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THE CORSAIR.

CANTO III.

" Come vedi-ancor non m'abbandona."

DANTE

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SLOW sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,
Along Morea's hills the setting sun ;
Not, as in Northern climes, obscurely bright, 1175
But one unclouded blaze of living light!
O'er the hush'd deep the yellow beam he throws,
Gilds the green wave, that trembles as it glows.
On old Ægina's rock, and Idra's isle,
The god of gladness sheds his parting smile; 1180
O'er his own regions lingering, loves to shine,
Though there his altars are no more divine.
Descending fast the mountain shadows kiss
Thy glorious gulf, unconquer'd Salamis !
Their azure arches through the long expanse 1185
More deeply purpled meet his mellowing glance,
And tenderest tints, along their summits driven,
Mark his gay course and own the hues of heaven;

Till, darkly shaded from the land and deep,
Behind his Delphian cliff he sinks to sleep.

1190

On such an eve, his palest beam he cast,
When---Athens ! here thy Wisest look'd his last.
How watch'd thy better sons his farewell ray,
That closed their murder'd sage's (11) latest day!
Not yet---not yet---Sol pauses on the hill--- 1195
The precious hour of parting lingers still ;
But sad his light to agonizing eyes,
And dark the mountain's once delightful dyes :
Gloom o'er the lovely land he seem'd to pour,
The land where Phebus never frown'd before, 1200
But ere he sunk below Cithæron's head,
The cup of wo was quaff’d---the spirit fled ;
The soul of him who scorn'd to fear or fly---
Who lived and died, as none can live or die!

But lo! from high Hymettus to the plain, 1205
The queen of night asserts her silent reign. (12)
No murky vapour, herald of the storm,
Hides her fair face, nor girds her glowing form;
With cornice glimmering as the moon-beams play,
Where the white column greets her grateful ray, 1210
And, bright around with quivering beams beset,
Her emblem sparkles o'er the minaret:
The groves of olive scatter'd dark and wide
Where meek Cephisus pours his scanty tide,
The cypress saddening by the sacred mosque,

1215 The gleaming turret of the gay Kiosk, (13)

And, dun and sombre 'mid the holy calm,
Near Theseus' fane yon solitary palm,
All tinged with varied hues arrest the eye-
And dull were his that pass’d him heedless by. 1220

Again the Ægean, heard no more afar,
Lulls his chafed breast from elemental war;
Again his waves in milder tints unfold
Their long array of sapphire and of gold,
Mixt with the shades of many a distant isle, 1225
That frown---where gentler ocean seems to smile. (14)

II.

Not now my theme---why turn my thoughts to thee?
Oh! who can look along thy native sea,
Nor dwell upon thy name, whate'er the tale,
So much its magic must o’er all prevail ? 1230
Who that beheld that Sun upon thee set,
Fair Athens ! could thine evening face forget ?
Not he---whose heart nor time nor distance frees,
Spell-bound within the clustering Cyclades !
Nor seems this homage foreign to his strain, 1235
His Corsair's isle was once thine own domain---
Would that with freedom it were thine again!

III.

The sun hath sunk---and, darker than the night, Sinks with its beam upon the beacon height--Medora's heart---the third day's come and gone-1240

With it he comes not---sends not---faithless one!
The wind was fair though light; and storms were none.
Last eve Anselmo's bark return'd, and yet
His only tidings that they had not met!
Though wild, as now, far different were the tale 1245
Had Conrad waited for that single sail.

The night breeze freshens---she that day had past
In watching all that Hope proclaim'd a mast;
Sadly she sate---on high---Impatience bore
At last her footsteps to the midnight shore, 1250
And there she wander'd heedless of the spray
That dash'd her garments oft, and warn’d away:
She saw not---felt not this---nor dared depart
Nor deem'd it cold---her chill was at her heart;
Till grew such certainty from that suspense--- 1255
His very Sight had shock'd from life or sense!

It came at last---a sad and shatter'd boat,
Whose inmates first beheld whom first they sought;
Some bleeding---all most wretched---these the few---
Scarce knew they how escaped---this all they knew.
In silence, darkling, each appear'd to wait 1261
His fellow's mournful guess at Conrad's fate :
Something they would have said ; but seem'd to fear
To trust their accents to Medora's ear.
She saw at once, yet sunk not---trembled not--- 1265
Beneath that grief, that loneliness of lot,
Within that meek fair form, were feelings high,
That deem'd not till they found their energy.

While yet was Hope—they soften'd--flutter'd--wept-All lost--that softness died not—but it slept; 1270 And o'er its slumber rose that Strength which said, “With nothing left to love there's nought to dread." 'Tis more than nature's; like the burning might Delirium gathers from the fever's height. « Silent you stand-nor would I hear you tell 1275 “What--speak not--breathe not--for I know it well“ Yet would I ask-almost my lip denies “ The-quick your answer

r-tell me where he lies ?"

“ Lady! we know not-scarce with life we fled; « But here is one denies that he is dead:

1280 “He saw him bound; and bleeding-but alive.”

She heard no further--'twas in vain to strive---
So throbb’d each vein--each thought--till then with-

stood;
Her own dark souls--these words at once subdued :
She totters---falls---and senseless had the wave 1285
Perchance but snatch'd her from another grave;
But that with hands though rude, yet weeping eyes,
They yield such aid as Pity's haste supplies:
Dash o'er her deathlike cheek the ocean dew,
Raise---fan---sustain---till life returns anew; 1290
Awake her handmaids, with the matrons leave
That fainting form o'er which they gaze and grieve;
Then seek Anselmo's cavern, to report
The tale too tedious---when the triumph short.

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