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His fathers, with their stainless glories, sleep,
On their good swords! Think'st thou I feel no pangs?
He that hath given me sons doth know the heart
Whose treasure he recalls. — Of this no more.
'Tis vain. I tell thee that the inviolate cross
Still, from our ancient temples, must look up
Through the blue heavens of Spain, though at its foot
I perish, with my race! Thou darest not ask
That I, the son of warriors — men who died
To fix it on that proud supremacy –
Should tear the sign of our victorious faith
From its high place of sunbeams, for the Moor
In impious joy to trample!
Elm. Scorn me not,
In mine extreme of misery! - Thou art strong -
Thy heart is not as mine. — My brain grows wild;
I know not what I ask! And yet, 't were but
Anticipating fate - since it must fall,
That cross must fall, at last! There is no power,
No hope, within this city of the grave,
To keep its place on high. Her sultry air
Breathes heavily of death ; her warriors sink
Beneath their ancient banners, ere the Moor
Hath bent his bow against them; for the shaft
Of pestilence flies more swiftly to its mark
Than the arrow of the desert. Even the skies
O’erhang the desolate splendor of her domes
With an ill omen's aspect, shaping forth,
From the dull clouds, wild menacing forms and signs,
Foreboding ruin. Man might be withstood ;
But who shall cope with famine and disease,
When leagued with arméd foes ? — Where now the aid,
Where the long-promised lances of Castile ?
We are forsaken in our utmost need
By Heaven and earth forsaken!
Gon. If this be -
And yet I will not deem it — we must fall
As men that in severe devotedness
Have chosen their part; and bound themselves to death,
Through high conviction that their suffering land,
By the free blood of martyrdom alone,
Shall call deliverance down.
Elm. 0! I have stood
Beside thee through the beating storms of life,
With the true heart of unrepining love,
As the poor peasant's mate doth cheerily,
In the parched vineyard, or the harvest-field,
Bearing her part, sustain with him the heat
And burden of the day; but now, the hour,
The heavy hour, is come, when human strength
Sinks down, a toil-worn pilgrim, in the dust,
Owning that woe is mightier! Spare me yet
This bitter cup, my husband! Let not her,
The mother of the lovely, sit and mourn,
In her unpeopled home, a broken stem,
O'er its fallen roses dying !
Gon. Urge me not,
Thou that through all sharp conflicts hast been found
Worthy a brave man's love! O, urge me not
To guilt, which, through the midst of blinding tears,
In its own hues thou seest not! Death may scarce
Bring aught like this!
Elm. All, all thy gentle race,
The beautiful beings that around thee grew,
Creatures of sunshine! Wilt thou doom them all ?.
She, too, thy daughter - doth her smile unmarked
Pass from thee, with its radiance, day by day?
Shadows are gathering round her ---- seest thou not
The misty dimness of the spoiler's breath
Hangs o'er her beauty, and the face which made
The summer of our hearts now doth but send,
With every glance, deep bodings through the soul,
Telling of early fate ?
Gon. I see a change
Far nobler on her brow!-- She is as one,
Who, at the trumpet's sudden call, hath risen
From the gay banquet, and in scorn cast down
The wine-cup, and the garland, and the lute
Of festal hours, for the good spear and helm,
Beseeming sterner tasks. — Her eye hath lost
The beam which laughed upon the awakening heart,
E’en as morn breaks o'er earth. But, far within
Its full dark orb, a light hath sprung, whose source
Lies deeper in the soul. And let the torch,
Which but illumed the glittering pageant, fade!
The altar-flame, i' the sanctuary's recess,
Burns quenchless, being of heaven! She hath put on
Courage, and faith, and generous constancy,
Even as a breastplate. — Ay, men look on her,
As she goes forth, serenely, to her tasks,
Binding the warrior's wounds, and bearing fresh,
Cool draughts to fevered lips ; they look on her,
Thus moving in her beautiful array
Of gentle fortitude, and bless the fair,
Majestic vision, and, unmurmuring, turn
Unto their heavy toils.
Elm. And seest thou not,
In that high faith and strong collectedness,
A fearful inspiration? They have cause
To tremble, who behold the unearthly light
Of high, and, it may be, prophetic thought,
Investing youth with grandeur ! - From the grave
It rises, on whose shadowy brink thy child
Waits but a father's hand to snatch her back
Into the laughing sunshine. — Kneel with me;
Ximena, kneel beside me, and implore
That which a deeper, more prevailing voice
Than ours doth ask, and will not be denied ; -
His children's lives!
Xim. Alas! this may not be.
Mother! I cannot.
Gon. My heroic child !
A terrible sacrifice thou claim'st, oh God!
From creatures in whose agonizing hearts
Nature is strong as death!
WILLIAM MOTHER WELL. 1797-1835. Motherwell was born in Glasgow, and was several years the editor of a paper in that city. He had a great fondness for the old ballads and other poetry of Scotland and England, and published a selection entitled Minstrelsy, both Ancient and Modern. In 1832, he published a volume of his own poems, which contains some that are exceedingly beautiful. This poet was very popular among his townsmen and friends, but unfortunately, from embarrassed circumstances, he was led to seek relief from stimulants. He died suddenly, of apoplexy, at an early age.
WOOING SONG OF JARL EGILL SKALLAGRIM.
Bright maiden of Orkney,
Star of the blue sea !
I've swept o'er the waters
To gaze upon thee;
I 've left spoil and slaughter,
I've left a far strand,
To sing how I love thee,
To kiss thy small hand !
Fair daughter of Einar,
Golden-haired maid !
The lord of yon brown bark,
And lord of this blade, -
The joy of the ocean,
Of warfare and wind, -
Hath bound him to woo thee,
And thou must be kind.
So stoutly Jarl Egill wooed Torf Einar's daughter.
In Jutland, — in Iceland,
On Neustria's shore,
Where'er the dark billow
My gallant bark bore,
Songs spoke of thy beauty,
Harps sounded thy praise, o
And my heart loved thee long ere
It thrilled in thy gaze ;
Ay, daughter of Einar,
Right tall mayest thou stand,
It is a Vikingir
Who kisses thy hand;
It is a Vikingir
That bends his proud knee,
And swears, by great Freya,
His bride thou must be!
So Jarl Egill swore when his great heart was fullest.
Thy white arms are locked in
Broad bracelets of gold;
Thy girdle-stead 's gleaming
With treasures untold ;
The circlet that binds up
Thy long yellow hair
Is starred thick with jewels,
That bright are and rare.
But gifts yet more princely
Jarl Egill bestows :
For girdle, his great arm
Around thee he throws;
The bark of a sea-king,
For palace, gives he,
While mad waves and winds shall
Thy true subjects be.
So richly Jarl Egill endowed his bright bride..
Nay, frown not, nor shrink thus,
Nor toss so thy head ;
'T is a Vikingir asks thee,
Land-maiden, to wed !
He skills not to woo thee,
In trembling and fear,
Though lords of the land may
Thus troop with the deer.
The cradle he rocked in
So sound and so long,
Hath framed him a heart
And a hand that are strong ;