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THE VISION OF THE GIAOUR. “ Tell me no more of fancy's gleam, No, father, no, 'twas not a dream; Alas! the dreamer first must sleep, I only watched, and wished to weep; But could not, for my burning brow Throbbed to the very brain as now: I wish'd but for a single tear, As something welcome, new, and dear : I wish'd it then, I wish it still, Despair is stronger than my will. Waste not thine orison, despair Is mightier than thy pious prayer : I would not, if I might, be blest; I want no paradise, but rest. 'Twas then, I tell thee, father, then I saw her; yes, she lived again : And shining in her white symar, As through yon pale grey cloud the star Which now I
gaze on, as on her, Who looked, and looks far lovelier ; Dimly I view its trembling spark; To-morrow's night shall be more dark; And I, before its rays appear, That lifeless thing the living fear. I wander, father! for my soul Is fleeting towards the final goal. I saw her, friar ! and I rose Forgetful of our former woes ; And rushing from my couch, I dart, And clasp her to my desperate heart; I clasp—what is it that I clasp ? No breathing form within my grasp,
No heart that beats reply to mine,
Yet, Leila! yet the form is thine !
And art thou, dearest, changed so much,
As meet my eye, yet mock my touch ?
Ah! were thy beauties e'er so cold,
I care not; so my arms enfold
The all they ever wished to hold.
Alas! around a shadow prest,
They shrink upon my lonely breast;
Yet still 'tis there! In silence stands,
And beckons with beseeching hands;
With braided hair, and bright-black eýe-
I knew 'twas falseshe could not die !
But he is dead! within the dell
I saw him buried where he fell;
He comes not, for he cannot break
From earth; why then art thou awake ?
They told me wild waves rolled above
The face I view, the form I love !
They told me—'twas a hideous tale!
I'd tell it, but my tongue would fail :
If true, and from thine ocean-cave
Thou com’st to claim a calmer grave,
Oh! pass thy dewy fingers o'er
This brow that then will burn no more ;
Or place them on my hopeless heart :
But, shape or shade! whate'er thou art,
In mercy ne'er again depart !
Or farther with thee bear my soul
Than winds can waft or waters roll!”
Fair clime! where every season smiles Benignant o'er those blessed isles,
Which, seen from far Colonna's height,
Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
And lend to loneliness delight.
There, mildly dimpling, Ocean's cheek
Reflects the tints of many a peak,
Caught by the laughing tides that lave
These Edens of the eastern wave:
And if at times the transient breeze
Break the blue crystal of the seas,
Or sweep one blossom from the trees,
How welcome is each gentle air
That wakes and wafts the odours there!
For there—the Rose o'er crag or vale,
Sultana of the Nightingale,
The maid for whom his melody,
His thousand songs are heard on high, Blooms blushing to her lover's tale : His queen, the garden queen, his Rose, Unbent by winds, unchill'd by snows, Far from the winters of the west, By every breeze and season blest, Returns the sweets by nature given In softest incense back to heaven; And grateful yields that smiling sky Her fairest hue and fragrant sigh. And many a summer flower is there, And many a shade that love might share, And many a grotto, meant for rest, That holds the pirate for a guest ; Whose bark in shelter'd cove below Lurks for the passing peaceful prow, Till the gay mariner's guitar Is heard, and seen the evening star ;
Then stealing with the muffled oar,
Far shaded by the rocky shore,
Rush the night-prowlers on the prey,
And turn to groans his roundelay.
Strange—that where Nature loved to trace,
As if for gods, a dwelling-place,
And every charm and grace hath mixed
Within the paradise she fixed,
There man, enamoured of distress,
Should mar it into wilderness,
And trample, brute-like, o'er each flower
That tasks not one laborious hour;
Nor claims the culture of his hand
To bloom along the fairy land,
But springs as to preclude his care,
And sweetly woos him—but to spare !
Strange that where all is peace beside
There passion riots in her pride,
And lust and rapine wildly reign
To darken o'er the fair domain.
It is as though the fiends prevail'd
Against the seraphs they assail'd,
And, fixed on heavenly thrones, should dwell
The freed inheritors of hell;
So soft the scene, so formed for joy,
So curst the tyrants that destroy !
He who hath bent him o'er the dead
Ere the first day of death is fled,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,)
And mark'd the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fixed yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek,
And but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now,
And but for that chill changeless brow,
Where cold Obstruction's apathy
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon ;
Yes, but for these, and these alone,
Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power ;
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,
The first, last look by death revealed !
Such is the aspect of this shore ;
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!
So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for soul is wanting there.
Hers is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath ;
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb;
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of Feeling past away!
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherish'd earth!
Clime of the unforgotten brave !
Whose land from plain to mountain-cave
Was Freedom's home or Glory's grave !
Shrine of the mighty ! can it be,
That this is all remains of thee ?
Approach, thou craven, crouching slave:
Say, is not this Thermopylæ ?