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For he had roved a pilgrim there,
And gazed on many a spot so fair,
It seem'd like some enchanted grove,
Where only peace, and joy, and love,
Those exiles of the world, might rove,
And breathe its heavenly air;
And, all unmix'd with ruder tone,
Their “wood-notes wild " be heard alone!
Far from the frown of stern control,
That vainly would subdue the soul,
There shall their long-affianced hands,
Be join'd in consecrated bands,
And in some rich, romantic vale ,
Circled with heights of Alpine snow, Where citron-woods enrich the gale, And scented shrubs their balm exhale,
And flowering myrtles blow;
And ’midst the mulberry boughs on high,
Weaves the wild vine her tapestry:
On some bright streamlet's emerald side,
Where cedars wave, in graceful pride,
Bosom'd in groves, their home shall rise,
A shelter'd bower of Paradise !
Thus would the lover soothe to rest
With tales of hope her anxious breast;
Nor vain that dear enchanting lore,
Her soul's bright visions to restore,
And bid gay phantoms of delight
Float in soft coloring, o'er her sight.
-Oh! youth, sweet May-morn, fled so soon,
Far brighter than life's loveliest noon,
How oft thy spirit's buoyant power
Will triumph e'en in sorrow's hour
Prevailing o'er regret!
As rears its head th' elastic flower
Though the dark tempest's recent shower
Hang on its petals yet!
Ah! not so soon can hope's gay smile
The aged bard to joy beguile :
Those silent years that steal away,
The cheek's warm rose, the eye's bright ray,
Win from the mind a nobler prize,
E'en all its buoyant energies!
For him the April days are past,
When grief was but a fleeting cloud ;
No transient shade will sorrow cast,
When age the spirit's might has bow'd!
And as he sees the land grow dim,
That native land, now lost to him,
Fix'd are his eyes, and clasp'd his hands,
And long in speechless grief he stands.
So desolately calm his air,
He seems an image, wrought to bear
The stamp of deep, though hush'd despair ;
Motion and life no sign bespeaks
Save that the night breeze, o'er his cheeks,
Just waves his silvery hair !
Nought else could teach the eye to know
He was no sculptured form of woe!
Long, gazing o'er the dark’ning flood,
in that silent grief he stood; Till the cold moon was waning fast,
And many a lovely star had died,
And the grey heavens deep shadows cast
Far o'er the slumbering tide ;
And robed in one dark solemn hue,
Arose the distant shore to view.
Then, starting from his trance of woe,
Tears, long suppress'd, in freedom flow,
While thus his wild and plaintive strain,
Blends with the murmur of the main,
THE BARD'S FAREWELL. Thou setting moon! when next thy rays
Are trembling on the shadowy deep, The land, now fading from my gaze,
These eyes in vain shall weep; And wander o'er the lonely sea, And fix their tearful glance on thee.
On thee! whose light so softly gleams,
Through the green oaks that fringe my native streams
But, 'midst those ancient groves, no more
Shall I thy quivering lustre hail,
Its plaintive strain my harp must pour.
To swell a foreign gale ;
The rocks, the woods, whose echoes woke,
When its full tones their stillness broke,
Deserted now, shall hear alone,
The brook's wild voice, the wind's mysterious moan.
And oh! ye fair, forsaken halls,
Left by your lord to slow decay,
Soon shall the trophies on your walls
Be mouldering fast away!
There shall no choral songs resound,
There shall no festal board be crown'd;
But ivy wreath the silent gate,
And all be hush'd, and cold,
No banner from the stately tower,
Shall spread its blazon'd folds on high,
There the wild brier and summer flower,
Unmark'd, shall wave and die.
Home of the mighty! thou art lone,
The noodday of thy pride is gone,
And, 'midst thy solitude profound,
A step shall echo like unearthly sound !
From thy cold hearths no festal blaze
Shall fill the hall with ruddy light,
Nor welcome, with convivial rays,
Some pilgrim of the night ;
But there shall grass luxuriant spread,
As o'er the dwellings of the dead;
And the deep swell
of every blast,
Seem a wild dírge for years of grandeur past.
And I-my joy of life is fled,
My spirit's power, my bosom’s glow,
The raven locks that graced my head,
Wave in a wreath of snow!
And where the star of youth arose,
I deem'd life's lingering ray should close,
And those loved trees my tomb o'ershade,
Beneath whose arching bowers my childhood play'd.
Vain dream! that tomb in distant earth
Shall rise, forsaken and forgot;
And thou, sweet land, that gav'st me birth,
A grave must yield me not!
Yet, haply he for whom I leave
Thy shores, in life's dark winter-eve,
When cold the hand, and closed the lays,
And mute the voice he loved to praise,
O’er the hush'd harp one tear may shed,
And one frail garland o'er the minstrel's bed!
'Twas night in Babylon: yet many a beam,
far glittering from her domes on high,
Shone, brightly mingling in Euphrates' stream
With the clear stars of that Chaldean sky,
Whose azure knows no cloud: each whisper'd sigh
Of the soft night-breeze through her terrace bowers,
Bore deepening tones of joy and melody,
O'er an illumined wilderness of flowers;
And the glad city's voice went up from all her towers.
But prouder mirth was in the kingly hall,
Where, 'midst adoring slaves, a gorgeous band,
High at the stately midnight festival,
Belshazzar sat enthroned. There luxury's hand
Had shower'd around all treasures that expand
Beneath the burning East ;
gems The sunbeams back; all sweets of many a land, Whose gales waft incense from their spicy shore ! -But mortal pride look'd on, and still demanded more. With richer zest the banquet may be fraught, A loftier theme may swell the exulting strain! The Lord of nations spoke,—and forth were brought The spoils of Salem's devastated fane. Thrice holy vessels !-pure from earthly stain, And set apart, and sanctified to Him, Who deign'd within the oracle to reign, Reveald, yet shadow'd; making noonday dim, To that most glorious cloud between the cherubim. They came, and louder peal'd the voice of song, And pride flash'd brighter from the kindling eye, And He who sleeps not heard the elated throng, In mirth that plays with thunderbolts, defy The Rock of Zion !--Fill the nectar high, High in the cups of consecrated gold ! And crown the bowl with garlands, ere they die, And bid the censers of the temple hold Offerings to Babel's gods, the mighty ones of old' Peace!—is it but a phantom of the brain, Thus shadow'd forth, the senses to appal, Yon fearful vision ?-Who shall gaze again To search its cause ?--Along the illumined wall, Startling, yet riveting the eyes of all. Darkly it moves,-a hand, a human hand, O'er the bright lamps of that resplendent hall, In silence tracing, as a mystic wand, Words all unknown, the tongue of some far distant land! There are pale cheeks around the regal board, And quivering limbs, and whispers deep and low, And fitful starts !--the wine, in triumph pourd, Untasted foams, the song hath ceased to flow, The waving censer drops to earth and lo! The king of men, the ruler, girt with mirth, Trembles before a shadow Say not so!
- The child of dust, with guilt's foreboding sight, Shrinks from the dread Unknown, the avenging Infinite!
“But haste ye-bring Chaldea's gifted seers,
The men of prescience Shaply to their eyes,
Which track the future through the rolling spheres,
Yon mystic sign may speak in prophecies.”.
They come-the readers of the midnight skies,
They that gave voice to visions—but in vain !
Still wrapt in clouds the awful secret lies,
It hath no language 'midst the starry train,
Earth has no gifted tongue Heaven's mysteries to explain.
Then stood forth one, a child of other sires,
And other inspiration !-one of those
Who on the willows hung their captive lyres,
And sat, and wept, where Babel's river flows.
His eye was bright, and yet the pale repose
Of his pure features half o'crawed the mind,
Telling of inward mysteries_joys and woes
In lone recesses of the soul enshrined;
Depths of a being seal’d and sever'd from mankind.
Yes!—what was earth to him, whose spirit pass'd
Time's utmost bounds ?-on whose unshrinking sight
Ten thousand shapes of burning glory cast
Their full resplendence ?–Majesty and might
Were in his dreams ;--for him the veil of light
Shrouding Heaven's inmost sanctuary and throne,
The curtain of th’ unutterably bright
Was raised !-to him, in fearful splendor shown,
Ancient of Days! e’en Thou mad'st thy dread presence known.
He spoke :-the shadows of the things to come
Pass'd o'er his soul :-“O King, elate in pride!
God hath sent forth the writing of thy doom-
The one, the living, God by thee defied !
He, in whose balance earthly lords are tried,
Hath weigh’d, and found thee wanting. 'Tis decreed
The conqueror's hands thy kingdom shall divide,
The stranger to thy throne of power succeed !
Thy days are full--they come,
-the Persian and the Mede !"
There fell a moment's thrilling silence round-
A breathless pause !-the hush of hearts that beat,
And limbs that quiver :me. Is there not a sound,
A gathering cry, a tread of hurrying feet?
_'Twas but some echo in the crowded street,
Of far-heard revelry ; the shout, the song,
The measured dance to music wildly sweet,
That speeds the stars their joyous course along
Away, nor let a dream disturb the festal throng!
Peace yet again! Hark! steps in tumult flying,
Steeds rushing on, as o'er a battle-field !