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“ To deck her Count with titles given,
“ I was a goodly stripling then; " At seventy years
I so may say, “ That there were few, or boys or men,
“ Who, in my dawning time of day, “Of vassal or of knight's degree, “ Could vie in vanities with me; “ For I had strength, youth, gaiety, “ A port, not like to this ye see, “ But smooth, as all is rugged now;
“ For time, and care, and war, have plough'd “ My very soul from out my brow;
“ And thus I should be disavow'd “ By all my kind and kin, could they “Compare my day and yesterday; “ This change was wrought, too, long ere age “ Had ta’en my features for his page: “ With years, ye know, have not declined
My strength, my courage, or my mind,
“ Or at this hour I should not be
Telling old tales beneath a tree, “ With starless skies my canopy. “ But let me on; Theresa's form“ Methinks it glides before me now, “ Between me and yon chestnut's bough, “ The memory is so quick and warm ; “ And yet I find no words to tell “ The shape of her I loved so well : “ She had the Asiatic eye,
“ Such as our Turkish neighbourhood
“ Hath mingled with our Polish blood, “ Dark as above us is the sky; “ But through it stole a tender light, “ Like the first moonrise at midnight ;
Large, dark, and swimming in the stream, “ Which seem'd to melt to its own beam ; “ All love, half languor, and half fire, “ Like saints that at the stake expire, “ And lift their raptured looks on high, “ As though it were a joy to die. 66 A brow like a midsummer lake,
“ Transparent with the sun therein, “ When waves no murmur dare to make,
" And heaven beholds her face within.
“ A cheek and lip—but why proceed ?
“ I loved her then, I love her still; “ And such as I am, love indeed
“ In fierce extremes-in good and ill. “ But still we love even in our rage, “ And haunted to our very age “ With the vain shadow of the past, “ As is Mazeppa to the last.
“ We met—we gazed – I saw, and sigh’d,
Involuntary sparks of thought, “ Which strike from out the heart o'erwrought, “ And form a strange intelligence, “ Alike mysterious and intense, “ Which link the burning chain that binds, “ Without their will, young hearts and minds;
Conveying, as the electric wire, “ We know not how, the absorbing fire.“ I saw, and sighd-in silence wept, “ And still reluctant distance kept,
“ Until I was made known to her,
“ I long’d, and was resolved to speak ; “ But on my lips they died again,
“ The accents tremulous and weak, “ Until one hour.–There is a game,
“ A frivolous and foolish play,
“ Wherewith we while away the day; “ It is—I have forgot the name“ And we to this, it seems, were set,
By some strange chance, which I forget : 66. I reck'd not if I won or lost,
“ It was enough for me to be
“ So near to hear, and oh! to see “ The being whom I loved the most.– « I watch'd her as a sentinel,
(May ours this dark night watch as well!) “ Until I saw, and thus it was, “ That she was pensive, nor perceived “ Her occupation, nor was grieved “ Nor glad to lose or gain; but still
Play'd on for hours, as if her will “ Yet bound her to the place, though not “ That hers might be the winning lot.
“ Then through my brain the thought did pass “ Even as a flash of lightning there, “ That there was something in her air “ Which would not doom me to despair ; “ And on the thought my words broke forth,
“ All incoherent as they were “ Their eloquence was little worth, “ But yet she listen'd— tis enough
• Who listens once will listen twice ;
“ Her heart, be sure, is not of ice, “ And one refusal no rebuff.
“ I loved, and was beloved again
They tell me, Sire, you never knew “ Those gentle frailties; if 'tis true, “ I shorten all my joy or pain ;
To you 'twould seem absurd as vain; “ But all men are not born to reign, “ Or o'er their passions, or as you Thus o'er themselves and nations too.
or rather was—a prince, “A chief of thousands, and could lead
“ Them on where each would foremost bleed; “ But could not o'er myself evince
66 I am