Imágenes de páginas

Resting their limbs, as for that day
Their ministry of death were done.
Some gazing on the drowsy sea,
Lost in unconscious reverie ;
And some, who seem'd but ill to brook
That sluggish calm, with many a look
To the slack sail impatient cast,
As loose it flagg'd around the mast.
Blest Alla! who shall save her now?

There s not in all that warrior-band One Arab sword, one turban'd brow

From her own faithful Moslem land. Their garb-the leathern belt that wraps Each yellow vest-that rebel hueThe Tartar fleece upon their caps

Yes-yes-her fears are all too true, And Heaven hath, in this dreadful hour, Abandon'd her to Hafed's power ;Hafed, the Gheber !-at the thought

Her very heart's blood chills within ; He, whom her soul was hourly taught

To loathe, as some foul fiend of sin,
Some minister, whom Hell had sent
To spread its blast, where'er he went,
And fling, as o'er our earth he trod,
His shadow betwixt man and God!
And she is now his captive,-thrown
In his fierce hands, alive, alone;
His the infuriate band she sees,
All infidels-all enemies!
What was the daring hope that then
Cross'd her like lightning, as again,
With boldness that despair had lent,

She darted through that armèd crowd A look so searching, so intent,

That e'en the sternest warrior bow'd Abashed, when he her glances caught, As if he guessed whose form they sought.

But no-she sees him not-'tis gone,
The vision, that before her shone
Through all the maze of blood and storm,
Is fled 'twas but a phantom form-
One of those passing, rainbow dreams,
Half light, half shade, which fancy's beams
Paint on the fleeting mists that roll
In trance or slumber round the soul !

But now the bark, with livelier bound,

Scales the blue wave-the crew's in motion-
The oars are out, and with light sound

Break the bright mirror of the ocean,
Scattering its brilliant fragments round.
And now she sees-with horror sees-
Their course is toward that mountain hold,-
Those towers that make her life-blood freeze,
Where Mecca's godless enemies
Lie, like beleaguer'd scorpions roll'd
In their last deadly, venomous fold!
Amid th' illumined land and flood
Sunless that mighty mountain stood,
Save where, above its awful head,
There shone a flaming cloud, blood-red,
As 'twere the flag of destiny
Hung out to mark where death would be!

Had her bewilder'd mind the power
Of thought in this terrific hour,
She well might marvel where or how
Man's foot could scale that mountain's brow;
Since ne'er had Arab heard or known
Of path but through the glen alone.
But every thought was lost in fear,
When, as their bounding bark drew near
The craggy base, she felt the waves
Hurry them toward those dismal caves
That from the deep in windings pass
Beneath that mount's volcanic mass-


And loud a voice on deck commands
To lower the mast and light the brands!
Instantly o'er the dashing tide
Within a cavern's mouth they glide,
Gloomy as that eternal porch,

Through which departed spirits go; Not e'en the flare of brand and torch

Its flickering light could further throw
Than the thick flood that boil'd below.
Silent they floated-as if each
Sat breathless and too awed for speech
In that dark chasm, where even sound
Seem'd dark,—so sullenly around
The goblin echoes of the cave
Mutter'd it o'er the long black wave,
As 'twere some secret of the grave!
But soft-they pause-the current turns

Beneath them from its onward track ;Some mighty, unseen barrier spurns

The vexed tide, all foaming, back, And scarce the oar's redoubled force Can stem the eddy's whirling force; When, hark!-some desperate foot has sprung Among the rocks-the chain is flungThe oars are up-the grapple clings, And the toss'd bark in moorings swings. Just then, a daybeam through the shade Broke tremulous-but, ere the maid Can see from whence the brightness steals, Upon her brow she shuddering feels A viewless hand that promptly ties A bandage round her burning eyes; While the rude litter where she lies, Uplifted by the warrior throng, O'er the steep rocks is borne along.

Blest power of sunshine! genial Day,
What balm, what life, is in thy ray!

To feel thee is such real bliss,
That had the world no joy but this,
To sit in sunshine calm and sweet,-
It were a world too exquisite
For man to leave it for the gloom,
The deep, cold shadow of the tomb !
E'en Hinda, though she saw not where

Or whither wound the perilous road,
Yet knew by that awakening air,

Which suddenly around her glow'd, That they had risen from darkness then, And breathed the sunny world again!

But soon this balmy freshness filed-
For now the steepy labyrinth led
Through damp and gloom-'mid crash of boughs
And fall of loosen'd crags that rouse
The leopard from his hungry sleep,

Who, starting, thinks each crag a prey,
And long is heard from steep to steep,
Chasing them down their thundering way!
The jackal's cry-the distant moan
Of the hyæna, fierce and lone;
And that eternal, saddening sound

Of torrents in the glen beneath,
As 'twere the ever-dark profound

That rolls beneath the Bridge of Death! All, all is fearful-e'en to see,

To gaze on those terrific things
She now but blindly hears, would be
Relief to her imaginings!
Since never yet was shape so dread,

But Fancy, thus in darkness thrown,
And by such sounds of horror fed,

Could frame more dreadful of her own.

But does she dream? has fear again
Perplex'd the workings of her brain,

Or did a voice, all music, then

Come from the gloom, low whispering near-
"Tremble not, love, thy Gheber's here?"
She does not dream-all sense, all ear,
She drinks the words, "Thy Gheber's here."
'Twas his own voice-she could not err-
Throughout the breathing world's extent
There was but one such voice for her,
So kind, so soft, so eloquent!
Oh! sooner shall the rose of May

Mistake her own sweet nightingale,
And to some meaner minstrel's lay

Open her bosom's glowing veil,
Than love shall ever doubt a tone,
A breath of the beloved one!
Though blest, 'mid all her ills, to think
She has that one beloved near,
Whose smile, though met on ruin's brink,
Hath power to make e'en ruin dear
Yet soon this gleam of rapture, cross'd
By fears for him, is chill'd and lost.
How shall the ruthless Hafed brook
That one of Gheber blood should look,
With aught but curses in his eye,
On her a maid of Araby-
A Moslem maid-the child of him,

Whose bloody banner's dire success Hath left their altars cold and dim,

And their fair land a wilderness !
And, worse than all, that night of blood

Which comes so fast-oh! who shall stay The sword, that once hath tasted food

Of Persian hearts, or turn its way? What arm shall then the victim cover, Or from her father shield her lover?

"Save him, my God!" she inly cries— "Save him this night—and if thine eyes

« AnteriorContinuar »