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The following pieces may so far be considered a series,
as each is intended to be commemorative of some national recollection, popular custom, or tradition. The idea was suggested by Herder's "Stimmen der Volker in Liedern;" the execution is however different, as the poems in his collection are chiefly translations. Most of those forming the present one have appeared, as well as the miscellaneous pieces attached to them, in the New Monthly Magazine.
MOORISH BRIDAL SONG.
It is a custom among the Moors, that a female who dies unmarried is clothed for interment in wedding apparel, and the bridal song is sung over her remains before they are borne from her home. See the Narrative of a Ten Years' Residence in Tripoli, by the sister-in-law of Mr. Tully.
THE citron groves their fruit and flowers were strewing Around a Moorish palace, while the sigh Of low sweet summer mer-winds, the branches wooing, With music through their shadowy bowers went by ; Music and voices, from the marble halls, Through the leaves gleaming, and the fountain-falls.
A song of joy, a bridal song came swelling,
And thus it flow'd;-yet something in the lay
"The bride comes forth! her tears no more are falling To leave the chamber of her infant years; Kind voices from a distant home are calling; She comes like day-spring-she hath done with tears; Now must her dark eye shine on other flowers, Her soft smile gladden other hearts than ours!
Pour the rich odors round! "We haste! the chosen and the lovely bringing; Love still goes with her from her place of birth; Deep silent joy within her soul is springing, Though in her glance the light no more is mirth! Her beauty leaves us in its rosy years; Her sisters weep-but she hath done with tears! -Now may the timbrel sound!"' Know'st thou for whom they sang the bridal numbers? -One whose rich tresses were to wave no more! One whose pale cheek soft winds, nor gentle slumbers, Nor Love's own sigh, to rose-tints might restore! Her graceful ringlets o'er a bier were spread,-Weep for the young, the beautiful,the dead!
THE BIRD'S RELEASE.
The Indians of Bengal and of the Coast of Malabar bring cages filled with birds to the graves of their friends, over which they set the birds at liberty. This custom is alluded to in the descrip tion of Virginia's funeral. See Paul and Virginia.
Go forth, for she is gone!
Her voice hath pass'd away!
It hath pass'd away like a summer breeze,
Go forth, and like her be free!
With thy radiant wing, and thy glancing eye,
Is it aught ev'n.to her we mourn?
Doth she look on the tears by her kindred shed?
We know not-but she is gone!
Her step from the dance, her voice from the song,
When the waves at sunset shine,
We may hear thy voice, amidst thousands more,
But we shall not know 'tis thine!
Ev'n so with the lov'd one flown!
Her smile in the starlight may wander by,
Go forth, we have loos'd thy chain !
Ev'n thus may the summer pour
All fragrant things on the land's green breast,
THE SWORD OF THE TOMB.
A NORTHERN LEGNND.
The idea of this ballad is taken from a scene in "Starkother," a tragedy by the Danish poet Ochlenschlager. The sepulchral fire here alluded to, and supposed to guard the ashes of deceased heroes is frequently mentioned in the Northern Sagas. Severe sufferings to the departed were supposed by the Scandinavian mythologists to be the consequence of any profanation of the sepulchre.
See Ochlenschlager's Plays.
"VOICE of the gifted elder time!
"Voice of the grave! 'tis the mighty hour,
On the billow and the blast."
Then the torrents of the North,
"There shines no sun 'midst the hidden dead,
In the shadow of the night.
"There is laid a sword in thy father's tomb,
Then died the solemn lay,
The fir-trees rock'd to the wailing blast,
The fir-trees rock'd, and the frozen ground
But the wind strange magic knows,
The pines clos'd o'er him with deeper gloom,
He pass'd, in the heart of that ancient wood, The dark shrine stain'd with the victim's blood; Nor paused, 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,
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,