« AnteriorContinuar »
I told her how he pined: and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sung another's love,
Interpreted my own.
She listen’d with a flitting blush;
With downcast eyes, and modest grace;
And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face!
But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed this hold and lonely Knight,
And how he roam'd the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day or night;
And how he cross'd the woodman's paths, Through briers and swampy mosses beat;
How boughs rebounding scourged his limbs, And low stubs gored his feet;
That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade;
There came and look'd him in the face
An Angel beautiful and bright;
And how he knew it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight !
And how, unknowing what he did,
He leapt amid a lawless band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Ladie of the Land
And how she wept, and clasp'd his knees;
And how she tended him in vain—
And meekly strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain:
And how she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves
A dying man he lay :
His dying words—but when I reach'd
That tend’rest strain of all the ditty,
My falt'ring voice and pausing harp
Disturb’d her soul with pity!
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrill'd my guiltless Genevieve;
The music and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve;
And hopes and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherish'd long :
She wept with pity and delight,
She blush'd with love and maiden-shame;
And, like the murmurs of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.
I saw her bosom heave and swell,
Heave and swell with inward sighs—
I could not choose but love to see
Her gentle bosom rise.,...:
The little cloud—it floats away,
Away it goes; away so soon f
Alas! it has no power to stay:
Its hues are dim, its hues are gray-
Away it passes from the moon!
How mournfully it seems to fly,
Ever fading more and more,
To joyless regions of the sky—
And now 'tis whiter than before 1
As white as my poor cheek will be,
When, Lewti! on my couch I lie,
A dying man for love of thee.
Nay, treacherous image 1 leave my mind—
And yet thou didst not look unkind.
I saw a vapor in the sky, Thin, and white, and very high; I ne'er beheld so thin a cloud : Perhaps the breezes that can fly Now below and now above, Have snatch'd aloft the lawny shroud Of Lady fair—that died for love. For maids, as well as youths, have perish'd From fruitless love too fondly cherish'd. Nay, treacherous image 1 leave my mind— For Lewti never will be kind.
Hush" my heedless feet from under
Slip the crumbling banks for ever:
Like echoes to a distant thunder,
They plunge into the gentle river.
The river-swans have heard my tread,
And startle from their reedy bed.
O beauteous Birds! methinks ye measure
Your movements to some heavenly tune!
O beauteous Birds! "t is such a pleasure
To see you move beneath the moon,
I would it were your true delight
To sleep by day and wake all night.
I know the place where Lewti lies,
When silent night has closed her eyes:
It is a breezy jasmine-bower,
The nightingale sings o'er her head :
Voice of the Night! had I the power
That leasy labyrinth to thread,
And creep, like thee, with soundless tread,
I then might view her bosom white
Heaving lovely to my sight,
As these two swans together heave
On the gently swelling wave.
Oh! that she saw me in a dream,
And dreamt that I had died for care; All pale and wasted I would seem,
Yet fair withal, as spirits are! I'd die indeed, if I might see Her bosom heave, and heave sor me ! Soothe, gentle image soothe my mind! To-morrow Lewti may be kind.
THE PICTURE, OR THE LOVER'S RESOLUTION.
Through weeds and thorns, and matted underwood l force my way; now climb, and now descend
O'er rocks, or bare or mossy, with wild foot
Crushing the purple whorts; while oft unseen,
Hurrying along the drifted forest-leaves,
The scared snake rustles. Onward still I toil,
I know not, ask not whither! A new joy,
Lovely as light, sudden as summer gust,
And gladsome as the first-born of the spring,
Beckons me on, or follows from behind,
Playmate, or guide! The master-passion quell'd,
I feel that I am free. With dun-red bark
The fir-trees, and the unfrequent slender oak,
Forth from this tangle wild of bush and brake
Soar up, and form a melancholy vault
High o'er me, murmuring like a distant sea.
Here Wisdom might resort, and here Remorse;
Here too the lovelorn man who, sick in soul,
And of this busy human heart aweary,
Worships the spirit of unconscious life
In tree or wild-flower.—Gentle Lunatic'
If so he might not wholly cease to be,
He would far rather not be that, he is;
But would be something, that he knows not of
In winds or waters, or among the rocks!
But hence, fond wretch breathe not contagion here !
No myrtle-walks are these: these are no groves
Where Love dare loiter ' If in sullen mood
He should stray hither, the low stumps shall gore
His dainty feet, the brier and the thorn
Make his plumes haggard. Like a wounded bird
Easily caught, ensnare him, O ye Nymphs,
Ye Oreads chaste, ye dusky Dryades!
And you, ye Earth-winds ! you that make at morn
The dew-drops quiver on the spiders' webs!
You, O ye wingless Airs' that creep between
The rigid stems of heath and bitten furze,
Within whose scanty shade, at summer-noon,
The mother-sheep hath worn a hollow bed—
Ye, that now cool her fleece with dropless damp,
Now pant and murmur with her feeding lamb.
Chase, chase him, all ye Fays, and elfin Gnomes:
With prickles sharper than his darts bemock
His little Godship, making him perforce
Creep through a thorn-bush on yon hedgehog's back
This is my hour of triumph! I can now With my own fancies play the merry fool, And laugh away worse folly, being free. Here will I seat myself, beside this old, Hollow, and weedy oak, which ivy-twine Clothes as with net-work ; here will I couch my
Close by this river, in this silent shade,
As safe and sacred from the step of man
As an invisible world—unheard, unseen,
And list'ning only to the pebbly brook
That murmurs with a dead, yet tinkling sound;
Or to the bees, that in the neighboring trunk
Make honey-hoards. The breeze, that visits me,
Was never Love's accomplice, never raised
The tendril ringlets from the maiden's brow,
And the blue, delicate veins above her cheek;
Ne'er play'd the wanton—never half-disclosed
The maiden's snowy bosom, scattering thence
Eye-poisons for some love-distemper'd youth,
Who ne'er henceforth may see an aspen-grove
Shiver in sunshine, but his feeble heart Shall flow away like a dissolving thing.
Sweet breeze' thou only, if I guess aright, Liflest the feathers of the robin's breast, That swells its little breast, so full of song, Singing above me, on the mountain-ash. And thou too, desert Stream' no pool of thine, Though clear as lake in latest summer-eve, Did e'er reflect the stately virgin's robe, The face, the form divine, the downcast look Contemplative ' Behold ! her open palm Presses her cheek and brow! her elbow rests On the bare branch of half uprooted tree, That leans towards its mirror! Who erewhile Had from her countenance turn'd, or look'd by
(For fear is true love's cruel nurse), he now
With stedfast gaze and unoffending eye,
Worships the watery idol, dreaming hopes
Delicious to the soul, but fleeting, vain,
Een as that phantom-world on which he gazed,
But not unheeded gazed: for see, ah! see,
The sportive tyrant with her left hand plucks
The heads of tall flowers that behind her grow,
Lychnis, and willow-herb, and fox-glove bells:
And suddenly, as one that toys with time,
Scatters them on the pool : Then all the charm
Is broken—all that phantom-world so fair
Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread,
And each misshapes the other. Stay awhile,
Poor youth, who scarcely darest lift up thine eyes!
The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon
The visions will return! And lo! he stays:
And soon the fragments dim of lovely forms
Come trembling back, unite, and now once more
The pool becomes a mirror; and behold
Each wild-flower on the marge inverted there,
And there the half-uprooted tree—but where,
O where the virgin's snowy arm, that lean'd
On its bare branch He turns, and she is gone !
Homeward she steals through many a woodland
Which he shall seek in vain. Ill-fated youth!
Go, day by day, and waste thy manly prime
In mad love-yearning by the vacant brook,
Till sickly thoughts bewitch thine eyes, and thou
Behold'st her shadow still abiding there,
The Naiad of the Mirror!
Not to thee, 0 wild and desert Stream! belongs this tale: Gloomy and dark art thou—the crowded firs Spire from thy shores, and stretch across thy bed, Making thee doleful as a cavern-well: Save when the shy king-fishers build their nest On thy steep banks, no loves hast thou, wild stream!
This be my chosen haunt—emancipate From passion's dreams, a freeman, and alone, I rise and trace its devious course. O lead, Lead me to deeper shades and lonelier glooms. Lo! stealing through the canopy of firs, How fair the sunshine spots that mossy rock, Isle of the river, whose disparted waves Dart off asunder with an angry sound, How soon to reunite! And see! they meet, Each in the other lost and found: and see
Placeless, as spirits, one soft water-sun
Throbbing within them, Heart at once and Eye:
With its soft neighborhood of filmy clouds,
The stains and shadings of forgotten tears,
Dimness o'erswum with lustre | Such the hour
Of deep enjoyment, following love's brief feuds;
And hark, the noise of a near waterfall!
I pass forth into light—I find myself
Beneath a weeping birch (most beautiful
Of forest-trees, the Lady of the woods),
Hard by the brink of a tall weedy rock
That overbrows the cataract. How bursts
The landscape on my sight! Two crescent hills
Fold in behind each other, and so make
A circular vale, and land-lock'd, as might seem,
With brook and bridge, and gray stone cottages,
Half hid by rocks and fruit-trees. At my feet,
The whortle-berries are bedev'd with spray,
Dash'd upwards by the furious waterfall.
How solemnly the pendent ivy mass
Swings in its winnow ; all the air is calm.
The smoke from cottage-chimneys, tinged with
Rises in columns ; from this house alone,
Close by the waterfall, the column slants,
And feels its ceaseless breeze. But what is this f
That cottage, with its slanting chimney-smoke,
And close beside its porch a sleeping child,
His dear head pillow'd on a sleeping dog—
One arm between its fore-legs, and the hand
Holds loosely its small handful of wild-flowers,
Unfilleted, and of unequal lengths.
A curious picture, with a master's haste
Sketch'd on a strip of pinky-silver skin,
Peel'd from the birchen bark! Divinest maid!
Yon bark her canvas, and those purple berries
Her pencil : See, the juice is scarcely dried
On the fine skin' She has been newly here;
And lo! yon patch of heath has been her couch—
The pressure still remains! O blessed couch!
For this mayst thou fiower early, and the Sun,
Slanting at eve, rest bright, and linger long
Upon thy purple bells O Isabel !
Daughter of genius' stateliest of our maids !
More beautiful than whom Alcaeus wooed,
The Lesbian woman of immortal song!
O child of genius! stately, beautiful,
And full of love to all, save only me,
And not ungentle e'en to me! My heart,
Why beats it thus Through yonder coppice-wood
Needs must the pathway turn, that leads straightway
On to her father's house. She is alone!
The night draws on—such ways are hard to hit—
And fit it is I should restore this sketch,
Dropt unawares, no doubt. Why should I yearn
To keep the relic 't will but idly feed
The passion that consumes me. Let me haste :
The picture in my hand which she has left,
She cannot blame me that I follow'd her;
And I may be her guide the long wood through-
THE NIGHT-SCENE, A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT.
sandoval. You loved the daughter of Don Manrique f
Blessings gather round her!
Within this wood there winds a secret passage,
Beneath the walls, which opens out at length
Into the gloomiest covert of the garden—
The night ere my departure to the army,
She, nothing trembling, led me through that gloom,
And to that covert by a silent stream,
Which, with one star reflected near its marge,
Was the sole object visible around me.
No leaflet stirr'd : the air was almost sultry;
So deep, so dark, so close, the umbrage o'er us!
No leaflet stirr'd –yet pleasure hung upon
The gloom and stillness of the balmy night-air.
A little further on an arbor stood,
Fragrant with flowering trees—I well remember
What an uncertain glimmer in the darkness
Their snow-white blossoms made—thither she led
me, To that sweet bower! Then Oropeza trembled— I heard her heart beat—if 't were not my own.
SANDOW.A.L. A rude and scaring note, my friend'
I have small memory of aught but pleasure.
The inquietudes of fear, like lesser streams
Still flowing, still were lost in those of love:
So love grew mightier from the fear, and Nature,
Fleeing from Pain, shelter'd herself in Joy.
The stars above our heads were dim and steady,
Like eyes suffused with rapture. Life was in us:
We were all life, each atom of our frames
A living soul—I vow'd to die for her :
With the saint voice of one who, having spoken,
Relapses into blessedness, I vow'd it:
That solemn vow, a whisper scarcely heard,
A murmur breathed against a lady's ear.
Oh! there is joy above the name of pleasure,
Deep self-possession, an intense repose.
sANDoval (with a sarcastic smile). No other than as eastern sages paint, The God, who floats upon a lotos leaf, Dreams for a thousand ages; then awaking, Creates a world, and smiling at the bubble, Relapses into bliss.
Ah! was that bliss
Fear'd as an alien, and too vast for man
For suddenly, impatient of its silence,
Did Oropeza, starting, grasp my forehead.
I caught her arms; the veins were swelling on them.
Through the dark bower she sent a hollow voice,
Oh! what if all betray me? what if thou?
I swore, and with an inward thought that seem'd
The purpose and the substance of my being,
I swore to her, that were she red with guilt,
I would exchange my unblench'd state with hers—
Friend' by that winding passage, to that bower
I now will go—all objects there will teach me
Unwavering love, and singleness of heart.
Go, Sandoval: I am prepared to meet her—
Say nothing of me—I myself will seek her—
Nay, leave me, friend! I cannot bear the torment
And keen inquiry of that scanning eye—
[EARL HENRY retires into the wood
sANDov AL (alone).
O Henry! always strivest thou to be great
By thine own act—yet art thou never great
But by the inspiration of great passion.
The whirl-blast comes, the desert-sands rise up
And shape themselves: from Earth to Heaven they
As though they were the pillars of a temple,
Built by Omnipotence in its own honor:
But the blast pauses, and their shaping spirit
Is fled: the mighty columns were but sand,
And lazy snakes trail o'er the level ruins!
whoxi THE AUTHOR HAD KNOWN IN THE DAY's or hER INNOCENCE.
MyRTLE-LEAF that, ill besped,
Pinest in the gladsome ray,
Soil'd beneath the common tread,
Far from thy protecting spray!
When the Partridge o'er the sheaf Whirr'd along the yellow vale,
Sad I saw thee, heedless leaf' Love the dalliance of the gale.
Lightly didst thou, foolish thing! Heave and flutter to his sighs, While the flatterer, on his wing, Woo'd and whisper'd thee to rise.