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But no more thrilling noise rose there,
Beyond the blow that to the block
Pierced through with forced and sullen
Save one:–what cleaves the silent air
So madly shrill, so passing wild 1
That, as a mother's o'er her child,
Done to death by sudden blow,
To the sky these accents go,
Like a soul's in endless wo.
Through Azo's palace-lattice driven,
That horrid voice ascends to heaven,
And every eye is turn'd thereon;
But sound and sight alike are gone!
It was a woman's shriek—and ne'er
In madlier accents rose despair;
And those who heard it, as it past,
In mercy wish'd it were the last.
Hugo is fallen; and, from that hour,
No more in palace, hall, or bower,
Was Parisina heard or seen : -
Her name—as if she ne'er had been—
Was banish'd from each lip and ear,
Like words of wantonness or fear;
And from Prince Azo's voice, by none
Was mention heard of wife or son;
No tomb—no memory had they ;
Theirs was unconsecrated clay;
At least the knight's who died that day:
But Parisina's fate lies hid
Like dust beneath the coffin lid:
Whether in convent she abode,
And won to heaven her dreary road,
By blighted and remorseful years
Of scourge, and fast, and sleepless tears;
Or if she fell by bowl or steel,
For that dark love she dared to feel;
Or if, upon the moment smote,
She died by tortures less remote;
Like him she saw upon the block,
With heart that shared the headman's shock,
In quicken'd brokenness that cane,
In pity, o'er her shatter'd frame,
None knew—and none can ever know :
But whatsoe'er its end below,
Her life began and closed in wo!
And Azo found another bride,
And goodly sons grew by his side;
But none so lovely and so brave
As him who wither'd in the grave;
Or if they were—on his cold eye
Their growth but glanced unheeded by,
Or noticed with a sinother'd sigh.
But never tear his cheek descended,
And never smile his brow unbended,
And o'er that fair broad brow were wrought
The intersected lines of thought;
Those furrows which the burning share
Of sorrow ploughs untimely there;
Scars of the lacerating mind,
Which the soul's war doth leave behind.
He was past all mirth or wo:
Nothing more remain'd below
But sleepless nights and heavy days;
A mind all dead to scorn or praise,
A heart which shunn’d itself—and yet
That would not yield—nor could forget,
Which, when it least appear'd to melt,
Intensely thought—intensely felt:
The deepest ice which ever froze
Can only o'er the surface close—
The living stream lies quick below,
And flows—and cannot cease to flow.
Still was his seal’d-up bosom haunted
By thoughts which nature hath implanted;
Too deeply rooted thence to vanish,
Howe'er our stifled tears we banish;
When, struggling as they rise to start,
We check those waters of the heart;
They are not dried—those tears unshed
But flow back to the fountain-head,
And, resting in their spring more pure,
For ever in its depth endure,
Unseen, unwept, but uncongeal’d,
And cherish'd most where least reveal’d.
With inward starts of feeling left,
To throb o'er those of life bereft;
Without the power to fill again
The desert gap which made his pain;
Without the hope to meet them where
United souls shall gladness share,
With all the consciousness that he
Had only pass'd a just decree;
That they had wrought their doom of ill;
Yet Azo's age was wretched still.
The tainted branches of the tree,
If lopp'd with care, a strength may give,
By which the rest shall bloom and live
All greenly fresh and wildly free :
But if the lightning, in its wrath,
The waving boughs with fury scathe,
The massy trunk the ruin feels,
And never more a leaf reveals.
BENE Ath a lime, remoter from the scene, Where but for him that strife had never been, A breathing, but devoted warrior lay : 'Twas Lara, bleeding fast from life away. His follower once, and now his only guide, Kneels Kaled, watchful o'er his welling side, [rush, And with his scarf would stanch the tides that With each convulsion, in a blacker gush; And then, as his faint breathing waxes low, In feebler, not less fatal tricklings flow : He scarce can speak, but motions him 'tis vain, And merely adds another throb to pain. He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage, And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page, Who nothing fears, nor feels, nor heeds, nor sees, Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees; Save that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim, Held all the light that shone on earth for him.
The foe arrives, who long had search'd the field, Their triumph naught till Lara too should yield; They would remove him, but they see 't were vain, And he regards them with a calm disdain,
That rose to reconcile him with his fate,
And that escape to death from living hate:
And Otho comes, and, leaping from his steed,
Looks on the bleeding foe that made him bleed,
And questions of his state; he answers not,
Scaree glances on him as on one forgot,
And turns to Kaled:—each remaining word
They understood not, if distinctly heard;
His dying tones are in that other tongue,
To which some strange remembrance wildly clung.
They speak of other scenes, but what—is known
To Kaled, whom their meaning reach'd alone;
And he replied, though faintly, to their sound,
While gazed the rest in dumb amazement round:
They seem'd even then—that twain—unto the last
To half-forget the present in the past;
To share between themselves some separate fate,
Whose darkness none beside should penetrate. [tone
Their words, though faint, were many—from the
Their import those who heard could judge alone;
From this, you might have deem'd young Kaled's
More near than Lara's, by his voice and breath,
So sad, so deep, and hesitating broke
The accents his scarce-moving pale lips spoke;
But Lara's voice, though low, at first was clear
And calm, till murmuring death gasp'd hoarsely
But from his visage little could we guess, [near ;
So unrepentant, dark, and passionless;
Save that, when struggling nearer to his last,
Upon that page his eye was kindly cast;
And once, as Kaled's answering accents ceased,
Rose Lara's hand, and pointed to the east,
Where (as then the breaking sun from high
Roll'd back the clouds) the morrow caught his eye,
Or that 't was chance, or some remember'd scene,
That raised his arm to point where such had been,
Scarce Kaled seem'd to know, but turn'd away,
As if his heart abhorr'd that coming day;
And shrunk his glance before that morning light,
To look on Lara's brow—where all grew night.
Yet sense seem'd left, though better were its loss;
For when one near display'd the absolving cross,
And proffer'd to his touch the holy bead,
Of which his parting soul might own the need,
He look'd upon it with an eye profane, [disdain:
And smiled—Heaven pardon if 't were with
And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew
From Lara's face his fix’d, despairing view,
With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift,
Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift,
As if such but disturb’d the expiring man,
Nor seem'd to know his life but then began,
That life of immortality, secure
To none, save them whose faith in Christ is sure.
But gasping heaved the breath that Lara drew,
And dull the film along his dim eye grew; [o'er
His limbs stretch'd fluttering, and his head droop'd
The weak, yet still untiring knee that bore;
He press'd the hand he held upon his heart—
It beats no more, but Kaled will not part
With the cold grasp, but feels, and feels in vain,
For that faint throb which answers not again.
“It beats!”—away, thou dreamer! he is gone—
It once was Lara which thou look'st upon.
He gazed, as if not yet had pass'd away The haughty spirit of that humble clay; And those around have roused him from his trance, But cannot tear from thence his fixed glance; And when, in raising him from where he bore Within his arms the form that felt no more, He saw the head his breast would still sustain, Roll down like earth to earth upon the plain; He did not dash himself thereby, nor tear The glossy tendrils of his raven hair, But strove to stand and gaze, but reel'd and fell, Scarce breathing more than that he loved so well— Than that he loved Oh! never yet beneath
The breast of man such trusty love may breathe.
That trying moment hath at once revealed
The secret long and yet but half-concealed;
In baring to revive that lifeless breast,
Its grief seem'd ended, but the sex confess'd;
And life return'd, and Kaled felt no shame—
What now to her was womanhood or fame?
And Lara sleeps not where his fathers sleep,
But where he died his grave was dug as deep;
Nor is his mortal slumber less profound,
Though priest nor bless'd nor marble deck'd the
And he was mourn’d by one whose quiet grief,
Less loud, outlasts a people's for their chief.
Vain was all question ask'd her of the past,
And vain e'en menace—silent to the last;
She told nor whence, nor why she left behind
Her all for one who seem'd but little kind.
Why did she love him Curious fool!—be still—
Is human love the growth of human will
To her he might be gentleness; the stern
Have deeper thoughts than your dull eyes discern,
And when they love, your smilers guess not how
Beats the strong heart, though less the lips avow.
They were not common links, that form'd the chain
That bound to Lara Kaled's heart and brain,
But that wild tale she brook'd not to unfold,
And seal’d is now each lip that could have told.
They laid him in the earth, and on his breast,
Besides the wound that sent his soul to rest,
They found the scatter'd dints of many a scar,
Which were not planted there in recent war;
Where'er had pass'd his summer years of life,
It seems they vanish’d in a land of strife;
But all unknown his glory or his guilt,
These only told that somewhere blood was spilt,
And Ezzelin, who might have spoke the past,
Return’d no more—that night appear'd his last.
Upon that night (a peasant's is the tale) A sers that cross'd the intervening vale, When Cynthia's light almost gave way to morn, And nearly veil'd in mist her waning horn; A serf, that rose betimes to thread the wood, And hew the bough that bought his children food, Pass'd by the river that divides the plain Of Otho's lands and Lara's broad domain : He heard a tramp—a horse and horseman broke From out the wood—before him was a cloak Wrapt round some burden at his saddle-bow, Bent was his head, and hidden was his brow. Roused by the sudden sight at such a time, And some foreboding that it might be crime,
Himself unheeded watch'd the stranger's course,
Who reach'd the river, bounded from his horse,
And lifting thence the burden which he bore,
Heaved up the bank, and dash'd it from the shore,
Then paused, and look'd, and turn'd, and seem'd
And still another hurried glance would snatch,
And follow with his step the stream that flow'd,
As if even yet too much its surface show'd :
At once he started, stoop'd; around him strown,
The winter floods had scatter'd heaps of stone;
Of these the heaviest thence he gather'd there,
And slung them with a more than common care.
Meantime the serf had crept to where unseen
Himself might safely mark what this might mean.
He caught a glimpse, as of a floating breast,
And something glitter'd starlike on the vest,
But ere he well could mark the buoyant trunk,
A massy fragment smote it, and it sunk:
It rose again but indistinct to view,
And left the waters of a purple hue,
Then deeply disappear'd : the horseman gazed,
Till ebb'd the latest eddy it had raised;
Then turning, vaulted on his pawing steed,
And instant spurr'd him into panting speed.
His face was mask'd—the features of the dead,
If dead it were, escap'd the observer's dread;
But if in sooth a star its bosom bore,
Such is the badge that knighthood ever wore,
And such 'tis known Sir Ezzelin had worn
Upon the night that led to such a morn.
If thus he perish'd, Heaven receive his soul!
His undiscover'd limbs to ocean roll;
And charity upon the hope would dwell,
It was not Lara's hand by which he fell.
And Kaled—Lara—Ezzelin, are gone,
Alike without their monumental stone !
The first, all efforts vainly strove to wean [been ;
From lingering where her chieftain's blood had
Grief had so tamed a spirit once so proud,
Her tears were few, her wailing never loud;
But furious would you tear her from the spot
Where yet she scarce believed that he was not,
Her eye shot forth with all the living fire
That haunts the tigress in her whelpless ire;
But left to waste her weary moments there,
She talk'd all idly unto shapes of air,
Such as the busy brain of sorrow paints,
And woos to listen to her fond complaints:
And she would sit beneath the very tree
Where lay his drooping head upon her knee;
And in that posture where she saw him fall,
His words, his looks, his dying grasp recall;
And she had shorn, but saved her raven hair,
And oft would snatch it from her bosom there,
And fold, and press it gently to the ground,
As if she stanch'd anew some phantom's wound.
Herself would question, and for him reply;
Then rising, start, and beckon him to fly
From some imagined spectre in pursuit:
Then seat her down upon some linden's root,
And hide her visage with her meager hand,
Or trace strange characters along the sand—
This could not last—she lies by him she loved;
Her tale untold—her truth too dearly proved.
The shrill cicalas, people of the pine,
Making their summer lives one ceaseless song,
Were the sole echoes, save my steed's and mine,
And vesper-bell's that rose the boughs along :
The spectre huntsman of Onesti's line, [throng,
His hell-dogs, and their chase, and the fair
Which learn'd from this example not to fly
From a true lover, shadow'd my mind's eye.
Oh Hesperus! thou bringest all good things—
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,
To the young bird the parent's brooding wings,
The welcome stall to the o'er-labour'd steer;
Whate'er of peace about our hearth-stone clings,
Whate'er our household gods protect of dear,
Are gather'd round us by thy look of rest;
Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast.
Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart
Of those who sail the seas, on the first day
When they from their sweet friends are torn apart;
Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way,
As the far bell of vesper makes him start,
Seeming to weep the dying day's decay;
Is this a fancy which our reason scorns?
Ah! surely nothing dies but something mourns !
As rising on its purple wing The insect-queen of eastern spring, O'er emerald meadows of Kashmeer Invites the young pursuer near, . And leads him on from flower to flower A weary chase and wasted hour; Then leaves him, as it soars on high, With panting heart and tearful eye: So beauty lures the full-grown child, With hue as bright, and wing as wild; A chase of idle hopes and fears, Begun in folly, closed in tears. If won, to equal ills betray'd, Wo waits the insect and the maid, A life of pain, the loss of peace, From infant's play, and man's caprice: The lovely toy so fiercely sought Hath lost its charm by being caught. For every touch that wooed its stay Hath brush'd its brightest hues away: Till, charm, and hue, and beauty gone, 'Tis left to fly or fall alone. With wounded wing, or bleeding breast, Ah! where shall either victim rest Can this with faded pinion soar From rose to tulip as before ? Or beauty, blighted in an hour, Find joy within her broken bower 4 No! gayer insects fluttering by Ne'er droop the wing o'er those that die; And lovelier things have mercy shown To every failing but their own; And every wo a tear can claim Except an erring sister's shame.
OH ! SNATCHED AWAY IN BEAUTY'S BLOOM.
OH ! snatch'd away in beauty's bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb 1
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom:
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Fond wretch! as if her step disturb’d the dead!
Away! we know that tears are vain,
That death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain
Or make one mourner weep the less :
And thou—who tell'st me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.
MANFRED TO THE SORCERESS.
From my youth upwards My spirit walk'd not with the souls of men, Nor look'd upon the earth with human eyes; The thirst of their ambition was not mine; The aim of their existence was not mine; My joys, my griefs, my passions, and my powers, Made me a stranger; though I wore the form, I had no sympathy with breathing flesh, For midst the creatures of clay that girded me Was there but one who—but of her anon. I said, with men, and with the thoughts of men, I held but slight communion; but instead, My joy was in the wilderness, to breathe The difficult air of the iced mountain's top, Where the birds dare not build, nor insect's wing Flit o'er the herbless granite; or to plunge Into the torrent, and to roll along On the swift whirl of the new breaking wave Of river, stream, or ocean in their flow. In these my early strength exulted; or To follow through the night the moving moon, The stars and their development; or catch The dazzling lightnings till my eyes grew dim; Or to look, listening, on the scatter'd leaves, While autumn winds were at their evening song. These were my pastimes, and to be alone; For if the beings, of whom I was one,— Hating to be so-cross'd me in my path, I felt myself degraded back to them, And was all clay again. And then I dived, In my lone wanderings, to the caves of death, Searching its cause in its effect; and drew From wither'd bones, and skulls, and heap'd-up dust, Conclusions most forbidden. Then I pass'd The nights of years in sciences untaught, Save in the old time; and with time and toil, And terrible ordeal, and such penance