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Tales and Historic Scenes (Felicia Hemans)

Published onApr 11, 2024
Tales and Historic Scenes (Felicia Hemans)

Tales and Historic Scenes

By Felicia Hemans




“Le Maure ne se venge pas parce que sa colère dure encore, mais parce que la vengeance seule peut écarter de sa tête le poids d’infamie dont il est accablé.—Il se venge, parce qu’à ses yeux il n’y a qu’une âme basse qui puisse pardonner les affronts; et il nourrit sa rancune, parce que s’il la sentoit s’éteindre, il croiroit avec elle avoir perdu une vertu.”

Lonely and still are now thy marble halls,

Thou fair Alhambra! there the feast is o’er;

And with the murmur of thy fountain-falls

Blend the wild tones of minstrelsy no more.

Hush’d are the voices that in years gone by

Have mourn’d, exulted, menaced, through thy towers;

Within thy pillar’d courts the grass waves high,

And all uncultured bloom thy fairy bowers.

Unheeded there the flowering myrtle blows,

Through tall arcades unmark’d the sunbeam smiles,

And many a tint of soften’d brilliance throws

O’er fretted walls and shining peristyles.

And well might Fancy deem thy fabrics lone,

So vast, so silent, and so wildly fair,

Some charm’d abode of beings all unknown,

Powerful and viewless, children of the air.

For there no footstep treads th’ enchanted ground,

There not a sound the deep repose pervades,

Save winds and founts, diffusing freshness round,

Through the light domes and graceful colonnades.

Far other tones have swell’d those courts along

In days romance yet fondly loves to trace

The clash of arms, the voice of choral song,

The revels, combats of a vanish’d race.

And yet awhile, at Fancy’s potent call,

Shall rise that race, the chivalrous, the bold;

Peopling once more each fair forsaken hall

With stately forms, the knights and chiefs of old.

——The sun declines: upon Nevada’s height

There dwells a mellow flush of rosy light;

Each soaring pinnacle of mountain snow

Smiles in the richness of that parting glow,

And Darro’s wave reflects each passing dye

That melts and mingles in th’ empurpled sky.

Fragrance, exhaled from rose and citron bower,

Blends with the dewy freshness of the hour;

Hush’d are the winds, and nature seems to sleep

In light and stillness; wood, and tower, and steep,

Are dyed with tints of glory, only given

To the rich evening of a southern heaven—

Tints of the sun, whose bright farewell is fraught

With all that art hath dreamt, but never caught

—Yes, Nature sleeps; but not with her at rest

The fiery passions of the human breast,

Hark! from th’ Alhambra’s towers what stormy sound,

Each moment deepening, wildly swells around?

Those are no tumults of a festal throng,

Not the light zambra nor the choral song:

The combat rages—’tis the shout of war,

’Tis the loud clash of shield and scimitar.

Within the Hall of Lions, where the rays

Of eve, yet lingering, on the fountain blaze;

There, girt and guarded by his Zegri bands,

And stern in wrath, the Moorish monarch stands:

There the strife centres—swords around him wave,

There bleed the fallen, there contend the brave;

While echoing domes return the battle-cry,

“Revenge and freedom! let the tyrant die!”

And onward rushing, and prevailing still,

Court, hall, and tower the fierce avengers fill.

But first and bravest of that gallant train,

Where foes are mightiest, charging ne’er in vain;

In his red hand the sabre glancing bright,

His dark eye flashing with a fiercer light,

Ardent, untired, scarce conscious that he bleeds,

His Aben-Zurrahs there young Hamet leads;

While swells his voice that wild acclaim on high,

“Revenge and freedom! let the tyrant die!”

Yes! trace the footsteps of the warrior’s wrath

By helm and corslet shatter’d in his path,

And by the thickest harvest of the slain,

And by the marble’s deepest crimson stain:

Search through the serried fight, where loudest cries

From triumph, anguish, or despair, arise;

And brightest where the shivering falchions glare,

And where the ground is reddest—he is there.

Yes! that young arm, amidst the Zegri host,

Hath well avenged a sire, a brother, lost.

They perish’d—not as heroes should have died,

On the red field, in victory’s hour of pride,

In all the glow and sunshine of their fame,

And proudly smiling as the death-pang came:

Oh! had they thus expired, a warrior’s tear

Had flow’d, almost in triumph, o’er their bier.

For thus alone the brave should weep for those

Who brightly pass in glory to repose.

—Not such their fate: a tyrant’s stern command

Doom’d them to fall by some ignoble hand,

As, with the flower of all their high-born race,

Summon’d Abdallah’s royal feast to grace,

Fearless in heart, no dream of danger nigh,

They sought the banquet’s gilded hall—to die.

Betray’d, unarm’d, they fell—the fountain wave

Flow’d crimson with the life-blood of the brave,

Till far the fearful tidings of their fate

Through the wide city rang from gate to gate,

And of that lineage each surviving son

Rush’d to the scene where vengeance might be won.

For this young Hamet mingles in the strife,

Leader of battle, prodigal of life,

Urging his followers, till their foes, beset,

Stand faint and breathless, but undaunted yet.

Brave Aben-Zurrahs, on! one effort more,

Yours is the triumph, and the conflict o’er.

But lo! descending o’er the darken’d hall,

The twilight-shadows fast and deeply fall,

Nor yet the strife hath ceased—though scarce they know,

Through that thick gloom, the brother from the foe;

Till the moon rises with her cloudless ray,

The peaceful moon, and gives them light to slay.

Where lurks Abdallah?—midst his yielding train

They seek the guilty monarch, but in vain.

He lies not number’d with the valiant dead,

His champions round him have not vainly bled;

But when the twilight spread her shadowy veil,

And his last warriors found each effort fail,

In wild despair he fled—a trusted few,

Kindred in crime, are still in danger true;

And o’er the scene of many a martial deed,

The Vega’s green expanse, his flying footsteps lead.

He pass’d th’ Alhambra’s calm and lovely bowers,

Where slept the glistening leaves and folded flowers

In dew and starlight—there, from grot and cave,

Gush’d in wild music many a sparkling wave;

There on each breeze the breath of fragrance rose,

And all was freshness, beauty, and repose.

But thou, dark monarch! in thy bosom reign

Storms that, once roused, shall never sleep again.

Oh! vainly bright is nature in the course

Of him who flies from terror or remorse!

A spell is round him which obscures her bloom,

And dims her skies with shadows of the tomb;

There smiles no Paradise on earth so fair

But guilt will raise avenging phantoms there.

Abdallah heeds not, though the light gale roves

Fraught with rich odour, stolen from orange-groves;

Hears not the sounds from wood and brook that rise,

Wild notes of nature’s vesper-melodies;

Marks not how lovely, on the mountain’s head,

Moonlight and snow their mingling lustre spread;

But urges onward, till his weary band,

Worn with their toil, a moment’s pause demand.

He stops, and turning, on Granada’s fanes

In silence gazing, fix’d awhile remains

In stern, deep silence: o’er his feverish brow,

And burning cheek, pure breezes freshly blow,

But waft in fitful murmurs, from afar,

Sounds indistinctly fearful—as of war.

What meteor bursts with sudden blaze on high,

O’er the blue clearness of the starry sky?

Awful it rises, like some Genie-form,

Seen midst the redness of the desert storm,

Magnificently dread—above, below,

Spreads the wild splendour of its deepening glow.

Lo! from the Alhambra’s towers the vivid glare

Streams through the still transparence of the air!

Avenging crowds have lit the mighty pyre,

Which feeds that waving pyramid of fire;

And dome and minaret, river, wood, and height,

From dim perspective start to ruddy light.

Oh Heaven! the anguish of Abdallah’s soul,

The rage, though fruitless, yet beyond control!

Yet must he cease to gaze, and raving fly

For life—such life as makes it bliss to die!

On yon green height, the mosque, but half reveal’d

Through cypress-groves, a safe retreat may yield.

Thither his steps are bent—yet oft he turns,

Watching that fearful beacon as it burns.

But paler grow the sinking flames at last,

Flickering they fade, their crimson light is past;

And spiry vapours, rising o’er the scene,

Mark where the terrors of their wrath have been.

And now his feet have reach’d that lonely pile,

Where grief and terror may repose awhile;

Embower’d it stands, midst wood and cliff on high,

Through the gray rocks a torrent sparkling nigh:

He hails the scene where every care should cease,

And all—except the heart he brings—is peace.

There is deep stillness in those halls of state

Where the loud cries of conflict rang so late;

Stillness like that, when fierce the Kamsin’s blast

Hath o’er the dwellings of the desert pass’d.

Fearful the calm—nor voice, nor step, nor breath

Disturbs that scene of beauty and of death:

Those vaulted roofs re-echo not a sound,

Save the wild gush of waters—murmuring round

In ceaseless melodies of plaintive tone,

Through chambers peopled by the dead alone.

O’er the mosaic floors, with carnage red,

Breastplate and shield and cloven helm are spread

In mingled fragments—glittering to the light

Of yon still moon, whose rays, yet softly bright,

Their streaming lustre tremulously shed,

And smile in placid beauty o’er the dead:

O’er features where the fiery spirit’s trace

E’en death itself is powerless to efface;

O’er those who flush’d with ardent youth awoke,

When glowing morn in bloom and radiance broke,

Nor dreamt how near the dark and frozen sleep

Which hears not Glory call, nor Anguish weep;

In the low silent house, the narrow spot,

Home of forgetfulness—and soon forgot.

But slowly fade the stars—the night is o’er—

Morn beams on those who hail her light no more;

Slumberers who ne’er shall wake on earth again,

Mourners, who call the loved, the lost, in vain.

Yet smiles the day—oh! not for mortal tear

Doth nature deviate from her calm career:

Nor is the earth less laughing or less fair,

Though breaking hearts her gladness may not share.

O’er the cold urn the beam of summer glows,

O’er fields of blood the zephyr freshly blows;

Bright shines the sun, though all be dark below,

And skies arch cloudless o’er a world of woe;

And flowers renew’d in spring’s green pathway bloom,

Alike to grace the banquet and the tomb.

Within Granada’s walls the funeral rite

Attends that day of loveliness and light;

And many a chief, with dirges and with tears,

Is gather’d to the brave of other years:

And Hamet, as beneath the cypress shade

His martyr’d brother and his sire are laid,

Feels every deep resolve and burning thought

Of ampler vengeance e’en to passion wrought;

Yet is the hour afar—and he must brood

O’er those dark dreams awhile in solitude.

Tumult and rage are hush’d—another day

In still solemnity hath pass’d away,

In that deep slumber of exhausted wrath,

The calm that follows in the tempest’s path.

And now Abdallah leaves yon peaceful fane,

His ravaged city traversing again.

No sound of gladness his approach precedes,

No splendid pageant the procession leads;

Where’er he moves the silent streets along,

Broods a stern quiet o’er the sullen throng.

No voice is heard; but in each alter’d eye,

Once brightly beaming when his steps were nigh,

And in each look of those whose love hath fled

From all on earth to slumber with the dead,

Those by his guilt made desolate, and thrown

On the bleak wilderness of life alone—

In youth’s quick glance of scarce-dissembled rage,

And the pale mien of calmly-mournful age,

May well be read a dark and fearful tale

Of thought that ill the indignant heart can veil,

And passion like the hush’d volcano’s power,

That waits in stillness its appointed hour.

No more the clarion from Granada’s walls,

Heard o’er the Vega, to the tourney calls;

No more her graceful daughters, throned on high,

Bend o’er the lists the darkly-radiant eye:

Silence and gloom her palaces o’erspread,

And song is hush’d, and pageantry is fled.

—Weep, fated city! o’er thy heroes weep—

Low in the dust the sons of glory sleep!

Furl’d are their banners in the lonely hall,

Their trophied shields hang mouldering on the wall,

Wildly their chargers range the pastures o’er—

Their voice in battle shall be heard no more.

And they, who still thy tyrant’s wrath survive,

Whom he hath wrong’d too deeply to forgive,

That race of lineage high, of worth approved,

The chivalrous, the princely, the beloved—

Thine Aben-Zurrahs—they no more shall wield

In thy proud cause the conquering lance and shield:

Condemn’d to bid the cherish’d scenes farewell

Where the loved ashes of their fathers dwell,

And far o’er foreign plains as exiles roam,

Their land the desert, and the grave their home.

Yet there is one shall see that race depart

In deep though silent agony of heart:

One whose dark fate must be to mourn alone,

Unseen her sorrows and their cause unknown,

And veil her heart, and teach her cheek to wear

That smile in which the spirit hath no share—

Like the bright beams that shed their fruitless glow

O’er the cold solitude of Alpine snow.

Soft, fresh, and silent is the midnight hour,

And the young Zayda seeks her lonely bower;

That Zegri maid, within whose gentle mind

One name is deeply, secretly enshrined.

That name in vain stern reason would efface:

Hamet! ’tis thine, thou foe to all her race!

And yet not hers in bitterness to prove

The sleepless pangs of unrequited love—

Pangs which the rose of wasted youth consume,

And make the heart of all delight the tomb,

Check the free spirit in its eagle flight,

And the spring-morn of early genius blight:

Not such her grief—though now she wakes to weep,

While tearless eyes enjoy the honey-dews of sleep.

A step treads lightly through the citron-shade,

Lightly, but by the rustling leaves betray’d—

Doth her young hero seek that well-known spot,

Scene of past hours that ne’er may be forgot?

’Tis he—but changed that eye, whose glance of fire

Could like a sunbeam hope and joy inspire,

As, luminous with youth, with ardour fraught,

It spoke of glory to the inmost thought:

Thence the bright spirit’s eloquence hath fled,

And in its wild expression may be read

Stem thoughts and fierce resolves—now veil’d in shade,

And now in characters of fire portray’d.

Changed e’en his voice—as thus its mournful tone

Wakes in her heart each feeling of his own.

“Zayda! my doom is fix’d—another day

And the wrong’d exile shall be far away;

Far from the scenes where still his heart must be,

His home of youth, and, more than all—from thee.

Oh! what a cloud hath gather’d o’er my lot

Since last we met on this fair tranquil spot!

Lovely as then the soft and silent hour,

And not a rose hath faded from thy bower;

But I—my hopes the tempest hath o’erthrown,

And changed my heart, to all but thee alone.

Farewell, high thoughts! inspiring hopes of praise!

Heroic visions of my early days!

In me the glories of my race must end—

The exile hath no country to defend!

E’en in life’s morn my dreams of pride are o’er,

Youth’s buoyant spirit wakes for me no more,

And one wild feeling in my alter’d breast

Broods darkly o’er the ruins of the rest.

Yet fear not thou—to thee, in good or ill,

The heart, so sternly tried, is faithful still!

But when my steps are distant, and my name

Thou hear’st no longer in the song of fame;

When Time steals on, in silence to efface

Of early love each pure and sacred trace,

Causing our sorrows and our hopes to seem

But as the moonlight pictures of a dream,—

Still shall thy soul be with me, in the truth

And all the fervour of affection’s youth?

If such thy love, one beam of heaven shall play

In lonely beauty o’er thy wanderer’s way.”

“Ask not if such my love! Oh! trust the mind

To grief so long, so silently resign’d!

Let the light spirit, ne’er by sorrow taught

The pure and lofty constancy of thought,

Its fleeting trials eager to forget,

Rise with elastic power o’er each regret!

Foster’d in tears, our young affection grew,

And I have learn’d to suffer and be true.

Deem not my love a frail, ephemeral flower,

Nursed by soft sunshine and the balmy shower;

No! ’tis the child of tempests, and defies,

And meets unchanged, the anger of the skies!

Too well I feel, with grief’s prophetic heart,

That ne’er to meet in happier days we part.

We part! and e’en this agonising hour,

When love first feels his own o’erwhelming power,

Shall soon to memory’s fix’d and tearful eye

Seem almost happiness—for thou wert nigh!

Yes! when this heart in solitude shall bleed,

As days to days all wearily succeed,

When doom’d to weep in loneliness, ’twill be

Almost like rapture to have wept with thee!

“But thou, my Hamet! thou canst yet bestow

All that of joy my blighted lot can know.

Oh! be thou still the high-soul’d and the brave,

To whom my first and fondest vows I gave;

In thy proud fame’s untarnish’d beauty still

The lofty visions of my youth fulfil.

So shall it soothe me, midst my heart’s despair,

To hold undimm’d one glorious image there!”

“Zayda, my best-beloved! my words too well,

Too soon, thy bright illusions must dispel;

Yet must my soul to thee unveil’d be shown,

And all its dreams and all its passions known.

Thou shalt not be deceived—for pure as heaven

Is thy young love, in faith and fervour given.

I said my heart was changed—and would thy thought

Explore the ruin by thy kindred wrought,

In fancy trace the land whose towers and fanes,

Crush’d by the earthquake, strew its ravaged plains;

And such that heart where desolation’s hand

Hath blighted all that once was fair or grand!

But Vengeance, fix’d upon her burning throne,

Sits midst the wreck in silence and alone;

And I, in stem devotion at her shrine,

Each softer feeling, but my love, resign.

Yes! they whose spirits all my thoughts control,

Who hold dread converse with my thrilling soul;

They, the betray’d, the sacrificed, the brave,

Who fill a blood-stain’d and untimely grave,

Must be avenged! and pity and remorse

In that stem cause are banish’d from my course.

Zayda! thou tremblest—and thy gentle breast

Shrinks from the passions that destroy my rest;

Yet shall thy form, in many a stormy hour,

Pass brightly o’er my soul with softening power,

And, oft recall’d, thy voice beguile my lot,

Like some sweet lay, once heard, and ne’er forgot.

“But the night wanes—the hours too swiftly fly,

The bitter moment of farewell draws nigh;

Yet, loved one! weep not thus—in joy or pain,

Oh! trust thy Hamet, we shall meet again!

Yes, we shall meet! and haply smile at last

On all the clouds and conflicts of the past.

On that fair vision teach thy thoughts to dwell,

Nor deem these mingling tears our last farewell!”

Is the voice hush’d, whose loved expressive tone

Thrill’d to her heart—and doth she weep alone?

Alone she weeps; that hour of parting o’er,

When shall the pang it leaves be felt no more?

The gale breathes light, and fans her bosom fair,

Showering the dewy rose-leaves o’er her hair;

But ne’er for her shall dwell reviving power

In balmy dew, soft breeze, or fragrant flower,

To wake once more that calm serene delight,

The soul’s young bloom, which passion’s breath could blight—

The smiling stillness of life’s morning hour,

Ere yet the day-star burns in all his power.

Meanwhile, through groves of deep luxurious shade,

In the rich foliage of the South array’d,

Hamet, ere dawns the earliest blush of day,

Bends to the vale of tombs his pensive way.

Fair is that scene where palm and cypress wave

On high o’er many an Aben-Zurrah’s grave.

Lonely and fair, its fresh and glittering leaves

With the young myrtle there the laurel weaves,

To canopy the dead; nor wanting there

Flowers to the turf, nor fragrance to the air,

Nor wood-bird’s note, nor fall of plaintive stream—

Wild music, soothing to the mourner’s dream.

There sleep the chiefs of old—their combats o’er,

The voice of glory thrills their hearts no more.

Unheard by them th’ awakening clarion blows;

The sons of war at length in peace repose.

No martial note is in the gale that sighs

Where proud their trophied sepulchres arise,

Mid founts, and shades, and flowers of brightest bloom—

As, in his native vale, some shepherd’s tomb.

There, where the trees their thickest foliage spread

Dark o’er that silent valley of the dead;

Where two fair pillars rise, embower’d and lone,

Not yet with ivy clad, with moss o’ergrown,

Young Hamet kneels—while thus his vows are pour’d,

The fearful vows that consecrate his sword:

—“Spirit of him who first within my mind

Each loftier aim, each nobler thought enshrined,

And taught my steps the line of light to trace

Left by the glorious fathers of my race,

Hear thou my voice!—for thine is with me still,

In every dream its tones my bosom thrill,

In the deep calm of midnight they are near,

Midst busy throngs they vibrate on my ear,

Still murmuring ‘vengeance!’—nor in vain the call,

Few, few shall triumph in a hero’s fall!

Cold as thine own to glory and to fame,

Within my heart there lives one only aim;

There, till th’ oppressor for thy fate atone,

Concentring every thought, it reigns alone.

I will not weep—revenge, not grief, must be,

And blood, not tears, an offering meet for thee;

But the dark hour of stern delight will come,

And thou shalt triumph, warrior! in thy tomb.

“Thou, too, my brother! thou art pass’d away,

Without thy fame, in life’s fair dawning day.

Son of the brave! of thee no trace will shine

In the proud annals of thy lofty line;

Nor shall thy deeds be deathless in the lays

That hold communion with the after-days.

Yet, by the wreaths thou might’st have nobly won,

Hadst thou but lived till rose thy noontide sun;

By glory lost, I swear! by hope betray’d,

Thy fate shall amply, dearly, be repaid:

War with thy foes I deem a holy strife,

And to avenge thy death devote my life.

“Hear ye my vows, O spirits of the slain!

Hear, and be with me on the battle-plain!

At noon, at midnight, still around me bide,

Rise on my dreams, and tell me how ye died!”


——“Oh! ben provvide il Cielo

Ch’ Uom per delitti mai lieto non sia.”


Fair land! of chivalry the old domain,

Land of the vine and olive, lovely Spain!

Though not for thee with classic shores to vie

In charms that fix th’ enthusiast’s pensive eye;

Yet hast thou scenes of beauty, richly fraught

With all that wakes the glow of lofty thought;

Fountains, and vales, and rocks, whose ancient name

High deeds have raised to mingle with their fame.

Those scenes are peaceful now: the citron blows,

Wild spreads the myrtle, where the brave repose.

No sound of battle swells on Douro’s shore,

And banners wave on Ebro’s banks no more.

But who, unmoved, unawed, shall coldly tread

Thy fields that sepulchre the mighty dead?

Blest be that soil! where England’s heroes share

The grave of chiefs, for ages slumbering there;

Whose names are glorious in romantic lays,

The wild, sweet chronicles of elder days—

By goatherd lone and rude serrano sung

Thy cypress dells and vine-clad rocks among.

How oft those rocks have echo’d to the tale

Of knights who fell in Roncesvalles’ vale;

Of him, renown’d in old heroic lore,

First of the brave, the gallant Campeador;

Of those, the famed in song, who proudly died

When Rio Verde roll’d a crimson tide;

Or that high name, by Garcilaso’s might

On the Green Vega won in single fight.

Round fair Granada, deepening from afar,

O’er that Green Vega rose the din of war.

At morn or eve no more the sunbeams shone

O’er a calm scene, in pastoral beauty lone;

On helm and corslet tremulous they glanced,

On shield and spear in quivering lustre danced.

Far as the sight by clear Xenil could rove,

Tents rose around, and banners glanced above;

And steeds in gorgeous trappings, armour bright

With gold, reflecting every tint of light,

And many a floating plume and blazon’d shield

Diffused romantic splendour o’er the field.

There swell those sounds that bid the life-blood start

Swift to the mantling cheek and beating heart:

The clang of echoing steel, the charger’s neigh,

The measured tread of hosts in war’s array;

And, oh! that music, whose exulting breath

Speaks but of glory on the road to death;

In whose wild voice there dwells inspiring power

To wake the stormy joy of danger’s hour;

To nerve the arm, the spirit to sustain,

Rouse from despondence, and support in pain;

And, midst the deepening tumults of the strife,

Teach every pulse to thrill with more than life.

High o’er the camp, in many a broider’d fold,

Floats to the wind a standard rich with gold:

There, imaged on the cross, his form appears

Who drank for man the bitter cup of tears—

His form, whose word recall’d the spirit fled,

Now borne by hosts to guide them o’er the dead!

O’er yon fair walls to plant the cross on high,

Spain hath sent forth her flower of chivalry.

Fired with that ardour which, in days of yore,

To Syrian plains the bold crusaders bore;

Elate with lofty hope, with martial zeal,

They come, the gallant children of Castile;

The proud, the calmly dignified:—and there

Ebro’s dark sons with haughty mien repair,

And those who guide the fiery steed of war

From yon rich province of the western star.

But thou, conspicuous midst the glittering scene,

Stern grandeur stamp’d upon thy princely mien;

Known by the foreign garb, the silvery vest,

The snow-white charger, and the azure crest,

Young Aben-Zurrah! midst that host of foes,

Why shines thy helm, thy Moorish lance? Disclose!

Why rise the tents where dwell thy kindred train,

O son of Afric! midst the sons of Spain?

Hast thou with these thy nation’s fall conspired,

Apostate chief! by hope of vengeance fired?

How art thou changed! still first in every fight,

Hamet the Moor! Castile’s devoted knight!

There dwells a fiery lustre in thine eye,

But not the light that shone in days gone by;

There is wild ardour in thy look and tone,

But not the soul’s expression once thine own,

Nor aught like peace within. Yet who shall say

What secret thoughts thine inmost heart may sway?

No eye but Heaven’s may pierce that curtain’d breast,

Whose joys and griefs alike are unexpress’d.

There hath been combat on the tented plain;

The Vega’s turf is red with many a stain;

And, rent and trampled, banner, crest, and shield

Tell of a fierce and well-contested field.

But all is peaceful now: the west is bright

With the rich splendour of departing light;

Mulhacen’s peak, half lost amidst the sky,

Glows like a purple evening-cloud on high,

And tints, that mock the pencil’s art, o’erspread

Th’ eternal snow that crowns Veleta’s head;

While the warm sunset o’er the landscape throws

A solemn beauty, and a deep repose.

Closed are the toils and tumults of the day,

And Hamet wanders from the camp away.

In silent musings rapt:—the slaughter’d brave

Lie thickly strewn by Darro’s rippling wave.

Soft fall the dews—but other drops have dyed

The scented shrubs that fringe the river side,

Beneath whose shade, as ebbing life retired,

The wounded sought a shelter—and expired.

Lonely, and lost in thoughts of other days,

By the bright windings of the stream he strays,

Till, more remote from battle’s ravaged scene,

All is repose and solitude serene.

There, ’neath an olive’s ancient shade reclined,

Whose rustling foliage waves in evening’s wind,

The harass’d warrior, yielding to the power,

The mild sweet influence of the tranquil hour,

Feels by degrees a long-forgotten calm

Shed o’er his troubled soul unwonted balm;

His wrongs, his woes, his dark and dubious lot,

The past, the future, are awhile forgot;

And Hope, scarce own’d, yet stealing o’er his breast,

Half dares to whisper, “Thou shalt yet be blest!”

Such his vague musings—but a plaintive sound

Breaks on the deep and solemn stillness round;

A low, halt-stifled moan, that seems to rise

From life and death’s contending agonies.

He turns: Who shares with him that lonely shade?

—A youthful warrior on his deathbed laid.

All rent and stain’d his broider’d Moorish vest,

The corslet shatter’d on his bleeding breast;

In his cold hand the broken falchion strain’d,

With life’s last force convulsively retain’d;

His plumage soil’d with dust, with crimson dyed,

And the red lance in fragments by his side:

He lies forsaken—pillow’d on his shield,

His helmet raised, his lineaments reveal’d.

Pale is that quivering lip, and vanish’d now

The light once throned on that commanding brow;

And o’er that fading eye, still upward cast,

The shades of death are gathering dark and fast.

Yet, as yon rising moon her light serene

Sheds the pale olive’s waving boughs between,

Too well can Hamet’s conscious heart retrace,

Though changed thus fearfully, that pallid face,

Whose every feature to his soul conveys

Some bitter thought of long-departed days.

“Oh! is it thus,” he cries, “we meet at last?

Friend of my soul in years for ever past!

Hath fate but led me hither to behold

The last dread struggle, ere that heart is cold,—

Receive thy latest agonising breath,

And with vain pity soothe the pangs of death?

Yet let me bear thee hence—while life remains,

E’en though thus feebly circling through thy veins,

Some healing balm thy sense may still revive;

Hope is not lost—and Osmyn yet may live!

And blest were he whose timely care should save

A heart so noble, e’en from glory’s grave.”

Roused by those accents, from his lowly bed

The dying warrior faintly lifts his head;

O’er Hamet’s mien, with vague uncertain gaze,

His doubtful glance awhile bewilder’d strays;

Till by degrees a smile of proud disdain

Lights up those features late convulsed with pain;

A quivering radiance flashes from his eye,

That seems too pure, too full of soul, to die;

And the mind’s grandeur, in its parting hour,

Looks from that brow with more than wonted power.

“Away!” he cries, in accents of command,

And proudly waves his cold and trembling hand.

“Apostate, hence! my soul shall soon be free—

E’en now it soars, disdaining aid from thee.

’Tis not for thee to close the fading eyes

Of him who faithful to his country dies;

Not for thy hand to raise the drooping head

Of him who sinks to rest on glory’s bed.

Soon shall these pangs be closed, this conflict o’er,

And worlds be mine where thou canst never soar:

Be thine existence with a blighted name,

Mine the bright death which seals a warrior’s fame!”

The glow hath vanish’d from his cheek—his eye

Hath lost that beam of parting energy;

Frozen and fix’d it seems—his brow is chill;

One struggle more—that noble heart is still.

Departed warrior! were thy mortal throes,

Were thy last pangs, ere nature found repose,

More keen, more bitter, than th’ envenom’d dart

Thy dying words have left in Hamet’s heart?

Thy pangs were transient; his shall sleep no more,

Till life’s delirious dream itself be o’er;

But thou shalt rest in glory, and thy grave

Be the pure altar of the patriot brave.

Oh, what a change that little hour hath wrought

In the high spirit and unbending thought!

Yet, from himself each keen regret to hide,

Still Hamet struggles with indignant pride;

While his soul rises, gathering all its force,

To meet the fearful conflict with remorse.

To thee, at length, whose artless love hath been

His own, unchanged, through many a stormy scene;

Zayda! to thee his heart for refuge flies;

Thou still art faithful to affection’s ties.

Yes! let the world upbraid, let foes contemn,

Thy gentle breast the tide will firmly stem;

And soon thy smile and soft consoling voice

Shall bid his troubled soul again rejoice.

Within Granada’s walls are hearts and hands

Whose aid in secret Hamet yet commands;

Nor hard the task, at some propitious hour,

To win his silent way to Zayda’s bower,

When night and peace are brooding o’er the world,

When mute the clarions, and the banners furl’d.

That hour is come—and, o’er the arms he bears,

A wandering fakir’s garb the chieftain wears:

Disguise that ill from piercing eye could hide

The lofty port, and glance of martial pride;

But night befriends—through paths obscure he pass’d,

And hail’d the lone and lovely scene at last;

Young Zayda’s chosen haunt, the fair alcove,

The sparkling fountain, and the orange grove:

Calm in the moonlight smiles the still retreat,

As form’d alone for happy hearts to meet.

For happy hearts!—not such as hers, who there

Bends o’er her lute with dark unbraided hair;

That maid of Zegri race, whose eye, whose mien,

Tell that despair her bosom’s guest hath been.

So lost in thought she seems, the warrior’s feet

Unheard approach her solitary seat,

Till his known accents every sense restore—

“My own loved Zayda! do we meet once more?”

She starts, she turns—the lightning of surprise,

Of sudden rapture, flashes from her eyes;

But that is fleeting—it is past—and how

Far other meaning darkens o’er her brow:

Changed is her aspect, and her tone severe—

“Hence, Aben-Zurrah! death surrounds thee here!”

“Zayda! what means that glance, unlike thine own?

What mean those words, and that unwonted tone?

I will not deem thee changed—but in thy face,

It is not joy, it is not love, I trace!

It was not thus in other days we met:

Hath time, hath absence, taught thee to forget?

Oh! speak once more—these rising doubts dispel:

One smile of tenderness, and all is well!”

“Not thus we met in other days!—oh, no!

Thou wert not, warrior, then thy country’s foe!

Those days are past—we ne’er shall meet again

With hearts all warmth, all confidence, as then.

But thy dark soul no gentler feelings sway,

Leader of hostile bands! away, away!

On in thy path of triumph and of power,

Nor pause to raise from earth a blighted flower.”

“And thou, too, changed! thine earthly vow forgot!

This, this alone, was wanting to my lot!

Exiled and scorn’d, of every tie bereft,

Thy love, the desert’s lonely fount, was left;

And thou, my soul’s last hope, its lingering beam,

Thou! the good angel of each brighter dream,

Wert all the barrenness of life possest

To wake one soft affection in my breast!

That vision ended—fate hath nought in store

Of joy or sorrow e’er to touch me more.

Go, Zegri maid! to scenes of sunshine fly,

From the stem pupil of adversity!

And now to hope, to confidence, adieu!

If thou art faithless, who shall e’er be true?”

“Hamet! oh, wrong me not!—I too could speak

Of sorrows—trace them on my faded cheek,

In the sunk eye, and in the wasted form,

That tell the heart hath nursed a canker-worm!

But words were idle—read my sufferings there,

Where grief is stamp’d on all that once was fair.

“Oh, wert thou still what once I fondly deem’d,

All that thy mien express’d, thy spirit seem’d,

My love had been devotion!—till in death

Thy name had trembled on my latest breath.

But not the chief who leads a lawless band

To crush the altars of his native land;

Th’ apostate son of heroes, whose disgrace

Hath stain’d the trophies of a glorious race;

Not him I loved—but one whose youthful name

Was pure and radiant in unsullied fame.

Hadst thou but died, ere yet dishonour’s cloud

O’er that young name had gather’d as a shroud,

I then had mourn’d thee proudly, and my grief

In its own loftiness had found relief;

A noble sorrow, cherish’d to the last,

When every meaner woe had long been past.

Yes! let affection weep—no common tear

She sheds when bending o’er a hero’s bier.

Let nature mourn the dead—a grief like this,

To pangs that rend my bosom, had been bliss!”

“High-minded maid! the time admits not now

To plead my cause, to vindicate my vow.

That vow, too dread, too solemn, to recall,

Hath urged me onward, haply to my fall.

Yet this believe—no meaner aim inspires

My soul, no dream of power ambition fires.

No! every hope of power, of triumph, fled,

Behold me but th’ avenger of the dead!

One whose changed heart no tie, no kindred knows,

And in thy love alone hath sought repose.

Zayda! wilt thou his stern accuser be?

False to his country, he is true to thee!

Oh, hear me yet!—if Hamet e’er was dear,

By our first vows, our young affection, hear!

Soon must this fair and royal city fall,

Soon shall the cross be planted on her wall;

Then who can tell what tides of blood may flow,

While her fanes echo to the shrieks of woe?

Fly, fly with me, and let me bear thee far

From horrors thronging in the path of war:

Fly, and repose in safety—till the blast

Hath made a desert in its course—and pass’d!”

“Thou that wilt triumph when the hour is come

Hasten’d by thee, to seal thy country’s doom,

With thee from scenes of death shall Zayda fly

To peace and safety?—Woman, too, can die!

And die exulting, though unknown to fame,

In all the stainless beauty of her name!

Be mine, unmurmuring, undismay’d, to share

The fate my kindred and my sire must bear.

And deem thou not my feeble heart shall fail,

When the clouds gather and the blasts assail.

Thou hast but known me ere the trying hour

Call’d into life my spirit’s latent power;

But I have energies that idly slept,

While withering o’er my silent woes I wept;

And now, when hope and happiness are fled,

My soul is firm—for what remains to dread?

Who shall have power to suffer and to bear

If strength and courage dwell not with Despair?

“Hamet! farewell—retrace thy path again,

To join thy brethren on the tented plain.

There wave and wood in mingling murmurs tell

How, in far other cause, thy fathers fell!

Yes! on that soil hath Glory’s footstep been,

Names unforgotten consecrate the scene!

Dwell not the souls of heroes round thee there,

Whose voices call thee in the whispering air?

Unheard, in vain they call—their fallen son

Hath stain’d the name those mighty spirits won,

And to the hatred of the brave and free

Bequeath’d his own through ages yet to be!”

Still as she spoke, th’ enthusiast’s kindling eye

Was lighted up with inborn majesty,

While her fair form and youthful features caught

All the proud grandeur of heroic thought,

Severely beauteous. Awe-struck and amazed,

In silent trance a while the warrior gazed,

As on some lofty vision—for she seem’d

One all-inspired—each look with glory beam’d,

While, brightly bursting through its cloud of woes,

Her soul at once in all its light arose.

Oh! ne’er had Hamet deem’d there dwelt enshrined

In form so fragile that unconquer’d mind;

And fix’d, as by some high enchantment, there

He stood—till wonder yielded to despair.

“The dream is vanish’d—daughter of my foes!

Reft of each hope the lonely wanderer goes.

Thy words have pierced his soul; yet deem thou not

Thou couldst be once adored, and e’er forgot!

Oh, form’d for happier love, heroic maid!

In grief sublime, in danger undismay’d,

Farewell, and be thou blest!—all words were vain

From him who ne’er may view that form again—

Him, whose sole thought resembling bliss, must be,

He hath been loved, once fondly loved, by thee!”

And is the warrior gone?—doth Zayda hear

His parting footstep, and without a tear?

Thou weep’st not, lofty maid!—yet who can tell

What secret pangs within thy heart may dwell?

They feel not least, the firm, the high in soul,

Who best each feeling’s agony control.

Yes! we may judge the measure of the grief

Which finds in misery’s eloquence relief;

But who shall pierce those depths of silent woe

Whence breathes no language, whence no tears may flow?

The pangs that many a noble breast hath proved,

Scorning itself that thus it could be moved?

He, He alone, the inmost heart who knows,

Views all its weakness, pities all its throes;

He who hath mercy when mankind contemn,

Beholding anguish—all unknown to them.

Fair city! thou that midst thy stately fanes

And gilded minarets, towering o’er the plains,

In eastern grandeur proudly dost arise

Beneath thy canopy of deep-blue skies;

While streams that bear thee treasures in their wave,

Thy citron-groves and myrtle-gardens lave:

Mourn, for thy doom is fixed—the days of fear,

Of chains, of wrath, of bitterness, are near!

Within, around thee, are the trophied graves

Of kings and chiefs—their children shall be slaves.

Fair are thy halls, thy domes majestic swell,

But there a race that rear’d them not shall dwell;

For midst thy councils discord still presides,

Degenerate fear thy wavering monarch guides—

Last of a line whose regal spirit flown

Hath to their offspring but bequeath’d a throne,

Without one generous thought, or feeling high,

To teach his soul how kings should live and die.

A voice resounds within Granada’s wall,

The hearts of warriors echo to its call.

Whose are those tones, with power electric fraught

To reach the source of pure exalted thought?

See, on a fortress tower, with beckoning hand,

A form, majestic as a prophet, stand!

His mien is all impassion’d, and his eye

Fill’d with a light whose fountain is on high;

Wild on the gale his silvery tresses flow,

And inspiration beams upon his brow;

While, thronging round him, breathless thousands gaze,

As on some mighty seer of elder days.

“Saw ye the banners of Castile display’d,

The helmets glittering, and the line array’d?

Heard ye the march of steel-clad hosts?” he cries;

“Children of conquerors! in your strength arise!

O high-born tribes! O names unstain’d by fear!

Azarques, Zegris, Almoradis, hear!

Be every feud forgotten, and your hands

Dyed with no blood but that of hostile bands.

Wake, princes of the land! the hour is come,

And the red sabre must decide your doom.

Where is that spirit which prevail’d of yore,

When Tarik’s bands o’erspread the western shore?

When the long combat raged on Xeres’ plain,

And Afric’s tecbir swell’d through yielding Spain?

Is the lance broken, is the shield decay’d,

The warrior’s arm unstrung, his heart dismay’d?

Shall no high spirit of ascendant worth

Arise to lead the sons of Islam forth?

To guard the regions where our fathers’ blood

Hath bathed each plain, and mingled with each flood;

Where long their dust hath blended with the soil

Won by their swords, made fertile by their toil?

“O ye sierras of eternal snow!

Ye streams that by the tombs of heroes flow,

Woods, fountains, rocks of Spain! ye saw their might

In many a fierce and unforgotten fight—

Shall ye behold their lost, degenerate race

Dwell midst your scenes in fetters and disgrace

With each memorial of the past around,

Each mighty monument of days renown’d?

May this indignant heart ere then be cold,

This frame be gather’d to its kindred mould!

And the last life-drop circling through my veins

“And yet one struggle ere our doom is seal’d,

One mighty effort, one deciding field!

If vain each hope, we still have choice to be

In life the fetter’d, or in death the free!”

Still while he speaks each gallant heart beats high,

And ardour flashes from each kindling eye;

Youth, manhood, age, as if inspired, have caught

The glow of lofty hope and daring thought;

And all is hush’d around—as every sense

Dwelt on the tones of that wild eloquence.

But when his voice hath ceased, th’ impetuous cry

Of eager thousands bursts at once on high;

Rampart, and rock, and fortress ring around,

And fair Alhambra’s inmost halls resound.

“Lead us, O chieftain! lead us to the strife,

To fame in death, or liberty in life!”

O zeal of noble hearts! in vain display’d!

Now, while the burning spirit of the brave

Is roused to energies that yet might save—

E’en now, enthusiasts! while ye rush to claim

Your glorious trial on the field of fame,

Your king hath yielded! Valour’s dream is o’er;

Power, wealth, and freedom are your own no more;

And for your children’s portion, but remains

That bitter heritage—the stranger’s chains.


“Fermossi al fin il cor che balzo tanto.”

Hippolito Pindemonte.

Heroes of elder days! untaught to yield,

Who bled for Spain on many an ancient field;

Ye that around the oaken cross of yore

Stood firm and fearless on Asturia’s shore,

And with your spirit, ne’er to be subdued,

Hallow’d the wild Cantabrian solitude;

Rejoice amidst your dwellings of repose,

In the last chastening of your Moslem foes!

Rejoice!—for Spain, arising in her strength,

Hath burst the remnant of their yoke at length,

And they, in turn, the cup of woe must drain,

And bathe their fetters with their tears in vain.

And thou, the warrior born in happy hour,

Valencia’s lord, whose name alone was power,

Theme of a thousand songs in days gone by,

Conqueror of kings! exult, O Cid! on high;

For still ’twas thine to guard thy country’s weal,

In life, in death, the watcher for Castile!

Thou, in that hour when Mauritania’s bands

Rush’d from their palmy groves and burning lands,

E’en in the realm of spirits didst retain

A patriot’s vigilance, remembering Spain!

Then at deep midnight rose the mighty sound,

By Leon heard in shuddering awe profound,

As through her echoing streets, in dread array,

Beings once mortal held their viewless way—

Voices from worlds we know not—and the tread

Of marching hosts, the armies of the dead,

Thou and thy buried chieftains: from the grave

Then did thy summons rouse a king to save,

And join thy warriors with unearthly might

To aid the rescue in Tolosa’s fight.

Those days are past—the crescent on thy shore,

O realm of evening! sets, to rise no more.

What banner streams afar from Vela’s tower?

The cross, bright ensign of Iberia’s power!

What the glad shout of each exulting voice?

“Castile and Aragon! rejoice, rejoice!”

Yielding free entrance to victorious foes,

The Moorish city sees her gates unclose,

And Spain’s proud host, with pennon, shield, and lance,

Through her long streets in knightly garb advance.

Oh! ne’er in lofty dreams hath Fancy’s eye

Dwelt on a scene of statelier pageantry,

At joust or tourney, theme of poet’s lore,

High masque or solemn festival of yore.

The gilded cupolas, that proudly rise

O’erarch’d by cloudless and cerulean skies;

Tall minarets, shining mosques, barbaric towers,

Fountains and palaces, and cypress bowers:

And they, the splendid and triumphant throng,

With helmets glittering as they move along,

With broider’d scarf and gem-bestudded mail,

And graceful plumage streaming on the gale;

Shields, gold-emboss’d, and pennons floating far,

And all the gorgeous blazonry of war,

All brighten’d by the rich transparent hues

That southern suns o’er heaven and earth diffuse—

Blend in one scene of glory, form’d to throw

O’er memory’s page a never-fading glow,

And there, too, foremost midst the conquering brave,

Your azure plumes, O Aben-Zurrahs! wave.

There Hamet moves; the chief whose lofty port

Seems nor reproach to shun, nor praise to court;

Calm, stern, collected—yet within his breast

Is there no pang, no struggle, unconfess’d?

If such there be, it still must dwell unseen,

Nor cloud a triumph with a sufferer’s mien.

Hear’st thou the solemn yet exulting sound

Of the deep anthem floating far around?

The choral voices, to the skies that raise

The full majestic harmony of praise?

Lo! where, surrounded by their princely train,

They come, the sovereigns of rejoicing Spain,

Borne on their trophied car—lo! bursting thence

A blaze of chivalrous magnificence!

Onward their slow and stately course they bend

To where th’ Alhambra’s ancient towers ascend,

Rear’d and adorn’d by Moorish kings of yore,

Whose lost descendants there shall dwell no more.

They reach those towers—irregularly vast

And rude they seem, in mould barbaric cast:

They enter—to their wondering sight is given

A genii palace—an Arabian heaven!

A scene by magic raised, so strange, so fair,

Its forms and colour seem alike of air.

Here, by sweet orange-boughs half shaded o’er,

The deep clear bath reveals its marble floor,

Its margin fringed with flowers, whose glowing hues

The calm transparence of its wave suffuse.

There round the court, where Moorish arches bend,

Aërial columns, richly deck’d, ascend;

Unlike the models of each classic race,

Of Doric grandeur or Corinthian grace,

But answering well each vision that portrays

Arabian splendour to the poet’s gaze:

Wild, wondrous, brilliant, all—a mingling glow

Of rainbow-tints, above, around, below;

Bright streaming from the many-tinctured veins

Of precious marble, and the vivid stains

Of rich mosaics o’er the light arcade,

In gay festoons and fairy knots display’d.

On through th’ enchanted realm, that only seems

Meet for the radiant creatures of our dreams,

The royal conquerors pass—while still their sight

On some new wonder dwells with fresh delight.

Here the eye roves through slender colonnades,

O’er bowery terraces and myrtle shades;

Dark olive-woods beyond, and far on high

The vast sierra mingling with the sky.

There, scattering far around their diamond spray,

Clear streams from founts of alabaster play,

Through pillar’d halls, where, exquisitely wrought,

Rich arabesques, with glittering foliage fraught,

Surmount each fretted arch, and lend the scene

A wild, romantic, oriental mien:

While many a verse, from eastern bards of old,

Borders the walls in characters of gold.

Here Moslem luxury, in her own domain,

Hath held for ages her voluptuous reign

Midst gorgeous domes, where soon shall silence brood,

And all be lone—a splendid solitude.

Now wake their echoes to a thousand songs,

From mingling voices of exulting throngs;

Tambour and flute, and atabal are there,

And joyous clarions pealing on the air;

While every hall resounds, “Granada won!

Granada! for Castile and Aragon!”

’Tis night—from dome and tower, in dazzling maze,

The festal lamps innumerably blaze;

Through long arcades their quivering lustre gleams,

From every lattice tremulously streams,

Midst orange-gardens plays on fount and rill,

And gilds the waves of Darro and Xenil;

Red flame the torches on each minaret’s height,

And shines each street an avenue of light;

And midnight feasts are held, and music’s voice

Through the long night still summons to rejoice.

Yet there, while all would seem to heedless eye

One blaze of pomp, one burst of revelry,

Are hearts unsoothed by those delusive hours,

Gall’d by the chain, though deck’d awhile with flowers;

Stern passions working in th’ indignant breast,

Deep pangs untold, high feelings unexpress’d,

Heroic spirits, unsubmitting yet—

Vengeance and keen remorse, and vain regret.

From yon proud height, whose olive-shaded brow

Commands the wide luxuriant plains below,

Who lingering gazes o’er the lovely scene,

Anguish and shame contending in his mien

He who of heroes and of kings the son,

Hath lived to lose whate’er his fathers won;

Whose doubts and fears his people’s fate have seal’d,

Wavering alike in council and in field;

Weak, timid ruler of the wise and brave,

Still a fierce tyrant or a yielding slave.

Far from these vine-clad hills and azure skies,

To Afric’s wilds the royal exile flies;

Yet pauses on his way to weep in vain

O’er all he never must behold again.

Fair spreads the scene around—for him too fair,

Each glowing charm but deepens his despair.

The Vega’s meads, the city’s glittering spires,

The old majestic palace of his sires,

The gay pavilions and retired alcoves,

Bosom’d in citron and pomegranate groves;

Tower-crested rocks, and streams that wind in light,

All in one moment bursting on his sight,

Speak to his soul of glory’s vanish’d years,

And wake the source of unavailing tears.

—Weep’st thou, Abdallah?—Thou dost well to weep,

O feeble heart! o’er all thou couldst not keep!

Well do a woman’s tears befit the eye

Of him who knew not as a man to die.

The gale sighs mournfully through Zayda’s bower,

The hand is gone that nursed each infant flower.

No voice, no step, is in her father’s halls,

Mute are the echoes of their marble walls;

No stranger enters at the chieftain’s gate,

But all is hush’d, and void, and desolate.

There, through each tower and solitary shade,

In vain doth Hamet seek the Zegri maid:

Her grove is silent, her pavilion lone,

Her lute forsaken, and her doom unknown;

And through the scene she loved, unheeded flows

The stream whose music lull’d her to repose.

But oh! to him, whose self-accusing thought

Whispers ’twas he that desolation wrought;

He who his country and his faith betray’d,

And lent Castile revengeful, powerful aid;

A voice of sorrow swells in every gale,

Each wave low rippling tells a mournful tale:

And as the shrubs, untended, unconfined,

In wild exuberance rustle to the wind,

Each leaf hath language to his startled sense,

And seems to murmur—“Thou hast driven her hence!”

And well he feels to trace her flight were vain,

—Where hath lost love been once recall’d again?

In her pure breast, so long by anguish torn,

His name can rouse no feeling now—but scorn.

O bitter hour! when first the shuddering heart

Wakes to behold the void within—and start!

To feel its own abandonment, and brood

O’er the chill bosom’s depth of solitude.

The stormy passions that in Hamet’s breast

Have sway’d so long, so fiercely, are at rest;

The avenger’s task is closed:—he finds too late

It hath not changed his feelings, but his fate.

He was a lofty spirit, turn’d aside

From its bright path by woes, and wrongs, and pride,

And onward, in its new tumultuous course,

Borne with too rapid and intense a force

To pause one moment in the dread career,

And ask if such could be its native sphere.

Now are those days of wild delirium o’er,

Their fears and hopes excite his soul no more;

The feverish energies of passion close,

And his heart sinks in desolate repose,

Turns sickening from the world, yet shrinks not less

From its own deep and utter loneliness.

There is a sound of voices on the air,

A flash of armour to the sunbeam’s glare,

Midst the wild Alpuxarras;—there, on high,

Where mountain-snows are mingling with the sky,

A few brave tribes, with spirits yet unbroke,

Have fled indignant from the Spaniard’s yoke.

O ye dread scenes! where nature dwells alone,

Severely glorious on her craggy throne;

Ye citadels of rock, gigantic forms,

Veil’d by the mists and girdled by the storms,—

Ravines, and glens, and deep resounding caves,

That hold communion with the torrent-waves;

And ye, th’ unstain’d and everlasting snows,

That dwell above in bright and still repose;

To you, in every clime, in every age,

Far from the tyrant’s or the conqueror’s rage,

Hath Freedom led her sons—untired to keep

Her fearless vigils on the barren steep.

She, like the mountain-eagle, still delights

To gaze exulting from unconquer’d heights,

And build her eyrie in defiance proud,

To dare the wind, and mingle with the cloud.

Now her deep voice, the soul’s awakener, swells,

Wild Alpuxarras! through your inmost dells.

There, the dark glens and lonely rocks among,

As at the clarion’s call, her children throng.

She with enduring strength has nerved each frame,

And made each heart the temple of her flame,

Her own resisting spirit, which shall glow

Unquenchably, surviving all below.

There high-born maids, that moved upon the earth

More like bright creatures of aërial birth,

Nurslings of palaces, have fled to share

The fate of brothers and of sires; to bear,

All undismay’d, privation and distress,

And smile the roses of the wilderness:

And mothers with their infants, there to dwell

In the deep forest or the cavern cell,

And rear their offspring midst the rocks, to be,

If now no more the mighty, still the free.

And midst that band are veterans, o’er whose head

Sorrows and years their mingled snow have shed:

They saw thy glory, they have wept thy fall,

O royal city! and the wreck of all

They loved and hallow’d most:—doth aught remain

For these to prove of happiness or pain?

Life’s cup is drain’d—earth fades before their eye;

Their task is closing—they have but to die.

Ask ye why fled they hither?—that their doom

Might be, to sink unfetter’d to the tomb.

And youth, in all its pride of strength, is there,

And buoyancy of spirit, form’d to dare

And suffer all things—fall’n on evil days,

Yet darting o’er the world an ardent gaze,

As on the arena where its powers may find

Full scope to strive for glory with mankind.

Such are the tenants of the mountain-hold,

The high in heart, unconquer’d, uncontroll’d:

By day, the huntsmen of the wild—by night,

Unwearied guardians of the watch-fire’s light,

They from their bleak majestic home have caught

A sterner tone of unsubmitting thought,

While all around them bids the soul arise

To blend with nature’s dread sublimities.

—But these are lofty dreams, and must not be

Where tyranny is near:—the bended knee,

The eye whose glance no inborn grandeur fires,

And the tamed heart, are tributes she requires;

Nor must the dwellers of the rock look down

On regal conquerors, and defy their frown.

What warrior-band is toiling to explore

The mountain-pass, with pine-wood shadow’d o’er,

Startling with martial sounds each rude recess,

Where the deep echo slept in loneliness?

These are the sons of Spain!—Your foes are near,

O exiles of the wild sierra! hear!

Hear! wake! arise! and from your inmost caves

Pour like the torrent in its might of waves!

Who leads the invaders on?—his features bear

The deep-worn traces of a calm despair;

Yet his dark brow is haughty—and his eye

Speaks of a soul that asks not sympathy.

’Tis he! ’tis he again! the apostate chief;

He comes in all the sternness of his grief.

He comes, but changed in heart, no more to wield

Falchion for proud Castile in battle-field,

Against his country’s children though he leads

Castilian bands again to hostile deeds:

His hope is but from ceaseless pangs to fly,

To rush upon the Moslem spears, and die.

So shall remorse and love the heart release,

Which dares not dream of joy, but sighs for peace.

The mountain-echoes are awake—a sound

Of strife is ringing through the rocks around.

Within the steep defile that winds between

Cliffs piled on cliffs, a dark, terrific scene,

Where Moorish exile and Castilian knight

Are wildly mingling in the serried fight.

Red flows the foaming streamlet of the glen,

Whose bright transparence ne’er was stain’d till then;

While swell the war-note and the clash of spears

To the bleak dwellings of the mountaineers,

Where thy sad daughters, lost Granada! wait

In dread suspense the tidings of their fate.

But he—whose spirit, panting for its rest,

Would fain each sword concentrate in his breast—

Who, where a spear is pointed, or a lance

Aim’d at another’s breast, would still advance—

Courts death in vain; each weapon glances by,

As if for him ’twere bliss too great to die.

Yes, Aben-Zurrah! there are deeper woes

Reserved for thee ere nature’s last repose;

Thou know’st not yet what vengeance fate can wreak,

Nor all the heart can suffer ere it break.

Doubtful and long the strife, and bravely fell

The sons of battle in that narrow dell;

Youth in its light of beauty there hath pass’d,

And age, the weary, found repose at last;

Till, few and faint, the Moslem tribes recoil,

Borne down by numbers and o’erpower’d by toil.

Dispersed, dishearten’d, through the pass they fly,

Pierce the deep wood, or mount the cliff on high;

While Hamet’s band in wonder gaze, nor dare

Track o’er their dizzy path the footsteps of despair.

Yet he, to whom each danger hath become

A dark delight, and every wild a home,

Still urges onward—undismay’d to tread

Where life’s fond lovers would recoil with dread.

But fear is’ for the happy—they may shrink

From the steep precipice or torrent’s brink;

They to whom earth is paradise—their doom

Lends no stern courage to approach the tomb:

Not such his lot, who, school’d by fate severe,

Were but too blest if aught remain’d to fear.

Up the rude crags, whose giant masses throw

Eternal shadows o’er the glen below;

And by the fall, whose many-tinctured spray

Half in a mist of radiance veils its way,

He holds his venturous track:—supported now

By some o’erhanging pine or ilex bough;

Now by some jutting stone, that seems to dwell

Half in mid-air, as balanced by a spell.

Now hath his footstep gain’d the summit’s head,

A level span, with emerald verdure spread,

A fairy circle—there the heath-flowers rise,

And the rock-rose unnoticed blooms and dies;

And brightly plays the stream, ere yet its tide

In foam and thunder cleave the mountain side:

But all is wild beyond—and Hamet’s eye

Roves o’er a world of rude sublimity.

That dell beneath, where e’en at noon of day

Earth’s charter’d guest, the sunbeam, scarce can stray;

Around, untrodden woods; and far above,

Where mortal footstep ne’er may hope to rove,

Bare granite cliffs, whose fix’d, inherent dyes

Rival the tints that float o’er summer skies:

And the pure glittering snow-realm, yet more high,

That seems a part of heaven’s eternity.

There is no track of man where Hamet stands,

Pathless the scene as Lybia’s desert sands;

Yet on the calm still air a sound is heard

Of distant voices, and the gathering-word

Of Islam’s tribes, now faint and fainter grown,

Now but the lingering echo of a tone.

That sound, whose cadence dies upon his ear,

He follows, reckless if his bands are near.

On by the rushing stream his way he bends,

And through the mountain’s forest zone ascends;

Piercing the still and solitary shades

Of ancient pine, and dark luxuriant glades,

Eternal twilight’s reign:—those mazes past,

The glowing sunbeams meet his eyes at last,

And the lone wanderer now hath reach’d the source

Whence the wave gushes, foaming on its course.

But there he pauses—for the lonely scene

Towers in such dread magnificence of mien,

And, mingled oft with some wild eagle’s cry,

From rock-built eyrie rushing to the sky,

So deep the solemn and majestic sound

Of forests, and of waters murmuring round—

That, rapt in wondering awe, his heart forgets

Its fleeting struggles and its vain regrets.

—What earthly feeling unabash’d can dwell

In nature’s mighty presence?—midst the swell

Of everlasting hills, the roar of floods,

And frown of rocks, and pomp of waving woods?

These their own grandeur on the soul impress,

And bid each passion feel its nothingness.

Midst the vast marble cliffs, a lofty cave

Rears its broad arch beside the rushing wave;

Shadow’d by giant oaks, and rude and lone,

It seems the temple of some power unknown,

Where earthly being may not dare intrude

To pierce the secrets of the solitude.

Yet thence at intervals a voice of wail

Is rising, wild and solemn, on the gale.

Did thy heart thrill, O Hamet! at the tone?

Came it not o’er thee as a spirit’s moan?

As some loved sound that long from earth had fled,

The unforgotten accents of the dead!

E’en thus it rose—and springing from his trance

His eager footsteps to the sound advance.

He mounts the cliffs, he gains the cavern floor;

Its dark green moss with blood is sprinkled o’er

He rushes on—and lo! where Zayda rends

Her locks, as o’er her slaughter’d sire she bends,

Lost in despair;—yet, as a step draws nigh,

Disturbing sorrow’s lonely sanctity,

She lifts her head, and, all-subdued by grief,

Views with a wild sad smile the once-loved chief;

While rove her thoughts, unconscious of the past,

And every woe forgetting—but the last.

“Com’st thou to weep with me?—for I am left

Alone on earth, of every tie bereft.

Low lies the warrior on his blood-stain’d bier;

His child may call, but he no more shall hear.

He sleeps—but never shall those eyes unclose;

’Twas not my voice that lull’d him to repose;

Nor can it break his slumbers.—Dost thou mourn?

And is thy heart, like mine, with anguish torn?

Weep, and my soul a joy in grief shall know,

That o’er his grave my tears with Hamet’s flow?”

But scarce her voice had breathed that well-known name,

When, swiftly rushing o’er her spirit, came

Each dark remembrance—by affliction’s power

Awhile effaced in that o’erwhelming hour,

To wake with tenfold strength: ’twas then her eye

Resumed its light, her mien its majesty,

And o’er her wasted cheek a burning glow

Spreads, while her lips’ indignant accents flow.

“Away! I dream! Oh, how hath sorrow’s might

Bow’d down my soul, and quench’d its native light—

That I should thus forget! and bid thy tear

With mine be mingled o’er a father’s bier!

Did he not perish, haply by thy hand,

In the last combat with thy ruthless band?

The morn beheld that conflict of despair:—

’Twas then he fell—he fell!—and thou wert there!

Thou! who thy country’s children hast pursued

To their last refuge midst these mountains rude.

Was it for this I loved thee?—Thou hast taught

My soul all grief, all bitterness of thought!

’Twill soon be past—I bow to heaven’s decree,

Which bade each pang be minister’d by thee.”

“I had not deem’d that aught remain’d below

For me to prove of yet untasted woe;

But thus to meet thee, Zayda! can impart

One more, one keener agony of heart.

Oh, hear me yet!—I would have died to save

My foe, but still thy father, from the grave;

But in the fierce confusion of the strife,

In my own stern despair and scorn of life,

Borne wildly on, I saw not, knew not aught,

Save that to perish there in vain I sought.

And let me share thy sorrows!—hadst thou known

All I have felt in silence and alone,

E’en thou mightst then relent, and deem, at last,

A grief like mine might expiate all the past.

“But oh! for thee, the loved and precious flower,

So fondly rear’d in luxury’s guarded bower,

From every danger, every storm secured,

How hast thou suffer’d! what hast thou endured!

Daughter of palaces! and can it be

That this bleak desert is a home for thee!

These rocks thy dwelling! thou, who shouldst have known

Of life the sunbeam and the smile alone!

Oh, yet forgive!—be all my guilt forgot,

Nor bid me leave thee to so rude a lot!”

“That lot is fix’d—’twere fruitless to repine:

Still must a gulf divide my fate from thine.

I may forgive—but not at will the heart

Can bid its dark remembrances depart.

No, Hamet! no!—too deeply are these traced;

Yet the hour comes when all shall be effaced!

Not long on earth, not long, shall Zayda keep

Her lonely vigils o’er the grave to weep.

E’en now, prophetic of my early doom,

Speaks to my soul a presage of the tomb;

And ne’er in vain did hopeless mourner feel

That deep foreboding o’er the bosom steal!

Soon shall I slumber calmly by the side

Of him for whom I lived, and would have died;

Till then, one thought shall soothe my orphan lot,

In pain and peril—I forsook him not.

“And now, farewell!—behold the summer-day

Is passing, like the dreams of life, away.

Soon will the tribe of him who sleeps draw nigh,

With the last rites his bier to sanctify.

Oh, yet in time, away!—’twere not my prayer

Could move their hearts a foe like thee to spare!

This hour they come—and dost thou scorn to fly?

Save me that one last pang—to see thee die!”

E’en while she speaks is heard their echoing tread;

Onward they move, the kindred of the dead.

They reach the cave—they enter—slow their pace,

And calm deep sadness marks each mourner’s face;

And all is hush’d, till he who seems to wait

In silent stern devotedness his fate,

Hath met their glance—then grief to fury turns:

Each mien is changed, each eye indignant burns,

And voices rise, and swords have left their sheath.

Blood must atone for blood, and death for death!

They close around him: lofty still his mien,

His cheek unalter’d, and his brow serene.

Unheard, or heard in vain, is Zayda’s cry;

Fruitless her prayer, unmark’d her agony.

But as his foremost foes their weapons bend

Against the life he seeks not to defend,

Wildly she darts between—each feeling past,

Save strong affection, which prevails at last.

Oh, not in vain its daring!—for the blow

Aim’d at his heart hath bade her life-blood flow;

And she hath sunk a martyr on the breast

Where in that hour her head may calmly rest,

For he is saved! Behold the Zegri band,

Pale with dismay and grief, around her stand:

While, every thought of hate and vengeance o’er,

They weep for her who soon shall weep no more.

She, she alone is calm:—a fading smile,

Like sunset, passes o’er her cheek the while;

And in her eye, ere yet it closes, dwell

Those last faint rays, the parting soul’s farewell.

“Now is the conflict past, and I have proved

How well, how deeply thou hast been beloved!

Yes! in an hour like this ’twere vain to hide

The heart so long and so severely tried:

Still to thy name that heart hath fondly thrill’d,

But sterner duties call’d—and were fulfill’d.

And I am blest!—To every holier tie

My life was faithful,—and for thee I die!

Nor shall the love so purified be vain;

Sever’d on earth, we yet shall meet again.

Farewell!—And ye, at Zayda’s dying prayer,

Spare him, my kindred tribe! forgive and spare!

Oh! be his guilt forgotten in his woes,

While I, beside my sire, in peace repose.”

Now fades her cheek, her voice hath sunk, and death

Sits in her eye, and struggles in her breath.

One pang—’tis past—her task on earth is done,

And the pure spirit to its rest hath flown.

But he for whom she died—oh! who may paint

The grief to which all other woes were faint?

There is no power in language to impart

The deeper pangs, the ordeals of the heart,

By the dread Searcher of the soul survey’d:

These have no words—nor are by words portray’d.

A dirge is rising on the mountain-air,

Whose fitful swells its plaintive murmurs bear

Far o’er the Alpuxarras;—wild its tone,

And rocks and caverns echo, “Thou art gone!”

“Daughter of heroes! thou art gone

To share his tomb who gave thee birth:

Peace to the lovely spirit flown!

It was not form’d for earth.

Thou wert a sunbeam in thy race,

Which brightly pass’d and left no trace.

“But calmly sleep!—for thou art free,

And hands unchain’d thy tomb shall raise.

Sleep! they are closed at length for thee,

Life’s few and evil days!

Nor shalt thou watch, with tearful eye,

The lingering death of liberty.

“Flower of the desert! thou thy bloom

Didst early to the storm resign:

We bear it still—and dark their doom

Who cannot weep for thine!

For us, whose every hope is fled,

The time is past to mourn the dead.

“The days have been, when o’er thy bier

Far other strains than these had flow’d;

Now, as a home from grief and fear,

We hail thy dark abode!

We, who but linger to bequeath

Our sons the choice of chains or death.

“Thou art with those, the free, the brave,

The mighty of departed years;

And for the slumberers of the grave

Our fate hath left no tears.

Though loved and lost, to weep were vain

For thee, who ne’er shalt weep again.

“Have we not seen despoil’d by foes

The land our fathers won of yore?

And is there yet a pang for those

Who gaze on this no more?

Oh, that like them ’twere ours to rest!

Daughter of heroes! thou art blest!”

A few short year’s, and in the lonely cave

Where sleeps the Zegri maid, is Hamet’s grave.

Sever’d in life, united in the tomb—

Such, of the hearts that loved so well, the doom!

Their dirge, of woods and waves th’ eternal moan;

Their sepulchre, the pine-clad rocks alone.

And oft beside the midnight watch-fire’s blaze,

Amidst those rocks, in long-departed days,

(When freedom fled, to hold, sequester’d there,

The stern and lofty councils of despair,)

Some exiled Moor, a warrior of the wild,

Who the lone hours with mournful strains beguiled,

Hath taught his mountain-home the tale of those

Who thus have suffer’d, and who thus repose.


[“In the reign of Otho III. Emperor of Germany, the Romans, excited by their Consul, Crescentius, who ardently desired to restore the ancient glory of the Republic, made a bold attempt to shake off the Saxon yoke, and the authority of the popes, whose vices rendered them objects of universal contempt. The Consul was besieged by Otho in the Mole of Hadrian, which long afterwards continued to be called the Tower of Crescentius. Otho, after many unavailing attacks upon this fortress, at last entered into negotiations; and, pledging his imperial word to respect the life of Crescentius, and the rights of the Roman citizens, the unfortunate leader was betrayed into his power, and immediately beheaded, with many of his partisans. Stephania, his widow, concealing her affliction and her resentment for the insults to which she had been exposed, secretly resolved to revenge her husband and herself. On the return of Otho from a pilgrimage to Mount Gargano, which perhaps a feeling of remorse had induced him to undertake, she found means to be introduced to him, and to gain his confidence; and a poison administered by her was soon afterwards the cause of his painful death.”—Sismondi, History of the Italian Republics, vol. i.]

“L’orage peut briser en un moment les fleurs qui tiennent encore la tête levée.”—Mad. de Stael.

Midst Tivoli’s luxuriant glades,

Bright-foaming falls, and olive shades,

Where dwelt, in days departed long,

The sons of battle and of song,

No tree, no shrub its foliage rears

But o’er the wrecks of other years,

Temples and domes, which long have been

The soil of that enchanted scene.

There the wild fig-tree and the vine

O’er Hadrian’s mouldering villa twine;

The cypress, in funereal grace,

Usurps the vanish’d column’s place;

O’er fallen shrine and ruin’d frieze

The wall-flower rustles in the breeze;

Acanthus-leaves the marble hide

They once adorn’d in sculptured pride;

And nature hath resumed her throne

O’er the vast works of ages flown.

Was it for this that many a pile,

Pride of Ilissus and of Nile,

To Anio’s banks the image lent

Of each imperial monument?

Now Athens weeps her shatter’d fanes,

Thy temples, Egypt, strew thy plains;

And the proud fabrics Hadrian rear’d

From Tibur’s vale have disappear’d.

We need no prescient sibyl there

The doom of grandeur to declare;

Each stone, where weeds and ivy climb,

Reveals some oracle of Time;

Each relic utters Fate’s decree—

The future as the past shall be.

Halls of the dead! in Tibur’s vale,

Who now shall tell your lofty tale?

Who trace the high patrician’s dome,

The bard’s retreat, the hero’s home?

When moss-clad wrecks alone record

There dwelt the world’s departed lord,

In scenes where verdure’s rich array

Still sheds young beauty o’er decay,

And sunshine on each glowing hill

Midst ruins finds a dwelling still.

Sunk is thy palace—but thy tomb,

Hadrian! hath shared a prouder doom.

Though vanish’d with the days of old

Its pillars of Corinthian mould;

Though the fair forms by sculpture wrought,

Each bodying some immortal thought,

Which o’er that temple of the dead

Serene but solemn beauty shed,

Have found, like glory’s self, a grave

In time’s abyss or Tiber’s wave;

Yet dreams more lofty and more fair

Than art’s bold hand hath imaged e’er.

High thoughts of many a mighty mind

Expanding when all else declined,

In twilight years, when only they

Recall’d the radiance pass’d away,

Have made that ancient pile their home,

Fortress of freedom and of Rome.

There he, who strove in evil days

Again to kindle glory’s rays,

Whose spirit sought a path of light

For those dim ages far too bright—

Crescentius—long maintain’d the strife

Which closed but with its martyr’s life,

And left th’ imperial tomb a name,

A heritage of holier fame.

There closed De Brescia’s mission high,

From thence the patriot came to die;

And thou, whose Roman soul the last

Spoke with the voice of ages past,

Whose thoughts so long from earth had fled

To mingle with the glorious dead,

That midst the world’s degenerate race

They vainly sought a dwelling-place,

Within that house of death didst brood

O’er visions to thy ruin woo’d.

Yet, worthy of a brighter lot,

Rienzi, be thy faults forgot!

For thou, when all around thee lay

Chain’d in the slumbers of decay—

So sunk each heart, that mortal eye

Had scarce a tear for liberty—

Alone, amidst the darkness there,

Couldst gaze on Rome—yet not despair!

’Tis morn—and nature’s richest dyes

Are floating o’er Italian skies;

Tints of transparent lustre shine

Along the snow-clad Apennine;

The clouds have left Soracte’s height,

And yellow Tiber winds in light,

Where tombs and fallen fanes have strew’d

The wide Campagna’s solitude.

’Tis sad amidst that scene to trace

Those relics of a vanish’d race;

Yet, o’er the ravaged path of time—

Such glory sheds that brilliant clime,

Where nature still, though empires fall,

Holds her triumphant festival—

E’en desolation wears a smile,

Where skies and sunbeams laugh the while;

And heaven’s own light, earth’s richest bloom,

Array the ruin and the tomb.

But she, who from yon convent tower

Breathes the pure freshness of the hour;

She, whose rich flow of raven hair

Streams wildly on the morning air,

Heeds not how fair the scene below,

Robed in Italia’s brightest glow.

Though throned midst Latium’s classic plains

Th’ Eternal City’s towers and fanes,

And they, the Pleiades of earth,

The seven proud hills of Empire’s birth,

Lie spread beneath; not now her glance

Roves o’er that vast sublime expanse;

Inspired, and bright with hope,’tis thrown

On Adrian’s massy tomb alone;

There, from the storm, when Freedom fled,

His faithful few Crescentius led;

While she, his anxious bride, who now

Bends o’er the scene her youthful brow,

Sought refuge in the hallow’d fane,

Which then could shelter, not in vain.

But now the lofty strife is o’er,

And Liberty shall weep no more.

At length imperial Otho’s voice

Bids her devoted sons rejoice;

And he, who battled to restore

The glories and the rights of yore,

Whose accents, like the clarion’s sound,

Could burst the dead repose around,

Again his native Rome shall see

The sceptred city of the free!

And young Stephania waits the hour

When leaves her lord his fortress-tower—

Her ardent heart with joy elate,

That seems beyond the reach of fate;

Her mien, like creature from above,

All vivified with hope and love.

Fair is her form, and in her eye

Lives all the soul of Italy;

A meaning lofty and inspired,

As by her native day-star fired;

Such wild and high expression, fraught

With glances of impassion’d thought,

As fancy sheds, in visions bright,

O’er priestess of the God of Light;

And the dark locks that lend her face

A youthful and luxuriant grace,

Wave o’er her cheek, whose kindling dyes

Seem from the fire within to rise,

But deepen’d by the burning heaven

To her own land of sunbeams given.

Italian art that fervid glow

Would o’er ideal beauty throw,

And with such ardent life express

Her high-wrought dreams of loveliness,—

Dreams which, surviving Empire’s fall,

The shade of glory still recall.

But see!—the banner of the brave

O’er Adrian’s tomb hath ceased to wave.

’Tis lower’d—and now Stephania’s eye

Can well the martial train descry,

Who, issuing from that ancient dome,

Pour through the crowded streets of Rome.

Now from her watch-tower on the height,

With step as fabled wood-nymph’s light,

She flies—and swift her way pursues

Through the lone convent’s avenues.

Dark cypress groves, and fields o’erspread

With records of the conquering dead,

And paths which track a glowing waste,

She traverses in breathless haste;

And by the tombs where dust is shrined

Once tenanted by loftiest mind,

Still passing on, hath reach’d the gate

Of Rome, the proud, the desolate!

Throng’d are the streets, and, still renew’d,

Rush on the gathering multitude.

—Is it their high-soul’d chief to greet

That thus the Roman thousands meet?

With names that bid their thoughts ascend,

Crescentius! thine in song to blend;

And of triumphal days gone by

Recall th’ inspiring pageantry?

—There is an air of breathless dread,

An eager glance, a hurrying tread;

And now a fearful silence round,

And now a fitful murmuring sound,

Midst the pale crowds, that almost seem

Phantoms of some tumultuous dream.

Quick is each step and wild each mien,

Portentous of some awful scene.

Bride of Crescentius! as the throng

Bore thee with whelming force along,

How did thine anxious heart beat high,

Till rose suspense to agony!—

Too brief suspense, that soon shall close,

And leave thy heart to deeper woes.

Who midst yon guarded precinct stands,

With fearless mien but fetter’d hands?

The ministers of death are nigh,

Yet a calm grandeur lights his eye;

And in his glance there fives a mind

Which was not form’d for chains to bind,

But cast in such heroic mould

As theirs, th’ ascendant ones of old.

Crescentius! freedom’s daring son,

Is this the guerdon thou hast won?

Oh, worthy to have lived and died

In the bright days of Latium’s pride!

Thus must the beam of glory close

O’er the seven hills again that rose,

When at thy voice, to burst the yoke,

The soul of Rome indignant woke?

Vain dream! the sacred shields are gone,

Sunk is the crowning city’s throne:

Th’ illusions, that around her cast

Their guardian spells, have long been past.

Thy life hath been a shot-star’s ray,

Shed o’er her midnight of decay;

Thy death at freedom’s ruin’d shrine

Must rivet every chain—but thine.

Calm is his aspect, and his eye

Now fix’d upon the deep blue sky,

Now on those wrecks of ages fled

Around in desolation spread—

Arch, temple, column, worn and gray,

Recording triumphs pass’d away;

Works of the mighty and the free,

Whose steps on earth no more shall be,

Though their bright course hath left a trace

Nor years nor sorrows can efface.

Why changes now the patriot’s mien,

Erewhile so loftily serene?

Thus can approaching death control

The might of that commanding soul?

No!—Heard ye not that thrilling cry

Which told of bitterest agony?

He heard it, and at once, subdued,

Hath sunk the hero’s fortitude.

He heard it, and his heart too well

Whence rose that voice of woe can tell;

And midst the gazing throngs around

One well-known form his glance hath found—

One fondly loving and beloved,

In grief, in peril, faithful proved.

Yes! in the wildness of despair,

She, his devoted bride, is there.

Pale, breathless, through the crowd she flies,

The light of frenzy in her eyes:

But ere her arms can clasp the form

Which life ere long must cease to warm—

Ere on his agonising breast

Her heart can heave, her head can rest—

Check’d in her course by ruthless hands,

Mute, motionless, at once she stands;

With bloodless cheek and vacant glance,

Frozen and fix’d in horror’s trance;

Spell-bound, as every sense were fled,

And thought o’erwhelm’d, and feeling dead;

And the light waving of her hair,

And veil, far floating on the air,

Alone, in that dread moment, show

She is no sculptured form of woe.

The scene of grief and death is o’er,

The patriot’s heart shall throb no more:

But hers—so vainly form’d to prove

The pure devotedness of love,

And draw from fond affection’s eye

All thought sublime, all feeling high—

When consciousness again shall wake,

Hath now no refuge but to break.

The spirit long inured to pain

May smile at fate in calm disdain,

Survive its darkest hour, and rise

In more majestic energies.

But in the glow of vernal pride,

If each warm hope at once hath died,

Then sinks the mind, a blighted flower,

Dead to the sunbeam and the shower;

A broken gem, whose inborn light

Is scatter’d—ne’er to re-unite.


Hast thou a scene that is not spread

With records of thy glory fled?

A monument that doth not tell

The tale of liberty’s farewell?

Italia! thou art but a grave

Where flowers luxuriate o’er the brave,

And nature gives her treasures birth

O’er all that hath been great on earth.

Yet smile thy heavens as once they smiled

When thou wert freedom’s favour’d child:

Though fane and tomb alike are low,

Time hath not dimm’d thy sunbeam’s glow;

And, robed in that exulting ray,

Thou seem’st to triumph o’er decay—

Oh, yet, though by thy sorrows bent,

In nature’s pomp magnificent!

What marvel if, when all was lost,

Still on thy bright enchanted coast,

Though many an omen warn’d him thence,

Linger’d the lord of eloquence.

Still gazing on the lovely sky,

Whose radiance woo’d him—but to die?

Like him, who would not linger there,

Where heaven, earth, ocean, all are fair?

Who midst thy glowing scenes could dwell,

Nor bid awhile his griefs farewell?

Hath not thy pure and genial air

Balm for all sadness but despair?

No! there are pangs whose deep-worn trace

Not all thy magic can efface!

Hearts by unkindness wrung may learn

The world and all its gifts to spurn;

Time may steal on with silent tread,

And dry the tear that mourns the dead,

May change fond love, subdue regret,

And teach e’en vengeance to forget:

But thou, Remorse! there is no charm

Thy sting, avenger, to disarm!

Vain are bright suns and laughing skies

To soothe thy victim’s agonies:

The heart once made thy burning throne,

Still, while it beats, is thine alone.

In vain for Otho’s joyless eye

Smile the fair scenes of Italy,

As through her landscapes’ rich array

Th’ imperial pilgrim bends his way.

Thy form, Crescentius! on his sight

Rises when nature laughs in light,

Glides round him at the midnight hour,

Is present in his festal bower,

With awful voice and frowning mien,

By all but him unheard, unseen.

Oh! thus to shadows of the grave

Be every tyrant still a slave!

Where, through Gargano’s woody dells,

O’er bending oaks the north wind swells,

A sainted hermit’s lowly tomb

Is bosom’d in umbrageous gloom,

In shades that saw him live and die

Beneath their waving canopy.

’Twas his, as legends tell, to share

The converse of immortals there;

Around that dweller of the wild

There “bright appearances” have smiled,

And angel-wings at eve have been

Gleaming the shadowy boughs between.

And oft from that secluded bower

Hath breathed, at midnight’s calmer hour,

A swell of viewless harps, a sound

Of warbled anthems pealing round.

Oh, none but voices of the sky

Might wake that thrilling harmony,

Whose tones, whose very echoes made

An Eden of the lonely shade!

Years have gone by; the hermit sleeps

Amidst Gargano’s woods and steeps;

Ivy and flowers have half o’ergrown

And veil’d his low sepulchral stone:

Yet still the spot is holy, still

Celestial footsteps haunt the hill;

And oft the awe-struck mountaineer

Aërial vesper-hymns may hear

Around those forest-precincts float,

Soft, solemn, clear, but still remote.

Oft will Affliction breathe her plaint

To that rude shrine’s departed saint,

And deem that spirits of the blest

There shed sweet influence o’er her breast.

And thither Otho now repairs,

To soothe his soul with vows and prayers;

And if for him, on holy ground,

The lost one, Peace, may yet be found,

Midst rocks and forests, by the bed

Where calmly sleep the sainted dead,

She dwells, remote from heedless eye,

With nature’s lonely majesty.

Vain, vain the search!—his troubled breast

Nor vow nor penance lulls to rest:

The weary pilgrimage is o’er,

The hopes that cheer’d it are no more.

Then sinks his soul, and day by day

Youth’s buoyant energies decay.

The light of health his eye hath flown,

The glow that tinged his cheek is gone.

Joyless as one on whom is laid

Some baleful spell that bids him fade,

Extending its mysterious power

O’er every scene, o’er every hour:

E’en thus he withers; and to him

Italia’s brilliant skies are dim.

He withers—in that glorious clime

Where Nature laughs in scorn of Time;

And suns, that shed on all below

Their full and vivifying glow,

From him alone their power withhold,

And leave his heart in darkness cold.

Earth blooms around him, heaven is fair—

He only seems to perish there.

Yet sometimes will a transient smile

Play o’er his faded cheek awhile,

When breathes his minstrel boy a strain

Of power to lull all earthly pain—

So wildly sweet, its notes might seem

Th’ ethereal music of a dream,

A spirit’s voice from worlds unknown,

Deep thrilling power in every tone!

Sweet is that lay! and yet its flow

Hath language only given to woe;

And if at times its wakening swell

Some tale of glory seems to tell,

Soon the proud notes of triumph die,

Lost in a dirge’s harmony.

Oh! many a pang the heart hath proved,

Hath deeply suffer’d, fondly loved,

Ere the sad strain could catch from thence

Such deep impassion’d eloquence!

Yes! gaze on him, that minstrel boy—

He is no child of hope and joy!

Though few his years, yet have they been

Such as leave traces on the mien,

And o’er the roses of our prime

Breathe other blights than those of time.

Yet seems his spirit wild and proud,

By grief unsoften’d and unbow’d.

Oh! there are sorrows which impart

A sternness foreign to the heart,

And, rushing with an earthquake’s power,

That makes a desert in an hour,

Rouse the dread passions in their course,

As tempests wake the billows’ force!—

’Tis sad, on youthful Guido’s face,

The stamp of woes like these to trace.

Oh! where can ruins awe mankind

Dark as the ruins of the mind?

His mien is lofty, but his gaze

Too well a wandering soul betrays:

His full dark eye at times is bright

With strange and momentary light,

Whose quick uncertain flashes throw

O’er his pale cheek a hectic glow:

And oft his features and his air

A shade of troubled mystery wear,

A glance of hurried wildness, fraught

With some unfathomable thought.

Whate’er that thought, still unexpress’d

Dwells the sad secret in his breast;

The pride his haughty brow reveals

All other passion well conceals—

He breathes each wounded feeling’s tone

In music’s eloquence alone;

His soul’s deep voice is only pour’d

Through his full song and swelling chord.

He seeks no friend, but shuns the train

Of courtiers with a proud disdain;

And, save when Otho bids his lay

Its half unearthly power essay

In hall or bower the heart to thrill,

His haunts are wild and lonely still.

Far distant from the heedless throng,

He roves old Tiber’s banks along,

Where Empire’s desolate remains

Lie scatter’d o’er the silent plains;

Or, lingering midst each ruin’d shrine

That strews the desert Palatine,

With mournful yet commanding mien,

Like the sad genius of the scene,

Entranced in awful thought appears

To commune with departed years.

Or at the dead of night, when Rome

Seems of heroic shades the home;

When Tiber’s murmuring voice recalls

The mighty to their ancient halls;

When hush’d is every meaner sound,

And the deep moonlight-calm around

Leaves to the solemn scene alone

The majesty of ages flown—

A pilgrim to each hero’s tomb,

He wanders through the sacred gloom;

And midst those dwellings of decay

At times will breathe so sad a lay,

So wild a grandeur in each tone,

’Tis like a dirge for empires gone!

Awake thy pealing harp again,

But breathe a more exulting strain,

Young Guido! for awhile forgot

Be the dark secrets of thy lot,

And rouse th’ inspiring soul of song

To speed the banquet’s hour along!—

The feast is spread, and music’s call

Is echoing through the royal hall,

And banners wave and trophies shine

O’er stately guests in glittering line;

And Otho seeks awhile to chase

The thoughts he never can erase,

And bid the voice, whose murmurs deep

Rise like a spirit on his sleep—

The still small voice of conscience—die,

Lost in the din of revelry.

On his pale brow dejection lowers,

But that shall yield to festal hours;

A gloom is in his faded eye,

But that from music’s power shall fly;

His wasted cheek is wan with care,

But mirth shall spread fresh crimson there.

Wake, Guido! wake thy numbers high,

Strike the bold chord exultingly!

And pour upon the enraptured ear

Such strains as warriors love to hear!

Let the rich mantling goblet flow,

And banish aught resembling woe;

And if a thought intrude, of power

To mar the bright convivial hour,

Still must its influence lurk unseen,

And cloud the heart—but not the mien!

Away, vain dream!—on Otho’s brow,

Still darker lower the shadows now;

Changed are his features, now o’erspread

With the cold paleness of the dead;

Now crimson’d with a hectic dye,

The burning flush of agony!

His lip is quivering, and his breast

Heaves with convulsive pangs oppress’d;

Now his dim eye seems fix’d and glazed,

And now to heaven in anguish raised;

And as, with unavailing aid,

Around him throng his guests dismay’d,

He sinks—while scarce his struggling breath

Hath power to falter—“This is death!”

Then rush’d that haughty child of song,

Dark Guido, through the awe-struck throng.

Fill’d with a strange delirious light,

His kindling eye shone wildly bright;

And on the sufferer’s mien awhile

Gazing with stem vindictive smile,

A feverish glow of triumph dyed

His burning cheek, while thus he cried:—

“Yes! these are death-pangs—on thy brow

Is set the seal of vengeance now!

Oh! well was mix’d the deadly draught,

And long and deeply hast thou quaff’d;

And bitter as thy pangs may be,

They are but guerdons meet from me!

Yet these are but a moment’s throes—

Howe’er intense, they soon shall close.

Soon shalt thou yield thy fleeting breath—

My life hath been a lingering death,

Since one dark hour of woe and crime,

A blood-spot on the page of time!

“Deem’st thou my mind of reason void?

It is not frenzied—but destroy’d!

Ay! view the wreck with shuddering thought—

That work of ruin thou hast wrought!

The secret of thy doom to tell,

My name alone suffices well!

Stephania!—once a hero’s bride!

Otho! thou know’st the rest—he died.

Yes! trusting to a monarch’s word,

The Roman fell, untried, unheard!

And thou, whose every pledge was vain,

How couldst thou trust in aught again?

“He died, and I was changed—my soul,

A lonely wanderer, spurn’d control.

From peace, and light, and glory hurl’d,

The outcast of a purer world,

I saw each brighter hope o’erthrown,

And lived for one dread task alone.

The task is closed, fulfill’d the vow—

The hand of death is on thee now.

Betrayer! in thy turn betray’d,

The debt of blood shall soon be paid!

Thine hour is come—the time hath been

My heart had shrunk from such a scene;

That feeling long is past—my fate

Hath made me stern as desolate.

“Ye that around me shuddering stand,

Ye chiefs and princes of the land!

Mourn ye a guilty monarch’s doom?

Ye wept not o’er the patriot’s tomb!

He sleeps unhonour’d—yet be mine

To share his low, neglected shrine.

His soul with freedom finds a home,

His grave is that of glory—Rome!

Are not the great of old with her,

That city of the sepulchre?

Lead me to death! and let me share,

The slumbers of the mighty there!”

The day departs—that fearful day

Fades in calm loveliness away:

From purple heavens its lingering beam

Seems melting into Tiber’s stream,

And softly tints each Roman hill

With glowing light, as clear and still

As if, unstain’d by crime or woe,

Its hours had pass’d in silent flow.

The day sets calmly—it hath been

Mark’d with a strange and awful scene:

One guilty bosom throbs no more,

And Otho’s pangs and life are o’er.

And thou, ere yet another sun

His burning race hath brightly run,

Released from anguish by thy foes,

Daughter of Rome! shalt find repose.

Yes! on thy country’s lovely sky

Fix yet once more thy parting eye!

A few short hours—and all shall be

The silent and the past for thee.

Oh! thus with tempests of a day

We struggle, and we pass away,

Like the wild billows as they sweep,

Leaving no vestige on the deep!

And o’er thy dark and lowly bed

The sons of future days shall tread,

The pangs, the conflicts, of thy lot,

By them unknown, by thee forgot.


[“Antony, concluding that he could not die more honourably than in battle, determined to attack Cæsar at the same time both by sea and land. The night preceding the execution of this design, he ordered his servants at supper to render him their best services that evening, and fill the wine round plentifully, for the day following they might belong to another master, whilst he lay extended on the ground, no longer of consequence either to them or to himself. His friends were affected, and wept to hear him talk thus; which when he perceived, he encouraged them by assurances that his expectations of a glorious victory were at least equal to those of an honourable death. At the dead of night, when universal silence reigned through the city—a silence that was deepened by the awful thought of the ensuing day—on a sudden was heard the sound of musical instruments, and a noise which resembled the exclamations of Bacchanals. This tumultuous procession seemed to pass through the whole city, and to go out at the gate which led to the enemy’s camp. Those who reflected on this prodigy concluded that Bacchus, the god whom Antony affected to imitate, had then forsaken him.”—Langhorne’s Plutarch.]

Thy foes had girt thee with their dread array,

O stately Alexandria!—yet the sound

Of mirth and music, at the close of day,

Swell’d from thy splendid fabrics far around

O’er camp and wave. Within the royal hall,

In gay magnificence the feast was spread;

And, brightly streaming from the pictured wall,

A thousand lamps their trembling lustre shed

O’er many a column, rich with precious dyes,

That tinge the marble’s vein, ’neath Afric’s burning skies.

And soft and clear that wavering radiance play’d

O’er sculptured forms, that round the pillar’d scene

Calm and majestic rose, by art array’d

In godlike beauty, awfully serene.

Oh! how unlike the troubled guests, reclined

Round that luxurious board!—in every face

Some shadow from the tempest of the mind,

Rising by fits, the searching eye might trace,

Though vainly mask’d in smiles which are not mirth,

But the proud spirit’s veil thrown o’er the woes of earth.

Their brows are bound with wreaths, whose transient bloom

May still survive the wearers—and the rose

Perchance may scarce be wither’d, when the tomb

Receives the mighty to its dark repose!

The day must dawn on battle, and may set

In death—but fill the mantling wine-cup high!

Despair is fearless, and the Fates e’en yet

Lend her one hour for parting revelry.

They who the empire of the world possess’d

Would taste its joys again, ere all exchanged for rest.

Its joys! oh, mark yon proud Triumvir’s mien,

And read their annals on that brow of care!

Midst pleasure’s lotus-bowers his steps have been:

Earth’s brightest pathway led him to despair.

Trust not the glance that fain would yet inspire

The buoyant energies of days gone by;

There is delusion in its meteor fire,

And all within is shame, is agony!

Away! the tear in bitterness may flow,

But there are smiles which bear a stamp of deeper woe.

Thy cheek is sunk, and faded as thy fame,

O lost, devoted Roman! yet thy brow,

To that ascendant and undying name,

Pleads with stem loftiness thy right e’en now.

Thy glory is departed, but hath left

A lingering light around thee: in decay

Not less than kingly—though of all bereft,

Thou seem’st as empire had not pass’d away.

Supreme in ruin! teaching hearts elate

A deep prophetic dread of still mysterious fate!

But thou, enchantress queen! whose love hath made

His desolation—thou art by his side,

In all thy sovereignty of charms array’d,

To meet the storm with still unconquer’d pride.

Imperial being! e’en though many a stain

Of error be upon thee, there is power

In thy commanding nature, which shall reign

O’er the stern genius of misfortune’s hour;

And the dark beauty of thy troubled eye

E’en now is all illumed with wild sublimity.

Thine aspect, all impassion’d, wears a light

Inspiring and inspired—thy cheek a dye,

Which rises not from joy, but yet is bright

With the deep glow of feverish energy.

Proud siren of the Nile! thy glance is fraught

With an immortal fire—in every beam

It darts, there kindles some heroic thought,

But wild and awful as a sibyl’s dream;

For thou with death hast communed to attain

Dread knowledge of the pangs that ransom from the chain.

And the stern courage by such musings lent,

Daughter of Afric! o’er thy beauty throws

The grandeur of a regal spirit, blent

With all the majesty of mighty woes:

While he, so fondly, fatally adored,

Thy fallen Roman, gazes on thee yet,

Till scarce the soul that once exulting soar’d

Can deem the day-star of its glory set;

Scarce his charm’d heart believes that power can be

In sovereign fate, o’er him thus fondly loved by thee.

But there is sadness in the eyes around,

Which mark that ruin’d leader, and survey

His changeful mien, whence oft the gloom profound

Strange triumph chases haughtily away.

“Fill the bright goblet, warrior guests!” he cries;

“Quaff, ere we part, the generous nectar deep!

Ere sunset gild once more the western skies

Your chief in cold forgetfulness may sleep;

While sounds of revel float o’er shore and sea,

And the red bowl again is crown’d—but not for me.

“Yet weep not thus. The struggle is not o’er,

O victors of Philippi! many a field

Hath yielded palms to us: one effort more!

By one stern conflict must our doom be seal’d.

Forget not, Romans! o’er a subject world

How royally your eagle’s wing hath spread,

Though, from his eyrie of dominion hurl’d,

Now bursts the tempest on his crested head!

Yet sovereign still, if banish’d from the sky,

The sun’s indignant bird, he must not droop—but die.”

The feast is o’er. ’Tis night, the dead of night—

Unbroken stillness broods o’er earth and deep;

From Egypt’s heaven of soft and starry light

The moon looks cloudless o’er a world of sleep.

For those who wait the morn’s awakening beams,

The battle-signal to decide their doom,

Have sunk to feverish rest and troubled dreams;—

Rest that shall soon be calmer in the tomb;

Dreams dark and ominous, but there to cease,

When sleep the lords of war in solitude and peace.

Wake, slumberers! wake! Hark! heard ye not a sound

Of gathering tumult?—Near and nearer still

Its murmur swells. Above, below, around.

Bursts a strange chorus forth, confused and shrill.

Wake, Alexandria! through thy streets the tread

Of steps unseen is hurrying, and the note

Of pipe, and lyre, and trumpet, wild and dread,

Is heard upon the midnight air to float;

And voices, clamorous as in frenzied mirth,

Mingle their thousand tones, which are not of the earth.

These are no mortal sounds—their thrilling strain

Hath more mysterious power, and birth more high;

And the deep horror chilling every vein

Owns them of stern terrific augury.

Beings of worlds unknown! ye pass away,

O ye invisible and awful throng!

Your echoing footsteps and resounding lay

To Cæsar’s camp exulting move along.

Thy gods forsake thee, Antony! the sky

By that dread sign reveals thy doom—“Despair and die!”


[After describing the conquest of Greece and Italy by the German and Scythian hordes united under the command of Alaric, the historian of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire thus proceeds:—“Whether fame, or conquest, or riches, were the object of Alaric, he pursued that object with an indefatigable ardour, which could neither be quelled by adversity nor satiated by success. No sooner had he reached the extreme land of Italy, than he was attracted by the neighbouring prospect of a fair and peaceful island. Yet even the possession of Sicily he considered only as an intermediate step to the important expedition which he already meditated against the continent of Africa. The straits of Rhegium and Messina are twelve miles in length, and, in the narrowest passage, about one mile and a half broad; and the fabulous monsters of the deep—the rocks of Scylla and the whirlpool of Charybdis—could terrify none but the most timid and unskilful mariners: yet, as soon as the first division of the Goths had embarked, a sudden tempest arose, which sunk or scattered many of the transports. Their courage was daunted by the terrors of a new element; and the whole design was defeated by the premature death of Alaric, which fixed, after a short illness, the fatal term of his conquests. The ferocious character of the barbarians was displayed in the funeral of a hero, whose valour and fortune they celebrated with mournful applause. By the labour of a captive multitude, they forcibly diverted the course of the Busentinus, a small river that washes the walls of Consentia. The royal sepulchre, adorned with the splendid spoils and trophies of Rome, was constructed in the vacant bed; the waters were then restored to their natural channel, and the secret spot where the remains of Alaric had been deposited was for ever concealed by the inhuman massacre of the prisoners who had been employed to execute the work.”—Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. v. p. 329.]

Heard ye the Gothic trumpet’s blast?

The march of hosts as Alaric pass’d?

His steps have track’d that glorious clime,

The birth-place of heroic time;

But he, in northern deserts bred,

Spared not the living for the dead,

Nor heard the voice whose pleading cries

From temple and from tomb arise.

He pass’d—the light of burning fanes

Hath been his torch o’er Grecian plains;

And woke they not—the brave, the free,

To guard their own Thermopylæ?

And left they not their silent dwelling,

When Scythia’s note of war was swelling?

No! where the bold Three Hundred slept,

Sad freedom battled not—but wept!

For nerveless then the Spartan’s hand,

And Thebes could rouse no Sacred Band;

Nor one high soul from slumber broke

When Athens own’d the northern yoke.

But was there none for thee to dare

The conflict, scorning to despair?

O City of the seven proud hills!

Whose name e’en yet the spirit thrills,

As doth a clarion’s battle-call—

Didst thou, too, ancient empress, fall?

Did no Camillus from the chain

Ransom thy Capitol again?

Oh, who shall tell the days to be

No patriot rose to bleed for thee!

Heard ye the Gothic trumpet’s blast?

The march of hosts as Alaric pass’d?

That fearful sound, at midnight deep,

Burst on the Eternal City’s sleep:—

How woke the mighty? She whose will

So long had bid the world be still,

Her sword a sceptre, and her eye

Th’ ascendant star of destiny!

She woke—to view the dread array

Of Scythians rushing to their prey,

To hear her streets resound the cries

Pour’d from a thousand agonies!

While the strange light of flames, that gave

A ruddy glow to Tiber’s wave,

Bursting in that terrific hour

From fane and palace, dome and tower,

Reveal’d the throngs, for aid divine,

Clinging to many a worshipp’d shrine:

Fierce fitful radiance wildly shed

O’er spear and sword, with carnage red,

Shone o’er the suppliant and the flying,

And kindled pyres for Romans dying.

Weep, Italy! alas, that e’er

Should tears alone thy wrongs declare!

The time hath been when thy distress

Had roused up empires for redress!

Now, her long race of glory run,

Without a combat Rome is won,

And from her plunder’d temples forth

Rush the fierce children of the North,

To share beneath more genial skies

Each joy their own rude clime denies.

Ye who on bright Campania’s shore

Bade your fair villas rise of yore,

With all their graceful colonnades,

And crystal baths, and myrtle shades,

Along the blue Hesperian deep,

Whose glassy waves in sunshine sleep—

Beneath your olive and your vine

Far other inmates now recline;

And the tall plane, whose roots ye fed

With rich libations duly shed,

O’er guests, unlike your vanish’d friends,

Its bowery canopy extends.

For them the southern heaven is glowing,

The bright Falernian nectar flowing;

For them the marble halls unfold,

Where nobler beings dwelt of old,

Whose children for barbarian lords

Touch the sweet lyre’s resounding chords.

Or wreaths of Pæstan roses twine

To crown the sons of Elbe and Rhine.

Yet, though luxurious they repose

Beneath Corinthian porticoes—

While round them into being start

The marvels of triumphant art—

Oh! not for them hath Genius given

To Parian stone the fire of heaven,

Enshrining in the forms he wrought

A bright eternity of thought.

In vain the natives of the skies

In breathing marble round them rise,

And sculptured nymphs of fount or glade

People the dark-green laurel shade.

Cold are the conqueror’s heart and eye

To visions of divinity;

And rude his hand which dares deface

Arouse ye from your soft delights!

Chieftains! the war-note’s call invites;

And other lands must yet be won,

And other deeds of havoc done.

Warriors! your flowery bondage break,

Sons of the stormy North, awake!

The barks are launching from the steep—

Soon shall the Isle of Ceres weep,

And Afric’s burning winds afar

Waft the shrill sounds of Alaric’s war.

Where shall his race of victory close?

When shall the ravaged earth repose?

But hark! what wildly mingling cries

From Scythia’s camp tumultuous rise?

Why swells dread Alaric’s name on air?

A sterner conquerer hath been there!

A conqueror—yet his paths are peace,

He comes to bring the world’s release;

He of the sword that knows no sheath,

The avenger, the deliverer—Death!

Is then that daring spirit fled?

Doth Alaric slumber with the dead?

Tamed are the warrior’s pride and strength,

And he and earth are calm at length.

The land where heaven unclouded shines,

Where sleep the sunbeams on the vines;

The land by conquest made his own,

Can yield him now—a grave alone.

But his—her lord from Alp to sea—

No common sepulchre shall be!

Oh, make his tomb where mortal eye

Its buried wealth may ne’er descry!

Where mortal foot may never tread

Above a victor-monarch’s bed.

Let not his royal dust be hid

’Neath star-aspiring pyramid;

Nor bid the gather’d mound arise,

To bear his memory to the skies.

Years roll away—oblivion claims

Her triumph o’er heroic names;

And hands profane disturb the clay

That once was fired with glory’s ray;

And Avarice, from their secret gloom,

Drags e’en the treasures of the tomb.

But thou, O leader of the free!

That general doom awaits not thee:

Thou, where no step may e’er intrude,

Shalt rest in regal solitude,

Till, bursting on thy sleep profound,

The Awakener’s final trumpet sound.

Turn ye the waters from their course,

Bid Nature yield to human force,

And hollow in the torrent’s bed

A chamber for the mighty dead.

The work is done—the captive’s hand

Hath well obey’d his lord’s command.

Within that royal tomb are cast

The richest trophies of the past,

The wealth of many a stately dome,

The gold and gems of plunder’d Rome;

And when the midnight stars are beaming,

And ocean waves in stillness gleaming,

Stern in their grief, his warriors bear

The Chastener of the Nations there;

To rest at length from victory’s toil,

Alone, with all an empire’s spoil!

Then the freed current’s rushing wave

Rolls o’er the secret of the grave;

Then streams the martyr’d captives’ blood

To crimson that sepulchral flood,

Whose conscious tide alone shall keep

The mystery in its bosom deep.

Time hath past on since then—and swept

From earth the urns where heroes slept;

Temples of gods and domes of kings

Are mouldering with forgotten things;

Yet not shall ages e’er molest

The viewless home of Alaric’s rest:

Still rolls, like them, the unfailing river,

The guardian of his dust for ever.


[“This governor, who had braved death when it was at a distance, and protested that the sun should never see him survive Carthage—this fierce Asdrubal was so mean-spirited as to come alone, and privately throw himself at the conqueror’s feet. The general, pleased to see his proud rival humbled, granted his life, and kept him to grace his triumph. The Carthaginians in the citadel no sooner understood that their commander had abandoned the place, than they threw open the gates, and put the proconsul in possession of Byrsa. The Romans had now no enemy to contend with but the nine hundred deserters, who, being reduced to despair, retired into the temple of Esculapius, which was a second citadel within the first: there the proconsul attacked them; and these unhappy wretches, finding there was no way to escape, set fire to the temple. As the flames spread, they retreated from one part to another, till they got to the roof of the building: there Asdrubal’s wife appeared in her best apparel, as if the day of her death had been a day of triumph; and after having uttered the most bitter imprecations against her husband, whom she saw standing below with Emilianus,—‘Base coward!’ said she, ‘the mean things thou hast done to save thy life shall not avail thee; thou shalt die this instant, at least in thy two children.’ Having thus spoken, she drew out a dagger, stabbed them both, and while they were yet struggling for life, threw them from the top of the temple, and leaped down after them into the flames.”—Ancient Universal History.]

The sun sets brightly—but a ruddier glow

O’er Afric’s heaven the flames of Carthage throw.

Her walls have sunk, and pyramids of fire

In lurid splendour from her domes aspire;

Sway’d by the wind, they wave—while glares the sky

As when the desert’s red simoom is nigh;

The sculptured altar and the pillar’d hall

Shine out in dreadful brightness ere they fall;

Far o’er the seas the light of ruin streams—

Rock, wave, and isle are crimson’d by its beams;

While captive thousands, bound in Roman chains,

Gaze in mute horror on their burning fanes;

And shouts of triumph, echoing far around,

Swell from the victors’ tents with ivy crown’d.

—But mark! from yon fair temple’s loftiest height

What towering form bursts wildly on the sight,

All regal in magnificent attire,

And sternly beauteous in terrific ire?

She might be deem’d a Pythia in the hour

Of dread communion and delirious power;

A being more than earthly, in whose eye

There dwells a strange and fierce ascendency.

The flames are gathering round—intensely bright,

Full on her features glares their meteor light;

But a wild courage sits triumphant there,

The stormy grandeur of a proud despair;

A daring spirit, in its woes elate,

Mightier than death, untameable by fate.

The dark profusion of her locks unbound

Waves like a warrior’s floating plumage round;

Flush’d is her cheek, inspired her haughty mien—

She seems the avenging goddess of the scene.

Are those her infants, that with suppliant cry

Cling round her shrinking as the flame draws nigh,

Clasp with their feeble hands her gorgeous vest,

And fain would rush for shelter to her breast?

Is that a mother’s glance, where stern disdain,

And passion, awfully vindictive, reign?

Fix’d is her eye on Asdrubal, who stands

Ignobly safe amidst the conquering bands;

On him who left her to that burning tomb,

Alone to share her children’s martyrdom;

Who, when his country perish’d, fled the strife,

And knelt to win the worthless boon of life.

“Live, traitor! live!” she cries, “since dear to thee,

E’en in thy fetters, can existence be!

Scorn’d and dishonour’d live!—with blasted name,

The Roman’s triumph not to grace, but shame.

O slave in spirit! bitter be thy chain

With tenfold anguish to avenge my pain!

Still may the manès of thy children rise

To chase calm slumber from thy wearied eyes;

Still may their voices on the haunted air

In fearful whispers tell thee to despair,

Till vain remorse thy wither’d heart consume,

Scourged by relentless shadows of the tomb!

E’en now my sons shall die—and thou, their sire,

In bondage safe, shalt yet in them expire.

Think’st thou I love them not?—’Twas thine to fly—

’Tis mine with these to suffer and to die.

Behold their fate!—the arms that cannot save

Have been their cradle, and shall be their grave.”

Bright in her hand the lifted dagger gleams,

Swift from her children’s hearts the life-blood streams;

With frantic laugh she clasps them to the breast

Whose woes and passions soon shall be at rest;

Lifts one appealing, frenzied glance on high,

Then deep midst rolling flames is lost to mortal eye.


[From Maccabees, book ii. chapter 3, verse 21. “Then it would have pitied a man to see the falling down of the multitude of all sorts, and the fear of the high priest, being in such an agony.—22. They then called upon the Almighty Lord to keep the things committed of trust safe and sure, for those that had committed them.—23. Nevertheless Heliodorus executed that which was decreed.—24. Now as he was there present himself, with his guard about the treasury, the Lord of Spirits, and the Prince of all Power, caused a great apparition, so that all that presumed to come in with him were astonished at the power of God, and fainted, and were sore afraid.—25. For there appeared unto them a horse with a terrible rider upon him, and adorned with a very fair covering; and he ran fiercely, and smote at Heliodorus with his fore-feet, and it seemed that he that sat upon the horse had complete harness of gold.—26. Moreover, two other young men appeared before him, notable in strength, excellent in beauty, and comely in apparel, who stood by him on either side, and scourged him continually, and gave him many sore stripes.—27. And Heliodorus fell suddenly to the ground, and was compassed with great darkness; but they that were with him took him up, and put him into a litter.—28. Thus him that lately came with great train, and with all his guard into the said treasury, they carried out, being unable to help himself with his weapons, and manifestly they acknowledged the power of God.—29. For he by the hand of God was cast down, and lay speechless without all hope of life.”]

A sound of woe in Salem! mournful cries

Rose from her dwellings—youthful cheeks were pale,

Tears flowing fast from dim and aged eyes,

And voices mingling in tumultuous wail;

Hands raised to heaven in agony of prayer,

And powerless wrath, and terror, and despair.

Thy daughters, Judah! weeping, laid aside

The regal splendour of their fair array,

With the rude sackcloth girt their beauty’s pride,

And throng’d the streets in hurrying, wild dismay;

While knelt thy priests before His awful shrine

Who made of old renown and empire thine.

But on the spoiler moves! The temple’s gate,

The bright, the beautiful, his guards unfold;

And all the scene reveals its solemn state,

Its courts and pillars, rich with sculptured gold;

And man with eye unhallow’d views th’ abode,

The sever’d spot, the dwelling-place of God.

Where art thou, Mighty Presence! that of yore

Wert wont between the cherubim to rest,

Veil’d in a cloud of glory, shadowing o’er

Thy sanctuary the chosen and the blest?

Thou! that didst make fair Sion’s ark thy throne,

And call the oracle’s recess thine own!

Angel of God! that through the Assyrian host,

Clothed with the darkness of the midnight hour,

To tame the proud, to hush the invader’s boast,

Didst pass triumphant in avenging power,

Till burst the day-spring on the silent scene,

And death alone reveal’d where thou hadst been.

Wilt thou not wake, O Chastener! in thy might,

To guard thine ancient and majestic hill,

Where oft from heaven the full Shechinah’s light

Hath stream’d the house of holiness to fill?

Oh! yet once more defend thy loved domain,

Eternal One! Deliverer! rise again!

Fearless of thee, the plunderer undismay’d

Hastes on, the sacred chambers to explore

Where the bright treasures of the fane are laid,

The orphan’s portion and the widow’s store:

What recks his heart though age unsuccour’d die,

And want consume the cheek of infancy?

Away, intruders!—hark! a mighty sound!

Behold, a burst of light!—away, away!

A fearful glory fills the temple round,

A vision bright in terrible array!

And lo! a steed of no terrestrial frame,

His path a whirlwind and his breath a flame!

His neck is clothed with thunder, and his mane

Seems waving fire—the kindling of his eye

Is as a meteor—ardent with disdain

His glance, his gesture, fierce in majesty!

Instinct with light he seems, and form’d to bear

Some dread archangel through the fields of air.

But who is he, in panoply of gold,

Throned on that burning charger? Bright his form,

Yet in its brightness awful to behold,

And girt with all the terrors of the storm!

Lightning is on his helmet’s crest—and fear

Shrinks from the splendour of his brow severe.

And by his side two radiant warriors stand,

All arm’d, and kingly in commanding grace—

Oh! more than kingly—godlike!—sternly grand,

Their port indignant, and each dazzling face

Beams with the beauty to immortals given,

Magnificent in all the wrath of heaven.

Then sinks each gazer’s heart—each knee is bow’d

In trembling awe; but, as to fields of fight,

Th’ unearthly war-steed, rushing through the crowd,

Bursts on their leader in terrific might;

And the stern angels of that dread abode

Pursue its plunderer with the scourge of God.

Darkness—thick darkness!—low on earth he lies,

Rash Heliodorus—motionless and pale—

Bloodless his cheek, and o’er his shrouded eyes

Mists, as of death, suspend their shadowy veil;

And thus th’ oppressor, by his fear-struck train,

Is borne from that inviolable fane.

The light returns—the warriors of the sky

Have pass’d, with all their dreadful pomp, away;

Then wakes the timbrel, swells the song on high

Triumphant as in Judah’s elder day;

Rejoice, O city of the sacred hill!

Salem, exult! thy God is with thee still.



[“En même temps que les Génois poursuivoient avec ardeur la guerre contre Pise, ils étoient déchirés eux-mêmes par une discorde civile. Les consuls de l’année 1169, pour rétablir la paix dans leur patrie, au milieu des factions sourdes à leur voix et plus puissantes qu’eux, furent obligés d’ourdir en quelque sorte une conspiration. Ils commencèrent par s’assurer secrètement des dispositions pacifiques de plusieurs des citoyens, qui cependant étoient entraînés dans les émeutes par leur parenté avec les chefs de faction; puis, se concertant avec le vénérable vieillard, Hugues, leur archevêque, ils firent, long-temps avant le lever du soleil, appeler au son des cloches les citoyens au parlement: ils se flattoient que la surprise et l’alarme de cette convocation inattendue, au milieu de l’obscurité de la nuit, rendroit l’assemblée et plus complète et plus docile. Les citoyens, en accourant au parlement général, virent, au milieu de la place publique, le vieil archevêque, entouré de son clergé en habit de cérémonies, et portant des torches allumées; tandis que les reliques de Saint Jean Baptiste, le protecteur de Gênes, étoient exposées devant lui, et que les citoyens les plus respectables portoient à leurs mains des croix suppliantes. Dès que l’assemblée fut formée, le vieillard se leva, et de sa voix cassée il conjura les chefs de parti, au nom du Dieu de paix, au nom du salut de leurs âmes, au nom de leur patrie et de la liberté, dont leurs discordes entraîneroient la ruine, de jurer sur l’évangile l’oubli de leurs querelles, et la paix à venir.

“Les hérauts, dès qu’il eut fini de parler, s’avancèrent aussitôt vers Roland Avogado, le chef de l’une des factions, qui étoit présent à l’assemblée, et, secondés par les acclamations de tout le peuple, et par les prières de ses parens eux-mêmes, ils le sommèrent de se conformer au vœu des consuls et de la nation.

“Roland, à leur approche, déchira ses habits, et, s’asseyant par terre en versant des larmes, il appela à haute voix les morts qu’il avoit juré de venger, et qui ne lui permettoient pas de pardonner leurs vieilles offenses. Comme on ne pouvoit le déterminer à s’avancer, les consuls eux-mêmes, l’archevêque et le clergé, s’approchèrent de lui, et, renouvelant leurs prières, ils l’entraînèrent enfin, et lui firent jurer sur l’évangile l’oubli de ses inimitiés passées.

“Les chefs du parti contraire, Foulques de Castro, et Ingo de Volta, n’étoient pas présens à l’assemblée, mais le peuple et le clergé se portèrent en foule à leurs maisons; ils les trouvèrent dejà ébranlés par ce qu’ils venoient d’apprendre, et, profitant de leur émotion, ils leur firent jurer une réconciliation sincère, et donner le baiser de paix aux chefs de la faction opposée. Alors les cloches de la ville sonnèrent en témoignage d’allégresse, et l’archevêque de retour sur la place publique entonna un Te Deum avec tout le peuple, eu honneur du Dieu de paix qui avoit sauvé leur patrie.”—Histoire des Républiques Italiennes, vol. ii. pp. 149-150.]

In Genoa, when the sunset gave

Its last warm purple to the wave,

No sound of war, no voice of fear,

Was heard, announcing danger near:

Though deadliest foes were there, whose hate

But slumber’d till its hour of fate,

Yet calmly, at the twilight’s close,

Sunk the wide city to repose.

But when deep midnight reign’d around,

All sudden woke the alarm-bell’s sound,

Full swelling, while the hollow breeze

Bore its dread summons o’er the seas.

Then, Genoa, from their slumber started

Thy sons, the free, the fearless-hearted;

Then mingled with th’ awakening peal

Voices, and steps, and clash of steel.

Arm, warriors! arm! for danger calls;

Arise to guard your native walls!

With breathless haste the gathering throng

Hurry the echoing streets along;

Through darkness rushing to the scene

Where their bold counsels still convene.

But there a blaze of torches bright

Pours its red radiance on the night,

O’er fane, and dome, and column playing,

With every fitful night-wind swaying:

Now floating o’er each tall arcade,

Around the pillar’d scene display’d,

In light relieved by depth of shade:

And now, with ruddy meteor glare,

Full streaming on the silvery hair

And the bright cross of him who stands

Rearing that sign with suppliant hands,

Girt with his consecrated train,

The hallow’d servants of the fane.

Of life’s past woes the fading trace

Hath given that aged patriarch’s face

Expression holy, deep, resign’d,

The calm sublimity of mind.

Years o’er his snowy head have pass’d,

And left him of his race the last,

Alone on earth—yet still his mien

Is bright with majesty serene;

And those high hopes, whose guiding star

Shines from th’ eternal worlds afar,

Have with that light illumed his eye

Whose fount is immortality,

And o’er his features pour’d a ray

Of glory, not to pass away.

He seems a being who hath known

Communion with his God alone,

On earth by nought but pity’s tie

Detain’d a moment from on high!

One to sublimer worlds allied,

One from all passion purified,

E’en now half mingled with the sky,

And all prepared—oh! not to die—

But, like the prophet, to aspire,

In heaven’s triumphal car of fire.

He speaks—and from the throngs around

Is heard not e’en a whisper’d sound;

Awe-struck each heart, and fix’d each glance,

They stand as in a spell-bound trance:

He speaks—oh! who can hear nor own

The might of each prevailing tone?

“Chieftains and warriors! ye, so long

Aroused to strife by mutual wrong,

Whose fierce and far-transmitted hate

Hath made your country desolate;

Now by the love ye bear her name,

By that pure spark of holy flame

On freedom’s altar brightly burning,

But, once extinguished, ne’er returning;

By all your hopes of bliss to come

When burst the bondage of the tomb;

By Him, the God who bade us live

To aid each other, and forgive—

I call upon ye to resign

Your discords at your country’s shrine,

Each ancient feud in peace atone,

Wield your keen swords for her alone,

And swear upon the cross, to cast

Oblivion’s mantle o’er the past!”

No voice replies. The holy bands

Advance to where yon chieftain stands,

With folded arms, and brow of gloom

O’ershadow’d by his floating plume.

To him they lift the cross—in vain:

He turns—oh! say not with disdain,

But with a mien of haughty grief,

That seeks not e’en from heaven relief.

He rends his robes—he sternly speaks—

Yet tears are on the warrior’s checks:—

“Father! not thus the wounds may close

Inflicted by eternal foes.

Deem’st thou thy mandate can efface

The dread volcano’s burning trace?

Or bid the earthquake’s ravaged scene

Be smiling as it once hath been?

No! for the deeds the sword hath done

Forgiveness is not lightly won;

The words by hatred spoke may not

Be as a summer breeze forgot!

’Tis vain—we deem the war-feud’s rage

A portion of our heritage.

Leaders, now slumbering with their fame,

Bequeath’d us that undying flame;

Hearts that have long been still and cold

Yet rule us from their silent mould;

And voices, heard on earth no more,

Speak to our spirits as of yore.

Talk not of mercy!—blood alone

The stain of bloodshed may atone;

Nought else can pay that mighty debt,

The dead forbid us to forget.”

He pauses. From the patriarch’s brow

There beams more lofty grandeur now;

His reverend form, his aged hand,

Assume a gesture of command;

His voice is awful, and his eye

Fill’d with prophetic majesty.

“The dead!—and deem’st thou they retain

Aught of terrestrial passion’s stain?

Of guilt incurr’d in days gone by,

Aught but the fearful penalty?

And say’st thou, mortal! blood alone

For deeds of slaughter may atone?

There hath been blood—by Him ’twas shed

To expiate every crime who bled;

Th’ absolving God, who died to save,

And rose in victory from the grave!

And by that stainless offering given

Alike for all on earth to heaven;

By that inevitable hour

When death shall vanquish pride and power,

And each departing passion’s force

Concentrate all in late remorse;

And by the day when doom shall be

Pass’d on earth’s millions, and on thee—

The doom that shall not be repeal’d,

Once utter’d, and for ever seal’d—

I summon thee, O child of clay!

To cast thy darker thoughts away,

And meet thy foes in peace and love,

As thou wouldst join the blest above.”

Still as he speaks, unwonted feeling

Is o’er the chieftain’s bosom stealing.

Oh, not in vain the pleading cries

Of anxious thousands round him rise!

He yields: devotion’s mingled sense

Of faith, and fear, and penitence,

Pervading all his soul, he bows

To offer on the cross his vows,

And that best incense to the skies,

Each evil passion’s sacrifice.

Then tears from warriors’ eyes were flowing,

High hearts with soft emotions glowing;

Stern foes as long-loved brothers greeting,

And ardent throngs in transport meeting;

And eager footsteps forward pressing,

And accents loud in joyous blessing;

And when their first wild tumults cease,

A thousand voices echo “Peace!”

Twilight’s dim mist hath roll’d away,

And the rich Orient burns with day;

Then as to greet the sunbeam’s birth,

Rises the choral hymn of earth—

Th’ exulting strain through Genoa swelling,

Of peace and holy rapture telling.

Far float the sounds o’er vale and steep,

The seaman hears them on the deep—

So mellow’d by the gale, they seem

As the wild music of a dream.

But not on mortal ear alone

Peals the triumphant anthem’s tone;

For beings of a purer sphere

Bend with celestial joy, to hear.


[“Not only the place of Richard’s confinement,” (when thrown into prison by the Duke of Austria,) “if we believe the literary history of the times, but even the circumstance of his captivity, was carefully concealed by his vindictive enemies; and both might have remained unknown but for the grateful attachment of a Provençal bard, or minstrel, named Blondel, who had shared that prince’s friendship and tasted his bounty. Having travelled over all the European continent to learn the destiny of his beloved patron, Blondel accidentally got intelligence of a certain castle in Germany, where a prisoner of distinction was confined, and guarded with great vigilance. Persuaded by a secret impulse that this prisoner was the King of England, the minstrel repaired to the place; but the gates of the castle were shut against him, and he could obtain no information relative to the name or quality of the unhappy person it secured. In this extremity, he bethought himself of an expedient for making the desired discovery. He chanted, with a loud voice, some verses of a song which had been composed partly by himself, partly by Richard; and to his unspeakable joy, on making a pause, he heard it re-echoed and continued by the royal captive.—(Hist. Troubadours.) To this discovery the English monarch is said to have eventually owed his release.”—See Russell’s Modern Europe, vol. i. p. 369.

The Troubadour o’er many a plain

Hath roam’d unwearied, but in vain.

O’er many a rugged mountain-scene

And forest wild his track hath been:

Beneath Calabria’s glowing sky

He hath sung the songs of chivalry;

His voice hath swell’d on the Alpine breeze,

And rung through the snowy Pyrenees;

From Ebro’s banks to Danube’s wave,

He hath sought his prince, the loved, the brave;

And yet, if still on earth thou art,

Monarch of the lion-heart!

The faithful spirit, which distress

But heightens to devotedness,

By toil and trial vanquish’d not,

Shall guide thy minstrel to the spot.

He hath reach’d a mountain hung with vine,

And woods that wave o’er the lovely Rhine:

The feudal towers that crest its height

Frown in unconquerable might;

Dark is their aspect of sullen state—

No helmet hangs o’er the massy gate

To bid the wearied pilgrim rest,

At the chieftain’s board a welcome guest;

Vainly rich evening’s parting smile

Would chase the gloom of the haughty pile,

That midst bright sunshine lowers on high,

Like a thunder-cloud in a summer sky.

Not these the halls where a child of song

Awhile may speed the hours along;

Their echoes should repeat alone

The tyrant’s mandate, the prisoner’s moan,

Or the wild huntsman’s bugle-blast,

When his phantom train are hurrying past.

The weary minstrel paused—his eye

Roved o’er the scene despondingly:

Within the length’ning shadow, cast

By the fortress-towers and ramparts vast,

Lingering he gazed. The rocks around

Sublime in savage grandeur frown’d;

Proud guardians of the regal flood,

In giant strength the mountains stood—

By torrents cleft, by tempests riven,

Yet mingling still with the calm blue heaven.

Their peaks were bright with a sunny glow,

But the Rhine all shadowy roll’d below;

In purple tints the vineyards smiled,

But the woods beyond waved dark and wild;

Nor pastoral pipe nor convent’s bell

Was heard on the sighing breeze to swell;

But all was lonely, silent, rude,

A stern, yet glorious solitude.

But hark! that solemn stillness breaking,

The Troubadour’s wild song is waking.

Full oft that song in days gone by

Hath cheer’d the sons of chivalry:

It hath swell’d o’er Judah’s mountains lone,

Hermon! thy echoes have learn’d its tone;

On the Great Plain its notes have rung,

The leagued Crusaders’ tents among;

Twas loved by the Lion-heart, who won

The palm in the field of Ascalon;

And now afar o’er the rocks of Rhine

Peals the bold strain of Palestine.


“Thine hour is come, and the stake is set,”

The Soldan cried to the captive knight,

“And the sons of the Prophet in throngs are met

To gaze on the fearful sight.

“But be our faith by thy lips profess’d,

The faith of Mecca’s shrine,

Cast down the red-cross that marks thy vest,

And life shall yet be thine.”

“I have seen the flow of my bosom’s blood,

And gazed with undaunted eye;

I have borne the bright cross through fire and flood,

And think’st thou I fear to die?

“I have stood where thousands, by Salem’s towers,

Have fall’n for the name Divine;

And the faith that cheer’d their closing hours

Shall be the light of mine.”

“Thus wilt thou die in the pride of health,

And the glow of youth’s fresh bloom?

Thou art offer’d life, and pomp, and wealth,

Or torture and the tomb.”

“I have been where the crown of thorns was twined

For a dying Saviour’s brow;

He spurn’d the treasures that lure mankind,

And I reject them now!”

“Art thou the son of a noble line

In a land that is fair and blest?

And doth not thy spirit, proud captive! pine

Again on its shores to rest?

“Thine own is the choice to hail once more

The soil of thy father’s birth,

Or to sleep, when thy lingering pangs are o’er,

Forgotten in foreign earth.”

“Oh! fair are the vine-clad hills that rise

In the country of my love;

But yet, though cloudless my native skies,

There’s a brighter clime above!”

The bard hath paused—for another tone

Blends with the music of his own;

And his heart beats high with hope again,

As a well-known voice prolongs the strain.

“Are there none within thy father’s hall,

Far o’er the wide blue main,

Young Christian! left to deplore thy fall,

With sorrow deep and vain?”

“There are hearts that still, through all the past,

Unchanging have loved me well;

There are eyes whose tears were streaming fast

When I bade my home farewell.

“Better they wept o’er the warrior’s bier

Than th’ apostate’s living stain;

There’s a land where those who loved when here

Shall meet to love again.”

’Tis he! thy prince—long sought, long lost,

The leader of the red-cross host!

’Tis he!—to none thy joy betray,

Young Troubadour! away, away!

Away to the island of the brave,

The gem on the bosom of the wave;

Arouse the sons of the noble soil

To win their Lion from the toil.

And free the wassail-cup shall flow,

Bright in each hall the hearth shall glow;

The festal board shall be richly crown’d,

While knights and chieftains revel round,

And a thousand harps with joy shall ring,

When merry England hails her king.


[“La défaite de Conradin ne devoit mettre une terme ni à ses malheurs, ni aux vengeances du roi (Charles d’Anjou.) L’amour du peuple pour l’héritier légitime du trône avoit éclaté d’une manière effrayante; il pouvoit causer de nouvelles révolutions, si Conradin demeuroit en vie; et Charles, revêtant sa défiance et sa cruauté des formes de la justice, résolut de faire périr sur l’échafaud le dernier rejeton de la Maison de Souabe, l’unique espérance de son parti. Un seul juge Provençal et sujet de Charles, dont les historiens n’ont pas voulu conserver le nom, osa voter pour la mort, d’autres se renfermèrent dans un timide et coupable silence; et Charles, sur l’autorité de ce seul juge, fit prononcer, par Robert de Bari, protonotaire du royaume, la sentence de mort contre Conradin et tous ses compagnons. Cette sentence fut communiquée à Conradin, comme il jouoit aux échecs; on lui laissa peu de temps pour se préparer à son exécution, et le 26 d’Octobre il fut conduit, avec tous ses amis, sur la Place du Marché de Naples, le long du rivage de la mer. Charles étoit présent, avec toute sa cour, et une foule immense entouroit le roi vainqueur et le roi condamné. Conradin étoit entre les mains des bourreaux; il détacha lui-même son manteau, et s’étant mis à genoux pour prier, il se releva en s’écriant: ‘Oh, ma mère, quelle profonde douleur te causera la nouvelle qu’on va te porter de moi!’ Puis il tourna les yeux sur la foule qui l’entouroit; il vit les larmes, il entendit les sanglots de son peuple; alors, détachant son gant, il jeta au milieu de ses sujets ce gage d’un combat de vengeance, et rendit sa tête au bourreau. Après lui, sur le même échafaud, Charles fit trancher la tête au Duc d’Autriche, aux Comtes Gualferano et Bartolommeo Lancia, et aux Comtes Gerard et Galvano Donoratico de Pise. Par un raffinement de cruauté, Charles voulut que le premier, fils du second, précédât son père, et mourût entre ses bras. Les cadavres, d’après ses ordres, furent exclus d’une terre sainte, et inhumés sans pompe sur le rivage de la mer. Charles II. cependant fit dans la suite bâtir sur le même lieu une église de Carmélites, comme pour apaiser ces ombres irritées.”—Sismondi’s Républiques Italiennes.]

No cloud to dim the splendour of the day

Which breaks o’er Naples and her lovely bay,

And lights that brilliant sea and magic shore

With every tint that charm’d the great of yore—

Th’ imperial ones of earth, who proudly bade

Their marble domes e’en ocean’s realm invade.

That race is gone—but glorious Nature here

Maintains unchanged her own sublime career,

And bids these regions of the sun display

Bright hues, surviving empires pass’d away.

The beam of heaven expands—its kindling smile

Reveals each charm of many a fairy isle,

Whose image floats, in softer colouring drest,

With all its rocks and vines, on ocean’s breast.

Misenum’s cape hath caught the vivid ray,

On Roman streamers there no more to play;

Still, as of old, unalterably bright,

Lovely it sleeps on Posilippo’s height,

With all Italia’s sunshine to illume

The ilex canopy of Virgil’s tomb.

Campania’s plains rejoice in light, and spread

Their gay luxuriance o’er the mighty dead;

Fair glittering to thine own transparent skies,

Thy palaces, exulting Naples! rise;

While far on high Vesuvius rears his peak,

Furrow’d and dark with many a lava streak.

Oh, ye bright shores of Circe and the Muse!

Rich with all nature’s and all fiction’s hues,

Who shall explore your regions, and declare

The poet err’d to paint Elysium there?

Call up his spirit, wanderer! bid him guide

Thy steps those syren-haunted seas beside;

And all the scene a lovelier light shall wear,

And spells more potent shall pervade the air.

What though his dust be scatter’d, and his urn

Long from its sanctuary of slumber torn,

Still dwell the beings of his verse around,

Hovering in beauty o’er th’ enchanted ground;

His lays are murmur’d in each breeze that roves

Soft o’er the sunny waves and orange-groves;

His memory’s charm is spread o’er shore and sea,

The soul, the genius of Parthenope;

Shedding o’er myrtle shade and vine-clad hill

The purple radiance of Elysium still.

Yet that fair soil and calm resplendent sky

Have witness’d many a dark reality.

Oft o’er those bright blue seas the gale hath borne

The sighs of exiles never to return.

There with the whisper of Campania’s gale

Hath mingled oft affection’s funeral wail,

Mourning for buried heroes—while to her

That glowing land was but their sepulchre.

And there, of old, the dread mysterious moan

Swell’d from strange voices of no mortal tone;

And that wild trumpet, whose unearthly note

Was heard at midnight o’er the hills to float

Around the spot where Agrippina died,

Denouncing vengeance on the matricide.

Pass’d are those ages—yet another crime,

Another woe, must stain th’ Elysian clime.

There stands a scaffold on the sunny shore—

It must be crimson’d ere the day is o’er!

There is a throne in regal pomp array’d,—

A scene of death from thence must be survey’d.

Mark’d ye the rushing throngs?—each mien is pale,

Each hurried glance reveals a fearful tale:

But the deep workings of th’ indignant breast,

Wrath, hatred, pity, must be all suppress’d;

The burning tear awhile must check its course,

Th’ avenging thought concentrate all its force;

For tyranny is near, and will not brook

Aught but submission in each guarded look.

Girt with his fierce Provençals, and with mien

Austere in triumph, gazing on the scene,

And in his eye a keen suspicious glance

Of jealous pride and restless vigilance,

Behold the conqueror! Vainly in his face

Of gentler feeling hope would seek a trace;

Cold, proud, severe, the spirit which hath lent

Its haughty stamp to each dark lineament:

And pleading mercy, in the sternness there,

May read at once her sentence—to despair!

But thou, fair boy! the beautiful, the brave,

Thus passing from the dungeon to the grave,

While all is yet around thee which can give

A charm to earth, and make it bliss to live;

Thou on whose form hath dwelt a mother’s eye,

Till the deep love that not with thee shall die

Hath grown too full for utterance—Can it be!

And is this pomp of death prepared for thee?

Young, royal Conradin! who shouldst have known

Of life as yet the sunny smile alone!

Oh! who can view thee, in the pride and bloom

Of youth, array’d so richly for the tomb,

Nor feel, deep swelling in his inmost soul,

Emotions tyranny may ne’er control?

Bright victim! to Ambition’s altar led,

Crown’d with all flowers that heaven on earth can shed,

Who, from th’ oppressor towering in his pride,

May hope for mercy—if to thee denied?

There is dead silence on the breathless throng,

Dead silence all the peopled shore along,

As on the captive moves—the only sound,

To break that calm so fearfully profound,

The low, sweet murmur of the rippling wave,

Soft as it glides, the smiling shore to lave;

While on that shore, his own fair heritage,

The youthful martyr to a tyrant’s rage

Is passing to his fate: the eyes are dim

Which gaze, through tears that dare not flow, on him.

He mounts the scaffold—doth his footstep fail?

Doth his lip quiver? doth his cheek turn pale?

Oh! it may be forgiven him if a thought

Cling to that world, for him with beauty fraught,

To all the hopes that promised glory’s meed,

And all th’ affections that with him shall bleed!

If, in his life’s young dayspring, while the rose

Of boyhood on his cheek yet freshly glows,

One human fear convulse his parting breath,

And shrink from all the bitterness of death!

But no! the spirit of his royal race

Sits brightly on his brow: that youthful face

Beams with heroic beauty, and his eye

Is eloquent with injured majesty.

He kneels—but not to man; his heart shall own

Such deep submission to his God alone!

And who can tell with what sustaining power

That God may visit him in fate’s dread hour?

How the still voice, which answers every moan,

May speak of hope—when hope on earth is gone?

That solemn pause is o’er—the youth hath given

One glance of parting love to earth and heaven:

The sun rejoices in th’ unclouded sky,

Life all around him glows—and he must die?

Yet midst his people, undismay’d, he throws

The gage of vengeance for a thousand woes;

Vengeance that, like their own volcano’s fire,

May sleep suppress’d a while—but not expire.

One softer image rises o’er his breast,

One fond regret, and all shall be at rest!

“Alas, for thee, my mother! who shall bear

To thy sad heart the tidings of despair,

When thy lost child is gone?”—that thought can thrill

His soul with pangs one moment more shall still.

The lifted axe is glittering in the sun—

It falls—the race of Conradin is run!

Yet, from the blood which flows that shore to stain,

A voice shall cry to heaven—and not in vain!

Gaze thou, triumphant from thy gorgeous throne,

In proud supremacy of guilt alone,

Charles of Anjou!—but that dread voice shall be

A fearful summoner e’en yet to thee!

The scene of death is closed—the throngs depart,

A deep stem lesson graved on every heart.

No pomp, no funeral rites, no streaming eyes,

High-minded boy! may grace thine obsequies.

O vainly royal and beloved! thy grave,

Unsanctified, is bathed by ocean’s wave;

Mark’d by no stone, a rude, neglected spot,

Unhonour’d, unadorn’d—but unforgot;

For thy deep wrongs in tameless hearts shall live,

Now mutely suffering—never to forgive!

The sunset fades from purple heavens away—

A bark hath anchor’d in the unruffled bay:

Thence on the beach descends a female form,

Her mien with hope and tearful transport warm;

But life hath left sad traces on her cheek,

And her soft eyes a chasten’d heart bespeak,

Inured to woes—yet what were all the past!

She sank not feebly ’neath affliction’s blast,

While one bright hope remain’d—who now shall tell

Th’ uncrown’d, the widow’d, how her loved one fell?

To clasp her child, to ransom and to save,

The mother came—and she hath found his grave!

And by that grave, transfix’d in speechless grief,

Whose deathlike trance denies a tear’s relief,

Awhile she kneels—till roused at length to know,

To feel the might, the fulness of her woe,

On the still air a voice of anguish wild,

A mother’s cry is heard—“My Conradin! my child!”

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