Page images

'Tis rent in twain-one dark-red stain The wave yet ripples o'er in vain :

But where is he who wore?

Ye! who would o'er his relics weep,
Go, seek them where the surges sweep
Their burthen round Sigæum's steep

And cast on Lemnos' shore :
The sea-birds shriek above the prey,
O'er which their hungry beaks delay,
As shaken on his restless pillow,
His head heaves with the heaving billow;
That hand, whose motion is not life,
Yet feebly seems to menace strife,
Flung by the tossing tide on high,
Then levell'd with the wave-

What recks it, though that corse shall lie
Within a living grave?

The bird that tears that prostrate form

Hath only robb'd the meaner worm;

The only heart, the only eye

Had bled or wept to see him die,

Had seen those scatter'd limbs composed,
And mourn'd above his turban-stone,

That heart hath burst-that eye was closed-
Yea-closed before his own!


(CORSAIR, Canto i. Stanza 1.)

O'ER the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
Our thoughts are boundless, and our souls as free,
Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam,
Survey our empire, and behold our home!
These are our realms, no limits to their sway—
Our flag the sceptre all who meet obey.
Ours the wild life in tumult still to range
From toil to rest, and joy in every change.
Oh, who can tell? not thou, luxurious slave!
Whose soul would sicken o'er the heaving wave;
Not thou, vain lord of wantonness and ease!
Whom slumber soothes not-pleasure cannot please-
Oh, who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried,
And danced in triumph o'er the waters wide,
The exulting sense-the pulse's maddening play,
That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way?
That for itself can woo the approaching fight,
And turn what some deem danger to delight;
That seeks what cravens shun with more than zeal,
And where the feebler faint-can only feel-
Feel to the rising bosom's inmost core,
Its hope awaken and its spirit soar?

No dread of death-if with us die our foes-
Save that it seems even duller than repose :

Come when it will-we snatch the life of life-
When lost-what recks it-by disease or strife?
Let him who crawls enamour'd of decay
Cling to his couch, and sicken years away;
Heave his thick breath, and shake his palsied head;
Ours-the fresh turf, and not the feverish bed.
While gasp by gasp he falters forth his soul,
Ours with one pang-one bound-escapes control.
His corse may boast its urn and narrow cave,
And they who loath'd his life may gild his grave :
Ours are the tears, though few, sincerely shed,
When Ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead.
For us, even banquets fond regret supply
In the red cup that crowns our memory;
And the brief epitaph in danger's day,

When those who win at length divide the prey,
And cry, remembrance saddening o'er each brow,
How had the brave who fell exulted now!


SHE rose- —she sprung—she clung to his embrace,
Till his heart heaved beneath her hidden face.
He dared not raise to his that deep-blue eye,
Which downcast droop'd in tearless agony.
Her long fair hair lay floating o'er his arms,
In all the wildness of dishevell'd charms;
Scarce beat that bosom where his image dwelt
So full-that feeling seem'd almost unfelt!

Hark-peals the thunder of the signal-gun !
It told 'twas sunset-and he cursed that sun.
Again-again-that form he madly press'd,
Which mutely clasp'd, imploringly caress'd !
And tottering to the couch his bride he bore,
One moment gazed—as if to gaze no more;
Felt-that for him earth held but her alone,
Kiss'd her cold forehead-turn'd-is Conrad gone?

"And is he gone?"—on sudden solitude
How oft that fearful question will intrude!
"'Twas but an instant past—and here he stood !
And now"-without the portal's porch she rush'd,
And then at length her tears in freedom gush'd;
Big-bright-and fast, unknown to her they fell;
But still her lips refused to send-" Farewell!”
For in that word—that fatal word-howe'er
We promise-hope-believe-there breathes despair.
O'er every feature of that still, pale face,
Had sorrow fix'd what time can ne'er erase:
The tender blue of that large loving eye

Grew frozen with its gaze on vacancy,

Till-Oh, how far !—it caught a glimpse of him,
And then it flow'd—and phrensied seem'd to swim
Through those long, dark, and glistening lashes dew'd
With drops of sadness oft to be renew'd.

"He's gone!"—against her heart that hand is driven,
Convulsed and quick-then gently raised to heaven;
She look'd and saw the heaving of the main ;
The white sail set-she dared not look again;
But turn'd with sickening soul within the gate-

"It is no dream—and I am desolate!"


(CORSAIR, Canto iii. Stanzas 19-21.)

THE lights are high on beacon and from bower,
And 'midst them Conrad seeks Medora's tower:
He looks in vain-'tis strange—and all remark,
Amid so many, hers alone is dark.

'Tis strange-of yore its welcome never fail'd,
Nor now, perchance, extinguish'd, only veil'd.
With the first boat descends he for the shore,
And looks impatient on the lingering oar.
Oh! for a wing beyond the falcon's flight,
To bear him like an arrow to that height!
With the first pause the resting rowers gave,
He waits not looks not-leaps into the wave,
Strives through the surge, bestrides the beach, and high
Ascends the path familiar to his eye.

He reach'd his turret door-he paused—no sound
Broke from within; and all was night around.
He knock'd, and loudly-footstep nor reply
Announced that any heard or deem'd him nigh;
He knock'd--but faintly—for his trembling hand
Refused to aid his heavy heart's demand.
The portal opens-'tis a well-known face-
But not the form he panted to embrace.
Its lips are silent-twice his own essay'd,
And fail'd to frame the question they delay'd;
He snatch'd the lamp-its light will answer all—
It quits his grasp, expiring in the fall.

« PreviousContinue »