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LXIX.

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 veild mine eyes, Yet stopp'd in spell-bound fear to catch the victims'

cries.

LXX.

What heard I then ?-a ringing shriek of pain,
Such as for ever haunts the tortured ear ?
I heard a sweet and solemn-breathing strain
Piercing the flame, antremulous 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!

LXXI.

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 increased : Faint grew the sounds-more faint : I listen'd-they

I had ceased !

LXXII.

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?

LXXIII.

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 !

LXXIV. 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!

LXXV. 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 the untroubled stars, of man's dim destiny.

LXXVI.

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 paused, entering a lonely

fane.

LXXVII.

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 о'er

Its white sepulchral forms of mail-clad men ;
And all was hush'd as night in some deep Alpine glen.

LXXVIII.

More hush’d, far more !—for there the wind

sweeps by, Or the woods tremble to the stream's loud play ; Here a strange echo made my very sigh Seem for the place too much a sound of day ! Too much my footsteps 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.

LXXIX.

For thick ye girt me round, ye long departed !' Dust-imaged forms—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!

LXXX.

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, 0 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 loosed. I turn'd me to

depart.

LXXXI.

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 down pour’d in-grey, shadowy,

slow,
Yet dayspring 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 pictured form above the altar shone.

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