Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

And, ere his heart's last free libation gush’d, With a bright smile the warrior caught his name Far-floating on the winds! And Vict'ry came, And made the hour of that immortal deed A life, in fiery feeling! Valor's aim Had sought no loftier guerdon. Thus to bleed, Was to be Rome's high star!-He died-and had his meed.

XIX.

But praise--and dearer, holier praise, be theirs,
Who, in the stillness and the solitude
Of hearts press'd earthwards by a weight of cares,
Uncheer'd by Fame's proud hope, th' ethereal food
Of restless energies, and only view'd
By Him whose eye, from his eternal throne,
Is on the soul's dark palaces ; have subdued

And vow'd themselves with strength till then unknown, To some high martyr-task, in secret and alone.

Theirs be the bright and sacred names, enshrined
Far in the bosom! for their deeds belong,
Not to the gorgeous faith which charm'd mankind
With its rich pomp of festival and song,
Garland, and shrine, and incense-bearing throng;
But to that Spirit, hallowing, as it tries
Man's hidden soul in whispers, yet more strong

Than storm or earthquake's voice ; for thence arise
All that mysterious world's unseen sublimities.

XXI.

Well might thy name, brave Constantine! awake Such thought, such feeling !-But the scene again Bursts on my vision, as the day-beams break Through the red sulphurous mists: the camp, the plain, The terraced palaces, the dome-capt fane, With its bright cross fix'd high in crowning grace; Spears on the ramparts, galleys on the main, And, circling all with arms, that turban'd race, The sun, the desert, stamp'd in each dark haughty face.

XXII.

Shout, ye seven hills! Lo! Christian pennons streaming
Red o'er the waters !6 Hail, deliverers, hail !
Along your billowy wake the radiance gleaming,
Is Hope's own smile! They crowd the swelling sail,
On, with the foam, the sunbeam and the gale,
Borne, as a victor's car! The batteries pour

Their clouds and thunders; but the rolling veil
Of smoke floats up the exulting winds before !
And oh! the glorious burst of that bright sea and shore !

XXIII.
The rocks, waves, ramparts, Europe's, Asia's coast,
All throng'd! one theatre for kingly war!
A monarch girt with his barbaric host,
Points o'er the beach his flashing scymitar!
Dark tribes are tossing javelins from afar,
Hands waving banners o'er each battlement,
Decks, with their serried guns, array'd to bar

The promised aid : but hark! a shout is sent
Up from the noble barks !—the Moslem line is rent!

XXIV.

On, on through rushing flame, and arrowy shower,
The welcome prows have cleft their rapid way;
And, with the shadows of the vesper hour,
Furl'd their white sails, and anchor'd in the bay.
Then were the streets with song and torch-fire gay,
Then the Greek wines flow'd mantling in the light
Of festal halls--and there was joy the ray
Of dying eyes, a moment wildly bright,
The sunset of the soul, ere lost to mortal sight!

XXV. For vain that feeble succour! Day by day Th’ imperial towers are crumbling, and the sweep Of the vast engines, in their ceaseless play, Comes powerful, as when Heaven unbinds the deep! --Man's heart is mightier than the castled steep, Yet will it sink when earthly hope is fled; Man's thoughts work darkly in such hours, and sleep Flies far; and in their mien, the walls who tread, Things by the brave untold, may fearfully be read!

XXVI.
It was a sad and solemn task, to hold
Their midnight-watch on that beleaguerd wall !
As the sea-wave beneath the bastions rollid,
A sound of fate was in its rise and fall;
The heavy clouds were as an empire's pall,
The giant-shadows of each tower and fane
Lay like the grave's; a low mysterious call

Breathed in the wind, and, from the tented plain,
A voice of omens rose with each wild martial strain.

XXVII.

For they might catch the Arab chargers neighing,
The Thracian drum, the Tartar's drowsy song ;
Might almost hear the soldan's banner swaying,
The watch-word mutter'd in some eastern tongue.
Then flash'd the gun's terrific light along
The marble streets, all stillness not repose ;
And boding thoughts came o'er them, dark and strong;

For heaven, earth, air, speak auguries to those Who see their number'd hours fast

pressing to the close.

XXVIII.
But strength is from the mightiest! There is one
Still in the breach, and on the rampart seen,
Whose cheek shows paler with each morning sun,
And tells in silence, how the night hath been,
In kingly halls, a vigil : yet serene
The ray set deep within his thoughtful eye ;
And there is that in his collected mien,

To which the hearts of noble men reply,
With fires, partaking not this frame's mortality!

ΧΧΙΧ. .
Yes! call it not of lofty minds the fate
To

pass o'er earth in brightness, but alone ;
High power was made their birthright, to create
A thousand thoughts responsive to their own!
A thousand echoes of their spirit's tone
Start into life, where'er their path may be,
Still following fast; as when the wind hath blown
O’er Indian groves, a wanderer wild and free,
Kindling and bearing flames afar from tree to tree !

XXX.
And it is thus with thee! thy lot is cast
On evil days, thou Cæsar! yet the few
That set their generous bosom to the blast
Which rocks thy throne-the fearless and the true,
Bear hearts wherein thy glance can still renew
The free devotion of the years gone by,
When from bright dreams th' ascendant Roman drew

Enduring strength! States vanish--ages fly-
But leave one task unchanged-to suffer and to die!

XXXI. These are our nature's heritage. But thou, The crown'd with empire! thou wert call'd to share A cup more bitter. On thy feverd brow The semblance of that buoyant hope to wear, Which long had pass'd away; alone to bear The rush and pressure of dark thoughts, that came As a strong billow in their weight of care; And, with all this, to smile! for earth-born fiame These are stern conflicts, yet they pass, unknown tem

XXXII.
Her glance is on the triumph, on the field,
On the red scaffold; and where'er, in sight
Of human eyes, the human soul is steella
To deeds that seem as of immortal might,

Yet are proud nature's! But her meteor-light
Can pierce no depths, no clouds; it falls not where
In silence, and in secret, and in night,

The noble heart doth wrestle with despair,
And rise more strong than death from its unwitness'd prayer.

XXXIII.
Men have been firm in battle: they have stood
With a prevailing hope on ravaged plains,
And won the birthright of their hearths with blood,
And died rejoicing, 'midst their ancient fanes,
That so their children, undefiled with chains,
Might worship there in peace. But they that stand
When not a beacon o'er the wave remains,

Link'd but to perish with a ruin'd land,
Where Freedom dies with them-call these a martyr-band!

XXXIV.
But the world heeds them not. Or if, perchance,
Upon their strife it bend a careless eye,
It is but as the Roman's stoic glance
Fell on that stage where man's last agony
Was made his sport, who, knowing one must die,
Reck'd not which champion; but prepared the strain,
And bound the bloody wreath of victory,
To greet the conquerer ; while, with calm disdain,
The vanquish'd proudly met the doom he met in vain.

XXXV.

The hour of Fate comes on! and it is fraught
With this of Liberty, that now the need
Is past to veil the brow of anxious thought,
And clothe the heart, which still beneath must bleed,
With Hope’s fair-seeming drapery. We are freed
From tasks like these by misery ; one alone
Is left the brave, and rest shall be thy meed,

Prince, watcher, wearied-one! when thou hast shown
How brief the cloudy space which parts the grave and throne.

XXXVI.

The signs are full. They are not in the sky,
Nor in the many voices of the air,
Nor the swift clouds. No fiery hosts on high
Toss their wild spears: no meteor-banners glare,
No comet fiercely shakes its blazing hair ;
And yet the signs are full: too truely seen
In the thinn'd ramparts, in the pale despair

Which lends one language to a people's mien,
And in the ruin'd heaps where walls and towens have been !

XXXVII.

It is a night of beauty : such a night
As, from the sparry grot or laurel shade,

Or wave in marble cavern rippling bright,
Might woo the nymphs of Grecian fount and glade
To sport beneath its moonbeams, which pervade
Their forest-haunts; a night to rove alone
Where the young leaves by vernal winds are sway'd,

And the reeds whisper, with a dreamy tone
Of melody, that seems to breathe from worlds unknown.

XXXVIIT.

A night, to call from green Elysium's bowers
The shades of elder bards; a night, to hold
Unseen communion with th' inspiring powers
That made deep groves their dwelling place of old ;
A night, for mourners o'er the hallow'd mould,
To strew sweet flowers ; for revellers to fill
And wreath the cup; for sorrows to be told

Which love hath cherish'd long-vain thoughts! be still! {t is a night of fate, stamp'd with Almighty Will!

XXXIX.

It should come sweeping in the storm, and rending
The ancient summits in its dread career!
And with vast billows wrathfully contending,
And with dark clouds o’ershadowing every sphere !
But He, whose footstep shakes the earth with fear,
Passing to lay the sovereign cities low
Alike in His omnipotence is near,

When the soft winds o'er spring's green pathway blow, And when Flis thunders cleave the monarch-mountain's brow.

XI.

The heavens in still magnificence look down
On the hush'd Bosphorus, whose ocean stream
Sleeps, with its paler

stars: the snowy crown
Of far Olympus, in the moonlight-gleam
Towers radiantly, as when the Pagan's dream
Throng'd it with gods, and bent th’ adoring knee!
-But that is past—and now the One Supreme

Fills not alone those haunts; but earth, air, sea,
And Time, which presses on, to finish his decree.

XLI.

Olympus, Ida, Delphi ! ye, the thrones
And temples of a visionary might,
Brooding in clouds above your forest-zones,
And mantling thence the realms beneath with night:
Ye have look'd down on battles! Fear, and Flight,
And arm'd Revenge, all hurrying past below!
But there is yet a more appalling sight
For earth prepared, than e'er, with tranquil brow,
Ye gazed or "rom your world of solitude and snow!

« AnteriorContinuar »