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Man spurns the worm, but pauses ere he wake
None are all evil-quickening round his heart,
290 Though fairest captives daily met his eye, He shunn'd, nor sought, but coldly pass'd them by ; Though many a beauty droop'd in prison d bower, None ever soothed his most unguarded hour. Yes-it was Love-if thoughts of tenderness, 295 Tried in temptation, strengthen’d by distress, Unmov'd by absence, firm in every
clime, And yet-Oh more than all!-untired by time; Which nor defeated hope, nor baffled wile, Could render sullen were she ne'er to smile, 800 Nor rage could fire, nor sickness fret to vent On her one murmur of his discontent;
Which still would meet with joy, with calmness part,
He paused a moment-till his hastening men Pass'd the first winding downward to the glen. “Strange tidings !-many a peril have I past, "Nor know I why this next appears the last ! “Yet so my heart forebodes, but must not fear, 315 "Nor shall my followers find me falter here. “ 'Tis rash to meet, but surer death to wait "Till here they hunt us to undoubted fate; "And, if my plan but hold, and Fortune smile, “We'll furnish mourners for our funeral-pile. 320 “Ay—let them slumber-peaceful be their dreams ! “Morn ne'er awoke them with such brilliant beams “As kindle high to-night (but blow, thou breeze !) “To warm these slow avengers of the seas. “Now to Medora-Oh! my sinking heart, 325 “Long may her own be lighter than thou art ! “Yet was I brave-mean boast where all are brave! “Ev'n insects sting for aught they seek to save.
“ This common courage which with brutes we share, “That owes its deadliest efforts to despair, 330
Small merit claims-but 'twas my nobler hope “To teach my
few with numbers still to cope; "Long have I led them-not to vainly bleed : “No medium now-we perish or succeed! “ So let it be-it irks not me to die;
335 “But thus to urge them whence they cannot fly.
My lot hath long had little of my care, “But chafes my pride thus baffled in the snare: “ Is this my skill? my craft? to set at last “Hope, power, and life, upon a single cast? 340 “Oh, Fate!-accuse thy folly, not thy fate 6. She may redeem thee still-nor yet too late."
Thus with himself communion held he, till
“ Deep in my soul that tender secret dwells,
Lonely and lost to light for evermore,
Then trembles into silence as before.
“ There, in its centre, a sepulchral lamp
Burns the slow flame, eternal---but unseen; Which not the darkness of despair can damp,
Though vain its ray as it had never been.
* Remember me--- -Oh! pass not thou my grave
Without one thought whose relics there recline: The only pang my bosom dare not brave, Must be to find forgetfulness in thine.
“My fondest---faintest---latest---accents hear :
Grief for the dead not Virtue can reprove; Then give me all I ever ask’d---a tear,
The first---last---sole reward of so much love !"
He pass'd the portal---cross'd the corridore, 365 And reach'd the chamber as the strain gave o’er: “ My own Medora! sure thy song is sad—”
" In Conrad's absence wouldst thou have it glad ? “ Without thine ear to listen to my lay, “ Still must my song my thoughts, my soul betray: 370 “ Still must each accent to my bosom suit,
My heart unhush’d---although my lips were mute! “ Oh! many a night on this lone couch reclined, " My dreaming fear with storms hath wing'd the wind,
“ And deem'd the breath that faintly fann'd thy sail “ The murmuring prelude of the ruder gale; 375 “Though soft, it seem'd the low prophetic dirge,
That mourn'd thee floating on the savage surge: “ Still would I rise to rouse the beacon fire, “ Lest spies less true should let the blaze expire; 380
And many a restless hour outwatch'd each star, “ And morning came---and still thou wert afar. “Oh! how the chill blast on my bosom blew, “ And day broke dreary on my troubled view, “ And still I gazed and gazed---and not a prow 385 “ Was granted to my tears---my truth--- my vow! “ At length---'twas noon--- I hail'd and blest the mast “ That met my sight---it near’d---Alas! it past! " Another came---Oh God! 'twas thine at last! .395 “ Would that those days were over! wilt thou ne'er, “ My Conrad ! learn the joys of peace to share? “ Sure thou hast more than wealth, and many a home “ As bright as this invites us not to roam: “ Thou know'st it is not peril that I fear, “ I only tremble when thou art not here; 395 “ Then not for mine, but that far dearer life, “ Which flies from love and languishes for strife“How strange that heart, to me so tender still, “ Should war with nature and its better will !" 399