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Or linked to all we know of heaven below,
The other better self, whose joy or woe
Is more than ours; the all-absorbing flame
Which, kindled by another, grows the same,
Wrapt in one blaze; the pure, yet funeral pile,
Where gentle hearts, like Bramins, sit and smile :
How often we forget all time, when lone,
Admiring Nature's universal throne,
Her woods, her wilds, her waters, the intense
Reply of hers to our intelligence !
Live not the stars and mountains ? Are the waves
Without a spirit? Are the dropping caves
Without a feeling in their silent tears ?
No, no ;-they woo and clasp us to their spheres,
Dissolve their clog and clod of clay before
Its hour, and merge our soul in the great shore.
Strip off this fond and false identity !-
Who thinks of self, when gazing on the sky ?
And who, though gazing lower, ever thought,
In the young moments ere the heart is taught
Time's lesson, of man's baseness or his own?
All Nature is his realm, and Love his throne.
Forth from her bosom the young savage drew
A pine torch, strongly girded with gnatoo ;
A plantain leaf o'er all, the more to keep
Its latent sparkle from the sapping deep.
This mantle kept it dry; then from a nook
Of the same plantain leaf, a flint she took,
A few shrunk wither'd twigs, and from the blade
Of Torquil's knife struck fire, and thus array'd
The grot with torchlight. Wide it was and high
And show'd a self-born Gothic canopy ;
The arch upreared by nature's architect,
The architrave some earthquake might erect;
The buttress from some mountain's bosom hurled,
When the Poles crash'd and Water was the World ;
Or harden'd from some earth-absorbing fire,
While yet the globe reeked from its funeral pyre;
The fretted pinnacle, the aisle, the nave,
Were there, all scooped by Darkness from her cave.
There, with a little tinge of Phantasy,
Fantastic faces moped and mowed on high,
And then a mitre or a shrine would fix
The eye upon its seeming crucifix.
Thus Nature played with the Stalactites,
And built herself a chapel of the Seas.
And Neuha took her Torquil by the hand,
And waved along the vault her kindled brand,
And led him into each recess, and showed
The secret places of their new abode.
Nor these alone, for all had been prepared
Before, to soothe the lover's lot she shared :
The mat for rest; for dress the fresh gnatoo,
And sandal oil to fence against the dew ;
For food the cocoa-nut, the yam, the bread
Born of the fruit; for board the plantain spread
With its broad leaf, or turtle shell which bore
A banquet in the flesh it covered o'er ;
The gourd with water recent from the rill,
The ripe banana from the mellow hill ;
A pine-torch pile to keep undying light,
And she herself, as beautiful as Night,
To fling her shadowy spirit o'er the scene,
And make their subterranean world serene.
She had foreseen, since first the strangers' sail
Drew to their isle, that force or flight might fail,
And form'd a refuge of the rocky den
For Torquil's safety from his countrymen.
Each Dawn had wafted there her light canoe,
Laden with all the golden fruits that grew;
Each Eve had seen her gliding through the hour
With all could cheer or deck their sparry bower;
And now she spread her little store with smiles,
The happiest daughter of the loving isles.
She, as she gazed with grateful wonder, pressed
Her shelter'd love to her impassioned breast;
And suited to her soft caresses, told
An elden tale of Love-for Love is old-
Old as Eternity, but not outworn
With each new being born or to be born:
How a young Chief, a thousand moons ago,
Diving for turtle in the depths below,
Had risen, in tracking fast his ocean prey,
Into the cave which round and o'er them lay;
How, in some desperate feud of after time,
He shelter'd there a daughter of the clime,
A foe beloved, and offspring of a foe,
Saved by his tribe but for a captive's woe;
How, when the storm of war was still’d, he led
His island clan to where the waters spread
Their deep green shadow o'er the rocky door,
Then dived-it seemed as if to rise no more:
His wondering mates, amazed within their bark,
Or deem'd him mad, or prey to the blue shark;
Row'd round in sorrow the sea-girded rock,
Then paused upon their paddles from the shock,
When, fresh and springing from the deep, they saw
A goddess rise-so deem'd they in their awe;
And their companion, glorious by her side,
Proud and exulting in his Mermaid bride ;
And how, when undeceived, the pair they bore
With sounding conchs and joyous shouts to shore;
How they had gladly lived and calmly died,
And why not also Torquil and his bride ?
Not mine to tell the rapturous caress
Which follow'd wildly in that wild recess
This tale; enough that all within that cave
Was Love, though buried strong as in the grave
Where Abelard, through twenty years of death,
When Eloisa's form was lower'd beneath
Their nuptial vault, his arms outstretch'd, and prest
The kindling ashes to his kindled breast *.
The waves without sang round their couch, their roar
As much unheeded as if life was o'er ;
Within, their hearts made all their harmony,
Love's broken murmur and more broken sigh.
Bright be the place of thy soul !
No lovelier spirit than thine
Ever burst from its mortal control,
In the orbs of the blessed to shine.
On earth thou wert all but divine,
As thy soul shall immortally be ;
And our sorrow may cease to repine
When we know that thy God is with thee.
Light be the turf of thy tomb !
May its verdure like emeralds be:
* The tradition is attached to the story of Eloisa, that when her body was lowered into the grave of Abelard (who had been buried twenty years), he opened his arms to receive her.
There should not be the shadow of gloom,
In aught that reminds us of thee. Young flowers and an ever green tree
May spring from the spot of thy rest : But nor cypress nor yew let us see;
For why should we mourn for the blest ?
Though the day of my destiny's over,
And the star of my fate hath declined, Thy soft heart refused to discover
The faults which so many could find ;
Though thy soul with my grief was acquainted,
It shrunk not to share it with me,
And the love which my spirit hath painted
It never hath found but in thee.
Then when nature around me is smiling,
The last smile which answers to mine,
I do not believe it beguiling,
Because it reminds me of thine;
And when winds are at war with the ocean,
As the breasts I believed in with me,
If their billows excite an emotion,
It is that they bear me from thee.
Though the rock of my last hope is shiver'd,
And its fragments are sunk in the wave,
Though I feel that my soul is deliver'd
To pain-it shall not be its slave. There is many a pang to pursue me:
They may crush, but they shall not contemnThey may torture, but shall not subdue me