Page images

With blue waves but as guardians set, Is it some festival to-day,
Wearing them like a coronet;

That hither comes the proud array, Once sacred to the smile-zoned Queen, Which gathers round the gazing crowd, Whose reign upon the heart hath been, And rings the air with plaudits loud ? And is 80 still. What need hath she Sweep seven bold galleys to the land, Of shrine to her divinity?

Spring from their decks a warrior-band, Each fair face is her visible shrine; Dance their white plumes before the breeze She hath been, she will be divine.

Like summer-foain on summer-seas, But, rose-lipp'd Venus, thy sweet power, Flashes the lance like meteor-light, Was unown'd in thy myrtle-bower, Hanberk and helm are gleaming bright, Thy marble-temple was no more,

And spreads the banner its rich fold, Thy worship gone from thine own shore, Where shines on purple, work’d in gold What time my tale begins: yet still A lion, which a maiden's hand Hadst thou left music in the rill,

Holds by a silken rein's command. As if 't had heard thy footstep fall, Well mayst thou bend, fair queen, thy brow And from that time grew musical:

To the brave warriors greeting now; Scent on the flower, as if thy hair

Well have they fought for thee and thine, Had lost its own rich odour there:

Sweet flower of thy royal line;
All, the green earth, the sunny clime, And well may they catch thy sweet eye,
Were relics of lovely time.

And swear beneath its rule to die.
Yet, young IRENE, on thy side

Is not all triumph’s panting pride ;
Fair Cyprus, dream-like 't was to land For, like clouds on a troubled sky,
Where myrtle-groves stretch'd from thy Red and white shades alternate fly


Over thy face; now like the stone And paid the freshness of the wave

Colour hath never breathed upon, With fragrance which they sighing gave. Now crimson'd with a sudden flush, But sunshine seen, but sunshine felt, As if thy heart had dyed thy blush. You reach'd the palace where she dwelt; The rebel prince is passing near,Cyprus's maiden-queen, whose reign Thy bearing droops in sudden fear; Seem'd ancient days restored again, He passes, and thine eye is dim When it was only beauty's smile

Wi anxious gazing after him, Claim'd fealty of CYTHEREA's isle.

And tears are darkening its blue, 'Mid fair dames of her court, a star, Shining on the long lash like dew. The loveliest of the group by far,

Beautiful weakness! oh, if weak, IRENB stood. Was it in pride

That woman's heart should tinge her cheek! Her regal gems were laid aside,

"T is sad to change it for the strength As if she scorn'd them all, content

That heart and cheek must know at length. To be her own best ornament?

Many a word of sneer and scorn
Must in their harshness have been borne,

Many a gentle feeling dead,
The terrace where they stood look’a And all youth's sweet confiding fled,


Ere learn’d that task of shame and pride, On gathered crowds of her fair town; The tear to check, the blush to hide. 'T was a gay scene : on the one side, Gardens and groves stretch'd far and wide In gay confusion, flower and tree

'T is midnight, and a starry shower Cover'd the green earth to the sea,

Weeps its bright tears o'er leaf and flower; One arm of which begirt the walls

Sweet, silent, beautiful, the night Where rose TRENE's marble-halls.

Sufficing for her own delight. Upon the terrace, with a band

But other lights than sky and star Of the isle's loveliest at her hand,

From yonder casements gleam afar; Was the young queen. 'T was as again There odorous lamps of argentine The goddess claim'd her ancient reign, Shed that sweet ray, half shade half shine, So fair she was. At first you thought Soft as it were but beauty's smile "T was some divinity, that brought

That lit her favourite bower the while. Her beauty from her native skies;

Back from each open lattice flew You met once more those soft dark eyes, The curtains, like swoll'n waves of blue You felt that though to them were given Star-dropt with silver broidery rare; The colour and the light of heaven, And every motion seem'd to bear Yet were they mortal, their deep blue A message from the grove beneath,Was soften’d by a shadowy hue

Each message was a rose's breath. Of melancholy, such as earth

A thousand flowers were round the room, Will fling upon her fairest birth

All with their gifts of scent and bloom; Woman's foreknowledge of the woe

And at the far end of the hall That waits upon her path below.

Like music came a lulling fall

Of waters; at the midnight-time

She only felt his lip had press'd Play'd from the fount a liquid chime, Her white hand, and hope told the rest. As 't were the honey-dews of sleep Companion of her infancy, 'Lighting, each lid in rest to steep.

Less than her friend how could he be? Leant on a silken couch, which caught She did not mark the haughty glare The airs with fragrant rose-breath fraught, Which even now his look could wear; Lay the young queen. As if oppress'd The lip of pride as if disdain'd With its rich weight, her purple vest The fond heart which yet his remain'd; Was doff'd, as if with it were laid

As scored the empire of the land Aside cares, pomp, and vain parade. That must be shared with woman's hand. While, like a cloud in the moonlight, Floated her graceful robe of white. Just stirr'd enough the scented air

The moon upon the bridal shone, To lift the sunny wreaths of hair, Treachery,–Prince TANCRED-—he is gone! And bear the tresses from the ground,

Confusion marr'd the fair array; Which the attendant maids unbound. An armed band are on their way, A cheerful meeting wont to be

The rebel-banner is display'd, That evening-hour's tranquillity,

And thus is trusting faith repaid. There with the young, the frank, the gay, IRENE ftung her marriage-veil IRENE would be glad as they,

Aside, her cheek was deadly pale Blithe prisoner 'scaping form and state, But, save that, nothing might declare Her nature warring with her fate.

That love or grief were struggling there. Glad, but yet tender, gentle, meek, Wondering they gazed on their young queen, Her fairy-hand was all too weak

So firm her step, so proud her mien. For regal sceptre; never meant

Promptly the city was prepared, To rule more than the music sent

Summond to arms the royal guard
From a light lute, whose gentle tone Were bade their strength and bearing show
Was as an echo to her own.

To awe, but not attack the foe
Till further orders. Last of all

She call'd her council to the hall.
But bent and sadden'd is her gaze, She enter'd; it was strange to see
Her heart is gone to other days;

How soon such utter change could be. When summer-buds around her hair Pale as if lip and cheek had grown Were all the crown she had to wear, Sudden to monumental stone, And they were twined by him who now So fix'd, that, but the lighted eye Grasp'd fierce at that upon her brow; Show'd it had yet to close and die, Her playmate and her early friend :

It was like the last sleep of death, And thus can young affection end !

When hue, warmth, light, have pass'd with And thus can prond ambition part

breath. The kindliest tics around the heart! Hurriedly had been thrown aside And like the desert-springs that dry The silver robes that deck'd the bride; To dust beneath the parching sky,

A night-black garb around her swept: All too soon waste the sweet revealing Drear contrast! for her hair yet kept Of youth's fresh flow of generous feeling. Amid its wealth of sunny curls

The bridal snowy braid of pearls.

She paused not, though her breath seemd Morn came, but with it tidings came

given Half timid joy, half crimson shame.

But as the last to waft to heaven, Oh! the rosc is a tell-tale flower,

And on the vacant throne laid down And watcbing looks were on the hour, The dove-topp'd wand of rule and crown. On the red blush, the drooping eye, From many never pass'd away The queen wore as the prince pass'd by. That sweet voice to their dying day. Policy read the thoughts within, Ending where love could but begin.

“My hand is all too weak to bear

A sceptre which the sword must share. Why might not TANCRED share her seat? To my bold kinsman I resigo They lead the rebel to her feet.

All sway and sovereignty of mine; Sage counsellor and noble peer

Bear him the sceptre of the land, Spared maiden blush and maiden fear. No longer fetter'd by that hand." Yielding, yet tremulous the while,

Rose the red blush, her accents fell, Her sole reply one downcast smile; Scarce might they hear her low farewell. While order'd they the moon that night Should rise upon the nuptial rite. Jll might the youthful maiden brook

When as she turn'd to leave the hall, To fix on his her timid look.

Rose kindly murmurs of recall;

The crown was hers, and many a brand A heart at peace with its own thoughts, Now waited only her command.

A quiet and contented mind. One word, one look, on them she cast : I have sought high, I have sought low, Your queen's request, her first, her last.” Alike my search has been in vain;

The same lip mix'd the smile and sigh,

The same hour mingled joy and pain. Silence as deep as in the grave,

And first I sought ’mid sceptred kings; To the new king bis homage gave;

Power was, so peace might be with them : A rose no shout to greet his name,

They cast a look of weariness To him no word of welcome came,

Upon the care-lined diadem. But pass'd he solemnly and sad

I ask'd the soldier; and he spoke
To palace-halls no longer glad.

Of a dear quiet home afar,
Nought was there or of shout or song, And whisper'd of the vanity,
That bear young monarchs' praise along; The ruin, and the wrong of war.
Many there were that bent the knee, I saw the merchant 'mid his wealth;
But many bent it silently.

Peace surely would with plenty be:
But no! his thoughts were all abroad

With their frail ventures on the sea. They led him to a stately room,

I heard a lute's soft music float Yet with somewhat of nameless gloom; In summer-sweetness on the air; Flowers were there, but wither'd all; But the poet's brow was worn and wan,Music, but with a dying fall;

I saw peace was not written there. Maidens, but each with veiled face.

And then I number'd o'er the ills, TANCRED gazed round, he knew the place; That wait upon our mortal scene; 'T was here his interview had been

No marvel peace was not with them, With her its young and radiant queen. The marvel were if it had been. There was her couch; was she there yet First, childhood conies with all to learn, He started back: the brow was set

And, even more than all, to bear In its last mould; that marble-cheek, Restraint, reproof, and punishment, Fair as if death were loth to break

And pleasures seen but not to share. Its spell of beauty; the fixed lid,

Youth, like the Scripture's madınan, next, As if the daylight were forbid

Scattering around the burning coal; To brighten the blue orbs that kept With hasty deeds and misused gifts, Their azure even while they slept

That leave their ashes on the soul. All other sleeps, save this dark one: Then manhood wearied, wasted, worn, And this the work that he had done.

With hopes destroy'd and feelings dead; And worldly caution, worldly wants.

Coldness, and carelessness instead. And she was gone, the faithful,-fair, Then age at last, dark, sullen, drear, In her first moment of life's care;

The breaking of a worn-out wave; Gone in her bloom, as if the earth

Letting us know that life has been Felt pity for its lovelieat birth,

But the rough passage to the grave. And took her like the gentle flower, Thus we go on; hopes change to fears That falls before the earliest shower; Like fairy-gold that turns to clay, With heart too tender, and too weak,-- And pleasure darkens into pain, What had such heart to do but break? And time is measured by decay.

First our fresh feelings are our wealth,

They pass and leave a void behind ; Sudden and harsh the harp-stringa rung,

Then comes ambition, with its wars, As rough the hand now over-them flung;

That stir but to pollute the mind. Loud as a warning, omen-like, drear,

We loathe the present, and we dread

To think on what to come may be; Sank the deep tones on each listener's ear. ’T was a Palmer, that seem'd from the Holy We look back on the past, and trace


A thousand wrecks, a troubled sea. That now sway'd the harp with his stern

I have been over many lands, right hand;

And each and all I found the same; None around could discover his name,

Hope in its borrow'd plumes, and care Nor tell whence that pilgrim-minstrel came.

Madden'd and mask'd in pleasure's name. I have no tale of knightly deed :

Why should I tell of guilt and death, Of plains deep dyed in human blood,

Of fame which lies in mortal breath. THE PILGRIM'S SONG.

I have no tale of lady-love,

Begun and ended in a sigh,
I have gone east, I have gone west, The wilful folly nursed in smiles
To seek for what I cannot find;

Though born in bitterness to die.

I have a tale from Eastern lands,

The same shall be my song to-day; It tells the vanity of life, -

Apply its lesson as ye may.

Behind ride his horsemen, as onwards they

come, Each proud steed is covering his bridle with

foam. In the midst is the king : there is pride ez

his brow, As he looks on the myriads that follow him

now; His eye and his sabre are flashing alike, Woe, woe for the warrior that dares him

to strike!



the seas,

He flung back the chaplet, he threw down

the wine:

Thousands and thousands are strewn on “Young monarch, what sorrow or care can

the ground, be thine?

AHMED comes back a conqneror, but what There are gems in thy palace, each one like

hath he found? a star

The cry of the orphan is loud on his ear, That shines in the bosom of twilight afar; And his eye hath beheld the young bride's Thy goblets are mantling in purple and light,

bitter tear, The maidens around thee like morning are And the friend of his youth is left dead on bright,

the plain, Ten kingdoms bow down at the sound of And the flower of his nobles return not again

thy name,

There are crowds that are filling the air The lands of far countries have heard of

with his name; thy fame,

Do ye marvel the monarch is loathing his The wealth of the carth, and the spoils of

fame? Are thine; oh, young monarch, what ail'st

thou, with these?”
Again to the sunshine the banners are


Again rings the earth with the warriors' I'm weary, I 'm weary. Oh! pleasure is

tread; pain

And loud on the wings of the morning are When its spell has been broken again and

borne again.

The voice of the trumpet, the blast of the I am weary of smiles that are bought and

horn; are sold,

And eager to gaze on the royal array, I am weary of beanty whose fetters are gold, The people in crowds gather forth on its I am weary of wealth-what makes it of me

way. But that which the basest and lowest Who would deem they were gazing on death might be ?

and on doom, I have drain'd the red wine-cup, and what that yon purple and gold strew'd the way found I there?

to the tomb ? A beginning of madness, no ending of care! The canopy glitters; oh, vainest deceit! I am weary of each, I am weary of all, There the king's robe of state is his cold Listless my revel, and lonely my hall.

winding-sheet. Breathe not the song, for its sweetness is And he at whose beck waited life, waited flown;

death, Fling not these flowers at the foot of my He hath not command on a poor momentos throne;

breath. Veil, maidens, veil your warm cheeks of the A whole people trembled when that he but rose,

frown'd, Ye are slaves of iny sceptre, I reck not of And his smile was the summer of nations those !”

around. Now who is there watches for smile or for

frown: The monarch rose up with the reddening For the head of another is girt with his of morn,

crown; He rose to the music of trumpet and horn; And he lieth a heap of powerless clay, His banner is spread to the sun and the wind, Where the meanest earth-worm at his In thousands the plain by his warriors is lined.

pleasure may prey. The foot-ranks go first, their bows in thcir

hand, In multitudes gathering like waves on the They bore the monarch on to his tomb,

Black marble suiting sucḥ dwelling of gloom:


Bnt on it was graven a lesson sublime, Follow'd by those who pleasaunce took A voice from the grave appealing to time; In converse light and curious look, Were not voice from the living or dead alike The Countess led where leaf and flower On the heart in its foolish pride to strike. Made one small hall an Eastern bower.

The blush-acacia seem'd to keep

Watch o'er the rose's purple sleep; “Millions bow'd down at the foot of my And tulips, like the wine-cups stored


Round a monarch's festal board; The strength of the north and the south And the roof above, as art

were my own;

Vied with nature's loveliest part, I had treasures pour'd forth like the waves Was so curiously inlaid,

of the sea;

That there another garden play'd. Success seem'd the slave of my sceptre to be. No lamps amid the foliage hung, And pleasures in crowds at my least bidding But silver smiles the moonbeams flung;


And radiance from each distant room Every wish that the will in its wildness Lighted the flowers' and ladies' bloom.

could frame: A harp was there. The haunt was one, And yet, amid all that fell to my share, Where, many a summer-noon, alone, How much was weariness, how much was care! CLEMENZA lent time music's wings; I numbered years of pain and distress, And, dreaming o'er the mournful strings, And but fourteen days of happiness. Learn’d other lessons than those taught Mortal, nor pleasure, nor wealth, nor power, By pride, and wealth, and worldly thought. Are more than the toys of a passing hour; Said the band round that it were shame, Earth's flowers bear the foul taint of earth, Such hour should pass unhymn'd away; Lassitude, sorrow, are theirs by their birth. And many a fair lip smiled its claim, One only pleasure will last, to fulfil, As echo swect to minstrel-lay. With some shadow of good, the Holy One's Pray'd they the Counters that her hand


Should first assume the harp's command. The only steadfast hope to us given, She paused, then said that she would wake Is the one which looks in its trust to heaven.” One, for that nameless poet's sake;

One song snatch'd from oblivion's wave,
Like the lone lily on his grave.


There was silence around the stately hall, For that song laid the spell of its darkness

o'er all; Some thought of their hopes now low in

the tomb;

My heart is like the failing hearth Others of hopes that were but in their bloom,

Now by my side, And trembled to think bow frail, if how fair, One by one its bursts of flame Earth's pleasures in beauty and being are; There are none to watch the sinking blaze,

Have burnt and died. Others had thoughts they feared to name,

And none to care, As that pilgrim could read each heart in its


Or if it kindle into strength,
But word or sign gave he to none,

Or waste in air.
And away like a shadow in silence hath gone. My fate is as yon faded wreath
Rose the Countess, and left her throne,

Of summer flowers;
Signal it was that the meeting was done,

They've spent their store of fragrant health And spoke her summons, and graceful led

On sunny hours, To where the sumptuous board was spread. Which reck’ them not, which heeded not

When they were dead;

Other flowers, unwarn'd by them, Evening came, and found its hours

Will spring instead. Vow'd to music, mirth, and flowers.

And my own heart is as the lute Wide ten gorgeous halls were flung,

I now am waking; Each with purple tapestry hung ;

Wound to too fine and high a pitch With wreaths, whose roses were as bright

They both are breaking. As in the first morning-light;

And of their song what memory Mirrors like the glassy plain,

Will stay behind ? Where the beauty beam'd again;

An echo, like a passing thought, Pictures whose Italian grace

Upon the wind. Show'd inspiration's finest trace,

Silence, forgetfulness, and rust, To whose winged moods were given

Lute, are for thee: Moment's visionings of heaven;

And such my lot; neglect, the grave,

These are for me.
And, more than all together fair,
Beauty's living soul was there.

« PreviousContinue »