Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Catch the volcano-fire and earthquake spasm,
Shake in the general fever. Through the city,
Like birds before a storm, the Santons shriek,
And prophesyings horrible and new
Are heard among the crowd; that sea of men
Sleeps on the wrecks it made, breathless and still.
A Dei-vise, learned in the Koran, preaches
That it is written how the sins of Islam
Must raise up a destroyer even now.
The Greeks expect a Saviour from the west;
Who shall not come, men say, in clouds and glory,
But in the omnipresence of that spirit
In which all lire and are. Ominous signs
Are blazoned broadly on the noon-day sky;
One saw a red cross stamped upon the sun;
It has rained blood; and monstrous births declare
The secret wrath of Nature and her Lord.
The army encamped upon the Cydaris
Was roused last night by the alarm of battle,
And saw two hosts conflicting in the air,—
The shadows doubtless of the unborn time,
Cast on the mirror of the night. While yet
The fight hung balanced, there arose a storm
Which swept the phantoms from among the stars.
At the third watch the spirit of the plague
Was heard abroad napping among the tents:
Those who relieved watch found the sentinels

dead. The last news from the camp is, that a thousand Have sickened, and—

Enter a Fourth Meitengcr. HAIIMOD And thou, pale ghost, dim shadow Of some untimely rumour, speak!

FOURTH MESSENGER.

One comes
Fainting with toil, covered with foam and blood;
He stood, he says, upon Clelonit's
Promontory, which o'erlooks the isles that groan
Under the Briton's frown, and all their waters
Then trembling in the splendour of the moon;
When, as the wandering clouds unveiled or hid
Her boundless light, he saw two adverse fleets
Stalk through the night in the horizon's glimmer,
Mingling fierce thunders and sulphureous gleams,
And smoke which strangled every infant wind
That soothed the silver clouds through the deep air.
At length the battle slept, but the Scirocco
Awoke, and drove his flock of thunder-clouds
Over the sea-horizon, blotting out
All objects—save that in the faint moon-glimpse
He saw, or dreamed he saw the Turkish admiral
And two, the loftiest, of our ships of war,
With the bright image of that Queen of Heaven,
Who hid, perhaps, her face for grief, reversed;
And the abhorred cross—

Enter an Attendant.
ATTENDANT.

Your Sublime Highness, The Jew, who

MAHMUD.

Could not come more seasonably: Bid him attend. I'll hear no more! too long We gaze on danger through the mist of fear, And multiply upon our shattered hopes The images of ruin. Come what will!

To-morrow and to-morrow arc as lamps

Set in our path to light us to the edge,

Through rough and smooth; nor can we suffer

aught Which he inflicts not in whose hand we are.

[Exeunt.
SEMICHORUS I.
Would I were the winged cloud
Of a tempest swift and loud!
I would scorn
The smile of morn,
And the wave where the moon-rise is born!
I would leave
The spirits of eve
A shroud for the corpse of the day to weave
From other threads than mine!
Bask in the blue noon divine
Who would, not I.

SEMicnoncs u.
Whither to fly I

SEMICHORUS I.

Where the rocks that gird th' jEgean Echo to the battle ptean Of the free— I would flee A tempestuous herald of victory! My golden rain For the Grecian slain Should mingle in tears with the bloody main; And my solemn thunder-knell Should ring to the world the passing-bell Of tyranny!

SF.MICHORUS II.

Ah king! wilt thou chain The rack and the rain 1 Wilt thou fetter the lightning and hurricane!

The storms are free,

But we

CHORUS.

0 Slavery I thou frost of the world's prime,

Killing its flowers and leaving its thorns bare!
Thy touch has stamped these limbs with crime,
These brows thy branding garland bear;
But the free heart, the impassive soul,
Scorn thy control!

Semichorus I.
Let there be light! said Liberty;
And like sunrise from the sea,
Athens arose !—Around her born,
Shone like mountains in the morn,
Glorious states;—and are they now
Ashes, wrecks, oblivion 1

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

But Greece and her foundations are

Built below the tide of war,

Baaed on the crystalline sea

Of thought and its eternity; Her citizens, imperial spirits,

Rule the present from the past, On all this world of men inherits

Their seal is set.

Seuichorus II.

Hear ye the blast,
Whose Orphic thunder thrilling calls
From ruin her Titanian walls?
Whose spirit shakes the sapless bones
Of Slavery! Argos, Corinth, Crete,
Hear, and from their mountain thrones
The daemons and the nymphs repeat
The harmony.

Semi en ours i.
I hear 1 I hear!

SEMICHORUS II.

The world's eyeless charioteer,

Destiny, is hurrying by! What faith is crushed, what empire bleeds Beneath her earthquake-footed steeds! What eagle-winged victory Bits At her right hand 1 what shadow flits Before! what splendour rolls behind?

Ruin and Renovation cry, Who but we 1

SEMICHORUS I.

I hear! I hear!
The hiss as of a rushing wind,
The roar as of an ocean foaming,
The thunder as of earthquake coming,

I hear! I hear!
The crash as of an empire falling,
The shrieks as of a people calling
Mercy! Mercy !—How they thrill!
Then a shout of " Kill! kill! kUl!"
And then a small still voice, thus—

[blocks in formation]

MAHMUD. Thou art an adept in the difficult lore Of Greek and Frank philosophy; thou numberest The flowers, and thou measurest the stars; Thou severest element from element; Thy spirit is present in the past, and sees The birth of this old world through all its cycles Of desolation and of loveliness; And when man was not, and how man became The monarch and the slave of this low sphere, And all its narrow circles—it is much. I honour thee, and would be what thou art Were I not what I am ; but the unborn hour, Cradled in fear and hope, conflicting storms, Who shall unveil? Nor thou, nor I, nor any Mighty or wise. I apprehend not What thou hast taught me, but I now perceive That thou art no interpreter of dreams; Thou dost not own that art, device, or God, Can make the future present—let it come! Moreover thou disdainest us and ours! Thou art as God, whom thou contemplatesL

AHASUERUS.

Disdain thee t—not the worm beneath my feet!
The Fathomless has care for meaner things
Than thou canst dream, and has made pride for

those
Who would be what they may not, or would semi
That which they are not. Sultan! talk no more
Of thee and me, the future and the past;
But look on that which cannot change—the One
The unborn, and the undying. Earth and ocean,
Space, and the isles of life or light that gem
The sapphire floods of interstellar air,
This Armament pavilioned upon chaos,
With all its cressets of immortal fire,
Whose outwall, bastioned impregnably
Against the escape of boldest thoughts, repels them
As Calpe the Atlantic clouds—this whole
Of suns, and worlds, and men, and beasts, and

flowers, With all the silent or tempestuous workings By which they have been, arc, or cease to be, Is but a vision ;—all that it inherits Are motes of a sick eye, bubbles, and dreams; Thought is its cradle and its grave, nor less The future and the past are idle shadows Of thought's eternal flight—they have no being; Nought is but that it feels itself to be.

MAHMUD.

Whatmeanestthout thy wordsstrcamlikeaterapcrt Of dazzling mist within my brain—they shake The earth on which I stand, and hang like night On Heaven above me. What can they avail! They cast on all things, surest, brightest, best, Doubt, insecurity, astonishment.

AHASUERUS. Mistake me not t All is contained in each. Dodona's forest to an acorn's cup Is that which has been or will be, to that Which is—the absent to the present. Thought Alone, and its quick elements, Will, Passion, Reason, Imagination, cannot die; They are what that which they regard appear*. The stuff whence mutability can weavo All that it hath dominion o'er,—worlds, Kotow. Empires, and superstitions. What has thought

[blocks in formation]

MAHHUD.

The sound As of the assault of an imperial city, The hiss of inextinguishable fire, The roar of giant cannon ;—the earthquaking Fall of vast bastions and precipitous towers, The shock of crags shot from strange engin'ry, The clash of wheels, and clang of armed hoofs, And crash of brazen mail, as of the wreck Of adamantine mountains—the mad blast Of trumpets, and the neigh of raging steeds, And shrieks of women whose thrill jars the blood, And one sweet laugh, most horrible to hear, As of a joyous infant waked, and playing With its dead mother's breast; and now more loud The mingled battle-cry—ha ! hear I not ■Zrroirvrbn). Allah-illah-Allah!

AHASUERUS.

The sulphureous mist is raised thou seest—

MAHMUD.

A chasm, As of two mountains, in the wall of Stamboul; And in that ghastly breach the Islamites, Like giants on the ruins of a world, Stand in the light of sunrise. In the dust Glimmers a kingless diadem, and one Of regal port has cast himself beneath The stream of war. Another, proudly clad In golden arms, spurs a Tartarian barb Into the gap, and with his iron mace Directs the torrent of that tide of men, And seems—he is—Mahomet!

AHASUERUS.

What thou see'st Is but the ghost of thy forgotten dream; A dream itself, yet less, perhaps, than that Thoa call'st reality. Thou mayst behold How cities, on which empire sleeps enthroned, Bow their towered crests to mutability. Poised by the flood, e'en on the height thou holdest,

Thou mayst now learn how the full tide of power
Ebbs to its depths—Inheritor of glory,
Conceived in darkness,born in blood, :md nourished
With tears and toil, thou seest the mortal throes
Of that whose birth was but the same. The Past
Now stands before thee like an Incarnation
Of the To-come ; yet wouldst thou commune with
That portiou of thyself which was ere thou
Didst start for this brief race whose crown is

death;
Dissolve with that strong faith and fervent passion
Which called it from the uncreated deep,
Yon cloud of war with its tempestuous phantoms
Of raging death ; and draw with mighty will
The imperial shade hither.

[Exit AHASUERUS. MAHMUD.

Approach!

PHANTOM.

I come

Thence whither thou must go! The grave is fitter
To take the living, than give up the dead;
Yet has thy faith prevailed, and I am here.
The heavy fragments of the power which fell
When I arose, like shapeless crags and clouds,
Hang round my throne on the abyss, and voices
Of strange lament soothe my supreme repose,
Wailing for glory never to return.—
A later Empire nods in its decay;
The autumn of a greener faith is come,
And wolfish change, like winter, howls to strip
The foliage in which Fame, the eagle, built
Her aerie, while Dominion whelped below.
The storm is in its branches, and the frost
Is on its leaves, and the blank deep expects
Oblivion on oblivion, spoil on spoil,
Ruin on ruin: thou art slow, my son;
The Anarchs of the world of darkness keep
A throne for thee, round which thine empire lies
Boundless and mute ; and for thy subjects thou,
Like us, shall rule the ghosts of murdered life,
The phantoms of the powers who rule thee now—
Mutinous passions and conflicting fears,
And hopes that Bate themselves on dust and die!
Stript of their mortal strength, as thou of thine.
Islam must fall, but we will reign together
Over its ruins in the world of death :—
And if the trunk be dry, yet shall the seed
Unfold itself even in the shape of that
Which gathers birth in its decay. Woe ! woe t
To the weak people tangled in the grasp
Of its last spasms.

MAHMUD.

Spirit, woe to all I Woe to the wronged and the avenger I Woe To the destroyer, woe to the destroyed! Woe to the dupe, and woe to the deceiver! Woe to the oppressed, and woe to the oppressor! Woe both to those that suffer and inflict; Those who are born, and those who die ! But say, Imperial shadow of the thing I am, When, how, by whom, Destruction must accomplish Her consummation 1

PHANTOM.

Ask the cold pale Hour,
Rich in reversion of impending death,
When he shall fall upon whose ripe grey hairs
Sit care, and sorrow, and infirmity—

The weight which Crime, whose wings are plumed

with years, Leaves in his flight from ravaged heart to heart Over the heads of men, under which burthen They bow themselves unto the grave: fond wretch! He leans upon his crutch, and talks of years To come, and how in hours of youth renewed He will renew lost joys, and

VOICE WITHOUT.

Victory! victory! [The Phantom vanishet.

MAHMUD.

What sound of the importunate earth has broken My mighty trance t

Voice WITHOUT.

Victory! victory!

MAHMUD.

Weak lightning before darkness! poor faint smile
Of dying Islam! Voice which art the response
Of hollow weakness ! Do I wake and live!
Were there such things I or may the unquiet brain,
Vexed by the wise mad talk of the old Jew,
Have shaped itself these shadows of its fear i
It matters not!—for nought we see or dream,
Possess, or lose, or grasp at, can be worth
More than it gives or teaches. Come what may,
The future must become the past, and I
As they were, to whom once this present hour,
This gloomy crag of time to which I cling,
Seemed an Elysian isle of peace and joy
Never to be attained.—I must rebuke
This drunkenness of triumph ere it die,
And dying, bring despair.—Victory!—poor slaves!

[Exit Mah.mi 11.
VOICE WITHOUT.

Shout in the jubilee of death! The Greeks

Are as a brood of lions in the net,

Round which the kingly hunters of the earth

Stand smiling. Anarchs, ye whose daily food

Are curses, groans, and gold, the fruit of death,

From Thule to the girdle of the world,

Come, feast! the board groans with the flesh of men—

The cup is foaming with a nation's blood,

Famine and Thirst await: eat, drink, and die!

SEMICHORUS I.

Victorious Wrong, with vulture scream, Salutes the risen sun, pursues the flying day!

I saw her ghastly as a tyrant's dream,
Perch on the trembling pyramid of night,
Beneath which earth and all her realms pavilioned
In visions of the dawning undelight. [lay

Who shall impede her flight I
Who rob her of her prey!

VOICE WITHOUT.

Victory ! victory! Russia's famished eagles
Dare not to prey beneath the crescent's light.
Impale the remnant of the Greeks! despoil!
Violate ! make their flesh cheaper than dust!

SEMICHORUS II.

Thou voice which art
The herald of the ill in splendour hid!

Thou echo of the hollow heart
Of monarchy, bear me to thine abode

When desolation flashes o'er a world destroyed. Oh bear me to those isles of jagged cloud

Which float like mountains on the earthquakes, 'mid The momentary oceans of the lightning;

Or to some toppling promontory proud

Of solid tempest, whose black pyramid, Riven, overhangs the founts intensely brightening

Of those dawn-tinted deluges of fire

Before their waves expire. When heaven and earth are light, and only light In the thunder-night!

VOICE WITHOUT.

Victory ! victory ! Austria, Russia, England,
And that tame serpent, that poor shadow, France,
Cry peace, and that means death when monarch*

speak. Ho, there! bring torches, sharpen those re«

stakes! Thesechainsarelight,fitterforslavesand poisoners Than Greeks. Kill! plunder I burn! let none

remain.

SEMICHORUS I.

Alas for Liberty! If numbers, wealth, or unfulfllling years, Or fate, can quell the free; Alas for Virtue ! when Torments, or contumely, or the sneers Of erring judging men Can break the heart where it abides. Alas! if Love, whose smile makes this obscure world splendid,

Can change, with its false times and tides, Like hope and terror— Alas for Love 1 And Truth, who wanderest lone and unbefriended, If thou canst veil thy lie-consuming mirror Before the dazzled eyes of Error. Alas for thee! Image of the Above.

SEMICHORUS II.

Repulse, with plumes from conquest torn,

Led the ten thousand from the limits of the morn

Through many an hostile Anarchy! At length they wept aloud and cried, " The sea! the sea!" Through exile, persecution, and despair,

Rome was, and young Atlantis shall become The wonder, or the terror, or the tomb Of all whose step wakes power lulled in her savage lair: But Greece was as a hermit child,

Whose fairest thoughts and limbs were built
To woman's growth, by dreams so mild
She knew not pain or guilt;
And now, 0 Victory, blush! and Empire, tremble,
When ye desert the free!
If Greece must be
A wreck, yet shall its fragments reassemble,
And build themselves again impregnably

In a diviner clime,
To Amphionic music, on some Cape sublime,
Which frowns above the idle foam of Time.

SEMICHORUS I.
Let the tyrants rule the desert they have made;

Let the free possess the paradise they claim; Be the fortune of our fierce oppressors weighed

With our ruin, our resistance, and our name!

SEMICHORl'S II.

Our dead shall be the seed of their decay,
Our survivors be the shadows of their pride,

Our adversity a dream to pass away—
Their dishonour a remembrance to abide

VOICE WITHOUT.

Victory! Victory! The bought Briton sends

The keys of ocean to the Islamite.

Now shall the blazon of the cross be veiled,

And British skill directing Othman might,

Thunder-strike rebel victory. O keep holy

This jubilee of unrevenged blood!

Kill! crush! despoil! Let not a Greek escape!

SEMICHOniS 1.
Darkness has dawned in the East

On the noon of time:
The death-birds descend to their feast,

From the hungry clime.
Let Freedom and Peace flee far

To a sunnier strand,
And follow Love's folding star!

To the Evening land!

SEMICHORL'S II.

The young moon has fed
Her exhausted horn
With the sunset's fire:
The weak day is dead,

But the night is not born;
And, like loveliness panting with wild desire,
While it trembles with fear and delight,
Hesperus flies from awakening night,
And pants in its beauty and speed with light
Fast-flashing, soft, and bright.
Thou beacon of love! thou lamp of the free I

Guide us far, far away, To climes where now, veiled by the ardour of day, Thou art hidden From waves on which weary noon Faints in her summer swoon, Between kingless continents, sinless as Eden, Around mountains and islands inviolably Prankt on the sapphire sea.

SEMICHORl'S I.

Through the sunset of hope,
Like the shapes of a dream,
What Paradise islands of glory gleam

Beneath Heaven's cope.
Their shadows more clear float bv—
The sound of their oceans, the light of their sky,

Tlie music and fragrance their solitudes breathe, Burst like morning on dreams, or like Heaven on death,

Through the walls of our prison;

And Greece, which was dead, is arisen!

CHORUS.

The world's great age begins anew,

The golden years return, V

The earth doth like a snake renew Her winter weeds outworn: Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam' Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.

A brighter Hellas rears its mountains

From waveo serener far;
A new Peneus rolls its fountains

Against the morning-star. I

Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep
Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep.

A loftier Argo cleaves the main,

Fraught with a later prize;
Another Orpheus sings again,

And loves, and weeps, and dies.
A new Ulysses leaves once more
Calypso for his native shore,

0 write no more the tale of Troy,
If earth Death's scroll must be!

Nor mix with Laian rage the joy
Which dawns upon the free:

Although a subtler sphinx renew

Riddles of death Thebes never knew.

Another Athens shall arise,

And to remoter time
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,

The splendour of its prime;
And leave, if nought so bright may live,
All earth can take or heaven can give.

Saturn and Love their long repose
Shall burst, more bright and good

Than all who fell, than One who rose,
Than many unsubdued:

Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers,

But votive tears, and symbol flowers.

0 cease! must hate and death return I , Cease! must men kill and die? \

Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn

Of bitter prophecy.
The world is weary of the past,
O might it die or rest at last! ,

« AnteriorContinuar »