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Its lips are silent--twice his own essay'd,
And fail'd to frame the question they delay'd;
He snatch'd the lamp---its light will answer all---
It quits his grasp, expiring in the fall ;
He would not wait for that reviving ray--- 1770
As soon could he have linger'd there for day;
But, glimmering through the dusky corridore,
Another chequers o'er the shadow'd floor;
His steps the chamber gain---his eyes
behold All that his heart believed not---yet foretold ! 1775
He turn'd not---spoke not---sunk not---fix'd his look,
And set the anxious frame that lately shook :
He gazed-how long we gaze despite of pain,
And know, but dare not own, we gaze in vain!
In life itself she was so still and fair,
That death with gentler aspect wither'd there;
And the cold flowers (16) her colder hand contain'd,
In that last grasp as tenderly were strain'd
Asif she scarcely felt, but feign'd a sleep,
And made it almost mockery yet to weep: 1785
The long dark lashes fringed her lids of snow,
And veil'd--thought shrinks from all that lurk'd below--
Oh! o'er the eye death most exerts his might,
And hurls the spirit from her throne of light!
Sinks those blue orbs in that long last eclipse, 1790
But spares, as yet, the charm around her lips-
Yet, yet they seem as they forbore to smile,
And wish'd repose-but only for a while;
But the white shroud, and each extended tress,
Long---fair---but spread in utter lifelessness, 1795
Which, late the sport of every summer wind,
Escaped the baffled wreath that strove to bind;
These—and the pale pure cheek, became the bier-
But she is nothing---wherefore is he here?
He ask'd no question---all were answer'd now 1800
By the first glance on that still---marble brow.
It was enough---she died---what reck'd it how?
The love of youth, the hope of better years,
The source of softest wishes, tenderest fears,
The only living thing he could not hate, 1805
Was reft at once---and he deserved his fate,
But did not feel it less ;---the good explore,
For peace, those realms where guilt can never soar:
The proud---the wayward---who have fix'd below
Their joy.--and find this earth enough for wo, 1810
Lose in that one their all---perchance a mite---
But who in patience parts with all delight?
aspect stern Mask hearts where grief hath little left to learn; And many a withering thought lies hid, not lost, 1815 In smiles that least befit who wear them most.
By those, that deepest feel, is ill exprest
The indistinctness of the suffering breast;
Where thousand thoughts begin to end in one,
Which seeks from all the refuge found in none; 1820
No words suffice the secret soul to show,
For Truth denies all eloquence to Wo.
On Conrad's stricken soul exhaustion prest,
And stupor almost lull'd it into rest;
So feeble now---
---his mother's softness crept 1825
To those wild eyes, which like an infant's wept:
It was the very weakness of his brain,
Which thus confess'd without relieving pain.
None saw his trickling tears---perchance, if seen,
That useless flood of grief had never been: 1830
Nor long they flow'd---he dried them to depart,
In helpless---hopeless---brokenness of heart :
The sun goes forth---but Conrad's day is dim;
And the night cometh---ne'er to pass from him.
There is no darkness like the cloud of mind, 1835
On Grief's vain eye---the blindest of the blind !
Which may not---dare not see---but turns aside
The blackest shade---nor will endure a guide !
XXIII. His heart was form'd for softness---warp'd to wrong; Betray'd too early, and beguiled too long; 1840 Each feeling pure---as falls the dropping dew Within the grot; like that had harden’d too; Less clear, perchance, its earthly trials pass'd, But sunk, and chill'd, and petrified at last. Yet tempests wear, and lightning cleaves the rock; 1845 If such his heart, so shatter'd it the shock.
There grew one flower beneath its rugged brow,
Though dark the shade---it shelter'd---saved till now.
The thunder came---that bolt hath blasted both,
The Granite's firmness, and the Lily's growth: 1850
The gentle plant hath left no leaf to tell
Its tale, but shrunk and wither'd where it fell,
And of its cold protector, blacken round
But shiver'd fragments on the barren ground!
XXIV. 'Tis morn---to venture on his lonely hour 1855 Few dare; though now Anselmo sought his tower. He was not there---nor seen along the shore; Ere night, alarm’d, their isle is traversed o’er: Another morn---another bids them seek, And shout his name till echo waxeth weak; 1860 Mount---grotto---cavern---valley search'd in vain, They find on shore a sea-boat's broken chain : Their hope revives---they follow o'er the main. 'Tis idle all---moons roll on moons away, And Conrad comes not--came not since that day: 1865 Nor trace, nor tidings of his doom declare Where lives his grief, or perish'd his despair! (side ; Long mournd his band whom none could mourn beAnd fair the monument they gave his bride: For him they raise not the recording stone--- 1870 His death yet dubious, deeds too widely known; He left a Corsair's name to other times, Lnk'd with one virtue, and a thousand crimes, (17)