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No, blame him not, if Hope awhile
Dawn'd in his soul, and threw her smile
O'er hours to come-o'er days and nights
Wing'd with those precious, pure delights
Which she, who bends all beauteous there,
Was born to kindle and to share!
A tear or two, which, as he bow'd
To raise the suppliant, trembling stole,
First warn'd him of this dangerous cloud
Of softness passing o'er his soul.
Starting, he brush'd the drops away,
Unworthy o'er that cheek to stray ;-
Like one who, on the morn of fight,
Shakes from his sword the dews of night,
That had but dimm'd, not stain'd, its light.
Yet, though subdued th' unnerving thrill,
Its warmth, its weakness, lingered still
So touching in each look and tone, That the fond, fearing, hoping maid Half counted on the flight she pray'd,
Half thought the hero's soul was grown
As soft, as yielding as her own,
And smiled and bless'd him, while he said,—
"Yes-if there be some happier sphere,
Where fadeless truth like ours is dear ;-
If there be any land of rest
For those who love and ne'er forget,
Oh! comfort thee-for safe and blest
We'll meet in that calm region yet!"
Scarce had she time to ask her heart
If good or ill these words impart,
When the roused youth impatient flew
To the tower-wall, where, high in view,
A ponderous sea-horn hung, and blew
A signal, deep and dread as those
The storm-fiend at his rising blows.—
Full well his chieftains, sworn and true
Through life and death, that signal knew ;
For 'twas th' appointed warning-blast,
Th' alarm, to tell when hope was past,
And the tremendous death-die cast!
And there, upon the mouldering tower,
Hath hung this sea-horn many an hour,
Ready to sound o'er land and sea
That dirge-note of the brave and free.
They came-his chieftains at the call
Came slowly round, and with them all—
Alas, how few !-the worn remains
Of those who late o'er Kerman's plains
Went gaily prancing to the clash
Of Moorish zel and tymbalon,
Catching new hope from every flash
Of their long lances in the sunAnd, as their coursers charged the wind, And the white ox-tails stream'd behind, Looking as if the steeds they rode Were wing'd, and every chief a god! How fallen, how alter'd now! how wan Each scarr'd and faded visage shone, As round the burning shrine they came ;How deadly was the glare it cast, As mute they paused before the flame
To light their torches as they pass'd! 'Twas silence all-the youth had plann'd The duties of his soldier-band; And each determined brow declares His faithful chieftains well know theirs. But minutes speed-night gems the skies— And oh, how soon, ye blessèd eyes, That look from heaven, ye may behold Sights that will turn your star-fires cold! Breathless with awe, impatience, hope, The maiden sees the veteran group
Her litter silently prepare,
And lay it at her trembling feet ;-
And now the youth, with gentle care,
Hath placed her in the shelter'd seat,
And press'd her hand-that lingering press
Of hands, that for the last time sever;
Of hearts, whose pulse of happiness,
When that hold breaks, is dead for ever.
And yet to her this sad caress
Gives hope-so fondly hope can err ! 'Twas joy, she thought, joy's mute excessTheir happy flight's dear harbinger; 'Twas warmth-assurance-tenderness
'Twas anything but leaving her.
"Haste, haste!" she cried, "the clouds grow dark, But still, ere night we'll reach the bark; And, by to-morrow's dawn-oh, bliss!
With thee upon the sunbright deep, Far off, I'll but remember this,
As some dark vanish'd dream of sleep! And thou-" but ha!-he answers not
Good Heaven!—and does she go alone?
She now has reach'd that dismal spot,
Where, some hours since, his voice's tone
Had come to soothe her fears and ills,
Sweet as the angel Israfil's,
When every leaf on Eden's tree
Is trembling to his minstrelsy-
Yet now-oh, now, he is not nigh—
"Hafed! my Hafed! if it be
Thy will, thy doom, this night to die,
Let me but stay to die with thee,
And I will bless thy lovèd name,
'Till the last life-breath leave this frame.
Oh! let our lips, our cheeks, be laid
But near each other while they fade;
Let us but mix our parting breaths,
And I can die ten thousand deaths!
You too, who hurry me away
So cruelly, one moment stay-
Oh! stay-one moment is not much-
He yet may come-for him I pray-
Hafed! dear Hafed !-" all the way
In wild lamentings, that would touch A heart of stone, she shriek'd his name To the dark woods-no Hafed came : No-hapless pair-you've look'd your last;
Your hearts should both have broken then : The dream is o'er-your doom is castYou'll never meet on earth again!
Alas for him, who hears her cries!
Still halfway down the steep he stands, Watching with fix'd and feverish eyes
The glimmer of those burning brands, That down the rocks, with mournful ray, Light all he loves on earth away! Hopeless as they who, far at sea,
By the cold moon have just consign'd
The corse of one, loved tenderly,
To the bleak flood they leave behind;
And on the deck still lingering stay,
And long look back, with sad delay,
To watch the moonlight on the wave,
That ripples o'er that cheerless grave.
But see-he starts-what heard he then?
That dreadful shout !-across the glen
From the land side it comes, and loud
Rings through the chasm; as if the crowd
Of fearful things, that haunt that dell,
Its Gholes and Dives and shapes of hell,
Had all in one dread howl broke out,
So loud, so terrible, that shout!
"They come the Moslems come !"—he cries,
His proud soul mounting to his eyes,—
"Now, spirits of the brave, who roam
Enfranchised through yon starry dome,
Rejoice-for souls of kindred fire
Are on the wing to join your choir !"
He said—and, light as bridegrooms bound
To their young loves, reclimb'd the steep
And gain'd the shrine-his chiefs stood round—
Their swords, as with instinctive leap,
Together at that cry accurs'd,
Had from their sheaths, like sunbeams, burst.
And hark!-again-again it rings;
Near and more near its echoings
Peal through the chasm-oh! who that then
Had seen those listening warrior-men,
With their swords grasp'd, their eyes of flame
Turn'd on their Chief-could doubt the shame,
Th' indignant shame, with which they thrill
To hear those shouts and yet stand still?
He read their thoughts-they were his own-
"What! while our arms can wield these blades
Shall we die tamely? die alone?
Without one victim to our shades,
One Moslem heart where, buried deep,
The sabre from its toil may sleep?
No! God of Iran's burning skies!
Thou scorn'st th' inglorious sacrifice.
No-though of all earth's hopes bereft,
Life, swords, and vengeance still are left.
We'll make yon valley's reeking caves
Live in the awe-struck minds of men,
Till tyrants shudder, when their slaves
Tell of the Ghebers' bloody glen.
Follow, brave hearts !-this pile remains
Our refuge still from life and chains;
But his the best, the holiest bed,
Who sinks entomb'd in Moslem dead!"