Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Lo! the Dawn Sprang with Buddh's Victory; lo! in the East

Flamed the first fires of beauteous Day, poured forth

Through fleeting folds of Night's black drapery.

High in the widening blue the herald-star Faded to paler silver as there shot

Brighter and brightest bars of rosy gleam Across the grey. Far off the shadowy hills Saw the great Sun, before the world was 'ware,

And donned their crowns of crimson; flower by flower

Felt the warm breath of Morn, and 'gan unfold

Their tender lids. Over the spangled grass Swept the swift footsteps of the lovely Light,

* Buddha.

ing

Turning the tears of Night to joyous gems Decking the earth with radiance, 'broider[fringe, The sinking storm-clouds with a golden Gilding the feathers of the palms which waved

Glad salutation; darting beams of gold
Into the glades; touching with magic wand
The stream to rippled ruby; in the brake
Finding the mild eyes of the antelopes,
And saying, "It is day;" in nested sleep
Touching the small heads under many a
wing,
[light of day."

And whispering, Children, praise the Whereat there piped anthems of all the birds,

The koil's fluted song, the bulbul's hymn, The "morning! morning!" of the painted thrush,

The twitter of the sunbirds starting forth To find the honey ere the bees be out, The grey crow's caw, the parrot's scream, the strokes [chirp, Of the green hammersmith, the myna's The never-finished love-talk of the doves: Yea! and so holy was the influence Of that high Dawn which came with victory, [spread

That far and near in homes of men there An unknown peace. The slayer hid his knife; [shroff

The robber laid his plunder back; the Counted full tale of coins; all evil hearts Grew gentle, kind hearts gentler, as the

balm

Of that divinest Daybreak lightened earth. Kings at fierce war called truce; the sick men leaped [smiled Laughing from beds of pain; the dying As though they knew that happy Morn was sprung [East;

From fountains farther than the utmost And over the heart of sad Yasodhara, Sitting forlorn at Prince Siddartha's bed, Came sudden bliss, as if love should not fail,

Nor such vast sorrow miss to end in joy. So glad the world was-though it wist not why[songs

That over desolate wastes went swooning Of mirth, the voice of bodiless Prets and Bhuts,

Foreseeing Buddh; and Devas in the air Cried, "It is finished, finished!" and the priests

Stood with the wondering people in the streets, [the sky, Watching those golden splendours flood

And saying, "There hath happed some mighty thing."

Also in Ran and jungle grew that day Friendship amongst the creatures: spotted deer [cubs, Browsed fearless where the tigress fed her And cheetahs lapped the pool beside the bucks; [scoured, Under the eagle's rock the brown hares While his fierce beak but preened an idle wing;

[beam, The snake sunned all his jewels in the With deadly fangs in sheath; the shrike let pass

The nestling finch; the emerald halcyons Sate dreaming while the fishes played beneath;

Nor hawked the merops, though the butterflies

Crimson, and blue, and amber-flitted thick Around his perch.

A DEAD MAN'S MESSAGE.
Paraphrased from Arabic verses.

See Palgrave's "Arabia."

He who died at Azan sends this, to comfort faithful friends.

FAITHFUL friends! It lies, I know, Pale and cold, and still as snow; And you say, "Abdullah's dead!" Weeping at its feet and head. I can see your falling tears, I can hear your sighs and prayers; Yet I smile, and whisper this, "I am not the thing you kiss; • Cease your wail and let it lie, It was mine; it is not I!"

Sweet friends! what the women lave
For its last bed in the grave
Was a hut which I am quitting-
Was a garment, no more fitting-
Was a cage, wherefrom, at last
Like a bird, my soul hath past.
Love the inmate, not the room,
The wearer, not the garb-the plume
Of the eagle, not the bars

Which kept him from the splendid stars.

Loving friends! be wise and dry
Straightway every weeping eye!
What you lift upon the bier
Is not worth a single tear;

'Tis a simple sea-shell, one Out of which the pearl is gone; The shell is nothing-leave it there-The pearl, the soul-was all-is here! 'Tis an earthen pot, whose lid Allah sealed, the while it hid That treasure of His treasury

A mind that loved Him; let it be!
Let the shards be earth's once more,
Since the gold goes to His store!

Allah glorious, Allah good,
Now Thy world is understood!
Now the long, long wonder ends,
Yet you weep, my foolish friends;
While the man you say "is dead
In unspoken bliss instead

Lives and loves you;-lost, 'tis true,
For any light that shines with you;
But, in that light you do not see,
Raised to full felicity,

In a perfect Paradise,

And a life which never dies.

[blocks in formation]

Farewell friends! yet not farewell:
Where you are I too shall dwell;
I am gone beyond your face,
A moment's march, a single pace.
When you come where I have stepped,
You will wonder why you wept;
You will see by true life taught,
That here is all, and there is nought.
Weep a while, if you are fain,
Sunshine still must follow rain,
Only, not at death; for death
Now, I see, is that long breath
Which our souls draw when they enter
Life that is of all life-centre.

Be ye certain-all seems love
Viewed from Allah's seat above;
Be ye stout of hope, and come
Bravely onward to your home.
From its happy gate my ken
Sees you, struggling "souls," not "men,"
All for nameless joys decreed,
Which your wills may stay or speed;
But not one-at last-to fail,
Since at last Love must prevail. -

La Allah, illa Allah," yea,
Thou Love divine! thou Lord alway!

He that died at Azan gave
This-to those who made his grave.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The pride which smouldered in his breast; for she

Had ruled his wayward temper as a child, And as he grew to boyhood. He recalled The long dark tresses of her raven hair, Which she would bind across her marble brow,

Her tender, loving eyes, her princely mien,

It is scarcely necessary to tell the well-informed reader that the story of Griselda forms the concluding Novel of the Tenth Day in the "Decameron" of Boccaccio, and that it has been often quoted as the most touching of all the tales which make up that most witty and amusing book.

And the white flowing veil which swept athwart

The sable tokens of her widowed state.

And he would cry when weary of the chase, "Oh! the drear sadness of this lonely state, The vacant chamber where my mother spun,

The vacant chair wherein my mother sate, She whom they say my father 'Constance' called ! [greet

When shall these halls such other inmate As shall be fit to stand where Constance stood?

No, that can never be: I'll hie me then Back to the chase, and in my hounds and hawks

Find some poor solace for a mother's loss.
I see no maidens, and I care to see
None, who resemble her in beauty, or
In priceless, peerless worth and yet 'tis
hard

To live unloved, to see no loving face,

To feel no loving hand, to know no heart That beats and throbs responsive to one's

[blocks in formation]

Walked on the terrace 'neath the castle wall

To greet the Count upon his natal day. And Gualtiero stood amid the crowd Conspicuous by gay dress and manly gait, And easy courteous bearing; and he spake Kind words of friendship now to this, now that,

Waving his plumèd bonnet to the crowd.

Stepped forth six burghers from the rest,

and said,

"Most noble Count, son of a noble sire, Nor a less noble mother's son, we crave Audience and due attention at thine hands. We were thy father's vassals; we are thine;

And that allegiance that we paid to him
We owe his son; nor shall it e'er be said
That we were wanting in due loyalty.
We love thy mother's and thy father's
child,
[blood.
And we would shed for thee, if need, our
Thou wilt not therefore turn a cold, deaf

ear

[blocks in formation]

Of Northern Lombardy or our Tuscan

towns

Would gladly call her Gualtiero's bride,
Saluzzo's Countess, yet my love to her
Who gave me birth, whom still ye burghers
love,

Forbids me to ambition aught that is
Inferior to herself; and many a mile
Well might I traverse both by land and sea,
Ere I beheld her equal, or in mien,
Or in a loving, loyal, trusting heart.
Peerless she was, and peerless yet remains,
Nor can ye point to her that is her peer.
Yet it mislikes me that this city fair
Should risk its being or its weal on one
Who bears and carries no enchanted life.
So, masters, if it please ye, I will strive
Against mine inclination, and will seek
A maiden who shall be unto your hearts:
And if beside she be to me, good sirs,
A loyal friend, submissive, fond, and true,
It may be that I even shall rejoice
To give a Countess to this city fair.
But stay, one warning. Whom I choose
as bride

Of Gualtiero, be she who she may,
Of royal, noble, or ignoble blood,
Ye swear to me, right worthy sirs, that ye
And all my people loyally accept
And reverence, as though she were a queen
Of gay Ravenna, or of Milan proud,
Ay, or of fair Firenze, come what may."

He spoke: the burghers swore, and straight retired; [path The gay crowd parted, and the terraceLay lonely and deserted as in knots Of twain and three the burghers homeward paced,

Much pondering in perplexed wonder

[blocks in formation]

Fringed with a scanty flower-bed and o'erhung

By a dark grove of olives, intermixed
With pale ceringos and acacia bowers,
A humble cottage stood. Giannuculo,
Its tenant, was a labourer of the soil,
And sixty summer suns had bronzed his
cheek.
[fair,
With him there dwelt a daughter, passing
The envy of each youthful villager
On this side and on that. Her girlhood

now

[lips

Was scarcely passing into womanhood,
And yet she showed a woman's care of
him
Who was her sire, and who with duteous
Said daily, "De profundis," for the soul
Of her departed mother. She was fair;
But not so fair as modest, pure, and chaste.
A violet from beneath a moss-clad stone
Peeping in early spring-tide did not cast
Its glance more shyly forth upon the vale
Than did Griselda when she spoke and
smiled.
[sire,

And prized was she much by her rustic
Who called her his fair flow'ret; and his

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »