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Forbid the life-restoring rains.
To fall on Afric's burning plains ;
Close up the fount that gush'd to cheer
The pilgrim o'er the waste who trode;
But check thou not one holy tear,
Which Penitence devotes to God!
Through scenes so lone the wild-deer ne'er
Was roused by huntsman's bugle there;
So rude, that scarce might human eye
Sustain their dread sublimity;
So awful, that the timid swain,
Nurtured amidst their dark domain,
Had peopled, with unearthly forms,
Their mists, their forests, and their storms;
She, whose blue eye, of laughing light,
Once made each festal scene more bright;
Whose voice in song of joy was sweetest,
Whose step in dance of mirth was fleetest.
By torrent-wave, and mountain-brow,
Is wandering as an out-cast now,
To share with Lindheim's fallen chief,
His shame, his terror, and his grief.
Hast thou not mark'd the ruin's flower,
That blooms in solitary grace,
And, faithful to its mouldering tower,
Waves in the banner's place ?
From those grey haunts renown hath pass’d,
Time wins his heritage at last;
This day of glory hath gone by,
With all its pomp and minstrelsy;
Yet still the flower of golden hues
There loves its fragrance to diffuse,
To fallen and forsaken things
With constancy unalter'd clings,
And, smiling o'er the wreck of state,
With beauty clothes the desolate.
E'en such was she, the fair-haird maid,
In all her light of youth array'd,
Forsaking every joy below,
To soothe a guilty parent's woe,
And clinging thus, in beauty's prime,
To the dark ruin made b; crime.
Oh! ne'er did Heaven's propitious eyes
Smile on a purer sacrifice;
Ne'er did young love, at duty's shrine,
More nobly brighter hopes resign!
O'er her own pangs she brooded not,
Nor sunk beneath her bitter lot;
No! that pure spirit's lofty worth
Still rose more buoyantly from earth,
And drew from an eterna, source
Its gentle, yet triumphant force;
Roused by affliction's chastening might
To energies more calmly bright,
Like the wild harp of airy sigh,
Woke by the storm to harmony !
He that in mountain holds hath sought
A refuge for unconquer'd thought,
A charter'd home, where Freedom's child
Might rcar her altars in the wild,
And fix her quenchless torch on high,
A beacon for Eternity;
Or they, whose martyr-spirits wage
Proud war with Persecution's rage,
And to the deserts bear the faith
That bids them smile on chains and death
Well may they draw, from all around,
Of grandeur clothed'in form and sound,
From the deep power of earth and sky,
Wild nature's might of majesty,
Strong energies, immortal fires,
High hopes, magnificent desires !
But dark, terrific, and austere,
To him doth Nature's mien appear,
Who, 'midst her wilds, would seek repose
From guilty pangs and vengeful foes!
For him the winds hath music dread,
A dirge-like voice that mourns the dead;
The forest's whisper breathes a tone,
Appalling, as from world's unknown;
The mystic gloom of wood and cave
Is fill'd with shadows of the grave;
In noon's deep calm the sunbeams dart
A blaze that seems to search his heart;
The pure, eternal stars of night,
Upbraid him with their silent light,
And the dread spirit, which pervades,
And hallows earth's most lonely shades,
In every scene, in every hour,
Surrounds him with chastising power
With nameless fear his soul to thrill,
Heard, felt, acknowledged, present still!
'Twas the chilly close of an Autumn day,
And the leaves fell thick o'er the wanderer's way,
The rustling pines, with a hollow sound,
Foretold the tempest gathering round,
And the skirts of the western clouds were spread
With a tinge of wild and stormy red,
That seem'd, through the twilight forest bowers
Like the glare of a city's blazing towers ;
But they, who far from cities fled,
And shrunk from the print of human tread,
Had reach'd a desert-scene unknown,
So strangely wild, so deeply lone,
That a nameless feeling, unconfess'd
And undefined, their souls oppress'd.
Rocks piled on rocks, around them hurld,
Lay like the ruins of a world,
Left by an earthquake's final thrnes
In deep and desolate repose;
Things of eternity whose forms
Bore record of ten thousand storms!
While, rearing its colossal crest
In sullen grandeur o'er the rest,
One, like a pillar, vast and rude,
Stood monarch of the solitude.
Perchance by Roman conqueror's hand
Th' enduring monument was plann'd;
Or Odin's sons, in days gone by,
Had shaped its rough immensity,
To rear, 'midst mountain, rock, and wood,
A temple meet for rites of blood.
But they were gone, who might have told
That secret of the times of old,
And there, in silent scorn it frown'd,
O’er all its vast coevals round.
Darkly those giant masses lower'd,
Countless and motionless they towerd;
No wild-flower o'er their summits hung,
No fountain from their caverns sprung ;
Yet ever on the wanderers' ear
Murmur'd a sound of waters near,
With music deep of lulling falls,
And louder gush at intervals.
Unknown its source-nor spring nor stream
Caught the red sunset's lingering gleam,
But ceaseless, from its hidden caves,
Arose that mystic voice of waves.
Yet bosom'd’midst that savage scene,
One chosen spot of gentler mien
Gave promise to the pilgrim's eye
Of shelter from the tempest nigh.
Glad sight! the ivied cross it bore,
The sculptured saint that crown'd'its door;
Less welcome now were monarch's dome,
Than that low cell, some hermit's home.
Thither the outcasts bent their way,
By the last lingering gleam of day,
When from a cavernd rock, which cast
Deep shadows o'er them as they pass’d,
A form, a warrior-form of might,
As from earth's bosom sprung to sight.
His port was lofty-yet the heart
Shrunk from him with recoiling start;
His mien was youthful-yet his face
Had nought of youth's ingenious grace ;
Nor chivalrous, nor tender thought,
Its traces on his brow had wrought;
Yet dwelt no fierceness in his eye,
But calm and cold severity,
A spirit haughtily austere,
Stranger to pity as to fear.
It seem'd as pride had thrown a veil
O’er that dark brow and visage pale,
Leaving the searcher nought to guess,
All was so fix'd and passionless.
He spoke and they who heard the tone
Felt, deeply felt, all hope was flown.
" I've sought thee far in forest bowers,
I've sought thee long in peopled towers,
I've borne the dagger of th’ UNKNOWN
Trough scenes explored by me alone;
My search is closed-nor toils, nor fears,
Repel the servant of the Seers;
We meet—'tis vain to strive or fly
Albert of Lindheim—thou must die !"
Then with clasp'd hands the fair-hair'd maid Sunk at his feet and wildly pray'd :
Stay, stay thee! sheath that lifted steel!
Oh! thou art human, and canst feel !
Hear me! if e'er 'twas thine to prove
The blessing of a parent's love;
By thine own father's hoary hair,
By her who gave thee being, spare !
Did they not o'er thy infant years,
Keep watch, in sleepless hopes and fears !
Young warrior! thou wilt heed my prayers,
As thou would'st hope for grace to theirs !"
But cold th’ Avenger's look reinain’d,
His brow its rigid calm maintain'd:
“ Maiden! 'tis vain-my bosom ne'er
Was conscious of a parent's care ;
The nurture of my infant years
Froze in my soul the source of tears;
'Tis not for me to pause or melt,
Or feel as happier hearts have felt.
Away! the hour of fate goes by,
Thy prayers are fruitless he must die!"
“Rise, Ella! rise," with steadfast brow
The father spoke ; unshrinking now,
As if from heaven a martyr's strength
Had settled on his soul at length;
“ Kneel thou no more, my noble child,
Thou by no taint of guilt defiled ;
Kneel not to man !-for mortal prayer,
Oh! when did mortal vengeance spare ?
Since hope of earthly aid flown,
Lift thy pure hands to Heaven alone,
And know, to calni thy suffering heart,
My spirit is resign'd to part,
Trusting in Him, who reads and knows
This guilty breast with all its woes
Rise! I would bless thee once again,
Be still, be firm-for all is vain !"
And she was still-she heard him not,
prayers were hush’d-her pangs forgot ; All thought, all memory pass’d away, Silent and motionless she lay, In a brief death, a blest suspense, Alike of agony and sense. She saw not when the dagger gleam'd In the last red light from the west that streain'd; She mark'd not when the life-blood's flow Came rushing to the mortal blow; While, unresisting, sunk her sire, Yet gather'd firmness to expire, Mingling a warrior's courage high, With a penitent's humility. And o'er him there th' Avenger stood, And watch'd the victim's ebbing blood, Still calm, as if his faithful hand Had but obey'd some just command, Some power, whose stern, yet righteous will, He deem'd it virtue to fulfil, And triumph’d, when the palm was won, For duty's task austerely done.
But a feeling dread, and undefin'd A mystic presage of the mind, With strange and sudden impulse ran Chill through the heart of the dying man And his thoughts found voice, and his bosom breath, And it seem'd as fear suspended death, And Nature from her terrors drew Fresh energy, and vigor new.
“Thou said'st thy lonely bosom ne'er Was conscious of a parent's care •