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MARIE ANTOINETTE.

“In every land
I saw, wherever light illumineth,
Beauty and anguish walking hand in hand,

The downward slope to death."

TENNYSON.

Deep in the stillness of a forest glade,

Where murmuring streamlets cooled the sultry air, Where spreading oak trees tempered with their shade

The sun's too fervent glare. Where none might see me, save the frightened deer,

Who shook the rustling bracken as I passed, I wandered from the world's turmoil, that here

I might find rest at last. And as I sauntered down that colonnade

Of huge brown oak-boles, by the mossy rill,
A pale sweet flower smiled sadly through the shade,

And held me gazing, till
The chains of sense slipped from me -all around,

The sky grew black, but I saw not, nor heard
The large slow storm-drops patter on the ground,

As louder and more weird The wind moaned round me, nor the frighted screams

Of fluttering birds which fled beneath the shade ;

Nor, when heaven's flood-gates opened and in streams

The rain rushed, and the glade Was hid, save when the lightning's frequent glaro

Severed the darkness, did I heed the storm, Till from my flower it dashed those petals rare

And marr'd that lovely form. For shelter from the tempest's rage I crept

Beneath an oak's broad branches, full of thoughts. Which bore me far away, and then I slept.

But still the self-same thoughts Held me, and fairest forms before my eyes

Passed as I dreamt, whose beauty shone more bright Through sorrow's cloud.-When on the mountain lies

The moon's sad silver light, More beautiful the peaks stand out and throw

Their long dim shadows o'er the lake.--So all Beauty seemed fairer through a veil of woe;

And deepest grief would fall, Where happiest smiles but now had wreathed the brow.

*

Now saw I through the silent darkness come

I
A face more radiant than them all, whose snow

Rose-misted lit the gloom
From out its golden halo of soft hair

Flowing, like morning o'er some Alpine height,
To kiss that queenly neck: and on the air,

All silent as the night,
Like scattered rose-leaves fell her words, as she

Joyously carolled passing down the glade.
My longing eyes pursued her earnestly,

And sadly saw her fade,
As some bright meteor from a darkened sky.

But ever, as I slept, her beauty shed
A calm sweet splendour o'er my dreams, and I

Longed, as the swift hours fled,

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Ever to follow her.—And now I stood

Within the old walls of an ancient town
Amidst an ever growing multitude :

And, as I wandered down
Their crowding ranks, I saw her passing through,

Surrounded by a stately cavalcade.
And tears stole down her face,-alas ! how true

Their presaging !—and made
Dark lines adown its whiteness. Glistening are

The eyes of thousands who are peering there.· For she,' one told me, “ Austria's brightest star

Would wed with France's heir; And peace supreme

would rule the world, and war Would have for e'er an end, for she would reign With her great mother's virtues : near and far

The blaze of strife would wane, And on the world would dawn all golden days.'

And, even as he spoke, she passed, but still I saw her, gliding through my fancy's maze

Sweet as a summer rill. And oft I heard her footfall's echo ring

Softly through dim old halls, as midst the glare And splendour of a court she passed life's spring

Blameless, with one to share Her silent gladness. Often too, when eve

Had drawn her cool still veil around the grove,
How sweet with him all royal cares to leave

For purest joys of love.
Her sweet impulsive soul swayed with the tide

Of love, and bent it ever to her sway,
Moonlike, with her chaste beams, and, all beside

Shunning, pursued love's way,

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But when grim death's dark wing swept o'er her home,

And left her fatherless to reign a queen,

While murmuring, like the first roar of the foam

O’er surging seas, was seen A discontented people,—then I saw

That fair form sink foreboding on her knee Beside her husband, and in prayer outpour

Her soul to God, that He Would strengthen her weak youth to guide the land.

Alas! she knew not!-But the storm without
Rolled ever more and more, and sorrow's hand

Ruthless had blotted out,
When next she came before me, all that bright

And joyous sunshine which had played around
Her neck's pure marble, and the soft love-light

Had faded 'neath the wound Of sorrow from her eyes, which only glanced

With scorn and indignation on her foes, As she to their unholy bar advanced,

And heard,-oh! last of woes !The basest slander cast on her

pure

fame. There lion-like in that unrighteous court She stood at bay,-how changed !-yet still the same,

The same fair queen who wrought The spell of love on every bosom, o'er

Deep woe had sprinkled with her snows the gold Of those rich tresses. Still she seemed to wear,

While the rough clamour rolled Around, a charm of majesty, which made

E'en harshest judges quail before her eye.

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And when at length the scene was wrapt in shade,

Once more I could descry Dimly a vast crowd gathering in the square

Of a great city, while around there hung A chilly autumn fog, and here and there

The morning sun had flung

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A lonely gleam, which stealing through would play

Upon the roofs. And gloomily there frowned A scaffold in the midst, and one bright ray,

While the bell's hollow sound Fell sullenly upon the raw still air,

Lit with a mocking smile the glittering steel.But see! the victim comes, and meets the stare

Of thousands ;-they can feel No touch of sympathy.—The waggon rolls

Slowly with its sweet burden towards the place Of death. A shuddering pity thrills the souls

Of

many,-many a face Is wet with tears amidst the scowling crowd.

And now she mounts with firm and stately mien The fatal steps, by sorrow still unbowed,

In sorrow still a queen,
Yet how unlike her who had left her home

In maiden gladness! Queenly *courtesy
Sits here enthroned on sadness,-walks to doom

White-robed in purity,
Save where the ffillet of her widowhood

Makes one dark mourning band across her hair But see! she kneels-all heedless of the rude

Harsh faces-kneels in prayer. And now while silence, still as summer's breath, Lulls

every murmur, with a last adieu To all her loved ones, for the stroke of death,-

While ever deeper grew

“On reaching the scaffold, she inadvertently trod upon the executioner's foot. This man uttered a cry of pain, “Pardon me” she said to him in a tone of voice as if she had spoken to one of her courtiers.”

“A white handkerchief covered her shoulders, a white cap her hair, a black ribbon which bound this cap around her temples, alone recalled to the world her mourning, to herself her widowhood, and to the people her immolation."

LAMARTINE's History of the Girondists.

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