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This wherefore should I not reveal *
XIV. “Zuleika! to thy tower's retreat Betake thee–Giaffir I can greet; And now with him I fain must prate Of firmans, imposts, levies, state. There's fearful news from Danube's bank, Our Vizier nobly thins his ranks, For which the Giaour may give him thanks : Our Sultan hath a shorter way Such costly triumph to repay. But, mark me, when the twilight drum Hath warn'd the troops to food and sleep, Unto thy cell will Selim come; Then softly from the Haram creep Where we may wander by the deep: Our garden-battlements are steep; Nor these will rash intruder climb To list our words, or stint our time; And if he doth, I want not steel Which some have felt, and more may feel. Then shalt thou learn of Selim more Than thou hast heard or thought before: Trust me, Zuleika—fear not me ! Thou know'st I hold a Haram key.”
“Fear thee, my Selim ne'er till now
“Delay not thou;
CANTO II. I.
The winds are high on Helle's wave,
He could not see, he would not hear
The winds are high, and Helle's tide
Rolls darkly heaving to the main ; And night's descending shadows hide
That field with blood bedev'd in vain, The desert of old Priam's pride;
The tombs, sole relics of his reign, All-save immortal dreams that could beguile The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle:
III. Oh! yet—for there my steps have been ; These feet have press'd the sacred shore; These limbs that buoyant wave hath borneMinstrel ! with thee to muse, to mourn, To trace again those fields of yore, Believing every hillock green Contains no fabled hero's ashes, And that around the undoubted scene Thine own “broad Hellespont "o still dasnes Be long my lot ' and cold were he Who there could gaze denying thee!
IV. The night hath closed on Helle's stream, Nor yet hath risen on Ida's hill That moon, which shone on his high theme No warrior chides her peaceful beam, But conscious shepherds bless it still. Their flocks are grazing on the mound Of him who felt the Dardan’s arrow : That mighty heap of gather'd ground Which Ammon's “ son ran proudly round By nations raised, by monarchs crown'd. Is now a lone and nameless barrow ! Within—thy dwelling-place how nan row, Without—can only strangers breathe The name of him that was beneath : Dust long outlasts the storied stone, But thou—thy very dust is gone !
Late, late to-night will Dian cheer
And o'er her silken ottoman
O'er which her fairy fingers ran ;” Near these, with emerald rays beset, (How could she thus that gem forget 2) Her mother's sainted amulet,” Whereon engraved the Koorsee text, Could smooth this life, and win the next ; And by her comboloio * lies A Koran of illumined iyes:
And many a bright emblazon'd rhyme
WI. Wrapt in the darkest sable vest, Which none save noblest Moslem wear, To guard from winds of heaven the breast As heaven itself to Selim dear, With cautious steps the thicket threading, And starting oft, as through the glade The gust its hollow moanings made, Till on the smoother pathway treading, More free her timid bosom beat, The Liaid pursued her silent guide; And though her terror urged retreat, How could she quit her Selim's side How teach her tender lips to chide 2
They reach'd at length a grotto, hewn
By nature but enlarged by art, Where oft her lute she wont to tune,
And oft her Koran conn'd apart; And oft in youthful reverie She dream'd what Paradise might be: Where womau's parted soul shall go Her prophet had disdained to show; But Selim's mansion was secure, Nor deem'd she, could he long endure His bower in other worlds of bliss, Without her, most beloved in this Oh! who so dear with him could dwell? What Houri sooth him half so well ?
Since last she visited the spot
IX. His robe of pride was thrown aside, His brow no high-crown'd turban bore, But in its stead a shawl of red, Wreathed lightly round his temples wore:
That dagger, on whose hilt the gem
“I said I was not what I seem'd :
And now thou seest my words were true I have a tale thou hast not dream’d,
If sooth—its truth must others rue My story now 'twere vain to hide; I must not see thee Osman's bride; But had not thine own lips declared How much of that young heart I shared. I could not, must not, yet have shown The darker secret of my own. In this I speak not now of love; That, let time, truth, and peril prove. But first—Oh! never wed anotherZuleika! I am not thy brother "
XI. “Oh! not my brother —yet unsayGod am I left alone on earth To mourn—I dare not curse—the day That saw my solitary birth Oh! thou wilt love me now no more 1 My sinking heart foreboded ill: But know me all I was before, Thy sister—friend—Zuleika still. Thou led'st me here perchance to kill; If thou has cause for vengeance, see My breast is offer'd—take thy fill ! Far better with the dead to be Than live thus nothing now to thee: Perhaps far worse, for now I know Why Giaffir always seem'd thy foe; And I alas! am Giaffir's child, For whom thou wert contemn'd, reviled. If not thy sister—wouldst thou save My life, Oh! bid me be thy slave "
XII. “My slave, Zuleika!—nay, I'm thine; But, gentle love, this transport calm : Thy lot shall yet be link'd with mine; I swear it by our Prophet's shrine, And be that thought thy sorrow's balm. So may the Koran * verse display'd Upon its steel direct my blade, In danger's hour to guard us both, As I preserve that awful oath ! The name in which thy heart hath prided Must change; but, my Zuleika, know, That tie is widen'd, not divided, Although thy Sire's my deadliest foe
My father was to Giaffir all
“How first their strife to rancor grew,
If love or envy made them foes,
And thoughtless, will disturb repose.
XIV. “When Paswan, after years of strife, At last for power, but first for life, In Widin's walls too proudly sate, Our Pachas rallied round the state; Nor last nor least in high command Each brother led a separate band; They gave their horsetails o to the wind, And, mustering in Sophia's plain, Their tents were pitch'd, their post assign'd: To one, alas ! assign'd in vain' What need of words: the deadly bowl, By Giaffir's order drugg’d and given, With venom subtle as his soul, Dismiss'd Abdallah's hence to heaven. Reclined and feverish in the bath, He, when the hunter's sport was up, But little deem'd a brother's wrath To quench his thirst had such a cup: The bowl a bribed attendant bore; He drank one draught, * nor needed more! If thou my tale, Zuleika, doubt, Call Haroun—he can tell it out.
“The deed once done, and Paswan's feud
Abdallah's Pachalick was gain'd :-
Abdallah's honors were obtain'd -
Why me the stern usurper spared,
XVI. “Within thy father's house are foes; Not all who break his bread are true To these should I my birth disclose, His days, his very hours were few: They only want a neart to lead, A hand to point them to the deed. But Haroun only knows, or knew This tale, whose close is almost nigh, He in Abdallah's palace grew, And held that post in his Serai Which holds he here—he saw him die : But what could single slavery do : Avenge his lord alas ! too late; Or save his son from such a fate : He chose the last, and when elate With foes subdued, or friends betray'd, Proud Giaffir in high triumph sate, He led me helpless to his gate, And not in vain it seems essay'd To save the life for which he pray'd. The knowledge of my birth secured From all and each, but most from me; Thus Giaffir's safety was insured. Removed he too from Roumelie To this our Asiatic side, Far from our seats by Danube's tide, With none but Haroun, who retains Such knowledge—and that Nubian feels A tyrant's secrets are but chains, From which the captive gladly steals. And this and more to me reveals: Such still to guilt just Alla sends– Slaves, tools, accomplices—no friends !
XVII. “All this, Zuieika, harshly soun is ; But harsher still my tale must be Howe'er, my tongue thy softness wounds, Yet I must prove all truth to thee. I saw thee start this garb to see, Yet is it one I oft have worn, And long must wear: this Galion goe, To whom thy plighted vow is sworn, Is leader of those pirate hordes, Whose laws and lives are on their swords: To hear whose desolating tale Would make thy waning cheek more palc, Those arms thou see'st my band have brought i The hands that wield are not remote This cup too for the rugged knaves Is fill’d—once quaff'd, they ne'er repine ; Our Prophet might forgive the slaves; They're only infidels in wine.
And listless left —for Giaffir's fear
'The shallop of a trusty Moor
But when and • *ere I join'd the crew With whom I'm pledged to rise or fall,
When all that we design to do ls done, 'twill then be time more meet To tell thee, when the tale's complete.
XX. “'Tis true, they are a lawless brood, But rough in form, nor mild in mood; And every creed, and every race, With them hath found—may find a place But open speech, and ready hand, Obedience to their chief's command; A soul for every enterprise, That never sees with terror's eyes; Friendship for each, and faith to all, And vengeance vow'd for those who fall, Have made them fitting instruments For more than even my own intents. And some—and I have studied all Distinguish'd from the vulgar rank, But chiefly to my counsel call The wisdom of the cautious Frank— And some to higher thoughts aspire, The last of Lambro's 35 patriot's there Anticipated freedom share; And oft around the cavern fire On visionary schemes debate, To snatch the Rayahs 36 from their fate. So let them ease their hearts with prate Of equal rights, which man ne'er knew: I have a love for freedom too.
Ah! let me like the ocean patriarch * roam.
The deepest murmur of this lip shall be
No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee!
XXI. “His head and faith from doubt and death Return'd in time my guard to save; Few heard, none told, that o'er the wave From isle to isle I roved the while : And since, though parted from my band, Too seldom now I leave the land, No deed they've done, nor deed shall do, Fre I have heard and doom'd it too : I form the plan, decree the spoil, 'Tis fit l oftener share the toil. But now too long I’ve held thine ear; Time presses, floats my bark, and here We leave behind but hate and fear. To-morrow Osman with his train Arrives—to-night must break thy chain; And wouldst thou save that haughty Bey, Perchance his life who gave thee thine, With me this hour away—away ! But yet, though thou art plighted mine, Wouldst thou recall thy willing vow, Appall'd by truths imparted now, Here rest I—not to see thee wed: But be that peril on my head!”
Zuleika, mute and motionless,
brother " ''
Forth to the cavern mouth he stept,
XXIV. One bound he made, and gain'd the sand. Already at his feet hath sunk The foremost of the prying band, A gasping head, a quivering trunk : Another falls—but round him close A swarming circle of his foes; From right to left his path he cleft, And almost met the meeting wave: His boat appears—not five oars' lengthHis comrades strain with desperate strength Oh! are they yet in time to save * His feet the foremost breakers lave; His band are plunging in the bay, Their sabres glitter through the spray Wet—wild—unwearied to the strand They struggle—now they touch the land! They come !—'tis but to add to slaughter— His heart's best blood is on the water.
Escaped from shot, unharm'd by steel,
For her his eye but sought in vain
Hath doom'd his death, or fix’d his chain Sad proof, in peril and in pain, How late will lover's hope remain His back was to the dashing spray: Behind, but close, his comrades lay, When, at the instant, hiss'd the ball— “So may the foes of Giaffir fall !” Whose voice is heard whose carbine rang? Whose bullet through the night-air sang, Too nearly, deadly aim'd to err 'Tis thine—Abdallah's murderer' The father slowly rued thy hate, The son hath found a quicker fate: Fast from his breast the blood is bubbling, The whiteness of the sea-foam troubling— If aught his lips essay’d to groan, The rushing billows chok'd the tone!