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The exulting sense—the pulse's maddening play,
That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way?
That for itself can woo the approaching fight,
And turn what some deem danger to delight;
That seeks what cravens shun with more than zeal,
And where the feebler faint-can only feel —
Feel—to the rising bosom's inmost core,
Its hope awaken and its spirit soar ?
No dread of death-if with us die our foes-
Save that it seems even duller than repose :
Come when it will—we snatch the life of life-
When lost-what recks it-by disease or strife ?
Let him who crawls enamour'd of decay,
Cling to his couch, and sicken years away,
Heave his thick breath, and shake his palsied head;
Ours—the fresh turf, and not the feverish bed.
While gasp by gasp he falters forth his soul,
Ours with one pang-one bound-escapes control.
His corse may boast its urn and narrow cave,
And they who loath'd his life may gild his grave:
Ours are the tears, though few, sincerely shed,
When Ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead.
For us, even banquets fond regret supply
In the red cup that crowns our memory,
And the brief epitaph in danger's day,
When those who win at length divide the prey,
And cry, Remembrance saddening o'er each brow,
How had the brave who fell exulted now !”
THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.
But he, the favourite and the flower,
Most cherished since his natal hour,
His mother's image in fair face,
The infant love of all his race,
His martyr'd father's dearest thought,
My latest care, for whom I sought
To hoard my life, that his might be
Less wretched now, and one day free;
He, too, who yet had held untired
A spirit natural or inspired
He, too, was struck, and day by day
Was withered on the stalk away.
Oh God! it is a fearful thing
To see the human soul take wing
In any shape, in any mood :-
I've seen it rushing forth in blood,
I've seen it on the breaking ocean
Strive with a swoln conyulsive motion,
I've seen the sick and ghastly bed
Of Sin delirious with its dread :
But these were horrors this was woe
Unmix'd with such—but sure and slow :
He faded, and so calm and meek,
So softly worn, so sweetly weak,
So tearless, yet so tender_kind,
And grieved for those he left behind,
With all the while a cheek whose bloom
Was as a mockery of the tomb,
Whose tints as gently sink away
As a departing rainbow's ray-
An eye of most transparent light,
That almost made the dungeon bright,
And not a word of murmur-not'
A groan o'er his untimely lot,
A little talk of better days,
A little hope my own to raise,
For I was sunk in silence lost
And then the sighs he would suppress
Of fainting nature's feebleness,
More slowly drawn, grew less and less ;
I listen’d, but I could not hear
I called, for I was wild with fear;
I knew 'twas hopeless, but my dread
Would not be thus admonished;
I call'd, and thought I heard a sound
I burst my chain with one strong bound,
And rush'd to him :-I found him not,
I only stirred in this black spot,
I only lived—I only drew
The accursed breath of dungeon dew;
The last--the sole the dearest link
Between me and the eternal brink,
Which bound me to my failing race,
Was broken in this fatal place.
One on the earth, and one beneath
My brothers—both had ceased to breathe :
I took that hand which lay so still,
Alas! my own was full as chill;
I had not strength to stir, or strive,
But felt that I was still alive-
A frantic feeling,—when we know
That what we love shall ne'er be so,
I know not why
I could not die,
I had no earthly hope_but faith,
And that forbade a selfish death.
And then there was—but why should I go on, Unless the ladies should go off ?-there was
Indeed a certain fair and fairy one,
Of the best class, and better than her class,
Aurora Raby, a young star who shone ·
O'er life, too sweet an image for such glass,
A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded,
A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded ;
Rich, noble, but an orphan ; left an only
Child to the care of guardians good and kind ;
But still her aspect had an air so lonely!
Blood is not water ; and where shall we find
Feelings of youth like those which overthrown lie
By death, when we are left, alas ! behind,
To feel, in friendless palaces, a home
Is wanting, and our best ties in the tomb ?
Early in years, and yet more infantine
In figure, she had something of sublime
In eyes which sadly shone, as seraphs' shine.
All youth_but with an aspect beyond time;
Radiant and grave-as pitying man's decline;
Mournful—but mournful of another's crime,
She look'd as if she sat by Eden's door,
And grieved for those who could return no more.
She was a Catholic too, sincere, austere,
As far as her own gentle heart allow'd,
And deem'd that fallen worship far more dear
Perhaps because 'twas fallen : her sires were proud Of deeds and days when they had fill'd the ear
Of nations, and had never bent or bow'd
To novel power; and as she was the last,
She held their old faith and old feelings fast.
She gazed upon a world she scarcely knew
As seeking not to know it; silent, lone,
As grows a flower, thus quietly she grew
And kept her heart serene within its zone. There was awe in the homage which she drew;
Her spirit seemed as seated on a throne Apart from the surrounding world, and strong In its own strength—most strange in one so young!
TO - FROM THE RHINE.
The castled crag of Drachenfels
Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine,
Whose breast of waters broadly swells
Between the banks which bear the yine,
And hills all rich with blossom'd trees,
And fields which promise corn and wine,
And scatter'd cities crowning these,
Whose far white walls along them shine,
Have strew'd a scene, which I should see
With double joy wert thou with me!
And peasant girls, with deep blue eyes,
And hands which offer early flowers,
Walk smiling o'er this paradise ;
Above, the frequent feudal towers
Through green leaves lift their walls of grey,
And many a rock which steeply lours,
And noble arch in proud decay,
Look o'er this vale of vintage-bowers ;
But one thing want these banks of Rhine,
Thy gentle hand to clasp in mine!
I send the lilies given to me;
Though long before thy hand they touch
I know that they must wither'd be,
But yet reject them not as such ;