« PreviousContinue »
High o'er the land he saved in vain:
Fair clime! where every season smiles Benignant o'er those blessed isles, Which seen from far Colonna's height, Make glad the heart that hails the sight, And lend to loneliness delight. There, mildly dimpling, Ocean's cheek Reflects the tints of many a peak Caught by the laughing tides that lave These Edens of the eastern wave; And if at times a transient breeze Break the blue crystal of the seas, Or sweep one blossom from the trees, How welcome is each gentle air That wakes and wasts the odours there! For there--the Rose o'er crag or vale, Sultana of the Nightingale,
The maid for whom his melody,
His thousand songs are heard on high,
Then stealing with the muffled oar,
There man, enamoured of distress,
He who hath bent him o'er the dead Ere the first day of death is fled, The first dark day of nothingness, The last of danger and distress, Before Decay's effacing fingers Have swept the lines where beauty lingers; And marked the mild angelic air, The rapture of repose that's there, The fixed yet tender traits that streak The languor of the placid cheek, And—but fur that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now,
And but for that chill changeless brow,
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
The farewell beam of feeling past away!
Clime of the unforgotten brave!
Say, is not this Thermopylæ?
Oh servile offspring of the free,
THEY gain by twilight's hour their lonely isle. To them the very rocks appear to smile; The haven hums with many a cheering sound, The beacons blaze their wonted stations round, The boats are darting o'er the curly bay, And sportive dolphins bend them through the spray; Even the hoarse sea-bird's shrill, discordant shriek, Greets like the welcome of his tuneless beak! Beneath each lamp that through its lattice gleams, Their fancy paints the friends that trim the beams. Oh! what can sanctify the joys of home, Like Hope's gay glance from Ocean's troubled foam? The lights are high on beacon and from bower, And midst them Conrad seeks Medora's tower: He looks in vain— tis strange-and all remark, Amid so many, hers alone is dark. 'Tis strange-of yore its welcome never failed, Nor now, perchance, extinguished, only veiled. With the first boat descends he for the shore, And looks impatient on the lingering oar.
"! for a wing beyond the falcon's flight, To bear him like an arrow to that height! With the first pause the resting rowers gave, He waits not- looks not-leaps into the wave, Strives through the surge, bestrides the beach, and higli Ascends the path familiar to his eye. He reached his turret door-- he paused-no sound Broke from within; and all was night around. He knocked, and loudly-footstep nor reply. Announced that any heard or deemed him nigh; He knocked-but faintly-for his trembling hand Refused to aid his heavy heart's demand. The portal opens—'tis å well-known face--But not the form he panted to embrace. Its lips are silent-twice his own essayed, And failed to frame the question they delayed; He snatched the lamp-its light will answer allIt quits his grasp, expiring in the fall. He would not wait for that reviving raya As soon could he have lingered there for day; But, glimmering through the dusky corridor, Another chequers o'er the shadowed floor;
His steps the chamber gain—his eyes behold All that his heart believed not-yet foretold! He turned not-spoke not-sunk not-fixed his look, And set the anxious frame that lately shook: He gazed-how long we gaze despite of pain, And know, but dare not own, we gaze in vain! In life itself she was so still and fair, That death with gentler aspect withered there; And the cold flowers her colder hand contained, In that last grasp as tenderly were strained As if she scarcely felt, but feigned a sleep, And made it almost mockery yet to weep: T'he long dark lashes fringed her lids of snow; And veiled--thought shrinks from all that lurked below Oh! o'er the eye death most exerts his might, And hurls the spirit from her throne of light! Sinks those blue orbs in that long last eclipse, But spares, as yet, the charm around her lips Yet, yet they seem as they forbore to smile, And wished repose-but only for a while ; But the white shroud, and each extended tress, Long-fair—but spread in utter liselessness, Which, late the sport of every summer wind, Escaped the baffled wreath that strove to bind; These--and the pale pure cheek, became the bierBut she is nothing—wherefore is he here? He asked no question--all were answered now By the first glance on that still--marble brow. It was enough she died—what recked it how? The love of youth, the hope of better years, 'I'he source of softest wishes, tenderest fears, The only living thing he could not hate, Was reft at once-and he deserved his fate, But did not feel it less ;-—the good explore, For peace, those realms where guilt can never soar: The proud—the wayward-who have fixed below I'heir joy—and find this earth enough for woe, Lose in that one their all--perchance a miteBut who in patience parts with all delight? Full many a stoic eye and aspect stern Mask hearts where grief bath little left to learn; And many a withering thought lies hid, not lost, In smiles that least besit who wear them most. By those, that deepest feel, is ill exprest T'he indistinctness of the suffering breasts