Imágenes de página
PDF

Opinion varying o'er his hidden lot,
In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot;
His silence formed a theme for others prate (fate.
They guess'd—they gazed—they fain would know his
What had he been ? what was he thus unknown,
Who walked this world, his lineage only known ?
A hater of his kind ? Yet some would say,
With them he could seem gay amidst the gay;
But own'd that smile, if oft observed and near,
Waned in its mirth, and wither'd to a sneer ;
That smile might reach his lip, but pass'd not by,
None e'er could trace its laughter to his eye:
Yet there was softness too in his regard,
At times, a heart as not by nature hard,
But once perceived, his spirit seem'd to chide
Such weakness as unworthy of its pride,
And steel'd itself, as scorning to redeem
One doubt from others' half withheld esteem;
In self-inflicted penance of a breast
Which tenderness might once have wrung from rest;
In vigilance of grief that would compel
The soul to hate for having loved too well.

There was in him a vital scorn of all :
As if the worst had fallen which could befall,
He stood a stranger in this breathing world,
An erring spirit from another hurl'd;
A thing of dark imaginings, that shaped
By choice the perils he by chance escaped ;
But 'scaped in vain, for in their memory yet
His mind would half exult and half regret :
With more capacity for love than earth
Bestows on most of mortal mould and birth,
His early dreams of good outstripped the truth,
And troubled manhood follow'd baffled youth;

With thoughts of years in phantom chase misspent,
And wasted powers for better purpose lent;
And fiery passions that had pour'd their wrath
In hurried desolation o'er his path,
And left the better feelings all at strife
In wild reflection o'er his stormy life;
But haughty still, and loth himself to blame,
He call'd on Nature's self to share the shame,
And charged all faults upon the fleshly form
She gave to clog the soul, and feast the worm ;
Till he at last confounded good and ill,
And half mistook for fate the acts of will:
Too high for common selfishness, he could
At times resign his own for others' good;
But not in pity, not because he ought,
But in some strange perversity of thought,
That swayed him onward with a secret pride
To do what few or none would do beside;
And this same impulse would, in tempting time,
Mislead his spirit equally to crime;
So much he soar'd beyond, or sunk beneath,
The men with whom he felt condemn’d to breathe,
And longed by good or ill to separate
Himself from all who shared his mortal state ;
His mind abhorring this had fix'd her throne
Far from the world, in regions of her own :
Thus coldly passing all that passed below,
His blood in temperate seeming now would flow :
Ah! happier if it ne'er with guilt had glowed,
But ever in that icy smoothness flow'd!
'Tis true, with other men their path he walk'd,
And like the rest in seeming did and talk'd,
Nor outraged Reason's rules by flaw or start,
His madness was not of the head, but heart;

And rarely wandered in his speech or drew
His thoughts so forth as to offend the view.

With all that chilling mystery of mien,
And seeming gladness to remain unseen,
He had (if 'twere not nature's boon) an art
Of fixing memory on another's heart:
It was not love perchance nor hate-nor aught
That words can image to express the thought;
But they who saw him did not see in vain,
And once beheld, would ask of him again :
And those to whom he spake remember'd well,
And on the words, however light, would dwell :
None knew nor how, nor why, but he entwined
Himself perforce around the hearer's mind;
There he was stamp'd, in liking, or in hate,
If greeted once ; however brief the date
That friendship, pity, or aversion knew,
Still there within the inmost thought he grew,
You could not penetrate his soul, but found,
Despite your wonder, to your own he wound;
His presence haunted still; and from the breast
He forced an all unwilling interest :
Vain was the struggle in that mental net,
His spirit seem'd to dare you to forget!

THE DEATH OF LARA, Beneath a lime, remoter from the scene, Where but for him that strife had never been, A breathing but devoted warrior lay : 'Twas Lara bleeding fast from life away. His follower once, and now his only guide, Kneels Kaled watchful o'er his welling side, And with his scarf would stanch the tides that rush With each convulsion in a blacker gush;

And then, as his faint breathing waxes low,
In feebler, not less fatal tricklings flow :
He scarce can speak, but motions him 'tis vain,
And merely adds another throb to pain.
He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage,
And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page,
Who nothing fears, nor feels, nor heeds, nor sees,
Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees,
Save that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim,
Held all the light that shone on earth for him.

The foe arrives, who long had search'd the field,
Their triumph nought till Lara too should yield;
They would remove him, but they see 'twere vain,
And he regards them with a calm disdain,
That rose to reconcile him with his fate,
And that escape to death from living hate :
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,
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.
They spake of other scenes, but what-is known
To Kaled, whom their meaning reached 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 ;
To share between themselves some separate fate,
Whose darkness none beside should penetrate.

Their words though faint were many—from the tone Their import those who heard could judge alone;

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
And calm, till murmuring death gasped 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;
And once as Kaled's answering accents ceased,
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
That raised his arm to point where such had been,
Scarce Kaled seem'd to know, but turn'd away,
As if his heart abhorred that coming day,
And shrunk his glance before that morning light,
To look on Lara's brow-where all grew night.
Yet sense seem'd left, though better were its loss;
For when one near displayed 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,
And smiled_Heaven pardon ! if 'twere with disdain ;
And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew
From Lara's face his fixed despairing view,
With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift,
Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift,
As if such but disturb’d 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.

« AnteriorContinuar »