Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

i

SEMICHORUS I.

If Liberty Lent not life its soul of light, Hope its iris of delight, Truth its prophet's robe to wear, Love its power to give and bear.

In the great morning of the world,
Tlie spirit of God with might unfurled
The flag of Freedom over Chaos,

And all its banded anarchs fled,
Like vultures frighted from Imaus,

Before an earthquake's tread.— So from Time's tempestuous dawn Freedom's splendour burst and shone:— Thermopylae and Marathon Caught, like mountains beacon-lighted,

The springing Fire.—The winged glory On Philippi half-alighted,

Like an eagle on a promontory.
Its unwearied wings could fan
The quenchless ashes of Milan.
From age to age, from man to man

It lived; and lit from land to land

Florence, Albion, Switzerland.
Then night fell; and, as from night,
Re-assuming fiery flight,
From the West swift Freedom came,

Against the course of heaven and doom, A second sun arrayed in flame,

To burn, to kindle, to illume.
From far Atlantis its young beams
Chased the shadows and the dreams.
France, with all her sanguine steams,

Hid, but quenched it not; again

Through clouds its shafts of glory rain

From utmost Germany to Spain. As an eagle fed with morning Scorns the embattled tempest's warning, When she seeks her aerie hanging

In the mountain-cedar's hair,
And her brood expect the clanging

Of her wings through the wild air,
Sick with famine ;—Freedom, so
To what of Greece remaineth now
Returns; her hoary ruins glow
Like orient mountains lost in day;

Beneath the safety of her wings
Her renovated nurselings play,

And in the naked lightnings
Of truth they purge their dazzled eyes.
Let Freedom leave, where'er she flies,
A Desert, or a Paradise;

Let the beautiful and the brave

Share her glory, or a grave.

Semichorus t. With the gifts of gladness Greece did thy cradle strew;

SEMICHORUS II.

With the tears of sadness
Greece did thy shroud bedew;

SEMICHORUS I.

With an orphan's affection
She followed thy bier through time!

SEMICHORUS II.

And at thy resurrection

Re-appeareth, like thou, sublime!

SEMICHORUS I.

If Heaven should resume thee,
To Heaven shall her spirit ascend;

SEMICHORUS II.

If Hell should entomb thee.
To Hell shall her high hearts bend.

SEMICHORUS I.

If Annihilation—

SEMICHORUS II.

Dust let her glories be;
And a name and a nation

Be forgotten, Freedom, with thee!

INDIAN.

His brow grows darker—breathe not—move not.
He starts—he shudders ;—ye that love not,
With your panting loud and fast
Have awakened him at last.

Mahmud (ttarting from hit sleep).
Man the Seraglio-guard! make fast the gate.
What! from a cannonade of three short hours f
'Tis false ! that breach towards the Bosphorus
Cannot be practicable yet—Who stirs!
Stand to the match; that when the foe prevails,
One spark may mix in reconciling ruin
The conqueror and the conquered! H ea ve the tower
Into the gap—wrench off the roof.

Enter Hmm.

Ha! what!
The truth of day lightens upon my dream,
And I am Mahmud still.

HASSAN.

Your Sublime Highness Is strangely moved.

Mahmud.
The times do cast strange shadows
On those who watch and who must rule their course,
Lest they, being first in peril as in glory,
Be whelmed in the fierce ebb :—and these are of
Thrice has a gloomy vision huuted me [them.
As thus from sleep into the troubled day;
It shakes me as the tempest shakes the sea,
Leaving no figure upon memory's glass.
Would that—no matter. Thou didst say thou
A Jew, whose spirit is a chronicle [knewest

Of strange and secret and forgotten things.
I bade thee summon him :—'tis said his tribe
Dream, and are wise interpreters of dreams.

HASSAN.
The Jew of whom I spake is old,—so old
He seems to have outlived a world's decay;
The hoary mountains and the wrinkled ocean
Seem younger still than he ; his hair and beard
Are whiter than the tempest-sifted snow;
His cold pale limbs and pulseless arteries
Are like the fibres of a cloud instinct
With light, and to the soul that quickens them
Are as the atoms of the mountain-drift
To the winter wind :—but from his eye looks forth

I

[ocr errors]

A life of unconsunii'd thought, which pierces
The present and the past, and the to-come.
Some say that this is he whom the great prophet
Jesus, the son of Joseph, for hb. mockery,
Mocked with the curse of immortality.
Some feign that he is Enoch ; others dream
He was pre-adamite, and lias survived
Cycles of generation and of ruin.
The sage, in truth, hy dreadful abstinence,
And conquering penance of the mutinous flesh,
Deep contemplation, and unwearied study,
In years outstretched beyond the date of man,
May have attained to sovereignty and science
Over those strong and secret things and thoughts
Which others fear and know not.

With this old Jew.

I would talk

HASSAN.

Thy will is even now Made known to him, where he dwells in a sea-cavern 'Mid the Demonesi, less accessible Than thon or God! He who would question him Must sail alone at sun-set, where the stream Of ocean sleeps around those foamless isles When the young moon is westering as now, And evening airs wander upon the wave; And when the pines of that bee-pasturing isle, Green Erebinthus, quench the fiery shadow Of his gilt prow within the sapphire water, Then must the lonely helmsman cry aloud, Ahasuerus ! and the caverns round Will answer, Ahasuerus! If his prayer Be granted, a faint meteor will arise, Lighting him over Marmora, and a wind Will rush out of the sighing pine-foreBt, And with the wind a storm of harmony Unutterably sweet, and pilot him Through the soft twilight to the Bosphorus: Thence, at the hour and place and circumstance Fit for the matter of their conference, The Jew appears. Few dare, and few who dare, Win the desired communion—but that shout

Bodes

[A ihout iriMin.

MAHMUD.

Evil, doubtless; like all human sounds. Let me converse with spirits.

HASSAN.

That shout again.

MAHMUD.

This Jew whom thou hast summoned

Will be here—

MAHMUD.

When the omnipotent hour, to which are yoked
He, I, and all things, shall compel—enough.
Silence those mutineers—that drunken crew
That crowd about the pilot in the storm.
Ay! strike the foremost shorter by a head!
Tbey weary me, and I have need of rest.
Kings are like stars—they rise and set, they have
The worship of the world, but no repose.

[Exeunt inn-ally.

CHORUS.
Worlds on worlds are rolling ever

From creation to decay,
Like the bubbles on a river,

Sparkling, bursting, borne away.
But they are still immortal
Who, through birth's orient portal,
And death's dark chasm hurrying to and fro,
Clothe their unceasing flight
In the brief dust and light
Gathered around their chariots as they go;
New shapes they still may weave,
New Gods, new laws receive,
Bright or dim are they, as the robes they last
On Death's bare ribs had cast.

A power from the unknown God;

A Promethean conqueror came; Like a triumphal path he trod The thorns of death and ehame. A mortal shape to him Was like the vapour dim Which the orient planet animates with light; Hell, Sin, and Slavery came, Like blood-hounds mild and tame, Nor preyed until their lord had taken flight. The moon of Mahomet Arose, and it shall set: While blazoned as on heaven's immortal noon The cross leads generations on.

Swift as the radiant shapes of sleep

From one whose dreams are paradise, Fly, when the fond wretch wakes to weep, And day peers forth with her blank eyes;

So fleet, so faint, so fair,
The Powers of earth and air"
Fled from the folding star of Bethlehem:
Apollo, Pan, and Love,
And even Olympian Jove
Grew weak, for killing Truth had glared on them.
Our hills, and seas, and streams,
Dispeopled of their dreams,
Their waters turned to blood, their dew to tears,
Wailed for the golden years.

Enter Mahmud, Hassan, Daood, and others.
MAHMUD.

More gold! our ancestors bought gold with victor)',
And shall I sell it for defeat \

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

MAHMUD.

Then take this signet, Unlock the seventh chamber, in which lie The treasures of victorious Solyman. An empire's spoils stored for a day of ruin. O spirit of my sires! is it not come! The prey-birds and the wolves are gorged and sleep; But these, who spread their feast on the red earth, Hunger for gold, which fills not.—See them fed; Then lead them to the rivers of fresh death.

[Exit Daood. Oh! miserable dawn, after a night More glorious than the day which it usurped! O, faith in God ! 0, power on earth! O, word Of the great Prophet, whose overshadowing wings Darkened the thrones and idols of the west, Now bright!—For thy sake cursed be the hour, Even as a father by an evil child, When the orient moon of Islam rolled in triumph From Caucasus to white Ceraunia 1 Ruin above, and anarchy below; Terror without, and treachery within; The chalice of destruction full, and all Thirsting to drink; and who among us dares To dash it from his lips 1 and where is Hope 1

HASSAN. The lamp of our dominion still rides high; One God is God—Mahomet is his Prophet. Four hundred thousand Moslems, from the limits Of utmost Asia, irresistibly Throng, like full clouds at the Scirocco's cry, But not like them to weep their strength in tears; They have destroying lightning, and their step Wakes earthquake, to consume and overwhelm, And reign in ruin. Phrygian Olympus, Tmolus, and Latmos, and Mycale, roughen With horrent arms, and lofty ships, even now, Like vapours anchored to a mountain's edge, Freighted with fire and whirlwind, wait at Scala The convoy of the ever-veering wind. Samos is drunk with blood ;—the Greek has paid Brief victory with swift loss and long despair. The false Moldavian serfs fled fast and far When the fierce shout of Allah-ilia-Allah! Rose like the war-cry of the northern wind, Which kills the sluggish clouds, and leaves a flock Of wild swans struggling with the naked storm. So were the lost Greeks on the Danube's day! If night is mute, yet the returning sun Kindles the voices of the morning birds; Nor at thy bidding less exultingly Than birds rejoicing in the golden day, The Anarchies of Africa unleash Their tempest-winged cities of the sea, To speak in thunder to the rebel world. Like sulphureous clouds half-shattered by the storm, ■They sweep the pale JEgean, while the Queen Of Ocean, bound upon her island throne, Far in the West, sits mourning that her sons, Who frown on Freedom, spare a smile for thee: Russia still hovers, as an eagle might Within a cloud, near which a kite and crane Hang tangled in inextricable fight, To stoop upon the victor ; for she fears The name of Freedom, even as she hates thine: But recreant Austria loves thee as the Grave Loves Pestilence, and her slow dogs of war, Fleshed with the chase, come up from Italy,

And howl upon their limits ; for they see
The panther Freedom fled to her old cover.
Amid seas and mountains, and a mightier brood
Crouch around. What Anarch wears a crown or

mitre, Or bears the sword, or grasps the key of gold, Whose friends are not thy friends, whose foes thy

foesl Our arsenals and our armories are full; Our forts defy assaults; ten thousand cannon Lie ranged upon the beach, and hour by hour Their earth-convulsing wheels affright the city; The galloping of fiery steeds makes pale The Christian merchant, and the yellow Jew Hides his hoard deeper in the faithless earth. Like clouds, and like the shadows of the clouds, Over the hills of Anatolia, Swift in wide troops the Tartar chivalry Sweep ;—the far-flashing of their starry lances Reverberates the dying light of day. We have one God, one King, one Hope, one Law; But many-headed Insurrection stands Divided in itself, and soon must fall.

MAHMTTD. Proud words, when deeds come short, are seasonable; Look, Hassan, on yon crescent moon, emblazoned Upon that shattered flag of fiery cloud Which leads the rear of the departing day, Wan emblem of an empire fading now! See how it trembles in the blood-red air, And like a mighty lamp whose oil is spent, Shrinks on the horizon s edge, while, from above, One star with insolent and victorious light Hovers above its fall, and with keen beams, Like arrows through a fainting antelope, Strikes its weak form to death.

Renews itself

Even as that moon

MAHMUD.

Shall we be not renewed! Far other bark than ours were needed now To stem the torrent of descending time: The spirit that lifts the slave before its lord Stalks through the capitals of armed kings, And spreads his ensign in the wilderness; Exults in chains ; and when the rebel falls, Cries like the blood of Abel from the dust; And the inheritors of earth, like beasts When earthquake is unleashed, with idiot fear Cower in their kingly dens—as I do now. What were Defeat, when Victory must appal! Or Danger, when Security looks pale? How said the messenger—who from the fort Islanded in the Danube, saw the battle Of Bucharest!—that—

HASSAN.

Ibrahim's cimeter Drew with its gleam swift victory from heaven, To burn before him in the night of battle— A light and a destruction.

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

HASSAN.

The light Wallachians,
The Amaut, Servian, and Albanian allies,
Fled from the glance of our artillery
Almost before the thunder-stone alit;
One half the Grecian army made a bridge
Of safe and slow retreat, with Moslem dead;
The other—

MAHHUD.

Speak—tremble not—

HASSAN.

Islanded
By rictor myriads, formed in hollow square
With rough and steadfast front, and thrice flung
The deluge of our foaming cavalry; [back

Thrice their keen wedge of battle pierced our lines.
Our baffled army trembled like one man
Before a host, and gave them space ; but soon,
From the surrounding hills, the batteries blazed,
Kneading them down with fire and iron rain.
Yet none approached ; till, like a field of corn
Under the hook of the swart sickle-man,
The bands, intrenched in mounds of Turkish dead,
Grew weak and few. Then said the Pacha, "Slaves,
Render yourselves—they have abandoned you—
What hope of refuge, or retreat, or aid?
We grant your lives."—" Grant that which is thine

own,"
Cried one, and fell upon his sword and died!
Another—" God, and man, and hope abandon me;
But I to them and to myself remain
Constant;" he bowed his head, and his heart burst.
A third exclaimed, " There is a refuge, tyrant,
Where thou darest not pursue, and canst not

harm, Shouldst thou pursue ; there we shall meet again." Then held his breath, and, after a brief spasm, The indignant spirit cast its mortal garment Among the slain—dead earth upon the earth! So these survivors, each by different ways, Some strange, all sudden, none dishonourable, Met in triumphant death; and when our army Closed in, while yet wonder, and awe, and shame Held back the base hyenas of the battle That feed upon the dead and fly the living, One rose out of the chaos of the slain; And if it were a corpse which some dread spirit Of the old saviours of the land we rule Had lifted in its anger, wandering by; Or if there burned within the dying man Unquenchable disdain of death, and faith Creating what it feigned ;—I cannot tell: But he cried, " Phantoms of the free, we come! Annies of the Eternal, ye who strike To dust the citadels of sanguine kings, And shake the souls throned on their stony hearts, And thaw their frost-work diadems like dew;— O ye who float around this clime, and weave The garment of the glory which it wears; Whose fame, though earth betray thedust it clasped, Lies sepulchred in monumental thought;— Progenitors of all that yet is great, Ascribe to your bright senate, 0 accept In your high ministrations, us, your sons— Us first, and the more glorious yet to come 1 And ye, weak conquerors! giants who look pale When the crushed worm rebels beneath your

tread—

The vultures, and the dogs, your pensioners tame,
Are overgorged ; but, like oppressors, still
They crave the relic of Destruction's feast.
The exhalations and the thirsty winds
Are sick with blood; the dew is foul with death—
Heaven's light is quenched in slaughter: Thus

where'er
Upon your camps, cities, or towers, or fleets,
The obscene birds the reeking remnants cast
Of these dead limbs, upon your streams and moun-
tains,
Upon your fields, your gardens, and your house-
tops,
Where'er the winds shall creep, or the clouds fly,
Or the dews fall, or the angry sun look down
With poisoned light—Famine, and Pestilence,
And Panic, shall wage war upon our side I
Nature from all her boundaries is moved
Against ye: Time has found ye light as foam.
The earth rebels; and Good and Evil stake
Their empire o'er the unborn world of men
On this one cast—but ere the die be thrown,
The renovated genius of our race,
Proud umpire of the impious game, descends
A seraph-winged Victory, bestriding
The tempest of the Omnipotence of God,
Which sweeps all things to their appointed doom,
And you to oblivion!"—More he would have said,
But—

HAHMUD.

Died—as thou shouldst ere thy lips had painted Their ruin in the hues of our success. A rebel's crime, gilt with a rebel's tongue 1 Your heart is Greek, Hassan.

HASSAN.

It may be so: A spirit not my own wrenched me within, And I have spoken words I fear and hate; Yet would I die for—

HAHMUD.

Live! 0 live! outlive Me and this sinking empire:—but the fleet—

Alas!

HAHMUD.

The fleet which, like a flock of clouds Chased by the wind, flies the insurgent banner. Our winged castles from their merchant ships 1 Our myriads before their weak pirate bands 1 Our arms before their chains! Our years of empire Before their centuries of servile fear! Death is awake! Repulsed on the waters, They own no more the thunder-bearing banner Of Mahmud; but like hounds of a base breed, Gorge from a stranger's hand, and rend their master.

HASSAN.

Latmos, and Ampelos, and Phanae, saw
The wreck—

MAHMUD.

The caves of the Icarian isles Hold each to the other in loud mockery, And with the tongue as of a thousand echoes First of the sea-convulsing fight—and then— Thou darest to speak—senseless are the mountains, Interpret thou their voice I

[ocr errors]

HASSAN.

My presence bore
A part in that day's shame. The Grecian fleet
Bore down at day-break from the North, and hung
As multitudinous on the ocean line
As cranes upon the cloudless Thracian wind.
Our squadron, convoying ten thousand men,
Was stretching towards Nauplia when the battle
Was kindled.—

First through the hail of our artillery
The agile Hydriote barks with press of sail
Dashed:—ship to ship, cannon to cannon, man
To man, were grappled in the embrace of war,
Inextricable but by death or victory.
The tempest of the raging fight convulsed
To its crystalline depths that stainless sea,
And shook heaven's roof of golden morning clouds
Poised on an hundred azure mountain-isles.
In the brief trances of the artillery,
One cry from the destroyed and the destroyer
Rose, and a cloud of desolation wrapt
The unforeseen event, till the north wind
Sprung from the sea, lifting the heavy veil
Of battle-smoke—then victory—victory!
For, as we thought, three frigates from Algiers
Bore down from Naxos to our aid, but soon
The abhorred cross glimmered behind, before,
Among, around us; and that fatal sign
Dried with its beams the strength of Moslem hearts,
As the sun drinks the dew.—What more? We fled!
Our noonday path over the sanguine foam
Was beaconed, and the glare struck the sun pale,
By our consuming transports: the fierce light
Made all the shadows of our sails blood-red,
And every countenance blank. Some ships lay

feeding
The ravening fire even to the water's level:
Some were blown up; some, settling heavily,
Sunk ; and the shrieks of our companions died
Upon the wind, that bore us fast and far,
Even after they were dead. Nine thousand perished!
We met the vultures legioned in the air,
Stemming the torrent of the tainted wind:
They, screaming from their cloudy mountain peaks,
Stooped through the sulphureous battle-smoke,

and perched Each on the weltering carcase that we loved, Like its ill angel or its damned soul. Riding upon the bosom of the sea, We saw the dog-fish hastening to their feast. Joy waked the voiceless people of the sea, And ravening famine left his ocean-cave To dwell with war, with us, and with despair. We met night three hours to the west of Patmos, As with night, tempest—

MAHHUD.

Cease!
Enter a Mcttenger.

MESSENGER.

Your Sublime Highness, That Christian hound, the Muscovite ambassador, Has left the city. If the rebel fleet Had anchored hi the port, had victory Crowned the Greek legions in the Hippodrome, Panic were tamer.—Obedience and Mutiny, Like giants in contention planet-struck, Stand gazing on each other.—There is peace In Stamboul.—

MAHMCD.

Is the grave not calmer still! Its ruins shall be mine.

HASSAN.

Fear not the Russian; The tiger leagues not with the stag at bay Against the hunter.—Cunning, base, and cruel, He crouches, watching till the spoil be won, And must be paid for his reserve in blood. After the war is fought, yield the sleek Russian That which thou canst not keep, his deserved portMi Of blood, which shall not flow through streets and

fields, ,

Rivers and seas, like that which we may win,
But stagnate in the veins of Christian slaves!

Enter Second Mcuenger.
SECOND MESSENGER.

Nauplia, Tripolizza, Mothon, Athens,

Navarin, Artas, Monembasia,

Corinth and Thebes, are carried by assault;

And every Islamite who made his dogs

Fat with the flesh of Galilean slaves,

Passed at the edge of the sword: the lust of blood,

Which made our warriors drunk, U quenched in

death;
But like a fiery plague breaks out anew
In deeds which make the Christian cause look pale
In its own light. The garrison of Patras
Has store but for ten days, nor is there hope
But from the Briton; at once slave and tyrant,
His wishes still are weaker than his fears;
Or he would sell what faith may yet remain
From the oaths broke in Genoa and in Norway;
And if you buy him not, your treasury
Is empty even of promises—his own coin.
The freeman of a western poet chief
Holds Attica with seven thousand rebels,
And has beat back the Pacha of Negropont;
The aged Ali sits in Yanina,
A crownless metaphor of empire;
His name, that shadow of his withered might,
Holds our besieging army like a spell
In prey to famine, pest, and mutiny:
He, bastioned in his citadel, looks forth
Joyless upon the sapphire lake that mirrors
The ruins of the city where he reigned
Childless and sceptreless. The Greek has reaped
The costly harvest his own blood matured,
Not the sower, Ali—who has bought a truce
From Ypsilanti, with ten camel-loads
Of Indian gold.

Enter a Third Metienger.
MAHMCD.

What more!

THIRD MESSENGER.

The Christian tribes Of Lebanon and the Syrian wilderness Are in revolt;—Damascus, Hems, Aleppo, Tremble ;—the Arab menaces Medina; The Ethiop has intrenched himself in Sennaar, And keeps the Egyptian rebel well employed, Who denies homage, claims investiture As price of tardy aid. Persia demands The cities on the Tigris, and the Georgians Refuse their living tribute. Crete and Cyprus, Like mountain-twins that from each other's veins

« AnteriorContinuar »