Imágenes de página


"Twas midnight-all was slumber; the lone light
Dimmed in the lamp, as loth to break the night.
Hark! there be murinurs heard in Lara's hall
A sound--a voice- a shriek-a fearful call!
A long, loud shriek—and silence—did they hear
That frantic echo burst the sleeping ear?
They heard and rose, and tremulously brave
Rush where the sound invoked their aid to save ;
They come with half-lit tapers in their hands,
And snatched in startled haste unbelted brands.


Cold as the marble where his length was laid,
Pale as the beam that o'er his features played,
Was Lara stretched; his half drawn sabre near,
Dropped it should seem in more than nature's fear;
Yet he was firm, or had been firm till now,
And still defiance knit his gathered brow;
Though mixed with terror, senseless as he lay,
There lived, upon his lip the wish to slay;
Some half formed threat in utterance there had died,
Some imprecation of despairing pride; ·
His eye was almost sealed, but not forsook,
Even in its trance the gladiator's look,
That oft awake his aspect could disclose,
And now was fixed in horrible repose.
They raise him--bear him ;-hush! he breathes, he spea
The swarthy blush recolours in his cheeks,
His lip resumes its red, his eye, though dim,
Rolls wide and wild, each slowly quivering limb
Recalls its function, but his words are strung
In terms that seem not of his native tongue;

Distinct but strange, enough they understand
To dcern them accents of another land,
And such they were, and meant to meet an ear
That hears them not-alas! that cannot hear!


His page approached, and he alone appeared
To know the import of the words they heard;
And, by the changes of his cheek and brow,
They were not such as Lara should avow,
Nor he interpret, yet with less surprise
Than those around their chieftain's state he eyes,
But Lara's prostrate form he bent beside,
And in that tongue which seemed his own replied,
And Lara heeds those tones that gently seem
To soothe away the horrors of his dream;
If dream it were, that thus could overthrow
A breast that needed not ideal woe.


Whate'er his phrenzy dreamed or eye beheld,
If yet remembered ne'er to be revealed,
Rests at his heart : the customed morning came,
And breathed new vigour in his shaken frame;
And solace sought he nonc, from priest nor leech,
And soon the same in movement and in speech :
As heretofore be filled the passing hours,
Nor less he; smiles, nor more his forehead lours
Than these were wont; and if the coming night,
Appeared less welcome now. to Lara's sight, 1.
He to his marvelling vassals showed it not,
Vhose shuddering proved their fear was less forgot.

In trembling pairs ( alone they dared not ) crawl
The astonished slaves, and shun the fated hall;
The waving banner, and the clapping door,
The rustling tapestry, and the echoing floor;
The long dim shadows of surrounding trees,
The flapping bat, the night song of the breeze;
Aught they behold or hear their thonght appals,
As evening saddens o'er the dark grey walls. .


Vain thought! that hour of ne'er uvravelled gloom
Came not again, or Lara could assume
A seeming of forgetfulness, ibat made
His vassals more amazed nor less afraid
Had memory vanished then with sense restored ?
Since word, nor look, vor gesture of their lord
Betrayed a feeling that recalled to these
That ferered moment of his mind's disease.
Was it a dream? was his the voice that spoke
Those strange wild accents; his the cry that broke
Their slumber? his the oppressed o'er-laboured heart
That ceased to beat, the look that made them start?
Could he who thus had suffered, so forget,
When such as saw that suffering shudder yet?
Or did that silence prove his memory bxed
Too deep for words, indelible, unmised
In that corroding secrecy which gnaws
The heart to show the effect, but not the cause ?
Not so ju him; his breast bad buried both,
Nor common gazers could discern the growth
Of thoughts that mortal lips must leave balf told;
They choak the feeble words that would unfold.


In him inexplicably mixed appeared
Much to be loved and hated, sought and feared ;
Opinion varying o'er his hidden lot,
In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot;
His silence formed a theme for others' prate-
They guessed--they gazed—they fain would know his fate.
What had he been? what was he, tbus unknown,
Who walked their world, his lineage only known?
A hater of his kind? yet some would say,
With thein he could seem gay amidst the gay;
But owned, that sinile if oft observed and near,
Waned in its mirth and withered to a sneer;
That smile might reach his lip, but passed 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 seemed to chide
Such weakness, as unworthy of its pride,
And steeled itself, as scoruing 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 fall’n which could befall,
He stood a stranger in this breathing world,
An erring spirit from another hurled;
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 followed baffled youth;
With thought of years in phantom chase mispent,
And wasted powers for better purpose lent;
And fiery passions that had poured 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 called on Nature's self to share the shame,
And charged all faults upon the fleshly form

gave to clog the soul, and feast the worm ; 'Till he at last confounded good and ill, And half mistnok 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 soared beyond, or sunk beneath The men with whom he felt condemned. to breathe, And longed by good or ill to separate Slimself from all who shared his mortal state ; His mind abhorring this had fixed her throne Far from the world, in regions of her own : Thus coldly passing-all that passed below, Ilis blood in temperate seening now would, low:

« AnteriorContinuar »