Imágenes de página

And Otho comes, and leaping from his steed,
Looks on the bleeding foe that made him bleed,
And questions of his state; he answers not, 1085
Scarce glances on him as on one forgot,
And turns to Kaled :-each remaining word,
They understood not, if distinctly heard ;
His dying tones are in that other tongue,
To which some strange remembrance wildly clung. 1090
They spake of other scenes, but what-is known
To Kaled, whom their meaning reach'd alone;
And he replied, though faintly, to their sound,
While gazed the rest in dumb amazement round :
They seem'd even then-that twain-unto the last
To half forget the present in the past; . 1096
To share between themselves some separate fate,
Whose darkness none beside should penetrate.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Their words though faint were many-from the tone
Their import those who heard could judge alone; 1100
From this, you might have deem'd young Kaled's death
More near than Lara's by his voice and breath,
So sad, so deep, and hesitating broke
The accents his scarce-moving pale lips spoke;
But Lara's voice though low, at first was clear 1105
And calm, till murmuring death gasp'd hoarsely near
But from his visage little could we guess,
So unrepentant, dark, and passionless,

Save that when struggling nearer to his last,
Upon that page his eye was kindly cast; 1110
And once as Kaled's answering accents ceast,
Rose Lara's hand, and pointed to the East:
Whether (as then the breaking sun from high
Roll’d back the clouds) the morrow caught his eye,
Or that 'twas chance, or some remember'd scene 1115
That raised his arm to point where such had been,
Scarce Kaled seem'd to know, but turn'd away,
As if his heart abhorr'd that coming day.
And shrunk his glance before that morning light,
To look on Lara's brow—where all grew night. 1120
Yet sense seem'd left, though better were its loss;
For when one near display'd the absolving cross,
And proffer'd to his touch the holy bead,
Of which his parting soul might own the need,
He look'd upon it with an eye profane, 1125
And smiled-Heaven pardon! if 'twere with disdain :
And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew
From Lara's face his fix'd despairing view,
With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift,
Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift, 1138
As if such but disturbed the expiring man,
Nor seem'd to know his life but then began,
That life of Immortality, secure
To none, save them whose faith in Christ is sure,

XX. But gasping heaved the breath that Lara drew, 1135 And dull the film along his dim eye grew; His limbs stretch'd fluttering, and his head droop'd o’er The weak yet still untiring knee that bore; He press'd the hand he held upon his heart It beats no more, but Kaled will not part 1140 With the cold grasp, but feels, and feels in vain, For that faint throb which answers not again. “ It beats !"-Away, thou dreamer! he is gone It once was Lara which thou look'st upon.


XXI. He gazed, as if not yet had pass'd away The haughty spirit of that humble clay; And those around have roused him from his trance, But cannot tear from thence his fixed glance; And when in raising him from where he bore Within his arms the form that felt no more, 1150 He saw the head his breast would still sustain, Roll down like earth to earth upon the plain; He did not dash himself thereby, nor tear The glossy tendrils of his raven hair, But strove to stand and gaze, but reeld and fell, 1155 Scarce breathing more than that he loved so well. Than that he loved! Oh! never yet beneath The breast of man such trusty love may breathe!


That trying moment hath at once reveald
The secret long and yet but half-conceald;
In baring to revive that lifeless breast,
Its grief seem'd ended, but the sex confest;
And life return'd, and Kaled felt no shame
What now to her was Womanhood or Fame?

XXII. And Lara sleeps not where his fathers sleep, 1165 But where he died his grave was dug as deep ; Nor is his mortal slumber less profound, [mound; Though priest nor bless'd, nor marble deck'd the And he was mourn'd by one whose quiet grief, Less loud, outlasts a people's for their chief. 1170 Vain was all question ask'd her of the past, And vain e'en menace-silent to the last; She told nor whence, nor why she left behind Her all for one who seem'd but little kind. Why did she love him? Curious fool !-be still— 1175 Is human love the growth of human will ? To her he might be gentleness; the stern Have deeper thoughts than your dull eyes discern, And when they love, your smilers guess not how Beats the strong heart, though less the lips avow. 1180 They were not common links, that form’d the chain That bound to Lara Kaled's heart and brain; But that wild tale she brook'd not to unfold, And seal'd is now each lip that could have told.


They laid him in the earth, and on his breast, 1185
Besides the wound that sent his soul to rest,
They found the scatter'd dints of many a scar,
Which were not planted there in recent war;
Where'er had pass'd his summer years of life,
It seems they vanish'd in a land of strife;
But all unknown his glory or his guilt,
These only told that somewhere blood was spilt,
And Ezzelin, who might have spoke the past,
Return’d no more-that night appeard his last.


XXIV. Upon that night (a peasant's is the tale) 1195 A Serf that cross'd the intervening vale, When Cynthia's light almost gave way to morn, And nearly veil'd in mist her waning horn; A Serf, that rose betimes to thread the wood, And hew the bough that bought his children's food, Pass'd by the river that divides the plain 1201 Of Otho's lands and Lara's broad domain : He heard a tramp-a horse and horseman broke From out the wood-before him was a cloak Wrapt round some burthen at his saddle-bow, 1205 Bent was his head, and hidden was his brow. Roused by the sudden sight at such a time, And some foreboding that it might be crime,

« AnteriorContinuar »