Page images

And, hark ! - a grieving voice, trembling and faint,
Blends with the hollow sobbings of the sea ;
Like the sad music of a siren's plaint,
But shriller than Leander's voice should be,
Unless the wintry death had changed its tone,
Wherefore she thinks she hears his spirit moan.

For now, upon each brief and breathless pause
Made by the raging winds, it plainly calls
On Hero! Hero ! -- whereupon she draws
Close to the dizzy brink, that ne'er appalls
Her brave and constant spirit to recoil,
However the wild billows toss and toil.

“O! dost thou live under the deep, deep sea ?
I thought such love as thine could never die;
If thou hast gained an immortality
From the kind pitying sea-god, so will I ;
And this false cruel tide, that used to sever
Our hearts, shall be our common home forever!

66 There we will sit and sport upon one billow,
And sing our ocean-ditties all the day,
And lie together on the same green pillow,
That curls above us with its dewy spray;
And ever in one presence live and dwell,
Like two twin pearls within the self-same shell.”

One moment, then, upon the dizzy verge
She stands; — with face upturned against the sky;
A moment more, upon the foamy surge
She gazes, with a calm despairing eye;
Feeling that awful pause of blood and breath
Which life endures when it confronts with death;

Then from the giddy deep she madly springs,
Grasping her maiden robes, that vainly kept
Panting abroad, like unavailing wings,
To save her from her death. ---- The sea-maid wept,
And in a crystal*cave her corse enshrined;
No meaner sepulchre should Hero find !

[ocr errors]



“And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Firds tongues in trees."


"Twas in a shady avenue, Where lofty elms abound

And from a tree

There came to me
A sad and solemn sound,
That sometimes murmured overhead,

And sometimes underground.

Amongst the leaves it seemed to sigh,

Amid the boughs to moan;
It muttered in the stem, and then

The roots took up the tone;
As if beneath the dewy grass

The dead began to groan.

No breeze there was to stir the leaves;

No bolts that tempests launch, To rend the trunk or rugged bark;

No gale to bend the branch; No quake of earth to heave the roots, That stood so stiff and stanch.


No bird was preening up aloft,

To rustle with its wing;
No squirrel, in its sport or fear,
From bough to bough to spring:

The solid bole

Had ne'er a hole
To hide a living thing!

No scooping hollow cell to lodge
A furtive beast or fowl,

The martin, bat,

Or forest cat
That nightly loves to prowl,
Nor ivy nook so apt to shroud

The moping, snoring owl.

But still the sound was in my ear,

A sad and solemn sound,
That sometimes murmured overhead,

And sometimes underground 'Twas in a shady avenue

Where lofty elms abound.

0, hath the Dryad still a tongue

In this ungenial clime?
Have sylvan spirits still a voice

As in the classic prime -
To make the forest voluble,

As in the olden time?

The olden time is dead and gone;

Its years have filled their sum And even in Greece her native Greece

The sylvan nymph is dumbFrom ash, and beech, and aged oak,

No classic whispers come.

From poplar, pine, and drooping birch, And fragrant linden trees,

No living sound

E'er hovers round, Unless the vagrant breeze, The music of the merry bird,

Or hum of busy bees.

But busy bees forsake the elm

That bears ne bloom aloft -
The finch was in the hawthorn-bush,

The blackbird in the croft ;
And among the firs the brooding dove,

That else might murmur soft.

Vet still I heard that solemn sound,

And sad it was to boot,
From every overhanging bough,

And each minuter shoot;
From rugged trunk and mossy rind,

And from the twisted root.

From these, a melancholy moan;

From those, a dreary sigh;
As if the boughs were wintry bare,

And wild winds sweeping by
Whereas the smallest fleecy cloud

Was steadfast in the sky.

No sign or touch of stirring air

Could either sense observe -
The zephyr had not breath enough

The thistle-down to swerve,
Or force the filmy gossamers

To take another curve.

« PreviousContinue »