'But thou, my Hamet, thou canst yet bestow
All that of joy my blighted lot can know.
Oh! be thou still the high-souled and the brave,
To whom my first and fondest vows I gave,
In thy proud fame's untarnished beauty still
The lofty visions of my youth fulfil.
So shall it soothe me, 'midst my heart's despair,
To hold undimmed one glorious image there!'
'Zayda, my best-loved! my words too well,
Too soon, thy bright illusions must dispel;
Yet must my soul to thee unveiled be shown,
And all its dreams and all its passions known,
Thou shalt not be deceived - for pure as heaven
Is thy young love, in faith and fervour given.
I said my heart was changed - and would thy thought
Explore the ruin by thy kindred wrought,
In fancy trace the land whose towers and fanes,
Crushed by the earthquake, strew its ravaged plains;
And such that heart - where desolation's hand
Hath blighted all that once was fair or grand!
But Vengeance, fixed upon her burning throne,
Sits, 'midst the wreck, in silence and alone;
And I, in stern devotion at her shrine,
Each softer feeling, but my love, resign.
-Yes! they whose spirits all my thoughts control,
Who hold dread converse with my thrilling soul;
They, the betrayed, the sacrificed, the brave,
Who fill a blood-stained and untimely grave,
Must be avenged! and pity and remorse
In that stern cause are banished from my course.
Zayda, thou tremblest - and thy gentle breast
Shrinks from the passions that destroy my rest;
Yet shall thy form, in many a stormy hour,
Pass brightly o'er my soul with softening power,
And, oft recalled, thy voice beguile my lot,
Like some sweet lay, once heard, and ne'er forgot.
'But the night wanes - the hours too swiftly fly,
The bitter moment of farewell draws nigh;
Yet, loved one! weep not thus - in joy or pain,
Oh! trust thy Hamet, we shall meet again!
Yes, we shall meet! and haply smile at last
On all the clouds and conflicts of the past.
On that fair vision teach thy thoughts to dwell,
Nor deem these mingling tears our last farewell!'
Is the voice hushed, whose loved, expressive tone
Thrilled to her heart - and doth she weep alone?
Alone she weeps; that hour of parting o'er,
When shall the pang it leaves be felt no more?
The gale breathes light, and fans her bosom fair,
Showering the dewy rose-leaves o'er her hair;
But ne'er for her shall dwell reviving power
In balmy dew, soft breeze, or fragrant flower,
To wake once more that calm, serene delight,
The soul's young bloom, which passion's breath could blight -
The smiling stillness of life's morning hour,
Ere yet the day-star burns in all his power.
Meanwhile, through groves of deep luxurious shade,
In the rich foliage of the South arrayed,
Hamet, ere dawns the earliest blush of day,
Bends to the vale of tombs his pensive way.
Fair is that scene where palm and cypress wave
On high o'er many an Aben-Zurrah's grave.
Lonely and fair, its fresh and glittering leaves
With the young myrtle there the laurel weaves,
To canopy the dead; nor wanting there
Flowers to the turf, nor fragrance to the air,
Nor wood-bird's note, nor fall of plaintive stream -
Wild music, soothing to the mourner's dream.
There sleep the chiefs of old - their combats o'er,
The voice of glory thrills their hearts no more.
Unheard by them the awakening clarion blows;
The sons of war at length in peace repose.
No martial note is in the gale that sighs,
Where proud their trophied sepulchres arise,
'Mid founts, and shades, and flowers of brightest bloom,
As, in his native vale, some shepherd's tomb.
There, where the trees their thickest foliage spread
Dark o'er that silent valley of the dead;
Where two fair pillars rise, embowered and lone,
Not yet with ivy clad, with moss o'ergrown,
Young Hamet kneels - while thus his vows are poured
The fearful vows that consecrate his sword:
- 'Spirit of him who first within my mind
Each loftier aim, each nobler thought enshrined,
And taught my steps the line of light to trace,
Left by the glorious fathers of my race,
Hear thou my voice - for mine is with me still,
In every dream its tones my bosom thrill,
In the deep calm of midnight they are near,
'Midst busy throngs they vibrate on my ear,
Still murmuring 'vengeance!' - nor in vain the call,
Few, few shall triumph in a hero's fall!
Cold as thine own to glory and to fame,
Within my heart there lives one only aim;
There, till the oppressor for thy fate atone,
Concentring every thought, it reigns alone.
I will not weep - revenge, not grief, must be,
And blood, not tears, an offering meet for thee;
But the dark hour of stern delight will come,
And thou shall triumph, warrior! in thy tomb.
'Thou, too, my brother! thou art passed away
Without thy fame, in life's fair-dawning day.
Son of the brave! of thee no trace will shine
In the proud annals of thy lofty line;
Nor shall thy deeds be deathless in the lays
That hold communion with the after-days.
Yet, by the wreaths thou mightst have nobly won
Hadst thou but lived till rose thy noontide sun;
By glory lost, I swear! by hope betrayed,
Thy fate shall amply dearly, be repaid;
War with thy foes I deem a holy strife,
And, to avenge thy death, devote my life.
'Hear ye my vows, O spirits of the slain!
Hear, and be with me on the battle-plain!
At noon, at midnight, still around me bide,
Rise on my dreams, and tell me how ye died!'
The Restoration Of The Works Of Art In Italy
LAND of departed fame! whose classic plains
Have proudly echo'd to immortal strains;
Whose hallow'd soil hath given the great and brave
Daystars of life, a birth-place and a grave;
Home of the Arts! where glory's faded smile
Sheds lingering light o'er many a mouldering pile;
Proud wreck of vanish'd power, of splendour fled,
Majestic temple of the mighty dead!
Whose grandeur, yet contending with decay,
Gleams through the twilight of thy glorious day;
Though dimm'd thy brightness, riveted thy chain,
Yet, fallen Italy! rejoice again!
Lost, lovely realm! once more 'tis thine to gaze
On the rich relics of sublimer days.
Awake, ye Muses of Etrurian shades,
Or sacred Tivoli's romantic glades;
Wake, ye that slumber in the bowery gloom
Where the wild ivy shadows Virgil's tomb;
Or ye, whose voice, by Sorga's lonely wave,
Swell'd the deep echoes of the fountain's cave,
Or thrill'd the soul in Tasso's numbers high,
Those magic strains of love and chivalry:
If yet by classic streams ye fondly rove,
Haunting the myrtle vale, the laurel grove;
Oh ! rouse once more the daring soul of song,
Seize with bold hand the harp, forgot so long,
And hail, with wonted pride, those works revered
Hallow'd by time, by absence more endear'd.
And breathe to Those the strain, whose warrior-might
Each danger stemm'd, prevail'd in every fight;
Souls of unyielding power, to storms inured,
Sublimed by peril, and by toil matured.
Sing of that Leader, whose ascendant mind
Could rouse the slumbering spirit of mankind:
Whose banners track'd the vanquish'd Eagle's flight
O'er many a plain, and dark sierra's height;
Who bade once more the wild, heroic lay
Record the deeds of Roncesvalles' day;
Who, through each mountain-pass of rock and snow,
An Alpine huntsman chased the fear-struck foe;
Waved his proud standard to the balmy gales,
Rich Languedoc ! that fan thy glowing vales,
And 'midst those scenes renew'd the achievements high,
Bequeath'd to fame by England's ancestry.
Yet, when the storm seem'd hush'd, the conflict past,
One strife remain'd–the mightiest and the last!
Nerved for the struggle, in that fateful hour
Untamed Ambition summon'd all his power;
Vengeance and Pride, to frenzy roused, were there,
And the stern might of resolute Despair.
Isle of the free! 'twas then thy champions stood,
Breasting unmoved the combat's wildest flood;
Sunbeam of battle! then thy spirit shone,
Glow'd in each breast, and sank with life alone.
Oh, hearts devoted! whose illustrious doom
Gave there at once your triumph and your tomb,
Ye, firm and faithful, in the ordeal tried
Of that dread strife, by Freedom sanctified;
Shrined, not entomb'd, ye rest in sacred earth,
Hallow'd by deeds of more than mortal worth.
What though to mark where sleeps heroic dust,
No sculptured trophy rise, or breathing bust,
Yours, on the scene where valour's race was run,
A prouder sepulchre–the field ye won!
There every mead, each cabin's lowly name,
Shall live a watchword blended with your fame;
And well may flowers suffice those graves to crown
That ask no urn to blazon their renown!
There shall the bard in future ages tread,
And bless each wreath that blossoms o'er the dead;
Revere each tree whose sheltering branches wave
O'er the low mounds, the altars of the brave;
Pause o'er each warrior's grass-grown bed, and hear
In every breeze some name to glory dear;
And as the shades of twilight close around,
With martial pageants people all the ground.
Thither unborn descendants of the slain
Shall throng as pilgrims to the holy fane,
While as they trace each spot, whose records tell
Where fought their fathers, and prevail'd, and fell,
Warm in their souls shall loftiest feelings glow,
Claiming proud kindred with the dust below!
And many an age shall see the brave repair,
To learn the Hero's bright devotion there.
And well, Ausonia! may that field of fame,
From thee one song of echoing triumph claim.
Land of the lyre! 'twas there the avenging sword
Won the bright treasures to thy fanes restored;
Those precious trophies o'er thy realms that throw
A veil of radiance, hiding half thy woe,
And bid the stranger for awhile forget
How deep thy fall, and deem thee glorious yet.
Yes, fair creations! to perfection wrought,
Embodied visions of ascending thought!
Forms of sublimity! by Genius traced
In tints that vindicate adoring taste;
Whose bright originals, to earth unknown,
Live in the spheres encircling glory's throne;
Models of art, to deathless fame consign'd,
Stamp'd with the high-born majesty of mind;
Yes, matchless works! your presence shall restore
One beam of splendour to your native shore,
And her sad scenes of lost renown illume,
As the bright sunset gilds some hero's tomb.
Oh! ne'er, in other climes, though many an eye
Dwelt on your charms, in beaming ecstasy;
Ne'er was it yours to bid the soul expand
With thoughts so mighty, dreams so boldly grand,
As in that realm, where each faint breeze's moan
Seems a low dirge for glorious ages gone;
Where 'midst the ruin'd shrines of many a vale,
E'en Desolation tells a haughty tale,
And scarce a fountain flows, a rock ascends,
But its proud name with song eternal blends!
Yes! in those scenes where every ancient stream
Bids memory kindle o'er some lofty theme;
Where every marble deeds of fame records,
Each ruin tells of Earth's departed lords;
And the deep tones of inspiration swell
From each wild olive-wood, and Alpine dell;
Where heroes slumber on their battle plains,
Midst prostrate altars and deserted fanes,
And Fancy communes, in each lonely spot,
With shades of those who ne'er shall be forgot;
There was your home, and there your power imprest,
With tenfold awe, the pilgrim's glowing breast;
And, as the wind's deep thrills and mystic sighs
Wake the wild harp to loftiest harmonies,
Thus at your influence, starting from repose,
Thought, Feeling, Fancy, into grandeur rose.
Fair Florence! queen of Arno's lovely vale!
Justice and Truth indignant heard thy tale,
And sternly smiled, in retribution's hour,
To wrest thy treasures from the Spoiler's power.
Too long the spirits of thy noble dead
Mourn'd o'er the domes they rear'd in ages fled.
Those classic scenes their pride so richly graced,
Temples of genius, palaces of taste,
Too long, with sad and desolated mien,
Reveal'd where Conquest's lawless track had been;
Reft of each form with brighter light imbued,
Lonely they frown'd, a desert solitude,
Florence ! the Oppressor's noon of pride is o'er,
Rise in. thy pomp again, and weep no more!
As one, who, starting at the dawn of day
From dark illusions, phantoms of dismay,
With transport heighten'd by those ills of night,
Hails the rich glories of expanding light;
E'en thus, awakening from thy dream of woe,
While heaven's own hues in radiance round thee glow,
With warmer ecstasy 'tis thine to trace
Each tint of beauty, and each line of grace
More bright, more prized, more precious, since deplored,
As loved, lost relics, ne'er to be restored,
Thy grief as hopeless as the tear-drop shed
By fond affection bending o'er the dead.
Athens of Italy! once more are thine
Those matchless gems of Art's exhaustless mine.
For thee bright Genius darts his living beam,
Warm o'er thy shrines the tints of Glory stream,
And forms august as natives of the sky,
Rise round each fane in faultless majesty,
So chastely perfect, so serenely grand,
They seem creations of no mortal hand.
Ye, at whose voice fair Art, with eagle glance,
Burst in full splendour from her deathlike trance;
Whose rallying call bade slumbering nations wake,
And daring Intellect his bondage break;
Beneath whose eye the lords of song arose,
And snatch'd the Tuscan Iyre from long repose,
And bade its pealiing energies resound,
With power electric, through the realms around;
Oh! high in thought, magnificent in soul!
Born to inspire, enlighten, and control;
Cosmo, Lorenzo! view your reign once more,
The shrine where nations mmgle to adore!
Again the Enthusiast there, with ardent gaze,
Shall hail the mighty of departed days:
Those sovereign spirits, whose commanding mind
Seems in the marble's breathing mould enshrined;
Still with ascendant power the wor]d to awe,
Still the deep homage of the heart to draw
To breathe some spell of holiness around,
Bid all the scene be consecrated ground,
And from the stone, by Inspiration wrought,
Dart the pure lightnings of exalted thought.
There thou, fair offspring of immortal Mind!
Love's radiant goddess, idol of mankind!
Once the bright object of Devotion's vow,
Shalt claim from taste a kindred worship now.
Oh! who can te]l what beams of heavenly light
Flash'd o'er the sculptor's intellectual sight,
How many a glimpse, reveal'd to him alone,
Made brighter beings, nobler worlds, his own;
Ere, like some vision sent the earth to bless,
Burst into life thy pomp of loveliness!
Young Genius there, while dwells his kindling eye
On forms, instinct with bright divinity,
While new-born powers, dilating in his heart,
Embrace the full magnificence of Art;
From scenes, by Raphael's gifted hand array'd,
From dreams of heaven, by Angelo portray'd;
From each fair work of Grecian skill sublime,
Seal'd with perfection, 'sanctified by time';
Shall catch a kindred glow, and proudly feel
His spirit burn with emulative zeal,
Buoyant with loftier hopes, his soul shall rise,
Imbued at once with nobler energies;
O'er life's dim scenes on rapid pinions soar,
And worlds of visionary grace explore,
Till his bold hand give glory's daydream birth,
And with new wonders charm admiring earth.
Venice, exult ! and o'er thy moonlight seas,
Swell with gay strains each Adriatic breeze!
What though long fled those years of martial fame,
That shed romantic lustre o'er thy name;
Though to the winds thy streamers idly play,
And the wild waves another Queen obey;
Though quench'd the spirit of thine ancient race,
And power and freedom scarce have left a trace;
Yet still shall Art her splendours round thee cast,
And gild the wreck of years for ever past.
Again thy fanes may boast a Titian's dyes,
Whose clear soft brilliance emulates thy skies,
And scenes that glow in colouring's richest bloom,
With life's warm flush Palladian halls illume.
From thy rich dome again the unrivall'd steed
Starts to existence, rushes into speed,
Still for Lysippus claims the wreath of fame,
Panting with ardour, vivified with flame.
Proud Racers of the Sun! to fancy's thought
Burning with spirit, from his essence caught,
No mortal birth ye seem–but form'd to bear
Heaven's car of triumph through the realms of air;
To range uncurb'd the pathless fields of space,
The winds your rivals in the glorious race;
Traverse empyreal spheres with buoyant feet,
Free as the zephyr, as the shot-star fleet;
And waft through worlds unknown the vital ray,
The flame that wakes creations into day.
Creatures of fire and ether ! wing'd with light,
To track the regions of the Infinite!
From purer elements whose life was drawn,
Sprung from the sunbeam, offspring of the dawn.
What years on years, in silence gliding by,
Have spared those forms of perfect symmetry!
Moulded by Art to dignify, alone,
Her own bright deity's resplendent throne,
Since first her skill their fiery grace bestow'd,
Meet for such lofty fate, such high abode,
How many a race, whose tales of glory seem
An echo's voice–the music of a dream,
Whose records feebly from oblivion save
A few bright traces of the wise and brave;
How many a state, whose pillar'd strength sublime,
Defied the storms of war, the waves of time,
Towering o'er earth majestic and alone,
Fortress of power–has flourish'd and is gone!
And they, from clime to clime by conquest borne,
Each fleeting triumph destined to adorn,
They, that of powers and kingdoms lost and won,
Have seen the noontide and the setting sun,
Consummate still in every grace remain,
As o'er their heads had ages roll'd in vain!
Ages, victorious in their ceaseless flight,
O'er countless monuments of earthly might!
While she, from fair Byzantium's lost domain,
Who bore those treasures to her ocean-reign,
'Midst the blue deep, who rear'd her island-throne,
And called the infinitude of waves her own;
Venice, the proud, the Regent of the sea,
Welcomes in chains the trophies of the Free!:
And thou, whose Eagle's towering plume umfurl'd,
Once cast its shadow o'er a vassal world,
Eternal city! round whose Curule throne,
The lords of nations knelt in ages flown;
Thou, whose Augustan years have left to time
Immortal records of their glorious prime;
When deathless bards, thine olive-shades among,
Swell'd the high raptures of heroic song;
Fair, fallen Empress! raise thy languid head
From the cold altars of the illustrious dead,
And once again, with fond delight survey
The proud memorials of thy noblest day.
Lo! where thy sons, O Rome! a godlike train,
In imaged majesty return again!
Bards, chieftains, monarchs, tower with mien august
O'er scenes that shrine their venerable dust.
Those forms, those features, luminous with soul,
Still o'er thy children seem to claim control;
With awful grace arrest the pilgrim's glance,
Bind his rapt soul in elevating trance,
And bid the past, to fancy's ardent eyes,
From time's dim sepulchre in glory rise.
Souls of the lofty! whose undying names
Rouse the young bosom still to noblest aims;
Oh! with your images could fate restore,
Your own high spirit to your sons once more;
Patriots and Heroes! could those flames return,
That bade your hearts with freedom's ardours burn
Then from the sacred ashes of the first,
Might a new Rome in phoenix grandeur burst!
With one bright glance dispel the horizon's gloom,
With one loud call wake empire from the tomb;
Bind round her brows her own triumphal crown,
Lift her dread aegis with majestic frown,
Unchain her eagle's wing, and guide his flight,
To bathe his plumage in the fount of light.
Vain dream! degraded Rome! thy noon is o'er,
Once lost, thy spirit shall revive no more.
It sleeps with those, the sons of other days,
Who fix'd on thee the world's adoring gaze;
Those, blest to live, while yet thy star was high,
More blest, ere darkness quench'd its beam, to die!
Yet, though thy faithless tutelary powers
Have fled thy shrines, left desolate thy towers,
Still, still to thee shall nations bend their way,
Revered in ruin, sovereign in decay!
Oh! what can realms, in fame's full zenith, boast,
To match the relics of thy splendour lost!
By Tiber's waves, on each illustrious hill,
Genius and Taste shall love to wander still,
For there has Art survived an empire's doom,
And rear'd her throne o'er Latium's trophied tomb;
She from the dust recalls the brave and free,
Peopling each scene with beings worthy thee!
Oh! ne'er again may War, with lightning-stroke,
Rend its last honours from the shatter'd oak!
Long be those works, revered by ages, thine,
To lend one triumph to thy dim decline.
Bright with stern beauty, breathing wrathful fire,
In all the grandeur of celestial ire,
Once more thine own, the immortal Archer's form
Sheds radiance round, with more than Being warm!
Oh! who could view, nor deem that perfect frame,
A living temple of ethereal flame?
Lord of the daystar! how may words portray
Of thy chaste glory one reflected ray?
Whate'er the soul could dream, the hand could trace,
Of regal dignity, and heavenly grace;
Each purer effluence of the fair and bright,
Whose fitful gleams have broke on mortal sight;
Each bold idea, borrow'd from the sky,
To vest the embodied form of Deity;
All, all in thee ennobled and refined,
Breathe and enchant, transcendently combined!
Son of Elysium! years and ages gone
Have bow'd, in speechless homage, at thy throne,
And days unborn, and nations yet to be,
Shall gaze, absorb'd in ecstasy, on thee!
And thou, triumphant wreck, e'en yet sublime,
Disputed trophy, claimed by Art and Time;
Hail to that scene again, where Genius caught
From thee its fervours of diviner thought!
Where He, the inspired One, whose gigantic mind
Lived in some sphere, to him alone assign'd;
Who from the past, the future, and the unseen,
Could call up forms of more than earthly mien:
Unrivall'd Angelo on thee would gaze,
Till his full soul imbibed perfection's blaze!
And who but he, that Prince of Art, might dare
Thy sovereign greatness view without despair?
Emblem of Rome! from power's meridian hurl'd,
Yet claiming still the homage of the world.
What hadst thou been, ere barbarous hands defaced
The work of wonder, idolized by taste?
Oh! worthy still of some divine abode,
Mould of a Conqueror! ruin of a God!
Still, like some broken gem, whose quenchless beam
From each bright fragment pours its vital stream,
'Tis thine, by fate unconquer'd, to dispense
From every part some ray of excellence!
E'en yet, inform'd with essence from on high,
Thine is no trace of frail mortality!
Within that frame a purer being glows,
Through viewless veins a brighter current flows;
Fill'd with immortal life each muscle swells,
In every line supernal grandeur dwells.
Consummate work! the noblest and the last
Of Grecian Freedom, ere her reign was past:
Nurse of the mighty, she, while lingering still,
Her mantle flow'd o'er many a classic hill,
Ere yet her voice its parting accents breathed,
A hero's image to the world bequeathed;
Enshrined in thee the imperishable ray
Of high-soul'd Genius, foster'd by her sway.
And bade thee teach, to ages yet unborn,
What lofty dreams were hers–who never shall return!
And mark yon group, transfixed with many a throe,
Seal'd with the image of eternal woe:
With fearful truth, terrific power, exprest,
Thy pangs, Laocoon, agonize the breast,
And the stern combat picture to mankind
Of suffering nature, and enduring mind.
Oh, mighty conflict! though his pains intense
Distend each nerve, and dart through every sense;
Though fix'd on him, his children's suppliant eyes
Implore the aid avenging fate denies;
Though with the giant-snake in fruitless strife,
Heaves every muscle with convulsive life,
And in each limb existence writhes, enroll'd
'Midst the dread circles of the venom'd fold;
Yet the strong spirit lives–and not a cry
Shall own the might of Nature's agony!
That furrow'd brow unconquer'd soul reveals,
That patient eye to angry Heaven appeals,
That struggling bosom concentrates its breath,
Nor yields one moan to torture or to death!
Sublimest triumph of intrepid Art!
With speechless horror to congeal the heart,
To freeze each pulse, and dart through every vein,
Cold thrills of fear, keen sympathies of pain;
Yet teach the spirit how its lofty power
May brave the pangs of fate's severest hour.
Turn from such conflicts, and enraptured gaze
On scenes where Painting all her skill displays:
Landscapes, by colouring dress'd in richer dyes,
More mellow'd sunshine, more unclouded skies,
Or dreams of bliss, to dying martyrs given,
Descending seraphs, robed in beams of heaven.
Oh ! sovereign Masters of the Pencil's might,
Its depths of shadow, and its blaze of light;
Ye, whose bold thought, disdaining every bound,
Explored the worlds above, below, around,
Children of Italy! who stand alone
And unapproach'd, 'midst regions all your own;
What scenes, what beings bless'd your favour'd sight
Severely grand, unutterably bright!
Triumphant spirits! your exulting eye
Could meet the noontide of eternity,
And gaze untired, undaunted, uncontroll'd,
On all that Fancy trembles to behold.
Bright on your view such forms their splendour shed,
As burst on prophet-bards in ages fled:
Forms that to trace, no hand but yours might dare,
Darkly sublime, or exquisitely fair;
These, o'er the walls your magic skill array'd,
Glow in rich sunshine, gleam through melting shade,
Float in light grace, in awful greatness tower,
And breathe and move, the records of your power.
Inspired of Heaven! what heighten'd pomp ye cast
O'er all the deathless trophies of the past!
Round many a marble fane and classic dome,
Asserting still the majesty of Rome;
Round many a work that bids the world believe
What Grecian Art could image and achieve;
Again, creative minds, your visions throw
Life's chasten'd warmth, and Beauty's mellowest glow,
And when the Morn's bright beams and mantling dyes,
Pour the rich lustre of Ausonian skies,
Or evening suns illume, with purple smile,
The Parian altar, and the pillar'd aisle,
Then, as the full, or soften'd radiance falls
On angel-groups that hover o'er the walls,
Well may those Temples, where your hand has shed
Light o'er the tomb, existence round the dead,
Seem like some world, so perfect and so fair,
That naught of earth should find admittance there,
Some sphere, where beings, to mankind unknown
Dwell in the brightness of their pomp alone!
Hence, ye vain fictions! fancy's erring theme!
Gods of illusion! phantoms of a dream!
Frail, powerless idols of departed time,
Fables of song, delusive, though sublime!
To loftier tasks has Roman Art assign'd
Her matchless pencil, and her mighty mind!
From brighter streams her vast ideas flow'd
With purer fire her ardent spirit glow'd.
To her 'twas given in fancy to explore
The land of miracles, the holiest shore;
That realm where first the light of life was sent,
The loved, the punish'd, of the Omnipotent!
O'er Judah's hills her thoughts inspired would stray,
Through Jordan's valleys trace their lonely way;
By Siloa's brook, or Almotana's deep,
Chain'd in dead silence, and unbroken sleep;
Scenes, whose cleft rocks, and blasted deserts tell,
Where pass'd the Eternal, where His anger fell!
Where oft His voice the words of fate reveal'd,
Swell'd in the whirlwind, in the thunder peal'd,
Or heard by prophets in some palmy vale,
Breathed 'still small' whispers on the midnight gale.
There dwelt her spirit–there her hand portray'd,
'Midst the lone wilderness or cedar-shade,
Ethereal forms with awful missions fraught,
Or patriarch-seers absorb'd in sacred thought,
Bards, in high converse with the world of rest,
Saints of the earth, and spirits of the blest.
But chief to Him, the Conqueror of the grave,
Who lived to guide us, and who died to save;
Him, at whose glance the powers of evil fled,
And soul return'd to animate the dead;
Whom the waves own'd–and sunk beneath His eye,
Awed by one accent of Divinity;
To Him she gave her meditative hours,
Hallow'd her thoughts, and sanctified her powers.
O'er her bright scenes sublime repose she threw,
As all around the Godhead's presence knew,
And robed the Holy One's benignant mien
In beaming mercy, majesty serene.
Oh! mark where Raphael's pure and perfect line
Portrays that form ineffably divine!
Where with transcendent skill his hand has shed
Diffusive sunbeams round the Saviour's head;
Each heaven-illumined lineament imbued
With all the fullness of beatitude,
And traced the sainted group, whose mortal sight
Sinks overpower'd by that excess of light!
Gaze on that scene, and own the might of Art,
By truth inspired, to elevate the heart!
To bid the soul exultingly possess,
Of all her powers, a heighten'd consciousness;
And strong in hope, anticipate the day,
The last of life, the first of freedom's ray;
To realize, in some unclouded sphere,
Those pictured glories imaged here!
Dim, cold reflections from her native sky,
Faint effluence of 'the Day-spring from on high!'