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From time to time the gong's deep swell
Rose thundering from the citadel;
And soon the trampling charger's din
Told of some mustering pomp within.
But all without was still and drear,
The long streets wore the hue of fear,
All desert, but where some quick eye.
Peered from the curtained gallery:
Or crouching low from roof to roof
The Servian glanced, then shrank aloof,
Eager, yet dreading to look on
The business to be that day done.
The din grew louder, crowding feet
Seemed rushing to the central street;
'Twas filled the city's idle brood
Scattered before, few, haggard, rude:
Then came the Spahis bounding on,
With kettle-drum and gonfalon :
And ever at the cymbal's clash,
Upshook their spears the sudden flash,
Till, like a shattered, sable sail,
Wheeled o'er their rear the black horse-tail,
All hurrying on, like men who yield,
Or men who seek, some final field.
They led a captive; the Pashaw
From his large eye draws back with awe;
All tongues are silent in the group,
Who round that fearful stranger troop:
He still has homage, though his hands
Are straining in a felon's bands.
No Moslem he; his brow is bare,
Save one wild tress of raven hair,
Like a black serpent deeply bound,
Where once sat Servia's golden round.
His neck bends low, and many a stain
Of blood shows how it feels the chain!
A peasant's robe is o'er him flung,
A swordless sheath beside him hung.
He sits a charger, but a slave
Now holds the bridle of the brave.
And now they line the palace-square,
A splendid sight, as noon's full glare
Pours on their proud caparison,
Arms rough with gold and dazzling stone,
Horse-nets, and shawls of Indian dye,
O'er brows of savage majesty.
But where's the fettered rider now?
A flag above, a block below,
An Ethiop headsman louring near,
Show where must close his stern career,
A thousand eyes are fixed to mark
The fading of his eye's deep spark,
The quickened heaving of his breast;
But all within it is at rest:
There is no quivering nerve; his brow
Scarce bent upon the crowd below,
He stands in settled, stately gloom,
A warrior's statue on his tomb.
A trumpet rang; the turbaned line
Clashed up their spears, the headsman's sign.
Then, like the iron in the forge,
Blazed thy dark visage, Czerni George!
He knew that trumpet's Turkish wail,
His guide through many a forest vale,
When, scattering like the hunted deer,
The Moslem felt his early spear;
He heard it when the Servian targe
Broke down the Delhis' desperate charge,
And o'er the flight his scimitar
Was like the flashing of a star:
That day, his courser to the knee
Was bathed in blood, and Servia free!
That day, before he sheathed his blade,
He stood a sovereign in Belgrade;
The field, the throne, were on that eye,
Which wandered now so wild and high.
The hour had waned; the sunbeam fell
Full on the palace pinnacle,
The golden crescent on its spire
Beamed o'er a cross! his eye shot fire;
That cross was o'er the crescent set,
That day he won the coronet.
He dashed away a tear of pride,
His hand was darted to his side,
No sword was there: a bitter smile
Told the stern spirit's final thrili;
Yet all not agony; afar
Marked he no cloud of northern war?
Swelled on his prophet ear no clang
Of tribes that to their saddles sprang?
No Russian cannon's heavy hail
In vengeance smiting the Serail?
The whole was but a moment's trance;
That 'scaped the turbaned rabble's glance
A sigh, a stride, a stamp the whole,
Time measures not the tides of soul.
He was absorbed in dreams, nor saw
The hurried glare of the Pashaw:
Nor saw the headsman's backward leap,
To give his axe the wider sweep.
Down came the blow;-the self-same smile
Was lingering on the dead lip still,
When 'mid the train the pike-men bore
The bloody head of the Pandour.
The night was wild, the atabal
Scarce echoed on the rampart wall;
Scarce heard the shrinking sentinel,
The night horn in that tempest yeli.
But forms, as shot the lightning's glare,
Stole silent through that palace-square,
And thick and dim a weeping group
Seemed o'er its central spot to stoop.
The storm a moment paused, the moon
Broad from a hurrying cloud-rift shone:
It shone upon a headless trunk,
Raised in their arms; the moonbeau sunk,
And all was dimness; but the beat
Caine sudden as of parting feet,
And sweet and solemn voices pined
In the low lapses of the wind.
'Twas like the hymn, when soldiers bear
A soldier to his sepulchre.
The lightning threw a shaft below,
The stately square was desert now.
Yet far, as far as eye could strain,
Was seen the remnant of a train,
A wavering shadow of a crowd,
That round some noble burden bowed;
'Twas gone, and all was night once more,
Wild rain, and whirlwind's double roar.
CCCIX. CAROLINE ANN SOUTHEY, 1787-1854. 1. FAREWELL.
Oh heaven! what years of sorrow dwell
In that short mournful word farewell!
Of human life the dark alloy,
It lurks in every cup of joy;
And when the sparkling froth is quaffed,
Dashes with tears the later draught.
It follows close in friendship's train,
For love prepares its tender pain;
Breaks the dear bond of kindred ties,
Of social joys and sympathies;
Clouds with anticipating blight
The passing moments of delight,
And strikes upon the heart at last,
The hollow knell of pleasures past.
2. PLEASURE AND PAIN.
Pleasure and pain's eternal strife
So mingles in the stream of life,
We scarce can tell, so close they glide,
The taste unmix'd of either tide;
Seldom the sweetest draught we sip,
Comes pure and perfect to the lip;
A flavour still remains, to show
How near the bitter waters flow
And when from those the Almighty will
Is pleased our earthly cup to fill,
E'en then the salutary draught
Unqualified is seldom quaffed;
Hope from the dregs of bitterness
Some sweetening drops can still express,
And still, with chemic art produce
From baleful weeds balsamic juice.
CCCX. RICHARD H. DANA, 1787—18**.
The island lies nine leagues away,
Along its solitary shore,
Of craggy rock and sandy bay,
No sound but ocean's roar,
Save where the bold wild sea-bird makes her home,
Her shrill cry coming through the sparkling foam.
But when the light winds lie at rest,
And on the glassy heaving sea,
The black duck with her glossy breast
Sits swinging silently:
How beautiful! no ripples break the reach,
And silvery waves go noiseless up the beach.
And inland rests the green, warm dell;
The brook comes tinkling down its side;
From out the trees the Sabbath bell
Rings cheerful far and wide,
Mingling its sounds with bleatings of the flocks
That feed about the vale amongst the rocks.
Nor holy bell, nor pastoral bleat,
In former days within the vale
Flapp'd in the bay the pirate's sheet,
Curses were on the gale.
Rich goods lay on the sand, and murdered men:
Pirate and wrecker kept their revels then.
But calm, low voices, words of grace
Now slowly fall upon the ear;
A. quiet look is in each face,
Subdued and holy fear;