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Then turn to me, my own love, turn,
Before like thee I fade and burn;
Cling to these yet cool lips, and share
The last pure life that lingers there!"
She fails-she sinks-as dies the lamp
In charnel airs or cavern-damp,
So quickly do his baleful sighs
Quench all the sweet light of her eyes!
One struggle and his pain is past—
Her lover is no longer living!
One kiss the maiden gives, one last,
Long kiss, which she expires in giving!
," said the Peri, as softly she stole
The farewell sigh of that vanishing soul,
As true as e'er warmed a woman's breast-
Sleep on, in visions of odour rest,
In balmier airs than ever yet stirred
Th' enchanted pile of that holy bird,
Who sings at the last his own death lay,
And in music and perfume dies away!"
Thus saying, from her lips she spread
Unearthly breathings through the place,
And shook her sparkling wreath and shed
Such lustre o'er each paly face,
That like two lovely saints they seem'd
Upon the eve of doomsday taken
From their dim graves, in odour sleeping;
While that benevolent Peri beam'd
Like their good angel, calmly keeping
Watch o'er them, till their souls would waken !
But morn is blushing in the sky;
Again the Peri soars above,
Bearing to heaven that precious sigh
Of pure, self-sacrificing love.
High throbbed her heart, with hope elate, The elysian palm she soon shall win, For the bright Spirit at the gate
Smiled as she gave that offering in; And she already hears the trees
Of Eden, with their crystal bells Ringing in that ambrosial breeze
That from the throne of Alla swells; And she can see the starry bowls
That lie around that lucid lake, Upon whose banks admitted souls Their first sweet draught of glory take!
But ah! even Peris' hopes are vainAgain the Fates forbade, again The immortal barrier closed-"not yet," The Angel said as, with regret, He shut from her that glimpse of glory—"True was the maiden, and her story, Written in light o'er Alla's head, By seraph eyes shall long be read. But, Peri, see-the crystal bar Of Eden moves not-holier far Than even this sigh the boon must be That opes the Gates of Heaven for thee."
Now, upon Syria's land of roses
Softly the light of eve reposes,
And, like a glory, the broad sun
Hangs over sainted Lebanon ;
Whose head in wintry grandeur towers,
And whitens with eternal sleet,
While summer, in a vale of flowers,
Is sleeping rosy at his feet.
To one, who looked from upper air
Over all th' enchanted regions there,
How beauteous must have been the glow,
The life, the sparkling from below!
Fair gardens, shining streams, with ranks
Of golden melons on their banks,
More golden where the sunlight falls ;-
Gay lizards, glittering on the walls
Of ruin'd shrines, busy and bright,
As they were all alive with light ;-
And, yet more splendid, numerous flocks
Of pigeons, settling on the rocks,
With their rich restless wings, that gleam
Variously in the crimson beam
Of the warm west,- -as if inlaid
With brilliants from the mine, or made
Of tearless rainbows, such as span
Th' unclouded skies of Peristan !
And then, the mingling sounds that come,
Of shepherd's ancient reed, with hum
Of the wild bees of Palestine,
Banqueting through the flowery vales ;And, Jordan, those sweet banks of thine, And woods, so full of nightingales !
But nought can charm the luckless Peri;
Her soul is sad-her wings are weary-
Joyless she sees the sun look down
On that great Temple, once his own,
Whose lonely columns stand sublime,
Flinging their shadows from on high, Like dials, which the wizard, Time,
Had raised to count his ages by!
Yet haply there may lie conceal'd
Beneath those chambers of the sun,
Some amulet of gems, anneal'd
In upper fires, some tablet seal'd
With the great name of Solomon
Which, spell'd by her illumined eyes,
May teach her where, beneath the moon,
In earth or ocean lies the boon,
The charm, that can restore so soon,
An erring Spirit to the skies!
Cheer'd by this hope, she bends her thither
Still laughs the radiant eye of heaven,
Nor have the golden bowers of even
In the rich west begun to wither ;-
When, o'er the vale of Balbec winging
Slowly, she sees a child at play,
Among the rosy wild-flowers singing,
As rosy and as wild as they ;
Chasing, with eager hands and eyes,
The beautiful blue damsel-flies,
That flutter'd round the jasmine stems,
Like winged flowers or flying gems :-
And, near the boy, who, tired with play,
Now nestling 'mid the roses lay,
She saw a wearied man dismount
From his hot steed, and on the brink Of a small imaret's rustic fount
Impatient fling him down to drink. Then swift his haggard brow he turn'd
To the fair child, who fearless sat,
Though never yet hath daybeam burn'd
Upon a brow more fierce than that,—
Sullenly fierce-a mixture dire,
Like thunder-clouds, of gloom and fire!
In which the Peri's eyes could read
Dark tales of many a ruthless deed;
The ruin'd maid-the shrine profaned-
Oaths broken-and the threshold stain'd
With blood of guests!—there written, all,
Black as the damning drops that fall
From the denouncing Angel's pen,
Ere Mercy weeps them out again!
Yet tranquil now that man of crime
(As if the balmy evening time
Soften'd his spirit) look'd and lay,
Watching the rosy infant's play
Though still, whene'er his eye by chance
Fell on the boy's, its lurid glance
Met that unclouded, joyous gaze,
As torches, that have burnt all night
Through some impure and godless rite,
Encounter morning's glorious rays.
But hark! the vesper call to prayer,
As slow the orb of daylight sets,
Is rising sweetly on the air,
From Syria's thousand minarets!
The boy has started from the bed
Of flowers, where he had laid his head,
And down upon the fragrant sod
Kneels, with his forehead to the south,
Lisping th' eternal name of God
From purity's own cherub mouth, And looking, while his hands and eyes Are lifted to the glowing skies, Like a stray babe of Paradise, Just lighted on that flowery plain, And seeking for its home again! Oh, 'twas a sight-that heaven-that child-A scene, which might have well beguiled E'en haughty Eblis of a sigh For glories lost and peace gone by!
And how felt he, the wretched man
Reclining there—while memory ran
O'er many a year of guilt and strife,
Flew o'er the dark flood of his life,
Nor found one sunny resting-place,
Nor brought him back one branch of grace?