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And thought some spirit of the air
(For what could waft a mortal there?)
Was pausing on his moonlight way
To listen to her lonely lay!
This fancy ne'er hath left her mind :
And-though, when terror's swoon had past, She saw a youth, of mortal kind,
Before her in obeisance cast,
Yet often since, when he hath spoken
Strange, awful words—and gleams have broken
From the dark eyes, too bright to bear,
Oh! she hath fear'd her soul was given
To some unhallow'd child of air,
Some erring spirit, cast from heaven,
Like those angelic youths of old,
Who burn'd for maids of mortal mould,
Bewilder'd left the glorious skies,
And lost their heaven for woman's eyes!
Fond girl! nor fiend nor angel he,
Who woos thy young simplicity:
But one of earth's impassion'd sons,
As warm in love, as fierce in ire
As the best heart whose current runs
Full of the Day-god's living fire!
But quench'd to-night that ardour seems,
And pale his cheek, and sunk his brow
Never before, but in her dreams,
Had she beheld him pale as now:
And those were dreams of troubled sleep,
From which 'twas joy to wake and weep;
Visions, that will not be forgot,
But sadden every waking scene,
Like warning ghosts, that leave the spot
All wither'd where they once have been!
"How sweetly," said the trembling maid,
Of her own gentle voice afraid,
So long had they in silence stood,
Looking upon that tranquil flood-
"How sweetly does the moonbeam smile
To-night upon yon leafy isle !
Oft, in my fancy's wanderings,
I've wish'd that little isle had wings,
And we, within its fancy bowers,
Were wafted off to seas unknown,
Where not a pulse should beat but ours
And we might live, love, die alone!
Far from the cruel and the cold,-
Where the bright eyes of angels only
Should come around us, to behold
A paradise so pure and lonely!
Would this be world enough for thee ?"
`Playful she turn'd, that he might see
The passing smile her cheek put on ;
But when she mark'd how mournfully
His eyes met hers, that smile was gone;
And, bursting into heart-felt tears,
"Yes yes," she cried, "my hourly fears,
My dreams, have boded all too right-
We part-for ever part-to-night !—
I knew, I knew it could not last-
'Twas bright, 'twas heavenly, but 'tis past!
Oh! ever thus, from childhood's hour,
I've seen my fondest hopes decay;
I never loved a tree or flower,
But 'twas the first to fade away.
I never nursed a dear gazelle,
To glad me with its soft black eye,
But when it came to know me well,
And love me, it was sure to die!
Now too-the joy most like divine
Of all I ever dreamt or knew,
To see thee, hear thee, call thee mine,-
Oh, misery! must I lose that too?
Yet go-on peril's brink we meet ;—
Those frightful rocks-that treacherous sea-
No, never come again—though sweet,
Though heaven, it may be death to thee.
Farewell-and blessings on thy way,
Where'er thou go'st, beloved stranger!
Better to sit and watch that ray,
And think thee safe, though far away,
Than have thee near me, and in danger!"
Danger! oh, tempt me not to boast-"
The youth exclaim'd-"thou little know'st
What he can brave, who, born and nurst
In Danger's paths, has dared her worst!
Upon whose ear the signal-word
Of strife and death is hourly breaking;
Who sleeps with head upon the sword
His fever'd hand must grasp in waking!
"Say on-thou fear'st not then,
And we may meet-oft meet again?"
"Oh! look not so,-beneath the skies
I now fear nothing but those eyes.
If aught on earth could charm or force
My spirit from its destined course,-
If aught could make this soul forget
The bond to which its seal is set,
'Twould be those eyes;-they, only they,
Could melt that sacred seal away!
But no-'tis fix'd—my awful doom
Is fix'd-on this side of the tomb
We meet no more-why, why did Heaven
Mingle two souls that earth has riven,
Has rent asunder, wide as ours?
O Arab maid! as soon the powers
Of light and darkness may combine,
As I be link'd with thee or thine!
His grey head from that lightning glance!
Thou know'st him not-he loves the brave,
Nor lives there under heaven's expanse
One who would prize, would worship thee,
And thy bold spirit, more than he.
Oft when, in childhood, I have play'd
With the bright falchion by his side,
I've heard him swear his lisping maid
In time should be a warrior's bride.
And still, whene'er, at haram hours,
I take him cool sherbets and flowers,
He tells me, when in playful mood,
A hero shall my bridegroom be,
Since maids are best in battle woo'd,
And won with shouts of victory!
Nay, turn not from me-thou alone
Are form'd to make both hearts thy own.
Go-join his sacred ranks-thou know'st
Th' unholy strife these Persians wage :Good Heaven, that frown!-even now thou glow'st With more than mortal warrior's rage. Haste to the camp by morning's light, And, when that sword is raised in fight, Oh, still remember Love and I Beneath its shadow trembling lie! One victory o'er those Slaves of Fire, Those impious Ghebers, whom my sire Abhors
'Hold, hold-thy words are death-"
The stranger cried, as wild he flung
His mantle back, and show'd beneath
The Gheber belt that round him clung.-
"Here, maiden, look-weep-blush to see
All that thy sire abhors in me!
Yes I am of that impious race,
Those Slaves of Fire, who, morn and even,
Hail their Creator's dwelling-place
Among the living lights of heaven!
Yes-I am of that outcast few,
To Iran and to vengeance true,
Who curse the hour your Arabs came
To desolate our shrines of flame,
And swear, before God's burning eye,
To break our country's chains, or die!
Thy bigot sire-nay, tremble not-
He who gave birth to those dear eyes,
With me is sacred as the spot
From which our fires of worship rise!
But know-'twas him I sought that night,
When, from my watch-boat on the sea,
I caught this turret's glimmering light,
And up the rude rocks desperately
Rush'd to my prey-thou know'st the rest-
I climb'd the gory vulture's nest,
And found a trembling dove within ;—
Thine, thine the victory -thine the sin-
If Love hath made one thought his own,
That vengeance claims first-last-alone!
Oh! had we never, never met,
Or could this heart e'en now forget
How link'd, how bless'd, we might have been,
Had fate not frown'd so dark between !
Hadst thou been born a Persian maid,
In neighbouring valleys had we dwelt,
Through the same fields in childhood play'd,
And at the same kindling altar knelt,—
Then, then, while all those nameless ties,
In which the charm of country lies,
Had round our hearts been hourly spun,
Till Iran's cause and thine were one ;-
While in thy lute's awakening sigh
I heard the voice of days gone by,
And saw in every smile of thine
Returning hours of glory shine!—