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The summits of Anseva rise serene!
The watchman on the battlements partakes
The stillness of the solemn hour, and feels
The silence of the earth; the endless sound
Of flowing water soothes him, and the stars,
Which in the brightest moonlight well-nigh quench'd
Scarce visible, as in the utmost depth
Of yonder sapphire infinite are seen,
Draw on with elevating influence
Toward eternity the attemper'd mind;
Musing on worlds beyond the grave he stands,
And to the virgin mother silently
Breathes forth her hymn of praise.
O THou, that holdest in thy spacious hands
The destinies of men! whose eye surveys
Their various actions ! Thou, whose temple stands
Above all temples! Thou, whom all men praise!
Of good the author: Thou, whose wisdom sways
The universe! all bounteous! grant to me
Tranquillity, and health, and length of days;
Good will towards all, and reverence unto Thee;
Allowance for man's sailings, and of my own
The knowledge; and the power to conquer all
Those evil things to which we are too prone—
Malice, hate, envy—all that ill we call.
To me a blameless life, Great Spirit, grant,
Nor burden'd with much care, nor narrow'd by much
METHINKs it is not strange them, that I fled
The house of prayer, and made the lonely grove
My temple, at the foot of some old oak,
Watching the little tribes that had their world
Within its mossy bark; or laid me down
Beside the rivulet, whose murmuring
Was silence to my soul, and mark'd the swarm
Whose light edged shadows on the bedded sand
Mirror'd their many sports; the insect hum,
The flow of waters, and the song of birds,
Making a holy music to mine ear:
Oh! was it strange, if for such scenes as these,
Such deep devoutness, such intense delight
Of quiet adoration, I forsook
The house of worship?
As lamps burn silent, with unconscious light, - So modest ease in beauty shines most bright;
Unaiming charms with edge resistless ;
And she who means no mischief, does it all.
The Lady-lover of Sebastian (who is affianced to his sister) takes the veil in despair—the picture is exquisite.
In the low echoes of the anthem's close
The murmurs of a distant chorus rose.
A portal open'd; in its shadow stood
A sable so the hallow'd sisterhood. ..
They led a white-robed form, young, delicate,
Where life's delicious spring was opening yet;
Yet was she stately, and, as up the isle
She moved her proud, pale lip, half wore a smile:
Her eye was firm, yet those who saw it near,
Saw on its lash the glistening of a tear.
All to Sidonia's passing daughter bow’d,
And she return'd it gravely, like one vow'd
To loftier things. But once she paused, and press'd
With quick, strange/force, her slight hand to her
reast, - -
And her wan cheek was redden'd with a glow
That spread its crimson to her forehead's snow,
As if the vestal felt the throes that wreak
Their stings upon young hearts about to break:
She struggled—sigh'd; her look of agony
Was calm’d, and she was at Sidonia's knee.
Her father's chasing tears upon her fell;
His gentle heart abhorr'd the convent cell;
Even now he bade her pause. She look'd to Heaven;
One long, wild pressure to his cheek was given,
Her pale lip quiver'd, would not say, “farewell!”
The . gave one deep toll—it seem'd her knell;
She started, strove his strong embrace to sever,
Then rush'd within the gate that shuts for ever.
The final, fatal rite was duly done,
The tress was shorn, the sable veil put on,
That shades like night the day of hope and youth—
The golden ring was given, the pledge of truth,
That bound on earth, grows firmer in the grave.
The affianced Bride of Sebastian, however, accidentally perishes, and Sebastian rushes to the field of battle to divert the melancholy of his thoughts. In various parts he is haunted by a fair half-visionary Pursuer, with whom he becomes deeply enamoured. At a masquerade, his Enchantress appears as a Moor, and sings. The effect which the fair stranger's singing produces on Sebastian, is thus beautifully described.
"Sebastian wander'd forth; the garden air
Rush'd on his cheek, nor cool'd the fever there:
He gasp'd for breath. A sparry fountain shot
Its waters in the moonlight; by its grot
He stood, as if the sounds his heart would lull:
His face so sad, so pale, so beautiful,
Fix'd on the moon, that in her zenith height
Pour'd on his naked brow a flood of light;
Shrined, moveless, silent, in the splendid beam,
He look'd the marble Genius of the stream. -
Silence all round; but when the night-wind sway'd,
Or some roused bird dash'd fluttering through the
Shade, For those he had no ear; the starry vault, The grove, the fount, but fed one whelming thought; Time, fate, the earth, the glorious heaven above, Bruno but one mighty dream—that dream was Ove. Sebastian had seen beauty, and his name Had lighted many a lady's cheek with flame. Rich, high-born, graceful: such may woo and win, While courteous words conceal the chill within. But with the warrior burning in his blood, He left the fair pursuers unpursued: Bound to Sidonia's daughter from his birth, Laugh’d at the little tyrant of the earth; § talk, as others talk, of hope and fear, But never gave the god a sigh or tear. But now the world was changed, the die was cast! How had he slept so long, to wake at last ! What hid the feelings that now shook his soul? Where was the cloud that gave the thunder roll! This, this was life, at last he waked in ligh The veil of years was rent before his ji. ‘Twas not her beauty, though the loveliest there Was lifeless, soulless, featureless to her; No, nor her melting voice, nor that slight hand That her sweet harp with such swift beauty sann'd, Like magic's silver sceptre, hovering, To wake enchantment from the untouch'd string. Had he not seen that face before? But where? He knew not; 't was like music to his ear, Familiar, but forgotten, frenzy all! She was a Moor; nay, could he now recall
The features that had madden'd him? Not one.
All was a flash of splendour, dazzling, gone;
A haze of matchless beauty on his eye,
A sense confused, a vision, witchery.
*k × :k + * * + +
Nature was charm'd to him. He could have talk'd
With every star that in its #. walk'd;
Hope had put life in all unliving things:
He hung above the sountain's §§ springs,
And heard them echo joy; the bud unbranch'd
That his light pressure on the streamlet launch'd
Bounded in joy; his deep and burning sigh
Rose through the vine-leaves, that gave sweet reply.
A sudden meteor sail'd across the Heaven,
He hail'd its sign; to him, to him 't was given,
Omen of joy; bright promise of bright years,
“Let fear and folly have their “vale of tears,'
Let him be blest with that unequall'd one,
Whoe'er she was, she should, she must be won;
Life would roll on, one calm and blossom'd spring:
But, if the tempest came, they would but cli
With arms and hearts the closer, till 't was o'er;
Life a long joy, and death a pang no more.”
Out burst in speech the lover's ecstasy,
A sudden bugle pierced the morning sky.
He started from his dream. The yellow dawn
Wander'd along night's borders, like the fawn,
First venturing from its dappled mother's side—
A timid bound on darkness, swift withdrawn,
Then bolder tried again. The starlight died:
OH ! the joy
Of §.". ideas painted on the mind,
In the warm glowing colours fancy spreads
On objects not yet known, when all is new,
And all is i.