« PreviousContinue »
Amid young flowers and tender grass
Thy endless infancy shalt pass ;
And, singing down thy narrow glen,
Shalt mock the fading race of men.
Young Casabianca, a boy about thirteen years old, son to the admiral of the Orient, remained at his post (in the battle of the Nile,) after the ship had taken fire, and all the guns had been abandoned; and perished in the explosion of the vessel, when the flames had reached the powder.
The boy stood on the burning deck,
Whence all but him had fled ;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck,
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though child-like form.
The flames rollid on-he would not go,
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
He call'd aloud_ Say, father, say
If yet my task is done ?
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.
Speak, father!' once again he cried,
* If I may yet be gone!-
And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rollid on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair;
And look'd from that lone post of death,
In still yet braye despair
And shouted but once more aloud,
• My father! must I stay?
While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,
The wreathing fires made way.
They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And stream'd above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.
There came a burst of thunder sound
The boy-oh! where is he?
-Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strow the sea!
O, with what glory comes and goes the year!
The buds of spring—those beautiful harbingers
Of sunny skies and cloudless times-enjoy
Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out;
And when the silver habit of the clouds
Comes down upon the autumn sun, and, with
A sober gladness, the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.
There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellow richness on the cluster'd trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillar'd clouds.
Morn, on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing; and in the vales
The gentle wind-a sweet and passionate wooer-
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimson'd,
And silver beach, and maple yellow-leaved,—
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the way-side a-weary. Through the trees
The golden robin moves; the purple finch,
That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds,
A winter bird,-comes with its plaintive whistle,
And pecks by the witch-hazel ; whilst aloud,
From cottage roofs, the warbling blue-bird sings;
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke,
Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.
O, what a glory doth this world put on
For him, that, with a fervent heart, goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well perform'd, and days well spent!
For him the wind, ay, the yellow leaves,
Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.
He shall so hear the solemn hymn, that Death
Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting-place without a tear.
SHE was my idol. Night and day to scan
The fine expansion of her form, and mark
The unfolding mind like vernal rose-bud start
To sudden beauty, was my chief delight.
To find her fairy footsteps follow me,
Her hand upon my garments, or her lip
Long seald to mine, and in the watch of night
The quiet breath of innocence to feel
Soft on my cheek, was such a full content
Of happiness, as none but mothers know.
Her voice was like some tiny harp that yields
To the slight finger'd breeze, and as it held
Brief converse with her doll, or playful soothed
The moaning kitten, or with patient care
Conn'd o'er the alphabet-but most of all
Its tender cadence in her evening prayer
Thrill'd on the ear like some ethereal tone
Heard in sweet dreams.
But now alone I sit,
Musing of her, and dew with mournful tears
Her little robes, that once with woman's pride
I wrought, as if there were a need to deck
What God had made so beautiful. I start,
Half fancying from her empty crib there comes
A restless sound, and breathed the accustom'd words
“Hush! Hush thee, dearest.” Then I bend and
As though it were a sin to speak to one
Whose home is with the angels.
Gone to God!
And yet I wish I had not seen the pang
That wrung her features, nor the ghastly white
Settling around her lips. I would that Heaven
Had taken its own, like some transplanted flower,
Blooming in all its freshness.
Gone to God!
Be still, my heart! what could a mother's prayer,
In all the wildest ecstasy of hope,
Ask for its darling like the bliss of heaven?
THE CAPTIVE OF ALHAMA.
THE Moslem star was on the wane,
Eclipsed the Paynim powers,
And the haughty lord of Christian Spain,
Besieged Granada's towers :
Gonsalvo, with a hundred knights
Of Leon's chivalrie,
Well posted on Alhama's heights,
Staid succour from the sea.
One morn a Moorish youth was led
To brave Gonsalvo's tent,
His escort from the field had fled,
And his horse had fall'n o'erspent;
He hung his head in speechless grief,
As the tear roll'd down his cheek, And scornful look'd each mailed chief,
To behold a youth so weak. “ Is it a girl,” Gonsalvo cries,
“That in our toils is caught? That thus it weeps, in woman's guise,
Where its fierce forefathers fought?” “Nay, hear my tale,” exclaim'd the youth,
His eye one moment brightning, “And Allah, if I speak not truth,
Consume me with his lightning! “From beauteous Malaga I came,
But by no beaten way; Superb Granada was my aim,
Woe, woe the luckless day! For had I in my journey sped
To Darro's rishing water, This morn Zorayda I had wed,
Granada's fairest daughter. “If pity then, or love's sweet power,
E’er touch'd thy gallant breast, But grant me freedom for an hour
To the oar I give the rest;
These few bright moments yield in grace,
My mournful fate to tell,
To see once more Zorayda's face,
And take my long farewell!"