The Forest Sanctuary and Other Poems.

Hemans, Felicia Dorothea Browne, Mrs. 1793-1835

Ophelia Yim, -- creation of electronic text.

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Shields Library, University of California, Davis, California 95616
I.D. No. HemaFFores

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Davis British Women Romantic Poets Series

I.D. No. 41
Nancy Kushigian, -- General Editor
Charlotte Payne, -- Managing Editor

The forest sanctuary: and other poems

Hemans, Felicia Dorothea Browne, Mrs

John Murray

[This text was scanned from its original in the Shields Library Kohler Collection, University of California, Davis. Kohler ID no. I:546. Another copy available on microfilm as Kohler I:546mf.]

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                 Ihr Plätze aller meiner stillen freuden,
                 Euch lass' ich hinter mir auf immerdar!
                 So ist des geistes ruf an mich ergangen,
                 Mich treibt nicht eitles, irdisches verlangen.
Die Jungfrau von Orleans.
                Long time against oppression have I fought,
                And for the native liberty of faith
                Have bled and suffer'd bonds.
Remorse, a Tragedy.

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The following Poem is intended to describe the mental conflicts, as well as outward sufferings, of a Spaniard, who, flying from the religious persecutions of his own country in the 16th century, takes refuge with his child in a North American forest. The story is supposed to be related by himself amidst the wilderness which has afforded him an asylum.

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    THE voices of my home!--I hear them still!
    They have been with me through the dreamy night--
    The blessed household voices, wont to fill
    My heart's clear depths with unalloy'd delight!
    I hear them still, unchang'd:--though some from earth
    Are music parted, and the tones of mirth--
    Wild, silvery tones, that rang through days more bright!
    Have died in others,--yet to me they come,
Singing of boyhood back--the voices of my home!

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    They call me through this hush of woods, reposing
    In the grey stillness of the summer morn,
    They wander by when heavy flowers are closing,
    And thoughts grow deep, and winds and stars are born;
    Ev'n as a fount's remember'd gushings burst
    On the parch'd traveller in his hour of thirst,
    E'en thus they haunt me with sweet sounds, till worn
    By quenchless longings, to my soul I say--
Oh! for the dove's swift wings, that I might flee away,


    And find mine ark!--yet whither?--I must bear
    A yearning heart within me to the grave.
    I am of those o'er whom a breath of air--
    Just darkening in its course the lake's bright wave,
    And sighing through the feathery canes 1 --hath power
    To call up shadows, in the silent hour,
    From the dim past, as from a wizard's cave!--
    So must it be!--These skies above me spread,
Are they my own soft skies?--Ye rest not here, my dead!

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    Ye far amidst the southern flowers lie sleeping,
    Your graves all smiling in the sunshine clear,
    Save one!--a blue, lone, distant main is sweeping
    High o'er one gentle head--ye rest not here!--
    'Tis not the olive, with a whisper swaying,
    Not thy low ripplings, glassy water, playing
    Through my own chesnut groves, which fill mine ear;
    But the faint echoes in my breast that dwell,
    And for their birth-place moan, as moans the ocean-shell 2 .


    Peace!--I will dash these fond regrets to earth,
    Ev'n as an eagle shakes the cumbering rain
    From his strong pinion. Thou that gav'st me birth,
    And lineage, and once home,--my native Spain!
    My own bright land--my father's land--my child's!
    What hath thy son brought from thee to the wilds?
    He hath brought marks of torture and the chain,
    Traces of things which pass not as a breeze,
A blighted name, dark thoughts, wrath, woe--thy gifts are these.

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    A blighted name--I hear the winds of morn--
    Their sounds are not of this!--I hear the shiver
    Of the green reeds, and all the rustlings, borne
    From the high forest, when the light leaves quiver:
    Their sounds are not of this!--the cedars, waving,
    Lend it no tone: His wide savannahs laving,
    It is not murmur'd by the joyous river!
    What part hath mortal name, where God alone
Speaks to the mighty waste, and through its heart is known?


    Is it not much that I may worship Him,
    With nought my spirit's breathings to control,
    And feel His presence in the vast, and dim,
    And whispery woods, where dying thunders roll
    From the far cataracts?--Shall I not rejoice
    That I have learn'd at last to know His voice
    From man's?--I will rejoice!--my soaring soul
    Now hath redeem'd her birth-right of the day,
And won, through clouds, to Him, her own unfetter'd way!

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    And thou, my boy! that silent at my knee
    Dost lift to mine thy soft, dark, earnest eyes,
    Fill'd with the love of childhood, which I see
    Pure through its depths, a thing without disguise;
    Thou that hast breath'd in slumber on my breast,
    When I have check'd its throbs to give thee rest,
    Mine own! whose young thoughts fresh before me rise!
    Is it not much that I may guide thy prayer,
And circle thy glad soul with free and healthful air?


    Why should I weep on thy bright head, my boy?
    Within thy fathers' halls thou wilt not dwell,
    Nor lift their banner, with a warrior's joy,
    Amidst the sons of mountain chiefs, who fell
    For Spain of old.--Yet what if rolling waves
    Have borne us far from our ancestral graves?
    Thou shalt not feel thy bursting heart rebel
    As mine hath done; nor bear what I have borne,
Casting in falsehood's mould th' indignant brow of scorn.

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    This shall not be thy lot, my blessed child!
    I have not sorrow'd, struggled, liv'd in vain--
    Hear me! magnificent and ancient wild;
    And mighty rivers, ye that meet the main,
    As deep meets deep; and forests, whose dim shade
    The flood's voice, and the wind's, by swells pervade;
    Hear me!--'tis well to die, and not complain,
    Yet there are hours when the charg'd heart must speak,
Ev'n in the desert's ear to pour itself, or break!


    I see an oak before me 3 , it hath been
    The crown'd one of the woods; and might have flung
    Its hundred arms to Heaven, still freshly green,
    But a wild vine around the stem hath clung,
    From branch to branch close wreaths of bondage throwing,
    Till the proud tree, before no tempest bowing,
    Hath shrunk and died, those serpent-folds among.
    Alas! alas!--what is it that I see?
An image of man's mind, land of my sires, with thee!

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    Yet art thou lovely!--Song is on thy hills--
    Oh sweet and mournful melodies of Spain,
    That lull'd my boyhood, how your memory thrills
    The exile's heart with sudden-wakening pain!--
    Your sounds are on the rocks--that I might hear
    Once more the music of the mountaineer!--
    And from the sunny vales the shepherd's strain
    Floats out, and fills the solitary place
With the old tuneful names of Spain's heroic race.


    But there was silence one bright, golden day,
    Through my own pine-hung mountains. Clear, yet lone
    In the rich autumn light the vineyards lay,
    And from the fields the peasant's voice was gone;
    And the red grapes untrodden strew'd the ground,
    And the free flocks untended roam'd around:
    Where was the pastor?--where the pipe's wild tone?
    Music and mirth were hush'd the hills among,
While to the city's gates each hamlet pour'd its throng.

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    Silence upon the mountains!--But within
    The city's gates a rush--a press--a swell
    Of multitudes their torrent way to win;
    And heavy boomings of a dull deep bell,
    A dead pause following each--like that which parts
    The dash of billows, holding breathless hearts
    Fast in the hush of fear--knell after knell;
    And sounds of thickening steps, like thunder-rain,
That plashes on the roof of some vast echoing fane!


    What pageant's hour approach'd?--The sullen gate
    Of a strong ancient prison-house was thrown
    Back to the day. And who, in mournful state,
    Came forth, led slowly o'er its threshold-stone?
    They that had learn'd, in cells of secret gloom,
    How sunshine is forgotten!--They, to whom
    The very features of mankind were grown
    Things that bewilder'd!--O'er their dazzled sight,
They lifted their wan hands, and cower'd before the light!

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    To this man brings his brother!--Some were there,
    Who with their desolation had entwin'd
    Fierce strength, and girt the sternness of despair
    Fast round their bosoms, ev'n as warriors bind
    The breast-plate on for fight: but brow and cheek
    Seem'd theirs a torturing panoply to speak!
    And there were some, from whom the very mind
    Had been wrung out: they smil'd--oh! startling smile
Whence man's high soul is fled!--where doth it sleep the while?


    But onward moved the melancholy train,
    For their false creeds in fiery pangs to die.
    This was the solemn sacrifice of Spain--
    Heaven's offering from the land of chivalry!
    Through thousands, thousands of their race they mov'd--
    Oh! how unlike all others!--the belov'd,
    The free, the proud, the beautiful! whose eye
    Grew fix'd before them, while a people's breath
Was hush'd, and its one soul bound in the thought of death!

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    It might be that amidst the countless throng,
    There swell'd some heart with Pity's weight oppress'd,
    For the wide stream of human love is strong;
    And woman, on whose fond and faithful breast
    Childhood is rear'd, and at whose knee the sigh
    Of its first prayer is breath'd, she, too, was nigh.
    --But life is dear, and the free footstep bless'd,
    And home a sunny place, where each may fill
Some eye with glistening smiles,--and therefore all were still--


    All still--youth, courage, strength!--a winter laid,
    A chain of palsy, cast on might and mind!
    Still, as at noon a southern forest's shade,
    They stood, those breathless masses of mankind;
    Still, as a frozen torrent!--but the wave
    Soon leaps to foaming freedom--they, the brave,
    Endur'd--they saw the martyr's place assign'd
    In the red flames--whence is the withering spell
That numbs each human pulse?--they saw, and thought it well.

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    And I, too, thought it well! That very morn
    From a far land I came, yet round me clung
    The spirit of my own. No hand had torn
    With a strong grasp away the veil which hung
    Between mine eyes and truth. I gaz'd, I saw,
    Dimly, as through a glass. In silent awe
    I watch'd the fearful rites; and if there sprung
    One rebel feeling from its deep founts up,
Shuddering, I flung it back, as guilt's own poison-cup.


    But I was waken'd as the dreamers waken
    Whom the shrill trumpet and the shriek of dread
    Rouse up at midnight, when their walls are taken,
    And they must battle till their blood is shed
    On their own threshold-floor. A path for light
    Through my torn breast was shatter'd by the might
    Of the swift thunder-stroke--and Freedom's tread
    Came in through ruins, late, yet not in vain,
Making the blighted place all green with life again.

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    Still darkly, slowly, as a sullen mass
    Of cloud, o'ersweeping, without wind, the sky,
    Dream-like I saw the sad procession pass,
    And mark'd its victims with a tearless eye.
    They mov'd before me but as pictures, wrought
    Each to reveal some secret of man's thought,
    On the sharp edge of sad mortality,
    Till in his place came one--oh! could it be?
--My friend, my heart's first friend!--and did I gaze on thee?


    On thee! with whom in boyhood I had play'd,
    At the grape-gatherings, by my native streams;
    And to whose eye my youthful soul had laid
    Bare, as to Heaven's, its glowing world of dreams;
    And by whose side midst warriors I had stood,
    And in whose helm was brought--oh! earn'd with blood
    The fresh wave to my lips, when tropic beams
    Smote on my fever'd brow!--Ay, years had pass'd,
Severing our paths, brave friend!--and thus we met at last!

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    I see it still--the lofty mien thou borest--
    On thy pale forehead sat a sense of power!
    The very look that once thou brightly worest,
    Cheering me onward through a fearful hour,
    When we were girt by Indian bow and spear,
    Midst the white Andes--ev'n as mountain deer,
    Hemm'd in our camp--but thro' the javelin shower
    We rent our way, a tempest of despair!
--And thou--hadst thou but died with thy true brethren there!


    I call the fond wish back--for thou hast perish'd
    More nobly far, my Alvar!--making known
    The might of truth 4 ; and be thy memory cherish'd
    With theirs, the thousands, that around her throne
    Have pour'd their lives out smiling, in that doom
    Finding a triumph, if denied a tomb!
    --Ay, with their ashes hath the wind been sown,
    And with the wind their spirit shall be spread,
Filling man's heart and home with records of the dead.

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    Thou Searcher of the Soul! in whose dread sight
    Not the bold guilt alone, that mocks the skies,
    But the scarce-own'd, unwhisper'd thought of night,
    As a thing written with the sunbeam lies;
     Thou know'st--whose eye through shade and depth can see.
    That this man's crime was but to worship thee,
    Like those that made their hearts thy sacrifice,
    The call'd of yore; wont by the Saviour's side,
On the dim Olive-Mount to pray at eventide.


    For the strong spirit will at times awake,
    Piercing the mists that wrap her clay-abode;
    And, born of thee, she may not always take
    Earth's accents for the oracles of God;
    And ev'n for this--O dust, whose mask is power!
    Reed, that wouldst be a scourge thy little hour!
    Spark, whereon yet the mighty hath not trod,
    And therefore thou destroyest!--where were flown
Our hope, if man were left to man's decree alone?

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    But this I felt not yet. I could but gaze
    On him, my friend; while that swift moment threw
    A sudden freshness back on vanish'd days,
    Like water-drops on some dim picture's hue;
    Calling the proud time up, when first I stood
    Where banners floated, and my heart's quick blood
    Sprang to a torrent as the clarion blew,
    And he--his sword was like a brother's worn,
That watches through the field his mother's youngest born.


    But a lance met me in that day's career,
    Senseless I lay amidst th' o'ersweeping fight,
    Wakening at last--how full, how strangely clear,
    That scene on memory flash'd!--the shivery light,
    Moonlight, on broken shields--the plain of slaughter,
    The fountain-side--the low sweet sound of water--
    And Alvar bending o'er me--from the night
    Covering me with his mantle!--all the past
Flow'd back--my soul's far chords all answer'd to the blast.

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    Till, in that rush of visions, I became
    As one that by the bands of slumber wound,
    Lies with a powerless, but all-thrilling frame,
    Intense in consciousness of sight and sound,
    Yet buried in a wildering dream which brings
    Lov'd faces round him, girt with fearful things!
    Troubled ev'n thus I stood, but chain'd and bound
    On that familiar form mine eye to keep--
--Alas! I might not fall upon his neck and weep!


    He pass'd me--and what next?--I look'd on two,
    Following his footsteps to the same dread place,
    For the same guilt--his sisters 5 !--Well I knew
    The beauty on those brows, though each young face
    Was chang'd--so deeply chang'd!--a dungeon's air
    Is hard for lov'd and lovely things to bear,
    And ye, O daughters of a lofty race,
    Queen-like Theresa! radiant Inez!--flowers
So cherish'd! were ye then but rear'd for those dark hours?

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    A mournful home, young sisters! had ye left,
    With your lutes hanging hush'd upon the wall,
    And silence round the aged man, bereft
    Of each glad voice, once answering to his call.
    Alas, that lonely father! doom'd to pine
    For sounds departed in his life's decline,
    And, midst the shadowing banners of his hall,
    With his white hair to sit, and deem the name
A hundred chiefs had borne, cast down by you to shame6 !


    And woe for you, midst looks and words of love,
    And gentle hearts and faces, nurs'd so long!
    How had I seen you in your beauty move,
    Wearing the wreath, and listening to the song!
    --Yet sat, ev'n then, what seem'd the crowd to shun,
    Half veil'd upon the clear pale brow of one,
    And deeper thoughts than oft to youth belong,
    Thoughts, such as wake to evening's whispery sway,
Within the drooping shade of her sweet eyelids lay.

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    And if she mingled with the festive train,
    It was but as some melancholy star
    Beholds the dance of shepherds on the plain,
    In its bright stillness present, though afar.
    Yet would she smile--and that, too, hath its smile--
    Circled with joy which reach'd her not the while,
    And bearing a lone spirit, not at war
    With earthly things, but o'er their form and hue
Shedding too clear a light, too sorrowfully true.


    But the dark hours wring forth the hidden might
    Which hath lain bedded in the silent soul,
    A treasure all undreamt of;--as the night
    Calls out the harmonies of streams that roll
    Unheard by day. It seem'd as if her breast
    Had hoarded energies, till then suppress'd
    Almost with pain, and bursting from control,
    And finding first that hour their pathway free:
--Could a rose brave the storm, such might her emblem be!

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    For the soft gloom whose shadow still had hung
    On her fair brow, beneath its garlands worn,
    Was fled; and fire, like prophecy's had sprung
    Clear to her kindled eye. It might be scorn--
    Pride--sense of wrong--ay, the frail heart is bound
    By these at times, ev'n as with adamant round,
    Kept so from breaking!--yet not thus upborne
    She mov'd, though some sustaining passion's wave
Lifted her fervent soul--a sister for the brave!


    And yet, alas! to see the strength which clings
    Round woman in such hours!--a mournful sight,
    Though lovely!--an o'erflowing of the springs,
    The full springs of affection, deep as bright!
    And she, because her life is ever twin'd
    With other lives, and by no stormy wind
    May thence be shaken, and because the light
    Of tenderness is round her, and her eye
Doth weep such passionate tears--therefore she thus can die.

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    Therefore didst thou , through that heart-shaking scene,
    As through a triumph move; and cast aside
    Thine own sweet thoughtfulness for victory's mien,
    O faithful sister! cheering thus the guide,
    And friend, and brother of thy sainted youth,
    Whose hand had led thee to the source of truth,
    Where thy glad soul from earth was purified;
    Nor wouldst thou, following him through all the past,
That he should see thy step grow tremulous at last.


    For thou hadst made no deeper love a guest
    Midst thy young spirit's dreams, than that which grows
    Between the nurtur'd of the same fond breast,
    The shelter'd of one roof; and thus it rose
    Twin'd in with life.--How is it, that the hours
    Of the same sport, the gathering early flowers
    Round the same tree, the sharing one repose,
    And mingling one first prayer in murmurs soft,
From the heart's memory fade, in this world's breath, so oft?

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    But thee that breath had touch'd not; thee, nor him,
    The true in all things found!--and thou wert blest
    Ev'n then, that no remember'd change could dim
    The perfect image of affection, press'd
    Like armour to thy bosom!--thou hadst kept
    Watch by that brother's couch of pain, and wept,
    Thy sweet face covering with thy robe, when rest
    Fled from the sufferer; thou hadst bound his faith
Unto thy soul--one light, one hope ye chose--one death.


    So didst thou pass on brightly!--but for her,
    Next in that path, how may her doom be spoken!
    --All-merciful! to think that such things were,
    And are , and seen by men with hearts unbroken!
    To think of that fair girl, whose path had been
    So strew'd with rose-leaves, all one fairy scene!
    And whose quick glance came ever as a token
    Of hope to drooping thought, and her glad voice
As a free bird's in spring, that makes the woods rejoice!

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    And she to die!--she lov'd the laughing earth
    With such deep joy in its fresh leaves and flowers!
    --Was not her smile even as the sudden birth
    Of a young rainbow, colouring vernal showers?
    Yes! but to meet her fawn-like step, to hear
    The gushes of wild song, so silvery clear,
    Which, oft unconsciously, in happier hours
    Flow'd from her lips, was to forget the sway
Of Time and Death below,--blight, shadow, dull decay!


    Could this change be?--the hour, the scene, where last
    I saw that form, came floating o'er my mind:
    --A golden vintage-eve;--the heats were pass'd,
    And, in the freshness of the fanning wind,
    Her father sat, where gleam'd the first faint star
    Through the lime-boughs; and with her light guitar,
    She, on the greensward at his feet reclin'd,
    In his calm face laugh'd up; some shepherd-lay
Singing, as childhood sings on the lone hills at play.

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    And now--oh God!--the bitter fear of death,
    The sore amaze, the faint o'ershadowing dread,
    Had grasp'd her!--panting in her quick-drawn breath,
    And in her white lips quivering;--onward led,
    She look'd up with her dim bewilder'd eyes,
    And there smil'd out her own soft brilliant skies,
    Far in their sultry southern azure spread,
    Glowing with joy, but silent!--still they smil'd,
Yet sent down no reprieve for earth's poor trembling child.


    Alas! that earth had all too strong a hold,
    Too fast, sweet Inez! on thy heart, whose bloom
    Was given to early love, nor knew how cold
    The hours which follow. There was one, with whom,
    Young as thou wert, and gentle, and untried,
    Thou might'st, perchance, unshrinkingly have died;
    But he was far away;--and with thy doom
    Thus gathering, life grew so intensely dear,
That all thy slight frame shook with its cold mortal fear!

Page 26


    No aid!--thou too didst pass!--and all had pass'd,
    The fearful--and the desperate--and the strong!
    Some like the bark that rushes with the blast,
    Some like the leaf swept shiveringly along,
    And some as men, that have but one more field
    To fight, and then may slumber on their shield,
    Therefore they arm in hope. But now the throng
    Roll'd on, and bore me with their living tide,
Ev'n as a bark wherein is left no power to guide.


    Wave swept on wave. We reach'd a stately square,
    Deck'd for the rites. An altar stood on high,
    And gorgeous, in the midst. A place for prayer,
    And praise, and offering. Could the earth supply
    No fruits, no flowers for sacrifice, of all
    Which on her sunny lap unheeded fall?
    No fair young firstling of the flock to die,
    As when before their God the Patriarchs stood?
--Look down! man brings thee, Heaven! his brother's guiltless blood!

Page 27


    Hear its voice, hear!--a cry goes up to thee,
    From the stain'd sod;--make thou thy judgment known
    On him, the shedder!--let his portion be
    The fear that walks at midnight--give the moan
    In the wind haunting him a power to say
    "Where is thy brother?"--and the stars a ray
    To search and shake his spirit, when alone
    With the dread splendor of their burning eyes!
--So shall earth own thy will--mercy, not sacrifice!


    Sounds of triumphant praise!--the mass was sung--
    --Voices that die not might have pour'd such strains!
    Thro' Salem's towers might that proud chant have rung,
    When the Most High, on Syria's palmy plains,
    Had quell'd her foes!--so full it swept, a sea
    Of loud waves jubilant, and rolling free!
    --Oft when the wind, as thro' resounding fanes,
    Hath fill'd the choral forests with its power,
Some deep tone brings me back the music of that hour.

Page 28


    It died away;--the incense-cloud was driven
    Before the breeze--the words of doom were said;
    And the sun faded mournfully from Heaven,
    --He faded mournfully! and dimly red,
    Parting in clouds from those that look'd their last,
    And sigh'd--"farewell, thou sun!"--Eve glow'd and pass'd--
    Night--midnight and the moon--came forth and shed
    Sleep, even as dew, on glen, wood, peopled spot--
Save one--a place of death--and there men slumber'd not.


    'Twas not within the city7 --but in sight
    Of the snow-crown'd sierras, freely sweeping,
    With many an eagle's eyrie on the height,
    And hunter's cabin, by the torrent peeping
    Far off: and vales between, and vineyards lay,
    With sound and gleam of waters on their way,
    And chesnut-woods, that girt the happy sleeping,
    In many a peasant-home!--the midnight sky
Brought softly that rich world round those who came to die.

Page 29


    The darkly-glorious midnight sky of Spain,
    Burning with stars!--What had the torches' glare
    To do beneath that Temple, and profane
    Its holy radiance?--By their wavering flare,
    I saw beside the pyres--I see thee now ,
    O bright Theresa! with thy lifted brow,
    And thy clasp'd hands, and dark eyes fill'd with prayer!
    And thee, sad Inez! bowing thy fair head,
And mantling up thy face, all colourless with dread!


    And Alvar, Alvar!--I beheld thee too,
    Pale, stedfast, kingly; till thy clear glance fell
    On that young sister; then perturb'd it grew,
    And all thy labouring bosom seem'd to swell
    With painful tenderness. Why came I there,
    That troubled image of my friend to bear,
    Thence, for my after-years?--a thing to dwell
    In my heart's core, and on the darkness rise,
Disquieting my dreams with its bright mournful eyes?

Page 30


    Why came I? oh! the heart's deep mystery!--Why
    In man's last hour doth vain affection's gaze
    Fix itself down on struggling agony,
    To the dimm'd eye-balls freezing, as they glaze?
    It might be--yet the power to will seem'd o'er--
    That my soul yearn'd to hear his voice once more!
    But mine was fetter'd!--mute in strong amaze,
    I watch'd his features as the night-wind blew,
And torch-light or the moon's pass'd o'er their marble hue.


    The trampling of a steed!--a tall white steed,
    Rending his fiery way the crowds among--
    A storm's way through a forest--came at speed,
    And a wild voice cried "Inez!" Swift she flung
    The mantle from her face, and gaz'd around,
    With a faint shriek at that familiar sound,
    And from his seat a breathless rider sprung,
    And dash'd off fiercely those who came to part,
And rush'd to that pale girl, and clasp'd her to his heart.

Page 31


    And for a moment all around gave way
    To that full burst of passion!--on his breast,
    Like a bird panting yet from fear she lay,
    But blest--in misery's very lap--yet blest!--
    Oh love, love, strong as death!--from such an hour
    Pressing out joy by thine immortal power,
    Holy and fervent love! had earth but rest
    For thee and thine, this world were all too fair!
How could we thence be wean'd to die without despair?


    But she--as falls a willow from the storm,
    O'er its own river streaming--thus reclin'd
    On the youth's bosom hung her fragile form,
    And clasping arms, so passionately twin'd
    Around his neck--with such a trusting fold,
    A full deep sense of safety in their hold,
    As if nought earthly might th' embrace unbind!
    Alas! a child's fond faith, believing still
Its mother's breast beyond the lightning's reach to kill!

Page 32


    Brief rest! upon the turning billow's height,
    A strange sweet moment of some heavenly strain,
    Floating between the savage gusts of night,
    That sweep the seas to foam! Soon dark again
    The hour--the scene--th' intensely present, rush'd
    Back on her spirit, and her large tears gush'd
    Like blood-drops from a victim; with swift rain
    Bathing the bosom where she lean'd that hour,
As if her life would melt into th' o'erswelling shower.


    But he, whose arm sustain'd her!--oh! I knew
    'Twas vain, and yet he hop'd!--he fondly strove
    Back from her faith her sinking soul to woo,
    As life might yet be hers!--A dream of love
    Which could not look upon so fair a thing,
    Remembering how like hope, like joy, like spring,
    Her smile was wont to glance, her step to move,
    And deem that men indeed, in very truth,
Could mean the sting of death for her soft flowering youth!

Page 33


    He woo'd her back to life.--"Sweet Inez, live!
    My blessed Inez!--visions have beguil'd
    Thy heart--abjure them!--thou wert form'd to give,
    And to find, joy; and hath not sunshine smil'd
    Around thee ever? Leave me not, mine own!
    Or earth will grow too dark!--for thee alone,
    Thee have I lov'd, thou gentlest! from a child,
    And borne thine image with me o'er the sea,
Thy soft voice in my soul--speak!--Oh! yet live for me!"


    She look'd up wildly; these were anxious eyes
    Waiting that look--sad eyes of troubled thought,
    Alvar's--Theresa's!--Did her childhood rise,
    With all its pure and home-affections fraught,
    In the brief glance?--She clasp'd her hands--the strife
    Of love, faith, fear, and that vain dream of life,
    Within her woman's breast so deeply wrought,
    It seem'd as if a reed so slight and weak
Must , in the rending storm not quiver only--break!

Page 34


    And thus it was--the young cheek flush'd and faded,
    As the swift blood in currents came and went,
    And hues of death the marble brow o'ershaded,
    And the sunk eye a watery lustre sent
    Thro' its white fluttering lids. Then tremblings pass'd
    O'er the frail form, that shook it, as the blast
    Shakes the sere leaf, until the spirit rent
    Its way to peace--the fearful way unknown--
Pale in love's arms she lay--she! --what had lov'd was gone!


    Joy for thee, trembler!--thou redeem'd one, joy!
    Young dove set free! earth, ashes, soulless clay,
    Remain'd for baffled vengeance to destroy;
    --Thy chain was riven!--nor hadst thou cast away
    Thy hope in thy last hour!--though love was there
    Striving to wring thy troubled soul from prayer,
    And life seem'd robed in beautiful array,
    Too fair to leave!--but this might be forgiven,
Thou wert so richly crown'd with precious gifts of Heaven!

Page 35


    But woe for him who felt the heart grow still,
    Which, with its weight of agony, had lain
    Breaking on his!--Scarce could the mortal chill
    Of the hush'd bosom, ne'er to heave again,
    And all the silence curdling round the eye,
    Bring home the stern belief that she could die,
    That she indeed could die!--for wild and vain
    As hope might be--his soul had hoped--'twas o'er--
--Slowly his failing arms dropp'd from the form they bore.


    They forc'd him from that spot.--It might be well,
    That the fierce, reckless words by anguish wrung
    From his torn breast, all aimless as they fell,
    Like spray-drops from the strife of torrents flung,
    Were mark'd as guilt.--There are, who note these things
    Against the smitten heart; its breaking strings
    --On whose low thrills once gentle music hung--
    With a rude hand of touch unholy trying,
And numbering then as crimes, the deep, strange tones replying.

Page 36


    But ye in solemn joy, O faithful pair!
    Stood gazing on your parted sister's dust;
    I saw your features by the torch's glare,
    And they were brightening with a heavenward trust!
    I saw the doubt, the anguish, the dismay,
    Melt from my Alvar's glorious mien away,
    And peace was there--the calmness of the just!
    And, bending down the slumberer's brow to kiss,
"Thy rest is won," he said :--"sweet sister! praise for this!"


    I started as from sleep;--yes! he had spoken--
    A breeze had troubled memory's hidden source!
    At once the torpor of my soul was broken--
    Thought, feeling, passion, woke in tenfold force.
    --There are soft breathings in the southern wind,
    That so your ce-chains, O ye streams! unbind,
    And free the foaming swiftness of your course!
    --I burst from those that held me back, and fell
Ev'n on his neck, and cried--"Friend, brother! fare thee well!"

Page 37


    Did he not say "Farewell?"--Alas! no breath
    Came to mine ear. Hoarse murmurs from the throng
    Told that the mysteries in the face of death
    Had from their eager sight been veil'd too long.
    And we were parted as the surge might part
    Those that would die together, true of heart.
    --His hour was come--but in mine anguish strong,
    Like a fierce swimmer through the midnight sea,
Blindly I rush'd away from that which was to be.


    Away--away I rush'd;--but swift and high
    The arrowy pillars of the firelight grew,
    Till the transparent darkness of the sky
    Flush'd to a blood-red mantle in their hue;
    And, phantom-like, the kindling city seem'd
    To spread, float, wave, as on the wind they stream'd,
    With their wild splendour chasing me!--I knew
    The death-work was begun--I veil'd mine eyes,
Yet stopp'd in spell-bound fear to catch the victims' cries,

Page 38


    What heard I then?--a ringing shriek of pain,
    Such as for ever haunts the tortur'd ear?
    --I heard a sweet and solemn-breathing strain
    Piercing the flames, untremulous and clear!
    --The rich, triumphal tones!--I knew them well,
    As they came floating with a breezy swell!
    Man's voice was there--a clarion voice to cheer
    In the mid-battle--ay, to turn the flying--
Woman's--that might have sung of Heaven beside the dying!


    It was a fearful, yet a glorious thing,
    To hear that hymn of martyrdom, and know
    That its glad stream of melody could spring
    Up from th' unsounded gulfs of human woe!
    Alvar! Theresa!--what is deep? what strong?
    --God's breath within the soul!--It fill'd that song
    From your victorious voices!--but the glow
    On the hot air and lurid skies increas'd--
--Faint grew the sounds--more faint--I listen'd--they had ceas'd!

Page 39


    And thou indeed hadst perish'd, my soul's friend!
    I might form other ties--but thou alone
    Couldst with a glance the veil of dimness rend,
    By other years o'er boyhood's memory thrown!
    Others might aid me onward:--Thou and I
    Had mingled the fresh thoughts that early die,
    Once flowering--never more!--And thou wert gone!
    Who could give back my youth, my spirit free,
Or be in aught again what thou hadst been to me?


    And yet I wept thee not, thou true and brave!
    I could not weep!--there gather'd round thy name
    Too deep a passion!--thou denied a grave!
     Thou , with the blight flung on thy soldier's fame!
    Had I not known thy heart from childhood's time?
    Thy heart of hearts?--and couldst thou die for crime?
    --No! had all earth decreed that death of shame,
    I would have set, against all earth's decree,
Th' inalienable trust of my firm soul in thee!

Page 40


    There are swift hours in life--strong, rushing hours,
    That do the work of tempests in their might!
    They shake down things that stood as rocks and towers
    Unto th' undoubting mind;--they pour in light
    Where it but startles--like a burst of day
    For which th' uprooting of an oak makes way;--
    They sweep the colouring mists from off our sight,
    They touch with fire, thought's graven page, the roll
Stamp'd with past years--and lo! it shrivels as a scroll!


    And this was of such hours!--the sudden flow
    Of my soul's tide seem'd whelming me; the glare
    Of the red flames, yet rocking to and fro,
    Scorch'd up my heart with breathless thirst for air,
    And solitude, and freedom. It had been
    Well with me then, in some vast desert scene,
    To pour my voice out, for the winds to bear
    On with them, wildly questioning the sky,
Fiercely th' untroubled stars, of man's dim destiny.

Page 41


    I would have call'd, adjuring the dark cloud;
    To the most ancient Heavens I would have said
    --"Speak to me! show me truth 8 !"--through night aloud
    I would have cried to him, the newly dead,
    "Come back! and show me truth!"--My spirit seem'd
    Gasping for some free burst, its darkness teem'd
    With such pent storms of thought!--again I fled--
    I fled, a refuge from man's face to gain,
Scarce conscious when I paus'd, entering a lonely fane.


    A mighty minster, dim, and proud, and vast!
    Silence was round the sleepers, whom its floor
    Shut in the grave; a shadow of the past,
    A memory of the sainted steps that wore
    Erewhile its gorgeous pavement, seem'd to brood
    Like mist upon the stately solitude,
    A halo of sad fame to mantle o'er
    Its white sepulchral forms of mail-clad men,
And all was hush'd as night in some deep Alpine glen.

Page 42


    More hush'd, far more!--for there the wind sweeps by,
    Or the woods tremble to the streams' loud play!
    Here a strange echo made my very sigh
    Seem for the place too much a sound of day!
    Too much my footstep broke the moonlight, fading,
    Yet arch through arch in one soft flow pervading;
    And I stood still:--prayer, chant, had died away,
    Yet past me floated a funereal breath
Of incense.--I stood still--as before God and death!


    For thick ye girt me round, ye long-departed9 !
    Dust--imaged form--with cross, and shield, and crest;
    It seem'd as if your ashes would have started,
    Had a wild voice burst forth above your rest!
    Yet ne'er, perchance, did worshipper of yore
    Bear to your thrilling presence what I bore
    Of wrath--doubt--anguish--battling in the breast!
    I could have pour'd out words, on that pale air,
To make your proud tombs ring:--no, no! I could not there!

Page 43


    Not midst those aisles, through which a thousand years
    Mutely as clouds and reverently had swept;
    Not by those shrines, which yet the trace of tears
    And kneeling votaries on their marble kept!
    Ye were too mighty in your pomp of gloom
    And trophied age, O temple, altar, tomb!
    And you, ye dead!--for in that faith ye slept,
    Whose weight had grown a mountain's on my heart,
Which could not there be loos'd.--I turn'd me to depart.


    I turn'd--what glimmer'd faintly on my sight,
    Faintly, yet brightening, as a wreath of snow
    Seen through dissolving haze?--The moon, the night,
    Had waned, and dawn pour'd in;--grey, shadowy, slow,
    Yet day-spring still!--a solemn hue it caught,
    Piercing the storied windows, darkly fraught
    With stoles and draperies of imperial glow;
    And soft, and sad, that colouring gleam was thrown,
Where, pale, a pictur'd form above the altar shone.

Page 44


     Thy form, thou Son of God!--a wrathful deep,
    With foam, and cloud, and tempest, round thee spread,
    And such a weight of night!--a night, when sleep
    From the fierce rocking of the billows fled.
    A bark show'd dim beyond thee, with its mast
    Bow'd, and its rent sail shivering to the blast;
    But, like a spirit in thy gliding tread,
    Thou, as o'er glass, didst walk that stormy sea
Through rushing winds, which left a silent path for thee


    So still thy white robes fell!--no breath of air
    Within their long and slumberous folds had sway!
    So still the waves of parted, shadowy hair
    From thy clear brow flow'd droopingly away!
    Dark were the Heavens above thee, Saviour!--dark
    The gulfs, Deliverer! round the straining bark!
    But thou!--o'er all thine aspect and array
    Was pour'd one stream of pale, broad, silvery light--
--Thou wert the single star of that all-shrouding night!

Page 45


    Aid for one sinking!--Thy lone brightness gleam'd
    On his wild face, just lifted o'er the wave,
    With its worn, fearful; human look that seem'd
    To cry through surge and blast--"I perish--save!"
    Not to the winds--not vainly!--thou wert nigh,
    Thy hand was stretch'd to fainting agony,
    Even in the portals of th' unquiet grave!
    O thou that art the life! and yet didst bear
Too much of mortal woe to turn from mortal prayer!


    But was it not a thing to rise on death,
    With its remember'd light, that face of thine,
    Redeemer! dimm'd by this world's misty breath,
    Yet mournfully, mysteriously divine?
    --Oh! that calm, sorrowful, prophetic eye,
    With its dark depths of grief, love, majesty!
    And the pale glory of the brow!--a shrine
    Where Power sat veil'd, yet shedding softly round
What told that thou couldst be but for a time uncrown'd!

Page 46


    And more than all, the Heaven of that sad smile!
    The lip of mercy, our immortal trust!
    Did not that look, that very look, erewhile,
    Pour its o'ershadow'd beauty on the dust?
    Wert thou not such when earth's dark cloud hung o'er thee?
    --Surely thou wert!--my heart grew hush'd before thee,
    Sinking with all its passions, as the gust
    Sank at thy voice, along its billowy way:--
--What had I there to do, but kneel, and weep, and pray?


    Amidst the stillness rose my spirit's cry
    Amidst the dead--"By that full cup of woe,
    Press'd from the fruitage of mortality,
    Saviour! for thee--give light! that I may know
    If by thy will, in thine all-healing name,
    Men cast down human hearts to blighting shame,
    And early death--and say, if this be so,
    Where then is mercy?--whither shall we flee,
So unallied to hope, save by our hold on thee?

Page 47


    "But didst thou not, the deep sea brightly treading,
    Lift from despair that struggler with the wave?
    And wert thou not, sad tears, yet awful, shedding,
    Beheld, a weeper at a mortal's grave?
    And is this weight of anguish, which they bind
    On life, this searing to the quick of mind,
    That but to God its own free path would crave,
    This crushing out of hope, and love, and youth,
Thy will indeed?--Give light! that I may know the truth!


    "For my sick soul is darken'd unto death,
    With shadows from the suffering it hath seen
    The strong foundations of mine ancient faith
    Sink from beneath me--whereon shall I lean?
    --Oh! if from thy pure lips was wrung the sigh
    Of the dust's anguish! if like man to die,
    --And earth round him shuts heavily--hath been
    Even to thee bitter, aid me!--guide me!--turn
My wild and wandering thoughts back from their starless bourne!"

Page 48


    And calm'd I rose:--but how the while had risen
    Morn's orient sun, dissolving mist and shade!
    --Could there indeed be wrong, or chain, or prison.
    In the bright world such radiance might pervade?
    It fill'd the fane, it mantled the pale form
    Which rose before me through the pictured storm,
    Even the grey tombs it kindled, and array'd
    With life!--how hard to see thy race begun,
And think man wakes to grief, wakening to thee , O sun!


    I sought my home again:--and thou, my child,
    There at thy play beneath yon ancient pine,
    With eyes, whose lightning laughter10 hath beguil'd
    A thousand pangs, thence flashing joy to mine;
    Thou in thy mother's arms, a babe, didst meet
    My coming with young smiles, which yet, though sweet,
    Seem'd on my soul all mournfully to shine,
    And ask a happier heritage for thee,
Than but in turn the blight of human hope to see.

Page 49


    Now sport, for thou are free--the bright birds chasing,
    Whose wings waft star-like gleams from tree to tree;
    Or with the fawn, thy swift wood-playmate racing,
    Sport on, my joyous child! for thou art free!
    Yes, on that day I took thee to my heart,
    And inly vow'd, for thee a better part
    To choose; that so thy sunny bursts of glee
    Should wake no more dim thoughts of far-seen woe,
But, gladdening fearless eyes, flow on--as now they flow.


    Thou hast a rich world round thee:--Mighty shades
    Weaving their gorgeous tracery o'er thy head,
    With the light melting through their high arcades,
    As through a pillar'd cloister's11 : but the dead
    Sleep not beneath; nor doth the sunbeam pass
    To marble shrines through rainbow-tinted glass;
    Yet thou, by fount and forest-murmur led
    To worship, thou art blest!--to thee is shown
Earth in her holy pomp, deck'd for her God alone.

Page [50]

Page [51]



Wie diese treue liebe seele
Von ihrem Glauben Voll,
Der ganz allein
                 Ihr selig machend ist, sich heilig quäle,
                 Das sie den liebsten Mann verloren halten soll!
                I never shall smile more--but all my days
                Walk with still footsteps and with humble eyes,
                An everlasting hymn within my soul.


    BRING me the sounding of the torrent-water,
    With yet a nearer swell--fresh breeze, awake12 !
    And river, darkening ne'er with hues of slaughter
    Thy wave's pure silvery green,--and shining lake,
    Spread far before my cabin, with thy zone
    Of ancient woods, ye chainless things and lone!
    Send voices through the forest aisles, and make
    Glad music round me, that my soul may dare,
Cheer'd by such tones, to look back on a dungeon's air!

Page 52


    Oh, Indian hunter of the desert's race!
    That with the spear at times, or bended bow,
    Dost cross my footsteps in thy fiery chase
    Of the swift elk or blue hill's flying roe;
    Thou that beside the red night-fire thou heapest,
    Beneath the cedars and the star-light sleepest,
    Thou know'st not, wanderer--never may'st thou know!--
    Of the dark holds wherewith man cumbers earth,
To shut from human eyes the dancing seasons' mirth.


    There, fetter'd down from day, to think the while
    How bright in Heaven the festal sun is glowing,
    Making earth's loneliest places, with his smile,
    Flush like the rose; and how the streams are flowing
    With sudden sparkles through the shadowy grass,
    And water-flowers, all trembling as they pass;
    And how the rich dark summer-trees are bowing
    With their full foliage;--this to know, and pine
Bound unto midnight's heart, seems a stern lot--'twas mine.

Page 53


    Wherefore was this?--Because my soul had drawn
    Light from the book whose words are grav'd in light!
    There, at its well-head, had I found the dawn,
    And day, and noon of freedom:--but too bright
    It shines on that which man to man hath given,
    And call'd the truth--the very truth, from Heaven!
    And therefore seeks he, in his brother's sight,
    To cast the mote; and therefore strives to bind
With his strong chains to earth, what is not earth's--the mind!


    It is a weary and a bitter task
    Back from the lip the burning word to keep,
    And to shut out Heaven's air with falsehood's mask,
    And in the dark urn of the soul to heap
    Indignant feelings--making even of thought
    A buried treasure, which may but be sought
    When shadows are abroad--and night--and sleep.
    I might not brook it long--and thus was thrown
Into that grave-like cell, to wither there alone.

Page 54


    And I a child of danger, whose delights
    Were on dark hills and many-sounding seas--
    I that amidst the Cordillera heights
    Had given Castilian banners to the breeze,
    And the full circle of the rainbow seen
    There, on the snows13 ; and in my country been
    A mountain wanderer, from the Pyrenees
    To the Morena crags--how left I not
Life, or the soul's life quench'd, on that sepulchral spot?


    Because Thou didst not leave me, oh, my God!
    Thou wert with those that bore the truth of old
    Into the deserts from the oppressor's rod,
    And made the caverns of the rock their fold,
    And in the hidden chambers of the dead,
    Our guiding lamp with fire immortal fed,
    And met when stars met, by their beams to hold
    The free heart's communing with Thee,--and Thou
Wert in the midst, felt, own'd--the strengthener then as now!

Page 55


    Yet once I sank. Alas! man's wavering mind!
    Wherefore and whence the gusts that o'er it blow?
    How they bear with them, floating uncombin'd,
    The shadows of the past, that come and go,
    As o'er the deep the old long-buried things,
    Which a storm's working to the surface brings!
    Is the reed shaken, and must we be so,
    With every wind?--So, Father! must we be,
Till we can fix undimm'd our stedfast eyes on Thee.


    Once my soul died within me. What had thrown
    That sickness o'er it?--Even a passing thought
    Of a clear spring, whose side, with flowers o'ergrown,
    Fondly and oft my boyish steps had sought!
    Perchance the damp roof's water-drops, that fell
    Just then, low tinkling through my vaulted cell,
    Intensely heard amidst the stillness, caught
    Some tone from memory, of the music, welling
Ever with that fresh rill, from its deep rocky dwelling.

Page 56


    But so my spirit's fever'd longings wrought,
    Wakening, it might be, to the faint sad sound,
    That from the darkness of the walls they brought
    A lov'd scene round me, visibly around14 .
    Yes! kindling, spreading, brightening, hue by hue,
    Like stars from midnight, through the gloom it grew,
    That haunt of youth, hope, manhood!--till the bound
    Of my shut cavern seem'd dissolv'd, and I
Girt by the solemn hills and burning pomp of sky.


    I look'd--and lo! the clear broad river flowing,
    Past the old Moorish ruin on the steep,
    The lone tower dark against a Heaven all glowing,
    Like seas of glass and fire!--I saw the sweep
    Of glorious woods far down the mountain side,
    And their still shadows in the gleaming tide,
    And the red evening on its waves asleep;
    And midst the scene--oh! more than all--there smil'd
My child's fair face, and hers, the mother of my child!

Page 57


    With their soft eyes of love and gladness rais'd
    Up to the flushing sky, as when we stood
    Last by that river, and in silence gaz'd
    On the rich world of sunset:--but a flood
    Of sudden tenderness my soul oppress'd,
    And I rush'd forward with a yearning breast,
    To clasp--alas! a vision!--Wave and wood,
    And gentle faces, lifted in the light
Of day's last hectic blush, all melted from my sight.


    Then darkness!--oh! th' unutterable gloom
    That seem'd as narrowing round me, making less
    And less my dungeon, when, with all its bloom,
    That bright dream vanish'd from my loneliness!
    It floated off, the beautiful!--yet left
    Such deep thirst in my soul, that thus bereft,
    I lay down, sick with passion's vain excess,
    And pray'd to die.--How oft would sorrow weep
Her weariness to death, if he might come like sleep!

Page 58


    But I was rous'd--and how?--It is no tale
    Even midst thy shades, thou wilderness, to tell!
    I would not have my boy's young cheek made pale,
    Nor haunt his sunny rest with what befel
    In that drear prison-house.--His eye must grow
    More dark with thought, more earnest his fair brow,
    More high his heart in youthful strength must swell;
    So shall it fitly burn when all is told:--
Let childhood's radiant mist the free child yet enfold!


    It is enough that through such heavy hours,
    As wring us by our fellowship of clay,
    I liv'd, and undegraded. We have powers
    To snatch th' oppressor's bitter joy away!
    Shall the wild Indian, for his savage fame,
    Laugh and expire, and shall not truth's high name
    Bear up her martyrs with all-conquering sway?
    It is enough that Torture may be vain--
I had seen Alvar die--the strife was won from Pain.

Page 59


    And faint not, heart of man! though years wane slow!
    There have been those that from the deepest caves,
    And cells of night, and fastnesses, below
    The stormy dashing of the ocean-waves,
    Down, farther down than gold lies hid, have nurs'd
    A quenchless hope, and watch'd their time, and burst
    On the bright day, like wakeners from the graves!
    I was of such at last!--unchain'd I trod
This green earth, taking back my freedom from my God!


    That was an hour to send its fadeless trace
    Down life's far sweeping tide!--A dim, wild night,
    Like sorrow, hung upon the soft moon's face,
    Yet how my heart leap'd in her blessed light!
    The shepherd's light--the sailor's on the sea--
    The hunter's homeward from the mountains free,
    Where its lone smile makes tremulously bright
    The thousand streams!--I could but gaze through tears--
Oh! what a sight is Heaven, thus first beheld for years!

Page 60


    The rolling clouds!--they have the whole blue space
    Above to sail in--all the dome of sky!
    My soul shot with them in their breezy race
    O'er star and gloom!--but I had yet to fly,
    As flies the hunted wolf. A secret spot,
    And strange, I knew--the sunbeam knew it not;--
    Wildest of all the savage glens that lie
    In far sierras, hiding their deep springs,
And travers'd but by storms, or sounding eagles' wings.


    Ay, and I met the storm there!--I had gain'd
    The covert's heart with swift and stealthy tread:
    A moan went past me, and the dark trees rain'd
    Their autumn foliage rustling on my head;
    A moan--a hollow gust--and there I stood
    Girt with majestic night, and ancient wood,
    And foaming water.--Thither might have fled
    The mountain Christian with his faith of yore,
When Afric's tambour shook the ringing western shore!

Page 61


    But through the black ravine the storm came swelling--
    Mighty thou art amidst the hills, thou blast!
    In thy lone course the kingly cedars felling,
    Like plumes upon the path of battle cast!
    A rent oak thunder'd down beside my cave--
    Booming it rush'd, as booms a deep sea-wave;
    A falcon soar'd; a startled wild-deer pass'd;
    A far-off bell toll'd faintly through the roar--
How my glad spirit swept forth with the winds once more!


    And with the arrowy lightnings!--for they flash'd,
    Smiting the branches in their fitful play,
    And brightly shivering where the torrents dash'd
    Up, even to crag and eagle's nest, their spray!
    And there to stand amidst the pealing strife,
    The strong pines groaning with tempestuous life,
    And all the mountain-voices on their way,--
    Was it not joy?--'twas joy in rushing might,
After those years that wove but one long dead of night!

Page 62


    There came a softer hour, a lovelier moon,
    And lit me to my home of youth again,
    Through the dim chesnut shade, where oft at noon,
    By the fount's flashing burst, my head had lain,
    In gentle sleep: but now I pass'd as one
    That may not pause where wood-streams whispering run,
    Or light sprays tremble to a bird's wild strain,
    Because th' avenger's voice is in the wind,
The foe's quick rustling step close on the leaves behind.


    My home of youth!--oh! if indeed to part
    With the soul's lov'd ones be a mournful thing,
    When we go forth in buoyancy of heart,
    And bearing all the glories of our spring
    For life to breathe on,--is it less to meet,
    When these are faded?--who shall call it sweet?
    --Even though love's mingling tears may haply bring
    Balm as they fall, too well their heavy showers
Teach us how much is lost of all that once was ours!

Page 63


    Not by the sunshine, with its golden glow,
    Nor the green earth, nor yet the laughing sky,
    Nor the faint flower-scents15 , as they come and go
    In the soft air, like music wandering by;
    --Oh! not by these, th' unfailing, are we taught
    How time and sorrow on our frames have wrought,
    But by the sadden'd eye, the darken'd brow,
    Of kindred aspects, and the long dim gaze,
Which tells us we are chang'd,--how chang'd from other days!


    Before my father--in my place of birth,
    I stood an alien. On the very floor
    Which oft had trembled to my boyish mirth,
    The love that rear'd me, knew my face no more!
    There hung the antique armour, helm and crest,
    Whose every stain woke childhood in my breast,
    There droop'd the banner, with the marks it bore
    Of Paynim spears; and I, the worn in frame
And heart, what there was I?--another and the same!

Page 64


    Then bounded in a boy, with clear dark eye--
    --How should he know his father?--when we parted,
    From the soft cloud which mantles infancy,
    His soul, just wakening into wonder, darted
    Its first looks round. Him follow'd one, the bride
    Of my young days, the wife how lov'd and tried!
    Her glance met mine--I could not speak--she started
    With a bewilder'd gaze;--until there came
Tears to my burning eyes, and from my lips her name.


    She knew me then!--I murmur'd "Leonor!"
    And her heart answer'd!--oh! the voice is known
    First from all else, and swiftest to restore
    Love's buried images with one low tone,
    That strikes like lightning, when the cheek is faded,
    And the brow heavily with thought o'ershaded,
    And all the brightness from the aspect gone!
    --Upon my breast she sunk, when doubt was fled,
Weeping as those may weep, that meet in woe and dread.

Page 65


    For there we might not rest. Alas! to leave
    Those native towers, and know that they must fall
    By slow decay, and none remain to grieve
    When the weeds cluster'd on the lonely wall!
    We were the last--my boy and I--the last
    Of a long line which brightly thence had pass'd!
    My father bless'd me as I left his hall--
    --With his deep tones and sweet, tho' full of years,
He bless'd me there, and bath'd my child's young head with tears.


    I had brought sorrow on his grey hairs down,
    And cast the darkness of my branded name
    (For so he deem'd it) on the clear renown,
    My own ancestral heritage of fame.
    And yet he bless'd me!--Father! if the dust
    Lie on those lips benign, my spirit's trust
    Is to behold thee yet, where grief and shame
    Dim the bright day no more; and thou wilt know
That not thro' guilt thy son thus bow'd thine age with woe!

Page 66


    And thou, my Leonor! that unrepining,
    If sad in soul, didst quit all else for me,
    When stars--the stars that earliest rise--are shining,
    How their soft glance unseals each thought of thee!
    For on our flight they smil'd;--their dewy rays,
    Thro' the last olives, lit thy tearful gaze
    Back to the home we never more might see;
    So pass'd we on, like earth's first exiles, turning
Fond looks where hung the sword above their Eden burning.


    It was a woe to say--"Farewell, my Spain!
    The sunny and the vintage land, farewell!"
    --I could have died upon the battle plain
    For thee, my country! but I might not dwell
    In thy sweet vales, at peace.--The voice of song
    Breathes, with the myrtle scent, thy hills along;
    The citron's glow is caught from shade and dell;
    But what are these?--upon thy flowery sod
I might not kneel, and pour my free thoughts out to God!

Page 67


    O'er the blue deep I fled, the chainless deep!
    --Strange heart of man! that ev'n midst woe swells high,
    When thro' the foam he sees his proud bark sweep,
    Flinging out joyous gleams to wave and sky!
    Yes! it swells high, whate'er he leaves behind;
    His spirit rises with the rising wind;
    For, wedded to the far futurity,
    On, on, it bears him ever, and the main
Seems rushing, like his hope, some happier shore to gain.


    Not thus is woman. Closely her still heart
    Doth twine itself with ev'n each lifeless thing,
    Which, long remember'd, seem'd to bear its part
    In her calm joys. For ever would she cling,
    A brooding dove, to that sole spot of earth
    Where she hath loved, and given her children birth,
    And heard their first sweet voices. There may Spring
    Array no path, renew no flower, no leaf,
But hath its breath of home, its claim to farewell grief.

Page 68


    I look'd on Leonor, and if there seem'd
    A cloud of more than pensiveness to rise,
    In the faint smiles that o'er her features gleam'd,
    And the soft darkness of her serious eyes,
    Misty with tender gloom; I call'd it nought
    But the fond exile's pang, a lingering thought
    Of her own vale, with all its melodies
    And living light of streams. Her soul would rest
Beneath your shades, I said, bowers of the gorgeous west!


    Oh! could we live in visions! could we hold
    Delusion faster, longer, to our breast,
    When it shuts from us, with its mantle's fold,
    That which we see not, and are therefore blest!
    But they, our lov'd and loving, they to whom
    We have spread out our souls in joy and gloom,
     Their looks and accents, unto ours address'd,
    Have been a language of familiar tone
Too long to breathe, at last, dark sayings and unknown.

Page 69


    I told my heart 'twas but the exile's woe
    Which press'd on that sweet bosom;--I deceiv'd
    My heart but half:--a whisper faint and low,
    Haunting it ever, and at times believ'd,
    Spoke of some deeper cause. How oft we seem
    Like those that dream, and know the while they dream,
    Midst the soft falls of airy voices griev'd,
    And troubled, while bright phantoms round them play,
By a dim sense that all will float and fade away!


    Yet, as if chasing joy, I woo'd the breeze,
    To speed me onward with the wings of morn.
    --Oh! far amidst the solitary seas,
    Which were not made for man, what man hath borne,
    Answering their moan with his!--what thou didst bear,
    My lost and loveliest! while that secret care
    Grew terror, and thy gentle spirit, worn
    By its dull brooding weight, gave way at last,
Beholding me as one from hope for ever cast!

Page 70


    For unto thee, as thro' all change, reveal'd
    Mine inward being lay. In other eyes
    I had to bow me yet, and make a shield,
    To fence my burning bosom, of disguise;
    By the still hope sustain'd, ere long to win
    Some sanctuary, whose green retreats within,
    My thoughts unfetter'd to their source might rise,
    Like songs and scents of morn.--But thou didst look
Thro' all my soul, and thine even unto fainting shook.


    Fall'n, fall'n, I seem'd--yet, oh! not less belov'd,
    Tho' from thy love was pluck'd the early pride,
    And harshly, by a gloomy faith reproved,
    And sear'd with shame!--tho' each young flower had died,
    There was the root,--strong, living, not the less
    That all it yielded now was bitterness;
    Yet still such love as quits not misery's side,
    Nor drops from guilt its ivy-like embrace,
Nor turns away from death's its pale heroic face.

Page 71


    Yes! thou hadst follow'd me thro' fear and flight;
    Thou wouldst have follow'd had my pathway led
    Even to the scaffold; had the flashing light
    Of the rais'd axe made strong men shrink with dread,
    Thou, midst the hush of thousands, wouldst have been
    With thy clasp'd hands beside me kneeling seen,
    And meekly bowing to the shame thy head--
    --The shame!--oh! making beautiful to view
The might of human love--fair thing! so bravely true!


    There was thine agony--to love so well
    Where fear made love life's chastener.--Heretofore
    Whate'er of earth's disquiet round thee fell,
    Thy soul, o'erpassing its dim bounds, could soar
    Away to sunshine, and thy clear eye speak
    Most of the skies when grief most touch'd thy cheek.
    Now, that far brightness faded! never more
    Couldst thou lift heavenwards for its hope thy heart,
Since at Heaven's gate it seem'd that thou and I must part.

Page 72


    Alas! and life hath moments when a glance
    (If thought to sudden watchfulness be stirr'd,)
    A flush--a fading of the cheek perchance.
    A word--less, less--the cadence of a word,
    Lets in our gaze the mind's dim veil beneath,
    Thence to bring haply knowledge fraught with death!
    --Even thus, what never from thy lip was heard
    Broke on my soul.--I knew that in thy sight
I stood--howe'er belov'd--a recreant from the light!


    Thy sad sweet hymn, at eve, the seas along,--
    --Oh! the deep soul it breath'd!--the love, the woe,
    The fervor, pour'd in that full gush of song,
    As it went floating through the fiery glow
    Of the rich sunset!--bringing thoughts of Spain,
    With all her vesper-voices, o'er the main,
    Which seem'd responsive in its murmuring flow.
    --" Ave sanctissima! "--how oft that lay
Hath melted from my heart the martyr-strength away!

Page 73

     Ave, sanctissima!
'Tis night-fall on the sea;
     Ora pro nobis!
Our souls rise to thee!

Watch us, while shadows lie
    O'er the dim water spread;
Hear the heart's lonely sigh,
    --Thine , too, hath bled!

Thou that hast look'd on death,
    Aid us when death is near!
Whisper of Heaven to faith;
    Sweet mother, hear!

     Ora pro nobis!
The wave must rock our sleep,
     Ora, mater, ora!
Thou star of the deep!

Page 74


     "Ora pro nobis, mater!" --What a spell
    Was in those notes, with day's last glory dying
    On the flush'd waters!--seem'd they not to swell
    From the far dust, wherein my sires were lying
    With crucifix and sword?--Oh! yet how clear
    Comes their reproachful sweetness to mine ear!
     "Ora!" --with all the purple waves replying,
    All my youth's visions rising in the strain--
--And I had thought it much to bear the rack and chain!


    Torture!--the sorrow of affection's eye,
    Fixing its meekness on the spirit's core,
    Deeper, and teaching more of agony,
    May pierce than many swords!--and this I bore
    With a mute pang. Since I had vainly striven
    From its free springs to pour the truth of Heaven
    Into thy trembling soul, my Leonor!
    Silence rose up where hearts no hope could share:
--Alas! for those that love, and may not blend in prayer!

Page 75


     We could not pray together midst the deep,
    Which, like a floor of sapphire, round us lay,
    Through days of splendour, nights too bright for sleep,
    Soft, solemn, holy!--We were on our way
    Unto the mighty Cordillera-land,
    With men whom tales of that world's golden strand
    Had lur'd to leave their vines.--Oh! who shall say
    What thoughts rose in us, when the tropic sky
Touch'd all its molten seas with sunset's alchemy?


    Thoughts no more mingled!--Then came night--th' intense
    Dark blue--the burning stars!--I saw thee shine
    Once more, in thy serene magnificence,
    O Southern Cross 16 ! as when thy radiant sign
    First drew my gaze of youth.--No, not as then;
    I had been stricken by the darts of men
    Since those fresh days, and now thy light divine
    Look'd on mine anguish, while within me strove
The still small voice against the might of suffering love.

Page 76


    But thou, the clear, the glorious! thou wert pouring
    Brilliance and joy upon the crystal wave,
    While she that met thy ray with eyes adoring,
    Stood in the lengthening shadow of the grave!
    --Alas! I watch'd her dark religious glance,
    As it still sought thee through the Heaven's expanse,
    Bright Cross!--and knew not that I watch'd what gave
    But passing lustre--shrouded soon to be--
A soft light found no more--no more on earth or sea!


    I knew not all--yet something of unrest
    Sat on my heart. Wake, ocean-wind! I said;
    Waft us to land, in leafy freshness drest,
    Where through rich clouds of foliage o'er her head,
    Sweet day may steal, and rills unseen go by,
    Like singing voices, and the green earth lie
    Starry with flowers, beneath her graceful tread!
    --But the calm bound us midst the glassy main;
Ne'er was her step to bend earth's living flowers again.

Page 77


    Yes! as if Heaven upon the waves were sleeping,
    Vexing my soul with quiet, there they lay,
    All moveless through their blue transparence keeping,
    The shadows of our sails, from day to day;
    While she--oh! strongest is the strong heart's woe--
    And yet I live! I feel the sunshine's glow--
    And I am he that look'd, and saw decay
    Steal o'er the fair of earth, th' ador'd too much!
--It is a fearful thing to love what death may touch.


    A fearful thing that love and death may dwell
    In the same world!--She faded on--and I--
    Blind to the last, there needed death to tell
    My trusting soul that she could fade to die!
    Yet, ere she parted, I had mark'd a change,
    --But it breath'd hope--'twas beautiful, though strange:
    Something of gladness in the melody
    Of her low voice, and in her words a flight
Of airy thought--alas! too perilously bright!

Page 78


    And a clear sparkle in her glance, yet wild,
    And quick, and eager, like the flashing gaze
    Of some all wondering and awakening child,
    That first the glories of the earth surveys.
    --How could it thus deceive me?--she had worn
    Around her, like the dewy mists of morn,
    A pensive tenderness through happiest days,
    And a soft world of dreams had seem'd to lie
Still in her dark, and deep, and spiritual eye.


    And I could hope in that strange fire!--she died,
    She died, with all its lustre on her mien!
    --The day was melting from the waters wide,
    And through its long bright hours her thoughts had been,
    It seem'd, with restless and unwonted yearning,
    To Spain's blue skies and dark sierras turning
    For her fond words were all of vintage-scene,
    And flowering myrtle, and sweet citron's breath--
--Oh! with what vivid hues life comes back oft on death!

Page 79


    And from her lips the mountain-songs of old,
    In wild faint snatches, fitfully had sprung;
    Songs of the orange bower, the Moorish hold,
    The "Rio verde" 17, on her soul that hung,
    And thence flow'd forth.--But now the sun was low,
    And watching by my side its last red glow,
    That ever stills the heart, once more she sung
    Her own soft "Ora, mater!" --and the sound
Was even like love's farewell--so mournfully profound.


    The boy had dropp'd to slumber at our feet;--
    --"And I have lull'd him to his smiling rest
    Once more!" she said:--I rais'd him--it was sweet,
    Yet sad, to see the perfect calm which bless'd
    His look that hour;--for now her voice grew weak;
    And on the flowery crimson of his cheek,
    With her white lips a long, long kiss she press'd,
    Yet light, to wake him not.--Then sank her head
Against my bursting heart.--What did I clasp?--the dead!

Page 80


    I call'd--to call what answers not our cries--
    By that we lov'd to stand unseen, unheard,
    With the loud passion of our tears and sighs
    To see but some cold glistering ringlet stirr'd,
    And in the quench'd eye's fixedness to gaze,
    All vainly searching for the parted rays;
    This is what waits us!--Dead!--with that chill word
    To link our bosom-names!--For this we pour
Our souls upon the dust--nor tremble to adore!


    But the true parting came!--I look'd my last
    On the sad beauty of that slumbering face;
    How could I think the lovely spirit pass'd,
    Which there had left so tenderly its trace?
    Yet a dim awfulness was on the brow--
    No! not like sleep to look upon art Thou,
    Death, death!--She lay, a thing for earth's embrace,
    To cover with spring-wreaths.--For earth's?--the wave
That gives the bier no flowers--makes moan above her grave!

Page 81


    On the mid-seas a knell!--for man was there,
    Anguish and love--the mourner with his dead!
    A long low-rolling knell--a voice of prayer--
    Dark glassy waters, like a desert spread,--
    And the pale-shining Southern Cross on high,
    Its faint stars fading from a solemn sky,
    Where mighty clouds before the dawn grew red;--
    Were these things round me?--Such o'er memory sweep
Wildly when aught brings back that burial of the deep.


    Then the broad lonely sunrise!--and the plash
    Into the sounding waves 18 !--around her head
    They parted, with a glancing moment's flash,
    Then shut--and all was still. And now thy bed
    Is of their secrets, gentlest Leonor!
    Once fairest of young brides!--and never more,
    Lov'd as thou wert, may human tear be shed
    Above thy rest!--No mark the proud seas keep,
To show where he that wept may pause again to weep.

Page 82


    So the depths took thee!--Oh! the sullen sense
    Of desolation in that hour compress'd!
    Dust going down, a speck, amidst th' immense
    And gloomy waters, leaving on their breast
    The trace a weed might leave there!--Dust!--the thing
    Which to the heart was as a living spring
    Of joy, with fearfulness of love possess'd,
    Thus sinking!--Love, joy, fear, all crush'd to this--
And the wide Heaven so far--so fathomless th' abyss!


    Where the line sounds not, where the wrecks lie low,
    What shall wake thence the dead?--Blest, blest are they
    That earth to earth entrust; for they may know
    And tend the dwelling whence the slumberer's clay
    Shall rise at last, and bid the young flowers bloom,
    That waft a breath of hope around the tomb,
    And kneel upon the dewy turf to pray!
    But thou, what cave hath dimly chamber'd thee?
Vain dreams!--oh! art thou not where there is no more sea19 ?

Page 83


    The wind rose free and singing:--when for ever,
    O'er that sole spot of all the watery plain,
    I could have bent my sight with fond endeavour
    Down, where its treasure was, its glance to strain;
    Then rose the reckless wind!--Before our prow
    The white foam flash'd--ay, joyously--and thou
    Wert left with all the solitary main
    Around thee--and thy beauty in my heart,
And thy meek sorrowing love--oh! where could that depart?


    I will not speak of woe; I may not tell--
    Friend tells not such to friend--the thoughts which rent
    My fainting spirit, when its wild farewell
    Across the billows to thy grave was sent,
    Thou, there most lonely!--He that sits above,
    In his calm glory, will forgive the love
    His creatures bear each other, ev'n if blent
    With a vain worship; for its close is dim
Ever with grief, which leads the wrung soul back to Him!

Page 84


    And with a milder pang if now I bear
    To think of thee in thy forsaken rest,
    If from my heart be lifted the despair,
    The sharp remorse with healing influence press'd,
    If the soft eyes that visit me in sleep
    Look not reproach, though still they seem to weep;
    It is that He my sacrifice hath bless'd,
    And fill'd my bosom, through its inmost cell,
With a deep chastening sense that all at last is well.


    Yes! thou art now--Oh! wherefore doth the thought
    Of the wave dashing o'er thy long bright hair,
    The sea-weed into its dark tresses wrought,
    The sand thy pillow--thou that wert so fair!
    Come o'er me still?--Earth, earth!--it is the hold
    Earth ever keeps on that of earthy mould!
    But thou art breathing now in purer air,
    I well believe, and freed from all of error,
Which blighted here the root of thy sweet life with terror.

Page 85


    And if the love which here was passing light
    Went with what died not--Oh! that this we knew,
    But this!--that through the silence of the night,
    Some voice, of all the lost ones and the true,
    Would speak, and say, if in their far repose,
    We are yet aught of what we were to those
    We call the dead!--their passionate adieu,
    Was it but breath, to perish?--Holier trust
Be mine!--thy love is there, but purified from dust!


    A thing all heavenly!--clear'd from that which hung
    As a dim cloud between us, heart and mind!
    Loos'd from the fear, the grief, whose tendrils flung
    A chain, so darkly with its growth entwin'd.
    This is my hope!--though when the sunset fades,
    When forests rock the midnight on their shades,
    When tones of wail are in the rising wind,
    Across my spirit some faint doubt may sigh;
For the strong hours will sway this frail mortality!

Page 86


    We have been wanderers since those days of woe,
    Thy boy and I!--As wild birds tend their young,
    So have I tended him--my bounding roe!
    The high Peruvian solitudes among;
    And o'er the Andes-torrents borne his form,
    Where our frail bridge hath quiver'd midst the storm20 .
    --But there the war-notes of my country rung,
    And, smitten deep of Heaven and man, I fled
To hide in shades unpierc'd a mark'd and weary head.


    But he went on in gladness--that fair child!
    Save when at times his bright eye seem'd to dream,
    And his young lips, which then no longer smil'd,
    Ask'd of his mother!--that was but a gleam
    Of Memory, fleeting fast; and then his play
    Through the wide Llanos21 cheer'd again our way,
    And by the mighty Oronoco stream,
    On whose lone margin we have heard at morn,
From the mysterious rocks, the sunrise-music borne22 .

Page 87


    So like a spirit's voice! a harping tone,
    Lovely, yet ominous to mortal ear,
    Such as might reach us from a world unknown,
    Troubling man's heart with thrills of joy and fear!
    'Twas sweet!--yet those deep southern shades oppress'd
    My soul with stillness, like the calms that rest
    On melancholy waves23 : I sigh'd to hear
    Once more earth's breezy sounds, her foliage fann'd,
And turn'd to seek the wilds of the red hunter's land.


    And we have won a bower of refuge now,
    In this fresh waste, the breath of whose repose
    Hath cool'd, like dew, the fever of my brow,
    And whose green oaks and cedars round me close,
    As temple-walls and pillars, that exclude
    Earth's haunted dreams from their free solitude;
    All, save the image and the thought of those
    Before us gone; our lov'd of early years,
Gone where affection's cup hath lost the taste of tears.

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    I see a star--eve's first-born!--in whose train
    Past scenes, words, looks, come back. The arrowy spire
    Of the lone cypress, as of wood-girt fane,
    Rests dark and still amidst a heaven of fire;
    The pine gives forth its odours, and the lake
    Gleams like one ruby, and the soft winds wake,
    Till every string of nature's solemn lyre
    Is touch'd to answer; its most secret tone
Drawn from each tree, for each hath whispers all its own.


    And hark! another murmur on the air,
    Not of the hidden rills, or quivering shades!
    --That is the cataract's, which the breezes bear,
    Filling the leafy twilight of the glades
    With hollow surge-like sounds, as from the bed
    Of the blue mournful seas, that keep the dead:
    But they are far!--the low sun here pervades
    Dim forest-arches, bathing with red gold
Their stems, till each is made a marvel to behold,

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    Gorgeous, yet full of gloom!--In such an hour,
    The vesper-melody of dying bells
    Wanders through Spain, from each grey convent's tower
    O'er shining rivers pour'd, and olive-dells,
    By every peasant heard, and muleteer,
    And hamlet, round my home:--and I am here,
    Living again through all my life's farewells,
    In these vast woods, where farewell ne'er was spoken,
And sole I lift to Heaven a sad heart--yet unbroken!


    In such an hour are told the hermit's beads;
    With the white sail the seaman's hymn floats by:
    Peace be with all! whate'er their varying creeds,
    With all that send up holy thoughts on high!
    Come to me, boy!--by Guadalquivir's vines,
    By every stream of Spain, as day declines,
    Man's prayers are mingled in the rosy sky.
    --We, too, will pray; nor yet unheard, my child!
Of Him whose voice we hear at eve amidst the wild.

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    At eve?--oh! through all hours!--From dark dreams oft
    Awakening, I look forth, and learn the might
    Of solitude, while thou art breathing soft,
    And low, my lov'd one! on the breast of night:
    I look forth on the stars--the shadowy sleep
    Of forests--and the lake, whose gloomy deep
    Sends up red sparkles to the fire-flies' light.
    A lonely world!--even fearful to man's thought,
But for His presence felt, whom here my soul hath sought.

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Note 1, page 4, line 14. And sighing through the feathery canes, &c.

The canes in some parts of the American forests form a thick undergrowth for many hundred miles.--See Hodgson's letters from North America, vol. i. p. 242.

Note 2, page 5, line 9. And for their birth-place moan, as moans the ocean-shell.
Such a shell as Wordsworth has beautifully described.

"I have seen
A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
Of inland ground, applying to his ear
The convolutions of a smooth-lipp'd shell;
To which, in silence hush'd, his very soul
Listen'd intently, and his countenance soon
Brightened with joy; for murmurings from within
Were heard--sonorous cadences! whereby,
To his belief, the monitor express'd
Mysterious union with its native sea.
--Even such a shell the universe itself
Is to the ear of Faith."--The Excursion.

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Note 3, page 8, line 10. I see an oak before me,&c.

"I recollect hearing a traveller, of poetical temperament, expressing the kind of horror which he felt on beholding, on the banks of the Missouri, an oak of prodigious size, which had been in a manner overpowered by an enormous wild grape-vine. The vine had clasped its huge folds round the trunk, and from thence had wound about every branch and twig, until the mighty tree had withered in its embrace. It seemed like Laocoon struggling ineffectually in the hideous coils of the monster Python."-- Bracebridge Hall. Chapter on Forest Trees.

Note 4, page 15, lines 10, 11, 12.      Thou hast perish'd
More nobly far, my Alvar!--making known
The might of truth.

For a most interesting account of the Spanish Protestants, and the heroic devotion with which they met the spirit of persecution in the sixteenth century, see the Quarterly Review, No. 57, art. Quin's Visit to Spain.

Note 5, page 18, lines 10, 11, 12.      I look'd on two,
Following his footsteps to the same dread place,
For the same guilt--his sisters!--

"A priest, named Gonzalez, had, among other proselytes, gained over two young females, his sisters, to the protestant faith. All three were confined in the dungeons of the Inquisition.

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The torture, repeatedly applied, could not draw from them the least evidence against their religious associates. Every artifice was employed to obtain a recantation from the two sisters, since the constancy and learning of Gonzalez precluded all hopes of a theological victory. Their answer, if not exactly logical, is wonderfully simple and affecting. 'We will die in the faith of our brother: he is too wise to be wrong, and too good to deceive us.'--The three stakes on which they died were near each other. The priest had been gagged till the moment of lighting up the wood. The few minutes that he was allowed to speak he employed in comforting his sisters, with whom he sung the 109th Psalm, till the flames smothered their voices."--Ibid.

Note 6, page 19, lines 8 and 9.      And deem the name
A hundred chiefs had borne, cast down by you to shame.

The names, not only of the immediate victims of the Inquisition, were devoted to infamy, but those of all their relations were branded with the same indelible stain, which was likewise to descend as an inheritance to their latest posterity.

Note 7, page 28, lines 10 and 11. 'Twas not within the city--but in sight
Of the snow-crown'd sierras.

The piles erected for these executions were without the towns, and the final scene of an Auto da Fe was sometimes, from the length of the preceding ceremonies, delayed till midnight.

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Note 8, page 41, lines 1, 2, 3. I would have call'd, adjuring the dark cloud:
To the most ancient Heavens I would have said,
"Speak to me! show me truth!"

For one of the most powerful and impressive pictures perhaps ever drawn, of a young mind struggling against habit and superstition in its first aspirations after truth, see the admirable Letters from Spain by Don Leucadio Doblado.

Note 9, page 42, lines 10 and 11. For thick ye girt me round, ye long-departed!
Dust--imaged form--with cross, and shield, and crest.

"You walk from end to end over a floor of tombstones, inlaid in brass with the forms of the departed, mitres, and croziers, and spears, and shields, and helmets, all mingled together--all worn into glass-like smoothness by the feet and the knees of long departed worshippers. Around, on every side, each in their separate chapel, sleep undisturbed from age to age the venerable ashes of the holiest or the loftiest that of old came thither to worship--their images and their dying prayers sculptured among the resting-places of their remains."--From a beautiful description of ancient Spanish Cathedrals, in Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk.

Note 10, page 48, lines 12 and 13. With eyes, whose lightning laughter hath beguil'd
A thousand pangs.
"E 'l lampeggiar de l' angelico riso."

Page 95

Note 11, page 49, lines 10, 11, 12, 13       Mighty shades
Weaving their gorgeous tracery o'er that head,
With the light melting through their high arcades,
As through a pillar'd cloister's.

"Sometimes their discourse was held in the deep shades of moss-grown forests, whose gloom and interlaced boughs first suggested that Gothic architecture, beneath whose pointed arches, where they had studied and prayed, the parti-coloured windows shed a tinged light; scenes, which the gleams of sunshine, penetrating the deep foliage, and flickering on the variegated turf below, might have recalled to their memory."-- Webster's Oration on the Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England.--See Hodgson's Letters from North America, vol. ii. p. 305.

Note 12, page 51, lines 1 and 2. Bring me the sounding of the torrent-water,
With yet a nearer swell--fresh breeze, awake!

The varying sounds of waterfalls are thus alluded to in an interesting work of Mrs. Grant's. "On the opposite side the view was bounded by steep hills, covered with lofty pines, from which a waterfall descended, which not only gave animation to the sylvan scene, but was the best barometer imaginable; foretelling by its varied and intelligible sounds every approaching change, not only of the weather but of the wind."--Memoirs of an American Lady, vol. i. p. 143.

Page 96

Note 13, page 54, lines 5 and 6. And the full circle of the rainbow seen
There, on the snows.

The circular rainbows, occasionally seen amongst the Andes, are described by Ulloa.

Note 14, page 56, lines 1, 2, 3, 4. But so my spirit's fever'd longings wrought,
Wakening, it might be, to the faint sad sound,
That from the darkness of the walls they brought
A lov'd scene round me, visibly around.

Many striking instances of the vividness with which the mind, when strongly excited, has been known to renovate past impressions, and embody them into visible imagery, are noticed and accounted for in Dr. Hibbert's Philosophy of Apparitions. The following illustrative passage is quoted in the same work, from the writings of the late Dr. Ferriar. "I remember that, about the age of fourteen, it was a source of great amusement to myself, if I had been viewing any interesting object in the course of the day, such as a romantic ruin, a fine seat, or a review of a body of troops, as soon as evening came on, if I had occasion to go into a dark room, the whole scene was brought before my eyes with a brilliancy equal to what it had possessed in daylight, and remained visible for several minutes. I have no doubt that dismal and frightful images have been thus presented to young persons after scenes of domestic affliction or public horror."

The following passage from the "Alcazar of Seville," a tale, or historical sketch, by the author of Doblado's letters, affords a

Page 97

further illustration of this subject. "When, descending fast into the vale of years, I strongly fix my mind's eye on those narrow, shady, silent streets, where I breathed the scented air which came rustling through the surrounding groves; where the footsteps re-echoed from the clean watered porches of the houses, and where every object spoke of quiet and contentment; . . . . . . . . . . the objects around me begin to fade into a mere delusion, and not only the thoughts, but the external sensations, which I then experience, revive with a reality that almost makes me shudder--it has so much the character of a trance, or vision."

Note 15, p. 63, lines 3 and 4. Nor the faint flower-scents, as they come and go
In the soft air, like music wandering by.

"For because the breath of flowers is farre sweeter in the aire (where it comes and goes like the warbling of musick) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that delight than to know what be the flowers and plants which doe best perfume the aire."--Lord Bacon's Essay on Gardens.

Note 16, page 75, lines 11, 12, 13. I saw thee shine
Once more, in thy serene magnificence,
O Southern Cross!

"The pleasure we felt on discovering the Southern Cross was warmly shared by such of the crew as had lived in the colonies. In the solitude of the seas, we hail a star as a friend from whom

Page 98

we have long been separated. Among the Portugueze and the Spaniards, peculiar motives seem to increase this feeling; a religious sentiment attaches them to a constellation, the form of which recals the sign of the faith planted by their ancestors in the deserts of the New World. . . . . . . . . . . . . It has been observed at what hour of the night, in different seasons, the Cross of the South is erect or inclined. It is a time-piece that advances very regularly near four minutes a day, and no other group of stars exhibits to the naked eye an observation of time so easily made. How often have we heard our guides exclaim, in the savannahs of Venezuela, or in the desert extending from Lima to Truxillo, "Midnight is past, the cross begins to bend!" How often these words reminded us of that affecting scene where Paul and Virginia, seated near the source of the river of Lataniers, conversed together for the last time, and where the old man, at the sight of the Southern Cross, warns them that it is time to separate!"--De Humboldt's Travels.

Note 17, page 79, lines 3 and 4. Songs of the orange bower, the Moorish hold,
The"Rio Verde."

"Rio verde, rio verde," the popular Spanish Romance, known to the English reader in Percy's translation.

                "Gentle river, gentle river,
                Lo, thy streams are stain'd with gore!
                Many a brave and noble captain
                Floats along thy willow'd shore," &c. &c.

Page 99

Note 18, page 81, lines 10 and 11. Then the broad lonely sun-rise!--and the plash
Into the sounding waves!--

De Humboldt, in describing the burial of a young Asturian at sea, mentions the entreaty of the officiating priest, that the body, which had been brought upon deck during the night, might not be committed to the waves until after sun-rise, in order to pay it the last rites according to the usage of the Romish church.

Note 19, page 82, line last.

Oh art thou not where there is no more sea?

"And there was no more sea."--Rev. chap. xxi. v. 1.

Note 20, page 86, lines 5 and 6. And o'er the Andes-torrents borne his form,
Where our frail bridge hath quiver'd midst the storm.

The bridges over many deep chasms amongst the Andes are pendulous, and formed only of the fibres of equinoctial plants. Their tremulous motion has afforded a striking image to one of the stanzas in "Gertrude of Wyoming."

                "Anon some wilder portraiture he draws,
                Of nature's savage glories he would speak;
                The loneliness of earth, that overawes,
                 Where, resting by the tomb of old Cacique,

Page 100

                The lama-driver, on Peruvia's peak,
                Nor voice nor living motion marks around,
                But storks that to the boundless forest shriek,
                Or wild-cane arch, high flung o'er gulf profound,
                That fluctuates when the storms of El Dorado sound.

Note 21, page 86, lines 14 and 15.      And then his play
Through the wide Llanos cheer'd again our way.

Llanos , or savannas, the great plains in South America.

Note 22, page 86, lines 16, 17, 18. And by the mighty Oronoco stream,
On whose lone margin we have heard at morn,
From the mysterious rocks, the sunrise-music borne.

De Humboldt speaks of these rocks on the shores of the Oronoco. Travellers have heard from time to time subterraneous sounds proceed from them at sun-rise, resembling those of an organ. He believes in the existence of this mysterious music, although not fortunate enough to have heard it himself, and thinks that it may be produced by currents of air issuing through the crevices.

Page 101

Note 23, page 87, lines 5 and 6. Yet those deep southern shades oppress'd
My soul with stillness.

The same distinguished traveller frequently alludes to the extreme stillness of the air in the equatorial regions of the new continent, and particularly on the thickly wooded shores of the Oronoco. "In this neighbourhood," he says, "no breath of wind ever agitates the foliage."

Page [102]

Page [103]


Page [104]

Page [105]

The following pieces may so far be considered a series, as each is intended to be commemorative of some national recollection, popular custom, or tradition. The idea was suggested by Herder's "Stimmen der Volker in Liedern ;" the execution is however different, as the poems in his collection are chiefly translations.

Most of those forming the present one have appeared, as well as the miscellaneous pieces attached to them, in the New Monthly Magazine.

Page [106]

Page 107


It is a custom among the Moors, that a female who dies unmarried is clothed for
interment in wedding apparel, and the bridal song is sung over her remains
before they are borne from her home.
See the Narrative of a Ten Years' Residence in Tripoli, by the sister-in-law of Mr. Tully.

    THE citron groves their fruit and flowers were strewing
    Around a Moorish palace, while the sigh
    Of low sweet summer-winds, the branches wooing,
    With music through their shadowy bowers went by;
    Music and voices, from the marble halls,
Through the leaves gleaming, and the fountain-falls.

    A song of joy, a bridal song came swelling,
    To blend with fragrance in those southern shades,
    And told of feasts within the stately dwelling,
    Bright lamps, and dancing steps, and gem-crown'd maids;
    And thus it flow'd;--yet something in the lay
Belong'd to sadness, as it died away.

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    "The bride comes forth! her tears no more are falling
    To leave the chamber of her infant years;
    Kind voices from distant home are calling;
    She comes like day-spring--she hath done with tears;
    Now must her dark eye shine on other flowers,
Her soft smile gladden other hearts than ours!
--Pour the rich odours round!

    "We haste! the chosen and the lovely bringing;
    Love still goes with her from her place of birth;
    Deep silent joy within her soul is springing,
    Though in her glance the light no more is mirth!
    Her beauty leaves us in its rosy years;
Her sisters weep--but she hath done with tears!
--Now may the timbrel sound!"

    Know'st thou for whom they sang the bridal numbers?
    --One, whose rich tresses were to wave no more!
    One, whose pale cheek soft winds, nor gentle slumbers,
    Nor Love's own sigh, to rose-tints might restore!
    Her graceful ringlets o'er a bier were spread.--
--Weep for the young, the beautiful,--the dead!

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The Indians of Bengal and of the Coast of Malabar bring cages filled with birds
to the graves of their friends, over which they set the birds at liberty.
This custom is alluded to in the description of Virginia's funeral. See Paul and Virginia.

    GO forth, for she is gone!
With the golden light of her wavy hair,
She is gone to the fields of the viewless air;
    She hath left her dwelling lone!

    Her voice hath pass'd away!
It hath pass'd away like a summer breeze,
When it leaves the hills for the far blue seas,
    Where we may not trace its way.

    Go forth, and like her be free!
With thy radiant wing, and thy glancing eye,
Thou hast all the range of the sunny sky,
    And what is our grief to thee?

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    Is it aught ev'n to her we mourn?
Doth she look on the tears by her kindred shed?
Doth she rest with the flowers o'er her gentle head,
    Or float on the light wind borne?

    We know not--but she is gone!
Her step from the dance, her voice from the song,
And the smile of her eye from the festal throng;--
    --She hath left her dwelling lone!

    When the waves at sunset shine,
We may hear thy voice, amidst thousands more,
In the scented woods of our glowing shore,
    But we shall not know 'tis thine!

    Ev'n so with the lov'd one flown!
Her smile in the starlight may wander by,
Her breath may be near in the wind's low sigh,
    Around us--but all unknown.

    Go forth, we have loos'd thy chain!
We may deck thy cage with the richest flowers,
Which the bright day rears in our eastern bowers,
    But thou wilt not be lur'd again.

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    Ev'n thus may the summer pour
All fragrant things on the land's green breast,
And the glorious earth like a bride be dress'd,
    But it wins her back no more!

Page 112



The idea of this ballad is taken from a scene in "Starkother," a tragedy by the
Danish poet Ochlenschlager. The sepulchral fire here alluded to, and sup-
posed to guard the ashes of deceased heroes, is frequently mentioned in the
Northern Sagas. Severe sufferings to the departed spirit were supposed by the
Scandinavian mythologists to be the consequence of any profanation of
the sepulchre. See Ochlenschlager's Plays.

"VOICE of the gifted elder time!
Voice of the charm and the Runic rhyme!
Speak! from the shades and the depths disclose,
How Sigurd may vanquish his mortal foes;
    Voice of the buried past!

"Voice of the grave! 'tis the mighty hour,
When night with her stars and dreams hath power,
And my step hath been soundless on the snows,
And the spell I have sung hath laid repose
    On the billow and the blast."

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        Then the torrents of the North,
        And the forest pines were still,
        While a hollow chant came forth
        From the dark sepulchral hill.

"There shines no sun 'midst the hidden dead,
But where the day looks not the brave may tread;
There is heard no song, and no mead is pour'd,
But the warrior may come to the silent board
    In the shadow of the night.

"There is laid a sword in thy father's tomb,
And its edge is fraught with thy foeman's doom;
But soft be thy step through the silence deep,
And move not the urn in the house of sleep,
    For the viewless have fearful might!"

        Then died the solemn lay,
        As a trumpet's music dies,
        By the night-wind borne away
        Through the wild and stormy skies.

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The fir-trees rock'd to the wailing blast,
As on through the forest the warrior pass'd,--
Through the forest of Odin, the dim and old,
The dark place of visions and legends, told
    By the fires of Northern pine.

The fir-trees rock'd, and the frozen ground
Gave back to his footstep a hollow sound;
And it seem'd that the depths of those awful shades,
From the dreary gloom of their long arcades,
    Gave warning, with voice and sign.

        But the wind strange magic knows
        To call wild shape and tone
        From the grey wood's tossing boughs
        When night is on her throne.

The pines clos'd o'er him with deeper gloom,
As he took the path to the monarch's tomb;
The pole-star shone, and the heavens were bright
With the arrowy streams of the northern light,
    But his road through dimness lay!

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He pass'd, in the heart of that ancient wood,
The dark shrine stain'd with the victim's blood:
Nor paus'd, till the rock where a vaulted bed
Had been hewn of old for the kingly dead,
    Arose on his midnight way.

        Then first a moment's chill
        Went shuddering through his breast,
        And the steel-clad man stood still
        Before that place of rest.

But he cross'd at length, with a deep-drawn breath,
The threshold-floor of the hall of Death,
And look'd on the pale mysterious fire
Which gleam'd from the urn of his warrior-sire,
        With a strange and solemn light.

Then darkly the words of the boding strain
Like an omen rose on his soul again,
--"Soft be thy step through the silence deep,
And move not the urn in the house of sleep,
        For the viewless have fearful might!"

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        But the gleaming sword and shield
        Of many a battle-day
        Hung o'er that urn, reveal'd
        By the tomb-fire's waveless ray.

With a faded wreath of oak-leaves bound,
They hung o'er the dust of the far-renown'd,
Whom the bright Valkyriur's warning voice
Had call'd to the banquet where gods rejoice,
    And the rich mead flows in light.

With a beating heart his son drew near,
And still rang the verse in his thrilling ear,
--"Soft be thy step through the silence deep,
And move not the urn in the house of sleep,
    For the viewless have fearful might!"

        And many a Saga's rhyme,
        And legend of the grave,
        That shadowy scene and time
        Call'd back, to daunt the brave.

Page 117

But he rais'd his arm--and the flame grew dim,
And the sword in its light seem'd to wave and swim,
And his faltering hand could not grasp it well--
From the pale oak-wreath, with a clash it fell
    Through the chamber of the dead!

The deep tomb rang with the heavy sound,
And the urn lay shiver'd in fragments round;
And a rush, as of tempests, quench'd the fire,
And the scatter'd dust of his warlike sire
    Was strewn on the Champion's head.

        One moment--and all was still
        In the slumberer's ancient hall,
        When the rock had ceas'd to thrill
        With the mighty weapon's fall.

The stars were just fading, one by one,
The clouds were just ting'd by the early sun,
When there stream'd through the cavern a torch's flame,
And the brother of Sigurd the valiant came
    To seek him in the tomb.

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Stretch'd on his shield, like the steel-girt slain
By moonlight seen on the battle-plain,
In a speechless trance lay the warrior there,
But he wildly woke when the torch's glare
    Burst on him through the gloom.

        "The morning wind blows free,
        And the hour of chase is near:
        Come forth, come forth, with me!
        What dost thou, Sigurd, here?"

"I have put out the holy sepulchral fire,
I have scatter'd the dust of my warrior-sire!
It burns on my head, and it weighs down my heart;
But the winds shall not wander without their part
    To strew o'er the restless deep!

"In the mantle of death he was here with me now,--
There was wrath in his eye, there was gloom on his brow;
And his cold still glance on my spirit fell
With an icy ray and a withering spell--
    Oh! chill is the house of sleep!"

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        "The morning wind blows free,
        And the reddening sun shines clear;
        Come forth come forth, with me!
        It is dark and fearful here!"

"He is there, he is there, with his shadowy frown!
But gone from his head is the kingly crown,
The crown from his head, and the spear from his hand,--
They have chas'd him far from the glorious land
    Where the feast of the gods is spread!

"He must go forth alone on his phantom steed;
He must ride o'er the grave-hills with stormy speed;
His place is no longer at Odin's board,
He is driven from Valhalla without his sword!
    But the slayer shall avenge the dead!"

        That sword its fame had won
        By the fall of many a crest,
        But its fiercest work was done
        In the tomb on Sigurd's breast!

Page 120


The Valkyriur, or Fatal Sisters of Northern mythology, were supposed to single
out the warriors who were to die in battle, and be received into the halls of
Odin. When a Northern chief fell gloriously in war, his obsequies were honoured with
all possible magnificence. His arms, gold and silver, war-horse, domestic
attendants, and whatever else he held most dear, were placed with him on
the pile. His dependants and friends frequently made it a point of honour
to die with their leader, in order to attend on his shade in Valhalla, or the
Palace of Odin. And lastly, his wife was generally consumed with him on
the same pile. See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, Herbert's Helga, &c.

                Tremblingly flash'd th' inconstant meteor light,
                Showing thin forms like virgins of this earth,
                Save that all signs of human joy or grief,
                The flush of passion, smile or tear, had seem'd
                On the fix'd brightness of each dazzling cheek
                Strange and unnatural.


THE Sea-king woke from the troubled sleep
    Of a vision-haunted night,
And he look'd from his bark o'er the gloomy deep,
    And counted the streaks of light;
        For the red sun's earliest ray
        Was to rouse his bands that day,
    To the stormy joy of fight!

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But the dreams of rest were still on earth,
    And the silent stars on high,
And there wav'd not the smoke of one cabin-hearth
    'Midst the quiet of the sky;
        And along the twilight bay
        In their sleep the hamlets lay,
    For they knew not the Norse were nigh!

The Sea-king look'd o'er the brooding wave:
    He turn'd to the dusky shore,
And there seem'd, through the arch of a tide-worn cave,
    A gleam, as of snow, to pour;
        And forth, in watery light,
        Mov'd phantoms, dimly white,
    Which the garb of woman bore.

Slowly they mov'd to the billow side;
    And the forms, as they grew more clear,
Seem'd each on a tall pale steed to ride,
    And a shadowy crest to rear,
        And to beckon with faint hand
        From the dark and rocky strand,
    And to point a gleaming spear.

Page 122

Then a stillness on his spirit fell,
    Before th' unearthly train,
For he knew Valhalla's daughters well,
    The choosers of the slain!
        And a sudden rising breeze
        Bore across the moaning seas
    To his ear their thrilling strain:

        "There are songs in Odin's Hall,
         For the brave, ere night to fall!
         Doth the great sun hide his ray?--
         He must bring a wrathful day!
         Sleeps the falchion in its sheath?--
         Swords must do the work of death!
         Regner!--sea-king!--thee we call!
        There is joy in Odin's Hall.

        "At the feast and in the song,
         Thou shalt be remember'd long!
         By the green isles of the flood
         Thou hast left thy track in blood!
         On the earth and on the sea,
         There are those will speak of thee!
         'Tis enough--the war-gods call--
         There is mead in Odin's Hall!

Page 123

        "Regner! tell thy fair-hair'd bride
         She must slumber at thy side!
         Tell the brother of thy breast
         Ev'n for him thy grave hath rest!
         Tell the raven-steed which bore thee,
         When the wild wolf fled before thee,
         He too with his lord must fall--
         There is room in Odin's Hall!

        "Lo! the mighty sun looks forth--
         Arm! thou leader of the north!
         Lo! the mists of twilight fly--
         We must vanish, thou must die!
         By the sword and by the spear,
         By the hand that knows not fear,
         Sea-king! nobly shalt thou fall!--
         There is joy in Odin's Hall!"

There was arming heard on land and wave,
    When afar the sunlight spread,
And the phantom forms of the tide-worn cave
    With the mists of morning fled.
        But at eve, the kingly hand
        Of the battle-axe and brand,
    Lay cold on a pile of dead!

Page 124



The three founders of the Helvetic Confederacy are thought to sleep in a cavern
near the Lake of Lucerne. The herdsmen call them the Three Tells;
and say that they lie there in their antique garb, in quiet slumber; and
when Switzerland is in her utmost need, they will awaken and regain the
liberties of the land.
                                 See Quarterly Review, No. 44. The Grütli, where the confederates held their nightly meetings, is a meadow on
the shore of the Lake of Lucerne, or Lake of the Forest-cantons, here
called the Forest-sea.

OH ! enter not yon shadowy cave,
    Seek not the bright spars there,
Though the whispering pines that o'er it wave,
    With freshness fill the air:
            For there the Patriot Three,
                In the garb of old array'd,
            By their native Forest-sea
                On a rocky couch are laid.

Page 125

The Patriot Three that met of yore
    Beneath the midnight sky,
And leagued their hearts on the Grütli shore,
    In the name of liberty!
            Now silently they sleep
                Amidst the hills they freed;
            But their rest is only deep,
                Till their country's hour of need.

They start not at the hunter's call,
    Nor the Lammer-geyer's cry,
Nor the rush of a sudden torrent's fall,
    Nor the Lauwine thundering by!
            And the Alpine herdsman's lay,
                To a Switzer's heart so dear
            On the wild wind floats away,
                No more for them to hear.

But when the battle-horn is blown
    Till the Schreckhorn's peaks reply,
When the Jungfrau's cliffs send back the tone
    Through their eagles' lonely sky;

Page 126

            When spear-heads light the lakes,
                When trumpets loose the snows,
            When the rushing war-steed shakes
                The glacier's mute repose;

When Uri's beechen woods wave red
    In the burning hamlet's light ;--
Then from the cavern of the dead,
    Shall the sleepers wake in might!
            With a leap, like Tell's proud leap,
                When away the helm he flung* ,
            And boldly up the steep
                From the flashing billow sprung!

They shall wake beside their Forest-sea,
    In the ancient garb they wore
When they link'd the hands that made us free,
    On the Grütli's moonlight shore:
            And their voices shall be heard,
                And be answer'd with a shout,
            Till the echoing Alps are stirr'd,
                And the signal-fires blaze out.

* The point of rock on which Tell leaped from the boat of Gessler is marked by a chapel, and called the Tellensprung.

Page 127

And the land shall see such deeds again
    As those of that proud day,
When Winkelried, on Sempach's plain,
    Through the serried spears made way;
            And when the rocks came down
                On the dark Morgarten dell,
            And the crowned casques* , o'erthrown,
                Before our fathers fell!

For the Kühreihen's+ notes must never sound
    In a land that wears the chain,
And the vines on freedom's holy ground
    Untrampled must remain!
            And the yellow harvests wave
                For no stranger's hand to reap,
            While within their silent cave
                The men of Grütli sleep!

* Crowned helmets , as a distinction of rank, are mentioned in Simond's Switzerland.

+The Kühreihen, the celebrated Ranz des Vaches.

Page 128



The Swiss, even to our days, have continued to celebrate the anniversaries of
their ancient battles with much solemnity; assembling in the open air on
the fields where their ancestors fought, to hear thanksgivings offered up by
the priests, and the names of all who shared in the glory of the day
enumerated. They afterwards walk in procession to chapels, always erected
in the vicinity of such scenes, where masses are sung for the souls of the
departed. See Planta's History of the Helvetic Confederacy.

    LOOK on the white Alps round!
        If yet they gird a land
    Where freedom's voice and step are found,
        Forget ye not the band,
The faithful band, our sires, who fell
Here, in the narrow battle-dell!

    If yet, the wilds among,
        Our silent hearts may burn,
    When the deep mountain-horn hath rung,
        And home our steps may turn,
--Home!--home!--if still that name be dear,
Praise to the men who perish'd here!

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    Look on the white Alps round!
        Up to their shining snows
    That day the stormy rolling sound,
        The sound of battle rose!
Their caves prolong'd the trumpet's blast,
Their dark pines trembled as it pass'd!

    They saw the princely crest,
        They saw the knightly spear,
    The banner and the mail-clad breast
        Borne down, and trampled here!
They saw--and glorying there they stand,
Eternal records to the land!

    Praise to the mountain-born,
        The brethren of the glen!
    By them no steel-array was worn,
        They stood as peasant-men!
They left the vineyard and the field
To break an empire's lance and shield!

    Look on the white Alps round!
        If yet, along their steeps,

Page 130

    Our children's fearless feet may bound,
        Free as the chamois leaps:
Teach them in song to bless the band
Amidst whose mossy graves we stand!

    If, by the wood-fire's blaze,
        When winter-stars gleam cold,
    The glorious tales of elder days
        May proudly yet be told,
Forget not then the shepherd-race,
Who made the hearth a holy place!

    Look on the white Alps round!
        If yet the sabbath bell
    Comes o'er them with a gladdening sound,
        Think on the battle-dell!
For blood first bath'd its flowery sod,
That chainless hearts might worship God!

Page 131


Some of the native Brazilians pay great veneration to a certain bird that sings
mournfully in the night-time. They say it is a messenger which their de-
ceased friends and relations have sent, and that it brings them news from the
other world. See Picart's Ceremonies and Religious Customs.

THOU art come from the spirits' land, thou bird!
    Thou art come from the spirits' land!
Through the dark pine-grove let thy voice be heard,
    And tell of the shadowy band!

We know that the bowers are green and fair
    In the light of that summer shore,
And we know that the friends we have lost are there,
    They are there--and they weep no more!

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And we know they have quench'd their fever's thirst
    From the Fountain of Youth ere now* ,
For there must the stream in its freshness burst,
    Which none may find below!

And we know that they will not be lur'd to earth
    From the land of deathless flowers,
By the feast, or the dance, or the song of mirth,
    Though their hearts were once with ours;

Though they sat with us by the night-fire's blaze,
    And bent with us the bow,
And heard the tales of our fathers' days,
    Which are told to others now!

But tell us, thou bird of the solemn strain!
    Can those who have lov'd forget?
We call--and they answer not again--
    --Do they love--do they love us yet?

* An expedition was actually undertaken by Juan Ponce de Leon, in the 16th century, with the view of discovering a wonderful fountain, believed by the natives of Puerto Rico to spring in one of the Lucayo Isles, and to possess the virtue of restoring youth to all who bathed in its waters.--See Robertson's History of America.

Page 133

Doth the warrior think of his brother there ,
    And the father of his child?
And the chief, of those that were wont to share
    His wanderings through the wild?

We call them far through the silent night,
    And they speak not from cave or hill;
We know, thou bird! that their land is bright,
    But say, do they love there still?

Page 134


An early traveller mentions a people on the banks of the Mississippi who burst
into tears at the sight of a stranger. The reason of this is, that they fancy
their deceased friends and relations to be only gone on a journey, and being
in constant expectation of their return, look for them vainly amongst these
foreign travellers.
                                    Picart's Ceremonies and Religious Customs. "J'ai passé moi-même," says Chateaubriand in his Souvenirs d'Amerique ,
"chez une peuplade indienne qui se prenait à pleurer à la vue d'un
voyageur, parce qu'il lui rappelait des amis partis pour la Contrée des
, et depuis long-tems en voyage ."

                WE saw thee, O stranger, and wept!
We look'd for the youth of the sunny glance,
Whose step was the fleetest in chase or dance!
The light of his eye was a joy to see,
The path of his arrows a storm to flee!
But there came a voice from a distant shore:
He was call'd--he is found 'midst his tribe no more!

Page 135

He is not in his place when the night-fires burn,
But we look for him still--he will yet return!
--His brother sat with a drooping brow
In the gloom of the shadowing cypress bough,
We rous'd him--we bade him no longer pine,
For we heard a step--but the step was thine.

                We saw thee, O stranger, and wept!
We look'd for the maid of the mournful song,
Mournful, though sweet--she hath left us long!
We told her the youth of her love was gone,
And she went forth to seek him--she pass'd alone;
We hear not her voice when the woods are still,
From the bower where it sang, like a silvery rill.
The joy of her sire with her smile is fled,
The winter is white on his lonely head,
He hath none by his side when the wilds we track,
He hath none when we rest--yet she comes not back!
We look'd for her eye on the feast to shine,
For her breezy step--but the step was thine!

                We saw thee, O stranger, and wept!
We look'd for the chief who hath left the spear
And the bow of his battles forgotten here!

Page 136

We look'd for the hunter, whose bride's lament
On the wind of the forest at eve is sent:
We look'd for the first-born, whose mother's cry
Sounds wild and shrill through the midnight sky!
--Where are they?--thou 'rt seeking some distant coast--
Oh, ask of them, stranger!--send back the lost!
Tell them we mourn by the dark blue streams,
Tell them our lives but of them are dreams!
Tell, how we sat in the gloom to pine,
And to watch for a step--but the step was thine!

Page 137



"The River St. Mary has its source from a vast lake or marsh, which lies
between Flint and Oakmulge rivers, and occupies a space of near three
hundred miles in circuit. This vast accumulation of waters, in the wet
season, appears as a lake, and contains some large islands or knolls of rich
high land; one of which the present generation of the Creek Indians repre-
sent to be a most blissful spot of earth: they say it is inhabited by a pe-
culiar race of Indians, whose women are incomparably beautiful. They also
tell you that this terrestrial paradise has been seen by some of their enter-
prising hunters, when in pursuit of game; but that in their endeavours to
approach it, they were involved in perpetual labyrinths, and like enchanted
land, still as they imagined they had just gained it, it seemed to fly before
them, alternately appearing and disappearing. They resolved, at length,
to leave the delusive pursuit, and to return, which, after a number of dif-
ficulties, they effected. When they reported their adventures to their
countrymen, the young warriors were inflamed with an irresistible desire to
invade, and make a conquest of, so charming a country; but all their at-
tempts have hitherto proved abortive, never having been able again to find
that enchanting spot."
                                 Bartram's Travels Through North and South Carolina, &c.
The additional circumstances in the "Isle of Founts" are merely imaginary.

    SON of the stranger! wouldst thou take
        O'er yon blue hills thy lonely way,
    To reach the still and shining lake
        Along whose banks the west-winds play?

Page 138

--Let no vain dreams thy heart beguile,
Oh! seek thou not the Fountain-Isle!

    Lull but the mighty serpent king* ,
        'Midst the grey rocks, his old domain;
     Ward but the cougar's deadly spring,
        --Thy step that lake's green shore may gain;
And the bright Isle, when all is pass'd,
Shall vainly meet thine eye at last!

    Yes! there, with all its rainbow streams,
        Clear as within thine arrow's flight,
    The Isle of Founts, the Isle of dreams,
        Floats on the wave in golden light;
And lovely will the shadows be
Of groves whose fruit is not for thee!

*The Cherokees believe that the recesses of their mountains, overgrown with lofty pines and cedars, and covered with old mossy rocks, are inhabited by the kings or chiefs of the rattlesnakes; whom they denominate the "bright old inhabitants." They represent them as snakes of an enormous size, and which possess the power of drawing to them every living creature that comes within the reach of their eyes. Their heads are said to be crowned with a carbuncle, of dazzling brightness.--See Notes to Leyden's "Scenes of Infancy."

Page 139

    And breathings from their sunny flowers,
        Which are not of the things that die,
    And singing voices from their bowers
        Shall greet thee in the purple sky;
Soft voices, e'en like those that dwell
Far in the green reed's hollow cell.

    Or hast thou heard the sounds that rise
        From the deep chambers of the earth?
    The wild and wondrous melodies
        To which the ancient rocks gave birth* ?
--Like that sweet song of hidden caves
Shall swell those wood-notes o'er the waves.

    The emerald waves!--they take their hue
        And image from that sunbright shore;
    But wouldst thou launch thy light canoe,
        And wouldst thou ply thy rapid oar,
Before thee, hadst thou morning's speed,
The dreamy land should still recede!

*The stones on the banks of the Oronoco, called by the South American missionaries Laxas de Musica , and alluded to in a former note.

Page 140

    Yet on the breeze thou still wouldst hear
        The music of its flowering shades,
    And ever should the sound be near
        Of founts that ripple through its glades;
The sound, and sight, and flashing ray
Of joyous waters in their play!

    But woe for him who sees them burst
        With their bright spray-showers to the lake!
    Earth has no spring to quench the thirst
        That semblance in his soul shall wake,
For ever pouring through his dreams,
The gush of those untasted streams!

    Bright, bright in many a rocky urn,
        The waters of our deserts lie,
    Yet at their source his lip shall burn,
        Parch'd with the fever's agony!
From the blue mountains to the main,
Our thousand floods may roll in vain.

    E'en thus our hunters came of yore
        Back from their long and weary quest;

Page 141

    --Had they not seen th' untrodden shore,
        And could they 'midst our wilds find rest?
The lightning of their glance was fled,
They dwelt amongst us as the dead!

    They lay beside our glittering rills,
        With visions in their darken'd eye,
    Their joy was not amidst the hills,
        Where elk and deer before us fly;
Their spears upon the cedar hung,
Their javelins to the wind were flung.

    They bent no more the forest-bow,
        They arm'd not with the warrior-band,
    The moons wan'd o'er them dim and slow--
        --They left us for the spirit's land!
Beneath our pines yon greensward heap
Shows where the restless found their sleep.

    Son of the stranger! if at eve
        Silence be 'midst us in thy place,
    Yet go not where the mighty leave
        The strength of battle and of chase!
Let no vain dreams thy heart beguile,
Oh! seek thou not the Fountain-Isle!

Page 142


It is supposed that war was anciently proclaimed in Britain by sending mes-
sengers in different directions through the land, each bearing a bended bow;
and that peace was in like manner announced by a bow unstrung, and there-
fore straight. See the Cambrian Antiquities.

THERE was heard the sound of a coming foe,
There was sent through Britain a bended Bow,
And a voice was pour'd on the free winds far,
As the land rose up at the sign of war.

    "Heard ye not the battle-horn?
     --Reaper! leave thy golden corn!
     Leave it for the birds of Heaven,
     Swords must flash, and spears be riven!
     Leave it for the winds to shed--
     Arm! ere Britain's turf grow red!"

And the reaper arm'd, like a freeman's son,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

Page 143

    "Hunter! leave the mountain-chase!
     Take the falchion from its place!
     Let the wolf go free to-day,
     Leave him for a nobler prey!
     Let the deer ungall'd sweep by,--
     Arm thee! Britain's foes are nigh!"

And the hunter arm'd ere the chase was done,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

    "Chieftain! quit the joyous feast!
     Stay not till the song hath ceas'd:
     Though the mead be foaming bright,
     Though the fires give ruddy light,
     Leave the hearth and leave the hall--
     Arm thee! Britain's foes must fall."

And the chieftain arm'd, and the horn was blown,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

    "Prince! thy father's deeds are told,
     In the bower and in the hold!

Page 144

     Where the goatherd's lay is sung,
     Where the minstrel's harp is strung!
     --Foes are on thy native sea--
     Give our bards a tale of thee!"

And the prince came arm'd, like a leader's son,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

    "Mother! stay thou not thy boy!
     He must learn the battle's joy.
     Sister! bring the sword and spear,
     Give thy brother words of cheer!
     Maiden! bid thy lover part,
     Britain calls the strong in heart!'

And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on,
And the bards made song for a battle won.

Page 145


It is recorded of Henry the First, that after the death of his son, Prince William,
who perished in a shipwreck off the coast of Normandy, he was never seen
to smile.

THE bark that held a prince went down,
    The sweeping waves roll'd on;
And what was England's glorious crown
    To him that wept a son?
He lived--for life may long be borne
    Ere sorrow break its chain;--
Why comes not death to those who mourn?
    --He never smiled again!

*Originally published in the Literary Gazette.

Page 146

There stood proud forms around his throne,
    The stately and the brave,
But which could fill the place of one,
    That one beneath the wave?
Before him pass'd the young and fair,
    In pleasure's reckless train,
But seas dash'd o'er his son's bright hair--
    --He never smiled again!

He sat where festal bowls went round ;
    He heard the minstrel sing,
He saw the Tourney's victor crown'd,
    Amidst the knightly ring:
A murmur of the restless deep
    Was blent with every strain,
A voice of winds that would not sleep--
    --He never smiled again!

Hearts, in that time, clos'd o'er the trace
    Of vows once fondly pour'd,
And strangers took the kinsman's place
    At many a joyous board;

Page 147

Graves, which true love had bath'd with tears,
    Were left to Heaven's bright rain,
Fresh hopes were born for other years--
    --He never smiled again!

Page 148


The body of Henry the Second lay in state in the abbey-church of Fontevraud,
where it was visited by Richard Coeur-de-Lion, who, on beholding it, was
struck with horror and remorse, and bitterly reproached himself for that
rebellious conduct which had been the means of bringing his father to an
untimely grave.

    TORCHES were blazing clear,
    Hymns pealing deep and slow,
Where a king lay stately on his bier,
    In the church of Fontevraud.
Banners of battle o'er him hung,
    And warriors slept beneath,
And light, as Noon's broad light, was flung
    On the settled face of death.

Page 149

    On the settled face of death
    A strong and ruddy glare,
Through dimm'd at times by the censer's breath,
    Yet it fell still brightest there:
As if each deeply-furrow'd trace
    Of earthly years to show,--
--Alas! that sceptred mortal's race
    Had surely clos'd in woe!

    The marble floor was swept
    By many a long dark stole,
As the kneeling priests round him that slept,
    Sang mass for the parted soul;
And solemn were the strains they pour'd
    Through the stillness of the night,
With the cross above, and the crown and sword,
    And the silent king in sight.

    There was heard a heavy clang,
    As of steel-girt men the tread,
And the tombs and the hollow pavement rang
    With a sounding thrill of dread;

Page 150

And the holy chant was hush'd awhile,
    As by the torch's flame,
A gleam of arms, up the sweeping aisle,
    With a mail-clad leader came.

    He came with haughty look,
    An eagle-glance and clear,
But his proud heart through its breast-plate shook,
    When he stood beside the bier!
He stood there still with a drooping brow,
    And clasp'd hands o'er it rais'd;--
For his father lay before him low,
    It was Coeur-de-Lion gazed!

    And silently he strove
    With the workings of his breast,
--But there's more in late repentant love
    Than steel may keep suppress'd!
And his tears brake forth, at last, like rain--
    --Men held their breath in awe,
For his face was seen by his warrior-train,
    And he reck'd not that they saw.

Page 151

    He look'd upon the dead,
    And sorrow seem'd to lie,
A weight of sorrow, ev'n like lead,
    Pale on the fast-shut eye.
He stoop'd--and kiss'd the frozen cheek,
    And the heavy hand of clay,
Till bursting words--yet all too weak--
    Gave his soul's passion way.

    "Oh, father! is it vain,
    This late remorse and deep?
Speak to me, father! once again,
    I weep--behold, I weep!
Alas! my guilty pride and ire!
    Were but this work undone,
I would give England's crown, my sire!
    To hear thee bless thy son.

    "Speak to me! mighty grief
    Ere now the dust hath stirr'd!
Hear me, but hear me!--father, chief,
    My king! I must be heard!

Page 152

--Hush'd, hush'd--how is it that I call,
    And that thou answerest not?
When was it thus?--woe, woe for all
    The love my soul forgot!

    "Thy silver hairs I see,
    So still, so sadly bright!
And father, father! but for me,
    They had not been so white!
I bore thee down, high heart! at last,
    No longer couldst thou strive;--
Oh! for one moment of the past,
    To kneel and say--'forgive!'

    "Thou wert the noblest king,
    On royal throne e'er seen;
And thou didst wear, in knightly ring,
    Of all, the stateliest mien;
And thou didst prove, where spears are prov'd
    In war, the bravest heart--
--Oh! ever the renown'd and lov'd
    Thou wert--and there thou art!

Page 153

    "Thou that my boyhood's guide
    Didst take fond joy to be!--
The times I've sported at thy side,
    And climb'd thy parent-knee!
And there before the blessed shrine,
    My sire! I see thee lie,--
--How will that sad still face of thine
    Look on me till I die!"

Page 154


"Here (at Brereton in Cheshire) is one thing incredibly strange, but attested, as
I myself have heard, by many persons, and commonly believed. Before any
heir of this family dies, there are seen, in a lake adjoining, the bodies of
trees swimming on the water for several days." Camden's Britannia.

    YES ! I have seen the ancient oak
        On the dark deep water cast,
    And it was not fell'd by the woodman's stroke,
        Or the rush of the sweeping blast;
For the axe might never touch that tree,
And the air was still as a summer-sea.

Page 155

    I saw it fall, as falls a chief
        By an arrow in the fight,
    And the old woods shook, to their loftiest leaf,
        At the crashing of its might!
And the startled deer to their coverts flew,
And the spray of the lake as a fountain's flew!

    'Tis fall'n! but think thou not I weep
        For the forest's pride o'erthrown;
    An old man's tears lie far too deep,
        To be pour'd for this alone!
But by that sign too well I know,
That a youthful head must soon be low!

    A youthful head, with its shining hair,
        And its bright quick-flashing eye--
    --Well may I weep! for the boy is fair,
        Too fair a thing to die!
But on his brow the mark is set--
Oh! could my life redeem him yet!

    He bounded by me as I gazed
        Alone on the fatal sign,

Page 156

    And it seem'd like sunshine when he rais'd
        His joyous glance to mine!
With a stag's fleet step he bounded by,
So full of life--but he must die!

    He must, he must! in that deep dell,
        By that dark water's side,
    'Tis known that ne'er a proud tree fell,
        But an heir of his fathers died.
And he--there's laughter in his eye,
Joy in his voice--yet he must die!

    I 've borne him in these arms, that now
        Are nerveless and unstrung;
    And must I see, on that fair brow,
        The dust untimely flung?
I must!--yon green oak, branch and crest,
Lies floating on the dark lake's breast!

    The noble boy!--how proudly sprung
        The falcon from his hand!
    It seem'd like youth to see him young.
        A flower in his father's land!

Page 157

But the hour of the knell and the dirge is nigh,
For the tree hath fall'n, and the flower must die.

    Say not 'tis vain!--I tell thee, some
        Are warn'd by a meteor's light,
    Or a pale bird flitting calls them home,
        Or a voice on the winds by night;
And they must go!--and he too, he--
--Woe for the fall of the glorious Tree!

Page 158


It is a popular belief in the Odenwald, that the passing of the Wild Huntsman
announces the approach of war. He is supposed to issue with his train from
the ruined castle of Rodenstein, and traverse the air to the opposite castle
of Schnellerts. It is confidently asserted that the sound of his phantom horses
and hounds was heard by the Duke of Baden before the commence-
ment of the last war in Germany.

THY rest was deep at the slumberer's hour
    If thou didst not hear the blast
Of the savage horn, from the mountain-tower,
    As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd,
And the roar of the stormy chase went by,
    Through the dark unquiet sky!

Page 159

The stag sprung up from his mossy bed
    When he caught the piercing sounds,
And the oak-boughs crash'd to his antler'd head
    As he flew from the viewless hounds;
And the falcon soar'd from her craggy height,
    Away through the rushing night!

The banner shook on its ancient hold,
    And the pine in its desert-place,
As the cloud and tempest onward roll'd
    With the din of the trampling race;
And the glens were fill'd with the laugh and shout,
    And the bugle, ringing out!

From the chieftain's hand the wine-cup fell,
    At the castle's festive board,
And a sudden pause came o'er the swell
    Of the harp's triumphal chord;
And the Minnesinger's* thrilling lay
     In the hall died fast away.

*Minnesinger, love-singer; the wandering minstrels of Germany were so called in the middle ages.

Page 160

The convent's chanted rite was stay'd,
    And the hermit dropp'd his beads,
And a trembling ran through the forest-shade,
    At the neigh of the phantom steeds,
And the church-bells peal'd to the rocking blast
    As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd.

The storm hath swept with the chase away,
    There is stillness in the sky,
But the mother looks on her son to-day,
    With a troubled heart and eye,
And the maiden's brow hath a shade of care
    Midst the gleam of her golden hair!

The Rhine flows bright, but its waves ere long
    Must hear a voice of war,
And a clash of spears our hills among,
    And a trumpet from afar;
And the brave on a bloody turf must lie,
    For the Huntsman hath gone by!

Page 161



THE corn, in golden light,
    Waves o'er the plain;
The sickle's gleam is bright;
    Full swells the grain.

Now send we far around
    Our harvest lay!
--Alas! a heavier sound
    Comes o'er the day!

On every breeze a knell
    The hamlets pour,--
--We know its cause too well,
     She is no more!

*For the year of the Queen of Prussia's death.

Earth shrouds with burial sod

Page 162

    Her soft eye's blue,--
--Now o'er the gifts of God
    Fall tears like dew!

Page 163



KNOW ye not when our dead
    From sleep to battle sprung?
--When the Persian charger's tread
    On their cowering greensward rung!
When the trampling march of foes
    Had crush'd our vines and flowers,
When jewell'd crests arose
    Through the holy laurel-bowers,

            When banners caught the breeze,
            When helms in sunlight shone,
            When masts were on the seas,
            And spears on Marathon.

Page 164

There was one, a leader crown'd,
    And arm'd for Greece that day;
But the falchions made no sound
    On his gleaming war-array.
In the battle's front he stood,
    With his tall and shadowy crest;
But the arrows drew no blood
    Though their path was through his breast.

            When banners caught the breeze,
            When helms in sunlight shone,
            When masts were on the seas,
            And spears on Marathon.

His sword was seen to flash
    Where the boldest deeds were done;
But it smote without a clash;
    The stroke was heard by none!
His voice was not of those
    That swell'd the rolling blast,
And his steps fell hush'd like snows--
    'Twas the Shade of Theseus pass'd!

Page 165

            When banners caught the breeze,
            When helms in sunlight shone,
            When masts were on the seas,
            And spears on Marathon.

Far sweeping through the foe,
    With a fiery charge he bore;
And the Mede left many a bow
    On the sounding ocean-shore.
And the foaming waves grew red,
    And the sails were crowded fast,
When the sons of Asia fled,
    As the Shade of Theseus pass'd!

            When banners caught the breeze,
            When helms in sunlight shone,
            When masts were on the seas,
            And spears on Marathon.

Page 166


WHERE is the summer, with her golden sun?
    --That festal glory hath not pass'd from earth:
For me alone the laughing day is done!
    Where is the summer with her voice of mirth?
        --Far in my own bright land!

Where are the Fauns, whose flute-notes breathe and die
    On the green hills?--the founts, from sparry caves
Through the wild places bearing melody?
    The reeds, low whispering o'er the river waves?
        --Far in my own bright land!

Where are the temples, through the dim wood shining,
    The virgin-dances, and the choral strains?
Where the sweet sisters of my youth, entwining
    The Spring's first roses for their sylvan fanes?
        --Far in my own bright land!

Page 167

Where are the vineyards, with their joyous throngs,
    The red grapes pressing when the foliage fades?
The lyres, the wreaths, the lovely Dorian songs,
    And the pine forests, and the olive shades?
        --Far in my own bright land!

Where the deep haunted grots, the laurel bowers,
    The Dryad's footsteps, and the minstrel's dreams?
--Oh! that my life were as a southern flower's!
     I might not languish then by these chill streams,
        Far from my own bright land!

Page 168


Les Chants Funèbres par lesquels on déplore en Grèce la mort de ses
proches, prennent le nom particulier de Myriologia, comme qui dirait, Dis-
cours de lamentation, complaintes. Un malade vient-il de rendre le dernier
soupir, sa femme, sa mère, ses filles, ses soeurs, celles, en un mot, de ses plus
proches parentes qui sont là, lui ferment les yeux et la bouche, en épanchant
librement, chacune selon son naturel et sa mesure de tendresse pour le dé-
funt, la douleur qu'elle ressent de sa perte. Ce premier devoir rempli,
elles se retirent toutes chez une de leurs parentes ou de leurs amies. Là elles
changent de vêtemens, s'habillent de blanc, comme pour la céremonie nup-
tiale, avec cette difference, qu'elles gardent la tête nue, les chevaux épars et
pendants. Ces apprêts terminés, les parentes reviennent dans leur parure
de deueil; toutes se rangent en circle autour du mort, et leur douleur s'ex-
hale de nouveau, et, comme la première fois, sans règle et sans contrainte.
A ces plaintes spontanées succédent bientôt des lamentations d'une autre
espèce: ce sont les Myriologues . Ordinairement c'est la plus proche pa-
rente qui prononce le sien la première; après elle les autres parentes, les
amies, les simples voisines. Les Myriologues sont toujours composés et
chantés par les femmes. Ils sont toujours improvisés, toujours en vers, et
toujours chantés sur un air qui diffère d'un lieu à un autre, mais qui, dans
un lieu donné, reste invariablement consacré à ce genre de poësie."
Chants Populaires de la Grèce Moderne, par C. Fauriel.

A WAIL was heard around the bed, the death-bed of the young,
Amidst her tears the Funeral Chant a mournful mother sung.
--"Ianthis! dost thou sleep?--Thou sleep'st!--but this is not the rest,
The breathing and the rosy calm, I have pillow'd on my breast!

Page 169

I lull'd thee not to this repose, Ianthis! my sweet son!
As in thy glowing childhood's time by twilight I have done!
--How is it that I bear to stand and look upon thee now?
And that I die not, seeing death on thy pale glorious brow?

"I look upon thee, thou that wert of all most fair and brave!
I see thee wearing still too much of beauty for the grave!
Though mournfully thy smile is fix'd, and heavily thine eye
Hath shut above the falcon-glance that in it lov'd to lie;
And fast is bound the springing step, that seem'd on breezes borne,
When to thy couch I came and said,--'Wake, hunter, wake! 'tis morn!'
Yet art thou lovely still, my flower! untouch'd by slow decay,
--And I, the wither'd stem remain--I would that grief might slay!

"Oh! ever when I met thy look, I knew that this would be!
I knew too well that length of days was not a gift for thee!
I saw it in thy kindling cheek, and in thy bearing high;--
A voice came whispering to my soul, and told me thou must die!
That thou must die, my fearless one! where swords were flashing red.--
--Why doth a mother live to say--my first-born and my dead?

Page 170

They tell me of thy youthful fame, they talk of victory won--
--Speak thou, and I will hear! my child, Ianthis! my sweet son!"

A wail was heard around the bed, the deathbed of the young,
A fair-hair'd bride the Funeral Chant amidst her weeping sung.
--"Ianthis! look'st thou not on me? --Can love indeed be fled?
When was it woe before to gaze upon thy stately head?
I would that I had follow'd thee, Ianthis, my belov'd!
And stood as woman oft hath stood where faithful hearts are prov'd!
That I had bound a breastplate on, and battled at thy side--
--It would have been a blessed thing together had we died!

"But where was I when thou didst fall beneath the fatal sword?
Was I beside the sparkling fount, or at the peaceful board?
Or singing some sweet song of old, in the shadow of the vine,
Or praying to the saints for thee, before the holy shrine?
And thou wert lying low the while, the life-drops from thy heart
Fast gushing like a mountain-spring!--and couldst thou thus depart?
Couldst thou depart, nor on my lips pour out thy fleeting breath?
--Oh! I was with thee but in joy, that should have been in death!

Page 171

"Yes! I was with thee when the dance through mazy rings was led,
And when the lyre and voice were tun'd, and when the feast was spread;
But not where noble blood flow'd forth, where sounding javelins flew--
--Why did I hear love's first sweet words, and not its last adieu?
What now can breathe of gladness more, what scene, what hour, what tone?
The blue skies fade with all their lights, they fade, since thou art gone!
Ev'n that must leave me, that still face, by all my tears unmov'd--
--Take me from this dark world with thee, Ianthis! my belov'd!"

A wail was heard around the bed, the death-bed of the young,
Amidst her tears the Funeral Chant a mournful sister sung.
"Ianthis! brother of my soul!--oh! where are now the days
That laugh'd among the deep green hills, on all our infant plays?
When we two sported by the streams, or track'd them to their source,
And like a stag's, the rocks along, was thy fleet fearless course!
--I see the pines there waving yet, I see the rills descend,
I see thy bounding step no more--my brother and my friend!

Page 172

"I come with flowers--for spring is come!--Ianthis! art thou here?
I bring the garlands she hath brought, I cast them on thy bier!
Thou shouldst be crown'd with victory's crown--but oh! more meet they seem,
The first faint violets of the wood, and lilies of the stream!
More meet for one so fondly lov'd, and laid thus early low--
--Alas! how sadly sleeps thy face amidst the sunshine's glow:
The golden glow that through thy heart was wont such joy to send,
--Woe, that it smiles, and not for thee!--my brother and my friend!"

Page 173


This piece is founded on a tale related by Fauriel, in his "Chansons Populaires
de la Grèce Moderne,"
and accompanied by some very interesting particulars
respecting the extempore parting songs, or songs of expatriation, as he in-
forms us they are called, in which the modern Greeks are accustomed to
pour forth their feelings on bidding farewell to their country and friends.

A YOUTH went forth to exile, from a home
Such as to early thought gives images,
The longest treasur'd, and most oft recall'd,
And brightest kept, of love;--a mountain home,
That, with the murmur of its rocking pines
And sounding waters, first in childhood's heart
Wakes the deep sense of nature unto joy,
And half unconscious prayer;--a Grecian home,
With the transparence of blue skies o'erhung,
And, through the dimness of its olive shades,
Catching the flash of fountains, and the gleam
Of shining pillars from the fanes of old.

Page 174

And this was what he left!--Yet many leave
Far more:--the glistening eye, that first from theirs
Call'd out the soul's bright smile; the gentle hand,
Which through the sunshine led forth infant steps
To where the violets lay; the tender voice
That earliest taught them what deep melody
Lives in affection's tones.--He left not these.
--Happy the weeper, that but weeps to part
With all a mother's love!--A bitterer grief
Was his--To part unlov'd! --of her unlov'd,
That should have breath'd upon his heart, like Spring,
Fostering its young faint flowers!

Yet had he friends,
And they went forth to cheer him on his way
Unto the parting spot--and she too went,
That mother, tearless for her youngest-born.

The parting spot was reach'd:--a lone deep glen,
Holy, perchance, of yore, for cave and fount
Were there, and sweet-voiced echoes; and above,
The silence of the blue, still, upper Heaven
Hung round the crags of Pindus, where they wore
Their crowning snows.--Upon a reck he sprung,

Page 175

    The unbelov'd one, for his home to gaze
    Through the wild laurels back; but then a light
    Broke on the stern proud sadness of his eye,
    A sudden quivering light, and from his lips
    A burst of passionate song.
"Farewell, farewell!

"I hear thee, O thou rushing stream!--thou 'rt from my native dell,
Thou 'rt bearing thence a mournful sound--a murmur of farewell!
And fare thee well--flow on, my stream!--flow on, thou bright and free!
I do but dream that in thy voice one tone laments for me;
But I have been a thing unlov'd, from childhood's loving years,
And therefore turns my soul to thee, for thou hast known my tears;
The mountains, and the caves, and thou, my secret tears have known:
The woods can tell where he hath wept, that ever wept alone!

"I see thee once again, my home! thou 'rt there amidst thy vines,
And clear upon thy gleaming roof the light of summer shines.

Page 176

It is a joyous hour when eve comes whispering through thy groves,
The hour that brings the son from toil, the hour the mother loves!
--The hour the mother loves!--for me belov'd it hath not been;
Yet ever in its purple smile, thou smil'st, a blessed scene!
Whose quiet beauty o'er my soul through distant years will come--
--Yet what but as the dead, to thee, shall I be then, my home?

"Not as the dead!--no, not the dead!--We speak of them --we keep
Their names, like light that must not fade, within our bosoms deep!
We hallow ev'n the lyre they touch'd, we love the lay they sung,
We pass with softer step the place they fill'd our band among!
But I depart like sound, like dew, like aught that leaves on earth
No trace of sorrow or delight, no memory of its birth!
I go!--the echo of the rock a thousand songs may swell
When mine is a forgotten voice.--Woods, mountains, home, farewell!

"And farewell, mother!--I have borne in lonely silence long,
But now the current of my soul grows passionate and strong!

Page 177

And I will speak! though but the wind that wanders through the sky,
And but the dark deep-rustling pines and rolling streams reply.
Yes! I will speak!--within my breast whate'er hath seem'd to be,
There lay a hidden fount of love, that would have gush'd for thee!
Brightly it would have gush'd, but thou, my mother! thou hast thrown
Back on the forests and the wilds what should have been thine own!

"Then fare thee well! I leave thee not in loneliness to pine,
Since thou hast sons of statelier mien and fairer brow than mine!
Forgive me that thou couldst not love!--it may be, that a tone
Yet from my burning heart may pierce, through thine, when I am gone!
And thou perchance mayst weep for him on whom thou ne'er hast smil'd,
And the grave give his birthright back to thy neglected child!
Might but my spirit then return, and 'midst its kindred dwell,
And quench its thirst with love's free tears!--'tis all a dream--farewell!"

Page 178

"Farewell!"--the echo died with that deep word,
Yet died not so the late repentant pang
By the strain quicken'd in the mother's breast!
There had pass'd many changes o'er her brow,
And cheek, and eye; but into one bright flood
Of tears at last all melted; and she fell
On the glad bosom of her child, and cried
"Return, return, my son!"--the echo caught
A lovelier sound than song, and woke again,
Murmuring--"Return, my son!"----

Page 179


It is related in a French Life of Ali Pacha, that several of the Suliote women,
on the advance of the Turkish troops into their mountain fastnesses, as-
sembled on a lofty summit, and, after chanting a wild song, precipitated
themselves, with their children, into the chasm below, to avoid becoming
the slaves of the enemy.

                SHE stood upon the loftiest peak,
Amidst the clear blue sky,
                A bitter smile was on her cheek,
And a dark flash in her eye.

"Dost thou see then, boy?--through the dusky pines
Dost thou see where the foeman's armour shines?
Hast thou caught the gleam of the conqueror's crest?
My babe, that I cradled on my breast!
Wouldst thou spring from thy mother's arms with joy?
--That sight hath cost thee a father, boy!"

Page 180

                For in the rocky strait beneath,
Lay Suliote sire and son;
                They had heap'd high the piles of death
Before the pass was won.

"They have cross'd the torrent, and on they come!
Woe for the mountain hearth and home!
There, where the hunter laid by his spear,
There, where the lyre hath been sweet to hear,
There, where I sang thee, fair babe! to sleep,
Nought but the blood-stain our trace shall keep!"

                And now the horn's loud blast was heard,
And now the cymbal's clang,
                Till ev'n the upper air was stirr'd,
As cliff and hollow rang.

"Hark! they bring music, my joyous child!
What saith the trumpet to Suli's wild!
Doth it light thine eye with so quick a fire,
As if at a glance of thine armed sire?
--Still!--be thou still!--there are brave men low--
Thou wouldst not smile couldst thou seem him now!"

Page 181

                But nearer came the clash of steel,
And louder swell'd the horn,
                And farther yet the tambour's peal
Through the dark pass was borne.

"Hear'st thou the sound of their savage mirth?
--Boy! thou wert free when I gave thee birth,
Free, and how cherish'd, my warrior's son!
He too hath bless'd thee, as I have done!
Aye, and unchain'd must his lov'd ones be--
--Freedom, young Suliote! for thee and me!"

                And from the arrowy peak she sprung,
And fast the fair child bore,
                A veil upon the wind was flung,
A cry--and all was o'er!

Page 182


The following piece is founded on a beautiful part of the Greek funeral service,
in which relatives and friends are invited to embrace the deceased (whose
face is uncovered) and to bid their final adieu. See Christian Researches in the Mediterranean.

                ---- 'Tis hard to lay into the earth
             A countenance so benign! a form that walk'd
             But yesterday so stately o'er the earth!


        COME near!--ere yet the dust
Soil the bright paleness of the settled brow,
Look on your brother, and embrace him now,
        In still and solemn trust!
Come near!--once more let kindred lips be press'd
On his cold cheek; then bear him to his rest!

        Look yet on this young face!
What shall the beauty, from amongst us gone,
Leave of its image, ev'n where most it shone,
        Gladdening its hearth and race?

Page 183

Dim grows the semblance on man's heart impress'd--
--Come near, and bear the beautiful to rest!

        Ye weep, and it is well!
For tears befit earth's partings!--Yesterday
Song was upon the lips of this pale clay,
        And sunshine seem'd to dwell
Where'er he mov'd--the welcome and the bless'd!
--Now gaze! and bear the silent unto rest!

        Look yet on him, whose eye
Meets yours no more, in sadness or in mirth!
Was he not fair amidst the sons of earth,
        The beings born to die?
--But not where death has power may love be bless'd----
Come near! and bear ye the belov'd to rest!

        How may the mother's heart
Dwell on her son, and dare to hope again?
The spring's rich promise hath been given in vain,
        The lovely must depart!
Is he not gone, our brightest and our best?
Come near! and bear the early-call'd to rest!

Page 184

        Look on him! is he laid
To slumber from the harvest or the chase?
--Too still and sad the smile upon his face,
        Yet that, ev'n that, must fade!
Death holds not long unchang'd his fairest guest,--
Come near! and bear the mortal to his rest!

        His voice of mirth hath ceas'd
Amidst the vineyards! there is left no place
For him whose dust receives your vain embrace,
        At the gay bridal feast!
Earth must take earth to moulder on her breast;
Come near! weep o'er him! bear him to his rest!

        Yet mourn ye not as they
Whose spirit's light is quench'd!--for him the past
Is seal'd. He may not fall, he may not cast
        His birthright's hope away!
All is not here of our belov'd and bless'd--
--Leave ye the sleeper with his God to rest!

Page [185]


Page [186]

Page 187


WHAT hid'st thou in thy treasure-caves and cells?
Thou hollow-sounding and mysterious main!
--Pale glistening pearls, and rainbow-colour'd shells,
Bright things which gleam unreck'd-of, and in vain!
--Keep, keep thy riches, melancholy sea!
            We ask not such from thee.

Yet more, the depths have more!--what wealth untold,
Far down, and shining through their stillness lies!
Thou hast the starry gems, the burning gold,
Won from ten thousand royal Argosies!
--Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful main!
            Earth claims not these again.

Yet more, the depths have more!--thy waves have roll'd
Above the cities of a world gone by!

Page 188

Sand hath fill'd up the palaces of old,
Sea-weed o'ergrown the halls of revelry.
--Dash o'er them, ocean! in thy scornful play!
            Man yields them to decay.

Yet more! the billows and the depths have more!
High hearts and brave are gather'd to thy breast!
They hear not now the booming waters roar,
The battle thunders will not break their rest.
--Keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave!
            Give back the true and brave!

Give back the lost and lovely!--those for whom
The place was kept at board and hearth so long,
The prayer went up through midnight's breathless gloom,
And the vain yearning woke 'midst festal song!
Hold fast thy buried Isles, thy towers o'erthrown--
            But all is not thine own.

To thee the love of woman hath gone down,
Dark flow thy tides o'er manhood's noble head,
O'er youth's bright locks, and beauty's flowery crown,
--Yet must thou hear a voice--restore the dead!
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee!
            --Restore the dead, thou sea!

Page 189


BRING flowers, young flowers, for the festal board,
To wreathe the cup ere the wine is pour'd;
Bring flowers! they are springing in wood and vale,
Their breath floats out on the southern gale,
And the touch of the sunbeam hath waked the rose,
To deck the hall where the bright wine flows.

Bring flowers to strew in the conqueror's path--
He hath shaken thrones with his stormy wrath!
He comes with the spoils of nations back,
The vines lie crush'd in his chariot's track,
The turf looks red where he won the day--
Bring flowers to die in the conqueror's way!

Bring flowers to the captive's lonely cell,
They have tales of the joyous woods to tell;

Page 190

Of the free blue streams, and the glowing sky,
And the bright world shut from his languid eye;
They will bear him a thought of the sunny hours,
And a dream of his youth--bring him flowers, wild flowers!

Bring flowers, fresh flowers, for the bride to wear!
They were born to blush in her shining hair.
She is leaving the home of her childhood's mirth,
She hath bid farewell to her father's hearth,
Her place is now by another's side--
Bring flowers for the locks of the fair young bride!

Bring flowers, pale flowers, o'er the bier to shed,
A crown for the brow of the early dead!
For this through its leaves hath the white-rose burst,
For this in the woods was the violet nurs'd.
Though they smile in vain for what once was ours,
They are love's last gift--bring ye flowers, pale flowers!

Bring flowers to the shrine where we kneel in prayer,
They are nature's offering, their place is there!
They speak of hope to the fainting heart,
With a voice of promise they come and part,
They sleep in dust through the wintry hours,
They break forth in glory--bring flowers, bright flowers!

Page 191


                "Alas! the mother that him bare,
                If she had been in presence there,
                In his wan cheeks and sunburnt hair,
She had not known her child."

REST pilgrim, rest!--thou 'rt from the Syrian land,
Thou 'rt from the wild and wondrous east, I know
By the long-withered palm-branch in thy hand,
And by the darkness of thy sunburnt brow.
Alas! the bright, the beautiful, who part,
So full of hope, for that far country's bourne!
Alas! the weary and the chang'd in heart,
And dimm'd in aspect, who like thee return!

Thou 'rt faint--stay, rest thee from thy toils at last,
Through the high chesnuts lightly plays the breeze,

Page 192

The stars gleam out, the Ave hour is pass'd,
The sailor's hymn hath died along the seas.
Thou 'rt faint and worn--hear'st thou the fountain welling
By the grey pillars of yon ruin'd shrine?
Seest thou the dewy grapes, before thee swelling?
--He that hath left me train'd that loaded vine!

He was a child when thus the bower he wove,
(Oh! hath a day fled since his childhood's time?)
That I might sit and hear the sound I love,
Beneath its shade--the convent's vesper-chime.
And sit thou there!--for he was gentle ever;
With his glad voice he would have welcomed thee,
And brought fresh fruits to cool thy parch'd lips' fever--
--There in his place thou 'rt resting--where is he?

If I could hear that laughing voice again,
But once again!--how oft it wanders by,
In the still hours, like some remember'd strain,
Troubling the heart with its wild melody!
--Thou hast seen much, tired pilgrim! hast thou seen
In that far land, the chosen land of yore,
A youth--my Guido--with the fiery mien,
And the dark eye of this Italian shore?

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The dark, clear, lightning eye!--on Heaven and earth
It smiled--as if man were not dust--it smiled!
The very air seem'd kindling with his mirth,
And I--my heart grew young before my child!
My blessed child!--I had but him--yet he
Fill'd all my home ev'n with o'erflowing joy,
Sweet laughter, and wild song, and footstep free--
--Where is he now?--my pride, my flower, my boy!

His sunny childhood melted from my sight,
Like a spring dew-drop--then his forehead wore
A prouder look--his eye a keener light--
--I knew these woods might be his world no more!
He loved me--but he left me!--thus they go,
Whom we have rear'd, watch'd, bless'd, too much adored!
He heard the trumpet of the red-cross blow,
And bounded from me, with his father's sword!

Thou weep'st--I tremble--thou hast seen the slain
Pressing a bloody turf; the young and fair,
With their pale beauty strewing o'er the plain
Where hosts have met--speak! answer!--was he there?

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Oh! hath his smile departed?--Could the grave
Shut o'er those bursts of bright and tameless glee?
--No! I shall yet behold his dark locks wave--
That look gives hope--I knew it could not be!

Still weep'st thou, wanderer?--some fond mother's glance
O'er thee too brooded in thine early years--
Think'st thou of her, whose gentle eye, perchance,
Bath'd all thy faded hair with parting tears?
Speak, for thy tears disturb me!--what art thou?
Why dost thou hide thy face, yet weeping on?
Look up!--oh! is it--that wan cheek and brow!--
Is it--alas! yet joy!--my son, my son!

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This Song is said to have been composed by Schiller in answer to the inquiries
of his friends respecting the fate of Thekla , whose beautiful character is
withdrawn from the tragedy of "Wallenstein's Death," after her resolution
to visit the grave of her lover is made known.

----"'Tis not merely
                The human being's pride that peoples space
                With life and mystical predominance;
                Since likewise for the stricken heart of love
                This visible nature, and this common world,
                Are all too narrow."

Coleridge's Translation of Wallenstein.

ASK'ST thou my home?--my pathway wouldst thou know,
When from thine eye my floating shadow pass'd?
Was not my work fulfill'd and closed below?
Had I not liv'd and lov'd?--my lot was cast.

Wouldst thou ask where the nightingale is gone,
That melting into song her soul away,
Gave the spring-breeze what witch'd thee in its tone?
--But while she lov'd, she liv'd, in that deep lay!

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Think'st thou my heart its lost one hath not found?
--Yes! we are one, oh! trust me, we have met,
Where nought again may part what love hath bound,
Where falls no tear, and whispers no regret.

There shalt thou find us, there with us be blest,
If as our love thy love is pure and true!
There dwells my father * , sinless and at rest,
Where the fierce murderer may no more pursue.

And well he feels, no error of the dust
Drew to the stars of Heaven his mortal ken,
There it is with us, ev'n as is our trust,
He that believes, is near the holy then .

There shall each feeling beautiful and high,
Keep the sweet promise of its earthly day;
--Oh! fear thou not to dream with waking eye!
There lies deep meaning oft in childish play.

* Wallenstein.

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RING , joyous chords!--ring out again!
A swifter still, and a wilder strain!
They are here--the fair face and the careless heart,
And stars shall wane ere the mirthful part.
--But I met a dimly mournful glance,
In a sudden turn of the flying dance;
I heard the tone of a heavy sigh,
In a pause of the thrilling melody!
And it is not well that woe should breathe
On the bright spring-flowers of the festal wreath!
--Ye that to thought or to grief belong,
            Leave, leave the hall of song!

Ring, joyous chords!--but who art thou
With the shadowy locks o'er thy pale young brow,

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And the world of dreamy gloom that lies
In the misty depths of thy soft dark eyes?
--Thou hast lov'd, fair girl! thou hast lov'd too well!
Thou art mourning now o'er a broken spell;
Thou hast pour'd thy heart's rich treasures forth,
And art unrepaid for their priceless worth!
Mourn on!--yet come thou not here the while,
It is but a pain to see thee smile!
There is not a tone in our songs for thee--
            --Home with thy sorrows flee!

Ring, joyous chords!--ring out again!
--But what dost thou with the Revel's train?
A silvery voice through the soft air floats,
But thou hast no part in the gladdening notes;
There are bright young faces that pass thee by,
But they fix no glance of thy wandering eye!
Away! there's a void in thy yearning breast,
Thou weary man! wilt thou here find rest?
Away! for thy thoughts from the scene have fled,
And the love of thy spirit is with the dead!
Thou art but more lone midst the sounds of mirth--
            --Back to thy silent hearth!

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Ring, joyous chords!--ring forth again!
A swifter still, and a wilder strain!
--But thou , though a reckless mien be thine,
And thy cup be crown'd with the foaming wine,
By the fitful bursts of thy laughter loud,
By thine eye's quick flash through its troubled cloud,
I know thee!--it is but the wakeful fear
Of a haunted bosom that brings thee here!
I know thee!--thou fearest the solemn night,
With her piercing stars and her deep wind's might!
There's a tone in her voice which thou fain wouldst shun,
For it asks what the secret soul hath done!
And thou--there's a dark weight on thine--away!
            --Back to thy home and pray!

Ring, joyous chords!--ring out again!
A swifter still, and a wilder strain!
And bring fresh wreaths!--we will banish all
Save the free in heart from our festive hall.
On through the maze of the fleet dance, on!
--But where are the young and the lovely?--gone!
Where are the brows with the red rose crown'd,
And the floating forms with the bright zone bound?

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And the waving locks and the flying feet,
That still should be where the mirthful meet!
--They are gone--they are fled--they are parted all--
            --Alas! the forsaken hall!

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            SLEEP 'midst thy banners furl'd!
Yes! thou art there, upon thy buckler lying,
With the soft wind unfelt around thee sighing,
Thou chief of hosts, whose trumpet shakes the world!
Sleep while the babe sleeps on its mother's breast--
--Oh! strong is night--for thou too art at rest!

            Stillness hath smooth'd thy brow,
And now might love keep timid vigils by thee,
Now might the foe with stealthy foot draw nigh thee,
Alike unconscious and defenceless thou!
Tread lightly, watchers!--now the field is won,
Break not the rest of nature's weary son!

            Perchance some lovely dream
Back from the stormy fight thy soul is bearing,
To the green places of thy boyish daring,
And all the windings of thy native stream;

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--Why, this were joy!--upon the tented plain,
Dream on, thou Conqueror!--be a child again!

            But thou wilt wake at morn,
With thy strong passions to the conflict leaping,
And thy dark troubled thoughts, all earth o'ersweeping,
--So wilt thou rise, oh! thou of woman born!
And put thy terrors on, till none may dare
Look upon thee--the tired one, slumbering there!

            Why, so the peasant sleeps
Beneath his vine!--and man must kneel before thee,
And for his birthright vainly still implore thee!
Shalt thou be stay'd because thy brother weeps?
--Wake! and forget that 'midst a dreaming world,
Thou hast lain thus, with all thy banners furl'd!

            Forget that thou, ev'n thou,
Hast feebly shiver'd when the wind pass'd o'er thee,
And sunk to rest upon the earth which bore thee,
And felt the night-dew chill thy fever'd brow!
Wake with the trumpet, with the spear press on!
--Yet shall the dust take home its mortal son.

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FOUNT of the woods! thou art hid no more,
From Heaven's clear eye, as in time of yore!
For the roof hath sunk from thy mossy walls,
And the sun's free glance on thy slumber falls;
And the dim tree-shadows across thee pass,
As the boughs are sway'd o'er thy silvery glass;
And the reddening leaves to thy breast are blown,
When the autumn wind hath a stormy tone;
And thy bubbles rise to the flashing rain--
Bright Fount! thou art nature's own again!

*A beautiful spring in the woods near St. Asaph, formerly covered in with a chapel, now in ruins. It was dedicated to the Virgin, and, according to Pennant, much the resort of pilgrims.

Page 204

Fount of the vale! thou art sought no more
By the pilgrim's foot, as in time of yore,
When he came from afar, his beads to tell,
And to chant his hymn at Our Lady's Well.
There is heard no Ave through thy bowers,
Thou art gleaming lone 'midst thy water-flowers!
But the herd may drink from thy gushing wave,
And there may the reaper his forehead lave,
And the woodman seeks thee not in vain--
--Bright Fount! thou art nature's own again!

Fount of the Virgin's ruin'd shrine!
A voice that speaks of the past is thine!
It mingles the tone of a thoughtful sigh,
With the notes that ring through the laughing sky;
'Midst the mirthful song of the summer-bird,
And the sound of the breeze, it will yet be heard!
--Why is it that thus we may gaze on thee,
To the brilliant sunshine sparkling free?
--'Tis that all on earth is of Time's domain--
He hath made thee nature's own again!

Fount of the chapel with ages grey!
Thou art springing freshly amidst decay!
Thy rites are closed, and thy cross lies low,
And the changeful hours breathe o'er thee now!
Yet if at thine altar one holy thought
In man's deep spirit of old hath wrought;
If peace to the mourner hath here been given,
Or prayer, from a chasten'd heart, to Heaven,
Be the spot still hallow'd while Time shall reign,
Who hath made thee nature's own again!