The Improvisatrice
by L.E.L.


I am a daughter of that land,
Where the poet’s lip and the painter’s hand
Are most divine,—where the earth and sky,
Are picture both and poetry—
I am of Florence. ’Mid the chill
Of hope and feeling, oh! I still
Am proud to think to where I owe
My birth, though but the dawn of woe!

    My childhood passed ’mid radiant things,
Glorious as Hope’s imaginings;
Statues but known from shapes of the earth,
By being too lovely for mortal birth;
Paintings whose colours of life were caught
From the fairy tints in the rainbow wrought;
Music whose sighs had a spell like those
That float on the sea at the evening’s close
Language so silvery, that every word
Was like the lute’s awakening chord;
Skies half sunshine, and half starlight;
Flowers whose lives were a breath of delight;
Leaves whose green pomp know no withering;
Fountains bright as the skies of our Spring;
And songs whose wild and passionate line
Suited a soul of romance like mine.

    My power was but a woman’s power;
Yet, in that great and glorious dower
Which Genius gives, I had my part:
I poured my full and burning heart
In song, and on the canvass made
    My dreams of beauty visible;
I knew not which I loved the most—
    Pencil or lute,—both loved so well.
    Oh, yet my pulse throbs to recall,
When first upon the gallery’s wall
Picture of mine was placed, to share
Wonder and praise from each one there.
Sad were my shades; methinks they had
    Almost a tone of prophecy—
I ever had, from earliest youth,
    A feeling what my fate would be.

My first was of a gorgeous hall,
Lighted up for festival;
Braided tresses, and cheeks of bloom,
Diamond agraff, and foam-white plume;
Censers of roses, vases of light
Like what the moon sheds on a summer night.
Youths and maidens with linked hands,
Joined in the graceful sarabands,
Smiled on the canvass; but apart
    Was one who leant in silent mood,
As revelry to his sick heart
    Were worse than veriest solitude.
Pale, dark-eyed, beautiful, and young,
    Such as he had shone o’er my slumbers,
When I had only slept to dream
    Over again his magic numbers.

    Divinest Petrarch! he whose lyre,
Like morning light, half dew, half fire,
To Laura and to love was vowed—
He looked on one, who with the crowd
Mingled, but mixed not; on whose cheek
    There was a blush, as if she knew
Whose look was fixed on her’s. Her eye,
    Of a spring-sky’s delicious blue,
Had not the language of that bloom,
But mingling tears, and light, and gloom,
Was raised abstractedly to Heaven:—
No sign was to her lover given.
I painted her with golden tresses,
Such as float on the wind’s caresses
When the laburnums wildly fling
Their sunny blossoms to the spring,

A cheek which had the crimson hue
    Upon the sun-touched nectarine;
A lip of perfume and of dew;
    A brow like twilight’s darkened line.
I strove to catch each charm that long
Has lived,—thanks to her lover’s song!
Each grace he numbered one by one,
That shone in her of Avignon.
    I ever thought that poet’s fate
Utterly lone and desolate.
It is the spirit’s bitterest pain
To love, to be beloved again;
And yet between a gulf which ever
The hearts that burn to meet must sever
And he was vowed to one sweet star,
Bright yet to him, but bright afar.

    O’er some, Love’s shadow may but pass
As passes the breath stain o’er glass;
And pleasures, cares, and pride combined,
Fill up the blank Love leaves behind.
But there are some whose love is high,
Entire, and sole idolatry;
Who, turning from a heartless world,
    Ask some dear thing, which may renew
Affection’s severed links, and be
    As true as they themselves are true.
But Love’s bright fount is never pure;
And all his pilgrims must endure
All passion’s mighty suffering
Ere they may reach the blessed spring.
And some who waste their lives to find
    A prize which they may never win:

Like those who search for Irem’s groves,
    Which found, they may not enter in.
Where is the sorrow but appears
In Love’s long catalogue of tears?
And some there are who leave the path
    In agony and fierce disdain;
But bear upon each cankered breast
    The scar that never heals again.
    My next was of a minstrel too.
Who proved what woman’s hand might do,
When, true to the heart pulse, it woke
The harp. Her head was bending down,
As if in weariness, and near,
    But unworn, was a laurel crown.
She was not beautiful, if bloom
And smiles form beauty; for, like death,

Her brow was ghastly; and her lip
Was parched, as fever were its breath.
There was a shade upon her dark,
Large, floating eyes, as if each spark
Of minstrel ecstasy was fled,
Yet leaving them no tears to shed;
Fixed in their hopelessness of care,
And reckless in their great despair.
She sat beneath a cypress tree,
    A little fountain ran beside,
And, in the distance, one dark rock
    Threw its long shadow o’er the tide;
And to the west, where the nightfall
Was darkening day’s gemm’d coronal,
Its white shafts crimsoning in the sky,
Arose the sun-god’s sanctuary.

I deemed, that of lyre, life, and love
    She was a long, last farewell taking;—
That, from her pale and parched lips,
    Her latest, wildest song was breaking.SAPPHO'S SONG.

Farewell, my lute!—and would that I
    Had never waked thy burning chords!
Poison has been upon thy sigh,
    And fever has breathed in thy words.
Yet wherefore, wherefore should I blame
    Thy power, thy spell, my gentlest lute?
I should have been the wretch I am,
    Had every chord of thine been mute.
It was my evil star above,
    Not my sweet lute, that wrought me wrong;

It was not song that taught me love,
    But it was love that taught me song.
If song be past, and hope undone,
    And pulse, and head, and heart, are flame;
It is thy work, thou faithless one!
    But, no!—I will not name thy name!
Sun-god, lute, wreath are vowed to thee!
    Long be their light upon my grave—
My glorious grave—yon deep blue sea:
    I shall sleep calm beneath its wave!


Florence! with what idolatry
    I ’ve lingered in thy radiant halls,
Worshipping, till my dizzy eye
    Grew dim with gazing on those walls,

Where Time had spared each glorious gift
By Genius unto Memory left!
And when seen by the pale moonlight,
More pure, more perfect, though less bright,
What dreams of song flashed on my brain,
Till each shade seemed to live again;
And then the beautiful, the grand,
The glorious of my native land,
In every flower that threw its veil
Aside, when wooed by the spring gale;
In every vineyard, where the sun,
His task of summer ripening done,
Shone on their clusters, and a song
Came lightly from the peasant throng;—
In the dim loveliness of night,
In fountains with their diamond light,

In aged temple, ruined shrine,
And its green wreath of ivy twine;—
In every change of earth and sky,
Breathed the deep soul of poesy.
    As yet I loved not;—but each wild,
High thought I nourished raised a pyre
For love to light; and lighted once
By love, it would be like the fire
The burning lava floods that dwell
In Etna’s cave unquenchable.

One evening in the lovely June,
    Over the Arno’s waters gliding,
I had been watching the fair moon
    Amid her court of white clouds riding;—

I had been listening to the gale,
    Which wafted music from around,
(For scarce a lover, at that hour,
    But waked his mandolin’s light sound),—
And odour was upon the breeze,
Sweet thefts from rose and lemon trees.
They stole me from my lulling dream,
    And said they knew that such an hour
Had ever influence on my soul,
    And raised my sweetest minstrel power.
I took my lute,—my eye had been
Wandering round the lovely scene,
Filled with those melancholy tears,
Which come when all most bright appears,

And hold their strange and secret power,
Even on pleasure’s golden hour.
I had been looking on the river,
Half-marvelling to think that ever
Wind, wave, or sky, could darken where
All seemed so gentle and so fair:
And mingled with these thoughts there came
    A tale, just one that Memory keeps—
Forgotten music, still some chance
    Vibrate the chord whereon it sleeps!


Softly through the pomegranate groves
Came the gentle song of the doves;
Shone the fruit in the evening light,
Like Indian rubies, blood-red and bright;

Shook the date-trees each tufted head,
As the passing wind their green nuts shed;
And, like dark columns, amid the sky
The giant palms ascended on high:
And the mosque’s gilded minaret
Glistened and glanced as the daylight set.
Over the town a crimson haze
Gathered and hung of the evening’s rays;
And far beyond, like molten gold,
The burning sands of the desert rolled.
Far to the left, the sky and sea
Mingled their gray immensity;
And with flapping sail and idle prow
The vessels threw their shades below
Far down the beach, where a cypress grove
Casts its shade round a little cove,

Darkling and green, with just a space
For the stars to shine on the water’s face,
A small bark lay, waiting for night
And its breeze to waft and hide its flight.
Sweet is the burthen, and lovely the freight,
For which those furled-up sails await,
To a garden, fair as those
Where the glory of the rose
Blushes, charmed from the decay
That wastes other blooms away;
Gardens of the fairy tale
Told, till the wood-fire grows pale,
By the Arab tribes, when night,
With its dim and lovely light,
And its silence, suiteth well
With the magic tales they tell.

Through that cypress avenue,
Such a garden meets the view,
Filled with flowers—flowers that seem
Lighted up by the sunbeam;
Fruits of gold and gems, and leaves
Green as Hope before it grieves
O’er the false and broken-hearted,
All with which its youth has parted,
Never to return again,
Save in memories of pain!
    There is a white rose in yon bower,
But holds it a yet fairer flower:
And music from that cage is breathing,
Round which a jasmine braid is wreathing,

A low song from a lonely dove,
A song such exiles sing and love,
Breathing of fresh fields, summer skies,—
Not to be breathed of but in sighs!
But fairer smile and sweeter sigh
Are near when Leila's step is nigh!
With eyes dark as the midnight time,
Yet lighted like a summer clime
With sun-rays from within; yet now
Lingers a cloud upon that brow,—
Though never lovelier brow was given
To Houri of an Eastern heaven!
Her eye is dwelling on that bower,
As every leaf and every flower
Were being numbered in her heart;—
    There are no looks like those which dwell

On long-remembered things, which soon
    Must take our first and last farewell!
    Day fades apace; another day,
That maiden will be far away,
A wanderer o’er the dark-blue sea,
And bound for lovely Italy,
Her mother’s land! Hence, on her breast
The cross beneath a Moorish vest;
And hence those sweetest sounds, that seem
Like music murmuring in a dream,
When in our sleeping ear is ringing
The song the nightingale is singing;
When by that white and funeral stone,
    Half-hidden by the cypress gloom,

The hymn the mother taught her child
    Is sung each evening at her tomb.
But quick the twilight time has past,
Like one of those sweet calms that last
A moment and no more, to cheer
The turmoil of our pathway here.

    The bark is waiting in the bay,
Night darkens round:—Leila, away!
Far, ere to-morrow, o’er the tide,
Or wait and be—Abdalla's bride!
    She touched her lute—never again
Her ear will listen to its strain!
She took her cage, first kissed the breast—
    Then freed the white dove prisoned there:

It paused one moment on her hand,
    Then spread its glad wings to the air.
She drank the breath, as it were health,
    That sighed from very scented blossom;
And taking from each one a leaf,
    Hid them, like spells, upon her bosom.
Then sought the sacred path again
    She once before had traced, when lay
A Christian in her father’s chain;
    And gave him gold, and taught the way
To fly. She thought upon the night,
When, like an angel of the light,
She stood before the prisoner’s sight,
And led him to the cypress grove,
And showed the bark and hidden cove;

And bade the wandering captive flee,
In words he knew from infancy!
And then he thought how for her love
    He had braved slavery and death,
That he might only breathe the air
    Made sweet and sacred by her breath.
She reached the grove of cypresses,—
    Another step is by her side:
Another moment, and the bark
    Bears the fair Moor across the tide!
    ‘Twas beautiful, by the pale moonlight,
To mark her eyes,—now dark, now bright,
As now they met, now shrank away,
From the gaze that watched and worshipped their day.

They stood on the deck, and the midnight gale
Just waved the maiden’s silver veil—
Just lifted a curl, as if to show
The cheek of rose that was burning below:
And never spread a sky of blue
More clear for the stars to wander through!
And never could their mirror be
A calmer or a lovelier sea!
For every wave was a diamond gleam:
And that light vessel well might seem
A fairy ship, and that graceful pair
Young Genii, whose home was of light and air!
    Another evening came, but dark:
The storm clouds hovered round the bark

Of misery:—they just could see
The distant shore of Italy,
As the dim moon through vapours shone—
A few short rays, her light was gone.
O’er head a sullen scream was heard,
As sought the land a white sea-bird,
Her pale wings like a meteor streaming.
Upon the waves a light is gleaming—
Ill-omened brightness, sent by Death
To light the night-black depths beneath.
The vessel rolled amid the surge;
The winds howled round it, like a dirge
Sung by some savage race. Then came
The rush of thunder and of flame:
It showed two forms upon the deck,—
One clasped around the other’s neck,

As there she could not dream of fear—
In her lover’s arms could danger be near?
He stood and watched her with the eye
Of fixed and silent agony.
The waves swept on: he felt her heart
    Beat closer and closer yet to his!
They burst upon the ship!—the sea
    Has closed upon their dream of bliss!
Surely theirs is a pleasant sleep,
    Beneath that ancient cedar tree,
Whose solitary stem has stood
    For years alone beside the sea!
The last of a most noble race,
That once had there their dwelling-place,

Long past away! Beneath its shade,
A soft green couch the turf has made:—
And glad the morning sun is shining
On those beneath the boughs reclining.
Nearer the fisher drew. He saw
    The dark hair of the Moorish maid,
Like a veil, floating o’er the breast,
    Where tenderly her head was laid:—
And yet her lover’s arm was placed
Clasping around the graceful waist!
But then he marked the youth’s black curls
    Were dripping wet with foam and blood;
And that the maiden’s tresses dark
    Were heavy with the briny flood!
Woe for the wind!—woe for the wave!
They sleep the slumber of the grave!

They buried them beneath that tree;
    It long had been a sacred spot.
Soon it was planted round with flowers
    By many who had not forgot;
Or yet lived in those dreams of truth,
The Eden birds of early youth,
That make the loveliness of love:
And called the place “The Maiden's Cove,”—
That she who perished in the sea
Might thus be kept in memory.

From many a lip came sounds of praise,
    Like music from sweet voices ringing;
For many a boat had gathered round,
    To list the song I had been singing.
There are some moments in our fate
    That stamp the colour of our days;

As, till then, life had not been felt,—
    And mine was sealed in the slight gaze
Which fixed my eye, and fired my brain,
And bowed my heart beneath the chain.
‘Twas a dark and flashing eye,
Shadows, too, that tenderly,
With almost female softness, came
O’er its mingled gloom and flame.
His cheek was pale; or toil, or care,
Or midnight study, had been there,
Making its young colours dull,
Yet leaving it most beautiful.
Raven curls their shadow threw,
Like the twilight’s darkening hue,
O’er the pure and mountain snow
Of his high and haughty brow;

Lighted by a smile, whose spell
Words are powerless to tell.
Such a lip!—oh, poured from thence
Lava floods of eloquence
Would come with fiery energy,
Like those words that cannot die.
Words the Grecian warrior spoke
When the Persian’s chain he broke;
Or that low and honey tone,
Making woman’s heart his own;
Such as should be heard at night,
In the dim and sweet starlight;
Sounds that haunt a beauty’s sleep,
Treasures for her heart to keep.
Like the pine of summer tall;
Apollo, on his pedestal

In our own gallery, never bent
More graceful, more magnificent;
Ne’er look’d the hero, or the king,
    More nobly than the youth who now,
As if soul-centred in my song,
    Was leaning on a galley’s prow.
He spoke not when the other spoke,
    His heart was all too full for praise;
But his dark eyes kept fixed on mine,
    Which sank beneath their burning gaze.
Mine sank—but yet I felt the thrill
Of that look burning on me still.
I heard no words that others said—
    Heard nothing, save one low-breathed sigh.
My hand kept wandering on my lute,
    In music, but unconsciously

My pulses throbbed, my heart beat high,
A flush of dizzy ecstasy
    Crimsoned my cheek; I felt warm tears
Dimming my sight, yet was it sweet,
My wild heart’s most bewildering beat,
    Consciousness, without hopes or fears,
Of a new power within me waking,
Like light before the morn’s full breaking.
I left the boat—the crowd: my mood
Made my soul pant for solitude.
    Amid my palace halls was once,
The most peculiarly my own:
The roof was blue and fretted gold,
The floor was of the Parian stone,
Shining like snow, as only meet
For the light tread of fairy feet;

And in the midst, beneath a shade
Of clustered rose, a fountain played,
Sprinkling its scented waters round,
With a sweet and lulling sound,—
O’er oranges, like Eastern gold,
Half hidden by the dark green fold
Of their large leaves;—o’er hyacinth bells,
Where every summer odour dwells.
And, nestled in the midst, a pair
Of white wood-doves, whose home was there:
And like an echo to their song,
At times a murmur past along;
A dying tone, a plaining fall,
So sad, so wild, so musical—
As the wind swept across the wire,
And waked my lone Æolian lyre,

Which lay upon the casement, where
The lattice wooed the cold night air,
Half hidden by a bridal twine
Of jasmine with the emerald vine.
And ever as the curtains made
A varying light, a changeful shade;
As the breeze waved them to and fro,
Came on the eye the glorious show
Of pictured walls where landscape wild
Of wood, and stream, or mountain piled,
Or sunny vale, or twilight grove,
Or shapes whose every look was love;
Saints, whose diviner glance seemed caught
From Heaven,—some whose earthlier thought
Was yet more lovely,—shone like gleams
Of Beauty’s spirit seen in dreams.

I threw me on a couch to rest,
    Loosely I flung my long black hair;
It seemed to soothe my troubled breast
    To drink the quiet evening air.
I looked upon the deep-blue sky,
And it was all hope and harmony.
Afar I could see the Arno’s stream
Glorying in the clear moonbeam;
And the shadowy city met my gaze,
Like the dim memory of other days;
And the distant wood’s black coronal
Was like oblivion, that covereth all.
I know not why my soul felt sad;
    I touch’d my lute,—it would not waken,
Save to old songs of sorrowing—
    Of hope betrayed—of hearts forsaken:

Each lay of lighter feeling slept,
I sang, but, as I sang, I wept.THE CHARMED CUP.

And fondly round his neck she clung;
Her long black tresses round him flung,
Love chains, which would not let him part;
And he could feel her beating heart,
The pulses of her small white hand,
The tears she could no more command,
The lip which trembled, though near his,
The sigh that mingled with her kiss;—
Yet parted he from that embrace.
He cast one glance upon her face:
His very soul felt sick to see
Its look of utter misery;

Yet turned he not; one moment’s grief,
One pang, like lightning, fierce and brief,
One thought, half pity, half remorse,
Passed o’er him. On he urged his horse;
Hill, ford, and valley spurred he by,
And when his castle gate was nigh,
White foam was on his ‘broider’d rein,
And each spur had a blood-red stain.
But soon he entered that fair hall:
His laugh was loudest there of all;
And the cup that wont one name to bless,
Was drained for its forgetfulness.
The ring, once next his heart, was broken;
The gold chain kept another token.
Where is the curl he used to wear—
The raven tress of silken hair?

The winds have scattered it. A braid
Of the first Spring day’s golden shade,
Waves with the dark plumes on his crest.
Fresh colours are upon his breast:
The slight blue scarf, of simplest fold,
Is changed for one of woven gold.
And he is by a maiden’s side,
Whose gems of price, and robes of pride,
Would suit the daughter of a king;
And diamonds are glistening
Upon her arm. There’s not one curl
Unfastened by a loop of pearl.
And he is whispering in her ear
Soft words that ladies love to hear.
    Alas!—the tale is quickly told—
His love hath felt the curse of gold!

And he is bartering his heart
For that in which it hath no part.
There’s many an ill that clings to love;
But this is one all else above;—
For love to bow before the name
Of this world’s treasure: shame! oh, shame!
Love, be thy wings as light as those
That waft the zephyr from the rose,—
This may be pardoned—something rare
In loveliness has been thy snare!
But how, fair Love, canst thou become
A thing of mines—a sordid gnome?
    And she whom Julian left—she stood
A cold white statue; as the blood
Had, when in vain her last wild prayer,
Flown to her heart, and frozen there.

Upon her temple, each dark vein
Swelled in its agony of pain.
Chill, heavy damps were on her brow;
Her arms were stretched at length, though now
Their clasp was on the empty air:
A funeral pall—her long black hair
Fell over her; herself the tomb
Of her own youth, and breath, and bloom.
    Alas! that man should ever win
So sweet a shrine to shame and sin
As woman’s heart!—and deeper woe
For her fond weakness, not to know
That yielding all but breaks the chain
That never reunites again!

    It was a dark and tempest night—
No pleasant moon, no blest starlight;
But meteors glancing o’er the way,
Only to dazzle and betray.
And who is she that, ‘mid the storm,
Wraps her slight mantle round her form?
Her hair is wet with rain and sleet,
And blood is on her small snow feet.
She has been forced a way to make
Through prickly weed and thorned brake,
Up rousing from its coil the snake;
And stirring from their damp abode
The slimy worm and loathsome toad:
And shuddered as she heard the gale
Shriek like an evil spirit’s wail;

When followed, like a curse, the crash
Of the pines in the lightning flash:—
A place of evil and of fear—
Oh! what can Julian’s love do here?
    On, on the pale girl went. At last
The gloomy forest depths are past,
And she has reached the wizard’s den,
Accursed by God and shunned by men.
And never had a ban been laid
Upon a more unwholesome shade.
There grew dank elders, and the yew
Its thick sepulchral shadow threw;
And brooded there each bird most foul,
The gloomy bat and sullen owl.

    But Ida entered in the cell,
Where dwelt the wizard of the dell.
Her heart lay dead, her life-blood froze
To look upon the shape which rose
To bar her entrance. On that face
Was scarcely left a single trace
Of human likeness: the parched skin
Showed each discoloured bone within;
And, but for the most evil stare
Of the wild eyes’ unearthly glare,
It was a corpse, you would have said,
From which life’s freshness long had fled.
Yet Ida knelt her down and prayed
To that dark sorcerer for his aid.
He heard her prayer with withering look;[1]
Then from unholy herbs he took

A drug, and said it would recover
The lost heart of her faithless lover.
She trembled as she turned to see
His demon sneer’s malignity;
And every step was winged with dread,
To hear the curse howled as she fled.
    It is the purple twilight’s hour,
And Julian is in Ida’s bower.
He has brought gold, as gold could bless
His work of utter desolateness!
He has brought gems, as if Despair
Had any pride in being fair!
But Ida only wept, and wreathed
Her white arms round his neck; then breathed

Those passionate complaints that wring
A woman’s heart, yet never bring
Redress. She called upon each tree
To witness her lone constancy!
She called upon the silent boughs,
The temple of her Julian’s vows
Of happiness too dearly bought!
Then wept again. At length she thought
Upon the forest sorcerer’s gift—
The last, lone hope that love had left!
She took the cup and kissed the brim;
Mixed the dark spell, and gave it him
To pledge his once dear Ida’s name!
He drank it. Instantly the flame
Ran through his veins: one fiery throb
Of bitter pain—one gasping sob

Of agony—the cold death sweat
Is on his face—his teeth are set—
His bursting eyes are glazed and still:
The drug has done its work of ill.
Alas! for her who watched each breath,
The cup her love had mixed bore—death!

    Lorenzo!—when next morning came
For the first time I heard thy name!
Lorenzo!—how each ear-pulse drank
    The more than music of that tone!
Lorenzo!—how I sighed that name,
    As breathing it, made it mine own!

I sought the gallery: I was wont
    To pass the noontide there, and trace
Some Statue’s shape of loveliness—
    Some Saint, or Nymph, or Muse’s face.
There in my rapture I could throw
    My pencil and its hues aside,
And, as the vision past me, pour
    My song of passion, joy, and pride.
And he was there,—Lorenzo there!
    How soon the morning past away,
With finding beauties in each thing
    Neither had seen before that day!
Spirit of Love! soon thy rose-plumes wear
The weight and the sully of canker and care:
Falsehood is round thee; Hope leads thee on,
Till every hue from thy pinion is gone.

But one bright moment is all thine own,
The one ere thy visible presence is known;
When, like the wind of the South, thy power,
Sunning the heavens, sweetening the flower,
Is felt, but not seen. Thou art sweet and calm
As the sleep of a child, as the dew-fall of balm.
Fear has not darkened thee; Hope has not made
The blossoms expand, it but opens to fade.
Nothing is known of those wearing fears
Which will shadow the light of thy after-years.
Then art thou bliss:—but once throw by
The veil which shrouds thy divinity;
Stand confessed,—and thy quiet is fled!
Wild flashes of rapture may come instead,
But pain will be with them. What may restore
The gentle happiness known before?

I owned not to myself I loved,—
    No word of love Lorenzo breathed;
But I lived in a magic ring,
    Of every pleasant flower wreathed.
A bright blue was on the sky,
A sweeter breath in music’s sigh;
The orange shrubs all seemed to bear
Fruit more rich, and buds more fair.
There was a glory on the noon,
A beauty in the crescent moon,
A lulling stillness in the night,
A feeling in the pale starlight.
There was a charmed note on the wind,
    A spell in Poetry’s deep store—
Heart-uttered words, passionate thoughts,
    Which I had never marked before.

‘Twas as my heart’s full happiness
Poured over all its own excess.
One night there was a gorgeous feast
    For maskers in Count Leon’s hall;
And all of gallant, fair, and young,
    Were bidden to the festival.
I went, garbed as a Hindoo girl;
    Upon each arm and amulet,
And by my side a little lute
    Of sandal-wood with gold beset.
And shall I own that I was proud
To hear, amid the gazing crowd,
A murmur of delight, when first
    My mask and veil I threw aside?
For well my conscious cheek betrayed
    Whose eye was gazing on me too!

And never yet had praise been dear,
As on that evening, to mine ear,
Lorenzo! I was proud to be
Worshipped and flattered but for thee!

Playful and wild as the fire-flies' light,
This moment hidden, the next moment bright;
Like the foam on the dark-green sea,
Is the spell that is laid on my lover by me.
Were your sigh as sweet as the sumbal's sigh,
When the wind of the evening is nigh;
Were your smile like that glorious light,
Seen when the stars gem the deep midnight;
Were that sigh and that smile for ever the same—
They were shadows, not fuel, to love's dull'd flame.

    Love once formed an amulet,
With pearls, and a rainbow, and rose-leaves set.
The pearls were pure as pearls could be,
And white as maiden purity;
The rose had the beauty and breath of soul,
And the rainbow-changes crowned the whole.
Frown on your lover one little while,
Dearer will be the light of your smile;
Let your blush, laugh, and sigh ever mingle together,
Like the bloom, sun, and clouds of the sweet spring weather.
Love never must sleep in security,
Or most calm and cold will his waking be.

And as that light strain died away,
    Again I swept the breathing strings:

But now the notes I waked were sad,
    As those the pining wood-dove sings.


She has lighted her lamp, and crowned it with flowers,
The sweetest that breathed of the summer hours;
Red and white roses linked in a band,
Like a maiden's blush, or a maiden's hand;
Jasmines,—some like silver spray,
Some like gold in the morning ray;
Fragrant stars,—and favourites they,
When Indian girls, on a festival-day,
Braid their dark tresses: and over all weaves
The rosy bower of lotus leaves—
Canopy suiting the lamp-lighted bark,
Love's own flowers, and Love's own ark.

    She watched the sky, the sunset grew dim:
She raised to Camdeo her evening hymn.
The scent of the night-flowers came on the air;
And then, like a bird escaped from the snare,
She flew to the river—(no moon was bright,
But the stars and the fire-flies gave her their light);
She stood beneath the mangoes' shade,
Half delighted and half afraid;
She trimmed the lamp, and breathed on each bloom,
(Oh, that breath was sweeter than all their perfume!)
Threw spices and oil on the spire of flame,
Called thrice on her absent lover's name;
And every pulse throbbed as she gave
Her little boat to the Ganges' wave.

    There are a thousand fanciful things
Linked round the young heart's imaginings.
In its first love-dream, a leaf or a flower
Is gifted then with a spell and a power:
A shade is an omen, a dream is a sign,
From which the maiden can well divine
Passion's whole history. Those only can tell
Who have loved as young hearts can love so well,
How the pulses will beat, and the cheek will be dyed,
When they have some love augury tried.
Oh, it is not for those whose feelings are cold,
Withered by care, or blunted by gold;
Whose brows have darkened with many years,
To feel again youth's hopes and fears—

What they now might blush to confess,
Yet what made their spring-day's happiness!
    Zaide watched her flower-built vessel glide,
Mirrored beneath on the deep-blue tide;
Lovely and lonely, scented and bright,
Like Hope's own bark, all bloom and light.
There's not one breath of wind on the air,
The heavens are cloudless, the waters are fair,
No dew is falling; yet woe to that shade!
The maiden is weeping—her lamp has decayed.
    Hark to the ring of the cymetar!
It tells that the soldier returns from afar.
Down from the mountains the warriors come:
Hark to the thunder-roll of the drum!—

To the startling voice of the trumpet's call!—
To the cymbal's crash!—to the atabal!
The banners of crimson float in the sun,
The warfare is ended, the battle is won.
The mother hath taken the child from her breast,
And raised it to look on its father's crest.
The pathway is lined, as the bands pass along,
With maidens, who meet them with flowers and song.
And Zaide hath forgotten in Azim's arms
All her so false lamp's falser alarms.
    This looks not a bridal,—the singers are mute,
Still is the mandore, and breathless the lute;
Yet there the bride sits. Her dark hair is bound,
And the robe of her marriage floats white on the ground.
Oh! where is the lover, the bridegroom?—oh! where?
Look under yon black pall—the bridegroom is there!

Yet the guests are all bidden, the feast is the same,
And the bride plights her troth amid smoke and 'mid flame!
They have raised the death-pyre of sweet-scented wood,
And sprinkled it o'er with the sacred flood
Of the Ganges. The priests are assembled:—their song
Sinks deep on the ear as they bear her along,
That bride of the dead. Ay, is not this love?—
That one pure, wild feeling all others above:
Vowed to the living, and kept to the tomb!—
The same in its blight as it was in its bloom.
With no tear in her eye, and no change in her smile,
Young Zaide had come nigh to the funeral pile.
The bells of the dancing-girls ceased from their sound;
Silent they stood by that holiest mound.

From a crowd like the sea-waves there came not a breath,
When the maiden stood by the place of death!
One moment was given—the last she might spare!
To the mother, who stood in her weeping there.
She took the jewels that shone on her hand;
She took from her dark hair its flowery band,
And scattered them round. At once they raise
The hymn of rejoicing and love in her praise.
A prayer is muttered, a blessing said,—
Her torch is raised!-—she is by the dead.
She has fired the pile! At once there came
A mingled rush of smoke and of flame:
The wind swept it off. They saw the bride,—
Laid by her Azim, side by side.
The breeze had spread the long curls of her hair:
Like a banner of fire they played on the air.

The smoke and the flame gathered round as before,
Then cleared;—but the bride was seen no more!

I heard the words of praise, but not
    The one voice that I paused to hear;
And other sounds to me were like
    A tale poured in a sleeper's ear.
Where was Lorenzo?—He had stood
    Spell-bound; but when I closed the lay,
As if the charm ceased with the song,
    He darted hurriedly away.
I masqued again, and wandered on
    Through many a gay and gorgeous room
What with sweet waters, sweeter flowers,
    The air was heavy with perfume.

The harp was echoing the lute,
Soft voices answered to the flute,
And, like rills in the noontide clear,
Beneath the flame-hung gondolier,
Shone mirrors peopled with the shades
Of stately youths and radiant maids;
And on the ear in whispers came
Those winged words of soul and flame,
Breathed in the dark-eyed beauty's ear
By some young love-touched cavalier;
Or mixed at times some sound more gay,
Of dance, or laugh, or roundelay.
Oh, it is sickness at the heart
To bear in revelry its part,
And yet feel bursting:—not one thing
Which has part in its suffering,—

The laugh as glad, the step as light,
The song as sweet, the glance as bright;
As the laugh, step, and glance, and song,
Did to young happiness belong.
I turned me from the crowd, and reached
    A spot which seemed unsought by all—
An alcove filled with shrubs and flowers,
    But lighted by the distant hall,
With one or two fair statues placed,
    Like deities of the sweet shrine
That human art should ever frame
    Such shapes so utterly divine!
A deep sigh breathed,—I knew the tone;
    My cheek blushed warm, my heart beat high;—

One moment more I too was known,—
    I shrank before Lorenzo's eye.
He leant beside a pedestal.
    The glorious brow, of Parian stone,
Of the Antinous, by his side,
    Was not more noble than his own!
They were alike: he had the same
    Thick-clustering curls the Romans wore—
The fixed and melancholy eye—
    The smile which passed like lightning o'er
The curved lip. We did not speak,
But the heart breathed upon each cheek;
We looked round with those wandering looks,
    Which seek some object for their gaze,
As if each other's glance was like
    The too much light of morning's rays.

I saw a youth beside me kneel;
I heard my name in music steal;
I felt my hand trembling in his;—
Another moment, and his kiss
Had burnt upon it; when, like thought
    So swift it past, my hand was thrown
Away, as if in sudden pain.
    Lorenzo like a dream had flown!
We did not meet again:—he seemed
    To shun each spot where I might be:
And, it was said, another claimed
    The heart—more than the world to me!
I loved him as young Genius loves,
    When its own wild and radiant heaven
Of starry thought burns with the light,
    The love, the life, by passion given.

I loved him, too, as woman loves—
    Reckless of sorrow, sin, or scorn:
Life had no evil destiny
    That, with him, I could not have borne!
I had been nurst in palaces;
    Yet earth had not a spot so drear,
That I should not have thought a home
    In paradise, had he been near!
How sweet it would have been to dwell,
Apart from all, in some green dell
Of sunny beauty, leaves and flowers;
And nestling birds to sing the hours!
Our home beneath some chesnut's shade,
But of the woven branches made:
Our vesper hymn, the low, lone wail
The rose hears from the nightingale;

And waked at morning by the call
Of music from a waterfall.
But not alone in dreams like this,
Breathed in the very hope of bliss,
I love: my love had been the same
In hushed despair, in open shame.
I would have rather been a slave,
    In tears, in bondage, by his side,
Than shared in all, if wanting him,
    This world had power to give beside!
My heart was withered,—and my heart
    Had ever been the world to me;
And love had been the first fond dream,
    Whose life was in reality.
I had sprung from my solitude
    Like a young bird upon the wing

To meet the arrow; so I met
    My poisoned shaft of suffering.
And as that bird, with drooping crest
And broken wing, will seek his nest,
But seek in vain; so vain I sought
My pleasant home of song and thought.
There was one spell upon my brain,
Upon my pencil, on my strain;
But one face to my colours came;
My chords replied but to one name—
Lorenzo!—all seemed vowed to thee,
To passion, and to misery!
I had no interest in the things
    That once had been like life, or light;
No tale was pleasant to mine ear,
    No song was sweet, no picture bright.

I was wild with my great distress,
My lone, my utter hopelessness!
I would sit hours by the side
Of some clear rill, and mark it glide,
Bearing my tears along, till night
Came with dark hours; and soft starlight
Watch o'er its shadowy beauty keeping,
    Till I grew calm:—then I would take
The lute, which had all day been sleeping
    Upon a cypress tree, and wake
The echoes of the midnight air
With words that love wrung from despair.


Farewell!—we shall not meet again!
    As we are parting now,

I must my beating heart restrain—
    Must veil my burning brow!
Oh, I must coldly learn to hide
    One thought, all else above—
Must call upon my woman's pride
    To hide my woman's love!
Check dreams I never may avow;
Be free, be careless, cold as thou!
Oh! those are tears of bitterness,
    Wrung from the breaking heart,
When two, blest in their tenderness,
    Must learn to live—apart!
But what are they to that lone sigh,
    That cold and fixed despair,
That weight of wasting agony
    It must be mine to bear?

Methinks I should not thus repine,
If I had but one vow of thine.
I could forgive inconstancy,
To be one moment loved by thee!
With me the hope of life is gone,
    The sun of joy is set;
One wish my soul still dwells upon—
    The wish it could forget.
I would forget that look, that tone,
My heart hath all too dearly known.
But who could ever yet efface
From memory love's enduring trace?
All may revolt, all may complain—
But who is there may break the chain?
Farewell!—I shall not be to thee
    More than a passing thought;

But every time and place will be
    With thy remembrance fraught!
Farewell! we have not often met—
    We may not meet again;
But on my heart the seal is set
    Love never sets in vain!
Fruitless as constancy may be,
No chance, no change, may turn from thee
One who has loved thee wildly, well—
But whose first love-vow breathed—farewell.

And lays which only told of love
    In all its varied sorrowing,
The echoes of the broken heart,
    Were all the songs I now could sing.

Legends of olden times in Greece,
When not a flower but had its tale;
When spirits haunted each green oak;
    When voices spoke in every gale;
When not a star shone in the sky
    Without its own love history.
Amid its many songs was one
    That suited well with my sick mind.
I sang it when the breath of flowers
    Came sweet upon the midnight wind.


She sat her in her twilight bower,
A temple formed of leaf and flower;
Rose and myrtle framed the roof,
To a shower of April proof;

And primroses, pale gems of Spring,
Lay on the green turf glistening,
Close by the violet, whose breath
Is so sweet in a dewy wreath.
    And oh, that myrtle! how green it grew!
With flowers as white as the pearls of dew
That shone beside: and the glorious rose
Lay, like a beauty in warm repose,
Blushing in slumber. The air was bright
With the spirit and glow of its crimson light.
    Cydippe had turned from her columned hall,
Where, the queen of the feast, she was worshipped by all;
Where the vases were burning with spices and flowers,
And the odorous waters were playing in showers;

And lamps were blazing—those lamps of perfume
Which shed such a charm of light over the bloom
Of woman, when Pleasure a spell has thrown
Over one night hour and made it her own.
And the ruby wine-cup shone with a ray,
As the gems of the East had there melted away;
And the bards were singing those songs of fire,
That bright eyes and the goblet so well inspire;—
While she, the glory and pride of the hour,
Sat silent and sad in her secret bower!

There is a grief that wastes the heart,
    Like mildew on a tulip's dyes,—
When hope, deferred but to depart,
    Loses its smiles, but keeps its sighs;

When love's bark, with its anchor gone,
Clings to a straw, and still trusts on.
Oh, more than all!—methinks that Love
    Should pray that it might ever be
Beside the burning shrine which had
    Its young heart's fond idolatry.
Oh, absence is the night of love!
    Lovers are very children then;
Fancying ten thousand feverish shapes,
    Until their light returns again.
A look, a word, is then recalled,
    And thought upon until it wears,
What is, perhaps, a very shade,
    The tone and aspect of our fears.
And this was what was withering now
The radiance of Cydippe's brow.

She watched until her cheek grew pale;
The green wave bore no bounding sail:
Her sight grew dim; 'mid the blue air
No snowy dove came floating there,
The dear scroll hid beneath his wing,
With plume and soft eye glistening,
To seek again, in leafy dome,
The nest of its accustomed home!
Still far away, o'er land and seas,
Lingered the faithless Leades.

    She thought on the spring days, when she had been
Lonely and lovely, a maiden queen;
When passion to her was a storm at sea,
Heard 'mid the green land's tranquillity.

But a stately warrior came from afar;}
He bore on his bosom the glorious scar,}
So worshipped by women—the death-seal of war. }
And the maiden's heart was an easy prize,
When valour and faith were her sacrifice.
    Methinks, might that sweet season last,
In which our first love-dream is past;
Ere doubts and cares, and jealous pain,
Are flaws in the heart's diamond-chain;—
Men might forget to think on Heaven,
And yet have the sweet sin forgiven.
But ere the marriage feast was spread,
    Leades said that he must brook

To part awhile from that best light,
    Those eyes which fixed his every look.
Just press again his native shore,
And then he would that shore resign
For her dear sake, who was to him
His household-god!—his spirit's shrine!
    He came not! Then the heart's decay
Wasted her silently away:—
A sweet fount, which the mid-day sun
Has all too hotly looked upon!
    It is most sad to watch the fall
Of autumn leaves!—but worst of all
It is to watch the flower of spring
Faded in its fresh blossoming!

To see the once so clear blue orb
    Its summer light and warmth forget;
Darkening, beneath its tearful lid,
    Like a rain-beaten violet!
To watch the banner-rose of health
    Pass from the cheek!—to mark how plain,
Upon the wan and sunken brow,
    Become the wanderings of each vein!
The shadowy hand, so thin, so pale!
    The languid step!—the drooping head!
The long wreaths of neglected hair!
    The lip, whence red and smile are fled!
And having watched thus, day by day,
Light, life, and colour, pass away!
To see, at length, the glassy eye
Fix dull in dread mortality;

Mark the last ray, catch the last breath,
Till the grave sets its sign of death!
    This was Cydippe's fate!—They laid
The maiden underneath the shade
Of a green cypress,—and that hour
    The tree was withered, and stood bare!
The spring brought leaves to other trees,
    But never other leaf grew there!
It stood, 'mid others flourishing,
A blighted, solitary thing.
    The summer sun shone on that tree,
When shot a vessel o'er the sea—
When sprang a warrior from the prow—
Leades! by the stately brow.

Forgotten toil, forgotten care,
All his worn heart has had to bear.
That heart is full! He hears the sigh
That breathed 'Farewell!' so tenderly.
If even then it was most sweet,}
What will it be that now they meet?}
Alas! alas! Hope's fair deceit!}
He spurred o'er land, has cut the wave,
To look but on Cydippe's grave.
It has blossomed in beauty, that lone tree,
    Leades' kiss restored its bloom;
For wild he kissed the withered stem—
It grew upon Cydippe's tomb!
And there he dwelt. The hottest ray,
Still dew upon the branches lay

Like constant tears. The winter came;
But still the green tree stood the same.
And it was said, at evening's close,
A sound of whispered music rose;
That 'twas the trace of viewless feet
Made the flowers more than flowers sweet.
At length Leades died. That day,
Bark and green foliage past away
From the lone tree,—again a thing
Of wonder and of perishing!

    One evening I had roamed beside
The winding of the Arno's tide;
The sky was flooded with moonlight:
Below were waters azure bright,

Pallazzos with their marble halls,
Green gardens, silver waterfalls,
And orange groves and citron shades,
And cavaliers and dark-eyed maids;
Sweet voices singing, echoes sent
From many a rich-toned instrument.
I could not bear this loveliness!
    It was on such a night as this
That love had lighted up my dream
    Of long despair and short-lived bliss.
I sought the city; wandering on,
    Unconscious where my steps might be;
My heart was deep in other thoughts;
    All places were alike to me:—
At length I stopped beneath the walls
Of San Mark's old cathedral halls.

I entered:—and, beneath the roof,
Ten thousand wax-lights burnt on high;
And incense on the censers fumed
As for some great solemnity.
The white-robed choristers were singing;
Their cheerful peal the bells were ringing:
Then deep-voiced music floated round,
As the far arches sent forth sound—
The stately organ:—and fair bands
Of young girls strewed, with lavish hands,
Violets o'er the mosaic floor;
And sang while scattering the sweet store.
I turned me to a distant aisle,
    Where but a feeble glimmering came
(Itself in darkness) of the smile
    Sent from the tapers' perfumed flame;

And coloured as each pictured pane
Shed o'er the blaze its crimson stain:—
While, from the window o'er my head,
A dim and sickly gleam was shed
From the young moon,—enough to shew
That tomb and table lay below.
I leant upon one monument,—
    'Twas sacred to unhappy love:
On it were carved a blighted pine—
    A broken ring—a wounded dove.
And two or three brief words told all
    Her history who lay beneath:—
'The flowers—at morn her bridal flowers,—
    'Formed, e'er the eve, her funeral wreath.'
I could but envy here. I thought,
    How sweet it must be thus to die!

Your last looks watched,—your last sigh caught,
    As life or Heaven were in that sigh!
Passing in loveliness and light;
Your heart as pure,—your cheek as bright
As the spring-rose, whose petals shut,
By sun unscorched, by shower unwet;
Leaving behind a memory
Shrined in love's fond eternity.
But I was wakened from this dream
    By a burst of light—a gush of song—
A welcome, as the stately doors
    Poured in a gay and gorgeous throng.
I could see all from where I stood.
    And first I looked upon the bride;
She was a pale and lovely girl;—
    But, oh God: who was by her side?—

Lorenzo!—No, I did not speak;
My heart beat high, but could not break.
I shrieked not, wept not; but stood there
Motionless in my still despair;
As I were forced by some strange thrall,
To bear with and to look on all,—
I heard the hymn, I heard the vow;
(Mine ear throbs with them even now!)
I saw the young bride's timid cheek
    Blushing beneath her silver veil.
I saw Lorenzo kneel! Methought
    ('Twas but a thought!) he too was pale.
But when it ended, and his lip
    Was prest to her’s—I saw no more!
My heart grew cold,—my brain swam round,—
    I sank upon the cloister floor!

I lived,—if that may be called life,
    From which each charm of life has fled—
Happiness gone, with hope and love,—
    In all but breath already dead.
Rust gathered on the silent chords
    Of my neglected lyre,—the breeze
Was now its mistress: music brought
    For me too bitter memories!
The ivy darkened o'er my bower;
Around, the weeds choked every flower.
I pleased me in this desolateness,
As each thing bore my fate's impress.

At length I made myself a task—
    To paint that Cretan maiden's fate,

Whom Love taught such deep happiness,
    And whom Love left so desolate.
I drew her on a rocky shore:—
Her black hair loose, and sprinkled o'er
With white sea-foam;—her arms were bare,
Flung upwards in their last despair.
Her naked feet the pebbles prest;
The tempest-wind sang in her vest:
A wild stare in her glassy eyes;
White lips, as parched by their hot sighs;
And cheek more pallid than the spray,
Which, cold and colourless, on it lay:—
Just such a statue as should be
    Placed ever, Love! beside thy shrine;
Warning thy victims of what ills—
    What burning tears, false god! are thine.

Before her was the darkling sea:
    Behind the barren mountains rose—
A fit home for the broken heart
    To weep away life, wrongs, and woes!
I had now but one hope:—that when
    The hand that traced these tints was cold—
Its pulse but in their passion seen—
    Lorenzo might these tints behold,
And find my grief;—think—see—feel all
I felt, in this memorial!
It was one evening,—the rose-light
    Was o'er each green veranda shining;
Spring was just breaking, and white buds
    Were 'mid the darker ivy twining.
My hall was filled with the perfume
Sent from the early orange bloom:

The fountain, in the midst, was fraught
With rich hues from the sunset caught;—
And the first song came from the dove,
Nestling in the shrub alcove.
But why pause on my happiness?—
    Another step was with mine there!
Another sigh than mine made sweet
    With its dear breath the scented air!
Lorenzo! could it be my hand
    That now was trembling in thine own?
Lorenzo! could it be mine ear
    That drank the music of thy tone?
We sat us by a lattice, where
    Came in the soothing evening breeze,
Rich with the gifts of early flowers,
    And the soft wind-lute's symphonies.

And in the twilight's vesper-hour,
Beneath the hanging jasmine-shower,
I heard a tale,—as fond, as dear
As e'er was poured in woman's ear!


I was betrothed from earliest youth
    To a fair orphan, who was left
Beneath my father's roof and care.—
    Of every other friend bereft:
An heiress, with her fertile vales,
    Caskets of Indian gold and pearl;
Yet meek as poverty itself,
    And timid as a peasant girl:

A delicate, frail thing,—but made
For spring sunshine, or summer shade;—
A slender flower, unmeet to bear
One April shower,—so slight, so fair.
I loved her as a brother loves
    His favourite sister:—and when war
First called me from our long-shared home
    To bear my father's sword afar,
I parted from her,—not as one
    Whose life and soul are wrung by parting:
With death-cold brow and throbbing pulse,
    And burning tears like life-blood starting.
Lost in war dreams, I scarcely heard
    The prayer that bore my name above:
The 'Farewell!' that kissed off her tears
    Had more of pity than of love!

I thought of her not with that deep,
Intensest memory love will keep
More tenderly than life. To me
    She was but as a dream of home,—
One of those calm and pleasant thoughts
    That o'er the soldier's spirit come;
Remembering him, when battle lours,
Of twilight walks and fireside hours.
I came to thy bright Florence when
    The task of blood was done:
I saw thee! Had I lived before?
    Oh, no! my life but then begun.
Ay, by that blush! the summer rose
    Has not more luxury of light!
Ay, by those eyes! whose language is
    Like what the clear stars speak at night,

Thy first look was a fever spell!—
Thy first word was an oracle
Which seal'd my fate! I worshipped thee,
My beautiful, bright deity!
Worshipped thee as a sacred thing
Of Genius' high imagining;—
But loved thee for thy sweet revealing
Of woman's own most gentle feeling.
I might have broken from the chain
    Thy power, thy glory round me flung!
But never might forget thy blush—
    The smile which on thy sweet lips hung!
I lived but in thy sight! One night
    From thy hair fell a myrtle blossom;
It was a relic that breathed of thee:—
    Look! it has withered in my bosom!

Yet I was wretched, though I dwelt
    In the sweet sight of Paradise:
A curse lay on me. But not now,
    Thus smiled upon by those dear eyes,
Will I think over thoughts of pain.
    I'll only tell thee that the line
That ever told Love's misery,
    Ne'er told of misery like mine!
I wedded.—I could not have borne
    To see the young Ianthe blighted
By that worst blight the spring can know—
    Trusting affection ill requited!
Oh, was it that she was too fair,
    Too innocent for this damp earth;
And that her native star above
    Reclaimed again its gentle birth?

She faded. Oh, my peerless queen,
    I need not pray thee pardon me
For owning that my heart then felt
    For any other than for thee!
I bore her to those azure isles,
    Where health dwells by the side of spring;
And deemed their green and sunny vales,
    And calm and fragrant airs, might bring
Warmth to the cheek, light to the eye,
Of her who was too young to die.
It was in vain!—and, day by day
The gentle creature died away.
As parts the odour from the rose,—
As fades the sky at twilight's close,—
She past so tender and so fair;
    So patient; though she knew each breath

Might be her last; her own mild smile
    Parted her placid lips in death.
Her grave is under southern skies;
Green turf and flowers o'er it rise.
Oh! nothing but a pale spring wreath
Would fade o'er her who lies beneath!
I gave her prayers—I gave her tears—
    I staid awhile beside her grave;
Then led by Hope, and led by Love,
    Again I cut the azure wave.
What have I more to say, my life!
    But just to pray one smile of thine,
Telling I have not loved in vain—
    That thou dost join these hopes of mine?
Yes, smile, sweet love! our life will be
    As radiant as a fairy tale!

Glad as the sky-lark's earliest song—
    Sweet as the sigh of the spring gale!
All, all that life will ever be,
Shone o'er, divinest love! by thee.

Oh, mockery of happiness!
    Love now was all too late to save.
False Love! oh what had you to do
    With one you had led to the grave?
A little time I had been glad
    To mark the paleness on my cheek;
To feel how, day by day, my step
    Grew fainter, and my hand more weak;
To know the fever of my soul
    Was also preying on my frame:

But now I would have given worlds
    To change the crimson hectic's flame
For the pure rose of health; to live
For the dear life that Love could give.
    Oh, youth may sicken at its bloom,
And wealth and fame pray for the tomb;—
But can Love bear from Love to part,
And not cling to that one dear heart?
I shrank away from death,—my tears
Had been unwept in other years:—
But thus, in Love's first ecstasy,
Was it not worse than death to die?
Lorenzo! I would live for thee!
But thou wilt have to weep for me!
That sun has kissed the morning dews,—
    I shall not see its twilight close!

That rose is fading in the noon,
    And I shall not outlive the rose!
Come, let me lean upon thy breast,
My last, best place of happiest rest!
Once more let me breathe thy sighs—
Look once more in those watching eyes!
Oh! but for thee, and grief of thine,
And parting, I should not repine!
It is deep happiness to die,
Yet live in Love's dear memory.
Thou wilt remember me,—my name
Is linked with beauty and with fame.
The summer airs, the summer sky,
The soothing spell of Music's sigh,—
Stars in their poetry of night,
The silver silence of moonlight,—

The dim blush of the twilight hours,
The fragrance of the bee-kissed flowers;—
But, more than all, sweet songs will be
Thrice sacred unto Love and me.
Lorenzo! be this kiss a spell!
My first!—my last! Farewell!—Farewell!

There is a lone and stately hall,—
Its master dwells apart from all.
A wanderer through Italia's land,
    One night a refuge there I found.
The lightning flash rolled o'er the sky,
    The torrent rain was sweeping round:—
These won me entrance. He was young,
    The castle's lord, but pale like age;

His brow, as sculpture beautiful,
    Was wan as Grief's corroded page.
He had no words, he had no smiles,
    No hopes:—his sole employ to brood
Silently over his sick heart
    In sorrow and in solitude.
I saw the hall where, day by day,
He mused his weary life away;—
It scarcely seemed a place for woe,
    But rather like a genie's home.
Around were graceful statues ranged,
    And pictures shone around the dome.
But there was one—a loveliest one!—
    One picture brightest of all there!
Oh! never did the painter's dream
    Shape thing so gloriously fair!

It was a face!—the summer day
    Is not more radiant in its light!
Dark flashing eyes, like the deep stars
    Lighting the azure brow of night;
A blush like sunrise o'er the rose;
    A cloud of raven hair, whose shade
Was sweet as evening's, and whose curls
    Clustered beneath a laurel braid.
She leant upon a harp:—one hand
    Wandered, like snow, amid the chords;
The lips were opening with such life,
    You almost heard the silvery words.
She looked a form of light and life,—
    All soul, all passion, and all fire;
A priestess of Apollo's, when
    The morning beams fall on her lyre;

A Sappho, or ere love had turned
The heart to stone where once it burned.
But by the picture's side was placed
A funeral urn on which was traced
The heart's recorded wretchedness;—
    And on a tablet, hung above,
Was graved one tribute of sad words—
    'Lorenzo to his Minstrel Love.'


'Tis a wild tale—and sad, too, as the sigh
That young lips breathe when love's first dreamings fly;
When blights and cankerworms, and chilling showers,
Come withering o'er the warm heart's passion-flowers.
Love! gentlest spirit! I do tell of thee,—
    Of all thy thousand hopes, thy many fears,
    Thy morning blushes, and thy evening tears;
What thou hast ever been, and still will be,—
Life's best, but most betraying witchery!

    It is a night of summer,—and the sea
Sleeps, like a child, in mute tranquillity.
Soft o'er the deep-blue wave the moonlight breaks;
    Gleaming, from out the white clouds of its zone,
Like beauty's changeful smile, when that it seeks
    Some fact it loves yet fears to dwell upon.
The waves are motionless, save where the oar,
    Light as Love's anger, and as quickly gone,
Has broken in upon their azure sleep.
    Odours are on the air:—the gale has been
Wandering in groves where the rich roses weep,—
Where orange, citron, and soft lime-flowers
Shed forth their fragrance to night's dewy hours.
Afar the distant city meets the gaze,
    Where tower and turret in the pale light shine,
Seen like the monuments of other days—
Monuments Time half shadows, half displays.

    And there are many, who, with witching song
And wild guitar's soul-thrilling melody,
    Or the lute's melting music, float along
O'er the blue waters, still and silently.
That night had Naples sent her best display
Of young and gallant, beautiful and gay.
There was a bark a little way apart
    From all the rest, and there two lovers leant:—
One with a blushing cheek and beating heart,
    And bashful glance, upon the sea-wave bent;
    She might not meet the gaze the other sent
Upon her beauty;—but the half-breathed sighs,}
The deepening colour, timid smiling eyes,}
Told that she listened Love's sweet flatteries.}
Then they were silent:—words are little aid
To Love, whose deepest vows are ever made

By the heart's beat alone. Oh, silence is
Love's own peculiar eloquence of bliss!—
Music swept past:—it was a simple tone;
    But it has wakened heartfelt sympathies;—
It has brought into life things past and gone;
    Has wakened all those secret memories,
That may be smothered, but that still will be
Present within thy soul, young Rosalie!
The notes had roused an answering chord within:—
In other days, that song her vesper hymn had been.
Her altered look is pale:—that dewy eye
    Almost belies the smile her rich lips wear;—
That smile is mocked by a scarce breathing sigh,
    Which tells of silent and suppressed care—
    Tells that the life is withering with despair,
More irksome from its unsunned silentness—
    A festering wound the spirit pines to bear;

A galling chain, whose pressure will intrude,
Fettering Mirth's step, and Pleasure's lightest mood.
Where are her thoughts thus wandering?—A spot,
    Now distant far, is pictured on her mind,—
A chesnut shadowing a low white cot,
    With rose and jasmine round the casement twined,
    Mixed with the myrtle-tree's luxuriant blind.
Alone, (oh! should such solitude be here?)
    An aged form beneath the shade reclined,
Whose eye glanced round the scene;—and then a tear
    Told that she missed one in her heart enshrined!
Then came remembrances of other times,
    When eve oped her rich bowers for the pale day;
When the faint distant tones of convent chimes
    Were answered by the lute and vesper lay;—

When the fond mother blest her gentle child,
And for her welfare prayed the Virgin mild.
And she has left the aged one to steep
    Her nightly couch with tears for that lost child,—
The Rosalie,—who left her age to weep,
    When that tempter flattered her and wiled
    Her steps away, from her own home beguiled.
She started up in agony:—her eye
    Met Manfredi's. Softly he spoke, and smiled.
Memory is past, and thought and feeling lie
Lost in one dream—all thrown on one wild die.
They floated o'er the waters, till the moon
Looked from the blue sky in her zenith noon,—

Till each glad bark at length had sought the shore,
And the waves echoed to the lute no more;—
Then sought their gay palazzo, where the ray
Of lamps shed light only less bright than day;
And there they feasted till the morn did fling
Her blushes o'er their mirth and revelling.
    And life was as a tale of faërie,—
As when some Eastern genie rears bright bowers,
And spreads the green turf and the coloured flowers;
    And calls upon the earth, the sea, the sky,
To yield their treasures for some gentle queen,
Whose reign is over the enchanted scene.
And Rosalie had pledged a magic cup—
    The maddening cup of pleasure and of love!
There was for her one only dream on earth!
    There was for her one only star above!—

She bent in passionate idolatry
Before her heart's sole idol—Manfredi!


'Tis night again—a soft and summer night;—
A deep-blue heaven, white clouds, moon and starlight;—
So calm, so beautiful, that human eye
Might weep to look on such a tranquil sky:—
A night just formed for Hope's first dream of bliss,
Or for Love's yet more perfect happiness!
    The moon is o'er a grove of cypress trees,
Weeping, like mourners, in the plaining breeze;
Echoing the music of a rill, whose song
Glided so sweetly, but so sad, along.

    There is a little chapel in the shade,
Where many a pilgrim has knelt down and prayed
To the sweet saint, whose portrait, o'er the shrine,
The painter's skill has made all but divine.
It was a pale, a melancholy face—
    A cheek which bore the trace of frequent tears,
And worn by grief,—though grief might not efface
    The seal that beauty set in happier years;
And such a smile as on the brow appears
    Of one whose earthly thoughts, long since subdued
Past this life's joys and sorrows, hopes and fears—
    The worldly dreams o'er which the many brood,—
    The heart-beat hushed in mild and chastened mood.
It was the image of the maid who wept
    Those precious tears that heal and purify.
Love yet upon her life his station kept,
    But heaven and heavenly thoughts were in her eye.

One knelt before the shrine, with cheek as pale.
    As was the cold white marble. Can this be
    The young—the loved—the happy Rosalie?
Alas! alas! her's is a common tale:—
She trusted,—as youth ever has believed;—
She heard Love's vows—confided—was deceived!
Oh, Love! thy essence is thy purity!
    Breathe one unhallowed breath upon thy flame,
And it is gone for ever,—and but leaves
    A sullied vase—its pure light lost in shame!
    And Rosalie was loved,—not with that pure
And holy passion which can age endure;
But loved with wild and self-consuming fires,—
A torch which glares—and scorches—and expires.

A little while her dream of bliss remained,—
A little while Love's wings were left unchained.
But change came o'er the trusted Manfredi:
His heart forgot its vowed idolatry;
And his forgotten love was left to brood
O'er wrongs and ruin in her solitude!
    How very desolate that breast must be,
Whose only joyance is in memory!
And what must woman suffer, thus betrayed?—
Her heart's most warm and precious feelings made
But things wherewith to wound: that heart—so weak,
So soft—laid open to the vulture's beak!
Its sweet revealings given up to scorn
It burns to bear, and yet that must be borne!

And, sorer still, that bitterer emotion,
To know the shrine which had our soul's devotion
Is that of a false deity!—to look
Upon the eyes we worshipped, and brook
Their cold reply! Yet, these are all for her!—
The rude world's outcast, and love's wanderer!
Alas! that love, which is so sweet a thing,
Should ever cause guilt, grief, or suffering!
Yet she upon whose face the sunbeams fall—
That dark-eyed girl—had felt their bitterest thrall!
    She thought upon her love; and there was not
In passion's record one green sunny spot—
It had been all a madness and a dream,
The shadow of a flower on the stream,
Which seems, but is not: and then memory turned
To her lone mother. How her bosom burned

With sweet and bitter thoughts! There might be rest—
The wounded dove will flee into her nest—
That mother's arms might fold her child again.
The cold world scorn, the cruel smite in vain,
And falsehood be remembered no more,
In that calm shelter:—and she might weep o'er
Her faults and find forgiveness. Had not she
    To whom she knelt found pardon in the eyes
    Of Heaven, in offering for sacrifice
A broken heart? And might not pardon be
Also for her? She looked up to the face
    Of that pale saint; and in that gentle brow,
Which seemed to hold communion with her thought,
    There was a smile which gave hope energy.
She prayed one deep wild prayer,—that she might gain
The home she hoped:—then sought that home again.

    A flush of beauty is upon the sky—
Eve's last warm blushes—like the crimson dye
The maiden wears, when first her dark eyes meet
The graceful lover's, sighing at her feet.
And there were sound of music on the breeze,
And perfume shaken from the citron trees;
While the dark chesnuts caught a golden ray
On their green leaves, the last bright gift of day;
And peasants dancing gaily in the shade
To the soft mandolin, whose light notes made
An echo fit to the glad voices singing.
The twilight spirit his sweet urn is flinging
Of dew upon the lime and orange-stems,
And giving to the rose pearl diadems.
    There is a pilgrim by that old grey tree,
With head upon her hand, bent mournfully;

And looking round upon each lovely thing,
And breathing the sweet air, as they could bring
To her no beauty and no solacing.
'Tis Rosalie! Her prayer was not in vain.
The truant-child has sought her home again!
    It must be worth a life of toil and care,—
Worth those dark chains the wearied one must bear
Who toils up fortune's steep,—all that can wring
The worn-out bosom with lone-suffering,—
Worth restlessness, oppression, goading fears,
And long-deferred hopes of many years,—
To reach again that little quiet spot,
So well loved once, and never quite forgot;—
To trace again the steps of infancy,
And catch their freshness from their memory!

And it is triumph, sure, when fortune's sun
Has shone upon us, and our task is done,
To show our harvest to the eyes which were
Once all the world to us! Perhaps there are
Some who had presaged kindly of our youth.
Feel we not proud their prophecy was sooth?
But how felt Rosalie?—The very air
    Seemed as it brought reproach! there was no eye
To look delighted, welcome none was there!
    She felt as feels an outcast wandering by
Where every door is closed! She looked around;—
She heard some voices' sweet familiar sound.
There were some changed, and some remembered things:—
There were girls, whom she left in their first springs,

Now blushed into full beauty. There was one
Whom she loved tenderly in days now gone!
She was not dancing gaily with the rest:
A rose-cheeked child within her arms was prest;
And it had twined its small hands in the hair
That clustered o'er its mother's brow: as fair
As buds in spring. She gave her laughing dove
To one who clasped it with a father's love;
And if a painter's eye had sought a scene
    Of love in its most perfect loveliness—
    Of childhood, and of wedded happiness,—
He would have painted the sweet Madeline!
But Rosalie shrank from them, and she strayed
Through a small grove of cypresses, whose shade
Hung o'er a burying-ground, where the low stone
And the gray cross recorded those now gone!

There was a grave just closed. Not one seemed near,
To pay the tribute of one long—last tear!
How very desolate must that one be,
Whose more than grave has not a memory!
Then Rosalie thought on her mother's age,—
    Just such her end would be with her away:
No child the last cold death-pang to assuage—
    No child by her neglected tomb to pray!
She asked—and like a hope from Heaven it came!—
To hear them answer with a stranger's name.
She reached her mother's cottage; by that gate
She thought how her once lover wont to wait
To tell her honied tales!—and then she thought
On all the utter ruin he had wrought!

The moon shone brightly, as it used to do
Ere youth, and hope, and love, had been untrue;
But it shone o'er the desolate! The flowers
Were dead; the faded jessamine, unbound,
Trailed, like a heavy weed, upon the ground;
And fell the moonlight vainly over trees,
Which had not even one rose,—although the breeze,
Almost as if in mockery, had brought
Sweet tones it from the nightingale had caught!
    She entered in the cottage. None were there!
The hearth was dark,—the walls looked cold and bare!
All—all spoke poverty and suffering!
All—all was changed; and but one only thing
Kept its old place! Rosalie's mandolin
Hung on the wall, where it had ever been.

There was one other room,—and Rosalie
Sought for her mother there. A heavy flame
Gleamed from a dying lamp; a cold air came
Damp from the broken casement. There one lay,
Like marble seen but by the moonlight ray!
And Rosalie drew near. One withered hand
Was stretched, as it would reach a wretched stand
Where some cold water stood! And by the bed
She knelt—and gazed—and saw her mother—dead!



Oh, Heaven! the deep fidelity of love!

Where, like a courser starting from the spur,
Rushes the deep-blue current of the Rhine,
A little island rests; green cypresses
Are its chief growth, bending their heavy boughs
O'er grey stones marking long-forgotten graves.
A convent once stood here; and yet remain
Relics of other time, pillars and walls,
Worn away and discoloured, yet so hung
With wreaths of ivy, that the work of ruin

Is scarcely visible. How like this is
To the so false exterior of the world!
Outside all looks so fresh and beautiful;
But mildew, rot, and worm work on beneath,
Until the heart is utterly decayed.
There is one grave distinguished from the rest,
But only by a natural monument:—
A thousand deep-blue violets have grown
Over the sod.—I do love violets:
They tell the history of woman's love;
They open with the earliest breath of spring;
Lead a sweet life of perfume, dew, and light;
And, if they perish, perish with a sigh
Delicious as that life. On the hot June,
They shed no perfume: the flowers may remain,
But the rich breathing of their leaves is past:—

Like woman, they have lost their loveliest gift,
When yielding to the fiery hour of passion:
The violet breath of love is purity.

    On the shore opposite, a tower stands
In ruins, with a mourning robe of moss
Hung on the grey and shattered walls, which fling
A shadow on the waters; it comes o'er
The waves, all bright with sunshine, like the gloom
Adversity throws on the heart's young gladness.

    I saw the river on a summer eve:
The sun was setting over fields of corn,—
'Twas like a golden sea;—and on the left
Were vineyards, whence the grapes shone forth like gems,

Rubies, and lighted amber; and thence spread
A wide heath covered with thick furze, whose flowers
So bright, are like the pleasures of this world,
Beautiful in the distance, but, once gained,
Little worth, piercing through the thorns which grow
Around them ever. Wilder and more steep
The banks upon the river's other side:
Tall pines rose up like warriors; the wild rose
Was therein all its luxury of bloom,
Sown by the wind, nursed by the dew and sun;
And on the steeps were crosses of grey and old,
Which told the fate of some poor traveller.
The dells were filled with dwarfed oaks and firs;
And on the heights which mastered all the rest,

Were castles, tenanted now by the owl,
The spider's garrison: there is not one
Without some strange old legend of the days
When love was life and death,—when lady's glove
Or sunny curl were banners of the battle.
My history is of the tower which looks
Upon the little island

    Lord Herbert sat him in his hall: the hearth
Was blazing as it mocked the storm without
With its red cheerfulness; the dark hounds lay
Around the fire; and the old knight had doffed
His hunting-cloak, and listened to the lute
And song of the fair girl who at his knee
Was seated. In the April hour of life,

When showers are led by rainbows, and the heart
Is all bloom and green leaves, was Isabelle:
A band of pearls, white like the brow o'er which
They past, kept the bright curls from off the fore-head; thence
They wandered to her feet—a golden shower.
She had that changing colour on the cheek
Which speaks the heart so well; those deep-blue eyes,
Like summer's darkest sky, but not so glad—
They were too passionate for happiness.
Light was within her eyes, bloom on her cheek,
Her song had raised the spirit of her race
Upon her eloquent brow. She had just told
Of the young Roland's deeds,—how he had stood
Against a host and conquered; when there came

A pilgrim to the hall—and never yet
Had stranger asked for shelter and in vain!
The board was spread, the Rhenish flask was drained;
Again they gathered round the hearth, again
The maiden raised her song; and at its close,—
"I would give worlds," she said, "to see this chief,
"This gallant Roland! I could deem him all
"A man must honour and a woman love!"
"Lady, I pray thee not recall those words,
"For I am Roland!" From his face he threw
The hood and pilgrim's cloak,—and a young knight
Knelt before Isabelle!

    They loved;—they were beloved. Oh, happiness!
I have said all that can be said of bliss,
In saying that they loved. The young heart has

Such store of wealth in its own fresh wild pulse;
And it is Love that works the mine, and brings
Its treasure to the light. I did love once,—
Loved as youth—woman—Genius loves; though now
My heart is chilled and seared, and taught to wear
That falsest of false things—a mask of smiles;
Yet every pulse throbs at the memory
Of that which has been! Love is like the glass,
That throws its own rich colour over all,
And makes all beautiful. The morning looks
Its very loveliest, when the fresh air
Has tinged the cheek we love with its glad red;
And the hot noon flits by most rapidly,
When dearest eyes gaze with us on the page
Bearing the poet's words of love:—and then

The twilight walk, when the linked arms can feel
The beating of the heart; upon the air
There is a music never heard but once,—
A light the eyes can never see again;
Each star has its own prophecy of hope,
And every song and tale that breathe of love
Seem echoes of the heart.

And time past by—
As time will ever pass, when Love has lent
His rainbow plumes to aid his flight—and Spring
Had wedded with the Summer, when a steed
Stood at Lord Herbert's gate,—and Isabelle
Had wept farewell to Roland, and had given
Her blue scarf for his colours. He was gone
To raise his vassals, for Lord Herbert's towers

Were menaced with a siege; and he had sworn
By Isabelle's white hand that he would claim
Its beauty only as a conqueror's prize.
Autumn was on the woods, when the blue Rhine
Grew red with blood:—Lord Herbert's banner flies,
And gallant is the bearing of his ranks.
But where is he who said that he would ride
At his right hand to battle?—Roland! where—
Oh! where is Roland?

Isabelle has watched
Day after day, night after night, in vain,
Till she has wept in hopelessness, and thought
Upon old histories, and said with them,
"There is no faith in man's fidelity!"

Isabelle stood upon her lonely tower;
And as the evening-star rose up she saw
An armed train bearing her father's banner
In triumph to the castle. Down she flew
To greet the victors:—they had reached the hall
Before herself. What saw the maiden there?—
A bier!—her father laid upon that bier!
Roland was kneeling by the side, his face
Bowed on his hands and hid;—but Isabelle
Knew the dark curling hair and stately form,
And threw her on his breast. He shrank away
As she were death, or sickness, or despair.
"Isabelle! it was I who slew thy father!"
She fell almost a corpse upon the body.
It was too true! With all a lover's speed,
Roland had sought the thickest of the fight;

He gained the field just as the crush began;—
Unwitting of his colours, he had slain
The father of his worshipped Isabelle!

    They met once more:—and Isabelle was changed
As much as if a lapse of years had past:
She was so thin, so pale, and her dim eye
Had wept away its luxury of blue.
She had cut off her sunny hair, and wore
A robe of black, with a white crucifix:—
It told her destiny—her youth was vowed
To Heaven. And in the convent of the isle,
That day she was to enter, Roland stood
Like marble, cold and pale and motionless:
The heavy sweat upon his brow was all
His sign of life. At length he snatched the scarf

That Isabelle had tied around his neck,
And gave it her,—and prayed that she would wave
Its white folds from the lattice of her cell
At each pale rising of the evening-star,
That he might knew she lived. They parted.—Never
Those lovers met again! But Roland built
A tower beside the Rhine, and there he dwelt,
And every evening saw the white scarf waved,
And heard the vesper-hymn of Isabelle
Float in deep sweetness o'er the silent river.
One evening, and he did not see the scarf,
He watched and watched in vain; at length his hope
Grew desperate, and he prayed his Isabelle
Might have forgotten him:—but midnight came,
And with it came the convent's heavy bell,
Tolling for a departed soul; and then

He knew that Isabelle was dead! Next day
They laid her in her grave;—and the moon rose
Upon a mourner weeping there:—that tomb
Was Roland's deathbed!


But the war-storm came on the mountain gale,
And man's heart beat high, though his cheek was pale,
For blood and dust lay on the white hair,
And the maiden wept o'er her last despair;
The hearth was cold, and the child was prest
A corpse to the murdered mother's breast;
And fear and guilt, and sorrow and shame,
Darkened wherever the war-fiend came.

It stood beneath a large old chesnut-tree,
And had stood there for years;—the moonlight fell
Over the white walls, which the vine had hung
With its thick leaves and purple fruit; a pair

Of pigeons, like the snow, were on the roof
Nestled together; and a plaining sound
Came from a fountain murmuring through the wood,
Less like the voice of sorrow than of love:
Tall trees were gathered round—the dark-green beech;
The sycamore, with scarlet colours on,
The herald of the autumn; dwarf rose-trees,
Covered with their last wealth; the poplar tall,
A silver spire; olives with their pale leaves;
And some most graceful shrubs, amid whose boughs
Were golden oranges; and hollow oaks,
Where the bees built their honey palaces.
It was a silent and a lovely place,
Where Peace might rest her white wings. But one came
From out the cottage,—not as one who comes
To gaze upon the beauty of the sky

And fill his spirit with a calm delight;
But with a quick though noiseless step, as one
Who fears the very echo of that step
May raise a spectre. When he reached the fount
He sat down by its side, and turned to gaze
Upon the cottage: from his brow the sweat
Poured down like summer rain; there came no sound
From his white lips, but you might hear his heart
Beating in the deep silence. But at length
A voice came to his sorrow:—"Never—never
"Shall I look on their face again! Farewell!
"I cannot bear that word's reproach, nor look
"On pale lips breathing blessings which the tears
"Belie in speaking! I have blighted all—
"All—all their hopes, and my own happiness!"

    "Leandro!" said a sweet and gentle voice;
And a soft hand prest on his throbbing brow,
And tears like twilight dew feel on his cheek.
He looked upon the maiden;—'twas the one
With whom his first pure love had dwelt,—the one
Who was the sun and starlight of his youth!
She stood beside him, lovely as a saint
Looking down pity upon penitence—
Perhaps less bright in colour and in eye
Than the companion of his infancy:—
But was that cheek less fair because he knew
That it had lost the beauty of its spring
With passionate sorrowing for him? She stood
One moment gazing on his face, as there
Her destiny was written; and then took
A little crucifix of ebony

And placed it in his bosom from her own:—
"And this, Leandro!—this shall be thy guide!
"Thy youth has been a dream of passion; guilt
"And even have been round thee:—go thy way!
"The showers of thy youth will clear to summer.
"My prayers be with thee!"—"Prayers!—oh! nothing more?
"Have I then lost thy love—thy precious love?
"The only green leaf of my heart is withered!"
She blushed a deep-red blush; her eloquent eyes
Met his almost reproachfully, and her face
Was the next moment hidden on his bosom.
But there was happiness even in that farewell,
Affection and deep confidence,
Tenderness, hope—for Love lights Hope,—and tears,
Delicious tears! the heart's own dew.

They parted.
Leandro kept that little cross like life:
And when beneath the sky of Mexico,—
When earth and even Heaven were strange to him,—
The trees, the flowers, were of another growth;
The birds wore other plumes; the very stars
Were not those he had looked upon in boyhood.

    'Tis something, if in absence we can see
The footsteps of the past:—it soothes the heart
To breathe the air scented in other years
By lips beloved; to wander through the groves
Where once we were not lonely,—where the rose
Reminds us of the hair we used to wreathe
With its fresh buds—where every hill and vale,

And wood and fountain, speak of time gone by;—
And Hope springs up in joy from Memory's ashes.

    Leandro felt not these:—that crucifix
Was all that wore the look of other days—
'Twas as a dear companion. Parents, home,
And, more than all, Bianca, whose pure reign,
Troubled by the wild passions of his youth,
Had now regained its former influence,—
All seemed to hear the vows he made for her,
To share his hopes, feel for his deep remorse,
And bless him, and look forward.

And at last
Once more the white sail bore him o'er the sea,
And he saw Spain again. But war was there—

And his road lay through ruined villages.
Though cold, the ashes still were red, for blood
Had quenched the flames; and aged men sat down
And would not leave the embers, for they said
They were too old to seek another home.
Leandro met with one whom he had known
In other days, and asked of his own valley:—
It yet was safe, unscathed by the war-storm.
He knelt down in deep thankfulness; and then,
Through death and danger, sought the grove once more.

    His way had been through a thick beechen wood;
The moon, athwart the boughs, had poured her light,
Like Hope, to guide him onwards.
One more turn and he should gaze upon his home!
He paused in his heart's overflowing bliss,

And thought how he should wake them from their dreams—
Perchance of him!—of his Bianca's blush!
He heard the music of the fountain come—
A sweet and welcome voice upon the wind—
He bounded on with the light steps of hope,
Of youth and happiness. He left the wood,
And looked upon—a heap of mingled blood
And blackened ashes wet upon the ground!

    He was awakened from his agony
By the low accents of a woman's voice;—
He looked, and knew Bianca. She was laid
Beside the fountain, while her long black hair
Hung like a veil down to her feet: her eyes,
So large, so dark, so wild, shone through the gloom,

Glaring like red insanity. She saw
Her lover, shrieked, and strove to fly—
But fell:—her naked feet were gashed with wounds.
"And have I met thee but to see thee die?"
Leandro cried as he laid the pale face
Upon his breast, and sobbed like a young child.
In vain he dashed the cold stream on her face,—
Still she lay like a corpse within his arms.
At length he thought him of a giant tree,
Whose hollow trunk, when children, they had oft
Called home in playfulness. He bore her there;
And of fresh flowers and the dry leaves he made
A bed for his pale love. She waked at last,
But not to consciousness: her wandering eyes
Fixed upon him, and yet she knew him not!—
Fever was on her lip and in her brain,

And as Leandro watched, his heart grew sick
To hear her rave of outrage, wrongs, and death;—
How they were wakened from their midnight sleep
By gleaming steel—curses—and flaming roof!
And then she groaned, and prayed herself to die!

    It was an evening when through the green leaves
Of the old chesnut shot the golden light
Of the rich sunset; into the fresh air
Leandro bore the maiden he had nurst
As the young mother nurses her sick child.
She laid her head upon his heart, and slept
Her first sweet quiet sleep: the evening-star
Gleamed through the purple twilight when she waked.
Her memory aroused not to the full—

Oh, that was mercy!—but she knew her love;
And over her pale face a calm smile shone,—
Fondly though faintly breathed and blest his name!
That night the moonlight shone upon Leandro,
And in his arms—a corpse!****

    He lived in one deep feeling—in revenge:
With men he mingled not but in the battle;—
His mingling there was deadly! When the Gaul
Was driven from the land which he had spoiled,
That dark chief sought Bianca's grave!—a cross
Marks the Guerilla and the Maiden's tomb!THE BAYADERE.


["The Bayadere" was taken from some faint recollection
of a tale I had either read or heard; and meeting with the word
"Bayadere" many years after recalled it to my memory as a
subject exquisitely poetical. I have been since told it was a
poem of Goëthe's. This poem has never been to my knowledge
translated; and, being ignorant of the German language, I am
unable to say whether the tale conforms to the original or not.]

There were seventy pillars around the hall,
Of wreathed gold was each capital,
And the roof was fretted with amber and gems,
Such as light kingly diadems;
The floor was marble, white as the snow
Ere its pureness is stained by its fall below:

In the midst played a fountain, whose starry showers
Fell like beams on the radiant flowers,
Whose colours were gleaming, as every one
Burnt with the kisses just caught from the sun;
And vases sent forth their silvery clouds,
Like those which the face of the young moon shrouds,
But sweet as the breath of the twilight hour
When the dew awakens the rose's power.
At the end of the hall was a sunbright throne,
Rich with every glorious stone;
And the purple canopy overhead
Was like the shade o'er the dayfall shed;
And the couch beneath was of buds half blown,
Hued with the blooms of the rainbow's zone;
And round, like festoons, a vine was rolled,
Whose leaf was of emerald, whose fruit was of gold.

But, though graced as for a festival,
There was something sad in that stately hall:
There floated the breath of the harp and flute,—
But the sweetest of every music is mute;
There are flowers of light and spiced perfume,—
But there wants the sweetest of breath and of bloom:
And the hall is lone, and the hall is drear,
For the smiling of woman shineth not here.
With urns of odour o'er him weeping,
Upon the couch a youth is sleeping:
His radiant hair is bound with stars,
    Such as shine on the brow of night,
Filling the dome with diamond rays,
    Only than his own curls less bright.
And such a brow and such an eye
As fit a young divinity;

A brow like twilight's darkening line,
An eye like morning's first sunshine,
Now glancing through the veil of dreams
As sudden light at daybreak streams.
And richer than the mingled shade
By gem, and gold, and purple made,
His orient wings closed o'er his head;
    Like that bird's, bright with every dye,
Whose home, as Persian bards have said,
    Is fixed in scented Araby.
Some dream is passing o'er him now—
A sudden flush is on his brow;
And from his lip come murmured words,
Low, but sweet as the light lute chords
When o'er its strings the night-winds glide
To woo the roses by its side.

He, the fair boy-god, whose nest
Is in the water-lily's breast;
He of the many-arrowed bow,
Of the joys that come and go
Like the leaves, and of the sighs
Like the winds of summer skies,
Blushes like the birds of spring,
Soon seen and soon vanishing;
He of hopes, and he of fears,
He of smiles, and he of tears—
Young Camdeo, he has brought
A sweet dream of coloured thought,
One of love and woman's power,
To Mandalla's sleeping hour.

    Joyless and dark was his jewelled throne
When Mandalla awakened and found him alone.

He drank the perfume that around him swept,
'Twas not sweet as the sigh he drank as he slept;
There was music, but where was the voice, at whose thrill
Every pulse in his veins was throbbing still?
And dim was the home of his native star
While the light of woman and love was afar;
And lips of the rosebud, and violet eyes
Are the sunniest flowers in Paradise.
He veiled the light of his glorious race
In a mortal's form and a mortal's face,
And 'mid earth's loveliest sought for one
Who might dwell in his hall and share in his throne.

    The loorie brought to his cinnamon nest.
The bee from the midst of its honey quest,

And open the leaves of the lotus lay
To welcome the noon of the summer day.
It was glory and light and beauty all,
When Mandalla closed his wing in Bengal.
He stood in the midst of a stately square,
As the waves of the sea rolled the thousands there;
Their gathering was round the gorgeous car
Where sat in his triumph the Subadar,
For his sabre was red with the blood of the slain,
And his proudest foes were slaves in his chain;
And the sound of the trumpet, the sound of his name,
Rose in shouts from the crowd as onwards he came.
With gems and gold on each ataghan,
A thousand warriors led the van,
Mounted on steeds black as the night,
But with foam and with stirrup gleaming in light;

And another thousand came in their rear,
On white horses, armed with bow and spear,
With quivers of gold on each shoulder laid,
And with crimson belt for each crooked blade.
Then followed the foot ranks,—their turbans showed
Like flashes of light from a mountain cloud,
For white were the turbans as winter snow,
And death-black the foreheads that darkened below;
Scarlet and white was each soldier's vest,
And each bore a lion of gold on his breast,
For this was the chosen band that bore
The lion standard,—it floated o'er
Their ranks like morning; at every wave
Of that purple banner, the trumpets gave
A martial salute to the radiant fold
That bore the lion-king wrought in gold.

And last the elephant came, whose tower
Held the lord of this pomp and power:
And round that chariot of his pride,
    Like chains of white sea-pearls,
Of braids enwove of summer flowers,
    Glided fair dancing girls;
And as the rose-leaves fall to earth,
    Their light feet touched the ground,—
But for the zone of silver bells
    You had not heard a sound,
As, scattering flowers o'er the way,
Whirled round the beautiful array.
But there was one who 'mid them shone
A planet lovely and alone,
A rose, one flower amid many,
But still the loveliest of any:

Though fair her arm as the moonlight,
Others might raise an arm as white;
Though light her feet as Music's fall,
Others might be as musical;
But where were such dark eyes as hers?
    So tender, yet withal so bright,
As the dark orbs had in their smile
    Mingled the light of day and night.
And where was the wild grace which shed
A loveliness o'er every tread,
A beauty shining through the whole,
Something which spoke of heart and soul.
The Almas had pass'd lightly on,
The armed ranks, the crowd, were gone,
Yet gazed Mandalla on the square
As she he sought still glided there,—

Oh that fond look, whose eyeballs’ strain,
And will not know its look is vain!
At length he turned,—his silent mood
Sought that impassioned solitude,
The Eden of young hearts, when first
Love in its loneliness is nurst.
He sat him by a little fount;
    A tulip-tree grew by its side,
A lily with its silver towers
    Floated in silence on the tide;
And far round a banana tree
Extended its green sanctuary;
And the long grass, which was his seat,
With every movement grew more sweet,
Yielding a more voluptuous scent
At every blade his pressure bent.

And there he lingered, till the sky
Lost somewhat of its brilliancy,
And crimson shadows rolled on the west,
And raised the moon her diamond crest,
And came a freshness on the trees,
Harbinger of the evening breeze,
When a sweet far sound of song,
Borne by the breath of flowers along,
A mingling of the voice and lute,
    Such as the wind-harp, when it makes
Its pleasant music to the gale
    Which kisses first the chords it breaks.
He followed where the echo led,
    Till in a cypress grove he found
A funeral train, that round a grave
    Poured forth their sorrows' wailing sound;

And by the tomb a choir of girls,
    With measured steps and mournful notes,
And snow-white robes, while on the air,
    Unbound their wreaths, each dark curl floats,
Paced round and sang to her who slept
Calm, while their young eyes o'er her wept.
And she, that loveliest one, is here,
The morning's radiant Bayadere:
A darker light in her dark eyes,—
    For tears are there,—a paler brow
Changed but to charm the morning's smile,
    Less sparkling, but more touching now.
And first her sweet lip prest the flute,
    A nightingale waked by the rose,
And when that honey breath was mute,
    Was heard her low song's plaintive close,

Wailing for the young blossom's fall,
The last, the most beloved of all.
As died in gushing tears the lay,
The band of mourners pass'd away:
They left their wreaths upon the tomb,
As fading leaves and long perfume
Of her were emblems; and unbound
Many a cage's gilded round,
And set the prisoners free, as none
Were left to love now she was gone.
And azure wings spread on the air,
    And songs, rejoicing songs, were heard;
But, pining as forgotten now,
    Lingered one solitary bird:
A beautiful and pearl-white dove,
Alone in its remembering love.

It was a strange and lovely thing
To mark the drooping of its wing,
And how into the grave it prest
Till soiled the dark earth-stain its breast;
And darker as the night-shades grew,
Sadder became its wailing coo,
As if it missed the hand that bore,
As the cool twilight came, its store
Of seeds and flowers.—There was one,
Who like that dove, was lingering lone,—
The Bayadere: her part had been
    Only the hired mourner's part;
But she had given what none might buy,—
    The precious sorrow of the heart.
She wooed the white dove to her breast,
It sought at once its place of rest:

Round it she threw her raven hair,—
It seemed to love the gentle snare,
And its soft beak was raised to sip
The honey-dew of her red lip.
Her dark eyes filled with tears, to feel
The gentle creature closer steal
Into her heart with soft caress,
As it would thank her tenderness;
To her 't was strange and sweet to be
Beloved in such fond purity,
And sighed Mandalla to think that sin
Could dwell so fair a shrine within.
"Oh grief to think that she was one
"Who like the breeze was wooed and won!
"Yet sure it were a task for love
"To come like dew of the night from above

"Upon her heart, and wash away,
"Like dust from the flowers, its stain of clay,
"And win her back in her tears to heaven,
"Pure, loved, and humble, and forgiven:
"Yes! freed from the soil of her earthly thrall,
"Her smile shall light up my starry hall!"

    The moonlight is on a little bower,
With wall and with roof of leaf and of flower,
Built of that green and holy tree
Which heeds not how rude the storm may be.
Like a bridal canopy overhead
The jasmines their slender wreathings spread,
One with stars as ivory white,
The other with clusters of amber light;

Rose-trees four grew by the wall,
Beautiful each, but different all:
One with that pure but crimson flush
That marks the maiden's first love blush;
By its side grew another one,
Pale as the snow of the funeral stone;
The next was rich with the damask dye
Of a monarch's purple drapery;
And the last had leaves like those leaves of gold
Worked on that drapery's royal fold.
Three or four vases, with blossoms filled,
Like censers of incense, their fragrance distilled;
Lilies, heaped like the pearls of the sea,
Peeped from their large leaves' security;
Hyacinths with their graceful bells,
Where the spirit of odour dwells

Like the spirit of music in ocean shells;
And tulips, with every colour that shines
In the radiant gems of Serendib's mines:
One tulip was found in every wreath,
That one most scorched by the summer's breath,
Whose passionate leaves with their ruby glow
Hide the heart that lies burning and black below.
And there, beneath the flowered shade
By a pink acacia made,
Mandalla lay, and by his side,
With eye and breath and blush that vied
With the star and with the flower
In their own and loveliest hour,
Was that fair Bayadere, the dove
    Yet nestling in her long black hair:

She has now more than that to love,
    And the loved one sat by her there.
And by the sweet acacia porch
    They drank the softness of the breeze.—
Oh more than lovely are love's dreams,
    'Mid lights and blooms and airs like these!
And sometimes she would leave his side,
And like a spirit round him glide:
A light shawl wreathed now round her brow,
Now waving from her hand of snow,
Now zoned around her graceful waist,
And now like fetters round her placed;
And then, flung suddenly aside,
Her many curls, instead, unbound,
Waved in fantastic braids, till loosed,
Her long dark tresses swept the ground;

Then, changing from the soft slow step,
    Her white feet bounded on the wind
Like gleaming silver, and her hair
    Like a dark banner swept behind;
Or with her sweet voice, sweet like a bird's
    When it pours forth its first song in spring,
The one like an echo to the other,
    She answered the sigh of her soft lute-string,
And with eyes that darkened in gentlest tears,
    Like the dewy light in the dark-eyed dove,
Would she sing those sorrowing songs that breathe
    Some history of unhappy love.
"Yes, thou art mine!" Mandalla said,—
    "I have lighted up love in thy youthful heart;
"I taught thee its tenderness, now I must teach
    "Its faith, its grief, and its gloomier part;

"And then, from thy earth-stains purified,
"In my star and my hall shalt thou reign my bride."

    It was an evening soft and fair,
As surely those in Eden are,
When, bearing spoils of leaf and flower,
Entered the Bayadere her bower;
Her love lay sleeping, as she thought,
And playfully a bunch she caught
Of azure hyacinth bells, and o'er
    His face she let the blossoms fall:
"Why I am jealous of thy dreams,
    "Awaken at thy Aza's call."
No answer came from him whose tone
Had been the echo of her own.

She spoke again,—no words came forth;
    She clasped his hand,—she raised his head,—
One wild loud scream, she sank beside,
    As pale, as cold, almost as dead!

    By the Ganges raised, for the morning sun
To shed his earliest beams upon,
Is a funeral pile,—around it stand
Priests and the hired mourners' band.
But who is she that so wildly prays
To share the couch and light the blaze?
Mandalla's love, while scornful eye
And chilling jeers mock her agony:
An Alma girl! oh shame, deep shame,
To Brahma's race and Brahma's name!

Unmarked, unpitied, she turned aside,
For a moment her bursting tears to hide.
None thought of the Bayadere, till the fire
Blazed redly and fiercely the funeral pyre;
Then like a thought she darted by,
And sprang on the burning pile to die!

    "Now thou art mine! away, away
"To my own bright Star, to my home of Day,"
A dear voice sighed, as he bore her along
Gently as spring breezes bear the song,
"Thy love and thy faith have won for thee
"The breath of immortality.
"Maid of earth, Mandalla is free to call
"Aza the queen of his heart and hall!"



These are familiar things, and yet how few
Think of this misery!—

I left the crowded street and the fresh day,
And entered the dark dwelling, where Death was
A daily visitant,—where sickness shed
Its weary languor o'er each fevered couch.
There was a sickly light, whose glimmer showed
Many a shape of misery: there lay

The victims of disease, writhing with pain;
And low faint groans, and breathings short and deep,
Each gasp a heartfelt agony, were all
That broke the stillness.—There was one, whose brow
Dark with hot climates, and gashed o'er with scars,
Told of the toiling march, the battle-rush,
Where sabres flashed, the red shots flew, and not
One ball or blow but did destruction's work:
But then his heart was high, and his pulse beat
Proudly and fearlessly:—now he was worn
With many a long day's suffering,—and death's
A fearful thing when we must count its steps!
And this was, then, the end of those sweet dreams
Of home, of happiness, of quiet years
Spent in the little valley which had been
So long his land of promise? Farewell all

Gentle remembrances and cherished hopes!
His race was run, but its goal was the grave.—
I looked upon another, wasted, pale,
With eyes all heavy in the sleep of death;
Yet she was lovely still,—the cold damps hung
Upon a brow like marble, and her eyes,
Though dim, had yet their beautiful blue tinge.
Neglected as it was, her long fair hair
Was like the plumage of the dove, and spread
Its waving curls like gold upon her pillow.
Her face was a sweet ruin. She had loved,
Trusted, and been betrayed! In other days,
Had but her cheek looked pale, how tenderly
Fond hearts had watched it! They were far away,—
She was a stranger in her loneliness,
And sinking to the grave of that worst ill,

A broken heart.—And there was one whose cheek
Was flushed with fever—'twas a face that seemed
Familiar to my memory,—'twas one
Whom I had loved in youth. In days long past,
How many glorious structures we had raised
Upon Hope's sandy basis! Genius gave
To him its golden treasures: he could pour
His own impassioned soul upon the lyre;
Or, with a painter's skill, create such shapes
Of loveliness, they were more like the hues
Of the rich evening shadows, than the work
Of human touch. But he was wayward, wild;
And hopes that in his heart's warm summer clime
Flourished, were quickly withered in the cold
And dull realities of life;...he was
Too proud, too visionary for this world,

And feelings which, like waters unconfined,
Had carried with them freshness and green beauty,
Thrown back upon themselves, spread desolation
On their own banks. He was a sacrifice,
And sank beneath neglect; his glowing thoughts
Were fires that preyed upon himself. Perhaps,
For he has left some high memorials, Fame
Will pour its sunlight o'er the picture, when
The artist's hand is mouldering in the dust,
And fling the laurel o'er a harp, whose chords
Are dumb for ever. But his eyes he raised
Mutely to mine—he knew my voice again,
And every vision of his boyhood rushed
Over his soul; his lip was deadly pale,
But pride was yet upon its haughty curve;..
He raised one hand contemptuously, and seemed

As he would bid me mark his fallen state,
And that it was unheeded. So he died
Without one struggle, and his brow in death
Wore its pale marble look of cold defiance.


Alas, for the bright promise of our youth!
How soon the golden chords of hope are broken,
How soon we find that dreams we trusted most
Are very shadows!

‘Twas a sweet summer morn,—the lark had just
Sprung from the clover bower around her nest,
And poured her blithe song to the clouds; the sun
Shed his first crimson o'er the dark grey walls
Of the old church, and stained the sparkling panes
Of ivy-covered windows. The damp grass,
That waved in wild luxuriance round the graves,

Was white with dew, but early steps had been
And left a fresh green trace round yonder tomb:
'Twas a plain stone, but graven with a name
That many stopped to read—a Soldier's name—
And two were kneeling by it, one who had
Been weeping; she was widow to the brave,
Upon whose quiet bed her tears were falling.
From off her cheek the rose of youth had fled,
But beauty still was there, that softened grief,
Whose bitterness is gone, but which was felt
Too deeply for forgetfulness; her look,
Fraught with high feelings and intelligence,
And such as might beseem the Roman dame
Whose children died for liberty, was made
More soft and touching by the patient smile
Which piety had given the unearthly brow,

Which Guido draws when he would form a saint
Whose hopes are fixed on Heaven, but who has yet
Some earthly feelings binding them to life.
Her arm was leant upon a graceful youth,
The hope, the comfort of her widowhood;
He was departing from her, and she led
The youthful soldier to his father's tomb—
As in the visible presence of the dead
She gave her farewell blessing; and her voice
Lost its so tremulous accents as she bade
Her child tread in that father's steps, and told
How brave, how honoured he had been. But when
She did entreat him to remember all
Her hopes were centered in him, that he was
The stay of her declining years, that he
Might be the happiness of her old age,

Or bring her down with sorrow to the grave,
Her words grew inarticulate, and sobs
Alone found utterance; and he whose cheek
Was flushed with eagerness, whose ardent eye
Gave animated promise of the fame
That would be his, whose ear already rang
With the loud trumpet's war song, felt these dreams
Fade for a moment, and almost renounced
The fields he panted for, since they must cost
Such tears as these. The churchyard left, they pass'd
Down by a hawthorn hedge, where the sweet May
Had showered its white luxuriance, intermixed
With crimson clusters of the wilding rose,
And linked with honeysuckle. O'er the path

Many an ancient oak and stately elm
Spread its green canopy. How Edward's eye
Lingered on each familiar sight, as if
Even to things inanimate he would bid
A last farewell! They reached the cottage-gate;
His horse stood ready; many, too, were there,
Who came to say Good-by, and kindly wish
To the young soldier health and happiness.
It is a sweet, albeit most painful, feeling
To know we are regretted. "Farewell" said
And oft repeated, one last wild embrace
Given to his pale mother, who stood there,
Her cold hands prest upon a brow as cold,
In all the bursting heart's full agony—
One last last kiss—he sprang upon his horse,

And urged his utmost speed with spur and rein.
He is past...out of sight....

    The muffled drum is rolling, and the low
Notes of the death-march float upon the wind,
And stately steps are pacing round that square
With slow and measured tread; but every brow
Is darkened with emotion, and stern eyes,
That looked unshrinking on the face of death,
When met in battle, are now moist with tears.
The silent ring is formed, and in the midst
Stands the Deserter! Can this be the same,
The young, the gallant Edward? and are these
The laurels promised in his early dreams?
Those fettered hands, this doom of open shame!

Alas, for young and passionate spirits! Soon
False lights will dazzle. He had madly joined
The rebel banner! Oh 'twas pride to link
His fate with Erin's patriot few, to fight
For liberty or the grave! But he was now
A prisoner; yet there he stood, as firm
As though his feet were not upon the tomb:
His cheek was pale as marble, and as cold;
But his lip trembled not, and his dark eyes
Glanced proudly round. But when they bared his breast
For the death-shot, and took a portrait thence,
He clenched his hands, and gasped, and one deep sob
Of agony burst from him; and he hid
His face awhile—his mother's look was there.
He could not steel his soul when he recalled

The bitterness of her despair. It passed—
That moment of wild anguish; he knelt down;
That sunbeam shed its glory over one,
Young, proud, and brave, nerved in deep energy;
The next fell over cold and bloody clay....

    There is a deep-voiced sound from yonder vale
Which ill accords with the sweet music made
By the light birds nestling by those green elms,
And a strange contrast to the blossomed thorns.
Dark plumes are waving, and a silent hearse
Is winding through that lane. They told it bore
A widow, who died of a broken heart:
Her child, her soul's last treasure,—he had been
Shot for desertion!


"There is no home like the home of our infancy, no remembrances like those of our youth; the old trees whose topmost boughs we have climbed, the hedge containing that prize a bird's nest, the fairy tale we heard by the fireside, are things of deep and serious interest in maturity. The heart, crushed or hardened by its intercourse with the world, turns with affectionate delight to its early dreams. How I pity those whose childhood has been unhappy! to them one of the sweetest springs of feeling has been utterly denied, the most green and beautiful part of life laid waste. But to those whose spring has been what spring should ever be, fresh, buoyant, and gladsome, whose cup has not been poisoned at the first draught, how delicious is recollection! they truly know the pleasures of memory."

There is not
A valley of more quiet happiness,
Bosomed in greener trees, or with a river
Clearer than thine, Gladesmuir! there are huge hills

Like barriers by thy side, where the tall pine
Stands stately as a warrior in his prime,
Mixed with low gnarled oaks, whose yellow leaves
Are bound with ruby tendrils, emerald shoots,
And the wild blossoms of the honeysuckle;
And even more impervious grows the brier,
Covered with thorns and roses, mingled like
Pleasures and pains, but shedding richly forth
Its fragrance on the air; and by its side
The wilding broom as sweet, which gracefully
Flings its long tresses like a maiden's hair
Waving in yellow beauty. The red deer
Crouches in safety in its secret lair;
The sapphire, bird's-eye, and blue violets
Mix with white daisies in the grass beneath;
And in the boughs above the woodlark builds,

And makes sweet music to the morning; while
All day the stock-dove's melancholy notes
Wail plaintively—the only sounds beside
The hum of the wild bees around some trunk
Of an old moss-clad oak, in which is reared
Their honey palace. Where the forest ends,
Stretched a wide brown heath, till the blue sky
Becomes its boundary; there the only growth
Are straggling thickets of the white-flowered thorn
And yellow furze: beyond are the grass-fields,
And of yet fresher verdure the young wheat;—
These border round the village. The bright river
Bounds like an arrow by, buoyant as youth
Rejoicing in its strength. On the left side,
Half hidden by the aged trees that time
Has spared as honouring their sanctity,

The old grey church is seen: its mossy walls
And ivy-covered windows tell how long
It has been sacred. There is a lone path
Winding beside yon hill: no neighb'ring height
Commands so wide a view; the ancient spire,
The cottages, their gardens, and the heath,
Spread far beyond, are in the prospect seen
By glimpses as the greenwood screen gives way.
One is now tracing it, who gazes round
As each look were his last. The anxious gasp
That drinks the air as every breath brought health;
The hurried step, yet lingering at times,
As fearful all it felt were but a dream—
How much they tell of deep and inward feeling!
That stranger is worn down with toil and pain,
His sinewy frame is wasted, and his brow

Is darkened with long suffering; yet he is
Oh more than happy!—he has reached his home,
And Ronald is a wanderer no more.
How often in that fair romantic land
Where he had been a soldier, he had turned
From the rich groves of Spain, to think upon
The oak and pine; turned from the spicy air,
To sicken for his own fresh mountain-breeze;
And loved the night, for then familiar things,
The moon and stars, were visible, and looked
As they had always done, and shed sweet tears
To think that he might see them shine again
Over his own Gladesmuir! That silver moon,
In all her perfect beauty, is now rising;
The purple billows of the west have yet
A shadowy glory; all beside is calm,

And tender and serene—a quiet light,
Which suited well the melancholy joy
Of Ronald's heart. As every step the light
Played o'er some old remembrance; now the ray
Dimpled the crystal river; now the church
Had all its windows glittering from beneath
The curtaining ivy. Near and more near he drew—
His heart beat quick, for the next step will be
Upon his father's threshold! But he paused—
He heard a sweet and sacred sound—they joined
In the accustomed psalm, and then they said
The words of God, and, last of all, a prayer
More solemn and more touching. He could hear
Low sobs as it was uttered. They did pray
His safety, his return, his happiness;
And ere they ended he was in their arms!

The wind rose up, and o'er the calm blue sky
The tempest gathered, and the heavy rain
Beat on the casement; but they press'd them round
The blazing hearth, and sat while Ronald spoke
Of the fierce battle; and all answered him
With wonder, and with telling how they wept
During his absence, how they numbered o'er
The days for his return. Thrice hallowed shrine
Of the heart's intercourse, our own fireside!
I do remember in my early youth
I parted from its circle; how I pined
With happy recollections—they to me
Were sickness and deep sorrow; how I thought
Of the strange tale, the laugh, the gentle smile
Breathing of love, that wiled the night away
The hour of absence past, I was again

With those who loved me. What a beauty dwelt
In each accustomed face! what music hung
On each familiar voice! We circled in
Our meeting ring of happiness. If e'er
This life has bliss, I knew and felt it then!
    But there was one Ronald remembered not,
Yet 'twas a creature beautiful as Hope,
With eyes blue as the harebell when the dew
Sparkles upon its azure leaves; a cheek
Fresh as a mountain-rose, but delicate
As rainbow colours, and as changeful too.
"The orphan Ellen, have you then forgot
"Your laughing playmate?" Ronald would have clasp'd
The maiden to his heart, but she shrank back:

A crimson blush and tearful lids belied
Her light tone, as she bade him not forget
So soon his former friends. But the next morn
Were other tears than those sweet ones that come