« AnteriorContinuar »
Alas-how light a cause may move
Dissension between hearts that love!
Hearts that the world in vain had tried,
And sorrow but more closely tied ;
That stood the storm, when waves were rough,
Yet in a sunny hour fall off,
Like ships, that have gone down at sea,
When heaven was all tranquillity!
A something, light as air-a look,
A word unkind or wrongly taken-
Oh! love, that tempests never shook,
A breath, a touch like this hath shaken.
And ruder words will soon rush in
To spread the breach that words begin;
And eyes forget the gentle ray
They wore in courtship's smiling day;
And voices lose the tone that shed
A tenderness round all they said;
Till fast declining one by one,
The sweetnesses of love are gone,
And hearts, so lately mingled, seem
Like broken clouds,-or like the stream,
That smiling left the mountain's brow,
As though its waters ne'er could sever
Yet, ere it reach the plain below,
Breaks into floods, that part for ever.
O you, that have the charge of Love,
Keep him in rosy bondage bound,
As in the Fields of Bliss above
He sits, with flowerets fetter'd round ;-
Loose not a tie that round him clings,
Nor ever let him use his wings;
For even an hour, a minute's flight
Will rob the plumes of half their light.
Like that celestial bird,-whose nest
Is found beneath far eastern skies,―
Whose wings, though radiant when at rest,
Lose all their glory when he flies!
Some difference, of this dangerous kind,-
By which, though light, the links that bind
The fondest hearts may soon be riven;
Some shadow in love's summer heaven,
Which, though a fleecy speck at first,
May yet in awful thunder burst;
Such cloud it is, that now hangs over
The heart of the imperial lover,
And far hath banish'd from his sight
His Nourmahal, his Haram's Light!
Hence is it, on this happy night,
When Pleasure through the fields and groves
Has let loose all her world of loves,
And every heart has found it sown,-
He wanders, joyless and alone,
And weary as that bird of Thrace,
Whose pinion knows no resting-place.
In vain the loveliest cheeks and eyes
This Eden of the earth supplies
Come crowding round-the cheeks are pale,
The eyes are dim-though rich the spot
With every flower this earth has got,
What is it to the nightingale,
If there his darling rose is not?
In vain the Valley's smiling throng
Worship him, as he moves along;
He heeds them not-one smile of hers
Is worth a world of worshippers.
They but the star's adorers are,
She is the heaven that lights the star!
Hence is it too that Nourmahal,
Amid the luxuries of this hour,
Far from the joyous festival,
Sits in her own sequester'd bower,
With no one near, to soothe or aid,
But that inspired and wondrous maid,
Namouna, the enchantress ;-one,
O'er whom his race the golden sun
For unremember'd years has run,
Yet never saw her blooming brow
Younger or fairer than 'tis now.
Nay, rather, as the west-wind's sigh
Freshens the flower it passes by,
Time's wing but seem'd, in stealing o'er,
To leave her lovelier than before.
Yet on her smiles a sadness hung,
And when, as oft, she spoke or sung
Of other worlds, there came a light
From her dark eyes so strangely bright,
That all believed nor man nor earth
Were conscious of Namouna's birth!
All spells and talismans she knew
From the great Mantra, which around
The Air's sublimer spirits drew,
To the gold gems of Afric, bound
Upon the wandering Arab's arm,
To keep him from the Siltim's harm..
And she had pledged her powerful art,
Pledged it with all the zeal and heart
Of one who knew, though high her sphere,
What 'twas to lose a love so dear,
To find some spell that should recall
Her Selim's smile to Nourmahal !
'Twas midnight-through the lattice, wreathed
With woodbine, many a perfume breathed
From plants that wake when others sleep,
From timid jasmine buds, that keep
Their odour to themselves all day,
But, when the sunlight dies away,
Let the delicious secret out
To every breeze that roams about ;
When thus Namouna :-"'Tis the hour
That scatters spells on herb and flower,
And garlands might be gather'd now,
That, twin'd around the sleeper's brow,
Would make him dream of such delights,
Such miracles and dazzling sights,
As Genii of the Sun behold,
At evening, from their tents of gold,
Upon th' horizon—where they play
Till twilight comes, and, ray by ray,
Their sunny mansions melt away!
Now, too, a chaplet might be wreath'd
Of buds o'er which the moon has breath'd,
Which worn by her, whose love has stray'd,
Might bring some Peri from the skies,
Some sprite, whose very soul is made
Of flowerets' breaths and lovers' sighs,
And who might tell—”
"For me, for me,"
Cried Nourmahal impatiently,
"Oh! twine that wreath for me to-night." Then, rapidly, with foot as light
As the young musk-roe's, out she flew
To cull each shining leaf that grew
Beneath the moonlight's hallowing beams
For this enchanted Wreath of Dreams.
Anemones and seas of gold,
And new-blown lilies of the river,
And those sweet flowerets, that unfold
Their buds on Camadeva's quiver ;—
The tube-rose, with her silvery light,
That in the gardens of Malay
Is call'd the Mistress of the Night,
So like a bride, scented and bright,
She comes out when the sun's away.-
Amaranths, such as crown the maids
That wander through Zamara's shades :— ·
And the white moon-flower, as it shows
On Serendib's high crags to those
Who near the isle at evening sail,
Scenting her clove-trees in the gale ;-
In short, all flowerets and all plants,
From the divine Amrita tree,
That blesses heaven's inhabitants
With fruits of immortality,
Down to the basil tuft, that waves
Its fragrant blossom over graves,
And to the humble rosemary,
Whose sweets so thanklessly are shed
To scent the desert and the dead;-
All in that garden bloom, and all
Are gather'd by young Nourmahal,
Who heaps her baskets with the flowers
And leaves, till they can hold no more;
Then to Namouna flies, and showers
Upon her lap the shining store.
With what delight th' Enchantress views
So many buds, bathed with the dews
And beams of that bless'd hour!-her glance
Spoke something, past all mortal pleasures,
As, in a kind of holy trance,
She hung above those fragrant treasures;
Bending to drink their balmy airs,
As if she mix'd her soul with theirs.
And 'twas, indeed, the perfume shed
From flowers and scented flame that fed
Her charmed life-for none had e'er
Beheld her taste of mortal fare,
Nor even in aught earthly dip,
But the morn's dew, her roseate lip.
Fill'd with the cool, inspiring smell,
Th' Enchantress now begins her spell,
Thus singing, as she winds and weaves
In mystic form the glittering leaves :-