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The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore by Thomas Moore et al

Part 15 out of 33

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They both were husht, the voice, the chords,--
I heard but once that witching lay;
And few the notes, and few the words.
My spell-bound memory brought away;

Traces, remembered here and there,
Like echoes of some broken strain;--
Links of a sweetness lost in air,
That nothing now could join again.

Even these, too, ere the morning, fled;
And, tho' the charm still lingered on,
That o'er each sense her song had shed,
The song itself was faded, gone;--

Gone, like the thoughts that once were ours,
On summer days, ere youth had set;
Thoughts bright, we know, as summer flowers,
Tho' _what_ they were we now forget.

In vain with hints from other strains
I wooed this truant air to come--
As birds are taught on eastern plains
To lure their wilder kindred home.

In vain:--the song that Sappho gave,
In dying, to the mournful sea,
Not muter slept beneath the wave
Than this within my memory.

At length, one morning, as I lay
In that half-waking mood when dreams
Unwillingly at last gave way
To the full truth of daylight's beams,

A face--the very face, methought,
From which had breathed, as from a shrine
Of song and soul, the notes I sought--
Came with its music close to mine;

And sung the long-lost measure o'er,--
Each note and word, with every tone
And look, that lent it life before,--
All perfect, all again my own!

Like parted souls, when, mid the Blest
They meet again, each widowed sound
Thro' memory's realm had winged in quest
Of its sweet mate, till all were found.

Nor even in waking did the clew,
Thus strangely caught, escape again;
For never lark its matins knew
So well as now I knew this strain.

And oft when memory's wondrous spell
Is talked of in our tranquil bower,
I sing this lady's song, and tell
The vision of that morning hour.

[1] In these stanzas I have done little more than relate a fact in verse;
and the lady, whose singing gave rise to this curious instance of the
power of memory in sleep, is Mrs. Robert Arkwright.


Where is the heart that would not give
Years of drowsy days and nights,
One little hour, like this, to live--
Full, to the brim, of life's delights?
Look, look around,
This fairy ground,
With love-lights glittering o'er;
While cups that shine
With freight divine
Go coasting round its shore.

Hope is the dupe of future hours,
Memory lives in those gone by;
Neither can see the moment's flowers
Springing up fresh beneath the eye,
Wouldst thou, or thou,
Forego what's _now_,
For all that Hope may say?
No--Joy's reply,
From every eye,
Is, "Live we while we may,"


_haud curat Hippoclides_.
ERASM. _Adag_.

To those we love we've drank tonight;
But now attend and stare not,
While I the ampler list recite
Of those for whom WE CARE NOT.

For royal men, howe'er they frown,
If on their fronts they bear not
That noblest gem that decks a crown,
The People's Love--WE CARE NOT.

For slavish men who bend beneath
A despot yoke, yet dare not
Pronounce the will whose very breath
Would rend its links--WE CARE NOT.

For priestly men who covet sway
And wealth, tho' they declare not;
Who point, like finger-posts, the way
They never go--WE CARE NOT.

For martial men who on their sword,
Howe'er it conquers, wear not
The pledges of a soldier's word,
Redeemed and pure--WE CARE NOT.

For legal men who plead for wrong.
And, tho' to lies they swear not,
Are hardly better than the throng
Of those who do--WE CARE NOT.

For courtly men who feed upon
The land, like grubs, and spare not
The smallest leaf where they can sun
Their crawling limbs--WE CARE NOT.

For wealthy men who keep their mines
In darkness hid, and share not
The paltry ore with him who pines
In honest want--WE CARE NOT.

For prudent men who hold the power
Of Love aloof, and bare not
Their hearts in any guardless hour
To Beauty's shaft--WE CARE NOT.

For all, in short, on land or sea,
In camp or court, who _are_ not,
Who never _were_, or e'er _will_ be
Good men and true--WE CARE NOT.



"_Histoire d'Anne Boleyn."_

_"S'elle estoit belle et de taille elegante,
Estoit des yeulx encor plus attirante,
Lesquelz scavoit bien conduyre a propos
En les lenant quelquefoys en repos;
Aucune foys envoyant en message
Porter du cueur le secret tesmoignage_."

Much as her form seduced the sight,
Her eyes could even more surely woo;
And when and how to shoot their light
Into men's hearts full well she knew.
For sometimes in repose she hid
Their rays beneath a downcast lid;
And then again, with wakening air,
Would send their sunny glances out,
Like heralds of delight, to bear
Her heart's sweet messages about.



_Nell ora, credo, che dell'oriente
Prima raggio nel monte Citerea,
Che di fuoco d'amor par sempre dente,
Giovane e bella in sogno mi parea
Donna vedere andar per una landa
Cogliendo flori; e cantando dicea ;--
Sappia qualunque'l mio nome dimanda,
Ch'io mi son Lia, e vo movendo 'ntorno
Le belle mani a farmi una ghirlanda--
Per piacermi allo specchio qui m'adorno;
Ma mia suora Rachel mai non si smaga
Dal suo ammiraglio, e siede tutto il giorno_.

_Ell' e de'suoi begli occhi veder vaga,
Com' io dell'adornarmi con le mani;
Lei lo vodere e me l'ovrare appaga_.

DANTE, _Purg. Canto xxvii_.

'Twas eve's soft hour, and bright, above.
The star of beauty beamed,
While lulled by light so full of love,
In slumber thus I dreamed--
Methought, at that sweet hour,
A nymph came o'er the lea,
Who, gathering many a flower,
Thus said and sung to me:--
"Should any ask what Leila loves,
"Say thou, To wreathe her hair
"With flowerets culled from glens and groves,
"Is Leila's only care.

"While thus in quest of flowers rare,
"O'er hill and dale I roam,
"My sister, Rachel, far more fair,
"Sits lone and mute at home.
"Before her glass untiring,
"With thoughts that never stray,
"Her own bright eyes admiring,
"She sits the live-long day;
"While I!--oh, seldom even a look
"Of self salutes my eye;
"My only glass, the limpid brook,
"That shines and passes by."



The dance was o'er, yet still in dreams
That fairy scene went on;
Like clouds still flusht with daylight gleams
Tho' day itself is gone.
And gracefully to music's sound,
The same bright nymphs were gliding round;
While thou, the Queen of all, wert there--
The Fairest still, where all were fair.
The dream then changed--in halls of state,
I saw thee high enthroned;
While, ranged around, the wise, the great,
In thee their mistress owned;
And still the same, thy gentle sway
O'er willing subjects won its way--
Till all confest the Right Divine
To rule o'er man was only thine!

But, lo, the scene now changed again--
And borne on plumed steed,
I saw thee o'er the battle-plain
Our land's defenders lead:
And stronger in thy beauty's charms,
Than man, with countless hosts in arms,
Thy voice, like music, cheered the Free,
Thy very smile was victory!

Nor reign such queens on thrones alone--
In cot and court the same,
Wherever woman's smile is known,
Victoria's still her name.
For tho' she almost blush to reign,
Tho' Love's own flowerets wreath the chain,
Disguise our bondage as we will,
'Tis woman, woman, rules us still.



Come, play me that simple air again,
I used so to love, in life's young day,
And bring, if thou canst, the dreams that then
Were wakened by that sweet lay
The tender gloom its strain
Shed o'er the heart and brow
Grief's shadow without its pain--
Say where, where is it now?
But play me the well-known air once more,
For thoughts of youth still haunt its strain
Like dreams of some far, fairy shore
We never shall see again.

Sweet air, how every note brings back
Some sunny hope, some daydream bright,
That, shining o'er life's early track,
Filled even its tears with light.
The new-found life that came
With love's first echoed vow;--
The fear, the bliss, the shame--
Ah--where, where are they now?
But, still the same loved notes prolong,
For sweet 'twere thus, to that old lay,
In dreams of youth and love and song,
To breathe life's hour away.




Far as the sight can reach, beneath as clear
And blue a heaven as ever blest this sphere,
Gardens and pillared streets and porphyry domes
And high-built temples, fit to be the homes
Of mighty gods, and pyramids whose hour
Outlasts all time, above the waters tower!

Then, too, the scenes of pomp and joy that make
One theatre of this vast peopled lake,
Where all that Love, Religion, Commerce gives
Of life and motion, ever moves and lives,
Here, up in the steps of temples, from the wave
Ascending, in procession slow and grave,
Priests in white garments go, with sacred wands
And silver cymbals gleaming in their hands:
While there, rich barks--fresh from those sunny tracts
Far off, beyond the sounding cataracts--
Glide with their precious lading to the sea,
Plumes of bright birds, rhinoceros' ivory,
Gems from the isle of Meroe, and those grains
Of gold, washed down by Abyssinian rains.

Here, where the waters wind into a bay
Shadowy and cool, some pilgrims on their way
To Sais or Bubastus, among beds
Of lotos flowers that close above their heads,
Push their light barks, and hid as in a bower
Sing, talk, or sleep away the sultry hour,
While haply, not far off, beneath a bank
Of blossoming acacias, many a prank
Is played in the cool current by a train
Of laughing nymphs, lovely as she whose chain
Around two conquerors of the world was cast;
But, for a third too feeble, broke at last.



Drink of this cup--Osiris sips
The same in his halls below;
And the same he gives, to cool the lips
Of the dead, who downward go.

Drink of this cup--the water within
Is fresh from Lethe's stream;
'Twill make the past, with all its sin,
And all its pain and sorrows, seem
Like a long forgotten dream;
The pleasure, whose charms
Are steeped in woe;
The knowledge, that harms
The soul to know;

The hope, that bright
As the lake of the waste,
Allures the sight
And mocks the taste;

The love, that binds
Its innocent wreath,
Where the serpent winds
In venom beneath!--

All that of evil or false, by thee
Hath ever been known or seen,
Shalt melt away in this cup, and be
Forgot as it never had been!


Drink of this cup--when Isis led
Her boy of old to the beaming sky,
She mingled a draught divine and said.--
"Drink of this cup, thou'lt never die!"

Thus do I say and sing to thee.
Heir of that boundless heaven on high,
Though frail and fallen and lost thou be,
"Drink of this cup, thou'lt never die!"

* * * * *

And Memory, too, with her dreams shall come,
Dreams of a former, happier day,
When heaven was still the spirit's home,
And her wings had not yet fallen away.

Glimpses of glory ne'er forgot,
That tell, like gleams on a sunset sea,
What once hath been, what now is not.
But oh! what again shall brightly be!"


O Abyssinian tree,
We pray, we pray to thee;
By the glow of thy golden fruit
And the violet hue of the flower,
And the greeting mute
Of thy boughs' salute
To the stranger who seeks thy bow.

O Abyssinian tree!
How the traveller blesses thee
When the light no moon allows,
And the sunset hour is near,
And thou bend'st thy boughs
To kiss his brows.
Saying, "Come, rest thee here."
O Abyssinian tree!
Thus bow thy head to me!



For the groundwork of the following Poem I am indebted to a memorable
Fete, given some years since, at Boyle Farm, the seat of the late Lord
Henry Fitzgerald. In commemoration of that evening--of which the lady to
whom these pages are inscribed was, I well recollect, one of the most
distinguished ornaments--I was induced at the time to write some verses,
which were afterwards, however, thrown aside unfinished, on my discovering
that the same task had been undertaken by a noble poet,[1] whose playful
and happy _jeu d'esprit_ on the subject has since been published. It was
but lately, that, on finding the fragments of my own sketch among my
papers, I thought of founding on them such a description of an imaginary
Fete as might furnish me with situations for the introduction of music.

Such is the origin and object of the following Poem, and to MRS. NORTON it
is, with every feeling of admiration and regard, inscribed by her father's
warmly attached friend,


_Sloperton Cottage_,

_November 1881_

[1] Lord Francis Egerton.


"Where are ye now, ye summer days,
"That once inspired the poet's lays?
"Blest time! ere England's nymphs and swains,
"For lack of sunbeams, took to coals--
"Summers of light, undimmed by rains,
"Whose only mocking trace remains
"In watering-pots and parasols."

Thus spoke a young Patrician maid,
As, on the morning of that Fete
Which bards unborn shall celebrate,
She backward drew her curtain's shade,
And, closing one half-dazzled eye,
Peeped with the other at the sky--
The important sky, whose light or gloom
Was to decide, this day, the doom
Of some few hundred beauties, wits,
Blues, Dandies, Swains, and Exquisites.

Faint were her hopes; for June had now
Set in with all his usual rigor!
Young Zephyr yet scarce knowing how
To nurse a bud, or fan a bough,
But Eurus in perpetual vigor;
And, such the biting summer air,
That she, the nymph now nestling there--
Snug as her own bright gems recline
At night within their cotton shrine--
Had more than once been caught of late
Kneeling before her blazing grate,
Like a young worshipper of fire,
With hands uplifted to the flame,
Whose glow as if to woo them nigher.
Thro' the white fingers flushing came.

But oh! the light, the unhoped-for light,
That now illumed this morning's heaven!
Up sprung Iaenthe at the sight,
Tho'--hark!--the clocks but strike eleven,
And rarely did the nymph surprise
Mankind so early with her eyes.
Who now will say that England's sun
(Like England's self, these spendthrift days)
His stock of wealth hath near outrun,
And must retrench his golden rays--
Pay for the pride of sunbeams past,
And to mere moonshine come at last?

"Calumnious thought!" Iaenthe cries,
While coming mirth lit up each glance,
And, prescient of the ball, her eyes
Already had begun to dance:
For brighter sun than that which now
Sparkled o'er London's spires and towers,
Had never bent from heaven his brow
To kiss Firenze's City of Flowers.

What must it be--if thus so fair.
Mid the smoked groves of Grosvenor Square--
What must it be where Thames is seen
Gliding between his banks of green,
While rival villas, on each side,
Peep from their bowers to woo his tide,
And, like a Turk between two rows
Of Harem beauties, on he goes--
A lover, loved for even the grace
With which he slides from their embrace.

In one of those enchanted domes,
One, the most flowery, cool, and bright
Of all by which that river roams,
The Fete is to be held to-night--
That Fete already linked to fame,
Whose cards, in many a fair one's sight
(When looked for long, at last they came,)
Seemed circled with a fairy light;--
That Fete to which the cull, the flower
Of England's beauty, rank and power,
From the young spinster, just come _out_,
To the old Premier, too long _in_--
From legs of far descended gout,
To the last new-mustachioed chin--
All were convoked by Fashion's spells
To the small circle where she dwells,
Collecting nightly, to allure us,
Live atoms, which, together hurled,
She, like another Epicurus,
Sets dancing thus, and calls "the World."

Behold how busy in those bowers
(Like May-flies in and out of flowers.)
The countless menials, swarming run,
To furnish forth ere set of sun
The banquet-table richly laid
Beneath yon awning's lengthened shade,
Where fruits shall tempt and wines entice,
And Luxury's self, at Gunter's call,
Breathe from her summer-throne of ice
A spirit of coolness over all.

And now the important hour drew nigh,
When, 'neath the flush of evening's sky,
The west-end "world" for mirth let loose,
And moved, as he of Syracuse[1]
Ne'er dreamt of moving worlds, by force
Of four horse power, had all combined
Thro' Grosvenor Gate to speed their course,
Leaving that portion of mankind,
Whom they call "Nobody," behind;
No star for London's feasts to-day,
No moon of beauty, new this May,
To lend the night her crescent ray;--
Nothing, in short, for ear or eye,
But veteran belles and wits gone by,
The relics of a past beau-monde,
A world like Cuvier's, long dethroned!
Even Parliament this evening nods
Beneath the harangues of minor Gods,
On half its usual opiate's share;
The great dispensers of repose,
The first-rate furnishers of prose
Being all called to--prose elsewhere.

Soon as thro' Grosvenor's lordly square--
That last impregnable redoubt,
Where, guarded with Patrician care,
Primeval Error still holds out--
Where never gleam of gas must dare
'Gainst ancient Darkness to revolt,
Nor smooth Macadam hope to spare
The dowagers one single jolt;--
Where, far too stately and sublime
To profit by the lights of time,
Let Intellect march how it will,
They stick to oil and watchman still:--
Soon as thro' that illustrious square
The first epistolary bell.
Sounding by fits upon the air,
Of parting pennies rung the knell;
Warned by that tell-tale of the hours,
And by the day-light's westering beam,
The young Iaenthe, who, with flowers
Half crowned, had sat in idle dream
Before her glass, scarce knowing where
Her fingers roved thro' that bright hair,
While, all capriciously, she now
Dislodged some curl from her white brow,
And now again replaced it there:--
As tho' her task was meant to be
One endless change of ministry--
A routing-up of Loves and Graces,
But to plant others in their places.

Meanwhile--what strain is that which floats
Thro' the small boudoir near--like notes
Of some young bird, its task repeating
For the next linnet music-meeting?
A voice it was, whose gentle sounds
Still kept a modest octave's bounds,
Nor yet had ventured to exalt
Its rash ambition to _B alt_,
That point towards which when ladies rise,
The wise man takes his hat and--flies.
Tones of a harp, too, gently played,
Came with this youthful voice communing;
Tones true, for once, without the aid
Of that inflictive process, tuning--
A process which must oft have given
Poor Milton's ears a deadly wound;
So pleased, among the joys of Heaven,
He specifies "harps _ever_ tuned."
She who now sung this gentle strain
Was our young nymph's still younger sister--
Scarce ready yet for Fashion's train
In their light legions to enlist her,
But counted on, as sure to bring
Her force into the field next spring.

The song she thus, like Jubal's shell,
Gave forth "so sweetly and so well,"
Was one in Morning Post much famed,
From a _divine_ collection, named,
"Songs of the Toilet"--every Lay
Taking for subject of its Muse,
Some branch of feminine array,
Some item, with full scope, to choose,
From diamonds down to dancing shoes;
From the last hat that Herbault's hands
Bequeathed to an admiring world,
Down to the latest flounce that stands
Like Jacob's Ladder--or expands
Far forth, tempestuously unfurled.

Speaking of one of these new Lays,
The Morning Post thus sweetly says:--
"Not all that breathes from Bishop's lyre,
"That Barnett dreams, or Cooke conceives,
"Can match for sweetness, strength, or fire,
"This fine Cantata upon Sleeves.
"The very notes themselves reveal
"The cut of each new sleeve so well;
"A _flat_ betrays the _Imbecilles_,[2]
"Light fugues the flying lappets tell;
"While rich cathedral chords awake
'Our homage for the _Manches d'Eveque_."

'Twas the first opening song the Lay
Of all least deep in toilet-lore,
That the young nymph, to while away
The tiring-hour, thus warbled o'er:--


Array thee, love, array thee, love,
In all thy best array thee;
The sun's below--the moon's above--
And Night and Bliss obey thee.
Put on thee all that's bright and rare,
The zone, the wreath, the gem,
Not so much gracing charms so fair,
As borrowing grace from them.
Array thee, love, array thee, love,
In all that's bright array thee;
The sun's below--the moon's above--
And Night and Bliss obey thee.

Put on the plumes thy lover gave.
The plumes, that, proudly dancing,
Proclaim to all, where'er they wave,
Victorious eyes advancing.
Bring forth the robe whose hue of heaven
From thee derives such light,
That Iris would give all her seven
To boast but _one_ so bright.
Array thee, love, array thee, love, etc.

Now hie thee, love, now hie thee, love,
Thro' Pleasure's circles hie thee.
And hearts, where'er thy footsteps move,
Will beat when they come nigh thee.
Thy every word shall be a spell,
Thy every look a ray,
And tracks of wondering eyes shall tell
The glory of thy way!
Now hie thee, love, now hie thee, love,
Thro' Pleasure's circles hie thee,
And hearts, where'er thy footsteps move,
Shall beat when they come nigh thee.

* * * * *

Now in his Palace of the West,
Sinking to slumber, the bright Day,
Like a tired monarch fanned to rest,
Mid the cool airs of Evening lay;
While round his couch's golden rim
The gaudy clouds, like courtiers, crept--
Struggling each other's light to dim,
And catch his last smile e'er he slept.
How gay, as o'er the gliding Thames
The golden eve its lustre poured,
Shone out the high-born knights and dames
Now grouped around that festal board;
A living mass of plumes and flowers.
As tho' they'd robbed both birds and bowers--
A peopled rainbow, swarming thro'
With habitants of every hue;
While, as the sparkling juice of France
High in the crystal brimmers flowed,
Each sunset ray that mixt by chance
With the wine's sparkles, showed
How sunbeams may be taught to dance.
If not in written form exprest,
'Twas known at least to every guest,
That, tho' not bidden to parade
Their scenic powers in masquerade,
(A pastime little found to thrive
In the bleak fog of England's skies,
Where wit's the thing we best contrive,
As masqueraders, to _disguise_,)
It yet was hoped-and well that hope
Was answered by the young and gay--
That in the toilet's task to-day
Fancy should take her wildest scope;--
That the rapt milliner should be
Let loose thro fields of poesy,
The tailor, in inventive trance,
Up to the heights of Epic clamber,
And all the regions of Romance
Be ransackt by the _femme de chambre_.

Accordingly, with gay Sultanas,
Rebeccas, Sapphos, Roxalanas--
Circassian slaves whom Love would pay
Half his maternal realms to ransom;--
Young nuns, whose chief religion lay
In looking most profanely handsome;--
Muses in muslin-pastoral maids
With hats from the _Arcade-ian_ shades,
And fortune-tellers, rich, 'twas plain,
As fortune-_hunters_ formed their train.

With these and more such female groups,
Were mixt no less fantastic troops
Of male exhibitors--all willing
To look even more than usual killing;--
Beau tyrants, smock-faced braggadocios,
And brigands, charmingly ferocious:--
M.P.'s turned Turks, good Moslems then,
Who, last night, voted for the Greeks;
And Friars, stanch No-Popery men,
In close confab with Whig Caciques.

But where is she--the nymph whom late
We left before her glass delaying
Like Eve, when by the lake she sate,
In the clear wave her charms surveying,
And saw in that first glassy mirror
The first fair face that lured to error.
"Where is she," ask'st thou?--watch all looks
As centring to one point they bear,
Like sun-flowers by the sides of brooks,
Turned to the sun--and she is there.
Even in disguise, oh never doubt
By her own light you'd track her out:
As when the moon, close shawled in fog,
Steals as she thinks, thro' heaven _incog_.,
Tho' hid herself, some sidelong ray
At every step, detects her way.

But not in dark disguise to-night
Hath our young heroine veiled her light;--
For see, she walks the earth, Love's own.
His wedded bride, by _holiest_ vow
Pledged in Olympus, and made known
To mortals by the type which now
Hangs glittering on her snowy brow,
That butterfly, mysterious trinket,
Which means the Soul (tho' few would think it),
And sparkling thus on brow so white,
Tells us we've Psyche here tonight!
But hark! some song hath caught her ears--
And, lo, how pleased, as tho' she'd ne'er
Heard the Grand Opera of the Spheres,
Her goddess-ship approves the air;
And to a mere terrestrial strain,
Inspired by naught but pink champagne,
Her butterfly as gayly nods
As tho' she sate with all her train
At some great Concert of the Gods,
With Phoebus, leader--Jove, director,
And half the audience drunk with nectar.

From the male group the carol came--
A few gay youths whom round the board
The last-tried flask's superior fame
Had lured to taste the tide it poured;
And one who from his youth and lyre
Seemed grandson to the Teian-sire,
Thus gayly sung, while, to his song,
Replied in chorus the gay throng:--


Some mortals there may be, so wise, or so fine,
As in evenings like this no enjoyment to see;
But, as I'm not particular--wit, love, and wine,
Are for one night's amusement sufficient for me.
Nay--humble and strange as my tastes may appear--
If driven to the worst, I could manage, thank Heaven,
To put up with eyes such as beam round me here,
And such wine as we're sipping, six days out of seven.
So pledge me a bumper--your sages profound
May be blest, if they will, on their own patent plan:
But as we are _not_ sages, why--send the cup round--
We must only be happy the best way we can.

A reward by some king was once offered, we're told,
To whoe'er could invent a new bliss for mankind;
But talk of _new_ pleasures!--give me but the old,
And I'll leave your inventors all new ones they find.
Or should I, in quest of fresh realms of bliss,
Set sail in the pinnace of Fancy some day,
Let the rich rosy sea I embark on be this,
And such eyes as we've here be the stars of my way!
In the mean time, a bumper--your Angels, on high,
May have pleasures unknown to life's limited span;
But, as we are _not_ Angels, why--let the flask fly--
We must be happy _all_ ways that we can.

* * * * *

Now nearly fled was sunset's light,
Leaving but so much of its beam
As gave to objects, late so blight,
The coloring of a shadowy dream;
And there was still where Day had set
A flush that spoke him loath to die--
A last link of his glory yet,
Binding together earth and sky.
Say, why is it that twilight best
Becomes even brows the loveliest?
That dimness with its softening Touch
Can bring out grace unfelt before,
And charms we ne'er can see too much,
When seen but half enchant the more?
Alas, it is that every joy
In fulness finds its worst alloy,
And half a bliss, but hoped or guessed,
Is sweeter than the whole possest;--
That Beauty, when least shone upon,
A creature most ideal grows;
And there's no light from moon or sun
Like that Imagination throws;--
It is, alas, that Fancy shrinks
Even from a bright reality,
And turning inly, feels and thinks
For heavenlier things than e'er will be.

Such was the effect of twilight's hour
On the fair groups that, round and round,
From glade to grot, from bank to bower,
Now wandered thro' this fairy ground;
And thus did Fancy--and champagne--
Work on the sight their dazzling spells,
Till nymphs that looked at noonday plain,
Now brightened in the gloom to belles;
And the brief interval of time,
'Twixt after dinner and before,
To dowagers brought back their prime,
And shed a halo round two-score.

Meanwhile, new pastimes for the eye,
The ear, the fancy, quick succeed;
And now along the waters fly
Light gondoles, of Venetian breed,
With knights and dames who, calm reclined,
Lisp out love-sonnets as they glide--
Astonishing old Thames to find
Such doings on his moral tide.

So bright was still that tranquil river,
With the last shaft from Daylight's quiver,
That many a group in turn were seen
Embarking on its wave serene;
And 'mong the rest, in chorus gay,
A band of mariners, from the isles
Of sunny Greece, all song and smiles,
As smooth they floated, to the play
Of their oar's cadence, sung this lay:--


Our home is on the sea, boy,
Our home is on the sea;
When Nature gave
The ocean-wave,
She markt it for the Free.
Whatever storms befall, boy,
Whatever storms befall,
The island bark
Is Freedom's ark,
And floats her safe thro' all.

Behold yon sea of isles, boy,
Behold yon sea of isles,
Where every shore
Is sparkling o'er
With Beauty's richest smiles.
For us hath Freedom claimed, boy,
For us hath Freedom claimed
Those ocean-nests
Where Valor rests
His eagle wing untamed.

And shall the Moslem dare, boy,
And shall the Moslem dare,
While Grecian hand
Can wield a brand,
To plant his Crescent there?
No--by our fathers, no, boy,
No, by the Cross, we show--
From Maina's rills
To Thracia's hills
All Greece re-echoes "No!"

* * * * *

Like pleasant thoughts that o'er the mind
A minute come and go again,
Even so by snatches in the wind,
Was caught and lost that choral strain,
Now full, now faint upon the ear,
As the bark floated far or near.
At length when, lost, the closing note
Had down the waters died along,
Forth from another fairy boat,
Freighted with music, came this song--


Smoothly flowing thro' verdant vales,
Gentle river, thy current runs,
Sheltered safe from winter gales,
Shaded cool from summer suns.
Thus our Youth's sweet moments glide.
Fenced with flowery shelter round;
No rude tempest wakes the tide,
All its path is fairy ground.

But, fair river, the day will come,
When, wooed by whispering groves in vain,
Thou'lt leave those banks, thy shaded home,
To mingle with the stormy main.
And thou, sweet Youth, too soon wilt pass
Into the world's unsheltered sea,
Where, once thy wave hath mixt, alas,
All hope of peace is lost for thee.

Next turn we to the gay saloon,
Resplendent as a summer noon,
Where, 'neath a pendent wreath of lights,
A Zodiac of flowers and tapers--
(Such as in Russian ball-rooms sheds
Its glory o'er young dancers' heads)--
Quadrille performs her mazy rites,
And reigns supreme o'er slides and capers;--

Working to death each opera strain,
As, with a foot that ne'er reposes,
She jigs thro' sacred and profane,
From "Maid and Magpie" up to "Moses;"--[3]
Wearing out tunes as fast as shoes,
Till fagged Rossini scarce respires;
Till Meyerbeer for mercy sues,
And Weber at her feet expires.

And now the set hath ceased--the bows
Of fiddlers taste a brief repose,
While light along the painted floor,
Arm within arm, the couples stray,
Talking their stock of nothings o'er,
Till--nothing's left at last to say.
When lo!--most opportunely sent--
Two Exquisites, a he and she,
Just brought from Dandyland, and meant
For Fashion's grand Menagerie,
Entered the room--and scarce were there
When all flocked round them, glad to stare
At _any_ monsters, _any_ where.
Some thought them perfect, to their tastes;
While others hinted that the waists
(That in particular of the _he_ thing)
Left far too ample room for breathing:
Whereas, to meet these critics' wishes,
The isthmus there should be so small,
That Exquisites, at last, like fishes,
Must manage not to breathe at all.
The female (these same critics said),
Tho' orthodox from toe to chin,
Yet lacked that spacious width of head
To hat of toadstool much akin--
That build of bonnet, whose extent
Should, like a doctrine of dissent,
Puzzle church-doors to let it in.

However--sad as 'twas, no doubt,
That nymph so smart should go about,
With head unconscious of the place
It _ought_ to fill in Infinite Space--
Yet all allowed that, of her kind,
A prettier show 'twas hard to find;
While of that doubtful genus, "dressy men,"
The male was thought a first-rate specimen.
Such _Savans_, too, as wisht to trace
The manners, habits, of this race--
To know what rank (if rank at all)
'Mong reasoning things to them should fall--
What sort of notions heaven imparts
To high-built heads and tight-laced hearts
And how far Soul, which, Plato says,
Abhors restraint, can act in stays--
Might now, if gifted with discerning,
Find opportunities of learning:
As these two creatures--from their pout
And frown, 'twas plain--had just fallen out;
And all their little thoughts, of course.
Were stirring in full fret and force;--
Like mites, through microscope espied,
A world of nothings magnified.

But mild the vent such beings seek,
The tempest of their souls to speak:
As Opera swains to fiddles sigh,
To fiddles fight, to fiddles die,
Even so this tender couple set
Their well-bred woes to a Duet.


Long as I waltzed with only thee,
Each blissful Wednesday that went by,
Nor stylish Stultz, nor neat Nugee
Adorned a youth so blest as I.
Oh! ah! ah! oh!
Those happy days are gone--heigho!

Long as with thee I skimmed the ground,
Nor yet was scorned for Lady Jane,
No blither nymph tetotumed round
To Collinet's immortal strain.
Oh! ah! etc.
Those happy days are gone--heigho!

With Lady Jane now whirled about,
I know no bounds of time or breath;
And, should the charmer's head hold out,
My heart and heels are hers till death.
Oh! ah! etc.
Still round and round thro' life we'll go.

To Lord Fitznoodle's eldest son,
A youth renowned for waistcoats smart,
I now have given (excuse the pun)
A vested interest in my heart.
Oh! ah! etc.
Still round and round with him I'll go.

What if by fond remembrance led
Again to wear our mutual chain.
For me thou cut'st Fitznoodle
And I _levant_ from Lady Jane.
Oh! ah! etc.
Still round and round again we'll go.

Tho' he the Noodle honors give,
And thine, dear youth, are not so high,
With thee in endless waltz I'd live,
With thee, to Weber's Stop--
Waltz, die!
Oh! ah! etc.
Thus round and round thro' life we'll go.

[_Exeunt waltzing_.

* * * * *

While thus, like motes that dance away
Existence in a summer ray,
These gay things, born but to quadrille,
The circle of their doom fulfil--
(That dancing doom whose law decrees
That they should live on the alert toe
A life of ups-and-downs, like keys
Of Broadwood's in a long concerto:--)
While thus the fiddle's spell, _within_,
Calls up its realm of restless sprites.
_Without_, as if some Mandarin
Were holding there his Feast of Lights,
Lamps of all hues, from walks and bowers,
Broke on the eye, like kindling flowers,
Till, budding into light, each tree
Bore its full fruit of brilliancy.

Here shone a garden-lamps all o'er,
As tho' the Spirits of the Air
Had taken it in their heads to pour
A shower of summer meteors there;--
While here a lighted shrubbery led
To a small lake that sleeping lay,
Cradled in foliage but, o'er-head,
Open to heaven's sweet breath and ray;
While round its rim there burning stood
Lamps, with young flowers beside them bedded,
That shrunk from such warm neighborhood,
And, looking bashful in the flood,
Blushed to behold themselves so wedded.

Hither, to this embowered retreat,
Fit but for nights so still and sweet;
Nights, such as Eden's calm recall
In its first lonely hour, when all
So silent is, below, on high,
That is a star falls down the sky,
You almost think you hear it fall--
Hither, to this recess, a few,
To shun the dancers' wildering noise,
And give an hour, ere night-time flew,
To music's more ethereal joys,
Came with their voices-ready all
As Echo waiting for a call--
In hymn or ballad, dirge or glee,
To weave their mingling ministrelsy,
And first a dark-eyed nymph, arrayed--
Like her whom Art hath deathless made,
Bright Mona Lisa[4]--with that braid
Of hair across the brow, and one
Small gem that in the centre shone--
With face, too, in its form resembling
Da Vinci's Beauties-the dark eyes,
Now lucid as thro' crystal trembling,
Now soft as if suffused with sighs--
Her lute that hung beside her took,
And, bending o'er it with shy look,
More beautiful, in shadow thus,
Than when with life most luminous,
Past her light finger o'er the chords,
And sung to them these mournful words:--


Bring hither, bring thy lute, while day is dying--
Here will I lay me and list to thy song;
Should tones of other days mix with its sighing,
Tones of a light heart, now banisht so long,
Chase them away-they bring but pain,
And let thy theme be woe again.

Sing on thou mournful lute--day is fast going,
Soon will its light from thy chords die away;
One little gleam in the west is still glowing,
When that hath vanisht, farewell to thy lay.
Mark, how it fades!-see, it is fled!
Now, sweet lute, be thou, too, dead.

The group that late in garb of Greeks
Sung their light chorus o'er the tide--
Forms, such as up the wooded creeks
Of Helle's shore at noon-day glide,
Or nightly on her glistening sea,
Woo the bright waves with melody--
Now linked their triple league again
Of voices sweet, and sung a strain,
Such as, had Sappho's tuneful ear
But caught it, on the fatal steep,
She would have paused, entranced, to hear,
And for that day deferred her leap.


On one of those sweet nights that oft
Their lustre o'er the AEgean fling,
Beneath my casement, low and soft,
I heard a Lesbian lover sing;
And, listening both with ear and thought,
These sounds upon the night breeze caught--
"Oh, happy as the gods is he,
"Who gazes at this hour on thee!"

The song was one by Sappho sung,
In the first love-dreams of her lyre,
When words of passion from her tongue
Fell like a shower of living fire.
And still, at close of every strain,
I heard these burning words again--
"Oh, happy as the gods is he,
"Who listens at this hour to thee!"

Once more to Mona Lisa turned
Each asking eye--nor turned in vain
Tho' the quick, transient blush that burned
Bright o'er her cheek and died again,
Showed with what inly shame and fear
Was uttered what all loved to hear.
Yet not to sorrow's languid lay
Did she her lute-song now devote;
But thus, with voice that like a ray
Of southern sunshine seemed to float--
So rich with climate was each note--
Called up in every heart a dream
Of Italy with this soft theme:--


Oh, where art thou dreaming,
On land, or on sea?
In my lattice is gleaming
The watch-light for thee;

And this fond heart is glowing
To welcome thee home,
And the night is fast going,
But thou art not come:
No, thou com'st not!

'Tis the time when night-flowers
Should wake from their rest;
'Tis the hour of all hours,
When the lute singeth best,
But the flowers are half sleeping
Till _thy_ glance they see;
And the husht lute is keeping
Its music for thee.
Yet, thou com'st not!

* * * * *

Scarce had the last word left her lip,
When a light, boyish form, with trip
Fantastic, up the green walk came,
Prankt in gay vest to which the flame
Of every lamp he past, or blue
Or green or crimson, lent its hue;
As tho' a live chameleon's skin
He had despoiled, to robe him in.
A zone he wore of clattering shells,
And from his lofty cap, where shone
A peacock's plume, there dangled bells
That rung as he came dancing on.
Close after him, a page--in dress
And shape, his miniature express--
An ample basket, filled with store
Of toys and trinkets, laughing bore;
Till, having reached this verdant seat,
He laid it at his master's feet,
Who, half in speech and half in song,
Chanted this invoice to the throng:--


Who'll buy?--'tis Folly's shop, who'll buy?--
We've toys to suit all ranks and ages;
Besides our usual fools' supply,
We've lots of playthings, too, for sages.
For reasoners here's a juggler's cup
That fullest seems when nothing's in it;
And nine-pins set, like systems, up,
To be knocked down the following minute.
Who'll buy?--'tis Folly's shop, who'll buy?

Gay caps we here of foolscap make.
For bards to wear in dog-day weather;
Or bards the bells alone may take,
And leave to wits the cap and feather,
Tetotums we've for patriots got,
Who court the mob with antics humble;
Like theirs the patriot's dizzy lot,
A glorious spin, and then--a tumble,
Who'll buy, etc.

Here, wealthy misers to inter,
We've shrouds of neat post-obit paper;
While, for their heirs, we've _quick_silver,
That, fast as they can wish, will caper.
For aldermen we've dials true,
That tell no hour but that of dinner;
For courtly parsons sermons new,
That suit alike both saint and sinner.
Who'll buy, etc.

No time we've now to name our terms,
But, whatsoe'er the whims that seize you,
This oldest of all mortal firms,
Folly and Co., will try to please you.
Or, should you wish a darker hue
Of goods than _we_ can recommend you,
Why then (as we with lawyers do)
To Knavery's shop next door we'll send you.
Who'll buy, etc.

While thus the blissful moments rolled,
Moments of rare and fleeting light,
That show themselves, like grains of gold
In the mine's refuse, few and bright;
Behold where, opening far away,
The long Conservatory's range,
Stript of the flowers it wore all day,
But gaining lovelier in exchange,
Presents, on Dresden's costliest ware,
A supper such as Gods might share.

Ah much-loved Supper!--blithe repast
Of other times, now dwindling fast,
Since Dinner far into the night
Advanced the march of appetite;
Deployed his never-ending forces
Of various vintage and three courses,
And, like those Goths who played the dickens
With Rome and all her sacred chickens,
Put Supper and her fowls so white,
Legs, wings, and drumsticks, all to flight.
Now waked once more by wine--whose tide
Is the true Hippocrene, where glide
The Muse's swans with happiest wing,
Dipping their bills before they sing--
The minstrels of the table greet
The listening ear with descant sweet:--



Call the Loves around,
Let the whispering sound
Of their wings be heard alone.
Till soft to rest
My Lady blest
At this bright hour hath gone,
Let Fancy's beams
Play o'er her dreams,
Till, touched with light all through.
Her spirit be
Like a summer sea,
Shining and slumbering too.
And, while thus husht she lies,
Let the whispered chorus rise--
"Good evening, good evening, to our
Lady's bright eyes."

But the day-beam breaks,
See, our Lady wakes!
Call the Loves around once more,
Like stars that wait
At Morning's gate,
Her first steps to adore.
Let the veil of night
From her dawning sight
All gently pass away,
Like mists that flee
From a summer sea,
Leaving it full of day.
And, while her last dream flies,
Let the whispered chorus rise--
"Good morning, good morning, to our
Lady's bright eyes."


If to see thee be to love thee,
If to love thee be to prize
Naught of earth or heaven above thee,
Nor to live but for those eyes:
If such love to mortal given,
Be wrong to earth, be wrong to heaven,
'Tis not for thee the fault to blame,
For from those eyes the madness came.
Forgive but thou the crime of loving
In this heart more pride 'twill raise
To be thus wrong with thee approving,
Than right with all a world to praise!

* * * * *

But say, while light these songs resound,
What means that buzz of whispering round,
From lip to lip--as if the Power
Of Mystery, in this gay hour,
Had thrown some secret (as we fling
Nuts among children) to that ring
Of rosy, restless lips, to be
Thus scrambled for so wantonly?
And, mark ye, still as each reveals
The mystic news, her hearer steals
A look towards yon enchanted chair,
Where, like the Lady of the Masque,
A nymph, as exquisitely fair
As Love himself for bride could ask,
Sits blushing deep, as if aware
Of the winged secret circling there.
Who is this nymph? and what, oh Muse,
What, in the name of all odd things
That woman's restless brain pursues,
What mean these mystic whisperings?

Thus runs the tale:--yon blushing maid,
Who sits in beauty's light arrayed,
While o'er her leans a tall young Dervise,
(Who from her eyes, as all observe, is
Learning by heart the Marriage Service,)
Is the bright heroine of our song,--
The Love-wed Psyche, whom so long
We've missed among this mortal train,
We thought her winged to heaven again.

But no--earth still demands her smile;
Her friends, the Gods, must wait awhile.
And if, for maid of heavenly birth,
A young Duke's proffered heart and hand
Be things worth waiting for on earth,
Both are, this hour, at her command.
To-night, in yonder half-lit shade,
For love concerns expressly meant,
The fond proposal first was made,
And love and silence blusht consent
Parents and friends (all here, as Jews,
Enchanters, house-maids, Turks, Hindoos,)
Have heard, approved, and blest the tie;
And now, hadst thou a poet's eye,
Thou might'st behold, in the air, above
That brilliant brow, triumphant Love,
Holding, as if to drop it down
Gently upon her curls, a crown
Of Ducal shape--but, oh, such gems!
Pilfered from Peri diadems,
And set in gold like that which shines
To deck the Fairy of the Mines:
In short, a crown all glorious--such as
Love orders when he makes a Duchess.

But see, 'tis morn in heaven; the Sun
Up in the bright orient hath begun
To canter his immortal beam;
And, tho' not yet arrived in sight,
His leaders' nostrils send a steam
Of radiance forth, so rosy bright
As makes their onward path all light.
What's to be done? if Sol will be
So deuced early, so must we:
And when the day thus shines outright,
Even dearest friends must bid good night.
So, farewell, scene of mirth and masking,
Now almost a by-gone tale;
Beauties, late in lamp-light basking,
Now, by daylight, dim and pale;
Harpers, yawning o'er your harps,
Scarcely knowing flats from sharps;
Mothers who, while bored you keep
Time by nodding, nod to sleep;
Heads of hair, that stood last night
_Crepe_, crispy, and upright,
But have now, alas, one sees, a
Leaning like the tower of Pisa;
Fare ye will--thus sinks away
All that's mighty, all that's bright:
Tyre and Sidon had their day,
And even a Ball--has but its night!

[1] Archimedes.

[2] The name given to those large sleeves that hang loosely.

[3] In England the partition of this opera of Rossini was transferred to
the story of Peter the Hermit; by which means the indecorum of giving such
names as "Moyse," "Pharaon," etc., to the dancers selected from it (as was
done in Paris), has been avoided.

[4] The celebrated portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, which he is said to have
occupied four years in painting,--_Vasari_, vol. vii.


In thus connecting together a series of Songs by a thread of poetical
narrative, my chief object has been to combine Recitation with Music, so
as to enable a greater number of persons to join in the performance, by
enlisting as readers those who may not feel willing or competent to take a
part as singers.

The Island of Zea where the scene is laid was called by the ancients
Ceos, and was the birthplace of Simonides, Bacchylides, and other eminent
persons. An account of its present state may be found in the Travels of
Dr. Clarke, who says, that "it appeared to him to be the best cultivated
of any of the Grecian Isles."--Vol. vi. p. 174.




"The sky is bright--the breeze is fair,
"And the mainsail flowing, full and free--
"Our farewell word is woman's prayer,
"And the hope before us--Liberty!
"Farewell, farewell.
"To Greece we give our shining blades,
"And our hearts to you, young Zean Maids!

"The moon is in the heavens above,
"And the wind is on the foaming sea--
"Thus shines the star of woman's love
"On the glorious strife of Liberty!
"Farewell, farewell.
"To Greece we give our shining blades,
"And our hearts to you, young Zean Maids!"

Thus sung they from the bark, that now
Turned to the sea its gallant prow,
Bearing within its hearts as brave,
As e'er sought Freedom o'er the wave;
And leaving on that islet's shore,
Where still the farewell beacons burn,
Friends that shall many a day look o'er
The long, dim sea for their return.

Virgin of Heaven! speed their way--
Oh, speed their way,--the chosen flower,
Of Zea's youth, the hope and stay
Of parents in their wintry hour,
The love of maidens and the pride
Of the young, happy, blushing bride,
Whose nuptial wreath has not yet died--
All, all are in that precious bark,
Which now, alas! no more is seen--
Tho' every eye still turns to mark
The moonlight spot where it had been.

Vainly you look, ye maidens, sires,
And mothers, your beloved are gone!--
Now may you quench those signal fires,
Whose light they long looked back upon
From their dark deck--watching the flame
As fast it faded from their view,
With thoughts, that, but for manly shame,
Had made them droop and weep like you.
Home to your chambers! home, and pray
For the bright coming of that day,
When, blest by heaven, the Cross shall sweep
The Crescent from the Aegean deep,
And your brave warriors, hastening back,
Will bring such glories in their track,
As shall, for many an age to come,
Shed light around their name and home.

There is a Fount on Zea's isle,
Round which, in soft luxuriance, smile
All the sweet flowers, of every kind,
On which the sun of Greece looks down,
Pleased as a lover on the crown
His mistress for her brow hath twined,
When he beholds each floweret there,
Himself had wisht her most to wear;
Here bloomed the laurel-rose,[1] whose wreath
Hangs radiant round the Cypriot shines,
And here those bramble-flowers, that breathe
Their odor into Zante's wines:--
The splendid woodbine that, as eve,
To grace their floral diadems,
The lovely maids of Patmos weave:--[2]
And that fair plant whose tangled stems
Shine like a Nereid's hair,[3] when spread,
Dishevelled, o'er her azure bed:--
All these bright children of the clime,
(Each at its own most genial time,
The summer, or the year's sweet prime,)
Like beautiful earth-stars, adorn
The Valley where that Fount is born;
While round, to grace its cradle green
Groups of Velani oaks are seen
Towering on every verdant height--
Tall, shadowy, in the evening light,
Like Genii set to watch the birth
Of some enchanted child of earth--
Fair oaks that over Zea's vales,
Stand with their leafy pride unfurled;
While Commerce from her thousand sails
Scatters their fruit throughout the world![4]

'Twas here--as soon as prayer and sleep
(Those truest friends to all who weep)
Had lightened every heart; and made
Even sorrow wear a softer shade--
'Twas here, in this secluded spot,
Amid whose breathings calm and sweet
Grief might be soothed if not forgot,
The Zean nymphs resolved to meet
Each evening now, by the same light
That saw their farewell tears that night:
And try if sound of lute and song,
If wandering mid the moonlight flowers
In various talk, could charm along
With lighter step, the lingering hours,
Till tidings of that Bark should come,
Or Victory waft their warriors home!

When first they met--the wonted smile
Of greeting having gleamed awhile--
'Twould touch even Moslem heart to see
The sadness that came suddenly
O'er their young brows, when they looked round
Upon that bright, enchanted ground;
And thought how many a time with those
Who now were gone to the rude wars
They there had met at evening's close,
And danced till morn outshone the stars!

But seldom long doth hang the eclipse
Of sorrow o'er such youthful breasts--
The breath from her own blushing lips,
That on the maiden's mirror rests,
Not swifter, lighter from the glass,
Than sadness from her brow doth pass.

Soon did they now, as round the Well
They sat, beneath the rising moon--
And some with voice of awe would tell
Of midnight fays and nymphs who dwell
In holy founts--while some would time
Their idle lutes that now had lain
For days without a single strain;--
And others, from the rest apart,
With laugh that told the lightened heart,
Sat whispering in each other's ear
Secrets that all in turn would hear;--
Soon did they find this thoughtless play
So swiftly steal their griefs away,
That many a nymph tho' pleased the while,
Reproached her own forgetful smile,
And sighed to think she _could_ be gay.

Among these maidens there was one
Who to Leucadia[5] late had been--
Had stood beneath the evening sun
On its white towering cliffs and seen
The very spot where Sappho sung
Her swan-like music, ere she sprung
(Still holding, in that fearful leap,
By her loved lyre,) into the deep,
And dying quenched the fatal fire,
At once, of both her heart and lyre.

Mutely they listened all--and well
Did the young travelled maiden tell
Of the dread height to which that steep
Beetles above the eddying deep--[6]
Of the lone sea-birds, wheeling round
The dizzy edge with mournful sound--
And of those scented lilies found
Still blooming on that fearful place--
As if called up by Love to grace
The immortal spot o'er which the last
Bright footsteps of his martyr past!

While fresh to every listener's thought
These legends of Leucadia brought
All that of Sappho's hapless flame
Is kept alive, still watcht by Fame--
The maiden, tuning her soft lute,
While all the rest stood round her, mute,
Thus sketched the languishment of soul,
That o'er the tender Lesbian stole;
And in a voice whose thrilling tone
Fancy might deem the Lesbian's own,
One of those fervid fragments gave,
Which still,--like sparkles of Greek Fire,
Undying, even beneath the wave,--
Burn on thro' Time and ne'er expire.


As o'er her loom the Lesbian Maid
In love-sick languor hung her head,
Unknowing where her fingers strayed,
She weeping turned away, and said,
"Oh, my sweet Mother--'tis in vain--
"I cannot weave, as once I wove--
"So wildered is my heart and brain
"With thinking of that youth I love!"

Again the web she tried to trace,
But tears fell o'er each tangled thread;
While looking in her mother's face,
Who watchful o'er her leaned, she said,
"Oh, my sweet Mother--'tis in vain--
"I cannot weave, as once I wove--
"So wildered is my heart and brain
"With thinking of that youth I love!"

* * * * *

A silence followed this sweet air,
As each in tender musing stood,
Thinking, with lips that moved in prayer,
Of Sappho and that fearful flood:
While some who ne'er till now had known
How much their hearts resembled hers,
Felt as they made her griefs their own,
That _they_ too were Love's worshippers.

At length a murmur, all but mute,
So faint it was, came from the lute
Of a young melancholy maid,
Whose fingers, all uncertain played
From chord to chord, as if in chase
Of some lost melody, some strain
Of other times, whose faded trace
She sought among those chords again.
Slowly the half-forgotten theme
(Tho' born in feelings ne'er forgot)
Came to her memory--as a beam
Falls broken o'er some shaded spot;--
And while her lute's sad symphony
Filled up each sighing pause between;
And Love himself might weep to see
What ruin comes where he hath been--
As withered still the grass is found
Where fays have danced their merry round--
Thus simply to the listening throng
She breathed her melancholy song:--


Weeping for thee, my love, thro' the long day,
Lonely and wearily life wears away.
Weeping for thee, my love, thro' the long night--
No rest in darkness, no joy in light!
Naught left but Memory whose dreary tread
Sounds thro' this ruined heart, where all lies dead--
Wakening the echoes of joy long fled!

* * * * *

Of many a stanza, this alone
Had 'scaped oblivion--like the one
Stray fragment of a wreck which thrown
With the lost vessel's name ashore
Tells who they were that live no more.
When thus the heart is in a vein
Of tender thought, the simplest strain
Can touch it with peculiar power--
As when the air is warm, the scent
Of the most wild and rustic flower
Can fill the whole rich element--
And in such moods the homeliest tone
That's linked with feelings, once our own--
With friends or joy gone by--will be
Worth choirs of loftiest harmony!

But some there were among the group
Of damsels there too light of heart
To let their spirits longer droop,
Even under music's melting art;
And one upspringing with a bound
From a low bank of flowers, looked round
With eyes that tho' so full of light
Had still a trembling tear within;
And, while her fingers in swift flight
Flew o'er a fairy mandolin,
Thus sung the song her lover late
Had sung to her--the eve before
That joyous night, when as of yore
All Zea met to celebrate
The feast of May on the sea-shore.


When the Balaika[7]
Is heard o'er the sea,
I'll dance the Romaika
By moonlight with thee.
If waves then advancing
Should steal on our play,
Thy white feet in dancing
Shall chase them away.[8]
When the Balaika
Is heard o'er the sea,
Thou'lt dance the Romaika
My own love, with me.

Then at the closing
Of each merry lay,
How sweet 'tis, reposing
Beneath the night ray!
Or if declining
The moon leave the skies,
We'll talk by the shining
Of each other's eyes.

Oh then how featly
The dance we'll renew,
Treading so fleetly
Its light mazes thro':[9]
Till stars, looking o'er us
From heaven's high bowers,
Would change their bright chorus
For one dance of ours!
When the Balaika
Is heard o'er the sea,
Thou'lt dance the Romaika,
My own love, with me.

* * * * *

How changingly for ever veers
The heart of youth 'twixt smiles and tears!
Even as in April the light vane
Now points to sunshine, now to rain.
Instant this lively lay dispelled
The shadow from each blooming brow,
And Dancing, joyous Dancing, held
Full empire o'er each fancy now.

But say--_what_ shall the measure be?
"Shall we the old Romaika tread,"
(Some eager asked) "as anciently
"'Twas by the maids of Delos led,
"When slow at first, then circling fast,
"As the gay spirits rose--at last,
"With hand in hand like links enlocked,
"Thro' the light air they seemed to flit
"In labyrinthine maze, that mocked
"The dazzled eye that followed it?"
Some called aloud "the Fountain Dance!"--
While one young, dark-eyed Amazon,
Whose step was air-like and whose glance
Flashed, like a sabre in the sun,
Sportively said, "Shame on these soft
"And languid strains we hear so oft.
"Daughters of Freedom! have not we
"Learned from our lovers and our sires
"The Dance of Greece, while Greece was free--
"That Dance, where neither flutes nor lyres,
"But sword and shield clash on the ear
"A music tyrants quake to hear?
"Heroines of Zea, arm with me
"And dance the dance of Victory!"

Thus saying, she, with playful grace,
Loosed the wide hat, that o'er her face
(From Anatolia came the maid)
Hung shadowing each sunny charm;
And with a fair young armorer's aid,
Fixing it on her rounded arm,
A mimic shield with pride displayed;
Then, springing towards a grove that spread
Its canopy of foliage near,
Plucked off a lance-like twig, and said,
"To arms, to arms!" while o'er her head
She waved the light branch, as a spear.

Promptly the laughing maidens all
Obeyed their Chief's heroic call;--

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