Imágenes de página
[ocr errors][merged small]

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.

[ocr errors]

‘Bring forth the horse!"—the horse was brought;
In truth, he was a noble steed,
A Tartar of the Ukraine breed,
Who look'd as though the speed of thought
Were in his limbs; but he was wild,
Wild as the wild deer, and untaught,
With spur and bridle undefiled—
'Twas 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 desait-born was led:
They bound me on, that menial throng,
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.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

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,
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,

a Whose thickness was not vengeance-proof.

« They little thought that day of pain,

« When lanch'd, as on the lightning's flash,

« They bade me to destruction dash,

« That one day I should come again,

« With twice five thousand horse, to thank

« The Count for his uncourteous ride.

« They play'd me then a bitter prank,

« When, with the wild horse for my guide,

« They bound me to his foaming flank:

« At length I play'd them one as frank —

« For time at last sets all things even —

H And if we do but watch the hour,

« There never yet was human power

« Which could evade, if unforgiven,

« The patient search and vigil long

« Of him who treasures up a wrong.


« Away, away, my steed and I,

« Upon the pinions of the wind,

<i All human dwellings left behind;

« We sped like meteors through the sky,

« When with its crackling sound the night

u Is cheqiwr'd with the northern light:

« Town — village — none were on our track,

« But a wild plain of far extent,

K And bounded by a forest black;

« And, save the scarce seen battlement

« On distant heights of some strong hold,

« Against the Tartars built of old,

« No trace of man. The year before

A Turkish army had march'd o'er; And where the Spahi's hoof hath trod, The verdure flies the bloody sod :— The sky was dull, and dim, and gray, And a low breeze crept moaning by— I could have answer'd with a sigh— But fast we fled, away, away— And I could neither sigh nor pray; And my cold sweat-drops fell like rain Upon the courser's bristling mane; But, snorting still with rage and fear, He flew upon his far career : At times I almost thought, indeed, He must have slacken'd in his speed; But no—my bound and slender frame Was nothing to his angry might, And merely like a spur became : Each motion which I made to free My swoln limbs from their agony, Increased his fury and affright : I tried my voice,—'twas faint and low, But yet he swerved as from a blow; And, starting to each accent, sprang As from a sudden trumpet's clang : Meantime my cords were wet with gore, Which, oozing through my limbs, ran o'er; And in my tongue the thirst became A something firier far than flame.


We near'd the wild wood—'twas so wide,
I saw no bounds on either side;
'Twas studded with old sturdy trees,
That bent not to the roughest breeze

Which howls dawn from Siberia's waste,
And strips the forest in its haste,_
But these were few, and far between
Set thick with shrubs more young and green,
Luxuriant with their annual leaves,
Ere strown by those autumnal eves
That nip the forest's foliage dead,
Discolour'd with a lifeless red,
Which stands thereon like stiffen'd gore
Upon the slain when battle's o'er,
And some long winter's night hath shed
Its frost o'er every tombless head,
So cold and stark, the raven's beak
May peck unpierced each frozen cheek:
'Twas a wild waste of underwood,
And here and there a chestnut stood,
The strong oak, and the hardy pine;
But far apart—and well it were,
Or else a differentlot were mine—
The boughs gave way, and did not tear
My limbs; and I found strength to bear
My wounds, already scarr'd with cold-
My bonds forbade to loose my hold.
We rustled through the leaves like wind,
Left shrubs, and trees, and wolves behind;
By night I heard them on the track,
Their troop came hard upon our back,
With their long gallop, which can tire
The hound's deep hate, and hunter's fire :
Where'er we flew they follow'd on,
Nor left us with the morning sun;
Behind I saw them searce a rood,
At day-break winding through the wood,

« AnteriorContinuar »