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Or if he dozed, a sound; a start
And led them to the lawless sitge, Awoke him with a sunken heart.
Whose best success were sacrilege. The turban on his hot brow press'd,
Not so had those his fancy number'd, The mail weigh'd lead-like on his breast,
The chiefs whose dust around him slumber'd ; Though oft and long beneath its weight
Their phalanx marshall'd on the plain, Upon his eyes had slumber sate,
Whose bulwarks were not then in vain. Without or couch or canopy,
They fell devoted, but undying; Except a rougher field and sky
The very gale their names seem'd sighing: Than now might yield a warrior's bed,
The waters murmur'd of their name; Than now along the heaven was spread;
The woods were peopled with their fame; He could not rest, he could not stay
The silent pillar, lone and gray, Within his tent to wait for day,
Claim'd kindred with their sacred clay; But walk'd him forth along the sand,
Their spirits wrapt the dusky mountain, Where thousand sleepers strew'd the strand. Their memory sparkled o'er the fountain ; What pillow'd them ? and why should he
The meanest rill, the mightiest river More wakeful than the humblest be,
Roll'd mingling with their fame for ever. Since more their peril, worse their toil?
Despite of every yoke she bears, And yet they fearless dream of spoil ;
That land is glory's still and theirs ! While he alone, where thousands pass'd
'Tis still a watchword to the earth: A night of sleep, perchance their last,
When man would do a deed of worth, In sickly vigil wander'd on,
He points to Greece, and turns to tread, And envied all he gazed upon.
So sanction'd, on the tyrant's head:
He looks to her, and rushes on
Where life is lost, or freedom won.
Still by the shore Alp mutely mused, And bathed his brow with airy balm :
And woo'd the freshness Night diffused. Behind, the camp-before him lay,
There shrinks no ebb in that tideless sea, In many a winding creek and bay,
Which changeless rolls eternally; Lepanto's gulf; and, on the brow
So that wildest of waves, in their angriest mood, Of Delphi's hill, unshaken snow,
Scarce break on the bounds of the land for a rood; High and eternal, such as shone
And the powerless moon beholds them flow,
Calm or high, in main or bay,
On their course she hath no sway. Tyrant and slave are swept away,
The rock unworn its base doth bare, Less form'd to wear before the ray;
And looks o'er the surf, but it comes not there; But that white veil, the lightest, frailest,
And the fringe of the foam may be seen below, Which on the mighty mount thou hailest, On the line that it left long ages ago : While tower and tree are torn and rent,
A smooth short space of yellow sand
Between it and the greener land.
He wanderid on, along the beach,
Till within the range of a carbine's reach As from her fond abode she fled,
of the leaguer'd wall; but they saw him not, And linger'd on the spot, where long
Or how could he 'scape from the hostile shot? Her prophet spirit spake in song.
Did traitors lurk in the Christians' hold? Oh, still her step at moments falters
Were their hands grown stiff, or their hearts war'd O'er wither'd fields, and ruin'd altars,
cold ? And fain would wake, in souls too broken,
I know not, in sooth ; but from yonder wall By pointing to each glorious token.
There flash'd no fire, and there hiss'd no ball, But vain her voice, till better days
Though he stood beneath the bastion's frown, Dawn in those yet remember'd rays
That flank'd the seaward gate of the town; Which shone upon the Persian flying,
Though he heard the sound, and could almost tell And saw the Spartan smile in dying.
The sullen words of the sentinel,
As his measured step on the stone below
Clank'd, as he paced it to and fro;
And he saw the lean dogs beneath the wall
From a Tartar's skull they had stripp'd the flesh, Who there in better cause had bled,
As ye peel the fig when its fruit is fresh; He felt how faint and feebly dim
And their white tusks craunch'd o'er the whiter The fame that could accrue to him,
skull, Who cheer'd the band, and waved the sword, As it slipp'd through their jaws, when their edge A traitor in a turban'd horde;
As they lazily mumbled the bones of the dead, Was it the wind, through some hollow stone, When they scarce could rise from the spot where Sent than soft and tender moan? they fed;
He lifted his head, and he look'd on the sea, So well had they broken a lingering fast
But it was unrippled as glass may be ; With those who had fallen for that night's repast. He look'd on the long grass-it waved not a blade And Alp knew, by the turbans that rollid on the How was that gentle sound convey'd ? sand,
He look'd to the banners-each flag lay still, The foremost of these were the best of his band : So did the leaves on Cithæron's hill, Crimson and green were the shawls of their wear, And he felt not a breath come over his cheek And each scalp had a single long tuft of hair :S What did that sudden sound bespeak ? All the rest was shaven and bare.
He turn'd to the left-is he sure of sight! The scalps were in the wild dog's maw,
There sate a lady, youthful and bright?
He started up with more of fear
Than if an armed foe were near. But he seized on his share of a steed that lay
“God of my fathers ! what is here?
Who art thou, and wherefore sent Pick'd by the birds, on the sands of the bay.
So near a hostile armament?
His trembling hands refused to sign
The cross he deem'd no more divine:
He had resumed it in that hour, Never had shaken his nerves in fight;
But conscience wrung away the power. But he better could brook to behold the dying, He gazed, he saw: he knew the face Deep in the tide of their warm blood lying,
Of beauty, and the form of grace; Scorch'd with the death-thirst, and writhing in vain, It was Francesca by his side, Than the perishing dead who are past all pain. The maid who might have been his bride! There is something of pride in the perilous hour, Whate'er be the shape in which death may lower; The rose was yet upon her cheek, For Fame is there to say who bleeds,
But mellow'd with a tenderer streak: And Honor's eye on daring deeds!
Where was the play of her soft lips fled ? But when all is past, it is humbling to tread
Gone was the smile that enliven'd their red. O'er the weltering field of the tombless dead, The ocean's calm within their view, And see worms of the earth and fowls of the air, Beside her eye had less of blue; Beasts of the forest, all gathering there;
But like that cold wave it stood still, All regarding man as their prey,
And its glance, though clear, was chill; All rejoicing at his decay,
Around her form a thin robe twining,
Nought conceal'd her bosom shining;
Through the parting of her hair,
Floating darkly downward there, Fashion'd by long forgotten hands;
Her rounded arm show'd white and bare: Two or three columns, and many a stone,
And ere yet she made reply, Marble and granite, with grass o'ergrown!
Once she raised her hand on high: Out upon Time! it will leave no more
It was so wan and transparent of hue, Of the things to come than the things before ! You might have seen the moon shine through Out upon Time! who for ever will leave But enough of the past for the future to grieve
XXI O'er that which hath been, and o'er that which “I come from my rest to him I love best, must be:
That I may be happy, and he may be blest. What we have seen our sons shall see;
I have pass'd the guards, the gate, the wall, Remnants of things that have pass'd away,
Sought thee in safety through foes and all. Fragments of stone, rear'd by creatures of clay!
'Tis said the lion will turn and flee
From a maid in the pride of her purity;
And the Power on high, that can shield the good He sate him down at a pillar's base,
Thus from the tyrant of the wood, And pass'd his hand athwart his face;
Hath extended its mercy to guard me as well Like one in dreary musing mood,
From the hands of the leaguering infidel. Declining was his attitude;
I come and if I come in vain, His head was drooping on his breast,
Never, oh never, we meet again! Fever'd, throbbing, and opprest;
Thou hast done a fearful deed And o'er his brow, so downward bent,
In falling away from thy father's creed : Oft his beating fingers went,
But dash that turban to earth, and sign Hurriedly, as you may see
The sign of the cross, and for ever be mine Your own run over the ivory key,
Wring the black drop from thy heart, Ere the measured tone is taken
And to-morrow unites us no more to part." 1 By the chords you would awaken. There he sate all heavily,
" And where should our bridal couch be spread? As he heard the night-wind sigh.
In the midst of the dying and the dead?
For to-morrow we give to the slaughter and flame, Thy heart within thee is not changed,
Dark will thy doom be, darker still
Thine immortality of ill."
The sign she spake of in the sky;
But his heart was swollen, and turn'd aside When once again I've quell'd the pride
By deep, interminable pride. Of Venice; and her hated race
This first false passion of his breast Have felt the arm they would debase,
Roll'd like a torrent o'er the rest. Scourge, with a whip of scorpions, those
He sue for mercy! He dismay'd Whom vice and envy made my foes."
By wild words of a timid maid !
He, wrong'd by Venice, vow to save Upon his hand she laid her own
Her sons, devoted to the grave! Light was the touch, but it thrill'd to the bone,
Non-though that cloud were thunder's worst, And shot a chillness to his heart,
And charged to crush him-let it burst!
He look'd upon it earnestly,
Without an accent of reply;
He watch'd it passing; it is flown : Strike on the pulse with such feeling of fear,
Full on his eye the clear moon shone, As those thin fingers, long and white,
And thus he spake" Whate'er my fate, Froze through his blood by their touch that night.
I am no changeling—'tis too late :
The reed in storms may bow and quiver,
Then rise again; the tree must shiver.
What Venice made me, I must be,
Her foe in all, save love to thee:
But thou art safe: oh, fly with me!"
He turn'd, but she is gone! Like sparkling waves on a sunny day;
Nothing is there but the column stone. And her motionless lips lay still as death,
Hath she sunk in the earth, or melted in air! And her words came forth without her breath,
He saw not, he knew not; but nothing is there And there rose not a heave o'er her bosom's swell,
The night is past, and shines the sun
As if that morn were a jocund one.
Lightly and brightly breaks away
The Morning from her mantle gray,
And the Noon will look on a sultry day.
Hark to the trump, and the drum,
And the mournful sound of the barbarous horn, So seen by the dying lamp's fitful light, Lifeless, but life-like, and awful to sight;
And the flap of the banners that fit as they're borne, As they seem, through the dimness, about to come And the clash, and the shout, “ they come, they
And the neigh of the steed, and the multitude's hum, down From the shadowy wall where their images frown; The horsetails 8 are pluck'd from the ground, and
come!” Fearfully fitting to and fro,
the sword As the gusts on the tapestry come and go.
From its sheath; and they form, and but wait for
the word. "If not for love of me be given
Tartar, and Spahi, and Turcoman,
Mount ye, spur ye, skirr the plain,
That the fugitive may flee in vain, Thine injured country's sons to spare,
When he breaks from the town; and none escape, Or thou art lost; and never shalt see
Aged or young, in the Christian shape ; Not earth-that's past—but heaven or me. While your fellows on foot, in a fiery mass, If this thou dost accord, albeit
Bloodstain the breach through which they pass. A heavy doom 'tis thine to meet,
The steeds are all bridled, and snort to the rein; That doom shall half absolve thy sin,
Curved is each neck, and flowing each mane; And mercy's gate may receive thee within White is the foam of their champ on the bit: But pause one moment more, and take The spears are uplifted; the matches are lit; The curse of Him thou didst forsake;
The cannon are pointed, and ready to roar, And look once more to heaven, and see
And crush the wall they have crumbled before: Its love for ever shut from thee.
Forms in his phalanx each Janizar; There is a light cloud by the moon–7
Alp at their head; his right arm is bare, 'Tis passing, and will pass full soon
So is the blade of his scimitar; If, by the time its vapory sail
The khan and the pachas are all at their post; Hath ceased her shaded orb to veil,
The vizier himself at the head of the host.
When the culverin's signal is fired, then on; But the rampart is won, and the spoil began,
And all but the after carnage done.
Shriller shrieks now, mingling come A hearth in her mansions, a stone on her walls. From within the plunder'd dome: God and the prophet-Alla Hu!
Hark to the haste of flying feet, Up to the skies with that wild halloo!
That splash in the blood of the slippery street; “There the breach lies for passage, the ladder to But here and there, where 'vantage ground scale;
Against the foe may still be found, And your hands on your sabres, and how should ye Desperate groups, of twelve or ten, fail?
Make a pause, and turn again-
There stood an old man-his hairs were white, And the shout of fierce thousands in joyous ire;
But his veteran arm was full of might: Silence-hark to the signal-fire!
So gallantly bore he the brunt of the fray,
The dead before him, on that day,
In a semicircle lay;
Still he combated unwounded, On the stately buffalo,
Though retreating, unsurrounded.
Many a scar of former fight
Though aged, he was so iron of limb,
Few of our youth could cope with him; Many a bosom, sheath'd in brass,
And the foes, whom he singly kept at bay, Strew'd the earth like broken glass,
Outnumber'd his thin hairs of silver gray. Shiver'd by the shot, that tore
From right to left his sabre swept: The ground whereon they moved no more ; Many an Othman mother wept Even as they fell, in files they lay,
Sons that were unborn, when dipp'd Like the mower's grass at the close of day, His weapon first in Moslem gore, When his work is done on the levell’d plain; Ere his years could count a score. Such was the fall of the foremost slain.
Of all he might have been the sire
Who fell that day beneath his ire :
For, sonless left long years ago,
His wrath made many a childless foe; From the cliffs invading dash
And since the day, when in the strait Huge fragments, sapp'd by the ceaseless flow,
His only boy had met his fate, Till white and thundering down they go,
His parent's iron hand did doom Like the avalanche's snow,
More than a human hecatomb. On the Alpine vales below;
If shades by carnage be appeased, Thus at length, outbreathed and worn,
Patroclus' spirit less was pleased Corinth's sons were downward borne
Than his, Minotti's son who died By the long and oft renew'd
Where Asia's bounds and ours divide. Charge of the Moslem multitude.
Buried he lay where, thousands before In firmness they stood, and in masses they fell,
For thousands of years were inhumed on the shore; Heap'd, by the host of the infidel,
What of them is left, to tell Hand to hand, and foot to foot:
Where they lie, and how they fell ? Nothing there, save death, was mute;
Not a stone on their turf, nor a bone in their graves; Stroke, and thrust, and fash, and cry
But they live in the verse that immortality saves. For quarter, or for victory, Mingle there with the volleying thunder,
XXVI. Which makes the distant cities wonder
Hark to the Allah shout! a band How the sounding battle goes,
Of the Mussulman bravest and best is at hand; If with them, or for their foes;
Their leader's nervous arm is bare, If they must mourn, or may rejoice
Swifter to smite, and never to spare-
Unclothed to the shoulder it waves them on;
Thus in the fight is he ever known;
Others a gaudier garb may show, O'er Salamis and Megara;
To tempt the spoil of the greedy foe i (We have heard the hearers say,)
Many a hand's on a richer hilt,
But none on a steel more ruddily gilt:
Alp is but known by the white arm bare ;
Look through the thick of the fight, 'tis theros
So well advanced the ranks before :
There is not a banner in Moslem war
Fearfully the yell arose
Of his followers and his foes ;
These in joy, in fury those;
Then again in conflict mixing,
Clashing swords, and spears transfixing,
Interchanged the blow and thrust
Hurling warriors in the dust.
Street by street, and foot by foot,
Still Minotti dares dispute
The latest portion of the land
Left beneath his high command;
With him, aiding heart and hand,
The remnant of his gallant band.
Still the church is tenable,
Whence issued late the fated ball
That half avenged the city's fall,
When Alp, her fierce assailant, fell :
Thither bending sternly back,
They leave before a bloody track;
And, with their faces to the foe,
The chief, and his retreating train,
Join to those within the fane;
There they yet may breathe awhile,
Shelter'd by the massy pile.
Brief breathing-time! the turban'a host,
With adding ranks and raging boast,
Press onwards with such strength and heat,
Their numbers balk their own retreat ; “Oh God! when died she?"-"Yesternight
For narrow the way that led to the spot
Where still the Christians yielded not;
And the foremost, if fearful, may vainly try
Through the massy column to turn and ly;
They perforce must do or die.
They die; but ere their eyes could close,
Avengers o'er their bodies rose;
Fresh and furious, fast they fill
The ranks unthinn'd, though slanghter'd still;
And faint the weary Christians wax
Before the still renew'd attacks :
And now the Othman's gain the gate;
Still resists its iron weight,
And still, all deadly aim'd and hot,
From every crevice comes the shot;
From every shatter'd window pour
The volleys of the sulphurous shower :
But the portal wavering grows and weak-
The iron yields, the hinges creak-
It bends-it falls-and all is o'er ;
Lost Corinth may resist no more !
Darkly, sternly, and all alone,
Minotti stood o'er the altar stone:
Painted in heavenly hues above,
With eyes of light and looks of love;
And placed upon that holy sbrine
To fix our thoughts on things divine,
When pictured there, we kneeling see
Her, and the boy-God on her knee,
Smiling sweetly on each prayer
To heaven, as if to waft it there.
Still she smiled; even now she smiles,
Though slaughter streams along her aisles :