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As when some firmly founded tower
Shakes to the heaving earthquake's power.
“And will not morning serve the need?
Up-rooted pines the path impede-
Collected snows my course will urge
Close to the unfenced torrent's verge :
And could I cross unharmed the hill,
I cannot, dare not, pass the Mill."
Reply unlooked for to command
From warlike lips, acts like the brand,
Which fires the mine's quiescent train :
Out broke the soldier's fierce disdain:-
Enough ; not even Conrad met
Untamed that flow of oath or threat ;-
Menace of death he knew to face,
But turned and blenched from sure disgrace.
A coward called — he heard that sound
But once, then wildly glared around –
With one instinctive grasp his blade
He clasped, relaxed it, and obeyed.
The adjutant sits in the lonely room
Of the solitary inn;
But he cannot slumber in its gloom,
For the tempest's furious din.
He thinks of the word he gave,
And the Hulan's strange reply; And he wonders how one so brave,
Who had never feared to die Who at Asperne rode on his squadron's right, Should tremble to ride on a stormy nightShould pray like a woman to wait till morn: And the grim old adjutant laughed in scorn!
Is it a sound of mortal strain
Which breaks on his listening ear,
Or the yell of the sable huntsman's train,
Who follow the skeleton deer?
'T is the scream of mortal pain,
Or of agonizing fear;
And it echoes again, again –
And the terrible sounds draw near!
Less shrill is the midnight blast,
As it sweeps o'er flood and fell;
And the charger's foot-tramps fall less fast
Than that oft-repeated yell.
Can the voice which whispered love of old
With such prevailing power,
Which rallied the flying, and led the bold,
In danger's bloodiest hour,-
Can it sound like the harrowing scream
Of the wretch who fears to die,
When he awakes from his dismal dream,
And the scaffold meets his eye?
'T is Conrad !-Steed and rider sink
Exhausted on the threshold's brink.
“ She follows me, pale from her watery grave,
From her strangling fingers, oh! save me, save!
She clings, she chokes me, she thrills my
brain With the scream which she gave in her perishing pain.' Thus raved he, till exhaustion's sleep Closed o'er his senses, dull and deep.
'T is morn. By curious interest led,
His comrades close around his bed;
With fingers on that clay-cold hand,
The surgeon takes his silent stand;
And from a neighbouring convent there
The old Carthusian kneels in prayer.
He wakes - and draws that hand away,
Whose pulses speak of life's decay.
“ These scars attest thy practised skill,
When it prolonged an unblest life,
And saved me from severer ill;
Thou know'st I shrunk not from the knife.
But mine are wounds which not thy steel
Nor hostile swords can give or heal.”
He called the old Carthusian near“ Father, 't is thine a tale to hear; Such tale as since its earliest time
Thy dark confessional ne'er heard, Since kneeling there, repentant crime
First poured the sob and whispered word, Body and soul at once to save,
Alike from hope and fear-
In hope of grace beyond the grave,
In dread of judgment here.
Secret and low, to thee alone
Is poured the penitential groan :
No hope above, no fear below,
Impede my tale, which all may know.”
Calm and distinct that tale began,
E'en from his youth the story ran :
And when with trembling voice he came
To her, to Ebba's sainted name -
On those young hours of sunny light,
So soon involved in horror's night,
His course awhile he seemed to stay,
Like Satan lingering to survey
The paradise of love and joy
It was his mission to destroy:-
Awhile his vampire wing delaying,
A moment from his purpose straying.
Awhile by memory thus subdued,
The dark narration he pursued :
“That morn I sought the appointed spot,
I said that Ebba met me not:
’T was falseI found her there; not I,
The fiend, within me forged the lie :
That fiend, whieh since our race begun
Has haunted us from sire to son.
In bridal pomp her neck was bound
With pearls, in many a goodly round.
Then woke the fiend's resistless charm,
With strength from hell he nerved my arm
To tear those glistening rows away,
And I was spell-bound to obey.
She shrieked - I struck — with blow on blow,
Urged by the fiend, I laid her low.
The demon pointed to the stream.
I bore her - dragged her there : one scream,
Unheard by all but gave,
And sunk—and sleeps beneath the wave!
Father, for many a lingering year
That ceaseless scream has thrilled my ear;
The tumult of the bustling camp,
The charging squadrons' hurrying tramp,
The batteries' roar, the trumpets' knell,
The volley and the exploding shell —
I heard them not, that dreadful call
Still piercing through, above them all.–
Father, beyond the Mill there stands,
Blasted and seared like me,
Made branchless by the lightning's brands,
A solitary tree.
’T was by the forked lightning's glare,
I dug my place of treasure there,
To hold those precious pearls, the whole
Vast price, for which I gave my soul.
Witness and wages of the deed :
For which this forfeit life must bleed.
My days are numbered : well I know
I soon must die the rabble's show;
But if a thousand years were flown
Before the scaffold claimed its own,
The fearful night but now gone by
Could never fade from memory's eye ;
Their long oblivion could not hide
The horrors of that ghastly ride.
“She rose, she sprung!-- look, father, here !
See how the fingers of the dead The flesh of living man can sear."
He slowly raised his languid head,
And round the sinewy neck 't was plain
Some strangling pressure's sable stain,
But served with surer aim to guide
The headsman's stroke by which he died.
No more: behind yon distant pines
Too fast the autumnal sun declines.
When evening's shades have closed around,
Let those remain who will,
Not mine to trespass on the ground
Where spectral sounds and sights abound.
Adieu! thou haunted Mill.
BY THOMAS DOUBLEDAY, ESQ.
Wonderful passion !-clasping all, yet single !
When in warm youth the' impetuous pulses beat,
How all is changed in that emotion sweet; How with the beautiful we seem to mingle,A brook, a flower, can make the senses tingle.
We thread the conscious paths with burning feet,
And our hearts throb to see each loved retreat, By lonely stream, or grove, or dell, or dingle. And there, through many a day, will passion live,
When that hath died from which its life it drew. Yea, there are scenes which ever can revive
Feelings long past, breathing our youth anew, And to disused eye-lids strangely give
Hot tears — else cold, as is the marble dew.