« AnteriorContinuar »
“ Whate'er his tidings, we can well report,
145 “Much that”—“Peace, peace!"-he cuts their prating
short. Wondering they turn, abash’d, while each to each Conjecture whispers in his muttering speech: They watch his glance with many a stealing look, To gather how that eye the tidings took; 150 But, this as if he guess'd, with head aside, Perchance from some emotion, doubt, or pride, He read the scroll—“ My tablets, Juan, hark“ Where is Gonsalvo ?”
" In the anchor'd bark." 155 “ There let him stay-to him this order bear. “ Back to your duty-for my course prepare: Myself this enterprise to-night will share."
"To-night, Lord Conrad ?"
“ Ay! at set of sun: 160 “ The breeze will freshen when the day is done. “ My corslet-cloak—one hour—and we are gone.
Sling on thy bugle—see that free from rust, "My carbine-lock springs worthy of my trust; “ Be the edge sharpen'd of my boarding-brand, 165 “ And give its guard more room to fit my hand. “ This let the Armourer with speed dispose; “ Last time, it more fatigued my arm than foes: Mark that the signal-gun be duly fired, To tell us when the hour of stay's expired.”
They make obeisance, and retire in haste,
190 'Tis Nature's doom-but let the wretch who toils, Accuse not, hate not him who wears the spoils. Oh! if he knew the weight of splendid chains, How light the balance of his humbler pains !
Unlike the heroes of each ancient race, Demons in act, but God s at least in face,
In Conrad's form seems little to admire,
There was a laughing Devil in his sneer,
225 That raised emotions both of rage and fear; And where his frown of hatred darkly fell, Hope withering fled—and Mercy sigh'd farewell!
X. Slight are the outward signs of evil thought, Within--within-'twas there the spirit wrought! 230 Love shows all changes-Hate, Ambition, Guile, Betray no further than the bitter smile; The lip's least curl, the lightest paleness thrown Along the govern'd aspect, speak alone Of deeper passions; and to judge their mien, He, who would see, must be himself unseen. Then-with the hurried tread, the upward eye, The clenched hand, the pause of agony, That listens, starting, lest the step too near Approach intrusive on that mood of fear: 240 Then-with each feature working from the heart, With feelings loosed to strengthen--not depart: That rise--convulse-contend--that freeze, or glow, Flush in the cheek, or damp upon thc brow; Then-Stranger! if thou canst, and tremblest not, 245 Behold his soul—the rest that soothes his lot! Mark-how that lone and blighted bosom sears The scathing thought of execrated years ! Behold-but who hath seen, or e'er shall see, Man as himself—the secret spirit free?
Yet was not Conrad thus by Nature sent To lead the guilty---guilt's worst instrument--His soul was changed, before his deeds had driven Him forth to war with man and forfeit heaven. Warp'd by the world in Disappointment's school, 255 In words too wise, in conduct there a fool; Too firm to yield, and far too proud to stoop, Doom'd by his very virtues for a dupe, He cursed those virtues as the cause of ill, And not the traitors who betray'd him still ; 260 Nor deem'd that gifts bestow'd on better men Had left him joy, and means to give again. Fear'd-shunn'd-belied-ere youth had lost her force, He hated man too much to feel remorse, And thought the voice of wrath a sacred call, 265 To pay the injuries of some on all. He knew himself a villain-but he deem'd The rest no better than the thing he seem'd; And scorn'd the best as hypocrites who hid Those deeds the bolder spirit plainly did. 270 He knew himself detested, but he knew The hearts that loath'd him, crouch'd and dreaded too. Lone, wild, and strange, he stood alike exempt From all affection and from all contempt : His name could sadden, and his acts surprise ; 275 But they that fear'd him dared not to despise :