GROCERS' HALL COURT, POULTRY, LONDON.
The fate of her Heroes, ask Fame: she will tell,
They lived, were beloved, fought and conquered--and fell!
EFFINGHAM WILSON, ROYAL EXCHANGE.
THE REV. ROBERT BLAKEY,
LONG ABSENT FROM HIS NATIVE COUNTRY IN
THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH,
THE FOLLOWING POEM
Canto First 1
Canto Second 31
Canto Third 69
Canto Fourth 97
Canto Fifth 129
To Time 187
The Forget me not 191
Written in an Album 192
To my Infant Boy 194
Lines suggested by the Death of a promising Young Man, who was drowned 196
To Love 199
On a Broken Sunflower 201
On a Tree suddenly blighted by the Wind 202
On the New Year 206
Seymour and Arabella 213
Song of the Breeze 220
Spring's Return 222
Awake my lyre! thy strings among,
Thy minstrel's hand not idly flung,
Demands thy sweetest, boldest strain;
Unbind dull silence' leaden chain,
Nor let thy chords be swept in vain:
Though feeble are their notes and low,
And often tuned to sounds of woe,
Yet friendship bids their cadence flow;
With partial ear awaits the lay,
Haste! that endearing call obey.
Deep buried in the ocean's cell,
In silence rests the sounding shell;
No airs have fanned its coral cave,
Regardless o'er it ebbs the wave,
Its polished zone green waters lave;
Till tempest tossed, it rises o'er
The sea-beat surge, and rocky shore,
And flung to land, its ocean roar,
First breaks upon the listening ear,
In sounds that childhood loves to hear.
Thus is it with the poet's lyre,--
In slumber chained each potent wire,
Till called to day, it wakes the strain,
So long it had possessed in vain;
Still hadst thou slumbered in the main,
My vocal shell, but tempests rose,
And woke thee from thy calm repose;
Haply the strain which from thee flows,
The youthful ear may please awhile,
Nor unimproved an hour beguile.
'Twas night! one bright as fancy's dream,
A night whose silent hour
Shed on the earth a silvery beam,
Of beauty's spell-like power.
So bright the canopy of heaven,
Its glittering lights unfurled,
As if their shining hosts had risen,
To guard the slumbering world.
The moon's pale torch was gleaming far,
O'er mountain, vale, and grove,
And richly gemm'd with many a star,
Her azure court above.
The ocean slumbered in its bed,
And calm upon its breast,
Each little billow softly spread,
Had sparkled into rest.
So hushed the still repose around,
As nature paused to hear,
The low, soft, dashing, liquid sound,
That broke in whispers near.
So sweetly on the ear of night,
It woke the calm profound,
As if beneath that peaceful light,
Dared breathe no earthly sound,
But louder rose its cadence now,
Along the moonlight wave,
Where gliding soft, a vessel's prow
The sparkling waters lave,
Its dashing oars seem dipped in light,
As swiftly they divide,
Where radiant smiles the queen of night,
Amid the silvery tide.
And sounds of glee, and revelry,
Float on the balmy air,
Mingling rude notes of minstrelsy,
From mirthful mariner there.
While slowly mooring on the strand,
Beneath that sparkling sky,
Well might be seen of southern land,
Was each dark cheek and eye.
The bark is anchored on the wave,
Around its keel the breakers lave,
But soon its dipping oars again,
Will cleave afresh the watery main.
Ah! who like Peri's form of light,
Or genius of this lovely night,
There lingers wrapped in veil of white?
So mute and motionless her air,
'T might be fair statue of despair,
But for the light upon her eye,
Caught from a moonbeam of yon sky,
Where still she gazes as at rest,
Upon heaven's blue and starry vest.
Some fair Circassian I ween,
Or Georgian maid of peerless mien;
Destined to shine in gay serai,
The Harem Queen of lordly Bey.
But, why there lingers she alone,
Like weeping Niobe of stone?
With cheek upon her hand reclined,
And blighted look, as of a mind,
Despair with iron brand had seared,
And left nought deadlier to be feared?
Perhaps her love betrayed or slighted,
She mourns fond hopes too early blighted;
Or torn from lover, friends and home,
A captive maiden doomed to roam.
Such thoughts had floated o'er the brain
Of wanderer by that moonlight main,
Who had beheld the maiden there,
The pale, mute image of despair.
Yet not unguarded was the boat,
Conrad, a trusty Hydriote,
Had marked the Lady's silent mood,
And deemed she sought for solitude.
Along the shore he idly strayed,
Yet oft his captive charge surveyed.
Though rough his sailor mien and vest,
Such garb oft hides a manly breast.
Short stay his Captain makes, to greet
The land to Christian pilgrim sweet:
Bound for the country of the Nile,
Where orange groves and citrons smile,
Soon, far beyond Mount Carmel's brow,
Their oars the azure deep must plough.
The moon has left her starry throne;
Her gay attendants, one by one,
Have faded from yon blue concave,
Or dipped their torches in the wave.
Dim night, wrapped in her sable vest,
Has rolled her chariot to the west.
The eastern glows; a rosy streak
The blushing tints of morn bespeak.
Bright floods of glory, soft unfold
Heaven's postern; roiling liquid gold
Before his radiant disk, the sun
Reclines on ocean, as a throne;
And views around reflected rise,
The splendid radiance of the skies.
Now soars, with light refulgent crowned,
And spreads his golden sceptre round!
Oh! who could gaze on light and shade,
Where all the tints of heaven displayed,
Mingle, in one bright glorious scene,
Of ocean, sky, and loveliest green
Of wood and valley, girdled round,
With towering cypress, mountain crowned;
And not exult to hail the ray,
That called them into light and day?
Though grief had blanched young Aza's cheek,
And her chilled heart, forbade to seek,
Aught but seclusion midst the band,
Who tear her from her native land;
Yet could she not that morning's beam
Survey, without one cheering gleam,
That seemed to pierce the deep recess,
Where lodged her bosom's hopelessness.
She felt His presence beaming round,
Whose goodness, to the immeasured bound
Of being's endless, various chain,
Does every separate link sustain;
And though her fate, a part so small,
Yet He who sees a sparrow fall,
Looks with a Father's eye, on all.
To Him she had been taught to raise,
The early meed of prayer and praise;
And now it seemed like pouring balm
Upon her wounded heart; so calm,
Her spirit's deep, impassioned grief,
Had thence become;--'twas sweet relief
To cast her every hope, and fear,
Upon a Friend, all powerful, near.
The first keen gush of anguish o'er,
Which like a torrent swept before,
Each gentler feeling in its course,
With 'whelming, desolating force,
She thought of her bereft and lone,
Bereaved of all, now she was gone;
Her widowed mother, found whose age,
Her child, like spring's young foliage,
Had sweetly blossomed into all,
That beauty, we, in woman, call:
And thought, that spoiled of its loved shade,
The leafless stem must droop and fade.
For she had been the stay to aid,
Her feeble steps, the light which played
Around her path, whose sunny charm
Could the chill frost of winter warm.
And Aza wept for her sad fate,
Companionless, and desolate:
And saw her sinking to the tomb
No child to cheer her parting gloom;
Embittered by the cruel sting,
Her Aza's hapless fate must bring.
On fancy's ear pealed her last sigh,
While raised to heaven her dying eye,
For her lost child. With sudden start--
With hand pressed to her throbbing heart,
The maiden waking from her dream,
Gazed wildly round, on ocean's stream--
As if premeditated flight,
Were in that far, quick glancing sight,
Then suddenly her eye is sealed,
As darkness stood around revealed;
And patiently, her snowy brow,
Is resting on her fair hand now;
As felt, 'twere utterly in vain,
To start, to gaze, or weep again!
A thousand spears are glittering bright,
A thousand sabres flashing light,
Around yon pompous cavalcade,
Stretching afar its gorgeous shade;
For ere to-morrow's sun arise,
And gild with morn yon eastern skies,
The Emir Hadgi and his train, [(1)
Escort the Pilgrims o'er the plain:
And seldom hath Grand Cairo seen,
An Emir of more gallant mien,
Than Ibrahim, the great and brave,
Beloved, e'en by his meanest slave.
And many a dark-eyed maid is there,
Whose lover's safety claims her prayer;
And many a heart with fond concern,
Is trembling for their safe return:
For great the perils they must share, [(2)
Who Hadgi's honoured name would bear.
But there is one with aspect meek,
Who friend nor lover seems to seek;
But with averted cheek and eye,
Turns from the gaze of passer by;
As fearful that her veil revealed,
Some charm, she rather wished concealed.
But once she raised her timid eye,
To gaze upon the pageant nigh,
When for a moment, that short glance
Seemed all her being to entrance;
Her light foot stayed its hast'ning tread;
Her ear heard not the slave, who led
Her pathway through that wildering crowd,
Ere he had twice repeated loud,
Lady, we may not linger here.
The accents on her startled ear,
Fell heavily, her head she turned,
But on her cheek the crimson burned,
And in her glance you might descry,
The flash of thought's intensity:
As memory o'er its light had cast,
Some cherished image of the past.
Surprise, and mingled hope and fear,
Faded in quick transition there.
While o'er her glanced the Nubian's eye,
She checked her bosom's rising sigh,
And silently with quickened tread,
Pursued the path his footsteps led;
Nor seemed to hear the muttered jest,
That something said of glittering vest,
And the light thought of woman's breast;
To whom, more dread than warrior's lance,
Should be the fire of warrior's glance.
Soon far beyond the gazing throng,
The Nubian led his charge along.
The Queen of the Harem, is lone in her bower,
On her cheek, the tear glistens, like dew on the flower,
From her soft rosy lip, steals the sorrowful sigh,
While unbound float the tresses around her dark eye,
For her Lord is departed, and joy from her breast;
When Ibrahim is absent, shall Zaide be blest;
Her slaves in attendance, bend mutely around,
With arms meekly folded, and glance on the ground.
What foot hath startled from her bed,
The wood nymph Echo, with its tread?
Who is so bold, to dare intrude, [(3)
Upon our Lady's solitude?
Stranger! whoe'er thou art, forbear!
Hence! nor our vengeance further dare.
With brow undaunted, onward came,
A dark eyed child of Afric's shame,
The eastern guard of Lady's fame.
And shrinking from the menace rude,
A lovely girl behind him stood;
Half veiled amid the leafy wood,
Seeming to court the kindred aid,
Of drooping flowers, her form to shade.
The Nubian from his bosom drew,
A scroll, whose signet well they knew.
"This to your lady quick convey:
An answer here demands our stay."
Had other characters than thine,
Ibrahim, traced that potent line,
Well had the bearer trembling strayed
Beneath that grove's delicious shade;
Where myrtles, twined with roses, spread
Their perfumed flowers, around his head;
And murmuring fountains played beneath,
Or wound the green sward's silvery wreath;
Cooling the sultry eastern breeze,
That sighing, fann'd the citron trees;
And with reviving freshness stole,
Like heaven, upon the fainting soul.
With eager haste, hath Zaide read,
The tribute by affection sped;--
A Georgian maid of talents rare, [(4)
Her lord hath sent, to chase her care,
And wile the tedious hours away,
With the light dance, or lute's soft lay;
Of beauty too, her eye to charm;--
"But let no whispering doubts alarm:
The last fond glance of Zaide's eye,
Still dwells the last, which memory
Hath treasured in Ibrahim's breast,
And there shall dwell, the dearest guest,
Until his blest return, once more
The loved reality restore."
"Ah! how then knew he she was fair?"
Passed from her lips unconsciously:
Quick to a slave, "haste, hither bear
The messenger and maid to me."
The Nubian's tale was quickly told,
The maid, he for his master sold;
And straight, his trust discharged, again
He sought the busy haunts of men.
Aza, alas! on thee hath shone,
A tenderer gaze than greets thee now,
From eyes which beamed with smiles alone,
To hail the light of that fair brow.
Not such the eye of youthful love,
That wont to glad thee with its beam,
When halcyon hours 'twas thine to prove,
And life was all a summer's dream.
Nor his such gaze, who lately saw
Thy timid beauty's soft alarms,
Whose glance of fire, retired with awe,
Subdued by virtue's conquering charms.
But, where's the heart, so steeled, so cold
That could, unpitying, gaze on thee,
Save, hid within the bosom's fold,
Of pale consuming jealousy.
As from her head, the silken snood
She loosed, which bound her waving hair,
And in unconscious beauty stood,
With look, that told not, she was fair,
Each charm that broke on Zaide's eye,
Woke but a thrill of agony.
The bright blue eye, though languid now,
Yet seemed to mock the lucid die,
Seen, when light clouds on evening's brow,
Reveal the deep, cerulean sky:
And from her neck, the sunbeam's gold,
In clustering ringlets softly rolled,
While on her cheek, the first faint flush,
Of peach, or nectarine, seemed to blush.
Yet, 'twas not, that her cheek displayed,
The nectarine's bloom, nor silken braid
Of long luxuriant hair, that stole,
With spell resistless, to the soul.
It was, the mild, sweet, artless air
Breathed from the spirit's purity,
The look of silent sorrow there,
Seeking from heaven security;
Blending that dignity of soul,
Which owns not slavery's control.
And Zaide, while her haughty eye,
Pursued its silent scrutiny,
Felt all the conscious littleness,
Pride may conceal, but not repress.
Yet was not hers, the heart of stone
That feels alike unmoved and chill,
E'en tenderness, her breast had known,
Ere passion drained the lovely rill.
But from its native verdant bed
Cast on the bare and sterile rock,
The gentle stream exhaled, and fled,
And ne'er might since, its source unlock.
For hers had been no fate, to meet
The trusting heart of Friendship, sweet;
Within whose blissful sanctuary,
Affection flows for ever free.
They loved,--but not the mild pure light
Around their spirits shed its beam,
That glows when hearts together plight
The mutual vow of fond esteem.
That nameless sympathy of soul,
Caught not from transient beauty's smile,
Which lives beyond its weak control,
Through time, and lives unchanged the while.
Though Fortune frown, and fate severe,
Hurl stern adversity's fell dart,
That love can stay the falling tear,
And soothe to peace, the aching heart.
But 'tis not, earth, a flower of thine;
Too pure to blossom on thy breast,
From heaven, a visitant divine,
To hearts, by virtue's seal impressed.
The spurious plant, thy offspring vile,
Though, often green, and fair to view,
Poisons ere long, its parent soil,
Then o'er the ruin, withers too.
It boots not, if the seeds be sown
By Passion, Avarice, or Pride;
Soon by its fruit, the tree is known,
To bitterness, and death allied.
How dubious, the capricious sway
Of passion, o'er its votary's breast!
The smile, that lights his soul to day,
Ere morn, may darken o'er his rest.
A fairer cheek, a fresher bloom,
E'en novelty itself, has power
The idol of his heart to doom,
To pine in her neglected bower.
Such had been many a maiden's fate,
And such may Zaide anticipate,
When wayward fancy paints more fair,
A rival's face, or form, or air.
Well might she view the maiden by,
With burning heart, and jealous eye,
Though gentle, as the patient dove,
And artless, as its tale of love.
For she was fair, as favouring heaven,
Her form, its choicest bloom had given.
O feeling! weak are words to paint
Thy vivid glows; description faint,
That would portray thy deepened tones,
When each wild chord, to sorrow moans,
And o'er the heart's lone desolateness,
The shadows of the future press;
Enveloping each image there,
In the dark mantle of despair.
Thus shrouding o'er that maiden's soul,
The wasting clouds of sorrow roll;
Scarce broken by a gleam of light,
That told of dawn beyond their night.
Thus stood she, like a lovely flower,
That droops beneath the tempest's power,
And seeks with bended stem in vain,
To scape the beating wind and rain.
But few were Zaide's haughty words,--
She called a lute,--the trembling chords
By Aza touched, responded low,
To sounds so sweet, yet full of woe,
That tears were seen dark eyelids steeping,
But little used, erewhile to weeping.
She told of hearts entwined for ever,
Whose faith, nor time, nor fate could sever,
Asunder torn, and bleeding still
With the last parting, anguished thrill.
Of absence, and the sickly dread
Of danger, death, or fondness fled.
Of all the sorrows doomed to flow,
From absence, parted lovers know,
She told; then poured a strain,
So soothing, grief forgot its pain,
While sweetly o'er the low lute strings
Her snow white hand its music flings.
For one short moment in that strain,
Aza had dreamt of hope again:
For one short moment, but no more,
She gazed around, that hope was o'er,
The same dark glance was on her still,
Like the basilisk's in its deadly ill;
Her spirit shrunk from its gloomy ire,
And the last sounds from her lute expire.
How beautiful! the light upon
Yon ivy'd wall and turret dun,
Seen through the lofty palm trees shade,
In evening's mellow tints, arrayed!
It seems to shed a youthful smile,
Methinks, upon the aged pile;
As o'er its hoary top there shone
The memory of ages gone;
Revealing in their shadowy light
Long vanished scenes to fancy's sight.
And yet it is a smile of sadness,
A mimic ray, that mocks at gladness;
That tells of grief, beneath its shine,
Of ruins, hid by ivy's twine.
And hark! upon the breeze is sighing,
A voice, with the lute's cadence vying;
So sweetly plaintive are its tones,
As on the fitful breeze it moans,
That Zephyrus o'er Æolean strings,
Might fan in vain his silken wings,
To wake such music;--naught hath stirred,
'Twere death, should stranger's foot be heard,
In these deep shades, yet night's lone bird
Hath scarcely startled at my tread,
Still warbling from her leafy shed.
I'll venture nearer, where the strain,
Perchance my ravished ear may gain.
Soon will the shades of evening close,
And shelter my return from foes.
With wary foot, the deep grass threading;
Beneath the palm's tall branches spreading,
The bold adventurer softly crept,
Till nearly gained the pass, where slept
Supine, in careless solitude,
The swarthy guardian of the wood.
There in a bower of myrtles twined
With jessamine, he unseen reclined
And listened, as the sighing gale,
Bore on its breath this plaintive wail,
Harmonious to the nightingale.
Ah! why sweet bird that mournful strain,
Can grief thy gentle bosom pain,
While denizen of grove and plain,
Thou rovest free,
Unclipped thy wing, bound by no chain,--
Methinks, could I like thee explore,
The forest green, the mountain hoar,
And o'er the deep blue ocean soar
On venturous wing,
Not long such mournful plaint I'd pour,
But blithesome sing.
And from my prison's grated cell,
Ere the first dews of morning fell,
Fly to the land by memory's spell,
For ever dear,
Where freedom, truth, and friendship swell
Each breast sincere.
But ah! no wings have I to flee,
Sweet bird! I well may envy thee,
For thou art free, o'er land and sea,
At large to roam,
Each leafy bower, and verdant tree,
Thy welcome home.
Then, wherefore linger till the day,
And cheerful light have fled away,
Ere thou wilt pour thy melting lay,
Amid the grove,
Where the rose blushing chides thy stay
Queen of thy love?
Say, dost thou choose the hour of eve,--
When sorrow loves the sigh to heave,
And disappointment steals to grieve,--
That thy soft strain,
Harmonious, may awhile relieve,
The sting of pain.
Ah then sweet bird! when evening gray,
Spreads her dim mantle o'er the day,
Still warble from thy leafy spray,
Beneath my cell,
And grateful shall my lute repay,
Each mournful swell.
The crescent moon up heaven had climbed,
Slow rose the mist upon the plain,
The owl its solemn dirge had chimed,
And Vesper kissed the western main;
When from his fragrant couch arose,
The adventurous youth with brow of gloom;
He heaved a sigh for woman's woes,
And mourned how cheerless beauty's doom,
In this bright land, of sun, and bloom.
Oft, from a home of peace, and love,
Doomed to a lawless tyrant's arms,
While vain, fidelity--to prove;
A claim to faith, or freedom's charms.
O woman! generous, fond, sincere,
How oft thy very virtues prove,
Bane of thy peace, affection's tear,
How oft betrayed to sordid love!
Ah! who thy timid feet shall guard,
From peril on life's dangerous way;
What guide thy steps to vice retard,
And safely lead to virtue's sway?
Look not around! thy soft blue eye,
Will but invite profession's guile,
By trusting faith believed, but fly,
Fell ruin lurks beneath its smile.
Oh! didst thou know how vain the trust,
On shaken reed of earth, is found;
How fairest flowers by friendship nursed,
Are strewn, neglected on the ground.
By falsehood severed from the stem,
By pride, and sordid interest torn,
In vain would hope regather them,
Swift down life's fleeting current borne.
The only refuge from despair,--
The friend when earthly friends decay,
Lives in thy breast and gently there
Points to unfading realms of day.
The sons of the desert are scattered afar,
Like the locust assembled their heroes for war;
But the proud arm of valour, their lances defied,
And the foam of their steeds to the desert spread wide.
They fled, like the night wolf, that's scared from its prey,
They fled to their mountain holds, vanquished, away.
Sweet is the morning's golden beam,
Irradiating grove and stream;
Sweet is the dew drop's sparkling shower,
And sweet the incense breathing flower;
Sweet the early matin lay,
That ushers in the dawn of day,
And floats upon the balmy gale
So freshly fanning hill and vale.
But ah! when Phoebus darts his rays
Where not a shrub reflects their blaze,
Mid burning sands, laved by no stream,
Where never flower op'd to his beam,
Where dew drops sparkle not, nor dare
One little bird sing matin there;
Where the dread Siroc's blasting breath
Bears mandate dire of instant death;
Not here is sweet the hour when day
Springs from the lap of twilight gray.
The weary traveller in vain
For shelter looks, and looks again.
The burning heavens above are spread
With living flame; beneath his tread,
The red sands far and wide appear,
Reflecting back the flaming sphere.
Thus many a morn rose on the band,
Of Pilgrims from Egyptia's land.
But fire, and sword, and fainting toil,
Will man endure for Mammon's spoil;
And Superstition's scorpion thong,
Goads trembling myriads along,
A path more rugged than the line,
Marked by the frowning Appennine.
Where vultures prey on hearts that beat
Warm with the life stream's vital heat;
And dire remorse with blood stained eye,
Views vengeance bursting from the sky,
But sees no God of mercy nigh,
Whose chastisements are light to bear,
When we with man's self-doomed compare.
"Thanks! gallant Cachef to thy blade!
Methinks had yonder fierce brigade,
Encountered oft such steel as thine,
Not lightly thus they'd tempt its shine;
Twice have we foiled their bandit hordes
And bade them fly our conquering swords;
But for their flying coursers, vain
Had been their speed across the plain.
Not soon I ween, again they'll dare
Upon the Emir's train to bear.
But Ali, well thy arm hath won,
The laurels which on valour wait,
But for thy sword, yon cloudless sun
Had set upon our fallen state.
Thrice rallying round thy war cry shrill,
Our fainting Mamluks, proudly still,
Pressed valiantly the unequal foe,
Till all were fled, or laid full low.
What wilt thou at thy chieftain's hand?
Name but, nay more, thy wish command!
Whate'er it be, if in my power,
I will not wave thy claim an hour.
Nay, do not soil a warrior's cheek,
With tint that maiden's fear should speak!
Let girls and cowards blush, but shame
Ill suits the laurelled brow of fame."
The youthful cheek of Ali caught
A tinge yet deeper; and his eye
As flashing o'er its own deep thought,
Seemed shading hope's intensity;
While with assumed composure he
Answered his chieftain's courtesy.
"Too highly, noble Emir, far
Of me you deem, the chance of war
Favoured my sword! I led the brave
To victory, or the soldier's grave!
We conquered, and the triumph's due
To all, brave chief, but most to you!
Already well repaid my toil,
The laurel is the warrior's spoil;
Yet might I to my chieftain's ear,
One secret wish that lingers here,
Venture to name?"--the warrior's hand
Pressed where his heart heaved 'neath a band
Of tissued gold;--Ibrahim smiled,
Speak on my son, fear nothing, wild
Must be the wish by me denied,
When Ali sues!"--The youth replied,
Commissioned by you on the day,
We bent from Cairo's walls our way,
I bartered for a beauteous slave,
Attendant to the Queen you gave:
But ah! her faultless charms impressed,
Their fatal image on my breast.
Since then, bereft of peace, in vain
I glory court to sooth my pain.
Still the same eye of blue I see,
Beaming its timid glance on me:
I cannot fly the aching thrill,
That in my bosom lingers still,
And seems, as if my being were,
In very truth, the thought of her."
Young Ali paused and turned aside,
The crimson on his cheek to hide--
A moment's silence seemed to chill
The fountain of that purple rill;
Back to its source the current flew,
And left its seat pale sorrow's hue.
'Twas but a moment, that kind voice
Soon bade his sinking heart rejoice:
Upon the youth, a father's eye
Could not with tenderer feelings beam.
"The fault is mine!--'tis right that I
Should forfeit hope's delusive dream!
I thought to call thee son indeed,
My Eva's hand had been thy meed;
A fairer maid, and gentler, none
Need hope to win and smile upon;
But love himself hath foiled my pride,
Her husband's heart must none divide.
I will to Zaide thy suit prefer,
She will resign the maid to thee,
At my request; mayst thou with her
Be blest as thou canst wish to be!"
Ibrahim left the youth alone,
His wish obtained,--why pleasure flown?
Yet is not glad that silent eye,
Fixed in its gaze on vacancy.
Ah earthly happiness! thus ever
Dost thou the heart elude, for never
Is given to man to taste of bliss,
But therewith mingles bitterness!
Sweet was the transport love conveyed,
In fancy his the beauteous maid,
When sudden, like an icy dart,
Ibrahim's sorrow pierced his heart.
Fame, honour, glory, wealth, but say
What in the scale 'gainst love can weigh?
All passed before his quick review,
But faded to those eyes so blue,
That still their captive's gaze pursue.
Who hath not proved when hope deferred
Has wrapped the fainting heart in sorrow,
How e'en a breath by fancy stirred,
Some presage of despair can borrow?
The sighing gale, the rustling leaf--
The streamlet's melancholy flow,
Lone Philomel's soft tale of grief,
All wake responsive chords of woe.
Mark ye the absent lover's eye!
It lingers not on beauty's smile,
Fitful its gaze, or vacantly
Intent on viewless air the while.
The smile when no one smiles beside,
The moving lips which none may hear,
The starting tear he fain would hide,
Betray his bosom's hope and fear.
And Ali's heart with hope beat high;
To-morrow, and to-morrow's sun,
Will gild, he thought, yon burning sky,
But set not ere our toil be done!
Then, ah! ecstatic thought! then I
Shall gaze upon my heavenly maid,
Drink rapture from her beaming eye
And tell the tribute love hath paid!
My heating heart be still! thy fears
Intrude unwelcome on my joy,--
Hence gloomy phantoms! love's fond tears
Should mingle not with grief's alloy.
Nor did his heart respond alone,
To feeling's sweetest, tenderest tone.
Each weary Pilgrim longed to rest,
His head on some fond, faithful breast.
The father's hope, the lover's prayer,
The husband's fondest sigh was there.
Hark! to the sound of the timbrel and lute
And the voice of rejoicing that long has been mute!
Hark! to the cry of triumphant acclaim
That welcomes the conqueror to glory and fame!
Hark! to the sound which is dearest of all,
The voice of affection each loved one doth call.
O! moments of ecstacy! why is your flight
More rapid than ray of the morning's swift light?
Oh! why do ye fleet like a shadow away,
Of which memory but traces the mantle of gray,
While the beam which in trembling ecstacy threw
The impression first there, long has fled from the view?
The tapers are bright in the harem hall,
And the light foot of woman beats time to the fall
Of music's tones so impassioned and sweet,
Like the fond glance of lovers who silently meet.
The bower of beauty is beaming and bright,
With more than lamp of the sweet moonlight;
And sparkling like diamonds, the emerald hue
Of the myrtle leaves wet with evening dew.
The banquet is spread, and the flowers above,
Droop their beautiful white o'er the offering of love,
For Zaide's fair hand hath collected there,
The choicest dainties of eastern fare;
For to night her Lord is to sup in her bower,
And she chides with impatience the lingering hour.
But hark! it is here, and she flies to meet
The well known sound of his hastening feet.
Quick reads in his eye the smile of love,
As he enters the fragrant myrtle grove.
"Once more thou'rt mine, my lovely Zaide!
And well is all my toil repaid!
Oh! one such hour of bliss as this
Repays an age of wretchedness;
Ah! what can man of care beguile
Like the soft light of woman's smile?
Or smooth ambition's thorny rest,
Like to the down of her soft breast?
Since last upon thy sunny eye
I fondly gazed, no vagrant sigh
For other charms my breast has known,
Still faithful unto thine alone:
Say, hast thou been as true to me
As I have been, my love, to thee?"
'Twas smiling said, and yet his eye
Looked as if through her soul 'twould pry;
But naught betrayed the blushing cheek,
Beyond the language truth might speak.
With easy air and laughing jest,
She calmed the rising doubt to rest;
Vowed that she lived for him alone,
To all the world besides unknown.
His heart her own, she knew no care,
Beyond the love of empire there.
She flattered not, her words were true,
Her heart one virtue still possessed,
But such the soil in which it grew,
Its growth had poisoned all the rest.
Time whets his sithe, while lovers dream,
Nor mark they, till its parting gleam
Betrays how soon are cropped and gone
The few fleet hours joy smiled upon.
Like heaven reflected in the wave,
Whose phantom smile dark waters lave;
Like gems in crystal fountains seen,
Which fly the enamoured gaze, if e'en
A cloud or ripple intervene;
Oh! such is love in life's dark sea,
As bright, but dimmed as easily.
Swift fled the golden hours away,
Till blushing dawn led forth the day;
And Phosphor on night's starry train,
Locked the bright gates of heaven again.
When Ibrahim to the listening fair,
Did Ali's tender suit declare;
Told when he had beheld the maid,
And of his bosom's peace betrayed;
How he for her had bartered all,
By valour won, at glory's call.
She listened, and her changing cheek,
Betrayed more than she meant to speak;
She faltered, for her failing tongue,
Seemed as if to the roof it clung.
She raised her eye, but could not bear
The inquiring glance which met it there.
A hectic flush with partial red,
Upon her cheek its deep stain spread,
And left her lips, as thence it drew
Its crimson die,--wan terror's hue.
'Twas quickly o'er, nor more revealed;
In sorrow's semblance well concealed
Her guilty heart the thought of dread:--
"Alas! the lovely slave," she said,
"Has died, the victim of despair,
Nor could our kindest, tenderest care
Avert the blow--the spirit fled,
And peaceful rests her gentle head.
At morn and even, upon her grave
Fresh flowers we strewed, and there still wave
The willow's pendant branches low,
As weeping o'er her tale of woe."
Where is the lover, dreams can rest,
Deceit, or guile, within that breast
To him devoted? can it be
What seems so tender, soft, and fair
Can harbour aught but goodness there,
Nor from the stain of guilt be free?
He stood with look, of deep concern,
"Young Ali dreams not thus must end
His promised bliss--how will he learn
Submissively to heaven to bend,
Nor deem of treachery in his friend?
Would that I had from him concealed
My hopes; imprudently revealed."
With clouded brow and short farewell,
He hastened from the Lady's cell:
Whose large dark eye explored around,
As fearful lest the unconscious ground,
A witness of her crime had found.
O guilt! how vain the hope to find
A recompense for peace of mind!
What canst thou give? what ever gave?
But proved of happiness the grave,
And formed a fetter for thy slave.
Already the august Divan
Has met, the grave debate began;
The hour of meeting come and past,
Why filled the Emir's seat the last?
For, ever foremost wont was he,
At duty's high behest to be.
But soon the dark surmise was o'er,
He entered, and with him another,
Whom, by the hand, he took as brother,
And seated on the cushioned floor.
He was a youth of noble mien,
But on his brow there might be seen,
Suppressed emotion, like a cloud
Which does the gathering tempest shroud;
Yet was so clearly blue his eye,
So smooth his ivory forehead high,
You had not marked the cloud between,
But for the curling lip of spleen,
That seemed, as if it scorned the rein,
Which bade him writhe with ire and pain.
No sound the expecting silence broke,
When Ibrahim to the assembly spoke.
"Chieftains! our thanks are due to those,
Who vanquish gallantly our foes.
The Veteran soldier proved and known,
Should wreath the laurel round the brow
Of youthful valour, never shown
More bravely, than by him, who now
Appears before you, and whose claim
Is more than meed of empty fame.
His was the arm that would not yield,
His breast, his fainting follower's shield;
And still his rallying war cry rose,
The terror of a thousand foes.
As fights the tigress for her young,
When from her lair by hunter sprung,
So fought young Ali for the cry,
The eagle shout of victory!
And gained it! first the foe gave way
Where gleamed his sword's far conquering ray.
Ne'er Pacha's hand the caftan threw, [(6)
Around a heart more brave and true,
Nor e'er elected we a Bey,
More formed to prove our empire's stay."
Dark glances flashed from eyes of fire,
And Ottman lips were writhed in ire;
While angry voices louder rose,
From intermingling friends and foes.
Zalmunna the Circassian, he
The Emir's deadliest enemy,
Seized gladly the propitious hour,
To curb his hated rival's power,
And thwart his purpose, thus to gain
Another firman for his train.
But honour, 'mong the lawless strife,
Which grasps for power the assassin's knife,
Commands respect; the Emir won,
And Ali his adopted son,
In full Divan proclaimed a Bey,
Robed in the caftan gained the day.
He could not weep, but his eyes were closed
Like the lids of one, who in pain reposed;
His pallid cheek yet seemed to wear
The hue of life, as sorrow there
Had but commenced her deadly reign;
His fallen lip, where high disdain
So lately sat, was mute and still,
Nor told aught of the heart's wild will,
Save when the bursting sigh betrayed,
How keen the pang within which preyed.
His hand, upon his forehead pressed,
Had sought support on which to rest:
And there reclined he, envied child
Of fame's proud honours! ah how wild
The erring judgment which can deem
Ambition's giddy, wildering dream
Yields aught of bliss! whoever gained
Her slippery heights, and long maintained
His footing firm? how many a name
The foremost on the rolls of fame,
Can witness, glory gilds a steep,
Whose top betrayed them to the deep.
Yet he by sorrow spell bound there,
Mourned not Ambition's blighted dream,
The morning of his glory ne'er
Hath worn a cloud to dim its beam.
For him the partial trump of Fame,
Awaits to swell its loudest blast,
But chilled his heart to glory's flame,
Like meteor glare around him cast,
It warms him not, nor lights it now
The gloom which wraps that polished brow.
Friendship had vainly hoped the lure
Would prove a solace to the wound
It must inflict; but ah! how poor,
Such consolation Ali found.
When love and hope united smile
Upon the raptured soul of youth,
Oh! wonder not they should beguile,
Till life hangs hovering on their truth.
Blighted, the tie which bound to earth
Seems broken, and the bleeding heart,
Back on itself recoils, vain worth
Can Glory's faded wreath impart.
Hark! loud resounding on the ear
What groans of pain! what shouts of fear!
Quick starting from his death-like trance,
That mourner's hand hath seized his lance;
Swift as the lightning's flash, his feet
Have gained the hall--what doth he meet?
Lo! bleeding, borne, his murdered friend,
The Emir hast'ning to his end.
His glazing eye is faintly raised,
"And art thou there? Alla be praised!
My son! thou art not come too late,
Yet to avenge thy chieftain's fate!
'Twas he!--the dark Circassian!--he
Mine house's mortal enemy!
Who, lurking like a ruffian gave
The stab which sends me to the grave!
His coward head he thought to hide,
But I his dagger's hilt descried, [(7)
And knew it by the diamond's light,
As quick it vanished from my sight.
I faint! the shades of death close fast!"
That groan!--another!--'twas his last!
And Ali there is kneeling still,
Pressed to his heart that hand so chill;
His ear hath drunk life's last drawn sigh;
His eye traced death's last agony;
And yet he lingers, as if he
Doubted that scene's reality;
As if it could not be, that form
So late in life's full vigour warm,
Should there be hid, extinguished, dark,
For ever quenched life's glowing spark.
And yet he lingers, as if there
Transformed to marble.--Is it prayer,
That now his moving lips are breathing?
Oh! would it were!--that sword unsheathing
Sheds round a dim unhallowed beam,
Not such the light from heaven doth gleam
When sainted spirits, softly fly,
To gain their white robes in the sky.
But hark! he speaks,--"Witness thou sword
Of him most honoured, if the word,
Spoken in life's last struggle, I
Can e'er forget--so may I die,
Like him, and unavenged lie!"
He sheathed the blade,--his brow no more
That look of deep dejection wore,
His step was firm,--with manly tread,
He left the pale disfigured dead.
"Let women grieve--be mine to bear,
And more than sound may whisper,--dare!
Not rashly will I urge my fate,
Years cannot quench my burning hate;
Meanwhile my trusty witness, thou
Shalt silent guard my faithful vow."
Thy broken chords, affection, long
Quiver and vibrate through the heart,
Or with one sweep of passion strong,
Bid the full gush of feeling part.
Young Eva, dove-like, tender, pale,
Is weeping on her father's breast,
Forgotten floats her snowy veil,
With many a gory stain impressed.
In vain she bathes him with her tears,
And seeks to staunch his gaping wound,
He sees her not--alas! nor hears
He now, of that loved voice the sound,
Yon form of fainting beauty laid,
Say is it thine?--unhappy Zaide!
She came! she saw! one piercing shriek
Was all she uttered, and her cheek
Grew wan and death-like, vision fled;
And feeling, memory, all are dead.
Blissful oblivion, to a soul
O'er which the floods of passion roll,
Which knows no haven but despair,
Nor anchor save midst whirlpool there.
Long may she slumber in that sleep,
Ere wearied nature wake to weep,
Happy, if stern affliction's rod,
Restore the wanderer to her God.
They laid him in his narrow rest,
Nor heeds the worm his wounded breast,
The cypress sheds its sullen gloom,
Low o'er the murdered chieftain's tomb;
And virgin hands have strown his grave,
With flowers, and there at evening wave
Their white arms in the hollow gale,
Mingling its moan with sorrow's wail.
"O night! sacred to peace and rest,
Thee, oft the mourner's soul hath blest;
Thou bath'st with balm the burning brow,
And calm'st the heart's wild anguish;--thou,
Like sympathy's soft, pensive smile,
Dost half the bosom's care beguile,
And whisperest of a clime afar,
Where shines futurity's dim star,
In which at last the weary rest,
And sorrow flies the aching breast.
'Tis this which bids the wretched flee,
Dim night, to fond commune with thee.
Who yonder steals amid the gloom,
Gliding like spectre from the tomb?
Through yon tall trees the figure passed,--
Was it a cloud the moon o'ercast?
Or shadow on the ivyed wall,
Caught from yon waving poplars tall?
Quick to my turret lone I'll fly,
And thence perhaps the truth descry."
With fawn-like foot the muser fled,
Fear fettered not that sylph-like tread.
The night breeze waved her silken hair,
And lightly bared her forehead fair,
Enamoured of the lilies there;
As like the timid bird of night,
She started from that moonlight spright.
Though resolution armed his breast,
Yet could not one sad slumberer rest,
And Ali left his couch, to stray
To the lone tomb where that maiden lay,
Whose loved idea he could not fly,
It seemed his tutelar Deity;
Still pointing to some blissful scene,
Fleeting and cold as the rainbow sheen,
Which mocked his grasp, and fled from his eye,
Like that phantom beam of a watery sky.
And there on the low cold turf he is laid,
One cypress is near with its sullen shade,
And the willow waves over the mourner's head,
While around flits the moonbeam's silent tread.
Hark! from his bosom the labouring sigh,
The groan intense of agony.
The smothered accents of despair,
Rise on the wing of the soft night air,
And seem to wake from its shrouded sleep,
The spirit of her, he there doth weep.
He listens! whence that plaintive swell,
So mournfully sweet? what midnight spell
Is o'er my brain, or do I hear
Indeed those soft strains floating near.
He started,--paused again, and still
Those sweet melodious accents thrill
His wondering ear, the instinctive dread
Crept o'er his heart, felt to the dead,
While chained in mute attention he
Listened to that strange minstrelsy.
Stranger! dost thou weep my doom,
Peaceful inmate of the tomb?
Here from friends no more we sever,
Here false hopes delude us never,
Here we rest in peace for ever,
Mourn not for me.
Sorrow, care, and grief are thine,
Solitude and sleep are mine,
Dreamless nights my slumbers pass,
My damask quilt, the long, green grass,
And shining o'er me heaven's pure glass,
A sparkling canopy.
Wherefore hast thou strayed to weep?
'Tis the hour when mortals sleep;
By thy turban dimly seen,
By thy Moslem garb and mien,
Stranger, thou to me hast been
And must ever be.
Once an eye I loved to meet,
Once a smile I loved to greet;
'Twas in childhood's blissful hours,
Sporting 'mongst my native bowers,
Innocence and truth were ours,
Love, and liberty.
But the Pirate Moslem came,
Breathing fell destruction's flame
Rent those cords of bliss asunder,
Oh! why did not heaven's loud thunder,
Hurl the wretch the deep wave under
Ere he fettered thee!
Hadar! since that hour of sorrow,
Naught of bliss my life could borrow,
Save when recollection's gleam,
O'er the past with lingering beam,
Strayed of thee to fondly dream,
Soon to wake and flee.
Melodiously died away,
That wildly sweet mysterious lay;
The very breeze forgot to sigh,
As hushed in nature's sympathy,
While on the gently swelling gale
Was borne that elfin minstrel's tale;
And now in gusts, rose loud and drear,
On Ali's lone affrighted ear.
With hurried step, and glancing eye,
He passed those waving poplars high,
Whose shadowy length upon the ground,
Peopled with gloom his pathway round;
Nor backward turned his head to tell
Even one lingering, short farewell.
In musing mood the chieftain sat,
Abou his favorite friend beside,
Regardless of the lively chat,
That would his moody silence chide.
At length from that deep reverie waking,
"Call of the Harem guard, the chief."
Abou arose, obeisance making
And to a slave that message brief
Delivered; prompt to obey the call
Of him, who presides there, Lord of all.
Hath Time stamped on that aged brow
The seal of resignation there?
Or Sorrow's hand, that head doth bow
So patiently its yoke to bear?
The Nubian stood before his chief,
The third beneath those walls avowed,
No murmur spoke his joy or grief,
But meekly to the earth he bowed.
"Doubar, what minstrel strays by night,
Within the Harem's silent groves,
Methinks thy trust performed aright,
Shouldst know, who there at midnight roves,
To chant of grief, and hopeless loves."
Perplexity glanced o'er that eye,
Cast on the ground submissively:
Yet answered he, "most noble Bey,
It hath been rumoured since the day
We buried there a christian slave,
That oft her spirit haunts the grave,
And that at midnight from the tower,
Which overlooks the jessamine bower,
Her lute is heard, and some have seen
Her veil and snow white arm within.
Howbeit, none dare, since that day,
Within the poplar grove to stray
After the close of evening gray."
Ali with keen and fixed eye
Surveyed the Nubian while he spoke,
Yet could not in that gaze descry,
Aught that a thought of falsehood woke.
"Tis strange indeed! who saw her die?
Did none receive her parting breath?
Watch her torn spirit gently fly,
And soothe her in the pangs of death?"
Doubar replied, "Some sudden blight
Upon the lovely maiden fell,
Morn saw her blooming, ere the night
She withered, none the cause might tell."
"Oh! did she die by foul misdeed?
Doubar, thy life hangs on her fate,
If thou conceal aught, which may lead
To prove my fears, or dissipate!"
The old man on the chieftain gazed,
Surprise his downcast eyelids raised.
"I knew not to my lord was known
That hapless maiden, or could own
Somewhat which might surprise him more
Than haunted tower described before.
I saw the rose forsake her cheek,
To me she last essayed to speak,
But, 'Oh! my mother!' all she sighed,
And on her lips the accents died.
These arms received the sinking maid,
And gently to her couch conveyed.
On the returning morn she lay
Insensible, at close of day
I secretly her place supplied,
With one who had in sickness died;
And her we bore, and sorrowing laid
Within the grave prepared by Zaide,
T' receive the beauteous Georgian maid,
Who only slept, I knew, for I
Prepared the cup,--nay, start not, by
That pious fraud, e'en now she lives!"
"Lives, Doubar! said'st thou that she lives?
Oh gracious Alla! be it true,
My life one grateful tribute due,
Shall waste in thanks to heaven and you!"
"She lives! the spectre of that tower,
More safely guarded by its gloom,
And by that soul corroding power,
Which preys on guilt, than if the tomb
Indeed enclosed her; and her sleep
Were as her dwelling, dark and deep."
The spade but rudely turns that bed
Where Death hath laid his ghastly head,
Nor heeds the digger, though the stare
Of the reft socket on him glare.
But let a bat flit through the gloom
Peopled by guilty fear, the tomb
Seems to have lent its guest to bear
The tale we would not trust to air.
Well hath just heaven thy guilt repaid
Cold is that heart, unhappy Zaide,
Thou wouldst have bartered heaven to save,
Thy murdered Lord sleeps in his grave.
The nightingale had ceased her lay,
The lark was caroling in air,
The fleet gazel had brushed away
The dew-drop from its chalice fair.
The mountains, tipped with fluid gold,
The Sun's approach in glory told;
And the blue mist from off the lake
Was curling up o'er hill and brake,
Sweet incense borne upon the breeze,
Wafted around from shrubs and trees,
And through its labyrinths of green
The garden's pride, the rose, was seen.
Yet not the pride of garden's rose,
When morn around its odour throws,
Can with the bosom's rapture vie,
When hope beholds each barrier fly,
And bursting full upon the soul
Appears of bliss, the long sought goal.
Upon that morn, young Ali winged
With love's light foot, through roses stringed
By beauty's fingers, noteless strayed,
Nor sought the myrtle's spicy shade.
He only saw yon turret gray,
He paused, 'twas but to catch the lay
Of music on the zephyr's wing,
Perhaps of love's imagining.
He hurries on, he gains the stair,
And winds around the darkness there.
He sees a light, a distant door,
"Doubar, why art not thou before?"
"My chief must pardon, but these feet
Some forty years past were more fleet.
A moment wait, my timid bird
I must apprize whose ear hath heard
Her moonlight warblings, and would be
Restorer of her liberty.
She will have caught the unwonted sound
Of voices, and have quickly found
Her safe retreat, which none but I
Have note of, soon my chief rely
Will I return:" he passed the door,
Which closing, would reveal no more
Than just a ray to paint the gloom
Which wrapped young Aza's mimic tomb.
Thanks! that soft step returns again,
Unused to the rough tread of men,
Its echo tells of servile chain
Which binds 'mong women to remain.
With beating heart, and pausing breath,
And eye, that like the lightning's ray
Pierced through that gloom of mimic death,
Young Ali flew, love winged his way.
But words are vain, they cannot tell
The youth's fond rapture when he gazed
On her beloved, so long! so well!
His valour's meed:--from earth he raised
The beauteous maid, where fearfully
She drooped, as deeming such might be,
Meet posture for a captive's knee.
She felt the victim of his power,
And like the bird in evil hour,
Which feels it vain to further flee,
And hides its head behind its wing,
So met the maid thus timorously,
Him who would feigned deliverance bring,
Till on her ear that gentle voice
Broke like a whisper of the breeze
That used to bid her heart rejoice,
As round her home it fanned the trees.
She almost started, and her look
Deep to the warrior's bosom spoke.
She searched his eye with curious gaze,
It was a look, that other days,
Retraced in its collected beam.
Young All smiled, "We've met before,
Sweet maid, but now to part no more,"
He said, and clasped her trembling hand;
Meekly in his that hand remained,
Resigned, but at that look's command;
Command to him, who saw it pained.
Then with a courteous, knightly air
He led her down that winding stair,
And soothed with words, whose sweetness stole
Too deeply to the maiden's soul,
And almost hushed those fears to rest
Which late alarmed her virgin breast.
"Within my palace thou mayst dwell,
Secure as hermit in his cell,
No foot profane shall dare intrude
Upon fair Aza's solitude.
Doubar shall guard the sacred shrine,
Where dwells all that I would were mine;
And meet companion, at thy side
Young Eva's gentle form shall glide.
A lovelier pair ne'er blushed upon
A rose bush, in an eastern sun;
And you amid these groves may stray,
And wile away the tedious day,
With song, or dance, or lute's soft lay.
Oh! might I sometimes hope to prove,
Companion of the maid I love,
Too vast for utterance should I deem,
The thought of such too blissful dream."
Mournful she passed through each stately hall,
For that voice was gone, which had seemed to call
Visions of bliss from their sleep of years,
And had dimmed her eyes in memory's tears.
"It cannot be, or surely I
Had thought, that Hadar's self was by,
Just such the tones of tenderness
His early love wont to express,
When at my side he wandered free,
Culling the sweetest flowers for me.
Yet oh! he never could renounce
His early faith, vows plighted once
At Jesu's shrine--forbid it heaven,
Rather his forfeit life were given
A sacrifice, that hope may be
To meet him in Eternity."
Her feet are on that cushioned floor,
Where carpets like the cygnet's down,
Yield to her light step, which before
Hath pressed their softness, when the frown
Of one was there with deadly lour,
Fixed in its plenitude of power.
Around she gazed, sole empress, where
'Twas hers a slave's hard fate to bear;
And mixed emotions through her soul,
In wild confusion swiftly roll.
She thought of her whose eye's dark ire,
Had bade hope in her breast expire;
And of each strange vicissitude,
From childhood's dawn, to womanhood
It still had been her fate to prove;
She thought too of that chieftain's love,
And trembled as the rising sigh
Stole from her breast unconsciously--
While o'er her memory flashed the smile,
That for a moment could beguile,
Even her heart with sorrow filled,
And by surrounding danger chilled.
She thought of Him, the guide, the friend
Of all who His direction ask,
On whom alone she might depend,
Mid the gay scene where pleasure's mask
Shrouded each object in its guise,
Veiling truth's image from her eyes.
She prayed to Him, and felt, to rest
Were hushed the conflicts of her breast.
'Twas evening's hour, and the zephyr wooed
Each blushing floweret's sweet perfume,
Kissing the rose, in its solitude,
And courting the violet's modest bloom.
'Twas evening's hour, and the star of day
Had bathed his brow in the golden wave;
His crimson smile yet joyously
Beamed where the sky, the waters lave:
'Twas evening's hour, and the charm that steals
With twilight o'er the soul was there,
That spell the fond heart deepest feels,
When love and hope divide its care.
'Twas evening's hour, and Aza loved
To mingle with the peaceful scene,
The leaves low whispering as she moved,
Her lone companions oft had been.
And on this eve alone she strayed,
To muse amid their deepest shade;
She passed the poplar grove, for there
No foot to follow her will dare;
So deemed the maiden, and her seat
Was on a tuft of violets sweet,
Beneath the drooping willow's shade,
The haunt by fear most sacred made;
But where's the solitary spot,
That love's light foot hath entered not?
Ali espied the lovely maid,
Her white veil glimmering through the shade
Of leaves, clad in the Eternal green
Of Paradise, which there was seen.
A timid shriek she could not stay,
Burst from her lips, as Ali Bey--
Before her knelt,--she would have fled,
But, "Fear not lovely maid," he said--
''Why fly from me?"--that gentle voice
Her step arrested,--"Why rejoice
This solitude--while I to be
So blessed would venture worlds for thee?
Oh Aza! pity sure must dwell
Within that bosom's gentle swell,
Couldst thou imagine the distress,
The days, the nights of wretchedness
Which I endure, from hope estranged,
Thou sure wouldst grant my faithful love,
One cheering ray; it hath not changed
Since first on thee I gazed, to prove
How bitter are the drops which flow,
Mingled in Love's sweet cup below."
The deep blue of his speaking eye
On her was fixed so movingly,
She almost felt the impassioned sigh
Steal from his lips, yet could deny
Even a hope, that Moslem's hand
Can ever Aza's heart command.
"Rise, generous chief, thy suit forbear
I may not, dare not, list thy prayer:
Think of my mother's parting groan,
When fiercely from those ruffians thrown, [(8)
Who bore her child to lands unknown:
What would she say, if Aza gave
Her heart to him who made her slave?
What would she feel, to know her child
In willing bondage was beguiled?
Oh! every turbaned brow to me,
Recalls that hour of agony;
When wild with terror and despair
I saw her kneel; but vain the prayer,
She poured to hearts of ruffian mould,
Than adamant, more hard and cold."
His turban on the ground he threw,
His tresses bright of auburne hue,
Flowed o'er the brow they erst had shaded,
" 'Tis Hadar's self!"--the pale rose faded
Upon her cheek, her lips in vain
Their further mystery would explain.
But 'twas enough;-- "O God!" he cried,
"Thou whom too long I have denied,
O! pardon now! and grant my prayer,
My Aza's gentle heart to spare."
She heard him, and hope faintly gleamed
In the wan smile her pale lips beamed;
She heard him, and her heart once more
Back to its seat the crimson bore.
"O Hadar! dear lamented youth!
How art thou changed since last we met!
That soul of purity and truth!
Oh! wonder not, if keen regret
Should mingle, and convert to pain
The joy to meet thee once again."
He dared not meet that timid eye
Gazing on him so tenderly,
And sought to hide the consciousness
Of shame and guilt vain to repress.
"Say yet my Aza! thou art mine,
I would not such sweet hope resign,
Not for the brightest diadem,
Golconda's glittering treasures gem.
Name loveliest, when this plighted hand,
My life's devotion shall command.
Oh! think how blessed this paradise
Wouldst thou its solitude rejoice.
And I--(ah! hush my throbbing breast)
How vain are words, to paint how blessed,
How more than happiness, 'twould be
To gaze on, live, and die with thee!"
'Twas Hadar spoke, and Aza felt
Love's witching power her bosom melt,
She turned her eye from his fond gaze,
And sought to answer--but past days
Of blissful recollection came,
Fanning the light of love's soft flame,
And the unuttered accents died
Upon her lips--she only sighed,
And the warm gushing tear drops fell,
Upon the breast she loved so well.
The sun had shed his golden smile
O'er the bright bosom of the Nile,
Joy danced in every laughing gale
That stirred the leaf or filled the sail,
And hope in many a sparkling eye,
Shone radiant as that orb on high.
The lattice was thrown open far,
Crushing the jessamine's tiny star;
That gave its odour, like a sigh
From beauty's lips when love is nigh.
And o'er its fragrant clusters hung
A form, where grace and youth had flung
Their witchery of bloom and air,
So bright, so beautiful, and fair,
She scarcely seemed a form of earth,
But Peri of immortal birth.
The ringlets on her blushing cheek
Half veiled her eyes' soft lustre meek;
And backward, with a fair slight hand,
She gave them to their silken band,
As if she would not, aught between
That fair gaze and such glorious scene,
Should rob her of one brilliant die
Reflected back from wave or sky.
Then wrapped in thought, her cheek's warm glow
Rested upon that hand of snow.
"He was in early youth, my brother,
Companion, guide, then friend and lover;
To him, my plighted faith was given,
Together rose our vows to heaven;
And shall I see him wander far,
Through the wide world, nor be the star
That sparkles still his pathway o'er,
A beacon mid the tempest's roar,
To warn the passing voyager
Of rocks, and shoals around him dire.
Oh yes! I will devoted be,
Hadar, to love to heaven, and thee."
Thus mused the maiden, and her eye
Glanced o'er old ocean to the sky,
Watching each bark with homeward sail,
Or dipping oars that mocked the gale,
And seemed with bounding speed to tell
Of hearts, held by affection's spell,
To the fair land they make so well.
Why does she lingering watchful gaze
Over yon rolling water's maze?
That still untiring, wanders on
Wave after wave, that still is gone
While yet another billow heaves
Its white breast, and expiring weaves
Ocean's interminable zone.
She gazes not as if her eye,
Observed each little billow die;
Its azure glance impatient flies,
And the far distant vessel spies,
When like a speck, it first is seen
The silvery sea and sky between.
She gazes, and her straining eye,
Perceives a crimson streamer fly.
The vessel nears with laughing sail,
Spreading its white breast to the gale.
With swan-like motion o'er the waves
She glides, her prow the white foam laves,
While far behind the silvery spray
Tracks with its shining light her way.
"It is! it is! the signal sought,
And hope with fond affection fraught,
Enraptured views it anchor near:
My Mother! oh! beloved sound!
Name more than every other dear,
How beats my heart to think thee found,
How trembles, lest thy death I hear."
With breathless interest gazing still,
The maiden views the heaving tide
Lave less and less the vessel's side,
And sees descending numbers fill
The ready boats, which waft to land:
But whence yon gallant horseman band,
That onward to the watery verge,
Impatient, every courser urge,
While rising still above the rest,
Glitters their leader's dazzling crest?
For bearing high, and noble mien,
I ween such chieftain few have seen,
And well that maiden's check confessed
She knew who wore that shining crest.
With eagle glance among the crowd,
Young Ali's eye hath singled there
A stranger group--his courser proud,
Felt not the leap, which light as air,
Hath winged its rider's foot to meet
Yon aged Sire--low at whose feet
The graceful warrior now is kneeling,
In that mute trance of filial feeling,
All words are vain, that would repeat.
The old man wept upon the head [(10)
Of him, long numbered with the dead.
"My Son! this joyous hour repays
Long countless nights of grief, and days
Of mourning; hope had fled that I should see
Thy face again--but yes, 'tis thee!--
A sister Ali fondly pressed,
And when his Aza's mother blessed
The loved deliverer of her child,
Tears dimmed the eye that on her smiled.
And soon he saw his Aza blessed,
Cling to that aged mother's breast.
O earth! if thou hast one pure ray,
Bright from elysian realms of day;
One beam of concentrated power,
To sparkle o'er each after hour,
And with its memory, bright and clear,
Gild each receding, toil-spent year;
It must in such an hour as this,
Steal from its sanctuary of bliss,
And with enchantment strong and deep
Each fond heart in Elysium steep!
The bridal morn rose with a smile,
Bright over Egean rock and isle.
Afar the purple radiance spread,
O'er many a shrine of honoured dead,
Gilding, to Afric's farthest shore,
The land of heroes seen no more.
Though bright the sky, yet here and there,
A sunny cloud hung light in air,
Tinged with that soft ethereal hue,
On beauty's cheek we pause to view,
And wonder, that the heavenly die,
Should rest on snows beneath the sky.
And she, that morning's fair young bride,
A thousand gentle voices blessed,
A parent's eye surveyed with pride,
A lover's glance his love confessed,
And youthful virgin hands have decked
Her graceful form like osier bending;
And though her snowy bosom checked
The rising sigh, like sorrow pending,
Yet beamed in her young eye the while
The light of love's own blissful smile.
Pity, that cloud should ever dim
Joy's sparkling cup filled to the brim!
Pity, that grief should fix a stain,
There with the last drop to remain!
Pity, that morning's blushing rose,
Should tall of clouds at evening's close!
Like summer rain in sunshine falling,
Like music's tones to sadness calling,
Like dreams which haunt the pillowed head,
When slumber's wing is softly spread,
Are those vague wanderings of pain,
Which sometimes float athwart the brain,
And even on the bosom press,
When all around seems happiness.
'Twas thus upon that joyous day;
Though sparkled every eye, and gay
The revelry of dance and song,
Yet she, the Queen of that gay throng,
Though on her Ali fondly smiled,
And parent hands have blessed their child
Could not suppress the brow of care;
What meant such dull intruder there?
Through tears that swam o'er her blue eyes
Like passing clouds o'er summer skies,
She smiling to that listener said,
Whose bosom pillowed her fair head,
While graceful o'er his shoulder fell
Her bright hair like a sunny veil,
"When, when, my love, shall we return
To our sweet native land again?
Within this heart affections burn,
Which absence seeks to chill in vain.
Though round the altar's hallowed shrine,
Dear, honored forms their influence shed,
And though pronounced, by sire of thine [(11)
Each sacred word, responsive said
By thee and me, yet felt I still,
This stranger land my bosom chill.
As if not here, our youthful love
Met the approving smile above.
As if some fearful shadow fell
Dark o'er the future, grief to tell:
And yet, I see a lingering beam,
That trembles o'er our mountain stream,
And brightens into bloom and flower
Each cherished haunt of wood and bower.
Oh thither let us fly, my love,
There rests that sunbeam from above."
Oh! saw you e'er the sapphire's light
Within a wreath of pearls enshrined?
Her eye, through its long fringe as bright,
'Neath lids of snowy whiteness shined,
As thus, with calm prophetic air,
She told her bosom's secret care.
Upon her Ali gazed and smiled,
Though o'er his heart a chilness came.
"My Aza, why with fancies wild,
Cloud that fair brow? love's gentle flame
Within thine eye's bright glance, to me
A fairer sunbeam far would be,
Gilding a home, where'er it shone,
Dear as the sun can shine upon.
Give me the light of that sweet smile,
The world shall be my home the while;
Though storms and darkness meet my path,
That smile shall guide me from their wrath;
Though ruin thunder o'er my head,
To safety there, I'll flee from dread;
And should the lightning stretch me low,
Say, thou wilt weep upon my grave!
Thou wouldst, sweet Aza! yes, I know
Thou'dst weep, but 'twould be for the brave!
What would my faithful Mamluks say,
Should I desert on peril's day?
That coward heart, and feeble hand,
Had bade me seek my native land.
O then forbear to lure me there,
Vain, loveliest, were the hope and prayer,
Till thoughts of high emprise, unknown
To other breast than mine alone,
Have ripened into deeds, and made
The olive and the laurel braid,
Entwined together, offering meet,
To lay at my loved Aza's feet."
He saw upon her cheek the tear,
"Nay Aza, dearest, do not fear,--
I will no more,--rest thee assured,
My safety for thy peace secured;
I'll guard it, as the cherished shrine
Where every hope is lodged of thine."
In vain we seek to stem the tide,
When ocean pours his billows wide;--
In vain to quell the circling flame
When waste and forest spread the same;--
And e'en as vain, the attempt to guide
Ambition from the steeps of pride.
With venturous impulse still ascending,
Height after height, where rocks impending
Frown instant desolating wrath,
Upon the bold adventurer's path,
He climbs, and at each stand surveys
New worlds to conquer, in his gaze.
Aza forbore; 'twas not the first
Time, she had striven, to quench his thirst
For empire, and had proved the while,
Hope's trusted but betraying smile.
A smile is upon every leaf,
A summer glow upon the sky,
The wild bee's hum so sweetly brief,
Floats softly on the light breeze by.
Round Hellai's towers the ivy creeps, [(12)
Her walls are crumbling to decay,
But there the trembling aspen weeps,
And rose and basil blossom gay,
Her castle towers look proudly down,
Upon a scene so passing fair,
Not e'en their turrets' deepening frown
Can break the charm of beauty there.
The dark green of her cooling groves,
The fragrant couch spread at their feet,
The caroled notes of feathered loves,
The murmuring streamlet's ripple sweet,
The shady grot by fountains cooled,
Where many a perfumed flower is seen,
Blushing in beauty, as if ruled
By spell of magic's fairy queen;
The citron and the orange trees,
With golden circles gaily hung;
The cedar, and the palm o'er these,
In careless grandeur, wildly flung;
Skirted with labyrinths of the rose,
Entwined with woodbine, and the green
Where the bright laurustinus grows,
Or fragrant myrtle flowers are seen;
The thousand cooing doves that fly,
Or rest, like peace, among the trees;
All! all! delight the wondering eye
E'en wont to gaze on scenes like these.
What though the deep shade of the woods,
Almost conceal the clear blue sky,
And hide the Nile's receding floods,
Save when like glance of beauty shy,
They glisten through the opening green,
In blue and silver radiance seen;
Yet from her castle heights of pride,
The river rolls its waters wide,
And the rich freighted vessel heaves
Upon its breast, as swift she leaves,
The gaze of multitudes behind,
Fearless alike of waves or wind.
Pity, that Paynim tyrant dwells,
In land so fair, in clime so blessed;
That slavery through her grots and dells,
Trembling obeys his high behest,
Nor veiled alone in Afric's night,
Her cheek, and eye, and brow appear,
But as the pearl of ocean bright,
With sapphire glance, and sunny sphere
Of cheek, and lip of deepening bloom,
She smiles like Peri through the gloom.
Pity, that fierce contentions rise,
That carnage plants his gory foot,
That warfare's crimson banner flies,
The tyrant's rage of power to glut.
Oh! that beneath such glorious skies,
The jealous doubt, and dark surmise,
Should cloud the sun-light of the soul,
And deepen into sin the whole!
Revenge! how thy fell blighting ray
Withers the heart from whence it steals,
Like fires which flame till their decay
The blackened wreck around them seals!
All had cherished deeply, long,
His Patron's unavenged wrong;
And though a sunny beam of bliss,
Broke on him from beneath that cloud,
Yet could not even happiness
His purpose in oblivion shroud,
But ever o'er his bosom's calm,
It broke like the young tempest's ire,
That gathers round the waving palm,
Ere its broad top the lightnings fire.
Yet stood he on that dangerous height,
Where every eye is turned to gaze;
Envy's, whose withering glances blight,
And Treason's, kindling Discord's blaze:
For he had risen to power,--the first,
The Sheik El Balad,--in command,
And yet a thousand rivals thirst,
Upon that slippery height to stand.
It wanted more than mortal skill,
To 'scape their shaft's envenomed ill;
And Ali, noble, generous, brave,
Was yet too much of Passion's slave,
To act the cautious, guarded part,
That might have foiled each treacherous art.
To ruin blind, like him of old,
Who pulled the Temple o'er his foes,
And deep within its marble fold,
Himself entombed--so Ali glows
To be avenged, and oft his eye,
Fixed in its gaze on vacancy,
Forgets, that one beloved is there,
His bosom's secret griefs to share.
She saw his altered mien, and well
Could read of thoughts he would not tell;
His broken slumbers she would watch,
And oft half muttered accents catch,
Ere starting from that wildering trance,
He shrunk from her inquiring glance.
One morn from slumber long and deep,
He woke: still reason seemed to sleep,
And the dark phantoms of the night,
Danced in pale forms before his sight.
"That sword!" "What saidst thou Hadar, love?"
"That sword!"--and Ali on it gazed
As if the steel itself would move
And leave the scabbard!--chilled, amazed,
His Aza on him fearfully,
With rivetted, and love-lit eye,
In wonder looked,--"Last night I saw
That sword my murdered chieftain draw,
And from its steel, the red drops oozed
As through my soul, to fear unused,
Two words, like the red lightning, thrilled,
Of import, thy young heart were chilled
To dream of: on my ear they burn,
And my fired brain to phrensy turn!"
"Was it a dream?"--"It was, it was!"
"My love! oh! turn thine eye on me,
Look not so wildly, would that knee
Were wont to bend to him who has
The power to calm, and comfort thee!"
He heard her not, or silent heard,
The tempest in his bosom stirred,
Had roused the avenger, and unchained
His spirit's fury, long restrained.
He left her in her solitude,
Unmeet retreat for thoughts of blood:
While mournfully her eye pursued,
His hurried footsteps through the wood.
He came not at the accustomed hour,
Night darkly rolled in gloom away,
Sleep o'er her lids no balmy power,
On downy pinion sought to lay.
Too soon dire rumours met her ear,
Of murder, and the frightful deed
They said was Ali's--guilty fear
Had bade him urge his fleetest steed.
In silent sorrow bowed her head,
Her lonely couch was steeped in tears,
In her fond heart, forboding dread,
Awoke a thousand chilling fears.
She blushed for guilt so near her soul,
As if her spirit too were died
In the deep stain--then spurned the whole,
As treason her fond heart denied.
Full many a month rolled heavily,
Along Time's dreary course away,
Ere, fierce contending faction gave,
Victory to Ali; and the wave
Of discord, in each sullen breast,
In gloomy murmurs sunk to rest.
Oh! were I in my own sweet bower;
And thou wert by my side,
How calmly would this twilight hour,
On love's soft pinions glide.
Like music of yon gentle rill,
In harmony should rise,
A tributary offering still,
Our spirits to the skies.
Thou rising star, why do'st tho smile?
A tear should dim thy ray,
Yet sparkle on, thou mayst beguile
The hours my love's away.
Thus Aza from her casement sung,
While oft her listening ear,
Paused to catch sounds the breeze had flung,
Of hoof and horseman near.
But hark! a shout!--it rent the sky!--
Hath broke upon her privacy.
The painful throbbing of her heart,
Her hand sustains--her lips apart,
Like rose leaves opening to the gale,
Seem wooing the ambrosial air,
As if their powers of breath would fail,
Unaided by the life-breeze there.
He comes! he comes! that echoing cry
Hath rung through palace, dome, and sky!
They met! pale as the snowy wreath,
Which circles round the mountain's breast,
Concealing all of stain beneath,
In its bright purity of rest.
She sunk within her Ali's arms,
Whose eye surveyed her altered charms
With the keen anguish which alone,
They who such wound inflict, have known.
He could not meet her virtuous gaze,
Yet no reproach that eye betrays:
With soft persuasive eloquence
Of look, more than of words, she sought
To win him to the deepened sense
Of evil, which his hand had wrought.
He loved her, but his spirit shrunk,
From self communion, deeply sunk,
His lofty soul fled from that eye,
The guilty still would vainly fly.
Yet sought he to repair the deed,
And o'er the land his sheltering arm,
Extended in its power, the meed
Of safety, to the poor from harm--
In him the tyrant found a foe,
The injured, swift redress from woe.
His fame spread widely o'er the land,
And commerce graced the desert sand;
But malice, blasting like the breath
Of the Sirocco, sought the ear
Of power, dispensing life and death,
And whispered words of jealous fear.
The Turk seeks not for truth--He gave
His murdering firman to a slave;
Enough, suspicion breathed a doubt,
And blood must wash the plague spot out.
But swifter than the deadliest hate,
Friendship hath warned his pending fate:
Two couriers sped o'er land and sea,
T'apprize him of the treachery.
"Arouse thee to my utmost need
Thy chieftain claims thy fleetest steed.
Thy blade must strike the ruffians low,
Ere they shall ask who dealt the blow,
Haste Selim! on thy trusty sword,
Well proved, my hopes of life are stored."
The warrior kissed the proffered hand,
Twelve Mamluks wait at his command:
No word their leader spoke, his eye
Told in its eagle glance, to fly,
While vengeance flashed in its dark ire,
And crimsoned 'neath its glance of fire.
Wo! to the messenger of death,
The lion tracks his fleeting breath!
He ne'er again his home shall greet,
The sand shall be his winding sheet,
His bones shall whiten in the sun,
Wo! for the Moslem's race is run!
Like flash of heaven's artillery,
Burst forth the Mamluk on his prey;
His spear hath pierced the foremost breast,
His followers close around the rest,
And not a straggler of the train,
Escaped with tidings of the slain.
Assembled in the council hail,
The Beys attend their leader's call--
The Sheik El Balad--who appeared,
In gloom which not their presence cleared;
And from his vest, as forth he drew
His death warrant, around he threw [(13)
A glance which seemed to bid them feel,
The cause was one of common weal.
He read--"To day my doom is sealed,
To-morrow shall its victim yield,
And my successor find like me,
Himself the dupe of treachery!
Why do we tamely thus submit,
To bear the Ottman's hated yoke?
Rather to freedom's sword commit,
Our safety, than to oaths thus broke.
The marble upon which we stand, [(14)
Is red with blood of our colleagues,
It calls for vengeance at our hand,
The hour is come; these dark intrigues
Shall arm us in the common cause,
Our country's rescue! freedom! laws!
Grant but your aid, and I will be
The pledge for Egypt's liberty!"
Around, unanimous acclaim,
Burst from his followers, while the flame
Of martial ardour fired each breast,
And won concurrence from the rest.
All proffered free with heart and blade,
The glorious cause support and aid;
Denouncing vengeance on their foes,
From late debate the assembly rose;
The Pacha leaves the rebel shore, [(15)
One day's reprieve, they grant no more.
Ali, when late compelled to fly,
Found in his need, a brave ally;
Sheik Daher, Prince of Acre, who
Nor Ottman power, nor force subdue;
But as the islet stems the wave,
Whilst round its rocks the billows rave,
Did this brave chief, unmoved maintain,
The freedom of his small domain.
His locks were silvered o'er by years,
And wisdom in his mien appears:
Seven valiant Sons their sire surround,
For feats of skill and arms renowned,
And All, whilst their exiled guest,
Had proved a welcome in each breast.
To him for counsel and for aid,
He now applies--nor long delayed
The generous Chief to grant him all
That friendship from his hand may call.
For Syria's conquest they combine,
But soon apprized the bold design,
Against the Sheik the Ottman power
Bade its destroying vengeance lour.
And from Damascus forth they come,
With cymbal clash, tambour, and drum;
Ten thousand, twice the Pacha told,
And deemed to storm Prince d'Acre's hold,
While unprepared such foe to greet,
Or Ali could his forces meet:
But, undismayed, the veteran bold,
Mounted his steed; long used of old,
To warfare with his treacherous foe,
Surprise, nor fear, his followers know.
Some hide amid their mountain holds
Till his design their Chief unfolds:
Some on the plain the camp prepare,
Rich with the feast they may not share;
Where profusion round was piled,
And the sparkling wine cup smiled:
Deserted soon, save by the band,
Which fly (such is their Chief's command)
At the first skirmish of the foe,
And leave the camp their spoil and wo.
The snare was set; the toils were laid,
And loud the approaching chargers neighed;
The glittering armour blazing spread;
Like ocean dimpling in its bed:
Afar the radiant splendour ran,
From rank to rank, from van to van;
And each seemed ready, 'mid the foe
To plunge his shining weapon low.
To right, to left, they wheel around;
The ambushed hosts may yet appear,
And couching, like the tiger, bound
Upon the unguarded flank or rear;
But no! that cautious glance is vain,
Far spread the red sands o'er the plain;
They storm the camp, too soon 'tis ta'en;
The weary soldiers greedily,
Eye the rich banquet, doomed to be
Their death-feast, and the sparkling wine
(Oh! that the rich juice of the vine
Should work such desolating woe!)
Is the last draught their thirst may know.
Too soon their armour strewed the ground;
Supinely stretched, they slumber round,
While night, in deep sepulchral gloom,
Unlocked the shadows of the tomb.
Hark! the dull sound of stifled tread,
From numbers, voiceless as the dead!
They come! they rush with silent speed;
Around, the inebriate thousands bleed!
And many die without a groan,
To tell the immortal spark has flown!
While some few, staggering, seek in vain
Their sabres, mid the heaps of slain.
The Pacha fled--his followers lay,
Like slaughtered sheep, in death's array.
They leaped like wolf into the fold,
But found the lion's secret hold;
Forth from his lair he stalked when sleep
Had bound his prey in fetters deep,
And drank their life blood; scarce the knell
Awoke a slumbering centinel.
A courier to Grand Cairo bore,
Tidings of danger now no more,
And once again with conquest crowned,
The Sheik his home in triumph found.
Ali impatient burns to share,
The triumphs of the martial field;
His warrior chiefs the troops prepare,
The sabre, musket, lance to wield;
Twice twenty thousand cavalry,
Have launched upon the desperate tide
Of fortune in her dread array,
The blood flag streaming at her side.
How many a glance behind them cast,
Has been of home's beloved their last!
The chief, first in command, was one
Ali had cherished as a son;
Or brother, for that name he bore;
His countryman, whom he had given
A sister, fairer bride before,
Or gentler, never vowed to heaven.
Thus was he bound by every tie,
Links man to man beneath the sky;
Oh! that ingratitude so vile
Should blot, fair earth, thy sun-bright smile!
He was but cherishing the snake,
The viper that his life would take;
Whose sordid heart, encased in gold,
Knew not the friend it had not sold:
And Abou Dahab, such his name,
Cherished a yet more odious flame.
His Patron's power with envious eye,
He long had viewed, dissembling sly
His latent purpose, till insured,
His ruin with his power secured.
Yet, had not Ali's ear been sealed
Against the truth, and closed his eye,
The villain long had stood revealed,
In all his dark deformity;
But blindly still he turned aside,
Conviction from his soul to hide.
Nor would believe that one so dear,
Could harbour thought his heart need fear;
And smiled when faithful Selim told,
The proffered bribe his life had sold,
Deeming it but a playful wile,
Which tried his comrade's faith the while:
Nor would believe the messenger,
Who warned of Abou to beware,
Though from Amani's self he came,
And died her burning cheek with shame,
To taint with crime a husband's name;
But trembling for her brother's fate,
She warned of Abou Dahab's hate,
Who basely urged the vile request,
To mingle poison for her guest:
Thus violating every tie,
Of faith and consanguinity.
O blind credulity! retreat
To the dark mansions of deceit.
Why faithless bare the generous breast,
To plant a dagger in its rest?
Go hide thee in the iron cell,
Where avarice, crime, and treachery dwell,
And whence the envenomed shafts which flee,
Were powerless unconcealed by thee!
The traitor now exulting sees,
Within his grasp the power to seize
Upon his rival's right, and stand
The Lord of Egypt's injured land.
Used to command, the troops obey
And proudly march beneath his sway,
For he was valiant in the field,
In baffle never known to yield,
And well to win the soldier's heart,
Could act the gallant leader's part.
To Araby they first advance,
With step of pride the war steeds prance,
Eager along the plain they fly,
Death in each heart, fire in each eye,
Impetuous to the battle cry!
The desert free, Arabia won,
To Syria's land of bloom and sun
They turn their conquering arms, and gain
That paradise from Moslem's chain;
Such orders hath their leader ta'en.
Meanwhile remains the Sheik to be
Guardian of Egypt's liberty,
Dispensing laws by wisdom framed,
Healing dissensions long inflamed,
And wisely for his people's good,
Enforcing order, long withstood.
Soon, soon, beneath his fostering hand,
Commercial plenty blessed the land.
Ne'er had such sun of gladness smiled,
Ne'er such repose her woes beguiled,
Since the fierce Moslem pressed her shore,
And Egypt's glory was no more.
Afar, through the desert the warriors speed,
And the foam is white on each horseman's steed,
As onward he toils 'neath the red sun beam,
But redder around him the life blood shall stream;
And though to his gaze the broad sands lie unfurl'd
Like one vast tomb o'er a slumbering world,
More desolate still shall his eye survey,
The ruin of war in its reckless array,
Ere Yemen submit to the conqueror's sword,
Or Mecca defend not her prophet adored.
Ali triumphant hears from far,
The echo of victorious war.
Exulting in his power to bless,
And dreaming but of happiness,
He mingles in the loud acclaim,
Resounding wide a brother's fame.
Arabia to the conqueror's sword
Submits, and owns Egyptia's lord;
Impetuous on to Syria's shore,
Flushed with success the warriors pore;
And Gaza, Rama, Jaffa yield,
While the fierce Moslem flies the field,
Like scattered sheep the wolf-dog bays,
Or stricken, deer in death's amaze.
Neapolis and Sidon bow,
But not to the proud Soldan now!
Before the Holy city's walls,
The conqueror to surrender calls:
Jerusalem! thy towers are low,
Thy Temple spoiled; thy children's foe,
Holds thee in bondage, deep and vile,
Yet art thou reverenced the while!
Thou Queen of Nations! even yet
Thy grandeur none can e'er forget,
Thy sun of glory seems but set,
To rise more bright, and re-illume
Thy splendour bursting from the tomb.
Lo! where in garments white appears,
An aged form low bent with years:
In silver, floating o'er his breast,
His beard outshines his snowy vest.
A tunic on his head he wears,
And in his hand, a wand he bears.
'Tis the high priest, come to implore,
That War may waste those walls no more;
That Victory pause, while from her hand
The arrow drops for Mercy's wand,
And turning from those gates aside,
Pursue Oppression's haunts of pride.
But when the conquerors have won
The imperial City of the Sun;
When proud Damascus yields her towers,
And strangers tread her halls and bowers,
Then shall Jerusalem throw wide
Her gates, and trust in mercy tried.
Gifts his attendants lowly bear,
To aid the venerated prayer;
And the rough soldiers turn away,
As crime beneath those walls to stay,
Where age presents no hostile sword,
And Anchorites and Pilgrims hoard:
Even their Chieftain reverently
That holy man's petition heard,
And to the treaty pledged has he,
The honor of a soldier's word.
Each warrior onward spurs his steed,
Delayed impatience wings his speed,
Till on Damascus' flowery plain,
All gladly droop the slackened rein:
Where gazing round the eye, surveys,
Groves, gardens, streams in chained amaze,
Mingling the dome and minaret,
The gilded mosque with sun beams set.
Kiosks and bowers where affluent ease,
Has tortured every art to please,
And where at evening idly rest,
Proud forms on silk and velvet pressed;
Or timid beauty strays, afraid
Lest by forbidden glance surveyed,
And trembles 'neath a tyrant's frown,
Or braves the death her griefs may drown.
Such scene on that luxuriant plain,
Repaid the eye, which gazed to pain;
And as the weary soldiers rest
Upon the earth's fair verdant breast,
And view the dazzling splendour round,
Not one faint heart, but felt the bound
Of his life's pulse exultingly,
Within his bosom beating free;
Plunder, and spoil, and victory,
And all hope paints to fancy's eye,
Live 'neath the visioned canopy,
The soldier spreads around the roar
Of the death peal he'll list no more.
The fading splendour mocks his sight
Quenched in the mists of endless night!
Without that City's walls, the din
And shout of war are heard,--within,
The stillness of that silent fear,
When men suppress their breath to hear,
And gaze into each others face,
Index of hope or fear to trace;
Yet broken by the hurrying tread
Of multitudes assembling, led
To face the danger feared by all,
And guard their homes beloved, from thrall.
And long and fiercely fight and bleed
The brave defenders of her need,
Still as each gallant comrade falls,
They mount the long impervious walls,
Struggling e'en in the grasp of death,
To hurl the ascending foe beneath:
Nor droops their courage, till no more
Their forts remain, and hope is o'er;
And from their shattered walls the foe,
Launch on the citadel below--
Then fled the Pacha through the gloom
Of midnight, and the city's doom
Was sealed! while Syria lost and won,
Unconscious hailed the morrow's sun.
In beauty shone the golden beam
Of morning, over wood and stream;
In peaceful mockery the sky
Spread round its azure canopy,
While to the lightly stirring breeze,
Their tops as calmly waved the trees,
And aromatic gums around
Were strewing fragrance on the ground.
So Nature smiled, serenely fair,
Amid the mighty ruin there;
Save where the streamlet's crystal tide
Was deep with life's warm current died,
By man's proud works alone displayed,
The cruel wreck by warfare made.
These, heap on heap, in ruin piled,
The broken tower, the mosque defiled,
The vacant desolated place
Where death had left his withering trace,
The chill despair, the silent fear,
And many an artless maiden's tear,
Told of a gloom, which that bright day,
In vain had sought to chase away!
The traitor from his laureled brow,
Now threw the mask, and dared avow
The latent purpose of his soul,
Which had impelled him to the goal
Of glory,--knowing, conquest's smile,
Pledge of each warrior's heart the while.
Won by the glitter and the spoil,
None from the horrid deed recoil;
With giddy shout, and loud acclaim,
They echo round proud Dahab's name,
And backward turn with ardour fired,
To work the ruin long conspired.
But who can paint the anguish pale,
Of him betrayed, when rumour first
Bore to his ear the withering tale
Of treachery, in his bosom nursed.
As the rent monarch of the wood,
By lightning scathed, so Ali stood!
Wrapped in the stillness of despair,
Alone, amid his thousands there!
In that deep reverie of thought,
Which almost to delirium wrought,
"Fool! that I was, and blind!" he cried,
"Aye, blinder than the veriest mole,
That burrows in the mountain's side,
Nor asks of heaven beyond its hole,
One ray of blessed light to guide!
Or I had crushed his snaky crest,
Ere it had risen to sting my breast!
Nor yet, without one desperate throw,
Shall the vile traitor strike me low.
Still at my side my thousands stand,
Brave Selim heads the faithful band,
And ye, Prince D'Acre's generous sons,
Will not desert me at my need,
Your Sire, the injured never shuns,
And friendship claims a double meed,
With you to aid, I'll not despair,
Though tracked like lion to his lair!"
"With heart and blade at Ali's side,
We've fought and bled, (brave Zebi cried,)
And still are ready at his need
Again to fight! again to bleed!
But let us not impetuous rush,
Where certain death, our hopes must crush,
Rather like wily tiger wait,
And ward by skill the impending fate,
Than rashly urge the desperate strife,
Though lion-like to close with life.--
'Twere madness now to hazard all,
Upon one die, the chance so small.
Fly! till the gathered storm be past;
Thy sky, though now by gloom o'ercast,
Ere-while may brighten, and restore
Peace and serenity once more.
With us to Acre's chief retire,
His Sons less welcome to their Sire."
With bursting heart hath Ali heard,
Of Daher's son each cautious word;
Convinced, though deeply wounded pride,
Awhile the unwelcome truth denied,
That instant flight could yield alone,
One hope to e'er regain his throne.
Short parley make they when resolved,
And ere another sun revolved,
The Sheik El Balad and his train,
Five thousand horsemen, scour the plain.
Vast treasure bears the injured Chief,
And wrapped in heart-consuming grief,
Almost unconsciously pursued--
His path across the solitude.
Nor woke from that lethargic dream,
Till friendship's voice, like the glad beam
Of morning to the mariner,
When tempests veil each friendly star,
Broke on his ear--'twas Acre's Chief,
Apprized, had flown to his relief,
Or that beyond his power, to bear
His bitter griefs, to weep and share.
"My Son!" he cried, and on his neck
Awhile forebore the tears to check:
"My Son! thy life hath ever been,
Still one tumultuous, wave-like scene.
Tossing thy bark at random high,
Till it has seemed to touch the sky;
Then whelming it amid the deep,
Till o'er its top the surges sweep.
Yet grieve thou not, there still shall rise
For thee bright suns and calmer skies.
Grieve not, for still this life at best
Is but the path to heaven's bright rest.
E'en yet, one turn of fortune more
May all thy blighted hopes restore.
Be but thyself, and brightly yet
Shall men behold thy glory set."
His words dropped like the balmy shower,
In summer's drought, on leaf and flower,
And Ali, one brief moment's span,
Forgot the hero in the man;
But far too deeply at his heart,
Wrankled the traitor's venomed dart,
For pain, and grief, and chill despair,
So soon to yield their dwelling there;
And Daher with a father's pain,
Found every hope to sooth him vain.
His mountain home received the guest,
'Twas meet retreat for exile's rest.
Peace, with her sister Solitude,
Might there have flown from warfare rude.
What, though the rocks around it frowned,
By mountain summits wildly crowned;
Yet was there in that woody dell,
So mud! that seemed of bliss to tell,
'Twas pity, e'en a heart should bear,
In its unrest a sorrow there.
The Pelican there dipped her wing
In the wild mountain's crystal spring,
And bore within her faithful breast,
The welcome nurture to her nest.
The palm and cedar threw around,
Their shadows o'er the velvet mound;
The cypress too in sullen gloom
Mixed with the yew its funeral plume.
The wild bee tuned its matin song,
The rose-buds dewy leaves among:
Sweet henna flowers, for Arab maid
Her nails to die, or hair to braid,
Mixed with the basil's fragrant bloom,
Deliciously shed round perfume.
The breath of that sweet mountain breeze,
Beneath the shade of those tall trees,
The gladsome sight of every die,
Caught from the zone which spans the sky,
The melody of birds, and sweet
The distant flow of waters fleet:
Oh! could they not combined, dispel,
Though Circe's self had bound the spell,
Thy fatal dream, Ambition? No!
Still madly do thy votaries go,
As if in slumber, to the steep,
Whence roll destruction's waters deep,
And wake not till with hideous roar,
The infuriate billows sweep them o'er.
Long Ali's health uncertain hung
'Twixt life and death, the balance swung
At length to friendship's wishes true,
And strength, and hope, again renew
Their empire in the sufferer's frame,
But not with health contentment came.
With grief he saw restored again,
Through Syria's land the Paynim chain.
The traitor in his route had left,
Each town and pass of guard bereft,
And the returning Moslems seize,
On the deserted towns with ease;
Nor trophy left, save ruined tower,
Or broken wall, of Ali's power;
To tell who there had lately bled
And strewn the ground with mangled dead:
That waste of blood and life is vain,
Syria still wears the Moslem's chain.
Ali with anguish keen surveyed
The cruel wreck by warfare made,
Yet longed to wrest that land of bloom,
And sacred record, from the gloom
Of Paynim darkness, ere once more
Her forts and bulwarks they restore.
Would Russia join with timely aid, [(16)
The gathered storm might yet be stayed,
And rising from the waste of war,
Syria yet hail bright freedom's star.
He wrote, nor large was his demand:
Three thousand troops at his command,
Cannon, and men to point their roar,
Were his request, he asked no more.
For these, when fortune crowned again
And owned him Lord of Egypt's plain,
He pledged himself, with heart and blade,
Her commerce, cause, and arms to aid.
Three noble steeds with trappings rare,
His envoys to Count Orlow bear;
Nor met they from the Russian Chief,
Repulse or scorn; the sought relief
He promised freely, but delayed
From week to week the proffered aid.
Ali meanwhile, still burns to be
Avenged for Abou's perfidy;
And eager learns; Grand Cairo still
Holds hearts enleagued to work his will,
And who with promised aid implore,
Their injured Chief's return once more.
The Sheik resolves without delay,
The joyful summons to obey;
While the glad news his friends receive,
Nor doubtful his success believe:
Save Daher, who with caution wise,
Suggests to wait the Count's supplies;
His friends still farther to secure,
Augment their numbers, and assure;
But vengeance, like a torch on fire,
That flames unquenched till it expire,
Brooked not delay, the glorious light
Of triumph, fear might quench in night;
For timid measures often bring,
Defeat upon their leaden wing;
Decision could secure alone
His foes defeat, and Egypt's throne.
With simultaneous ardour fired,
Their Chieftain's wish his troops inspired;
His faithful Selim, proved and brave,
Each post of danger first to crave,
Now foremost of the valiant band,
Shares with his Lord the chief command.
Though few their numbers, courage paid
For many a faint and powerless blade.
Sheik Crim and Lebi, at their head
A thousand valiant horsemen led.
To friendship true, they nobly brave
Peril and toil, defeat, the grave,
Firmly to stand at Ali's side,
Each heart by danger closer tied.
Triumphant o'er the Syrian's land,
Press forward that victorious band:
In vain their conquering arms to stay,
The Turkish forces hue the way.
Each pass and town compelled to yield,
Leaves Ali master of the field.
His banner flies triumphant o'er
The desert's sands to Afric's shore.
And though full many a Mamluk brave,
Of that small band hath found a grave,
Though smaller still their numbers grow,
No waning zeal their bosom's know;
But still at each new danger passed,
They onward rush as 'twere the last.
Till gained the boundary which divides
Arabian from Levantine tides,
Where camped upon Salakia's plain,
Twelve thousand warriors bold maintain
The traitor Dahab's proud command.
No farther to proceed, or stand
The fate of battle--was that cry
Such as is heard when warriors fly?
No! 'twas the echoing shout of those
Who hurl defiance at their foes,
And rush to death or victory's close.
Not for a single moment hung,
Suspense upon their leader's tongue.
Like lightning on their hosts he flew,
His war cry many a traitor knew,
While his dread falchion brandished high,
Caught many a dim and closing eye,
Ere the last vital spark had fled,
That left it with the rayless dead.
His faithful Mamluks spread around
Destruction o'er the carnaged ground,
Invincible they seemed to fly,
Where'er arose that shrill death cry:
While Daher's valiant sons from far,
Re-echo back the voice of war.
The strife was desperate and long,
And twice the foe their numbers strong.
Yet ere dun night her mantle spread,
Around the dying and the dead,
That mighty host was slain, or fled,
And Ali Bey upon the plain,
A conqueror's pillow pressed again.
From slumber deep as wraps the head,
When toil the couch with down hath spread,
Rose with the dawn that valiant band,
And round their gallant leader stand.
His eye with proud defiance still
Glanced darkly o'er that scene of ill;
But when he turned its changing beam,
On those who watch it's fiery gleam,
Dimmed was its ray--how few are there
The glory of that hour to share.
"Forgive! forgive!" he cried, "the tear
Which falls for many a follower dear,
Peace to your shades! ye valiant dead,
Who slumber cold on victory's bed!
Peace to your shades! a glorious rest
Wraps the devoted warrior's breast.
And we, my friends!--may we like them
Lie stretched where clews shall nightly gem
The sod which forms our diadem!
Ere we submit to wear the chain
A Tyrant's hand would forge in vain!
Courage ye brave! already lies
Within our grasp, the glorious prize,
For which in vain the honoured dead
Shall not have fought--shall not have bled.
Rush onward! and your toil shall be,
All! all repaid by Victory!
The traitor in his turn must fly,
When Cairo views our banners high,
Toss their dun shadows to the sky.
For there our friends impatient wait,
That retributive hour of fate,
When each may fearlessly disclaim
The traitor Dahab's odious name,
And their allegiance bold declare,
To him who owns their secret prayer."
There is in victory's sound a charm
The coldest warrior's heart to warm;
It has a spell to urge the brave
Where yawns beneath their feet the grave;
And the loud shout impetuous rung,
While high in air their arms were flung;
From that small vet'ran band which still,
Joyful await their chieftain's will,
And mustering straight at his command,
Prepare to enter Egypt's land.
Proud Dahab hears from far the sound
Of Ali's victory echoed round:
The flying, in their swift retreat,
Spread wide the news of their defeat,
And he one last great effort more
Resolves to make ere hope is o'er.
In haste assembling the Beys,
And all who might his faction raise,
Thus spoke he,--"Valiant Chiefs, and you
Egyptians, who the laws pursue,
Of the true Prophet--well you know
That Ah is their mortal foe.
A Christian in his heart, he leagues,
And with Mahomet's foes intrigues.
He wound the glorious faith betray,
And force you, Christians to obey.
Mark what his famed allies have wrought
In India--Mussulmen there thought
To reap from commerce mutual gain,
And blindly with them faith maintain.
What the result? their wealth decoyed--
Their Kingdoms conquered--Towns destroyed,
Reduced to slavery they groan,
The Prophet's faith, alas! o'erthrown.
Such is the fate reserved for you
Egyptians!--Infidels shall view
Your prostrate Sons bow to their yoke,
Unless like men from sleep awoke,
You now arise, and from the land,
Spurn the vile traitor and his band:
Already at our gates, and we
Are slumbering in security!
Rise! arm! each Mussulman arise,
Your Country for deliverance cries!
Let each brave Chief his suffrage, yield,
And lead his Mamluks to the field.
Hold me responsible to all,
Should evil or mischance befall:
But should you still prefer the claim
Of Ali, and your Prophet's shame,
I here resign--your swift decree
Alone I crave--your choice is free."
Thus saying, with submissive air
He rose, and left the regal chair.
But well his wily speech had wrought
The purpose of his evil thought.
The friends of Ali, awed, forbore
To mingle with the torrents roar;
Which gathering in its fiery course,
Spread with an ocean's whelming force.
To arms! to arms! the echoing cry,
To arms! for Egypt's liberty!
And ere day dawned upon the Nile,
Full forty thousand warriors file
In martial ranks from her proud shore,
And on to meet the conqueror pour.
The mariner with joyful eyes,
Who views his native rocks arise,
Sees his loved country stretch before,
And longs to tread her well known shore;
Hopeful with dawn to anchor fair,
And breathe once more his native air;
Views less dismayed the tempest's wrath
Gather around his billowy path,
And hears the deep with moaning surge,
Boom heavily its sullen dirge,
With less despair, though to the rock
It dash, where death awaits the shock;
Than Ali felt, when mute he gazed
Upon those warrior hosts, upraised
As suddenly as the Simoon,
Hath swept the desert's darkened noon,
Bearing along in giant wrath,
Each hapless victim in its path.
"What means yon gathering cloud, brave chief,
Darkening the horizon's sunlight brief?
Broader it spreads and deepening on,
Clasps the wide desert like a zone."
Silent the warriors stood, and gazed,
At intervals bright flashes blazed
From out the gloom, while o'er each brow,
Intenser interest darkens now.
The foe! the foe! each vet'ran cries,
And with bold glance that foe defies;
Forgotten in that hour of dread,
How small the force their chieftain led:
Against a host, can that small band,
Make e'en a moment's desperate stand?
So deemed not Ali, who had seen
His changing fortune's shifting scene,
With resolution unsubdued,
And waded on through fields of blood;
Till, in this desperate moment driven
From hope and anchor beneath heaven,
The sport of fortune's fickle smile,
The victim of Ambition's guile,
With spirit wrecked, and soul dismayed,
He grasped no warrior's conquering blade.
The hope, which like a sun had shone
Upon his heart, was quenched and gone;
And drill despair, with tenfold gloom
Enclosed it like a desert tomb.
Around, his faithful followers press,
Undaunted in this hour's distress,
Eager against the foe to fly,
And welcome death or victory.
But he who had so often led,
Their conquering arms, and with them bled,
Now bids them seek by flight to save,
Their remnant from untimely grave.
" 'Tis past, my Friends! the hour of doom,
Which seals your Chieftain's fate is come;
A fever bums within my veins,
My feeble heart my hand enchains;
Your chief no more! I only crave
To lay me in a soldier's grave.
Fly! soon the danger will be past;
Refuse not this request! my last!"
He ceased--his warriors kneeling round,
Receive him sinking to the ground;
Whilst on one faithful breast his head
Reclined, as life's last spark were fled:
Mournfully in each others face
They gaze, but not a thought can trace,
That told of purposed flight, which there
Would leave their chief in his despair.
Within his tent they gently laid
And left him to physician's aid:
Then rallying round his standard, wait,
Resolved, the approaching hour of fate.
And soon that hour of doom is come,
The cymbal's clang, the larum drum,
The trampling of the war horse loud,
Like pealing thunder from the cloud,
While rolling round in mimic gloom,
The desert sands their arms illume:
Tossed, as the tempest's wrath had driven,
The earth in clouds to darken heaven.
The hostile glance of foeman's eye,
Cast on each other, deathfully.
The muttered shout, which waits to rise
In proud defiance to the skies:--
The half sheathed blade whose quivering light
Longs to deal round Death's endless night;
The nerving arm, the foot advanced,
The tight-reined steed, in death had pranced;
Tell, the dread hour of fate and doom,
Preceding battle fray, is come.
But not the thunder from the cloud,
When skies seem trembling in their shroud,
Nor the red bolt so fiercely driven,
Through the resounding vault of heaven,
Bears half the horror in its flight,
As the dread hour of closing fight,
The flash of vengeance from the eye,
Quenched in death's hopeless agony--
The shout of triumph on the tongue,
Closing in sounds to anguish strung--
The shivered blade, the severed limb--
The fallen steed's glazed eyeball dim,
With all the youthful warrior's pride,
Drowned in his life stream's purple tide.
Thus rushed to battle and the grave,
In that dread hour of fight, the brave!
Oh! 'tis a sight to steal a sigh
From every heart, from every eye
A tear to claim--when all arrayed
For war, the warrior bares his blade,
And gazes on its lightning play,
With eyes that beam a kindred ray
Of savage gladness--does he dream
How soon must fade its polished gleam,
Quenched haply in the purple gore
Of foeman ne'er beheld before?
Whose life to some fond heart was dear,
Perhaps for whose return the tear
Is trembling in his widow's eye;
Pictures he not her agony,
When his returning comrades bear,
To her sad ear his parting prayer?
Oh! does no thought of kindred doom,
Rush o'er his heart with boding gloom,
And whisper, soon that blade may be,
Disfigured in the dust with thee?
How bravely for their Chieftain fought
His faithful followers--how they wrought
Wonders amid that host of foes,
Language but vainly would disclose,
The muse may not attempt to tell,
Courageously they fought and well,
Till the disordered foe gave ground,
And victory's joyous shout went round;
When Abou, trembling for the day,
Observed amid the desperate fray,
A band of vile Mograbi, who [(17)
For gain their Chieftain's cause pursue,
To these, large bribes he proffers, when
Turning like beasts of prey, not men,
Upon their gallant leaders, they
Reverse the fortunes of the day.
The flying to the charge return,
In vain the troops of Ali burn
With indignation, while despair
Adds fury to the deeds they dare.
Surrounded by the o'erwhelming foe,
From their brave hearts the life drops flow.
They strain, they grasp, they sink around,
Where dead and dying heap the ground.
Firm to the last, each Mamluk brave,
Finds mid the slain a warrior's grave.
By faithful Selim dauntless led,
'Till utterly each hope had fled;
Then headlong 'midst the foe he rushed,
Soon by opposing thousands crushed.
He sank upon a heap of dead
Himself had slain--his funeral bed!
Sheik Lebi, Acre's valiant son,
Fell urging his brave Arabs on.
Sheik Crim, with sabre, right and left,
A passage through the Egyptians cleft;
And galloped at full speed to bear,
The unwelcome news to Ali's ear;
And earnestly with tears, to fly
Conjures him, ere the foe draw nigh.
But all in vain, he waved his hand,
"Fly! fly! my friends! I each command!
For me, my hour of fate is come,
Vainly you would avert my doom."
Scarce had they left him, when the foe
Around his tent with vengeance glow.
The guard, who on their chief attend,
With desperate zeal his life defend;
And whilst a hand can arms sustain,
The unequal combat still maintain:
Not one survived that dreadful hour.
Despair at length gave Ali power
To rise--he seized his sword, and laid
Dead at his feet, the first who made
Attempt to seize him--dealing round,
That death his faithful friends had found.
This moment, Dahab's general rushed
Sabre in hand, to whence had gushed
His people's blood in torrents: he
Met too his hour of destiny.
All upon him fired--the ball
Pierced through his heart--their leader's fall,
His soldiers with fresh fury fired.
All rush upon the chief, inspired
With desperate courage, Ali stood
Their fiercest rage, bathed in his blood
He fought, till from behind, the foe
Aim at his side a treacherous blow.
He falls--when they with ease surround
And soon their prostrate foe have bound,
Thence bear him to the victor's tent,
Bleeding and with exertion spent.
Abou, perfidious still--with grief
Pretends to meet the injured chief;
And whilst his heart with joy o'erflows,
Affects compassion for his woes.
Talks of the stern decrees of fate,
Which each blind mortal here await--
And tears (such as the crocodile
Sheds when its prey it would beguile)
Appears to weep--his victim turned
Aside his heart--indignant burned
The spirit in his bleeding breast,
Nor answer deigned he--sorrow pressed
With leaden hand upon his brow,
Where death's dark shades seem gathering now;
Yet welcome they--repose from light
Were rapture to that hateful sight!
Upon a conch, the Chief they laid,
Wrapped for a while in death's dark shade.
How long those mists are on his brow,
He knows not--gently waking now,
Around he casts his feeble eye;
A timid step--a soft drawn sigh--
Reveal that some one hovers near,
Or solitary else appear
The scenes on which he gazes round,
And strange: hath busy memory found
The chain by which the past may be
Linked to the present?--painfully,
The sudden consciousness of all
The horrors of his fate, recall
His fleeting senses--in that groan
Of anguish--life seems to have flown.
But hark! what gentle voice is near,
That breaks like music on his ear?
Again he turns his dying eye,
To gaze on her who lingers nigh.
His failing sense he would arrest,
'Tis Aza's hand his own hath pressed!
Ah! art thou here, beloved! he cried:
Trembling, she knelt her by his side,
And said--"I feared, my love, to be
Too suddenly beheld by thee:
Long have I watched beside thy bed,
And thought that life indeed were fled;
But yet thou liv'st, and blessed be
The hope--thou still mayst live for me.
When Acre's son the tidings bore,
Which rent our hearts with anguish sore,
Resolved at once, I fled to prove
A woman's faith, a woman's love;
And share, shouldst thou survive, with thee,
Toil, danger, of captivity!
Thy cruel fate revealed, I sent
A messenger to Dahab's tent,
And craved permission of the foe,
To watch thy couch of pain and woe.
The boon, he me refused not--soon
My eyes beheld thy death-like swoon,
And hope had almost fled to see
Those eyes again smile thus on me."
He gazed upon her lovely face,
Tinged with hope's last reviving trace,
Which shed a sweet, yet hectic glow,
Cast like the morning's blush on snow;
And lighted up her eye's soft blue,
To heaven's own tints of azure hue;
Where Pity, like an Angel shone,
The dying sufferer, upon.
Her hand, he to his bosom pressed,
And feebly thus his soul expressed:
"My Aza, if life still had left
One comfort--of all else bereft,--
It was, that my last hour might be,
Thus solaced, my beloved, by thee.
Oh! canst thou now forgive me all
The sorrows which past years recall?
How, have I bartered for despair,
The peace and hope, which met me there!
But words are vain, and vainer yet,
Were now each impotent regret!
My sand of life--my race is run:
Oh! had it ended as begun,
How many a bitter pang were now
Spared to this tortured, burning brow!"
In vain she wished him to repose;
But no!--"Soon, soon these eyes will close,
On all that here is worth their gaze!
Oh! through what errors' endless maze,
Has passion led me madly on;
Now seen that passion's fire is gone;
Which with a blaze of wildering light,
Veiled reason's chaster rays in night.
Too late extinguished--it has left,
What?--but a hideous void, bereft
Of the last gleam which lived to tell
Whence rose its wild entrancing spell!
Aza, thou weepest! would those tears
Could blot the memory of years!
And wash away the guilty stain,
Which like a fire consumes my brain,
And with a brand of iron, there
Writes the dire sentence--Wretch! despair!
Oh! it is this dread thought that now
Weighs like a curse upon my brow,
And haunts me like a spectre's gaze,
Whence shuddering memory vainly strays!
Before that fatal morn arose,
On all my earthly hopes to close,
Whilst slumbering in my tent I lay,
I heard a voice distinctly say,
'Thy hour is come!' and gazing round,
Beheld extended on the ground,
A form, too surely seen before,
Pale, and disfigured in its gore.
'Twas the Circassian! and his eye
Met mine--in vain I sought to fly;
Fixed to the spot I seemed to grow,
While with a look of utter wo,
He rose, and waved a ghastly hand,
For me to follow him: unmanned,
My joints and sinews lost their force:
Still on me gazed the dreadful corse.
I know not how it vanished--death
Seemed to have stayed my panting breath.
I woke, thankful to cast my eye
Upon the dawn, but fate was nigh,
And the dread voice, still on my ear
Rung with those boding sounds of fear,
"Thy hour is come!" yet far and high,
Nought, but the desert sands and sky,
My eye could see, till like a shroud
The foe's thick ranks the horizon cloud.
I felt my doom was sealed, and gave
The contest o'er; but still my brave,
Bold followers rushed, to peril all
And share in death their Chieftain's fall."
The Sheik El Balad could no more:
The mists of death were glazing o'er
His vision,--and the last long sigh
Heaved from his breast in agony.
Her hand in that convulsive grasp,
Still lingered, till its chilling clasp,
Aroused her to the bitter pain,
Those who have loved and hoped in vain,
Have felt: her cheek as cold, she laid
Upon his breast, and there she made
Her widowed pillow; till her sleep,
E'en as her Lord's, seemed long and deep.
Roused from her lethargy of wo,
She gazed on the surrounding foe.
Though stern of mood, the hardest heart
To pity moved, forbade to part
The lovely and the brave--they gave
The power to choose her warrior's grave;
And closed in mournful silence round,
While slowly moving from the ground,
The funeral train attends the fair,
To Acre's chief, her lord to bear.
The funeral dirge is shrieked no more,
His sleep is deep on that wave lashed shore.
The flowers are dead which decked his grave,
Yet o'er him still the pine trees wave.
The heron skims to its aerie high,
From the green tuff where his relics lie.
The sea-mew's scream and the wild wind's roar,
A requiem shrill round the warrior pour.
The loved, and the lovely!--she is gone
To mourn mid her childhood's haunts alone;
To sit once more beside the stream,
As in her morning's blissful dream;
To press the turf where Hadar strayed,
And gazed on his own Georgian maid;
And as the breeze moans past her ear,
The ideal tones of his voice to hear,
And mingle her griefs with each plaintive sigh
That floats like the spirit of Hadar nigh.
NOTE 1, PAGE 11.
Emir Hadgi was the title of the Bey, who escorted
the caravan from Cairo to Mecca; second only to the
dignity of Sheik El Balad, the first in the republic.
SAVARY, in his letters on Egypt, thus describes one
of these expeditions. "The Emir Hadgi having made
ready, according to custom, to conduct the caravan of
Mecca, Pilgrims assembled from all parts, in the plain
of Hellai, near the city, where about ten thousand tents
were erected, covering a great extent of ground. Those
of the officers and chiefs were of painted cloth, lined
with silk and satin, and adorned with cushions of embroidered stuff in gold and silver. Great numbers of small, coloured glass lamps were lit round each tent at
night, which produced a brilliant and diversified illumination; and the reflected light, gilding the foliage of the orange and date trees, dispersed over the country,
had a charming effect. The relations and friends of the
Pilgrims came to pass this night with them, and at
break of day, the Emir Hadgi gave the signal with
drums and trumpets. The tents were all struck, camels
were loaded with provisions and baggage, and the
march began. The van-guard escorted by a body of
horse, well mounted, went first; next followed the
camel which carried the carpet destined to cover the
Caaba, or House of God; his head adorned with a
superb plume of feathers, and his body covered with
cloth of gold, while priests sung round him the hymns The Emir Hadgi and his train,
Escort the Pilgrims o'er the plain.
of the Koran. About forty thousand Pilgrims followed
on foot, on horseback, and on camels. Five thousand
cavaliers, in different corps, under the orders of the
Emir Hadgi, flanked the caravan, and a small number of
women, borne in litters, went with them. The departure of this caravan was most magnificent. The men, well dressed, seemed strong and healthy; the horses
spirited and fiery. When they return, their appearance
is changed. The animals mean and languid, and the
Pilgrims pale, meagre, and sunburnt, look like skeletons.
This is an extremely severe journey, which lasts forty
days, over deserts where they sometimes travel fifty
leagues without finding a drop of water fit to drink.
The sun's heat is excessive; the dust, which is raised
by the feet of this multitude of men and beasts, darkens
the air, fills the eyes and mouth, and takes away the
breath. Sometimes the infectious south winds rise in
whirlwinds so dreadful, that three or four hundred men
perish in a day; but this is very advantageous to the
Emir Hadgi, who inherits the baggage and commercial
effects of all who die on the road, and often returns to
Grand Cairo, with a third of the wealth which first
departed with the caravan.
The caravan that Mourad Bey headed, having passed
the far end of the Red Sea, entered the Arabian deserts,
where the Arabs assembled, and demanded the usual
tribute; but he beheaded their Chiefs, and, wanting
force to dispute the passage, they retired to their tents
breathing vengeance. The caravan came safe to Bedder,
where, according to custom, it joined that of Damascus,
and, six days after, arrived at Mecca. Mahometans,
assembled from all parts of the world, remain a fortnight in this city, performing the duties of religion,
and trading to an immense amount. Some of the
pilgrims go to fulfil the command which ordains every
Mussulman to visit the House of God once in his life; others, attracted by the hope of gain, carry thither
the rarest products of their country; rich stuffs, the
diamonds of India, the fine pearls of the Persian Gulph,
the famous balsam of the Orientals, the blades of Damascus, Mocha coffee, gold dust from Africa, and sequins from Grand Cairo, are all found here in abundance, where, above a hundred thousand traders are
assembled; it is the richest fair, perhaps, in the world.
Mourad Bey was not so fortunate in returning. Several Arab tribes united to revenge the death of their Chiefs: waiting for the caravan between the mountains,
which they successfully attacked, and in which disorder
and confusion at first reigned. Among the number
which fell one over the other, as they fled, many were
crushed to death, and many killed by the continual fire
of the enemy. The Emir Hadgi, having formed his
troops, endeavoured to repel them, marching at the
head of the Mamluks; and, notwithstanding the artillery of the Arabs, ascended the mountains, when a bloody battle ensued. The Emir lost many of his men,
and was wounded in the thigh and arm by two bullets,
which however did not prevent him from vanquishing
the Arabs, and obliging them to fly in disorder. They
appeared no more, and he came to Grand Cairo,
exhausted with fatigue and almost dying.
The people of Grand Cairo left the city to meet
their relations and friends, and, weeping the loss of
brothers, fathers, and husbands, filled the air with
lamentations. Disconsolate mothers rent their clothes
and covered their heads with dust; while others, joyful to meet the persons they loved, blessed heaven, and were equally loud in their transports. The various
sensations the sight inspired are not to be expressed;
excess of grief and intoxicated joy were alternately
NOTE 2, PAGE 12.
Each person on his return from Mecca, assumes the
surname of Hadgi, (Pilgrim), which he ever after bears
as an honourable title. For great the perils they must share,
Who Hadgi's honoured name would bear.
NOTE 3, PAGE 14.
A similar scene to the one here described, is related
by Savary, who says, "Lost in agreeable meditation,
I entered a grove of tamarind, orange, and sycamore
trees, and enjoyed the fresh air beneath their thick
foliage. A luminous ray here and there penetrated the
deep shades, gilding a small part of the scene. Plants
and flowers scented the air, multitudes of doves flew
from tree to tree, undisturbed at my approach. Thus
abandoned to the delights of contemplation, and indulging those delicious sensations the time and place inspired, I incautiously proceeded towards the thickest part of the wood; when a terrifying voice suddenly
exclaimed, "Where are you going? stand, or you are
dead." It was a slave who guarded the entrance of
the grove, that no rash curiosity might disturb the
females who reposed upon the verdant banks. I instantly turned back, happy in not having been known to be a European." Who is so bold to dare intrude,
Upon our lady's solitude?
NOTE 4, PAGE 16.
The value of a Georgian captive is much enhanced
if she possess the accomplishments of music, dancing, &c. without which, however beautiful, she would command little more than the price of a common slave. A Georgian maid of talents rare.
Letters from Tripoli.
NOTE 5, PAGE 35.
The Cachefs were the lieutenants of the Beys, who
commanded the towns under the government of their
patrons. Thanks gallant Cachef to thy blade.
NOTE 6, PAGE 50.
At the nomination of some of the Beys, I, by means
of my Turkish dress, was present. The Sangiaks stood
at the bottom of the council-hall, near the grate of the
Pacha, and the people crowded the rest of the apartment. Having given to the Kiaga (the Pacha's lieutenant), the names of those whom they meant to appoint, he read them aloud, clothed the new Sangiaks
with the caftan, presented them the firman, and proclaimed them Beys.-- Ne'er Pacha's hand the caftan threw.
From the same writer it would appear, that this
ceremony was sometimes performed by the Pacha himself, as in the case of Ali. Savary's Letters on Egypt.
NOTE 7, PAGE 54.
The handles of the kanjars or daggers, which the
Beys wore in their belts, were generally ornamented
with precious stones; that of Ali Bey's is said to have
cost upwards of nine thousand pounds. But I his danger's hilt descried,
And knew it by the diamond's light,
As quick it vanished from my sight.
NOTE 8, PAGE 81.
These fair creatures are frequently carried off by
parties of Turkish robbers, who make incursions into
their country to seize on such unhappy people as fall
in their way, and by that means procure beautiful
women at a cheap rate. These sons of rapine watch
for those who incautiously stroll too far in their walks,
accompanied only by a few female attendants. They
ride up to them at full speed, seize on their wretched
prey, and placing them behind them like a bale of
goods, ride off with the same celerity; all of which
they do too quickly to admit of discovery in time to
redeem the unhappy captive. When fiercely from those ruffians thrown,
Who bore her child to lands unknown."
Letters from Tripoli.
NOTE 9, PAGE 81.
Ali Bey was originally named Joseph, for which
I have substituted Hadar, as being more poetical.
When he was sold to Ibrahim, he put him on a Mamluk
habit, and called him Ali; the name by which he has
since been known. His turban on the ground he threw,
His tresses bright of auburne hue,
Flowed o'er the brow they erst had shaded,--
" 'Tis Hadar's self!"
NOTE 10, PAGE 88.
The following narrative from Savary will shew that
events similar to the one alluded to, were not of unfrequent occurrence in Egypt.
"The plains of Syria last year were ravaged by
clouds of locusts, which devoured the corn to the root.
A famine followed, and a farmer near Damascus felt the
effects of the general distress. To supply the wants of a
numerous family, he sold his cattle; which resource being soon exhausted, the unhappy father, wretched at
present, but foreseeing greater wretchedness to come,
pressed by hunger, sold his instruments of husbandry
at Damascus. Led by the invisible hand of Providence, as Tobias was formerly by the Angel, while he bargained for corn, lately arrived from Damietta,
he heard of the success of Mourad Bey, who had
entered Grand Cairo victorious, and in triumph.
The shape, character, and origin of the warrior, were The old man wept upon the head
Of him, long numbered with the dead.
described, and how he had risen from slavery to power
supreme. The astonished farmer found the description
accorded with a son who had been stolen from him at
twelve years old: hope palpitated in his heart; he
hastened home with his provisions, told his family what
he had heard, and determined immediately to depart
for Egypt. His weeping wife and sons offered up
prayers for his safe return. Going to the port of
Alexandretta, he embarked there, and came to Damietta.
One continued fear tormented him; his son, forsaking
the religion of his fathers, had embraced Mahometanism;
and now, surrounded as he was by splendor, would he
acknowledge his parent? the thought lay heavy on his
heart; yet, the wish to snatch his family from all the
horrors of famine, the hope of finding a long lamented
son, gave him fortitude. He continued his journey,
came to the capital, repaired to the palace of Mourad,
applied to the officers of the prince, and, most ardently
solicited admission. His dress and appearance bespoke
poverty and misfortune, and were poor recommendations; but his great age, so respectable in the east, pleaded in his behalf. One of the attendants went to
the Bey, and told him an aged man, apparently miserable, requested an audience. Let him enter, replied Mourad; and the former proceeded, with trembling
steps, over the rich carpet which bespread the hall
of the Divan, and approached the Bey, who reclined
on a sofa, embroidered with silk and gold. Crowding
sensations deprived him of the use of speech: at last,
after attentively looking, the voice of nature vanquished
fear, he fell, and embracing his knees, exclaimed, "you
are my son!" The Bey raised him, endeavoured to
recollect, and, after explanation, finding him to be his
father, made him sit down by his side, and caressed
him most affectionately. The first gush of nature over,
the sire described in what a deplorable state he had left
his mother and brethren, and the prince proposed to send
for them, and divide his riches and power with them,
if they would embrace Islamism. This the generous
Christian had foreseen, and, fearing youth might be
dazzled, took not one of his sons with him. He, therefore, firmly rejected Mourad's offer, and even remonstrated with him on his own change of religion. The
Bey finding his father determined, and that his family's
distress demanded immediate succour, sent him back
to Syria, with a large sum of money, and a vessel
with corn. The happy husbandman immediately
returned to the plains of Damascus, where his arrival
banished misery and tears from his homely roof, and
brought joy, ease, and felicity.
This you will perceive, Sir, greatly resembles the
history of Joseph; and would still more, perhaps, did
we know all the incidents."
NOTE 11, PAGE 92.
Ali's Father was a Greek priest of one of the most
distinguished families of Natolia. After remaining seven
months in Egypt, he wished to return to his native
country, whither Ali sent him on board a vessel loaded
with riches, but detained his sister. And though pronounced by sire of thine,
Each sacred word, responsive said--
Savary's Letters on Egypt.
NOTE 12, PAGE 99.
Half a league north-east of Boulac, the port of Grand
Cairo, is the old castle of Hellai, which is falling into
ruins. Here the Beys, accompanied by stately trains, go
to receive the new Pacha, and conduct him in pomp to
the prison from which they have just expelled his predecessor. Round this castle are spacious enclosures,
where the orange, citron, and pomegranate, planted
without order, grow exceedingly high and tufted: their
twining branches form charming arbours, over which
the sycamore and palm extend their dark green foliage,
and among them rivulets meander, and the clustering
rose and bazil bloom. It is impossible to describe the delight of breathing the fresh air beneath these enchanting shades. Only under a climate so continually possessing the burning heat of the dog-days, can this
pleasure be felt. The odour of the orange flower, and
the aromatic emanations of balsamic plants gently renovate the senses, benumbed by heat, and infuse the most agreeable sensations. Round Hellai's towers the ivy creeps.
Savary's Letters on Egypt.
NOTE 13, PAGE 111.
The firman sent for the head of Ali, and which was
seized by the Mamluks deputed to intercept the messengers, or Capigi-bachi and his attendants, of the
Grand Seignior, and delivered, on their return, to the
Sheik El Balad. His death warrant--
NOTE 14, PAGE 112.
The following interesting account of the infamous
transaction here alluded to, is taken from the life of
Ali Bey, by Savary, on which the poem is founded.
"Rahiph the Pacha, was a man of merit, and endowed with that happy kind of character which irresistibly charms, had gained the confidence of the Beys.
Far from imitating his predecessors, who founded their
authority on dissention, he used every effort to maintain peace and union; and for the first time, the representative of the Grand Seignior and the heads of
the government united for the public good. The people, enjoying peace, wished for its duration. The Beys themselves loved the Pacha, and dreaded his recall.
Nothing more was wanting to arm envy, that monster
of the human heart, which, unhappily for men, sheds
her venom over all parts of the earth. The Council
of the Divan, at Constantinople, represented the good
understanding which subsisted between the Pacha and
the Chiefs of the republic, as a conspiracy formed to deprive the Grand Seignior of Egypt. Their calumnies were speciously coloured, and specious reasons are
often convincing, in a court. Without farther examination, the Sultan, determining to try the fidelity of Rahiph, sent a firman, commanding him to put all the
Beys to death he could get into his power. An order so
iniquitous well might shock the Pacha, but he must
either obey or lose his head. He hesitated three days,
and at last chose the former. Sending for the most
faithful of his slaves, he shewed them the firman, and
commanded each of them to kill a Bey, when they
should be assembled in the hall of audience; and, the
Divan being called, having concealed swords under The marble upon which we stand,
Is red with blood of our colleagues.
their robes, they assassinated some of those unfortunate
victims of calumny. Four were left dead, the others,
having been only wounded, valiantly defended themselves, and escaped. The marble of the hall in which they were murdered, is red with their blood to this day.
I have often, shuddering, beheld the marks of this
barbarous execution, commanded on suspicion only, by
a despotic government."
NOTE 15, PAGE 112.
The Pacha's order to depart is entrusted to an officer
clothed in black, who carrying it in his bosom, advances
into the audience chamber, and taking up a corner of
the carpet which covers the sofa, bows profoundly,
and says, Insel Pacha; (Pacha come down;) which
having said, he departs. The Governor is immediately
obliged to pack up, and retire in the space of four and
twenty hours, to Boulac; where he waits for orders
from Constantinople.-- The Pacha leaves the rebel shore.
Savary's Letters on Egypt.
NOTE 16, PAGE 140.
A detachment from the Russian squadron having
appeared before St. John d'Acre, Ali wrote to Count
Orlow, asking cannon, gunners, and a body of three
thousand Albanians. Certain it is, had Russia sent this
small succour to the Sheik El Balad, he would have Would Russia join with timely aid,
The gathering storm might yet be stayed.
triumphed over his enemies, and been proclaimed king
of Egypt, nor can it be doubted that gratitude would
have induced him to put the commerce of the East into
the hands of the Russians.
Savary' s Letters on Egypt.
NOTE 17, PAGE 157.
The Mograbians, or Western Mahometans, are the
most numerous inhabitants of Egypt: some devote
themselves to trade, others to arms. Their nation
ought not to be judged by the individuals at Grand
Cairo: those who become soldiers are adventurers, most
of them guilty of crimes, and banished from their
country by the fear of justice. These mercenary, faithless, lawless soldiers, abandon themselves to every excess, and always sell themselves to that Bey who is the best bidder.-- A band of vile Mograbi, who
For gain their Chieftain's cause pursue.
Savary's Letters on Egypt.
Time! Time! thy traces are upon the heart,
'Tis there we mark thy footsteps, though the day
May pass unnoted, the dull year decay,
Yet there thou leavest prints which ne'er depart,
The faded glow of youth, betraying friendship's smart,
And thy torpedo touch, oblivion's icy dart.
Yet o'er the path which thou hast trodden, grow
A few sweet flowers watered by drops of wo,--
Contentment, resignation, patience, hope,--
Oh! these are thine, still planted by thy hand
They bud and blossom o'er a sterile land,
Cheering the downward sweep of life's dull slope,
Where gayer flowers we may not view expand,
Chilled by the airs, thy wing around them fanned.
Yes! these are thine, though sometimes they appear,
Like autumn tints in spring, when the young year
Disclaims them, smiling on a brow
As beautiful and fair as, spoiler, thou
Hast ever marred; but like those tints in spring,
Which speak of wintry blight and withering,
So these fair plants of goodly beauty tell,
All with that fair young brow has not been well,
That sorrow there has wove its deadly spell.
How lovely glows the morning's golden beam
When day unfolds his wings of purple pride,
Trembles all radiant o'er the grove and stream,
In the pure orient of his blushes died.
While bright the glittering dew drops sparkle round,
O'er velvet lawn, o'er leaf and perfumed flower,
Distilling freshness from the balmy ground,
And sprinkling nature with the pearly shower.
How sweet the zephyr's breath! around how gay
The playful lambkins frisk, the warblers sing,
Hailing with sportive glee the new-born day,
Scattering a thousand odours from his wing.
'Tis thus the morn of life all beauteous dawns;
A thousand Hybla sweets young Hope distils
From Fancy's flowers, whose rose blooms without thorns,
And all the gladdened sense with rapture fills.
The gay enthusiast with his pencil crowds
The visionary scene of future joy;
No hovering gloom the radiant landscape shrouds
Nor deepened tones the glowing tints alloy.
But, ah! too soon revealed, the truth we find,
That life is tinged with many a sombre hue;
That prospects fair as fancy e'er combined,
Fleet hourly from the fond enthusiast's view.
Time deepens still the varied landscape o'er;
Lost one by one, we view its glories fade,
Till all are gone; illusion charms no more,
And truth the future mantles o'er with shade.
THE FORGET ME NOT.
There is a flower, a little flower,
Which blooms companion of my bower,
Unasked, unsought, without a care,
Smiling around, that flower is there.
Though wintry winds have swept its bed,
And earth has pillowed cold its head;
Though prouder forms have sunk to rest,
Nor rise again from earth's dark breast;
Still does this little flower arise
Joyous beneath spring's genial skies;
Nor frost can bind, nor poisoned air
Taint with decay its circles fair;
Like hopes which still the bosom cheer
When many a hope has left it drear;
Like thoughts of home in climes afar;
Like evening's still returning star;
Like tears which fall when the heart is sad,
Almost as sweet as that heart were glad;
Like friendship found where we sought it not;
In bower and garden, in field and grot,
Spring thy fair flowers, Forget me not.
WRITTEN IN AN ALBUM.
Say, which shall I twine in a garland for thee,
The bright flowers of summer, of sunshine and glee?
Or the few that are sweetest in autumn and spring,
When those gayer and brighter no fragrance can bring?
The first, like the crowd which on splendour attends,
Shrink and fade from the blast chill adversity sends;
While the last, not so fragile, endure through the storm,
Smiling on, though bleak winter the landscape deform.
Of the last, then, the last! be the garland I'll twine,
And long may it bloom round thy bosom's young shrine;
Still mayst thou in sorrow, despondence, and care,
Find the garland of Friendship unwithering there.
How beautiful upon the mountain's height
Yon fleecy cloud of soft and silvery light:
Resting on earth, its shadowy outline seems;
Its summit, sparkling in the sun's bright beams:
Onward it still pursues its radiant course,
With unobtrusive yet resistless force,
Till gently mixing with the solar ray,
Its beauteous form exhales in light away.
Emblem of one, whose heaven-directed eye
Dwells not on earth, but seeks its native sky,
Whose smile reflects the beams of heavenly love,
Pure, emanating from their source above:
A Pilgrim here below, but soon to be
Wafted, through time, into Eternity.
TO MY INFANT BOY.
My cherub boy! thy young heart is light,
Thy glance of beauty, how wild and bright,
Tells of a spirit unchilled by care:
Long! long may such innocent mirth beam there!
Thy coral lip of frolic and glee,
May well to such eye meet companion be;
Thy rosy cheek and thy forehead high,
Bear promise most dear to a mother's eye.
The first tells of years of health for thee;
The second of mind's high destiny.
The silken locks that so lightly press
Around each fair temple's calm recess,
And shining fall on thy neck of snow,
Oh far more dear are than Ophir's glow.
Thy limbs, in infantine beauty cast,
Tell of a vigour and grace to last;
And thy guileless spirit, so frank and free,
Oh dearer still is, than all to me!
Vain were the wish! vain were the prayer!
That sorrow might ne'er mingle bitterness there!
My darling boy! I ask not, oh no!
That thou escape what each mortal must know.
I ask not that treasures of wealth be thine,
And fame ope the shafts of that golden mine:
Far higher my hopes aspire for thee,
Through the clouds of time to Eternity:
There may I find thee a spirit of light,
When earth has returned to the chaos of night.
SUGGESTED BY THE DEATH OF A PROMISING
YOUNG MAN, WHO WAS DROWNED.
How oft doth the hurricane sever
The greenest and loveliest bough!
How oft by the tempest, for ever,
The pride of the forest's laid low.
Yet often the lightning's red flash
Hath passed harmlessly over the field,
While terrific the thunder's loud crash,
Through the blue vault of heaven hath pealed.
Oh! it is not for man to compute,
When destruction hath wielded his brand;
When the roar of the tempest is mute,
The earthquake is whispered at hand.
'Tis the God of Omnipotence bends,
In the power of his might, from on high;
Who can tell where the arrow he sends,
Shall alight when 'tis winged through the sky?
Futurity! blank is thy page,
That still with vain phantoms we fill:
Shadowy forms which the footsteps of age.
Disperse, like the mist from the hill.
Alas! upon what can we build,
That glides not as sand from the rock?
Like hope are the sunbeams that gild
The innocent hands which they mock.
Morning dawned upon man in his pride,
In the beauty and strength of his youth,
The destroyer, ere evening spread wide,
Had sharpened his merciless tooth.
He was nipped like the flower from the stem,
And laid all despoiled in the dust:
The decree may our hearts not condemn;
But in God still implicitly trust.
To Him, dark futurity's cloud
Is not veiled in the mantle of night;
His eye is not dimm'd by the shroud
Mortality casts o'er the sight.
We see not the invisible hand,
That shields us from danger and death,
Nor hear we the whispered command,
Which seals our repose with our breath.
O Love! thou sunny flower of bliss,
Thou rose of earthly happiness,
Why lurks beneath thy bosom fair,
The sting of pain, the thorn of care?
That none may woo thee to his breast,
And find unspoiled its peaceful rest?
Sweet perfume-breathing flower! by thee
Seems woven all mortal destiny;
From the rapt note that swells the breeze,
To every art man knows to please.
Thou art the inspirer, thou the theme,
Of morning hope and mid-day dream;
And oh! bereft of they dear power,
Life were a wild indeed, sweet flower!
Ah! might we here thy breath inhale,
Pure as it scents Elysium's gale,
When blushing in a seraph's breast,
With heaven's own fadeless tints impress'd,
Thou bloomst, the beauteous diadem
Which crowns fair virtue's thornless stem,
Life were, ah then! too sweet for earth,
And happiness of mortal birth.
Sigh not my love, oh sigh not so,
For sorrow may pass like the winter's snow,
And sunshine and spring yet around us may glow:
Then sigh not my fond love, oh sigh not so!
The tear on thy cheek, though it glistens for me,
Yet dry up the trembler,--thy smile let me see;
For that tear hath a language more sad to my heart
Than the keenest pangs from Adversity's dart;
And the anguish that wrings that dear bosom of thine,
With a deepened impression is stamped upon mine.
But oh! when thine eye beams its love-melting smile,
One glance can my bosom of sorrow beguile;
And I think, that possessed of a cottage with thee,
The desert would bloom like a garden to me.
Then sigh not my love, oh sigh not so,
For sorrow may pass like the winter's snow,
And sunshine and spring yet around us may glow:
Then sigh not my fond love, oh sigh not so!
ON A BROKEN SUNFLOWER.
But late I marked thy stately head,
High above mine luxuriant spread;
Unfolding to the sun's bright gaze
Thy golden flowers with starlike rays:
Child of a summer, vain thy pride,
How have thy gilded honours died!
Sullied and faded on my path,
Tossed by the tempest's cruel wrath,
That would not spare thy transient bloom,
And leave thee to thy wintry tomb;
But like offended power, to see
Aught of display in low degree,
Snapped thee at once: thy broken stem,
Emblem of fate reserved for them
Who thus attempt in evil hour,
To soar beyond their strength and power.
ON A TREE SUDDENLY BLIGHTED BY THE WIND.
Alas! lovely hawthorn, how lately I gazed
On thy flourishing branches, all covered with bloom
So perfect their beauty, I paused while I praised,
And inhaled from the gale their delicious perfume.
Like the blush on a cloud, in the sun's parting beam,
That has fled ere the dew-drop bespangles the tree,
Did the beautiful tint on thy sweet blossoms seem;
But I deemed not its fading an emblem of thee.
No! I thought that I still in my rambles might trace
The smile which around thee delighted to play;
And my footsteps unconsciously strayed to the place,
Where I late had beheld thee all blooming and gay.
But how changed! where has vanished that roseate hue?
How shrivelled the leaves, late in verdure arrayed;
The breath of the spoiler hath passed where they grew,
And all blacken'd they shrink, withered, torn and decay'd.
Alas lovely tree! in thy fate I can read,
The hopes of some fond one all blighted and lost;
Who imagined the morning's bright dawn to precede
A noon as unclouded, by sorrow uncrossed.
And methinks, while I gaze on thy perishing form,
It seems the meet emblem of some gentle maid,
Whose youth in its beauty hath shrunk from the storm,
That low in the tomb all its loveliness laid.
But that youth shall revive, and its beauty renew,
In the light of a heaven unclouded by storms;
And again, lovely hawthorn, thy bloom we shall view,
In springs that more genial, no tempest deforms.
Then we'll mourn not, that all which is fairest on earth,
Blooms but for a season, and quickly decays,
But await the glad dawn of that heavenly birth,
When immortal in beauty, spring breaks on our gaze.
Hast thou gazed on the sky, when it shone,
All radiant with splendour and light,
And paused, till its glories were gone,
To contemplate the beautiful sight?
Then did not a mournful emotion
Steal silently into thy breast,
As the blue mist glides over the ocean,
When evening has shadowed its rest?
Though it darkened thy spirit the while,
Yet did it not whisper of heaven,
And seem from false joys to beguile,
With the chastened delight it had given?
Like that sky in its beauty arrayed,
Are the sweet, glowing visions of youth;
But as soon do the fugitives fade,
When beheld through the mirror of truth.
Like that sky in its glories so fading,
Are the hopes which we build upon earth;
Their light, disappointment is shading,
Ere possession has smiled on their birth.
Oh then! like that feeling divine,
Which breathes of devotion and love,
May religion descending refine
Our souls for the mansions above.
ON THE NEW YEAR.
Another year! another year!
Is borne by time away;
Nor pauses yet his swift career,
Nor tires his wing, nor makes he here,
E'en one short hour's delay.
But hurries on, and round, and round,
The wheel of life is sped;
Unnoted oft, until rebound
Upon the ear, the startling sound,
Another year has fled!
Who ever said, 'tis New Year's day,
With unmixed care or glee?
For hope still paints the future gay,
And memory o'er the past will stray,
With sorrowing constancy.
Yet blest if she but there behold
The grave of well spent days;
The joy of gratitude that told,
The tear, in patient trust that rolled--
The christian's hallowed bays.
Another year! so swift it flew,
We scarce had marked it ours;
Ere, fading from our backward view,
'Tis but the past our eyes pursue,
Eternity's long hours!
'Tis New Year's Day! the coming year
All blank before us lies;
Oh! may no blot, or stain appear,
To mar its history, written here,
When published in the skies.
'Tis New Year's Day! how oft have I,
While yet a simple child,
Made it the goal from whence to try,
That race to run, which to the sky,
Can guide through Time's dark wild.
The sky, that home of quiet rest,
When life's poor dream is o'er,
Where spirits mingle with the blest,
And sorrow, in the aching breast,
Shall reign, shall reign, no more!
Palmyra! thy ruins how mighty, how grand!
In the midst of the desert that desolate stand:
Like a queen of the earth in her splendid array,
Enchained by a touch of the sorcerer's sway:
Around whose fair head the night hurricanes sweep,
While the sun looks down fiercely by day on her sleep;
Whose gay attire faded, whose courtiers afar,
In the place of her rest--like a pale gleaming star,
That, when heaven is shrouded in tempest and rain,
Still radiant in beauty looks out on the main.
So thou, yet all glorious, burst'st forth on the sight,
From the wreck of thy splendour, a vision of light.
Men hail thee with wonder, thou lone one so fair,
Whence cam'st thou?--why art thou so desolate there?
Thy beauty so lovely, we gaze and admire,
Yet lost in its grandeur, in wonder retire;
Thy magnificent columns, enwreathed by the hand
Of an artist whose skill could the graces command;
Thy portals that tower as the glorious sun
Had thence the bright course of his journey begun;
Thy temples, where heaven's Almighty alone
Could receive the glad incense of praise to His throne;
For no idol of marble or gold could be there,
In the midst of perfection, an image of prayer.
The Roman ne'er planted thee, Queen of the waste,
Thou far hast surpassed all his proud empire graced;
Say rather, he caught from thy splendour, the ray
Which gleams through the wreck which her ruins display.
And must thou, bright vision, too, pass like a dream,
From the earth that the future a fiction shall deem?
And the site of thy glory uncertain be told,
As the traveller o'er it no trace can behold,
Save a fragment of sculpture that may have been thine,
Or a pillar whose base earth conceals in its shrine?
The hand of the spoiler is on thee, decay
With his slow-tracing fingers, swift wasting away.
Time leaves the destroyer behind in his flight,
To erect him a trophy 'mid silence and night.
How many a monument over the land
We behold to the conqueror desolate stand!
And man, as relentless, oft lends, too, his aid,
To complete what the ravager's touch had delayed;
Even thou, fair Palmyra, escap'st not his hand,
Lo, where thy proud columns he strown o'er the sand;
See, where for his tent the wild Arab in haste
Has rent, and the beautiful marble defaced!
The hyena, less cruel, has made thee his lair,
The panther, the leopard, and lion are there.
Around thee, the wild ass at liberty bounds,
And the cry of the jackal thy palace resounds:
Ah! when busy fancy awakes the gay train,
Proud habitants once of thy desolate plain,
How many a vision of beauty appears,
That melts like the pale morning mist into tears!
The hero, of battle the strength and the boast,
The arm of whose might in itself was a host;
The virgin, whose softness his valour inspired,
Whose cheek and whose lip like the rose were attired,
Whose motions were grace, and whose soul-beaming smile,
With intelligence lighted her dark eye the while;
The sage on whose brow, wisdom's coronal shone,
Richly gemmed from the casket of years that were gone;
The matron, whose placid deportment revealed,
That her hopes on the trust of the blessed were sealed;
The light fairy tread of the innocent child,
Whose gambols were sportive as roe of the wild.
But the hero, the virgin, alike they are gone,
The sage, and the matron, and fleet-bounding one!
And have left not a vestige behind them to tell
How they lived, were beloved, fought and conquered, or fell!
And thou, lone Palmyra, their dwelling and pride,
That so long hast the might of the spoiler defied,
Even thou too shalt perish from earth, but thy name
Shall long survive, stamped on the records of Fame!
SEYMOUR AND ARABELLA.
Where ocean heaves its silver breast,
'Tween Albion's cliffs and Gallia's shore,
How oft the fugitive oppressed,
Hath sped the wave for refuge o'er.
Save for the light spray's murmuring fall,
The scene was wrapped in calm repose;
Scarce broken by the seaman's call,
Or splash that distant rower throws.
The woodland sloped with verdure green,
Down to the margin of the tide,
Where boat and shallop might be seen,
Float idly on the water's side.
A vessel moored at anchor lay,
Yet busy hands were in her shrouds,
And hurrying feet that seemed to say,
All sail in haste the vessel crowds.
Away! away! pursuit is near!
Away! away! for dangers press!
What mean those looks of doubt and fear
On seaman's brow inglorious?
And who that Queenly maiden fair,
With pleading voice and wistful eye,
That seem to say, forbear! forbear
Your cruel haste, nor bid me die!
Fair offspring of a royal line,
Born to have graced her lineage proud,
But jealous fears the maid consign
In solitude her youth to shroud.
Like some sweet bird in prison chained,
That scapes unseen its iron cell,
Yet lingers till its mate hath gained,
On equal wing its notes to swell.
So she from harsh confinement flown,
Prepares to speed her venturous way;
But cannot flee those chains alone,
Which bind her love behind to stay.
She pleads one transient hour's delay,
My Seymour yet shall meet me here,
Without him, freedom's cheerless ray
Were shed upon my clay cold bier.
Oh! linger yet! I yonder see
My love amid the distant waste;
Ah no! 'twas but a shrub or tree,
The eagle's wing my Seymour's haste.
In vain she yet would longer plead;
Swift heaves the anchor from the deep,
The filling sails the vessel speed;
Alas! what can she now but weep.
Ah! hapless Arabella! thou
Shalt ne'er again that fond one see;
Thy faithful Seymour mourns thee, now
Too late, alas! with thee to flee.
He came, and wild with anguish, gazed
Far o'er the purple gleaming wave;
A distant sail his fond hopes raised,--
Kind heaven my Arabella save!
And soon he tracks that vessel's course,
His bounding bark impetuous flies,
No rowers might--Love wings its force,
As through the briny deep it plies.
My Arabella! once again,
I yet shall clasp thee to my heart;
My own beloved! a tyrant's chain
Shall powerless prove to bid us part.
And soon he climbs the vessel's side--
But ah! no Arabella there--
Where! where is my beloved! he cried,
Why haunt me still thou black despair!
He gains the shore, where hope still dreams
The fair one may in safety be;
But hope thus ever faithless gleams
Around the path of misery.
He found her not;--nor e'er shall find;--
Ah! why relentless thus destroy,
Stern fate! in hearts so true and kind,
The budding hopes of future joy!
The bark which bore the royal fair,
Far from a tyrant's cruel chain,
Lingered at her too earnest prayer,
For Seymour, on the treacherous main.
A vessel with destroying haste,
Sent by oppression's stern command,
Surprised them mid the watery waste,
And bore her back to Britain's land.
In vain she tore her lovely hair,
And shrieked her Seymour's much loved name;
Back to her prison walls they bear
The victim of love's injured flame.
A wretched maniac there she raves,
And from her grated casement high,
Calls for her Seymour o'er the waves,
And asks him still with her to fly.
Oh! was there in a royal breast,
No pity for her cruel woes?
Did thorns his pillow ne'er molest,
Who banished thus from her's, repose?
Not long she lingered, to complain
Of blighted hope and chill despair;
Her spirit rent its iron chain,
And soared from earth's ungenial air.
Some interesting particulars will be found in the "Curiosities of
Literature," respecting this truly unfortunate Lady, Arabella Stuart,
who died a prisoner in the Tower, in the Reign of James I.
SONG OF THE BREEZE.
I have swept o'er the mountain, the forest, and fell;
I have played on the rock where the wild Shamois dwell;
I have tracked the desert so dreary and rude,
Through the pathless depths of its solitude;
Through the ocean caves of the stormy sea,
My spirit has wandered at midnight free.
I have slept in the lily's flagrant bell,
I have moaned on the ear through the rosy shell,
I have roamed alone by the gurgling stream,
I have danced at eve with the pale moonbeam;
I have kissed the rose in its blushing pride,
Till my breath the dew from its lips has dried;
I have stolen away on my silken wing,
The violet's scent in the early spring.
I have hung o'er groves where the citron grows,
And the clustering bloom of the orange blows.
I have wafted the sigh from the lover's breast,
To the lips of the maiden he loved the best.
I have sped the dove on its errand home,
O'er mountain and river, and sun-gilt dome.
I have hushed the babe in its cradled rest,
With my song, to sleep on its mother's breast.
I have chased the clouds in their dark career,
Till they hung on my wing in their shapes of fear;
I have rent the oak from its forest bed,
And the flaming brand of the fire king sped;
I have rushed with the fierce tornado forth,
On the tempest's wing from the stormy north;
I have lash'd the waves till they rose in pride,
And the mariner's skill in their wrath defied;
I have borne the mandate of fate and doom,
And swept the wretch to his watery tomb.
I have shrieked the wail of the murdered dead,
Till the guilty spirit hath shrunk with dread.
I have hymned my dirge o'er the silent grave,
And bade the cypress more darkly wave.
There is not a spot upon land or sea,
Where thou mayst not, enthusiast, wander with me.
How pleasant is the sunny charm
Of thy creative breath, O Spring!
What myriad shapes with being warm,
Burst from their tomb beneath thy wing.
The snow-drop rears her pensile head,
And shivers in the biting gale,
Sweet mourner o'er her kindred dead,
Wan sorrow's emblem, meek and pale.
Yet with her kerchief, bleached and chill,
Spreads a glad pennon to the breeze,
Fair herald over wood and hill,
That spring's approach afar she sees.
Spring comes, and comes in bloom arrayed:
She comes, she comes to break your chain!
Prepare her couch beneath your shade,
Upon the flower-enamelled plain.
She comes, she comes! her rainbow vest,
The sunbeam glory roared her brow,
The dew-filled lily on her breast,
And footsteps coy like maiden's vow,
Reveal the youthful Queen of May--
Prepare the festive board, where grows
The violet in its rich array,
Beneath the first bud of the rose.
Prepare the choral band above,
On fluttering pinions wafting down,
The blossoms from their green alcove,
To deck the garland for her crown.
She comes! she comes! and scatters round,
The fragrance of the budding year,
Young lambs before her footsteps bound,
And cuckoo notes float on the ear.
The crocus, see, has rent its bed,
The cowslip and the primrose fair,
Their bloom disclosing, sweetly shed
Delicious fragrance on the air.
She comes! she comes! the lark on high,
Her welcome carols to the morn,
Filling the woodland, vale, and sky,
With joyful news of Spring's return.
She bursts in glory from, yon cloud,
Hark! how a thousand echoes ring--
All nature peals the anthem loud--
Hail radiant Queen! thrice welcome Spring!
METCALFE, PRINTER, GROCERS' HALL COURT, POULTRY.