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Poems by Victor Hugo

Part 2 out of 7

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Through yawning walls huge elephants stalked by;
Under dark pillars rose a forestry,
Pillars by madness multiplied;
As round some giant hive, all day and night,
Huge vultures, and red eagles' wheeling flight
Was through each porch descried.

"Must I complete it?" said the angered cloud.
"On still!" "Lord, whither?" groaned it, deep not loud.


Two cities, strange, unknown in history's page,
Up to the clouds seemed scaling, stage by stage,
Noiseless their streets; their sleeping inmates lie,
Their gods, their chariots, in obscurity!
Like sisters sleeping 'neath the same moonlight,
O'er their twin towers crept the shades of night,
Whilst scarce distinguished in the black profound,
Stairs, aqueducts, great pillars, gleamed around,
And ruined capitals: then was seen a group
Of granite elephants 'neath a dome to stoop,
Shapeless, giant forms to view arise,
Monsters around, the spawn of hideous ties!
Then hanging gardens, with flowers and galleries:
O'er vast fountains bending grew ebon-trees;
Temples, where seated on their rich tiled thrones,
Bull-headed idols shone in jasper stones;
Vast halls, spanned by one block, where watch and stare
Each upon each, with straight and moveless glare,
Colossal heads in circles; the eye sees
Great gods of bronze, their hands upon their knees.
Sight seemed confounded, and to have lost its powers,
'Midst bridges, aqueducts, arches, and round towers,
Whilst unknown shapes fill up the devious views
Formed by these palaces and avenues.
Like capes, the lengthening shadows seem to rise
Of these dark buildings, pointed to the skies,
Immense entanglement in shroud of gloom!
The stars which gleamed in the empyrean dome,
Under the thousand arches in heaven's space
Shone as through meshes of the blackest lace.
Cities of hell, with foul desires demented,
And monstrous pleasures, hour by hour invented!
Each roof and home some monstrous mystery bore!
Which through the world spread like a twofold sore!
Yet all things slept, and scarce some pale late light
Flitted along the streets through the still night,
Lamps of debauch, forgotten and alone,
The feast's lost fires left there to flicker on;
The walls' large angles clove the light-lengthening shades
'Neath the white moon, or on some pool's face played.
Perchance one heard, faint in the plain beneath,
The kiss suppressed, the mingling of the breath;
And the two sister cities, tired of heat,
In love's embrace lay down in murmurs sweet!
Whilst sighing winds the scent of sycamore
From Sodom to Gomorrah softly bore!
Then over all spread out the blackened cloud,
"'Tis here!" the Voice on high exclaimed aloud.


From a cavern wide
In the rent cloud's side,
In sulphurous showers
The red flame pours.
The palaces fall
In the lurid light,
Which casts a red pall
O'er their facades white!

Oh, Sodom! Gomorrah!
What a dome of horror
Rests now on your walls!
On you the cloud falls,
Nation perverse!
On your fated heads,
From its fell jaws, a curse
Its lightning fierce spreads!

The people awaken
Which godlessly slept;
Their palaces shaken,
Their offences unwept!
Their rolling cars all
Meet and crash in the street;
And the crowds, for a pall,
Find flames round their feet!

Numberless dead,
Round these high towers spread,
Still sleep in the shade
By their rugged heights made;
Colossi of rocks
In ill-steadied blocks!
So hang on a wall
Black ants, like a pall!

To escape is in vain
From this horrible rain!
Alas! all things die;
In the lightning's red flash
The bridges all crash;
'Neath the tiles the flame creeps;
From the fire-struck steeps
Falls on the pavements below,
All lurid in glow,
Rolling down from on high!

Beneath every spark,
The red, tyrannous fire
Mounts up in the dark
Ever redder and higher;
More swiftly than steed
Uncontrolled, see it pass!
Horrid idols all twist,
By the crumbling flame kissed
In their infamous dread,
Shrivelled members of brass!

It grows angry, flows on,
Silver towers fall down
Unforeseen, like a dream
In its green and red stream,
Which lights up the walls
Ere one crashes and falls,
Like the changeable scale
Of a lizard's bright mail.
Agate, porphyry, cracks
And is melted to wax!
Bend low to their doom
These stones of the tomb!
E'en the great marble giant
Called Nabo, sways pliant
Like a tree; whilst the flare
Seemed each column to scorch
As it blazed like a torch
Round and round in the air.

The magi, in vain,
From the heights to the plain
Their gods' images carry
In white tunic: they quake--
No idol can make
The blue sulphur tarry;
The temple e'en where they meet,
Swept under their feet
In the folds of its sheet!
Turns a palace to coal!
Whence the straitened cries roll
From its terrified flock;
With incendiary grips
It loosens a block,
Which smokes and then slips
From its place by the shock;
To the surface first sheers,
Then melts, disappears,
Like the glacier, the rock!
The high priest, full of years,
On the burnt site appears,
Whence the others have fled.
Lo! his tiara's caught fire
As the furnace burns higher,
And pale, full of dread,
See, the hand he would raise
To tear his crown from the blaze
Is flaming instead!

Men, women, in crowds
Hurry on--the fire shrouds
And blinds all their eyes
As, besieging each gate
Of these cities of fate
To the conscience-struck crowd,
In each fiery cloud,
Hell appears in the skies!


Men say that _then_, to see his foe's sad fall
As some old prisoner clings to his prison wall,
Babel, accomplice of their guilt, was seen
O'er the far hills to gaze with vision keen!
And as was worked this dispensation strange,
A wondrous noise filled the world's startled range;
Reached the dull hearing that deep, direful sound
Of their sad tribe who live below the ground.


'Gainst this pitiless flame who condemned could prevail?
Who these walls, burnt and calcined, could venture to scale?
Yet their vile hands they sought to uplift,
Yet they cared still to ask from what God, by what law?
In their last sad embrace, 'midst their honor and awe,
Of this mighty volcano the drift.
'Neath great slabs of marble they hid them in vain,
'Gainst this everliving fire, God's own flaming rain!
'Tis the rash whom God seeks out the first;
They call on their gods, who were deaf to their cries,
For the punishing flame caused their cold granite eyes
In tears of hot lava to burst!
Thus away in the whirlwind did everything pass,
The man and the city, the soil and its grass!
God burnt this sad, sterile champaign;
Naught living was left of this people destroyed,
And the unknown wind which blew over the void,
Each mountain changed into a plain.


The palm-tree that grows on the rock to this day,
Feels its leaf growing yellow, its slight stem decay,
In the blasting and ponderous air;
These towns are no more! but to mirror their past,
O'er their embers a cold lake spread far and spread fast,
With smoke like a furnace, lies there!



_("Nous emmenions en esclavage.")_

[VIII., March, 1828.]

We're bearing fivescore Christian dogs
To serve the cruel drivers:
Some are fair beauties gently born,
And some rough coral-divers.
We hardy skimmers of the sea
Are lucky in each sally,
And, eighty strong, we send along
The dreaded Pirate Galley.

A nunnery was spied ashore,
We lowered away the cutter,
And, landing, seized the youngest nun
Ere she a cry could utter;
Beside the creek, deaf to our oars,
She slumbered in green alley,
As, eighty strong, we sent along
The dreaded Pirate Galley.

"Be silent, darling, you must come--
The wind is off shore blowing;
You only change your prison dull
For one that's splendid, glowing!
His Highness doats on milky cheeks,
So do not make us dally"--
We, eighty strong, who send along
The dreaded Pirate Galley.

She sought to flee back to her cell,
And called us each a devil!
We dare do aught becomes Old Scratch,
But like a treatment civil,
So, spite of buffet, prayers, and calls--
Too late her friends to rally--
We, eighty strong, bore her along
Unto the Pirate Galley.

The fairer for her tears profuse,
As dews refresh the flower,
She is well worth three purses full,
And will adorn the bower--
For vain her vow to pine and die
Thus torn from her dear valley:
She reigns, and we still row along
The dreaded Pirate Galley.


_("Si je n'etait captive.")_

[IX., July, 1828.]

Oh! were I not a captive,
I should love this fair countree;
Those fields with maize abounding,
This ever-plaintive sea:
I'd love those stars unnumbered,
If, passing in the shade,
Beneath our walls I saw not
The spahi's sparkling blade.

I am no Tartar maiden
That a blackamoor of price
Should tune my lute and hold to me
My glass of sherbet-ice.
Far from these haunts of vices,
In my dear countree, we
With sweethearts in the even
May chat and wander free.

But still I love this climate,
Where never wintry breeze
Invades, with chilly murmur,
These open lattices;
Where rain is warm in summer,
And the insect glossy green,
Most like a living emerald,
Shines 'mid the leafy screen.

With her chapelles fair Smyrna--
A gay princess is she!
Still, at her summons, round her
Unfading spring ye see.
And, as in beauteous vases,
Bright groups of flowers repose,
So, in her gulfs are lying
Her archipelagoes.

I love these tall red turrets;
These standards brave unrolled;
And, like an infant's playthings,
These houses decked with gold.
I love forsooth these reveries,
Though sandstorms make me pant,
Voluptuously swaying
Upon an elephant.

Here in this fairy palace,
Full of such melodies,
Methinks I hear deep murmurs
That in the deserts rise;
Soft mingling with the music
The Genii's voices pour,
Amid the air, unceasing,
Around us evermore.

I love the burning odors
This glowing region gives;
And, round each gilded lattice,
The trembling, wreathing leaves;
And, 'neath the bending palm-tree,
The gayly gushing spring;
And on the snow-white minaret,
The stork with snowier wing.

I love on mossy couch to sing
A Spanish roundelay,
And see my sweet companions
Around commingling gay,--
A roving band, light-hearted,
In frolicsome array,--
Who 'neath the screening parasols
Dance down the merry day.
But more than all enchanting
At night, it is to me,
To sit, where winds are sighing,
Lone, musing by the sea;
And, on its surface gazing,
To mark the moon so fair,
Her silver fan outspreading,
In trembling radiance there.

W.D., _Tait's Edin. Magazine_


_("La lune etait sereine.")_

[X., September, 1828.]

Bright shone the merry moonbeams dancing o'er the wave;
At the cool casement, to the evening breeze flung wide,
Leans the Sultana, and delights to watch the tide,
With surge of silvery sheen, yon sleeping islets lave.

From her hand, as it falls, vibrates the light guitar.
She listens--hark! that sound that echoes dull and low.
Is it the beat upon the Archipelago
Of some long galley's oar, from Scio bound afar?

Is it the cormorants, whose black wings, one by one,
Cut the blue wave that o'er them breaks in liquid pearls?
Is it some hovering sprite with whistling scream that hurls
Down to the deep from yon old tower a loosened stone?

Who thus disturbs the tide near the seraglio?
'Tis no dark cormorants that on the ripple float,
'Tis no dull plume of stone--no oars of Turkish boat,
With measured beat along the water creeping slow.

'Tis heavy sacks, borne each by voiceless dusky slaves;
And could you dare to sound the depths of yon dark tide,
Something like human form would stir within its side.
Bright shone the merry moonbeams dancing o'er the wave.



_("Qu'avez-vous, mes freres?")_

[XI., September, 18288.]

"Have you prayed tonight, Desdemona?"


What has happened, my brothers? Your spirit to-day
Some secret sorrow damps
There's a cloud on your brow. What has happened? Oh, say,
For your eyeballs glare out with a sinister ray
Like the light of funeral lamps.
And the blades of your poniards are half unsheathed
In your belt--and ye frown on me!
There's a woe untold, there's a pang unbreathed
In your bosom, my brothers three!


Gulnara, make answer! Hast thou, since the dawn,
To the eye of a stranger thy veil withdrawn?


As I came, oh, my brother! at noon--from the bath--
As I came--it was noon, my lords--
And your sister had then, as she constantly hath,
Drawn her veil close around her, aware that the path
Is beset by these foreign hordes.
But the weight of the noonday's sultry hour
Near the mosque was so oppressive
That--forgetting a moment the eye of the Giaour--
I yielded to th' heat excessive.


Gulnara, make answer! Whom, then, hast thou seen,
In a turban of white and a caftan of green?


Nay, _he_ might have been there; but I muflled me so,
He could scarcely have seen my figure.--
But why to your sister thus dark do you grow?
What words to yourselves do you mutter thus low,
Of "blood" and "an intriguer"?
Oh! ye cannot of murder bring down the red guilt
On your souls, my brothers, surely!
Though I fear--from the hands that are chafing the hilt,
And the hints you give obscurely.


Gulnara, this evening when sank the red sun,
Didst thou mark how like blood in descending it shone?


Mercy! Allah! have pity! oh, spare!
See! I cling to your knees repenting!
Kind brothers, forgive me! for mercy, forbear!
Be appeased at the cry of a sister's despair,
For our mother's sake relenting.
O God! must I die? They are deaf to my cries!
Their sister's life-blood shedding;
They have stabbed me each one--I faint--o'er my eyes
A _veil of Death_ is spreading!


Gulnara, farewell! take _that_ veil; 'tis the gift
Of thy brothers--a veil thou wilt never lift!



_("N'ai-je pas pour toi, belle juive.")_

[XII., Oct. 27, 1828.]

To please you, Jewess, jewel!
I have thinned my harem out!
Must every flirting of your fan
Presage a dying shout?

Grace for the damsels tender
Who have fear to hear your laugh,
For seldom gladness gilds your lips
But blood you mean to quaff.

In jealousy so zealous,
Never was there woman worse;
You'd have no roses but those grown
Above some buried corse.

Am I not pinioned firmly?
Why be angered if the door
Repulses fifty suing maids
Who vainly there implore?

Let them live on--to envy
My own empress of the world,
To whom all Stamboul like a dog
Lies at the slippers curled.

To you my heroes lower
Those scarred ensigns none have cowed;
To you their turbans are depressed
That elsewhere march so proud.

To you Bassora offers
Her respect, and Trebizonde
Her carpets richly wrought, and spice
And gems, of which you're fond.

To you the Cyprus temples
Dare not bar or close the doors;
For you the mighty Danube sends
The choicest of its stores.

Fear you the Grecian maidens,
Pallid lilies of the isles?
Or the scorching-eyed sand-rover
From Baalbec's massy piles?

Compared with yours, oh, daughter
Of King Solomon the grand,
What are round ebon bosoms,
High brows from Hellas' strand?

You're neither blanched nor blackened,
For your tint of olive's clear;
Yours are lips of ripest cherry,
You are straight as Arab spear.

Hence, launch no longer lightning
On these paltry slaves of ours.
Why should your flow of tears be matched
By their mean life-blood showers?

Think only of our banquets
Brought and served by charming girls,
For beauties sultans must adorn
As dagger-hilts the pearls.


_("Un jour Ali passait.")_

[XIII, Nov. 8, 1828.]

Ali came riding by--the highest head
Bent to the dust, o'ercharged with dread,
Whilst "God be praised!" all cried;
But through the throng one dervish pressed,
Aged and bent, who dared arrest
The pasha in his pride.

"Ali Tepelini, light of all light,
Who hold'st the Divan's upper seat by right,
Whose fame Fame's trump hath burst--
Thou art the master of unnumbered hosts,
Shade of the Sultan--yet he only boasts
In thee a dog accurst!

"An unseen tomb-torch flickers on thy path,
Whilst, as from vial full, thy spare-naught wrath
Splashes this trembling race:
These are thy grass as thou their trenchant scythes
Cleaving their neck as 'twere a willow withe--
Their blood none can efface.

"But ends thy tether! for Janina makes
A grave for thee where every turret quakes,
And thou shalt drop below
To where the spirits, to a tree enchained,
Will clutch thee, there to be 'mid them retained
For all to-come in woe!

"Or if, by happy chance, thy soul might flee
Thy victims, after, thou shouldst surely see
And hear thy crimes relate;
Streaked with the guileless gore drained from their veins,
Greater in number than the reigns on reigns
Thou hopedst for thy state.

"This so will be! and neither fleet nor fort
Can stay or aid thee as the deathly port
Receives thy harried frame!
Though, like the cunning Hebrew knave of old,
To cheat the angel black, thou didst enfold
In altered guise thy name."

Ali deemed anchorite or saint a pawn--
The crater of his blunderbuss did yawn,
Sword, dagger hung at ease:
But he had let the holy man revile,
Though clouds o'erswept his brow; then, with a smile,
He tossed him his pelisse.


_("Allah! qui me rendra-")_

[XVL, May, 1828.]

Oh, Allah! who will give me back my terrible array?
My emirs and my cavalry that shook the earth to-day;
My tent, my wide-extending camp, all dazzling to the sight,
Whose watchfires, kindled numberless beneath the brow of night,
Seemed oft unto the sentinel that watched the midnight hours,
As heaven along the sombre hill had rained its stars in showers?
Where are my beys so gorgeous, in their light pelisses gay,
And where my fierce Timariot bands, so fearless in the fray;
My dauntless khans, my spahis brave, swift thunderbolts of war;
My sunburnt Bedouins, trooping from the Pyramids afar,
Who laughed to see the laboring hind stand terrified at gaze,
And urged their desert horses on amid the ripening maize?
These horses with their fiery eyes, their slight untiring feet,
That flew along the fields of corn like grasshoppers so fleet--
What! to behold again no more, loud charging o'er the plain,
Their squadrons, in the hostile shot diminished all in vain,
Burst grandly on the heavy squares, like clouds that bear the storms,
Enveloping in lightning fires the dark resisting swarms!
Oh! they are dead! their housings bright are trailed amid their gore;
Dark blood is on their manes and sides, all deeply clotted o'er;
All vainly now the spur would strike these cold and rounded flanks,
To wake them to their wonted speed amid the rapid ranks:
Here the bold riders red and stark upon the sands lie down,
Who in their friendly shadows slept throughout the halt at noon.
Oh, Allah! who will give me back my terrible array?
See where it straggles 'long the fields for leagues on leagues away,
Like riches from a spendthrift's hand flung prodigal to earth.
Lo! steed and rider;--Tartar chiefs or of Arabian birth,
Their turbans and their cruel course, their banners and their cries,
Seem now as if a troubled dream had passed before mine eyes--
My valiant warriors and their steeds, thus doomed to fall and bleed!
Their voices rouse no echo now, their footsteps have no speed;
They sleep, and have forgot at last the sabre and the bit--
Yon vale, with all the corpses heaped, seems one wide charnel-pit.
Long shall the evil omen rest upon this plain of dread--
To-night, the taint of solemn blood; to-morrow, of the dead.
Alas! 'tis but a shadow now, that noble armament!
How terribly they strove, and struck from morn to eve unspent,
Amid the fatal fiery ring, enamoured of the fight!
Now o'er the dim horizon sinks the peaceful pall of night:
The brave have nobly done their work, and calmly sleep at last.
The crows begin, and o'er the dead are gathering dark and fast;
Already through their feathers black they pass their eager beaks.
Forth from the forest's distant depth, from bald and barren peaks,
They congregate in hungry flocks and rend their gory prey.
Woe to that flaunting army's pride, so vaunting yesterday!
That formidable host, alas! is coldly nerveless now
To drive the vulture from his gorge, or scare the carrion crow.
Were now that host again mine own, with banner broad unfurled,
With it I would advance and win the empire of the world.
Monarchs to it should yield their realms and veil their haughty brows;
My sister it should ever be, my lady and my spouse.
Oh! what will unrestoring Death, that jealous tyrant lord,
Do with the brave departed souls that cannot swing a sword?
Why turned the balls aside from me? Why struck no hostile hand
My head within its turban green upon the ruddy sand?
I stood all potent yesterday; my bravest captains three,
All stirless in their tigered selle, magnificent to see,
Hailed as before my gilded tent rose flowing to the gales,
Shorn from the tameless desert steeds, three dark and tossing tails.
But yesterday a hundred drums were heard when I went by;
Full forty agas turned their looks respectful on mine eye,
And trembled with contracted brows within their hall of state.
Instead of heavy catapults, of slow unwieldy weight,
I had bright cannons rolling on oak wheels in threatening tiers,
And calm and steady by their sides marched English cannoniers.
But yesterday, and I had towns, and castles strong and high,
And Greeks in thousands, for the base and merciless to buy.
But yesterday, and arsenals and harems were my own;
While now, defeated and proscribed, deserted and alone,
I flee away, a fugitive, and of my former power,
Allah! I have not now at least one battlemented tower.
And must he fly--the grand vizier! the pasha of three tails!
O'er the horizon's bounding hills, where distant vision fails,
All stealthily, with eyes on earth, and shrinking from the sight,
As a nocturnal robber holds his dark and breathless flight,
And thinks he sees the gibbet spread its arms in solemn wrath,
In every tree that dimly throws its shadow on his path!

Thus, after his defeat, pale Reschid speaks.
Among the dead we mourned a thousand Greeks.
Lone from the field the Pasha fled afar,
And, musing, wiped his reeking scimitar;
His two dead steeds upon the sands were flung,
And on their sides their empty stirrups hung.

W.D., _Bentley's Miscellany_, 1839.


_("Les Turcs ont passes la.")_

[XVIII., June 10, 1828.]

All is a ruin where rage knew no bounds:
Chio is levelled, and loathed by the hounds,
For shivered yest'reen was her lance;
Sulphurous vapors envenom the place
Where her true beauties of Beauty's true race
Were lately linked close in the dance.

Dark is the desert, with one single soul;
Cerulean eyes! whence the burning tears roll
In anguish of uttermost shame,
Under the shadow of one shrub of May,
Splashed still with ruddy drops, bent in decay
Where fiercely the hand of Lust came.

"Soft and sweet urchin, still red with the lash
Of rein and of scabbard of wild Kuzzilbash,
What lack you for changing your sob--
If not unto laughter beseeming a child--
To utterance milder, though they have defiled
The graves which they shrank not to rob?

"Would'st thou a trinket, a flower, or scarf,
Would'st thou have silver? I'm ready with half
These sequins a-shine in the sun!
Still more have I money--if you'll but speak!"
He spoke: and furious the cry of the Greek,
"Oh, give me your dagger and gun!"


_("Sara, belle d'indolence.")_

[XIX., August, 1828.]

In a swinging hammock lying,
Lightly flying,
Zara, lovely indolent,
O'er a fountain's crystal wave
There to lave
Her young beauty--see her bent.

As she leans, so sweet and soft,
Flitting oft,
O'er the mirror to and fro,
Seems that airy floating bat,
Like a feather
From some sea-gull's wing of snow.

Every time the frail boat laden
With the maiden
Skims the water in its flight,
Starting from its trembling sheen,
Swift are seen
A white foot and neck so white.

As that lithe foot's timid tips
Quick she dips,
Passing, in the rippling pool,
(Blush, oh! snowiest ivory!)
Frolic, she
Laughs to feel the pleasant cool.

Here displayed, but half concealed--
Half revealed,
Each bright charm shall you behold,
In her innocence emerging,
As a-verging
On the wave her hands grow cold.

For no star howe'er divine
Has the shine
Of a maid's pure loveliness,
Frightened if a leaf but quivers
As she shivers,
Veiled with naught but dripping trees.

By the happy breezes fanned
See her stand,--
Blushing like a living rose,
On her bosom swelling high
If a fly
Dare to seek a sweet repose.

In those eyes which maiden pride
Fain would hide,
Mark how passion's lightnings sleep!
And their glance is brighter far
Than the star
Brightest in heaven's bluest deep.

O'er her limbs the glittering current
In soft torrent
Rains adown the gentle girl,
As if, drop by drop, should fall,
One and all
From her necklace every pearl.

Lengthening still the reckless pleasure
At her leisure,
Care-free Zara ever slow
As the hammock floats and swings
Smiles and sings,
To herself, so sweet and low.

"Oh, were I a capitana,
Or sultana,
Amber should be always mixt
In my bath of jewelled stone,
Near my throne,
Griffins twain of gold betwixt.

"Then my hammock should be silk,
White as milk;
And, more soft than down of dove,
Velvet cushions where I sit
Should emit
Perfumes that inspire love.

"Then should I, no danger near,
Free from fear,
Revel in my garden's stream;
Nor amid the shadows deep
Dread the peep,
Of two dark eyes' kindling gleam.

"He who thus would play the spy,
On the die
For such sight his head must throw;
In his blood the sabre naked
Would be slaked,
Of my slaves of ebon brow.

"Then my rich robes trailing show
As I go,
None to chide should be so bold;
And upon my sandals fine
How should shine
Rubies worked in cloth-of-gold!"

Fancying herself a queen,
All unseen,
Thus vibrating in delight;
In her indolent coquetting
Quite forgetting
How the hours wing their flight.

As she lists the showery tinkling
Of the sprinkling
By her wanton curvets made;
Never pauses she to think
Of the brink
Where her wrapper white is laid.

To the harvest-fields the while,
In long file,
Speed her sisters' lively band,
Like a flock of birds in flight
Streaming light,
Dancing onward hand in hand.

And they're singing, every one,
As they run
This the burden of their lay:
"Fie upon such idleness!
Not to dress
Earlier on harvest-day!"



_("Moune, ecureuil.")_


Squirrel, mount yon oak so high,
To its twig that next the sky
Bends and trembles as a flower!
Strain, O stork, thy pinion well,--
From thy nest 'neath old church-bell,
Mount to yon tall citadel,
And its tallest donjon tower!
To your mountain, eagle old,
Mount, whose brow so white and cold,
Kisses the last ray of even!
And, O thou that lov'st to mark
Morn's first sunbeam pierce the dark,
Mount, O mount, thou joyous lark--
Joyous lark, O mount to heaven!
And now say, from topmost bough,
Towering shaft, and peak of snow,
And heaven's arch--O, can you see
One white plume that like a star,
Streams along the plain afar,
And a steed that from the war
Bears my lover back to me?



_("Si j'etais la feuille.")_

[XXII., September, 1828.]

Oh! were I the leaf that the wind of the West,
His course through the forest uncaring;
To sleep on the gale or the wave's placid breast
In a pendulous cradle is bearing.

All fresh with the morn's balmy kiss would I haste,
As the dewdrops upon me were glancing;
When Aurora sets out on the roseate waste,
And round her the breezes are dancing.

On the pinions of air I would fly, I would rush
Thro' the glens and the valleys to quiver;
Past the mountain ravine, past the grove's dreamy hush,
And the murmuring fall of the river.

By the darkening hollow and bramble-bush lane,
To catch the sweet breath of the roses;
Past the land would I speed, where the sand-driven plain
'Neath the heat of the noonday reposes.

Past the rocks that uprear their tall forms to the sky,
Whence the storm-fiend his anger is pouring;
Past lakes that lie dead, tho' the tempest roll nigh,
And the turbulent whirlwind be roaring.

On, on would I fly, till a charm stopped my way,
A charm that would lead to the bower;
Where the daughter of Araby sings to the day,
At the dawn and the vesper hour.

Then hovering down on her brow would I light,
'Midst her golden tresses entwining;
That gleam like the corn when the fields are bright,
And the sunbeams upon it shining.

A single frail gem on her beautiful head,
I should sit in the golden glory;
And prouder I'd be than the diadem spread
Round the brow of kings famous in story.

V., _Eton Observer_.


_("La flamme par ton ordre, O roi!")_

[XXIII., November, 1825.]

Thy will, O King, is done! Lighting but to consume,
The roar of the fierce flames drowned even the shouts and shrieks;
Reddening each roof, like some day-dawn of bloody doom,
Seemed they in joyous flight to dance about their wrecks.

Slaughter his thousand giant arms hath tossed on high,
Fell fathers, husbands, wives, beneath his streaming steel;
Prostrate, the palaces, huge tombs of fire, lie,
While gathering overhead the vultures scream and wheel!

Died the pale mothers, and the virgins, from their arms,
O Caliph, fiercely torn, bewailed their young years' blight;
With stabs and kisses fouled, all their yet quivering charms,
At our fleet coursers' heels were dragged in mocking flight.

Lo! where the city lies mantled in pall of death;
Lo! where thy mighty hand hath passed, all things must bend!
Priests prayed, the sword estopped blaspheming breath,
Vainly their cheating book for shield did they extend.

Some infants yet survived, and the unsated steel
Still drinks the life-blood of each whelp of Christian-kind,
To kiss thy sandall'd foot, O King, thy people kneel,
And golden circlets to thy victor-ankle bind.



_("Entre deux rocs d'un noir d'ebene.")_

[XXVII., November, 1828.]

Between two ebon rocks
Behold yon sombre den,
Where brambles bristle like the locks
Of wool between the horns of scapegoat banned by men!

Remote in ruddy fog
Still hear the tiger growl
At the lion and striped dog
That prowl with rusty throats to taunt and roar and howl;

Whilst other monsters fast
The hissing basilisk;
The hippopotamus so vast,
And the boa with waking appetite made brisk!

The orfrey showing tongue,
The fly in stinging mood,
The elephant that crushes strong
And elastic bamboos an the scorpion's brood;

And the men of the trees
With their families fierce,
Till there is not one scorching breeze
But brings here its venom--its horror to pierce--

Yet, rather there be lone,
'Mid all those horrors there,
Than hear the sickly honeyed tone
And see the swimming eyes of Noormahal the Fair!

[Footnote 1: Noormahal (Arabic) the light of the house; some of the
Orientals deem fair hair and complexion a beauty.]


_("Murs, ville et port.")_

[XXVIII., Aug. 28, 1828.]

Town, tower,
Shore, deep,
Where lower
Cliff's steep;
Waves gray,
Where play
Winds gay,
All sleep.

Hark! a sound,
Far and slight,
Breathes around
On the night
High and higher,
Nigh and nigher,
Like a fire,
Roaring, bright.

Now, on 'tis sweeping
With rattling beat,
Like dwarf imp leaping
In gallop fleet
He flies, he prances,
In frolic fancies,
On wave-crest dances
With pattering feet.

Hark, the rising swell,
With each new burst!
Like the tolling bell
Of a convent curst;
Like the billowy roar
On a storm-lashed shore,--
Now hushed, but once more
Maddening to its worst.

O God! the deadly sound
Of the Djinn's fearful cry!
Quick, 'neath the spiral round
Of the deep staircase fly!
See, see our lamplight fade!
And of the balustrade
Mounts, mounts the circling shade
Up to the ceiling high!

'Tis the Djinns' wild streaming swarm
Whistling in their tempest flight;
Snap the tall yews 'neath the storm,
Like a pine flame crackling bright.
Swift though heavy, lo! their crowd
Through the heavens rushing loud
Like a livid thunder-cloud
With its bolt of fiery might!

Ho! they are on us, close without!
Shut tight the shelter where we lie!
With hideous din the monster rout,
Dragon and vampire, fill the sky!
The loosened rafter overhead
Trembles and bends like quivering reed;
Shakes the old door with shuddering dread,
As from its rusty hinge 'twould fly!
Wild cries of hell! voices that howl and shriek!
The horrid troop before the tempest tossed--
O Heaven!--descends my lowly roof to seek:

Bends the strong wall beneath the furious host.
Totters the house as though, like dry leaf shorn
From autumn bough and on the mad blast borne,
Up from its deep foundations it were torn
To join the stormy whirl. Ah! all is lost!

O Prophet! if thy hand but now
Save from these hellish things,
A pilgrim at thy shrine I'll bow,
Laden with pious offerings.
Bid their hot breath its fiery rain
Stream on the faithful's door in vain;
Vainly upon my blackened pane
Grate the fierce claws of their dark wings!

They have passed!--and their wild legion
Cease to thunder at my door;
Fleeting through night's rayless region,
Hither they return no more.
Clanking chains and sounds of woe
Fill the forests as they go;
And the tall oaks cower low,
Bent their flaming light before.

On! on! the storm of wings
Bears far the fiery fear,
Till scarce the breeze now brings
Dim murmurings to the ear;
Like locusts' humming hail,
Or thrash of tiny flail
Plied by the fitful gale
On some old roof-tree sere.

Fainter now are borne
Feeble mutterings still;
As when Arab horn
Swells its magic peal,
Shoreward o'er the deep
Fairy voices sweep,
And the infant's sleep
Golden visions fill.

Each deadly Djinn,
Dark child of fright,
Of death and sin,
Speeds in wild flight.
Hark, the dull moan,
Like the deep tone
Of Ocean's groan,
Afar, by night!

More and more
Fades it slow,
As on shore
Ripples flow,--
As the plaint
Far and faint
Of a saint
Murmured low.

Hark! hist!
I list!
The bounds
Of space
All trace
Of sound.



_("A Juana la Grenadine!")_

[XXIX., October, 1843.]

To Juana ever gay,
Sultan Achmet spoke one day
"Lo, the realms that kneel to own
Homage to my sword and crown
All I'd freely cast away,
Maiden dear, for thee alone."

"Be a Christian, noble king!
For it were a grievous thing:
Love to seek and find too well
In the arms of infidel.
Spain with cry of shame would ring,
If from honor faithful fell."

"By these pearls whose spotless chain,
Oh, my gentle sovereign,
Clasps thy neck of ivory,
Aught thou askest I will be,
If that necklace pure of stain
Thou wilt give for rosary."




_("Don Roderique est a la chasse.")_

[XXX., May, 1828.]

Unto the chase Rodrigo's gone,
With neither lance nor buckler;
A baleful light his eyes outshone--
To pity he's no truckler.

He follows not the royal stag,
But, full of fiery hating,
Beside the way one sees him lag,
Impatient at the waiting.

He longs his nephew's blood to spill,
Who 'scaped (the young Mudarra)
That trap he made and laid to kill
The seven sons of Lara.

Along the road--at last, no balk--
A youth looms on a jennet;
He rises like a sparrow-hawk
About to seize a linnet.

"What ho!" "Who calls?" "Art Christian knight,
Or basely born and boorish,
Or yet that thing I still more slight--
The spawn of some dog Moorish?

"I seek the by-born spawn of one
I e'er renounce as brother--
Who chose to make his latest son
Caress a Moor as mother.

"I've sought that cub in every hole,
'Midland, and coast, and islet,
For he's the thief who came and stole
Our sheathless jewelled stilet."

"If you well know the poniard worn
Without edge-dulling cover--
Look on it now--here, plain, upborne!
And further be no rover.

"Tis I--as sure as you're abhorred
Rodrigo--cruel slayer,
'Tis I am Vengeance, and your lord,
Who bids you crouch in prayer!

"I shall not grant the least delay--
Use what you have, defending,
I'll send you on that darksome way
Your victims late were wending.

"And if I wore this, with its crest--
Our seal with gems enwreathing--
In open air--'twas in your breast
To seek its fated sheathing!"


_("Tandis que l'etoile inodore.")_


While bright but scentless azure stars
Be-gem the golden corn,
And spangle with their skyey tint
The furrows not yet shorn;
While still the pure white tufts of May
Ape each a snowy ball,--
Away, ye merry maids, and haste
To gather ere they fall!

Nowhere the sun of Spain outshines
Upon a fairer town
Than Penafiel, or endows
More richly farming clown;
Nowhere a broader square reflects
Such brilliant mansions, tall,--
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

Nowhere a statelier abbey rears
Dome huger o'er a shrine,
Though seek ye from old Rome itself
To even Seville fine.
Here countless pilgrims come to pray
And promenade the Mall,--
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

Where glide the girls more joyfully
Than ours who dance at dusk,
With roses white upon their brows,
With waists that scorn the busk?
Mantillas elsewhere hide dull eyes--
Compared with these, how small!
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

A blossom in a city lane,
Alizia was our pride,
And oft the blundering bee, deceived,
Came buzzing to her side--
But, oh! for one that felt the sting,
And found, 'neath honey, gall--
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

Young, haughty, from still hotter lands,
A stranger hither came--
Was he a Moor or African,
Or Murcian known to fame?
None knew--least, she--or false or true,
The name by which to call.
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

Alizia asked not his degree,
She saw him but as Love,
And through Xarama's vale they strayed,
And tarried in the grove,--
Oh! curses on that fatal eve,
And on that leafy hall!
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

The darkened city breathed no more;
The moon was mantled long,
Till towers thrust the cloudy cloak
Upon the steeples' throng;
The crossway Christ, in ivy draped,
Shrank, grieving, 'neath the pall,--
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

But while, alone, they kept the shade,
The other dark-eyed dears
Were murmuring on the stifling air
Their jealous threats and fears;
Alizia was so blamed, that time,
Unheeded rang the call:
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

Although, above, the hawk describes
The circle round the lark,
It sleeps, unconscious, and our lass
Had eyes but for her spark--
A spark?--a sun! 'Twas Juan, King!
Who wears our coronal,--
Away, ye merry maids, etc.

A love so far above one's state
Ends sadly. Came a black
And guarded palanquin to bear
The girl that ne'er comes back;
By royal writ, some nunnery
Still shields her from us all
Away, ye merry maids, and haste
To gather ere they fall!



_("Ainsi, lorsqu'un mortel!")_

[XXXIV., May, 1828.]

As when a mortal--Genius' prize, alack!
Is, living, bound upon thy fatal back,
Thou reinless racing steed!
In vain he writhes, mere cloud upon a star,
Thou bearest him as went Mazeppa, far
Out of the flow'ry mead,--
So--though thou speed'st implacable, (like him,
Spent, pallid, torn, bruised, weary, sore and dim,
As if each stride the nearer bring
Him to the grave)--when comes _the time_,
After the fall, he rises--KING!



_("Quoi! ne pouvez-vous vivre ensemble?")_

[XXXV., June, 1828.]

The River Deity upbraids his Daughters, the contributary Streams:--

Ye daughters mine! will naught abate
Your fierce interminable hate?
Still am I doomed to rue the fate
That such unfriendly neighbors made?
The while ye might, in peaceful cheer,
Mirror upon your waters clear,
Semlin! thy Gothic steeples dear,
And thy bright minarets, Belgrade!

_Fraser's Magazine_


_("J'etais seul pres des flots.")_

[XXXVII., September 5, 1828.]

I stood by the waves, while the stars soared in sight,
Not a cloud specked the sky, not a sail shimmered bright;
Scenes beyond this dim world were revealed to mine eye;
And the woods, and the hills, and all nature around,
Seem'd to question with moody, mysterious sound,
The waves, and the pure stars on high.
And the clear constellations, that infinite throng,
While thousand rich harmonies swelled in their song,
Replying, bowed meekly their diamond-blaze--
And the blue waves, which nothing may bind or arrest,
Chorus'd forth, as they stooped the white foam of their crest
"Creator! we bless thee and praise!"



_("Toujours lui! lui partout!")_

[XL., December, 1828.]

Above all others, everywhere I see
His image cold or burning!
My brain it thrills, and oftentime sets free
The thoughts within me yearning.
My quivering lips pour forth the words
That cluster in his name of glory--
The star gigantic with its rays of swords
Whose gleams irradiate all modern story.

I see his finger pointing where the shell
Should fall to slay most rabble,
And save foul regicides; or strike the knell
Of weaklings 'mid the tribunes' babble.
A Consul then, o'er young but proud,
With midnight poring thinned, and sallow,
But dreams of Empire pierce the transient cloud,
And round pale face and lank locks form the halo.

And soon the Caesar, with an eye a-flame
Whole nations' contact urging
To gain his soldiers gold and fame
Oh, Sun on high emerging,
Whose dazzling lustre fired the hells
Embosomed in grim bronze, which, free, arose
To change five hundred thousand base-born Tells,
Into his host of half-a-million heroes!

What! next a captive? Yea, and caged apart.
No weight of arms enfolded
Can crush the turmoil in that seething heart
Which Nature--not her journeymen--self-moulded.
Let sordid jailers vex their prize;
But only bends that brow to lightning,
As gazing from the seaward rock, his sighs
Cleave through the storm and haste where France looms bright'ning.

Alone, but greater! Broke the sceptre, true!
Yet lingers still some power--
In tears of woe man's metal may renew
The temper of high hour;
For, bating breath, e'er list the kings
The pinions clipped may grow! the Eagle
May burst, in frantic thirst for home, the rings
And rend the Bulldog, Fox, and Bear, and Beagle!

And, lastly, grandest! 'tween dark sea and here
Eternal brightness coming!
The eye so weary's freshened with a tear
As rises distant drumming,
And wailing cheer--they pass the pale
His army mourns though still's the end hid;
And from his war-stained cloak, he answers "Hail!"
And spurns the bed of gloom for throne aye-splendid!




_("Il s'est dit tant de fois.")_

[III., May, 1830.]

How often have the people said: "What's power?"
Who reigns soon is dethroned? each fleeting hour
Has onward borne, as in a fevered dream,
Such quick reverses, like a judge supreme--
Austere but just, they contemplate the end
To which the current of events must tend.
Self-confidence has taught them to forbear,
And in the vastness of their strength, they spare.
Armed with impunity, for _one in vain_
Resists a _nation_, they let others reign.



_("Souvent quand mon esprit riche.")_

[VII., May 18, 1828.]

When my mind, on the ocean of poesy hurled,
Floats on in repose round this wonderful world,
Oft the sacred fire from heaven--
Mysterious sun, that gives light to the soul--
Strikes mine with its ray, and above the pole
Its upward course is driven,

Like a wandering cloud, then, my eager thought
Capriciously flies, to no guidance brought,
With every quarter's wind;
It regards from those radiant vaults on high,
Earth's cities below, and again doth fly,
And leaves but its shadow behind.

In the glistening gold of the morning bright,
It shines, detaching some lance of light,
Or, as warrior's armor rings;
It forages forests that ferment around,
Or bathed in the sun-red gleams is found,
Where the west its radiance flings.

Or, on mountain peak, that rears its head
Where snow-clad Alps around are spread,
By furious gale 'tis thrown.
From the yawning abyss see the cloud scud away,
And the glacier appears, with its multiform ray,
The giant mountain's crown!

Like Parnassian pinnacle yet to be scaled,
In its form from afar, by the aspirant hailed;
On its side the rainbow plays,
And at eve, when the shadow sinks sleeping below,
The last slanting ray on its crest of snow
Makes its cap like a crater to blaze.

In the darkness, its front seems some pale orb of light,
The chamois with fear flashes on in its flight,
The eagle afar is driven;
The deluge but roars in despair to its feet,
And scarce dare the eye its aspect to meet,
So near doth it rise to heaven.

Alone on these altitudes, feeling no fear,
Forgetful of earth, my spirit draws near;
On the starry vault to gaze,
And nearer, to gaze on those glories of night,
On th' horizon high heaving, like arches of light,
Till again the sun shall blaze.

For then will the glacier with glory be graced,
On its prisms will light streaked with darkness be placed,
The morn its echoes greet;
Like a torrent it falls on the ocean of life,
Like Chaos unformed, with the sea-stormy strife,
When waters on waters meet.

As the spirit of poesy touches my thought,
It is thus my ideas in a circle are brought,
From earth, with the waters of pain.
As under a sunbeam a cloud ascends,
These fly to the heavens--their course never ends,
But descend to the ocean again.

_Author of "Critical Essays."_


_("Moi, quelque soit le monde.")_

[XV., May 11, 1830.]

For me, whate'er my life and lot may show,
Years blank with gloom or cheered by mem'ry's glow,
Turmoil or peace; never be it mine, I pray,
To be a dweller of the peopled earth,
Save 'neath a roof alive with children's mirth
Loud through the livelong day.

So, if my hap it be to see once more
Those scenes my footsteps tottered in before,
An infant follower in Napoleon's train:
Rodrigo's holds, Valencia and Leon,
And both Castiles, and mated Aragon;
Ne'er be it mine, O Spain!

To pass thy plains with cities scant between,
Thy stately arches flung o'er deep ravine,
Thy palaces, of Moor's or Roman's time;
Or the swift makings of thy Guadalquiver,
Save in those gilded cars, where bells forever
Ring their melodious chime.

_Fraser's Magazine_


_("Lorsque l'enfant parait.")_

[XIX., May 11, 1830.]

The child comes toddling in, and young and old
With smiling eyes its smiling eyes behold,
And artless, babyish joy;
A playful welcome greets it through the room,
The saddest brow unfolds its wrinkled gloom,
To greet the happy boy.

If June with flowers has spangled all the ground,
Or winter bleak the flickering hearth around
Draws close the circling seat;
The child still sheds a never-failing light;
We call; Mamma with mingled joy and fright
Watches its tottering feet.

Perhaps at eve as round the fire we draw,
We speak of heaven, or poetry, or law,
Or politics, or prayer;
The child comes in, 'tis now all smiles and play,
Farewell to grave discourse and poet's lay,
Philosophy and care.

When fancy wakes, but sense in heaviest sleep
Lies steeped, and like the sobs of them that weep
The dark stream sinks and swells,
The dawn, like Pharos gleaming o'er the sea,
Bursts forth, and sudden wakes the minstrelsy
Of birds and chiming bells;

Thou art my dawn; my soul is as the field,
Where sweetest flowers their balmy perfumes yield
When breathed upon by thee,
Of forest, where thy voice like zephyr plays,
And morn pours out its flood of golden rays,
When thy sweet smile I see.

Oh, sweetest eyes, like founts of liquid blue;
And little hands that evil never knew,
Pure as the new-formed snow;
Thy feet are still unstained by this world's mire,
Thy golden locks like aureole of fire
Circle thy cherub brow!

Dove of our ark, thine angel spirit flies
On azure wings forth from thy beaming eyes.
Though weak thine infant feet,
What strange amaze this new and strange world gives
To thy sweet virgin soul, that spotless lives
In virgin body sweet.

Oh, gentle face, radiant with happy smile,
And eager prattling tongue that knows no guile,
Quick changing tears and bliss;
Thy soul expands to catch this new world's light,
Thy mazed eyes to drink each wondrous sight,
Thy lips to taste the kiss.

Oh, God! bless me and mine, and these I love,
And e'en my foes that still triumphant prove
Victors by force or guile;
A flowerless summer may we never see,
Or nest of bird bereft, or hive of bee,
Or home of infant's smile.



_("Dans l'alcove sombre.")_

[XX., November, 1831.]

In the dusky nook,
Near the altar laid,
Sleeps the child in shadow
Of his mother's bed:
Softly he reposes,
And his lid of roses,
Closed to earth, uncloses
On the heaven o'erhead.

Many a dream is with him,
Fresh from fairyland,
Spangled o'er with diamonds
Seems the ocean sand;
Suns are flaming there,
Troops of ladies fair
Souls of infants bear
In each charming hand.

Oh, enchanting vision!
Lo, a rill upsprings,
And from out its bosom
Comes a voice that sings
Lovelier there appear
Sire and sisters dear,
While his mother near
Plumes her new-born wings.

But a brighter vision
Yet his eyes behold;
Roses pied and lilies
Every path enfold;
Lakes delicious sleeping,
Silver fishes leaping,
Through the wavelets creeping
Up to reeds of gold.

Slumber on, sweet infant,
Slumber peacefully
Thy young soul yet knows not
What thy lot may be.
Like dead weeds that sweep
O'er the dol'rous deep,
Thou art borne in sleep.
What is all to thee?

Thou canst slumber by the way;
Thou hast learnt to borrow
Naught from study, naught from care;
The cold hand of sorrow
On thy brow unwrinkled yet,
Where young truth and candor sit,
Ne'er with rugged nail hath writ
That sad word, "To-morrow!"

Innocent! thou sleepest--
See the angelic band,
Who foreknow the trials
That for man are planned;
Seeing him unarmed,
Unfearing, unalarmed,
With their tears have warmed
This unconscious hand.

Still they, hovering o'er him,
Kiss him where he lies,
Hark, he sees them weeping,
"Gabriel!" he cries;
"Hush!" the angel says,
On his lip he lays
One finger, one displays
His native skies.

_Foreign Quarterly Review_


_("Le soleil s'est couche")_

[XXXV. vi., April, 1829.]

The sun set this evening in masses of cloud,
The storm comes to-morrow, then calm be the night,
Then the Dawn in her chariot refulgent and proud,
Then more nights, and still days, steps of Time in his flight.
The days shall pass rapid as swifts on the wing.
O'er the face of the hills, o'er the face of the seas,
O'er streamlets of silver, and forests that ring
With a dirge for the dead, chanted low by the breeze;
The face of the waters, the brow of the mounts
Deep scarred but not shrivelled, and woods tufted green,
Their youth shall renew; and the rocks to the founts
Shall yield what these yielded to ocean their queen.
But day by day bending still lower my head,
Still chilled in the sunlight, soon I shall have cast,
At height of the banquet, my lot with the dead,
Unmissed by creation aye joyous and vast.



_("Ma fille, va prier!")_

[XXXVII., June, 1830.]


Come, child, to prayer; the busy day is done,
A golden star gleams through the dusk of night;
The hills are trembling in the rising mist,
The rumbling wain looms dim upon the sight;
All things wend home to rest; the roadside trees
Shake off their dust, stirred by the evening breeze.

The sparkling stars gush forth in sudden blaze,
As twilight open flings the doors of night;
The fringe of carmine narrows in the west,
The rippling waves are tipped with silver light;
The bush, the path--all blend in one dull gray;
The doubtful traveller gropes his anxious way.

Oh, day! with toil, with wrong, with hatred rife;
Oh, blessed night! with sober calmness sweet,
The sad winds moaning through the ruined tower,
The age-worn hind, the sheep's sad broken bleat--
All nature groans opprest with toil and care,
And wearied craves for rest, and love, and prayer.

At eve the babes with angels converse hold,
While we to our strange pleasures wend our way,
Each with its little face upraised to heaven,
With folded hands, barefoot kneels down to pray,
At selfsame hour with selfsame words they call
On God, the common Father of them all.

And then they sleep, and golden dreams anon,
Born as the busy day's last murmurs die,
In swarms tumultuous flitting through the gloom
Their breathing lips and golden locks descry.
And as the bees o'er bright flowers joyous roam,
Around their curtained cradles clustering come.

Oh, prayer of childhood! simple, innocent;
Oh, infant slumbers! peaceful, pure, and light;
Oh, happy worship! ever gay with smiles,
Meet prelude to the harmonies of night;
As birds beneath the wing enfold their head,
Nestled in prayer the infant seeks its bed.



To prayer, my child! and O, be thy first prayer
For her who, many nights, with anxious care,
Rocked thy first cradle; who took thy infant soul
From heaven and gave it to the world; then rife
With love, still drank herself the gall of life,
And left for thy young lips the honeyed bowl.

And then--I need it more--then pray for me!
For she is gentle, artless, true like thee;--
She has a guileless heart, brow placid still;
Pity she has for all, envy for none;
Gentle and wise, she patiently lives on;
And she endures, nor knows who does the ill.

In culling flowers, her novice hand has ne'er
Touched e'en the outer rind of vice; no snare
With smiling show has lured her steps aside:
On her the past has left no staining mark;
Nor knows she aught of those bad thoughts which, dark
Like shade on waters, o'er the spirit glide.

She knows not--nor mayest thou--the miseries
In which our spirits mingle: vanities,
Remorse, soul-gnawing cares, Pleasure's false show:
Passions which float upon the heart like foam,
Bitter remembrances which o'er us come,
And Shame's red spot spread sudden o'er the brow.

I know life better! when thou'rt older grown
I'll tell thee--it is needful to be known--
Of the pursuit of wealth--art, power; the cost.
That it is folly, nothingness: that shame
For glory is oft thrown us in the game
Of Fortune; chances where the soul is lost.

The soul will change. Although of everything
The cause and end be clear, yet wildering
We roam through life (of vice and error full).
We wander as we go; we feel the load
Of doubt; and to the briars upon the road
Man leaves his virtue, as the sheep its wool.

Then go, go pray for me! And as the prayer
Gushes in words, be this the form they bear:--
"Lord, Lord, our Father! God, my prayer attend;
Pardon! Thou art good! Pardon--Thou art great!"
Let them go freely forth, fear not their fate!
Where thy soul sends them, thitherward they tend.

There's nothing here below which does not find
Its tendency. O'er plains the rivers wind,
And reach the sea; the bee, by instinct driven,
Finds out the honeyed flowers; the eagle flies
To seek the sun; the vulture where death lies;
The swallow to the spring; the prayer to Heaven!

And when thy voice is raised to God for me,
I'm like the slave whom in the vale we see
Seated to rest, his heavy load laid by;
I feel refreshed--the load of faults and woe
Which, groaning, I drag with me as I go,
Thy winged prayer bears off rejoicingly!

Pray for thy father! that his dreams be bright
With visitings of angel forms of light,
And his soul burn as incense flaming wide,
Let thy pure breath all his dark sins efface,
So that his heart be like that holy place,
An altar pavement each eve purified!

C., _Tait's Magazine_



_("De quel non te nommer?")_

[PRELUDE, a, Oct. 20, 1835.]

How shall I note thee, line of troubled years,
Which mark existence in our little span?
One constant twilight in the heaven appears--

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