« AnteriorContinuar »
And he was mourned by one whose quiet grief,
Less loud, outlasts a people's for their chief.
Vain was all question asked her for the past,
And vain e'en menace-silent to the last ;
She told nor whence nor why she left behind
Her all for one who seemed but little kind.
Why did she love him ? Curious fool! be still
Is human love the growth of human will ?
To her he might be gentleness; the stern
Have deeper thoughts than your dull eyes discern,
And when they love, your smilers guess not how
Beats the strong heart though less the lips avow.
They were not common links that formed the chain
That bound to Lara Kaled's heart and brain;
But that wild tale she brooked not to unfold,
And sealed is now each lip that could have told.
Oh! who young Leila's glance could read,
And keep that portion of his creed,
Which saith that woman is but dust,
A soulless toy for tyrant's lust ?
On her might Muftis gaze, and own
That through her eye the Immortal shone ;
On her fair cheek's unfading hue
The young pomegranate's blossoms strew
Their bloom in blushes ever new;
Her hair in hyacinthine flow,
When left to roll its folds below,
As 'midst her handmaids in the hall
She stood superior to them all,
Hath swept the marble where her feet
Gleam'd whiter than the mountain sleet,
Ere from the cloud that gave it birth
It fell, and caught one stain of earth.
The cygnet nobly walks the water ;
So moved on earth Circassia's daughter,
The loveliest bird of Franguestan !
As rears her crest the ruffled swan,
And spurns the wave with wings of pride,
When pass the steps of stranger man
Along the banks that bound her tide,
Thus rose fair Leila's whiter neck :-
Thus arm’d with beauty would she check
Intrusion’s glance, till Folly's gaze
Shrunk from the charms it meant to praise.
Thus high and graceful was her gait:
Her heart as tender to her mate;
Her mate_stern Hassan, who was he?
Alas! that name was not for thee!
Between two worlds life hovers like a star,
'Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon's verge : How little do we know that which we are !
How less what we may be! The eternal surge Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar
Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge, Lash'd from the foam of ages ; while the graves Of Empires heave but like some passing waves.
LIONI'S SOLILOQUY. Palazzo of the Patrician Lioni.—Lioni laying aside
the mask and cloak which the Venetian nobles wore in public, attended by a domestic.
Lioni. I will to rest, right weary of this revel, The gayest we have held for many moons,
And yet, I know not why, it cheered me not ;
There came a heaviness across my heart,
Which in the lightest movement of the dance,
Though eye to eye, and hand in hand united
Even with the lady of my love, oppressed me,
And through my spirit chilled my blood, until
A damp like death rose o'er my brow: I strove
To laugh the thought away, but 't would not be ;
Through all the music ringing in my ears
A knell was sounding as distinct and clear
Though low and far, as e'er the Adrian wave
Rose o'er the city's murmur in the night,
Dashing against the outward Lido's bulwark ;
So that I left the festival before
It reach'd its zenith, and will woo my pillow
For thoughts more tranquil, or forgetfulness.
Antonio, take my mask and cloak, and light
The lamp within my chamber.
Yes, my lord :
Command you no refreshment ?
Nought save sleep, Which will not be commanded. Let me hope it,
[Exit Antonio. Though my breast feels too anxious ; I will try Whether the air will calm my spirits : ’tis A goodly night; the cloudy wind which blew From the Levant hath crept into its cave, And the broad moon has brightened. What a stillness !
[Goes to an open lattice. And what a contrast with the scene I left, Where the tall torches' glare, and silver lamps' More pallid gleam along the tapestried walls, Spread over the reluctant gloom which haunts Those vast and dimly-latticed galleries
A dazzling mass of artificial light,
Which showed all things, but nothing as they were.
There age assaying to recall the past,
After long striving for the hues of youth
At the sad labour of the toilet, and
Full many a glance at the too faithful mirror,
Prankt forth in all the pride of ornament,
Forgot itself, and trusting to the falsehood
Of the indulgent beams, which show yet hide,
Believed itself forgotten, and was fool'd.
There Youth, which needed not, nor thought of such
Vain adjuncts, lavished its true bloom, and health,
And bridal beauty, in the unwholesome press
Of flush'd and crowded wassailers, and wasted
Its hours of rest in dreaming this was pleasure ;
And so shall waste them till the sunrise streams
On sallow cheeks and sunken eyes, which should not
Have worn this aspect yet for many a year.
The music, and the banquet, and the wine-
The garlands, the rose odours, and the flowers
The sparkling eyes and flashing ornaments
The white arms and the raven hair—the braids
And bracelets ; swan-like bosoms, and the necklace,
An India in itself, yet dazzling not
The eye like what it circled ; the thin robes,
Floating like light clouds 'twixt our gaze and heaven ;
The many-twinkling feet so small and sylph-like,
Suggesting the more secret symmetry
Of the fair forms which terminate so well-
All the delusion of the dizzy scene,
Its false and true enchantments-art and nature,
Which swam before my giddy eyes, that drank
The sight of beauty as the parched pilgrim's
On Arab sands the false mirage, which offers
A lucid lake to his eluded thirst,
Are gone. Around me are the stars and waters--
Worlds mirror'd in the ocean, goodlier sight
Than torches glared back by a gaudy glass ;
And the great element, which is to space
What ocean is to earth, spreads its blue depths,
Softened with the first breathings of the spring ;
The high moon sails upon her beauteous way,
Serenely smoothing o'er the lofty walls
Of those tall piles and sea-girt palaces,
Whose porphyry pillars, and whose costly fronts,
Fraught with the orient spoils of many marbles,
Like altars ranged along the broad canal,
Seem each a trophy of some mighty deed
Rear'd up from out the waters, scarce less strangely
Than those more massy and mysterious giants
Of architecture, those Titanian fabrics,
Which point in Egypt's plains to times that have
No other record. All is gentle : nought
Stirs rudely ; but, congenial with the night,
Whatever walks is gliding like a spirit.
The tinklings of some vigilant guitars
Of sleepless lovers to a wakeful mistress,
And cautious opening of the casement, showing
That he is not unheard ; while her young hand,
Fair as the moonlight of which it seems part,
So delicately white, it trembles in
The act of opening the forbidden lattice,
To let in love through music, makes his heart
Thrill like his lyre-strings at the sight ;-the dash
Phosphoric of the oar, or rapid twinkle
Of the far lights of skimming gondolas,
And the responsive voices of the choir
Of boatmen, answering back with verse for verse ;