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The altar is deserted now;
The crowd streams out from Santa Croce's walls.
Behind the gazing throng, with thoughtful brow,
I linger yet amid the flower-decked stalls,
Deep musing on the past :-the last foot-falls
Are faintly echoing o'er the marble floor;
Yet, still, some spell my conscious heart enthralls ;-
At length I slowly gain the closing door,
And bid the scene farewell:-now and for evermore !
O melancholy Love! amidst thy fears,
Thy darkness, thy despair, there runs a vein
Of pleasure, like a smile 'midst many tears,
The pride of sorrow that will not complain :
The exultation that in after years
The loved one will discover-and in vain,
How much the heart silently in its cell
Did suffer till it broke, yet nothing tell!
The hand of Death upon his brow had stamped
Its never-changing impress ;-yet his cheek
Had lost its wonted paleness, and appeared
As if in mockery of the hues of health-
Tinged with a crimson flush, which came and went,
Like the red streaks of summer's evening sky,
When Phoebus floats upon the western wave;
And from the depths of his soul-searching eyes,
Glances, of more than mortal brightness, beamed
On those around him,- till they quailed in fear
From his so ardent gaze. Sadness had sunk
Into his inmost soul, though none knew why,
And few might guess the cause. Some deemed the
Had terrors for him ; but, though he had need
(Like other earth-born creatures) of the grace
From Heaven to man accorded, no foul crime
Hung on his spirit's pinions ;—and if grief-
Intensest suffering—those wild woes which wring
The human heart to breaking, may atone
For youthful follies,then, the fear of death
Wrought not the gloom that clouded his dark brow.
But there were other feelings deeply shrined
Within his heart of heart ;--thoughts he had nursed,
Through years, with fond inquietude, and hopes
Cherished in passionate silentness ;-their source,
Love--fadeless and unquenchable. Long time
He strove, by mixing with the empty crowd
In bowers of heartless revelry, to break
The charm that spelled his bosom; for he feared
The gentle one he prized, might ne'er be his.
Was it the Demon of Fatality
That whispered this dark omen in his ear?
It might, or might not be; yet still he wove
Her name with his rude minstrelsy, and poured
Full many a tender strain from his wild lyre,
She heeded not ;-perchance she never heard !
Was he beloved again ?- This, who may tell?
'Tis said, a strange and wayward chance first threw
The youth and maid together : she had leaned
Upon his arm, and listened to his lays
With seeming gladness, and had often praised
The earliest wreath of song his muse had twined;
And words of gentle import, on the soul
Of the young poet, waked a feeling sweet
He knew not to define ;-they fell like dew
Upon the thirsting flowerets of his heart,
Giving them strength and freshness; for, till then,
The voice of soothing kindness ne'er had shed
Its rich melodious music on his ear!
The minstrel loved, but never told the maid
His deep devotedness ;—for he was one
On whom the smiles of Fortune seldom dwelt;
And though a Croesus in his heart, had few
Of what the world calls riches; so he quelled,
Or strove to quell, the tumult in his breast,
And left his gentle Deity, to seek,
Not other idols, but forgetfulness !
The maiden knew not of his love, unless
His passionate glance at parting, when he clasped
Her hand in token of farewell, revealed
The tale his lips had uttered not. Howbeit,