Page images
PDF
EPUB

That sweeps the bosom of thy thymy hills,
Charg'd with the notes of sorrow, to bemoan
Th' untimely fate of an Arcadian pair,
Who on yon bier, by friendly hands compos'd,
Lie side by side, united e'en in death.
Sad is their tale; and Pity from the domes
Of monarchs, where in gorgeous pomp array'd
She pours the solemn mockery of tears,
For slight or fancied pangs, shall turn aside
And heave th' unbidden sigh of real woe
Upon the peasants' grave. In Ladon's vale
The young Teresa liv'd—when in the games
Of rural festival she shunn'd her swain,
With light step bounding o'er the dewy herb;
When the anxiety of feign'd alarm
Gave brighter colours to her cheek, and shades
Of deeper sadness to her eye; when loose
Her ringlets wanton'd o'er her snowy breast,
And the wild breeze just rais'd her floating veil,
Or wand'ring thro' the mazes of her robe,
Display'd the just proportion of her form,
She seem*d the loveliest of Arcadia's nymphs,

V

Fairer than Syrinx, when she fled from Pan

By Ladon's stream. The young Alexi saw,

And woo'd the beauteous maid: for her he led

Beneath the aged oak the rustic choir,

Shepherd and shepherdess with myrtles crown'd 34 5

To pipe and tabor moving; on her door

He hung fresh flow'ry garlands at the blush

Of May's first morn; and when the midnight moon

Pour'd thro' her lattice the soft silver ray,

He struck his mandoline, and rais'd his song, 3 50

Glowing impassion'd with Teresa's charms.

The fair one heard, nor did she bend her lip

With cold disdain, nor with the frown of scorn

O'ercloud the sunshine of her brow; she smil'd

Consenting; and with downcast looks, half hid 3 5 5

Beneath her veil, confess'd the mutual love.

Now beams each eye with gladness; ev'ry voice

Joins in the note of joy; th* attendant group

Of nymphs crowd eager round the timid fair,

And as their flying fingers twine the thread 360

Of varied dye, or lead the ductile gold

In waving lines around the bridal vest,

Each cheek with mirth is dimpled, and each eye

Glistens with laughter's tears. Happy, alas!

In ignorance, enjoy, whilst yet ye may, 365

Your bliss; those tears of transport, ah! too soon

Must change to sorrow's moan; and the rich robe

Which now ye weave for Hymen's softest hour,

Will be the shroud upon Teresa's limbs,

Stiffen'd in death.—Be happy whilst ye may, 3 70

Carol your jocund lays, nor hear the dirge

Which, ere to-morrow's eve, will pour its strain

Sad and reluctant o'er Teresa's tomb.

E'en now indignant at his slighted vows,

His love transform'd to hate, and the desire 3 7 5

Of dark revenge deep rankling in his breast,

Demetri breathes into the Vizier's ear

His treach'rous tale; and with such art commends

Teresa's matchless charms, her youthful grace

And simple elegance; paints with such force 380

Each glance of beauty, that the tyrant's eye

Gleams joyful, and the frown which hangs upon

His swarthy visage brightens to a smile,

In expectation of his destin'd prey.

The wish'd for morn arriv'd—the sacred rites . 385 Were solemniz'd, and to Alexi's cot Slow mov'd the festive train. Link'd hand in hand Nymphs to the soft guitar led on the dance, In graceful circles twin'd. The marriage torch, High rais'd, beam'd bright before the wedded pair, 390 Crown'd with the flow'ry chaplets. From the gaze Of the admiring crowd the bride retir'd Beneath her nuptial veil, and o'er her breast Cross'd her fair arms, and fixed her timid eye Upon the ground in maiden bashfulness. 395 Now rose the star of Hesper—cheerful songs Hail'd his approach; and the gay syrtos,3 led By youths and virgins, swell'd the ev'ning pomp r: •' v\ Of th' hymenseal feast. But who are they, W■jy Whose fierce eyes glaring thro' the dusk, beneath 400 Their snowy turbans, dart a sudden fear On ev'ry breast; whom do they seek with scowls That search each shrinking fair? f Fly, hapless bride! * The tyrant's satellites are come to bear 'Thee from thy spouse; the gaunt wolves are let loose 'To seize their prey; e'en now they raise their arms 406

3 A Greek dance.

'To clasp thy form, and with a smile that mocks

'Thy shrieks and cries of agony, rush in

'To tear thee from me. This alone remains—

'This, this shall free thee.'—With these parting words

The lover pierc'd the breast of his belov'd, 411

Hung for a moment o'er her faded form

To look a last farewell, then plung'd his knife

Deep in his faithful bosom and expir'd.

Beneath the mountain shadow, in the gloom 415 Of the dark cypress, on a bank inlaid With azure harebell and the laurel-rose, . Their grave is open'd, and a weeping train, Slow winding thro' the thickets of yon vale, Chaunt to the ev'ning air the fun'ral dirge 420 That mourns Alexi's and Teresa's love. .

The vintage glows empurpling all the plain, Or tinging with a partial blush the brown Of mountain-side. Upon his lofty shed, Thatch'd o'er with leaves, the peasant keeps his watch Sleepless, and views well pleas'd the fruit mature 426 Bend the o'erloaded boughs; eager to cull The vine's rich honours, to the grateful toil

« PreviousContinue »