Imágenes de página
PDF

And a look of passionate desire
O'er the sea and to ill - stars I send:
"Ye who from my childhood up have calmed
me,

Calm me, ah, compose me to the end! *

"Ah, once more," T cried, "ye stars, ye waters,

On my heart your mighty charm renew;
Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you,
Feel my soul becoming vast like you!"

From the intense, dear, star-sown vault of heaven,

Over the lit sea's unquiet way,
In the rustling night-air came the answer:
"Wouldst thou be :is these are? Live as
they. 16

"Unaffrighted by the silence round them,
Undistracted by the sights they see,
These demand not that the things without them
Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

'And with joy the stars perform their shining,
And the sea its long moon-silvered roll;
For self-poised they live, nor pine with noting
All the fever of some differing soul. 24

'' Bounded by themselves, and unregardful
In what state God's other works may be,
In their own tasks all their powers pouring,
These attain the mighty life you see.''

0 air-born voice! long since, severely clear,
A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear:
"Resolve to bo thyself; and know that he,
Who finds himself, loses his misery!" 32

LINES WRITTEN IN KENSINGTON
GARDENS*

In this lone, open glade I lie,

Screened by deep boughs on either hand;

And at its end, to stay the eye,

Those black-crowned, red-boled pine-trees stand!

Birds here make song, each bird has his,

Across the girdling city's hum.

How green under the boughs it is!

How thick the tremulous sheep-cries come! 8

Sometimes a child will cross the glade
To take his nurse his broken toy;
Sometimes a thrush flit overhead
Deep in her unknown day's employ.

Here at my feet what wonders pass,
What endless, active life is here!

-' An extensive London park.

What blowing daisies, fragrant grass!

An air-stirred forest, fresh and clear. IS

Scarce fresher is the mountain-sod
Where the tired angler lies, stretched out,
And, cased of basket and of rod,
Counts his day's spoil, the spotted trout.

In the huge world, which roars hard by,

Be others happy if they can!

But in my helpless cradle 1

Was breathed on by the rural Pan.* 24

I, on men's impious uproar hurled,
Think often, as I hear them rave,
That peace has left the upper world
And now keeps only in the grave.

Yet here is peace for ever new!

When I who watch them am away,

Still all things in this glade go through

The changes of their quiet day. 32

Then to their happy rest they pass!
The flowers upclose, the birds arc fed,
The night comes down upon the grass,
The child sleeps warmly in his bed.

Calm soul of all things! make it mine

To feel, amid the city's jar,

That there abides a peace of thine,

Man did not make, and cannot mar. 40

The will to neither strive nor cry,
The power to feel with others give!
Calm, calm me more! nor let me die
Before I have begun to live.

REQUIESCAT'

Strew on her roses, roses,

And never a spray of yew!
In quiet she reposes;

Ah, would that I did too!

Her mirth the world required;

She bathed it in smiles of glee.
But her heart was tired, tired,

And now they let her be.

Her life was turning, turning,

In mazes of heat and sound.
But for pence her soul was yearning,

And now peace laps her round.

Her cabined, ample spirit,

It fluttered and failed for breath.

To-night it doth inherit
The vasty hall of death.

a Arnold was born at T-aleham In the Thames Tal

ley, and grew up amid country scenes. * "May she rest."

SOHKAB AM) BUSTUM"

Anil the first gray of morning filled the east,
Anil the fog rose out of the Oxus stream.5
But all the Tartar camp along the stream
Was hushed, and still the men were plunged in
sleep;

Sohrab alone, he slept not; all night long
He had lain wakeful, tossing on hit bed;
But when the gray dawn stole into his tent,
He rose, and clad himself, and girt his sword,
And took his horseman's cloak, and left his
tent,

And went abroad into the cold wet fog, 10
Through the dim camp to Peran-Wisa 's« tent.
Through the black Tartar tents he passed,
which stood

Clustering like beehives on the low flat strand Of Oxus, where the summer-floods o 'orflow When the sun melts the snows in high Pamerc; Through the black tents he passed, o'er that

low strand, And to a hillock came, a little back From the stream's brink—the spot where first

a boat,

Crossing the stream in summer, scrapes the land.

The men of former times had crowned the top 20
With a clay fort; but that was fallen, and now
The Tartars built there Peran-Wisa's tent,
A dome of laths, and o'er it felts were spread.
And Sohrab came there, and went in, and stood
Upon the thick piled" carpets in the tent,
And found the old man sleeping on his bed
Of rugs and felts, and near him lay his arms.
And Peran-Wisa heard him, though the step
Was dulled; for he slept light, an old man's
sleep;

And he rose quickly on one arm, and said:-— 30 '' Who art thou? for it is not yet clear dawn.

8peak! is there news, or any night alarm t" But Sohrab came to the bedside, and said:—

"Thou know'st me, Peran-Wisa! it is I.

The sun is not yet risen, and the foe

Sleep; but I sleep not; all night long I lie

5 Now the Amu-Daria. flowing from the plateau

of I'omlr, in central Asia, to the Aral Sea.

6 A Turanian chieftain.

i From "pile"—fur, or hair-like nap.

* Founded on a story in the Persian epic. Shaft Xameh, or "Book of Kings." Rustum is the great legendary warrior-hero of Iran, or Persia. In the Turanian, or Tartar land, which is ruled over by Af raslab, an enemy of the Persians, Rustum's son Sohrab has grown up without ever having seen his father; nor does the father know of the existence of his son, having been told that the child born to him was a girl. The rest of the tragic tale may be left to tell itself In the simple and dignified language which Arnold. In professed imitation of I he Homeric poems, has chosen. • See Eng. hit., p. :t!2.

Tos-ing and wakeful, and I come to thee.
For so did King Atrasiab bid me seek
Thy counsel, and to heed thee as thy son,
In Samarcand, before the army marched;
And I will tell thee what my heart desires.
Thou know 'st if, since from Ader-baijan" first
1 came among the Tartars and bore arms,
I have still served Afrasiab well, and shown,
At my boy's years, the courage of a man.
This too thou know 'st, that while 1 still boar on
The conquering Tartar ensigns through the
world,

Ami beat the Persians back on every field,
I seek one man, one man, and one alone— 49
Rustum, my father; who I hoped should greet,
Should one day greet, upon some well-fought
field,

His not unworthy, not inglorious son.
So I long hoped, but him I never find.
Come then, hear now, and grant me what I ask.
Let the two armies rest to-day; but I
Will challenge forth the bravest Persian lords
To meet me, man to man; if I prevail,
Rustum will surely hear it; if I fall—
Old man, the dead need no one, claim no kin.
Dim is the rumour of a common fight. 60
Where host meets host, and many names are
sunk;

But of a single combat fame speaks clear."

He spoke; and Peran-Wisa took the hand Of the young man in his, and sighed, and said:—

"O Sohrab, an unquiet heart is thine!
Canst thou not rest among the Tartar chiefs,
And share the battle's common chance with us
Who love thee, but must press for ever first.
In single fight incurring single risk,
To find a father thou hast never seen? '0
That were far best, my son, to stay with us
Unmurmuring; in our tents, while it is war,
And when 't is truce, then in Afrasiab's towns.
But, if this one desire indeed rules all,
To seek out Rustum—seek him not through
fight!

Seek him in peace, and carry to his arms,
O Sohrab. carry an unwounded son!
But far hence seek him, for he is not here.
For now it is not as when 1 was young,
When Rustum was in front of every fray; 8(
But now he keeps apart, and sits at home.
In Seistan." with Zal, his father old.
Whether that his own mighty strength at last
Feels the abhorred approaches of old age,
Or in some quarrel with the Persian King.
There go!—Thou wilt nott Yet my heart fore-
bodes

s A northerly province of Persia.

»Three syllables, Sc-lt-lan; Iu eastern Persia.

Danger or death awaits thee on this field. Fain would 1 know thee safe and well, though lost

To us! fain therefore send thee hence, in peace
To seek thy father, not seek single fights 90
In vain;— but who can keep the lion's eub
From ravening, and who govern Bustum's souf
Oo, I will grant thee what thy heart desires."
So said he, and dropped Sohrab's hand, and
left

His bed, and the warm rugs whereon he lay;
And o'er his chilly limbs his woollen coat
He passed, and tied his sandals on his feet,
And threw a white cloak round him, and he took
In his right hand a ruler's staff, no sword;
And on his head he set his sheep-skin cap, 100
Black, glossy, curled, the fleece of Kara-Kul;">
And raised the curtain of his tent, and called
His herald to his side, and went abroad.

The sun by this had risen, and cleared the fog

From the broad Oxus and the glittering sands.
And from their tents the Tartar horsemen filed
Into the open plain; so Haman bade—
Haman, who next to Peran-Wisa ruled
The host, and still was in his lusty prime.
From their black tents, long files of horse, they

streamed; HO
As when some gray November morn the files,
In marching order spread, of long-necked cranes
Stream over Casbln and the southern slopes
Of Elburz, from the Aralian estuaries,
Or some frorci1 Caspian reed-bed, southward

bound

For the warm Persian sea-board—so they streamed.

The Tartars of the Oxus. the King's guard, First, with black sheep-skin caps and with long spears;

Large men, large steeds; who from Bokhara come

And Khiva, and ferment the milk of mares.'2 Next, the more temperate Toorkmuns of the

south, 121 The Tukas, and the lances of Salore, And those from Attruck and the Caspian sands; Light men and on light steeds, who only drink The acrid milk of camels, and their wells. Anil then a swarm of wandering horse, who

came

From far, and a more doubtful service owned;
The Tartars of Ferghana, from the banks
Of the Jaxartes, men with scanty beards
And close-set skull-caps; and those wilder
hordes 130

10 A town In Bokhara.

11 Sop Par. I,o«t, II. 5!>.">.

u Making the drink called kumiss.

Who roam o'er Kipchak and the northern waste, Kalmucks and unkempt Kuzzaks, tribes who stray

Nearest the Pole, and wandering Kirghizzes,
Who come on shaggy ponies from Pamere;
These all filed out from camp into the plain.
And on the other side the Persians formed;—-
First a light cloud of horse, Tartars the/
seemed,

The Ilyats of Khorassan; and behind,
The royal troops of Persia, horse and foot,
Marshalled battalions bright in burnished steel.
But Peran-Wisa with his herald came, Hi
Threading the Tartar squadrons to the front,
And with his staff kept back the foremost
ranks.

And when Ferood, who led the Persians, saw-
That Peran-Wisa kept the Tartars back,
He took his spear, and to the front he came,
And checked his ranks, and fixed them where

they stood.
And the old Tartar came upon the sand
Betwixt the silent hosts, and spake, and said:—
"Ferood, and ye, Persians and Tartars,

hear! 150 Let there be truce between the hosts to-day. But choose a champion from the Persian lords To fight our champion Sohrab, man to man.''

As, in the country, on a morn in June, When the dew glistens on the pearled ears, A shiver runs through the deep corn for joy— So, when they heard what Peran-Wisa said. A thrill through all the Tartar squadron ran Of pride and hope for Sohrab, whom they loved.

But^JS a troop of pedlars, from Cabool, 160 Cross underneath the Indian Caucasus, That vast sky-neighbouring mountain of milk

snow;

Crossing so high, that, as they mount, they pass Long flocks of travelling birds dead on the snow,

Choked by the air, and scarce can they themselves

Slake their parched throats with sugared mulberries—

In single file they move, and stop their breath. For fear they should dislodge the o'erhanging snows—

So the pale Persians held their breath with fear.

And to Ferood his brother chiefs came up 1T0 To counsel; Gudurz and Zoarrah came, And Feraburz, who ruled the Persian host Second, and was the uncle of the King; These came and counselled, and then Gudurs Baid:—

'' Ferood, shame bids us take their challenge up,

Vet champion have wc none to match tbia youth.

He has tlie wild stag's foot, tlie lion's heart.
But Rustum came last night; aloof he sits
And sullen, and has pitched his tents apart.
Him will I seek, and carry to his ear 180
The Tartar challenge, and this young man's
name.

Haply he will forget his wrath, and fight.1,1 Stand forth the while, and take their challenge up."

So spake he; and Ferood stood forth and cried:—

"Old man, be it agreed as thou hast said!
Let Sohrab arm, and we will find a man.''
He spake: and Peran-Wisa turned, and
strode

Back through the opening squadrons to his tent.
But through the anxious Persians Gudurz ran,
And crossed the camp which lay behind, and

reached, 190 Out on the sands beyond it, Bustum 's tents. Of scarlet cloth they were, and glittering gay, .lust pitched; the high pavilion in the midst Was Bustum's, and his men lay camped around. And Gudurz entered Bustum's tent, and found Kustum; his morning meal was done, but still The table stood before him, charged with

food—

A side of roasted sheep, and cakes of bread, Anil dark green melons; and there Rustum sate Listless, and held a falcon on his wrist, 200 And played with it; but Gudurz came and stood Before him; and he looked, and saw him stand. And with a cry sprang up and dropped the bird. And greeted Gudurz with both hands, and said:—

"Welcome! these eyes could see no better sight.

What news? but sit down first, and eat and drink."

But Gudurz stood in the tent door, and said:—

"Not now! a time will come to eat nnd drink.
But not to-day; to-day has other needs.
The armies are drawn out, and stand at gaze;
For from the Tartars is a challenge brought 211
To pick a champion from the Persian lords
To fight their champion—and thou know'st his

Sohrab men call him, but his birth is hid.
O Rustum, like thy might is this young man's!
He has the wild stag's foot, the lion's heart;
And he is young, and Iran's chiefs are old.
Or else too weak; and all eyes turn to thee.
Come down and help ns, Rustum, or we lose!"
He spoke; but Bustum answered with a
smile:— 220

13 This is a distinct echo of the lllml.

"Go to! if Iran's chiefs arc old, then I
Am oluer; if the young are weak, the King
Krrs strangely; for the King, for Kai Khosroo,
Himself is young, and honours younger men,
And lets the aged moulder to their graves.
Rustum he loves no more, but loves the young—
The young may rise at Sohrab's vaunts, not I.
For what care I, though all speak Sohrab's
famet

For would that I myself had such a son,
And not that one slight helpless girl I have—
A son so famed, so brave, to send to war, 231
And T to tarry with the snow haired ZaI,*
My father, whom the robber Afghans vex,
And clip his borders short, and drive his herds,
And he has none to guard his weak old age.
There would I go, and hang my armour up,
And with my great name fence that weak old
man,

And spend the goodly treasures I have got,
And rest my age, and hear of Sohrab's fame,
And leave to death the hosts of thankless
kings, 240
And with these slaughterous hands draw sword
no more.''

He spoke and smiled; and Gudurz made reply:—

"What then, O Rustum, will men say to this,
When Sohrab dares our bravest forth, and seeks
Thee most of all, and thou, whom most he seeks,
Hidest thy facet Take heed lest men should
say:

Like some old miser, Rustum hoards his fame,
And shuns to peril it Kith younf/er men."
And greatly moved, then Bustum made re-
ply:-

'' O Gudurz, wherefore dost thou say such
words? 250
Thou knowest better words than this to say.
What is one more, one less, obscure or famed,
Valiant or craven, young or old, to met
Are not they mortal, am not I myself t
Hut who for men of nought would do great
deedst

Come, thou shalt see how Bustum hoards his famel

But I will fight unknown, and in plain arms; I.et not men say of Bustum, he was matched In single fight with any mortal man."

He spoke, and frowned; and Gudurz turned.

and ran 260 Back quickly through the camp in fear and

joyFear at his wrath, but joy that Rustum came.

* ZaI was born with white hair, and on that account had been cast out to die. hut was fostered by a marvelous bird, the slmbuix. or roc. Cp. I. 670.

But Rustum strode to his tent-door, and called
His followers in, and bade them bring his arms,
And clad himself in steel; the arms he chose
Were plain, and on his shield was no device,
Only his helm waa rich, inlaid with gold,
And, from the fluted spine atop, a plume
Of horsehair waved, a scarlet horsehair plume.
80 armed, he issued forth; and Ruksh, his

hone, 270 Followed him like a faithful hound at heel— Ruksh, whose renown was noised through all the

earth,

The horse, whom Bustum on a foray once
Did in Bokhara by the river find
A colt beneath its dam, and drove hiin home,
And reared him; a bright bay, with lofty crest,
Dight with a saddle-cloth of broidered green
(.rusted with gold, and on the ground were
worked

All beasts of chase, all beasts which hunters
know. 280
So followed, Bustum left his tents, and crossed
The camp, and to the Persian host appeared.
And all the Persians knew him, ami with shouts
Hailed; but the Tartars knew not who he was.
And dear as the wet diver to the eyes
Of his pale wife who waits and weeps on shore,
By sandy Bahrein, in the Persian Gulf,
Plunging all day in the blue waves, at night,
Having made up his tale of precious pearls,
Bejoins her in their hut upon the sands—
80 dear to the pale Persians Rustum came. 290
And Bustum to the Persian front advanced,
And Sohrab armed in Hainan's tent, and came.
And as afield the reapers cut a swath
Down through the middle of a rich man's corn.
And on each side are squares of standing corn,
And in the midst a stubble, short and bare—
So on each side were squares of men, with
spears

Bristling, and in the midst, the open sand.
And Rustum came upon the sand, and cast
His eyes toward the Tartar tents, and saw 300
Sohrab come forth, and eyed him as he came.

As some rich woman, on a winter's morn, Eyes through her silken curtains the poor drudge

Who with numb blackened fingers makes her fire—

At cock-crow, on a starlit winter's morn, When the frost flowers the whitened windowpanes—

And wonderB how she lives, and what the thoughts

Of that poor drudge may be; so Rustum eyed The unknown adventurous youth, who from afar Came seeking Rustum, and defying forth 310 All the most valiant chiefs; long he perused

His spirited air, and wondered who he was.
For very young he seemed, tenderly reared;
Like some young cypress, tall, and dark, and
straight,*

Which in a queen's secluded garden throws
Its slight dark shadow on the moonlit turf,
By midnight, to a bubbling fountain's sound—
So slender Sohrab seemed, so softly reared.
And a deep pity entered Rustum's soul
As he beheld him coming; and he stood, 320
And beckoned to him with his hand, and said:—
"O thou young man, the air of Heaven is
soft,

And warm, and pleasant; but the grave is cold!
Heaven'8 air is better than the cold dead grave.
Behold me! 1 am vast, and clad in iron,
And tried; and I have stood on many a field
Of blood, and 1 have fought with many a foe—
Never was that field lost, or that foe saved.
O Sohrab, wherefore wilt thou rush on death)
Be governed! quit the Tartar host, and come 330
To Iran, and be as my son to me,
And fight beneath my banner till I die!
There are no youths in Iran brave as thou."

So he spake, mildly; Sohrab heard his voice,
The mighty voice of Rustum, and he saw
His giant figure planted on the sand,
Sole, like some single tower, which a chief
Hath builded on the waste in former years
Against the robbers; and he saw that head,
Streaked with its first gray hairs;—hope filled

his soul, 340 And he ran forward and embraced his knees, And clasped his hand within his own, and

said: —

"O, by thy father's head! by thine own soulf Art thou not Rustum f speak! art thou not lie/"

But Rustum eyed askance the kneeling youthr And turned away, and spake to his own soul: —

'' Ah me, I muse what this young fox may mean!

False, wily, boastful, are these Tartar boys.
For if I now confess this thing he asks,
And hide it not, but say: liuxtum is heir! 350
He will not yield indeed, nor quit our foes,
But he will find some pretext not to fight,
And praise my fame, and proffer courteous gifts,
A belt or sword perhaps, and go his way.
And on a feast-tide, in Afrasiab's hall,
In Samarcand, he will arise and cry:
'I challenged once, when the two armies
camped

Beside the Oxus, all the Persian lords
To cope with me in single fight; but they
Shrank, only Rustum dared; then he and I 380
Changed (lifts, and went on equal terms away.'

• For this oriental figure, compare the liubaiynt, st. xlt.

« AnteriorContinuar »