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Beneath these battlements, within those walls,
Power dwelt amidst her passions; in proud state
Each robber chief upheld his armed halls,
Doing his evil will, nor less elate
Than mightier heroes of a longer date.
What want these outlaws conquerors should have?
But History's purchased page to call them great ? - A wider space, an ornamented grave? Their hopes were not less warm, their souls were full as braye.
In their baronial feuds and single fields,
What deeds of prowess unrecorded died !
And Love, which lent a blazon to their shields,
With emblems well devised by amorous pride,
Through all the mail of iron hearts would glide ;
But still their flame was fierceness, and drew on
Keen contest and destruction near allied,
And many a tower for some fair mischief won,
Saw the discoloured Rhine beneath its ruin run.
But Thou, exulting and abounding river!
Making thy waves a blessing as they flow
Through banks whose beauty would endure for ever
Could man but leave thy bright creation so,
Nor its fair promise from the surface mow
With the sharp scythe of conflict,—then to see
Thy valley of sweet waters, were to know
Earth paved like Heaven ; and to seem such to me Even now what wants thy stream?-that it should let he be.
A thousand battles have assail'd thy banks,
But these and half their fame have pass'd away,
And Slaughter heap'd on high his weltering ranks ;
Their very graves are gone, and what are they?
Thy tide wash'd down the blood of yesterday, · And all was stainless, and on thy clear stream Glass'd with its dancing light the sunny ray;
But 6'er the blackened memory's blighting dream Thy waves would vaiply roll, all sweeping as they seem.
Thus Harold inly said, and pass'd along,
Yet not insensibly to all which here
Awoke the jocund birds to early song
In glens which might have made even exile dear :
Though on his brow were graven lines austere,
And tranquil sternness which had ta’en the place
Of feelings fierier far but less severe,
Joy was not always absent from his face,
But o'er it in such scenes would steal with transient trace.
Nor was all love shut from hiin, though his days
Of passion bad consumed ihemselves to dust.
It is in vain that we would coldly gaze,
On such as smile upon us; the heart must
Leap kindly back to kindness, though disgust
Hath wean'l it from all worldlings : thus he felt,
For there was soft remembrance, and sweet trust
In one fond breast, to wbich his own would melt,
And in its tenderer hour on that his bosom dwelt.
And he had learn’d to loveI know not why,
For this in such as him seems strange of mood,
The helpless looks of blooming infancy,
Even in its earliest nurture ; what subdued,
To change like this, a mind so far imbued
Wiih scorn of man, it little boots to know;
But thus it was ; and though in solitude
Small power the nipp'd affections have to grow,
In him this glowed when all beside had ceased to glow.
LV. And there was one soft breast, as hath been said, Which unto his was bound by stronger ties Than the church links withal; and, though unwed, That love was pure, and, far above disguise, Had stood the test of mortal enmities Still undivided, and cemented more By peril, dreaded most in female eyes ;
But this was firm, and from a foreign shore Well to that heart might his these absent greetings pour i
The castled crag of Drachenfels
Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine,
Whose breast of waters broadly swells
Between the banks which bear the vine,
And hills all rich with blossomed trees,
And fields which promise corn and wine,
And scattered cities crowning these,
Whose far white walls along them shine,
Have strewed a scene, which I should see
With double joy wert thou with me!
And peasant girls, with deep blue eyes,
And hands which offer early flowers,
Walk smiling o'er this paradise ;
Above, the frequent feudal towers
Through green leaves lift their walls of grey,
And many a rock which steeply lours,
And noble arch in proud decay,
Look o'er this vale of vintage-bowers;
But one thing want these banks of Rhine,
Thy gentle hand to clasp in mine!
I send the lilies given to me;
Though long before thy hand they touch,
I know that they must withered be,
But yet reject them not as such;
For I have cherish'd them as dear,
Because they yet may meet ibine eye,
And guide ihy soul to mine even here,
When thou behold'st them drooping nigh,
And know'st them gathered by the Rhine,
And offered from my heart to thine!
The river nobly foams and flows,
The charm of this enchanted ground,
And all its thousand turns disclose
Some fresher beauty varying round;
The haughtiest breast its wish night bound
Through life to dwell delighted here;
Nor couli on earih a spot be found
To nature and to me so dear,
Could thy dear eyes in following mine
Still sweeten more these banks of Rhine!
LVI. By Coblentz, on a rise of gentle ground, There is a small and simple pyramid, Crowning the summit of the verdaut mound; Beneath its base are beroes' ashes hid, Our enemy's,—but let not that forbid Honour to Marceau! o'er whose early tomb Tears, big tears, gush'd from the rough soldier's lid,
Lamenting and yet envying such a doom, Falling for France, whose rights he battled to resume.
Brief, brave, and glorious was his young career, -
His mourners were two hosts, his friends and foes;
And fitly may the stranger lingering here
Pray for his gallant spirit's bright repose;
For he was Freedom's champion, one of those,
The few in number, who had not o'erstepi
The charter to chastise which she bestows
On such as wield her weapons ; he had kept
The whiteness of his soul, and thus men o'er him wept.
LVIII. Here Ehrenbreitstein, with her shattered wall Black with the miner’s blast, upon the height Yet shows of what she was, when shell and ball Rebounding idly on her strength did light; A tower of victory! from whence the flight Of baffled foes was watch'd along the plain : But Peace destroy'd what War could never blight,
And laid those proud roofs bare to somer'» raioOn which the iron shower for years had pour’d in vain.