Page images
PDF
EPUB

Yet, when the voice of glory spoke

In music's lofty swell,
A nobler spirit then awoke

And kindled like a spell,
Till her young heart had caught the flame,
And felt the echoing thrill for fame.
And Roland, as he stood beneath

The foliage of the waving trees, And caught the musie's floating breath,

Upon the light wing of the breeze, Mus'd deeply as he stood alone On joys which might have been his own; But yesterday, with flashing eye, And heart where glory's thrill beat high, While his blood rush'd in buoyant tide, He thought upon his promis'd bride ; He thought in victory to feel His father's spirit guide his steel : But the dark form had come between The triumphs of the fancied scene, While on the battle-field stood Death, To crown him with the victor wreath, Awhile he gaz'd in mute despair, While recreant nature trembled there. Till his proud spirit rose, at length, And struggled with convulsive strength, And wrestled down each vain regret, And bade him every tie forget, It bade him, bound by honour's laws, To perish in his country's cause. “Well, be it so; I'll couch my spear

With a bold and fearless soul,
Which, rushing on its bright career,

Shall spurn the base control.
Then, be it so, when shouts are pour'd,

When ready glaives are flashing high,
Then first shall be my father's sword,
Then first

my

father's battle cry.

He gained the bower" Now, Clara, now
I come to claim thy parting vow ;
When those green trees, which soon will wave,
In sorrow, o'er the young and brave;
When those green trees in rapture fling
Their odours to the breeze of Spring,
Forget not thout the lonely tomb,
Which wakes not with returning bloom,
And drop a tear upon the wreath
You weave for him who sleeps beneath."
The lady shriek'd : « Oh, say not so:
To-morrow, ere the sun is low,
The laurel-crown shall gird thy brow.

My Roland, live for me."
No, Clara, it were vain to tell
What omens urge this sad farewell

To happiness and thee ;
Yet will I snatch the vain relief

Of sympathy and kindred fear ; Our joys are made for all, but grief

Is sacred to Affection's tear.

'Twas yesterday, that fearful form,

Which marshals us to death, Came riding on the midnight storm,

To claim my forfeit breath : I saw him raise that phantom brand, In attitude of high command, And point to where those green trees waveHe pointed to a warrior's grave. I saw then, as I see thee now, The dark smile wreathe his pallid brow. Yet, still in battle's angry flood

I will not fall alone ; And

my

father's blood, Though purchas'd by my own."

vengeance waits

The lady rose--no tears would flow;
The warm blood gush'd across her brow,

E'en as she gather'd strength;
Convuls'd in agony, yet still
She bow'd her torture to her will,

And calmly spoke at length:
While the red flush, which gather'd there,,
Fast faded into pale despair,
And the wan lips, and swollen eye,
Remain'd the signs of agony.
“Go, then,” she said, in noble pride,
“I would not be a craven's bride;
I'd give my bosom to the steel
To save the pang which I shall feel ;
Those lips scarce ting'd with hovering breath,
That soaring spirit chill'd in death!
Yet I would rather see thee dead
Than hide in infamy thy head;
And blush in shame, when glory's voice
Had call'd the nation to rejoice.
Yes, when those trees for ever wave
In silence o'er

my
hero's

grave;
Still, still, shall live that soaring name,
Embalmed in a nation's fame.
Where better can those limbs repose ?
'Twas here he broke his country's foes.
I'll see, with a sublime delight,
His grave the trophy of the fight,
And there lay down, in tranquil rest,
The relics of a bleeding breast."

“Clara, farewell! the only tie

Which binds me yet to life,
Clara, farewell! I thus defy

The danger of the strife.
I may not hope to quit the field,
Unless borne back upon my shield.

My father's hall is desolate
A fitter emblem of his fate

Who stands alone on earth.
I saw my castle's overthrow
I saw the ruddy life-blood flow

From him who gave me birth :
In vain I sprung, like rushing flame,

On him who struck the blow.; 1 fell, while calling on his name,

Beneath a meaner foe; Yet vengeance dogs the Zegri lord My father's life-blood warm’d his sword ; Yes like the wave thro' bursting banks, To dash upon the Zegri ranks, ,

To win revenge in death ; To wrench the truncheon from his hand (My father's spirit guide my brand),

And drink his parting breath,
Are all that now remain to me,
Except the thrilling thought of thee.
It was not, love, to see thy tears

I left the warrior throng;
It was not, love, from selfish fears

That I disturb'd thy song ;
But that I could not couch my spear
With death prophetic on mine ear,

Without one look from thee,
Or think that when the Zegri's glaive
Had sent me to an early grave,
When heaps above my corse lay pild,
Unconscious Clara might have smild,

Without a thought for me.
Farewell! this rose from Clara's hair,

To grace her own true knight,
Shall flourish whilst the bravest bear

* The thunder of the fight. All that I ask is Clara's tear To deck her Roland's early bier :

I may not hope to quit the field,
Unless borne back upoti thị shield.”

'Tis morn: the sun is rising fair ;
He knows not what shall greet him theré.

The Moor is on his way;
The Spanish chiefs, resolv'd to die,
Steadily watch Gonsalvo's eye,

In their sublime array.

The Abencerrage chiefs advance ;
Each warrior waves aloft his lance;
Each snow-white courser waits the word, I
Proudly submissive to his lord.
The fetter'd lion shakes his mane,
And laughs to scorn the futile chain :
Despite that chain upon their shield
The Abencerrages never yield.
Each tameless Zegri draws a sword, I
Less fierce and harden'd than its lord ;
For while in front, the snow-white throng
Exulting bore their lords along,
Those coal black steeds were fleck'd with foam,
In fierce rebellion to their doom :
There, too, from every shackle freed,
The wild Numidiàn urged his steed,
And well repaid that courser brave,
The confidence his master gave,
As he sprung past with flashing eye,
And knowledge of his liberty.
The squares are form'd, and murmurs rise
Of fierce impatience to the skies;

* The Eastern nations did not couch their spears.

† The Abencerrages, a Moorish tribe, who always rode white horses, the chained lion their device,

# The Zegri is another tribe infamous for ferocity, who rode black hornea,

« PreviousContinue »