Page images

In aged temple, ruined shrine,

Far down the beach, where a cypress-grove And its green wreath of ivy-twine;- Casts its shade round a little cove, In every change of earth and sky,

Darkling and green, with just a space
Breathed the deep soul of poesy.

For the stars to shine on the water's face,
A small bark lay, waiting for night

And its breeze to waft and hide its flight.
As yet I loved not;, but each wild, Sweet is the burthen, and lovely the freight,
High thought I nourished raised a pyre For which those furled-up sails await,
For love to light; and lighted once To a garden, fair as those
By love, it would be like the fire

Where the glory of the rose
The burning lava-floods that dwell Blushes, charmed from the decay
In Etna's cave unquenchable.

That wastes other blooms away;
Gardens of the fairy-tale

Told, till the wood-fire grows pale,
One evening in the lovely June,

By the Arab tribes, when night, Over the Arno's waters gliding,

With its dim and lovely light, I had been watching the fair moon

And its silence, suiteth well Amid her court of white clouds riding : With the magic tales they tell. I had been listening to the gale,

Through that cypress-avenue, Which wafted music from around,

Such a garden meets the view, (For scarce a lover, at that hour,

Filled with flowers-flowers that seem
But waked his mandolin's light sound) Lighted up by the sunbeam;
And odour was upon the breeze,

Fruits of gold and gems, and leaves
Sweet thefts from rose and lemon trees. Green as hope before it grieves

O'er the false and broken-hearted,

All with which its youth has parted,
They stole me from my lulling dream, Never to return again,
And said they knew that such an hour Save in memories of pain!
Had ever influence on my soul,
And raised my sweetest minstrel-power.
I took my late,- my eye had been

There is a white rose in yon bower,
Wandering round the lovely scene,

But holds it a yet fairer flower: Filled with those melancholy tears, And music from that cage is breathing, Which come when all most bright appears, Round which a jasmine-braid is wreathing, And hold their strange and secret power,

A low song from a lonely dove, Even on pleasure's golden hour.

A song such exiles sing and love, I bad been looking on the river,

Breathing of fresh fields, summer-skics, Half-marvelling to think that ever

Not to be breathed of but in sighs! Wind, wave, or sky, could darken where But fairer smile and sweeter sigh All seemed so gentle and so fair:

Are near when Leila's step is nigh! And mingled with these thoughts there came With eyes dark as the midnight-time, A tale, just one that Memory keeps- Yet lighted like a summer-clime Forgotten music, till some chance

With sun-rays from within; yet now
Vibrate the chord whereon it sleeps ! Lingers a cloud upon that brow,-

Though never lovelier brow was given
To Houri of an Eastern heaven !
Her eye is dwelling on that bower,

As every leaf and every flower
Softly through the pomegranate-groves Were being numbered in her heart ;-
Came the gentle song of the doves; There are no looks like those which dwell
Shone the fruit in the evening-light, On long-remembered things, which soon
Like Indian rubies, blood-red and bright; Must take our first and last farewell!
Shook the date-trees each tufted head,
As the passing wind their green nuts shed;
And, like dark columns, amid the sky Day fades apace: another day,
The giant palms ascended on high:

That maiden will be far away,
And the mosque's gilded minaret

A wanderer o'er the dark-blue sea,
Glistened and glanced as the daylight set. And bound for lovely Italy,
Over the town a crimson haze

Her mother's land! Hence, on her breast
Gathered and hung of the evening's rays; The cross beneath a Moorish vest;
And far beyond, like molten gold,

And hence those sweetest sounds, that seom The burning sands of the desert rolled. Like music murmuring in a dream, Far to the left, the sky and sea

When in our sleeping ear is ringing Mingled their gray immensity;

The song the nightingale is singing ; And with flapping sail and idle prow When by that white and funeral stone, The vessels threw their shades below Half-hidden by the cypress-gloom,


The hymn the mother taught her child As the dim moon through vapours shoneIs sung each evening at her tomb.

A few short rays, her light was gone. But quick the twilight-time has past, O'er head a sullen scream was heard, Like one of those sweet calms that last As sought the land the white sea-bird, A moment and no more, to cheer

Her pale wings like a meteor streaming, The turmoil of our pathway here.

Upon the waves a light is gleamingThe bark is waiting in the bay,

Ill-omened brightness, sent by Death Night darkens round:-- Leila, away! To light the night-black depths beneath. Far, ere to-morrow, o'er the tide,

The vessel rolled amid the surge ; Or wait and be—ABDALLAH's bride? The winds howled round it, like a dirge

Sung by some savage race. Then came

The rush of thunder and of flame: She touched her lute-never again

It showed two forms upon the deck,Her ear will listen to its strain!

One clasped around the other's neck, She took her cage, first kissed the breast- As there she could not dream of fearThen freed the white dove prisoned there: In her lover's arms could danger be near! It paused one moment on her hand, He stood and watched her with the eye Then spread its glad wings to the air.

Of fixed and silent agony. She drank the breath, as it were health, The waves swept on : he felt her heart That sighed from every scented blossom ; Beat closer and closer yet to his! And taking from each one a leaf,

They burst upon the ship!—the sea Hid them, like spells, upon her bosom. Has closed upon their dream of bliss! Then sought the sacred path again She once before had traced, when lay A Christian in her father's chain ;

Surely theirs is pleasant sleep And gave him gold, and taught the way Beneath that ancient cedar-tree, To fly. She thought upon the night, Whose solitary stem has stood When, like an angel of the light,

For years alone beside the sea! She stood before the prisoner's sight, The last of a most noble race, And led him to the cypress-grove,

That once had there their dwelling-place, And showed the bark and hidden cove; Long past away! Beneath its shade, And bade the wandering captive flee, A soft green couch the turf had made:In words he knew from infancy!

And glad the morning-sun is shining And then she thought how for her love On those beneath the boughs reclining. He had braved slavery and death,

Nearer the fisher drew. He saw That he might only breathe the air The dark hair of the Moorish maid, Made sweet and sacred by her breath. Like a veil, floating o'er the breast She reached the grove of cypresses--- Where tenderly her head was laid ;Another step is by her side:

And yet her Jover's arın was placed Another moment, and the bark

Clasping around the graceful waist; Bears the fair Moor across the tide! But then he marked the youth's black curls

Were dripping wet with foam and blood;

And that the maiden's tresses dark 'Twas beautiful, by the pale moonlight, Were heavy with the briny flood! To mark her eyes,-

-now dark, now bright, Woe for the wind !-woe for the wave! As now they met, now shrank away, They sleep the slumber of the grave! From the gaze that watched and worshipped They buried them beneath that tree;

their day.

It long had been a sacred spot. They stood on the deck, and the midnight-gale Soon it was planted round with flowers Just waved the maiden's silver veil- By many who had not forgot; Just lifted a curl, as if to show

Or yet lived in those dreams of truth The cheek of rose that was burning below: The Eden birds of early youth, And never spread a sky of blue

That make the loveliness of love: More clear for the stars to wander through! And called the place “The Maiden's Cove" And never could their mirror be

That she who perished in she sea
A calmer or a lovelier sea!

Might thus be kept in memory.
For every wave was a diamond-gleam :-
And that light vessel well may seem
A fairy-ship, and that graceful pair
Young Genii, whose home was of light and air!

From many a lip came sounds of praise,

Like music from sweet voices ringing ; Another evening came, but dark :

For many a boat had gathered round. The storm-clouds hovered round the bark To list the song I had been singing. Of misery :- they just could see

There are some moments in our fate The distant shore of Italy,

That stamp the colour of our days;

As, till then, life had not been felt,- And in the midst, beneath a shade
And mine was sealed in the slight gaze Of clustered rose, a fountain played,
Which fixed my eye, and fired my brain, Sprinkling its scented waters round,
And bowed my heart beneath the chain. With a sweet and Julling sound,-
'Twas a dark and flashing eye,

O'er oranges, like Eastern gold,
Shadows, too, that tenderly,

Half hidden by the dark green fold With almost female softness, came Of their large leaves ;-o'er hyacinth-bells, O'er its mingled gloom and flame.

Where every summer-odour dwells, His cheek was pale; or toil, or care, And, nestled in the midst, a pair Or midnight-study, had been there, Of white wood-doves, whose home was there: Making its young colours dull,

And like an echo to their song Yet leaving it most beautiful;

At times a marmur past along; Raven-curls their shadow threw,

A dying tone, a plaining fall, Like the twilight's darkening hue,

So sad, so wild, so musicalO'er the pure and mountain snow

As the wind swept across the wire, Of bis high and haughty brow:

And waked my lone Aeolian lyre, Lighted by a smile, whose spell

Which lay upon the casement, where
Words are powerless to tell.

The lattice wooed the cold night-air,
Such a lip!-oh, poured from thence Half hidden by a bridal twinc
Lava-floods of eloquence

Of jasmine with the emerald vine.
Would come with fiery energy,

And ever as the curtains made Like those words that cannot die.

A varying light, a changeful shade, Words the Grecian warrior spoke

As the breeze waved them to and fro, When the Persian's chain he broke; Came on the eye the glorious show Or that low and honey tone,

of pictured walls where landscape wild Making woman's heart his own;

Of wood, and stream, or mountain piled, Such as should be heard at night,

Or sunny vale, or twilight grove, In the dim and sweet starlight;

Or shapes whose every look was love; Sounds that haunt a beauty's sleep,

Saints, whose diviner glance seemed caught Treasures for her heart to keep.

From Heaven, some whose earthlier Like the pine of summer tall;

thought Apollo, on his pedestal

Was yet more Jovely, shone like gleams In our own gallery, never bent

Of Beauty's spirit seen in dreams. More graceful, more magnificent;

I threw me on a couch to rest, Ne'er look'd the hero, or the king,

Loosely I flung my long black hair; More nobly than the youth who now, It seemed to soothe my troubled breast As if soul-centred in my song,

To drink the quiet evening-air.
Was leaning on a galley's prow.

I looked upon the deep-blue sky,
He spoke not when the others spoke, And it was all hope and harmony,
His heart was all too full for praise ; Afar I could see the Arno's stream
But his dark eyes kept fixed on mine, Glorying in the clear moonbeam ;
Which sank beneath their burning gaze. And the shadowy city met my gaze,
Mine sank--but yet I felt the thrill Like the dim memory of other days;
Of that look burning on me still.

And the distant wood's black coronal
I heard no word that others said-

Was like oblivion, that covereth all. Heard nothing, save one low-breathed sigh. I know not why my soul felt sad; My hand kept wandering on my lute, I touched my lute, -it would not waken, In music, but unconsciously

Save to old songs of sorrowing-
My pulses throbbed, my heart beat high, Of hope betrayed—of hearts forsaken-
A flush of dizzy ecstasy

Each lay of lighter feeling slept,
Crimsoned my cheek; I felt warm tears I sang, but, as I sang, I wept.
Dimming my sight, yet was it sweet,
My wild heart's most bewildering beat,

Consciousness, without hopes or fears,
Of a new power within me waking, And fondly round his neck she clung;
Like light before the morn's full breaking. Her long black tresses round him flung, -
I left the boat—the crowd: my mood Love-chains, which would not let him part;
Made my soul pant for solitude.

And he could feel her beating heart,
The pulses of her small white hand,

The tears she could no more command, Amid my palace-halls was one,

The lip which trembled, though near his ; The most peculiarly my own:

The sigh that mingled with her kiss ;The roof was blue and fretted gold, Yet parted he from that embrace. The floor was of the Parian stone,

He cast one glance upon her face: Shining like snow, as only meet

His very soul felt sick to see For the light tread of fairy-feet;

Its look of utter misery;

Yet turned he not; one moment's grief, As woman's heart!-and deeper woc
One pang, like lightning, fierce and brief, For her fond weakness, not to know
One thought, half pity, half remorse, That yielding all but breaks the chain
Passed o'er him. On he urged his horse; That never reunites again!
Hill, ford, and valley spurred he by,
And when his castle-gate was nigh,
White foam was on his 'broider'd rein,

It was a dark and tempest night-
And each spur had blood-red stain.

No pleasant moon, no blest starlight; But soon he entered that fair hall:

But meteors glancing o'er the way, His laugh was loudest there of all;

Only to dazzle and betray.
And the cup that wont one name to bless,

And who is she that, 'mid the storm,
Was drained for its forgetfulness.
The ring, once next his heart, was broken; Her hair is wet with rain and sleet,

Wraps her slight mantle round her form? The gold chain kept another token.

And blood is on her small snow-feet. Where is the curl he used to wear

She has been forced a way to make The raven tress of silken hair?

Through prickly weed and thorned brake, The winds have scattered it. A braid Of the first spring-day's golden shade,

Up rousing from its coil the snake;

And stirring from their damp abode Waves with the dark plumes on his crest.

The slimy worm and loathsome toad: Fresh colours are upon his breast:

And shuddered as she heard the gale The slight blue scarf, of simplest fold,

Shriek like an evil spirit's wail; Is changed for one of woven gold.

When followed, like a curse, the crash And he is by a maiden's side,

Of the pines in the lightning flash :-
Whose gems of price, and robes of pride
Would suit the daughter of a king;

A place of evil and of fear-
And diamonds are glistening

Oh! what can Julian's love do here? Upon her arm. There's not one curl Unfastened by a loop of pearl. And he is whispering in her ear

On, on the pale girl went. At last
Soft words that ladies love to hear.

The gloomy forest-depths are past,
And she has reached the wizard's den,
Accursed by God and shunned by men.

And never had a ban been laid
Alas !--the tale is quickly told-

Upon a more unwholesome shade. His love hath felt the curse of gold! There grew dank elders, and the yew And he is bartering his heart

Its thick sepulchral shadow threw; For that in which hath no part.

And brooded there each bird most foul, There's many an ill that clings to love;

The gloomy bat and sullen owl.
But this is one all else above;-
For love to bow before the name
Of this world's treasure: shame! oh, shame!

But Ips entered in the cell,
Love, be thy wings as light as those
That waft the zephyr from the rose, -

Where dwelt the wizard of the dell.
This may be pardoned--- something rare

Her heart lay dead, her life-blood froze In loveliness has been thy snare!

To look upon the shape which rose But how, fair Love, canst thou become

To bar her entrance. On that face
A thing of mines—a sordid gnome?

Was scarcely left a single trace
Of human likeness: the parched skin
Showed each discoloured bone within ;

And, but for the most evil stare
And she whom Julian left-she stood

of the wild eyes' unearthly glare, A cold white statue; as the blood

It was a corpse, you would have said, Had, when in vain her last wild prayer, From which life's freshness long had fled Flown to her heart, and frozen there.

Yet Ipa knelt her down and prayed Upon her temple, each dark vein

To that dark sorcerer for his aid. Swelled in its agony of pain.

He heard her prayer with withering look; Chill, heavy damps were on her brow;

Then from unholy herbs he took Her arms were stretched at length, though A drug, and said it would recover


The lost heart of her faithless lover. Their clasp was on the empty air:

She trembled as she turned to see A funeral pall--her long black hair

His demon-sneer's malignity; Fell over her; herself the tomb

And every step was winged with dread. Of her own youth, and breath, and bloom. To hear the curse howled as she fied.

Alas! that man should ever win
So sweet a shrine to shame and sin

It is the purple twilight-hour,
And Julian is in Ida's bower.

He has brought gold, as gold could bless Then art thou bliss :-but once throw by His work of utter desolateness !

The veil which shrouds thy divinity; He has brought gems, as if Despair Stand confessed, and thy quiet is fled! Had any pride in being fair!

Wild flashes of rapture may come instead, But Ida only wept, and wreathed

But pain will be with them. What may Her white arms round his neck; then


The gentle happiness known before?
Those passionate complaints that wring I owned not to myself I loved, -
A woman's heart, yet never bring

No word of love LORENZO breathed;
Redress. She called upon each tree But I lived in a magic ring,
To witness her lone constancy!

Of every pleasant flower wreathed.
She called upon the silent boughs,

A brighter blue was on the sky, The temple of her Julian's vows

A sweeter breath in music's sigh; of happiness too dearly bought!

The orange-shrubs all seemed to bear Then wept again. At length she thought Fruit more rich, and buds more fair. Upon the forest-sorcerer's gift

There was a glory on the noon, The last, lone hope that love had left! A beauty in the crescent moon, She took the cup, and kissed the brim, A lulling stillness in the night, Mixed the dark spell, and gave it him A feeling in the pale starlight. To pledge his once dear Ipa's name!

There was a charmed note on the wind, He drank it. Instantly the flame

A spell in Poetry's deep storeRan through his veins: one fiery throb Heart-uttered words, passionate thoughts, Of bitter pain-one gasping sob

Which I had never marked before. Of agony--the cold death-sweat

'Twas as my heart's full happiness Is on his face-his teeth are set

Poured over all its own excess.
His bursting eyes are glazed and still:
The drug has done its work of ill.
Alas! for her who watched each breath, One night there was a gorgeous feast
The cup her love had mixed bore-death. For maskers in Count Leon's hall;

And all of gallant, fair, and young,
Were bidden to the festival.

I went, garbed as a Hindoo-girl;
LORENZO !—when next morning came Upon each arm an amulet,
For the first time I heard thy name! And by my side a little lute
Lorenzo!-how each ear-pulse drank Of sandal-wood with gold beset.
The more than music of that tone!

And shall I own that I was proud
LORENZO !-how I sighed that name, To hear, amid the gazing crowd,
As breathing it made it mine own!

A murmur of delight, when first
I sought the gallery: I was wont

My mask and veil I threw aside?
To pass the noontide there, and trace For well my conscious cheek betrayed
Some statue's shape of loveliness-

Whose eye was gazing on me too!
Some saint, some nymph, or muse's face. And never yet had praise been dear,
There, in my rapture, I could throw As on that evening, to mine ear,
My pencil and its hues aside,

LORENZO! I was proud to be And, as the vision past me, pour.

Worshipped and flattered but for thee!
My song of passion, joy, and pride.
And he was there,— Lorenzo there!
How soon the morning past away,

With finding beauties in each thing
Neither had seen before that day!

Playful and wild as the fire-flies' light, Spirit of Love! soon thy rose-plumes wear This moment hidden, the next moment bright, The weight and the sully of canker and care: Like the foam on the dark-green sea, Falsehood is round thee; Hope leads thee on, is the spell that is laid on my lover by me. Till every bue from thy pinion is gone.

Were your sigh as sweet as thenumbal's sigh, But one bright moment is all thine own, When the wind of the evening is nigh; The one ere thy visible presence is known; Were your smile like that glorious light, When, like the wind of the south, thy power, Seen when the stars gem the deep midnight; Sunning the heavens, sweetening the flower, Were that sigh and that smile for ever the Is felt but not seen. Thou art sweet and calm

sameAs the sleep of a child, as the dew-fall of balm. They were shadows, not fuel, to love's dulled Fear has not darkened thee; Hope has not

flame. made The blossoms expand, it but opens to fade. Nothing is known of those wearing fears Love once formed an amulet, Which will shadow the light of thy after- With pearls, and a rainbow, and rose-leaves years.


« PreviousContinue »