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That sweeps the bosom of thy thymy hills,
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