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Though the far shouting of the distant crowd,
Their terrors o'er, rose insolently loud,
The better warriors who beheld him near,
Insulted not the foe who taught them fear;
And the grim guards that to his durance led,
In silence eyed him with a secret dread.
The Leech was sent---but not in mercy--- there 920
To note how much the life yet left could bear;
He found enough to load with heaviest chain,
And promise feeling for the wrench of pain:
To-morrow---yea---to-morrow's evening sun
Will sinking see impalement's pangs begun, 925
And rising with the wonted blush of morn
Behold how well or ill those pangs are borne.
Of torments this the longest and the worst,
Which adds all other agony to thirst,
That day by day death still forbears to slake, 930
While famish'd vultures flit around the stake.
“ Oh! water---Water !"---smiling Hate denies
The victim's prayer---for if he drinks---he dies.
This was his doom :---the Leech, the guard were gone,
And left proud Conrad fetter'd and alone. 935
'Twere vain to paint to what his feelings grew---
It even were doubtful if their victim knew.
There is a war, a chaos of the mind,
When all its elements convulsed.--combined---
Lie dark and jarring with perturbed force, 940
And gnashing with impenitent Remorse;
That juggling fiend---who never spake before---
But cries, “I warn'd thee!" when the deed is o’er.
Vain voice! the spirit burning but unbent,
May writhe---rebel---the weak alone repent! 945
Even in that lonely hour when most it feels,
And, to itself, all---all that self reveals,
No single passion, and no ruling thought
That leaves the rest as once unseen, unsought;
But the wild prospect when the soul reviews--- 950
All rushing through their thousand avenues.
Ambition's dreams expiring, love's regret,
Endanger'd glory, life itself beset;
The joy untasted, the contempt or hate
'Gainst those who fain would triumph in our fate; 955
The hopeless past, the hasting future driven
Too quickly on to guess if hell or heaven;
Deeds, thoughts, and words, perhaps remember'd not
So keenly till that hour, but ne'er forgot;
Things light or lovely in their acted time, 960
But now to stern reflection each a crime;
The withering sense of evil unreveald,
Not cankering less because the more conceald--
All, in a word, from which all eyes must start,
That opening sepulchre---the naked heart 965
Bares with its buried woes, till Pride awake,
To snatch the mirror from the soul.--and break.
Ay---Pride can veil, and Courage brave it all,
All---all---before---beyond---the deadliest fall.
Each hath some fear, and he who least betrays, 970
The only hypocrite deserving praise:
Not the loud recreant wretch who boasts and flies;
But he who looks on death---and silent dies.
So steeld by pondering o'er his far career,
He halfway meets him should he menace near! 975
In the high chamber of his highest tower,
Sate Conrad, fetter'd in the Pacha's power.
His palace perish'd in the flame—this fort
Contain'd at once his captive and his court.
Not much could Conrad of his sentence blame, 980
His foe, if vanquish'd, but had shared the same :-
Alone he sate-in solitude had scann'd
His guilty bosom, but that breast he mann'd:
One thought alone he could not-dared not meet-
“Oh, how these tidings will Medora greet ?" 935
Then-only then-his clanking hands he raised,
And strain'd with rage the chain on which he gazed ;
But soon he found—or feign'd-or dream'd relief,
And smiled in self-derision of his grief,
“ And now come torture when it will—or may, 990
“ More need of rest to nerve me for the day !"
This said, with languor to his mat he crept,
And, whatsoe'er his visions, quickly slept.
'Twas hardly midnight when that fray begun, For Conrad's plans matured, at once were done ; 995
And Havoc loathes so much the waste of time,
She scarce had left an uncommitted crime.
One hour beheld him since the tide he stemm'd-
demn'd--A chief on land---an outlaw on the deep--- 1000 Destroying---saving---prison'd---and asleep!
He slept in calmest seeming---for his breath
Was hush'd so deep---Ah! happy if in death!
He slept---Who o'er his placid slumber bends ?
His foes are gone---and here he hath no friends; 1005
Is it some seraph sent to grant him grace ?
No, 'tis an earthly form with heavenly face !
Its white arm raised a lamp---yet gently hid,
Lest the ray flash abruptly on the lid
Of that closed eye, which opens but to pain, 1010
And once unclosed---but once may close again.
That form, with eye so dark, and cheek so fair,
And auburn waves of gemm’d and braided hair;
With shape of fairy lightness---naked foot, 1014
That shines like snow, and falls on earth as mute---
Through guards and dunnest night how came it there?
Ah! rather ask what will not woman dare?
Whom youth and pity lead like thee, Gulnare!
She could not sleep---and while the Pacha's rest
In muttering dreams yet saw his pirate-guest, 1020
She left his side---his signet-ring she bore,
Which oft in sport adorn’d her hand before---
And with it, scarcely question'd, won her way
Through drowsy guards that must that sign obey.
Worn out with toil, and tired with changing blows,
Their eyes had envied Conrad his repose; 1026
And chill and nodding at the turret door,
They stretch their listless limbs, and watch no more:
Just raised their heads to hail the signet-ring,
Nor ask or what or who the sign may bring. 1030
XIII. She gazed in wonder, “ Can he calmly sleep, “ While other eyes his fall or ravage weep? “ And mine in restlessness are wandering here--* What sudden spell hath made this man so dear? " True---'tis to him my life, and more, I owe,
1035 “ And me and mine he spared from worse than wo: 6 "Tis late to think---but soft---his slumber breaks--
How heavily he sighs !---he starts---awakes!"
He raised his head---and dazzled with the light, His eye seem'd dubious if it saw aright: 1040 He moved his hand---the grating of his chain Too harshly told him that he lived again. “ What is that form ? if not a shape of air, “ Methinks, my jailor's face shows wondrous fair!"
Pirate! thou know'st me not---but I am one, 1045 W Grateful for deeds thou hast too rarely done; “Look on me---and remember her, thy hand Snatch'd from the flames, and thy more fearful band.