Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 BUCCANEER.

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;

Each motion's gentle; all is kindly doneCome listen how from crime this isle was won.

CCCXI. LORD BYRON, 1788-1824
1. THE PRISONER.

There are seven pillars of Gothic mould
In Chillon's dungeons deep and old,
There are seven columns, massy and gray,
Dim with a dull imprison'd ray,
A sunbeam which hath lost its way,
And through the crevice and the cleft
Of the thick wall is fallen and left;
Creeping o'er the floor so damp,
Like a marsh's meteor lamp:
And in each-pillar there is a ring,
And in each ring there is a chain;
That iron is a cankering thing,

For in these limbs its teeth remain,
With marks that will not wear away,
Fill I have done with this new day,
Which now is painful to these eyes,
Which have not seen the sun to rise
For years I cannot count them o'er,
I lost their long and heavy score
When my last brother droop'd and died,
And I lay living by his side.

They chain'd us each to a column stone,
And we were three--yet, each alone:
We could not move a single pace,
We could not see each other's face
But with that pale and livid light
That made us strangers in our sight;
And thus together--yet apart,
Fetter'd in hand, but pined in heart;
'Twas still some solace, in the dearth
Of the pure elements of earth,
To nearken to each other's speech,
And each turn comforter to each
With some new hope, or legend old,

Or song heroically bold;

But even these at length grew cold.
Our voices took a dreary tone,
An echo of the dungeon stone,

A grating sound-not full and free
As they of yore were wont to be:
It might be fancy—but to me
They never sounded like our own.
It might be months, or years, or days,
I kept no count-I took no note,

I had no hope my eyes to raise,

And clear them of their dreary mote;
At last men came to set me free,

I ask'd not why, and reck'd not where,
It was at length the same to me,
Fetter'd or fetterless to be,

I learn'd to love despair.

And thus when they appear'd at last,
And all my bonds aside were cast,
These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage and all my own!
And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from a second home.
With spiders I had friendship made,
And watch'd them in their sullen trade,
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
And why should I feel less than they?
We were all inmates of one place,
And I, the monarch of each race,
Had power to kill-yet, strange to teil!
In quiet we had learn'd to dwell—
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends

To make us what we are :-e'en I
Regain'd my freedom with a sigh.

2. BATTLE OF PULTOWA.
'Twas after dread Pultowa's day,
When fortune left the royal Swede,
Around a slaughter'd army lay,

No more to combat and to bleed.

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »