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Last night a sound was in the Moslem camp,
And Asia's hills re-echoed to a cry
Of savage mirth!-Wild horn, and war-steeds' tramp,
Blent with the shout of barbarous revelry,
The clash of desert-spears! Last night the sky
A hue of menace and of wrath put on,
Caught from red watch-fires, blazing far and high,
And countless, as the flames, in ages gone,
Streaming to heaven's bright queen from shadowy Lebanon!
But all is stillness now. May this be sleep,
Which wraps those eastern thousands? Yes Perchance
Along yon moonlit shore and dark-blue deep,
Bright are their visions with the Houri's glance,
And they behold the sparkling fountains dance
Beneath the bowers of paradise, that shed
Rich odors o'er the faithful; but the lance,
The bow, the spear, now round the slumberers spread,
Ere Fate fulfil such dreams, must rest beside the dead.
May this be sleep, this hush ?-A sleepless eye
Doth hold its vigil 'midst that dusky race!
One that would scan th' abyss of destiny,
E’en now is gazing on the skies, to trace,
In those bright worlds, the burning isles of space,
Fate's mystic pathway: they the while, serene,
Walk in their beauty ; but Mohammed's face
Kindles beneath their aspect, and his mien,
All fired with stormy joy, by that soft light is seen.
Oh! wild presumption of a conqueror's dream,
To gaze on those pure altar-fires, enshrined
In depths of blue infinitude, and deem
They shine to guide the spoiler of mankind
O’er fields of blood But with the restless mind
It hath been ever thus! and they that weep
For worlds to conquer, o'er the bounds assign'd
To human search, in daring pride would sweep,
As o'er the trampled dust wherein they soon must sleep.
But ye ! that beam'd on Fate's tremendous night,
When the storm burst o'er golden Babylon,
And ye, that sparkled with your wonted light
O'er burning Salem, by the Roman won;
And ye, that calmly view'd the slaughter' done
In Rome's own streets, when Alaric's trumpet-blast
Rung thrrugh the Capitol ; bright spheres ! roll on!
Still bright, though empires fall; and bid man cast His humbled eyes to earth, and commune with the past
XLVII. For it hath mighty lessons ! from the tomb, And from the ruins of the tomb, and where, 'Midst the wreck’d cities in the desert's gloom, All tameless creatures make their savage lair, Thence comes its voice, that shakes the midnight air, And calls up clouds to dim the laughing day, And thrills the soul ;-yet bids us not despair,
But make one rock our shelter and our stay, Beneath whose shade all else is passing to decay !
The hours move on. I see a wavering gleam
O'er the hush'd waters tremulously fall,
Pourd from the Cæsar's palace: now the beam
Of many lamps is brightening in the hall,
And from its long arcades and pillars tall
Soft graceful shadows undulating lie
On the wave's heaving bosom, and recall
A thought of Venice, with her moonlight sky,
And festal seas and domes, and fairy pageantry.
But from that dwelling floats no mirthful sound ! The swell of flute and Grecian lyre no more, Wafting an atmosphere of music round, Tells the hush'd seaman, gliding past the shore, How monarchs revel there!-Its feasts are o'erWhy gleam the lights along its colonnade ? -I see a train of guests in silence pour Through its long avenues of terraced shade, Whose stately founts and bowers for joy alone were made!
In silence, and in arms With helm-with sword-
These are no marriage-garments ! - Yet e'en now
Thy nuptial feast should grace the regal board,
Thy Georgian bride should wreath her lovely brow
With an imperial diadem !10_but thou,
O fated prince! art call'd, and these with thee,
To darker scenes ; and thou hast learn'd to bow
Thine Eastern sceptre to the dread decree,
And count it joy enough to perish-being free!
On through long vestibules, with solemn tread,
As men, that in some time of fear and wo,
Bear darkly to their rest the noble dead,
O'er whom by day their sorrows may not flow,
The warriors pass: their measured steps are slow,
And hollow echoes fill the marble halls,
Whose long-drawn vistas open as they go
In desolate pomp; and from the pictured walls,
Sad seems the light itself which on their armour falls !
And they have reach'd a gorgeous chamber, bright
With all we dream of splendor ; yet a gloom
Seems gather'd o'er it to the boding sight,
A shadow that anticipates the tomb!
Still from its fretted roof the lamps illume
A purple canopy, a golden throne ;
But it is empty !--Hath the stroke of doom
Fallen there already ?-Where is He, the One,
Born that high seat to fill, supremely and alone ?
Oh! there are times whose pressure doth efface Earth's vain distinctions !—when the storm beats loud, When the strong towers are tottering to their base, And the streets rock,—who mingle in the crowd ? - Peasant and chief, the lowly and the proud, Are in that throng !-Yes, life hath many an hour Which makes us kindred, by one chast'ning bow'd, And feeling but, as from the storm we cower, What shrinking weakness feels before unbounded power!
Yet then that power, whose dwelling is on high,
Its loftiest marvels doth reveal, and speak,
In the deep human heart more gloriously,
Than in the bursting thunder! Thence the weak,
They that seem'd form’d, as flower-stems, but to break
With the first wind, have risen to deeds, whose name
Still calls up thoughts that mantle to the cheek,
And thrill the pulse ! -Ay, strength no pangs could tame Hath look'd from woman's eye upon the sword and flame!
And this is of such hours !-- That throne is void, And its lord comes uncrown'd. Behold him stand, With a calm brow, where woes have not destroy'd The Greek's heroic beauty, 'midst his band, The gatherd virtue of a sinking land. Alas! how scanty !-Now is cast aside All form of princely state ; each noble hand Is press’d by turns in his : for earthly pride There is no room in hearts where earthly hope hath died !
A moment's hush-and then he speaks—he speaks!
But not of hope ! that dream hath long ago gone by:
His words are full of memory-as he seeks,
By the strong names of Rome and Liberty,
Which yet are living powers that fire the eye,
And rouse the heart of manhood ; and by all
The sad yet grand remembrances that lie
Deep with earth's buried heroes; to recall
The soul of other years, if but to grace their fall!
His words are full of faith!- And thoughts, more high
Than Rome e'er knew, now fill his glance with light;
Thoughts which give nobler lessons how to die
Than e'er were drawn from Nature's haughty might!
And to that eye, with all the spirit bright,
Have theirs replied in tears, which may not shame
The bravest in such moments !-'Tis a sight
To make all earthly splendors cold and tame,
-That generous burst of soul, with its electric flame!
They weep—those champions of the Cross-they weep,
Yet vow themselves to death !-Ay, 'midst that train
Are martyrs, privileged
in tears to steep
Their lofty sacrifice - The pang is vain,
And yet its gush of sorrow shall not stain
A warrior's sword.— Those men are strangers here—11
The homes they never may behold again,
Lie far away, with all things blest and dear,
On laughing shores, to which their barks no more shall steer'
Know'st thou the land where bloom the orange bowers ? 18 Where, through dark foliage, gleam the citron's dyes ? -It is their own. They see their fathers' towers, 'Midst its Hesperian groves in sunlight rise : They meet in soul, the bright Italian eyes, Which long and vainly shall explore the main For their white sails' return: the melodies Of that sweet land are floating o'er their brainOh! what a crowded world one moment may contain !
Such moments come to thousands !—few may die
Amidst their native shades. The young, the brave,
The beautiful, whose gladdening voice and eye
Made summer in a parent's heart, and gave
Light to their peopled homes; o'er land and wave
Are scatter'd fast and far, as rose-leaves fall
From the deserted stem. They find a grave
Far from the shadow of th' ancestral hall,
A lonely bed is theirs, whose smiles were hope to all!
But life flows on, and bears us with its tide,
Nor may we, lingering, by the slumberers dwell,
Though they were those once blooming at our side
In youth's gay home !-Away! what sound's deep swell
Comes on the wind ?-It is an empire's knell,
Slow, soft, majestic, pealing through the night!
For the last time speaks forth the solemn bell,
Which calls the Christians to their holiest rite,
With a funereal voice of solicary might.
Again, and yet again!-A startling power
In sounds like these lives ever; for they bear,
Full on remembrance, each eventful hour,
Chequering life's crowded path. They fill the air
When conquerors pass, and fearful cities wear
A mien like joy's; and when young brides are led
From their paternal homes ; and when the glare
Of burning streets on midnight's cloud waves red,
And when the silent house receives its guest—the dead.is
But to those tones what thrilling soul was given,
On that last night of empire !-As a spell
Whereby the life-blood to its source is driven,
On the chill'd heart of multitudes they fell.
Each cadence seem'd a prophecy, to tell
Of sceptres passing from their line away,
An angel-watcher's long and sad farewell,
The requiem of a faith's departing sway,,
A throne's, a nation's dirge, a wail for earth's decay.
Again, and yet again !--from yon high dome
Still the slow peal comes awfully; and they
Who never more, to rest in mortal home,
Shall throw the breastplate off at fall of day,
Th' imperial band, in close and arm'd array,
As men that from the sword must part no more,
Take through the midnight streets their silent way,
Within their ancient temple to adore,
Ere yet its thousand years of Christian pomp are o'er.
It is the hour of sleep: yet few the eyes
O’er which forgetfulness her balm hath shed
In the beleaguer'd city. Stillness lies
With moonlight, o'er the hills and waters spread,
But not the less, with signs and sounds of dread,
The time speeds on. No voice is raised to greet
The last brave Constantine ; and yet the tread