Imágenes de páginas

Those sounds—the last, to vengeance dear, That e'er shall ring in Hafed's ear,— Now reach'd him, as aloft, alone, Upon the steep way breathless thrown, He lay beside his reeking blade,

Resign'd, as if life's task were o'er,
Its last blood-offering amply paid,

And Iran's self could claim no more.
One only thought, one lingering beam,
Now broke across his dizzy dream
Of pain and weariness-'twas she

His heart's pure planet, shining yet
Above the waste of memory,

When all life's other lights were set. And never to his mind before Her image such enchantment wore. It seem'd as if each thought that stain'd, Each fear that chill'd their loves was past, And not one cloud of earth remain'd

Between him and her glory cast ;As if to charms, before so bright,

New grace from other worlds was given, And his soul saw her by the light

Now breaking o'er itself from heaven! A voice spoke near him-'twas the tone Of a loved friend, the only one Of all his warriors, left with life From that short night's tremendous strife. "And must we then, my Chief, die here ?— Foes round us, and the shrine so near!" These words have roused the last remains

Of life within him-"What! not yet Beyond the reach of Moslem chains!'

The thought could e'en make Death forget His icy bondage—with a bound He springs, all bleeding, from the ground, And grasps his comrade's arm now grown E'en feebler, heavier, than his own,

And up the painful pathway leads,
Death gaining on each step he treads.
Speed them, thou God, who heard'st their vow!
They mount-they bleed-oh, save them now!—
The crags are red they've clamber'd o'er,
The rock-weed's dripping with their gore-
Thy blade too, Hafed, false at length,
Now breaks beneath thy tottering strength-
Haste, haste the voices of the foe
Come near and nearer from below-
One effort more-thank Heaven! 'tis past,
They've gain'd the topmost steep at last,
And now they touch the temple's walls,

Now Hafed sees the Fire divine—
When, lo! his weak, worn comrade falls
Dead on the threshold of the shrine.
"Alas, brave soul, too quickly fled!
And must I leave thee withering here,
The sport of every ruffian's tread,
The mark for every coward's
No, by yon altar's sacred beams!"
He cries, and, with a strength that seems
Not of this world, uplifts the frame
Of the fallen chief, and towards the flame
Bears him along ;-with death-damp hand
The corpse upon the pyre he lays,
Then lights the consecrated brand,

And fires the pile, whose sudden blaze
Like lightning bursts o'er Oman's Sea.-
"Now, Freedom's God! I come to Thee,"
The youth exclaims, and with a smile
Of triumph vaulting on the pile,
In that last effort, ere the fires
Have harm'd one glorious limb, expires!
What shriek was that on Oman's tide?
It came from yonder drifting bark,
That just has caught upon her side

The death-light—and again is dark.



[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

It is the boat-ah, why delay'd?—
That bears the wretched Moslem maid;
Confided to the watchful care

Of a small veteran band, with whom
Their generous Chieftain would not share
The secret of his final doom;
But hoped when Hinda, safe and free,
Was render'd to her father's eyes.
Their pardon, full and prompt, would be
The ransom of so dear a prize.—

Unconscious, thus, of Hafed's fate,
And proud to guard their beauteous freight,
Scarce had they clear'd the surfy waves
That foam around those frightful caves,
When the curst war-whoops, known so well
Came echoing from the distant dell-
Sudden each oar, upheld and still,

Hung dripping o'er the vessel's side,
And, driving at the current's will,

They rock'd along the whispering tide,
While every eye, in mute dismay,

Was toward that fatal mountain turn'd,
Where the dim altar's quivering ray

As yet all lone and tranquil burn'd.

Oh! 'tis not, Hinda, in the power
Of fancy's most terrific touch
To paint thy pangs in that dread hour-
Thy silent agony-'twas such

As those who feel could paint too well,
But none e'er felt and lived to tell!
'Twas not alone the dreary state
Of a lorn spirit, crushed by fate,
When, though no more remains to dread,
The panic chill will not depart ;-
When, though the inmate Hope be dead,
Her ghost still haunts the mouldering heart.

No-pleasures, hopes, affections gone,
The wretch may bear, and yet live on,
Like things, within the cold rock found
Alive, when all's congealed around.
But there's a blank repose in this,
A calm stagnation, that were bliss
To the keen, burning, harrowing pain,
Now felt through all thy breast and brain-
That spasm of terror, mute, intense,
That breathless, agonized suspense,
From whose hot throb, whose deadly aching,
The heart hath no relief but breaking!

Calm is the wave-heaven's brilliant lights Reflected dance beneath the prow ;Time was when, on such lovely nights,

She who is there, so desolate now, Could sit all cheerful, though alone,

And ask no happier joy than seeing The starlight o'er the waters thrownNo joy but that to make her blest,

And the fresh, buoyant sense of being That bounds in youth's yet careless breast,Itself a star, not borrowing light, But in its own glad essence bright. How different now!-but, hark, again The yell of havoc rings-brave men! In vain, with beating hearts, ye stand On the bark's edge-in vain each hand Half draws the falchion from its sheath;

[ocr errors]

All's o'er-in rust your blades may lie ;He, at whose word they've scatter'd death,

E'en now, this night, himself must die! Well may ye look to yon dim tower,

And ask, and wondering guess what means The battle-cry at this dead hour

Ah! she could tell you-she, who leans Unheeded there, pale, sunk, aghast,

[ocr errors]

With brow against the dew-cold mast-
Too well she knows-her more than life,
Her soul's first idol and its last,

Lies bleeding in that murderous strife.

But see what moves upon the height?
Some signal!-'tis a torch's light.
What bodes its solitary glare!
In gasping silence towards the shrine
All eyes are turn'd-thine, Hinda, thine
Fix their last failing life-beams there.
'Twas but a moment-fierce and high
The death-pile blazed into the sky,
And far away o'er rock and flood

Its melancholy radiance sent;
While Hafed, like a vision, stood
Reveal'd before the burning pyre,
Tall, shadowy, like a Spirit of Fire

Shrined in its own grand element !
"Tis he!" the shuddering maid exclaims,-
But, while she speaks, he's seen no more;
High burst in air the funeral flames,

And Iran's hopes and hers are o'er.

One wild, heart-broken shriek she gave-
Then sprung, as if to reach that blaze,
Where still she fix'd her dying gaze,
And, gazing, sunk into the wave,—

Deep, deep,-where never care or pain
Shall reach her innocent heart again!

Farewell-farewell to thee, Araby's daughter!

(Thus warbled a Peri beneath the dark sea) No pearl ever lay, under Oman's green water, More pure in its shell than thy spirit in thee.

« AnteriorContinuar »