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When, her last hope for ever gone,
The mother harden’d into stone;
All in the maid that eye could see
Was but a younger Niobé.
But ere her lip, or even her eye,
Essay'd to speak, or look reply,
Beneath the garden's wicket porch
Far flash'd on high a blazing torch!
Another—and another-and another (ther!"
“Oh! fly-no more—yet now my more than bro -
Far, wide, through every thicket spread, 985
The fearful lights are gleaming red;
Nor these alone-for each right hand
Is ready with a sheathless brand.
They part, pursue, return, and wheel
With searching flambeau, shining steel;
And last of all, his sabre waving,
Stern Giaffir in his fury raving:
And now almost they touch the cave---
Oh! must that grot be Selim's grave ?
XXIII. Dauntless he stood---"'Tis come---soon past--- 995 “ One kiss, Zuleika---?tis my last:
“But yet my band not far from shore “May hear this signal, see the flash; * Yet now too few---the attempt were rash :
“No matter---yet one effort more." 1000 Forth to the cavern mouth he stept;
His pistol's echo rang on high.
Zuleika started not, nor wept,
Despair benumb'd her breast and eye !--“They hear me not, or if they ply
1005 “Their oars, 'tis but to see me die; “That sound hath drawn my foes more nigh. " Then forth my father's scimitar, “ Thou ne'er hast seen less equal war! “ Farewell, Zuleika !-Sweet! retire: 1010
“ Yet stay within-here linger safe,
“At thee his rage will only chafe. “ Stir not-lest even to thee perchance. . “Some erring blade or ball should glance. “Fear'st thou for him ?-may I expire “ If in this strife I seek thy sire! “No-though by him that poison pour’d; “ No—though again he call me coward! “But tamely shall I meet their steel? “No-as each crest save his may feel !” 1020
One bound he made, and gain’d the sand:
Already at his feet hath sunk
The foremost of the prying band;
A gasping head, a quivering trunk: Another falls—but round him close
1025 A swarming circle of his foes ; From right to left his path he cleft,
And almost met the meeting wave: His boat appears—not five oars' lengthHis comrades strain with desperate strength-1030
Oh! are they yet in time to save?
His feet the foremost breakers lave;
His band are plunging in the bay,
Their sabres glitter through the spray;
Wet-wild-unwearied to the strand
They struggle—now they touch the land !
They come—'tis but to add to slaughter-
His heart's best blood is on the water!
Escaped from shot, unharm'd by steel,
Or scarcely grazed its force to feel,
Had Selim won, betray'd, beset,
To where the strand and billows met:
There as his last step left the land,
And the last death-blow dealt his hand-
Ah! wherefore did he turn to look
For her his eye but sought in vain ?
That pause, that fatal gaze he took,
Hath doom'd his death, or fix'd his chain.
Sad proof, in peril and in pain,
How late will Lover's hope remain !
His back was to the dashing spray;
Behind, but close, his comrades lay,
When, at the instant, hiss'd the ball-
“So may the foes of Giaffir fall!"
Whose voice is heard ? whose carbine rang?
Whose bullet through the night-air sang,
Too nearly, deadly aim'd to err?
'Tis thine-Abdallah's Murderer!
The father slowly rued thy hate,
The son hath found a quicker fate:
Fast from his breast the blood is bubbling,
The whiteness of the sea-foam troubling-
If aught his lips essay'd to groan,
The rushing billows choak'd the tone!
Morn slowly rolls the clouds away;
Few trophies of the fight are there:
The shouts that shook the midnight-bay
Are silent; but some signs of fray
That strand of strife may bear,
And fragments of each shiver'd brand;
Steps stamp'd ; and dash'd into the sand
The print of many a struggling hand
May there be mark'd; nor far remote
A broken torch, an oarless boat;
And tangled on the weeds that heap
The beach where shelving to the deep
There lies a white Capote!
'Tis rent in twain-one dark-red stain
The wave yet ripples o'er in vain :
But where is he who wore ?
Ye! who would o'er his relics weep
Go, seek them where the surges sweep
Their burtheu round Sigæum's steep
And cast on Lemnos' shore:
The sea-birds shriek above the prey,
O'er which their hungry beaks delay,
As shaken on his restless pillow,
His head heaves with the heaving biilow;
That hand, whose motion is not life,
Yet feebly seems to menace strife,
Flung by the tossing tide on high,
Then levell’d with the wave-
What recks it, though that corse shall lie
Within a living grave ?
The bird that tears that prostrate form
Hath only robb’d the meaner worm;
The only heart, the only eye
Had bled or wept to see him die,
Had seen those scatter'd limbs composed,
And mourn'd above his turban-stone, (40) 1100 That heart hath burst--that eye was closed'Yea--closed before his own!
By Helle's stream there is a voice of wail !
* And woman's eye is wet-man's cheek is pale:
Zuleika! last of Giaffir's race,
1105 Thy destin'd lord is come too late; He sees not-ne'er shall see thy face!
Can he not hear
The loud Wul-wulleh (41) warn his distant ear?
Thy handmaids weeping at the gate, 1110
The Koran-chanters of the hymn of fate,
The silent slaves with folded arms that wait,