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Beneath whose widely-wasting breath
The very cypress droops to death
Dark tree, still sad when others' grief is fled,
The only constant mourner o'er the dead!
The steed is vanished from the stall;
No serf is seen in Hassan's hall;
The lonely spider's thin grey pall
Waves slowly widening o'er the wall;
The bat builds in his haram bower ;
And in the fortress of his power
The owl usurps the beacon-tower ;
The wild-dog howls o'er the fountain's brim,
With baffled thirst, and famine, grim ;
For the stream has shrunk from its marble bed,
Where the weeds and the desolate dust ate spread.
'Twas sweet of yore to see it play
And chase the sultriness of day,
As springing high the silver dew
In whirls fantastically flew,
And flung luxurious coolness round
The air, and verdure o'er the ground.
'Twas sweet, when cloudless stars were bright,
To view the wave of watery light,
And hear its melody by night.
And oft had Hassan's childhood played
Around the verge of that cascade;
his mother's breast
That sound bad barmonised his rest;
And oft had Hassan's youth along
Its bank been soothed by Beanty's song;
And softer seemed each melting tone
Of music mingled with its own.
But ne'er shall Hassan's age repose
Along the brink at twilight's close :
The stream that filled that font is fled
The blood that warmed his heart is shed !
And here no more shall human voice
Be heard to rage, regret, rejoice.
The last sad note that swelled the gale
Was woman's wildest funeral wail :
That quenched in silence, all is still,
But the lattice that flaps when the wind is shrill :
Though raves the gust, and floods the rain,
No hand shall close its clasp again.
On desart sands 'twere joy to scan
The rudest steps of fellow man,
So here the very voice of grief
Might wake an echo like relief-
At least 'twould say, “ all are not gone ;
There lingers life, though but in one- »
For many a gilded chamber's there,
Which solitude might well forbear;
Within that dome as yet decay
Hath slowly worked her cankering way-
But gloom is gathered o'er the gate,
Nor there the Fakir's self will wait;
Nor there will wandering Dervise stay,
For bounty cheers not his delay;
Nor there will weary stranger halt
To bless the sacred ic bread and salt. »
Alike must wealth and poverty
Pass heedless and unheeded by,
For courtesy and pity died
With Hassan on the mountain side.
His roof, that refuge unto men,
Is desolation's hungry den.
The guest flies the ball, and the vassal from labour, Since his turban was cleft by the infidel's sabre ! 19
I hear the sound of coming feet,
But not a voice mine ear to greet ;
More near-each turban I can sian,
And silver-sheathed ataghan ; 13
The foremost of the band is seen,
An Emir by his garb of green : 14
« Ho! who art thou?-this low salam 15
Replies of Moslem faith I am.
The burthen ye so gently bear, « Seems one that claims
utmost care, And, doubtless, holds some precious freight, My humble bark would gladly wait. »
Thou speakest sooth, thy skiff unmoor, « And waft us from the silent shore; « Nay, leave the sail still furled, and ply « The nearest oar that's scattered by, « And midway to those rocks where sleep « The channelled waters dark and deep. • Rest from your task-50--bravely done, « Our course has been right swiftly run ; « Yet 'tis the longest voyage, I trow,
That one of ~» *
Sullen it plunged, and slowly sapk,
The calm wave rippled to the bank;
I watched it as it sank, methought
Some motion from the current caught
Bestirred it more, --'twas but the beam
That chequered o'er the living stream:
I gazed, till vanishing from view,
Like lessening pebble it withdrew;
Still less and less, a speck of white
That gemmed the tide, then mocked the sight;
And all its hidden secrets sleep,
Known but to Genii of the deep,
Which, trembling in their coral caves,
They dare not whisper to the waves.
As rising on its purple wing
The insect-queen 16 of eastern spring,
O’er emerald meadows of Kashmeer
Invites the young pursuer near,
And leads him on from flower to flower
chase and wasted hour,
Then leaves him, as it soars on high
With panting heart and tearful eye:
So Beauty lures the full-grown child,
With hue as bright, and wing as wild;
A chase of idle hopes and fears,
Begun in folly, closed in tears.
If won, to equal ills betrayed,
Woc waits the insect and the maid;
A life of pain, the loss of peace,
From infant's play, and man's caprice :
The lovely toy so fiercely sought,
Hath lost its charm by being caught,
For every touch that wooed its stay
Hath brushed its brightest hues away,
Till charm, and hue, and beauty gone,
'Tis left to fly or fall alone.
With wounded wing, or bleeding breast,
Ah! where shall either victim rest?
Can this with faded pinion soar
From rose to tulip as before?
Or Beauty, blighted in an hour,
Find joy within her broken bower?
No: gayer insects fluttering by
Ne'er droop the wing 'o'er those that die,
And lovelier things have mercy shown
To every failing but their own,
every woe a tear can claim Except an erring sister's shame.
The mind, that broods o'er guilty woes,
Is like the scorpion girt by fire,
In circle narrowing as it glows,
The flames around their captive close,
Till inly searched by thousand throes,
And maddening in her ire,
One sad and sole relief she knows,
The sting she nourished for her foes,
Whose venom never yet was vain,
Gives but one pang, and cures all pain,
And darts into her desperate brain :
So do the dark in soul expire,
Or live like scorpion girt by fire ; 17
So writhes the mind remorse bath river,
Unfit for earth, undoomed for heaven,
Darkness above, despair beneath,
Around it flame, within it death!
Black Hassan from the haram flies, Nor bends on woman's form his eyes ; The unwonted chase each hour employs, Yet shares he not the bunter's joys.