Page images

One of the two, according to your choice,

Women or wine, you 'll have to undergo ;
Both maladies are taxes on our joys :

But which to chuse, I really hardly know ; And if I had to give a casting voice,

For both sides I could many reasons show, And then decide, without great wrong to either, It were much better to have both than neither.

Juan and Haidee gazed upon each other

With swimming looks of speechless tenderness, Which mix'd all feelings, friend, child, lover, brother,

All that the best can mingle and express,
When two pure hearts are pour’d in one another,

And love too much, and yet can not love less ;
But almost sanctify the sweet excess
By the immortal wish and power to bless.

Mix'd in each other's arms, and heart in heart,

Why did they not then die ?—they had lived too long, Should an hour come to bid them breathe apart ;

Years could but bring them cruel things or wrong. The world was not for them, nor the world's art

For beings passionate as Sappho's song ; Love was born with them, in them, so intense, It was their very spirit—not a sense.

They should have lived together deep in woods,

Unseen as sings the nightingale ; they were
Unfit to mix in these thick solitudes

Called social, haunts of hate, vice and care : How lonely every freeborn creature broods !

The sweetest song-birds nestle in a pair ; The eagle soars alone ; the gull and crow Flock o'er their carrion, just as mortals do.

Now pillow'd, cheek to cheek, in loving sleep,

Haidee and Juan their siesta took ;
A gentle slumber, but it was not deep,

For ever and anon a something shook
Juan, and shuddering o'er his frame would creep ;

And Haidee's sweet lips murmur'd like a brook,
A wordless music; and her face so fair
Stirr’d with her dreamn, as rose-leaves with the air


Or as the stirring of a deep clear stream

Within an Alpine hollow, when the wind
Walks over it, was she shaken by the dream,

The mystical usurper of the mindO’erpowering us to be whate'er may seem

Good to the soul which we no more can bind; Strange state of being ! (for 't is still to be) Senseless to feel, and with seal'd eyes to see.

She dream'd of being alone on the sea-shore,

Chain'd to a rock ; she knew not how, but stir
She could not from the spot, and the loud roar

Grew, and each wave rose roughly, threatening her; And o'er her upper lip they seem'd to pour,

Until she sobb’d for breath, and soon they were Foaming o'er her lone head, so fierce and high Each broke to drown her, yet she could not die.

[ocr errors]

Anon—she was released, and then she stray'd

O’er the sharp shingles with her bleeding feet,
And stumbled almost every step she made ;

And something roll'd before her in a sheet, Which she must still pursue, howe'er afraid ;

'T was white and indistinct, nor stopp'd to meet Her glance nor grasp, for still she gazed and grasp'd, And ran, but it escaped her as she clasp’d.

The dream changed: in a cave she stood; its walls

Were hung with marble icicles ; the work
Of ages on its water-fretted halls,

Where waves might wash, and seals might breed and lurk ; Her hair was dripping, and the very

Of her black eyes seem'd turn'd to tears, and murk
The sharp rocks look'd below each drop they caught,
Which froze to marble as it fell, she thought.

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

And wet, and cold, and lifeless at her feet,

Pale as the foam that froth'd on his dead brow,
Which she essay'd in vain to clear, (how sweet

Were once her cares, how idle seem'd they now!)
Lay Juan, nor could aught renew the beat

Of his quench'd heart ; and the sea dirges low
Rang in her sad ears like a mermaid's song,
And that brief dream appear'd a life too long.


And gazing on the dead, she thought his face

Faded, or alter'd into something new-
Like to her father's features, till each trace

More like and like to Lambro's aspect grewWith all his keen worn look and Grecian grace ;

And starting, she awoke, and what to view ? Oh ! Powers of Heaven ! what dark eye meets she there ? 'T is—'t is her father's-fix'd upon the pair !

Then shrieking, she arose, and shrieking fell,

With joy and sorrow, hope and fear to see
Him whom she deem'd a habitant where dwell

The ocean-buried, risen from death, to be
Perchance the death of one she loved too well :

Dear as her father had been to Haidee,
It was a moment of that awful kind--
I have seen such—but must not call to mind.

Up Juan sprung to Haidee's bitter shriek,

And caught her falling, and from off the wall
Snatch'd down his sabre, in hot haste to wreak

Vengeance on him who was the cause of all:
Then Lambro, who till now forbore to speak,

Smild scornfuily, and said, “Within my call
A thousand scimitars await the word ;
Put up, young man, put up your silly sword.”

And Haidee clung around him : “Juan, 't is-

'T is Lambro—'t is my father! Kneel with me-He will forgive us-yes-it must be-yes.

Oh! dearest father, in this agony
Of pleasure and of pain—even while I kiss

Thy garment's hem with transport, can it be
That doubt should mingle with my filial joy ?
Deal with me as thou wilt, but


this boy."

XXXIX. High and inscrutable the old man stood,

Calm in his voice, and calm within his eyeNot always signs with him of calmest mood :

He look'd upon her, but gave no reply;
Then turn’d to Juan, in whose cheek the blood

Oft came and went, as there resolved to die ;
In arms, at least, he stood, in act to spring
On the first foe whom Lambro's call might bring.

[ocr errors]


XL. “Young man, your sword;" so Lambro once more said:

Juan replied, “Not while this arm is free.”
The old man's cheek grew pale, but not with dread ;

And, drawing from his belt a pistol, he
Replied, “Your blood be then on your own head !"

Then look'd close at the flint, as if to see
’T was fresh-for he had lately used the lock-
And next proceeded quietly to cock.

It has a strange quick jar upon the ear,
That cocking of a pistol, when you

know A moment more will bring the sight to bear

Upon your person, twelve yards off, or so ; A gentlemanly distance, not too near,

If you have got a former friend for foe; But after having been fired at once or twice, The ear becomes more Irish and less nice.

XLIJ. Lambro presented, and one instant more

Had stopp'd this canto, and Don Juan's breath, When Haidee threw herself her boy before ;

Stern as her sire : "On me," she cried, “let death Descend—the fault is mine; this fatal shore

He found—but sought not. I have pledg'd my faithI love him I will die with him : I knew Your nature's firmness--know your daughter's too."

A minute past, and she had been all tears,

And tenderness, and infancy : but now
She stood as one who champion'd human fears--

Pale, statue-like, and stern, she woo'd the blow ;
And tall beyond her sex and their compeers,

She drew up to her height, as if to show
A fairer mark ; and with a fix'd eye scann'd
Her father's face—but never stopp'd his hand.

[ocr errors]



He gazed on her, and she on him ; 't was strange

How like they look’ ! the expression was the sameSerenely savage, with a little change

In the large dark eyes' mutual darted flame ; For she too was as one who could avenge,

If cause should be--a lioness, though tame : Her father's blood before her father's face Boild up, and proved her truly of his race.

I said they were alike, their features and

Their stature differing but in sex and years ;
Even to the delicacy of their hands

There was resemblance, such as true blood wears; And now to see them, thus divided, stand

In fix'd ferocity, when joyous tears,
And sweet sensations, should have welcomed both,
Show what the passions are in their full growth.

[ocr errors]

The father paused a moment, then withdrew

His weapon, and replaced it; but stood still,
And looking on her, as to look her through,

“ Not I,” he said, " have sought this stranger's ill; Not I have made this desolation : few

Would bear such outrage, and forbear to kill ;
But I must do my duty--how thou hast
Done thine, the present vouches for the past.

XLVII. “ Let him disarm; or, by my father's head, His own shall roll before


like a ball !" He raised his whistle, as the word he said,

And blew; another answer'd to the call, And rushing in disorderly, though led,

And arm'd from boot to turban, one and all, Some twenty of his train came, rank on rank ; He

gave the word, “ Arrest or slay the Frank.”

[ocr errors]


Then, with a sudden movement, he withdrew

His daughter ; while compress’d within bis clasp, "Twixt her and Juan interposed the crew ;

In vain she struggled in her father's clasp
His arms were like a serpent's coil : then flew

Upon their prey, as darts an angry asp,
The file of pirates ; save the foremost, who
Had fallen, with his right shoulder half cut through.

XLIX. The second had his cheek laid


but The third, a wary cool old sworder, took The blows upon his cutlass, and then put

His own well in, so well, ere you could look, His man was floor'd, and helpless at his foot,

With the blood running like a little brook From two smart sabre gashes, deep and red One on the arm, the other on the head.


« PreviousContinue »