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But she must lay her conscious head The guilt- the shame-the doom to her:
All circumstance which may compel
And Azo's tortured heart and ear
He was not one who brook'd delay :
Within the chamber of his state,
The chief of Este's ancient sway
Upon his throne of judgment sate;
His nobles and his guards are there, O'e her who loves him even in sleep.
Before him is the sinful pair;
With swordless belt, and fetter'd hand, lle clasp'd her sleeping to his heart,
Oh, Christ! that thus a son should stand And listend to each broken word :
Before a father's face !
Although, as yet, his voice be dumb.
And still, and pale, and silently
Did Parisina wait her doom ;
How changed since last her speaking eye Il whose that name? that o'er his pillow Where high-born men were proud to wait –
Glanced gladness round the glittering room, Suads fearful as the breaking billow, Blich rolls the plank upon the shore,
Where Beauty watch'd to imitate led dashes on the pointed rock
Her gentle voice -- her lovely mien The wretch who sinks to rise no more,—
And gather from her air and gait So came upon his soul the shock.
The graces of its queen: u those that name ? 'tis Hugo's,—his-Then, -- had her eye in sorrow wept, I seth he had not deem'd of this!
A thousand warriors forth had leapt,
A thousand swords had sheathless shone, Ta Hngo's
, – be, the child of one le loved-his own all-evil son
And made her quarrel all their own. De offspring of his wayward youth,
Now,—what is she? and what are they ? When he betray'd Bianca's truth,
Can she command, or these obey?
All silent and unheeding now,
With downcast eyes and knitting brow,
And lips that scarce their scorn forbear,
Had yet been couch'd before her glance, rould not slay a thing so fair –
Who- were his arm a moment free bast , not smiling-sleeping there
Had died or gain’d her liberty; more: : he did not wake her then,
The minion of his father's bride,-. but razed upon her with a glance He, too, is fetter'd by her side; Elich
, had she roused her from her trance, Nor sees her swoln and full eye swim ed frozen her sense to sleep again Less for her own despair than him : od o'er his brow the burning lamp
Those lids-o'er which the violet vein Granit on the dew-drops big and damp. Wandering, leaves a tender stain, fugake no more-but still she slumber'd"- Shining through the smoothest white Wie in his thought, her days are That eser did softest kiss invite number'd.
Now seemd with hot and livid glow
Which glance so heavily, and fill,
And he for her had also wept,
But for the eyes that on him gazed : themselves, and would transfer His sorrow, if he felt it, slept;
Stern and erect his brow was raised. But she is in the grave, where he,
But wrong for wrong - this deem'd And hers, -oh, hers! - he dared not throw
bride, One look upon that deathlike brow! The other victim of thy pride, Else had his rising heart betray'd
'Thou knowst for me was destined lon Remorse for all the wreck it made. Thou sawst, and covetedst her charu
And with thy very crime - my birth,
Thou tauntedst me-as little worth ; And Azo spake :-“But yesterday A match ignoble for her arms, I gloried in a wife and son ;
Because, forsooth, I could not claim That dream this morning pass'd away ; The lawful heirship of thy name, Ere day declines, I shall have none.
Nor sit on Este's lineal throne: My life must linger on alone;
Yet, were a few short summers mine Well, let that pass,—there breathes not one My name should more than Este's sh Who would not do as I have done:
With honours all my own. Those ties are broken - not by me; Let that too pass :- the doon's prepared! That should have won as haught a
I had a sword - and have a breast Hugo, the priest awaits on thee,
As ever waved along the line And then -- thy crime's reward!
of all these sovereign sires of thine. Away! address thy prayers to Heaven,
Not always knightly spars are worn Before its evening-stars are met
The brightest by the better born; Learn if thou there canst be forgiven; And mine have lanced my courser': 1 Its mercy may alsolve thee yet.
Before proud chiefs of princely rank, But here, upon the earth beneath,
When charging to the cheering cry There is no spot where thou and I Of “Este and of Victory!” Together, for an hour, could breathe :
I will not plead the cause of crime, Farewell! I will not see thee die
Nor sue thee to redeem from time But thou, frail thing! shalt view bis head
A few brief hours or days that must Away! I cannot speak the rest :
At length roll o'er my reckless dust; Go! woman of the wanton breast;
Such maddening moments as my past Not I, but thou his blood dost shed:
They could not, and they did not, la Go! is that sight thou canst outlive,
Albeit my birth and name be base, And joy thee in the life I give.”
And thy nobility of race
Disdain'd to deck a thing like meAnd here stern Azo hid his face
Yet in my lineaments they trace For on his brow the swelling vein
Some features of my father's face, Throbb'd as if back upon his brain
And in my spirit-all of thec. The hot blood ebb’d and flow'd again;
From thee - This tamelessness of heari And therefore bow'd he for a space
nay, wherefore dost And pass'd his shaking hand along
start? His eye, to veil it from the throng ;
From thee in all their vigour came While Hugo raised his chained hands, My arm of strength, my soul of Man And for a brief delay demands
Thou didst not give me life alone, His father's ear: the silent sire
But all that made me more thine on Forbids not what his words require. See what thy guilty love hath done!
Repaid thee with too like a son!
I am no bastard in my soul, “It is not that I dread the death- For that, like thine, abhorrd controu For thou hast seen me by thy side And for my breath, that hasty boon All redly through the battle ride,
Thou gavest and wilt resume so soon And that not once a useless brand I valued it no more than thou, Thy slaves have wrested from my hand, When rose thy casque above thy bron Haih shed more blood in cause of thine And we, all side by side, have striver Than e'er can stain the axe of mine: And o'er the dead our coursers driven Thou gavest, and mayst resume my breath, The past is nothing - and at last A gift for which I thank thee not; The future can but be the past; Nor are my mother's wrongs forgot, Yet would I that I then had died : Her slighted love and ruin'd name, For though thou work’dst my mother's Her offspring's heritage of shame; And made thy own my destined bride
I feel thou art my father still;
She had forgotten :- did she breathe And, harsh as sonnds thy hard decree, Could this be still the earth beneath ? Tis not uajast, although from thee. The sky above, and men around ; Begot in sin, to die in shame,
Or were they fiends who now so frown'd My life begun and ends the same:
On one, before whose eyes each eye kerr'd the sire, so err'd the son,
Till then had smiled in sympathy? And thou must punish both in one. All was confused and undefined, My crime seems worst to human view, To her all-jarr'd and wandering mind; But God must judge between us two!” A chaos of wild hopes and fears :
And now in laughter, now in tears,
But madly still in each extreme, He ceased and stood with folded arms, She strove with that convulsive dream; On which the circling fetters sounded; For so it seem'd on her to break: And not an ear but felt as wounded, Oh! vainly must she strive to wake! Of all the chiefs that there were rank’d, Whan those dull chains in meeting clank'd : Til Parisina's fatal charms
The Convent-bells are ringing,
But mournfully and slow,
With a deep sound, to and fro.
Heavily to the heart they go!
Hark! the hymn is singing -
Or the living who shortly shall be so ! O shade the glance o'er which they rose,
For a departing being's soul la rued their orbs of deepest blue
The death-hymn peals and the hollow
bells knoll: Te cireling white dilated grew bu there with glassy gaze she stood
He is near his mortal goal; bice were in her curdled blood;
Kneeling at the Friar's knee; every now and then a tear
Sad to hear-and piteous to see large and slowly gather'd slid Kneeling on the bare cold ground, han the long dark fringe of that fair lid, With the block before and theguard aroundIw a thing to see, not hear!
And the headsman with his bare arm And those who saw, it did surprise,
ready, Such drops could fall from human eyes.
That the blow may be both swift and steady, To pak she thought-the imperfect note Feels if the axe be sharp and trueIs choked within her swelling throat,
Since he set its edge anew : let sem'd in that low hollow groan
While the crowd in a speechless circle whole heart gushing in the tone.
gather Krased - again she thought to speak,
To see the Son fall by the doom of the Ila burst her voice in one long shriek,
Father. All to the earth she fell like stone k statue from its base o'erthrown,
It is a lovely hour as yet
Which rose upon that heavy day,
every passion was a sting, And his evening-beams are shed
urged to guilt, bat could not bear Full on Hugo's fated head,
In penitential holiness,
He bends to hear his accents bless
Wipe our mortal stains away: bow-strings, when relax'd by rain, That high sun on his head did glisten The erring arrow launch aside)
As he there did bow and listen band forth her thoughts all
wild and wide- And the rings of chesnut hair Dhe past a blank, the future black, Curled half down his neck so bare; Wie glimpses of a dreary track,
But brighter still the beam was thrown Like lightning on the desert-path,
Upon the axe which near him shone Mhamidnight storms are mustering wrath. With a clear and ghastly glitter -the feard-she felt that something ill
Oh! that parting-hour was bitter! Lay on her soul, so deep and chill - Even the stern stood chill'd with awe: That there was sin and shame she knew; Dark the crime, and just the lawThat some one was to die--but who? Yet they shudder'd as they saw,
The parting prayers are said and over That, as a mother's o'er her child, Of that false son—and daring lover! Done to death by sudden blow, His beads and sins are all recounted, To the sky these accents go, His hours to their last minute mounted-. Like a soul's in endless woe. His mantling cloak before was stripp'd, Through Azo's palace-lattice driven, His bright brown locks must now be clippid; That horrid voice ascends to heaven, "Tis done-all closely are they shorn- And every eye is turn’d thereon; The vest which till this moment worn- But sound and sight alike are gone! The scarf which Parisina gave
It was a woman's shriek-and ne'er Must not adorn him to the grave.
In madlier accents rose despair; Even that must now be thrown aside, And those who heard it, as it past, And o'er his eyes the kerchief tied;
In mercy wish'd it were the last.
Hugo is fallen; and, from that honr All feelings seemingly subdued,
No more in palace, hall, or bower, In deep disdain were half renew'd,
Was Parisina heard or seen: When headman's hands prepared to bind
Her name as if she ne'er had beenThose eyes which would not brook such Was banish'd from each lip and ear,
Like words of wantonness or fear; As if they dared not look on death.
And from Prince Azo's voice, by none “No--yours my forfeit blood and breath
Was mention heard of wise or son; These hands are chain'dbut let me die
No tomb—no memory had they; At least with an unshackled eye
Theirs was unconsecrated clay; Strike:" -- and as the word he said,
At least the knight's who died that day Upon the block he bow'd his head;
But Parisina's fate lies hid These the last accents Hugo spoke:
Like dust beneath the coffin-lid: “Strike"-and flashing fell the stroke
Whether in convent she abode,
And won to heaven her dreary road,
By blighted and remorseful years In the dust, which each deep vein
Of scourge, and fast, and sleepless tea Slaked with its ensanguined rain;
Or if she fell by bowl or steel, His eyes and lips a moment quiver,
For that dark love she dared to feel; Convulsed and quick—then fix for ever.
Or if, upon the moment smote,
She died by tortures less remote; He died, as erring man should die, Like him she saw upon the block, Without display, without parade;
With heart that shared the headman's sl Meekly had he bow'd and pray'd,
In quicken'd brokenness that came, As not disdaining priestly aid,
In pity, o'er her shatter'd frame, Nor desperate of all hope on high.
None knew--and none can ever know: And while before the Prior kneeling, But whatsoe'er its end below, His heart was wean'd from earthly feeling; Her life began and closed in woe! His wrathful sire-his paramourWhat were they in such an hour? No more reproach--no more despair;
And Azo found another bride, No thought but heaven-no word but prayer But none so lovely and so brave
And goodly sons grew by his side; Save the few which from him broke, When, bared to meet the headman's stroke, As him who wither'd in the grave; He claim'd to die with eyes unbound,
Or if they were-on his cold eye
Their growth but glanced unheeded by
But never tear his cheek descended, Still as the lips that closed in death, And never smile his brow unbended; Each gazer's bosom held his breath : And o'er that fair broad brow were wro But yet, afar, from man to man,
The intersected lines of thought; A cold electric shiver ran,
Those furrows which the burning shar As down the deadly blow descended Of sorrow ploughs untimely there; On him whose life and love thus ended; Scars of the lacerating mind And with a hushing sound comprest, Which the soul's war doth leave behind A sigh shrunk back on every breast; He was past all mirth or woe: But no more thrilling noise rose there, Nothing more remaind below Beyond the blow that to the block
But sleepless nights and heavy days, Pierced through with forced and sullen A mind all dead to scorn or praise,
and yet Save one: -- what cleaves the silent air That would not yield--por could forgel So madly shrill-so passing wild ? Which when it least appeard to melt,
Intently thought-intensely felt :
To throb o'er those of life bereft; The deepest ice which ever froze
Without the power to fill again Can enly o'er the surface close
The desert gap which made his pain; The living stream lies quick below, Without the hope to meet them where Add flows-and cannot cease to flow. United souls shall gladness share, Sill was his seald-up bosom haunted With all the consciousness that he By thoughts which Nature hath implanted; Had only passd a just decree; Too deeply rooted thence to vanish, That they had wrought their doom Bowe'er our stifled tears we banish;
of ill; When, struggling as they rise to start, Yet Azo's age was wretched still. Fie check those waters of the heart, The tainted branches of the tree, They are not dried-those tears unshed If lopp'd with care, a strength may give, Bat flow back to the fountain-head, By which the rest shall bloom and live And resting in their spring more pure, All greenly fresh and wildly free: Por ever in its depth endure,
But if the lightning, in its wrath, l'asce, uvept, but uncongeal’d, The waving boughs with fury scatho, And cherishd most where least reveal’d. The massy trunk the ruin feels. With inward starts of feeling left, And never more a leaf reveals.
THE PRISONER OF
SONNET ON CHILLON. That father perish'd at the stake Etteval spirit of the chainless mind!
For tenets he would not forsake; Piektest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art, And for the same his lineal race le there thy habitation is the heart
In darkness found a dwelling-place ; De beart which love of thee alone can we were seven—who now are one, bind;
Six in youth, and one in age, To letters, and the damp vault's dayless One in fire, and two in field, let then thy sons to fetters are consign’d– Finish'd as they had begun,
Proud of Persecution's rage; Besis country conquers with their martyr-Their belief with blood have seald ; dom,
Dying as their father died, ki Freedom's fame finds wings on every
For the God their foes denied ;
Three were in a dungcon cast, wind. bilan! thy prison is a holy place,
Of whom this wreck is left the last. thy sad floor an altar-for 'twas trod, ledil his very steps have left a trace
There are seven pillars of gothic mold, Han
, as if ihy cold pavement were a sod, In Chillon’s dungeons deep and old ; Bonnivard? May none those marks There are seven columns, massy and gray, eflace!
Dim with a dull imprison'd ray,
And through the crevice and the cleft
Like a marsh's meteor-lamp:
And in each ring there is a chain;
That iron is a cankering thing, de tenis have grown from sudden fears : For in these limbs its teeth remain, 3 links are bow'd, though not with toii, With marks that will not wear away, But nested with a vile repose,
Till I have done with this new day,
When my last brother droop'd and diod, Infer'd chains and courted death ;
And I lay living by his side.
for grew it white la a single night,