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This furrow'd brow, this restless eye,
Read thou this fearful tale—and fly!
Is it enough? or must I seek
For words, the tale of guilt to speak ?
Then be it so~I will not doom
Thy youth to wither in its bloom;
I will not see thy tender frame
Bow'd to the earth with fear and shame.
No! though I teach thee to abhor
The sire, so fondly loved before;
Though the dread effort rend my breast,
Yet shalt thou leave me and be blest!
Oh! bitter penance! thou wilt turn
Away in horror and in scorn ;,
Thy looks, that still through all the past
Affection's gentlest beams have cast,
As lightning on my heart will fall,
And must mark and bear it all!
Yet though of life's best ties bereaved,
Thou shalt not, must not be deceived!
I linger-let me speed the tale,
Ere voice, and thought, and memory fail,
Why should I falter thus, to tell
What Heaven so long hath known too well?
Yes! though from mortal sight conceald,
There hath a brother's blood appeald.
He died—'twas not where banners wave,
And war-steeds trample on the brave,
He died—it was in Holy Land;
Yet fell he not by Paynim hand;
He sleeps not with his sires at rest,
With trophied shield and knightly crest;
Unknown his grave to kindred eyes,
- But I can tell thee where he lies
It was a wild and savage spot,
But once beheld-and ne'er forgot'
I see it now-that haunted scene
My spirit's dwelling still hath been;
And he is there-I see him laid
Beneath that palm-tree's lonely shade.
The fountain-wave that sparkles nigh,
Bears witness with its crimson dye :
I see th' accusing glance he raised,
Ere that dim eye by death was glazed ;
-Ne'er will that parting look forgive !"
I still behold it--and I live!
I live! from hope, from mercy driven,
A mark for all the shafts of Heaven!
“Yet had I wrongs: by fraud he won My birth-right-and my child, my son,
Heir to high name, high fortune born,
Was doom'd to penury and scorn,
An alien ʼmidst his fathers' halls,
An exile from his native walls.
Could I bear this ?--the rankling thought,
Deep, dark, within my bosom wrought ;
Some serpent, kindling hate and guile,
Lurk’d in my infant's rosy smile,
And when his accents lisp'd my name,
They woke my inmost heart to flame!
I struggled-are there evil powers
That claim their own ascendant hours ?
-Oh! what should thine unspotted soul
Or know or fear of their control ?
Why on the fearful conflict dwell ?
Vainly I struggled—and I fell :
Cast down from every hope of bliss,
Too well thou know'st to what abyss !
“ 'Twas done that moment hurried by
To darken all eternity!
Years rollid away, long, evil years,
Of woes, of fetters, and of fears ;
Nor aught but vain remorse I gain’d,
By the deep guilt my soul which stain'd;
For, long a captive in the lands
Where Arabs iread their burning sands,
The haunted midnight of the mind
Was round me while in chains I pined.
By all forgotten save by one
Dread presence-which I could not shun.
“How oft, when o'er the silent waste Nor path nor landmark might be traced, When slumbering by the watch-fire's ray, The Wanderers of the Desert lay, And stars, as o'er an ocean shone, Vigil I keptbut not alone! That form, that image from the dead, Still walk'd the wild with soundless tread! I've seen it in the fiery blast, I've seen it where the sand-storms pass'd ; Beside the desert's fount it stood, Tinging the clear cold wave with blood ; And e'en when viewless, by the fear Curdling my veins, I knew 'twas near ! - Was near! I feel th’ unearthly thrill, Its power is on my spirit still! A mystic influence, undefined, The spell, the shadow of my mind!
“ Wilt thou ye: linger?-time speeds on One last farewell, and then begone! Unclasp the hands that shade thy brow, And let me read thine aspect now! No stay thee yet, and learn the meed Heaven's justice to my crime decreed. Slow came the day that broke my chain, But I. at length was free again;. And freedom brings a burst of joy, E'en guilt itself can scarce destroy; I thought upon my own fair towers, My native Rhine's gay vineyard bowers, And, in a father's visions, press'd Thee and thy brother to my breast.
“ 'Twas but in visions-canst thou yet Recall the moment when we meet? Thy step to greet me lightly sprung, Thy arms around me fondly clung; Scarce aught than infant-seraph less, Seem'd thy pure childhood's loveliness ; But he was gone--that son, for whom I rush'd on guilt's eternal doom, He for whose sake alone were given My peace on earth, my hope in Heaven, He met me not.--A ruthless band, Whose name with terror fillid the land, Fierce outlaws of the wood and wild Had rest the father of his child. Foes to my race, the hate they nursed, Full on that cherish'd scion burst. Unknown his fate.- No parent nigh, My boy! my first-born ! didst thou die ? Or did they spare thee for a life Of shame, of rapine, and of strife? Livest thou, unfriended, unallied, A wanderer, lost without a guide ? Oh! to thy fate's mysterious gloom, Blest were the darkness of the tomb !
“Ella! 'tis done-my guilty heart
Before thee all unveil'd-depart!
Few pangs 'twill cost thee now to fly
From one so stained, so lost as I ;
Yet peace to thine untainted breast,
E'en though it hate me-be thou blest!
Farewell! thou shalt not linger here;
E'en now th' avenger may
Where'er I turn, the foe, the snare,
The dagger, may be ambush'd there;
One hour-and haply all is o’er,
And we must meet on earth no more ;
No, nor beyond !-to those pure skies
Where thou shalt be, I may not rise ;
Heaven's will forever parts our lot,
Yet, oh! my child! abhor me not!
Speak once! to soothe this broken heart,
Speak to me once! and then depart!”
But still-as if each pulse were dead,
Mute—as the power of speech were fled,
Pale-as if life-blood ceas'd to warm
The marble beauty of her form;
On the dark rock she lean'd her head,
That seem'd as there 'twere riveted,
And dropt the hands, till then which press’d
Her burning brow, or throbbing breast.
There beam'd no tear-drop in her eye,
And from her lips there breathed no sigh,
And on her brow no trace their dwelt,
That told she suffer'd or she felt.
All that once glow'd, or smil'd, or beam'd,
Now fix'd, and quench’d, and frozen seem'd
And long her sire, in wild dismay,
Deem'd her pure spirit pass'd away.
But life return'd. O'er that cold frame
One deep convulsive shudder came,
And a faint light her eye relumed,
And sad resolve her mien assumed ;
But there was horror in the gaze,
Which yet to his she dared not raise,
And her sad accents, wild and low,
As rising from a depth of woe,
At first with hurried trembling broke,
But gather'd firmness as she spoke.
“I leave thee not whate'er betide,
My footsteps shall not quit thy side ;,
Pangs, keen as death my soul
But yet thou art my father still!
And, oh! if stain'd by guilty deed,
For some kind spirit, tenfold need,
To speak of Heaven's absolving love,
And waft desponding thought above.
Is there not power in mercy's wave,
The blood-stain from thy soul to lave?
Is there not balm to heal despair,
In tears, in penitence, in prayer?
My father! kneel at His pure
shrine Who died to expiate guilt like thine, Weep-and my tears
with thine shall blend Pray—while my prayers with thine ascend,
And, as our mingling sorrows rise,
Heaven will relent, though earth despise !"
My child, my child! these bursting tears,
The first mine eyes have shed for years,
Though deepest conflicts they express,
Yet flow not all in bitterness!
Oh! thou hast bid a wither'd heart
From desolation's slumber start,
Thy voice of pity and of love
Seems o'er its icy depths to move
E'en as a breeze of health, which brings
Life, hope, and healing, on its wings.
And there is mercy yet! I feel
Its influence o'er my spirit steal,
How welcome were each pang below,
If guilt might be atoned by woe!
Think’st thou I yet may be forgiven ?
Shall prayers unclose the gate of Heaven?
Oh! if it yet avail to plead,
If judgment be not yet decreed,
Our hearts shall blend their suppliant cry,
Till pardon shall be seald on high!
Yet, yet I shrink-will Mercy shed
Her dews upon this fallen head?.
-Kneel, Ella, kneel! till full and free
Descend forgiveness, won by thee !"
They knelt:-before the Cross, that sign
Of love eternal and divine;
That symbol, which so long hath stood
A rock of strength on time's dark flood,
Clasp'd by despairing hands and laved
By the warm tears of nations saved ;
In one deep prayer their spirits blent,
The guilty and the innocent!
Youth, pure as if from Heaven its birth,
Age, soil'd with every stain of earth,
Knelt, offering up one heart, one cry,
Oh! blest, though bitter be their source,
Though dark the fountain of remorse,
Blest are the tears which pour from thence,
Th' atoning stream of penitence!
And let not pity check the tide,
By which the heart is purified ;
L'et not vain comfort turn its course
Or timid love repress its force!
Go! bind the flood, whose waves expand,
To bear luxuriance o'er the land ;