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Silent he pointed to the flood
All crimson with his country's blood,
Then sent his last remaining dart,
For answer, to th' invader's heart.
False flew the shaft, though pointed well;
The tyrant lived, the hero fell!—
Yet mark'd the Peri where he lay,
And when the rush of war was past,
Swiftly descending on a ray
Of morning light, she caught the lastLast glorious drop his heart had shed, Before its free-born spirit fled !
"Be this," she cried, as she wing'd her flight,
"My welcome gift at the Gates of Light;
Though foul are the drops that oft distil
On the field of warfare, blood like this,
For liberty shed, so holy is,
It would not stain the purest rill,
That sparkles among the bowers of bliss!
Oh! if there be, on this earthly sphere,
A boon, an offering Heaven holds dear, 'Tis the last libation Liberty draws
From the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause!"
"Sweet," said the Angel, as she gave
The gift into his radiant hand,
"Sweet is our welcome of the brave
Who die thus for their native land.-
But see-alas!-the crystal bar
Of Eden moves not-holier far
Than e'en this drop the boon must be,
That opes the Gates of Heaven for thee!"
Her first fond hope of Eden blighted,
Now among Afric's Lunar Mountains, Far to the south, the Peri lighted;
And sleek'd her plumage at the fountains
Of that Egyptian tide, whose birth
Is hidden from the sons of earth,
Deep in those solitary woods,
Where oft the Genii of the Floods
Dance round the cradle of their Nile,
And hail the new-born Giant's smile!
Thence over Egypt's palmy groves,
Her grots, and sepulchres of kings,
The exiled Spirit sighing roves;
And now hangs listening to the doves
In warm Rosetta's vale-now loves
To watch the moonlight on the wings
Of the white pelicans that break
The azure calm of Moris' Lake.
'Twas a fair scene-a land more bright
Never did mortal eye behold!
Who could have thought, that saw this nigl.t
Those valleys and their fruits of gold
Basking in heaven's serenest light ;-
Those groups of lovely date-trees bending
Languidly their leaf-crown'd heads,
Like youthful maids, when sleep descending
Warns them to their silken beds ;-
Those virgin lilies, all the night
Bathing their beauties in the lake.
That they may rise more fresh and bright,
When their beloved sun's awake:
Those ruin'd shrines and towers that seem
The relics of a splendid dream;
Amid whose fairy loneliness
Nought but the lapwing's cry is heard,
Nought seen but (when the shadows, flitting
Fast from the moon, unsheath its gleam)
Some purple-wing'd sultana, sitting
Upon a column, motionless
And glittering, like an idol bird !—
Who could have thought, that there, e'en there,
Amid those scenes so still and fair,
The Demon of the Plague hath cast
From his hot wing a deadlier blast,
More mortal far than ever came
From the red desert's sands of flame!
So quick, that every living thing
Of human shape, touch'd by his wing,
Like plants, where the simoom hath past,
At once falls black and withering!
The sun went down on many a brow,
Which, full of bloom and freshness then,
Is rankling in the pest-house now,
And ne'er will feel that sun again!
And oh! to see th' unburied heaps
On which the lonely moonlight sleeps―
The very vultures turn away,
And sicken at so foul a prey!
Only the fiercer hyæna stalks
Throughout the city's desolate walks
At midnight, and his carnage plies—
Woe to the half-dead wretch, who meets
The glaring of those large blue eyes
Amid the darkness of the streets!
"Poor race of Men !" said the pitying Spirit, Dearly ye pay for your primal fall— Some flowerets of Eden ye still inherit,
But the trail of the Serpent is over them all!" She wept the air grew pure and clear Around her, as the bright drops ran; For there's a magic in each tear,
Such kindly spirits weep for man!
Just then, beneath some orange-trees,
Whose fruit and blossoms in the breeze
Were wantoning together, free,
Like age at play with infancy-
Beneath that fresh and springing bower,
Close by the lake, she heard the moan
Of one who, at this silent hour,
Had hither stolen to die alone.
One who in life, where'er he moved,
Drew after him the hearts of many;
Yet now, as though he ne'er were loved,
Dies here, unseen, unwept by any!
None to watch near him-none to slake
The fire that in his bosom lies,
With e'en a sprinkle from that lake,
Which shines so cool before his eyes.
No voice, well known through many a day,
To speak the last, the parting word,
Which, when all other sounds decay,
Is still like distant music heard.
That tender farewell on the shore
Of this rude world, when all is o'er,
Which cheers the spirit, ere its bark
Puts off into the unknown dark.
Deserted youth! one thought alone
Shed joy around his soul in deathThat she, whom he for years had known, And loved, and might have call'd his own,
Was safe from this foul midnight's breath ;Safe in her father's princely halls, Where the cool airs from fountain falls, Freshly perfumed by many a brand Of the sweet wood from India's land, Were pure as she whose brow they fann'd.
But see,-who yonder comes by stealth,
This melancholy bower to seek,
Like a young envoy, sent by Health,
With rosy gifts upon her cheek?
'Tis she-far off, through moonlight dim,
He knew his own betrothed bride,
She, who would rather die with him,
Than live to gain the world beside !—
Her arms are round her lover now,
His livid cheek to hers she presses, And dips, to bind his burning brow,
In the cool lake her loosen'd tresses. Ah! once, how little did he think An hour would come, when he should shrink With horror from that dear embrace,
Those gentle arms, that were to him
Holy as is the cradling place
Of Eden's infant cherubim !
And now he yields-now turns away,
Shuddering as if the venom lay
All in those proffer'd lips alone-
Those lips that, then so fearless grown,
Never until that instant came
Near his unask'd or without shame.
"Oh! let me only breathe the air,
The blessed air, that's breathed by thee,
And, whether on its wings it bear
Healing or death, 'tis.sweet to me! There,-drink my tears, while yet they fall,Would that my bosom's blood were balm, And, well thou know'st, I'd shed it all,
To give thy brow one minute's calm. Nay, turn not from me that dear face
Am I not thine-thy own loved brideThe one, the chosen one, whose place
In life or death is by thy side! Think'st thou that she, whose only light,
In this dim world, from thee hath shone,
Could bear the long, the cheerless night,
That must be hers, when thou art gone?
That I can live, and let thee go,
Who art my life itself?—No, no-
When the stem dies, the leaf that grew
Out of its heart must perish too!