; C 2
A . IxrC
BY FELICIA HEMANS,
AUTHOR OP THE RESTORATION OF THIS WORKS OF ART TO ITALY,
MODERN GREECE, &C. &C.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE-STREET.
rRINTKD BY THOMAS BAVISON, WHIXEFBIARS.
THE WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS 1
Part II. ..... 21
Notes . . . . . . 41
THEABENCERRAGE . . . .51
Canto II. ..... 83
Canto HI. ..... 109
Notes . . . . .143
THE LAST BANQUET OF ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA 157
Notes ...... 169
ALARIC IN ITALY . . 171
Notes . . . . . . . 187
THE WIFE OF ASDRUBAL . 189
HELIODORUS IN THE TEMPLE . . 197
NIGHT SCENE IN GENOA ... 307
THE TROUBADOUR, AND RICHARD COJIUR DE LION 223
Notes ...... 235
THE DEATH OF CONRADIN . . .237
Notes ...... 253
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
" L'orage peut briser en un moment Ies fleurs qui tiennent
encore la tete levee."
Mad. de Staei,.
In the reign of Otho III., Emperor of Germany,
the Romans, excited by their Consul, Cres-
centius, who ardently desired to restore the
ancient glory of the republic, made a bold at-
tempt to shake off the Saxon yoke, and the
authority of the Popes, whose vices rendered
them objects of universal contempt. The Con-
sul was besieged by Otho in the Mole of Ha-
drian, which, long afterwards, continued to be
called the Tower of Crescentius. Otho, after
many unavailing attacks upon this fortress, at
last entered into negotiations ; and pledging
his imperial word to respect the life of Cres-
centius, and the rights of the Roman citizens,
the unfortunate leader was betrayed into his
power, and immediately beheaded with many
of his partisans. Stephania, his widow, con-
cealing her affliction and her resentment for the
insults to which she had been exposed, secretly-
resolved to revenge her husband and herself.
On the return of Otho from a pilgrimage to
Mount Gargano, which, perhaps, a feeling of
remorse had induced him to undertake, she
found means to be introduced to him, and to
gain his confidence, and a poison administered
by her was soon afterwards the cause of his
painful death." See Sismondi, History of the
Italian Republics, vol. i.
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
MIDST Tivoli's luxuriant glades,
Bright-foaming falls, and olive shades,
Where dwelt, in days departed long,
The sons of battle and of song,
No tree, no shrub its foliage rears,
But o'er the wrecks of other years,
Temples and domes, which long have been
The soil of that enchanted scene.
There the wild fig-tree and the vine
O'er Hadrian's mouldering villa twine 5 l
The cypress, in funereal grace,
Usurps the vanish'd column's place ;
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
O'er fallen shrine, and ruin'd frieze,
The wall-flower rustles in the breeze ',
Acanthus-leaves the marble hide,
They once adorn" d, in sculptured pride,
And nature hath resumed her throne
O'er the vast works of ages flown.
Was it for this that many a pile,
Pride of Ilissus and of Nile,
To Anio's banks the image lent
Of each imperial monument ? 2
Now Athens weeps her shatter'd fanes,
Thy temples, Egypt, strew thy plains ;
And the proud fabrics Hadrian rear'd,
From Tibur's vale have disappear'd.
We need no prescient sybil there
The doom of grandeur to declare ;
Each stone, where weeds and ivy climb,
Reveals some oracle of Time ;
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
Each relic utters Fate's decree,
The future as the past shall be.
Halls of the dead ! in Tibur's vale,
Who now shall tell your lofty tale ?
Who trace the high patrician's dome,
The bard's retreat, the hero's home !
When moss-clad wrecks alone record
There dwelt the world's departed lord !
In scenes where verdure's rich array
Still sheds young beauty o'er decay,
And sunshine on each glowing hill,
Midst ruins finds a dwelling still.
Sunk is thy palace, but thy tomb,
Hadrian ! hath shared a prouder doom, 3
Though vanish'd with the days of old
Its pillars of Corinthian mould ;
And the fair forms by sculpture wrought,
Each bodying some immortal thought,
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
Which o'er that temple of the dead,
Serene, but solemn beauty shed,
Have found, like glory's self, a grave
In time's abyss, or Tiber's wave : 4
Yet dreams more lofty, and more fair,
Than art's bold hand hath imaged e'er,
High thoughts of many a mighty mind,
Expanding when all else declined,
In twilight years, when only they
Recalled the radiance passed away,
Have made that ancient pile their home,
Fortress of freedom and of Rome.
There he, who strove in evil days,
Again to kindle glory's rays,
Whose spirit sought a path of light,
For those dim ages far too bright,
Crescentius, long maintain'd the strife,
Which closed but with its martyr's life,
WIDOW OF CltESCENTIUS.
And left th' imperial tomb a name,
A heritage of holier fame.
There closed De Brescia's mission high,
From thence the patriot came to die ; b
And thou, whose Roman soul the last,
Spoke with the voice of ages past, 6
Whose thoughts so long from earth had fled,
To mingle with the glorious dead,
That midst the world's degenerate race
They vainly sought a dwelling-place,
Within that house of death didst brood
O'er visions to thy ruin woo'd.
Yet, worthy of a brighter lot,
Rienzi ! be thy faults forgot !
For thou, when all around thee lay
Chain'd in the slumbers of decay j
So sunk each heart, that mortal eye
Had scarce a tear for liberty ;
Alone, amidst the darkness there,
Couldst gaze on Rome yet not despair ! 7
10 WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
'Tis morn, and Nature's richest dyes
Are floating o'er Italian skies ;
Tints of transparent lustre shine
Along the snow-clad Apennine ;
The clouds have left Soracte's height,
And yellow Tiber winds in light,
Where tombs and fallen fanes have strew'd
The wide Campagna's solitude.
'Tis sad amidst that scene to trace
Those relics of a vanish'd race ;
Yet o'er the ravaged path of time,
Such glory sheds that brilliant clime,
Where nature still, though empires fall,
Holds her triumphant festival j
E'en Desolation wears a smile,
Where skies and sunbeams laugh the while ;
And Heaven's own light, Earth's richest bloom,
Array the ruin and the tomb.
WIDOW OF CltESCENTIUS. 11
But she., who from yon convent tower
Breathes the pure freshness of the hour ;
She, whose rich flow of raven hair
Streams wildly on the morning air ;
Heeds not how fair the scene below,
Robed in Italia' s brightest glow.
Though throned midst Latium's classic plains,
Th' Eternal City's towers and fanes,
And they, the Pleiades of earth,
The seven proud hills of Empire's birth,
Lie spread beneath : not now her glance
Roves o'er that vast sublime expanse ;
Inspired, and bright with hope, 'tis thrown
On Adrian's massy tomb alone ;
There, from the storm, when Freedom fled,
His faithful few Crescentius led ;
While she, his anxious bride, who now
Bends o'er the scene her youthful brow,
Sought refuge in the hallow'd fane,
Which then could shelter, not in vain.
12 WIDOW OF CilESCENTIUS.
But now the lofty strife is o'er,
And Liberty shall weep no more.
At length imperial Otho's voice
Bids her devoted sons rejoice ;
And he, who battled to restore
The glories and the rights of yore,
Whose accents, like the clarion's sound,
Could burst the dead repose around,
Again his native Rome shall see,
The sceptred city of the free !
And young Stephania waits the hour
When leaves her lord his fortress-tower,
Her ardent heart with joy elate,
That seems beyond the reach of fate ;
Her mien, like creature from above,
All vivified with hope and love.
Fair is her form, and in her eye
Lives all the soul of Italy !
WIDOW OF CRESCENT1US. 13
A meaning lofty and inspired,
As by her native day-star fired ;
Such wild and high expression, fraught
With glances of impassion'd thought,
As fancy sheds in visions bright,
O'er priestess of the God of Light !
And the dark locks that lend her face
A youthful and luxuriant grace,
Wave o'er a cheek, whose kindling dyes
Seem from the fire within to rise ;
But deepen'd by the burning heaven
To her own land of sunbeams given.
Italian art that fervid glow
Would o'er ideal beauty throw,
And with such ardent life express
Her high- wrought dreams of loveliness ;
Dreams which, surviving Empire's fall,
The shade of glory still recal.
14 WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
But see, the banner of the brave
O'er Adrian's tomb hath ceased to wave.
Tis lower' d and now Stephania's eye
Can well the martial train descry,
Who, issuing from that ancient dome,
Pour through the crowded streets of Rome.
Now from her watch-tower On the height,
With step as fabled wood-nymph's light,
She flies and swift her way pursues,
Through the lone convent's avenues.
Dark cypress groves, and fields o'erspread
With records of the conquering dead,
And paths which track a glowing waste,
She traverses in breathless haste ;
And by the tombs where dust is shrined,
Once tenanted by loftiest mind,
Still passing on, hath reach'd the gate
Of Rome, the proud, the desolate !
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 15
Throng' d are the streets, and, still renew' d,
Rush on the gathering multitude.
Is it their high-soul'd chief to greet
That thus the Roman thousands meet ?
With names that bid their thoughts ascend,
Crescentius, thine in song to blend ;
And of triumphal days gone by
Recall th' inspiring pageantry i
There is an air of breathless dread,
An eager glance, a hurrying tread ;
And now a fearful silence round,
And now a fitful murmuring sound,
Midst the pale crowds, that almost seem
Phantoms of some tumultuous dream.
Quick is each step, and wild each mien,
Portentous of some awful scene.
Bride of Crescentius ! as the throng
Bore thee with whelming force along,
16 WIDOW OF CRESCENT1US.
How did thine anxious heart beat high,
Till rose suspense to agony!
Too brief suspense, that soon shall close,
And leave thy heart to deeper woes.
Who midst yon guarded precinct stands,
With fearless mien, but fetter'd hands i
The ministers of death are nigh,
Yet a calm grandeur lights his eye ;
And in his glance there lives a mind,
Which was not form'd for chains to bind,
But cast in such heroic mould
As theirs, th' ascendant ones of old.
Crescentius ! freedom's daring son,
Is this the guerdon thou hast won ?
O worthy to have lived and died
In the bright days of Latium's pride !
Thus must the beam of glory close
O'er the seven hills again that rose,
Widow of crescentius. 17
When at thy voice, to burst the yoke,
The soul of Rome indignant woke ?
Vain dream ! the sacred shields are gone, 8
Sunk is the crowning city's throne : 9
Th' illusions, that around her cast
Their guardian spells, have long been past . 1o
Thy life hath been a shot-star's ray.
Shed o'er her midnight of decay ;
Thy death at freedom's ruin'd shrirte
Must rivet every chain but thine.
Calm is his aspect, and his eye
Now fix'd upon the deep-blue sky,
Now on those wrecks of ages fled,
Around in desolation spread ;
Arch, temple, column, worn and grey,
Recording triumphs pass'd away j
Works of the mighty and the free,
Whose steps on earth no more shall be,
18 WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
Though their bright course hath left a trace
Nor years nor sorrows can efface.
Why changes now the patriot's mien,
Erewhile so loftily serene ?
Thus can approaching death control
The might of that commanding soul ?
No ! Heard ye not that thrilling cry
Which told of bitterest agony ?
He heard it, and, at once subdued,
Hath sunk the hero's fortitude.
He heard it, and his heart too well
Whence rose that voice of woe can tell ;
And midst the gazing throngs around
One well-known form his glance hath found ;
One fondly loving and beloved,
In grief, in peril, faithful proved.
Yes, in the wildness of despair,
She, his devoted bride, is there.
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 19
Pale, breathless, through the crowd she flies,
The light of frenzy in her eyes :
But ere her arms can clasp the form,
Which life ere long must cease to warm 5
Ere on his agonizing breast
Her heart can heave, her head can rest ;
Check'd in her course by ruthless hands,
Mute, motionless, at once she stands ;
With bloodless cheek and vacant glance,
Frozen and fix'd in horror's trance ;
Spell-bound, as every sense were fled,
And thought o'erwhelm'd, and feeling dead.
And the light waving of her hair,
And veil, far floating on the air,
Alone, in that dread moment, show
She is no sculptured form of woe.
The scene of grief and death is o'er,
The patriot's heart shall throb no more :
20 WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
But hers so vainly form'd to prove
The pure devotedness of love,
And draw from fond affection's eye
All thought sublime, all feeling high ;
When consciousness again shall wake,
Hath now no refuge but to break.
The spirit long inured to pain
May smile at fate in calm disdain ;
Survive its darkest hour, and rise
In more majestic energies.
But in the glow of vernal pride,
If each warm hope at once hath died,
Then sinks the mind, a blighted flower,
Dead to the sunbeam and the shower ;
A broken gem, whose inborn light
Is scatter'd ne'er to re-unite.
Hast thou a scene that is not spread
With records of thy glory fled ?
A monument that doth not tell
The tale of liberty's farewell ?
Italia ! thou art but a grave
Where flowers luxuriate o'er the brave,
And nature gives her treasures birth
O'er all that hath been great on earth.
Yet smile thy heavens as once they smiled,
When thou wert freedom's favour'd child :
Tho' fane and tomb alike are low,
Time hath not dimm'd thy sunbeam's glow ;
And robed in that exulting ray,
Thou seem'st to triumph o'er decay ;
22 WIDOW OF CRESCENT1US.
O yet, though by thy sorrows bent,
In nature's pomp magnificent;
What marvel if, when all was lost,
Still on thy bright, enchanted coast,
Though many an omen warn'd him then'ce,
Linger'd the lord of eloquence ? H
Still gazing on the lovely sky,
Whose radiance woo'd him but to die :
Like him xvho would not linger there,
Where heaven, earth, ocean, all are fair ?
Who midst thy glowing scenes could dwell,
Nor bid awhile his griefs farewell ?
Hath not thy pure and genial air
Balm for all sadness but despair ? la
No ! there are pangs, whose deep-worn trace
Not all thy magic can efface !
Hearts, by unkindness wrung, may learn
The world and all its gifts to spurn ;
Time may steal on with silent tread,
And dry the tear that mourns the dead ;'
WIDOW OF CKESCENTIUS. *33
May change fond love, subdue regret,
And teach e'en vengeance to forget:
But thou, Remorse ! there is no charm,
Thy sting, avenger, to disarm !
Vain are bright suns and laughing skies.
To sooth thy victim's agonies :
The heart once made thy burning throne,
Still, while it beats, is thine alone.
In vain for Otho's joyless eye
Smile the fair scenes of Italy,
As through her landscapes' rich array
Th' imperial pilgrim bends his way.
Thy form, Crescentius, on his sight
Rises when nature laughs in light,
Glides round him at the midnight hour,
Is present in his festal bower,
With awful voice and frowning mien,
By all but him unheard, unseen.
Oh ! thus to shadows of the grave
Be every tyrant still a slave !
24 WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
Where through Gargano's woody dells,
O'er bending oaks the north-wind swells, l3
A sainted hermit's lowly tomb
Is bosom'd in umbrageous gloom,
In shades that saw him live and die
Beneath their waving canopy.
'Twas his, as legends tell, to share
The converse of immortals there )
Around that dweller of the wild
There " bright appearances" have smiled, u
And angel-wings, at eve, have been
Gleaming the shadowy boughs between.
And oft from that secluded bower
Hath breathed, at midnight's calmer hour,
A swell of viewless harps, a sound
Of warbled anthems pealing round.
Oh, none but voices of the sky
Might wake that thrilling harmony,
Whose tones, whose very echos made
An Eden of the lonely shade !
WIDOW OF CRESCENT1US. 25
Years have gone by ; the hermit sleeps
Amidst Gargano's woods and steeps ;
Ivy and flowers have half o'ergrown,
And veil'd his low, sepulchral stone :
Yet still the spot is holy, still
Celestial footsteps haunt the hill ;
And oft the awe-struck mountaineer
Aerial vesper-hymns may hear,
Around those forest-precincts float,
Soft, solemn, clear, but still remote.
Oft will Affliction breathe her plaint
To that rude shrine's departed saint,
And deem that spirits of the blest
There shed sweet influence o'er her breast.
And thither Otho now repairs,
To sooth his soul with vows and prayers ;
And if for him, on holy ground,
The lost-one, Peace, may yet be found,
20 WIDOW OF CRESCNTIUS.
Midst rocks and forests, by the bed,
Where calmly sleep the sainted dead,
She dwells, remote from heedless eye,
With Nature's lonely majesty.
Vain, vain the search his troubled breast
Nor vow nor penance lulls to rest j
The weary pilgrimage is o'er,
The hopes that cheer'd it are no more.
Then sinks his soul, and day by day,
Youth's buoyant energies decay.
The light of health his eye hath flown,
The glow that tinged his cheek is gone.
Joyless as one on whom is laid
Some baleful spell that bids him fade,
Extending its mysterious power
O'er every scene, o'er every hour ;
E'en thus he withers ; and to him,
Italia's brilliant skies are dim.
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 27
He withers in that glorious clime
Where Nature laughs in scorn of Time ;
And suns, that shed on all below
Their full and vivifying glow,
From him alone their power withhold,
And leave his heart in darkness cold.
Earth blooms around him, heaven is fair,
He only seems to perish there.
Yet sometimes will a transient smile
Play o'er his faded cheek awhile,
When breathes his minstrel-boy a strain
Of power to lull all earthly pain ;
So wildly sweet, its notes might seem
Th' ethereal music of a dream,
A spirit's voice from worlds unknown,
Deep thrilling power in every tone !
Sweet is that lay, and yet its flow
Hath language only given to woe ;
28 WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
And if at times its wakening swell
Some tale of glory seems to tell,
Soon the proud notes of triumph die,
Lost in a dirge's harmony :
Oh ! many a pang the heart hath proved,
Hath deeply suffer' d, fondly loved,
Ere the sad strain could catch from thence
Such deep impassion'd eloquence !-^-
Yes ! gaze on him, that minstrel boy
He is no child of hope and joy ;
Though few his years, yet have they been
Such as leave traces on the mien,
And o'er the roses of our prime
Breathe other blights than those of time.
Yet, seems his spirit wild and proud,
By grief unsoften'd and unbow'd.
Oh ! there are sorrows which impart
A sternness foreign to the heart,
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 29
And rushing with an earthquake's power,
That makes a desert in an hour ;
Rouse the dread passions in their course,
As tempests wake the billows' force !
Tis sad, on youthful Guido's face,
The stamp of woes like these to trace.
Oh ! where can ruins awe mankind,
Dark as the ruins of the mind ?
His mien is lofty, but his gaze
Too well a wandering soul betrays :
His full dark eye at times is bright
With strange and momentary light,
Whose quick uncertain flashes throw
O'er his pale cheek a hectic glow :
And oft his features and his air
A shade of troubled mystery wear,
A glance of hurried wildness, fraught
With some unfathomable thought.
30 WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS.
Whate'er that thought, still, unexpress'd,
Dwells the sad secret in his breast ;
The pride his haughty brow reveals,
All other passion well conceals.
He breathes each wounded feeling's tone,
In music's eloquence alone ;
His soul's deep voice is only pour'd
Through his full song and swelling chord.
He seeks no friend, but shuns the train
Of courtiers with a proud disdain ;
And, save when Otho bids his lay
Its half unearthly power essay,
In hall or bower the heart to thrill,
His haunts are wild and lonely still.
Far distant from the heedless throng,
He roves old Tiber's banks along,
Where Empire's desolate remains
Lie scatter'd o'er the silent plains :
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 31
Or, lingering midst each ruin'd shrine
That strews the desert Palatine,
With mournful, yet commanding mien,
Like the sad genius of the scene,
Entranced in awful thought appears
To commune with departed years.
Or at the dead of night, when Rome
Seems of heroic shades the home ;
When Tiber's murmuring voice recalls
The mighty to their ancient halls ;
When hush'd is every meaner sound,
And the deep moonlight-calm around
Leaves to the solemn scene alone
The majesty of ages flown ;
A pilgrim to each hero's tomb,
He wanders through the sacred gloom ;
And, midst those dwellings of decay,
At times will breathe so sad a lay,
So wild a grandeur in each tone,
'Tis like a dirge for empires gone !
32 WiDOAV OF CRESCENTIUSf.
Awake thy pealing harp again,
But breathe a more exulting strain,
Young Guido ! for awhile forgot
Be the dark secrets of thy lot,
And rouse th' inspiring soul of song
To speed the banquet's hour along !
The feast is spread ; and music's call
Is echoing through the royal hall,
And banners wave, and trophies shine,
O'er stately guests in glittering line ;
And Otho seeks awhile to chase
The thoughts he never can erase,
And bid the voice, whose murmurs deep
Rise like a spirit on his sleep,
The still small voice of conscience die,
Lost in the din of revelry.
On his pale brow dejection lowers,
But that shall yield to festal hours :
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 33
A gloom is in his faded eye,
But that from music's power shall fly :
His wasted cheek is wan with care,
But mirth shall spread fresh crimson there.
Wake, Guido ! wake thy numbers high,
Strike the bold chord exultingly !
And pour upon th' enraptured ear
Such strains as warriors love to hear !
Let the rich mantling goblet flow,
And banish all resembling woe ;
And, if a thought intrude, of power
To mar the bright convivial hour,
Still must its influence lurk unseen,
And cloud the heart but not the mien !
Away, vain dream ! on Otho's brow,
Still darker lower the shadows now -,
Changed are his features, now o'erspread
With the cold paleness of the dead ;
24 WIDOW OF CUESCENTIUS.
Now crimson'd with a hectic dye,
The burning flush of agony !
His lip is quivering, and his breast
Heaves with convulsive pangs oppress'd ;
Now his dim eye seems fix'd and glazed,
And now to heaven in anguish raised ;
And as, with unavailing aid,
Around him throng his guests dismay'd,
He sinks while scarce his struggling breath
Hath power to falter " This is death !"
Then rush'd that haughty child of song,
Dark Guido, through the awe-struck throng ;
Fill'd with a strange delirious light,
His kindling eye shone wildly bright,
And on the sufferer's mien awhile
Gazing with stern vindictive smile,
A feverish glow of triumph dyed
His burning cheek, while thus he cried :
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 35
" Yes ! these are death-pangs on thy brow
Is set the seal of vengeance now !
Oh ! well was mix'd the deadly draught,
And long and deeply hast thou quaffd ;
And bitter as thy pangs may be,
They are but guerdons meet from me !
Yet, these are but a moment's throes,
Howe'er intense, they soon shall close.
Soon shalt thou yield thy fleeting breath,
My life hath been a lingering death ;
Since one dark hour of woe and crime,
A blood-spot on the page of time !
" Deem'st thou my mind of reason void ?
It is not phrensied, but destroy'd !
Aye ! view the wreck with shuddering thought,
That work of ruin thou hast wrought !
" The secret of thy doom to tell,
My name alone suffices well !
o c 2
36 WIDOW OF CRESCEKTIUS.
Stephania ! once a hero's bride !
Otho ! thou know'st the rest he died.
Yes ! trusting to a monarch's word,
The Roman fell, untried, unheard !
And thou, whose every pledge was vain,
How couldst thou trust in aught again }
" He died, and I was changed my soul,
A lonely wanderer, spurn'd control.
From peace, and light, and glory hurl'd,
The outcast of a purer world,
I saw each brighter hope o'erthrown,
And lived for one dread task alone.
The task is closed fulnll'd the vow,
The hand of death is on thee now.
Betrayer ! in thy turn betray'd,
The debt of blood shall soon be paid !
Thine hour is come the time hath been
My heart had shrunk from such a scene ;
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 37
That feeling long is past my fate
Hath made me stern as desolate.
" Ye that around me shuddering stand,
Ye chiefs and princes of the land !
Mourn ye a guilty monarch's doom ?
Ye wept not o'er the patriot's tomb !
He sleeps unhonour'd yet be mine
To share his low, neglected shrine.
His soul with freedom finds a home,
His grave is that of glory Rome !
Are not the great of old with her,
That city of the sepulchre J
Lead me to death ! and let me share
The slumbers of the mighty there!"
The day departs that fearful day
Fades in calm loveliness away :
From purple heavens its lingering beam
Seems melting into Tiber's stream,
38 WIDOW OF CRESCENTIU3.
And softly tints each Roman hill
With glowing light, as clear and still,
As if, unstain'd by crime or woe,
Its hours had pass'd in silent flow.
The day sets calmly it hath been
Mark'd with a strange and awful scene :
One guilty bosom throbs no more,
And Otho's pangs and life are o'er.
And thou, ere yet another sun
His burning race hath brightly run,
Released from anguish by thy foes,
Daughter of Rome ! shalt find repose.
Yes ! on thy country's lovely sky
Fix yet once more thy parting eye !
A few short hours and all shall be
The silent and the past for thee.
Oh ! thus with tempests of a day
We struggle, and we pass away,
WIDOW OF CRESCENTIUS. 39
Like the wild billows as they sweep,
Leaving no vestige on the deep !
And o'er thy dark and lowly bed
The sons of future days shall tread,
The pangs, the conflicts, of thy lot,
By them unknown, by thee forgot.
Note 1, page 5, line 10.
O'er Hadrian's mouldering villa twine.
" J'etais alle passer quelques jours seuls a. Tivoli. Je parcourus
les environs, et surtout celles de la Villa Adriana. Surpris par la
pluie au milieu de ma course, je me refugiai dans les Salles des
Thermes voisins du Pe'cile (monumens de la villa), sous un figuier
qui avait renverse le pau d'un mur en s'elevant. Dans un petit
salon octogone, ouvert devant moi, une vigne vierge avait perce la
voute de l'edifice, et son gros cep lisse, rouge, et tortueux, montait
le long du mur comme un serpent. Autour de moi, a travers les
arcades des mines, s'ouvraient des points de vue sur la Campagne
Romaine. Des buissons de sureau remplissaient les salles desertes
oil venaient se refugier quelques merles solitaires. Les fragmens
de maconnerie 6taient tapissees de feuilles de scolopendre, dont
la verdure satinee se dessinait comme un travail en mosa'ique sur
la blancheur des marbres : ca et la de hauts cypres remplaj aient
les colonnes torn bees dans ces palais de la Mort; l'acanthe
sauvage rampait a leurs pieds, sur des debris, comme si la nature
s'etait plu ^ reproduire sur ces chefs d'oeuvre mutiles d'architecture,
l'oruement de leur beaute passee." Chateaubriand, Souvenirs
Note 2, page 6, line 10.
Of each imperial monument t
The gardens and buildings of Hadrian's villa were copies of the
most celebrated scenes and edifices in his dominions; the Lycaeum,
the Academia, the Prytaneum of Athens, the Temple of Serapis at
Alexandria, the Vale of Tempe, &c.
Note 3, page 7, lines 13 and 14.
Sunk is thy palace, but thy tomb,
Hadrian ! hath shared a prouder doom.
The mausoleum of Hadrian, uow the castle of St. Angelo, was
first converted into a citadel by Belisarius, in his successful defence
of Rome against the Goths. " The lover of the arts," says Gibbon,
" must read with a sigh that the works of Praxiteles and Lysippus
were torn from their lofty pedestals, and hurled into the ditch on
the heads of the besiegers." He adds, in a note, that the cele-
brated sleeping Faun of the Barberini palace was found, in a
mutilated state, when the ditch of St. Angelo was cleansed under
Urban VIII. In the middle ages, the moles Hadriani was made
a permanent fortress by the Roman government, and bastions,
outworks, &c. were added to the original edifice, which had been
stripped of its marble covering, its Corinthian pillars, and the
brazen cone which crowned its summit.
Note 4, page 8, lines 3 and 4.
Have found, like glory's self, a grave
In time's abyss, or Tiber's wave.
" Les plus beaux monumens des arts, les plus admirables statues
ont etes jetees dans le Tibre, et sont cachees sous ses flots. Qui
sait si, pour les chercher, on ne le detournera pas un jour de son lit ?
Mais quand on songe que les chef d'ceuvres du geuie humain sont
peut-etre la devant nous, et qu'un ceil plus pedant les verrait a
travers les ondes, l'on eprouve je ne sais quelle emotion qui renait
a Rome sans cesse sous diverses formes, et fait trouver une societe
pour la pensee dans les objets physiques, muets partout ailleurs."
Mad. de Stael.
Note 5, page 9, lines 3 and 4.
There closed De Brescia's mission high;
From thence the patriot came to die.
Arnold de Brescia, the undaunted and eloquent champion of
Roman liberty, after unremitting efforts to restore the ancient
constitution of the republic, was put to death in the year 1155 by
Adrian IV. This event is thus described by Sismondi, Histoire
des Republiques ltaliennes, Vol. II. pages 68 and 69. " Le
prefect demeura dans le chateau Saint Ange avec son prisonnier ;
il le fit transporter un matin sur la place destinee aux executions,
devant la porte du peuple. Arnaud de Brescia, eleve sur un
bucher, fut attache a un poteau, en face du Corso. II pouvoit
mesurer des yeux les trois longues rues qui aboutissoient devant
son echafaud ; elles font presqu* une moitie de Rome. C'est la
qu'habitoient les hommes qu'il avoit si souvent appeles a la liberte.
Us reposoient encore en paix, ignorant le danger de leur legis-
lateur. Le tumulte de l'execution et la flamme du bucher reveil-
lerent les Romains; ils s'armerent, ils accoururent, mais trop
tard; et les cohortes du pape repousserent, avec leurs lances,
ceux qui, n'ayant pu sauver Arnaud, vouloient du moins recueillir
ses cendres comme de precieuses reliques."
Note 6, page 9, line 6.
Spoke with the voice of ages past.
" Posterity will compare the virtues and failings of this extra-
ordinary man ; but in a long period of anarchy and servitude,
the name of Rienzi has often been celebrated as the deliverer of his
country, and the last of the Roman patriots." Gibbon's Decline
and Fall, <fc. vol. xii. page 362.
Note 7, page 9, line 20.
Couldstgaze on Rome yet not despair!
u Le consul Terentius Varron avoit fui honteusement jusqu'a
Venouse : cet homme de la plus basse naissance, n'avoit ete eleve
au consulat que pour mortifier la noblesse : mais le se'nat ne voulut
pas jouir de ce malheureux triomphe ; il vit combien il etoit
necessaire qu'il s'attirat dans cette occasion la confiance du pcuple,
il alia au-devant Varron, et le remercia de Ce qu'il n'avoit pas
dise$p6r de la republique." Montesquieu's Grandeur et Decadence
Note 8, page 17, line 3.
Vain dream / the sacred shields are gone.
Of the sacred bucklers, or ancilia ofyRome, which were kept in
the temple of Mars, Plutarch gives the following account. " In
the eighth year of Numa's reign a pestilence prevailed in Italy ;
Rome also felt its ravages. While the people were greatly de-
jected, we are told that a brazen buckler fell from heaven into the
hands of Numa. Of this he gave a very wonderful account,
received from Egeria and the Muses : that the buckler was sent
down for the preservation of the city, and should be kept with great
care : that eleven others should be made as like it as possible in
size and fashion, in order that if any person were disposed to steal
it, he might not be able to distinguish that which fell from heaven
from the rest. He further declared, that the place, and the
meadows about it, where he frequently conversed with the Muses,
should be consecrated to those divinities ; and that the spring
which watered the ground should be sacred to the use of the Vestal
Virgins, daily to sprinkle and purify their temple. The im-
mediate cessation of the pestilence is said to have confirmed the
truth of this account." Life of Numa.
Note 9, page 1 7, line 4.
Sunk is the crowning city's throne.
" Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city,
whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable
of the earth ?" Isaiah, chap. 23.
Note 10, page 17, line 6.
Their guardian, spells, have long been past.
" Un melange bizarre de grandeur d'ame, et de foiblesse
entroit des cette epoque, (1' onzieme siecle) dans le caractere des
Romains. Un mouvement genereux vers les grandes choses
faisoit place tout-a-coup a l'abattement; ils passoient de la li-
berte la plus orageuse, a la servitude la plus avilissante. On
auroit dit que les ruines et les portiques deserts de la ca-
pitale du monde, entretenoient ses habitans dans le sentiment
de leur impuissance; au milieu de ces monumens de leur do-
mination passee, les citoyens eprouvoient d'une maniere trop
dccourageante leur propre nullite. Le nom des Romains qu'ils
portoient ranimoit frequemment leur enthousiasme, comme il le
ranime encore aujourd'hui ; mais bientot la vue de Rome, du
forum desert, des sept collines de nouveau rendues au paturage
des troupeaux, des temples d^soles, des monumens tombant en
mine, les rameuoit a sentir qu'ils n'etoient plus les Romains
d'autrefois." Sismondi, Histoire des liipubliques ltaliennes, vol. 1 .
Note 11, page 22, line 6.
Linger 'd the lord of eloquence f
" As for Cicero, he was carried to Astyra, where, finding a
vessel, he immediately went on board, and coasted along to
Circffium with a favourable wind. The pilots were preparing
immediately to sail from thence, but whether it was that he feared
the sea, or had not yet given up all his hopes in Caesar, he dis-
embarked, and travelled a hundred furlongs on foot, as if Rome
had been the place of his destination. Repenting, however,
afterwards, he left that road, and made again for the sea. He
passed the night in the most perplexing and horrid thoughts; in-
somuch, that he was sometimes inclined to go privately into
Caesar's house and stab himself upon the altar of his domestic
gods, to bring the divine vengeance upon his betrayer. But he
was deterred from this by the fear of torture. Other alternatives,
equally distressful, presented themselves. At last, he put him-
self in the hands of his servants, and ordered them to carry him
by sea to Cajeta, where he had a delightful retreat in the summer,
when the Etesian winds set in. There was a temple of Apollo on
that coast, from which a flight of crows came with great noise
towards Cicero's vessel as it was making land. They perched on
both sides the sail-yard, where some sat croaking, and others
pecking the ends of the ropes. All looked upon this as an ill
omen; yet Cicero went on shore, and, entering his house, lay
down to repose himself. In the mean time a number of the
crows settled in the chamber-window, and croaked in the
most doleful manner. One of them even entered it, and alighting
on the bed, attempted, with its beak, to draw off the clothes with
which he had covered - his face. On sight of this, the servants
began to reproach themselves. ' Shall we,' said they, ' remain
to be spectators of our master's murder ? Shall we not protect
liim, so innocent and so great a sufferer as he is, when the brute
creatures give him marks of their care and attention?' Then
partly by entreaty, partly by force, they got him into his litter,
and carried him towards the sea." Plutarch. Life of Cicero,
Note 1 2, page 22, line 14.
Balm for all sadness but despair?
" Now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair." Milton.
Note 13, page 24, line 2.
O'er bending oaks the north-wind swells.
Mount Gargano. " This ridge of mountains forms a very large
promontory advancing into the Adriatic, and separated from the
Apennines on the west by the plains of Lucera and San Severo.
We took a ride into the heart of the mountains through shady
dells and noble woods, which brought to our minds the venerable
groves, that in ancient times bent with the loud winds sweeping
along the rugged sides of Garganus.
Querceta Gargani laborant
Et foliis viduantur orni.' Horace.
" There is still a respectable forest of evergreen and common
oak, pine, hornbeam, chesnut, and manna-ish. The sheltered
valleys are industriously cultivated, and seem to be blest with
luxuriant vegetation." Swinburne's Travels.
Note 14, page 24, line 10.
There " bright appearances" have smiled.
" In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or footstep trace?" Milton.
Le Maure ne se venge pas parce que sa colere dure encore, mais
parce que la vengeance seule peut ecarter de sa tete le poids
d'infamie dont il est accable. II se venge, parce qu'a ses yeux
il n'y a qu'une ame basse qui puisse pardonner les affronts, ct
il nourrit sa rancune, parce que s'il la sentoit s'eteindre, il
croiroit avec elle, avoir perdu une vertu.
The- events with which the following tale is inter-
woven, are related in the " Historia de las
Guerras civiles de Granada." They occurred
in the reign of Abo Abdeli or Abdali, the last
Moorish king of that city, called by the Spaniards
El Rey Chico. The conquest of Granada, by
Ferdinand and Isabella, is said, by some histo-
rians, to have been greatly facilitated by the
Abencerrages, whose defection was the result
of the repeated injuries they had received from
the king, at the instigation of the Zegris. One
of the most beautiful halls of the Alhambra is
pointed out as the scene where so many of the
former celebrated tribe were massacred ; and it
still retains their name, being called the " Sala
de los Abencerrages." Many of the most inter-
esting old Spanish ballads relate to the events
of this chivalrous and romantic period.
LONELY and still are now thy marble halls,
Thou fair Alhambra ! there the feast is o'er ;
And with the murmur of thy fountain-falls,
Blend the wild tones of minstrelsy no more.
Hush'd are the voices, that in years gone by,
Have mourn' d, exulted, menaced, through thy
Within thy pillar'd courts the grass waves high,
And all uncultured bloom thy fairy bowers.
Unheeded there the flowering myrtle blows,
Through tall arcades unmark'd the sunbeam smiles,
And many a tint of soften' d brilliance throws
O'er fretted walls, and shining peristyles.
56 ' THE ABENCERRAGE.
And well might Fancy deem thy fabrics lone,
So vast, so silent, and so wildly fair,
Some charm'd abode of Beings all unknown,
Powerful and viewless, children of the air.
For there no footstep treads th' enchanted ground,
There not a sound the deep repose pervades,
Save winds and founts, diffusing freshness round,
Through the light domes and graceful colonnades.
Far other tones have swell'd those courts along,
In days romance yet fondly loves to trace 5
The clash of arms, the voice of choral song,
The revels, combats, of a vanish'd race.
And yet awhile, at Fancy's potent call,
Shall rise that race, the chivalrous, the bold !
Peopling once more each fair, forsaken hall,
With stately forms, the knights and chiefs of old.
THE ABENCEKRAGE. 5/
The sun declines upon Nevada's height,
There dwells a mellow'd flush of rosy light ;
Each soaring pinnacle of mountain snow,
Smiles in the richness of that parting glow,
And Darro's wave reflects each passing dye,
That melts and mingles in th' empurpled sky.
Fragrance, exhaled from rose and citron bower,
Blends with the dewy freshness of the hour :
Hush'd are the winds, and Nature seems to sleep
In light and stillness ; wood, and tower, and steep,
Are dyed with tints of glory, only given
To the rich evening of a southern heaven ;
Tints of the sun, whose bright farewell is fraught
With all that art hath dreamt, but never caught.
Yes, Nature sleeps ; but not with her at rest
The fiery passions of the human breast.
Hark! from th' Alhambra's towers what stormy
Each moment deepening, wildly swells around ?
58 THE ABENCEKRAGE.
Those are no tumults of a festal throng,
Not the light zambra, ' nor the choral song :
The combat rages 'tis the shout of war,
'Tis the loud clash of shield and scymitar.
Within the hall of Lions, 2 where the rays
Of eve, yet lingering, on the fountain blaze ;
There, girt and guarded by his Zegri bands,
And stern in wrath, the Moorish monarch stands ;
There the strife centres swords around him wave ;
There bleed the fallen, there contend the brave,
While echoing domes return the battle-cry,
" Revenge and freedom ! let the tyrant die !"
And onward rushing, and prevailing still,
Court, hall, and tower, the fierce avengers fill.
But first and bravest of that gallant train,
Where foes are mightiest, charging ne'er in vain ;
In his red hand the sabre glancing bright,
His dark eye flashing with a fiercer light,
THE ABENCEURAGE. 59
Ardent, untired, scarce conscious that he bleeds,
His Aben-Zurrahs 3 there young Hamet leads j
Wliile swells his voice that wild acclaim on high,
" Revenge and freedom ! let the tyrant die I"
Yes, trace the footsteps of the warrior's wrath,
By helm and corslet shatter'd in his path ;
And by the thickest harvest of the slain,
And by the marble's deepest crimson stain :
Search through the serried fight, where loudest cries
From triumph, anguish, or despair arise j
And brightest where the shivering, falchions glare,
And where the ground is reddest he is there.
Yes, that young arm, amidst the Zegri host,
Hath well avenged a sire, a brother, lost.
They perish' d not as heroes should have died,
On the red field, in victory's hour of pride,
In all the glow and sunshine of their fame,
And proudly smiling as the death-pang came :
60 THE ABENCERRAGE.
Oh ! had they thus expired, a warrior's tear
Had flow'd, almost in triumph, o'er their bier.
For thus alone the brave should weep for those,
Who brightly pass in glory to repose.
Not such their fate a tyrant's stern command,
Doom'd them to fall by some ignoble hand,
As, with the flower of all their high-born race,
Summon' d, Abdallah's royal feast to grace,
Fearless in heart, no dream of danger nigh,
They sought the banquet's gilded hall to die.
Betray'd, unarm'd, they fell the fountain wave
Flow'd crimson with the life-blood of the brave,
Till far the fearful tidings of their fate
Through the wide city rung from gate to gate,
And of that lineage each surviving son,
Rush'd to the scene where vengeance might be won.
For this young Hamet mingles in the strife.
Leader of battle, prodigal of life,
THE ABENCEHRAGE. 61
Urging his followers, till their foes beset
Stand faint and breathless, but undaunted yet.
Brave Aben-Zurrahs, on ! one effort more,
Yours is the triumph, and the conflict o'er.
But lo ! descending o'er the darken'd hall,
The twilight-shadows fast and deeply fall,
Nor yet the strife hath ceased though scarce they
Through that thick gloom, the brother from the foe j
Till the moon rises with her cloudless ray,
The peaceful moon, and gives them light to slay.
Where lurks Abdallah ? 'midst his yielding train,
They seek the guilty monarch, but in vain.
He lies not number'd with the valiant dead,
His champions round him have not vainly bled ;
But when the twilight spread her shadowy veil,
And his last warriors found each effort fail,
62 THE ABENCERRAGE.
In wild despair he fled a trusted few,
Kindred in crime, are still in danger true ;
And o'er the scene of many a martial deed,
The Vega's 4 green expanse, his flying footsteps lead.
He passed th' Alhambra's calm and lovely bowers,
Where slept the glistening leaves and folded flowers
In dew and starlight there from grot and cave,
Gush'd, in wild music, many a sparkling wave ;
There, on each breeze, the breath of fragrance rose,
And all was freshness, beauty, and repose.
But thou, dark monarch ! in thy bosom reign
Storms that, once roused, shall never sleep again.
Oh ! vainly bright is Nature in the course
Of him who flies from terror or remorse !
A spell is round him which obscures her bloom,
And dims her skies with shadows of the tomb ;
There smiles no Paradise on earth so fair,
But guilt will raise avenging phantoms there.
THE ABENCERRACE. 63
Abdallah heeds not, though the light gale roves
Fraught with rich odour, stolen from orange-groves,
Hears not the sounds from wood and brook that rise,
Wild notes of Nature's vesper-melodies ;
Marks not, how lovely, on the mountain's head,
Moonlight and snow their mingling lustre spread ;
But urges onward, till his weary band,
Worn with their toil, a moment's pause demand.
He stops, and turning, on Granada's fanes
In silence gazing, fix'd awhile remains ;
In stern, deep silence o'er his feverish brow,
And burning cheek, pure breezes freshly blow,
But waft, in fitful murmurs, from afar,
Sounds, indistinctly fearful, as of war.
What meteor bursts, with sudden blaze, on high,
O'er the blue clearness of the starry sky ?
Awful it rises, like some Genie-form,
Seen 'midst the redness of the desert storm,*
Magnificently dread above, below,
Spreads the wild splendour of its deepening glow.
64 THE ABENCERRAOE.
Lo ! from th' Alhambra's towers the vivid glare
Streams through the still transparence of the air,
Avenging crowds have lit the mighty pyre,
Which feeds that waving pyramid of fire j
And dome and minaret, river, wood, and height,
From dim perspective start to ruddy light.
Oh heaven ! the anguish of Abdallah's soul,
The rage, though fruitless, yet beyond control !
Yet must he cease to gaze, and raving fly,
For life such life as makes it bliss to die !
On yon green height, the mosque, but half reveal'd
Through cypress-groves, a safe retreat may yield.
Thither his steps are bent yet oft he turns,
Watching that fearful beacon as it burns.
But paler grow the sinking flames at last,
Flickering they fade, their crimson light is past,
And spiry vapours, rising o'er the scene,
Mark where the terrors of their wrath have been.
THE AISENCERRAGE. 65
And now his feet have reach'd that lonely pile,
Where grief and terror may repose awhile ;
Embower'd it stands, 'midst wood and cliff on high,
Through the gray rocks a torrent sparkling nigh ;
He hails the scene where every care should cease,
And all except the heart he brings is peace.
There is deep stillness in those halls of state,
Where the loud cries of conflict rung so late ;
Stillness like that, when fierce the Kamsin's blast
Hath o'er tlJe dwellings of the desert pass'd. 6
Fearful the calm nor voice, nor step, nor breath,
Disturbs that scene of beauty and of death :
Those vaulted roofs re-echo not a sound,
Save the wild gush of waters murmuring round,
In ceaseless melodies of plaintive tone,
Through chambers peopled by the dead alone.
O'er the mosaic floors, with carnage red,
Breastplate, and shield, and cloven helm are spread
66 THE ABENCERRAGE.
In mingled fragments glittering to the light
Of yon still moon, whose rays, yet softly bright,
Their streaming lustre tremulously shed,
And smile, in placid beauty, o'er the dead :
O'er features, where the fiery spirit's trace,
E'en death itself is powerless to efface,
O'er those, who flush'd with ardent youth, awoke,
When glowing morn in bloom and radiance broke,
Nor dreamt how near the dark and frozen sleep,
Which hears not Glory call, nor Anguish weep,
In the low silent house, the narrow spot,
Home of forgetfulness and soon forgot.
But slowly fade the stars the night is o'er
Morn beams on those who hail her light no more ;
Slumberers who ne'er shall wake on earth again,
Mourners, who call the loved, the lost, in vain.
Yet smiles the day oh ! not for mortal tear
Doth nature deviate from her calm career,
THF. ABENCERRAGE. Cf
Nor is the earth less laughing or less fair,
Though breaking hearts her gladness may not share.
O'er the cold urn the beam of summer glows,
O'er fields of blood the zephyr freshly blows ;
Bright shines the sun, though all be dark below,
And skies arch cloudless o'er a world of woe,
And flowers renew'd in spring's green pathway bloom,
Alike to grace the banquet and the tomb.
Within Granada's walls the funeral-rite
Attends that day of loveliness and light ;
And many a chief, with dirges and with tears,
Is gathered to the brave of other years :
And Hamet, as beneath the cypress-shade
His martyr'd "brother and his sire are laid,
Feels every deep resolve, and burning thought
Of ampler vengeance, e'en to passion wrought ;
Yet is the hour afar and he must brood
O'er those dark dreams awhile in solitude.
68 THE ABENCKRRAGE.
Tumult and rage are hush'd another day
In still solemnity hath pass'd away,
In that deep slumber of exhausted wrath,
The calm that follows in the tempest's path.
And now Abdallah leaves yon peaceful fane,
His ravaged city traversing again.
No sound of gladness his approach precedes,
No splendid pageant the procession leads,
Where'er he moves the silent streets along, P
Broods a stern quiet o'er the sullen throng ;
No voice is heard but in each alter'd eye,
Once brightly beaming when his steps were nigh,
And in each look of those, whose love hath fled
From all on earth to slumber with the dead,
Those, by his guilt made desolate, and thrown
On the bleak wilderness of life alone.
In youth's quick glance of scarce-dissembled rage,
And the pale mien of calmly-mournful age,
THE ABKNCEKRAGF.. 69
May well be read a dark and fearful tale
Of thought that ill th' indignant heart can veil,
And passion, like the hush'd volcano's power,
That waits in stillness its appointed hour.
No more the clarion, from Granada's walls,
Heard o'er the Vega, to the tourney calls ;
No more her graceful daughters, throned on high,
Bend o'er the lists the darkly-radiant eye ;
Silence and gloom her palaces o'erspread,
And song is hush'd, and pageantry is fled.
Weep, fated city ! o'er thy heroes weep
Low in the dust the sons of glory sleep !
Furl'd are their banners in the lonely hall,
Their trophied shields hang mouldering on the wall,
Wildly their chargers range the pastures o'er,
Their voice in battle shall be heard no more ;
And they, who still thy tyrant's wrath survive,
Whom he hath wrong'd too deeply to forgive,
70 THE ABENCEnRAGE.
That race, of lineage high, of worth approved,
The chivalrous, the princely, the beloved $
Thine Aben-Zurrahs they no more shall wield
In thy proud cause the conquering lance and shield :
Condemned to bid the cherish'd scenes farewell
Where the loved ashes of their fathers dwell,
And far o'er foreign plains, as exiles roam,
Their land the desert, and the grave their home.
Yet there is one shall see that race depart,
In deep, though silent, agony of heart j
One whose dark fate must be to mourn alone,
Unseen her sorrows, and their cause unknown,
And veil her heart, and teach her cheek to wear
That smile, in which the spirit hath no share ;
Like the bright beams that shed their fruitless glow
O'er the cold solitude of Alpine snow.
Soft, fresh, and silent, is the midnight hour,
And the young Zayda seeks her lortely bower ;
THE ABENCERRAGE. 71
That Zegri maid, within whose gentle mind,
One name is deeply, secretly enshrined.
That name in vain stern Reason would efface,
Hamet ! 'tis thine, thou foe to all her race !
And yet not hers in bitterness to prove
The sleepless pangs of unrequited love ;
Pangs, which the rose of wasted youth consume,
And make the heart of all delight the tomb,
Check the free spirit in its eagle-flight,
And the spring-morn of early genius blight ;
Not such her grief though now she wakes to weep,
While tearless eyes enjoy the honey-dews of sleep. 7
A step treads lightly through the citron-shade,
Lightly, but by the rustling leaves betray'd
Doth her young hero seek that well-known spot,
Scene of past hours that ne'er may be forgot ?
'Tis he but changed that eye, whose glance of fire
Could, like a sunbeam, hope and joy inspire,
72 THE ABENCERRAGE.
As, luminous with youth, with ardor fraught,
It spoke of glory to the inmost thought ;
Thence the bright spirit's eloquence hath fled,
And in its wild expression may be read
Stern thoughts and fierce resolves now veil'd in
And now in characters of fire pourtray'd.
Changed e'en his voice as thus its mournful tone
Wakes in her heart each feeling of his own.
" Zayda, my doom is fix'd another day,
And the wrong'd exile shall be far away ;
Far from the scenes where still his heart must be,
His home of youth, and, more than all from thee.
Oh ! what a cloud hath gather'd o'er my lot,
Since last we met on this fair tranquil spot !
Lovely as then, the soft and silent hour,
And not a rose hath faded from thy bower ;
But I my hopes the tempest hath o'erthrown,
And changed my heart, to all but thee alone.
THE ABENCERRAGE. 73
Farewell, high thoughts ! inspiring hopes of praise,
Heroic visions of my early days !
In me the glories of my race must end,
The exile hath no country to defend !
E'en in life's morn, my dreams of pride are o'er,
Youth's buoyant spirit wakes for me no more,
And one wild feeling in my alter'd breast
Broods darkly o'er the ruins of the rest.
Yet fear not thou to thee, in good or ill,
The heart, so sternly tried, is faithful still !
But when my steps are distant, and my name
Thou hear'st no longer in the song of fame,
"When Time steals on, in silence to efface
Of early love each pure and sacred trace,
Causing our sorrows and our hopes to seem
But as the moonlight pictures of a dream,
Still shall thy soul be with me, in the truth
And all the fervor of affection's youth ?
If such thy love, one beam of heaven shall play
In lonely beauty, o'er thy wanderer's way."
74 THE ABENCERRAGE.
" Ask not, if such my love ! oh ! trust the mind
To grief so long, so silently resign'd !
Let the light spirit, ne'er by sorrow taught
The pure and lofty constancy of thought,
Its fleeting trials eager to forget,
Rise with elastic power o'er each regret !
Foster'd in tears, our young affection grew,
And I have learn' d to suffer and be true.
Deem not my love a frail, ephemeral flower,
Nursed by soft sunshine and the balmy shower ;
No ! 'tis the child of tempests, and defies,
And meets unchanged, the anger of the skies !
Too well I feel, with grief's prophetic heart,
That, ne'er to meet in happier days, we part.
We part ! and e'en this agonizing hour,
When love first feels his own o'erwhelming power,
Shall soon to Memory's fix'd and tearful eye
Seem almost happiness for thou wert nigh !
Yes ! when this heart in solitude shall bleed,
As days to days all wearily succeed,
THE ABENCERRAGE. 75
When doom'd to weep in loneliness, 'twill be
Almost like rapture to have wept with thee.
" But thou, my Hamet, thou can'st yet bestow
All that of joy my blighted lot can know.
Oh ! be thou still the high-soul'd and the brave,
To whom my first and fondest vows I gave,
In thy proud fame's untarnish'd beauty still
The lofty visions o/ my youth fulfil,
So shall it soothe me, 'midst my heart's despair,
To hold undimm'd one glorious image there !"
" Zayda, my best-beloved ! my words too well,
Too soon, thy bright illusions must dispel ;
Yet must my soul to thee unveil'd be shown,
And all its dreams and all its passions known.
Thou shalt not be deceived for pure as heaven
Is thy young love, in faith and fervor given.
I said my heart was changed and would thy thought
Explore the ruin by thy kindred wrought,
76 THE ABENCEttUACE.
In fancy trace the land whose towers and fanes,
Crush'd by the earthquake, strew its ravaged plains,
And such that heart where desolation's hand
Hath blighted all that once was fair or grand !
But Vengeance, fix'd upon her burning throne,
Sits 'midst the wreck in silence and alone,
And I, in stern devotion at her shrine,
Each softer feeling, but my love, resign.
Yes ! they whose spirits all my thoughts control,
Who hold dread converse with my thrilling soul ;
They, the betray'd, the sacrificed, the brave,
Who fill a blood-stain'd and untimely grave, .
Must be avenged ! and pity and remorse,
In that stern cause, are banish'd from my course.
Zayda, thou tremblest and thy gentle breast
Shrinks from the passions that destroy my rest ;
Yet shall thy form, in many a stormy hour,
Pass brightly o'er my soul with softening power,
And oft recall' d, thy voice beguile my lot,
Like some sweet lay, once heard, and ne'er forgot.
THE AEEKCERRAGE. 77
" But the night wanes the hours too swiftly fly,
The bitter moment of farewell draws nigh,
Yet, loved one ! weep not thus in joy or pain,
Oh ! trust thy Hamet, we shall meet again !
Yes, we shall meet ! and haply smile at last
On all the clouds and conflicts of the past.
On that fair vision teach thy thoughts to dwell,
Nor deem these mingling tears our last farewell !"
Is the voice hush'd, whose loved, expressive tone
Thrill'd to her heart, and doth she weep alone I
Alone she weeps that hour of parting o'er
When shall the pang it leaves be felt no more ?
The gale breathes light, and fans her bosom fair,
Showering the dewy rose-leaves o'er her hair 5
But ne'er for her shall dwell reviving power,
In balmy dew, soft breeze, or fragrant flower,
To wake once more that calm, serene delight,
The soul's young bloom, which passion's breath
could blight ;
78 THE ABENCERRAGE.
The smiling stillness of life's morning hour,
Ere yet the day-star burns in all his power.
Meanwhile, through groves of deep luxuriant shade,
In the rich foliage of the South array'd,
Hamet, ere dawns the earliest blush of day,
Bends to the vale of tombs his pensive way.
Fair is that scene where palm and cypress wave
On high o'er many an Aben-Zurrah's grave,
Lonely and fair its fresh and glittering leaves,
With the young myrtle there the laurel weaves,
To canopy the dead nor wanting there
Flowers to the turf, nor fragrance to the air,
Nor wood-bird's note, nor fall of plaintive stream,
Wild music, soothing to the mourners dream.
There sleep the chiefs of old their combats o'er,
The voice of glory thrills their hearts no more ;
Unheard by them th' awakening clarion blows ;
The sons of war at length in peace repose.
THE ABENCERRAGE. 79
No martial note is in the gale that sighs,
Where proud their trophied sepulchres arise,
'Mid founts, and shades, and flowers of brightest
As in his native vale some shepherd's tomb.
There, where the trees their thickest foliage spread
Dark o'er that silent valley of the dead,
Where two fair pillars rise, embower'd and lone,
Not yet with ivy clad, with moss o'ergrown,
Young Hamet kneels while thus his vows are
The fearful vows that consecrate his sword.
" Spirit of him, who first within my mind
Each loftier aim, each nobler thought enshrined,
And taught my steps the line of light to trace
Left by the glorious fathers of my race,
Hear thou my voice for thine is with me still,
In every dream its tones my bosom thrill,
80 THE ABENCERRAGE.
In the deep calm of midnight they are near,
'Midst busy throngs they vibrate on my ear,
Still murmuring ' vengeance !' nor in vain the call.
Few, few shall triumph in a hero's fall !
Cold as thine own to glory and to fame,
Within my heart there lives one only aim,
There, till th' oppressor for thy fate atone,
Concentring every thought, it reigns alone.
I will not weep revenge, not grief, must be,
And blood, not tears, an offering meet for thee,
But the dark hour of stern delight will come,
And thou shalt triumph, warrior ! in thy tomb.
" Thou, too, my brother ! thou art pass'd away,
Without thy fame, in life's fair dawning day.
Son of the brave ! of thee no trace will shine
In the proud annals of thy lofty line,
Nor shall thy deeds be deathless in the lays
That hold communion with the after-days.
THE ABENCERRAGE. 81
Yet by the wreaths thou might' st have nobly won,
Had'st thou but lived till rose thy noontide sun,
By glory lost, I swear, by hope betray'd,
Thy fate shall amply, dearly, be repaid ;
War with thy foes I deem a holy strife,
And to avenge thy death, devote my life.
" Hear ye my vows, O spirits of the slain !
Hear, and be with me on the battle-plain j
At noon, at midnight, still around me bide,
Rise on my dreams, and tell me how ye died !"
END OF THE FIRST CANTO.
Oh ! ben provide il Cielo
Ch' Uom per delitti mai lieto non sia.
Fair land ! of chivalry the old domain,
Land of the vine and olive, lovely Spain !
Though not for thee with classic shores to vie
In charms that fix th' enthusiast's pensive eye ;
Yet hast thou scenes of beauty, richly fraught
With all that wakes the glow of lofty thought ;
Fountains, and vales, and rocks, whose ancient name
High deeds have raised to mingle with their fame.
Those scenes are peaceful now : the citron blows,
Wild spreads the myrtle, where the brave repose.
84 THE ABENCERRAGE.
No sound of battle swells on Douro's shore,
And banners wave on Ebro's banks no more.
But who, unmoved, unawed, shall coldly tread
Thy fields that sepulchre the mighty dead ?
Blest be that soil ! where England's heroes share
The grave of chiefs, for ages slumbering there ;
Whose names are glorious in romantic lays,
The wild, sweet chronicles of elder days,
By goatherd lone, and rude serrano sung,
Thy cypress dells, and vine-clad rocks among.
How oft those rocks have echo'd to the tale
Of knights who fell in Roncesvalles* vale;
Of him, renown' d in old heroic lore,
First of the brave, the gallant Campeador ;
Of those, the famed in song, who proudly died,
When * Rio Verde" roll'd a crimson tide ;
Or that high name, by Garcilaso's might,
On the green Vega won in single fight. 8
Round fair Granada, deepening from afar,
O'er that green Vega rose the din of war.
THE ABENCERRAGE. 85
At morn or eve no more the sunbeams shone
O'er a calm scene, in pastoral beauty lone ;
On helm and corslet tremulous they glanced,
On shield and spear in quivering lustre danced.
Far as the sight by clear Xenil could rove,
Tents rose around, and banners waved above,
And steeds in gorgeous trappings, armour bright
With gold, reflecting every tint of light,
And many a floating plume, and blazon'd shield,
Diffused romantic splendor o'er the field.
There swell those sounds that bid the life-blood start
Swift to the mantling cheek, and beating heart.
The clang of echoing steel, the charger's neigh,
The measured tread of hosts in war's array ;
And oh ! that music, whose exulting breath
Speaks but of glory on the road to death ;
In whose wild voice there dwells inspiring power
To wake the stormy joy of danger's hour 5
To nerve the arm, the spirit to sustain,
Rouse from despondence, and support in pain -,
8<J THE ABENCERRAGE.
And midst the deepening tumults of the strife,
Teach every pulse to thrill with more than life.
High o'er the camp, in many a broider'd fold,
Floats to the wind a standard rich with gold :
There, imaged on the cross, his form appears,
Who drank for man the bitter cup of tears. 9
His form, whose word recall'd the spirit fled,
Now borne by hosts to guide them o'er the dead !
O'er yon fair walls to plant that cross on high,
Spain hath sent forth her flower of chivalry.
Fired with that ardor, which, in days of yore,
To Syrian plains the bold crusaders bore j
Elate with lofty hope, with martial zeal,
They come, the gallant children of Castile ;
The proud, the calmly dignified : and there
Ebro's dark sons with haughty mien repair,
And those who guide the fiery steed of war
From yon rich province of the western star. l0
THE ABENCERRAOE. 87
But thou, conspicuous midst the glittering scene,
Stern grandeur stamp'd upon thy princely mien ;
Known by the foreign garb, the silvery vest,
The snow-white charger, and the azure crest, ' '
Young Aben-Zurrah ! midst that host of foes,
Why shines thy helm, thy Moorish lance ? Disclose !
Why rise the tents, where dwell thy kindred train,
O son of Afric, midst the sons of Spain ?
Hast thou with these thy nation's fall conspired,
Apostate chief ! by hope of vengeance fired ?
How art thou changed ! Still first in every fight,
Hamet, the Moor ! Castile's devoted knight \
There dwells a fiery lustre in thine eye,
But not the fight that shone in days gone by ;
There is wild ardor in thy look and tone,
But not the soul's expression once thine own,
Nor aught like peace within. Yet who shall say
What secret thoughts thine inmost heart may sway ?
No eye but heaven's may pierce that curtain'd breast,
Whose joys and griefs alike are unexprest.
83 THE ABENCERRAGE.
There hath been combat on the tented plain ;
The Vega's turf is red with many a stain,
And rent and trampled, banner, crest, and shield,
Tell of a fierce and well-contested field ;
But all is peaceful now the west is bright
With the rich splendor of departing fight j
Mulhacen's peak, half lost amidst the sky,
Glows like a purple evening-cloud on high,
And tints that mock the pencil's art o'erspread
Th' eternal snow that crowns Veleta's head, la
While the warm sunset o'er the landscape throws
A solemn beauty, and a deep repose.
Closed are the toils and tumults of the day,
And Hamet wanders from the camp away,
In silent musings rapt : the slaughter' d brave
Lie thickly strewn by Darro's rippling wave.
Soft fall the dews but other drops have dyed
The scented shrubs that fringe the river side,
Beneath whose shade, as ebbing life retired,
The wounded sought a shelter, and expired. l3
THE ABENCERRAGE. 89
Lonely, and lost in thoughts of other days,
By the bright windings of the stream he strays,
Till more remote from battle's ravaged scene,
All is repose, and solitude serene.
There, 'neath an olive's ancient shade reclined,
Whose rustling foliage waves in evening's wind,
The harass'd warrior, yielding to the power,
The mild sweet influence of the tranquil hour,
Feels by degrees a long forgotten calm
Shed o'er his troubled soul unwonted balm ;
His wrongs, his woes, his dark and dubious lot,
The past, the future, are awhile forgot ;
And Hope, scarce own'd, yet stealing o'er his breast,
Half dares to whisper, " Thou shalt yet be blest !"
Such his vague musings but a plaintive sound
Breaks on the deep and solemn stillness round j
A low, half-stifled moan, that seems to rise
From life and death's contending agonies.
90 THE ABENCERRAGE.
He turns : Who shares with him that lonely shade ?
A youthful warrior on his death-bed laid.
All rent and stain'd his broider'd Moorish vest,
The corslet shatter'd on his bleeding breast ;
In his cold hand the broken falchion strain'd,
With life's last force convulsively retain'd ;
His plumage soil'd with dust, with crimson dyed,
And the red lance in fragments by his side ;
He lies forsaken pillow' d on his shield,
His helmet raised, his lineaments reveal'd.
Pale is that quivering lip, and vanish'd now
The light once throned on that commanding brow ;
And o'er that fading eye, still upward cast,
The shades of death are gathering dark and fast.
Yet as yon rising moon her light serene
Sheds the pale olive's waving boughs between,
Too well can Hamet's conscious heart retrace,
Though changed thus fearfully, that pallid face,
Whose every feature to his soul conveys
Some bitter thought of long departed days.
THE ABENCERRAGE. 91
u Oh ! is it thus/' he cries, " we meet at last ?
Friend of my soul, in years for ever past !
Hath fate but led me hither, to behold
The last dread struggle, ere that heart is cold,
Receive thy latest agonizing breath,
And with vain pity soothe the pangs of death ?
Yet let me bear thee hence while life remains,
E'en though thus feebly circling through thy veins,
Some healing balm thy sense may still revive,
Hope is not lost, and Osmyn yet may live !
And blest were he, whose timely care should save
A heart so noble, e'en from glory's grave."
Roused by those accents, from his lowly bed,
The dying warrior faintly lifts his head ;
O'er Hamet's mien, with vague, uncertain gaze,
His doubtful glance awhile bewilder' d strays j
Till, by degrees, a smile of proud disdain
Lights up those features late convulsed with pain;
92 THE ABENCERRAGE.
A quivering radiance flashes from his eye,
That seems too pure, too full of soul, to die ;
And the mind's grandeur, in its parting hour,
Looks from that brow with more than wonted power.
" Away!" he cries, in accents of command,
And proudly waves his cold and trembling hand,
" Apostate, hence ! my soul shall soon be free,
E'en now it soars, disdaining aid from thee :
'Tis not for thee to close the fading eyes
Of him who faithful to his country dies ;
Not for thy hand to raise the drooping head
Of him who sinks to rest on glory's bed.
Soon shall these pangs be closed, this conflict o'er,
And worlds be mine where thou canst never soar :
Be thine existence with a blighted name,
Mine the bright death which seals a warrior's fame !"
The glow hath vanish'd from his cheek his eye
Hath lost that beam of parting energy ;
THE ABENCERRAGE. 93
Frozen and fix'd it seems his brow is chill ;'
One struggle more, that noble heart is still.
Departed warrior ! were thy mortal throes,
Were thy last pangs, ere Nature found repose,
More keen, more bitter, than th' envenomed dart,
Thy dying words have left in Hamet's heart ?
Thy pangs were transient j his shall sleep no more
Till life's delirious dream itself is o'er ;
But thou shalt rest in glory, and thy grave
Be the pure altar of the patriot brave.
Oh, what a change that little hour hath wrought
In the high spirit, and unbending thought !
Yet, from himself each keen regret to hide,
Still Hamet struggles with indignant pride ;
While his soul rises, gathering all its force,
To meet the fearful conflict with remorse.
To thee, at length, whose artless love hath been
His own, unchanged, through many a stormy scene ;
94 THE AUENCERRAGE.
Zayda ! to thee his heart for refuge flies ;
Thou still art faithful to affection's ties.
Yes ! let the world upbraid, let foes contemn,
Thy gentle breast the tide will firmly stem ;
And soon thy smile, and soft consoling voice,
Shall bid his troubled soul again rejoice.
Within Granada's walls are hearts and hands,
Whose aid in secret Hamet yet commands ;
Nor hard the task, at some propitious hour,
To win his silent way to Zayda's bower,
When night and peace are brooding o'er the world,
When mute the clarions, and the banners furl'd.
That hour is come and o'er the arms he bears
A wandering fakir's garb the chieftain wears :
Disguise that ill from piercing eye could hide
The lofty port, and glance of martial pride ;
But night befriends through paths obscure he pass'd,
And hail'd the lone and lovely scene at last ;
THE ABENCEURAOE. 95
Young Zayda's chosen haunt, the fair alcove,
The sparkling fountain, and the orange grove ;
Calm in the moonlight smiles the still retreat,
As form'd alone for happy hearts to meet.
For happy hearts ? not such is hers, who there
Bends o'er her lute, with dark, unbraided hair ;
That maid of Zegri race, whose eye, whose mien,
Tell that despair her bosom's guest hath been.
So lost in thought she seems, the warrior's feet
Unheard approach her solitary seat,
Till his known accents every sense restore
.*' My own loved Zayda ! do we meet once more ?"
She starts, she turns-r-the lightning of surprise,
Of sudden rapture, flashes from her eyes j
But that is fleeting it is past and now
Far other meaning darkens o'er her brow j
Changed is her aspect, and her tone severe,
" Hence, Aben-Zurrah ! death surrounds thee here !"
96 THE ABENCERRACE.
" Zayda ! what means that glance, unhke thine own ?
What mean those words, and that unwonted tone ?
I will not deem thee changed but in thy face,
It is not joy, it is not love, I trace !
It was not thus in other days we met :
Hath time, hath absence, taught thee to forget ?
Oh ! speak once more these rising doubts dispel ;
One smile of tenderness, and all is well !"
" Not thus we met in other days ! oh no !
Thou wert not, warrior, then thy country's foe !
Those days are past we ne'er shall meet again
With hearts all warmth, all confidence, as then.
But thy dark soul no gentler feelings sway,
Leader of hostile bands ! away, away !
On in thy path of triumph and of power,
Nor pause to raise from earth a blighted flower."
" And thou too changed ! thine early vow forgot !
This, this alone was wanting to my lot !
THE ABENCERRAGE. 97
Exiled and scorn'd, of every tie bereft,
Thy love, the desert's lonely fount, was left ;
And thou, my soul's last hope, its lingering beam,
Thou, the good angel of each brighter dream,
Wert all the barrenness of life possest,
To wake one soft affection in my breast !
That vision ended fate hath nought in store
Of joy or sorrow e'er to touch me more.
Go, Zegri maid ! to scenes of sunshine fly,
From the stern pupil of adversity !
And now to hope, to confidence, adieu !
If thou art faithless, who shall e'er be true ? "
" Hamet ! oh, wrong me not ! I too could speak
Of sorrows trace them on my faded cheek,
In the sunk eye, and in the wasted form,
That tell the heart hath nursed a canker-worm !
But words were idle read my sufferings there,
Where grief is stamp'd on all that once was fair.
98 THE ABENCERRAGE.
Oh ! wert thou still what once I fondly deem'd,
All that thy mien express'd, thy spirit seem'd,
My love had been devotion till in death
Thy name had trembled on my latest breath.
But not the chief who leads a lawless band,
To crush the altars of his native land ;
Th' apostate son of heroes, whose disgrace
Hath stain'd the trophies of a glorious race ;
Not him I loved but one whose youthful name
Was pure and radiant in unsullied fame.
Hadst thou but died, ere yet dishonour's cloud
O'er that young name had gather'd as a shroud,
I then had mourn'd thee proudly and my grief
In its own loftiness had found relief ;
A noble sorrow, cherish'd to the last,
When every meaner woe had long been past.
Yes ! let Affection weep no common tear
She sheds, when bending o'er a hero's bier.
Let Nature mourn the dead a grief like this,
To pangs that rend my bosom, had been bliss !"
THE ABENCERRAGE. 99
" High-minded maid ! the time admits not now
To plead my cause, to vindicate my vow.
That vow, too dread, too solemn to recall,
Hath urged me onward, haply to my fall.
Yet this believe no meaner aim inspires
My soul, no dream of poor ambition fires.
No ! every hope of power, of triumph, fled,
Behold me but th' avenger of the dead !
One whose changed heart no tie, no kindred knows,
And in thy love alone hath sought repose.
Zayda ! wilt thou his stern accuser be ?
False to his country, he is true to thee !
Oh, hear me yet ! if Hamet e'er was dear,
By our first vows, our young affection, hear !
Soon must this fair and royal city fall,
Soon shall the cross be planted on her wall ;
Then who can tell what tides of blood may flow,
While her fanes echo to the shrieks of woe ?
Fly, fly with me, and let me bear thee far
From horrors thronging in the path of war :
100 THE ABENCERRA0E.
Fly ! and repose in safety till the blast
Hath made a desert in its course and past !"
" Thou that wilt triumph when the hour is come,
Hasten'd by thee, to seal thy country's doom,
With thee from scenes of death shall Zayda fly
To peace and safety ? Woman too can die !
And die exulting, though unknown to fame,
In all the stainless beauty of her name !
Be mine unmurmuring, undismay'd, to share
The fate my kindred and my sire must bear.
And deem thou not my feeble heart shall fail,
When the clouds gather, and the blasts assail ;
Thou hast but known me ere the trying hour
Call'd into life my spirit's latent power >
But I have energies that idly slept,
While withering o'er my silent woes I wept,
And now, when hope and happiness are fled,
My soul is firm for what remains to dread ?
THE ABENCERRAGE. 101
Who shall have power to suffer and to bear,
If strength and courage dwell not with Despair ?
" Hamet, farewell ! retrace thy path again,
To join thy brethren on the tented plain.
There wave and wood in mingling murmurs tell,
How, in far other cause, thy fathers fell !
Yes ! on that soil hath Glory's footstep been,
Names unforgotten consecrate the scene !
Dwell not the souls of heroes round thee there,
Whose voices call thee in the whispering air ?
Unheard, in vain, they call their fallen son
Hath stain'd the name those mighty spirits won,
And to the hatred of the brave and free
Bequeath'd his own, through ages yet to be !"
Still as she spoke, th' enthusiast's kindling eye
Was lighted up with inborn majesty,
While her fair form and youthful features caught
All the proud grandeur of heroic thought,
102 THE ABENCERRAGE.
Severely beauteous 14 : awe-struck and amazed,
In silent trance awhile the warrior gazed
As on some lofty vision for she seem'd
One all inspired each look with glory beam'd,
While brightly bursting through its cloud of woes,
Her soul at once in all its light arose.
Oh ! ne'er had Hamet deem'd there dwelt enshrined
In form so fragile that unconquer'd mind,
And fix'd, as by some high enchantment, there,
He stood till wonder yielded to despair.
" The dream is vanish'd daughter of my foes !
Heft of each hope the lonely wanderer goes.
Thy words have pierced his soul yet deem thou not
Thou could' st be once adored, and e'er forgot !
O form'd for happier love ! heroic maid !
In grief sublime, in danger undismay'd,
Farewell, and be thou blest ! all words were vain
From him who ne'er may view that form again ;
THE ABENCERRAGE. 103
Him, whose sole thought, resembling bliss, must be,
He hath been loved, once fondly loved, by thee !"
And is the warrior gone ? doth Zayda hear
His parting footstep, and without a tear ?
Thou weep'st not, lofty maid ! yet who can tell
What secret pangs within thy heart may dwell ?
They feel not least, the firm, the high in soul,
Who best each feeling's agony control.
Yes ! we may judge the measure of the grief
Which finds in Misery's eloquence relief ;
But who shall pierce those depths of silent woe,
Whence breathes no language, whence no tears may
The pangs that many a noble breast hath proved,
Scorning itself that thus it could be moved ?
He, He alone, the inmost heart who knows,
Views all its weakness, pities all its throes,
He who hath mercy when mankind contemn,
Beholding anguish all unknown to them.
104 THE ABENCERRAGE.
Fair city ! thou, that 'midst thy stately fanes
And gilded minarets, towering o'er the plains,
In eastern grandeur proudly dost arise
Beneath thy canopy of deep-blue skies,
While streams that bear thee treasures in their wave,' b
Thy citron-groves and myrtle-gardens lave ;
Mourn ! for thy doom is fix'd the days of fear,
Of chains, of wrath, of bitterness, are near !
Within, around thee, are the trophied graves
Of kings and chiefs their children shall be slaves.
Fair are thy halls, thy domes majestic swell,
But there a race who rear'd them not shall dwell ;
For 'midst thy councils Discord still presides,
Degenerate fear thy wavering monarch guides,
Last of a line whose regal spirit flown
Hath to their offspring but bequeath'd a throne,
Without one generous thought, or feeling high,
To teach his soul how kings should live and die.
A voice resounds within Granada's wall,
The hearts of warriors echo to its call. 16
THE ABENCERRAGE. 105
Whose are those tones with power electric fraught,
To reach the source of pure exalted thought ?
See on a fortress -to wer, with beckoning hand,
A form, majestic as a prophet, stand !
His mien is all impassion' d and his eye
Fill'd with a light whose fountain is on high ;
Wild on the gale his silvery tresses flow,
And inspiration beams upon his brow,
While thronging round him breathless thousands
As on some mighty seer of elder days.
" Saw ye the banners of Castile display' d,
The helmets glittering and the line array'd ?
Heard ye the march of steel-clad hosts ?" he cries,
** Children of conquerors ! in your strength arise !
O high-born tribes ! O names unstain'd by fear !
Azarques, Zegris, Almoradis, hear ! 17
106 THE ABENCERRAGE.
Be every feud forgotten, and your hands
Dyed with no blood but that of hostile bands. l9
Wake, princes of the land ! the hour is come,
And the red sabre must decide your doom.
Where is that spirit which prevail'd of yore,
When Tarik's bands o'erspread the western shore i 19
When the long combat raged on Xeres' plain, 20
And Afric's tecbir swell'd through yielding Spain? 21
Is the lance broken, is the shield decay'd,
The warrior's arm unstrung, his heart dismay'd ?
Shall no high spirit of ascendant worth
Arise to lead the sons of Islam forth ?
To guard the regions where our fathers' blood
Hath bathed each plain, and mingled with each flood,
Where long their dust hath blended with the soil,
Won by their swords, made fertile by their toil ?
u O ye Sierras of eternal snow !
Ye streams that by the tombs of heroes flow,
THE ABENCERRAGE. 107
Woods, fountains, rocks, of Spain ! ye saw their
In many a fierce and unforgotten fight !
Shall ye behold their lost, degenerate race,
Dwell 'midst your scenes in fetters and disgrace ?
With each memorial of the past around,
Each mighty monument of days renown' d ?
May this indignant heart ere then be cold,
This frame be gather'd to its kindred mould \
And the last life-drop circling through my veins
Have tinged a soil untainted yet by chains !
" And yet one struggle ere our doom is seal'd,
One mighty effort, one deciding field !
If vain each hope, we still have choice to be,
In life the fetter'd, or in death the free !"
Still while he speaks, each gallant heart beats high,
And ardor flashes from each kindling eye ;
Youth, manhood, age, as if inspired, have caught
The glow of lofty hope and daring thought,
108 THE ABLNCERRAGE.
And all is hush'd around as every sense
Dwelt on the tones of that wild eloquence.
But when his voice hath ceased, th' impetuous cry
Of eager thousands bursts at once on high ;
Rampart, and rock, and fortress, ring around,
And fair Alhambra's inmost halls resound.
" Lead us, O chieftain ! lead us to the strife,
To fame in death, or liberty in life !"
O zeal of noble hearts ! in vain display 'd !
High feeling wasted ! generous hope betray 'd !
Now, while the burning spirit of the brave
Is roused to energies that yet might save,
E'en now, enthusiasts ! while ye rush to claim
Your glorious trial on the field of fame,
Your king hath yielded ! Valour's dream is o'er ;
Power, wealth, and.freedom, are your own no more ;
And for your children's portion, but remains
That bitter heritage the stranger's chains.
END OF THE SECOND CANTO.
Fermossi al fin il cor che balzb tanto.
Heroes of elder days ! untaught to yield,
Who bled for Spain on many an ancient field,
Ye, that around the oaken cross of yore 2a
Stood firm and fearless on Asturia's shore,
And with your spirit, ne'er to be subdued,
Hallow'd the wild Cantabrian solitude ;
Rejoice amidst your dwellings of repose,
In the last chastening of your Moslem foes !
Rejoice ! for Spain, arising in her strength,
Hath burst the remnant of their yoke at length ;
110 THE ABENCERRAGE.
And they in turn the cup of woe must drain,
And bathe their fetters with their tears in vain.
And thou, the warrior born in happy hour, 95
Valencia's lord, whose name alone was power,
Theme of a thousand songs in days gone by,
Conqueror of kings ! exult, O Cid ! on high.
For still 'twas thine to guard thy country's weal,
In life, in death, the watcher for Castile !
Thou, in that hour when Mauritania's bands
Rush'd from their palmy groves and burning lands,
E'en in the realm of spirits didst retain
A patriot's vigilance, remembering Spain ! 34
Then, at deep midnight, rose the mighty sound,
By Leon heard, in shuddering awe profound,
As through her echoing streets, in dread array,
Beings, once mortal, held their viewless way ;
Voices, from worlds we know not and the tread
Of marching hosts, the armies of the dead,
THE ABENCEItRAGE. Ill
Thou and thy buried chieftains from the grave
Then did thy summons rouse a king to save,
And join thy warriors with unearthly might
To aid the rescue in Tolosa's fight.
Those days are past the crescent on thy shore,
O realm of evening ! sets, to rise no more. 24
What banner streams from high Comares' tower ? *
The cross, bright ensign of Iberia's power !
What the glad shout of each exulting voice ?
Castile and Arragon ! rejoice, rejoice !
Yielding free entrance to victorious foes,
The Moorish city sees her gates unclose,
And Spain's proud host, with pennon, shield, and
Through her long streets in knightly garb advance.
Oh ! ne'er in lofty dreams hath Fancy's eye
Dwelt on a scene of statelier pageantry,
At joust or tourney, theme of poet's lore,
High masque, or solemn festival of yore.
112 THE ABENCERRAGE.
The gilded cupolas, that proudly rise
O'erarch'd by cloudless and cerulean skies,
Tall minarets, shining mosques, barbaric towers,
Fountains and palaces, and cypress bowers j
And they, the splendid and triumphant throng,
With helmets glittering as they move along,
With broider'd scarf, and gem-bestudded mail,
And graceful plumage streaming on the gale j
Shields, gold-emboss'd, and pennons floating far,
And all the gorgeous blazonry of war,
All brighten'd by the rich transparent hues
That southern suns o'er heaven and earth diffuse j
Blend in one scene of glory, form'd to throw
O'er memory's page a never-fading glow.
And there too, foremost 'midst the conquering brave,
Your azure plumes, O Aben-Zurrahs ! wave.
There Hamet moves ; the chief whose lofty port
Seems nor reproach to shun, nor praise to court,
Calm, stern, collected yet within his breast
Is there no pang, no struggle unconfest ?
THE ABENCERRAGE. 113
If such there be, it still must dwell unseen,
Nor cloud a triumph with a sufferer's mien.
Hearst thou the solemn, yet exulting sound,
Of the deep anthem floating far around ?
The choral voices, to the skies that raise
The full majestic harmony of praise ?
Lo ! where, surrounded by their princely train,
They come, the sovereigns of rejoicing Spain,
Borne on their trophied car lo ! bursting thence
A blaze of chivalrous magnificence !
Onward their slow and stately course they bend
To where th' Alhambra's ancient towers ascend,
Rear'd and adorn'd by Moorish kings of yore,
Whose lost descendants there shall dwell no more.
They reach those towers irregularly vast
And rude they seem, in mould barbaric cast : 2r
114 THE ABENCF.RRAGE.
They enter to their wondering sight is given
A Genii palace an Arabian heaven ! 28
A scene by magic raised, so strange, so fair,
Its forms and colours seem alike of air.
Here, by sweet orange-boughs, half shaded o'er,
The deep clear bath reveals its marble floor,
Its margin fringed with flowers, whose glowing hues
The calm transparence of its wave suffuse.
There, round the court where Moorish arches bend,
Aerial columns, richly deck'd, ascend ;
Unlike the models of each classic race,
Of Doric grandeur, or Corinthian grace,
But answering well each vision that portrays
Arabian splendor to the poet's gaze :
Wild, wondrous, brilliant, all a mingling glow
Of rainbow-tints, above, around, below ;
Bright-streaming from the many-tinctured veins
Of precious marble and the vivid stains
Of rich mosaics o'er the light arcade,
In gay festoons and fairy knots display 'd.
THE ABENCERRAGE. 115
On through th' enchanted realm, that only seems
Meet for the radiant creatures of our dreams,
The royal conquerors pass while still their sight
On some new wonder dwells with fresh delight.
Here the eye roves through slender colonnades,
O'er bowery terraces and myrtle shades,
Dark olive-woods beyond, and far on high
The vast Sierra, mingling with the sky.
There, scattering far around their diamond spray,
Clear streams from founts of alabaster play,
Through pillar'd halls, where exquisitely wrought
Rich arabesques, with glittering foliage fraught,
Surmount each fretted arch, and lend the scene
A wild, romantic, oriental mien :
While many a verse, from eastern bards of old,
Borders the walls in characters of gold. "
Here Moslem-luxury, in her own domain,
Hath held for ages her voluptuous reign
'Midst gorgeous domes, where soon shall silence brood,
And all be lone a splendid solitude.
116 THE ABENCERRAGF.
Now wake their echos to a thousand songs,
From mingling voices of exulting throngs ;
Tambour, and flute, and atabal, are there, so
And joyous clarions pealing on the air,
While every hall resounds, " Granada won !
Granada ! for Castile and Arragon !" 31
Tis night from dome and tower, in dazzling maze,
The festal lamps innumerably blaze ; 32
Through long arcades their quivering lustre gleams,
From every lattice tremulously streams,
'Midst orange-gardens plays on fount and rill,
And gilds the waves of Darro and Xenil ;
Red flame the torches on each minaret's height,
And shines each street an avenue of light ;
And midnight feasts are held, and music's voice
Through the long night still summons to rejoice.
Yet there, while all would seem to heedless eye
One blaze of pomp, one burst of revelry,
THE ABENCERRAOE. 117
Are hearts, unsooth'd by those delusive hours,
Gall'd by the chain, though deck'd awhile with flowers;
Stern passions working in th' indignant breast,
Deep pangs untold, high feelings unexprest,
Heroic spirits, unsubmitting yet,
Vengeance, and keen remorse, and vain regret.
From yon proud height, whose olive-shaded brow
Commands the wide, luxuriant plains below,
Who lingering gazes o'er the lovely scene,
Anguish and shame contending in his mien ?
He, who, of heroes and of kings the son,
Hath lived to lose whate'er his fathers won,
Whose doubts and fears his people's fate have seal'd.
Wavering alike in council and in field ;
Weak, timid ruler of the wise and brave,
Still a fierce tyrant or a yielding slave.
Far from these vine-clad hills, and azure skies,
To Afric's wilds the royal exile flies, 33
118 THE ABENCERRAOE.
Yet pauses on his way, to weep in vain,
O'er all he never must behold again.
Fair spreads the scene around for him too fair,
Each glowing charm but deepens his despair.
The Vega's meads, the city's glittering spires,
The old majestic palace of his sires,
The gay pavilions, and retired alcoves,
Bosom'd in citron and pomegranate groves j
Tower-crested rocks, and streams that wind in light,
All in one moment bursting on his sight,
Speak to his soul of glory's vanish'd years,
And wake the source of unavailing tears.
Weep'st thou, Abdallah ? Thou dost well to weep,
O feeble heart ! o'er all thou couldst not keep !
Well do a woman's tears befit the eye
Of him who knew not, as a man, to die. 34
The gale sighs mournfully through Zayda's bower,
The hand is gone that nursed each infant flower.
No voice, no step, is in her father's halls,
Mute are the echoes of their marble walls ;
THE ABENCEUKAGE. 11.9
No stranger enters at the chieftain's gate,
But all is hush'd, and void, and desolate.
There, through each tower and solitary shade,
In vain doth Hamet seek the Zegri maid j
Her grove is silent, her pavilion lone,
Her lute forsaken, and her doom unknown j
And through the scene she loved, unheeded flows
The stream whose music lull'd her to repose.
But oh ! to him, whose self-accusing thought
Whispers, 'twas he that desolation wrought ;
He, who his country and his faith betray'd,
And lent Castile revengeful, powerful aid ;
A voice of sorrow swells in every gale,
Each wave, low rippling, tells a mournful tale ;
And as the shrubs, untended, unconfined,
In wild exuberance rustle to the wind ;
Each leaf hath language to his startled sense,
And seems to murmur " Thou hast driven her
120 THE ABENCERRAGE.
And well he feels to trace her flight were vain,
Where hath lost love been once recall'd again ?
In her pure breast, so long by anguish torn,
His name can rouse no feeling now but scorn.
O bitter hour ! when first the shuddering heart
Wakes to behold the void within and start !
To feel its own abandonment, and brood
O'er the chill'd bosom's depth of solitude.
The stormy passions that in Hamet's breast
Have sway'd so long, so fiercely, are at rest j
Th' avenger's task is closed : 3 * he finds too late,
It hath not changed his feelings, but his fate.
His was a lofty spirit, turn'd aside
From its bright path by woes, and wrongs, and pride j
And onward in its new tumultuous course
Borne with too rapid and intense a force
To pause one moment in the dread career,
And ask if such could be its native sphere ?
Now are those days of wild delirium o'er,
Their fears and hopes excite his soul no more ;
THE ABENCERRAGE. 121
The feverish energies of passion close,
And his heart sinks in desolate repose,
Turns sickening from the world, yet shrinks not less
From its own deep and utter loneliness.
There is a sound of voices on the air,
A flash of armour to the sunbeam's glare,
Midst the wild Alpuxarras ; 36 there on high,
Where mountain-snows are mingling with the sky,
A few brave tribes, with spirit yet unbroke,
Have fled indignant from the Spaniard's yoke.
O ye dread scenes, where Nature dwells alone,
Severely glorious on her craggy throne ;
Ye citadels of rock, gigantic forms,
Veil'd by the mists, and girdled by the storms,
Ravines, and glens, and deep-resounding caves,
That hold communion with the torrent- waves ;
And ye, th' unstain'd and everlasting snows,
That dwell above in bright and still repose ;
122 THE ABENCERRAGE.
To you, in every clime, in every age, \
Far from the tyrant's or the conqueror's rage,
Hath Freedom led her sons : untired to keep
Her fearless vigils on the barren steep. '
She, like the mountain eagle, still delights
To gaze exulting from unconquer'd heights,
And build her eyrie in defiance proud,
To dare the wind and mingle with the cloud. .
Now her deep voice, the soul's awakener, swells,
Wild Alpuxarras, through your inmost dells.
There, the dark glens and lonely rocks among,
As at the clarion's call, her children throng.
She with enduring strength hath nerved each frame,
And made each heart the temple of her flame,
Her own resisting spirit, which shall glow
Unquenchably, surviving all below.
There high-bom maids, that moved upon the earth,
More like bright creatures of aerial birth,
THE AEENCERKAGE. 123
Nurslings of palaces, have fled to share
The fate of brothers and of sires ; to bear,
All undismay'd, privation and distress,
And smile, the roses of the wilderness.
And mothers with their infants, there to dwell
In the deep forest or the cavern cell,
And rear their offspring 1 midst the rocks, to be,
If now no more the mighty, still the free.
And midst that band are veterans, o'er whose head
Sorrows and years their mingled snow have shed :
They saw thy glory, they have wept thy fall,
O royal city ! and the wreck of all
They loved and hallow'd most : doth aught remain
For these to prove of happiness or pain ?
Life's cup is drain' d earth fades before their eye,
Their task is closing they have but to die.
Ask ye, why fled they hither ? that their doom
Might be, to sink unfetter'd to the tomb.
And youth, in all its pride of strength, is there j
And buoyancy of spirit, form'd to dare
124 THE ABENCERRAGE.
And suffer all things, fall'n on evil days,
Yet darting o'er the world an ardent gaze,
As on th' arena, where its powers may find
Full scope to strive for glory with mankind.
Such are the tenants of the mountain-hold,
The high in heart, unconquer'd, uncontroll'd ;
By day, the huntsmen of the wild by night,
Unwearied guardians of the watch-fire's light.
They from their bleak majestic home have caught
A sterner tone of unsubmitting thought,
While all around them bids the soul arise,
To blend with Nature's dread sublimities.
- But these are lofty dreams, and must not be
Where tyranny is near : the bended knee,
The eye, whose glance no inborn grandeur fires,
And the tamed heart, are tributes she requires ;
Nor must the dwellers of the rock look down
On regal conquerors, and defy their frown.
What warrior-band is toiling to explore
The mountain-pass, with pine-wood shadowd o'er ?
THE ABENCERRAGE. 125
Startling with martial sounds each rude recess,
Where the deep echo slept in loneliness.
These are the sons of Spain ! Your foes are near :
O, exiles of the wild Sierra ! hear !
Hear ! wake ! arise ! and from your inmost caves
Pour like the torrent in its might of waves !
Who leads th' invaders on ? his features bear
The deep-worn traces of a calm despair j
Yet his dark brow is haughty and his eye
Speaks of a soul that asks not sympathy.
'Tis he ! 'tis he again ! th' apostate chief ;
He comes in all the sternness of his grief.
He comes, but changed in heart, no more to wield
Falchion for proud Castile in battle-field,
Against his country's children though he leads
Castilian bands again to hostile deeds :
His hope is but from ceaseless pangs to fly,
To rush upon the Moslem spears, and die.
So shall remorse and love the heart release,
Which dares not dream of joy, but sighs for peace.
126 THE ABENCERRAGE.
The mountain echos are awake a sound
Of strife is ringing through the rocks around.
Within the steep defile that winds between
Cliffs piled on cliffs, a dark, terrific scene,
There Moorish exile and Castilian knight
Are wildly mingling in the serried fight.
Red flows the foaming streamlet of the glen,
Whose bright transparence ne'er was stain'd till then ;
\Miile swell the war-note, and the clash of spears,
To the bleak dwellings of the mountaineers,
Where thy sad daughters, lost Granada ! wait,
In dread suspense, the tidings of their fate.
But he, whose spirit, panting for its rest,
Would fain each sword concentrate in his breast
Who, where a spear is pointed, or a lance
Aim'd at another's breast, would still advance
Courts death in vain ; each weapon glances by,
As if for him 'twere bliss too great to die.
Yes, Aben-Zurrah ! there are deeper woes
Reserved for thee ere Nature's last repose ;
the abencerhage; 1*27
Thou know'st not yet what vengeance fate can wreak,
Nor all the heart can suffer ere it break.
Doubtful and long the strife, and bravely fell
The sons of battle in that narrow dell ;
Youth in its light of beauty there hath past,
And age, the weary, found repose at last ;
Till few and faint the Moslem tribes recoil,
Borne down by numbers, and o'erpower'd by toil.
Dispersed, dishearten'd, through the pass they fly,
Pierce the deep wood, or mount the cliff on high ;
While Hamet's band in wonder gaze, nor dare
Track o'er their dizzy path the footsteps of despair.
Yet he, to whom each danger hath become
A dark delight, and every wild a home,
Still urges onward undismay'd to tread,
Where life's fond lovers would recoil with dread ;
But fear is for the happy they may shrink
From the steep precipice, or torrent's brink ;
They to whom earth is paradise their doom
Lends no stern courage to approach the tomb :
128 THE ABENCERRAGE.
Not such his lot, who, school'd by Fate severe,
Were but too blest if aught remain'd to fear.s'
Up the rude crags, whose giant-masses throw
Eternal shadows o'er the glen below ;
And by the fall, whose many tinctured spray
Half in a mist of radiance veils its way,
He holds his venturous track : supported now
By some o'erhanging pine or ilex bough j
Now by some jutting stone, that seems to dwell
Half in mid-air, as balanced by a spell :
Now hath his footstep gain'd the summit's head,
A level span, with emerald verdure spread,
A fairy circle there the heath-flowers rise,
And the rock-rose unnoticed blooms and dies ;
And brightly plays the stream, ere yet its tide
In foam and thunder cleave the mountain side ;
But all is wild beyond and Hamet's eye
Roves o'er a world of rude sublimity.
That dell beneath, where e'en at noon of day
Earth's charter'd guest, the sunbeam, scarce can
THE ABENCERRAGE. 129
Around, untrodden woods ; and far above,,
Where mortal footstep ne'er may hope to rove,
Bare granite cliffs, whose fix'd, inherent dyes
Rival the tints that float o'er summer skies ; 38
And the pure glittering snow-realm, yet more high,
That seems a part of Heaven's eternity.
There is no track of man where Hamet stands,
Pathless the scene as Lybia's desert sands ;
Yet on the calm, still air, a sound is heard
Of distant voices, and the gathering- word
Of Islam's tribes, now faint and fainter grown,
Now but the lingering echo of a tone.
That sound, whose cadence dies upon his ear,
He follows, reckless if his bands are near.
On by the rushing stream his way he bends,
And through the mountain's forest zone ascends ;
Piercing the still and solitary shades
Of ancient pine, and dark, luxuriant glades,
130 THE ABENCERRAGE.
Eternal twilight's reign : those mazes past,
The glowing sunbeams meet his eyes at last,
And the lone wanderer now hath reach'd the source
Whence the wave gushes, i'oaming on its course.
But there he pauses for the lonely scene
Towers in such dread magnificence of mien,
And, mingled oft with some wild eagle's cry,
From rock-built eyrie rushing to the sky,
So deep the solemn and majestic sound
Of forests, and of waters murmuring round,
That, rapt in wondering awe, his heart forgets
Its fleeting struggles, and its vain regrets.
What earthly feeling, unabash'd, can dwell
In Nature's mighty presence ? midst the swell
Of everlasting hills, the roar of floods,
And frown of rocks, and pomp of waving woods ?
These their own grandeur on the soul impress,
And bid each passion feel its nothingness.
Midst the vast marble cliffs, a lofty cave
Rears its broad arch beside the rushing wave j
THE ABENCERRAOE. 131
Shadow'd by giant oaks, and rude, and lone,
It seems the temple of some power unknown,
Where earthly being may not dare intrude
To pierce the secrets of the solitude.
Yet thence at intervals a voice of wail
Is rising, wild and solemn, on the gale.
Did thy heart thrill, O Hamet, at the tone ?
Came it not o'er thee as a spirit's moan ?
As some loved sound, that long from earth had fled,
The unforgotten accents of the dead ?
E'en thus it rose and springing from his trance
His eager footsteps to the sound advance.
He mounts the cliffs, he gains the cavern floor,
Its dark green moss with blood is sprinkled o'er :
He rushes on and lo ! where Zayda rends
Her locks, as o'er her slaughter'd sire she bends,
Lost in despair ; yet as a step draws nigh,
Disturbing sorrow's lonely sanctity ;
13'2 THE ABENCEKRAGF..
She lifts her head, and all subdued by grief,
Views, with a wild, sad smile, the once loved chiefs
While rove her thoughts, unconscious of the past,
And every woe forgetting but the last.
" Com'st thou to weep with me ? for I am left
Alone on earth, of every tie bereft.
Low lies the warrior on his blood-stain'd bier >
His child may call, but he no more shall hear !
He sleeps but never shall those eyes unclose ;
'Twas not my voice that lull'd him to repose,
Nor can it break his slumbers. Dost thou mourn ?
And is thy heart, like mine, with anguish torn ?
Weep, and my soul a joy in grief shall know,
That o'er his grave my tears with Hamet's flow!"
But scarce her voice had breathed that well-known
When, swiftly rushing o'er her spirit, came
THE ABENCERRAGE. 1SS
Each dark remembrance ; by affliction's power .
Awhile effaced in that o'erwhelming hour,
To wake with tenfold strength ; 'twas then her eye
Resumed its light, her mien its majesty,
And o'er iier wasted cheek a burning glow
Spreads, while her lips' indignant accents flow.
" Away ! I dream oh, how hath sorrow's might
Bow'd down my soul, and quench'd its native light,
That I should thus forget ! and bid thy tear
With mine be mingled o'er a father's bier !
Did he not perish, haply by thy hand,
In the last combat with thy ruthless band ?
The morn beheld that conflict of despair:
'Twas then he fell he fell! and thou wert there!
Thou ! who thy country's children hast pursued
To their last refuge midst these mountains rude.
Was it for this I loved thee ? Thou hast taught
My soul all grief, all bitterness of thought !
'Twill soon be past I bow to Heaven's decree,
Which bade each pang be minister "d oy thee."
134 THE ABENCERRAGE.
" I had not deeiu'd that aught remain'd below
For me to prove of yet untasted woe ;
But thus to meet thee, Zayda ! can impart
One more, one keener agony of heart.
Oh, hear me yet ! I would have died to save
My foe, but still thy father, from the grave ;
But in the fierce confusion of the strife,
In my own stern despair, and scorn of life,
Borne wildly on, I saw not, knew not aught,
Save that to perish there in vain I sought.
And let me share thy sorrows hadst thou known
All I have felt in silence and alone,
E'en thou mightst then relent, and deem at last
A grief like mine might expiate all the past.
But oh ! for thee, the loved and precious flower,
So fondly rear'd in luxury's guarded bower,
From every danger, every storm secured,
How hast thou suffer'd ! what hast thou endured !
Daughter of palaces ! and can it be
That this bleak desert is a home for thee !
THE AHENCERRAGE. 135
These rocks thi/ dwelling ! thou, who ahouldst have
Of life the sunbeam and the smile alone !
Oh, yet forgive ! be all my guilt forgot,
Nor bid me leave thee to so rude a lot !"
" That lot is fix'd ; 'twere fruitless to repine,
Still must a gulf divide my fate from thine.
I may forgive but not at will the heart
Can bid its dark remembrances depart.
No, Hamet, no ! too deeply these are traced,
Yet the hour comes when all shall be effaced !
Not long on earth, not long shall Zayda keep
Her lonely vigils o'er the grave to weep :
E'en now, prophetic of my early doom,
Speaks to my soul a presage of the tomb ;
And ne'er in vain did hopeless mourner feel
That deep foreboding o'er the bosom steal !
Soon shall I slumber calmly by the side
Of him for whom I lived, and would have died ;
136 THE ABENCERRAGE.
'1111 then, one thought shall soothe my orphan lot,
In pain and peril I forsook him not.
And now, farewell ! behold the summer-day
Is passing, like the dreams of life, away.
Soon will the tribe of him who sleeps, draw nigh,
With the last rites his bier to sanctify.
Oh, yet in time, away ! 'twere not my prayer
Could move their hearts a foe like thee to spare !
This hour they come and dost thou scorn to fly ?
Save me that one last pang to see thee die !"
E'en while she speaks is heard their echoing tread,
Onward they move, the kindred of the dead.
They reach the cave they enter slow their pace,
And calm, deep sadness marks each mourner's face,
And all is hush'd till he who seems to wait
In silent, stern devotedness, his fate,
Hath met their glance then grief to fury turns ;
Each mien is changed, each eye indignant burns,
THE ABENCERKAGE. 137
And voices rise, and swords have left their sheath :
Blood must atone for blood, and death for death !
They close around him : lofty still his mien,
His cheek unalter'd, and his brow serene.
Unheard, or heard in vain, is Zayda's cry;
Fruitless her prayer, unmark'd her agony.
But as his foremost foes their weapons bend
Against the life he seeks not to defend,
Wildly she darts between each feeling past,
Save strong affection, which prevails at last.
Oh ! not in vain its daring for the blow
Aim'd at his heart hath bade her life-blood flow ;
And she hath sunk a martyr on the breast,
Where, in that hour, her head may calmly rest,
For he is saved : behold the Zegri band,
Pale with dismay and grief, around her stand ;
While, every thought of hate and vengeance o'er,
They weep for her who soon shall weep no more.
She, she alone is calm : a fading smile,
Like sunset, passes o'er her cheek the while ;
13S THE ABENCEURAOE.
And in her eye, ere yet it closes, dwell
Those last faint rays, the parting soul's farewell.
" Now is the conflict past, and I have proved
How well, how deeply thou hast been beloved !
Yes ! in an hour like this 'twere vain to hide
The heart so long and so severely tried :
Still to thy name that heart hath fondly thrill'd,
But sterner duties call'd and were fulfill'd :
And I am blest ! To every holier tie
My life was faithful, and for thee I die !
Nor shall the love so purified be vain,
Sever'd on earth, we yet shall meet again.
Farewell! And ye, at Zayda's dying prayer,
Spare him, my kindred-tribe ! forgive and spare !
Oh ! be his guilt forgotten in his woes,
While I, beside my sire, in peace repose."
Now fades her cheek, her voice hath sunk, and death
Sits in her eye, and struggles in her breath.
THE ABENCERRAGE. 139
One pang 'tis past her task on earth is done,
And the pure spirit to its rest hath flown.
But he for whom she died Oh ! who may paint
The grief, to which all other woes were faint >
There is no power in language to impart
The deeper pangs, the ordeals of the heart,
By the dread Searcher of the soul survey'd ;
These have no words nor are by words portray'd.
A dirge is rising on the mountain-air,
Whose fitful swells its plaintive murmurs bear
Far o'er the Alpuxarras ; wild its tone,
And rocks and caverns echo " Thou art gone !"
Daughter of heroes ! thou art gone
To share his tomb who gave thee birth ;
Peace to the lovely spirit flown !
It was not form'd for earth.
Thou wert a sunbeam in thy race,
Which brightly past, and left no trace.
140 THE ABENCERRAGE.
But calmly sleep ! for thou art free,
And hands unchain'd thy tomb shall raise.
Sleep ! they are closed at length for thee.
Life's few and evil days !
Nor shalt thou watch, with tearful eye,
The lingering death of liberty.
Flower of the desert ! thou thy bloom
Didst early to the storm resign :
We bear it still and dark their doom
Who cannot weep for thine !
For us, whose every hope is fled,
The time is past to mourn the dead.
The days have been, when o'er thy bier
Far other strains than these had flow'd ;
Now, as a home from grief and fear,
We hail thy dark abode !
We who but linger to bequeath
Our sons the choice of chains or death.
THE ABENCERRAGE. 141
Thou art with those, the free, the brave,
The mighty of departed years ;
And for the slumberers of the grave
Our fate hath left no tears.
Though loved and lost, to weep were vain
For thee, who ne'er shalt weep again.
Have we not seen, despoil'd by foes,
The land our fathers won of yore ?
And is there yet a pang for those
Who gaze on this no more ?
Oh, that like them 'twere ours to rest !
Daughter of heroes ! thou art blest !
A few short years, and in the lonely cave
Where sleeps the Zegri maid, is Hamet's grave.
Sever'd in life, united in the tomb
Such, of the hearts that loved so well, the doom !
Their dirge, of woods and waves th' eternal moan,
Their sepulchre, the pine-clad rocks alone.
142 THE ABENCERRAGE.
And oft beside the midnight watch-fire's blaze,
Amidst those rocks, in long departed days,
(When Freedom fled, to hold, sequester'd there,
The stern and lofty councils of despair j)
Some exiled Moor, a warrior of the wild,
Who the lone hours with mournful strains beguiled,
Hath taught his mountain-home the tale of those
Who thus have suffer'd, and who thus repose.
Note 1 , page 58, line 2.
Not the light zambra.
Zarubra, a Moorish dance.
Note 2, page 58, line 5.
Within the hall of Lions.
The hall of Lions was the principal one of the Alhambra, and
was so called from twelve sculptured lions which supported an
alabaster basin in the centre.
Note 3, page 59, line 2.
His Aben-Zurrahs there young Hornet leads.
Aben-Zurrahs; the name thus written is taken from the trans-
lation of an Arabic MS. given in the 3d volume of Bourgoanne's
Travels through Spain.
Note 4, page C2, line 4.
The Vega's green expanse.
The Vega, the plain surrounding Granada, the scene of fre-
quent actions between the Moors and Christians.
Note 5, page 63, line 18.
Seen 'midst the rednets of the desert storm.
An extreme redness in the sky is the presage of the Simoom.
See Brace's Travels.
Note 6, page 65, lines 9 and 10.
Stillness like that, when fierce the Kamsin's blast
Hath o'er the dwellings of the desert pass'd.
Of the Kamsin, a hot south wind, common in Egypt, we have
the following account in Volney's Travels. " These winds are
known in Egypt by the general name of winds of fifty days,
because they prevail more frequently in the fifty days preceding
and following the equinox. They are mentioned by travellers
under the name of the poisonous winds, or hot winds of the desert:
their heat is so excessive, that it is difficult to form any idea of its
violence without having experienced it. When they begin to
blow, the sky, at other times so clear in this climate, becomes
dark and heavy ; the sun loses his splendor, and appears of a
violet colour; the air is not cloudy, but grey and thick, and is
filled with a subtle dust, which penetrates every where : respira-
tion becomes short and difficult, the skin parched and dry, the
lungs are contracted and painful, and the body consumed with
internal heat. In vain is coolness sought for; marble, iron, water,
though the sun no longer appears, are hot: the streets are
deserted, and a dead silence appears every where. The natives
of towns and villages shut themselves up in their houses, and
those of the desert in tents, or holes dug in the ea T\h, where they
wait the termination of this heat, which generally lasts three days.
Woe to the traveller whom it surprises remote from shelter: he
must suffer all its dreadful effects, which are sometimes mortal."
Note 7, page 71, line 18.
While tearless eyes enjoy the honey dews of sleep.
" Enjoy the honey-heavy-dew of slumber." Sliahpearc.
Note 8, page 84, line 18.
On the green Vega won in single fight.
Garcilaso de la Vega derived his surname from a single combat
(in which he was the victor), with a Moor, on the Vega of Granada.
Note 9, page 86, line 6.
Who drank for man the bitter cup of tears.
" El Rey D. Fernando bolvi6 a la Vega, y puso su Real a la
vista de Huecar, a veyute y seys dias del mes de Abril, adonde
fue fortificado de todo lo necessario ; poniendo el Christiano toda
su gente en esquadron, con todas sus vanderas tendidas, y su
Real Estandarte, el qual llevava por divisa un Christo crucifi-
cado. ''Historia de las giierras civiles de Granada.
Note 10, page 86, line last.
From yon rich province of the western star.
Andalusia signifies, in Arabic, the region of the evening of the
west; in a word, the Helped i of the Greeks See Cusiri. Bihliot.
Arabico Hispana, and Gibbon's Decline and Fall, i$ r.
Note 11, page 87, line 4.
The mow-white charger, and the auire etttt,
" Los Abencerrages salieron con su acostumbrada librea azul
y blanca, todos llenos de ricos texidos de plata, las plumas de la
misma color; en sus adargas, su acostumbrada divisa, salvages
que desquixalavan leones, y otros un mundo que lo deshazia on
selvage con un baston." Guerrat civiles de Granada.
Note 12, page 88, line 10,
TV eternal snow that crowns Veleta?* heud.
The loftiest heights of the Sierra Nevada are those called Mul-
liacen and Picacho de Veleta.
Note 13, page 88, line last.
The wounded sought a shelter, and expired.
It is known to be a frequent circHmstance in battle, that the
dying and the wounded drag themselves, as it were mechanically,
to the shelter which may be afforded by any bush or thicket on
Note 14, page 102, line 1.
" Severe in youthful beauty." Milton.
Note 15, page 104, line 5.
While streams that bear thee treasures in their wave.
Granada stands upon two hills separated by the Darro. The
Genii runs under the walls. The Darro is said to carry with its
stream small particles of gold, and the Genii, of silver. When
Charles V. came to. Granada with the Empress Isabella, the city
presented him with a crown made of gold, which had been col-
lected from the Darro. See Bourgoanne's and other Travels.
Note 16, page 104, line last.
The hearts of warriors echo to its call.
" At this period, while the inhabitants of Granada were sunk in
indolence, one of those men, whose natural and impassioned elo-
quence has sometimes aroused a people to deeds of heroism, raised
his voice, in the midst of the city, and awakened the inhabitants
from their lethargy. Twenty thousand enthusiasts, ranged under his
banners, were prepared to sally forth, with the fury of despera-
tion, to attack the besiegers, when Abo Abdeli, more afraid of his
subjects than of the enemy, resolved immediately to capitulate,
and made terms with the Christians, by which it was agreed that
the Moors should be allowed the free exercise of their religion
and laws; should be permitted, if they thought proper, to depart
unmolested with their effects to Africa ; and that he himself, it he
remained in Spain, should retain an extensive estate, with houses
and slaves, or be granted an equivalent-in money if he preferred
retiring to Barbary." See Jacob's Travels in Spain.
Note 17, page 105, line last.
Atarques, Zegris, Almoia&is, hear !
Azarques, Zegris, Almoradis, different tribe* of the Moors of
Granada, all of high distinction.
Note 18, page 106, line 2.
Dyed with no blood but that of hostile bands.
The conquest of Granada was greatly facilitated by the civil
dissensions which, at this period, prevailed in the city. Several
of the Moorish tribes, influenced by private feuds, were fully pre-
pared for submission to the Spaniards ; others had embraced the
cause of Muley el Zagal, the uncle and competitor for the throne
of Abdallah, (or Abo Abdeli) and all was jealousy and animosity.
Note 19, page 106, line 6.
When Tank's bands o'erspread the western shore.
Tarik, the first leader of the Arabs and Moors into Spain.
' The Saracens landed at the pillar or point of Europe : the corrupt
and familiar appellation of Gibraltar, (Gebei al Tarik) describes
the mountain of Tarik, and the entrenchments of his camp were the
first outline of those fortifications, which, in the hands of our coun-
trymen, have resisted the art and power of the House of Bourbon.
The adjacent governors informed the court of Toledo of the de-
scent and progress of the Arabs j and the defeat of his lieutenant
Edeco, who had been commanded to seize and bind the presump-
tuous strangers, first admonished Roderic of the magnitude of the
danger. At the royal summons, the dukes and counts, the bishops
and nobles of the Gothic monarchy, assembled at the head of t\"~' r
followers, and the title of king of the Romans, which is employed
by an Arabic historian, may be excused by the close affinity of lan-
guage, religion, and manners, between the nations of Spain."
Gibbon's Decline and Fall, #c. Vol. 9, p. 472, 473.
Note 20, page 106, line 7.
When the long combat raged on Xeres' plain.
" In the neighbourhood of Cadiz, the town of Xeres has been
illustrated by the encounter which determined the fiite of the
kingdom; the stream of the Guadalete, which falls iuto the bay,
divided the two camps, and marked the advancing aud retreating
skirmishes of three successive days. On the fourth day, the two
armies joined a more serious and decisive issue. Notwithstand-
ing the valour of the Saracens, they fainted under the weight of
multitudes, and the plain of Xeres was overspread with sixteen
thousand of their dead bodies. "My brethren," said Tarik to his
surviving companions, " the enemy is before you, the sea is be-
hind ; whither would ye fly ? Follow your general; I am resolved
cither to lose my life, or to trample on the prostrate king of the
Romans." Besides the resource of despair, he confided in the
secret correspondence and nocturnal interviews of Count Julian
with the sons and the brother of Wit'ua. The two princes, and
the archbishop of Toledo, occupied the most important post: their
well-timed defection broke the ranks of the Christians; each war-
rior was prompted by fear or suspicion to consult his personal
safety ; and the remains of the Gothic army were scattered or
destroyed in the flight and pursuit of the three following days."
Gibbon's Decline and Fall, #c. Vol. 9, p. 473, 474.
Note 21, page 106, line 8.
And Afric's tecbir swell'd through yielding Spain.
The tecbir, the shout of onset used by the Saracens in battle.
Note 22, page 109, line 3.
Ye, that around the oaken cross of yore.
The oaken cross, carried by Pelagius in battle.
Note 23, page 110, line 3.
And thou, the warrior born in happy hour.
See Southey's Chronicle of the Cid, in which that warrior is
frequently styled, " he who was born in happy hour."
Note 24, page 110, lines 11 and 12.
E'en in the realm of spirits didst retain
A patriot's vigilance, remembering Spain !
" Moreover, when the Miramamolin brought over from Africa
against King Don Alfonso, the eighth of that name, the mightiest
power of the misbelievers that had ever been brought against
Spain, since the destruction of the kings of the Goths, the Cid
C'ampeador remembered his country in that great danger; for the
night before the battle was fought at the Navas de Tolosa, in the
dead of the night, a mighty sound was heard in the whole city of
Leon, as if it were the tramp of a great army passing through; and
it passed on to the royal monastery of St. lsidro, and there was a
great knocking at the gate thereof, and they called to a priest who
was keeping vigils in the church, and told him, that the captains
of the array whom he heard were the Cid Ruydiez, and Count
Ferran Gonzalez, and that they came there to call up King Don
Ferrando the Great, who lay buried in that church, that he might
go widi them to deliver Spain. And on the morrow that great
battle of the Navas de Tolosa was fought, wherein sixty thousand
of the misbelierers were slain, which was one of the greatest and
noblest battles ever won over the Moors." Southey's Chronicle of
Note 25, page 111, line 6.
realm of evening!
The name of Andalusia, the region of evening or of the west, was
applied by the Arabs not only to the province so called, but to the
Note 26, page 111, line 7.
What banner streams from high Comares' tower f
The tower of Comares is the highest and most magnificent in
Note 27, page 1 13, lines 15 and 16.
TJie y reach those towers irregularly vast
And rude they seem, in mould barbaric cast.
Swinburne, after describing the noble palace built by Charles V.
in the precincts of the Alhambra, thus proceeds: " Adjoining (to
the north) stands a huge heap of as ugly buildings as can well be
seen, all huddled together, seemingly without the least intentiou
of forming one habitation out of them. The walls are entirely un-
ornamented, all gravel and pebbles, daubed over with plaster by a
very coarse hand; yet this is the palace of the Moorish kings of
Granada, indisputably the most curious place within, that exists
in Spain, perhaps in Europe. In many countries you may see
excellent modern as well as ancient architecture, both entire and
in ruins ; but nothing to be met with any where else can convey
an idea of this edifice, except you take it from the decorations of
an opera, or the tales of the Genii." Svrinburne's Travels through
Note 28, page 114, line 2.
A Genii palace an Arabian heaven.
" Passing round the corner of the emperor's palace, you are
admitted at a plain unornaraented door, in a corner. On my first
visit, I confess, I was struck with amazement as I stept over the
threshold, to find myself on a sudden transported into a species of
fairy land. The first place you come to is the court called the
Communa, or del Mesucar, that is, the common baths: an oblong
square, with a deep bason of clear water in the middle ; two flights
of marble steps leading down to the bottom ; on each side a par-
terre of flowers, and a row of orange-trees. Hound the court runs
a peristyle paved with marble ; the arches bear upon very slight
pillars, in proportions and style different from all the regularordcrs
of architecture. The ceilings and walls are incrustated with fret-
work in stucco, so minute and intricate, that the most patient
draughtsman would find it difficult to follow it, unless he made
himself master of the general plan." Swinburne's Travels in Spain.
Note 29, page 115, line 16.
Borders the walls in characters of gold.
The walls and cornices of the Alhambra are covered with in-
scriptions in Arabic characters. " In examining this abode of
magnificence," says Bourgoanne, " the observer is every moment
astonished at the new and interesting mixture of architecture and
poetry. The palace of the Alhambra may be called a collection
of fugitive pieces j and whatever duration these may have, time,
with which every thing passes awa\', has too much contributed to
confirm to them that title." See Bourgoanne's Travels in Spain.
Note 30, page 116, line 3.
Tambour, and flute, and atabal, are there-
Atabal, a kind of Moorish drum.
Note 31, page 116, line 6.
Granada! for Castile and Arragnn!
" Y ansi entraron en la ciudad, y subieron al Alhambra, y en-
cima de la torre de Comares tan famosa se levantb la serial de la
Sauta Cruz, y luego el real estandarte de los dos Christianos
reyes. Y al punto los reyes de armas, a grandes bozes dizieron,
' Granada, Granada, por su magestad, y por la reyna su muger.'
La serenissima reyua D. Isabel, que vio la sciial de la Santa
Cruz sobre la hcrmosa torre de Comares, y el su estandartc
real con ella, se hincd de Rodillas, y did infinitas gracias a Dios
por la victoria que le avia dado contra aquella gran ciudad. La
musica real de la capilla del rey luego a canto de organo canto
Te Deum laudaraus. Fue tan grande el plazer que todos Uoravan.
Luego del Alhambra sonaron mil instrumentos de musica de
belicas trompetas. Los Moros amigos del rey, que querian ser
Christianos, cuya cabeza era el valeroso Muca, tomaron mil
dulzaynas y anafiles, sonando grande ruydo de atambores por toda
la Ciudad." Historia de las guerras civiles de Granada.
Note 32, page 1 1 6, line 8.
The festal lamps innumerably Hate.
'* Los cavalleros Moros que avemos dicho, aquella noclie
jngaron galanamente alcancias y cafias. Andava Granada aquella
noclie con tanta alegria, y con tantas luminarias, que parecia que
se ardia la terra.*' Historia de las Guerras chiles ae Granada.
Swinburne, in his Travels through Spain in the years 1775 and
1 77n, mentions, that the anniversary of the surrender of Granada
to Ferdinand and Isabella was still observed in the city as a great
festival and day of rejoicing; and that the populace on that
occasion paid an annual visit to the Moorish palace.
Note 33, page 1 1 7, line last.
7b Ajric't wilds the royal exile Jlies.
" Los Gomeles (odos se passaron en Africa, y el IUy Chko
con ulloi, que no quito estar en Espaiia, y en Africa le mataron
los Moros de aquellas partes, porque perdio & Granada." Guerras
civites de Granada.
Note 34, page 118, line 16.
Of him who knew not, as a man, to die.
Abo Abdeli, upon leaving Granada, after its conquest by Fer-
dinand and Isabella, stopped on the hill of Padul to take a last
look of his city and palace. Overcome by the sight, he burst
into tears, and was thus reproached by his mother, the Sultaness
Ayia: " Thou dost well to weep, like a woman, over the loss of
that kingdom which thou knewest not how to defend and die for,
like a man.''
Note 35, page 120, line 11.
TK avenger's task is closed.
u El Rey mando, que si quedavan Zegris, que no viviessen en
Granada, por la maldad que hizieron contra los Abencerrages.
Guerras civile* de Granada.
Note 36, page 191, line 7.
Midst the wild Alpuxarras.
" The Alpuxarras are so lofty, that the coast of Barbary, and
the cities of Tangier and Ceuta, are discovered from their summits;
they are about seventeen leagues in length, from Veles Malaga to
Almeria, and eleven in breadth, and abound with fruit-trees of
] 56 NOTES.
great beauty and prodigious size. In these mountains the wretched
remains of the Moors took refuge." Bourgoanne's Travels in Spain,
Note 37, page 128, line 9.
Were but too blest if aught remain' d to fear.
" Plut a Dieu que je craignisse !" Andromaque.
Note 38, page 129, line 4,
Iliad the tints that Jloat o'er summer skies.
Mrs. Radcliffe, in her journey along the banks of the Rhine,
thus describes the colours of granite rocks in the mountains of
the Bergstrasse. " The nearer we approached these mountains,
the more we had occasion to admire the various tints of their
granites. Sometimes the precipices were of a faint pink, then of
a deep red, a dull purple, or a blush approaching to lilac, and
sometimes gleams of a pale yellow mingled with the low shrubs
that grew upon their sides. The day was cloudless and bright,
and we were too near these heights to be deceived by the illu-
sions of aerial colouring ; the real hues of their features were as
beautiful as their magnitude was sublime."
THE LAST BANQUET
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
Antony, concluding that he could not die more
honourably than in battle, determined to attack
Caesar at the same time both by sea and land.
The night preceding the execution of this de-
sign, he ordered his servants at supper to ren-
der him their best services that evening, and
fill the wine round plentifully, for the day fol-
lowing they might belong to another master,
whilst he lay extended on the ground, no longer
of consequence either to them or to himself.
His friends were affected, and wept to hear him
talk thus; which, when he perceived/he en-
couraged them by assurances that his expecta-
tions of a glorious victory were at least equal
to those of an honourable death. At the dead
of night, when universal silence reigned through
the city, a silence that was deepened by the
awful thought of the ensuing day, on a sudden
was heard the sound of musical instruments,
and a noise which resembled the exclamations
of Bacchanals. This tumultuous procession
seemed to pass through the whole city, and to
go out at the gate which led to the enemy's
camp. Those who reflected on this prodigy
concluded that Bacchus, the god whom Antony
affected to imitate, had then forsaken him."
THE LAST BANQUET
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
THY foes had girt thee with their dread array,
O stately Alexandria ! yet the sound
Of mirth and music, at the close of day,
Swell'd from thy splendid fabrics, far around
O'er camp and wave. Within the royal hall,
In gay magnificence the feast was spread ;
And, brightly streaming from the pictured wall,
A thousand lamps their trembling lustre shed
O'er many a column, rich with precious dyes,
That tinge the marble's vein, 'neath Afric's burning
162 THE LAST BANQUET OF
And soft and clear that wavering radiance play'd
O'er sculptured forms, that round the pillar'd scene,
Calm and majestic rose, by art array'd
In godlike beauty, awfully serene.
Oh ! how unlike the troubled guests, reclined
Round that luxurious board ! in every face,
Some shadow from the tempest of the mind,
Rising by fits, the searching eye might trace,
Though vainly mask'd in smiles which are not mirth,
But the proud spirit's veil thrown o'er the woes of
Their brows are bound with wreaths, whose transient
May still survive the wearers and the rose
Perchance may scarce be wither'd, when the tomb
Receives the mighty to its dark repose !
The day must dawn on battle and may set
In death but fill the mantling wine-cup high !
[Despair is fearless, and the Fates e'en yet
Lend her one hour for parting revelry.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA. 163
They who the empire of the world possess'd,
Would taste its joys again, ere all exchanged for rest.
Its joys ! oh ! mark yon proud triumvir's mien,
And read their annals on that brow of care !
'Midst pleasure's lotus-bowers his steps have been j
Earth's brightest pathway led him to despair.
Trust not the glance that fain would yet inspire
The buoyant energies of days gone by;
There is delusion in its meteor-fire,
And all within is shame, is agony !
Away ! the tear in bitterness may flow,
But there are smiles which bear a stamp of deeper
Thy cheek is sunk, and faded as thy fame,
O lost, devoted Roman ! yet thy brow
To that ascendant and undying name,
Pleads with stern loftiness thy right e'en now.
1 64 THE LAST BANQUET OF
Thy glory is departed but hath left
A lingering light around thee in decay
Not less than kingly, though of all bereft,
Thou seem' st as empire had not pass'd away.
Supreme in ruin ! teaching hearts elate,
A deep, prophetic dread of still mysterious fate !
But thou, enchantress-queen ! whose love hath made
His desolation thou art by his side,
In all thy sovereignty of charms array'd,
To meet the storm with still unconquer'd pride.
Imperial being ! e'en though many a stain
Of error be upon thee, there is power
In thy commanding nature, which shall reign
O'er the stern genius of misfortune's hour ;
And the dark beauty of thy troubled eye
E'en now is all illumed with wild sublimity.
Thine aspect, all impassion'd, wears a light
Inspiring and inspired thy cheek a dye,
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA. 165
Which rises not from joy, but yet is bright
With the deep glow of feverish energy.
Proud siren of the Nile ! thy glance is fraught
With an immortal fire in every beam
It darts, there kindles some heroic thought,
But wild and awful as a sybil's dream ;
For thou with death hast communed, to attain
Dread knowledge of the pangs that ransom from the
And the stern courage by such musings lent,
Daughter of Afric ! o'er thy beauty throws
The grandeur of a regal spirit, blent
With all the majesty of mighty woes !
While he, so fondly, fatally adored,
Thy fallen Roman, gazes on thee yet,
Till scarce the soul, that once exulting soar'd,
Can deem the day-star of its glory set ;
Scarce his charm'd heart believes that power can be
In sovereign fate, o'er him, thus fondly loved by thee.
160 THE LAST BANQUET OF
But there is sadness in the eyes around,
Which mark that ruin'd leader, and survey
His changeful mien, whence oft the gloom profound,
Strange triumph chases haughtily away.
'* Fill the bright goblet, warrior guests !" he cries,
" Quaff, ere we part, the generous nectar deep !
Ere sunset gild once more the western skies,
Your chief, in cold forgetfulness, may sleep,
While sounds of revel float o'er shore and sea,
And the red bowl again is crown'd but not for me.
" Yet weep not thus the struggle is not o'er,
O victors of Philippi ! many a field
Hath yielded palms to us : one effort more,
By one stern conflict must our doom be seal'd !
Forget not, Romans ! o'er a subject world
How royally your eagle's wing hath spread,
Though from his eyrie of dominion hurl'd,
Now bursts the tempest on his crested head !
ANTONY AKD CLEOPATRA. 167
Yet sovereign still, if banish'd from the sky,
The sun's indignant bird, he must not droop but
The feast is o'er. 'Tis night, the dead of night
Unbroken stillness broods o'er earth and deep ;
From Egypt's heaven of soft and starry light
The moon looks cloudless o'er a world of sleep :
For those who wait the morn's awakening beams,
The battle signal to decide their doom,
Have sunk to feverish rest and troubled dreams ;
Rest, that shall soon be calmer in the tomb,
Dreams, dark and ominous, but there to cease,
When sleep the lords of war in solitude and* peace.
Wake, slumberers, wake ! Hark ! heard ye not a
Of gathering tumult ? Near and nearer still
Its murmur swells. Above, below, around,
Bursts a strange chorus forth, confused and shrill.
168 THE LAST BANQUET OF, %c.
Wake, Alexandria ! through thy streets the tread
Of steps unseen is hurrying, and the note
Of pipe, and lyre, and trumpet, wild and dread,
Is heard upon the midnight air to float ;
And voices, clamorous as in frenzied mirth,
Mingle their thousand tones, which are not of the
These are no mortal sounds their thrilling strain
Hath more mysterious power, and birth more high ;
And the deep horror chilling every vein
Owns them of stern, terrific augury.
Beings of worlds unknown ! ye pass away,
O ye invisible and awful throng !
Your echoing footsteps and resounding lay
To Caesar's camp exulting move along.
Thy gods forsake thee, Antony ! the sky
By that dread sign reveals thy doom " Despair
and die !" 2
Note 1, page 165, line 8.
Dread knowledge of the pangs that ransomfrom the chain.
Cleopatra made a collection of poisonous drugs, and being
desirous to know which was least painful in the operation, she
tried them on the capital convicts. Such poisons as were quick
in their operation, she found to be attended with violent pain and
convulsions ; such as were milder were slow in their effect : she
therefore applied herself to the examination of venomous creatures;
and at length she found that the bite of the asp was the most
eligible kind of death; for it brought on a gradual kind of
lethargy. See Plutarch.
Note 2, page 1 68, line last.
Despair and die I
" To-morrow in the battle think on me,
And fall thy edgeless sword ; despair and die !"
ALARIC IN ITALY.
After describing the conquest of Greece and Italy
by the German and Scythian hordes, united
under the command of Alaric, the historian of
" The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,"
thus proceeds : " Whether fame, or conquest,
or riches, were the object of Alaric, he pursued
that object with an indefatigable ardour, which
could neither be quelled by adversity, nor sa-
tiated by success. No sooner had he reached
the extreme land of Italy than he was attracted
by the neighbouring prospect of a fair and
peaceful island. Yet even the possession of
Sicily he considered only as an intermediate
step to the important expedition which he
already meditated against the continent of Africa.
The straits of Rhegium and Messina are twelve
miles in length, and, in the narrowest passage,
about one mile and a half broad ; and the fa-
bulous monsters of the deep, the rocks of Scylla,
and the whirlpool of Charybdis, could terrify
none but the most timid and unskilful mariners :
yet, as soon as the first division of the Goths
had embarked, a sudden tempest arose, which
s\mk or scattered many of the transports : their
courage was daunted by the terrors of a new
element j and the whole design was defeated
by the premature death of Alaric, which fixed,
after a short illness, the fatal term of his con-
quests. The ferocious character of the barba-
rians was displayed in the funeral of a hero,
whose valour and fortune they celebrated with
mournful applause. By the labour of a captive
multitude they forcibly diverted the course of
the Busentinus, a small river that washes the
walls of Consentia. The royal sepulchre,
adorned with the splendid spoils and trophies
of Rome, was constructed in the vacant bed ;
the waters were then restored to their natural
channel, and the secret spot, where the remains
of Alaric had been deposited, was for ever con-
cealed by the inhuman massacre of the prisoners
who had been employed to execute the work."
See the Decline and Fall of the Roman Em-
pire, Vol. 5, page 329.
ALARIC IN ITALY.
HEARD ye the Gothic trumpet's blast ?
The march of hosts, as Alaric pass'd ?
His steps have track'd that glorious clime,
The birth-place of heroic time ;
But he, in northern deserts bred,
Spared not the living for the dead, '
Nor heard the voice, whose pleading cries
From temple and from tomb arise.
He pass'd the light of burning fanes
Hath been his torch o'er Grecian plains }
And woke they not the brave, the free,
To guard their own Thermopylae ?
And left they not their silent dwelling,
AYhen Scythia's note of war was swelling ?
178 ALARIC IN ITALY.
No ! where the bold Three Hundred slept,
Sad freedom battled not but wept !
For nerveless then the Spartan's hand,
And Thebes could rouse no Sacred Band ;
Nor one high soul from slumber broke,
When Athens own'd the northern yoke.
But was there none for thee to dare
The conflict, scorning to despair ?
O city of the seven proud hills !
Whose name e'en yet the spirit thrills,
As doth a clarion's battle-call,
Didst thou too, ancient empress, fall ?
Did no Camillus from the chain
Ransom thy Capitol again ?
Oh ! who shall tell the days to be,
No patriot rose to bleed for thee ?
Heard ye the Gothic trumpet's blast ?
The march of hosts, as Alaric pass'd ?
ALARTC IN ITALY. 179
That fearful sound, at midnight deep, 8
Burst on th' eternal city's sleep :
How woke the mighty ? She, whose will
So long had bid the world be still,
Her sword a sceptre, and her eye
Th' ascendant star of destiny !
She woke to view the dread array
Of Scythians rushing to their prey,
To hear her streets resound the cries
Pour'd from a thousand agonies !
While the strange light of flames, that gave
A ruddy glow to Tyber's wave,
Bursting in that terrific hour
From fane and palace, dome and tower,
Reveal'd the throngs, for aid divine
Clinging to many a worshipp'd shrine ;
Fierce fitful radiance wildly shed
O'er spear and sword, with carnage red,
Shone o'er the suppliant and the flying,
And kindled pyres for Romans dying.
180 ALARIC IN ITALT.
Weep, Italy ! alas ! that e'er
Should tears alone thy wrongs declare !
The time hath been when thy distress
Had roused up empires for redress !
Now, her long race of glory run,
Without a combat Rome is won,
And from her plunder'd temples forth
Rush the fierce children of the north,
To share beneath more genial skies
Each joy their own rude clime denies.
Ye who on bright Campania's shore
Bade your fair villas rise of yore,
With all their graceful colonnades,
And crystal baths, and myrtle shades,
Along the blue Hesperian deep,
Whose glassy waves in sunshine sleep ;
Beneath your olive and your vine
Far other inmates now recline,
And the tall plane, whose roots ye fed
With rich libations duly shed, 3
ALAKIC IN ITALY. 181
O'er guests, unlike your vanish'd friends,
Its bowery canopy extends :
For them the southern heaven is glowing,
The bright Falernian nectar flowing j
For them the marble halls unfold,
Where nobler beings dwelt of old,
Whose children for barbarian lords
Touch the sweet lyre's resounding chords,
Or wreaths of Paestan roses twine,
To crown the sons of Elbe and Rhine.
Yet though luxurious they repose
Beneath Corinthian porticoes,
While round them into being start,
The marvels of triumphant art ;
Oh ! not for them hath genius given
To Parian stone the fire of heaven,
Enshrining in the forms he wrought
A bright eternity of thought.
In vain the natives of the skies
In breathing marble round them rise.
182 ALARIC IN ITALY.
And sculptured nymphs, of fount or glade,
People the dark -green laurel shade j
Cold are the conqueror's heart and eye
To visions of divinity ;
And rude his hand which dares deface
The models of immortal grace.
Arouse ye from your soft delights !
Chieftains ! the war-note's call invites ;
And other lands must yet be won,
And other deeds of havock done.
Warriors ! your flowery bondage break,
Sons of the stormy north, awake !
The barks are launching from the steep,
Soon shall the Isle of Ceres weep, *
And Afric's burning winds afar
Waft the shrill sounds of Alaric's war.
Where shall his race of victory close ?
When shall the ravaged earth repose ?
ALARIC IN ITALY. 183
But hark ! what wildly mingling cries
From Scythia's camp tumultuous rise ?
Why swells dread Alaric's name on air ?
A sterner conqueror hath been there !
A conqueror yet his paths are peace,
He comes to bring the world's release ;
He of the sword that knows no sheath,
Th' avenger, the deliverer Death !
Is then that daring spirit fled ?
Doth Alaric slumber with the dead ?
Tamed are the warrior's pride and strength,
And he and earth are calm at length.
The land where heaven unclouded shines,
Where sleep the sunbeams on the vines ;
The land by conquest made his own,
Can yield him now a grave alone.
But his her lord from Alp to sea
No common sepulchre shall be !
Oh, make his tomb where mortal eye
Its buried wealth may ne'er descry !
184 ALARIC IN ITALY.
Where mortal foot may never tread
Above a victor-monarch's bed.
Let not his royal dust be hid
'Neath star-aspiring pyramid 5
Nor bid the gather'd mound arise,
To bear his memory to the skies.
Years roll away oblivion claims
Her triumph o'er heroic names j
And hands profane disturb the clay
That once was fired with glory's ray ;
And Avarice, from their secret gloom,
Drags e'en the treasures of the tomb.
But thou, O leader of the free !
That general doom awaits not thee !
Thou, where no step may e'er intrude,
Shalt rest in regal solitude,
Till, bursting on thy sleep profound,
Tli* Awakener's final trumpet sound.
Turn ye the waters from their course,
Bid Nature ) ield to human force,
AXAR1C IN ITALY. 185
And hollow in the torrent's bed
A chamber for the mighty dead.
The work is done the captive's hand
Hath well obey'd his lord's command.
Within that royal tomb are cast
The richest trophies of the past,
The wealth of many a stately dome,
The gold and gems of plunder'd Rome ;
And when the midnight stars are beaming,
And ocean-waves in stillness gleaming,
Stern in their grief, his warriors bear
The Chastener of the Nations there ;
To rest, at length, from victory's toil,
Alone, with all an empire's spoil !
Then the freed current's rushing wave,
Rolls o'er the secret of the grave ;
Then streams the martyr'd captives' blood
To crimson that sepulchral flood,
Whose conscious tide alone shall keep
The mystery in its bosom deep.
186 ALAKIC IN ITALY.
Time hath past on since then and swept
From earth the urns where heroes slept ;
Temples of gods, and domes of kings,
Are mouldering with forgotten things j
Yet shall not ages e'er molest
The viewless home of Alaric's rest :
Still rolls, like them, th' unfailing river,
The guardian of his dust for ever.
Note 1, page 177, line 6.
Spared not the living for the dead.
After the taking of Athens by Sjlla, " though such numbers
were put to the sword, there were as many who laid violent hands
upon themselves in grief for their sinking country. What reduced
the best men among them to this despair of finding any mercy or
moderate terms for Athens, was the well-known cruelty of Sylla;
yet partly by the intercession of Midias and Calliphon, and the
exiles who threw themselves at his feet, partly by the entreaties
of the senators who attended him in that expedition, and being
himself satiated with blood besides, he was at last prevailed upon
to stop his hand, and in compliment to the ancient Athenians, he
said, " he forgave the many for the sake of the few, the living for
the dead." Plutarch.
Note 2, page 179, line I.
That fearful sound, at midnight deep.
" At the hour of midnight, the Salarian gate was silently opened,
and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of
the Gothic trumpet. Eh'ven hundred and sixty-three years after
the foundation of Rome, the imperial city, which had subdued
and civilised so considerable a portion of mankind, was delivered
to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia."
Decline and Fall of' the Roman Empire, Vol- b, p. 311.
Note 3, page 180, line last.
With rich libutions duly shed.
The plane-tree was much cultivated among the Romans, on
account of its extraordinary shade; and they used to nourish it
with wine instead of water, believing (as Sir W. Temple observes)
that " this tree loved that liquor as well as those who used to
drink under its shale." See the notes to Melmoth's Pliny.
Note 4, page 182, line 14.
Soon shall the Isle of Ceres weep-
Sicily was anciently considered as the favoured and peculiar
dominion of Ceres.
WIFE OF ASDRUBAL.
"This governor, who had braved death when it was
at a distance, and protested that the sun should
never see him survive Carthage, this fierce
Asdrubal, was so mean-spirited, as to come
alone, and privately throw himself at the con-
queror's feet. The general, pleased to see his
proud rival humbled, granted his life, and
kept him to grace his triumph. The Cartha-
ginians in the citadel no sooner understood
that their commander had abandoned the place,
than they threw open the gates, and put the
proconsul in possession of Byrsa. The Romans
had now no enemy to contend with but the
nine hundred deserters, who, being reduced to
despair, retired into the temple of Esculapius,
(which was a second citadel within the first :
there the proconsul attacked them; and these
unhappy wretches, finding there was no way to
escape, set fire to the temple. As the flames
spread, they retreated from one part to another,
till they got to the roof of the building : there
Asdrubal's wife appeared in her best apparel,
as if the day of her death had been a day of
triumph; and after having uttered the most
bitter imprecations against her husband, whom
she saw standing below with Emilianus, * Base
coward !' said she, ' the mean things thou hast
done to save thy life shall not avail thee 3 thou
shalt die this instant, at least in thy two children.*
Having thus spoken, she drew out a dagger,
stabbed them both, and while they were yet
struggling for life, threw them from the top of
the temple, and leaped down after them into
the flames." Ancient Universal History.
WIFE OF ASDRUBAL.
THE sun sets brightly but a ruddier glow
O'er Afric's heaven the flames of Carthage throw ;
Her walls have sunk, and pyramids of fire
In lurid splendor from her domes aspire j
Sway'd by the wind, they wave while glares the sky
As when the desert's red Simoom is nigh j
The sculptured altar, and the pillar'd hall,
Shine out in dreadful brightness ere they fall ;
Far o'er the seas the light of ruin streams,
Rock, wave, and isle, are crimson'd by its beams ;
While captive thousands, bound in Roman chains,
Gaze in mute horror on their burning fanes ;
And shouts of triumph, echoing far around,
Swell from the victor's tents with ivy crown'd.*
* It was a Roman custom to adorn the tents of victors with
194 THE WIFE OF ASDRUBAL.
-But mark ! from yon fair temple's loftiest height
What towering form bursts wildly on the sight,
All regal in magnificent attire,
And sternly beauteous in terrific ire ?
She might be deem'd a Pythia in the hour
Of dread communion and delirious power j
A being more than earthly, in whose eye
There dwells a strange and fierce ascendancy.
The flames are gathering round intensely bright,
Full on her features glares their meteor-light,
But a wild courage sits triumphant there,
The stormy grandeur of a proud despair ;
A daring spirit, in its woes elate,
Mightier than death, untameable by fate.
The dark profusion of her locks unbound,
Waves like a warrior's floating plumage round ;
Flush'd is her cheek, inspired her haughty mien,
She seems th' avenging goddess of the scene.
Are those her infants, that with suppliant-cry
Cling round her, shrinking as the flame draws nigh,
THE WIFE OF ASDRUBAL. 195
Clasp with their feeble hands her gorgeous vest,
And fain would rush for shelter to her breast ?
Is that a mother's glance, where stern disdain,
And passion awfully vindictive, reign }
Fix'd is her eye on Asdrubal, who stands,
Ignobly safe, amidst the conquering bands j
On him, who left her to that burning tomb,
Alone to share her children's martyrdom ;
Who when his country perish'd, fled the strife,
And knelt to win the worthless boon of life.
"Live, traitor, live !" she cries, " since dear to thee,
E'en in thy fetters, can existence be !
Scorn'd and dishonour' d, live ! with blasted name,
The Roman's triumph not to grace, but shame.
O slave in spirit ! bitter be thy chain
With tenfold anguish to avenge my pain !
Still may the man&s of thy children rise
To chase calm slumber from thy wearied eyes \
196 THE WIFE OF ASDRUBAL.
Still may their voices on the haunted air
In fearful whispers tell thee to despair,
Till vain remorse thy wither' d heart consume,
Scourged by relentless shadows of the tomb !
E'en now my sons shall die and thou, their sire,
In bondage safe, shalt yet in them expire.
Think' st thou I love them not ? 'Twas thine to fly
'Tis mine with these to suffer and to die.
Behold their fate ! the arms that cannot save
Have been their cradle, and shall be their grave."
Bright in her hand the lifted dagger gleams,
Swift from her children's hearts the life-blood
With frantic laugh she clasps them to the breast
Whose woes and passions soon shall be at rest ;
Lifts one appealing, frenzied glance on high,
Then deep midst rolling flames is lost to mortal eye.
HELIODORUS IN THE TEMPLE.
From Maccabees, book 2, chapter 3. 21. " Then it
would have pitied a man to see the falling down
of the multitude of all sorts, and the fear of the
high priest, being in such an agony. 22. They
then called upon the Almighty Lord to keep the
things committed of trust safe and sure, for
those that had committed them. 23. Never-
theless Heliodorus executed that which was de-
creed. 24. Now as he was there present himself
with his guard about the treasury, the Lord of
Spirits, and the Prince of all Power, caused a
great apparition, so that all that presumed to
come in with him were astonished at the power
of God, and fainted, and were sore afraid. 25.
For there appeared unto them an horse with a
terrible rider upon him, and adorned with a very
fair covering, and he ran fiercely, and smote at
Heliodorus with his forefeet, and it seemed
that he that sat upon the horse had complete
harness of gold. 26. Moreover, two other young
men appeared before him, notable in strength,
excellent in beauty, and comely in apparel, who
stood by him on either side, and scourged him
continually, and gave him many sore stripes.
27. And Heliodorus fell suddenly to the ground,
and was compassed with great darkness ; but
they that were with him took him up, and put
him into a litter. 28. Thus him that lately
came with great train, and with all his guard
into the said treasury, they carried out, being
unable to help himself with his weapons, and
manifestly they acknowledged the power of
God. 29. For he by the hand of God was cast
down, and lay speechless, without all hope of
HELIODORUS IN THE TEMPLE.
A SOUND of woe in Salem ! mournful cries
Rose from her dwellings youthful cheeks were
Tears flowing fast from dim and aged eyes,
And voices mingling in tumultuous wail ;
Hands raised to heaven in agony of prayer,
And powerless wrath, and terror, and despair.
Thy daughters, Judah ! weeping, laid aside
The regal splendor of their fair array,
With the rude sackcloth girt their beauty's pride,
And throng'd the streets in hurrying, wild dismay;
While knelt thy priests before his awful shrine,
Who made, of old, renown and empire thine.
202 HELI0D0RUS IN THE TEMPLE.
But on the spoiler moves the temple's gate,
The bright, the beautiful, his guards unfold,
And all the scene reveals its solemn state,
Its courts and pillars, rich with sculptured gold ;
And man, with eye unhallow'd, views th' abode,
The sever'd spot, the dwelling-place of God.
Where art thou, Mighty Presence ! that of yore
Wert wont between the cherubim to rest,
Veil'd in a cloud of glory, shadowing o'er
Thy sanctuary the chosen and the blest ?
Thou ! that didst make fair Sion's ark thy throne,
And call the oracle's recess thine own !
Angel of God ! that through th' Assyrian host,
Clothed with the darkness of the midnight -hour,
To tame the proud, to hush th' invader's boast,
Didst pass triumphant in avenging power,
Till burst the dayspring on the silent scene,
And death alone reveal'd where thou hadst been.
HELIODORUS IN THE TEMPLE. 203
Wilt thou not wake, O Chastener ! in thy might,
To guard thine ancient and majestic hill,
Where oft from heaven the full Shechinah's light
Hath stream'd the house of holiness to fill ?
Oh ! yet once more defend thy loved domain,
Eternal one ! Deliverer ! rise again !
Fearless of thee, the plunderer, undismay'd,
Hastes on, the sacred chambers to explore
Where the bright treasures of the fane are laid,
The orphan's portion, and the widow's store ;
What recks his heart though age unsuccour'd die,
And want consume the cheek of infancy I
Away, intruders ! hark ! a mighty sound !
Behold, a burst of light ! away, away !
A fearful glory fills the temple round,
A vision bright in terrible array !
And lo ! a steed of no terrestrial frame,
His path a whirlwind, and his breath a flame !
204 HELIOD0RUS IN THE TEMPLE.
His neck is clothed with thunder * and his mane
Seems waving fire the kindling of his eye
Is as a meteor ardent with disdain
His glance his gesture, fierce in majesty !
Instinct with light he seems, and form'd to bear
Some dread archangel through the fields of air.
But who is he, in panoply of gold,
Throned on that burning charger? bright his
Yet in its brightness awful to behold,
And girt with all the terrors of the storm !
Lightning is on his helmet's crest and fear
Shrinks from the splendor of his brow severe.
And by his side two radiant warriors stand
All-arm' d, and kingly in commanding grace
* " Hast thou given the horse strength ? Hast thou clothed his
neck with thunder?" Job, chapter 39, verse 19.
HELIODORUS IN THE TEMPLE. 205'
Oh ! more than kingly, godlike ! sternly grand
Their port indignant, and each dazzling face
Beams with the beauty to immortals given,
Magnificent in all the wrath of heaven.
Then sinks each gazer's heart each knee is bow'd
In trembling awe but, as to fields of fight,
Th' unearthly war-steed, rushing through the
Bursts on their leader in terrific might j
And the stern angels of that dread abode
Pursue its plunderer with the scourge of God.
Darkness thick darkness !-^-low on earth he lies,
Rash Heliodorus motionless and pale
Bloodless his cheek, and o'er his shrouded eyes
Mists, as of death, suspend their shadowy veil ;
And thus th* oppressor, by his fear-struck train,
Is borne from that inviolable fane.
206 HELIODORUS IN THE TEMPLE.
The light returns the warriors of the sky
Have pass'd, with all their dreadful pomp, away ;
Then wakes the timbrel, swells the song on high
Triumphant, as in Judah's elder day ;
Rejoice, O city of the sacred hill !
Salem, exult ! thy God is with thee still.
NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA.
FROM SISMONDl's " REPUBLIQUES ITALIENXES."
En meme temps que les Genois poursuivoient
avec ardeur la guerre contre Pise, ils etoient
dechires eux-memes par une discorde civile.
Les consuls de l'annee 1169, pour retablir la
paix dans leur patrie, au milieu des factions
sourdes a leur voix et plus puissantes qu'eux,
furent obliges d'ourdir en quelque sorte une
conspiration. Ils commencerent par s'assurer
secretement des dispositions pacifiques de plu-
sieurs des citoyens, qui cependant etoient en-
traines dans les emeutes par leur parente avec
les chefs de faction ; puis, se concertant avec le
venerable vieillard, Hugues, leur archeveque, ils
firent, long-temps avant le lever du soleil, ap-
peler au son des cloches les citoyens au parle-
ment ; ils se flattoient que la surprise et l'alarme
de cette convocation inattendue, au milieu de
l'obscurite de la nuit, rendroit l'assemblee et
plus complete et plus docile. Les citoyens, en
accourant au parlement general, virent, au
milieu de la place publique, le vieil archeveque,
entoure de son clerge en habit de c6remonies,
et portant des torches allumees, tandis que les
reliques de Saint Jean Baptiste, le protecteur le
Genes, etoient exposees devant lui, et que les
citoyens les plus respectables portoient a leurs
mains des croix suppliantes. Des que l'as-
semblee fut formee, le vieillard se leva, et de
sa voix cassee il conjura les chefs de parti, au
nom du Dieu de paix, au nom du salut de leurs
ames, au nom de leur patrie et de la liberte,
dont leurs discordes entraineroient la mine, de
jurer sur l'evangile l'oubli de leurs querelles, et
la paix a venir.
" Les herauts, des qu'il eut fini de parler, s'avan-
cerent aussitot vers Roland Avogado, le chef
de l'une des factions, qui ctoit present a l'as-
semblee, et, secondes par les acclamations de
tout le peuple, et par les prieres de ses parens
eux-memes, ils le sommerent de se conformer
au vceu des consuls et de la nation.
" Roland, a leur approche, dechira ses habits, et,
s'asseyant par terre en versant des larmes, il
appela a haute voix les morts qu'il avoit jure
de venger, et qui ne lui permettoient pas de
pardonner leurs vieilles offenses. Comme on
ne pouvoit le determiner a s'avancer, les consuls
eux-memes, l'archeveque et le clerge, s'appro-
cherent de lui, et, renouvelant leurs prieres,
ils l'entrainerent enfin, et lui firent jurer sur
l'evangile l'oubli de ses inimities passees.
" Les chefs du parti contraire, Foulques de Castro,
et Ingo de Volta, n'etoient pas presens a l'as-
semblee, mais le peuple et le clerge se porterent
en foule a leurs maisons ; ils les trouverent deja
ebranles par ce qu'ils venoient d'apprendre, et,
profitant de leur emotion, ils leur firent jurer
une reconciliation sincere, et donner le baiser
de paix aux chefs de la faction opposee. Alors
les cloches de la ville sonnerent en temoignage
d'allegresse, et V archeveque de retour sur la
place publique entonna un Te Deum avec tout
le peuple, en honneur du Dieu de paix qui avoit
sauve leur patrie." Histoire des Republiques
Italiennes, vol. II. page 149 50.
NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA.
IN Genoa, when the sunset gave
Its last warm purple to the wave,
No sound of war, no voice of fear,
Was heard, announcing danger near :
Though deadliest foes were there, whose hate
But slumber' d till its hour of fate,
Yet calmly, at the twilight's close,
Sunk the wide city to repose.
But when deep midnight reign' d around,
All sudden woke the alarm-bell's sound,
Full swelling, while the hollow breeze
Bore its dread summons o'er the seas.
214 NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA.
Then, Genoa, from their slumber started
Thy sons, the free, the fearless hearted j
Then mingled with th' awakening peal
Voices, and steps, and clash of steel.
Arm, warriors, arm ! for danger calls,
Arise to guard your native walls !
With breathless haste the gathering throng
Hurry the echoing streets along ;
Through darkness rushing to the scene
Where their bold councils still convene.
But there a blaze of torches bright
Pours its red radiance on the night,
O'er fane, and dome, and column playing,
With every fitful night-wind swaying,
Now floating o'er each tall arcade,
Around the pillar'd scene display'd,
In light relieved by depth of shade ;
And now, with ruddy meteor-glare,
Full streaming on the silvery hair
And the bright cross of him who stands,
Rearing that sign with suppliant hands,
NIGHTSCENE IN GENOA. 215
Girt with his consecrated train,
The hallow'd servants of the fane.
Of life's past woes, the fading trace
Hath given that aged patriarch's face
Expression holy, deep, resign'd,
The calm sublimity of mind.
Years o'er his snowy head have pass'd,
And left him of his race the last 3
Alone on earth yet still his mien
Is bright with majesty serene j
And those high hopes, whose guiding-star
Shines from th' eternal worlds afar,
Have with that light illumed his eye,
Whose fount is immortality,
And o'er his features pour'd a ray
Of glory, not to pass away.
He seems a being who hath known
Communion with his God alone,
On earth by nought but pity's tie
Detain'd a moment from on high !
216 NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA.
One to sublimer worlds allied,
One, from all passion purified,
E'en now half mingled with the sky,
And all prepared oh ! not to die-
But, like the prophet, to aspire,
In heaven's triumphal car of fire.
He speaks and from the throngs around
Is heard not e'en a whisper'd sound ;
Awe-struck each heart, and fix'd each glance,
They stand as in a spell-bound trance :
He speaks oh ! who can hear nor own
The might of each prevailing tone ?
" Chieftains and warriors ! ye, so long
Aroused to strife by mutual wrong,
Whose fierce and far-transmitted hate
Hath made your country desolate j
Now by the love ye bear her name,
By that pure spark of holy flame
NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA. 217
On freedom's altar brightly burning,
But, once extinguish'd ne'er returning ;
By all your hopes of bliss to come
When burst the bondage of the tomb ;
By Him, the God who bade us live
To aid each other, and forgive ;
I call upon ye to resign
Your discords at your country's shrine,
Each ancient feud in peace atone,
Wield your keen swords for her alone,
And swear upon the cross, to cast
Oblivion's mantle o'er the past."
No voice replies the holy bands
Advance to where yon chieftain stands,
With folded arms and brow of gloom,
O'ershadow'd by his floating plume.
To him they lift the cross in vain
He turns oh ! say not with disdain,
But with a mien of haughty grief,
That seeks not, e'en from heaven, relief:
218 NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA.
He rends his robes he sternly speaks
Yet tears are on the warrior's cheeks.
" Father ! not thus the wounds may close
Inflicted by eternal foes.
Deem'st thou thy mandate can efface
The dread volcano's burning trace ?
Or bid the earthquake's ravaged scene
Be, smiling, as it once hath been ?
No ! for the deeds the sword hath done
Forgiveness is not lightly won ;
The words, by hatred spoke, may not
Be, as a summer breeze, forgot !
'Tis vain we deem the war-feud's rage
A portion of our heritage.
Leaders, now slumbering with their fame,
Bequeath'd us that undying flame ;
Hearts that have long been still and cold
Yet rule us from their silent mould,
And voices, heard on earth no more,
Speak to our spirits as of yore.
NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA. 219
Talk not of mercy blood alone
The stain of bloodshed may atone ;
Nought else can pay that mighty debt,
The dead forbid us to forget."
He pauses from the patriarch's brow
There beams more lofty grandeur now ;
His reverend form, his aged hand,
Assume a gesture of command,
His voice is awful, and his eye
Fill'd with prophetic majesty.
" The dead ! and deem'st thou they retain
Aught of terrestrial passion's stain ?
Of guilt incurr'd in days gone by,
Aught but the fearful penalty ?
And say'st thou, mortal ! blood alone
For deeds of slaughter may atone ?
There hath been blood by HIM 'twas shed
To expiate every crime who bled ;
120 NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA.
TV absolving God who died to save,
And rose in victory from the grave !
And by that stainless offering given
Alike for all on earth to heaven ;
By that inevitable hour
When death shall vanquish pride and power,
And each departing passion's force
Concentrate all in late remorse ;
And by the day when doom shall be
Pass'd on earth's millions, and on thee,
The doom that shall not -be repeal'd,
Once utter'd, and for ever seal'd ;
I summon thee, O child of clay !
To cast thy darker thoughts away,
And meet thy foes in peace and love,
As thou would' st join the blest above."
Still as he speaks, unwonted feeling
Is o'er the chieftain's bosom stealing ;
Oh ! not in vain the pleading cries
Of anxious thousands round him rise,
NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA. 221
He yields devotion's mingled sense
Of faith, and fear, and penitence,
Pervading all his soul, he bows
To offer on the cross his vows,
And that best incense to the skies,
Each evil passion's sacrifice.
Then tears from warriors' eyes were flowing,
High hearts with soft emotions glowing,
Stern foes as long-loved brothers greeting,
And ardent throngs in transport meeting,
And eager footsteps forward pressing,
And accents loud in joyous blessing ;
And when their first wild tumults cease,
A thousand voices echo "Peace!"
Twilight's dim mist hath roll'd away,
And the rich Orient burns with day ;
Then, as to greet the sunbeam's birth,
Rises the choral hymn of earth j
222 NIGHT-SCENE IN GENOA.
Th' exulting strain through Genoa swelling,
Of peace and holy rapture telling.
Far float the sounds o'er vale and steep,
The seaman hears them on the deep,
So mellow'd by the gale, they seem
As the wild music of a dream j
But not on mortal ear alone
Peals the triumphant anthem's tone,
For beings of a purer sphere
Bend with celestial joy, to hear.
RICHARD CCEUR DE LION.
Not only the place of Richard's confinement,"
(when thrown into prison by the Duke of Aus-
tria) " if we believe the literary history of the
times, but even the circumstance of his captivity,
was carefully concealed by his vindictive ene-
mies : and both might have remained unknown
but for the grateful attachment of a Provencal
bard, or minstrel, named Blondel, who had
shared that prince's friendship, and tasted his
bounty. Having travelled over all the European
continent to learn the destiny of his beloved
patron, Blondel accidentally got intelligence of
a certain castle in Germany, where a prisoner
of distinction was confined, and guarded with
great vigilance* Persuaded by a secret impulse
that this prisoner was the King of England, the
minstrel repaired to the place j but the gates of
the castle were shut against him, and he could
obtain no information relative to the name or
quality of the unhappy person it secured. In
this extremity, he bethought himself of an ex-
pedient for making the desired discovery. He
chanted, with a loud voice, some verses of a
song which had been composed partly by him-
self, partly by Richard ; and to his unspeakable
joy, on making a pause, he heard it re-echoed
and continued by the royal captive. (Hist.
Troubadours.) To this discovery the English
monarch is said to have eventually owed his
release." See Russell's Modern Europe, vol. 1,
RICHARD CCEUR DE LION.
THE Troubadour o'er many a plain
Hath roam'd unwearied, but in vain.
O'er many a rugged mountain-scene,
And forest-wild, his track hath been ;
Beneath Calabria's glowing sky
He hath sung the songs of chivalry,
His voice hath swell'd on the Alpine breeze.
And rung through the snowy Pyrenees ;
From Ebro's banks to Danube's wave,
He hath sought his prince, the loved, the brave,
And yet, if still on earth thou art,
O monarch of the lion-heart !
228 THE TROUBADOUR, AND
The faithful spirit, which distress
But heightens to devotedness,
By toil and trial vanquish'd not,
Shall guide thy minstrel to the spot.
He hath reach'd a mountain hung with vine,
And woods that wave o'er the lovely Rhine ;
The feudal towers that crest its height
Frown in unconquerable might ;
Dark is their aspect of sullen state,
No helmet hangs o'er the massy gate l
To bid the wearied pilgrim rest,
At the chieftain's board a welcome guest ;
Vainly rich evening's parting smile
Would chase the gloom of the haughty pile,
That midst bright sunshine lowers on high,
Like a thunder-cloud in a summer -sky.
Not these the halls where a child of song
Awhile may speed the hours along ;
RICHARD CfEUR DE HON. 229
Their echos should repeat alone
The tyrant's mandate, the prisoner's moan,
Or the wild huntsman's bugle-blast.
When his phantom-train are hurrying past. 2
The weary minstrel paused his eye
Roved o'er the scene despondingly :
Within the lengthening shadow, cast
By the fortress-towers and ramparts vast,
Lingering he gazed the rocks around
Sublime in savage grandeur frown'd ;
Proud guardians of the regal flood,
In giant strength the mountains stood ;
By torrents cleft, by tempests riven,
Yet mingling still with the calm blue heaven.
Their peaks were bright with a sunny glow,
But the Rhine all shadowy roll'd below j
In purple tints the vineyards smiled,
But the woods beyond waved dark and wild;
Nor pastoral pipe, nor convent's bell,
Was heard on the sighing breeze to swell,
230 THE TROUBADOUR, AND
But all was lonely, silent, rude,
A stern, yet glorious solitude.
But hark ! that solemn stillness breaking,
The Troubadour's wild song is waking.
Full oft that song, in days gone by,
Hath cheer'd the sons of chivalry j
It hath swell'd o'er Judah's mountains lone,
Hermon ! thy echos have learn'd its tone j
On the Great Plain 3 its notes have rung,
The leagued Crusaders tents among j
Twas loved by the Lion-heart, who won
The palm in the field of Ascalon ;
And now afar o'er the rocks of Rhine
Peals the bold strain of Palestine.
THE TROUBADOUR'S SONG.
** Thine hour is come, and the stake is set,"
The Soldan cried to the captive knight,
" And the sons of the Prophet in throngs are met
To gaze on the fearful sight.
RICHARD CCEUR DE LION. 231
" But be our faith by thy lips profess'd,
The faith of Mecca's shrine,
Cast down the red-cross that marks thy vest,
And life shall yet be thine:"
" I have seen the flow of my bosom's blood,
And gazed with undaunted eye j
I have borne the bright cross through fire and flood,
And think'st thou I fear to die ?
" I have stood where thousands, by Salem's towers,
Have fall'n for the name divine j
And the faith that cheer'd their closing hours
Shall be the light of mine."
" Thus wilt thou die in the pride of health,
And the glow of youth's fresh bloom ?
Thou art offer'd life, and pomp, and wealth,
Or torture and the tomb."
232 THE TROUBADOUR, AND
" I have been where the crown of thorns was twined
For a dying Saviour's brow ;
He spurn'd the treasures that lure mankind,
And I reject them now!"
" Art thou the son of a noble line
In a land that is fair and blest ?
And doth not thy spirit, proud captive ! pine,
Again on its shores to rest ?
" Thine own is the choice to hail once more
The soil of thy fathers' birth,
Or to sleep, when thy lingering pangs are o'er,
Forgotten in foreign earth."
" Oh ! fair are the vine-clad hills that rise
In the country of my love j
But yet, though cloudless my native skies,
There's a brighter clime above !"
RICHARD CCEUR DE LION. 233
The bard hath paused for another tone
Blends with the music of his own ;
And his heart beats high with hope again,
As a well-known voice prolongs the strain.
" Are there none within thy father's hall,
Far o'er the wide blue main,
Young Christian ! left to deplore thy fall,
With sorrow deep and vain ?"
" There are hearts that still, through all the past,
Unchanging have loved me well ;
There are eyes whose tears were streaming fast
When I bade my home farewell.
* Better they wept o'er the warrior's bier
Than th' apostate's living stain ;
There's a land where those who loved, when here,
Shall meet to love again."
234 THE TROUBADOUR, &c.
Tis he ! thy prince long sought, long lost,
The leader of the red-cross host !
'Tis he ! to none thy joy betray,
Young Troubadour ! away, away !
Away to the island of the brave,
The gem on the bosom of the wave, 4
Arouse the sons of the noble soil,
To win their lion from the toil ;
And free the wassail-cup shall flow,
Bright in each hall the hearth shall glow j
The festal board shall be richly crown'd,
While knights and chieftains revel round,
And a thousand harps with joy shall ring,
When merry England hails her king.
Note 1, page 228, line 10.
No helmet hangs o'er the massy gate.
It was a custom in feudal times to hang out a helmet on a castle,
as a token that strangers were invited to enter, and partake of hos-
pitality. So in the romance of ' Perceforest, " ils fasoient mettre
au plus hault de leur hostel un heaulme, en signe que tous les
gentils hommes et gentilles femmes entrassent hardiment en leur
hostel comme en leur propre."
Note 2, page 229, lines 3 and 4.]
Or the wild huntsman's bugle-blast,
When his phantom-train are hurrying past.
Popular tradition has made several mountains in Germany the
haunt of the wild Jager, or supernatural huntsman the super-
stitious tales relating to the Unterburg are recorded in Eustace's
Classical Tour; and it is still believed in the romantic district < f
the Odenwald, that the knight of Rodenstein, issuing from his
ruined castle, announces the approach of war by traversing tie
air with a noisy armament to the opposite castle of Schnellerts.
See the " Manuel pour les Voyageurs sur le Rhin," and " Autumn on
Note 3, page 230, line 9.
On the Great Plain Us notes have rung.
The Plain of Esdraelon, called by way of eminence the ** Great
Plain;" in Scripture, and elsewhere, the " field ofMegiddo," the
Galilaean Plain." This plain, the most fertile part of all the
land of Canaan, has been the scene of many a memorable contest
in the first ages of Jewish history, as well as during the Roman
empire, the Crusades, and even in later times. It has been a
chosen place for encampment in every contest carried on in this
country, from the days of Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians,
until the disastrous march of Bonaparte from Egypt into Syria.
Warriors out of " every nation which is under heaven" have
pitched their tents upon the Plain of Esdraelon, and have beheld
the various banners of their nations wet with the dews of Hermon
and Thabor. Br. Clarke's Travels.
Note 4, page 234, line 6.
The gem on the bosom of the wave.
" This precious stone set in the silver sea."
Shakespeare's Richard II.
DEATH OF CONRADIN.
FROM SISMONDI S " REPUBLIQUES ITALIENNES.
** La defaite de Conradin ne devoit mettre une terme
ni a sea malheurs, ni aux vengeances du roi
(Charles d'Anjou). L'amour du peuple pour
l'heritier legitime du trone, avoit eclate d'une
maniere eflfrayante ; il pouvoit causer de nouvelles
revolutions, si Conradin demeuroit en vie 5 et
Charles, revetant sa defiance et sa cruaut6 des
formes de la justice, resolut de faire perir sur
l'echafaud le dernier rejeton de la Maison de
Souabe, Tunique esperance de son parti. Un
seul juge provengal et sujet de Charles, dont les
historiens n'ont pas voulu conserver le nom,
osa voter pour la mort, d'autres se renfermerent
dans un timide et coupable silence 5 et Charles,
sur l'autorite de ce seul juge, fit prononcer,
par Robert de Bari, protonotaire du royaume,
la sentence de mort contre Conradin et tous ses
compagnons. Cette sentence fut communiquee
a 1 Conradin, comme il jouoit aux echecs ; on lui
laissa peu de temps pour se preparer a son
execution, et le 26 d'Octobre, il fut conduit,
avec tous ses amis, sur la Place du Marche de
Naples, le long du rivage de la mer. Charles
etoit present, avec toute sa cour, et une foule
immense entouroit le roi vainqueur et le roi
condamne. Conradin etoit entre les mains des
bourreaux j il detacha lui-meme son manteau,
et s'ctant mis a genoux pour prier, il se releva
en s'ecriant : ' Oh, ma mere, quelle profonde
douleur te causera la nouvelle qu'on va te porter
de moi !' Puis il tourna les yeux sur la foule qui
l'entouroit; il vit les larmes, il entendit les
sanglots de son peuplej alors, detachant son
gant, il jeta au milieu de ses sujets ce gage
d'un combat de vengeance, et rendit sa tte au
bourreau. Apres lui, sur le meme echafaud,
Charles fit trancher la tete au Due d'Autriche,
aux Comtes Gualferano et Bartolommeo Lancia.
et aux Comtes Gerard et Galvano Donoratico
de Pise. Par un refinement de cruante, Charles
voulut que le premier, fils du second, precedat
son pere, et mourut entre ses bras. Les ca-
davres, d'apres ses ordres, furent exclus d'une
terre sainte, et inhumes sans pompe sur le
rivage de la mer. Charles II., cependant fit
dans la suite, batir sur le meme lieu, une
eglise de Carmehtes, comme pour appaiser ces
DEATH OF CONRADIN.
NO cloud to dim the splendor of the day
Which breaks o'er Naples and her lovely bay,
And lights that brilliant sea and magic shore
With every tint that charm'd the great of yore j
Th' imperial ones of earth who proudly bade
Their marble domes e'en Ocean's realm invade.
That race is gone but glorious Nature here
Maintains unchanged her own sublime career,
And bids these regions of the sun display
Bright hues, surviving empires past away.
The beam of Heaven expands its kindling smile
Reveals each charm of many a fairy isle,
244 THE DEATH OF CONRADIN.
Whose image floats, in softer colouring drest,
With all its rocks and vines, on Ocean's breast.
Misenum's cape hath caught the vivid ray,
On Roman streamers there no more to play}
Still as of old, unalterably bright,
Lovely it sleeps on Posilippo's height,
With all Italia's sunshine to illume
The ilex canopy of Virgil's tomb.
Campania's plains rejoice in light, and spread
Their gay luxuriance o'er the mighty dead j
Fair glittering to thine own transparent skies,
Thy palaces, exulting Naples ! rise -,
While, far on high, Vesuvius rears his peak,
Furrow'd and dark with many a lava streak.
O ye bright shores of Circe and the Muse !
Rich with all Nature's and all fiction's hues j
Who shall explore your regions, and declare
The poet err'd to paint Elysium there ?
Call up his spirit, wanderer ! bid him guide
Thy steps, those syren-haunted seas beside,
THE DEATH OF CONRADIN. 345
And all the scene a lovelier light shall wear,
And spells more potent shall pervade the air.
What though his dust be scatter'd, and his urn
Long from its sanctuary of slumber torn, l
Still dwell the beings of his verse around,
Hovering in beauty o'er th' enchanted ground ;
His lays are murmur'd in each breeze that roves
Soft o'er the sunny waves and orange-groves.
His memory's charm is spread o'er shore and sea,
The soul, the genius of Parthenope j
Shedding o'er myrtle-shade and vine-clad hill
The purple radiance of Elysium still.
Yet that fair soil and calm resplendent sky
Have witness'd many a dark reality.
Oft o'er those bright blue seas the gale hath borne
The sighs of exiles, never to return. 2
There with the whisper of Campania's gale
Hath mingled oft affection's funeral-wail,
Mourning for buried heroes while to her
That glowing land was but their sepulchre. 5
246 THE DEATH OF CONRAPIN.
And there of old, the dread, mysterious moan
Swell'd from strange voices of no mortal tone ;
And that wild trumpet, whose unearthly note
Was heard, at midnight, o'er the hills to float
Around the spot where Agrippina died,
Denouncing vengeance on the matricide.
Fast are those ages yet another crime,
Another woe, must stain th' Elysian clime.
There stands a scaffold on the sunny shore
It must be crimson'd ere the day is o'er !
There is a throne in regal pomp array'd,
A scene of death from thence must be survey 'd.
Mark'd ye the rushing throngs ? each mien is pale,
Each hurried glance reveals a fearful tale j
But the deep workings of th' indignant breast,
Wrath, hatred, pity, must be all suppress'd ;
The burning tear awhile must check its course,
Th' avenging thought concentrate all its force,
For tyranny is near and will not brook
Aught but submission in each guarded look.
THE DEATH OF CONRADIN. 247
Girt with his fierce Provencals, and with mien
Austere in triumph, gazing on the scene, 5
And in his eye a keen suspicious glance
Of jealous pride and restless vigilance,
Behold the conqueror ! vainly in his face,
Of gentler feeling hope would seek a trace ;
Cold, proud, severe, the spirit which hath lent
Its haughty stamp to each dark lineament ;
And pleading mercy, in the sternness there,
May read at once her sentence to despair !
But thou, fair boy ! the beautiful, the brave,
Thus passing from the dungeon to the grave,
While all is yet around thee which can give
A charm to earth, and make it bliss to live ;
Thou on whose form hath dwelt a mother's eye,
Till the deep love that not with thee shall die
Hath grown too full for utterance can it be ?
And is this pomp of death prepared for thee ?
Young, royal Conradin ! who should'st have known
Of life as yet the sunny smile alone !
248 THE DEATH OF CONRADIN.
Oh ! who can view thee, in the pride and bloom
Of youth, array'd thus richly for the tomb,
Nor feel, deep-swelling in his inmost soul,
Emotions tyranny may ne'er control ?
Bright victim ! to ambition's altar led,
Crown'd with allflowers that heaven on earth can shed,
Who, from th' oppressor towering in his pride,
May hope for mercy if to thee denied ?
There is dead silence on the breathless throng,
Dead silence all the peopled shore along,
As on the captive moves the only sound,
To break that calm so fearfully profound,
The low, sweet murmur of the rippling wave,
Soft as it glides, the smiling shore to lave ;
While on that shore, his own fair heritage,
The youthful martyr to a tyrant's rage
Is passing to his fate the eyes are dim
Which gaze, through tears that dare not flow, on him :
He mounts the scaffold doth his footstep fail ?
Doth his lip quiver? doth his cheek turn pale?
THE DEATH OF CONRADIN. 249
Oh ! it may be forgiven him, if a thought
Cling to that world, for him with beauty fraught,
To all the hopes that promised Glory's meed,
And all th' affections that with him shall bleed !
If, in his life's young day-spring, while the rose
Of boyhood on his cheek yet freshly glows,
One human fear convulse his parting breath,
And shrink from all the bitterness of death !
But no ! the spirit of his royal race
Sits brightly on his brow that youthful face
Beams with heroic beauty and his eye
Is eloquent with injured majesty.
He kneels but not to man his heart shall own
Such deep submission to his God alone !
And who can tell with what sustaining power
That God may visit him in fate's dread hour \
How the still voice, which answers every moan,
May speak of hope, when hope on earth is gone I
250 THE DEATH OF CONRADIK.
That solemn pause is o'er the youth hath given
One glance of parting love to earth and heaven j
The sun rejoices in th' unclouded sky,
Life all around him glows and he must die !
Yet 'midst his people, undismay'd, he throws
The gage of vengeance for a thousand woes j
Vengeance, that like their own volcano's fire,
May sleep suppress'd awhile but not expire.
One softer image rises o'er his breast,
One fond regret, and all shall be at rest !
n Alas, for thee, my mother ! who shall bear
To thy sad heart the tidings of despair,
When thy lost child is gone?" that thought can thrill
His soul with pangs one moment more shall still.
The lifted axe is glittering in the sun
It falls the race of Conradin is run !
Yet from the blood which flows that shore to stain,
A voice shall cry to heaven and not in vain !
Gaze thou, triumphant from thy gorgeous throne,
In proud supremacy of guilt alone,
THE DEATH OF CONRADIN. 251
Charles of Anjou ! but that dread voice shall be
A fearful summoner e'en yet to thee !
The scene of death is closed the throngs depart,
A deep stern lesson graved on every heart.
No pomp, no funeral rites, no streaming eyes,
High-minded boy ! may grace thine obsequies.
O vainly royal and beloved ! thy grave,
Unsanctified, is bath'd by ocean's wave,
Mark'd by no stone, a rude, neglected spot,
Unhonour'd, unadorn'd but unforgot;
For thy deep wrongs in tameless hearts shall live,
Now mutely suffering never to forgive !
The sunset fades from purple heavens away,
A bark hath anchor'd in th' unruffled bay ;
Thence on the beach descends a female form, 6
Her mien with hope and tearful transport warm ;
But life hath left sad traces on her cheek,
And her soft eyes a chasten'd heart bespeak,
252 THE DEATH OF CONRADIN.
Inured to woes yet what were all the past !
She sunk not feebly 'neath affliction's blast,
While one bright hope remain'd who now shall tell
Th' uncrown'd, the widow'd, how her loved-one fell ?
To clasp her child, to ransom and to save,
The mother came and she hath found his grave '.
And by that grave, transfix' d in speechless grief,
Whose death-like trance denies a tear's relief,
Awhile she kneels till roused at length to know,
To feel the might, the fulness of her woe,
On the still air a voice of anguish wild,
A mother's cry, is heard " My Conradin ! my child ! "
Note 1 , page 245, line 4.
Long from its sanctuary of slumber torn.
The urn, supposed to have contained the ashes of Virgil, has
long since been lost.
Note 2, page 245, line 16.
The sighs of exiles, never to return.
Many Romans of exalted rank were formerly banished to some
of the small islands in the Mediterranean, on the coast of Italy.
Julia, the daughter of Augustus, was confined mauy years in the
isle of Pandataria, and her daughter, Agrippina, the widow of
Germanicus, afterwards died in exile on the same desolate spot.
Note 3, page 245, line last.
That glowing land was but their sepulchre.
" Quelques souvenirs du cceur, quelques noms de femmes, re-
clament aussi vos pleurs. C'est a Misene, dans le lieu meme oil
nous sommes, que la veuve de Pompee, Cornelie, conserva jusqu'a
la mort son noble deuil; Agrippine pleura long-temps Germanicus
sur ces bords. Un jour, le meme assassin qui lui ravit son epoux
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
1. THE RESTORATION OF THE WOHKS OF ART TO ITALY.
2. MODERN GREECE.
3. TRANSLATIONS FROM CAMOENS AND OTHER POETS.
PRINTED BY THOMAS DAVISON, WHITEFRIAKS.
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