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But I was curious to ascend
To my barr'd windows, and to bend
Once more, upon the mountains high,
The quiet of a loving eye.

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XIII

I saw them and they were the same,
They were not changed like me in frame;
I saw their thousand years of snow
On high their wide long lake below,
And the blue Rhone in fullest flow;
I heard the torrents leap and gush
O'er channell❜d rock and broken bush;
I saw the white-wall'd distant town,
And whiter sails go skimming down.
And then there was a little isle,
Which in my very face did smile,

The only one in view;

A small green isle, it seem'd no more,
Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,
But in it there were three tall trees,
And o'er it blew the mountain breeze,
And by it there were waters flowing,
And on it there were young flowers growing
Of gentle breath and hue.

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The fish swam by the castle wall,
And they seem'd joyous each and all;
The eagle rode the rising blast,
Methought he never flew so fast
As then to me he seem'd to fly;
And then new tears came in my eye,
And I felt troubled and would fain
I had not left my recent chain.
And when I did descend again,
The darkness of my dim abode
Fell on me as a heavy load;
It was as is a new-dug grave,
Closing o'er one we sought to save;
And yet my glance, too much oppress'd,
Had almost need of such a rest.

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XIV

It might be months, or years, or days —
I kept no count, I took no note,
I had no hope my eyes to raise,

And clear them of their dreary mote. At last men came to set me free,

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I ask'd not why, and reck'd not where,
It was at length the same to me,
Fetter'd or fetterless to be,

I learn'd to love despair.
And thus when they appear'd at last,
And all my bonds aside were cast,
These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage and all my own!

And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from a second home.
With spiders I had friendship made,
And watch'd them in their sullen trade,
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
And why should I feel less than they?
We were all inmates of one place,
And I, the monarch of each race,
Had power to kill-yet, strange to
tell!

In quiet we had learn'd to dwell
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are: - even I
Regain'd my freedom with a sigh.

MAZEPPA

ADVERTISEMENT

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Celui qui remplissait alors cette place était un gentilhomme Polonais, nommé Mazeppa, né dans le palatinat de Podolie: il avait été élevé page de Jean Casimir, et avait pris à sa cour quelque teinture des belles-lettres. Une intrigue qu'il eut dans sa jeunesse avec la femme d'un gentilhomme Polonais ayant été découverte, le mari le fit lier tout nu sur un cheval farouche, et le laissa aller en cet état. Le cheval, qui était du pays de l'Ukraine, y retourna, et y porta Mazeppa, demi-mort de fatigue et de faim. Quelques paysans le secoururent il resta longtems parmi eux, et se signala dans plusieurs courses contre les Tartares. La supériorité de ses lumières lui donna une grande considération parmi les Cosaques : sa réputation s'augmentant de jour en jour, obligea le Czar à le faire Prince de l'Ukraine. VOLTAIRE, Hist. de Charles XII., p. 196.

Le roi fuyant, et poursuivi, eut son cheval tué sous lui; le Colonel Gieta, blessé, et perdant tout son sang, lui donna le sien. Ainsi on remit deux fois à cheval, dans la fuite, ce conquérant qui n'avait pu y monter pendant la bataille. p. 216.

Le roi alla par un autre chemin avec quelques cavaliers. Le carrosse où il était rompit dans la marche; on le remit à cheval. Pour comble de disgrace, il s'égara pendant la nuit dans un bois; là, son courage ne pouvant plus suppléer à ses forces épuisées, les douleurs de sa blessure devenues plus insupportables par la fatigue, son cheval étant tombé de lassitude, il se coucha quelques heures au pied d'un arbre, en danger d'être surpris à tout moment par les vainqueurs, qui le cherchaient de tous côtés. - p. 218.

I

'T was after dread Pultowa's day, When fortune left the royal Swede, Around a slaughter'd army lay,

No more to combat and to bleed. The power and glory of the war,

Faithless as their vain votaries, men, Had pass'd to the triumphant Czar,

And Moscow's walls were safe again, Until a day more dark and drear, And a more memorable year, Should give to slaughter and to shame A mightier host and haughtier name; A greater wreck, a deeper fall, A shock to one -a thunderbolt to all.

II

Such was the hazard of the die;

The wounded Charles was taught to fly
By day and night through field and flood,
Stain'd with his own and subjects' blood;
For thousands fell that flight to aid:
And not a voice was heard t' upbraid
Ambition in his humbled hour,
When truth had nought to dread from
power.

The heavy hour was chill and dark; The fever in his blood forbade

A transient slumber's fitful aid.
And thus it was; but yet through all,
Kinglike the monarch bore his fall,
And made, in this extreme of ill,
His pangs the vassals of his will:
All silent and subdued were they,
As once the nations round him lay.

His horse was slain, and Gieta gave
His own and died the Russians' slave.
This too sinks after many a league
Of well-sustain'd, but vain fatigue;
And in the depth of forests darkling,
The watch-fires in the distance sparkling –
The beacons of surrounding foes

―――――――――

A king must lay his limbs at length.
Are these the laurels and repose
For which the nations strain their strength?
They laid him by a savage tree,

In outworn nature's agony;

His wounds were stiff, his limbs were

stark,

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A band of chiefs!-alas! how few,
Since but the fleeting of a day
Had thinn'd it; but this wreck was true
And chivalrous. Upon the clay

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Each sate him down, all sad and mute,
Beside his monarch and his steed,
For danger levels man and brute,

And all are fellows in their need.
Among the rest, Mazeppa made
His pillow in an old oak's shade -
Himself as rough, and scarce less old,
The Ukraine's hetman, calm and bold.
But first, outspent with this long course,
The Cossack prince rubb'd down his horse,
And made for him a leafy bed,

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And smooth'd his fetlocks and his mane,
And slack'd his girth, and stripp'd his rein,
And joy'd to see how well he fed;
For until now he had the dread
His wearied courser might refuse
To browse beneath the midnight dews:
But he was hardy as his lord,
And little cared for bed and board;
But spirited and docile too,
Whate'er was to be done, would do.
Shaggy and swift, and strong of limb,
All Tartar-like he carried him;
Obey'd his voice, and came to call,
And knew him in the midst of all:
Though thousands were around,
Night,

Without a star, pursued her flight,
That steed from sunset until dawn
His chief would follow like a fawn.

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and

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Of this your troop.' 'But I request,'
Said Sweden's monarch, thou wilt tell
This tale of thine, and I may reap,
Perchance, from this the boon of sleep;
For at this moment from my eyes
The hope of present slumber flies.'

'Well, sire, with such a hope, I'll track My seventy years of memory I think 't was in my twentieth spring, back. Ay, 't was, when Casimir was kingJohn Casimir, I was his page Six summers, in my earlier age, A learned monarch, faith! was he, And most unlike your majesty: He made no wars, and did not gain New realms to lose them back again; And (save debates in Warsaw's diet) He reign'd in most unseemly quiet. Not that he had no cares to vex, He loved the muses and the sex; And sometimes these so froward are, They made him wish himself at war; But soon his wrath being o'er, he took Another mistress, or new book. And then he gave prodigious fêtes All Warsaw gather'd round his gates To gaze upon his splendid court, And dames, and chiefs, of princely port. He was the Polish Solomon, So sung his poets, all but one, Who, being unpension'd, made a satire, And boasted that he could not flatter. It was a court of jousts and mimes, Where every courtier tried at rhymes; Even I for once produced some verses, And sign'd my odes "Despairing Thyrsis."

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There was a certain Palatine,

A count of far and high descent,
Rich as a salt or silver mine;
And he was proud, ye may divine,

As if from heaven he had been sent. He had such wealth in blood and ore

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As few could match beneath the throne; And he would gaze upon his store, And o'er his pedigree would pore, Until by some confusion led, Which almost look'd like want of head, He thought their merits were his own. His wife was not of his opinion

His junior she by thirty years Grew daily tired of his dominion; And, after wishes, hopes, and fears, To virtue a few farewell tears, A restless dream or two, some glances At Warsaw's youth, some songs, and dances, Awaited but the usual chances (Those happy accidents which render The coldest dames so very tender), To deck her Count with titles given, 'T is said, as passports into heaven; But, strange to say, they rarely boast Of these, who have deserved them most.

'I was a goodly stripling then;
At seventy years
İ
so may say,
That there were few, or boys or men,
Who, in my dawning time of day,
Of vassal or of knight's degree,
Could vie in vanities with me.
For I had strength, youth, gaiety,
A port, not like to this ye see,
But smooth, as all is rugged now;

For time, and care, and war, have
plough'd

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My very soul from out my brow;
And thus I should be disavow'd
By all my kind and kin, could they
Compare my day and yesterday.
This change was wrought, too, long ere

age

Had ta'en my features for his page:
With years, ye know, have not declined
My strength, my courage, or my mind,
Or at this hour I should not be
Telling old tales beneath a tree,
With starless skies my canopy.
But let me on: Theresa's form
Methinks it glides before me now,
Between me and yon chestnut's bough,
The memory is so quick and warm;

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wrought

And form a strange intelligence
Alike mysterious and intense,

Which link the burning chain that binds, 240
Without their will, young hearts and minds;
Conveying, as the electric wire,
We know not how, the absorbing fire.
I saw, and sigh'd — in silence wept;
And still reluctant distance kept,
Until I was made known to her,
And we might then and there confer
Without suspicion - then, even then,

I long'd, and was resolved to speak;
But on my lips they died again,

The accents tremulous and weak,
Until one hour. There is a game,
A frivolous and foolish play,
Wherewith we while away the day;
It is I have forgot the name
And we to this, it seems, were set,
By some strange chance, which I forget.

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I reck'd not if I won or lost,

It was enough for me to be

So near to hear, and oh! to see The being whom I loved the most. I watch'd her as a sentinel

(May ours this dark night watch as well!),

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Until I saw, and thus it was, That she was pensive, nor perceived Her occupation, nor was grieved Nor glad to lose or gain; but still Play'd on for hours, as if her will Yet bound her to the place, though not That hers might be the winning lot. Then through my brain the thought did pass Even as a flash of lightning there, That there was something in her air Which would not doom me to despair; And on the thought my words broke forth,

All incoherent as they were —

Their eloquence was little worth, But yet she listen'd 't is enough, Who listens once will listen twice; Her heart, be sure, is not of ice, And one refusal no rebuff.

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I loved, and was beloved again; In sooth, it is a happy doom,

But yet where happiest ends in pain. We met in secret, and the hour Which led me to that lady's bower Was fiery Expectation's dower. My days and nights were nothing, all Except that hour which doth recall In the long lapse from youth to age

No other like itself - I'd give The Ukraine back again to live It o'er once more; and be a page,

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The happy page, who was the lord
Of one soft heart and his own sword,
And had no other gem nor wealth
Save nature's gift of youth and health. 310
We met in secret doubly sweet,
Some say, they find it so to meet;
I know not that I would have given
My life but to have call'd her mine
In the full view of earth and heaven;

For I did oft and long repine That we could only meet by stealth.

VIII

For lovers there are many eyes, And such there were on us; the devil On such occasions should be civil; The devil! - I'm loth to do him wrong, It might be some untoward saint, Who would not be at rest too long

But to his pious bile gave vent
But one fair night, some lurking spies
Surprised and seized us both.
The Count was something more than
wroth;

I was unarm'd; but if in steel,
All cap-à-pie from head to heel,
What 'gainst their numbers could I do? -
'T was near his castle, far away

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From city or from succour near,
And almost on the break of day.
I did not think to see another,

My moments seem'd reduced to few;
And with one prayer to Mary Mother,
And, it may be, a saint or two,
As I resign'd me to my fate,
They led me to the castle gate:

Theresa's doom I never knew,
Our lot was henceforth separate.
An angry man, ye may opine,
Was he, the proud Count Palatine;
And he had reason good to be,

But he was most enraged lest such
An accident should chance to touch
Upon his future pedigree;
Nor less amazed, that such a blot
His noble 'scutcheon should have got,
While he was highest of his line;

Because unto himself he seem'd The first of men, nor less he deem'd In others' eyes, and most in mine. 'Sdeath! with a page perchance a

king Had reconciled him to the thing; But with a stripling of a page! I felt but cannot paint his rage.

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'T was but a day he had been caught. And snorting, with erected mane, And struggling fiercely, but in vain, In the full foam of wrath and dread To me the desert-born was led. They bound me on, that menial throng, 370 Upon his back with many a thong; Then loosed him with a sudden lash: Away!-away!—and on we dash !Torrents less rapid and less rash.

X

Away!-away!- My breath was gone I saw not where he hurried on: 'T was scarcely yet the break of day, And on he foam'd-away! The last of human sounds which rose, - away! As I was darted from my foes, Was the wild shout of savage laughter, Which on the wind came roaring after A moment from that rabble rout. With sudden wrath I wrench'd my head,

And snapp'd the cord, which to the mane Had bound my neck in lieu of rein, And, writhing half my form about, Howl'd back my curse; but 'midst the

tread,

The thunder of my courser's speed,
Perchance they did not hear nor heed:
It vexes me, for I would fain
Have paid their insult back again.
I paid it well in after days:
There is not of that castle gate,
Its drawbridge and portcullis' weight,
Stone, bar, moat, bridge, or barrier left;
Nor of its fields a blade of grass,

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Save what grows on a ridge of wall, Where stood the hearth-stone of the

hall;

And many a time ye there might pass,
Nor dream that e'er that fortress was.
I saw its turrets in a blaze,
Their crackling battlements all cleft,

And the hot lead pour down like rain
From off the scorch'd and blackening roof,
Whose thickness was not vengeance-proof.

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